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Pahor Promises to Help Koper Port Develop

Koper, 12 April (STA) - Prime Minister Borut Pahor said on Monday that the government will do everything to help the port of Koper develop. To keep Slovenia's sole port competitive, some decisions need to be taken faster, he stressed at his visit to Luka Koper, adding that the state zoning plan, envisaging expansion of the port, will be passed by 13 May.

Pahor, who visited the port operator together with Transport Minister Patrick Vlacic and Environment Ministry State Secretary Zoran Kus, strongly supports the expansion of the port with the planned construction of a third pier.

Nevertheless, the port must be environmentally acceptable to have the support of the people living near it, he pointed out, adding that a compromise on all open issues should be reached with local authorities for the benefit of both the people and the port.

Regarding the claims that a break-away of Ankaran from the Koper municipality, which was backed by a local referendum in November 2009 but rejected in the National Council last Tuesday, could stop the expansion, Pahor said the will of the people needs to be respected.

However, "it would be almost a scandal if municipality borders were a limit for business ambitions of an important operator like Luka Koper", he pointed out.

Moreover, the company's management should deal with business ambitions and the government will take on the problems, including the dialogue and negotiations with local authorities, he added.

Commenting on Italy's decision to enter the assessment of cross-border impact on the environment, he said that the country has the right to state its opinion, noting that it seems this will not hinder any plans and that Italy's 45-day opinion period is running out.

The prime minister further made a stance for easing Luka Koper's daily operations by taking the operator by 22 April off the Finance Ministry's list of companies that are bound by law to issue regular reports.

According to Pahor, this is also the date by which a new interpretation of the operator's concession agreement should step into force, allowing the company to get money from EU funds.

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