GOVERNMENT RESULTS OF ALENKE BRATUŠEK

I believe the term of 2013 – 2014, when I was the Prime Minister of the Slovenian government, was the term, when Slovenia witnessed the hardest economic hardship since its independence. A handful of both, though decisions and unpopular measures had to be made in order to prevent the bankruptcy of Slovenia as a state and the arrival of the Troika. In other words, we prevented what was going on in Greece in the year of 2015, namely to give the power of decision making to a third party. However, this does not mean the state can survive without the necessary changes and corrective measures. Corrective measures took care of the stabilization of public finances, with the help of EU funds the state budget was set for the upcoming investments and, last but not least, economic growth was backed by the drawing of EU resources. A stabilization of the bank system was achieved, banks were rescued from the threatening bankruptcy which was a clear signal of reassurance for the international financial markets and above all, interest rates, at which Slovenia was borrowing money, were dropped dramatically. State bankruptcy was prevented, no external help in terms of a bailout was needed, and at the end of the term one of the highest economic growths in the EU zone was witnessed. These are all the results of our endeavor backed by statistical figures.

PLANET SIOL.NET: Friday, 28.11.2014, 10:45, Written by: STA

Slovenia´s economic growth surpassed EU´s growth

According to the initial estimates of the Statistical Office, the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) in the third quarter was raised by 3.2 % annually.

At the time when I took over the Prime Minister role Slovenia was in a state of deep recession. The economy took a substantial drop of -4.5 % of GDP. The required corrective measures, restructuring of the bank system, establishment of the Slovenian Sovereign Holding, accelerated drawing of EU funds and the fight against black economy paved the way to the stabilization of the state financial system, which was the underlying basis for a healthy and growing economy. Signs of improvement were there almost immediately. Already in the first year of being in office, Slovenia´s economic growth was to be witnessed. In 2014, at the end of the term Slovenia had one of the highest economic growths in Europe – 3% of GDP. This proved to be a major success not to be overseen by the international public. “In recent years Slovenia made an impressive improvement”, said Ángel Gurría, Secretary-General of the OECD (Ljubljana, 04.05.2015). The time when I was in office was stigmatized by hard decision-making. I am genuinely proud of the fact we proved to everybody at home and abroad, that Slovenes can and know how to solve our own issues.

PLANET SIOL.NET: Friday, 06.06.2014, 15:21, Written by: STA

Interest rates for Slovenian bonds are at their all-time low since the introduction of Euro.

Interest rate for 10-year state bonds at the start of the year 2013, which coincides with the start of our government take-over, was just below the 7 % mark annually. As a rule of thumb, this mark represents the threshold when a state is still capable of getting financial assets on its own. Slovenia was almost on the verge of declaring bankruptcy. With the carried out corrective measures we proved that we knew what needs to be done in Slovenia, as we achieved positive signals for our endeavors by the international financial markets. The interest rate started to drop. Until the end of the term it dropped to a then all-time low since Slovenia was recognized as a member of the EU and the Euro area. Results of our hard work could also be witnessed after the end of the term – the economy continued to grow and the interest rates dropped below the 1 % annually.
Despite our efforts, the number of unemployed continued to grow and stopped at 132.000. After the restructuring of the bank system and the strengthening of the economy, the shape of the labor market started to improve. At the end of the term, as companies were restructured and after several inevitable bankruptcies were declared, the unemployment figure dropped to 112.000. The number was still too high, but the overall shape of the labor market improved significantly in comparison with the start of the reign in 2013.

WORK, EVENTS, LAWS, MEETINGS

WORK

CAPITAL INCREASE IN THE BANK SECTOR

In the era of our govern we had to make a rather big amount of work and make numerous though decisions. Because of the perilous situation Slovenia was at that time, we had to make rapid decision making. There was no time facilitating big coordination and having endless empty talks, but that does not mean our decisions were not sound and well-thought.

