Today, Richard Raši, Deputy Prime Minister of the Slovak Republic for Investment and Informatization, talked with the ministers of the member states on the Council of Ministers for Cohesion Policy about the future Eurofund programming period of 2021 – 2027. The meeting was chaired by Roxana Mînzatu, the Romanian Minister for European Funds; it was also attended by Corina Creţu, Commissioner for Regional Development on behalf of the European Commission.
From the perspective of Slovakia, the biggest challenge for setting up the use of European money after 2020 is the lack of unification in two different approaches. On the one hand, it is necessary to take into account the specific recommendations of the Council of the European Union for each Member State, which are directed to different areas. On the other hand, in the draft legislation, the European Commission identifies selected areas, in which resources need to be used. “This creates insufficient space especially for the support of infrastructure, whether social, medical, transport or digital,” said Richard Raši, the Deputy Prime Minister. Prioritization by the European Commission and, on the other hand, the requirement to address our specificities, such as infrastructure, are mutually exclusive.
“Slovakia knows its national priorities, to which investments from European funds must be directed. Therefore, we are trying to promote greater flexibility in the thematic concentration so that we can determine for ourselves what the funds will be used for,” explained Richard Raši.
In his speech, the Deputy Prime Minister spoke about two other key points for Slovakia. The first concerns funding and the least possible co-funding of projects by applicants. The second concerns the “n+3 rule”, which means that countries have three more years to spend their funds after the end of the programming period. The “n+2 rule” proposed by the European Commission has long been rejected by Slovakia.
At the same time, the Ministers took note of the progress report prepared by Romania as the presiding country of the EU Council. The document summarizes the progress made so far in the negotiations on proposals for EU legislation for Cohesion Policy after 2020.
Before the meeting, Slovakia organized the V4+4 coordination meeting, at which Richard Raši, Deputy Prime Minister, handed over the annual presidency of the Visegrad Four to his colleague and Czech Minister for Regional Development, Klára Dostálová.