Brdo pri Kranju, 04 January (STA) - Addressing on Monday the annual meeting of economic advisers from Slovenia's diplomatic missions, and heads of Slovenian business representation offices abroad, Foreign Minister Samuel Zbogar said that following the country's successful integration into all important international organisations Slovenian diplomacy was entering a new era.
"If thus far we have been taking care of the promotion of our country abroad and have been mostly setting up the legal groundwork for a foray of our companies into foreign markets, we now have to actively help secure business for concrete companies," Zbogar told the meeting at Brdo pri Kranju.
Touching on the reuniting of the country's economic diplomacy under the wing of the Foreign Ministry for the first time after 2005, Zbogar said the government was convinced this would increase effectiveness.
The ministry has drawn up a new model of economic diplomacy, which envisages among other things a stronger network of economic advisers at diplomatic and consular representation offices abroad, he explained.
Zbogar moreover finds it important to enter new markets, announcing a stronger focus on Brazil, Russia, India and China as well as Northern African and Latina American countries.
He highlighted the Foreign Ministry economic diplomacy and development cooperation directorate, established in October 2009, as a meeting point for diplomatic and consular offices and Slovenian companies.
Another priority will be setting up a system for measuring the efficiency of the network of advisers and heads of the representation offices.
Meanwhile, Development and European Affairs Minister Mitja Gaspari agreed that boosting exports will also require a refocusing on new markets.
Slovenia is focused on markets within the eurozone, former Yugoslav market and partly Russia, while other markets are being neglected, the minister said in his address.
Turning to Slovenia's crisis exit strategy, which is being drawn up, Gaspari said the priorities would include the consolidation of public finances, a more efficient phasing of EU funds, the introduction of flexicurity, development-oriented financial policies, the possibility of setting up a bad bank, and the reform of the pension and health care systems.
Participants were moreover addressed today by Chamber of Commerce director general Samo Hribar Milic and the head of the Energy Directorate at the Economy Ministry Janez Kopac.
The second part of the meeting will be held on Tuesday at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS) in Ljubljana, where participants will look at the key export facts for 2009, as well as single out a successful Slovenian company and a foreign investor.