The government is to visit on Wednesday, 20 September the central Osrednjeslovensko statistical region, Slovenia's most populous and richest, which includes Slovenia's capital Ljubljana
Prime Minister Janez Jansa and Economy Minister Andrej Vizjak visited three companies in the region already on Tuesday, 19 September evening as part of the final government stop in its series of visits to all statistical regions.
The cabinet's tour of Slovenia's most populous and richest region began with a visit to bread and pasta maker Pekarna Blatnik that was followed by stops at machinery equipment manufacturers Ristro and Motoman Robotec.
On Wednesday, 20 September Jansa payed a visit to the Jozef Stefan Institute, Slovenia's leading research institution. The IJS sees its future in working with the economy, Economy Minister Andrej Vizjak said after the visit. The government officials stressed that the visit to the IJS was by no means a coincidence, stressing that the current government had made research and development a priority in its policies.
Health Minister Andrej Brucan on Wednesday, 20 September held talks with management of Klinicni center, Ljubljana's central hospital.
Vizjak payed a visit to Slovenia's largest retailer Mercator, which was also separately visited by Finance Minister Andrej Bajuk.
The central region of Slovenia (which includes the capital Ljubljana) is, according to various criteria, statistically far above the Slovenian and also European average, PM Janez Jansa said at a meeting with mayors, business leaders, MPs and councillors following the cabinet's tour of the region on Wednesday, 20 September. Jansa added that the speed of development of this region also dictates the speed with which the rest of the country develops. He nevertheless warned that statistics did not tell the whole truth and that even within the region there were large differences. Many problems result from individual councils being too small and not having sufficient powers and resources while the state is "too far" and cannot deal with so many different problems. This is why Jansa welcomed changes to the constitution which allow for the rapid creation of provinces. In a few weeks time the government will begin the process of introducing legislation for the creation of provinces.
The main problems of the central Osrednjeslovensko statistical region are its unequal development and development opportunities, PM Janez Jansa said at a news conference on Wednesday, 20 September.
He stressed that the Ribnica-Kocevje subregion (S) only manages 85% of Slovenia's development level and is also one of the most sparsely settled areas in Slovenia. Osrednjeslovensko is Slovenia's most developed region on average.
Meanwhile, infrastructure problems mainly come from traffic, with Jansa pointing to the need to eliminate traffic jams in the capital Ljubljana and roads leading to it.
While being told earlier in the day that it could take a long time to eliminate traffic problems, also due to restrictive environmental legislation, Jansa explained that some regulations might be tweaked.
The region also shares Slovenia's problem of ageing rail infrastructure, which will be partly alleviated by the planned construction of a new passenger hub for Ljubljana, while the modernisation of the rest of the railway network depends on securing the necessary funds.
Another of the region's major projects is a business and sports centre. "Ljubljana, central Slovenia and Slovenia need a focal point for business- and fair-related activities as well as a stadium big enough to host larger international sporting events," the PM explained.
Jansa also said that the region is home to the largest concentration of knowledge and many enterprising companies, with Economy Minister Andrej Vizjak adding that they are mainly small- and medium-sized companies, which also require more highly-qualified workforce.
Vizjak added that such companies manufacture products with high added value but cannot find enough qualified personnel "especially in the technology and engineering fields", Vizjak pointed out.
The Slovenian cabinet also played a fund-raising football match with business people and politicians from Central Slovenia on Wednesday, 20 September evening.
Author: STA, Slovenian National Press Agency