The Slovenia Times

Parties want funds for science to increase to 1-3% of GDP


The ruling Modern Centre Party (SMC) would raise the budgetary funds for science to 1% of GDP, but did not specify in what period, whereas the non-parliamentary Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) would also raise them to 1%, but it would do it gradually, by 2022.

The opposition Left would also raise public funds for R&D to 1% by 2022. Similarly, if in government, the opposition New Slovenia (NSi) would raise them by 30 million euro annually to eventually reach 1% of GDP.

Meanwhile, the goals of the coalition Social Democrats (SD) and the opposition Democratic Party (SDS) are much more ambitious. Both would allocate 3% of GDP for science, yet they would approach it differently.

The SD would raise the funds already this year, and then pursue the goal of public but also private funds for science to amount to a combined 3% of GDP by the end of the government's term.

On the other hand, the SDS would seek to create conditions for budgetary revenue to facilitate accelerated funding for R&D projects, especially those undertaken in collaboration with businesses to improve the economy's competitiveness.

The party also highlighted for the STA the EU's commitment under which EU members should earmark 3% of GDP for R&D by 2020.

Noting that Slovenia does not invest enough in science and R&D, the non-parliamentary People's Party (SLS) believes these funds should be raised at least to the European average of 1% of GDP.

Meanwhile, the non-parliamentary United Left and Unity believe funds for science should be increased as soon as possible to the EU level of 0.75% of GDP, with the final goal being 1%, which the parties say is what the best EU countries earmark for this purpose.

The non-parliamentary Pirate Party's goal is to rise funds for R&D to exceed the EU average by 50%, with a view to eventually doubling the European average, while Andrej Čuš and the Greens would raise the funds to the 2013 level of 2.58% of GDP.

Several parties did not specify by how much they would raise funds for science.

The coalition Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) would raise funds for both science and culture, saying the most advanced countries such as Scandinavian and Benelux countries should serve as a role model.

Given the budgetary restrictions imposed by the fiscal rule, it believes funds for science should rise gradually, as the financing of Slovenia's public debt decreases.

The opposition Alenka Bratušek Party would raise funds for science already in 2019, but believes private companies should be encouraged to contribute their part.

Good State, having put the fight against corruption in the focus of its agenda, is in favour of raising funds for science too, but stresses the need for good oversight.

The parties also have different views on how to contain brain drain, with several stressing it is good for young people to get experience abroad, but the government should find ways to attract them back.

As for private initiative in Slovenia's largely public educational system, the SDS and NSi would encourage private educational institutions as a welcome supplement to public education.

Contrary to the two, DeSUS, the Left, SD, LMŠ and Bratušek's party are against privatising the country's educational system, with DeSUS and the Left the strongest opponents.


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