The new MP of the Slovenian Democratic Party (Slovenska demokratska stranka – SDS), Jožef Jelen, submitted a parliamentary question to the government regarding the unstoppable rise in the prices of food. The question was submitted after the Prime Minister’s public expression of disappointment with measures to regulate food prices. The matter is relevant because high prices of food are driving many citizens, especially pensioners, into despair and hardship.
At the end of July 2022, the Prime Minister announced that the monitoring of the prices of a basket of basic food at different retailers would start in September and that the government would then see whether self-restraint or self-regulation through price monitoring was sufficient or whether a “harder form” of food price regulation would be needed. This, according to the Prime Minister, should have been clear by October 2022.
We are now in February 2023, and the Prime Minister, at the National Assembly meeting on the 21st of February, in response to a question by MP Karmen Furman, MSc, in relation to the situation of Slovenian pensioners, said, among other things:
“In some areas, we have done good work; in other areas, unfortunately, we have not been as successful, and in this respect, I will not hide my disappointment that this is particularly true for the area of food – not only in Slovenia but in the whole of Eastern and Central Europe, you can look at our Eastern neighbour Hungary, because it has an inflation rate of more than 25 percent precisely because of the 40 percent and more increase in food prices, and unfortunately in Slovenia, we are also a part of Eastern and Central Europe, where the food price increases are, unfortunately, higher than what our Western partners are experiencing. Time will tell why this is the case, but we will definitely be adopting new measures in this area, in the area of food price controls and whether they were really justified, because we are not at all satisfied with the current situation. This is not just about pensioners, it is about all of us, and I am already predicting that action in this area will obviously have to be less soft on the part of the government.”
MP Jelen prepared three follow-up questions to the Prime Minister’s reply:
“1. Do you consider that the measure of price indexing of the basket of basic food at individual retailers has had any impact on containing food prices?
- What measures does the government intend to take to control food prices and limit price increases?
- Is the government also considering the possibility of regulating food prices?”