The Slovenia Times

Mental Bailout



What happened next is typical Slovenian political folklore that should be patented in Brussels: our "wannabe" upper chamber of parliament, the National Assembly, immediately vetoed both of the adopted laws for stabilising the banking system and reorganising the management of state owned assets. The main reason: the Government allegedly wants to sell everything in the country without parliamentary approval. How will they be able to achieve this "undercover operation" in front of the entire Slovenian population and Europe was not explained, but it is important that we have a new political show and that the national council once again showed its "independence" and has its own place in the sun and therefore should not be terminated as suggested by some in the government.

To be on the safe side and to ensure that the laws would not be "accidentally" implemented despite the veto, the Union of Energy Workers filed signatures to begin referendum proceedings on the Act for the Slovenia Sovereign Holding which would manage the state owned assets. This was then followed by the Union of Chemical, Non-Metal and Rubber Industries of Slovenia (KNG) announcing a few days later that it had collected more than the 2,500 signatures needed to launch referendum proceedings on the Act which would pave the way for a state-owned bad bank. KNG is opposing a "Bad Bank" Act because the trade union wants to hear from the government what its plans are for the chemical industry (?). European leaders can now just hold their breath and observe this traditional Slovenian democracy at work. In the meantime, they can start collecting some EUR 4bn which may be the cost of the "Slovenian Bill of Political Immaturity". As the cherry on the pie, the announcement was made by the public sector unions that they will not support pension and labour market reform if the government will adopt further reductions in salaries of the public sector inside the proposed budget for the next year. And all despite the fact that it is very clear to everybody that Slovenia has limited access to financial markets and it's not even clear whether we are able to finance the 3% budget deficit which will still exist following the "unacceptable" and "excessive" austerity measures.

We can definitely not overlook the fact that the government bears a significant portion of the responsibility because of their stubborn insistence on their rights and their inability to listen to any proposal from the opposition or experts from outside the government. Combined together, we have the perfect ingredients for a well-known Greek scenario which even the notoriously calming Finance Minister will not be able to prevent. The fact is that Slovenian society is, for now, just not prepared to acknowledge that we were living well above our real capacity in previous years. We are not prepared to pay higher taxes, to reorganise the public sector, to change our lifestyle. This has also a lot to do with the low or zero credibility of the politicians who preach about the necessary changes, but still this sad fact does not change anything. Sooner or later we will have to recognise that the current situation is not a crisis anymore but the new reality that we must adapt to. Past development and political patterns will not bring new development. Blindly following the advice of increasingly archaic and clueless European bureaucrats and global "financial experts" also wont.


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