STA, 17 October 2019 - Slovenian Prime Minister Marjan Šarec welcomed the deal on an orderly Brexit reached on Thursday by the EU and British negotiators and expressed hope that the deal will get support in the UK, as "time is really running out".
Šarec said he was happy with the deal as he spoke to the press on the sidelines of the two-day European Council meeting, which also discusses relations with Turkey, EU long-term budget and priorities for the next five years.
Asked whether Brexit would happen on 31 October, Šarec said that the EU leaders would first need to get acquainted with the report from the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier and to see what the sentiment was.
The Slovenian prime minister hopes that "this agreement, which is certainly a better result than no deal at all," would not be rejected by Britain as it is one of the last, if not the last options.
According to Šarec, everything depends now on the British parliament and the European Parliament, while the EU leaders also need to get acquainted with the deal in the first place.
He personally believes that Barnier has reached a good deal as a good and experienced negotiator.
Šarec was also asked about the media reports on the alleged request by British PM Boris Johnson that the EU leaders exclude the possibility of a new postponement of Brexit and effectively help him push the deal through parliament.
He said that he and his EU counterparts needed to get acquainted with details first and that the opinion of Ireland and the European Commission was important.
Šarec criticised the entire process of looking for a Brexit deal, which he believes does not contribute to the reputation of the EU and the United Kingdom.
"Three years have passed, with more important topics being pushed aside," he lamented, adding that "everybody would like to see a solution. If we are not capable of making this happen, let them stay."
The deal was first announced by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and later presented at a press conference by Barnier, who said that an orderly Brexit could be implemented by the end of the month.
The key difference compared to the agreement with the former British PM Theresa May is the elimination of the disputable Irish backstop, which would be replaced with a new approach.
Prime Minister Johnson has called on the British MPs to back the deal. The British parliament decided today in a narrow vote to hold an extraordinary session on Saturday to discuss the deal.
STA, 10 October - President Borut Pahor expressed solidarity with Ireland in the face of Brexit as he met President Michael D. Higgins ahead of the Athens Democracy Forum on Thursday. Slovenia supports efforts for an orderly Brexit, which is in the interest of the EU and the UK.
The pair talked about the future of the EU and other topical global issues, but special attention was given to Brexit.
Pahor said that Slovenia would only support a deal acceptable to Ireland, this means only a legal solution that would avoid a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, protect the economy of the island and preserve a single market in Ireland.
Predsednik Republike Slovenije Borut Pahor se je danes sestal s predsednikom Irske Michaelom D. Higginsom, s katerim sta se pogovarjala predvsem o prihodnosti Evropske unije in aktualnih razmerah v svetu. https://t.co/yfO3HaKEMf pic.twitter.com/FA79HSZcga— Borut Pahor (@BorutPahor) October 10, 2019
Pahor also underlined that Slovenia was fully supportive of the approach adopted by the EU and its head negotiator Michel Barnier.
Higgins noted that Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is meeting UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson today to discuss Brexit, Pahor's office said in a press release.
The press release also said that the presidents shared the view that the EU is at a cross roads and that serious reflection is needed about its future.
In this respect Higgins said that he advocated the eco-social economic policy, which he believes can strengthen the EU.
Mr. Borut Pahor, the President of the Republic of Slovenia @BorutPahor tells us: The EU is more than just a project, it is the most beautiful thing that has ever happened to the nations of Europe. It’s the only solution for peace and stability.#ADF2019 #Democracy #EuropeanUnion pic.twitter.com/HUtxgmihu7— Athens Democracy Forum (@ForumAthens) October 10, 2019
Higgins and Pahor agreed that bilateral relations between their countries were friendly and without open issues. They want to see closer cooperation in the future, with Pahor inviting Higgins to visit Slovenia.
The presidents are guests at the Athens Democracy Forum organised by the New York Times under the auspices of Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos. This year, the event focuses on alternative forms of governance.
All our stories on Brexit are here
NOTE: This advice was accurate as of 9 October 2019, but may be subject to changE. For the very latest information you can read the GOV.UK Living in Slovenia Guide (http://bit.ly/2W6cwQb) and sign up for updates (http://bit.ly/LiG-SLO-SignUp); and subscribe to British Embassy in Ljubljana's newsletter: (http://bit.ly/UKNinSLO-News)
The British Embassy recently hosted a Q&A on Brexit on its Facebook page, but this is difficult to search and not much of a permanent record. So with the permission of the Embassy and questions edited to remove personal details, here’s what people asked and what the Embassy replied - scroll down for everything or click on the following headings.
How will becoming a temporary resident be affected by no deal?
You will still be able to apply for temporary residence, set up a business and buy property as a non-EU national. The criteria for doing this is different for EU and non-EU nationals. If you are planning on staying in Slovenia we advise that you register for temporary residency as soon as possible at a local Upravna Enota (Office for Foreigners) and acquire an EU status 5 year temporary residency permit.
