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Miro Cerar, Jean-Claude Juncker
According to Cerar, Juncker was sympathetic to Slovenia's proposal. Foto: BoBo

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Cerar: “Juncker not opposed to Slovenia’s proposal for NLB”

PM Miro Cerar and FinMin Vraničar Erman travel to Brussels
10. November 2017 ob 23:51
Brussels - MMC RTV SLO

Prime Minister Miro Cerar and Finance Minister Mateja Vraničar Erman on Friday met with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager.

Since Slovenia is opposed to a partial sale of its biggest bank, NLB, and its subsidiaries, Cerar and Vraničar Erman told Juncker and Vestager that NLB could instead pay a financial compensation into a special cohesion fund. Cerar said that Juncker was not averse to Slovenia's proposal, but no resolution has been reached yet. Cerar stressed that talks are set to continue.

Slovenia would like NLB to pay 36 million euros into a special fund for small businesses. According to Cerar, Juncker was sympathetic to Slovenia's proposal: "He hasn't made up his mind yet, but he gave us a sympathetic ear. I expect Vestager to do the same."

Cerar believes that Slovenia put forward a good proposal – one that honours the commitments made by Slovenia when NLB received a capital injection from the state in 2013. "It's a different path that leads to the same goal – the proposal protects taxpayers from further losses while the bank can remain intact," said Cerar. Juncker's office refused to comment on the issue, but they did confirm that they discussed Slovenia's proposal.

Even though the European Commission wants Slovenia to honour its commitments, Slovenia's proposal is not off the table yet. A number of questions remain open and talks are set to continue, Finance Minister Vraničar Erman said after her talks with EU Competition Commissioner Vestager. "The fact is that the proposal does not address all the issues that were brought to our attention by the European Commission. We need a few days to think it over," said Vraničar Erman.

Vraničar Erman did not elaborate on why the proposal does not address all issues, but she did say that "Slovenia is ready to take additional measures if the European Commission thinks that's necessary."

Vraničar Erman, moreover, said she was hopeful that a resolution could be reached before the end of November.

Erika Štular, Radio Slovenija; translated by D. V.