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Press Release

7.03.19

22nd Government Session

Photo: Tamino Petelinšek/STA

Action plan to further strengthen Slovenia’s economy in global terms

  

The government has been briefed on the International Challenges 2019-2020 action plan. The action plan for this year and next year sets out targets, target markets and sectors, and measures to strengthen Slovenia’s economy in global terms. At least EUR 13 million of funding from the government and the EU will be available this year for carrying out the measures.

  

Aleš Cantarutti, state secretary at the economics ministry, expressed his satisfaction with the positive state of Slovenia’s economy: “Further evidence is the economic growth of 4.5%, and the highest employment figures to date at the end of last year. Slovenia’s merchandise trade continued to grow last year. Imports and exports were at their highest levels to date.  Despite a slowdown in exports, the economic outlook is good.” 

  

He also highlighted that the action plan sets out specific targets: “Each year we aim to increase exports by 5%, to increase FDI as a proportion of GDP by 0.5 percentage points, to increase value-added per employee by 5% and to increase the share of total exports accounted for by SMEs by 2 percentage points.”

  

Slovenia will continue to internationalise its economy in priority markets, mostly those within 2,000 km. These markets are accessible, culturally similar and already open to trade. The list of target countries includes EU Member States such as Germany, Austria, Italy and France, Switzerland, the Visegrad Group (Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary), Balkan countries (Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, North Macedonia), and the USA and China among more distant countries. The wider list of priority markets includes Russia, the UK, the Benelux nations (Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg), Ukraine, the UAE, Romania, Bulgaria, Sweden, Finland, Norway and Denmark. 

  

The government will support internationalisation in particular in sectors where Slovenia has a competitive advantage and where demand is highest. These sectors are vehicles, electrical and electronic equipment, machinery and appliances, tourism, transport, and products with the highest growth potential (wood and wood products, furniture, optical, technical, medical and other equipment, and the food industry). 

  

Slovenia will also strengthen its efforts to attract FDI, in countries that have traditionally invested in it, such as Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy. There is also potential in the USA, which is systematically increasing its presence in Slovenia via European subsidiaries, and in Japan. The latter is showing great interest in Slovenia and potential in the areas of information and communication technology and robotics, and has positive experience of Slovenia’s investment environment. 

  

Slovenia will also encourage FDI in sectors where it has abundant natural resources, skilled labour and competitive advantage. These sectors are transport and logistics, machinery and electronic equipment, the car industry, fabricated metal tools, pharmaceutical products, wood and wood products, and tourism.

  

To encourage the internationalisation of Slovenian firms and to attract FDI, the economics ministry will carry out a number of measures together with other departments. These measures will be grouped in three areas: i) general and systemic measures for improving the ecosystem for internationalisation, such as strengthening knowledge and skills, making organisational improvements, raising Slovenia’s profile; ii) measures to encourage internationalisation (e.g. advisory services for exporters, market research, training, international certification, identification of potential export opportunities, financing and insurance, for example via SID banka); and iii) measures to encourage inward FDI (e.g. identification of potential investors, support services during the investment process and after completion of investment, financial incentives such as 40% tax relief, subsidies).

  

  

State of imports/exports and FDI in 2018

  

Exports amounted to EUR 30.9 billion in 2018, up 9.2% on 2017. Imports are also increasing: they amounted to EUR 30.6 billion in 2018, up 11.0% on 2017. Germany, Italy, Croatia, Austria and France accounted for more than half of Slovenia’s total merchandise imports and exports in 2018. Slovenia’s largest exports are vehicles, medical and pharmaceutical products, and electrical machinery and appliances. Its largest imports are vehicles, oil and refined petroleum products, and electrical machinery and appliances. 

  

Inward FDI has also been increasing in Slovenia in recent years: the stock amounted to EUR 13.7 billion at the end of 2017, up 5.4% on the end of 2016. The largest inward FDI was in manufacturing (32.9% of the total), financial and insurance activities (22.3%), and wholesale and retail trade and repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles.

  

Slovenian firms’ outward FDI amounted to EUR 5,909.2 million at the end of 2017, up 2.9% on the end of 2016. Their largest holdings of outward FDI are in manufacturing. Four former Yugoslav republics (Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia) account for just over 60% of outward FDI.

  

Government approves project assignment to prepare for Slovenia’s presidency of EU Council in second half of 2021

  

The government has approved a project assignment to make preparations for Slovenia’s presidency of Council of the European Union in the second half of 2021. Having approved the organisational structure and HR plan for the project in November of last year, with today’s approval of the project assignment the government has put in place basic guidelines for the programming, organisational, promotional, HR and financial aspects of holding the presidency. 

  

Slovenia will use its presidency of the EU Council to strengthen its reputation as an active Member State. The conceptual aim is to achieve long-lasting benefits for people’s lives and for the community. Preparing for and holding the presidency will also be an investment in strengthening the knowledge, skills and capacities of Slovenia’s public administration, and in increasing their ability to function in the EU in the long term.

  

An initial estimate of the funding for the presidency project has been drawn up, including labour costs and the costs of training all personnel involved in the presidency. The costs of the presidency are estimated at EUR 80 million for the 2019 to 2022 period. 

  

One of the key tasks of the country that holds the presidency is steering the EU’s legislative work and formulating the positions of the EU Council through various levels of decision-making. This ensures continuity of work at the European level, proper legislative procedures, and cooperation between Member States. The country that holds the presidency is expected to act as an honest and neutral broker. Between 500 and 700 draft pieces of legislation are discussed during each six-month presidency. In statistical terms, about a third of the proposed legislation under discussion is formally adopted during a particular presidency. The ordinary legislative process lasts between one and two years on average.

  

Managing the work of the EU Council is done at three levels: the political level, which includes ministers, the level of permanent representatives and their deputies, and the expert level. During its six months, the country that holds the presidency chairs approximately 30 ministerial meetings, 60 meetings of the committee of the permanent representatives, and 2,000 meetings of working groups and committees, and organises around ten informal meetings of the EU Council, several ministerial conferences and numerous other events on home soil.

  

Given the high demands of protocol and logistics (security, simultaneous translation, transport logistics, etc.), the meetings in Slovenia will be held at Brdo Congress Centre in Brdo pri Kranju. Other events could take place at other locations across Slovenia. A network of towns will be defined to this end. Locations that meet the criteria with regard to security, accommodation, the accompanying programme, conference space, etc. will first be identified, and then a memorandum of understanding will be coordinated with the interested towns.

  

Meetings are merely one tool for carrying out the programme of work. It is the responsibility of the country that holds the presidency to draw up an 18-month programme for the troika, a six-month programme for the presidency with priority tasks, and provisional agendas for each meeting of the EU Council. In drawing up its 18-month programme for the troika, Slovenia will work with Germany and Portugal. Introductory talks between the countries have already begun. The first working discussions of the priorities of the Slovenian presidency were also held by Slovenian ministers in February 2019. 

One of Slovenia’s guidewords in both substantive and organisational senses will be green, which is also at the heart of its established national brand, I feel Slovenia. The latter will be a starting point in designing the image branding of the Slovenian presidency.

  

The approval of the project assignment by the government brings an end to the first phase of Slovenia’s preparations for holding the presidency of the EU Council. In parallel with the preparation of work plans, a start has already been made on tasks in individual areas.

  


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