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Slovenia Weekly

Sustainable resource management

27.03.2015

Editorial

Slovenia has a wealth of natural resources: it only depends on us if we use them sustainably. We should not forget that water management offers several opportunities for economic development and new green jobs. Photo: Mostphotos
Slovenia recorded relatively strong economic growth in 2014, at 2.6%; the labour market situation also improved. When presenting its spring forecast, the Institute of Macroeconomic Analysis and Development (IMAD) highlighted two crucial messages. They expect trends that began last year to continue, and competitiveness, which was a contributing factor to growth already last year, to improve. According to the IMAD director Boštjan Vasle, this year’s growth is now projected at 2.4 per cent of the GDP, while the forecast was two per cent December last year. Next year, the growth is to total two per cent, which is an improvement over the December forecast of 1.7 per cent, while it is to reach 2.1 per cent in 2017. One of the key conditions for higher growth in the medium-term period is privatisation or better management of state assets, said Vasle.

According to statistical data, Slovenia has yet another reason to be optimistic. This week, the Bloomberg web portal placed us among the top 15 economies that are winning in global trade. Slovenia ranks 11th with regard to the surplus in the current account balance, which is almost 6 per cent of GDP. Among the elements that lead to greater economic competitiveness are the principles of sustainable and circular economies, of which Slovenian companies are aware. However, Slovenian needs to take a big step forward in applying these principles, particularly with regard to efficient resource management.

Sustainable management is also important in water management. Slovenia is a very water-rich country, and also has rich development opportunities. However, according to the PM Cerar, we rather neglected the need to manage water effectively in the past. This was demonstrated in particular last year, when there were several more extreme weather events. The government responded quickly and introduced emergency measures, while defining medium- and long- term ones. The preparation of a strategy for water management is in its final stage. In this respect, we should also not forget that water management offers several opportunities for economic development and new green jobs.

Thinking about the sustainable management of water and other natural resources should become normal, believes PM, who chaired a meeting of representatives of agriculture, forestry and rural development NGOs. The prime minister said that the government was building a vision of Slovenian agriculture that would provide the basis for food security, and together with forestry and fisheries, the foundation of economic vitality of rural areas. “In addition to their strategic significance in ensuring food, agriculture and rural areas play a very significant role in ecology, landscape preservation and the settlement of Slovenian territory,” said Cerar.

Slovenia has a wealth of natural resources: it only depends on us if we use them sustainably. Connecting potentials for transitioning into a green economy was the subject on the discussion prepared by the environment ministry, where the government sector, the industries and the NGOs shared experiences and looked for new good practices. The participants agreed that our common way forward is sustainable development and that Slovenia has enough know-how, ideas and wishes, while we also know weak points and possibilities for improvement.

Anniversaries of the two world wars warn humanity to resolve its problems peacefully before it is too late again – they make us remember and serve as reminder that this should never happen again, that new ways should lead to overcoming limits in the language of reconciliation and harmony. It is no coincidence that the Walk of Peace from the Alps to the Adriatic along the former Isonzo Front from the First World War, which reflects good cross-border cooperation, was officially opened in the Square of Europe. It is a symbolic place that connects two cities (Gorizia in Italy and Nova Gorica in Slovenia) and two countries, where Slovenia celebrated joining the European Union in 2004. According to the keynote speaker, President Borut Pahor, this landmark marks the beginning of a new, common era, space and future, not only for both nations along the former border, but to 500 million Europeans. The European idea, which is based on reconciliation and cooperation, is the strongest defence of European peace and security, he said.

Economic growth expected to reach 2.4% this year

According to the spring economic forecast, provided yesterday by IMAD, in 2014 Slovenia recorded relatively strong economic growth at 2.6% and also the labour market situation improved. In 2015, GDP will expand by 2.4%, again mainly owing to strong growth in exports and investment activity. With the improvement in the international environment, stabilisation of financial markets in the euro area and following economic policy measures adopted in the last few years, economic growth in 2014 was the strongest since the beginning of the economic crisis. more...

Erjavec satisfied with the dynamics of economic cooperation with Brazil

Foreign minister Karl Erjavec visited Brazil this week. The purpose of the visit was to strengthen bilateral relations and political dialogue between Slovenia and Brazil, as well as economic cooperation, as Brazil is Slovenia’s most significant economic and trade partner in South America and the Caribbean. During his visit, Erjavec attended a business conference in São Paulo hosted by the Federation of Industries of the State of São Paulo, where he was accompanied by a Slovenian business delegation comprising members of ZITex and the acting director of Spirit Slovenia. more...

Slovenia promises further support for Bosnia and Herzegovina on its road to Europe

Following the invitation of Slovenia's president, Borut Pahor, the three-member presidency arrived for an official visit to Ljubljana on Monday, their first official visit abroad. The visit of the chairman of the presidency, Mladen Ivanić, and members Dragan Čović and Bakir Izetbegović, signifies the strengthening of dialogue between friendly countries at the highest political level and is an opportunity to confirm traditionally good and friendly bilateral relations. The discussion focused on the integration of Bosnia and Herzegovina into the European Union, economic cooperation and the issue of Ljubljanska banka deposit holders. more...

One stop shop for foreigners

At yesterday's regular session, the government approved the Employment, Self-employment and Work of Aliens Act, which redefines the employment of foreign nationals. It introduces a single permit for work and residence as envisaged in Directive 2011/98/EU. The transfer of the directive into national law introduces the principle of a ‘one-stop shop’, to which a foreigner or their employer submits a single application for a single permit (for residence and work) at a single place, i.e. the administrative unit or the authorised diplomatic representation or consulate of the Republic of Slovenia abroad, without prior application for a working permit. more...

At the meeting of the UN Human Rights Council Slovenia urges respect of human rights in occupied Palestinian territories

In its presentation in the general discussion on the situation of human rights in Palestine and other occupied territories, Slovenia urged respect for human rights and international humanitarian law. At its regular meetings, the UN Human Rights Council also discusses the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied territories. While the European Union did not present a joint statement in the discussion, several members of the EU, including Slovenia, presented their own statements. more...

GREEN.ACTIVE.HEALTHY

The new issue of Sinfo is out. It presents Slovenia as a green country that symbolises balance, a healthy lifestyle in harmony with nature and a vision of the future. Slovenia surprises everyone with its diversity and colourful natural and cultural heritage. And it has the wealth of forests, which are an important resource of the quality of life. The forest is a place where the body and mind can relax. Slovenia offers visitors ‘Forest selfness’ (a wellness programme), and innovative programmes, such as ’Dreaming and sleeping in a treetop’ or visits to the Herbal House. more...

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