Civil Groups Claim EU Destroying Slovenia’s Economic Independence

By , 29 Jun 2018, 09:10 AM Politics
Civil Groups Claim EU Destroying Slovenia’s Economic Independence JL Flanner, montage and distortion

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STA, 28 June 2018 - Representatives of small shareholders' organisations and of civil initiative Sinteza-KCD called in the National Council on Thursday for an end to what they say is the intentional dismantling of Slovenian economic sovereignty by the EU's institutions and financial sector.

The president of the All-Slovenian Association of Small Shareholders Kristjan Verbič started the discussion, hosted by the upper chamber of parliament, by labelling the developments that accompanied the 2013 bank bailout in Slovenia the robbery of the century.

Arguing that the period of the formation of the new government was the right time to remember these things, Verbič said he expects the new coalition to have a different attitude to the national economy, the banking system, capital market and economic sovereignty.

He listed several measures from recent years that he feels reveal a calculated destruction of Slovenia's economy and capital market, noting that the number of small shareholders had fallen by 42% between 2015 and 2017.

Peter Glavič of a civil initiative of small shareholders and junior bondholders who were wiped out in the 2013 bailout focused on the forced sale of Slovenian banks in recent years.

He said it had been accompanied by unprofessional due diligence processes, intentional undermining of the banks' value, pressure from the European Commission and the European Central Bank and stress tests involving completely unrealistic macroeconomic scenarios.

Glavič feels that the Troika actually arrived in Slovenia in 2012, with the goal of the entire 2013 operation being to maximise the state's contribution to fixing the banks, which increased public debt, and then execute a fire sale of the banks to financial institutions.

He said the crown evidence is the sale of the NKBM bank to the US fund Apollo and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, which allegedly doubled the value of the investment within a few months.

This was also accompanied by parliament adopting in 2013 a list of 15 companies slated for privatisation.

Glavič argued the state needed its banks, but would be left with less than 6% of the banking system's total assets after the planned sale of NLB, Abanka and Gorenjska Banka.

Economist Jože Mencinger, who was a key figure in Slovenia's gradualistic approach to the transition from national to market economy in the 1990s, said he never understood why Slovenia did not oppose the European Commission's view that the bailout of NLB, Nova KBM and Abanka constituted state aid.

The member of the Sinteza-KCD initiative is convinced that the state, using the bail-in principle, was merely salvaging its own assets. The intervention did not distort competition nor did it undermine trade in the EU, since these banks did not have subsidiaries in other member states.

Mencinger also raised the issue of the forced bail-in affecting small shareholders, and Glavič and him are convinced Slovenia should take the European Commission and the European Commission to court over their actions.

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