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Minister: Slovenia can avoid bailout despite shrinking economy

By the CNN Wire Staff
November 20, 2012 -- Updated 2057 GMT (0457 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Slovenia will be able to stave off a bailout, the country's finance minister Janez Sustersic says
  • The country's economy is in recession and its downturn is expected to continue next year
  • The country is driving through privatizations, pension and labor reforms to recover
  • Sustersic said the country was better off being in the euro, despite the financial crisis

(CNN) -- Slovenia will be able to stave off a bailout by driving through changes including bank restructurings, privatizations, pension and labor reforms, the country's finance minister Janez Sustersic told CNN.

Sustersic's comments come as European policy makers meet in Brussels to debate the latest tranche of aid for Greece, which has pushed through harsh austerity measures in return for access to a financial lifeline.

Eurozone's reluctant leader

Fears Slovenia may also need a bailout have been heightened by the European Commission Autumn European Economic forecast noting the country was suffering "strongly negative growth," with the downturn likely to continue well into 2013.

Europe-wide protests

However, Sustersic said Slovenia was drafting legislation and drawing up a new budget which would assist in pulling the country out of its recession.

Greek politician: We need money now

Eurozone risks prolonged recession

Tsipras: Austerity killing Greece

"There is some political deadlock, some political maneuvering, we also have some referendums announced, but regardless of that I think we can find ways to implement the measures that are necessary," he told CNN.

And while countries were unhappy with the situation in Greece, there was recognition of the Greek government's efforts in driving through austerity measures, and the country would get some leeway, he noted.

Greece: When anger turns to despair

"It will be a hard debate because a lot of countries are quite unhappy with the way things have evolved in the past, in Greece," he said.

However, "I think finally there will be an agreement on the extension of the targets...and a lot of debate about how to finance this extension."

Sustersic added he was glad Slovenia was part of the troubled eurozone, the 17-country common currency bloc which has been immersed in a financial crisis more than two years.

"We were hit by the financial crisis very strongly, but that was mainly due to our own uncompetitiveness, and the lack of structure," he said. He added: "It was not due to the euro."

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