Croatian minister Žalac and Slovenian minister Purič

on the importance of cross-border projects from the field of biodiversity




Risnjak National Park, Croatia, 3 June 2019 – Slovenian minister responsible for Development, Strategic Projects and Cohesion dr. Iztok Purič attended the “Working together for the protection and restoration of biodiversity” event hosted by the Slovenian Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy and the Croatian Ministry of Regional Development and EU funds in the frame of the Cooperation Programme Interreg V-A Slovenia – Croatia. Minister Purič and Croatian minister Gabrijela Žalac took this opportunity to exchange experience in managing and implementing cross-border cooperation programmes. They both agreed that cross-border projects, implemented since 2003, are having significant impact on the quality of life in border regions.

Minister Purič pointed out that 790 Slovenian and Croatian partners have been involved in 133 cross-border projects in periods 2007-2013 and 2014-2020. He applauded the fact that all funds in the amount of more than 46 million euro from the European Regional Development Fund have been contracted within the Cooperation Programme Interreg V-A Slovenia – Croatia 2014-2020, which places the programme among the top cross-border cooperation programmes on the European Union level. “Currently 38 projects with more than 230 cross-border partners are being implemented. This would not be possible without the effort of both countries, joint programme bodies, sincere desire for long-term cooperation and most of all proactive partners,” is convinced the Slovenian minister. Cross-border projects are proof that when addressing common challenges cooperation as well as simultaneous and harmonized activities lead to better and durable results. “A good example of confronting challenges exceeding national frameworks are the projects for protection and restoration of biodiversity presented today,” he added.

Croatian minister Gabrijela Žalac and Slovenian minister Iztok Purič exchanged their opinions on the success rate of cross-border programmes in solving common challenges and making use of developmental potential recognized in the border area. They agreed that cross-border projects have had significant impact on the quality of life in border regions and on the protection of the environment. One of the topics they also addressed were the main challenges and viewpoints on the implementation of cohesion policy after 2020. They both stand for successful cooperation within cross-border cooperation programmes in the 2021-2027 period. The ministers also talked about the preparations for the presidency of the Council of the European Union as Croatia will hold the presidency in the first half of 2020 and Slovenia in the second half of 2021.

Project presented at the “Working together for the protection and restoration of biodiversity” event were: project Carnivora Dinarica for conservation of large carnivores in the northern Dinarides; project ČIGRA for maintaining a stable population of terns on gravel habitats along the Sava and Drava rivers; project LIKE for establishing an effective management and  monitoring mechanism of the N2000 area and project VEZI NARAVE for ensuring the durability of conservation and restoration of target species in Natura 2000 areas of the Sotla and Kolpa river, the Risnjak National Park, the Radensko Polje area and the Kamačnik canyon.