The Slovenia Times

Government in Session over Telekom Sale


Arriving at the session, the leader of the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) Karl Erjavec said it would be best if the SSH reviewed the matter again.

He said the supervisors had left the decision to the government because they lacked "certain clarifications".

Indeed, when the supervisors were deciding whether to approve the sale to Cinven earlier this week they concluded the sale would be appropriate and economically viable.

However, they left the final decision to the government due to the uncertainty if Cinven fit the definition of strategic investor, a prerequisite set down in a government decree when a list of 15 companies to be privatised was adopted in May 2013.

Another issue the supervisors wanted the government do decide upon was provisions from the sales contract envisaging state guarantees for Telekom's ongoing anti-trust cases at courts. Erjavec believes this is an issue worth the government's attention.

Meanwhile, the leader of the SocDems Dejan Židan repeated his stance today that his party would like the sale to be halted.

The SD, which has had serious second thoughts about privatisation, will try to convince the government to interpret the supervisors' decision as "not giving the green light to the Telekom sale", Židan said as he arrived at the cabinet session.

Statements by some of the ministers of the PM Miro Cerar's SMC party before the government session also indicate it is unclear how ministers will would even if unofficial reports suggest the SMC backed the sale on Friday.

Asked if he would vote in line with the SMC's decision, Justice Minister Goran Klemenčič said he was not a party member and added: "Today I have more questions than answers."

SMC vice-president and Public Administration Minister Boris Koprivnikar meanwhile said he would vote "in line with my consciousness and understanding" of the situation, "which is in line with the SMC stance".

"If the decision was put to the government's vote, all ministers must get acquainted with the matter and make a decision according to their consciousness and knowledge," he added.

The government session is attended also by chairman of the SSH management board Matej Pirc and member of the board Matej Runjak, who were however tight-lipped before the session.

Not giving any statement were also Finance Minister Dušan Mramor and his State Secretary Metod Dragonja, who is in charge of privatisation.

The government being the SSH's only shareholder, its session is in fact the SSH's general assembly, which means the final decision on the sale could be taken today.

While criticising the failure of the SSH to take the final decision, PM Cerar said on Friday that the government would do its job, but declined to speculate about what the final decision would be like.

Both Cerar and Mramor were however disappointed with the SSH's failure to take the final decision, arguing the SSH custodian of state assets had been set up to exclude politics from making expert decisions. This view was repeated today also by DeSUS leader Erjavec.

Cinven is the sole bidder for a 72.75% stake in Telekom Slovenije, the biggest company in this round of privatisation. Last week the fund said it expected a decision by 10 June, whereupon it would be unable to commit to its obligations.

The opposition United Left (ZL) meanwhile issued a statement today reiterating a view that selling such a strategic company was a major mistake which will cost Slovenia a great share of economic sovereignty.

Deciding on it on Sunday morning is yet "another proof that the government is working hand in hand with foreign financial capital" and that "it has yielded to the ultimatum of speculative capital fund Cinven, which demanded the decision within ten days".

It also announced to do all in its power to establish personal and political responsibility of those who have taken part in the process of "Telekom's dirty sale", including setting up a parliamentary inquiry.


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