4th regular session of the Government of the Republic of Slovenia
At today’s press conference following the Government session, Prime Minister Robert Golob outlined the first step in a strategy to tackle soaring food and energy costs. The Government discussed measures relating to oil and petroleum products.
It adopted a decree introducing a regime of regulated margins for traders in petroleum products outside motorways and a relaxed regime on motorways, which will enter into force on June 21. The measure primarily aims to end uncertainty for both the suppliers and consumers.
The introduction of a regulated margin regime outside motorways and the relaxed motorway regime was necessary because the price of oil has risen by around 75% in a year and a half while retail prices in our country have lagged behind, the Prime Minister stressed, adding: "Besides, over the same period, we have had different regimes in Slovenia, from a policy of free market prices of oil and petroleum products to a policy of retail price regulation. When we had to decide how to move forward, we followed the principle "return to the future".
Prime Minister Golob explained that the introduction of a dual policy was necessary because it had become clear over the past year and a half that the market outside the motorways had unfortunately not been functioning in Slovenia, whereas with the introduction of the regime, the ministerial team sought a balance in which "each of us — the State on the one hand, traders on the other, and the consumers on the third — bears a part of the burden of the rising prices of oil and petroleum products on global markets." Prime Minister Golob also pointed out that by adopting the decree regulating margins, we are pursuing prices that would be comparable to those of neighbouring Croatia but at the same time lower than those of our northern and western neighbours: "We were looking for a balancing point that our consumers can still bear." He announced that in the next two months, the State would give up everything it can still legally give up, while the margins of all traders in petroleum products would be regulated for the next 12 months. During the first two months, these traders will also benefit from a reduced margin. "Our efforts are focused on getting through the period of highest market prices and maintaining a certain degree of flexibility in the periods ahead. We are looking for a point where we can ease the transition from the current distorted state into to a new predictable state for the consumer, traders in petroleum products, bankers and the state budget".
In parallel with the regulation of margins, the Government will also develop mitigation measures, which will be targeted and enforced as of 1 July. They will target the specific groups that may be most vulnerable to the expected partial increase in motor fuel prices. For example, the tax-free reimbursement of travel costs for active members of the labour market will be increased, the reimbursement of excise duties to public transport operators will be increased (to maintain the competitiveness of public transport), and farmers or all beneficiaries in the agricultural sector will also benefit from the relief. In addition, the Government has already started talks with road hauliers to avoid the spillover into higher prices of other goods.
According to the Prime Minister, the mitigation measures will be finally coordinated next week, and the Government will then work on measures to address food, electricity and natural gas concerns. In all measures, the Government will follow the principle of predictability — for the consumer, the economy and the country.
Government adopts new Decree on setting prices for certain petroleum products
The Government has adopted the Decree on setting prices for certain petroleum products, which temporarily establishes a new regime for the prices of certain petroleum products in Slovenia for the period of one year. The Decree will enter into force on Tuesday, 21 June 2022, and will remain in force for one year. The current system of fixed retail and wholesale price caps will apply until midnight on 20 June.
The Decree adopted today lays down the price-setting mechanism for certain petroleum products and the components, which are to be taken into account by petroleum product sellers, along with the criteria for determining prices or their components.
With this Decree, the Government re-regulates the retail selling prices of 95-octane unleaded petrol (NMB-95) and diesel fuel outside motorways and expressways. In doing so, it limits the level of the traders' margin to EUR 0.0591/litre for diesel and EUR 0.0607/litre for NMB-95, and after 17 August 2022 to EUR 0.0983/litre for diesel fuel and EUR 0.0994/litre for NMB-95. The retail price will be set every 14 days following the model laid down in the Decree.
The prices of motor fuels at service stations on motorways and expressways will now no longer be regulated. The retail prices for these services will be freely determined by the market or by the retailers themselves.
The Decree, by which the former Government set retail and wholesale price caps, will cease to be in force on 21 June 2022. This also ends the current measure of setting a wholesale price cap and, consequently, the obligation for traders to sell petroleum products despite the caps.
Oil prices on world markets remain high and volatile due to the war in Ukraine and the general energy crisis. It is expected that the current situation could continue for some time.
