Slovenia in brief
Slovenia is conveniently located in Central Europe in an area of land between the Alps and the Adriatic Sea, bordering Austria, Italy, Croatia and Hungary. It covers 20,273 square kilometres and has a population of 2.08 million.
Despite its small size, Slovenia is a land of great geographic and natural diversity, with a rich history and cultural heritage. Already in ancient times, the Roman cities in this territory held extraordinary significance given their strategic location at the intersection of west and east, while important trade routes like the Amber Road, the oldest and shortest link between the Baltic and the Mediterranean, ran through Slovenia. Slovenians’ ancestors settled in the area in the 6th century AD and established the Principality of Carantania, known for its unique democratic custom of installing their dukes. After the 9th century, Slovenians lost their sovereignty for a whole millennium yet maintained their language and cultural identity. Following World War I, when the Austro-Hungarian Empire of which Slovenians were a part collapsed, they co-established the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenians, later the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. After World War II, Slovenia became part of socialist Yugoslavia and its most prosperous federal republic.
Slovenia declared its independence in 1991 and became a European Union member in 2004. In 2007, it adopted the euro as its national currency and joined the Schengen area. Today, it is a democratic, stable and successful country with high GDP per capita and consistent annual economic growth, a member of the main international organisations and a country that enjoys friendly ties with other countries.
Slovenia is a fast-growing export-oriented economy. Services account for the majority of the country’s total value added. Knowledge is one of the main pillars of national development; in a few research areas like computer science and nanotechnology, Slovenia ranks among the top countries in the world. Among CEE countries, it is also a leading innovator according to several innovation-related indicators (including aggregate R&D intensity).
Not many countries, even much bigger ones, have the wonderful landscape diversity found in Slovenia, a place where the major European geographical units – the Alps, the Pannonian Plain, the Dinaric Karst and the Mediterranean – meet and overlap. Slovenia has three different climates: sub-Mediterranean in the coastal area, Alpine in the northwest and continental elsewhere in the country. Slovenia also enjoys extreme biological diversity; it is one of the most water-rich countries in Europe, and one of the few countries in the world where all tap water is safe to drink. Almost 60% of Slovenia is covered by forest, making it the 3rd-most forested country in Europe, with up to 38% of its territory being protected by the Natura 2000 ecological network, i.e. the highest level in the EU. In 2016, Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, was declared the Green Capital of Europe, while in 2020 it was named one of the most sustainable developed tourist destinations in Europe (ITB Berlin).
Slovenia has historically been a crossroads of Slavic, Germanic, Romance and Ugric languages, cultures and influences, which have all shaped its character. Slovenians may be described as diligent, active people who are well educated and adept at speaking foreign languages. Slovenians are above the OECD average in terms of positively perceiving their quality of life in areas like jobs, education and skills, work–life balance, social connections, environmental quality and personal security. It is also one of the countries with the lowest income inequality as measured by the Gini coefficient. Slovenia is among the 10 safest countries in the world (Global Peace Index) and one of the best with respect to reliability, accessibility and environmental sustainability in the field of energy (WEC).
A country that is so progressive, diverse and sustainable proves one thing: Small really is beautiful! With its wonderful natural landscapes, ancient historical sites, modern facilities, friendly and talented people along with dynamic entrepreneurs, it makes a great place to visit or live, do business … and enjoy.
|Official name||Republika Slovenija (Republic of Slovenia)|
|Form of state||Democratic parliamentary republic|
|Area||20,273 sq. km|
|Population (2020 Q2)||2,097,195|
|National currency||euro (EUR)|
|GDP growth (2019)||2.4%|
|GDP per capita (2019)||€ 22,983|
|Annual inflation rate (August 2020)||-0.1%|
|Annual basic interest rate (September 2020)||0.0%|
|Exports of goods and services (2019)||€40,535 million|
|Main destinations of exports (2019)||Germany, Italy, Austria, Croatia, France|
|Imports of goods and services (2019)||€36,149 million|
|Main origins of imports (2019)||Germany, Italy, Austria, Croatia, France|
|Unemployment rate - LFS (2019 Q3)||4.8%|
|Gross monthly earnings (July 2020)||€1,811.28|
|Net monthly earnings July 2020)||€1,176.25|
Reasons to do business in Slovenia
Slovenia is a member of the European Union, Schengen Area and euro area, providing access to the EU market that has 500 million customers and no customs and duties. Slovenia is also an excellent starting point for entry into the markets of Eastern Europe and the Balkans, where it is favoured by free-trade agreements, excellent knowledge of these markets and well-established business ties.
