Bill passed on loan guarantees for key infrastructure projects
The law caps the loan guarantee for the Koper-Divača rail project at EUR 417 million, securing up to EUR 360 million in guarantees for the expressway between Slovenj Gradec and Velenje in the north and between Novo Mesto and Osredek in the south, two sections of the link known as Third Development Axis.
Infrastructure Minister Alenka Bratušek said the purpose of the law was not to allow the start of the implementation of the two key infrastructure projects, but rather to make their financing cheaper.
The law is to enable the state-owned companies 2TDK and DARS to negotiate much lower interest rates for the planned loans.
On the first reading of the bill in parliament, Bratušek argued Slovenia could save more than EUR 8.34 million a year for loans with maturity of between 20 and 30 years.
Several deputies expressed reservations about including what are two very different projects into the same law.
The most vocal opposition to the law came from the Democratic Party (SDS), which sought to extract the guarantee for the rail project from the bill by means of amendments, but failed.
The opposition party suggested the government draw up a loan guarantee bill for modernisation of Slovenia's entire rail network, not just the Koper-Divača link.
The party, which endorsed the bill on first reading, also sought to limit borrowing costs at 0.2% of the loan principal, while the government set the limit at 0.5%.
The law is also opposed by Vili Kovačič, the petitioner who unsuccessfully bid to defeat the government law on the Koper-Divača rail project in two referenda in 2017 and 2018.
Kovačič announced that he would petition the Constitutional Court to examine the law and file a bid for referendum.