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Prime Minister Janez Janša on a working visit to Koroška

  • Former Prime Minister Janez Janša (2020 - 2022)

Today, Prime Minister Janša visited the Koroška Region. As part of the visit, he met with the management of the Tesnila GK. d.o.o. company, and he was also shown the production facilities of the company. With the company's management, the Prime Minister talked mainly about the rubber industry. The company's representatives presented to him the current situation in the industry and their plans for the future. The current situation in the automotive industry was also discussed.

Prime Minister Janša continued his visit at the Franjo Golob Primary School in Prevalje, where, together with the Mayor of Prevalje, Matic Tasič, and State Secretary Marjan Dolinšek, he attended a ceremony to mark the unveiling of the foundation stone for the construction of the Koroška climbing centre and the Prevalje Jezero Sports Park. The Municipality of Prevalje received a grant of EUR 2 million for the investment in the entire Jezero Sports Park project, which will be a multi-content park. Extending on 1,400 square meters, the modern climbing centre will have indoor areas for bouldering, grade and speed climbing, as well as outdoor partially covered climbing areas.

"The Koroška climbing centre with the Jezero Sports Park will provide all generations, young and old, with an opportunity for climbing and enhancing motor skills", said the Mayor of Prevalje Tasič at the ceremony. He added that they have been dreaming about this project for a number of years. "The idea for the project was given by a Slovenian alpine climber, who has, sadly, passed away," said the Mayor, adding that although the Koroška climbing has no infrastructural facilities, a gold Olympic medal has been won, so "it is only right that we have such infrastructural facilities here as well." The Mayor went on to say that the project will include the setting up of the Jezero Sports Park, where sports and other activities related to climbing will be practiced. "I would also like to express our deep gratitude to the Government for giving us the opportunity to apply for non-refundable funds for this project," added the Mayor.

Those gathered at the ceremony were also addressed by the Prime Minister Janša, who said that he can remember the days when in Slovenia, we did not even know what a climbing centre was. "Even when the construction of the first climbing centre in Ljubljana started, many questions were raised as to what it was and whether it made any sense to build it at all," said the Prime Minister. He also remembered his trip to New Zealand more than 20 years ago, when he saw a similar climbing centre there, and he asked a friend about it. "Sheep used to graze here, but now tourists are coming to us from all over the world; we also built a hotel, several restaurants and a range of other infrastructural facilities," were the friend's words as summed up by the Prime Minister. He went on to say that the opinion on climbing centres has changed dramatically since that time throughout the world. "Climbing centres are both a meeting place and a place to develop motor skills," said the Prime Minister. "In Koroška, you have Janja, who is Olympic gold medalist. She won this medal without a climbing centre," said the Prime Minister, adding that Slovenians are world champions in winning Olympic medals and world championship medals by population figure, and wondered what else could be attained if we had all the necessary infrastructural facilities? "A lot has happened lately. In Prevalje, you have built this using your own funds, which are provided either through the municipal budget or through grants, but this will probably be the first major sports infrastructural facility in the wider region of Koroška in which state funds will be invested as well," said the Prime Minister. He added that the state's share in the project will be over EUR 2 million and the financial structure of over EUR 6 million will thus be completed. "Mr Mayor will be able to set the first route on this climbing wall next August, and the winner of the Olympic gold medal will be probably delighted to be able to come to this centre," said Prime Minister Janša.

He also pointed out that the government website and the schedule of projects for the Municipality of Prevalje which are either under construction or included in the development plans for this and the following years, show that the projects are numerous. He congratulated the Mayor for his ambitious efforts. "Where there are ideas, there are ambitions. Without this nothing can happen, not even funds can be provided. However, several projects are aimed at providing certain basic infrastructure, or the safety of living, landslide remediation, or building certain facilities that already exist in many parts of Slovenia," added Prime Minister Janša.

"The construction of this climbing centre together with the sports park is an asset not only for the Municipality, but for the whole Koroška, and I am sure that many climbers from Koroška will follow Janja's example at the next Olympic Games, bearing in mind that in addition to certain conditions and physical pre-dispositions, one also has to have a will of steel, which you do have in abundance here in Koroška," said the Prime Minister. He added that some people might think that such a project is not needed, but "believe me, this centre will have a multiplicative effect and will make many other activities come to life."

"Once again, congratulations to the Mayor for the idea, to the donors who contributed substantial funds and to all those who brought the project to the stage where construction can start, so that we can count on it to come into operation next year with great probability," concluded the Prime Minister, also thanking everyone for the experience of the creative cultural programme offered.

In the continuation of the visit, the Prime Minister attended the opening of the exhibition by the Mežica Valley Peasant Women Society in the Prevalje Community Centre. In the late afternoon, the Prime Minister attended a concert given by the Mežica Valley Peasant Women Society titled "Spring Comes Time and Time Again". The concert was staged to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the existence of the Mežica Valley Peasant Women Society and also as a tribute to all girls and women who cultivate Slovenian land with their diligent hands, ingenuity and love, thus preserving the Slovenian landscape and providing healthy food. The Prime Minister also addressed all those gathered at the event.

