The Slovenia Times

MPs Back Closure of Four Embassies, Two Consulates


The proposal is not yet public, but is expected to be decided on by the cabinet on Thursday. Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec and committee chair Jožef Horvat would not name the embassies as they addressed reporters after the committee's session late last night, but Erjavec said it was embassies in four EU countries that had been mentioned on several occasions.

The foreign minister had indicated a while ago that the ministry was considering reducing the number of embassies in the Scandinavian region and the closure of the embassy in Portugal. Horvat said that the proposals were by and large also backed by the opposition, which was echoed by Erjavec as he expressed satisfaction with the discussion noting that MPs were aware the diplomatic network needed streamlining.

"It's necessary to make savings in this network too, although I'm not too happy with that as foreign minister. I'd obviously want even more of such diplomatic offices. But if the order is austerity, it should apply to everyone. He said one of the reasons for the decision to close embassies in EU countries was that many bilateral matters could be agreed at EU ministerial meetings in Brussels or Luxembourg.

The Foreign Ministry is to make a total of EUR 1.8m in savings a year with the closure of six diplomatic offices. "By scrapping the embassies, we'll save 1.4 million euros annually. Also planned is the closure of two consulates, which will bring a further 0.4 million euros in savings at the annual level," Erjavec said.

The government will debate the proposal for the streamlining of the diplomatic network tomorrow, so that Erjavec expects the closure process can be started on 1 June. The last embassy is to be closed in November.

The government will have the final say on the closure of consulates, where Erjavec expects more discussion yet. He said some of the ministers did not share the Foreign Ministry's views on the matter, but he would be "very surprised, if the government wanted to adopt different conclusions after today's debate".

The session dedicated to the diplomatic network started on Tuesday morning, but was then interrupted as the MPs met their colleagues from the Defence Committee to get briefed on the security assessment of the situation in Syria, after they had approved sending a Slovenian member to the UN observer mission there.

After this session, which too was held behind closed doors, Defence Committee chair Franc Jurša said that no conclusions had been adopted, but the MPs assessed that Syria was practically in a civil war.


More from Nekategorizirano