The main goal was to stabilize the financial system, as this was the only way to boost the economy again. A key task that needed an immediate intervention was the reorganization of the Slovene banking system. There is no need to say the bank reorganization was extremely expensive for the taxpayers. Taxpayer‘s money was at stake, huge amounts of it indeed. Slovene banks did not get large amount of money injected headlong. Numerous revisions, stress tests and estimates from independent foreign experts were carried out and the results implied how much capital our banks needed to survive. Prior to that we had to address the question, if the bank restructuring is needed, and if so, why. The answer was a definite one. The meltdown of the financial system would prove to be fatal for Slovenia as well. The Greek scenario would easily be projected on the grounds of Slovenia. Fortunately, we were able to prevent that.

The fact is the public debt increased because of the restructuring of the bank system, as the bank sins from the past had to be taken on taxpayers’ shoulders; the proportion of public debt in the whole gross external debt increased to 48%. Another fact is also that the gross external debt increased the most in the 2005-2008 era – for a staggering 100% from €20.5 billion to €40.4 billion.

€5 billions of taxpayers’ money were injected into Slovene banks, as they had altogether for more than €10 billons of nonperforming loans. A great amount of these loans were made without or with really bad insurances. The majority of the nonperforming loans were made during 2005-2008 to »tycoons« for the acquisitions of state-owned companies (Istrabenz, Pivovarna Laško, Merkur, Zvon 1, Zvon 2, SCT, etc.) The after-effects of bankers‘ bad decision making, undoubtedly with the help and blessing of the politics, needed to be rehabilitated with taxpayers‘ money, because on the other hand Slovenia would need to declare bankruptcy.

EVENTS

Besides rescuing the economy at home we were also actively engaged on various fields in our term; there were some meetings that marked the lives of our citizens.

  • Ordinary and special sessions of the Council of the EU (14.03.2013, 30.08.2014)
    As a member of the Council of the EU at ordinary and special sessions I have represented the progress of the economic situation, which we took care successfully at the end by ourselves.
  • Official visit at the Chancellor of Austria Werner Faymann (10.06.2013)
    At the start of the term as part of visiting neighboring countries I also paid a visit to Austria. I met the President of the National Council Barbara Prammer and the Chancellor of Austria Werner Faymann, with whom we mostly discussed about current bilateral and international topics and the problem solving of the financial and economic downturn.
  • A meeting with the Prime Minister of Italy Enrico Letta and the President of Italy Giorgio Napolitano (12-13.06.2013)
    At the start of the term in Rome I met with the host, the President of the Council of Ministers of the Italian Republic Enrico Lertta. It was the first time that Prime Ministers of both countries welcomed the representatives of Slovenian and Italian minorities. I also met the President of the Italian Republic Giorgio Napolitano.

Alenka Bratušek in Enrico Letta

  • A reception at Pope Francis at Vatican (12.-13.06.2013)
    As part of visiting the Holy See I have met with the Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone, and the new Pope Francis greeted me in his audience.
  • Field government session (Ptuj: 21.06.2013, Kranj: 28.03.2014)
    Upon making important decisions for individual regions the government has also met in the field. As part of the visit we have also usually met with the leading managers and mayors from the region and gone through important projects.
  • A meeting with the President of the Republic of Croatia Zoran Milanović (22.06.2013)
    At the start of the summer in a town called Opatija I have met the Croatian Prime Minister. On this occasion I have once again extended my congratulations for the Croatian entry to the EU.
  • A working visit at the Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel (12.07.2013)
    In July as part of a working lunch I was welcomed by the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany Angela Merkel. During the meeting the Chancellor of Germany said amongst other things, the path on which Slovenia is heading is the right path. As a gift I gave her a football jersey with her last name.
  • A visit of the President of France François Hollande in Slovenia (25.07.2013)
    During summer the President of France François Hollande paid a visit to Slovenia. After the discussions regarding mostly on the strengthening of economic ties between the two states, we walked through the old city center of the capital.
  • The celebration of the 100th birthday of Boris Pahor in Trieste (29.08.2013)
    I was invited to the Boris Pahor‘s commemoration for his 100th birthday. As an honorable speaker I pointed out, Pahor experienced one of the most vigorous century in the human history, and despite the rises and falls of national and multinational states, the birth and the death of ideas, regimes, friends and enemies he maintained his stance – which should act as an inspiration in the search of dealing with one‘s own everyday life and moral dilemmas.

