The Slovenia Times

Parties Make Progress in Fiscal Rule Talks


The officials agreed on the formula for the balancing of the state budget and committed to the solving of other open issues.

An agreement was also reached on the Fiscal Council, which is to oversee the implementation of the law as an independent body, and on exceptions to the rule.

The head of the opposition New Slovenia (NSi), Ljudmila Novak, said the new formula was stricter than the one originally proposed.

The coalition Social Democrats (SD) are very happy with the changes, while the opposition Alenka Bratušek Alliance (ZaAB) not so much.

The opposition Democratic Party (SDS) and United Left (ZL), which opposes the bill and would like to see it removed from the Constitution, were not invited to the talks.

SD head Dejan Židan elaborated on the formula. He said the fiscal rule allowed for the state to spend in the mid- and long-term only as much as it generated. A transitional period is also envisaged, he said.

According to Židan, it is important that the bill also allows for exceptions in case of extraordinary events and negative economic trends, so that social transfers, pensions and the functioning of public institutions could be protected, Židan said.

The National Assembly would vote on potential exceptions to the rule.

ZaAB head Alenka Bratušek said her party was concerned about the implementation of the bill. She said the stricter formula was unacceptable for the ZaAB, which did not want to see the economy and citizens "suffocated".

Židan commented on this by saying that PM Miro Cerar and the finance minister had put a lot of effort into the negotiations, so he sees no more room for manoeuvre.

Head of the deputy group of the ruling Party of the Modern Centre (SMC) Simona Kustec Lipicer said the debate had been "long and intense but constructive". Some open issues still need to be clarified, while some parties need to make their own consultations with the minister, she added.

The bill needs to be backed by a two-third majority in the 90-seat assembly. The SMC, DeSUS, SD, NSi and ZaAB together have 61 votes plus the two contributed by minority MPs, who also attended today's talks.

The head of the SMC deputy group said the amended proposal would be presented to the SDS at a separate meeting "to see if we can find common ground again".

The amended bill could be discussed by the relevant parliamentary committee next week, while it could be put on the agenda of the National Assembly in June.

The government-sponsored bill on the implementation of the golden fiscal rule passed the first reading on 30 January.

Being vague on the details, the bill included a separate pledge signed by parties that the details will be hashed out.


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