Govt Announces €7.7bn Priority Investment Plan for Infrastructure, Environment, Housing, Energy, Regional Development & More

By , 19 Jun 2020, 11:30 AM Politics
Govt Announces €7.7bn Priority Investment Plan for Infrastructure, Environment, Housing, Energy, Regional Development & More pexels.com CC-by-0

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STA, 18 June 2020 - The government has compiled a list of key investments that will be given priority treatment in administrative procedures so as to help kick-start the economy. The list currently features 187 investments worth EUR 7.7 billion and will be updated on an ongoing basis, Environment Minister Andrej Vizjak told the press on Thursday.

The minister said the main intention of the third stimulus package and the list of investments was to promote the implementation of projects which had come to a standstill due to bureaucratic complications.

A special task force will examine the projects giving them a priority mark based on their feasibility and whether their finances are already clear, he explained after the government session.

It will get down to work in the coming days, "starting with the projects which are closest to being implemented and which can be brought to life fastest".

The task force will feature representatives of agencies and other offices which are key in the process of obtaining permits.

This new approach could well halve the duration of certain administrative procedures, Vizjak said, adding that "the change at the helm of many institutions important for obtaining permits" would also make these offices act in a less bureaucratic manner.

The list features 22 environment projects worth EUR 310 million and 19 energy projects worth EUR 650 million, including a new reactor at Nuclear Power Plant in Krško.

There are also many transport projects, worth a combined EUR 4.5 billion.

Regional development projects, among them projects from health, education, culture etc, are worth more than EUR 2 billion.

"The government believes that starting an investment cycle in Slovenia does not only mean preserving jobs but also creating new ones. Not only in construction but also in many other industries which are related to construction ...."

Vizjak said this was the first list to start with, but it would be further refreshed with potential new investments before the summer holidays.

The list does not feature only publicly funded projects but also those funded from private sources.

"We also count a lot on the [EU post-Covid] recovery fund, which is still being consolidated and formed and which could be a source for many a project."

Also on the list are projects for which the finances have been fully secured, but are deadlocked due to failure to obtain permits.

The list moreover includes a number of projects which are needed systemically, from new homes for the elderly and housing to water supply, flood safety.

The minister believes the list is an important message to businesses showing that the government would like to encourage an investment cycle and "that everyone who would like to invest in environmentally feasible projects and who wants to see the country's further development in all areas, is welcome".

As for NEK 2, the second reactor at the Krško Nuclear Power Plant, Vizjak recalled it had been placed among important projects already back in 2006.

It has now made it to the list of key investments "because finally, siting procedures should be launched".

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS) has described the list as "a contribution to the revival of the economy and the preservation of many jobs".

The list, which was initially expected to include 50-odd projects, now features virtually all major public infrastructure projects currently under consideration.

Some of the biggest projects are ongoing construction of a new track between Divača and Koper, several smaller rail projects across the entire rail network, the north-south expressway in eastern Slovenia, dubbed the third development axis, and the passenger terminal in Ljubljana.

Energy projects on the list include the Mokrice hydro plant on the Sava, the second unit at Krško plus the radwaste repository, and a transmission line upgrade between Cirkovce and Pince in eastern Slovenia.

Several flood protection projects are on the list as well, along with multiple housing projects, construction of new care homes, hospitals and university buildings.

In the culture segment, the new wing of the National and University Library, dubbed NUK2, made the cut along with a renovation of the SNG Drama theatre in Ljubljana and the National Archives building.

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