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Opportunity for regional development

Opportunity for regional development

The 2022 Slovenian Regional Days took place in Ptuj on 13 and 14 October 2022. This year's edition of the event was held under the theme ‘’Change as driver of opportunities for regional development’’.

The event followed two important milestones that were reached the previous month. In September, Minister for Development and European Cohesion Policy, dr Aleksander Jevšek, and Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira, signed the Partnership Agreement between the Republic of Slovenia and the European Commission. Only a few days later, development councils of both Slovenian cohesion regions gave green light to draft Cohesion Policy Programme for the period 2021-2027. The 2022 edition of the event thus put the spotlight on the new programming period, both at the national and regional level. Head of DG REGIO Unit Bulgaria, Hungary and Slovenia at the European Commission, Agnes Monfret, in her remarks outlined the challenges facing regional development in the new programming period. Representative of Interreg Central Europe programme, Frank Schneider, shared experience in implementing the programme highlighting that communication is essential for change.

In his remarks, dr Aleksander Jevšek noted that draft Cohesion Policy Programme was planned to be submitted to the European Commission soon. ''We expect the European Commission to approve the programme in mid-December, so that we can start using the funding available under the programming period 2021-2027 at the beginning of next year. This means that our government, which took office on 1 June this year, only has to take one last step to fully deliver on one of its priorities, even though time has not been on our side,’’ also stressed the Minister. He went on to say that development gaps between Slovenian regions were already narrowing, but that there was still room for improvement, as lower quality of life of people in the east of the country reflected the persisting differences in the economic development of the regions.  

Minister Jevšek was certain that if all stakeholders came together and worked collaboratively the country would be able to bridge these gaps and ensure a balanced development of the regions. Minister for Economic Development and Technology, Matjaž Han, agreed with Minister Jevšek praising the good work and cooperation of all stakeholders responsible for strengthening regional development. ‘’The Agreement on the development of region is a mechanism that has helped us issue 218 funding decisions worth over 474 million euros,’’ Minister Han said and added that the agreements proved to be an efficient instrument worth keeping despite some initial delays and somewhat complex procedures.

Minister Han also stressed the importance of Cohesion Policy funding saying that Slovenia was one of those member states whose development relied significantly on EU support. ‘’The estimated share of public investment financed by the EU stands high at 30%, whereas in the EU, this share equals merely 8.5%,’’ highlighted the Minister. ‘’In the future, the state will have to ensure its own funds without relying so much on Cohesion Policy funding and EU solidarity,’’ he added.

Slovenian Regional Days also featured discussions on regional development in the context of climate change, energy crisis and transition to zero-carbon society, attractive environment for young people, especially as they return from abroad, and debate on what digitalization has in store for regional development. The event ended with a roundtable on young people and global change.











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