Nova24TV English

Slovenian News In ENGLISH

Former Ambassador: What Is Behind The Diplomatic Revolt Is Negligence And Ignorance

“This is even more proof that in Robert Golob’s government, they really are ‘all over the place,’ and they mostly do not even know what legislative and other proposals they are adopting at the government sessions,” said MP Jelka Godec of the Slovenian Democratic Party (Slovenska demokratska stranka – SDS), in response to the rebellion at the Foreign Ministry, which is led by Minister Tanja Fajon of the Social Democrats (Socialni demokrati – SD). Namely, diplomats are threatening that they will not go to diplomatic and consular missions anymore because, following a change in legislation that was apparently overlooked by the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, they are facing lower net payments for working abroad as of the 1st of January 2024, the media outlet N1 reports.

The ministries in the government of Robert Golob seem to have a problem with knowing the necessary documents and are thus adopting legislative proposals that they do not seem to have read and studied beforehand. Thus, according to the media outlet N1, the foreign ministry of Tania Fajon has overlooked what the new Transnational Provision of Services Act brings, which was adopted by the National Assembly at the end of March and sent for inter-ministerial coordination by the Ministry of Labour in mid-December last year. At the time, the Foreign Ministry had no objections to the said law, but now they have realised that the changes will have a significant impact on the salaries of their staff posted abroad.

The diplomats have thus threatened they will not go abroad, while those already abroad say they will return home early. Diplomat and former ambassador to the USA Tone Kajzer also commented on the developments, saying that if the information is true, “it is a case of ignorance of the material or even gross negligence on the part of the leading structures in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which are in charge of ensuring comparable working conditions for Slovenian diplomacy.”

At the end of March, the National Assembly adopted a law on the transnational provision of services. At the time, 53 coalition MPs voted in favour. Among other things, the second paragraph of Article 144 of the Pension and Disability Insurance Act (ZPIZ-2) has been removed from the new law, which is still applicable until the end of this year. This allowed some workers posted abroad to pay pension and disability insurance contributions on the gross salary they would have received for the same work in Slovenia. However, from the 1st of January 2024, these contributions will be paid on the gross salary actually received by the workers abroad.

Kaiser: This is a worsening of the already poor working conditions in Slovenia

When the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities drafted the bill last year, the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs should have reacted, and in the internal coordination within the government, Minister Tanja Fajon (had her services alerted her to the matter, of course, but they obviously did not) should have pointed this out. Kajzer also said that this should have been dealt with without highlighting the issue in the media, as he did not know of any EU country where the working conditions of its diplomats were discussed in the media.

Since Fajon is crediting herself for the excellent work of Slovenian diplomacy, the diplomats expect her to also sort out the matter in a systemic way

Kajzer, a diplomat who has been posted abroad several times, pointed out that as far as salaries are concerned, things are still not regulated systematically, and that currency fluctuations lead to big differences in salaries. “Personally, of course, I expect that the matter will be regulated in a systemic way, where, in my opinion, the Minister, since she is taking credit for the excellent work of Slovenian diplomacy in the case of Slovenia’s successful election as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, should personally advocate to the Prime Minister that the matter be approached in a systemic way and that Slovenian diplomats, both at home and, above all, abroad, be provided with appropriate working conditions and, of course, adequate remuneration, where we should follow the example of other EU Member States, such as Sweden, Benelux … which the Minister herself has also repeatedly mentioned as an example.”

Otherwise, the degradation and negative selection within Slovenian diplomacy will continue, which, in Kajzer’s view, also means an erosion of statehood.

Anita Gužvič

Share on social media