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Brussels, 28 July 2003

EU Cohesion Policy in Slovakia: negotiations on the 2004-2006 programmes will start on 29 July in Bratislava

The European Commission today announced the launch of the first round of negotiations with Slovakia on future regional development programmes. Negotiations will start on 29 July in Bratislava. They will be dedicated to the Community Support Framework (CSF) and related Operational Programmes (OP) and Single Programming Documents (SPD) for the period 2004-2006. In a letter of 24 July addressed to Pal Csaky, Slovak Deputy Prime Minister, Michel Barnier, Commissioner responsible for regional policy set out the Commission's position on how Structural Funds and the Cohesion Fund should be used in Slovakia.

In March 2003, Slovakia submitted to the Commission its National Development Plan 2004-2006, four draft Operational Programmes, and two Single Programming Documents for the Bratislava region.

In his letter Michel Barnier wrote: “The Plan represents a sufficient basis for the negotiations that lie ahead. It is very important that the European programmes in Slovakia are a success. It therefore is all the more important that we reach an early agreement so that implementation on the ground can begin as soon as possible, taking into account that eligibility of expenditure under these programmes starts on 1 January 2004”.

€ 1.7 billion for growth, employment, and correcting regional imbalances

On the basis of the decisions of the Copenhagen European Council last December, €1.1 billion will be allocated to Slovakia under the EU Structural Funds and some € 0.6 billion under the Cohesion Fund.

The overall objective of the funds in Slovakia is to bring about growth, competitiveness and employment, while trying to iron out regional imbalances through a growth pole approach. Through four Operational Programmes, the Structural Funds will concentrate on business infrastructure and business development, transport and environment infrastructure, multifunctional agriculture and rural development, and education, training and active labour market policies. The Single Programming Document Objective 2 for Bratislava will focus on business services, infrastructure and tourism. The Single Programming Document Objective 3 will focus on training and lifelong learning measures. The Cohesion Fund will concentrate on transport infrastructures and environment.

Slovakia has 4 cohesion regions comprising 8 sub-regions and 79 districts. Three regions are eligible for Objective 1 assistance and one region, Bratislava, is eligible for Objective 2 and 3 as defined in Council regulation 1260/99 and confirmed in the Accession Treaty.


Aid from the Structural Funds in Slovakia will concentrate mainly on Objective 1 “Development and structural adjustment of regions whose development is lagging behind”.

Aid for the region of Bratislava will concentrate on Objective 2 “Regions with structural problems whose socio-economic conversion is to be supported” and Objective 3 “Modernising systems of training and promoting employment”.

In the case of Objective 1 funds, generally speaking, a Community Support Framework (CSF) describes the socio-economic context of the country or of the regions concerned, presents development priorities and objectives to be achieved, and envisages systems of financial management, monitoring, evaluation and control.

Then, Operational Programmes are adopted detailing the various priorities of a CSF at the level of regions or at the level of an individual development priority (Basic Infrastructures, Industry and Services, Human Resources, Agriculture and Rural Development, etc.).

The Single Programming Documents for Bratislava will not be part of the CSF, but their actions need to be closely co-ordinated with each other and with the actions supported under the CSF.

During the negotiations, the Commission will seek to ensure a high level of coordination between the Cohesion Fund and the Operational Programmes and the Single Programming Documents.

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