The Slovenian government presented its recovery plan (RRP) for the €2.5bn in grants and loans that it will receive through the EU Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) at the end of April 2021. Civil society actors and the public had little opportunity to participate in the development of the plan. Overall, we find that the measures included in the RRP, which come to 5% of Slovenia’s GDP (2019), are currently unlikely to make a significant contribution to the green transition.
Following a debate that strongly focused on short-term response measures, the development of the RRP was an opportunity for Slovenia to focus on longer-term recovery measures. However, our analysis shows that most measures in the RRP do not contribute to a greener transition in the long run. The explanation in the plan on avoiding significant harm is perceived as weak. The plan includes some positive measures, for instance on energy efficiency and railways, but these are undermined by problematic measures in other areas. The plan also has to be viewed against a backdrop of broader attempts by the government to weaken environmental regulation over the last year.
We find that Slovenia’s recovery plan (RRP) achieves a green spending share of 21%, below the EU’s 37% climate spending benchmark. Furthermore, we find that 19% may have a positive or negative impact on the green transition depending on the implementation of the relevant measures, illustrating the importance of further scrutiny during the planning, review and implementation of the recovery measures.
Our calculation of the green spending share aims to mirror the approach used for the official assessment of national recovery plans (find more information here).
*Our analysis covers the Recovery and Resilience Plan that was released in April 2021. The report was written by Andrej Gnezda and Jonas Sonnenschein (Umanotera) as well as Felix Heilmann (E3G). We are grateful to Johanna Lehne (E3G) for providing valuable inputs.
The draft RRP proposes a revolving fund for energy refurbishments in parts of the public sector. The fund should help overcome current obstacles of refurbishment through ESCO financing where capital intensive refurbishments with smaller energy savings potential remain un-refurbished. The measure will improve the financial conditions for efficiency investments and can contribute to achieving legal requirements on energy refurbishment rates. Expanding the currently limited scope of beneficiaries to the entire public sector would bring additional benefits.
The previous draft RRP included €434m to be spent on “connectivity” measures, such as new road infrastructure and to the development of a new national airline, locking in carbon-intensive modes of transportation rather than investing in cleaner solutions. In a positive development, most of the measures did not make it to the final plan. However, some fossil fuel infrastructure is still included, and even worse, tagged as 100% climate investment. In particular, the measure “Supporting the establishment of infrastructure for alternative fuels in transport” not only supports EV charging stations but also natural gas fueling stations. In addition, the government announced that road construction projects will simply be moved to EU Cohesion Funding.
The Environment Ministry presented a list of 314 investment projects, which sparked a significant public controversy about the involvement of civil society organizations in the development of infrastructure projects and the weakening of environmental regulations – a move which would have been less surprising coming from the Economy Ministry. (More information on this can be found on page 3 of the full country report.)