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Slovenian report Slovenian report
by Euro Reporter
2010-03-23 07:23:12
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Kresal, Under Fire, Rejects Culpability

Interior Minister Katarina Kresal has come under fire in the recent months over her alleged role in several high-profile stories. She also faces her second interpellation motion in a year, but she rejects all charges lobbed against her. "I'm in a difficult position having to prove all the time that I did not do things," she said.


Slovenia Increases the Minimum Wage

It has been under negotiation for months but employers, the government and the trade unions have finally agreed to raise Slovenia’s minimum wage by 22.9%. After evaluating the minimum needed to live a decent life per month, it was decided that this would equal 562EUR net per month. It is the first time that the minimum wage will equal the price of living expenses for one person per household per month. The increase won’t, however, happen overnight. The minimum wage will rise once a year, taking into account inflation, wages, economic growth and employment. This means that the net wage will go up to 510EUR net in 2010; 530EUR net in 2011; and 562EUR net in 2012.

That the move will find its critics is of little surprise. With Slovenia’s unemployment increasing significantly over the past year to 10.1% or 95,446 unemployed in November, there are fears that the change will serve to increase the number further still. Boštjan Vasle, the director of the Institute of Macroeconomic Analysis and Development (IMAD) believes the rise will result in an immediate loss of 5,000 jobs. He further predicts that this figure could go up to 20,000 over the next few years.


Now You See Him; Now You Don’t

In a surprising move, Karl Erjavec has resigned from his position as Minister of the Environment, shifting the political balance of power within the ruling coalition. Erjavec’s decision came on January 26 after a heated debate in parliament. Erjavec, who is also the head of DeSUS, did not have enough votes to survive a vote on his future. Crucially, he also didn’t have the support of Prime Minister Borut Pahor, who had asked Parliament to dismiss his minister.

Pahor announced his decision in the wake of a ruling by the Court of Audit that Erjavec’s ministry had failed to establish an efficient system of separate waste collection and had managed its finances poorly. In fact, the Court of Audit formally called on Erjavec to step down.

The Court’s Ruling raised considerable objections from Erjavec’s supporters. It is simply improper, they pointed out, for the judicial branch to interfere with the executive branch in such a matter – violating the principle of the separation of powers. Erjavec even announced that he would file for a constitutional review of the law governing the Court of Audit. However, constitutional scholars were quick to point out that the Prime Minister is not bound by the court’s decision. And that’s precisely what upset Erjavec the most. Janez Janša, the previous Prime Minister, ignored a similar ruling from the Court of Audit. And when current Minister for Science and Higher Education Gregor Golobič was caught in a lie about his stake in a company with government contracts, Pahor forgave him. The harsh punishment given to Erjavec was, in many ways, a break from past practice.

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