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Government decisions taken at the Government committees meetings

At the Government committees meetings, the Government adopted, among other things, two answers to the questions of the National Council Commissions on the wolf issue and included several new projects in the current Development Programmes Plan 2023-2026.

Government adopts two replies to questions from the National Council Commissions

Government adopts two replies to questions from the National Council CommissionsAt today's meeting of the Committee on the Economy, the Government of the Republic of Slovenia adopted a reply to the decisions of the National Council of the Republic of Slovenia's Commission for Agriculture, Forestry and Food and the Commission for Local Self-Government and Regional Development on the issue of increased wolf activity in the Julian Alps Biosphere Reserve.

With regard to the initiative to define the number of wolves that is still appropriate for the Slovenian territory, it should be borne in mind that the wolf is a territorial animal that influences its own density or abundance and prevents high densities of individuals in a given area. Interference (culling) in a single pack may lead to the disruption of the wolf pack, which may force the pack to attack livestock even more frequently.

In connection with the Commission's decisions on the under-pricing of the price list for the assessment of damage caused by protected species, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Spatial Planning and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food will review the price list and the game damage assessment file and, if necessary, correct and harmonise it, with particular attention devoted to checking the prices of small livestock. 

The Government also plans to adopt a new wolf management strategy in 2024, which will address the issues raised by the two Commissions in their decisions. The Government (and the relevant ministries) will continue to work towards human-wolf coexistence, including through the co-financing of preventive measures, compensation in the event of damage, and, if the conditions for culling are met, by responsiveness and the rapid issuance of permits for culling. 

At the Committee meeting, the Government also adopted a response to questions from the National Council's Commission for Agriculture, Forestry and Food on the number of wolves in Slovenia and to initiatives to take appropriate measures to reduce the wolf population in Slovenia.

With regard to the abundance of wolves in Slovenia, the Government replies that in the 2020/2021 season there were approximately 120 wolves or 12 wolf packs (ten in southern Slovenia and two in the Pokljuka and Jelovica areas). A wolf-dog hybrid pack has also been detected in the Italy-Austria-Slovenia three-border area. While the final report on the wolf population estimate for the 2022/2023 season will be published in November, the results suggest that the population remains comparable to the 2020/2021 season.

Under the EU's Protected Species Regulation, the wolf is a protected species, and interference with the population is the last resort. Member States are currently limited in their potential initiatives and in proving that the conditions for downgrading the conservation status of the wolf are met, as a favourable status for the entire population in the biogeographical region would have to be proved. The Slovenian wolf population is divided between the Dinarides and the Alps biogeographical regions, and Slovenia cannot currently support a downgrading of the wolf conservation status, as the conservation status of the species in the two biogeographical regions is not uniform or favourable in all countries of each biogeographical region.

In order to improve the management of the wolf in the Alps, proposals to complement the existing Guidelines for Proving the Conditions for Wolf Culling, which provide practical guidance for the preparation of applications, expert opinions and the issuance of permits for wolf culling in accordance with the rules governing nature conservation, will be discussed within the framework of the expert consultative group on large carnivore management, which operates under the auspices of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Spatial Planning.

The Government includes the "Improving Mobility in the Danube Region" project in the current Development Programmes Plan (DPP) 2023–2026

The aim of the project is the effective coordination of priority area 1b (to improve mobility and multimodality: rail, road and air links) as part of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region – EUSDR 2023–2028.

The activities carried out by the Ministry of Infrastructure as part of the project are aimed at meeting the commitments made by the Republic of Slovenia upon taking over the coordination of the relevant priority area in 2011, in particular proving itself as a reliable and trustworthy partner capable of performing the challenging tasks of improving transport infrastructure and mobility in the international environment. In the course of its 12 years of coordination, activities included chairing the Steering Group, organising conferences, seminars, workshops and roundtables, as well as actively participating in all Danube Region transport-related events. The project activities are expected to continue, with one of the key upcoming events being the organisation of a ministerial conference bringing together the 14 countries of the Danube Region. By carrying out activities related to the coordination of tasks under the Danube Region Strategy in the field of transport, a significant opportunity has opened up for the Republic of Slovenia to enforce, form, and implement EU policies in the Danube Region and other transport-related projects in South-eastern Europe.

An agreement on six-year co-financing of coordinators (the Ministry of Infrastructure, Slovenia, and Ministarstvo građevinarstva, saobraćaja i infrastrukture, Serbia) was signed on 11 May 2023. In the following six years (2023–2028), the project will be co-financed from the funds of the Interreg – Danube Regional Project – DRP programme. During this period, both project partners are expected to receive EUR 600,000 in EU funding (80%) and EUR 150,000 in co-financing (20%), i.e. EUR 450,000 for the Ministry of Infrastructure. The total value of the project is EUR 750,000.

