Fourth public consultation on drafting the amendments to the Promotion of Balanced Regional Development Act
The opening addresses were delivered by Aleksander Saša Arsenovič, Mayor of the Municipality of Maribor and President of the Development Council of the Eastern Cohesion Region, Andreja Katič, State Secretary at the Ministry of Cohesion and Regional Development, responsible for regional development, Dr Simon Kušar, Associate Professor at the Department of Geography, Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana, and Metka Šošterič, Head of the Regional Development Planning Division at the Ministry of Cohesion and Regional Development.
In her opening address, the State Secretary underlined that the unbalanced regional development and the increasing disparities between regions call for changes in the field of regional development and that this is the reason for developing a strategy and evaluating regional policy. “The aim is to establish a strategy to strengthen the importance of a balanced regional development and empower the development regions. The strategy should identify targets and indicators and regular reporting to the government and the National Assembly, which will enable regional development to be discussed continuously, systematically and at the highest level.” We are ambitious in drafting the amendments to the Act, intending to define the tasks of cohesion and development regions, strengthening the roles of regional development agencies, and regulating how they are financed, State Secretary Katič added.
The State Secretary invited the participants to submit their contributions, including expert contributions, as the amended Act will be drafted by the end of this year and will then be submitted for public debate.
Mr Arsenovič pointed to the widening development gap between the eastern and western cohesion regions. He asked the participants whether the national budget was in line with the idea and objectives of the European Cohesion Policy regarding reducing disparities between regions.
The discussion that followed was moderated by Dr Kušar from the Department of Geography at the Faculty of Arts in Ljubljana, who pointed out that monitoring regional development in Slovenia is currently not systematically regulated, that there is no regional development strategy and no system of indicators for monitoring and evaluating the indicators. “There should be a continuous system of indicators that allows monitoring over time, as well as a variable system of indicators linked to regional policy objectives.”
Metka Šošterič, Head of the Regional Development Planning Division at the Ministry of Cohesion and Regional Development, said that all the discussions, minutes and proposals to date are also published on the Ministry’s website and again invited participants to submit their proposals.