With this permit you will be entitled to remain in Slovenia and have the same rights and benefits as an EU national would with a few exceptions such as onward movement (eg relocating to another EU member state). You can then apply to become a permanent resident in Slovenia after 5 continuous years of residency.
If you apply for residency after Brexit then you can still apply for residency on the basis of an EU national within 6 months from Exit day. You would however only receive a 1 year permit. After 1 year you would need to apply as a third country national and there are different criteria for doing this such as being self-employed, pensioner, family reasons or property.
If Britain drops out of the EU on 31 October, what will be the process for permanent residents to ensure they retain their residency status? If a deal is done then what will be the process and will the transition period be 20 months as per the proposed deal or will it be until December 2020 (13 months)?
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, your residency status will continue until its current expiry. You will need to exchange your current residence permit for a new one, noting that the UK is no longer part of the EU. You must do this within one year of exit day. The UK government would prefer to leave with a deal and it is working in a determined way to get one. Under the current Withdrawal Agreement the Implementation Period will last until 31 December 2020. If a deal is reached, we will further provide information on the process required in that scenario to maintain legal residence in Slovenia.
I currently have temporary residence in Slovenia. Would there be any advantage in switching this to permanent before Brexit?
Ultimately this is a personal choice, but if you have legally lived in Slovenia for a continuous period of 5 years then you may wish to do obtain a permanent residency document. A permanent residence document can be useful when dealing with the authorities or for administrative formalities. To learn how to register as a permanent resident, please visit our Living in Slovenia Guide (www.gov.uk/living-in-slovenia).
In its page on residency and Brexit the EU refers to “EU long-term resident status”, and states:
"This permit will grant you a permanent status, and allow you to enjoy the same treatment as nationals regarding access to employment, education, and core social benefits. This will also allow you, under certain conditions, to acquire the right to reside in another EU Member State."
Does this still apply under no deal, and where can we learn more about applying for this status in Slovenia?
The 'EU long-term residence permit' is equivalent to the permanent residence permit issued to EU nationals in Slovenia. In the event of a no deal Brexit, Slovenia's parliament has passed legislation to enable UK nationals who are permanent residents in Slovenia to maintain most rights enjoyed by EU citizens. Slovenia's no deal legislation can be found through the link below: http://pisrs.si/Pis.web/pregledPredpisa?id=ZAKO8007#
In the event of no deal, will professional qualifications gained in the UK continue to be recognized in Slovenia, and vice versa?
Both the UK and Slovenia will continue to recognize professional qualifications previously accredited before Brexit. The UK and Slovenia will also evaluate applications made before Brexit under pre-exit rules, even if review takes place after Brexit. In the event of a no deal Brexit, we understand that Slovenia will evaluate UK professional qualifications under the rules it currently applies to third country nationals.
How will no deal affect setting up a business in Slovenia?
For setting up a business in Slovenia you may wish to contact the British Slovenian Chamber of Commerce who will be able to provide information about doing this as a non-EU national. For more information on this please visit www.bscc.si or the Slovenian Chamber of Commerce at https://eng.gzs.si/.
Can you tell us what will happen to any goods imported from the UK, in the event of no deal? Will goods, even small orders for UK products be subject to additional taxes and duty?
The EU will apply tariffs to UK goods in case of a no deal exit. Details of these tariffs can be found here https://ec.europa.eu/.../import-and.../import-into-eu/
Under the UK’s proposals for a deal, the UK and Ireland will collect their own customs duties according to their respective customs legislation. The vast majority of consignments will be cleared within seconds by HMRC without any documentation of physical checks needed.
In case the UK leaves without a deal, it will continue in this vain with no border checks at Dover. The EU importer will need to liaise with the UK exporter and the electronic paperwork will need to be completed on the UK side. The UK exporter will need to be registered for an Economic Operators Identity. More details are here https://ec.europa.eu/trade/import-and-export-rules/import-into-eu
Please also see the attached handout for businesses (http://bit.ly/2IkLvUE) which outlines the preparations businesses should be making in case the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
How should service providers to / from the UK prepare for Brexit?
If you are a UK service provider in Slovenia you can continue to provide services in Slovenia until the end of your contract (regardless of how the UK exits the EU). After this time you will become a third country national Service provider and will need to check with the relevant regulatory body on continuation of providing services.
If you are a Slovene Service provider in the UK you will be able to continue to provide services and renew your contracts as a third country national once the UK has exited the EU but additional paperwork may be required. Further information on this can be found on www.gov.uk
Will I still be able to buy property in Slovenia?
Regarding the purchase of property as a non-EU national, UK nationals will still fall under OECD rules on property rights and will therefore be able to acquire property in Slovenia under these rules after Brexit.
If No Deal, what effect is it likely to have on those of us who own a holiday home in Slovenia?
