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Slovenia Weekly

Addressing challenges

13.03.2015

Editorial

Despite progress, challenges in the social area, employment and gender equality remain. Photo: Mostphotos
In recent months, the government’s work has been measured by a string of successful indicators: high growth, lower unemployment and a higher credit rating, said PM Miro Cerar on Wednesday. The Institute of Macro-economic Analysis and Development also expects growth between 2 and 2.6 per cent, which will continue to be fuelled mainly by exports, while investment and domestic consumption will also continue to grow. According to IMAD’s Director, Boštjan Vasle, an improvement is expected in the labour market this year for all types of work, and a better situation in financial markets.

On Monday, the discussion at the meeting of the euro group was more pleasant for Slovenia than in previous years. The finance ministers of the euro countries confirmed the assessment of late last year that Slovenia's draft budgetary plan for this year is broadly compliant with European rules. According to the finance minister, Dušan Mramor, this year’s budgetary plan foresees that Slovenia will manage to reduce the budgetary deficit below 3 per cent of GDP, and Slovenia’s economic assessment is also fairly favourable. But he also warned that structural reforms must continue.

Despite growth, challenges in the social area and employment remain, said labour minister Anja Kopač Mrak, who drew attention to the issue of maintaining a balance of austerity measures so that they do not destroy the model of the social state. In the past two years, Slovenia has carried out comprehensive labour market reform in order to increase flexibility and the protection of workers' rights, and reduce segmentation.

Despite progress, challenges in gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls remain. While we enjoy a high participation rate of women in the labour market, access to childcare, long life expectancy and a high level of health-care protection, including the constitutional protection of women's reproductive rights, many things need improvement. We should tackle the challenges regarding gender equality arising from the unfavourable economic situation and austerity measures proactively. Therefore, the ministry of labour, family, social affairs and equal opportunities is stressing the significance of policy and measures to promote the easier coordination of professional and private life of men and women and greater participation and representation of women in decision-making positions in politics and businesses. One significant way to strengthen gender equality is to encourage men to join and support these efforts. Minister Anja Kopač Mrak called on her ministerial colleagues to support and express solidarity with efforts to achieve gender equality and the idea of the necessary alliance between men and women. True, it is not enough to change the institutions of a system: we also have to change ourselves – women and men.

The highest growth since the beginning of the crisis

According to the Institute of Macroeconomic Analysis and Development, encouraging trends are continuing this year. Last year, GDP growth was mainly fuelled by higher exports, with domestic consumption also increasing for the first time since 2008. The labour market situation continues to improve and the number of registered unemployed is falling. IMAD’s director, Boštjan Vasle, expects this year’s economic growth to be between 2 and 2.6 per cent. IMAD will publish a detailed growth forecast this month. more...

Minister Mrak Kopač: Challenges in social area and employment remain

On Monday, 9 March, the labour minister, Anja Kopač Mrak, attended a meeting of the EU's Council of Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Ministers. During the discussion, she said that while economic growth has been recorded in Slovenia and elsewhere in Europe this year, challenges in social area and employment remain. In this regard, she highlighted the issue of maintaining an appropriate balance of austerity measures so that they do not undo the model of the social state. In the past two years, Slovenia has carried out a comprehensive reform of the labour market in order to increase flexibility and the protection of workers’ rights and to reduce segmentation. more...

The Prime Minister and cabinet ministers join the #HeForShe campaign

One of the significant ways to strengthen gender equality policy is to encourage men to join and support efforts for greater gender equality. The labour minister, Anja Kopač Mrak, urged other members of the cabinet to join the #HeForShe global campaign and thereby support and express their solidarity with the effort to achieve gender equality and the idea of the urgent need for an alliance between men and women. “I welcome the support of colleagues who promote a stronger gender equality policy by joining the #HeForShe campaign.” more...

Strengthening cooperation with South Korea in the automotive industry

Minister Erjavec is on a two-day official visit to the Republic of Korea, primarily to promote business and political links between the countries. The minister, accompanied by a business delegation from the Slovenian automotive industry, visited the research and development centre of the Hyundai-KIA manufacturer in Namyang.This opens up additional possibilities for cooperation with a group that is striving to provide innovative and quality solutions in car manufacturing. The visit builds on established contacts with plants of this car manufacturer in Central Europe. more...

Perception of the independence of the judiciary in Slovenia

The perception of the judiciary in Slovenia as independent deteriorated in 2013-2014, according to the EU Justice Scoreboard, an overview of the quality, independence and efficiency of EU states' judicial systems. On a scale of 0-7, the independence of Slovenia's justice system was estimated at 3.4 on the 2015 Scoreboard, the fifth worst score in the ranking. The figure is the lowest since the first Scoreboard two years ago, when the score was 3.8. more...

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