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FM Says Foreigners Interested in Investing in Slovenia

Ljubljana, 02 July (STA) - There is a lot of interest among foreigners for investing in Slovenia, but the problem is that no projects have been prepared, Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec says in an interview in Monday's issue of the daily Delo.

Erjavec said he was happy that talks about the modernisation of Slovenian railways had resumed during his recent visit to Germany. He believes Germany would be the most suitable partner to Slovenia.

"Slovenia has a good geostrategic position, which is why a part of the cargo from China, Korea and other Asian countries could be transferred from ports in the North Sea to ports in the Adriatic. There is a great interest to shorten this sea route," he explained.

Apart from Koper there are several other important ports in the Adriatic, but there is enough business for everybody so long as the right conditions exist, Erjavec believes.

The port of Koper must build a third pier and establish a railway connection that will allow normal movement of goods. "If we don't do this, others will take the opportunity," he stressed.

According to the foreign minister, everything regarding German investment in Slovenian railways will be clear in the autumn. He added though that others also expressed interest in investing in Slovenske železnice. "Istanbul expressed much interest, especially in a link between their port and the port of Koper," he explained.

"We have many opportunities, but there are always setbacks. We always speak about wanting foreign investment, but when an investor appears, we are full of second thoughts," Erjavec told the daily.

That is why Slovenia needs a strategy which investments and from which countries are welcome. "Germany is our biggest trade partner, Russia is also a big one, but it would be good to also attract the US and others," he said.

Turning to the possible opening of new embassies, the minister said that opening representations in the Persian Gulf, Central and South Africas as well as Central Asia would be Slovenia's priority in foreign affairs.

In an interview with the weekly Reporter, Erjavec meanwhile touched on the arbitration process in which the border with Croatia is to be determined, saying that he stood behind his decision to back the arbitration.

He said that Slovenia would submit the memorandum stating its case by the deadline set for February 2013 and reply to Croatia's memorandum by November 2013.

A hearing will be held in the first half of 2014, while the final decision is expected by the end of 2014, Erjavec added.

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