Property rights will not be affected by Brexit. If there is a no deal Brexit, UK nationals will be able to visit the Schengen Area for up to 90 days within a 180 day period. If you want to spend more time in Slovenia, you will need to apply for a visa and/or residence. Slovenia has outlined its residency regulations for a no deal Brexit in its no deal contingency regulation, which can be found below: http://www.pisrs.si/Pis.web/pregledPredpisa?id=ZAKO8007.
What will happen to the EHIC with or without a deal? Is it true that British expats will no longer be entitled to any healthcare in the UK, in the event of a deal or no deal?
If the UK leaves the EU with a deal, you will be able to continue using your EHIC as you do now for the duration of the Implementation Period.
In the event of a no deal Brexit, the UK is seeking in parallel an EU-wide approach or bilateral arrangements with Member States to transitionally continue the current social security coordination rules, including reciprocal healthcare, in full until the end of December 2020. Current reciprocal healthcare arrangements also include EHIC rights. This will protect the rights of individuals who live in, move to, visit or work in the UK or EU until 31 December 2020.
If an agreement is not reached, UK-issued EHICs will no longer be valid in Slovenia. If you are resident in Slovenia, you should seek healthcare coverage through the Health Insurance Institute of Slovenia (ZZZS). To ensure continuity of cover, the UK Government has committed to continue to pay for state-funded healthcare for UKNs currently in Slovenia, for a period of 6 months while you transfer to ZZZS. (http://bit.ly/2o9KmIk).
After the UK leaves the EU, UK insureds will continue to have the right to free NHS care when temporarily visiting England, Scotland and Wales. They will also be eligible for NHS care if they move permanently back to the UK (including Northern Ireland).
What advice would you give to British pensioners on fixed incomes who are unable to afford additional insurance in Slovenia? Will there be funds available to help repatriate them for NHS treatment, if needed?
It is important people think about their own needs and circumstances and look at their options carefully by checking the Living in Slovenia guide, NHS Slovenia country page and speaking to ZZZS.
After the UK leaves the EU, those who have an S1 form will continue to have the right to free NHS care when temporarily visiting England, Scotland and Wales. They will also be eligible for NHS care if they move permanently back to the UK (including Northern Ireland).
In the first 6 months the UK Government has put in place emergency provisions to provide bespoke support to people who find themselves in a challenging healthcare situation (i.e. requiring urgent treatment) due to a change in their healthcare cover after Brexit (http://bit.ly/2o9KmIk).
What will happen to the EEA Family permit in the event of deal or no deal?
Your spouse will be able to visit the UK after 31 October, provided they comply with UK immigration policy. Under the current Withdrawal Agreement nothing will change until the end of the Implementation Period, which will last until 31 December 2020.
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, it is possible that the EEA Family Permit route to visiting the UK will cease, because the UK national will no longer be an EU national. In this case, your spouse would need to apply for a visit visa (or settlement visa if you plan to stay).
For more information please visit: https://www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families
Will UK citizens who are married to Slovenes be able to move with their families to the UK without conditions, or will there be a minimum earnings threshold?
UK Nationals can return to the UK at any time. Existing close family members of UK Nationals (spouses, civil partners, unmarried partners, children, grandchildren and dependent parents and grandparents) who return from living in the EU by 29 March 2022 can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.
Future spouses and partners of UK Nationals who return from living in the EU by 31 December 2020 can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. Dependent relatives of UK Nationals who previously lived in the EU with that family member can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme until 31 December 2020.
After these dates UK Immigration Rules will apply as it does for other UK Nationals returning from abroad.
Will elderly parents of UK citizens who live in Slovenia be able to move here to live with their children, or will there be restrictions?
While the UK remains in the EU, elderly parents of UK nationals resident in Slovenia should be able to live in Slovenia, provided they comply with relevant regulations (depending on whether the parent is an EU national or third country national). In the event of a no deal Brexit, provisions for family reunification are outlined in Slovenia's no deal contingency legislation.
Our understanding of the legislation suggests that close family members are entitled to the same rights as a resident, whatever time they join them, and have permission to reside. You may need to demonstrate sufficient financial resources to support an individual's parents.
My son plans to go to university next year. He has permanent residency in Slovenia and has lived here since he was five years old. He would like to study in The Netherlands. Currently the course fee's for EU students are €2,200 Euro, but €12,000 Euro for a non-EU student. How will he be classed? I was also told that he if goes to the UK, because he has been out of the UK for more than 10 years, he will be classed as an international student there too.
If your son is planning to attend university in the UK next year (academic year 2020/2021) and is either a UK or EU national he will qualify for home fee status for the duration of his course. If your son has lived outside the UK for more than 10 years this should not affect his status if he holds EU citizenship for the duration of his study.
