The Slovenia Times

Rehn Concerned about Speed of Slovenia's Reform Process


Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs Olli Rehn stated that in an answer to a written question by Austrian MEP Agnelika Werthmann (ALDE). The commissioner's response makes a reference to the Commission's May assessment of Slovenia's reform and budget programme which found that Slovenia had done little in the way of reforming its pension system or labour market, and that the programme for this year was not detailed enough.

The Commission also found then that the fiscal measures for 2013-2015 were not yet fully spelled out and that the country therefore ran the risk of failing to meet the goal of reducing its deficit below 3% of GDP. The Commission issued seven recommendations to Slovenia in spring, just one of which was new.

Since May austerity measures have taken effect under the omnibus fiscal consolidation act, and talks have been under way on reforming the pension system and the labour market, with the corresponding bills already sent to parliament.

The National Assembly has also passed acts that would enable the government to establish a sovereign holding and a bad bank, although both laws are still facing the threat of a referendum. Debate is also under way in parliament on the austerity budgets for 2013 and 2014.

In his answer to MEP, Rehn also makes a reference to the European Commission's spring forecast which projects the general government deficit for Slovenia to be at 4.3% of GDP this year, followed by 3.8% in 2013.

The Finance Ministry expects the deficit to be around 4.2% of GDP this year, while the budget deficit is to fall below 3% of GDP under the budget proposal for next year.

The Commission's spring forecast put the gross government debt to 58% of GDP by the end of next year.

The projections will be updated in the autumn forecast, due to be published on 7 November, which will also include a forecast for 2014.

As regards Slovenia's long term fiscal sustainability, Rehn's answer refers to the Commission's ageing report, which identified Slovenia as one of the seven EU member states that will see a substantial increase in public expenditure due to the ageing population.


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