Taking advantage of its exceptionally good geo-strategic position in Central Europe at the intersection of two TEN-T corridors (the Mediterranean and the Baltic-Adriatic), Slovenia provides hinterland access via land and sea, offering the shortest connections to the Mediterranean via Port Koper and to the Middle and Far East via the Suez Canal. Modern port infrastructure and well-situated infrastructure for inland freight transport ensure goods are moved quickly and reliably, customs clearance processes are efficient, and supply chain costs are low.
Slovenia offers a stimulating and low-risk business environment. A corporate culture of transparency and accountability, observance of international technical standards, personal integrity and company loyalty make a foreign manager’s job easy. The governmental policy aimed at developing a favourable tax system, labour market flexibility, deregulation of industry and elimination of administrative barriers is complemented by a broad system of incentives supporting foreign direct investments. Investments that address priority goals like investments in services and R&D, the creation of high qualified jobs and high value added and sustainability projects are particularly encouraged. These instruments of the government’s proactive investment policy not only serve to stimulate new investments but also motivate foreign investors already present in Slovenia to increase their activities while expanding and upgrading their existing facilities.
One of Slovenia’s important comparative advantages is the quality and commitment of its workforce, characterised by an above EU average share of people with a secondary and tertiary education, excellent foreign language skills (with 37.7% of the population speaking at least three languages, ranking Slovenia third in the EU according to Eurostat), a flair for technology and innovation and a high level of digital literacy. Education and training are focused on supporting high-tech and other high value-added sectors such as information and communication technology, pharmacy and life (biological) sciences.
Slovenia has very well-developed ICT infrastructure and services. The country exceeds the EU average in: overall fixed broadband take-up; Internet usage of online news sites; newspapers or news magazines; electronic sales to other EU countries; pre-filled forms; online service completion; and open data. Several pilot projects are underway with regard to 5G technology. Access to eGovernment services is excellent and the vast majority of administrative and business procedures can be performed online.
According to the World Bank’s Doing Business indicators, Slovenia’s business environment scores best in the category Trading across Borders, where it appears next to world leaders. It also scores high for political stability and lack of violence and holds competitive advantages in resolving cases of insolvency, ease of obtaining an electricity connection, and protection of minority investors (see Stable business environment).
Slovenia has always managed to prove its relatively strong resilience to internal and external challenges, such as the latest Covid-19 pandemic. Still, while all such experiences come at a cost, Slovenia has always managed to rise to the challenge and move on more experienced and better prepared for any recurrences. Slovenia’s economy is strong with a solid outlook and its economic growth is balanced, it has a diversified and competitive export sector, improved fiscal position and business environment, profitable banking sector, skilled workforce coupled with high quality of life; namely, all excellent reasons to do business in Slovenia.
Solid growth fundamentals
In the last decade, Slovenia has experienced strong growth and economic development. The economy has been growing rapidly against the background of favourable international developments, higher export competitiveness and rising domestic demand. Resource and energy efficiency have increased, public finance and the banking system have successfully recovered following the global economic and financial crisis.
In 2019, real GDP in Slovenia saw a further rise, although its growth (2.4%) was not as high as in the two years before (4.8% and 4.1%, respectively). Such growth reflected important and disruptive changes in the international environment and the slowdown in its major trading partners. Domestic demand remained the biggest driver of growth. Private consumption continued to rise, supported by the relatively strong increase in household disposable income, underpinned by the still robust employment growth. The unemployment rate fell to 4.6% in 2019 from 5.1% in 2018, which is a historical low. International uncertainties, especially regarding economic prospects and trade relations, were reflected in the easing back of exports and industrial production. Towards the end of the year, the latter started to spill over more tangibly onto the service sector, while lower growth was also seen in investment in machinery and equipment with the biggest slowdown in the export of transport services.
