Transport commissioner: Koper-Divača project remains EU priority
The EUR 109m in EU funds envisaged to co-finance the project is temporarily frozen, not lost, Violeta Bulc, the Slovenian member of the Commission, said on Thursday, a day after Prime Minster Miro Cerar resigned as a result of the court decision on the referendum.
Slovenia has also received another EUR 44m to co-fund studies and preliminary construction work, which is not subject to the court decision, she explained.
Bulc also explained that the Commission was acquainted with the Supreme Court decision and was in contact with the Slovenian government to discuss further steps.
"I'd like to send to Slovenia one message regarding this - just don't panic," the commissioner, who comes from the same party as Cerar, said in Brussels.
She added that the planned rail expansion was still a very important strategic project, not only for Slovenia but also for the EU.
As part of an Adriatic-Baltic corridor, it has been approved to deal with traffic jams and because of the positive effects of rail transport, so it remains a priority.
Bulc said the signing of a relevant agreement planned for April depended on further steps by the government.
She stressed that the April deadline was not the final deadline, noting that such large-scale projects often ran into trouble.
"What is vital for the Commission is the final financing scheme as well as who manages the project."
"We're willing to talk and agree on potentially extending deadlines as long as we trust the partner, so everything depends on how the political situation in Slovenian unfolds."
Asked whether the Commission was worried about the political situation in Slovenia, she said that for now, Slovenia was considered a success story.
"There were a lot of questions, but I'm calm and I believe this is just an election situation. For us, it is vital that Slovenia's stable development continues."