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Prime Minister Janez Janša on a working visit to the Pomurska region

The Government of the Republic of Slovenia today visited the region of Pomurje, which consists of the municipalities of Apače, Beltinci, Cankova, Črenšovci, Dobrovnik, Gornja Radgona, Gornji Petrovci, Grad, Hodoš, Kobilje, Križevci, Kuzma, Lendava, Ljutomer, Moravske Toplice, Murska Sobota, Odranci, Puconci, Radenci, Razkrižje, Rogašovci, Sveti Jurij ob Ščavnici, Šalovci, Tišina, Turnišče, Velika Polana and Veržej.

The Pomurska region is the most northeastern, the flattest and the most agricultural statistical region of Slovenia. The fertile soil, continental climate and flat land create favourable conditions especially for agriculture. Pomurje is a functionally linked area consisting of two geographical regions, Prekmurje and Prlekija, separated by the River Mura. The region stands out by having the highest natural demographic decrease (–4.7 per 1,000 population) and is the only region with an overall demographic decrease, i.e. the sum of natural demographic change and migration (–0.5 per 1,000 population). Pomurje is a unique Slovenian border region, as it borders three countries: Austria, Hungary and Croatia. It is also a crossroads of cultures, religions and ethnic groups, which gives the region a specific cultural character. An increasingly important sector in Pomurje is tourism. 2020 was one of the most successful tourist seasons in the Pomurje region, with a total of 1.2 million overnight stays.

The ministerial delegation first met for a working consultation in the Research and Education Centre (RIS) at the Rakičan Mansion in Murska Sobota. The Government team was greeted by the Mayor of Murska Sobota, Aleksander Jevšek, who wished the Government members a pleasant stay in the region. Among other things, he said in his welcome speech that the region needs the Government’s support. While the basic problem of the region is demographic, its pride is small and medium-sized enterprises that have ideas and plans but need support and start-up capital.

At the working consultation, the ministers spoke mainly about projects in the region relating to agriculture, the largest economic sector in the region, tourism, infrastructure, cohesion and EU funds, economic opportunities, education, culture, home affairs, healthcare, administrative services, long-term care and justice. They also spoke about the issue of demography, emigration of young people from the region, ethnic issues and Slovenians living in the Porabje region in Hungary.

Following the working consultation, Prime Minister Janša visited the Panvita company in Murska Sobota and met with the management. This was followed by a working lunch with representatives of the Hungarian Self-Governing Ethnic Community of Pomurje. In the afternoon part of the regional visit, the Prime Minister also met with Evangelical Bishop Leon Novak and Catholic Bishop of Murska Sobota Peter Štumpf. Also in Murska Sobota, he visited the company MOL Slovenija and met with the Mayor of the Municipality of Lendava, Janez Magyar.

After a working consultation of the Government, Prime Minister Janša and Minister of Agriculture Jože Podgoršek visited the Panvita company. Today Panvita Group incorporates 10 affiliated organisations that employ over 600 individuals and realise their responsibility to the production of ecologically sustainable food products and sustainable animal husbandry. Panvita Group combines three inter-related activities: agriculture, meat and meat products, and ecology and energetics. The meeting with the management focused on the presentation of the company, which is an important pillar of Slovenian food security and cooperates with 2,000 family farms on a contractual basis.

The visit to Panvita was followed by a working lunch for the Prime Minister and representatives of the Hungarian Self-Governing Ethnic Community of Pomurje. The meeting with the Prime Minister, State Secretary Vinko Gorenak and Director of the Office for Nationalities Stane Baluh was attended by Ferenc Horváth, President of the Hungarian Self-Governing Ethnic Community of Pomurje, and Zsuzsanna Bači and Dušan Orban, Vice-Presidents of the Community. At the working lunch, cooperation with the Government, a fund supporting the development of ethnically mixed areas on both sides of the border, and the activities of the Cultural and Tourism Youth Association were discussed. 

The working lunch was followed by a visit to the Diocese of the Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Slovenia and a meeting with the leaders of the Diocese, Bishop Leon Novak and Inspector Bojan Prosič. The meeting centred on a discussion on the functioning and importance of the Evangelical Church in Slovenia, the COVID-19 pandemic, which has also affected the activities of religious communities, and the Diocese’s work for the common good.

The Prime Minister then visited the MOL Slovenija company in Murska Sobota and met with the management. The topics of conversation were the expansion of the company’s business and the trends of petroleum product prices on the global market and in Slovenia.

The visit to MOL Slovenija was followed by a meeting with Catholic Bishop of Murska Sobota Peter Štumpf. The meeting was also attended by Minister for Slovenians Abroad Helena Jaklitsch. The life and work of the Diocese and cooperation with Slovenians in Porabje were discussed.

Before the public debate, the Prime Minister also met with the Mayor of the Municipality of Lendava, Janez Magyar. Their discussion focused on the development of the municipality.

The regional visit of Prime Minister Janez Janša to Pomurje ended, as is customary, with a meeting with mayors, businesspeople and other actors of economic development in the region, which took place in the theatre and concert hall in Lendava.