The foreign trade balance made a positive contribution to GDP growth (0.5 of a percentage point) while the surplus in trade with goods and services reached 9.1% of GDP or EUR 4.4 billion in 2019. Market share, an indicator of export competitiveness, rose for the seventh year in a row in 2019, supported by moderate unit labour cost developments and a favourable export destination mix.
Like in previous years, growth was based on sound economic fundamentals. In 2019, the current account surplus remained high at 6.6% of GDP. Although both goods and services balances were in surplus, the surplus in services was quite large. The high current account surplus helped to support the rapid improvement of the net international investment position.
Early 2020 saw dramatic changes in the world economic environment. The COVID-19 pandemic and emergency health protection measures have strongly affected global economic activity including Slovenia’s main trading partners and thereby influenced Slovenia as a small open economy. The government promptly responded by adopting a large stimulus package (4.35% of GDP) that is expected to partly cushion the lost jobs and lower household incomes and pave the way for a strong rebound in 2021. In addition, the government issued guarantees to banks and companies totalling EUR 2.2 billion.
Exports of goods and services on the rise
Exports continued to grow in 2019 (4.4%), albeit a slower pace than in previous years.
This slowdown in growth was mainly due to less favourable economic conditions in the euro area's biggest trading partners, producing a slowdown in foreign demand growth that also had an important effect on exports of goods and services in Slovenia, especially in the last quarter of the year. The slowdown at the end of the year was most noticeable in exports of metals and metal products, machinery and equipment which, in addition to a general slowdown in foreign demand, was associated with lower production in the automotive industry in the euro area.
Geographical and product versatility are some of the key factors that explain the success of Slovenia's export sector. In 2019, Germany, Italy, Croatia, Austria and France remained the most important trade partners in the EU, accounting for more than half of total goods. Trade is also strong with certain non-EU countries, notably Switzerland. It should be stressed that Slovenia is becoming an ever more important distribution and logistics hub within Europe.
In total, 21 countries held at least a 1% share of total Slovenian goods exports, with the rest of the world still representing over 12%. Nevertheless, Slovenia is highly dependent on the EU market, as indeed are most other countries in the EU. The large share of exports to the EU (around 75%) indicates the country’s high level of integration into the European market, particularly the euro area, which means lower exposure to exchange rate fluctuations, but also greater exposure to shocks within the EU. Slovenia's geographical dispersion of exports is similar to the EU average, although higher than in other countries in Central and Eastern Europe.
The technological structure of manufacturing exports continued to improve as the share of medium/high-tech products has been gradually rising. Highly involved in global supply chains, Slovenia's exports are largely intermediate goods, representing 51% of total goods exports in 2018, followed by consumer goods with 37% and investment goods with 12%. Road vehicles maintained the biggest share of exports (a little over 15%), followed by medicinal and pharmaceutical products (close to 15%), electrical machinery and appliances (8.9%), general industrial machinery and equipment (4.9%), and metal products (4.1%). The product concentration of exports is slightly higher than the EU average yet lower than most its neighbours in Central and Eastern Europe.
Import growth still positive
In 2019, imports rose by 4.2%, while the growth has eased. This was due to lower imports of intermediate goods, investment equipment and machinery and imports of services. This was consistent with the slowdown in exports and industrial production in Slovenia.
The geographical and product structure of imports is varied. In 2019, Germany, Italy, Austria, Switzerland and Croatia were the biggest exporters of goods to Slovenia, together representing slightly over 50% of overall goods imports. Despite this, imports remained geographically dispersed since 16 other countries held at least a 1% share in Slovenia's total goods imports, while the rest of the world still represented close to 10%.
