March 20, 2019 / 4:53 PM / 5 months ago

Slovenian parliament confirms 2019 budget with opposition help

LJUBLJANA (Reuters) - Slovenia’s parliament on Wednesday confirmed the minority government’s 2019 budget plan that increases public sector wages, rejecting a veto by the upper house of parliament, the State Council.

The State Council upper house had urged more money for local communities in the budget, ordering the parliament to vote on the plan again after it initially confirmed the budget on March 6.

Parliament did not accede to the recommended changes, but the budget will allow for public sector wage rises that are likely to be higher than over the past years, as per the original plan.

Although the center-left cabinet of Prime Minister Marjan Sarec holds only 43 out of 90 seats in parliament, it managed to secure sufficient support from the Left and the Slovenian Nationalist Party opposition parties, so the budget was confirmed by 57 votes against 26.

“This budget marks the end of excessive savings in the public sector,” the head of the Left Luka Mesec told parliament before the vote.

Previous governments have kept a lid on public sector wages since 2012 when Slovenia fell into a severe financial crisis that was resolved by a banking overhaul in 2013.

A year later the country returned to economic growth and the present government has agreed to raise most public sector wages by at least 4 percent this year.

According to the budget plan, Slovenia should end 2019 with a surplus of 0.55 percent of GDP versus a surplus of some 0.8 percent in 2018.

Reporting by Marja Novak; Editing by Alison Williams

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