If your son is planning to work in the UK after his studies he may also consider the 'graduate immigration route’. (Available to undergraduates and upwards - primarily aimed at furthering post-grad/work experience for new graduates.) This allows for overseas/EU students to stay and work in the UK at any skill level for 2 years. After the 2 years ex-students will be able to switch onto the skilled work route if they find a relevant job for their skills.
For further information on student finance please visit https://www.gov.uk/student-finance-calculator to find out what your son can qualify for.
In regards to studying in the Netherlands, the Netherlands government have published information here:
Should you require more information, please contact British Embassy The Hague:
Is it still possible to apply for Slovenian citizenship and keep my UK passport?
The Slovene Ministry of Interior have confirmed to us that UK nationals are able to apply for dual citizenship while the UK remains part of the EU. Applications lodged prior to Brexit will treat the applicant on the same terms as an EU national, even if the review process takes place after exit.
Will Slovenes still be able to get dual nationality in the UK through marriage (and thus vice versa, since it seems to be reciprocal)?
Dual citizenship is permitted in the UK. The Slovene nationals who are married/in civil partnership with a UK national will be able to obtain UK citizenship if they meet the criteria outlined below: https://www.gov.uk/british-citizenship
I am a dual national of Slovenia and the United Kingdom. Will there be any changes for dual nationals after a possible No deal Brexit?
Your dual national status will not be affected in case the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
The last gov.uk publication on UK driving licence said that Slovenia would accept UK driving licence. You will just require an International Driving Permit for visits over 90 days.
You are correct that visitors to Slovenia for 90 days or less will not need an International Driving Permit (IDP). However we advise all Brits living here to read carefully the Slovene government's guidance on driving licences here (http://bit.ly/2u8gNX2).
The Living in Slovenia Guide continues to advise all UK nationals living in Slovenia to exchange their UK driving licence for a Slovene driving licence before the UK leaves the EU (www.gov.uk/living-in-slovenia).
My UK driving licence has the EU flag on it – will I need to change it in the UK before swapping it for a Slovene licence?
As long as it remains valid, UK-issued driving licences will continue to be valid, including those with EU images. You should exchange your UK driving license for a Slovene one if you meet the residency criteria. Residents will be required to do so within 12 months of Brexit. More information can be found on our Living in Slovenia guide (www.gov.uk/living-in-slovenia).
We have a holiday home in Slovenia. Am I correct in thinking that we need to get our UK will translated into Slovene and a copy deposited with a notary in Slovenia in order for our wishes to be upheld rather than defaulting to Slovene law regarding wills?
You are correct - you do need to translate your will into Slovene and deposit this with a solicitor.
We get child benefit for our two grandchildren who we are raising under a UK special guardianship order. Will this benefit be effected?
Should the UK depart the EU with the Withdrawal Agreement (Deal) your rights as UK nationals in the EU will continue as before and you will have full access to the rights you currently enjoy (e.g. child benefit) for as long as you remain a resident in Slovenia. If the UK departs the EU without a deal then the Slovene government has put in place legislation to protect the rights of UK residents until the end of 2020 when they expect an EU wide agreement to be reached.
If you are a permanent resident your access to Slovene social security benefit should continue as before and you will automatically continue to qualify for child benefit from the Slovene authorities. If you are a temporary resident you will be entitled to the same benefits until expiry of your permit when you will need to either roll over to permanent residence or apply for a temporary residence as a third-country national.
Our current understanding is that the payment mechanism between the UK and Slovenia will remain in place for payment of UK child benefits in all scenarios and are confirming this with our UK tax advisers. We will get back to you as soon as we have confirmation.
Since Brexit, deal or no deal, will be a complex, multi-year process, is the Embassy planning on employing someone to deal full time with the related issues, as well as those that arise if/when the UK finally becomes a third country?
As you may know HMG has allocated a significant number of additional staff to work on the wide variety of Brexit-related issues - both in London and overseas. That includes a number of full-time staff at the Embassy in Ljubljana, as well as additional staff in London and Europe who directly support our work and UK nationals living here.
If you have specific questions that are not covered by the Living in Slovenia guide you can contact us via our contact form (www.gov.uk/contact-consulate-ljubljana) or by telephone (01) 200 39 10.
STA, 9 October 2019 - Prime Minister Marjan Šarec and his Belgian counterpart Charles Michel, the next president of the European Council, expressed optimism on Wednesday over the Brexit situation as Michel visited Slovenia. The pair believes the UK and the EU could reach an agreement.
Šarec also said that he was convinced Michel as the new president of the EU Council would respect the rule of law including in Schengen zone enlargement.
Michel, Belgium's caretaker prime minister who will take over at the helm of the EU Council in December, hopes London and Brussels could reach a Brexit deal, highlighting that both sides would need to show willingness for finding a solution in the coming weeks.
"I'd like to send an optimistic and positive message," said Michel at the press conference after the talks. "Willingness is not a guarantee for success; it's not a guarantee that a solution will be possible. However, without willingness there will be no solution in any case."
