Eurozone chief calls for patience over Slovenia

Eurozone chief calls for patience over Slovenia

LJUBLJANA - Agence France-Presse
Eurozone chief calls for patience over Slovenia

Slovenian Finance Minister Uros Cufer (R) and Dutch Finance Minister and Eurozone President Jeroen Dijsselbloem give a conference in Ljubljana. AFP photo

Whether Slovenia will need international help will depend on ongoing bank reviews which will still take time, Eurogroup chairman Jeroen Dijsselbloem said, urging patience amid fears of another bailout.

“A lot of work is to be done, but it is crucial that we do it right, and that the assessment of the banks is done at the highest quality standard,” Dijsselbloem told a joint news conference with Slovenian finance minister Uros Cufer on Oct. 21.

“On the outcome of that process, I can’t speculate, and the outcome will determine how to deal with it,” he added.

Initially announced for October, the first results of the stress tests have been delayed until November or December, giving rise to speculations that they may be worse than expected and that Slovenia will be forced to ask for help from the European Stability Mechanism, the EU’s bailout fund.

But Dijsselbloem rejected these concerns. “No, I think that the fact that the process is taking a little longer than we expected shows how complex it is,” said the Dutch finance minister.

His visit, which coincides with a regular mission by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the arrival on Oct. 21 of a European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) mission, was a “routine” one, Dijsselbloem also insisted. “Every country has its focus points of attention. In Slovenia the most urgent issue is the financial sector and dealing with that was the main topic today,” he added after talks with Cufer. While the rest of the eurozone was on the path to recovery, “Slovenia has yet to deal with the financial sector and hopefully that can be done soon and then investments and growth will also pick up.”