The Slovenia Times

PM Says Slovenia Secures Better Net Position in EU Budget



Speaking following marathon two-day talks, Janša said the sum that Slovenia would receive from the EU above what it would have to pay in amounted to EUR 370m a year. He labelled these as funds that Slovenia "desperately needs" in the coming years to boost investment activity.

"Slovenia's aim in negotiations was to retain its position as a net recipient of funds," explained Janša, adding that Slovenia "managed one better. Its net position will improve significantly."

He suggesting this was a major victory, given that Slovenia had gained in development against the EU28 yardstick and had assumed already in 2005, when taking part in negotiations on the current budget framework, that it would not be a net recipient of budget funds beyond 2013.

In the current 2007-13 financial perspective, Slovenia's net income position amounts to 0.87% of gross national income (GNI), while this will rise to 1.03% of GNI in the next seven-year period.

Under the deal, Slovenia is slated to receive a total of around EUR 5.3bn in EU funds over the next seven years, of which nearly EUR 3bn will be for cohesion and EUR 1.6bn for Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), according to a statement from the prime minister's office.

Janša highlighted that, after facing a 43% cut in cohesion funds in previous proposals, Slovenia managed to secure an addition EUR 500m for the purpose in subsequent negotiations.

He said important upgrades were won foremost for the less developed Eastern Slovenian region, which had initially faced a 45% cut in funds, but for which an addition EUR 308m was secured, including through a EUR 75m special allocation or "cookie".

The Western Slovenian region, which stood to lose a bulk of cohesion funding due to its high average GDP, will meanwhile continue to be entitled to 60% of all cohesion funds as part of a safety net that Slovenia promoted in talks.

Janša stressed that to utilise these funds, Slovenia would have to ensure sufficient fund-phasing capacities. While it is currently in good shape and set to fully draw funds in the current budget, he warned that up to EUR 500m could be endangered "in case of major delays".

The prime minister also welcomed the new EU mechanism for dealing with youth unemployment in regions where unemployment among young people exceeds 25%. "This is a unique programme that we welcome with open arms."

Explaining that a 2012 baseline would be used to check entitlement to the mechanism, Janša said that the Eastern Slovenian region was near the level for funding.

The prime minister's comments come after EU leaders agreed on a budget ceiling of EUR 960bn for the next seven years, marking the first time that the bloc's seven-year budget will be cut in real terms compared to the existing budget.

The amount represents a EUR 30bn reduction over the 2007-13 budget, which is equal to 3.5%. Commenting on this, Janša said the deal amounted to "a compromise all around".

While admitting it is not ideal, Janša stressed that, given the current situation in the EU, it is "much nearer to ideal than what we would have gotten if the structure remained the same as in the current financial perspective".

He therefore urged the European Parliament, which will for the first time ever vote on the budget adopted by EU leaders, to confirm it despite the document "not containing everything the parliament had wanted".


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