The Slovenia Times

Gas-wise, Delo predicts hard winter for companies


Ljubljana - Delo welcomes on Friday the government's decision to cut VAT on energy, labelling it "a welcome change in mentality after previous governments usually raised taxes". At the same time it urges more measures to help businesses get through a difficult winter when it is realistic to expect that gas supplies from Russia could stop.

However, cutting VAT on energy alone is not a solution that will help businesses face a difficult autumn, internationally or domestically. At home, we will be dealing with referendums and the world will be preparing for a recession, the newspaper says in the front-page commentary, headlined Don't Forget Companies.

The scenario that gas flows between Russia and Europe will be completely stopped in winter is entirely realistic, and despite the reassuring words from politicians, a list will have to be drawn up of who will get gas and who won't.

It is clear the largest industrial companies will be hit. Energy-intensive industrial companies, such as steelworks or glassworks, cannot operate with half the gas, so Delo expects the largest consumers will be shut down, perhaps for a month or two or even longer, depending on how bad the winter will be and how much solidarity Europe musters.

The government will have to have an honest conversation with the companies and clearly define how the gas will be shared. It would thus make sense to get ready with measures such as furlough and short-time work schemes, which proved very effective during the Covid pandemic, and would cost the country around 1% of GDP.

It will be key to relieve companies of labour costs and help them start working normally again when more gas becomes available or can be redirected from heating to industry.

"The real tests are yet to come for the Robert Golob government, and we will be able to make the first serious assessment of its ability to deliver as the current problems are getting solved. For now, it has mostly be pleasing its electorate."


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