Ljubljana – Freedom Movement leader Robert Golob, the presumptive prime minister-designate, has announced that the new government would impose energy price regulation when it takes office, targetting not just fuel but other energy sources as well.
“The prices of fuel and other energy sources, where price hikes are even higher, will be regulated by our government,” he said in a hour-long interview Monday night at a special livestreamed show hosted by Marcel Štefančič, who was recently let go as show host by public broadcaster RTV Slovenija.
Asked whether prices will be just regulated or also subsidised, Golob said it was necessary to see what the situation in the world and in neighbouring countries will be.
“The price here is too high. We need a combination of three things: an agreement with retailers, regulation of margins and duties, and subsidies, for example for farmers and hauliers,” he said.
Golob acknowledged that price growth has already tampered off, but said the government would nevertheless make sure prices are “reasonable.”
As for natural gas prices, he indicated it would be difficult to replace Russian gas, on which Slovenia is almost 100% reliant, but said he expected some relief from supplies from Qatar.
“I expect the high-level Qatari visit will bring something,” he said in reference to unofficial reports that the emir of Qatar was scheduled to visit Slovenia next week.
Energy policy will be high on the government’s agenda and the plan is to reshuffle portfolios so that there is a new ministry of energy and climate change.
Golob also spoke openly about the wish to merge his party with the LMŠ and SAB, two small liberal parties that have failed to make it to parliament, in a bid to create a strong liberal bloc in advance of the local election scheduled for November.
To do that, he plans to offer the leaders of both parties, Alenka Bratušek and Marjan Šarec, ministerial posts.
One of the first things the new National Assembly will do is to pass an omnibus repeal law targeting measures by the Janez Janša government that are deemed damaging.
Such a bill has been tabled by a group of NGOs and the new government plans to shepherd it through the legislative procedure and amend it as needed in line with recommendations by the parliament’s legal service.
This is also related to staffing, which he said would henceforth be based on individuals’ credentials and expertise. “We have to start strictly determining, for all staff in the country, what their expertise and knowledge is,” he said, noting that replacements would extend beyond the staff appointed by the current government.