The Slovenia Times

Call for reforms at outset of FDI Summit

Exclusive contentFDI Summit
Finance Minister Klemen Boštjančič addresses the FDI Slovenia Summit 2023.
Photo: Bor Slana/STA

Slovenia needs to realise its potential to create a friendly and stimulating work environment for a highly-skilled labour force and continue to invest in supply companies, while it also needs to implement reforms, heard the first part of the FDI Summit in Ljubljana on 28 February.

"We have ambitious plans in the fields of different reforms like healthcare, pensions, the public sector, housing policy, tax system and others ... we plan to improve business processes and ensure more efficient public services," Finance Minister Klemen Boštjančič said.

He said the goal was to make the Slovenian economy more competitive while ensuring stable fiscal revenue. He underscored that compared to other countries Slovenia's labour taxation was too high and tax on wealth was too low.

Like other countries, Slovenia and its fiscal policy was affected by the Covid-19 pandemic in the past few years and most recently by the energy energy crisis. The government deficit in 2023 is estimated to be around 5% of GDP, which includes budgetary reserves for unexpected expenditure. Next year the deficit is to fall below 3% of GDP.

Boštjančič welcomed the European Commission's efforts toward the EU's new economic governance framework. Slovenia is involved in those efforts and will host an event in March in cooperation with the European Commission to discuss the future of the framework.

Dagmar von Bohnstein, president of the German-Slovenian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, talked about the importance of cooperation between the two economies, as well as with the government. The chamber has set out its priorities in the position paper which it has sent to Prime Minister Robert Golob.

The three major demands set out in the paper include urgently addressing the shortage of skilled workers in Slovenia, and fully respecting the rules of the EU's internal market, in particular treating European foreign companies equal to the national ones. The third demand is for Slovenia to modernise and expand the transport infrastructure at high speed.

Bohnstein also mentioned challenges concerning red tape, healthcare, and challenges employers face when they want to hire, keep and reward good staff. Due to those issues "Slovenia runs the risk to be overtaken by the dynamics of its competitors for foreign investment," said Bohnstein.

The FDI Summit, started in 2007, is organised by the Ljubljana School of Economics and Business and the Slovenian-German Chamber of Commerce. Dean Metka Tekavčič noted the school's role as a very influential and impactful partner of Slovenia's economy and its international links.

The main theme of this year's FDI Summit is escalating geopolitical risks and Slovenia's position in those processes. Apart from the fallout from the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the West's sanctions on Russia and new global geopolitical relations, another major challenge is changes to supply chains in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The conference is discussing the effect of foreign direct investment in Central, Eastern and South Eastern Europe, the competitiveness of the Slovenian economy from the aspects of institutions and investors and labour force shortages.

Mojmir Mrak, professor at the Ljubljana School of Economics, presented the situation facing the Slovenian economy in light of the growing geopolitical risks, and the conference will conclude with a roundtable discussion on the topic.

The conference also featured addresses by Matjaž Han, minister of the economy, tourism and sport, and Igor Papič, minister of higher education, science and innovation. Several prominent Slovenian business officials and representatives of German investors are taking part as well.


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