The Slovenia Times

Slovenia looking to attract more Swiss investment

Economy Minister Matjaž Han during a meeting with the management of the pharma company Novartis in Geneva. Photo: Economy Ministry

Slovenia was praised as an attractive investment destination for advanced technology as Economy Minister Matjaž Han visited Switzerland on 9 and 10 April to explore ways to enhance bilateral economic cooperation.

Han met his Swiss counterpart Guy Parmelin and visited the headquarters of the pharmaceutical companies Sandoz and Novartis, which are among the largest foreign investors in Slovenia.

Talking with the Slovenian Press Agency, Han noted that Switzerland is one of Slovenia's main trading partners, with the volume of trade increasing, thanks in part to the pharmaceutical industry.

The talks with Parmelin focused on boosting economic cooperation further. Han sees opportunities in construction, renewable energy sources, digitalisation, and circular economy, as well as ICT.

Slovenia also wants to enhance cooperation between the startup ecosystems of the two countries, especially in terms of connecting with Swiss investors.

Parmelin noted the excellent cooperation with Slovenia in space technologies and expressed his full support for Slovenia's planned full membership of the European Space Agency.

Switzerland is keen on strengthening cooperation at the level of both national institutions and companies involved in space technology, and Han briefed his Swiss counterpart on the development of the space industry in Slovenia.

He assured Swiss officials of Slovenia's commitment to maintaining and further enhancing the country's attractiveness for investment and high-tech activities.

He pointed to tax incentives for investing in R&D, financial incentives for investments in Slovenia that increase added value, as well as grants and repayable support for the development of companies in Slovenia.

Slovenia has increased investments in science and the education system, is distinguished by highly skilled personnel, and is also accelerating investment in infrastructure, Han said.

"I was very pleased when I read in one of the German newspapers that Sandoz praises Slovenia as a very pragmatic country capable of attracting large investments, and places us alongside Germany," Han said.

In a recent interview with the Süddeutsche Zeitung, Sandoz CEO Richard Saynor said that it is easier to invest in Slovenia than in Germany. The cooperation with the government there is very pragmatic. The German government is not so flexible, he said of Slovenia.

Han is confident that this heralds potential additional investment by pharmaceutical companies in Slovenia. "We discussed what we should do to make Slovenia an even more attractive investment destination," he said.

The minister and the accompanying delegation also visited the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN).

Slovenia's status as an associate CERN member expires in July, after which a transition to full membership is planned, which the ministry said will facilitate cooperation and the activities of Slovenian scientists, as well as allow the Slovenian economy full access to CERN's orders.


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