The Slovenia Times

Delo points to risks in NLB privatisation


Warnings from Brussels sent to Slovenia through unofficial channels and Slovenia's surprise over the information leakage show how far apart the two sides are in allegedly constructive talks on the fate of the country's largest bank.

The Commission has let Slovenia know it should consistently respect the agreements it has signed, and that is has absolutely no understanding for creative solutions the government has put forward in exchange for not selling NLB.

Communicating through media briefings is not a good sign for a breakthrough, as it only increases distrust.

In pursuing its short-term goal of postponing the NLB privatisation until after this year's general election, the government has overlooked all risks and slaps in the face that could come from Brussels.

The government could be forced to sell NLB's subsidiaries in the Balkans, which would make NLB a provincial savings bank. But a much harder blow for the bank would be having to return EUR 1.5bn in state aid it has received.

And since it has already violated its commitments by not selling NLB until the end of 2017, Slovenia faces additional compensation measures that could make it harder for the bank to do business and could lower its price.

PM Miro Cerar's photo sessions with Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker last December and occasional meetings between Finance Minister Mateja Vraničar Erman and uncompromising Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager have not yet yielded results, Delo concludes its commentary headlined Photo Session In Vain.


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