Slovenia unveils reforms as it seeks to avoid EU bailout

Slovenian Prime Minister Alenka Bratusek Slovenia's new Prime Minister, Alenka Bratusek, is hoping to avoid an EU bailout

Related Stories

The government of Slovenia has announced a package of measures it hopes will help avoid an EU bailout.

The measures include a tax increase, a major restructuring of Slovenia's ailing banking sector, and a programme of mass privatisation.

Slovenia's mostly state-owned banking sector is suffering from mounting bad debts and the government has struggled to borrow money.

The European Commission will now consider the plan.

It is expected to deliver its verdict by the end of the month.

Slovenia has been in recession since 2011, and analysts have cited it as the most likely country to seek help from the EU following the bailout of Cyprus earlier this year.

European officials have expressed concern over the stability of the country's banking sector, which is struggling under billions of euros of bad debts.

Meanwhile the government's ability to borrow money was dealt a blow last week when Moody's, a ratings agency, cut Slovenia's bonds to "junk" status.

Despite this, the government was able to raise 3.5bn euros (£3bn; $4.6bn) from international bond markets last week, which has bought it some time.

State sell-off

The package of measures was announced by Slovenia's recently installed Prime Minister, Alenka Bratusek, and her Finance Minister, Uros Cufer.

The measures include a 2% increase in VAT to shore up government finances.

A "bad bank" will also be created to allow the banking sector to offload its bad debts.

Meanwhile a total of 15 publicly-owned businesses will be sold off, including the second biggest bank, Nova KBM, the flag-carrying airline, Adria Airways, and Telekom Slovenia.

The biggest bank, NLB, has already announced plans to downsize.

Announcing the measures, Ms Bratusek said she expected the budget deficit to rise to 7.8% of GDP this year, but was forecast to fall to 3.3% next year.

She also said the VAT increase was decided on as the tax rise with the least impact on economic growth.

Slovenia is seeking to avoid becoming the latest in a string of EU countries to seek a bailout from European authorities.

Earlier this year Cyprus agreed a 10bn euro bailout with the EU and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) after its banking sector faced near collapse.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Business stories

RSS

BBC Business Live

  1.  
    OIL PRICES 06:35: BBC Radio 4

    Brent Crude fell below $97 a barrel on Monday for the first time in two and a half years. Malcolm Bracken of stockbrokers Redmayne Bentley explained the fall on the Today programme. "There's been a slowdown in China, cars are becoming more efficient, the war premium is falling, sanctions haven't really had an effect on oil production in Russia and money is tightening," he says.

     
  2.  
    ALIBABA SHARE SALE 06:20: Radio 5 live
    Alibaba head office, Hangzhou

    Alibaba has raised the price range of shares in its US stock market debut and could now raise $25bn (£15.4bn). The funds will allow the Chinese internet company "to make its mark" in the US market place says BBC Business presenter Rico Hizon on Wake Up to Money. Company executives are on an international road show to market the shares. Today there are in Singapore, tomorrow London.

     
  3.  
    SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE 06:12: Radio 5 live
    Scottish flag

    The leaders of the three main parties at Westminster have signed a pledge to devolve more powers to Scotland, if Scots reject independence. On Wake Up to Money Colletta Smith, the Economics Correspondent for BBC Scotland says it amounts to an "agreement to make some kind of agreement". Details will have to be worked out after the vote, she says.

     
  4.  
    PHONES 4U COLLAPSE 06:02: Radio 5 live
    Phones 4U

    "I'm not surprised it fell over," says fund manager, George Godber in reference to the failure of Phones 4U over the weekend. On Wake Up to Money Mr Godber says the company did "not have any room for financial manouevre" because its private equity owners had recently loaded it with £250m in debt. Phones 4U founder John Caudwell will be on Radio 5 at around 08:45.

     
  5.  
    06:00: Matthew West Business Reporter

    Morning folks as always you can get in touch with us here at bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk and on twitter @bbcbusiness.

     
  6.  
    05:59: Ben Morris Business Reporter

    Good morning. It's shaping up to be a busy morning with inflation figures due at 09:30 and we'll see what John Caudwell has to say about the demise of the company he founded, Phones 4U. Stay with us.

     

Features

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.