Bratušek in Pahor

  • Bled Strategic Forum – BSF (02.09.2013)
    As an honorable speaker I took part of the grand opening of the Bled Strategic Forum. I pointed out one of the lesson learned in the economic downturn – there are no easy solutions or quick remedies for issues, only long-term processes and visions. As part of the Bled Strategic Forum I have greeted Preneet Kaur, the Minister of State in the Ministry of External Affairs in India and the President of the Republic of Austria Heinz Fischer.
  • Slovenia hosted the EuroBasket 2013 – European basketball championship (04.-22.09.2013)
    Slovenia hosted the European basketball championships EuroBasket, where France took the gold medal.
  • Trilateral meeting of Prime Ministers of Croatia, Slovenia and Italy in Venice (12.09.2013)
    I participated in a trilateral meeting of Prime Ministers of the Republic of Slovenia, the Republic of Italia and the Republic of Croatia that took place in Venice. The main topic of discussion was the infrastructure and energy sector and as part of my incentive we agreed on establishing a working group for infrastructural projects in the Northern Adriatic.
  • A formal visit in the Republic of Serbia at the office of the Prime Minister Ivica Dačić, a government meeting of both countries and an economic meeting of both, Slovenian and Serbian companies (01.-02.10.2015)
    As part of a two-day visit in the Republic of Serbia I was welcomed by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia Ivica Dačić, with whom we later orchestrated a session of both governments. I was also welcomed by the President of the Republic of Serbia Tomislav Nikolić, the President of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia Nebojša Steganović and by the First Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić and paid a visit to Gorenje – TIKI ltd.
  • A conference on the employment of the young in Paris, where we got additional EU funds for the »Youth Guarantee« project (12.11.2013)
    In Paris I took part of the Youth Employment Conference in Europe together with the Secretary of State for Labor, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities Anja Kopač Mrak. The conference took place in order to additionally stimulate youth employment, especially with European and national measures in the field of education, training, labor market and financial instruments to start up small and medium sized businesses. A guarantee for additional EU funds for the »Youth Guarantee« project was also received.
  • A meeting of Prime Ministers of China, Middle and East Europe in Romania (26.11.2013)
    I took part at a meeting of Prime Ministers of China, Middle and East Europe in the Romanian capital. As part of the meeting I have met the Prime Minister of the Republic of Bulgaria, the Prime Minister of Hungary and the Prime Minister of Romania and I later on sat down at a meeting with the Prime Minister of the People‘s Republic of China Li Keqiang.
  • Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius (29.11.2013)
    I was summoned to take part of the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius, hosted by the President of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaitė, the President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy and the President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso. As part of this summit I was also greeted by the President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili.
  • A formal visit at the President of the Republic of France François Holland (04.12.2013)
    The Paris visit stared with a formal reception with military representatives in front of the Hôtel des Invalides palace and was later followed by a reception at the Slovenian Embassy in the French Republic with the representatives of Slovene community in Paris. As part of the visit I was welcomed by the French President François Hollande where a discussion was held on the current state of the financial sector in Slovenia, the privatization and the strengthening of economic ties between France and Slovenia.
  • European Investment Conferences: Milano (09.12.2013), Moscow (10.12.2013), Oslo (09.04.2014) and Düsseldorf (28.11.2013)
    I held several investment conferences throughout Europe where investment options for Slovenian companies were presented. Conferences were organized in Milano, Moscow, Oslo, Paris and Düsseldorf contributing largely to Slovene cooperation with important economic players in Europe.
  • A working visit at the President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev (10.12.2013)
    In Moscow I was greeted by the President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev and summoned to take part in the investment conference, where the Slovenian government presented the investment environment in the Republic of Slovenia and individual investment opportunities according to the governmental privatization plan to foreign companies.

