Bratušek said the first task of her government, in office since 20 March, would be to stabilise the banking system. The government plans to create a ‘bad bank’ by June to absorb troubled assets.
“In the last days, there has been a lot of media pressure on Slovenia. I would like to state that we are not a tax haven, our unemployment is lower that the EU average, we have a positive balance sheet,” Bratušek said in a joint news conference with Commission President José Manuel Barroso.
“The new government is determined to do everything in its power to solve our problems by ourselves,” she said.
To those who “speculate about Slovenia”, she said: “Please assess Slovenia with facts and figures, and not with speculation. My message is that Slovenia is a stable, strong country, probably stronger than many other European countries.”
Bratušek, leader of the social-liberal Positive Slovenia party, succeeded Janez Janša, who resigned amid corruption allegations.
Barroso said the Commission had no indication that Slovenia would seek a bailout.
He and Bratušek had “very open, constructive discussions,” Barroso said, but added that the country needed “the deepest-ever reforms.”
“Slovenia needs tailor-made measures to put the economy on a sustainable path. There is no universal template to deal with the issues of all the members of the euro area because each of them has its own specificities,” he said.
OECD report on Slovenia
A report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, published Tuesday, said the scale of the toxic debt problem in Slovenia may be larger than official estimates have shown.
The creation of the Bank Asset Management Company to ring-fence troubled assets is welcome, but lack of transparency and potential political interference pose risks, the report says. It advises that the results of new stress tests should be disclosed, followed by the recapitalisation and privatisation of state-owned banks.
“The authorities have adopted an ambitious fiscal consolidation path, but the fiscal position is not yet sustainable,” the report says.