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As part of his official visit to France, President Borut Pahor held and interview with French newspaper Le Figaro

Paris, France, 18. 4. 2013 | interview

As part of his official visit to France, President Borut Pahor held and interview with French newspaper Le Figaro, entitled 'Slovenia Does Not Need Bailout'. The main topic of discussion was the financial crisis in Slovenia and the measures to solve it, while the main question concerned Slovenia's need for a bailout. President Borut Pahor firmly denied that Slovenia would be in need of a bailout and pointed to the Government's commitment to finding solutions (the so-called bad bank, reforms), which will enable Slovenia to manage on its own.

President Pahor denied that Slovenia was in a critical situation, admitting though that the country has problems, mainly due to weaknesses in the banking sector. He advised the Government, which has decided to set up a 'bad bank', to do so as soon as possible, but added that it is also necessary to go ahead with the planned privatisation. Such an approach will enable Slovenia to beat the credit crunch, which prevents investments.

He assured that (unlike Portugal and Spain) Slovenia in reality does not need international financial assistance. In support of this argument, he cited figures (Slovenia's debt stands at 59% of GDP, the banking sector is equivalent to 130% of GDP) and pointed to the demonstrated commitment of the Government to implementing necessary reforms, including unpopular ones (retirement, labour market). The fact that Slovenia has just managed to secure 1.1 billion euros (17 April 2013) by issuing government bonds proves that the country can borrow on the market and is, therefore, able to solve the crisis on its own. He firmly denied that Slovenia would encounter the same fate as Cyprus.

President Pahor confirmed that one of the Slovenia's three large state-owned banks would be privatised and opened to foreign investment. This is an unpopular move but, in his words, he prefers a solid bank in foreign hands to a bad national bank. Slovenia today needs foreign investments, including from France, which is the country's fifth largest investor. In order to attract investors and kick-start economic growth, further savings are required. The gross domestic product is expected to shrink 1.9% this year while the budget deficit will be reduced to 3.5%. The president stressed that it was time for the Government to make bold moves, even at the expense of popularity, and, drawing on his own experience as prime minister, he knows these decisions are not at all easy.

President Pahor explained that despite the crisis anti-European sentiment in Slovenia had not increased and people do not put the blame on Europe for the difficult situation. People in Slovenia have confidence in our common future.

Interview - Le Figaro (in French):