The Slovenian prime minister was likewise optimistic about the UK and EU reaching an agreement, adding "the matter has been dragging on for too long and is standing in the way of tackling important issues ahead of us".
"Naturally, we would all be most pleased if we could forget about this sad chapter of EU history and find another solution," said Šarec.
But in politics one needs to be a realist and Slovenia has always pursued this path, added the Slovenian prime minister.
"Slovenia is always aspiring to the rule of law; a manner which has been slightly stunted recently when some political connections have rather taken centre stage. I believe that the new European Commission will act differently," said Šarec.
"I know Michel is a politician who respects the rule of law and advocates EU values, and I'm convinced he will remain such as the president of the EU Council," responded Šarec when asked about his expectations regarding the new president's attitude towards the Slovenian-Croatian border arbitration dispute.
"However, every member state has a duty to consider whether this EU community should be based on the rule of law or on the principle of everybody trying to gain the most for oneself regardless of law or the rights of others. I believe we will definitely cooperate on this grounds in the future," Šarec said.
The pair also discussed the EU's multi-annual financial framework for the 2021-2027 period.
Šarec presented in more detail to Michel Slovenia's key views and expectations regarding the budget negotiations, which are expects to be wrapped up under the new EU Council presidency.
The Slovenian prime minister called for a swift agreement and said that Slovenia wanted a balanced financial framework which would properly tackle current EU challenges and would not lead to a further reduction of cohesion and rural development funds.
Meanwhile, Michel said that it was important to him as well to be aware of Slovenia's priorities in the negotiations.
The pair also discussed the situation in the Western Balkans - Šarec again highlighted the importance of an EU future for the region and said he expected that North Macedonia and Albania would get a go-ahead for the start of EU accession talks at a summit next week.
Michel's visit to Slovenia is part of his preparations for assuming his new EU top job. He said that the visit was very important since he wanted to lend an ear to Slovenia and find out about the country's concerns regarding current issues.
The next EU Council president highlighted that doing so he could then make more informed decisions "to lead the EU in the right direction and to be closer to citizens of Slovenia and other EU countries".
STA, 1 September 2019 - Slovenian MEP Milan Brglez (SD/S&D) has joined an appeal by a group of MEPs asking the European Commission to examine whether British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's move to suspend parliament is in breach of EU law.
"It is a sad day for development of democracy and the rule of law in British and all-European history. Parliaments are the essence of a country's democratic system (...) So their work should be enhanced rather than hampered," said Brglez, who served as Slovenian parliamentary speaker between 2014 and 2018.
"There have always been differences in views on how democracy should develop and there always will be (...) but it is wrong if the politically stronger party substitutes the argument of power for the power of arguments and uses the leverage it has against democracy and democratic procedures."
Arguing that this is exactly what the British government has done, Brglez joined the appeal drawn up by British MEP Anthony Hook (RE), for the Commission to examine potential breach of the EU's basic values and principles under Article 7 of the Treaty on EU, which has been used to censure the governments of Poland and Hungary.
All our stories on Brexit are here
For more than three years Brexit was a very boring affair, but now, as the deadline of October 31 fast approaches for the UK leaving, deal or no deal, a lot of things are starting to happen very quickly. If you’re a British national in Slovenia who wasn’t quite prepared for Brexit on March 31 then you should check your preparedness now, as you currently have just over two months to get things done, and some of them involve trips to upravna enota.
The question that started in all. Source: Wikipedia
If there’s a no-deal Brexit then a number of EU countries have said they will offer continuity of rights to UK nationals already resident there. Slovenia has a law to take care of this, and the time of writing it’s been through all the processes except the last one (details here). The EU has put together a page explaining the implications of no deal for UK nationals’ residence rights in the EU27. The section on Slovenia can be summarised as follows, with some notes and observations, while the full text can be found here, with details for other Member States.
Even with no deal the Republic of Slovenia will protect your residency rights until the end of 2020, but you have to have a residence permit to prove these rights. If you’re not registered at all, then get temporary residence ASAP, while if you’ve got that and have been here at least five years then you should get permanent resident status.
If you’ve been in Slovenia for more than five years then post-Brexit, then eventually you’ll be able to apply for “EU long-term resident status”. To quote the EU site:
This permit will grant you a permanent status, and allow you to enjoy the same treatment as nationals regarding access to employment, education, and core social benefits. This will also allow you, under certain conditions, to acquire the right to reside in another EU Member State.
I couldn’t find any details on how to apply for this, but I’d assume having proof of temporary / permanent residence would be a basic requirement. In short, get your residency sorted out.
Source: Led By Donkeys
If you live here and drive here then you need a Slovenian driving licence. You can read how to get one here. If your upravna enota asks for documents that don’t exist in the UK then contact the British Embassy. They are aware of the problem and will issue a letter explaining the situation.