Among imported goods, road vehicles kept the highest share with more than 12%, closely followed by medicinal and pharmaceutical products (11.8%), mineral fuels, mineral oils and products (9.9%), electrical machinery and appliances (6.6%), general industrial machinery and equipment (3.9%) and iron and steel (3.8%).
Public finances still solid
Public finances improved markedly between 2015 and 2019. The favourable economic situation and measures to stabilise the fiscal position enabled continuous improvement of the general government balance, which was balanced in 2017 and in surplus in 2018–2019. The nominal surplus in 2019 was chiefly the result of a further improvement in labour market conditions, particularly the stronger wage growth and relatively high economic growth, as well as the continued decline in interest expenditure. Revenue growth remained solid in 2019 (4.8%), while the growth of expenditure was the same as in the previous year (5.2%). General government debt was on a downward path for the fourth consecutive year, reaching 66.1% at the end of 2019, remaining well below the EU average.
General government financing conditions are favourable. In 2019, the required yield on long-term government bonds remained just above 0% due to the accommodative monetary policy in the euro area and the further strengthening of Slovenia's macroeconomic fundamentals. The latter was also reflected in the spread of Slovenia's long-term bonds over a comparable German bond, which remained comparatively low (below 50 basis points in 2019).
Profitable banking sector
The profitability, solvency and asset quality of the banking sector remained on an upward trend. Return on equity in the first nine months of 2019 reached 10.7% in 2018, up from 9.1% in 2017, mainly due to the net release of impairments.
Slovenia’s banking sector remains well capitalised, with profits continuing to rise in 2019. The capital adequacy ratio on a consolidated basis was in line with the average for the euro area, standing at 17.8% at year end. The liquidity position was once again favourable, while banks recorded profits for the fifth year in a row. In 2019, pre-tax profits exceeded EUR 0.5 billion, with reasons including the release of impairments and provisions.
Economic growth was supported by increased lending to households (y-o-y around 6%), in line with the favourable labour market conditions. With the introduction of a binding macroprudential instrument, the growth structure of loans changed towards a bigger share of housing loans. Nevertheless, the banking system’s exposure to the real estate market remains relatively low: the ratio of housing loans to GDP is the lowest in the euro area. The annual growth of loans to non-financial corporations stayed low as firms are more heavily relying on retained earnings, which are plentiful due to the high profits in the corporate sector. The continuous economic growth and banks' own efforts mean that non-performing exposures again dropped. They stood at 2.2% at the end of 2019. Deposits by the non-banking sector rose 7.2% in 2019, the highest annual figure since 2014. This was mainly due to household deposits, while deposits of non-financial corporations declined, for the first time since 2012.
A stable business environment
Global competitiveness is crucial for tackling the challenges of new technologies and taking advantage of the opportunities they bring. In 2019, the World Economic Forum ranked Slovenia 35th out of 141 countries in the Global Competitiveness Report, noting its stable macroeconomic environment, well-developed human capital and well-established innovation ecosystem.
Slovenia's business environment is stable. The World Bank's Doing Business 2020 indicators see Slovenia placed 37th among 190 economies. It is found in the upper half of EU member states, ahead of Portugal, Poland, Czech Republic and Hungary, among others.
Slovenia's business environment scores best in the category Trading across Borders, where it appears alongside other leaders because it is deeply integrated into global supply chains and exploiting its strategic geographical position at a European crossroads. Other dominant features include efficiency in resolving insolvency issues, where it scores 8th on the global scale, protection of minority investors (18th) and ease of getting an electricity connection (23rd). According to the World Bank's Worldwide Governance Indicators, Slovenia scores 10th among EU member states for political stability and lack of violence.
According to the Corruption Perceptions Index published by Transparency International, Slovenia is one of the 36 least corrupt countries out of the 180 countries covered by the 2020 report. Within the EU, it is found in the middle, behind Portugal and Spain, but ahead of Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Croatia and Hungary, among others. Similarly, Slovenia ranks 41st among 209 countries according to the World Bank’s Control of Corruption Index, and again appears in the middle of the EU rankings.
