The Slovenia Times

Slovenian, Austrian executives call for continued cooperation


Addressing the event, president of the Slovenian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS) Boštjan Gorjup and head of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber Christoph Leitl pointed to the good economic relations, which according to them is proven by the extensive trade between the countries.

Leitl stressed that Austria was the biggest foreign investor in Slovenia and that it was well aware of the importance of Slovenian infrastructure for its own logistics. He offered Slovenia cooperation in exchange for experience and good practices and financing of projects.

Business environment was discussed as part of the first panel, with Economic Development and Technology Minister Zdravko Počivalšek stressing the importance of foreign direct investments for Slovenia. International cooperation is of key importance for such a small country, he said, adding that "we cannot afford not to be internationalised."

Počivalšek singled out the investment in Slovenia by automotive producer Magna Steyr, while president of Magna Europe Günther Apfalter said that the company had recognised Slovenia as a good business environment with a great potential.

The second panel meanwhile focused on infrastructure and logistics, with Franz Glanz of Cargo Center Graz stressing that his company needed good transport infrastructure for implementing its development plan, and that Slovenia played an important role there. Cargo Center Graz is a partner of Slovenian port operator Luka Koper.

Head of strategic development at Luka Koper Maša Čertalič agreed that the cooperation with Austria was of great mutual importance. She assessed that references had great importance in establishing connections with Austrian companies, which was why Luka Koper was emphasising its flexibility and reliability.

Rok Svetek, the director of transport company Adria Kombi and head of the transport association at GZS, also called for close cooperation.

Van der Bellen and his Slovenian counterpart Borut Pahor addressed the final part of the forum, agreeing with business executives about the importance of further deepening of cooperation. Pahor said that businesses should be enabled to perform successfully without worries about political matters.

Van der Bellen pointed out that many Austrian companies were celebrating their 20th anniversary of operation in Slovenia, which according to him is proof that they had come to Slovenia to stay.

Among other things, they came to Slovenia because of highly qualified workforce, high productivity and good work ethic. "We sometimes underestimate Slovenia, because it is a small country, while it is one of the most important business partners for Austria."

Van der Belllen also mentioned the planned upgrade of the railway line between the port of Koper and the Divača hub, admitting that Austria "lobbied a little bit" for it with Prime Minister Miro Cerar. The bulk of Austria's imports and exports namely go through the port of Koper, he explained.


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