After Brexit most of your rights will remain unchanged, and you’ll be able to continue to live in Slovenia, work, look for work, study and buy property (which is open to all OECD members). One thing a British national shouldn’t be able to do post-Brexit is enjoy full free movement, so carry a passport if going over a border, even internal EU ones.
Source: Led By Donkeys
The advice listed above is culled from the EU website, based on the Slovenian side of the story. But what about the British Embassy in Ljubljana? The key point here is that the Embassy can’t force any changes in Slovenian law, and instead can only advise on how best to deal with the situation. The latest set of advice for UK nationals with regard to the possibility of no deal can be found here.
The main things they tell you to do – in a text dated 9 July 2019 – are as follows, and do read the whole thing if you’ve already done these:
Source: Led By Donkeys
In the event of a no deal Brexit, the Slovenian government has said it will notify UK citizens of any changes and deadlines required for any procedures to follow in order to retain their rights. However, they won’t notify you personally. Instead, a notification will be published on the website of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and on the Info Tujci web portal. The government will also notify the UK Embassy, which should then pass on this advice.
For more information on Brexit, the best sources are the official sources. The Slovenian government has its own site (in English) on Brexit here, while the British Embassy’s current advice can be found here, you can sign up for email alerts here, and follow the Ambassador and her team on Facebook. All our posts on Brexit are here, but none of them are as valid as the official sources.
The European Commission and the EU27 have been working to increase the level of protection of social security entitlements provided by the EU contingency regulation in a no deal Brexit. This includes a unilateral coordinated contingency approach to be applied to all insured persons whose entitlements relate to the United Kingdom before the withdrawal date. Beyond this, the EU27 Member States can choose to unilaterally apply the principle of aggregation to periods of work, insurance and residence in the United Kingdom after the withdrawal or to take further unilateral measures. Based on input from Member States, the Commission has put together an overview of national measures in the area of social security coordination (PDF).
With regard to Slovenia, in brief, the country will continue to guarantee rights currently regulated within the social security coordination until the end of 2020. The rights will be granted to the UK nationals under the condition of reciprocity. Answers to specific questions are shown below, and remember that these are in the event of a no deal Brexit:
Will old-age pensions based on pre-withdrawal periods continue to be exported to the UK? Yes.
Will existing EU rules continue to be applied to reimbursement requests* pending on withdrawal date? (*By Slovenia towards the UK, concerning healthcare costs or costs related to unemployment benefits for frontier workers.) Yes.
Will existing EU rules continue to be applied to post-withdrawal reimbursement requests* for costs for pre-withdrawal medical treatments? (*New claims involving the UK and dealt with Slovenia.) Yes.
Will existing EU rules continue to be applied to costs for planned/necessary medical treatment ongoing on withdrawal date and that could not be interrupted? Yes.
Will existing EU rules continue to be applied to post-withdrawal reimbursement requests for unemployment benefits provided by the UK pre-withdrawal to UK-residing frontier workers working in an EU27 Member State? Yes.
Will it be possible to export cash benefits to the UK (other than old-age pensions) that are based on pre- withdrawal situations? (a) sickness, (b) maternity/paternity, (c) invalidity, (d) survivors’, (e) accidents at work and occupational diseases, (f) unemployment, (g) pre-retirement, (h) family benefits. Yes, for all pensions. Other benefits during the grace period (until the end of 2020) and under the reciprocity principle.
Will a UK insured person residing in Slovenia still be provided with healthcare on the same conditions as EU citizens? If not, under what conditions? Yes, if they join the national healthcare scheme, and you can read the British Embassy’s guidance on healthcare cover if the UK leaves the EU without a deal here.
Under what conditions will UK nationals lawfully resident in Slovenia enjoy social security benefits under national law? The same as nationals during the grace period (until the end of 2020).
For pension purposes, will you continue to take into account (aggregate) post-withdrawal periods of insurance, work or residence in the UK? Yes, during the grace period (until the end of 2020).
For more information on Brexit, the best sources are the official sources. The Slovenian government has it’ own site (in English) on Brexit here, while the British Embassy’s current advice can be found here, you can sign up for email alerts here, and follow the Ambassador and her team on Facebook. All our posts on Brexit are here.
The covers and editorials from leading weeklies of the Left and Right for the work-week ending Friday, 14 June 2019
Mladina: New EU Core Emerging Post-Brexit, Slovenia Should Optimise Its Position
STA, 14 June 2019 - The left-leaning weekly paper Mladina argues on Friday that the EU will in fact breathe much more easily without Great Britain. New constellations are likely to emerge in the wake of its departure and Slovenia should make sure to be among the core EU countries that take a step forward integration and policy-wise, editor-in-chief Grega Repovž says.
It actually looks like optimism is making a comeback in political analytical centres in the EU's capitals after a long time, Repovž says, arguing Europe will simply become a much more flexible alliance without Great Britain.
