The Slovenia Times

Environmental Crisis Warning


"We don't only have a financial debt, we also have a debt to nature," Potočnik noted and added that protecting nature was no longer a question of future generations.

"[Economic] growth is important, however it is no longer just the level of economic growth that matters, it is also the quality," he said.

While Potočnik believes that the current economic crisis is not over yet, he said that optimism was returning to the markets.

Acknowledging that fiscal consolidation has an impact on economic growth, he highlighted that it fixed issues in the long run and was aimed at boosting competitiveness.

Slovenia needs to have stable policies through which it will boost its economic growth, Potočnik said, pointing to the importance of knowledge and efficient use of natural resources.

"It's not just a question of protecting the environment. Production that uses less energy, water and materials is attractive for the corporate sector," Potočnik said.

He also stressed that the situation in Europe and across the world was hard due to debt crises and low economic growth, which is why solidarity is being challenged at the European level.

According to him, the European Commission is trying to address certain challenges, including the preservation of a stable and responsible Europe.

Potočnik believes that key tasks for achieving this are the stabilisation of vulnerable state debt markets, securing fiscal consolidation and the implementation of structural reforms that will promote growth and create new jobs.

"Structural reforms are necessary. We can push them through with good will and the belief that we are doing the right thing," Potočnik said after he met Speaker Gregor Virant later in the day.

Virant added that these measures were not ordered by Brussels, but were rather an agreement at the European level to balance budgets and introduce measures to boost economic growth.

Because the recovery is expected to be sluggish, Potočnik believes that knowledge-based society and more efficient use of natural resources were important issues.

"Potočnik is a great advocate of efficient use of energy and renewable natural resources," Virant noted, adding that Slovenia should be thinking about how to solve the issue in the short term.

Potočnik moreover believes that Slovenia is relatively lucky, because it was at the top of the EU in biotic diversity, while it's percentage of forests and waters placed it in the third spot within the bloc.

"We often don't know what we have and in what kind of environment we live...These are some of the advantages on which we should build the future," he added.

Potočnik started a two-day official visit to Slovenia today.


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