Two months after Slovakia requested money from the EU’s economic recovery package, the country has moved closer to receiving the first payment.
The European Commission (EC) announced on June 27 that it supported Slovakia’s first payment request for €398.7 million following a thorough assessment.
“Congratulations, Slovakia, and keep up the good work! The Commission stands by you on your way to recovery,” said EC President Ursula von der Leyen.
At the same time the Commission has asked for the Economic and Financial Committee’s opinion on the implementation of Slovakia’s recovery and resilience plan. The opinion should be delivered to the Commission in four weeks.
One more opinion
After this period, the Commission will publish its final decision on Slovakia’s request.
“Once the Commission’s assessment is reviewed and approved by member states, Slovakia should receive €398.7 million in grants to help create a more resilient economy with higher growth prospects,” said the Executive Vice-President for an Economy that Works for People, Valdis Dombrovski.
If confirmed, the sum should come from the Recovery and Resilience Facility, a temporary financial tool supposed to help EU countries prepare for different challenges ahead.
Problems with reforms
Slovakia sent its request to the Commission on April 29, two days after the parliament approved the reform of courts. The reform was one of 14 milestones that Slovakia had to adopt to submit its first payment request. In addition to this judicial reform, Slovakia also struggled to pass its higher education reform.
“Many were skeptical of our recovery plan, did not believe it, and considered it unattainable. Today we keep our promises and offer results,” Prime Minister Eduard Heger said two months ago. He has now welcomed the Commission’s positive assessment.
The Slovak recovery and resilience plan includes investment and reform measures divided into 18 thematic components. It is worth €6.3 billion in grants, 13 percent of which (€822.7 million) was disbursed to Slovakia in mid-October 2021.
However, Slovakia’s future payment requests can be approved only if the country is successful at implementing reforms and investments. The Commission has described Slovakia’s plan as ambitious.
Another payment request in autumn
Commissioner for Economy Paolo Gentiloni pointed out that one of the country’s 14 milestones regards green energy.
“Important measures that will boost the role of renewables in electricity generation and accelerate the decarbonisation of transport are linked to this first payment request - helping to reduce Slovakia's reliance on Russian fossil fuels,” he said.
In the autumn, Slovakia will ask the Commission for €815 million. The country will have to approve 16 milestones by then. Nine are said to have been accomplished.
Slovakia, whose recovery plan was approved by the Commission last June, will submit nine more payment requests in the coming years.