The government adopted a revised budget for 2020. With revenue down and expenditure soaring due to the coronavirus epidemic, the budget deficit is projected to stand at EUR 4.2 billion or 9.3% of GDP.
- Written by P.T., STA
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The government adopted a revised budget for 2020. With revenue down and expenditure soaring due to the coronavirus epidemic, the budget deficit is projected to stand at EUR 4.2 billion or 9.3% of GDP.
Since last winter season was disastrous because of lack of snow and the coronavirus epidemic, Slovenian ski lift operators would like the government to extend the validity of tourist vouchers into next year. They also warn that restricting the number of skiers at ski slopes would make their business non-profitable.
Defence Minister Matej Tonin met in Berlin on Thursday his German and Portuguese counterparts, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer and Joao Gomeso Cravinho, to mainly talk about closer cooperation in defence as part of the EU presidency trio.
42 new coronavirus cases were confirmed in Slovenia on Thursday when a total of 1,338 tests were performed, the government said as it released the most recent data on Friday.
The goal of all of us is to enter the school year healthy and, above all, to stay healthy, said the government spokesman Mr Jelko Kacin at today’s press conference. Currently, all our efforts are focused on the timely detection of new infections. We mostly focus on the prevention of the introduction and spread of infections among pupils and students, and especially among teachers and other school staff.
Prime Minister Janez Janša today met with the President of the Management Board of NLB d.d., Blaž Brodnjak.
Out of 1,299 coronavirus tests conducted in Slovenia on Wednesday, 33 came back positive, said the government on Twitter.
Boris Pahor, an acclaimed Slovenian writer from Italy's Trieste, a Nazi camp survivor and an outspoken fighter against all totalitarianisms, turned 107 today. While only last year he still attended a special event celebrating his birthday, an online event will be organised this year due to his health concerns.
Slovenia recorded 21 new coronavirus cases on Monday after conducting 1,370 tests, fresh official data show.
Brussels Airlines has delayed the resumption of its service between Ljubljana and Brussels until the start of the 2020-2021 winter season on 27 October, on-line portal Ex-Yu Aviation reports.
A few days ago, Minister of the Interior, Aleš Hojs, ordered a revision of some of the concluded criminal investigations, and an avalanche of accusations followed. In a tweet, the former Prime Minister Marjan Šarec wrote that this is a complete abuse of power for Hojs’ own purposes. According to the SD party, this is a gross and inadmissible encroachment on the independence of the police and the state prosecutor’s office, and the party’s vice-president, Matjaž Nemec, wrote that the SDS party was trying to subjugate the law enforcement and the state’s repressive apparatus. I must admit that the above-mentioned posts by the leading politicians surprised me. For years and years, we have been witnessing the inadmissible encroachments on the rights of the taxpayers and cases of abuse of the taxpayers, but none of these politicians have ever responded before. And what’s more, these things were happening when they were running the country. Below, I will present to you the tax process that lasted from February 2012 to June 2020. The aforementioned politicians should check to see who ruled at the time, and what they did to prevent such things from happening. Maybe even then, an audit of tax procedures would not hurt.
The Ministry of Infrastructure reports that they have helped many pensioners and other beneficiaries with the free tickets so far: “Almost 118,000 free tickets have already been issued. The project of free tickets for pensioners and other beneficiaries is developing nicely. We hope to reach the number of 200,000 tickets issued by the end of the year. We wish all users a safe ride and a pleasant journey.”
When the coronavirus first broke out, and the epidemic was declared, the government responded urgently, thus proving several times, that it has a social sense. It immediately started working on aid packages, which included assistance to the self-employed, the payment of workers’ compensations, and the financing of companies for the wages of workers who were temporarily laid off. Subsequently, through further measures that were adopted, it extended the validity of certain measures and also introduced financial aid for the companies, in the form of soft loans. As tourism was the most affected industry, the government provided citizens with vouchers for free holidays to help tourism recover. But it has also remembered the retirees, who have been neglected by left-wing governments of the last decade. More than 300,000 retirees received the solidarity allowance as well as holiday allowance, and everyone also got the tourist vouchers. In addition to all of this, they have also received free tickets for public transport.
