The Slovenia Times

Juncker Says Slovenia's Situation Serious, No Time to Lose


Asked about the gravity of Slovenia's situation and potential need for help, Juncker said his working hypothesis was not that Slovenia would ask for a bailout but rather that it would do all that is necessary.

Janša, who also said that time was pressing but that Slovenia was still in control of its fate, presented to Juncker plans for labour and pension reform and measures for bailing out the banking sector.

He announced that the Slovenian parliament would debate the majority of the planned measures this month and that all procedures should be concluded before the end of the year to enable Slovenia to enter 2013 as a much more healthy and stable country.

"Slovenia missed a lot in recent years, which is why it needs to take important steps faster now," Janša told the press.

He highlighted the stabilisation of the banking sector as the most important short-term measure. Janša announced a bill addressing the issue in a few weeks and a vote in parliament at the session that starts this month.

He stressed that Slovenia also needed to continue reducing its budget deficit, something that will be reflected in the budget bills for 2013 and 2014.

The third urgent step includes labour and pension reform, which should also be enforced by the start of next year.

Juncker, who received Janša at the initiative of the Slovenian side, added that the false impression was sometimes created that reform is less vital in small member states. He noted that all eurozone members were responsible for stability in the common currency area.

Janša agreed, saying that while "the fact that we share responsibility has not been in the focus of the Slovenian public...this is changing now".

He pointed out that the situation was serious across the EU an that "Luxembourg, a country much richer than Slovenia, is also adopting measures to rationalise and reform the public sector and many other measures that are making the country resistant to the thrusts of the crisis".

Slovenia is trying to catch the last train to avoid foreign financial aid with these measures, Janša told the evening news show on the commercial POP TV later today.

"The word 'if' is implied in all the guessing whether Slovenia will have to ask for foreign financial aid. If we don't do these things, this becomes a bare fact, but it doesn't have to be this way. It is for this that the government is trying," he said.

The PM reiterated his earlier statements that Slovenia was in danger of facing a liquidity crisis in October should the proposed measures not be implemented.

It is Slovenia's last chance to save itself, Janša stressed, adding that the measures could be adopted by the end of the year. "I think that there is enough time for rational people," he noted.

"Technically as well as in practice it is possible, and what is more, Slovenia doesn't have any other positive alternative," the PM told POP TV.


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