Slovakia has absorbed 20.34% of EU funds under the 2014-2020 EU budget framework and the 11 operational programmes (OPs) as of end-January, up from 19.84% as of end-December, according to the figures published by the finance ministry. In absolute terms, as of end-January the country has absorbed a total of EUR 2.828bn in commitment appropriations of the total EUR 13,906.1mn commitment appropriations available to the country under the 2014-2020 programming period, up from EUR 2.758bn as of end-December. The most or EUR 1.247bn (up from 1.2bn as of end-December) has already been drawn under OP Integrated Infrastructure (EUR 3.949bn is allocated to the programme).
The ministry also said that by end-2019, the country has to apply to the EC for at least EUR 1.41bn in fresh EU funds in line with the N+3 rule as otherwise part of the funds would be automatically de-committed by the EC if it has not been used or if no payment application has been received by the end of the third year following that of the budgetary commitment. Based on status of the declared expenditure as of end-January, it is necessary to submit payments applications of at least EUR 718.87mn. It also noted that as of end-January this milestone has been fulfilled by four operational programmes, namely Integrated Infrastructure, Human Resources, Technical Assistance and INTERACT III.
Faster EU funds absorption will boost investments and also GDP growth. Besides from EU funds, GDP growth will also benefit from private investments, not only in the Jaguar’s new car plant in Nitra that launched operations in October and is to boost strongly also exports next year, but also in new technologies and innovations to substitute for the scarce and expensive labour, we think. Household consumption is also likely to remain supportive of the economic expansion, while the slowdown of economic activity abroad, in Germany in particular, is to prevent faster GDP growth that seems to have reported a peak last year.