He speaks of signs that a two-tier EU is emerging, with the second tier involving Eastern European countries - an exception being Slovenia as a member of the eurozone.
The eurozone is looking like a bypass that can "enable most normal European countries to start pursuing more serious policies which are blocked today in particular by Eastern European nationalist and backward populists".
Slovenia is being referred to as a part of this emerging coalition, as part of what is being called the EU's core, "but the question is whether our government is aware of this", Repovž says in Core of Europe In the Making.
Slovenia should optimise its position and have an influence on the agenda of this coalition, which is why Prime Minister Marjan Šarec, who has no serious diplomats or experienced international analysts among his ranks, needs to move fast and form a strong team around him.
"Why are we warning about this? In order to avoid hearing excuses again in a few years about how it was only possible to implement what was received in e-mails from Brussels and Berlin and to not feel embarrassed about the amateurs we had in power when the future was being designed," Repovž says, invoking the example of the 2013 bank bailout.
Demokracija: Interior Minister Should Resign Over Illegal Migration
STA, 13 June 2019 - The right-wing weekly Demokracija calls on Interior Minister Boštjan Poklukar to resign for being unable to provide for security of locals in border areas, listing several cases of unpleasant encounters between illegal migrants and locals, including a recent incident involving an 11-year-old girl.
Editor-in-chief Jože Biščak says on Thursday Poklukar bragged about the Slovenian police having successfully provided for security at the recent Three Seas Initiative summit.
"When the high-profile guests were adopting the closing Ljubljana Declaration to set up an investment fund ..., a drama was almost simultaneously unfolding on a bridge over the river Reka."
An 11-year-old was crossing it by bike in the area of Ilirska Bistrica in the south-west when she heard voices under the bridge, and stopped.
A group of men then started yelling and throwing stones at her, with one stone hitting her hand. Her parents reported the incident to the police, Biščak recalls.
The majority of police officers were protecting well-mannered Three Seas Initiative guests, "while the southern border remains full of holes like Swiss cheese".
If border control was stricter and better and if legislation was more in favour of Slovenians than foreigners, the illegal migrants would not have come that far into Slovenian territory, they would have been intercepted on the border and swiftly returned where they came from, to Croatia, Bosnia and further to the Arab world.
Biščak says the girl, a recently abducted pensioner, a wine grower whose van was stolen from his courtyard or any other person whose property has been destroyed by illegals would find it hard to agree with Poklukar that the police is in control of the situation.
What happened in Western Europe, is now starting to happen in Slovenia - while it began with small thefts and fights, today those who came to Europe a few years ago are claiming entire areas where they enforce their religion-based rules and where the police does not dare to go any more.
Biščak says such areas, controlled by Muslims and ruled by Sharia law, could well emerge in Slovenia, adding "Islam is not a religion, it is a spiritual, judicial and political system, and is not compatible with any western democracy".
While some countries such as Italy and Hungary have managed to secure their border against illegals, the Slovenian government has proved completely incapable of taking action.
STA, 16 May 2019 - Most parties and lists running in the European Parliament election except for the more radical players do not see Brexit as a positive development. They however point to different reasons for the British leaving the EU.
The coalition Modern Centre Party (SMC) told the STA Brexit was a negative decision for all and that the EU and UK would continue to cooperate closely in the medium run, at least in the most important fields of common interest.
The Social Democrats (SD) said that there was still a possibility that there will be no Brexit, and that if it happened, it was in everybody's interest that the procedure be carried out responsibly.
It added that exits from the EU and extremes could not be predicted, while being an obvious consequence of irresponsibility of populists and the danger they pose to Europe.
While no one knows what will happen with the UK, the EU needs to strengthen ties between the countries which are aware of the benefits of membership, while at the same time effectively responding to pressing issues, said the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS).
The coalition Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB) believes that Brexit is a warning for everybody that elections are important. Many people in the UK, especially the young, would like to go back in time and cast their votes in the Brexit referendum.
The ruling Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) warned that the consequences of Brexit on the flow of goods, services, capital and workforce will be felt both by citizens and companies.
The prime minister's party is convinced that Brexit will be a lesson for the entire EU and that no other member state will decide to leave the bloc.
The minority coalition's partner in the opposition, the Left, argues that the UK has been taken away from the EU by right-wing populism. This is a signal for EU citizens that they are not able to decide on the fate of their own countries.
According to the party, this blow to democracy has triggered a wave of Euroscepticism which will not subside until the EU becomes democratic.
The opposition Democrats (SDS) and non-parliamentary People's Party (SLS), which are fielding a joint list, believe that the consequences of Brexit will depend on its final form and the duration of the transitional period.
The parties think that no other EU member state would decide to exit the bloc at the moment, as trust in the EU is at the highest level since 1983.
The opposition New Slovenia (NSi) said that the British have "jumped into an empty swimming pool" and that it did not believe a full Brexit will take place.
If the political elite is not able to decide, they should let the people decide one more time, as they are now acquainted with the consequences, the party added.