The free public intercity passenger transport ticket is a single Integrated public passenger transport ticket that can be used on the intercity bus and rail transport throughout the country and is valid for one year. A free ticket for the public intercity passenger transport can be obtained by the pensioners, those over the age of 65, war veterans, and the disabled who have the European disability card, intended for this vulnerable group, the Government of the Republic of Slovenia announced. However, all of the members from these groups that want to receive this aid, must not be employed or have a registered activity, such as being the sole proprietors, and they must not be the managers of companies or directors of private institutions. The ticket is also not transferable. Those who are eligible must fill in the appropriate application or form, published by the aforementioned Ministry. In addition, it can also be obtained at the Integrated Public Passenger Transport System (IJPP) points of sale, which means that it is available at all bus and railway stations.
How to get a free ticket?
It should also be noted that the cost of issuing the card for a free ticket is three euros, which includes the cost of the card and insurance, and the amount must be paid at the sales point. “If the beneficiary wants to receive the card by post, the cost is paid after collection. It should also be noted that in this case, there are additional costs – the postage costs, which amount to 3 euros.” The aforementioned Ministry and individual points of sale will first check the relevant applications in order to approve them. At the same time, they are trying to get the approval process going as quickly as possible, and the procedure is expected to take up to three working days.
On August 20th, 2020, Prime Minister Janez Janša organized a consultation with Mayors and the representatives of the regional development agencies in Brdo pri Kranju, where they discussed the possibilities of development and investment of the European funds. The meeting was also attended by the Minister of Development and European Cohesion Policy, Zvonko Černač. The Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy posted the following announcement on Twitter: “Today, Minister @ZCernac is attending a consultation with the municipalities and the development agencies, on the European funds that Slovenia will allocate for the recovery from the #COVID19 epidemic. After the consultation is over, the Minister will make a statement for the media, which you will be able to watch on the Facebook page of the Government of the Republic of Slovenia – @vladaRS.”
In regard to the consultation with the Mayors and the RDA (regional development agencies), Prime Minister Janez Janša also announced that municipalities are the main factor in ensuring the quality of life and development. They also discussed the challenges of the epidemic in the autumn. “A quality debate with realistic proposals,” the Prime Minister concluded.
At the end of Zvonko Černač‘s lecture, it was clearly emphasized that no one should be left out, and no part of Slovenia should be neglected. Ensuring that the projects are feasible and within the framework of existing priorities, and above all, that the whole of Slovenia will be consistently developing, will be a special challenge.
According to STA, the attendees of the meeting emphasized that Slovenia will have access to 12 billion euros until 2030, under three different mechanisms. At the same time, the Mayors, who are explicitly enthusiastic about the promised de-bureaucratization, as well as better communication, spoke about the concrete difficulties in preparing projects. Minister Černač even spoke about the four mechanisms or the financial frameworks.
As part of this, as much as 1.8 billion euros must be drawn by the end of 2023, from the expiring financial perspective, and in addition, another 312 million euros are waiting in the recovery fund. As part of the latter, “the existing operational program will be changed by the end of September and will provide the basis for drawing the funds as soon as possible, especially in the areas of strengthening the healthcare systems, care for the elderly, youth employment and job retention, and providing working capital for the companies.”
“Next week, the government will adopt the starting points of the plan or national program of projects and measures, for which Slovenia will allocate funds from the European package for the recovery of the EU after the corona crisis. Thus, the first concrete proposal from this act will be made in October.” In the next seven-year financial perspective, another 4.5 billion euros will be made available to Slovenia.
This includes another 350 million euros in cohesion funding, which has been further negotiated and is earmarked for the western region, as the largest outage was reported in this region. The third package of the already mentioned funds contains 5.5 billion euros from the fund, which is intended for the recovery, as well as strengthening the resilience.
In accordance with the rules, these funds must be spent by the end of 2026. “Thus, Slovenia will have 12 billion euros at its disposal in ten years, of which 3.6 billion euros are loans.”
Černač pointed out that they agreed with the mayors that they have a great opportunity and responsibility to make up for what was missed, with the mentioned funds, as well as to carry out the appropriate structural reforms that have not been carried out in the past, and to implement projects on many areas. Among the priorities, he also highlighted the importance of digital and green transformation.
“In preparation for today’s conference, the ministries submitted the investment initiatives in the amount of 10.8 million euros, and the municipalities submitted the initiatives which amounted to 11 million euros. Next month, an evaluation or review of all projects will be made in terms of the possibility of their placement in one of the mentioned financial frameworks. “
In order to achieve the set goals, the participation of all stakeholders will be required. At the conference, many Mayors had also presented concrete problems they are facing. They are very pleased with the promised de-bureaucratization, the simplification of procedures for obtaining building permits, and improved communication for the preparation of projects and the approval of co-financing.
