“Instead of continuing the path of easing things, particularly with regard to tax legislation, and continuing the search for added value by trying to attract investors, additional tax burdens are being imposed again. This is one of the directions that are by no means the smartest, especially at a time when there has been a breakthrough, and we have a good starting point. Especially considering the fact that we will have to repay the loans,” political analyst Marko Balažic said regarding the economic policy of the future government.
Some guidelines of the future coalition’s agreement have been leaked to the public (according to the reports of the N1 Slovenia media outlet). Among the measures they will introduce to ensure a better future (and even lead us among the 20 most competitive countries) are: raising the minimum wage to at least 800 euros, “progressive” property taxation, preventing public health doctors from working in private clinics or for concessionaires in the afternoons. Interestingly, the future coalition will also try to prevent the purchase of the boxer armoured fighting vehicles and introduce some extreme ideologies in schools, as well as remove the fence at the border.
Political analyst Marko Blažič believes that the goals in the coalition agreement are all steps in the wrong direction. “Instead of continuing the path of easing things, particularly with regard to tax legislation, and continuing the search for added value by trying to attract investors, additional tax burdens are being imposed again. This is one of the directions that are by no means the smartest, especially at a time when there has been a breakthrough, and we have a good starting point. Especially considering the fact that we will have to repay the loans and so on.”
Golob’s politics are not moving in the way of increasing creativity in this area but will only increase taxes. Balažic also responded to the future coalition’s insulting of doctors, as they are calling them “amphibians” – this term is perceived by doctors as an insult, which should be specifically noted. The fact is that Slovenia is a small country, and the critical mass of people is low. As a result, we have very few specialists. “And why not let specialists spend their free time doing whatever they want, of course on the precondition that the work they do in their regular employment is done with quality, and the additional work they do elsewhere (for example, in private practices), does not affect their basic work.” It is a basic question of work organisation, and Golob intends to ban people from doing work elsewhere in their free time, which will lead us in the direction of further dismantling public healthcare: it will make more sense for the doctors who have so far been part of the public system to only work in the private sector.
With this, we run the risk of losing the best specialists in the public sector. However, it should also be said that in our country, there are not enough doctors in general (compared to the European Union average). Namely, there is a great shortage of general practitioners. The profession of a general practitioner needs to be re-established. The problem is mainly that general practitioners are currently performing four services at once. In smaller towns (Ljubljana being the exception here), a general practitioner needs to take care of: his own patients, the emergency service, the coroner’s office, and do home visits as well. Another big problem is the excessive level of administration and bureaucracy.
According to Balažic, the announcement of the removal of the fence on the border is yet another populist measure. Additionally, Croatians have still not entered the Schengen area. It will also take them some time to put in place all the necessary mechanisms for it. And until the Croatians regulate what they need to, Slovenia is obliged to ensure proper control of the state border, which is also our obligation within the EU and the Schengen area. Balažic warned that right now, we cannot know yet what the removal of the fence will bring with it. For example, what would happen if there was a famine in Africa due to the war in Ukraine… We know that Ukraine is the largest exporter of cereals, precisely to the African countries. In a case like that, a new wave of migrants and the re-erection of the fence could soon follow. Let us also remind you that it was the former Prime Minister Miro Cerar who set up the “obstacles” at the border. All energy should be directed towards Croatia’s entry into Schengen, so that they can ensure adequate protection of the EU border, and only then can certain “things” be removed from the border.
Regarding the first signs of strained relations with our neighbouring countries and the Western Balkans under the likely future Minister of Foreign Affairs, SD party President Tanja Fajon, Balažic said the following: “Slovenia generates about 75 (80) percent of its GDP within a radius of 800 kilometres.”
“And if our relations with these people and countries are not regulated, that would mean we are shooting ourselves in the foot.”
Balažic also responded to the announcement of the future coalition trying to block the purchase of boxer armoured vehicles and the importance of reforming and modernising the Slovenian Armed Forces: “Collective defence is the cheapest defence; we need to keep that in mind. When we joined NATO, we decided to be part of collective defence and to meet those conditions. At that time, we also made a commitment to ensure two armoured mechanised units, and we still have to fulfil that. This is about our duty to the collective defence. On the one hand, we want to be part of this collective defence, but on the other, we do not want to fulfil our responsibilities. That is not how it works.” And if two armoured-mechanised battalions are part of our commitments, then we need to realise that. This is about the populism of the extreme Left party (Levica). Either way, the vast majority of the budget goes to the military for salaries. And if people also want to ensure the right equipment for the soldiers, then suddenly, this is completely wrong…
In the background of the cultural fight, they will try to carry out certain infrastructure projects
Before finishing our conversation, our interlocutor said that in the case of the programme of the future government, he is mostly missing a larger impact of the “Freedom Movement” (Gibanje svoboda), the party which actually won the elections. Namely, because practically all the proposals are very much in line with the programme of the Left party, and the other two coalition parties (the Freedom Movement and the Social Democrats) are not really there. On the one hand, this may mean there is a complete lack of ideas on their part, or perhaps something else is the reason for all of this. “But if they have defined themselves as liberals and a moderate part of politics, I would expect their ‘impact’ within the coalition agreement to be greater, and not just looking for opportunities to provide ministerial positions and other posts… While there is no real content other than the content of the Left party. We can’t talk about the centre-left government, then, but about an actual left-wing government.” In addition, the Left is the only party that advocates for the abolition of supplementary healthcare insurance. Due to this issue, the former government of Marjan Šarec fell.
Finally, we also talked about the planned introduction of LGBTQ ideology in schools: “Slovenian public education has many more important challenges that need to be addressed – we need to move it more in the direction of meeting the real needs of the economy and move from learning things by heart to actually solving problems.” This is exactly what Balažic believes is the biggest problem of Slovenian education. The introduction of ideological content that will continue to divide us and “make it easier to point the finger at who is and is not ‘ours’,” will at most lead us in the direction of not talking about the real problems anymore. This is similar to some right-wing government trying to introduce mandatory religious education in schools, no matter what. “Imagine the debate around that.” In the foreground, there will be a cultural fight, but in the background, they will be dealing with infrastructure projects, where profits will be drawn by puppet masters.