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Slovenian report
by Euro Reporter
2015-03-20 11:40:22
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Slovenia allows same-sex couples to marry, adopt children

slovenia_400_02Slovenia joined a growing number of European countries that allow same-sex marriages late on Tuesday, almost three years after a similar law was rejected in a national referendum. Parliament passed the law giving same-sex couples the right to marry and adopt children with 51 votes in favour and 28 against.

"This will be a step towards a truly patient and inclusive society with which Slovenia enters the twenty-first century," Matej Tasner Vatovec of centre-left opposition party the United Left, which proposed the law, told parliament before the vote. Two centre-right opposition parties and several civic groups fiercely opposed the changes, particularly giving same-sex couples the right to adopt children.

The Civil Initiative for Family and Children's Rights, which opposes the changes, said on Wednesday it would push for a referendum on the law, which is similar to one rejected by Slovenians in a popular vote in 2012. It is unlikely to succeed because Slovenia changed its referendum legislation in 2013 and no longer allows plebiscites on human rights issues.


Slovenia police launch probe against former PM Bratusek

Slovenian police raided the home of ex-prime minister Alenka Bratusek on Wednesday in search of evidence that she might have abused her position when her cabinet nominated her last year as a candidate for European commissioner. Slovenia's first woman prime minister, Bratusek steered the tiny ex-Yugoslav republic in 2013-14 through its worst financial crisis since winning independence from Belgrade in 1991. The police told Reuters a total of 27 policemen searched Bratusek's home and the offices of her party, the Alliance of Alenka Bratusek, in an investigation which started early in the morning and continued in the afternoon. Last year Bratusek's centre-left government nominated her as one of three candidates to become Slovenia's member of the European Commission, the EU's executive arm. She withdrew her candidacy after members of the European Parliament rejected her following a parliamentary hearing.

The police said Bratusek had no material gain from her candidacy but said she may have "misused her official position". If found guilty she could be jailed for up to one year. Bratusek said the investigation at her home was "entirely unnecessary" since all documents about her nomination had been held by the Anti-Corruption Commission for some time. Last October, the Commission said Bratusek should not have voted on her own candidacy but took the matter no further.

In December 2013 Bratusek's administration recapitalized local banks that were sinking under a tide of bad loans by pouring in more than 3 billion euros of its own funds. This enabled Slovenia, a euro zone member, to narrowly avoid an international bailout. Several months later, Bratusek quit her post after losing a battle for the leadership of the ruling Positive Slovenia party. She formed her own party which won four seats in parliament in a July snap election.


Slovenia to set up bank rescue fund this month-central bank

Slovenia, whose banks nearly collapsed in 2013, will establish a bank rescue fund by the end of March to cover any bank capital shortfalls discovered by the central bank in the future, the Bank of Slovenia said on Monday. The central bank will set up the fund, which will remain operational until the end of 2024. Local banks will be required to pay 1.3 percent of all state-guaranteed deposits they hold into the fund. This would amount to some 200 million euros ($217.12 million). The banks will also have to hold liquid investments worth 1 percent of state-guaranteed deposits, or some 154 million euros, that have to be made available to the rescue fund if needed.

Slovenia's government had to pour some 3.5 billion euros of its own money into local banks, most of which are state-owned, in 2013 and 2014 to prevent them from collapsing under a large amount of bad loans. This helped the country to avoid an international bailout. Earlier this month, a small local bank, Gorenjska Banka, announced a potential capital shortfall of 58 million euros which has to be covered by the end of 2015, according to a decision from the Bank of Slovenia.

Gorenjska said it would seek a strategic investor and would not need state help. Other banks in the country have not reported any immediate capital needs this year but bad loans remain high. They stood at 4.4 billion euros at the end of 2014, accounting for 11.9 percent of all loans, according to the Bank of Slovenia figures.


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