As is known, at the end of March, the Government of the Republic of Slovenia adopted a Decree on a temporary general prohibition of movement and public gathering of people in public places and areas in the Republic of Slovenia, and the prohibition of movement outside municipalities of permanent or temporary residence of the citizens.
In order to contain and gain control of the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic (COVID-19), the decree further prohibited: movement and gathering of people in public places and areas, access to public places and areas, movement outside the municipality of permanent or temporary residence, unless the decree provided otherwise.
Prime Minister Janša recently achieved great success for Slovenia and was satisfied with the results of the marathon negotiations in Brussels. Namely, Slovenia remains a net beneficiary of funds from the European budget.
From the entire aid package for the reconstruction of Europe after the COVID-19 pandemic, Slovenia can count on as much as 10.5 billion euros, of which 6.6 billion euros are grants.
“The goal is to create a good plan of spending the resources, to ensure economic spending and efficient management. If done properly, funds will go to the content that will have added value for the people. Namely, these are funds that come from the people, so they have to be returned to the people. We must not leave anyone aside, and no part of Slovenia must be neglected,” stressed Minister Černač.
On Friday, 21 August 2020, credit rating agency DBRS Morningstar confirmed Slovenia's credit rating at A (high) with a stable trend. This is once again proof that the measures implemented by the Government during the COVID-19 epidemic were appropriate and that external observers continue to see Slovenia as trust-worthy despite the difficult situation created by the epidemic.
Regardless of the economic and health crisis caused by the COVID-19 epidemic, the agency attributes the credit rating confirmation to the country's credible macroeconomic policy framework.
Among other things, the agency commended Slovenia's early and effective response to the outbreak, placing it among countries with a relatively low number of infections compared to certain bigger European countries. It also recognises that, in the past, Slovenia was among the fastest euro area countries to reduce government deficits and debt.
The agency expects economic momentum to recover in the second half of this year. Slovenia’s credit strengths stem from its wealthy and high value-added economy, its effective debt management and judicious fiscal framework, and its and membership of European institutions.
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic, Slovenia’s credit rating has been confirmed by the three largest global credit rating agencies, i.e. S&P, Moody’s and Fitch Ratings, DBRS Morningstar now becoming the fourth agency to do so.
The agent of the deep state who also used to be an employee of the former secret political police – the State Security Administration (Uprava državne bezbednosti – hereinafter referred to as UDBA), Dragan Isajlović, has a lot of assets and property. We are sharing the exclusive photos of a luxury holiday apartment building at Pelinković 3 in Punat on the island of Krk in Croatia. In addition to the apartment building, Isajlović also owns a sailboat, with which he often goes sailing in the Adriatic Sea.
Dragan Isajlović is best known to the general public as a member of the State Security Administration, which arrested Janez Janša in 1988 for allegedly revealing a military secret. They also searched the premises of the publishing company Mikro Ada, where they were looking for a classified military document. After the fall of the communist system, he transformed from a defender of the former political system to an “entrepreneur.” Namely, Isajlović belonged to the group of former agents of the State Security Administration, who were channelling the money from the former secret funds of UDBA and other off-shore companies, into privatization deals. Janez Zemljarič was at the very top of the hierarchy, and to this day, he is still Isajlović’s “boss” and personal friend. Both of them have “created” enviable assets, at the expense of other people’s work and the agreeable economy.
Isajlović got a lot of attention when Pahor’s government took office, as he, to everyone’s surprise, became the adviser to the Minister of Finance, Franc Križanič, which caused quite a stir. After the Pahor government’s term ended, he withdrew to the safe haven of the transitional network of economic elites of the left but continued to appear in various suspicious state construction deals across Slovenia.
He purchased the real estate through a Croatian company, which quickly went bankrupt
According to reliable sources, Isajlović was mainly able to afford the real estate in Croatia and the sailboat because of the business of building the Nordic Center Planica, which the central media in the hands of the left continue to praise. They like to write about how every Slovenian can be proud of the building of sports pride, under Ponce. But unfortunately, this is just a fairy-tale for the naïve. Our sources tell us that Isajović once bragged to his friends, saying that he earned more than 100 thousand euros for the project of building the Nordic Centre Planica.
