Slovakia has only a few days left to draw from the €11.5-billion package of EU funds designated for the 2007-2013 programming period. Vice-chair for Investments Ľubomír Vážny has indicated that Slovakia will draw 92 percent (€10.4-10.6 billion) from the allotted resources by the end of 2015. Thus there will remain about €1 billion not spent.
Vážny reiterated that the government has fulfilled its task to sign contracts with recipients covering the whole amount of the funds provided, adding that among recipients are also ministries.
“Measures adopted by the cabinet facilitated an increase in the rate of drawing EU funds in 2015 when compared to previous years,” said Vážny as cited by the TASR newswire. “This acceleration should continue, as the projects are in their final phase.”
Vážny expects that around €10.4-10.6 billion will have been drawn from EU funds by the end of this year, which represents almost 92 percent of the total.
As it was mostly Robert Fico who led the country during the 2007-2013 programming period media ascribe the failure of Slovakia to draw all the EU funds to him and his cabinets. The Denník N daily recalled that projects to be financed from EU funds were halted in 2007 when the Smer cabinet re-worked projects that the Mikuláš Dzurinda cabinet had agreed upon earlier. This meant a one-year delay in drawing EU funds. The EU funds and their drawing were also tarnished with scandals, for example, the so-called bulletin-board tender, in which over three billion crowns (€100 million) in EU funds were awarded to an apparently pre-selected bidder.
Slovakia has been among the weaker drawers of EU funds in the long run, the Hospodárske Noviny daily wrote, while thanks to this the country got two additional years, 2014 and 2015, to draw money allocated for the 2007-2013 period. In 2013, Slovakia drew only 60 percent of the funds.
Slovakia had drawn €10.29 billion or 89.64 percent of the allocated sum by December 18, TASR reported. The most exhausted projects were the following: Operational Programme (OP) Transport - 98.11 percent, OP Bratislava Region - 97.23 percent, OP Employment and Social Inclusion - 94.54 percent, OP Research and Development - 90.5 percent, Regional OP - 90.43 percent, OP Education - 86.14 percent, OP Informatisation of Society - 85.34 percent and OP Health Care - 85.24 percent.
Conversely, the least exhausted programme was OP Competitiveness and Economic Growth - 77.88 percent.
Vážny confirmed that all expenditures are already being reimbursed by the EU, apart from some parts that come under OP Employment and Social Inclusion, and they are expected to be unlocked by the end of the year. Vážny did not specify the amount that will not be reimbursed by the EU. This money is being withheld mainly due to clerical errors or erroneous public procurements.
29. Dec 2015 at 12:45 | Compiled by Spectator staff