Southeastern Slovenia is geographically and sociologically divided into Dolenjska, Bela krajina and Kočevsko-ribniška. In terms of area, it is the largest region, covering 2,675 km2, with 3/4 of the area covered with forest. Jugovzhodna Slovenija has a very favorable position in connection with neighboring countries, with seven capital cities within a radius of 500 km and two major ports within a radius of 200 km, which makes the region economically open and accessible. The advantage of the region is a globally oriented economy, good geographical location and natural resources, and its main disadvantage is its high dependence on large companies. According to the level of development, Jugovzhodna Slovenija is in third place among all Slovenian regions according to the Development Risk Index (DRI), after Osrednjeslovenska (Osrednjeslovenska) and Gorenjska regions. The region has a strong export orientation, one of the lowest unemployment rates and the highest share of R&D expenditure in GDP among Slovenian regions (4.4%). It boasts a rich industrial tradition that has made an important contribution to the development of the region as a whole. The leading companies in the region are Krka, Revoz, Akrapovič, Adria Mobil, Terme Krka, Trimo, Dana, Kolpa, HYB, Riko, Mikrografija and Yaskawa. The region’s over-dependence on large companies represents an opportunity to encourage the development of small and medium-sized enterprises.
The ministerial delegation first met at a working conference in Ribnica, where government representatives were greeted by Ribnica Mayor Samo Pogorelc. In his address, the Mayor of Ribnica thanked the Government for its attention to the municipalities. He highlighted the higher per capita pay for municipalities and the fact that the government recognized the importance of municipalities. “In previous governments, I missed this efficiency and the awareness that mayors and municipalities are the ones who make money and resources for the people,” Pogorelc said. He also thanked the government for the agreed grant and expressed hope that it would be willing to listen to the topic of co-financing shares. “I am delighted to have such an effective government,” the Ribnica mayor added.
At the working meeting, ministers spoke mainly about projects in the region relating to long-term care, justice, cohesion and EU funding, economic opportunities, education, culture, home affairs, agriculture, health and administrative services. The government has paid a lot of attention to infrastructure projects, illegal migration, Roma issues and digitalisation. A public tender is currently underway for the construction of open broadband networks of the next generation (GOŠO 5). In south-eastern Slovenia, 1,869 “white spots” (areas without internet access) were identified, of which more than 60% were covered by GOŠO 5.
After the working consultation, Prime Minister Janša visited KEKO-OPREMA in Žužemberk, where he met with the company’s management and spoke about the challenges facing the company in the context of the coronavirus crisis. He then met with the Krka leadership in Novo mesto and continued his visit to the Novo mesto diocese, where he met with Bishop Msgr. Andrej Sajet.
KEKO-OPREMA in Žužemberk is engaged in the production and development of materials and equipment for the production of multilayer electronic components (MLCC, VDR, LTCC, chip inductors, EMI filters, etc.), other equipment for the production of electronic components and custom-made equipment for process automation . Today, the company’s philosophy is shaped by a team of highly motivated engineers and designers. The management of KEKO-OPREMA, which focuses mainly on global markets, highlighted the difficulties in the supply of microchips and the importance of a suitably qualified workforce. During the visit, the Prime Minister also met with the Mayor of Žužemberk, Jože Papež, with whom he discussed the issue of water supply in the municipality and important infrastructure projects. After visiting the company, the Prime Minister was received by representatives of the Suha Krajina Association of Peasant Women, who presented him with a hand-made potica.
Following the visit, Prime Minister Janez Janša met with Krka’s President Jože Colarič. They discussed Krka’s operations.
In the diocese of Novo mesto, the Prime Minister met with Bishop Msgr. Andrej Sajet and his colleagues. The meeting was dedicated to the discussion on the functioning of the diocese, the diocese’s plans for the future and the Catholic Church in Slovenia.
The Prime Minister concluded his regional visit with a public forum on the development of the South-East Slovenia region.