In Wednesday’s report on the financial and economic situation in Slovenia, the European commission stresses the significance of privatising NLB. It observes that in Slovenia a substantial part of the financial sector is still controlled by the state, which presents a risk for financial security, and states that there is apparently little political will for improving the situation.
“Privatising the NLB remains essential to prevent possible future credit misallocation and ensure its long-term viability,” says the report form Brussels. The commission notes that in Slovenia the state controls a substantial part of the financial sector with its shares in NLB, Abanka Celje and Sava Re and concludes that persistent involvement of the state in the financial sector is a risk for financial security.
“Recent developments show that there is little political will to improve the situation,” notes the commission and stresses that the government did not fulfil its commitment to privatise at least half of NLB by the end of last year.
Abanka Celje also needs to be sold
In Wednesday’s report, the commission also stresses the commitment of the Slovenian government to privatise Abanka Celje in 2019 as well as the rejection of two attempts by foreign insurance groups to increase their share in Sava Re. As shown by the crisis that hit Slovenia in 2013, intense future involvement of the state can, in the long term, compromise financial stability, economic efficiency and public finance, Brussels warns.
With regards to NLB, the Slovenian European commissioner, Violeta Bulc, stated in Brussels that the commission had always been very clear that Slovenia’s obligations concerning NLB must be met. At the same time, she pointed out that discussions between Slovenia and the commission on changing commitments are still ongoing and that they are looking for the best possible way to meet the requirements of the commission.
Well, her words are rather hypocritical since she is part of SMC (Modern Centre Party), which is the largest governing party in Slovenia and which has done nothing to ensure the sale of NLB. Moreover, she is turning a blind eye to the laundering of Iranian money at NLB as if nothing special had happened …