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Govt Adopts Six Bills from Second Stimulus Package (adds)

Ljubljana, 27 June (STA) - After presenting the first package of measures for stimulating the economy about a month ago, the government endorsed on Wednesday six bills from the second package, which was endorsed at the end of May. The bills deal with construction of facilities, spatial planning, environmental protection, water management and agriculture.

According to Economic Development and Technology Minister Radovan Žerjav, the six bills are a part of the second stimulus package which includes a total of 16 bills bringing 75 measures to stimulate growth and 10 public calls for applications.

Some of the bills from the second package are already in parliamentary procedure, while some are still being coordinated among the ministries, so the government will discuss them at its next session, Žerjav told the press.

"In line with the schedule, all 16 bills will be discussed at the next session of the National Assembly, as promised," the minister asserted.

The package of measures is worth EUR 377m, of which EUR 148m are subsidies, EUR 50m are guarantees and EUR 179m are intended for public investments.

The government estimates that the measures would also lower administrative burdens on business by EUR 400-500m.

"The package of measures is important, but we are aware that this is not all that the government must do," Žerjav said, adding that the third stimulus package would follow immediately after the summer recess.

The changes to the construction act adopted today aim at simplifying the construction permit procedures at all levels. Among other things, terms in which consents must be issued will be shortened.

The changes lay down rules regarding participation of third persons in the issuing of construction permits, as they will no longer be obligated to appear personally if the investor proves their right to build with a contract signed by the land owner.

The government is also hoping to simplify energy efficiency renovations of buildings. It also decided that operating permits for new family homes be issued only upon specific request from the investor.

Changes to the spatial planning act envisage a rationalisation of procedures for the drafting and changing of zoning plans. This is to simplify the work of municipalities in drafting zoning pans and the planning of key projects.

The government moreover adopted changes to the act on zoning plans of national importance that upgrades existing procedures. Investors are to have greater powers for introducing of significant projects into zoning plans.

Changes to environmental protection act extend the validity of environmental licences from five to ten years also for activities and facilities that do not have to comply with the IPPC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) standards.

The changes moreover regulate the distribution of leftover emission coupons envisaged in the national plan for 2008-2012 among new facilities.

The distribution will be determined by the government in line with Slovenia's international environmental obligations under the Kyoto protocol and as part of the EU.

The cabinet also amended the act on waters to simplify the procedure of approving water use licences and their transfer.

Meanwhile, changes to the agriculture act are aimed at reducing administrative hurdles and lowering the costs for the implementation of measures of Common Agriculture Policy, as envisaged in Slovenia's supplementary budget.

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