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Opposition welcomes coronavirus aid package

Ljubljana, 24 March - Opposition parties have hailed sweeping measures announced by the government on Tuesday to help see the economy and population through the coronavirus crisis, noting that the package includes their own proposals, yet some would want to see more.

Ljubljana
The National Assembly.
Photo: Nik Jevšnik/STA

The LMŠ party of the former Prime Minister Marjan Šarec says the measures are a step in the right direction but could be even more ambitious.

They say government could have included measures to help the self-employed in the first emergency package. "Some sole proprietors have already closed shop due to the uncertainty, so we expect we will also find a solution for them."

The Marjan Šarec List proposes self-employed be granted universal monthly income equal to 100% rather than 70% of the statutory minimum wage as proposed by the government. They also suggest considering measures for students now out of work, and measures to boost public healthcare.

The party plans to watch out for measures that are not urgent and that disproportionately or unnecessarily encroach on citizens' rights and freedoms.

The LMŠ moreover raised the question of the sustainability of the measures. "We expect the government to carefully monitor the situation and to respond accordingly with all the measures necessary."

The Social Democrats (SD) agree that the measures announced are going in the right direction. "I'm happy with the measures, but the devil is always in the details," commented Matjaž Han, the head of the SD deputy faction. Once the party has received and reviewed the bills involved, there "will likely be some shortcomings".

Han says the government must be helped to get the measures passed, mainly because of the difficulties faced by people. "If we all make this step forward, I hope we will come out of the situation relatively unharmed."

The Left finds that the government package takes into consideration much of what the party has been warning of. Luka Mesec, the party leader, says that aid should be primarily aimed at protecting people and rewarding frontline staff, and should not be completely unconditional.

He says that hundreds of millions are to be distributed rather unconditionally among businesses. The Left calls on the government to suggest those companies raise wages with half of the rise subsidised by the state.

The Left also says that aid should only be given to companies that will not slash jobs and that properly protect their employees. They also propose considering the state entering the companies it helps as an owner so that money is not distributed unconditionally and irreversibly.

Mesec hailed in particular measures to help the self-employed, but said the party deemed it unacceptable that all those asking for aid would be exposed publicly, "pilloried". He also suggested they be eligible for allowance equal the salary they have been paying social contributions for.

The measures were also welcomed by the National Party (SNS) and Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB), with the latter saying that it would be able to make potential remarks once it had received and reviewed the measures in detail.

ep/mab
© STA, 2020