Prime Minister Robert Golob on a working visit in Pomurje – the region of growth and opportunities
Accompanied by the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Irena Šinko and the Minister of Public Administration Sanja Ajanović Hovnik, Prime Minister Robert Golob has paid a second working visit in Slovenia. Ahead of the Day of the Reunification of Prekmurje Slovenians with the Homeland, he visited Pomurje – the region of growth and opportunities. The region is distinguished by its strategic position at the crossroads of European road links, access to geothermal energy, investment potential and a rich natural and cultural heritage.
The greatest added value of Pomurje is the people, and one of the guiding principles of the Slovenian government is a tolerant and inclusive society in which everyone can develop their talents and virtues. For this reason, the Prime Minister chose as the first stop of his working visit the Murska Sobota special social care and employment centre, which significantly contributes to eliminating social hardship and provides its users with employment under special conditions and its own programme of simple handicrafts.
Representatives of the Murska Sobota special social care and employment centre, an independent public social welfare institution in Pomurje, were proud and honoured by today's visit by the Prime Minister. The director of the centre, Angela Benko Lang, noted the need for an additional and modern residential unit in Murska Sobota that would provide 20 beds and round-the-clock care for the users. The day care is currently provided in four units of the special social care and employment centre. The Prime Minister was shown the cooperative workshops and the manual skills of the users. He received an easy read book written by the users of the centre (in collaboration with the author Karolina Kolmanič). On the occasion, he noted mutual respect and acceptance of differences. The role of the centre in the integration of adults with intellectual and physical disabilities in the community and environment is indispensable. Their acquisition of social and work habits is also invaluable.
On the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the birth of the architect Jože Plečnik, a visit followed to the Church of the Ascension in Bogojina, with which Plečnik left a lasting mark in the region. With his mastery, he placed the church in Bogojina, also known as the "White Dove", on the architectural map of Europe. It is also considered as one of the most important works of contemporary sacral architecture in our country. A small, 14th century Gothic church stood at the location originally, but Plečnik built a new church perpendicular to the side of this and almost completely preserved the old church as the atrium. The altar and vault of the church in Bogojina is adorned by works of local potters. Priest Stanislav Zver showed the Prime Minister Plečnik's traces and signature and his use of symbols. The Prime Minister admired one of Plečnik's most symbolic sacral works and signed the guest book.
In the afternoon, the Prime Minister was joined by the Minister of Agriculture Irena Šinko, with whom he visited the areas affected by the drought. They agreed that the fields looked devastated and that many crops were affected. The Prime Minister said that appropriate procedures were under way and proposed that an inventory of the damage be made by stages, i.e. individual crops. The goal is for state aid to come faster. Later, at the Jakob excursion farm in the town of Lipovci, they met with representatives of the Murska Sobota unit of the Chamber of Agriculture and Forestry, the Union of Cooperatives, the Trade Union of Farmers and the Association of Rural Youth, with the Prime Minister and Minister Šinko being briefed on the current state of agriculture in the region. According to the Prime Minister, the government will shorten to a minimum the procedures for making an inventory of the damage, so that the affected entities will receive payment by the end of the year. Municipal commissions will be activated, and the damage assessment will be entered into a special application. The deadline to make an inventory of the damage will be 30 September 2022. Irrigation systems and water retention systems are crucial if we want to successfully weather climate change. Climate change is here, and we need to prepare appropriate solutions, the Prime Minister added. Representatives of agricultural organisations also presented the problems with agricultural land, as young farmers find it difficult to obtain large areas. The government is looking for solutions that would enable young people to stay on farms and render it easier for them to make a living.
The working visit continued on the banks of Lake Sobota – in the Expano regional promotion centre. The former Slovenian pavilion for the 2015 World Expo in Milan is today part of a new story and presents Pomurje in a modern and innovative way. The interactive experience park is an ambassador of the economy of Pomurje and an attractive tourist destination that is guided by sustainable and environmentally friendly practices.
At a meeting in the centre, Prime Minister Robert Golob exchanged views with business executives from the region, many of whom have implemented successful projects, and talked about the pressing issues of businesses in this part of the country. The Prime Minister informed the business executives about the measures to mitigate price hikes that the government will adopt this week, and about ideas for next year. Also discussed was the untapped potential of Pomurje in terms of geothermal energy. A large part of the economy expects that this energy will be utilised for the purposes of heating, manufacturing and agriculture. The talk also revolved around how to take advantage of the natural resources and strengthen manufacturing in Pomurje by means of educational systems and investments in infrastructure. The Prime Minister concluded that the meeting was very informative, honest and direct, so he believes that concrete measures that will benefit both the economy and Slovenia as a whole could soon be taken.
The concluding part of the visit was devoted to local self-government. The Prime Minister and the Minister of Public Administration Sanja Ajanović Hovnik met with the mayors of the Pomurje municipalities in Dobrovnik, with the meeting focusing on key regional projects and regional development.
At the meeting with the mayors, the Prime Minister noted that Pomurje is a region of opportunities and, like every Slovenian region, is unique. Its greatest potentials are agriculture, manufacturing and use of solar and geothermal energy. Ways must be found to improve the competitiveness of the region and the standard of living of its residents.