The Slovenia Times

PM Presents Cost-Cutting


Janša said on the sidelines of the meeting that the government would first deal with public spending related to public office holders, and then with the cost-cutting potential related to public procurement. This way the government wants to lead the way.

In terms of investments, there is not much room for savings, the PM explained, adding that the investment budget had been stripped thin.

He stressed that these were only guidelines which are yet to be presented to social partners.

According to Janša, the government will consider tougher measures after the initial wave of austerity.

"If we are able to find enough reserves in the first two segments, painful measures will not be needed, despite the fact that some European countries which are in better position than Slovenia adopted them at least temporarily."

Janša told reporters it does not make sense to go into detail before social partners are acquainted with the measures and before at least an attempt at reaching a consensus is made.

"Deputies are the ones who will eventually decide on this, and coalition deputies bear the biggest responsibility, which is why the government found it right to discuss the measures with them first," he explained.

Deputies were tight-lipped ahead of the meeting at the government palace, noting that they will only be acquainted with the proposed measures.

Deputies and representatives of the government will try to reach consensus on the proposed measures before they are presented on Thursday to social partners at a session of the Economic and Social Council.

Finance Minister Janez Šušteršič told reporters ahead of the meeting that the government will present what had been agreed on within the government in the recent days, and see the response of deputies.

What will be discussed tonight will also be debated at the government session tomorrow, he said, adding that these were only guidelines for talks with social partners and that many things could be changed.

Šušteršič is satisfied with the cost-cutting measures proposed by ministers. He assessed that the readiness among the cabinet members for austerity is considerably greater than in the previous months.

Jože Tanko, the head of the Democrats (SDS) deputy group, confirmed that deep cuts in all areas have been announced. "The situation is serious...everyone will be affected and there will be no exceptions."

Unofficially, one of the rights that could be affected by austerity is maternity benefits. Slovenia currently provides full wage maternity benefits for a period of year, which more generous than neighbouring Austria and most EU members.

According to commercial broadcaster POP TV, the government is mulling a "100-90-80" system, providing full benefits for the first three months, 90% for the next three and 80% for the remaining 6 months.

But with Slovenia still registering a relatively low fertility rate, cuts in maternity benefits could run into opposition, including from the pro-family coalition partner, New Slovenia (NSi).

NSi president Ljudmila Novak said that her party would like to see this field affected as little as possible, while NSi deputy group head Matej Tonin added that the party would not support such a proposal.


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