STA, 5 November 2020 - Discussing late on Wednesday the planned eviction of NGOs from the Metelkova compound, the parliamentary Culture Committee decided after almost five hours of debate to call on the government to provide new premises for the NGOs by 1 June 2021.
The Culture Ministry has called on the NGOs using the state-owned facilities at Metelkova 6 to move out by the end of January 2021 because of renovation works.
Nataša Sukič from the opposition Left said the NGOs had been notified of the eviction on the day that epidemic was declared again. She said no alternative had been offered or an opportunity for reaching some kind of agreement.
The Left had proposed that the committee call on the ministry and the government to abandon its plans to evict the NGOs and that in case of a renovation a new temporarily location be found for the NGOs. After the renovation, they should be able to return to the compound under the same terms. However, the proposal was voted down.
Culture Ministry State secretary Ignacija Fridl Jarc said the ministry had all the necessary legal ground for emptying the building. She said currently 18 users of the compound were registered at the ministry, ten of which were culture NGOs.
She said the notification to the users had been sent on 16 October, while the epidemic was declared on 21 October.
According to Fridl Jarc, the procedures regarding Metelkova begun years ago to solve the spatial issues of the Museum of Natural History. Culture Minister Vasko Simoniti also confirmed that the premises in Metelkova are to be used by the museum.
Sukič said the ministry had the right to terminate lease contracts with the users of the compound but with a one-year and not a three-month notice. She called for dialogue between the ministry and the NGOs.
Marko Koprivc, MP for the opposition Social Democrats (SD), sees the ministry's move as an attempt at subjugating all social subsystems in the country. Lidija Divjak Mirnik from the Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) also called for dialogue.
Coalition MPs Jožef Lenart from the Democrats (SDS) and Aleksander Reberšek from New Slovenia (NSi) pointed to the fact that the users of the Metelkova compound were renting the spaces for free and that not all associations had such privileges.
Violeta Tomić from the Left stressed these were NGOs and professional organisations. She also wondered why the building must be emptied so quickly when the funds for renovation are planned only in the 2023 budget.