STA, 21 June 2020 - Taking stock of its first 100 days in office, the Janez Janša government is happy that the coronavirus epidemic was quickly contained, including with key and efficient measures it took just days after assuming office on 13 March, the Government Communication Office (UKOM) said in a written statement.
Despite a recent increase in the number of new coronavirus cases, the situation is calming down in Slovenia, which the government attributes to the tremendous efforts of healthcare staff, police officers, members of civil protection having in the past months and to all those who have consistently complied with the protective measures.
"Nobody would like to see those days repeat, hence a recent call by Prime Minister Janez Janša to consistently respect the measures which are still in place," said UKOM.
To mitigate the consequences of the epidemic, the government has adopted three stimulus packages, all aiming to cushion social distress of residents and help the economy survive the lockdown shock.
UKOM noted that with the first two packages, the government has preserved 260,000 jobs, while direct financial assistance has been provided to as many as 1.3 million people, or 65% of the population, through a temporary measure of basic monthly income, a one-off solidarity bonus and a number of other measures.
Although the measures are yet to produce their results in full, economic forecasts are relatively positive, showing the Slovenian economy will recover from the severe shock already next year and post significant growth in 2022.
Seeing investment as key to restarting the economy post-Covid, the government has endorsed a list of 187 key projects to launch a new economic cycle.
UKOM stressed that in setting the list of major investments, the government was guided, just like when it opted for holiday vouchers, by their multiplicative effects.
Looking further ahead, the government has two major challenges - keeping the epidemic in check and implementing the commitments from the coalition agreement, while preparations for Slovenia's presidency of the EU in the second half of 2021 are also under way.
Improving Europe's resilience to crises and forming action plans for emergencies, such as pandemics, global cyberattacks and migration, are also among its priorities.
In foreign policy, the priority is an ambitious policy on Eastern and Southern Partnerships, and putting EU prospects for the Western Balkans back on the agenda.
UKOM also said the government will send a supplemented budget to parliament by 1 September, also taking into account coronavirus-related expenditure and the latest economic outlook by its macroeconomic forecaster IMAD.
Demographic challenges and long-term care will also be in the focus in the coming months alongside efforts to eliminate the shortcomings in healthcare infrastructure.
To be ready for a potential new migration wave, enhanced and efficient protection of the state border will be needed.
The government will also intensify drawing of EU funds and actively take part in EU talks on the bloc's new multi-annual budget for 2021-2027.
More focus will also be given to food self-sufficiency, while the elderly and some other groups will be eligible for free inter-city transport as of 1 July, in what the government sees as an important step towards a more friendly system of public transport.
Efforts to clean degraded areas such as the Mežiška Valley and the Celje area, will continue together with investments into flood safety, according to UKOM.
The government also plans to establish a demographic fund and a government office for demographic affairs, as well as take measures related to the pension system.
The army and the police are another two areas were the government intends to make some improvements.