By setting retail and wholesale price caps, the current system of price regulation is not sustainable in the long run for the state budget or for oil traders, and could have a negative impact on the supply of petroleum products.
By re-liberalising prices on motorways and expressways, the Government seeks to overcome the current situation where the Slovenian budget pays for cheaper fuel for transit traffic through Slovenia, while providing Slovenian citizens with the possibility of using service stations across Slovenia outside motorways and expressways, where fuel prices are expected to be more favourable.
Sources: Ministry of Economic Development and Technology
Decree on the environmental tax on pollution caused by carbon dioxide emissions
The Government adopted the Decree amending the Decree on the environmental tax on pollution caused by carbon dioxide emissions. To mitigate the effects of the increase in retail prices of petroleum products, the obligation to pay the environmental tax on pollution caused by carbon dioxide emissions for certain fossil fuels (gasoil, motor gasoline, fuel oil and natural gas) has been temporarily suspended.
The suspension of the environmental tax on pollution caused by carbon dioxide emissions is temporary and applies until 17 August 2022.
Source: Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning
The Government issues the Decree amending the Decree on the method of determining and calculating the contribution for ensuring support for the production of electricity from high-efficiency cogeneration and renewable energy sources
As a result of the reduction in the final prices of petroleum products, which includes all duties, contributions and taxes, it is necessary to temporarily reduce to zero (0) all contributions, including the contribution for ensuring support for the production of electricity from high-efficiency cogeneration and renewable energy sources.
The reduction in the value of the contribution is temporary and valid for a maximum of one year, as is the validity of the Decree on setting prices for certain petroleum products, which was also adopted by the Government of the Republic of Slovenia at its 4th regular session.
Source: Ministry of Infrastructure
Government issues the Decree amending the Decree on energy savings
As a result of the reduction in the final price of petroleum products, which includes all duties, contributions and taxes, it is necessary to temporarily reduce to zero (0) all contributions, including the contribution for energy efficiency.
The reduction in the value of the contribution is temporary and is valid for a maximum of one year, as is the validity of Decree on setting prices for certain petroleum products, which was also adopted by the Government of the Republic of Slovenia at its 4th regular session.
Source: Ministry of Infrastructure
Increasing seats for enrolling foreigners from non-EU Member States in first-cycle (undergraduate) and second-cycle integrated master's degree study programmes at the University of Ljubljana and the University of Maribor
The Government adopted the Decision approving limited enrolment of foreigners from non-EU Member States in the first-cycle (undergraduate) and second-cycle integrated master programmes at the University of Ljubljana and the University of Maribor in the 2022/2023 academic year.
The two universities have noted an increased interest of foreign nationals from non-EU Member States in the available enrolment places, therefore the competent authorities of the universities have adopted a proposal to limit enrolment by increasing the available enrolment places for 11 study programmes, namely the University of Ljubljana for seven study programmes and the University of Maribor for four study programmes.
Thus, the two universities are following the Strategy for the Internationalisation of Slovenian Higher Education in terms of increasing the number of foreign students studying in Slovenia, and the Resolution on the National Programme for Higher Education until 2030.
Source: Ministry of Education, Science and Sport
Government to review the legal basis for the inclusion of projects in this year's plan of development programmes
To obtain the best possible overview of the current state of public finances and to ensure efficient budget expenditure, the Government today instructed its ministries and Government offices to produce a report on the legal bases for including projects in this year's development programmes plan. The Government Office for Legislation and the ministries have been instructed by the Government to draw up reports on the implementing regulations and Government decisions adopted in the period from 13 March 2020 to 1 June 2022.
To avoid potential illegalities in the disbursement of budget funds, the Government intends to verify whether all legal conditions for the projects that would be (co-)financed from the state budget this year are fulfilled. The ministries and Government offices have therefore been instructed to produce reports on the legal basis for including projects in this year's development programmes plan.
The Government instructed the Government Office for Legislation and the ministries to produce reports on the implementing regulations and Government decisions that have been in force in the period from 13 March 2020 to 1 June 2022, even though the Government Office for Legislation warned that the content of the implementing regulation or Government decision has no legal basis in law, or before the adoption, when the opinion of the Government Office for Legislation had not yet been obtained.
Source: Ministry of Finance