The Slovenia Times

Committee backs Hungary's investment in port rail


The government's plan was supported only by MPs of the senior coalition Modern Centre Party (SMC) after more than a four-hour debate behind closed doors.

During a break before the vote, the chair of the committee, Jožef Horvat of the opposition New Slovenia (NSi), announced he would boycott the remainder of the session, but did not provide the reasons.

Subsequently, Branislav Rajić of the SMC chaired the session as it resumed. He said Horvat was bothered by the reasoning of the final voting procedure.

According to Rajić, six members of the committee voted in favour of the government plan, three were against and two abstained from the vote.

The committee's vice-chair Julijana Bizjak Mlakar of the coalition Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) said DeSUS MPs had abstained, because "all legal foundations are not clear" and the bill on the EUR 1bn Koper-Divača railway track has not entered into force yet. "We also have big reservations contents-wise," she added.

The Left has been against involving Hungary in this key infrastructure project from the get-go and wanted the proposal removed from the agenda of today's session. Failing to achieve this, its MPs presented arguments why the government's plan will harm Slovenia's strategic interests, Matej T. Vatovec said.

Infrastructure Ministry State Secretary Jure Leban welcomed the outcome of the vote, saying he would inform the Hungarian Embassy of the progress today and propose that the first meeting be held in ten days.

He would not speak of the plans for the talks, because they are confidential.

Vatovec said the plans still had certain elements that could put the Koper port in a subordinate position and could potentially violate the legislation on Slovenia's strategic interests in this field.

Vatovec too pointed to the fact that the law on the Koper-Divača project has not stepped into force yet.


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