"For me personally, the woman of all times is my mother, a peasant woman who worked on a farm since she was five for as long as she was able to," the Prime Minister began his address. He went on to say that the woman of all centuries and all eras in Slovenia has always been a peasant woman. "If we remember the times when we learned at school from the classic writers of the Slovenian word, Cankar, Prešeren, Jurčič, Levstik and others, and we try to recall who the central figure of their literary works was, we encounter a peasant mother and a peasant woman. This was no exaggeration. If we imagine the path taken by the Slovenian nation in the past centuries, after the time when the nation was still being formed in the modern sense, we can also think of the stormy times, times when we were part of some multinational communities, where our ancestors died for kings, tsars and emperors of various other nations, when wars crossed our fields and tens of thousands of men did not return home after these wars, and when Slovenian peasant women brought up the next generations to make sure that our nation survived. Hundreds of thousands of Slovenian women, especially peasant women, had supported not just three but four corners of the house over the centuries, and the generations that grew out of this struggle and suffering finally created times, when we Slovenians became the masters of our own land," the Prime Minister continued. He added that in these modern times we are not sufficiently aware of the importance of rural work, farm work and food production, when most people think that you get food by simply buying what is on the shelves in the shop. "We are not aware that the most strategic of all strategic raw materials is food," said Prime Minister Janša. He continued that we are now in a time when this awareness will grow, "as you can see for yourselves what is happening with the prices in the shops, because we have a war in the neighbourhood in a country that is the breadbasket not only of Europe but also of a large part of the world."

"We Slovenians are part of the EU, we have a common European and agricultural policy. The result of this common European and agricultural policy is that in the era after the Second World War, there has been no more famine in most of the European continent. And if we recall the stories of our parents, grandfathers and from literature, we can see that in the time before the Second World War, or even years after it, famine was something that hit the European continent every now and then after a bad harvest. If you tell this to younger generations, they think that this never happened and that you are telling fairy tales, but one of the reasons that the Common Agricultural Policy was launched, was to provide peace, to prevent new wars on the European continent after the tragic experience of the First and the Second World Wars, and to ensure prosperity, to ensure that people will no longer be hungry. The Common Agricultural Policy has largely ensured this for decades," said the Prime Minister. "In recent decades, those who have lived in the EU, have never known the word famine and since we are part of this union, we have also been integrated in this common area and common market, which brings us many good things, but sometimes also has negative consequences. We are in a situation where the price of agricultural products has no real value and this is being compensated by subsidies. This is partly justified, because the conditions for food production, for example here in the Koroška Region, are much more difficult than on the plains in the Netherlands or in some other countries, and it is right to set equal conditions. This is why a lot of money is being earmarked from the budget for this purpose, but on the other hand, this has a negative impact on the real valuation of agricultural products and it is then up to the regulator how to balance this," said Prime Minister Janša. He continued that in Slovenia until this year, ever since we have been in the EU, i.e. since 2004, we have never drawn any additional funds from our integrated national resources, apart from what had to be given as our own contribution for subsidies we receive from the agricultural part of the European budget. This year, however, we have set aside for the first time an additional amount of EUR 300 million for this year and the next four years to create conditions so that we can make the price of what you produce on your farms more realistic," stressed the Prime Minister. "Ukraine is the breadbasket of a large part of the world and what is happening there will have a particular impact on the supply of grains and oilseed products this year, and in order to avoid major disruptions, Slovenia has commodity reserves, so when it comes to the consumer side, there won't be any major fluctuations and impacts in our country due to the war in Ukraine. However, when it comes to you, the producers of food, which is a strategic raw material, these funds that we will contribute to the EU budget mean that your work and what you produce will be more valued," explained Prime Minister Janša.

"We live in a time when these interventions are needed and in a time when most of us are aware of something that we were not aware of 18 months ago, and that is that even within these systematic frameworks changes are possible that have not been possible so far. Common European policies are policies for over 400 million people and 27 countries, where coordination is required, " said the Prime Minister.

"Jean Monnet, one of the fathers of the European Union, said that nothing is possible without men, but nothing lasts without institutions, and when we listened to all the things that have taken place in your Society over the last 30 years, we could only highlight the importance of these words. When we walk through the exhibition, where the wonderful handmade products are on display, we can only nod in agreement," said the Slovenian Prime Minister. He added that the purpose of societies and gatherings is to come together, to exchange experience and to have fun, maybe even to complain, and apart from having a chat, to share everything else. "Your choir and your care for the Slovenian word are really impressive. When I looked through the magazines you have been publishing during all this time, I realised that half of it is poetry. This is something that peasant women have done over the centuries in terms of enlightenment, education, not only as regards certain basic human values, but also as regards education in patriotism, pride in one's own identity, the Slovenian word, pride in what you are, and this is something you will continue to do over the next 30 years," emphasised Prime Minister Janša.

"31 years ago, the whole of Slovenia was aware of the courage of you, the people of Koroška, when you defended Holmec and other border crossings," recalled the Prime Minister, reiterating the words he had spoken already in 1992. When, in the war for Slovenia, it seemed that we would have to take a step back and return the already captured guardhouses and all border structures, a dispatch came from Koroška, from all its municipalities, saying: "We will never surrender what we have captured with our blood." And the Prime Minister said that it was because of this courage that we did not surrender anything.

"Slovenian women, raise strong Slovenian generations, continue to do so, cultivate the land in Koroška with the same love as you used to do so far, and may your Society continue to work as successfully in the next 30 years as it did in the first 30 years," concluded Prime Minister Janša.