The Slovenia Times

Deal Reached to Implement Fiscal Rule in 2015



The agreement came after Prime Minister Alenka Bratušek yesterday ceded to the demands of the opposition despite arguing for months that 2015 was too early considering the present state of Slovenia's public finances, advocating 2017 instead.

However, Bratušek's Positive Slovenia (PS) seems to have convinced the other parties that the implementing law, which is required for such a constitutional amendment, would be framed so as to allow gradual balancing of public finances, according to statements after the meeting.

In exchange for the PM backtracking on the year of implementation, the opposition agreed to vote in favour of tighter referendum rules, which are also expected to be confirmed at tomorrow's session of parliament. The opposition has been on board for the referendum changes, but it threatened to withhold its support unless the fiscal rule is put in place first.

As an end result, the government will be shielded from referendum challenges to reforms, which helped bring down the Borut Pahor government, as the new rules would make it impossible to request referenda on laws dealing with taxes, customs duties and other levies.

Both the fiscal rule and changes to referendum rules will be put to a vote in the form of amendments to the Constitution at the National Assembly on Friday. Given the broad consensus, both are expected to muster the requisite two-thirds majority.

Opposition leader Janez Janša, the president of the Democrats (SDS), labelled the fiscal rule deal "an historic agreement on borrowing limits and removal of blockades to reform" in a Twitter message after the meeting.

He later told the press the confirmation of the fiscal rule and new referendum rules would give the government "the instruments to adopt the necessary measures", and assured that the opposition would vote in favour.

The results of the fiscal rule will be opposite to the fears voiced by some: the deal saves Slovenian pensions and wages, Janša said in reference to Bratušek's recent statements that enacting the fiscal rule in 2015 would involve massive pay and pension cuts.

According to Janša, today's deal also involves an agreement that no deputy group would contribute signatures in favour of a referendum on the Constitutional amendments.

PS deputy group leader Jani Möderndorfer, said the decision would "ensure the country's stability" and its reputation in the international community.

He said his party accepted 2015 after consultations with experts and knowing that implementation of the fiscal rule would be governed by the implementing act.

The meeting was picketed by a group of two dozen protesters chanting slogans against the fiscal rule, who said they would come back in front of the parliament tomorrow.


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