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European Commission approves amendment of Slovenian Operational Programme

Ljubljana, 21 December 2017 – European Commission approved an amendment to the Operational Programme for the Implementation of the European Cohesion Policy in the Period 2014-2020 (OP). The revised document with proposed reallocations of funds which was discussed and agreed with the councils of both cohesion regions and intermediate bodies, and approved by the Monitoring Committee was submitted to Brussels on 11 July 2017 by the Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy (GODC).


The revision of the document was necessary for the following reasons in particular:
1. Technical adjustment - the cohesion envelope for the Republic of Slovenia (commitments) for the period 2017-2020 increased by EUR 56,025,157;
2. Change of the baseline information used for the development of the original OP, in particular concerning the use of financial instruments;
3. Creation of conditions for the implementation of certain key investment.


Additional funding arising from the technical adjustment goes to the following two areas of intervention:
1. Infrastructure (priority of the territorial dialogue), additional allocation amounts to EUR 44,968,996 which accounts for 81% of the total additional funding (in this context, priority is given particularly to investment in the water sector);
2. Human resources development, additional funding in this sector equals EUR 11,056,161 or roughly 11% of total additional allocation.

 

The changes to the document also concern the use of financial instruments. GODC reviewed the ex-ante assessment of financial instruments in Slovenia which suggested that market conditions changed and that companies have easier access to finance. GODC found that the Eastern Slovenia cohesion region received an over-allocation of resources for financial instruments at the time of the design of the original OP. Following the adoption of the OP, Slovenia increased allocation to financial instruments consisting of the 2007-2013 ERDF/ESF resources and contributions from the state budget which resulted in bigger recycling of returned funds. As a consequence, EUR 180 million initially ring-fenced for financial instruments in Eastern Slovenia cohesion region are being reallocated and instead invested as grants supporting corporate investment in research and innovation, promotion of entrepreneurship and fostering of energy efficiency. Part of the funding earmarked for these areas is redirected to the areas of sustainable mobility, climate change (flood control), investment in the water sector, development and modernisation of railway systems and regional mobility (road infrastructure).

 

In agreement with the councils of both cohesion regions, the revised OP allows for the incorporation of regional projects which will be included in the document in accordance with the ‘bottom-up’ principle – this means that such projects will be proposed by the regions themselves in the context of agreements on regional development. The projects will have to fully comply with the adopted criteria and contribute to the objectives set out in the OP.


The OP amendment also contributes to tackling demographic change. To this end, ESF support in the amount of over EUR 10 million will be ring-fenced for investment into measures to better manage population ageing.