Šarec says govt will not engage in popularity contest


Commenting on the Left's statements that the government's adoption of several tweaks to tax legislation and the parliament Labour Committee's nod to the scrapping of the welfare bonus meant the end of the party's support to the minority government, Šarec insisted the government remained welfare-oriented.

He said that the government would spend around EUR 270 million on welfare allowances this year, which is EUR 125 million more than had been the case in 2012, during the peak of the crisis.

There were 65,000 people entitled to welfare allowance in 2012, while the number today is 91,000, Šarec pointed out, adding the idea behind the scrapping of the bonus is to encourage the people to work and have full pension and disability insurance.

The welfare allowance and the bonus have come dangerously close to the minimum wage, which has crated a inactivity trap, Šarec said.

He rejected the accusation that the state would save EUR 16 million on the backs of the poor, arguing these funds would be used for public works, so that NGOs and local communities can hire these people and pay them properly. Also, EUR 90 million will be spent in total on other active employment policy measures.

Šarec expressed respect for the Left's MPs, but reproached them for not wanting to assume offices and responsibility.

"Operating on the principle of 'I can say whatever I want to you, but you can't say it to me because you are a minister, state secretary or PM and therefore corrupt and not worthy of trust' is misguided," he wrote.

He also touched on tensions in the coalition, arguing that the vote on the 2020 and 2021 budgets was nearing and that some have already started to exert pressure. He indicated they were guided by the interest of their party as opposed to the state.

Šarec said his Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) was acting fairly and was not filing amendment that would not be coordinated. The LMŠ is not interested in seeing the government fall, but should this happen – even if Šarec doubts that real interest exists in the coalition for a snap election – "it will not be the LMŠ who will be wondering why this occurred".

The Left responded to Šarec by arguing he was focusing on volunteers when talking about the abolition of the bonus, but the measure will actually do the most damage to the poor in employment who are presently the bonus recipients and their families. Among those affected the most will be single-parent families and families with only one employed parent, the party wrote.

It said that 10,000 households will have to survive with substantially lower income, among them more than 1,200 single-parent households, and 6,000 employed individuals and parents.

As for the active employment measures, the Left said these would not affect the majority of the bonus recipients, since they are already employed and active on the labour market, meaning it also makes no sense to talk about motivating them for work. Also, Šarec writing about other social transfers does not change the fact that these individuals will get less in total aid.