The Ministers of V4 countries, Croatia, and Bulgaria agreed today in Bratislava on a joint declaration on proposed rules for new Euro-funds. The Richard Rasi’s Office of Deputy Prime Minister of the Slovak Republic for Investment and Informatization enforced the priorities of our country into the document. The two-day meeting of the heads of departments responsible for Euro-funds from the Vysehrad Group countries, Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia and Slovenia (V4 + 4) was held as part of the Slovak Presidency in V4.
“The joint declaration will become a basis for negotiations with the European Commission on the future rules for drawing on Euro-funds. It shows our unity and strength, with which we will continue to pursue common goals in the future,” said Richard Rasi, Deputy Prime Minister.
Deputy Prime Minister considers negotiating satisfactory conditions to be particularly important in the light of the slimmed budget for Cohesion Policy, which will mean less Euro-fund money. “Although, according to the European Commission’s proposal, we have to get the second highest amount per capita after Estonia, our financial envelope will be in fact reduced by about 10%. At the same time, our contribution to the European budget will increase,” warned Rasi stating that such compromises can only be accepted if compensated for a more advantageous setting of the drawing rules.
The key requirements of the Central and Eastern European countries include greater simplification of rules and greater thematic flexibility, which would allow the Euro-funds to be drawn according to the needs of the regions. Countries want the audits and controls also to focus more on results than on compliance with formalities; we do not agree with the introduction of the n+2 rule, too. This would mean that, after the end of the programming period, the countries would have only two years to finish spending instead of the three as it is today. The decommitment threat (refund of undrawn money) would be thus much higher. Vysegrad Four is also worried about the increase in national co-financing, the new VAT eligibility rules, and other changes in the financing arrangements.
Deputy Prime Minister of the Slovak Republic for Investment and Informatization will send the Joint Statement to the European Commission.