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Gjerkes and MPs Happy with Results of Pomurje Aid

Muta, 13 September (STA) - Local Government and Regional Policy Minister Henrik Gjerkes hailed the results of the intervention law that the government adopted for the troubled northeastern region in October 2009 as he met MPs from the Pomurje region in Murska Sobota on Monday.

Gjerkes, who was accompanied by the PM's aide for development Andrej Horvat, said that the law adopted in the wake of the bankruptcy of clothing giant Mura had brought a positive atmosphere and above all new jobs to the region.

The second tender for investments into small companies secured almost 450 jobs, involving EUR 8.5m in grants and 100 projects worth a total of EUR 25.6m.

Gjerkes said that the law's initial target of 1,000 new jobs in five years seems too modest given the initial results.

He added however that although the development aid law for Pomurje, running from 2010 to 2015, is useful, the government Office for Local Development and Regional Policy has drawn up a proposal for a new systemic law on encouraging balanced regional development.

The minister explained that the bill enables the same regional policy measures to be introduced in similar situations around the country.

"I am not a fan of intervention laws, because taking on regional policy through intervention measures eliminates the need for regional policies and strengthens the centrally organised arrangement in Slovenia," he said, announcing a move towards decentralisation.

The MPs also welcomed the results of the intervention law. Franc Jursa of the coalition Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) highlighted investments into the water supply infrastructure, while Vili Trofenik of the coalition Zares (Zares) suggested that the results show that regions can be responsible for their development.

The view of the two coalition MPs was supplemented by Hungarian minority MP Laszlo Goencz, who feels the law was the result of a joint effort by all political players.

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