This will be the hardest year for Slovenia as a member state of the European Union (EU) with regard to absorbing EU funds, even though until now these funds have enabled 50,000 new jobs and all municipalities absorbed the funds, Slovenia's Cohesion Policy Minister Alenka Smerkolj said on Friday.

"There is not one municipality in Slovenia that did not have a programme co-financed with European funds," Smrkolj said in parliament, stressing the great significance European funds have had to date for development, investments and employment.

According to Smrkolj, programmes that Slovenia had approved in the 2007-2013 financial framework were valued at 4.1 billion euros and it managed to absorb 95% of those funds, which is a very good result.

The funds were used to co-finance infrastructure, utility and tourism projects as well as the reconstruction and refurbishment of several dozen cultural heritage buildings. A programme for further education encompassed 740,000 people, she said.

It is estimated that with the use of European funds, Slovenia managed to create 45,000 jobs and open more than 3,000 small and medium enterprises as well as several higher education institutes.

Slovenia has been approved less funding for the 2014-2020 financial framework or about 3.225 billion euros, which will probably mean that economic development might slow down as European funds have become a significant portion in the structure of investments and public spending.

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