He later invested some of this money in his Croatian resort and the sailboat. He allegedly did this through a company, established in Croatia, which then bought Isajlović’s real estate in Punat. Later, like several other Isajlović’s companies, it went bankrupt.
Isajlović built the state-owned Petrol’s service stations in Bosnia and Herzegovina and was the notorious representative of Golobič’s Ultra
Dragan Isajlović also found markets outside Slovenia, through his business and political connections. He thus connected with the eternal leader of the Republika Srpska in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Milorad Dodik. In the past, certain Slovenian media outlets have mentioned that Isajlović is the owner of the SGP Gorenjc company and the co-owner of Gorenje inženiring and NE-MU. He was also part of the team for the construction of the petrol stations in Republika Srpska, for the state-owned company Petrol. For this purpose, the Slovenian company established the Petrol BIH Oil Company in Bosnia and Herzegovina. All of this was built by the Elmont company from the Bosnian town of Žepče. Dragan Isajlović also appeared as the owner in this company, through various financial channels. It is not surprising that Isajlović was part of the team when it came to the construction of the state-owned Petrol, as the connections within the deep state enabled him to access any Slovenian state-owned company. All of this was happening in the mid-1990s.
However, the Elmont company did not only play a role in the construction business. They were also the representatives of three companies of the infamous Golobič’s Ultra. Its main name was Gregor Golobič, the director of the transitional left from the background. As Ultra’s contractor, Elmont represented Ultra in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Albania. We will describe all these structures in the upcoming articles.
Metka Isajlović’s assets are frozen, and she has been convicted of suspicious transactions
As it turns out, some of the Slovenian prosecutors have also bravely stood up against the former UDBA member Isajlović. As reported by Siol, in 2019, an indictment was filed against him, for the transactions of the I.S.O. company. Isajlović’s wife, Metka Isajlović, was once the majority owner but is now the procurator of this company. She is also a former agent of the State Security Service. Due to the strong influence of her husband, she repeatedly lent her name in Isajlović’s various suspicious transactions. As we have previously learned, this also resulted in her being convicted in the past, and her assets have been frozen. Isajlović was also being investigated due to business fraud in Splošno Gradbeno Podjetje (SGP) Tehnik company. SGP Tehnik’s ended its long-time journey in 2014 when it went bankrupt.
In the stories of the Slovenian transition, where the important players of the former regime appear, nothing happens coincidentally. In SGP Tehnik’s last years of operating, Isajlović became the owner of a part of its property, which is how the construction company Gorenjc from Radovljica became the key property. We have already mentioned in the article that the Gorenjc company had participated in the construction of the Nordic Centre Planica, as one of the subcontractors. With the purchase of the Radovljica construction company, Isajlović got himself a concrete plant and part of the subcontracting of Gros’ sports pride in the valley under Ponce.
Isajlović became the owner of the Gorenjc company through an unknown official buyer when SGP Tehnik sold the company in 2010. In 2016, Isajlović sold Gorenjc to Šešok’s company Iskra Implus. They bought the claims from Energoplan, which was ruled for many years by Zlatko Sraka, who was strongly connected to the economic network of Zoran Janković and the former regime. Despite the fact that SGP Tehnik eventually went bankrupt, the ambitious Isajlović still marketed real estate through the Bank Assets Management Company, up until 2018.
The government's Covid-19 spokesperson Jelko Kacin said on Tuesday that a decision on imposing quarantine on persons returning from Croatia would be made at Thursday's government session. The measure is expected to kick in by the start of the next week, with enough time given to people to return home before its implementation.
As things stand now, all primary and secondary school children will return to school as the new school year begins on 1 September, yet all preventive coronavirus recommendations will have to be observed, Education Minister Simona Kustec announced at a news conference at Brdo pri Kranju on Tuesday.
Thirteen new cases of SARS-Cov-2 were confirmed in 393 tests in Slovenia on Sunday, show data released by the government. No deaths were reported.
Slovenia celebrates Prekmurje Reunification Day on Monday, a national holiday marking the day when the country's eastern-most region was united with the rest of the nation after more than a millennium. The main ceremony was held on Sunday at the monument in Murska Sobota that was unveiled at last year's 100th anniversary of the reunification.
Slovenians have used EUR 49,71 million worth of tourism vouchers between 19 June and 9 August, which is 14% of the amount made available as part of the government's stimulus scheme, in place until the end of the year. The coast, mountains and spas have been the primary beneficiaries, while cities are continuing to struggle.