The corporate tax rate is competitive in both global (on average 23.8%) and EU (on average 20.9%) contexts. At 19%, Slovenia’s corporate tax rate is among the lowest in the EU in 2020. As a share of GDP, fiscal revenues from the taxation of capital represent only one-half of the EU average, with revenues from the taxation of labour slightly below that.
Foreign direct investments continue to rise
FDI continues to flow into the favourable investment environment. In 2019, FDI inflows reached around EUR 1 billion. FDI was dominated by equity investment and reinvested earnings, while changes in debt instruments were negligible. The stock of FDI amounted to EUR 16.1 billion (33.6% of GDP), namely EUR 7.5 billion more than in pre-crisis 2008 and more than EUR 7 billion more than at the end of 2013 when the new period of economic growth began.
Based on the latest available data, FDI mainly originates from the EU (83.9%). Austria's share of 24% of the total stock of FDI remains dominant, yet has been dropping slightly as other countries have been raising their investment levels. At 13.7%, Luxembourg was the second most important source of FDI in 2018, followed by Switzerland (10.5%), Germany (7.9%), Italy (7.9%) and the Netherlands (7.6%). However, when considering FDI in terms of the ultimate investing country, Germany is the main investor in Slovenia, ahead of Austria, the USA, Italy and Switzerland. Together, those countries account for more than half of all investments.
The complex structures of multinational firms, which are a response to several factors, can conceal the ultimate source of inward FDI. The largest ultimate investors come from Germany, Austria, the USA, Italy and Switzerland and account for over half of all investments.
FDI is traditionally focused on the manufacturing sector, attracting 32.9% of the total stock of FDI. Manufacturing is followed by the financial and insurance sector (22.3%) and wholesale and retail trade, repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles (17.6%). An important share of FDI is accounted for by real estate and information and communication services.
Slovenian outward FDI grew slightly in 2019. Its stock amounted to around EUR 6.3 billion (13% of GDP), up by more than EUR 1 billion over 2013. As investors, Slovenian corporates have traditionally focused on the Western Balkans, where they have detailed knowledge of the local markets. The territory of ex-Yugoslavia accounted for almost 70% of the total stock of outward FDI in 2018, with Croatia at 32.2%, Serbia at 15.9%, Bosnia and Herzegovina at 8.6%, and North Macedonia at 6.3%. A notable share of 5.9% was also directed to Russia, while the Netherlands accounted for approximately 4% of outward FDI.
Similarly, as inward FDI, outward FDI was also mainly directed to manufacturing activities, with a share of 33.6% in 2018. Manufacturing was followed by wholesale and retail trade, repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles (18.5%), financial and insurance activities (12.7%) and professional, scientific and technical activities (6.7%).
Slovenia’s key points of attraction
According to the OECD’s Better Life Index, safety, work–life balance, community and health are the qualities most cherished by those who live in Slovenia. Ideally situated in the centre of Europe, close to main transport routes, it also has access to and knowledge of regional markets in Europe’s east and southeast. Foreign investors are in particular attracted to the country by the quality and level of education, the skilled labour force, the developed scientific infrastructure and reliable basic infrastructure. This is all supported by a stable macroeconomic environment and healthy public finances.
High quality of living
According to the United Nations' Human Development Index (HDI), Slovenia enjoys some of the highest living standards in the world. In the 2019 report, it is ranked 24th among the 189 surveyed countries, while its HDI ranking exceeded the EU average.
Slovenia was placed slightly below Austria, but ahead of Spain, the Czech Republic and France, among other member states. Among EU members, Slovenia's strongest feature is the high number of expected years of schooling while, in global terms, Slovenia scores well in the categories of life expectancy at birth and gross national income per capita. There is also a downward trend in the share of people at risk of poverty, which is one of the lowest in the EU. Income equality, as measured by the Gini coefficient, is the 2nd highest in the EU and one of the highest in the world.
