Slovenia

III - Changes to Constitutional Law

Nature national instruments  
III.1
What is the character of the legal instruments adopted at national level to implement Euro-crisis law (constitutional amendment, organic laws, ordinary legislation, etc)?

There was an amendment of the Constitution. An important reform took place in May 2013 when the fiscal rule was implemented in the Slovenian Constitution (Art. 148). The Constitutional amendment also provided for the adoption of the “implementation law” within six months from the entry into force of the amendments to the Constitution. The Law will determine more precisely the fiscal rule, in a way to fully implement the Council Directive, the regulations, and the Fiscal Compact. In adopting such law, the government intends to propose a detailed solution on the actual fiscal policies, define the role of the independent Fiscal Council, specify what are considered to be exceptional circumstances, and what the correction mechanism looks like. As of October 2014, no such law was adopted.

Constitutional amendment          
III.2    
Have there been any constitutional amendments in response to the Euro-crisis or related to Euro-crisis law? Or have any amendments been proposed?

Yes. See answer to question III.1 concerning the implementation of the fiscal rule in the Slovenian constitution. See also answer to questions VII.2 and VII.5 concerning the suggestion to implement provisions of the fiscal council in the constitution.

Constitutional context   
III.3
If national constitutional law already contained relevant elements, such as a balanced budget rule or independent budgetary councils, before the crisis that are now part of Euro-crisis law, what is the background of these rules?

Not applicable.

Purpose constitutional amendment      
III.4
What is the purpose of the constitutional amendment and what is its position in the constitution?

The implementation of the gold fiscal rule aimed to ensure the balanced budged. By implementing in the constitution, the Slovenian government aimed to signal a stronger commitment to respect provisions concerning the budgetary balance.

Relationship with EU law           
III.5
Is the constitutional amendment seen as changing the relationship between national and European constitutional law?

No.

Organic law      
III.6
Have there been changes to organic laws or other types of legislation that are of a different nature or level than ordinary legislation, in relation to Euro-crisis law or the budgetary process?

No.

Constitutional amendment and ordinary law    
III.7
If ordinary legislation was adopted in conjunction with a constitutional amendment, what is the relationship between the two?

Not applicable.

Perception source of legal change       
III.8
In the public and political discussions on the adoption of ordinary legislation, what was the perception on the appropriate legal framework? Was the ordinary legislation seen as implementing national constitutional law, or Euro-crisis law?

There was an intensive debate concerning the revisions to the constitution or to regular laws. Several commentators did not favour the implementation of the golden fiscal rule in the constitution. Dr. Lojze Ude argued that the fiscal function is only one of the state functions. Ude maintained that giving a constitutional status only to one of the activities of the state, while leaving others to lower levels, is not an optimal solution.[1] Ude argued that there are circumstances in which the state should make investments, even if doing so would increase the public debt. The implementation of the fiscal rule in the constitution would prevent the government to make such investment, Ude argued. Further, Ude maintained that there was no need to implement the rule in the Constitution. He reasoned that Slovenia is legally bound by its international agreements, and it is therefore already bound by the fiscal rule provided in the EU legal framework. Several commentators pointed out that countries, as for instance Germany, had such rule but then revoked it. They also maintained that the rule would prevent the government to make investments, particularly those related to the infrastructure.[2] Dr. Joze Menzinger similarly argued that the implementation of a fiscal rule in the constitution was not necessary.[3] Dr. Igor Masten, on the contrary, maintained that other countries, like Switzerland and Sweden, have adopted in the past such rule, and, as a result, they were able to cope better with the economic crisis.[4] (see also question IX.5)

There was also an intensive discussion about the implementation of provisions concerning the Fiscal council in the constitution. Masten emphasized that if Slovenia wants to assure compliance with the fiscal rule, there is a need for an external body that monitors Government’s compliance with the rule. In order to be reliable, such body should be unaffected by the daily political discussion. Such position could be obtained by giving this body a constitutional importance.[5] Others however rejected such position. Ude, was for example against the implementation of provisions about the Fiscal council in the Constitution, maintaining that the approval of the EU provisions is sufficient. [6] (see also question VII.5)

Miscellaneous
III.9
What other information is relevant with regard to Slovenia and to changes to national (constitutional) law?

No other relevant information.

[1] http://imss.dz-rs.si/imis/2cd704e6815827d32ce6.pdf

[2] http://www.finance.si/992881/Pojem_zlato_pravilo_ni_fiskalno_pravilo

[3] See attachment: Annex IVc Fiskalni svet- menje 2012, p. 5.

[4] See workshop: http://www.katoliski-institut.si/sl/dogodki/275-javna-tribuna-fiskalno-pravilo

[5] http://www.dz-rs.si/wps/portal/Home/deloDZ/seje/evidenca?mandat=VI&type=pmagdt&uid=42954D591788B7BAC12579FE001F59AB

[6] See: Annex IVa Ude’s opinion on changes to the Article 148 of the Constitution. See also: http://www.rtvslo.si/slovenija/zelena-luc-zlatemu-fiskalnemu-pravilu-rdeca-luc-fiskalnemu-svetu/282739