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President Calls for More Pro-Activeness in Economy

Ljubljana, 07 June (STA) - President Danilo Tuerk told a ceremony marking the 15th anniversary of the Employers Association (ZDS) on Monday that Slovenia needed a new social and economic dialogue, and he urged business to be proactive.

Tuerk underlined that Slovenia should ask itself whether it has a clear vision of its future as a society and a convincing social and economic agenda. If it does not, it must start considering how to form them.

He believes that Slovenia should be worried about its 20-place drop on the competitiveness rankings of the International Institute for Management Development (IMD).

Slovenia must try and figure out what to do to improve the situation, the president noted, adding that pessimistic statements by managers were a big part of the reason for the drop.

He believes that the economic crisis should be a wake-up call for all decision-makers and confront them with the ultimate question: is what they are doing the right thing, is the changed situation being considered and is someone else doing it better.

Tuerk pointed out that politics contributed to a constructive discussion, but noted on the other hand that often Slovenia was under the impression that politics was the main part of the social system. This, he believes, is a dangerous mentality.

He admitted that politics could be blamed for many problems in the economy, however key initiatives can only come from business.

"We are missing initiatives from businesses that would point to a culture of openness for change and market creativity... It will be extremely hard to form a sensible and successful strategy for the future as long as the economy shows signs of opportunism typical of Slovenia, bad business models and poor governance."

Tuerk believes that the pro-activeness and creativity of the economy also effect the quality of social dialogue. As long as social dialogue focuses only on how to redistribute a modest income, it cannot cannot be successful.

ZDS president Borut Meh told the event that the association contributed to social dialogue on a high level. He noted that the employers always supported the welfare state, but one that Slovenia can afford.

Meh expressed regret that social dialogue came to a standstill, and blamed populist politics and extortion strategies of employees.

Dusan Semolic, head of Slovenia's biggest trade union confederation ZSSS, who was also present at the event, blamed the halt in social dialogue on the government, because some of its main projects were formed without consideration of other social partners, especially trade unions.

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