Strong human capital
Slovenia focuses on education, training and industry-driven research so as to be able to offer the best to the high technology and other high value-added sectors like information and communication technology, pharmaceuticals and life sciences. The OECD’s PISA project shows that in mathematics, science and reading literacy Slovenian 15-year-olds perform well above the EU average. According to Eurostat, Slovenia meets both Europe 2020 goals for education: 42.7% of people aged between 30 and 34 completed tertiary education in 2018, and less than 5% of those aged between 18 and 24 left schools early in 2019.
The Digital Economy and Society Index (2019) states that human capital is one of the country’s strengths. IT skills and digital literacy are well developed and over 60% of population can converse in at least two foreign languages and command two or more foreign languages. English, German and Italian are widely used and French language courses are very popular. According to the IMD’s World Competitiveness Report (2019), Slovenia ranks 7th among EU countries for language skills meeting the needs of enterprises, thereby exceeding all of its neighbours in Central and Eastern Europe.
Solid innovation environment and performance
Slovenia's innovation environment and associated performance are solid. The European Innovation Scoreboard 2019 ranks Slovenia among moderate innovators like Portugal and the Czech Republic, with the innovation system’s strengths seen in human resources, business investments in R&D and ICT training. Slovenia is also an innovation-friendly environment, offering 100% tax relief on R&D expenditure.
At 1.95% of GDP in 2018, Slovenia's expenditure on research and development is around the EU average.
Expenditure has been driven by business R&D expenditure which stood at 1.45% of GDP in 2018 (above the EU average of 1.41%). Business expenditure on R&D is mainly concentrated in pharmaceuticals, machinery, computer technology and technologies related to electric energy. A gradual rise in the currently quite modest public R&D expenditure (0.5% of GDP) is expected in the period 2019–2021.
The number of researchers grew by more than 8.5% in 2018 and is rising faster than in the EU (4.2% on average), showing a more than 40% increase over one decade ago. The biggest share in the total number of researchers is held by the business sector, where the number rose by over 500 in the last year, which might give the basis for a new development impetus for innovation while providing more favourable conditions for R&D in the public sector.
An attractive tourist destination
Slovenia is an award-winning tourist destination. It is small, yet incredibly diverse. The large number of awards received in recent years confirm that Slovenia is a green, active and healthy destination. As a top destination in the area of sustainability, it was named winner of the Best of Europe category for 2020 Sustainable Destinations Award (ITB Berlin).
It is worth noting that the blend of cuisine and award-winning wines makes Slovenia is a very popular culinary spot, with its capital Ljubljana placed among the world's best culinary destinations.
Safety plays a major role in selecting holiday destinations and the travel industry is very aware of this. The annual Travel Risk Map ranks Slovenia among the safest countries to visit in 2020.
The country's great attractiveness ensures buoyant tourism revenues. Visitors come to Slovenia from around the globe. Tourists from Germany, Italy and Austria hold the biggest shares, followed by those from the Netherlands, Croatia, Hungary, the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic and Serbia. In recent years, Slovenia has also been becoming increasingly popular among overseas guests.
Europe's gateway to global markets
Slovenia's geographical position at the crossroads of Central Europe is ideal for connecting global and regional businesses. Goods can be moved quickly and reliably, clearance procedures are efficient and, once goods enter Slovenia via road, rail, air or sea, they are on the doorstep of the EU market with 500 million consumers and many more of them in Europe’s east and southeast. The country’s strategic location is also reflected in transport revenues. Despite the growing uncertainty in global trade, revenues from transport and storage activity continued to rise in 2019, increasing by around 3%.
Two TEN-T Core Network Corridors (Baltic–Adriatic and Mediterranean) intersect at Ljubljana. Transit traffic has always played an important role among the traditional transport, while in recent years there has been a clear upswing in road and rail transport services. Slovenian companies’ excellent track record in this line of business coupled with the country’s modern transport infrastructure are a proven recipe for high-quality and cost-competitive services operating through Slovenia’s road and rail distribution network, freight forwarding and shipping services, goods handling, warehousing, safety of deliveries, maritime and inland logistic terminal operations and a range of additional services to suit clients’ needs.
