Parliament opening new plenary, 2022-23 budgets on agenda

Ljubljana – The National Assembly is in for a busy session this week as the draft budgets for 2022 and 2023 and ousting motion against Education Minister Simona Kustec will be discussed. The plenary will traditionally start with questions time with the cabinet on Monday.

After the questions and answers session with Prime Minister Janez Janša and his minister team, the MPs are expected to discuss the budget documents for the next two year on Tuesday and Wednesday, and perhaps even on Thursday.

In addition to the draft changes to the 2022 budget and the draft budget for 2023, also on the agenda is a bill on the implementation of the budgets and a draft decree on the upper limit of expenditure by public purses.

The government-sponsored changes to the 2022 budget, which was originally passed last November, rise expenditure by around 10% to almost EUR 14 billion, as the country is still in the stage of recovering from the coronavirus pandemic.

Finance Minister Andrej Šircelj says that budget policy is adjusted to the new Covid situation to provide funds for protecting public health while also taking care of jobs, and that the budget deficit is planned to be gradually reduced.

The expenditure for 2022 is planned at EUR 13.94 billion, revenue at EUR 11.47 billion, and the deficit at EUR 2.47 billion or 4.6% of GDP.

The National Assembly will also need to take a re-vote on amendments to the pharmacy practice act that would lift the ban on vertical integration of pharmacies and drug wholesalers and redefine criteria for pharmacy networks.

The amendments, originally proposed by the coalition Modern Centre Party (SMC) and heavily changed in the further procedure, were vetoed by the upper chamber of parliament at the end of October and now require an absolute majority to be passed.

The MPs will also take a vote on changes to the construction act and the spatial planning act, with the former brining news that are expected to speed up the procedures to acquire building permits.

On Friday, they will debate and vote on a motion of no confidence in Education Minister Simona Kustec, tabled by the centre-left opposition. Kustec has been accused of failings regarding getting schools ready for the new wave of the pandemic.