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Committee Scraps Holding Guidelines, Assets Classification

Ljubljana, 10 April (STA) - The parliamentary Finance and Monetary Policy Committee decided Wednesday to scrap proposals for the management of state assets and the classification of assets to be transferred onto the Slovenia Sovereign Holding. Financial Minister Uroš Čufer said the government would draft a new proposal on which assets to sell.

There is no need to waste time on transferring state assets to the holding - instead we must draft a list of companies to be privatised as soon as possible, Čufer said.

"We want to speed up privatisation," the minister said, announcing that the first package of companies to be sold will be sent to parliament for debate in the shortest time possible.

The existing proposal for classification of state assets has been heavily criticised for slating some of Slovenia's top companies for sale. Objections were voiced both by unions and the opposition, which at the time consisted of parties that are now part of the coalition.

Unions said the classification was short-sighted and based on political preferences, while the Social Democrats (SD) even went as far as accusing the then government of "high treason".

SD deputy Matevž Frangež told the committee today that comprehensive measures were needed in the field and warned against a fire sale at low prices. Slovenia is currently more vulnerable due to a lack of confidence, which is a result of misguided economic policies and certain external policies.

Jošef Horvat of the opposition New Slovenia (NSi) countered that the time was running out. "Slovenia's national interest is bankrupt and the so-called family silverware became junk metal. Waiting for better times - what year will that be," he asked, demanding the government presents new solutions "literally tomorrow".

Andrej Vizjak of the opposition Democrats (SDS) meanwhile criticised the scrapping of both proposals, saying the decision means more bad news to the financial markets, while his party colleague Marko Pogačnik said that the rejections of both proposal meant that "poor practices" of managing state assets will now continue.

The committee also threw out proposed changes to the 2012 fiscal consolidation act related to a group of pensioners whose pensions were cut. According to Andreja Črnak Meglič (SD), the changes were unnecessary as the Constitutional Court already moved to rectify the situation.

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