18 Nov 2012

Slovenians rally against austerity measures

8:16 am on 18 November 2012

Thousands of Slovenians have rallied to protest against government austerity policies denounced by trade unionists as a neo-liberal virus that is spreading across Europe.

Slovenia adopted the euro in 2007 and has been badly hit by the global crisis due to its dependency on exports.

the government, struggling to avoid a bailout, cut public sector wages by about 3% this year and plans a further 5% cut next year to bring the budget deficit to 3% of GDP in 2013, from 4.2% expected in 2012, reuters reports.

Organisers say about 30,000 people gathered in a large square in the capital ljubljana to call for an end to the austerity programme on saturday.

Students and pensioners joined the demonstration, protesting against cuts in spending for schools and universities, increases of taxes for students and pension cuts.

Prime Minister Janez Jansa has said reforms are necessary for Slovenia to be able to borrow on international markets in the future.