Slovakia is the worst at drawing EU funds

The country will lose at least €80 million due to scandals at the Education Ministry.

Deputy Prime Minister for Investments and Informatisation Richard RašiDeputy Prime Minister for Investments and Informatisation Richard Raši (Source: TASR)

Slovakia has been unable to draw tens of millions of euros from the European Union's funds allocated for the 2014-2020 period. It placed 23rd of 28 EU countries at the end of 2018.

With its share of payments received from the European Commission, 24.22 percent (€3.709 billion), Slovakia placed fourth among the Visegrad Group (V4) countries. The average absorption rate of EU funds by member states by December 31, 2018 was 27.51 percent, according to data provided by the Office of Deputy Prime Minister for Investments and Informatisation on the state of implementation of European Structural and Investment Funds in the 2014-2020 programming period, the SITA newswire reported.

Among the V4 countries, Hungary placed highest with 31.39 percent (11th place) and Poland with 27.99 percent (13th place).

Problematic funds at the Education Ministry

Some of the funds were expected to be spent in 2018 on projects within the Operational Programme Research & Innovation, SITA reported.

Read also:Education Ministry fails to distribute €100 million for research this year Read more 

"The fact is that there is going to be a decommitment of about €80 million in this operational programme," confirmed Richard Raši (Smer), a deputy prime minister for investments and informatisation, as quoted by SITA.

However, Slovakia could lose a further €40 million within the Integrated Regional Operational Programme, managed by the Agriculture Ministry.

This is not the first time Slovakia failed to use up the money coming from EU funds. In the Operational Programme Research & Innovation, the country lost €27 million in 2017.

Projects suspended

Slovakia may lose more than €100 million for the inability to draw all the money allocated. The European Commission (EC) is expected to decide in this regard by the end of March when the controls and negotiations with Slovakia are over.

Read also:Slovakia has drawn only 1.85 percent of available EU funds Read more 

"What we can openly speak about is the problem of the Education Ministry and Operational Programme Research & Innovation," said Raši, as quoted by SITA. "By the end of 2017, four calls of €600 million were suspended under this programme."

Although the ministry has prepared new documents, evaluation methods and all the processes, which were approved by the EC, €80 million are definitely gone.

Self-governing regions

Moreover, regional capitals and self-governing regions also fail to draw money fast enough, Raši claimed.

"There were changes in six out of eight self-governing regions after the 2017 elections, and the drawing of the European money in all regions has markedly slowed down," he explained, as quoted by SITA.

As the regions are receivers of the funds and decide on how to use them, the ministries cannot force them to draw money faster, Raši said. By March, it should be known how efficiently the regions have been drawing the EU money.

Get daily Slovak news directly to your inbox

Top stories

How a Catholic charity became a voice for migrants in Slovakia

Religious organisations have added leverage in changing perceptions of foreigners and migrants, says Caritas Slovakia.

Caritas Slovakia's ‘World Without “the Other” – Migration Myths’ campaign educates Slovaks on migration in a fun and artistic way.

Secret votes and public lies

There are uncanny echoes today of Slovakia’s agonies over its choice of chief prosecutor ten years ago.

Dobroslav Trnka (left) and Jozef Čentéš (right), the candidate who was eventually selected by MPs in 2011, never got to take up the post because the then president, Ivan Gašparovič refused to appoint him for reasons that were never clearly explained.

Which are the largest law firms in Slovakia?

For the first time, the ranking also provides an overview in partial categories of law.