Ljubljana – New Slovenia (NSi) has called on the government to immediately draft an emergency law to fight the looming increases in the prices of energy and food, fight inflation and help businesses. The opposition party is also critical of the government for purportedly being unaware of the scale of the crisis that is threatening in the autumn.
Speaking to the press on Thursday, NSi deputy group head Janez Cigler Kralj said it seemed that the government was only partially responding to individual issues related to the price crisis looming in the coming months.
“And this worries us,” said the former labour minister, adding that “if the crisis hits as hard as predicted, people will live a very difficult life, and the economy and the labour market could be badly affected.”
When something like this happens, reactions are always too late and they are less effective, and recovery is much longer and more difficult, and the crisis is more difficult for all citizens, he added.
The NSi thus urged the government to prepare measures to help vulnerable groups as soon as possible, while the middle class should also be covered.
Cigler Kralj noted that many NGOs had been warning that the general increase in the cost of living was increasingly affecting even those who work, and who were unable to cover their monthly living expenses with their income.
According to him, the price hikes should be tackled with systemic and comprehensive measures, with the first challenge being fight with the looming inflation, which is currently well above the EU average.
The goal Slovenia should pursue is to stay at the level of EU average, Cigler Kralj said, noting that the NSi believed that this could be achieved by reducing value added tax (VAT) as a “simple and effective solution for citizens”.
By reducing VAT, the government would give up a larger budget revenue from this tax and “invest in all of us living more sustainably together and being better prepared for a possible crisis in the autumn”, he added.
The NSi supports the government’s proposal to provide EUR 22 million in aid to Slovenian farmers due to the rise in the prices of basic raw materials, fuels and energy, and the proposal to buy off the entire wheat harvest for reserves.
However, the party is critical of the government announcing the mentioned measures without serious consideration and agreement with the key stakeholders in agriculture, judging by the first responses.
The responses show that the government has no information what the purchase price will be, what is the quantity of wheat to be purchased and in what manner the project will be implemented, Cigler Kralj said.
The government has thus been urged to meet with food producers, agricultural companies, farmers and experts to determine the parameters of the wheat purchase, he said, adding that it was also important where the wheat would be stored.