The Slovenia Times

Businesses to strive for green transition, digitalisation and connectivity


Brdo pri Kranju - Green transition and digitalisation, connectivity in all areas, re-industrialisation and the role of the state and the financial system were identified as four main target areas at the Slovenian Business Summit, an annual event organised by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS), in Brdo pri Kranju on Wednesday.

The GZS in cooperation with 130 leading business executives has summarised the main goals and measures for further development in a document entitled Horizons of the Future, which will be upgraded based on developments through a special application.

The document with more than 150 measures in 12 fields will serve as a tool for continuous monitoring of economic policies of future governments and implementing of the set goals.

GZS director general Aleš Cantarutti said the chamber would embrace the goals as its own and measure its performance based on how much it contributed to their implementation. He announced another business summit in six months to check on the progress.

After Slovenia's 30 years of independence, it is time for a new social and economic framework, and it needs to be expanded from the economic and social aspects to environmental, Cantarutti said. Slovenia must become a social-ecological-market economy, the GZS believes.

Prime Minister Janez Janša said the proposals were bold and pointed to the confidence of the Slovenian economy. As regards the green transition, he said the country should continue on the set course but do so wisely.

He believes the country can give up existing energy sources when "we build new ones". "If we make cancellations in advance this could lead to the green transition becoming a very distant future," he warned.

He also pointed to the issue of staff deficiency, saying it would need to be addressed. "In the next ten years all the developed world will introduce a lifelong learning system. What we perceive as school and the education system today will be different. The sooner we come to terms with that the sooner we well upgrade our education systems to keep up," he said.

CEO of industrial conglomerate Hidria Iztok Seljak highlighted as an example of best practice cooperation in the automotive industry in developing solutions for a green and sustainable future. The Slovenian automotive sector wants to be the leader in Europe and the world in highly efficient electro-engines, batteries and extra light materials and "we have the competences", he said.

Marjan Rihar, director of the GZS's section of the electro industry, said that Slovenia was a country with a strong industrial base and a labour force potential, which made it attractive to foreign investors. "We must take advantage of these assets and show that re-industrialisation is not building new chimneys but introducing new technologies."

He believes this calls for changes to the education system to make education process shorter, of higher quality and more tailored to the needs of the economy.

Sabina Sobočan, CEO of bathroom specialist Varis, called for simpler procedures regulating cross-border migrations of workers and for a women-friendly business world.

Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek thanked businesses for their "very good" response to the Covid crisis and preservation - with the help of the state - of the development potential. The state will have allocated almost EUR 2 billion in grants and subsidies by the end of the year, he said.

According to Počivalšek, the government will study the Horizons of the Future and take it into account as much as possible in future policies.

Several other ministers also attended the summit, including the ministers of defence, labour, education and health, as well as National Council Speaker Alojz Kovšca.


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