Prime Minister Janez Janša replied to oral parliamentary questions
At today’s 67th extraordinary session of the National Assembly replied to oral questions put to him by Franc Jurša (DeSUS), Zmago Jelinčič Plemeniti (SNS), Tina Heferle (LMŠ) and Janja Sluga (SMC) on long-term care, harmonisation of pensions, vaccines, prosecutors and future government work.
Franc Jurša (DeSUS) asked the Prime Minister about the harmonisation of pensions and long-term care. In his reply to the parliamentary question, the Prime Minister pointed out that pensioners are the most affected by the pandemic. The elimination of imbalances over the last year has been greater than in the last ten years. The pensioners have undergone extensive adjustments. They were subject to the reparation of injustices or delays in pension adjustment and were also given special allowances during the COVID-19 pandemic. In his opinion, other backlogs can be made up over the next two years, if the economic situation will be as expected, if they will approve, however, maybe even this year.
The Prime Minister pointed out that the bill on long-term care had been pending for some time. However, the bill required further coordination and reflection. Since when the bill is passed, it was necessary to have the financial resources foreseen for its implementation, not only for the following year but also permanently. The National Demographic Fund is one of the preconditions for the long-term care system to work on solid grounds. The Prime Minister has ensured that the bill will be placed on Members of Parliament’s desks in time and be enforced on 1 January next year. „It is difficult to tell if this is going to happen in spring or early autumn because this is by far the most demanding project in this Coalition’s term of office.“
When asked about the provision of new capacities in nursing homes, the Prime Minister stressed that in the years to come, based on what has already been decided and approved, thousands of new facilities will be built in Slovenia to care for the elderly in nursing homes. Namely, this is currently being planned under the National Resilience and Recovery Plan. When supply exceeds demand, the prices of these services will also fall.
Zmago Jelinčič Plemeniti asked the Prime Minister about vaccines. In his reply, the Prime Minister pointed out that all the vaccines currently used in Slovenia and the European Union have been tested. They have gone through all the prescribed stages of testing and are safe. Cases where adverse reactions are expected to occur after vaccination, are investigated on an ongoing basis, and there is a temporary suspension of vaccination until things are clarified. However, there is no scientific difference between the efficacy and side effects of AstraZeneca's and other vaccines produced using a different technology.
Regarding the Russian vaccine Sputnik V, he pointed out that it was still under review by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), part of which is Slovenia. He also noted that the Sputnik V vaccine’s delivery times were such that it is not reasonable to order it at the moment. Even Hungary has minimal vaccinations with the Sputnik V, as this vaccine is not available in sufficient amounts. The Sputnik V vaccine faces the same problems as the others, namely the production capacities. „And even if Slovenia carried out all the tests itself and authorised this vaccine itself, it is a big question when we would get the first amounts. It can be ordered using some relatively simple procedures, simpler than for vaccine from China, but delivery times are such that it probably does not make sense at the moment.“ He also said that both Slovenian pharmaceutical companies, Lek and Krka, are working together to ensure sufficient vaccines.
MEP Tina Heferle asked the Prime Minister why the Government had not become acquainted with the two candidates chosen for the post of European Delegated Prosecutor. In reply to the parliamentary question, Prime Minister Janez Janša pointed out that the Government had already appointed 15 prosecutors in 2020. Regarding the appointment of the two prosecutors for the post of the European Delegated Prosecutor, he said that when the reply of his European colleagues, when asked about whose responsibility is to choose the European Prosecutor candidate, was: the Government's. He pointed out that, under the Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia, the Slovenian Government is not a messenger. However, the leftist governments have enacted a law whereby the Government’s role is reduced to a messenger. Namely, it should only take note of the European Prosecutor appointment, and it is up to the Prosecutors Council to make decisions. „This procedure is currently under review, and until the answers to these legal questions are clear, the Government will not be notified of it.“ The law does not provide for any time limit within which the Government should be notified about the European Prosecutor appointment. He also pointed out that Slovenia is not in a delay regarding the appointment, as at the moment, eight of the 27 EU Member States had completed the procedure, and 19 Member States are still in the procedure. The Prime Minister reiterated that the Government will put this matter on the agenda after these legal issues will have been clarified to supplement the question.“ It may also happen that we will propose an amendment to the law because, under the Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia, the Government of the Republic of Slovenia is not just a messenger but represents the country externally.”
In response to the parliamentary question of Janja Sluga on the Government’s plans for the time after the pandemic, the Prime Minister pointed out that in the first year of its operation, the Government had spent 80% of its time, resources and energy, to combat the pandemic. He said that last year Slovenia was able to increase its capacity to deal with COVID-19 patients. Had we not been able to do this, we would have to transport COVID-19 patients from Slovenia to other countries, as was the case in the many Member States in the European Union. For example, even the Netherlands, which was thought to have had the best health system before the crisis arose. “For us, the first year and all these challenges are something we take as both a lesson and a warning.” The Prime Minister also said that we want to make Slovenia, especially the health system and other subsystems, resilient for the future. „In our proposal, we have even set this to be one of the priorities of the leadership of the Council of the European Union. In other words, this is also a European priority in the second half of the year.“ The Government will also achieve the Coalition Treaty’s goals, especially debureaucratization and decentralisation of Slovenia. „The programme is set. However, we need some time and headroom for this. It would help if you had it in the National Assembly, too. If you deal with interpellations three times a week, of course, you are not able to deal with the bills and other measures that are necessary to make this happen.“