The Slovenia Times

Coalition and Oposition "Manage" to Fight Even Arround Natural Disaster Response



Called by the opposition Democrats (SDS), the emergency session saw the two sides disagree on whether the government's response to the disaster was sufficient and timely. The opposition argues that the government has dropped the ball.

SDS lawmaker Zvonko Černač said that main purpose of their initiative was to get the government to file an emergency bill that would facilitate the clean-up efforts. "This aim has been achieved, as the government has now hurried with the emergency bill," he said.

He assessed that the government draft was a suitable basis for debate at committee, but added that the bill must be supplemented with a suitable timetable of measures.

Samo Bevk of the coalition Social Democrats (SD) responded to the Černač's comments by saying that the government had been on top of the issue even before the SDS had made a call for an emergency bill.

While the SDS's efforts to speed up the relief efforts should be welcomed, Bevk believes that the government was capable of handling the situation appropriately.

Some lawmakers meanwhile called for measures to streamline the operations of the Civil Protection and Disaster Relief Agency, after cooperation with the army was called into question during the recent disaster.

Kristina Valenčič of the coalition Citizens' List (DL) said that optimising the activities of the agency should be a priority given that extreme weather phenomena are becoming increasingly common.

People's Party (SLS) MP Janez Ribič said that focus must be paid to preventing a repeat of the massive damage to Slovenia's electrical grid, including by ensuring that cables are laid underground.

That the damage was rising as a result of the floods which have followed the ice storm was highlighted by coalition Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) deputy Marjana Kotnik Poropat. She said that Slovenia's disaster relief system has been exposed as lacking.

"We haven't yet cleaned up after natural disasters in previous year. It is clear that something is seriously wrong with disaster clean up efforts," Kotnik Poropat said.

The opposition New Slovenia (NSi) meanwhile said the government was too slow in reacting to the ice storm. "It was not until international aid in the form of power generators had arrived that people had access to even the most urgent electricity needs."

Renata Brunskole of the coalition Positive Slovenia (PS), however, questioned the usefulness of today's session, adding that meaningful measures are needed instead of wrangling.

The coalition and the SLS have jointly filed changes to the forestry act to facilitate the clean up after the ice storm, proving that the bipartisan projects are possible, Brunskole highlighted.


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