The Government supplements the Development Programmes Plan for public railway infrastructure

The current Development Programmes Plan 2023–2026 has been supplemented to include the following nine projects:

  • 2431-23-0050 Replacing the switches at the Litija station
  • 2431-23-0052 Replacing the switches at the Grobelno station
  • 2431-23-0053 Replacing the switches at the Hoče station
  • 2431-23-0057 Replacing the switches and the crossing at the Rakek station
  • 2431-23-0059 Renewing the tracks at the Rakek station
  • 2431-23-0060 Repairing the upper structure at Črnotiče-Hrastovlje
  • 2431-23-0061 Flexible rockfall protection systems on line no. 10
  • 2431-23-0067 Replacing the railway network devices – line nos. 10 and 30
  • 2431-23-0069 Renewing the public railway infrastructure in 2023

The maintenance, operation and renewal of public railway infrastructure is an obligatory public utility service carried out on the basis of the Railway Transport Act and the Decree on the method of providing the obligatory public utility service of maintaining, operating and renewing the public railway infrastructure.

The urgency of renovation works is dictated by damage to the infrastructure in certain sections of railway tracks resulting from the deterioration on materials in the upper structure, the destroyed and shattered ballast, dirt on several points, which affects the track’s stability, etc. Repairing the facilities through regular maintenance is no longer possible due to the extent of damage, with certain points requiring a complete overhaul of the upper and bottom structures. To ensure railway transport safety, the facilities must be repaired as soon as possible to avoid the introduction of slow-zone measures or the shutdown of relevant sections and tracks for railway transport. The railway network in Slovenia still includes many track sections in need of an upgrade and renewal, the condition of which is rapidly deteriorating due to expired normal exploitation periods. By securing budgetary funds for major public railway infrastructure maintenance, the facilities in the upper and bottom structures of railway tracks and signalling and safety devices, telecommunication devices and electric power devices will remain at a level that still ensures safe and smooth railway transport.

The current Development Programmes Plan 2023–2026 supplemented to include economic and business infrastructure projects in problematic border areas in 2023 and 2024The Government adopted a decision to supplement the current Development Programmes Plan 2023–2026 of the Government Budget to include projects meeting the criteria of the Call for Proposals for the Co-financing of Economic and Business Infrastructure Projects in Problematic Border Areas in 2023 and 2024.

These projects are:

  • Utility infrastructure in the Glinokop Zone
  • The Prestranek Regional Centre
  • Infrastructure construction in the Ajdovščina Business Zone – Gobi
  • Expansion of the Vrtača Business Zone
  • The Tržič Business Incubator
  • The Ilirska Bistrica Business Incubator
  • The Ormož Technology Park
  • Punkt Podlehnik
  • The Incubator in the Municipality of Hrpelje-Kozina
  • The Slovenj Gradec Business Incubator
  • MPIK 4 Ravne na Koroškem
  • The Podčetrtek Incubator

The Call for Proposals for the Co-financing of Economic and Business Infrastructure Projects in Problematic Border Areas in 2023 and 2024 was published on 24 February 2023. The purpose of the call for proposals was to enable municipalities to build new or expand existing economic and business zones and to build new or expand existing incubators, thus ensuring the conditions for the development and growth of companies building the business community and strengthening the value chain in their area, while being major employers at the regional and national levels. The eligible project areas are located in municipalities in problematic border areas defined in the Decree determining problematic border areas.

The Development Programmes Plan supplemented to include the new Analytical Investigatory Systems project

At the meeting of the Committee on State Organisation and Public Affairs, the Government adopted a decision to supplement the current Development Programmes Plan 2023–2026 to include the new "Analytical Investigatory Systems" project.

The purpose of the project is to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of searching for pertinent information in large sets of heterogeneous data to prevent, detect and investigate criminal offences using new technologies. The focus will be on improving existing and finding new IT solutions and broadening knowledge among investigators dealing with large amounts of heterogeneous data. A strong emphasis will also be placed on the ethical and lawful use of such IT solution. The project will encompass the acquisition of new hardware and software and enable the education of investigators about new data analysis techniques and the use of such tools.

The key aims of this investment are:• to ensure an advanced analytical system for the acquisition of pertinent information from large sets of heterogeneous data to prevent, detect and investigate criminal offences,• to ensure the qualifications of police employees for a better understanding of advanced analytical approaches and the use of the analytical system.The project will be carried out over a seven-year period (2023–2029). Its total value amounts to EUR 3.4 million including VAT and is co-financed from the Internal Security Fund 2021–2027.