Bratušek in Medvedjev

  • A meeting with the Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orbán and the opening of the Gornji Senik-Verica road (10.01.2014)
    At the invitation of the Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orbán I took part at the opening ceremony in the Gornji Senik village celebrating the road connection between Verica and Gornji Senik villages, a region where the majority of the population is represented by the Slovene minority. Prime Ministers also sat down at a short working meeting and signed a Declaration of intent on integrated development of road connection between Slovenia and Hungary.
  • Mare Nostrum mission of the military vessel Triglav in Italy (22.01.2014)
    Migrants from Africa flooded the coast of Italy on tiny boats in search for a better life in Europe. Thousands of Africans die at sea due to bad boats being overcrowded, which was the main reason for the Mare Nostrum Mission. The Slovene military vessel Triglav scanned the see routes between Italy and Africa rescuing African migrants. There are migrant routes at sea between Italy and Africa to Europe.
  • The welcoming of the Secretary General of NATO Anders Fogh Rasmussen (24.01.2014)
    I hosted the Secretary General of NATO Anders Fogh Rasmussen at a working visit. The main topics of discussions are related with the on-going questions about NATO, the preparation of the upcoming alliance summit and expectation related to the summit.
  • Munich Security Conference (01.02.2014)
    50th Security conference was held in Munich. The main topics of discussions were Syria and Ukraine.
  • The rage of natural catastrophe sleet in Slovenia (February 2014)
    Slovenia witnessed a natural catastrophe in the form of severe sleet devastating large forest areas and infrastructure, especially on electrical grid systems.
  • The welcoming of the Prime Minister of Luxemburg Xavier Bettel (25.02.2014)
    I hosted the Prime Minister of Luxemburg Xavier Bettel on a working visit in Slovenia. We agreed upon the fact, the state relations are excellent and the focus of discussion was to strengthen economic cooperation, including the field of privatization in Slovenia.
  • Miners‘ strike at the Trbovlje-Hrastnik Mine (18.03.2014)
    At the time when I was in office there was a miners‘ strike going on at Trbovlje-Hrastnik Mine. The workers demanded the payout of unpaid paychecks and social contributions. The strike was being held at the mine; therefore I decided to pay them a visit and to agree to end the strike before an accident happens or something even worse.
  • A meeting with the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom David Cameron (23.04.2014)
    A working visit in London was held mostly to strengthen economic ties between the Republic of Slovenia and the United Kingdom. Positive results of measures adopted by the government in the last 12 months and the privatization process of Slovene companies were represented at the Slovene-British economic round table. I was also greeted by the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom David Cameron and the executive panel of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
  • At the OECD I presented measures taken in Slovenia to avoid bankruptcy and to emerge from the economic downturn. (05.05.2014)
    On the invitation of the organizers I opened the OECF Forum. I described the economic situation of Slovene and pointed out the social aim should not only be economic growth, but we should also strive to guarantee a quality life of citizens in all areas.
  • The opening ceremony of the new Twingo line with the Chairman of Renault Carlos Ghosn (07.05.2014)
    Slovene has several important foreign investments securing job posts to Slovenians and increasing the export. With the Chairman of Renault Carlos Ghosn we opened the new Twingo line at Revoz factory in Novo Mesto.

