European Commission adopts ‘Partnership Agreement’ with Slovakia on using EU Structural and Investment Funds for growth and jobs in 2014-2020
The European Commission has adopted a "Partnership Agreement" with Slovakia for the period 2014-2020, setting down the strategy for the optimal use of European Structural and Investment Funds in the country's regions and cities. Today’s agreement paves the way for €14 billion in total Cohesion Policy funding (current prices including European Territorial Cooperation funding) and €1.5 billion for rural development. Slovakia will receive €15.8 million from the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF).
The EU investments, to be invested in the real economy, will boost competitiveness, tackle unemployment and growth through support to innovation, the low carbon economy and training and education. They will also promote entrepreneurship, fight social exclusion and strive for an environmentally friendly and a resource-efficient economy.
The European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) are:
Commenting on the adoption, Commissioner for Regional Policy, Johannes Hahn said: "Ordinary people in Slovakia need to feel and see the benefits of EU investments and today we have adopted a strategic investment plan to make that a reality. This Partnership Agreement sets Slovakia on the path to jobs and growth for the next 10 years, reflecting the European Commission and Slovakia's joint determination to make the most efficient use of EU investments."
Commissioner Hahn added: "Since Slovakia's accession to the European Union, 10 years ago, the European Structural and Investment Funds have significantly helped the country develop. They have played a key role in restoring growth during the years of crisis. From 2007 to 2013, they contributed to the creation of more than 81,000 new jobs, delivering clean water to thousands of people and supporting new businesses. Now for 2014-2020, we can go further: investments under our reformed Cohesion Policy will prove a powerful lever to support research and innovation, SMEs and extend broadband to every household and enterprise. These strategic investments will boost Slovakia’s competitiveness and will create good lasting jobs, cleaner urban transport and support for railways will be a focus of the investments to connect and transform Slovakia’s cities and enable a higher quality of life for people living in cities with lower emissions and pollution."
Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, László Andor said:
"Human capital is a key driver for economic recovery and the European Social Fund is the main EU instrument for investment in people's employability and social inclusion. Therefore I am particularly glad that, after constructive negotiations, Slovakia decided to allocate €2.17billion (22.75%) of its Structural Fund resources in 2014-20 to the ESF, much more than the ESF allocation in 2007-13 (€1.5 billion). The European Social Fund will help Slovakia to increase employment and reduce poverty in line with the Europe 2020 targets and the EU's country-specific recommendations as regards education, employment, social inclusion and public administration. Tackling high youth unemployment, supporting those most in need on the labour market, improving the labour-market relevance of vocational education and training, addressing poverty and social exclusion of the Roma minority and improving the quality of public administration are among the key strategic choices made by Slovakia, which will be supported by the ESF over the coming years".
Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Dacian Cioloş said:
“With the adoption of the partnership agreement today we have created the strategic framework for a successful implementation of the rural development policy in Slovakia. We expect that the improved coordination between all the EU Funds will lead to an increased efficiency and synergy in the implementation of programmes and more value for money for the invested funds. Slovakia has a great potential in terms of competitiveness of its agriculture, environmental values and local development of its rural areas, but is also facing considerable challenges. The Slovak rural development programme will therefore provide for many opportunities for farmers and rural actors to address these challenges. I am confident that Slovakia will use its rural development programme to make this happen.”
Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki said:
"In Slovakia, the financial support provided by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) will focus on the development of a competitive and environmentally friendly fish farming sector. Farmed fish is local fish – so it also helps to create jobs in our local economies. Funding can be given to promote new aquaculture technologies that improve productivity and lead to more diverse products. The EU’s rules on aquaculture are among the strictest in the world – the funding should help to ensure that the natural environment and resources are preserved.”
All the member states have now presented their Partnership Agreements to the Commission. The adoption of these agreements will follow after a process of consultation.