The Slovenia Times

AmCham debate shows economic-policy differences between presidential front-runners


A debate hosted by AmCham Slovenija on Thursday heard presidential candidates Nataša Pirc Musar, Milan Brglez and Anže Logar argue the president should encourage social dialogue on economic competitiveness. Pirc Musac and Logar expressed support for a cap on social contributions, while Brglez wants to hear out social partners.

The three frontrunners in the race according to polls agreed that the president needed to look for common points among stakeholders and help matters move forward when it comes to major systemic issues.

Logar, who is standing with voter support while also having the backing of the Democrats (SDS) and People's Party (SLS), said economic success requires a country to be regarded highly internationally, it needs a state that is proactive and seeks new markets through economic diplomacy.

The former foreign minister spoke of the current period as being highly sensitive and requiring the state to be responsive to the demands of business.

Pirc Musar, who is running as an independent and has been backed by the non-parliamentary Pirate Party, highlighted her experience in both the public and private sector. She spoke of the notion of personal security, which is closely tied to social justice and security.

Employment and taxes allow for greater social security, said the lawyer who also served as information commissioner and news anchor, adding business needed a quality workforce, which is why she is favour of a cap on social security contributions.

She will moreover promote a positive attitude towards migration, saying Slovenia simply does not have enough human resources to meet all of its needs.

Logar also expressed support for a contributions cap, saying that further delaying the measure would only increase the costs, while Brglez did not want to take a position on the issue upfront.

The MEP and former parliament speaker, who has been backed jointly by the SocDems and the Freedom Party, said he would align his position with the result of social dialogue, a dialogue that may perhaps also lead to innovative solutions.

Brglez considers social dialogue as a pillar of his concept of a new social deal. He also sees the welfare state, state promotion of the green transition and breakthrough technologies as building blocks of this social compact.

The state should create the conditions for business to develop and expect social responsibility in return, he said.

All three candidates stressed the importance of economic diplomacy and of opening doors to foreign investors. They said they would prioritise competences over political affiliation when nominating candidates for posts at important state institutions.

The debate also featured Amcham Slovenija head and NLB bank chairman Blaž Brodnjak as well as Sabina Sobočan, the director general of pre-fabricated bathrooms maker Varis, who were named managers of the year in 2022.

Brodnjak said Slovenia needed to compete with quality as opposed to prices, which makes a quality workforce crucial, while Sobočan wants the slogan Green. Creative. Smart. to be the driving force of the country's entire economy.


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