Government decisions at the session of the government committee
At the government committee sessions, the Government agreed, among other things, on an amendment to the draft act amending the Judicial Service Act, adopted an opinion on the request of the National Council for a reconsideration of the amendment to the Implementation of the Republic of Slovenia Budget Act, and adopted the Eco Fund's Business and Financial Plan for 2023.
The Government agrees to the amendment to the draft act on the amendment to the Judicial Service Act
At its 48th regular session, the Government set the text of the draft act on the amendment to the Judicial Service Act. The draft act regulates the position of a judge who is appointed to an international court and who, in addition to their judicial function in the Republic of Slovenia, performs the function of a judge of an international court. However, the function of a judge of an international court is not performed full-time, but in a lesser proportion than full-time (part-time), depending on the manner in which the court works and the number of cases.
After considering the opinion of the Legislative and Legal Service of the National Assembly, the Government, at today's session of the Committee on State Regulation and Public Affairs, adopted an amendment aimed at ensuring that the wording of the new provision leaves no doubt as to its constitutionality.
Government on the request from the National Council to reconsider the amendment to the Implementation of the Republic of Slovenia Budget Act
Today, at a meeting of the Committee on the Economy, the Government adopted an opinion on the request of the National Council for the National Assembly to reconsider the amendment to the Implementation of the Republic of Slovenia Budget for 2023 and 2024 Act. The Government proposes that the National Assembly again endorses the amendment.
The Government considers that, despite the criticisms of the National Council, the adopted 2023 budget rebalancing is aimed at supporting the economy and helping citizens. As the energy market situation is now much less unpredictable than it was when the 2023 budget rebalancing was made, the Government has adjusted the reserve for this purpose in the budget rebalancing to the actual market situation.
The government maintains the level of expenditure on investments and capital transfers at the same level as planned in the 2023 budget rebalancing. This will be supported by the absorption of European funds from the 2014–2020 financial perspective, the 2021-2027 financial perspective and the Recovery and Resilience Facility. In addition, development incentives for the economy are also planned in the 2023 budget rebalancing.
The Government strongly rejects claims that it does not treat the representative associations of municipalities as equal partners. Negotiating the level of the lump sum is one of its priorities, especially in the process of preparing the national budget. The Government is in the unenviable position of wanting to conclude an agreement while bearing responsibility for the sustainability of public finances. Taking into account the country's development ambitions and legal obligations, while at the same time respecting fiscal commitments, forces the government to reach an agreement in the coordination processes that will be sustainable for public finances at both national and local level in the years to come. In 2024, the fiscal rules will apply again.
In the opinion, the Government recalled that municipalities can already receive additional funds from the state budget directly or indirectly, on the basis of the rules already in force. When agreeing on the level of the lump sum, or its increase to EUR 700, the government already took into account the salary increase agreed last October and inflation of 8.1%. The rebalancing also provides, among other things, the funds for balancing the municipality development, which will be higher this year than last year, and for the co-financing of programmes and investments at the local level.
In addition, the government considers that municipal expenditure has been positively affected by the setting of a maximum retail price for natural gas and electricity, which is also applicable to providers of publicly valid education and training programmes. The regulation will apply for the whole year 2023. The government has also put in place various measures to mitigate the increase in the cost of kindergartens for parents, and the thresholds for social transfers are being raised, meaning that they will be higher and more accessible to parents.
In this light, the Government considers that the adopted 2023 budget rebalancing allows for adequate financing of all the areas highlighted in the suspensory veto proposal, while of course taking care to ensure the long-term sustainability of public finances.
Eco Fund, Slovenian Environmental Public Fund Business and Financial Plan 2023
The Government Committee also adopted the Eco Fund’s Business and Financial Plan for 2023, which was considered by the Supervisory Board of the Eco Fund at its 14th regular meeting on 2 March 2023.
The Eco Fund's Business and Financial Plan for 2023 foresees that the Eco Fund will provide up to EUR 50 million of credit for the activity of favourable lending for investments in the field of environmental protection in 2023.
On the basis of the Energy Efficiency Act, the Eco Fund will continue in 2023 to grant non-repayable financial incentives for the energy efficiency improvement programme. We estimate that EUR 39.5 million will be raised under the Energy Efficiency Act, so EUR 25.3 million of the newly tendered funds will be made available for this purpose, EUR 10 million for the disbursement of applications already received under the SUB 74 call for proposals, and EUR 3.95 million for the financing of the Borzen programme, the Eco Fund's costs, the interest rate subsidy and ENSVET consultants.
