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Prime Minister in the National Assembly: “Everyone affected by the floods has the right to assistance”

“It is the enormous scale of the damage that requires us to tackle these floods and their consequences, not only with a new act, but with a completely renewed approach,” the Prime Minister explained in the National Assembly when discussing the draft act on intervention measures to address the consequences of floods and landslides.
Prime Minister presenting a supplementary budget for 2023 in parliament

Prime Minister presenting a supplementary budget for 2023 in parliament | Author Matija Sušnik/Državni zbor Republike Slovenije

The Government's response will be three-pronged; the intervention, which was swift and effective, will be followed by measures that take effect immediately and have an immediate effect on the ground to prevent further damage and to help people prepare for reconstruction. Finally, there will be the reconstruction phase, lasting at least 5 years. In the first phase, people will be able to get rapid assistance through humanitarian organisations, between €500 and €3,000. “Everyone who has been affected has the right to this assistance and everyone should turn to the Red Cross or Caritas because they are entitled to it, regardless of their social status,” the Prime Minister said.

Under the intervention act, people will be entitled to a 12-month moratorium on all credit payments, emergency cash solidarity assistance of up to €11,466 for a family of four, and exemptions from the payment of electricity bills, utility bills and the like. It is important that citizens claim damages. Starting next week, a call centre will also be available to help people by calling 114.

As specifically pointed out by the Prime Minister, transparency will be a key guiding principle for all measures. All the information about this, every euro paid from the state budget, will be made public. Regarding the so-called Solidarity Saturdays, he explained that there would be one such Saturday this year and that the decision to work on a Saturday would be voluntary. He added that those who decide not to work will be subject to a solidarity contribution on top of their income tax charged first in 2024 and second in 2025.

The Prime Minister pointed out that the rapid cash assistance could help up to 90% of all those affected by the latest natural disaster, while families who have lost everything will be helped by the State on an individual basis. It is very important that the damage in the municipalities be inventoried as soon as possible, as the deadline is tomorrow. “Only when we have data on the damage can the mechanism approved in the National Assembly 14 days ago come to life,” he explained. As regards the management of watercourses, the act also introduces a derogation from the existing concession contracts, not only to ensure that the regulation of watercourses is carried out quickly, but also to mobilise all available forces competent for watercourse regulation, with experts playing a major role. As regards aid to businesses, the Prime Minister highlighted the easing of labour legislation.

The intervention act primarily addresses the affected areas, but, according to Golob, it also introduces measures that he would like to see introduced systemically for the whole country at a later stage. “It is right that we have found the courage and the wisdom to tackle this reconstruction and this rehabilitation with the best measures and not necessarily just with the existing legislation as we have known it for the last thirty years,” concluded the Prime Minister, thankful for the unity shown so far: “I am really grateful for it, because this is what people need and it is right to give it to the people, because this unity is for the people, not for us.”