EU Affairs Committee discusses recovery and resilience plan

Ljubljana – The parliamentary EU Affairs Committee discussed the draft national recovery and resilience plan Slovenia has to adopt and send to Brussels to draw some EUR 5.2 billion in post-pandemic EU funds. The debate was held behind closed doors despite the left-leaning opposition’s request for the session to be open to the public.

Committee chair Marko Pogačnik, a member of the ruling Democrats (SDS), said the four-hour debate was constructive, with Minister for Development, Strategic Projects and Cohesion Zvonko Černač explaining to the MPs the plan could still change. Pogačnik said the opposition had also contributed some proposals.

The opposition LMŠ, SD, Left and SAB urged Pogačnik on Thursday to open today’s session. The parties believe it is unacceptable for a document which is a social agreement on the exit from the coronavirus crisis and on the country’s development to be drafted in secret. They would like development to be transparently planned.

Their proposal was turned down, with Pogačnik arguing the government has labelled the draft plan “internal” and would only lift the label once it adopted it.

Available information indicate that the national plan features nine development priorities: sustainable and green transition; a supportive environment for companies; digital Slovenia; education; health care; social care; long-term care; tourism; and culture. But NGOs are also critical of it.

Environmental NGO Umanotera said today the leaked content showed the government would invest most in infrastructure and roads instead of the areas that should be developed during and after the pandemic: public health, the elderly, climate change, digitalisation and measures to cushion the social consequences of the pandemic.

The network of NGOs promoting sustainable development Plan B for Slovenia has thus come up with a set of projects to be included in the plan from the areas of climate, environmental protection and nature preservation. The proposals were sent to the government and the MPs on the EU Affairs Committee.

EU members states must produce their national recovery and resilience plans to draw the union’s post-pandemic recovery funds. The government is expected to adopt the plan after the EU has adopted the directive on the establishment of the recovery and resilience facility, which is expected in February.