The Government of the Republic of Slovenia visited the Posavje region, which consists of the municipalities of Bistrica ob Sotli, Brežice, Kostanjevica na Krki, Krško, Radeče and Sevnica.
With 75,000 inhabitants and an area of 968 km2, the Posavje region represents 3.6 per cent of Slovenia’s population and 4.8 per cent of its territory. The region has predominantly favourable values among the development indicators and the indicators of development opportunities and risk. The six towns, i.e. Krško, Brežice, Sevnica, Kostanjevica na Krki, Radeče and Bistrica ob Sotli, are busy commercial and culturally interesting urban centres. The Establishment of Municipalities and Municipal Boundaries Act was amended on 10 November 2021, on the basis of which the Municipality of Krško obtained the status of an urban municipality. The Posavje region has an extraordinary geostrategic potential, as it is a border region that is well developed in terms of traffic, and naturally and economically connected. The Ljubljana–Zagreb motorway runs through Posavje, and the Cerklje ob Krki Military and Civilian Airport is also near the motorway. The energy pool consisting of the Krško Nuclear Power Plant, a thermal power plant in Brestanica and a chain of hydro power plants on the Lower Sava River meets 38 per cent of all the electricity needs of Slovenia. All the most important industries are represented in the region; there is a wide range of products and services related to the paper, metal, textile, wood and food industries. The region particularly strives to keep young educated people in the local environment with an effective scholarship policy.
The members of the Government first met at a working consultation in the Municipality of Brežice, where the ministerial team was greeted by Mayor Ivan Molan, who highlighted in his welcoming address that he was pleased the Government started its working consultation in the Knight’s Hall of Brežice Castle. “This Government has not only a feeling for the centre, but also for the broader Slovenian regions,” said Mayor Molan. He stressed that Posavje is one of the smaller regions, in which Brežice is a municipality with a good strategic position. “Posavje wishes to develop various industries; healthcare and education are particularly important for us,” stated Molan. “I am pleased that the Government is supporting our projects,” added the mayor. “Thank you for enabling normal operations of the municipalities by increasing lump-sum payments, dedicating more investment funds and contributing to the release of the European funds for the development of communities along the border,” continued the Mayor of Brežice.
At the working consultation, the ministers discussed a number of open issues and also resolved many problems that have been topical for some time. The ministerial team particularly addressed the projects in the region based around agriculture, flood safety, tourism, infrastructure, cohesion and European funds, economic opportunities, education, culture, internal affairs, healthcare, administrative services, long-term care, digitalisation, Internet coverage and the judiciary. They also spoke about how the region dealt with the coronavirus epidemic in the past year, demographic problems, spatial issues relating to police stations, security in the region, and the workforce, as well as becoming familiarised with important statistical data and indicators.
After a joint photo session of the entire Government, separate programmes for the Prime Minister and ministers were organised. The Prime Minister and ministers then met with the representatives of companies, institutions, municipalities and other stakeholders in the region.
Prior to the morning working consultation, Prime Minister Janez Janša met Ivan Molan, the Mayor of Brežice, with whom he spoke about the development opportunities of the Municipality of Brežice. Following the consultation, the Prime Minister, accompanied by Helena Jaklitsch, the Minister for Slovenians Abroad, and Marjan Dolinšek, the State Secretary for Education and Sport, visited the Faculty of Tourism of the University of Maribor in Brežice, where he met with the management of the faculty. After the meeting, a solemn signing of the letter of intent regarding investment for the needs of the Faculty of Tourism of the University of Maribor took place, which was signed by Dr Boštjan Brumen, the Dean of the Faculty of Tourism of the University of Maribor, Dr Zdravko Kačič, the Rector of the University of Maribor, and Marjan Dolinšek, the State Secretary for Education and Sport in the Office of the Prime Minister. Prime Minister Janša also attended the relevant event. The letter of intent was signed to express joint support and efforts to ensure a suitable learning and working environment for the Faculty of Tourism of the University of Maribor, while also providing broader promotion of the Slovenian economy and tourism.
After the meeting with the management, the Prime Minister made a brief press statement in which he highlighted that Posavje was a region with great characteristics and has attained the Slovenian average. “Some ten years ago, Posavje’s development lagged behind the Slovenian average by 12 percentage points. Today, it is at the level of the Slovenian average, which is a great success,” assessed the Prime Minister. He added that the region had some important challenges ahead, the key ones relating to the energy sector. He also noted that the entire development could not be built on energy alone. “From this aspect, I am pleased that we have witnessed the signing of the letter of intent at the Faculty of Tourism of the University of Maribor, which promises that capacities at the faculty will expand,” said the Prime Minister and added that tourism is one of the activities in Posavje with great prospects and is upgrading all development opportunities brought by the energy sector and some other industries. “To sum up everything we have heard today at the Government meeting at which the development potentials of Posavje were assessed, we can say that this is a region with very interesting development opportunities,” he added.
Together with mag. Andrej Vizjak, the Minister of the Environment and Spatial Planning, Zvonko Černač, the Minister without Portfolio for Development and EU Cohesion Policy, and Aleš Mihelič, the State Secretary of the Ministry of Infrastructure, Prime Minister Janez Janša attended a working lunch with mayors of the Posavje municipalities, i.e. Franjo Debelak, the Mayor of the Municipality of Bistrica ob Sotli, Ivan Molan, the Mayor of the Municipality of Brežice, Ladko Petretič, the Mayor of the Municipality of Kostanjevica na Krki, Tomaž Režun, the Mayor of the Municipality of Radeče, Srečko Ocvirk, the Mayor of the Municipality of Sevnica and Nuša Somrak, the Deputy Mayor of the Municipality of Krško. At the meeting, the discussion partners particularly spoke about future infrastructure projects and demographic challenges. The mayors of the Posavje municipalities thanked the Government for dedicating additional funds for investment in education and preschool infrastructure after more than ten years.
After the working lunch, the Prime Minister visited the Jomi Labels company in Radeče, where he examined production and met the management of the company. Jomi Labels specialises in printing labels; the company produces 15 million labels a month, which are intended for various sectors, i.e. beverages, food, cosmetics and other industries. Some 15 years of experience, ongoing investment in research and development and adjustment to the market enable the company to be one of the leading manufacturers of self-adhesive labels. According to the analyses of the Bisnode company, Jomi Labels was one of the top 1.2-per cent of business entities in Slovenia awarded the Platinum Creditworthiness Certificate of Excellence in 2019. The companies which receive the Platinum Certificate of Excellence represent the most reliable, credible and low-risk business entities for cooperation with other business partners. When speaking with the management of the company, the discussion partners addressed the issue of shortages of raw materials, the tax burden on labour, and high energy prices.
Prior to the final public debate, the Prime Minister met with the management of the Municipality of Krško, i.e. Nuša Somrak, the Deputy Mayor of the Municipality of Krško, and Melita Čopar, the Director of the Municipal Administration. The discussion was also attended by Dušan Šiško, the Deputy of the Slovenian National Party.
Prime Minister Janez Janša ended the regional visit with a public debate on the development of the Posavje region in Krško, which was attended by the mayors and the key players in regional development.