The Slovenia Times

NGO renounces plan to challenge Magna any further


The Regional Environmental Association of Environmentalists (ROVO) took the decision after the Economy Ministry agreed to its proposal to amend the special law on the Magna investment in Hoče near Maribor.

The consensus was reached at Wednesday's meeting between ROVO and government officials, with Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek announcing the government would debate the amendment on 20 February.

"After sober reconsideration by both sides the position prevailed that we need to find a solution and I believe we have taken a step forward to resolve the situation," the minister said.

ROVO objected to the plant having been built in a water protection area, but it said the government could deal with the situation by amending Lex Magna to allow the investor to build strategic investments in development areas in water protection areas regardless of the relevant provision in the waters act.

ROVO representative Gorazd Marinček said the solution was acceptable to them. "We want to preserve the 200 jobs and ensure that another 200 will be created in Hoče," he said.

"We believe the government's decision, regardless of what it is, will affect the understanding of environmental issues better than so far," he said.

Environment Minister Jure Leben said that he was responsible for health and environment in the country, but that in some cases the state's interest prevailed.

"I will grit my teeth a bit, but we're heading on, taking care to preserve a balance between development and preserving the environment," said Leben, who left the meeting before it was over.

Hoče Mayor Marko Soršak thanked both ministers because dialogue prevailed in the end, to the benefit of Magna employees in Slovenia and the region's development.

Before the Austrian-Canadian automotive group can launch its EUR 160m paint shop in Hoče it will have to wait for the environmental permit to become final within a 30-day period, Počivalšek said.

This was after the Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning rejected ROVO's appeal against the environmental permit for the plant.

Magna, which announced it would start organisational preparations to carry out the contracts planned for Hoče at its main facility in Austria's Graz, said it could not say yet how today's agreement would affect its plans.


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