EU's financial semester report optimistic about Slovenia
The key finding in the report is that Slovenia has successfully addressed macroeconomic imbalances, exiting an excessive macroeconomic imbalances procedure which it entered six years ago.
Istvan P. Szekely, the director of Economic Studies and Research in the European Commission's Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs, who presented the report in the EU House, pointed to a successful recapitalisation of banks, adding that the country was a role model for others.
Slovenia's public debt is below the EU average but is still too high because Slovenia's economy is vulnerable due to its smallness and openness, he said.
Therefore, Slovenia must begin to reduce its debt in nominal terms not only in terms of GDP share, said Szekely. He added that Slovenia made up for the shortfall created by the financial and economic crisis that started in 2008 only last year.
The Commission believes Slovenia should focus on measures to boost economic growth, which has been below optimal in the past years. Investment activity is also well below pre-crisis level, Szekely said, adding that Slovenia should also focus on improving its competitive edge.
Public finance sustainability will be a big challenge for Slovenia, according to the report, which finds that pension and health reform are sorely needed.
Member states have until mid-April to send their national reform programmes and budget plans to Brussels, taking into account the Commission's recommendations.
Saša Jazbec, a state secretary at the Finance Ministry, said that the two documents would outline Slovenia's plans, but will not be able to forecast the moves of the next government precisely.