The Slovenia Times

Development Minister Nominee Gets Committee Green light


The candidate said that the government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy must contribute to balanced, progressive and sustainable development of the country, sharing the vision of her predecessor Violeta Bulc, who left the post after being appointed a European commissioner in October.

The goals to be pursued by Smerkolj include development, the use of the available funds from the 2007-2013 financial perspective and the new 2014-2020 financial perspective, and establishing a government project office for nine strategic projects.

The first task is to prepare a development strategy, because the country cannot function normally without it, according to her. "We need to know where we are going and what kind of projects we want".

Preparing a smart specialisation strategy as part of the operational programme for the implementation of the cohesion policy in the 2014-2020 period is even more urgent, as Brussels expects the document to be sent by the end of March 2015.

Smerkolj, who is taking over as minister after having served as the state secretary at the Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy, previously worked as the boss of financial markets division at Slovenia's biggest bank, NLB.

As she worked in the banking sector for almost 26 years, Franc TrĨek of the opposition United left (ZL) asked whether the ministerial candidate has some "baggage".

Smerkolj said that there was no "baggage", but added that she was aware that something gets found for every minister sooner or later. "Let us be surprised, but I believe that I have not done anything wrong, not even in my dreams, let alone in reality."


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