The Slovenia Times

Digit minister visits US tech giants to discuss cooperation, investment


Ljubljana - Minister for Digital Transformation Mark Boris Andrijanič met representatives of tech giants such as Apple, Google, Tesla, Meta, Amazon, Starlink and NVIDIA as he visited the US on 20-25 March, discussing ways of increasing technology investments in Slovenia and opening the country's representation office in the Silicon Valley.

Encouraging scientific and research cooperation between Slovenia and the US was discussed alongside technology assistance to Ukraine and Ukrainian refugees, the Office for Digital Transformation said in a written statement on Saturday.

Slovenia will open a development and economic office in the Silicon Valley in the coming months as it aims to become one the most most advanced European countries.

This will make it the first country from Central and East Europe to do so. The office will help Slovenian tech companies and talent enter the US market.

The establishment of the office was also discussed with Google representatives, and at the US Department of State, where the minister met a special envoy for trade.

The Office for Digital Transformation said that the US strongly supported Slovenia's plan for such an office.

Visiting Tesla, Andrijanič discussed possibilities for Tesla to open a factory and expand its filling stations in Slovenia, and cooperation with the Slovenian automotive industry.

With Apple's representatives, the minister discussed translating Apple services to Slovenian and integrating new IDs into Apple Wallet.

"We would like to become one of the first European countries where citizens can have their IDs in Apple Wallet," he was quoted as saying.

Andrijanič moreover urged Amazon to enable Slovenian companies as soon as possible to sell their products in its online store.

The potential for Amazon to open an office and a logistics centre in Slovenia was also on the agenda.

At Google, enhancing cooperation as part of the agreement signed last November was discussed alongside the option of Google opening an office in Slovenia.

Technological assistance to Ukraine was also on the agenda, and Andrijanič urged Google to hire local experts to fight disinformation, including Russian propaganda in Europe.

Efforts to fight Russian's propaganda were also discussed with Meta representatives alongside possibilities for investment in metaverse technology in Slovenia.

The minister visited Starlink to discuss possibilities offered by satellite internet to cover remote households and locations in case of accidents.

With representatives of NVIDIA, a provider of chips and software in AI and super computing, he discussed implementation of a cooperation agreement which brings free-of-charge workshops and software for Slovenian startups.

Andrijanič moreover attended a panel discussion that the Atlantic Council and the Slovenian Embassy in the US organised in Washington.

The focus was on Slovenia's digital agenda, the country's EU presidency in 2021, and transatlantic cooperation in technology, foremost in cyber security and AI.

He also visited National Endowment for Democracy (NED), which is part of US Congress, discussing efforts to strengthen cooperation with the Centre for European Perspective in Slovenia. A number of programmes NED has to promote democracy and civil society in Ukraine and Western Balkan countries was also on the agenda.


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