The Slovenia Times

PM and opposition leader tout political unity in post-flood reconstruction

Prime Minister Robert Golob and his predecessor in office Janez Janša.
Photo: STA

Prime Minister Robert Golob and opposition leader Janez Janša stressed the need for political unity in post-flood reconstruction in a joint appearance on POP TV on 21 August. Janša announced that his Democratic Party (SDS) will endorse the emergency law that the government is currently drafting.

Golob said it was necessary for politicians to eschew fighting at a time when emergency measures had to be put in place because this was the only way that the measures can be good and passed fast.

Janša said everyone needed to focus on how to help the people and how to create conditions for a rapid reconstruction.

All political parties held a meeting last week and put forward their own proposals. The government plans to accept some of the proposals made by the opposition.

Golob said it would accept the New Slovenia (NSi) proposal for a special reconstruction fund, and agreed with the SDS that it was necessary to speed up the permitting procedures for flood protection measures and reduce red tape for the reconstruction effort.

"What we agreed on the most is that permitting of flood barriers and replacement homes must be sped up. These procedures must start immediately and we need more money for this. There was nobody who disagreed with that," he said.

The government is holding a meeting on 22 August with banks and insurance companies in a bid to secure financing for reconstruction.

"All stakeholders, from trade unions and employers to bankers and profitable companies ... will be told the same thing - we need solidarity in society as a whole. Everyone should contribute to their abilities. Those who have more should contribute more," Golob said.

The government has proposed for implementation of a public pay sector reform to be delayed by a year to January 2025, arguing flood recovery must take precedence. The unions agree with the proposal in principle, but say all stakeholders must contribute to the effort, including the banks, which generated huge profits in the first half of the year.

Appearing the commercial broadcaster, Golob and Janša also addressed rampant social media acrimony regarding Janša having helped out in flooded areas by doing physical work while Golob did not.

Janša said it was not the job of the prime minister to wield a shovel. "I was prime minister and in such situations it is easier to hold a shovel and help directly than it is to face thousands of dilemmas and decisions."

Golob said everyone must help the best they can. "If I was leader of the opposition, I would have acted the same - I would have joined the people and endorsed rapid action," said Golob, who thanked Janša for the political unity.


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