The Slovenia Times

Finance and Minister of Justice - At first glance the Most Credible Pillars of New Government



Mramor, who has already served as finance minister in 2002-2004, sees Slovenia's way out of crisis in a solid financial system, that services the economy and population.

The first priority in the given difficult situation should be economic independence, which can only be achieved through a competitive economy, Mramor told parliament's Finance and Monetary Policy Committee.

"The economy is weak, but if supported appropriately, we have a chance to break out of the crisis," Mramor said, pinpointing macroeconomic imbalances as the key obstacle to growth and higher employment.

Slovenia has been grappling with mid-term macroeconomic imbalances for the second year running, he said, identifying fiscal imbalances and those in the financial and labour markets as the most problematic.

"The situation is serious and there is no manoeuvring room left for political games or blockades," Mramor said, announcing a restrictive fiscal policy.

Once the general government deficit is cut below 3% of GDP, it is necessary to start reducing debt below 60% of GDP, which requires cuts in public expenditure, he said.

He plans to boost budget revenue through more effective operation of the Financial Administration and economic growth, and streamline spending.

Mramor could not say yet whether a supplementary budget for the year would be necessary, noting that the government had only a month left to draw up a budget for next year. He also announced a bill to implement the fiscal rule.

Due to lack of equity capital in Slovenia, Mramor sees an opportunity in privatisation. He believes the sale-off of 15 companies on priority list for privatisation must continue, but must be managed well and a strategic reflection is needed. He also believes it is necessary to stimulate FDI.

Mramor also announced that as soon as he became minister he would set up an analytical department at the Finance Ministry.

Candidate forJustice Minister Klemenčič said task forces would be set up to study legislative reform since many laws adopted in the past two decades were frequently amended.

He also suggested anti-graft overview of legislation would be launched, a system where every piece of legislation is verified prior to adoption to see whether it was influenced by lobbies.

He is in favour of permanent judicial tenure, though he supports the introduction of a probation period for judges, in line with the commitments set down in the coalition agreement.

Permanent tenure has been the object of much revile on the right, with centre-right governments seeking to reform the system due to what they claim is widespread abuse of judicial powers.

Overall Klemenčič will seek to "strengthen the accountability" of court presidents, and office holders across the justice system and at the prosecution service.

"Internal control mechanisms are not working...but they should not be corrected with fire and sword," he pointed out.

Another area Klemenčič said he would tackle is the modernisation of the judiciary with the implementation of digital services.

According to him, an open system should be set where every citizen could monitor the progress of court proceedings in real time, though he was quick to point out that voyeurism would be discouraged.

Moreover, the serving of subpoenas will be upgraded, modelled on the system that the Supreme Court has put in place with respect to the serving of documents in debt enforcement procedures.

The opposition in particular used the hearing to highlight the worrisome state of the judiciary, but Klemenčič retorted that the judiciary cannot solve all the problems itself, nor is the situation as bad as portrayed.

He also rejected allegations from the ranks of the Democrats (SDS) that nobody is being held accountable for mistakes, but acknowledged that oversight needed to be tweaked.

Asked about the propriety of commenting court decisions, a recurring topic over the years, Klemenčič noted that court decisions had long been beyond reproach but then Slovenia shifted to the other extreme of "neither respecting nor honouring" court decisions.

"We've never been able to find middle ground...Debates about court decisions are typically very personal, political, and often indecent," he said, adding that he rejected this type of discourse and would not partake in it.

The nominee also commented on the low level of trust in the judiciary, but brushed this off saying that people trust politicians even less. "This is a reflection of the state of mind, not just in the judiciary but among those who provide the commentary: politicians, the media, and others."

SDS members also touched on rallies in front of courts in support of their jailed leader Janez Janša. As Klemenčič notes, protests are legitimate as long as they are not violent, but he personally has "major issues in that [these protests] are very much politically staged."

As the former president of the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption, Klemenčič was also faced with the question of what he will do if the commission finds fault with the nomination of outgoing PM Alenka Bratušek for EU commissioner.

He said he would "definitely not keep quiet" and would "react appropriately" if the watchdog detects violations.


More from Nekategorizirano