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A Fight Between Prime Minister Golob And Minister Jevšek Led To The Latter Leaving A Cabinet Meeting!

It could well be that the next Minister to leave the government would be the Minister of Cohesion and Regional Development, Aleksander Jevšek. Accusations of ineffective management of the ministry, of disastrous results, were already piling up before the August floods – and these have only further exposed the powerlessness of the Minister and his team. In this tense situation, an explosive argument between the Minister and the Prime Minister is said to have taken place at the last cabinet meeting.

At one point, the argument escalated to the point where Minister Aleksander Jevšek stood up and left the room. Our source says that he does not intend to return to this situation, at least for the time being. He is to be replaced by his party colleague, State Secretary Marko Koprivc. But even he will find it very difficult to defend the disastrous results of the ministry to the Prime Minister.

If the discontent continues, former police officer Jevšek will be the next in line of ministers to resign. The Minister from the ranks of the Social Democrats party (Socialni demokrati – SD) and his team have been under attack ever since it became clear that the infectious diseases clinic in Maribor, the nursing hospital, as well as the energy renovation of the hospital in Nova Gorica, will not be built with European Union funds.

At that time, the Minister appeared on the national media outlet, on the show Odmevi (Echoes), where he confronted the former Minister of Cohesion, Zvone Černač. The latter pointed out that “Slovenia is the penultimate country in the recovery and resilience plan. We have not spent even 5% of the funds so far, and yet this plan was approved on the 1st of July 2021. Nothing has been spent except €50 million, and the advance payment that was already made during our government’s term, in autumn 2021, and that is the main problem.”

The arrival of this year’s floods has added to the pressure on the Minister’s non-operational team. Shortly after it became clear that the damage caused would be catastrophic, the President of the European Commission visited Slovenia and promised us €400 million in aid from the Solidarity Fund. A much larger financial package of loans, weighing €2.7 billion, was waiting for Slovenia in the Pandemic Recovery Fund after the Covid-19 pandemic.

The fact that this is a truly non-operational team became clear during the visit of Ursula von der Leyen. The President of the European Commission and the Prime Minister agreed to set up a special working group to assist the Ministry officials in preparing the necessary documentation for Slovenia to receive the aforementioned funds. This was interpreted by many in the public as a kind of learning support for the Minister and his team.

Is Golob too disinterested?

The disinterested Prime Minister is also partly to blame for the poor performance of the ministry and the poor absorption of EU funds. As former Minister of Cohesion Zvone Černač revealed in a recent interview, the Ministry of Cohesion and Regional Development was not one of the Prime Minister’s priorities. “I have not heard that Mr Golob, as Prime Minister, has ever dealt with this issue. The previous Prime Minister did, though. Operationally – at least once a month,” he said.

Ž. K.

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