PM talks energy challenges, tourism opportunities in Posavje

Brežice – The Posavje region still has many challenges to meet despite its breakthrough in reaching the Slovenian average, Prime Minister Janez Janša said on Wednesday during the cabinet’s visit to the region. He highlighted challenges in the energy sector as the top priority, but also noted the role of other efforts, including tourism development.

In a press statement made after a visit to the Faculty of Tourism in Brežice, Janša said that ten years ago Posavje had been 12 percentage points behind the Slovenian average in terms of development, but today it was at the level of the country’s average.

He considers this a great success, but he also noted that the region still faced a lot of major challenges with those in the energy sector being key.

Asked why he will not have visited any energy companies in Posavje by the end of the government’s visit, Janša said he had done that during his previous visit to the region.

He stressed that the region’s prospects lay not only in the energy sector, but that there would certainly be major investments in this area in the future.

Posavje is expected to become home to another hydro power plant on top of four existing ones, but the issuing of a construction permit for the Mokrice plant on the Sava river has been temporarily stayed by the Administrative Court after a couple of NGOs filed lawsuits to warn of irregularities in the procedure.

Environment Minister Andrej Vizjak met today Brežice Mayor Ivan Molan to discuss the project and flood control measures. Vizjak said the permit was expected to be issued in the first half of the year, adding the final decision could be pushed back due to potential appeals.

Since the entire development of the region, Janša said, cannot be built on the energy sector, the prime minister also highlighted other development opportunities in the region, including in tourism.

He welcomed the future plans of the faculty, which operates under the University of Maribor, that would expand its capacities.

“Tourism is one of those activities in Posavje that has great prospects, building on all these development opportunities brought by the energy sector and some other industries,” he said, noting that Posavje is located close to Croatia’s capital Zagreb, the city of one million.

In the evening, the cabinet discussed the situation in the region and future opportunities with the region’s key stakeholders at a debate in Krško.