The far-right National Party (SNS) believes that Brexit has failed to strengthen the unity of the EU, but has shown that the EU does not know what it wants and that it is not able to solve this issue.
"Brussels is buying time and making London make decisions, while London is waiting for the EU to make a move," said the SNS, which sees some other member state leaving as a possibility and suggests Slovenia should think about this option.
Slovenia leaving the EU is also being proposed by the non-parliamentary United Slovenia (ZSi), which argues that Brexit is a nice example of how interests of corporations outweigh referendum decisions of the people.
Brexit has been blocked so that the will expressed by the British does not become an example for other countries, the party said, calling for "Sloexit" due to violations of fundamental human rights in the EU.
The Homeland League (DOM) believes that Brexit is a "symptom of the EU's illness". Leaving the EU is the country representing 20% of GDP of the EU, the strongest member military-wise and the oldest democracy, the party noted.
Good State (DD) argues that Europeans have obviously forgotten that the EU is a guarantor of political stability.
The Let's Connect list believes that Brexit is a "national and European disaster and a consequence of the decades of demagoguery of the British governments, which have blamed Brussels for their own incompetence".
The Greens think that Brexit will have a negative impact both on the EU and the UK and hope for a second referendum, which would save the younger generation in the UK which strongly opposes Brexit.
STA, 28 April 2019 - Slovenia is seen as a stable, constructive and pro-European country which however does not fully use the potential it could to play the role a small country can play in the EU, Slovenia's former European Commissioner Janez Potočnik has told the STA ahead of the 15th anniversary of the country's EU accession.
"We don't use to the fullest the role small and less exposed countries can play in the EU and we're also not among those which would attract attention with acts which are not in line with European values."
Since joining the EU on 1 May 2004, Slovenia has achieved a lot of what it had aspired to, and many of these things are now taken for granted, says Potočnik, who now co-chairs the UN International Resource Panel.
As Slovenia's chief negotiator in accession talks with the EU, Potočnik looks back at the process of negotiations with satisfaction.
"The unity we managed to build was genuine and convincing. It wouldn't be realistic to expect something similar now, as the clear goals uniting us are no longer there."
Nevertheless, there are too many disagreements and divisions, says Potočnik, who first served as research commissioner and then as environment commissiner in the 2004-2014 period.
It sometimes seems as if Slovenia artificially creats problems to fuel divisions, which Potočnik says are in the interest of those who do not have enough knowledge and strength to address complex challenges of the times we live in.
While he is happy Slovenians are still well aware of the advantages of EU membership, he is worried that some are too much focussed on the past, which is interpreted to one's liking, which prevents Slovenia to close ranks and take a step forward stronger.
"I miss strategic reflections and more focus on the problems which are really important for our future and on which we should really reach a compromise.
"I'm also worried about the divisions surrounding the migration issues and even whether it is sensible to be part of European organisations."
For him, Slovenia's major challenge, especially with a view to its EU presidency in 2021, is the same as for the EU and the world - a transition to an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable economy.
"This should undoubtedly become the priority of our EU presidency. If it doesn't, we'll send out a message ... that we don't understand what the key challenges of the EU and the world are and that we are a country which does not belong to the core of those in the EU pushing for a transition to the world we want, need and deserve."
The historic Big Bang 2004 expansion of the EU has largely eliminated post-WWII historical divisions in Europe, but also taught us that democratic change does not come with administrative measures and by formally adjusting to EU law, says Potočnik.
"It takes time and hard work to overcome development mistakes from the past and the interests surrounding them. EU membership is an important factor of democratic stabilisation but does not protect us from fully from our own mistakes."
Looking at the prospects of new rounds of enlargement, Potočnik says the EU is currently actually shrinking, while there is little going on enlargement-wise.
He points to Brexit, saying it is a sad event, especially because we live in a time which calls for deepening cooperation.
While he admits there are several reasons for the EU being busy dealing with itself rather than focussing on enlargement, such as migrations, security and bad experiences with some of the countries joining the bloc in 2004, Potočnik says it is still not acceptable Europe's stability depends on the stability of the Balkans.
He believes the recent name change agreement between Greece and North Macedonia should be used to "actively revive the enlargement process".
Also, Slovenia and Croatia should resolve the border issue on the basis of the legally binding arbitration agreement, which he says is a much easier problem to solve than some other issues in the region.
Potočnik also hopes the environment and sustainability in general will come to the forefront of this year's campaigning for the elections to the European Parliament.
Slovenia is dealing with climate change, yet not well enough, he says, adding the issue should have played a more prominent role during the 2018 campaign for Slovenia's general election.
Given that Potočnik has served two terms as European commissioner, his name has come up for the new make-up of the European Commission due later this year.
He says he would think it over if offered the post, but adds that he has not discussed it with Prime Minister Marjan Šarec or anyone else.