THE GOVERNMENT sent the draft Partnership Agreement for 2014-2020 to the European Commission for formal approval on February 14. It is a strategic document detailing how Slovakia will use EU money in the next programming period.

The draft agreement was sent two days after the cabinet approved it and charged the Deputy Prime Minister for Investments Ľubomír Vážny to submit and negotiate the agreement with the EC, the SITA newswire reported.

Between 2014 and 2020, Slovakia should be able to draw €19.4 billion, including the farming sector and the "Connecting Europe" projects. Almost €14 billion is prepared for Slovakia in European structural and investment funds for main programmes. The European funds are to be used first to accelerate economic growth, reduce unemployment and bridge regional gaps in line with the Europe 2020 growth strategy. The Slovak Republic will pay €6.8 billion to the EU budget over the next seven years, SITA wrote.

Meanwhile, the Foreign Ministry stated in its report on EU membership that since joining the EU on May 1, 2004 until the end of 2013, Slovakia received €6.7 billion from the EU budget, and has been a net recipient (receiving more from the EU budget than what it pays).

Opposition MP Miroslav Beblavý (independent, former SDKÚ) criticised the government for not tackling the issue of "immense corruption and bad decisions" in the Partnership Agreement, the TASR newswire reported.

Beblavý also criticised the document for poor strategic programming and setting of financial priorities.

"Education is due to receive one of the lowest levels of funding, while spheres that have seen the biggest larcenies and lack of efficiency have received a significant financial boost," said Beblavý, as quoted by TASR, adding that decentralised minor projects should be preferred instead.

At the same time, he proposed increasing the level of supervision by setting up a supervisory body and involving parliament, the opposition and NGOs in the process.

Source: SITA, TASR

Compiled by Michaela Terenzani from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information
presented in its Flash News postings.