  • A visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina and the inspection of the flooded areas (16.06.2014)
    After both, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia, were devastated by the floods I paid those countries a visit. In Bosnia and Herzegovina I was greeted by the Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina Vjekoslav Bevanda. The main focus of discussion was put on further possibilities of the Slovenian and EU help to remedy the situation after the floods and on including Bosnia and Herzegovina in European integrations. I was also welcomed by the Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Bakir Izetbegović and inspected the flooded areas.
  • A meeting with the Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić and the inspection of the flooded areas (17.06.2014)
    I also visited the flooded areas in Serbia and was welcomed by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić. As part of the visit I was also greeted by the President of the Republic of Serbia Tomislav Nikočić and inspected the flooded mine pool Kolubara at Lazarec and Obrenovac.
  • Together with the EU and France I also played a role at orchestrating a pledging conference »Restoring Together« for the Balkan floods. (16.07.2014)
    There were floods at the Balkans, especially in Bosnia and in Serbia. The floods caused severe damage to neighboring countries, which was the reason to orchestrate a pledging conference »Restoring Together« with the EU and French co-operation. More than €1 billion was raised there.
  • Western Balkans conference in Berlin (28.08.2014)
    I was invited to the Western Balkans conference hosted by the Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel in Berlin. Prime Ministers, Ministers for External Affairs and the Minister for the Economy of the Western Balkans states, Germany, Slovenia and Austria, the President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso, the European Commissioner for Enlargement Stefan Füle and, last but not least, the European Commissioner for Energy Günther Oettinger took part at that conference.
  • NATO summit in Wales (04.09.2014)
    I took part at the last NATO summit in Wales, where security issues and the situation in Ukraine were discussed.

PASSED LAWS

The government passed altogether 146 laws, including some extremely important ones.

1. Constitutional Act amending Article 90, 97 and 99 of the Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia (UZ90,97,99) (Ur. l. RS, No. 47/13), 31.05.2013

The changes of the listed Constitutional Articles represent a rather large change in the area of constitutional arrangement. The referendum can now be rejected; the minimum quota is set to 40.000 voters. In some cases the referendum is inadmissible, for example on acts about emergency measures for state security, security or recovery from natural disasters, on acts about taxes, customs and other compulsory charges, on acts about the budget, on acts eliminating unconstitutionality in the field human rights, etc.

2. Constitutional Act Amending Article 148 of the Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia (UZ148) (Ur. l. RS, No. 47/13), 31.05.2013

The Article 148 Amendment of the Constitution introduces the fiscal rule to the Constitution. According to the Constitution Amendment, state budget incomes and expenditures have to be balanced on the mid-term level without extra borrowing, or the incomes have to surpass the expenditures. This principle can be temporarily abandoned only in extraordinary situations.

3. Act Regulating the Compensation for Damage Sustained as a Result of Erasure from the Register of Permanent Residents (ZPŠOIRSP)

This Act regulates the right for a financial compensation and other forms of rightful reparation in order to rectify the violation of human rights and fundamental freedom for persons defined by this Act, for whom the registration of the permanent address expired in the permanent population registry (deletion from the permanent population register), when the Aliens Act Provisions took effect. The Act defines the beneficiaries, the rules for levying and the height of financial compensation, ways and due dates for the payout, and other forms of rightful reparation and the procedure and the authority that have the jurisdiction for decision-making.

4. Act Amending Slovenian Sovereign Holding Act (ZSDH-1)

Due to providing a transparent system of state capital investments management, credibility compensation of the Republic of Slovenia abroad and centralizing state capital investments management, Slovenian Sovereign Holding Act (SSH) was passed in 2012. Amending law eliminates certain anomalies of this Act, simplifies individual processes, enables a more transparent view of certain activities of state capital investments management of the Republic of Slovenia, and introduces a management control of the SSH carried out by the Court of Auditors. A key change was made regarding company ownership. The initial passed Act enabled company ownership transfer directly to the SSH, which was unacceptable for us. According to the amending law, the company ownership stays in the Republic of Slovenia. The Act transfers and centralizes the management of state investments to Slovenian Sovereign Holding (SSH). It organizes financial jurisdictions, SSH management and the liability of the SSH management board members and supervisory board members not only in SSH but also in companies, which the Republic of Slovenia invested in.

5. Act Amending the Protection of Documents and Archives and Archival Institutions Act (ZVDAGA-A)

The Act for the first time comprehensively manages the document and archives protection in both, physical and electronic forms. The Act provides changes in the area of archives protection in e-form. The Act also manages the protection of documentation of political parties and legal persons acting in public interest, manages the possibilities of own protection of the archives for public legal persons and manages the terms for accessing the archives, inadmissibility due dates, exceptional access and special extension of the archive inadmissibility due dates. Moreover, the volume of personal data protected on accessing the archives was redefined.