The Eco Fund will continue to grant non-repayable financial incentives in 2023 through the Climate Change Fund, which will provide EUR 161.65 million. Of this, up to EUR 24 million will be earmarked for new measures for incentives for the socially vulnerable for measures in buildings, EUR 15 million for incentives for citizens to invest in renewable energy sources (RES) and energy efficiency (EE), EUR 3 million for incentives for nearly zero-energy buildings, EUR 10 million in additional funding for the purchase of passenger transport vehicles and EUR 6 million for the purchase of electric vehicles for private individuals.
On the basis of the adopted plan, the Eco Fund will also re-launch calls for tender in 2023 to co-finance the activities of NGOs for a total amount of up to EUR 970,141.75.
The Government has also decided that a proportion of the funds collected from the energy efficiency levy in 2023 in the amount of EUR 1,800,000, which is revenue of the Eco Fund, the Slovenian Environmental Public Fund, shall be earmarked and used for the implementation of the energy efficiency improvement programme.
Purchase of new passenger transport vehicles
At today's meeting of the Government Committee, the Government adopted a decision to amend the project "Purchase of new passenger transport vehicles" in the current Development Programme Plan 2023–2026.
Due to the changes and increased needs and benefits of the implementation of the measure in the field of sustainable mobility, the starting value of the project is increased from EUR 7,000,000.00 to EUR 17,000,000.00. The investment will be implemented according to the foreseen timetable until 31 December 2023.
The proposed amendment of the project takes into account the planned spending under the 2022 and 2023 Climate Change Fund Spending Programme.
Surplus revenue of the Slovenian Institute of Standardization for the development of activities and information system
At the Committee meeting, the Government adopted a decision that the surplus of revenue over expenditure of the Slovenian Institute of Standardization (SIST) in 2022 in the performance of activities of public interest, amounting to more than EUR 165,688, should be earmarked for the performance and development of its activities. The surplus on the performance of commercial activities, amounting to more than EUR 85,653, shall be used for the development of the information system.
The founder of the Slovenian Institute of Standardization is the Government of the Republic of Slovenia. The Management Board, in agreement with the founder, adopts the Institute's annual activity report, financial plan and annual accounts. In its accounts for 2022, the Institute recorded a surplus of revenue over expenditure totalling just over EUR 251,341. The Annual Report shows that in 2022 SIST met all the objectives set out in the Work Programme and Financial Plan for 2022 and performed all the tasks in accordance with the Standardisation Act and the Regulation on European Standardisation.
In 2022, the Slovenian Institute for Standardization received EUR 1,644,633 from the budget and spent just over EUR 1,443,906. This resulted in a surplus of revenue over expenditure of just over EUR 251,341. The budget funds in the amount of EUR 1,644,633 that the Institute will receive in 2023 is not sufficient to cover all the Institute's operating costs. The resulting surplus from 2022 will be used to cover salary increases in the amount of over EUR 101,034, to cover the increased costs of attending meetings of the technical working groups which will be held in person (previously they were held remotely due to the COVID-19 epidemic), to upgrade the information system and to complete projects started in 2022 and due to be completed in 2023.
Government adopts the Annual Report of the Housing Fund of the Republic of Slovenia, Public Fund for 2022
The Government adopts the Annual Report of the Housing Fund of the Republic of Slovenia, Public Fund for 2022 with the Auditor's Report.
In 2022, the Housing Fund of the Republic of Slovenia, a public fund, realised a surplus of expenditure over revenue of EUR 21,690,475. Taking into account the financial receivables and investments and the financing account, a decrease of EUR 2,550,772 is realised in the accounts as a result of the operation of own assets in 2022. The Government of the Republic of Slovenia has decided that the identified surplus of expenditure over revenue represents a reduction of the earmarked assets of the Public Fund.
Information on the participation of the Republic of Slovenia in the project of close inter-institutional cooperation in BiH "EU for the further development of the statistical system in BiH" (BA 19 IPA ST 01 23)
The Committee took note of the information provided by the Government on the participation of the Republic of Slovenia in the project of close inter-institutional cooperation in BiH "EU for the further development of the statistical system in BiH". The project aims to increase the volume of statistical data in BiH and compliance with the EU legal order and standards in the field of statistics by strengthening the institutional capacity of the BiH statistical system and by improving business, tourism, labour force, information society and balance of payments statistics. Eurostat would like to participate as a cooperating partner in the proposed project of close inter-institutional cooperation in BiH. A strengthened capacity of the BiH statistical system would help to better meet EU requirements in the field of statistics and, consequently, to make faster progress in the process of BiH's integration into the EU.
The Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia has been cooperating well with the statistical institutions in BiH in the field of statistics for many years. The transfer of knowledge and tried and tested solutions is crucial for the further development and modernisation of national statistical systems and an established good practice in the European Statistical System.