The Slovenia Times

German President Offers Help to Slovenia in Economic Transition


Gauck said Germany could help Slovenia in its economic transition with experience and advice, but said the country does not want to dictate reforms.

Pahor underlined at the press conference that Slovenia will only be able to achieve positive economic trends in the long term if it manages to carry out structural reforms similar to those Germany adopted a decade ago.

The president moreover said that Slovenians want to create a corporate culture similar to that in Germany, adding that the country has had positive experience with German investors.

Gauck offered help to Slovenia in establishing a "culture of consensus" through dialogue between representatives of employees and employers, a process Germany already went through ten years ago.

With its experience, Germany could even speed up this process in Slovenia, said Gauck, adding that the delegation accompanying him also included a trade unionist and a business official with relevant experience in this field.

He also underlined that the process of political transition must be followed by a transition in the economy. He believes Slovenia should now look to other countries that already walked a similar path to see the benefits and opportunities of the process.

He stressed however that Germany did not want to dictate to Slovenia reforms or pressure the country into speeding up its privatisation process.

During their meeting, Pahor presented to Gauck Slovenia's efforts to overcome the economic crisis, with Gauck labelling Pahor's optimism as "realistic".

Pahor noted in his address to the press that the economic growth generated by Slovenia, which is now one of the highest in the EU, means the country is returning back to the "economic stage". This in turn is a breaking point for economic cooperation, the president said.

The pair also said that the countries had very similar views on all issues and that bilateral relations were exemplary.

They also touched on Ukraine, with Pahor assessing that the crisis might have also been the result of a lack of consistency in EU's policy toward Ukraine and warning against repeating such a mistake in the Western Balkans.

Pahor moreover decorated Gauck with the Order of Exceptional Services for his contribution to the strengthening of political dialogue and friendly ties between Slovenia and Germany.

The decoration is an acknowledgement of Germany's support for Slovenia's sovereignty, prosperity and progress, the president's office said in a statement.

After the meeting with Pahor, Gauck also met Prime Minister Miro Cerar and Speaker Milan Brglez. The presidents are now taking part in a round table debate dedicated to the need for social consensus in pursuing development.

During the event, a group of protesters gathered in front of Union Hotel, where the debate was held, demanding reforms in the judiciary and the release from prison of Democrats (SDS) leader Janez Janša, who is serving two years for accepting the promise of a bribery.

The protest was organised by the association Odbor 2014 (Committee 2014), which was formed after Janša's jailing to raise attention to what it says is frequent violations of human rights in court proceedings.

At today's gathering in front of the hotel, the group underlined that without judicial reforms, other reforms in Slovenia would be meaningless. The said they had come because they were not invited to the discussion on changes in society.

Moreover, the daily Delo reported on Tuesday that Odbor 2014 had requested a meeting with Gauck, but was turned down by the office of the German president.

On Wednesday, the presidents will visit the Enterprise Education Centre in Nova Gorica and the Ajdovščina-based ultralight aircraft producer Pipistrel, as well as the Franciscan monastery in Kostanjevica.


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