11. 12. 2014 – Slovenia optimistic about the confirmation of the second official proposal of Slovenia’s Rural Development Programme in Brussels

The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food has prepared the second official proposal of Slovenia’s Rural Development Programme 2014–2020 (RDP 2014–2020) and referred it to the European Commission for approval. The agriculture minister, Dejan Židan, is satisfied with the second proposal of the RDP and expects it to be labelled ready for adoption by the Commission on 19 December, which would put Slovenia in the first group of countries with a confirmed programme. The ministry has already received a written opinion that the programme has been consolidated in terms of the underlying strategy, while they are expecting to receive the final decision in February

Minister Židan said that it is a very strong programme, which will total 1.1 billion euros of public funds. Of this, the largest share will be allocated to areas with natural or other specific constraints (265.9 million euros), agri-environment climate payments (203,6 million euros) and investments in physical assets (228.1 million euros), which includes investments in primary production, processing and marketing and agriculture and forestry infrastructure. Among investments in forest area development and improving the viability of forests, some of the 59.5 million euros will go towards repairing the damage from glaze ice. Slovenia will receive 838 million euros from Brussels, while the remainder will be provided from the state budget.

Among novelties, Minister Židan noted the different aid intensity in agri-environment climate payments. In the previous, 2007-2013 programme the aid intesity was somewhat over 40 per cent of the payment value, as calculated with model calculations, while in the new programme it totals 60 per cent of the individual operation based on an expert assessment. In some operations, payments cover 100 per cent of additional costs and income lost due to the obligation. 

With regard to the demand of the European Commission for Slovenia to begin digression, i.e.  reducing payments to farms larger than three times the size of the average farm (20 hectares), a compromise has been reached. The digression of payments to farming in areas with natural restrictions begins at 70 hectares (about one per cent of farms in Slovenia) and is reduced every 10 hectares by 15% until 100 hectares, with payments to areas over 100 hectares receiving 40 per cent. There have also been changes regarding young farmers. In accordance with the compromise reached with the European Commission, young farmers will receive a single payment that will differ according to whether the farmer is employed on the farm full time.

At the EU level, 118 rural development programmes are submitted, as some countries draw up the programme at the level of lands. According to the currently available information, Slovenia will be in the first group of countries to be labelled ready for adoption, said the agriculture minister.

Government of the Republic of Slovenia (http://www.vlada.si/en)

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