NEWS IN SHORT

Slovak cabinet meets in Brezno

THE CABINET of Robert Fico travelled to the central Slovak town of Brezno on February 13 to hold its regular weekly session. The cabinet travels to various towns of the country to get information about their situation first hand.

THE CABINET of Robert Fico travelled to the central Slovak town of Brezno on February 13 to hold its regular weekly session. The cabinet travels to various towns of the country to get information about their situation first hand.

The biggest problem of people living in this region is high unemployment. Such complaints as this dominated Fico's meeting with about 20 locals in front of the city council, the Aktualne.sk news server reported.

The labour office reported the jobless rate in the Brezno District at 12.6 percent at the end of 2007, and locals perceive it as high.

The Železiarne Podbrezová steel mill, which employs more than 4,000 people as the biggest local employer, is keeping the region afloat.

At the end of the 1990s, the wood processing industry looked good in prospective. However, companies gave up their plans due to bad transport infrastructure. The only bigger foreign investor here is the Austrian company Rettenmayer, which runs a wood processing firm in Polomka, Aktualne.sk wrote.

The cabinet discussed the social and economic situation of the Brezno region and possibilities for its improvement. It identified bad roads, a missing industrial zone, long-term unemployment and a need for tourism development as the crucial points of this region.

At the session the cabinet agreed upon a development plan to speed up the reconstruction of local roads, support construction of an industrial park and develop tourist centres, as these priorities cannot be carried out without state assistance. Financial support from state coffers will depend on concrete projects, the ČTK newswire.

The cabinet hopes that better road infrastructure will draw investors to the planned industrial park Brezno-Rohožná.

Within the support of tourism, the biathlon resort Osrblie will be improved and historical railways between Podbrezová and Červená Skala, Brezno and Tisovec should be put back into operation.

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