Committee okays motion to give Krško status of urban municipality

Ljubljana – The relevant parliamentary committee okayed on Wednesday an initiative for Krško to get the status of an urban municipality, while rejecting additional amendments to the act on the establishment of municipality for the same status to be granted to the municipalities of Brežice and Jesenice.

The amendments proposing the status be granted to Krško was filed to parliament by opposition National Party (SNS) deputy Dušan Šiško, who said it was a local initiative that realised the wishes of the residents and representatives of local authorities.

He told the Committee on the Interior, Public Administration and Local Self-Government that the municipality of Krško met almost all the conditions met by other municipalities with the status of an urban municipality.

Šiško noted that the settlements in the area were being connected into a “strong city of Krško”, while Krško Mayor Miran Stanko added that this incorporation would add around 10,000 residents to the municipality with more than 26,000 residents.

Stanko expects that the number of residents and jobs will only increase further as there are plans to build a new reactor for the Krško Nuclear Power Plant (NEK), as the experience with the construction with the first reactor shows that this is the case.

The municipality already has a strong economy, and is becoming the energy centre of Slovenia, the mayor said, also noting that the eastern region of Posavje does not have an urban municipality and that municipalities in the region wanted a province of its own.

Public Administration State Secretary Urška Ban said that the government was yet to take its position on the proposal, adding that it was not required by law to assess whether a municipality fulfilled the conditions to become a city municipality.

A representative of the parliamentary legal service noted that such a status could be granted to a municipality that had at least 20,000 residents and 15,000 jobs, and was a cultural and administrative centre of the broader area.

The representative noted that the criteria stipulated by law were mandatory, and that the National Assembly had assessed back in 2009, as it discussed a similar proposal, that Krško did not meet the criteria to be granted such a status.

Srečko Ocvirk, a member of the upper chamber of parliament from the region of Posavje, said that not all required criteria had been considered when other urban municipalities had been established, either.

Jani Möderndorfer of the opposition Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) noted that the discussion came a few months ahead of the general election, and said that Krško should not be looking forward to this status, as it brought “nothing to be happy about”.

He said that the proposal was unlawful and that, if the National Assembly did confirm it, then there were other municipalities that could become urban municipalities, too.

Dušan Verbič of the coalition Modern Centre Party (SMC) said that he had no problem with making a political decision that met the needs of the local population.

He noted that the urban municipalities of Slovenj Gradec and Murska Sobota did not meet one of the criteria for the status according to the data for 2019.

On the other hand, Nataša Sukič of the opposition Left said she did not understand why MPs would break law, adding that they should instead change the relevant act if there was need to change the criteria for the status of an urban municipality.

The motion was endorsed in a 14:3 vote and is now to be debated and voted on at a National Assembly plenary. If passed, Krško would become the 12th urban municipality in Slovenia.

Meanwhile, the amendments that would grant the same status to Brežice and Jesenice, filed by Igor Zorčič of the group of unaffiliated MPs and the opposition Alenka Bratušek (SAB) deputy group, respectively, were voted down.