The Slovenia Times

Pension rise remains open as govt discusses fiscal challenges


Speaking to the press after the government session, Finance Minister Dušan Mramor said that Slovenia was facing the issue of fiscal sustainability in the long run.

"A major problem of Slovenia's is that we are facing an extreme risk of long-term sustainability of public finances, being the only EU member state with a risk of long-term fiscal sustainability."

We also share a risk of mid-term fiscal sustainability with some EU members, while there are no such problems in the short-run, he said.

"Given that Slovenia has the fastest ageing population, the challenge of demographic trends should be given attention in a bid to preserve fiscal sustainability."

Mramor believes financing population ageing could become sustainable if students entered the labour market earlier, workers retired later, and the situation on the labour market improved.

He therefore asked the ministers to find the best possible measures each in their own area that would be implemented this and next years.

While short-term measures were also debated, the government decided to first clear up some methodological issues with the European Commission to see if they are needed.

Challenges in the healthcare system were also on the agenda, focussing on making the system as effective as possible to stabilize the spending on long-term care.

Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec thought health and school reforms were among the most important ones. "Some, including the finance minister, believe pension reform is necessary, but we agreed today that it is not," he told the press.

The government will brief the ESS, the main industrial relations forum in the country, on the document on Wednesday.

The debate on the ESS will serve to upgrade the document, whereupon it will be sent to parliament by 24 March and to Brussels by 15 April.

Mramor and Pensioners' Party president Karl Erjavec meanwhile failed to find common ground on a pension rise for this year as proposed by pension manager ZPIZ.

While Mramor did not wish to discuss the matter with reporters saying it was not on the government's agenda, Erjavec said that Mramor continued to oppose it.

Erjavec nevertheless expects pensions to increase and Agriculture Minister Dejan Židan also support the rise.

Given that the rise is in line with the law, Židan, leader of the Social Democrats, hopes a compromise will be found in the coming weeks.

"I believe the budget would allow for this option," he said.


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