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Minister, Mayors Discuss Korosko Development Aid Legislation

Slovenj Gradec, 25 August (STA) - Local Government and Regional Policy Minister Henrik Gjerkes visited on Wednesday the Korosko region after nearly a thousand people lost their jobs as car seat covers maker Prevent went bankrupt. Korosko mayors demanded an intervention act, while the minister said that a systemic act would be a better solution.

Slovenj Gradec Mayor Matjaz Zanoskar stressed that he and his colleagues would continue to demand an intervention bill that would earmark a certain share of budget funds for the region. He admitted however that both options would provide long-term solutions.

Gjerkes underlined that the best option for Korosko would be a new systemic regional development bill, which would however include elements of an intervention act that was adopted for the Pomurje region, after the bankruptcy of clothing giant Mura left some 2,600 people jobless in autumn 2009.

According to the minister, this piece of legislation is to be adopted by the end of the year. No final decisions were made at today' meeting however, as Gjerkes's visit was merely a part of preparations for the government's visit to the Korosko region on 15 September.

"I expect the government will offer certain solutions then," the minister told the press during a break from the meeting.

Gjerkes talked to the mayors of twelve Korosko municipalities and local development institutions in Slovenj Gradec alongside Andrej Horvat, state secretary at the prime minister's office today.

Horvat said that the government was already trying to implement certain measures that are to be entailed in the systemic act. "That's what we're here for today."

He added that the government was talking to many representatives from the region, especially business representatives, about what it was that the region needed the most.

Touching on the funds, Gjerkes could not give a specific number. "The bill and the negotiations, which are slowly nearing the end, entail a sum per capita similar to that from the Pomurje act."

According to Korosko representatives, the region will face some 1,000 unemployed after Prevent and its subsidiaries close.

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