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91st regular session of the Government of the Republic of Slovenia

At today's session, the Government adopted the draft Acts amending the Excise Duty Act, the Investment Promotion Act and the Minor Offences Act. It also set out the text of the draft Act on Judicial Protection Procedure for Former Holders of Qualified Liabilities of Banks and adopted amendments to the Decree on setting prices for certain petroleum products.

The Government set out the text of the draft Act amending the Excise Duty Act, which increases excise duties on tobacco products and strengthens controls on unprocessed tobacco and lubricating oils. The most widely used tobacco products – cigarettes – are planned to be subject to an excise duty increase of around 3%, but otherwise the increase depends on the price category. For heating tobacco and electronic cigarettes, taxation will be more comparable to neighbouring countries. The draft Act completes the definition of inhaled, non-combustion products, which may include possible new products such as tobacco-free herbal heating rolls, electronic water pipes and others. As the increase in taxation of excise products in Slovenia is perceptibly increasing the activities of illegal production and trade in excise products with the aim of evading taxes and other duties, the solutions in the draft Act also strengthen the control of unprocessed tobacco and lubricating oils, and introduce controls on tobacco product manufacturing facilities.

The draft Act amending the Investment Promotion Act will allow a branch of a foreign company registered no later than the time of payment of the incentive to receive an incentive under the Act. The possibility for a branch of a foreign company to receive an incentive is an innovation that removes red tape, thus further encouraging foreign investors to invest in the Republic of Slovenia. The possibility of setting up a branch and receiving an incentive for such a branch of a foreign company will only apply to companies established in EU Member States. Other companies established in third countries will still be subject to the requirement of setting up or registering a company in Slovenia before the incentive can be paid.

The Government also adopted a draft of the new Act on Judicial Protection Procedure for Former Holders of Qualified Liabilities of Banks, which eliminates the unconstitutionality of the first Act, while also introducing further improvements to the judicial protection of former holders. As is well known, the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Slovenia set aside the first Act on Judicial Protection Procedure for Former Holders of Qualified Liabilities of Banks due to its unconstitutional regulation of the financing of potential compensation. The new draft Act eliminates this unconstitutionality and introduces additional solutions to make judicial protection more effective for former holders.

The proposed amendments to the Minor Offences Act extend the rights of natural and legal persons in minor offence law. The draft Act pursues the following objectives:

  • to ensure legal predictability with regard to the statute of limitations for prosecution in minor offence law;
  • to balance the right to legal remedies (Article 25 of the Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia) and the efficiency of decision-making in summary minor offence proceedings;
  • to increase the legal certainty of detained persons;
  • in cases where the European Court of Human Rights ruled on a minor offence, to provide a means of enforcing such judgment of the European Court of Human Rights, a friendly settlement or an unilateral declaration by the State on the basis of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The Government issued a Decree amending the Decree on setting prices for certain petroleum products. Following repeated calls from distributors, the Decree changes the maximum margin for diesel from EUR 0.0683 to EUR 0.0783/litre and for unleaded petrol (NMB-95) from EUR 0.0694 to EUR 0.0794/litre. The maximum margin for extra light fuel oil (KOEL) remains unchanged. The containment of growth in margins will have a positive impact on the level of retail prices of certain petroleum products and thus on inflation. Inflation in Slovenia is still above the average inflation rate in the euro area, which means that the inflation rate needs to be gradually reduced to prevent its negative impact on people and the business environment. Rising inflation is pushing up the prices of final goods and affecting the cost of credit, which is eroding the capability of people and businesses by holding back consumption and investment. If the Decree were not to propose margin caps, the retail prices of petrol and diesel would increase more, which could end up affecting companies’ competitiveness on international markets or final consumers’ social status.

The Government also adopted two decisions on humanitarian aid, providing 500,000 EUR in financial assistance to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and 434,105 EUR in material assistance to the Palestinian civilian population in the form of food and shelter equipment.