EU Funds Absorption Accelerates But Still Falls Short

Alena Schillerova

Prague, Sept 4 (CTK) – The European Union funds absorption in the Czech Republic has accelerated over the past few months, however, there are still issues concerning the Operational Programme Enterprise and Innovation for Competitiveness, Finance Minister Alena Schillerova told journalists before today’s government meeting.


The programme is managed by the Industry and Trade Ministry.


There is a lack of funds in more demanded programmes, which is why the Czech Republic has asked Brussels to approve some money transfers, Regional Development Minister Klara Dostalova told journalists after the government meeting.


The Czech Republic’s EU funds absorption has improved significantly, Prime Minister Andrej Babis said adding that the outlook is positive, too.


The Operational Programme Prague – Growth Pole of the Czech Republic, the Integrated Regional Operational Programme, Operational Programme Enterprise and Innovation for Competitiveness, and Operational Programme Research, Development and Education are in jeopardy the most, Dostalova said at the beginning of summer holidays.


The European Commission paid 13.2 percent of the allocated Kc580.7bn to Czech subsidy recipients from the start of the 2014-2020 programming period until the middle of this year.


This year, recipients have been paid some Kc50bn, with the largest volume expected at the end of the construction season, that is September and October, Dostalova said.


The Czech Republic had Kc334.5bn, or 57.6 percent, of the allocated aid secured by contracts in the middle of 2018.


The Czech Republic has to absorb another EUR1.5bn (some Kc39bn) until the end of 2018, Babis has said.


The Czech Republic draws the European Union money for 2014-2020 insufficiently and there is a threat of the country finishing funds absorption hastily as it did in 2015, according to analysts.


At the end of this year, the European Commission will assess how countries fulfil their obligations within the Europe 2020 strategy. The Czech Republic can lose 6 percent of the allocated amount if it fails to meet certain conditions.


In the 2007-2013 period, the Czech Republic was allotted about Kc700bn from EU funds, and about 4 percent of it remained unspent.


The government wants regional governors to be more involved in the Restart action plan aiding the Moravia-Silesia, Usti and Karlovy Vary coal-mining regions, and it wants the regions to have more authority, Dostalova said at a press conference following today’s meeting where the cabinet approved the programme’s update.


The programme’s structure has been modified so that it can be entirely financed from the EU funds, Dostalova said.


Projects worth over Kc11bn have been launched within the programme, Dostalova stated.


A total of Kc62bn has been set aside for the Restart programme, which should be paid to recipients by 2030, she added.