  • Act Amending the Act Governing the Rescue and Restructuring Aid for Companies in Difficulty (ZPRPGDT-D)
  • Act Amending the Act Governing the Rescue and Restructuring Aid for Companies in Difficulty (ZPRPGDT-E)
  • Act Amending Financial Operations, Insolvency Proceedings and Compulsory Winding-up Act (ZFPPIPP-E and F amending laws)
  • Act Amending the Act Regulating the Gradual Closure of the Trbovlje-Hrastnik Mine and the Economic Development Restructuring of the Region(ZPZRTH-E)
  • Prevention of Undeclared Work and Employment Act (ZPDZC-1)

STATE OF SLOVENIA BEFORE THE GOVERNMENT TAKE-OVER

DELO: Wednesday, 17.04.2013, 10:06, Written by: J.S.S., Delo.si, STA

Interest Rates for Slovenian Bonds Close to 7%.

The required rate of return on Slovenian bonds dropped from 6.56% to 6.12%.

At the end of 2012 and in the beginning of the year 2013 Slovenia was facing with intense issues and was on the verge of declaring bankruptcy, the economy was several quarters in a row in a downturn mood, and in the first quarter of 2013 dropped to -4.5% of GDP, interest rates on 10-year state bonds were almost at the rate of 7%, Slovenia was struck with a high number of unemployment settling at 132.000. There were numerous protests organized and demands of withdrawal of the Prime Minister Janez Janša expressed. The state was in turmoil, as Janez Janša was clinging to power, even though he lost the majority in the National Assembly. He simply did not want to resign.

DELO: Friday, 08.02.2013, 14:30, Written by: Ti. Kr., R.D., Delo.si

Third Countrywide Uprising Against Political Elite

According to the police, 20.000 people participated in the uprising. Despite some provocation, the rally in front of the National Assembly was a peaceful one.

MMC RTV SLO: Wednesday, 13.02.2013, 14:07, Written by: MMC RTV SLO

“Slovene‘s Cry for Help Is Only a Matter of Time”

According to the German newspaper Wirtschaftswohe and the Austrian website EU-Infothek article, Slovene‘s cry for European help is only a matter of time.

Crowds were gathering in larger cities demonstrating against corrupt mayors and the government. A flock of several thousands of citizens gathered in front of the National Assembly expressing their disagreement with the government and its operation. The Prime Minister did not take them seriously. Moreover, he was mocking them and called them »zombies«, which lit up the fire in the hearts of the protesters who were persistent until the much needed Vote of no Confidence for the PM.
After the new coalition was formed and the new government started its term serious speculations about declaring bankruptcy of Slovenia started popping up. Questions on when Slovenia is to ask for help, when the Troika is to decide about Slovenia‘s destiny, and when Slovenia is to be insolvent, were asked on a daily basis. Slovenia was on the verge of declaring bankruptcy. What was in the store, if we were to receive financial help and the Troika was to set foot on our grounds, could be seen in the Greek scenario. We could no longer decide about our own destiny. Painful repercussions would harm our lives to a greater extent than repercussions made by Slovenia itself.

DELO: Monday, 30.09.2013, 11:40, Written by: K.V., Delo.si; STA

Janša: The Government Is to Recognize Its Incompetence and Ask for Help

According to the President of the SDS political party, a special bailout for Slovenia is in the works (a combination of the Greek and Cyprus scenario).

The opposition called for the Troika, as they could not believe our government could solve all issues by itself and save the state from declaring bankruptcy. I am delighted we did not need to sign the cry for help. I cannot image what would turn out, if Janez Janša would be the Prime Minister at that time. But actually I can. Slovenia would no longer be a sovereign state; the situation would be nearly identical to the Greek bailout. And the people would suffer the most. I am proud Slovenia is still a sovereign state deciding on its own accord what is good for our people and for our future.