The Slovenia Times

Govt says 100 days into term that it stayed true to its promises


Ljubljana - Taking stock of the government's first 100 days in office, cabinet members and party heads said on Thursday they were delivering on their pre-election announcements by committing to strengthening the welfare state, public health, and helping the people and the economy in uncertain times.

One of the things highlighted were "prudent and targeted measures against the high costs of living". "We have measures to get through the winter and we have measures looking at how we'll live in three years' time. Both need to be implemented," Prime Minister Robert Golob said.

"Our strategy rests on three pillars: energy, food and food supply chains, oil and oil products. We are seeking a balance with measures where each stakeholder - the state, traders and consumers - bears part of the burden of the higher prices. The key objective is to remove uncertainty," the government meanwhile wrote in a statement.

Golob identified inflation as the main challenge, saying "Europe has never before faced a winter of the kind ahead of us".

"Using rules that were created for times of fiscal saving makes no sense now and would be unwise," Golob added in what was also comment on a recent rebuke for from the Fiscal Council, the guardian of state finances.

Meanwhile, Infrastructure Minister Bojan Kumer highlighted among the measures adopted the regulation of fuel prices and the setting of maximum prices for electricity and natural gas for households and small business, while Economy Minister Matjaž Han also pointed to the aid to the corporate sector when it comes to the costs of electricity and gas.

Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities Luka Mesec for his part stressed that "we offered help to the poorest households first", assessing that 63,000 households will be covered by the energy allowance.

Also announcing a tough winter, Mesec added that other measures, such as a food allowance and price regulation for certain types of food, were being discussed too.

As regards foreign policy, the government statement underlines Slovenia's commitment to stay among core EU countries. It also speaks of a "proactive stance of the prime minister at the European level", while singling out the solidarity gas supply agreement with Italy.

Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon highlighted Slovenia's active role in the issue of European integration in the Western Balkans, where the country initiated a number of topics and contributed to talks and solutions. She pointed to Slovenia's role in the launch of accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania and in opening the debate on accelerating the European path for Bosnia-Herzegovina.

She also pointed out that Slovenia is already removing the fence on its border with Croatia, thus "making the country humane". On relations with Croatia, she added: "[Border] arbitration applies, implementation as well, and so does Schengen".

Meanwhile, stabilising matters and securing healthy foundations for the healthcare system were the primary goals listed by Health Minister Danijel Bešič Loredan.

He said an end would be made to a 30-year curse that made it look nothing can be changed in the system, while Golob announced a "war on corruption in healthcare".

From 1 September on, all healthcare services are paid for, and within six months a digital platform will be introduced through which everyone will be able to register for a service at a location with the shortest waiting time. To this end, an emergency bill has been drafted which earmarks EUR 200 million to shorten queues.

The government's negotiating positions will soon be ready to address the distorted healthcare pay system. Mental health and dementia will not go unaddressed either.

While the minister also expects a tough winter, he said the system was ready for a potential new Covid-19 wave. Golob said Slovenia would fight the virus as "an open society...and protect the most vulnerable".

Meanwhile, the government statement moreover says the pandemic also "laid bare the problems of modern democracy and showed us how little it takes for it to turn into its antithesis".

"In the government of Robert Golob, we are committed to the rule of law. We are aware that only strong and independent institutions can defend the democratic character of our society," wrote the centre-left government, comprised of the newly established Freedom Movement, the SocDems and the Left.

Golob spoke today of an "excessively toxic political culture" under the previous government. "We showed that it is possible to operate differently, that there is no need to create a rift and crises and to put politics before people," he added.


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