The Slovenian government presented its draft recovery plan (RRP) for the €5.1bn in grants that it will receive through the EU Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) on February 26, 2021. Civil society actors and the public had little opportunity to participate in the development of the plan. 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 draft RRP do not contribute to a greener transition in the long run. The explanation in the draft plan on how measures will contribute to the green transition and on avoiding significant harm is perceived as weak. The plan includes some positive measures, for instance on energy efficiency, 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. Overall, we find that the measures included in the draft RRP, which come to 11% of Slovenia’s GDP (2019), are currently unlikely to make a positive contribution to the green transition.
We find that Slovenia’s draft recovery plan (RRP) achieves a green spending share of 5%, well below the EU’s 37% climate spending benchmark. In contrast, 47% of all measures have a negative impact. Furthermore, we find that 14% 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 draft Recovery and Resilience Plan that was released in February 2020. 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 “green transition” pillar of the draft RRP includes €434m to be spent on “connectivity” measures. However, most of this funding is allocated to the development of 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. These measures not only do not contribute to the green transition but, in some cases, are even likely to slow the transition.
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.)