“Effective management and proper drawing of Euro-funds is my Office’s sense of life,” said Richard Rasi, Deputy Prime Minister for Investment and Informatization, at today’s conference on Correct Cohesion Policy Management aimed to easing regional disparities, and at the meetings on EU funding in Brussels.
“In Slovakia, the Euro-funds account for up to 80 percent of public investment; they have helped to raise GDP from 55 percent to 77 percent of the EU average in the last two programming periods,” said Rasi, Deputy Prime Minister. He added that Slovakia is aware that Structural Funds are the money especially earmarked to modernize our country and, above all, its regions. That is why we review the projects very carefully in terms of the value-for-money principle, and we are taking dozens of measures to increase the transparency and efficiency of drawing.
In the discussion, he also said openly that any well-set system could fail due to the individual’s fault. So far, we have always solved this problem in Slovakia by tightening the rules for everyone after an individual error, thus, having complicated our way to effective drawing so that we have to go back to the level of European Union rules and significantly simplify our complicated audit processes and public procurement processes, and focus in particular on the outcome.
Rasi appeared today in Brussels at the informal breakfasts of the V4 countries organized by the Permanent Representation of the Slovak Republic at the EC, where he spoke about the multiannual financial framework after 2020. There, he underlined the Common Position of the V4 that Euro-funds, as an EU policy to offset regional disparities, must continue. “Slovakia, as the next V4 leader, will strongly advocate setting up the allocation criteria in the forthcoming negotiations so as to avoid a drastic reduction of our financial envelope beyond 2020,” said R. Rasi. It is because some pessimistic inside estimates suggest a drop in the cohesive envelope for the V4 countries by up to 30 percent.
“We want the money to tackle new Union problems, such as migration or border protection, is not withdrawn from the funds to offset regional disparities. As a lot of those problems may still come” he warned. He added that a “cut” made now in the Euro budget in view of the cohesion could stop aligning regional differences, but also salaries among member states, which would be against the basic principles of the European Union.
The V4 breakfast thematically followed three bilateral meetings − with Jerzy Kwiecinsky, the Polish Minister for Investment and Development, Maros Sefcovic, the Vice President of the European Commission, and Nicol de Michelis, the Head of the Cabinet of the European Commissioner Corina Creţu. Rasi talked with the latter, for example, about the VAT eligibility in the transport projects in Bratislava and Kosice, but they also discussed the topic of low-developed regions, or Upper Nitra.