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Prime Minister Janez Janša: Cirkovce–Pince transmission line is extremely important not only for Slovenia, but for the entire region

Prime Minister Janez Janša participated in the opening ceremony marking the start of the construction of the 2 x 400 kV Cirkovce–Pince transmission line. The ceremony was held in a marquee on the lawn next to Sternthal Mansion in Kidričevo, where the Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia addressed the participants.

The planned Cirkovce–Pince 2 x 400 kV transmission line, which constitutes a part of the Slovenia–Hungary–Croatia transmission line, is one of the main priorities of the Government of the Republic of Slovenia in the development of the country’s energy infrastructure. The transmission line will establish the first inter-state connection with the Hungarian transmission network, increase the operating reliability of the Slovenian power system, the transmission network and the import transmission capacity, and will also improve the reliability of power consumption in cases of unforeseen events or operational difficulties in Slovenia.

Prime Minister Janez Janša’s (unauthorised) full address reads as follows:

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Esteemed Prime Minister of the Republic of Hungary, Mr Viktor Orbán,

Esteemed Foreign Minister of the Republic of Croatia, Mr Radman,

Dear Mr Mayor,

Dear participants here today and all those whose efforts helped to start the construction of this extremely important transmission line after a long odyssey.

If we did not have serious worries about COVID-19, today and this week in Slovenia would be as sunny in terms of development as today’s weather. Tomorrow, after many years and preparations, we will finally dig the first spade for the third development axis, and today the construction of this transmission line, which took 20 years to be sited and added to the system, finally begins.

Earlier, the director said that the construction should be completed in just over two years, meaning that the preparation of the project took ten times longer than the construction will take! This is an extremely important and at the same time extremely demanding project, so it is understandable that, due to various regulations, spatial planning rules, coordination of local communities and coordination of different interests, its preparations have taken longer than the preparations for a municipal road, for example, but 20 years is just too long. I am highlighting this because in Slovenia, unfortunately, we have huge problems with the pace of development projects and their spatial planning, not so much with the construction itself, but with bureaucracy and red tape in general. Let this period of 20 years serve as a reminder that what this Slovenian Government has committed to, which is cutting red tape and eliminating unnecessary procedures, shortening procedures, and encouraging a different approach by all those who are officially responsible for procedures in the sense that they seek solutions, not problems. Let this be an additional incentive for no project ever again to take 20 years to even begin to be implemented!

This transmission line is extremely important. Although we take electricity for granted, it is still a key marker and enabler of civilisation in the 21st century.

We start appreciating health when we get sick and we usually become aware of what electricity means when there is none. Fortunately, unlike when my generation was young, power cuts are nowadays practically non-existent; however, electricity supply remains one of the priorities in order to make it something lasting and taken for granted even in critical and extraordinary situations. If we want to imagine the Iron Age, imagine not having electricity!

This is a project that we have been waiting for for a very long time, one which is extremely important, as Mr Mervar pointed out, not only for Slovenia but for the whole region, so thank you also to everyone in Hungary and Croatia who made it possible for the construction to start today.

When this project was launched in 2000, it was predicted that – given that Slovenia was a EU candidate country at the time, as were Hungary and Croatia (Croatia a little later) – this project would have to be completed when we all became members of the European Union, because a mere political connection, without energy and infrastructure connections, is merely a dead letter on paper. We joined the European Union together with Hungary four years later, and Croatia joined the Union too before the construction phase of this project could begin.

Today is symbolic because we are aware that formal steps, words, and the signing of contracts on such and other connections are simply not enough, that this has to be followed by concrete actions of countries to be truly connected, to establish connections in the field of energy, infrastructure and development projects, even in difficult times.

I would therefore like to take this opportunity to thank the Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán, and the representative of the Croatian Government, Minister Grlić Radman, for their exceptionally good neighbourly cooperation during the spring wave of the coronavirus epidemic, when broader connections simply did not work and we had to rely mainly on ourselves and our neighbours. That is why today’s step is so much more important.

Congratulations and thank you everyone who helped make this possible. I look forward to that day in 2021, or 2022, when electricity will actually flow through this transmission line. I hope we will be able to gather in greater numbers then and not have to sit apart, that it will be evening and the light will shine. Thank you very much and enjoy your day.

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