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Six years later: A glance at the Slovenian economic picture

April showers promise to bring May flowers, but storm clouds keep gathering on the horizon of the traditionally sun-drenched countries such as Greece, Spain and Portugal.  The view Slovenian politicians and managers have of the show-capped Alpine peaks and the glittering waters of the northern Adriatic Sea may raise their spirits even if the shadow cast by the financial and economic and then economic and financial crisis is getting longer. So let’s have a look at the opportunities and the challenges awaiting investors and business partners in Slovenia.

Much of Slovenia's economic growth is attributable to the large-scale transport projects launched in mid-1990s at the time when shelling and bombing of infrastructure in the countries of former Yugoslavia still went on in disputed territories. Back then, the construction of the so-called motorway cross and the modernisation of the railway infrastructure followed the bearings of the two pan-European transport corridors: the fifth and the tenth, and the concept of public-private partnership were merely a matter of academic interest.

As the scope and scale of the consequences of the global financial and economic crisis remain rather elusive, the government renewed commitment to seeing the projects such as the construction of the third pier in the port of Koper and the second tier of the railway line Koper-Divača 27 kms long is set to raise spirits after the gloomy 2009. The first section to be constructed is 11 kms long (Koper and Črni Kal) and tenderers will be invited for at least ten line sub-sections. The same model is expected to be used for the Črni Kal-Divača line section. The price tag for the second tier of the Koper-Divača line is 800 million euros. A state spatial development plan and tapping into EU funds should facilitate the realisation of the two projects and further railway infrastructure modernisation.

The lure of Slovenia’s OECD membership

For nearly 20 years the issue of improving corporate governance has been on the table of every Slovenian government. Now the Republic of Slovenia has to take another important step towards membership of this eminent organisation by passing the law on state capital management. This move will be most certainly welcomed by the country’s eminent economists who argue that Slovenia’s economy has high untapped reserves in corporate governance and management. When the going gets rough, knowledge, skills, moral and ethical values, entrepreneurial spirit and a functioning state of law should be rediscovered and harnessed for the benefit of all stakeholders. 

There is little doubt that 2009 tested Slovenia’s accomplishments almost to the breaking point. Instead of keeping the pace necessary to catch up eventually with the EU average, Slovenia’s macroeconomic indicators ground to a halt and even reversed. In order to overcome the crisis, most economists agree that the state should pull out from the economy, the institutional framework should be improved, the so-called national interest should be replaced by common interests and objectives … The proverb saying that it does not matter what colour is the cat as long as it catches the mice sums up the strategy that would best serve Slovenia, as well as each and every country hit by the global financial and economic crisis.  

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