Modern motorways link the Central and Western European markets with the Mediterranean trading routes. The motorway density in Slovenia is higher than the EU average (3.8 km road/ sq km of land area), just after Belgium, the Netherlands and Malta. According to the Ministry of lnfrastructure, significant investment projects are planned to further modernise and extend the road infrastructure.
Railroad freight traffic is well developed. The rail links between the Adriatic Sea and the landlocked countries in Central and Eastern Europe offer quality logistics solutions. The broad network of railway lines enables door-to-door cargo transport services while the shunting yard in Ljubljana guarantees quick transport across Slovenia. Both freight and passenger services with south-eastern Europe have grown in the last few years. In 2018, Slovenian Railways transported 21.3 million tonnes of goods, most of it internationally. Since the railway service is regaining in importance, modernising the infrastructure along the Pan-European Transport Corridors No. V and X is a national priority. This large-scale upgrade is expected to be finished by 2025, allowing for a further improvement in the quality and capacity of logistics services.
The Port of Koper serves as a popular departure point for the European export sector and an entry point for Asian and other products destined for European markets. In 2018, 23 million tonnes of goods were handled in the port, of this 40% (9 million tonnes) were goods in large containers. The throughput of goods in containers has been growing in recent years (overtaking ports in neighbouring countries) since the Port of Koper boats the largest container terminal in the northern Adriatic. The Port's capacities are to further expanded, while an additional boost to the transport activity will come from modernisation and extension of the railway infrastructure.
Slovenia has three international airports (Ljubljana, Maribor and Portorož). Ljubljana’s Jože Pučnik Airport is located 25 km from the capital and is the main Slovenian airport for personal and cargo traffic. Regular and charter flights carry passengers to the most important European destinations. The airport is in a process of continuous expansion and upgrading as it moves to become an important regional distribution and logistics centre.
The main reference points
Slovenian diplomatic, consular and other representatives abroad
Economic diplomacy includes all relevant activities of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the 57 diplomatic missions and consular posts of the Republic of Slovenia with their 22 economic counsellors. Activity in the area of economic affairs is the primary task of every Slovenian ambassador. Honorary consuls are also actively involved in economic diplomacy.
The Directorate for Economic and Public Diplomacy incorporates the Department for Bilateral Economic Relations, the Department for Bilateral Economic Relations II and the Department for Public Diplomacy and International Cooperation in Culture. Its main task is to ensure the efficiency of economic diplomacy through coordination and management within the broader Slovenian foreign policy system.
In this context, the Directorate cooperates with other players in the area of internationalisation of the Slovenian economy, including: the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology, the Ministry for Public Administration, the Ministry for Agriculture, Forestry and Food, the Slovenian Public Agency for Entrepreneurship, Internationalisation, Foreign Investment and Technology (SPIRIT Slovenia), the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia, the Chamber of Craft and Small Business of Slovenia, and the SID Bank. Activities and programmes that concern internationalisation are coordinated by the Council for Internationalisation, which meets regularly.
The Directorate also supports the activities of diplomatic missions and consular posts in the area of economic diplomacy through the Economic Project Fund aimed at promoting the Slovenian economy and establishing new contacts for Slovenian companies with potential business partners abroad.
The basis for internationalisation activities is the Programme of the Government of the Republic of Slovenia for Stimulating the Internationalisation of Companies. With regard to economic diplomacy, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and its network of diplomatic missions and consular posts:
- ensure the efficient work of economic diplomacy through coordination and management within the Slovenian foreign policy system;
- organise meetings of intergovernmental commissions on economic cooperation;
- arrange business delegations and business conferences during visits by national representatives abroad and by foreign officials in Slovenia;
- promote Slovenia as a location for FDI;
- support Slovenian businesses in entering and expanding to foreign markets and in solving problems in the form of various cost-free services;
- assist foreign businesses in establishing contacts with Slovenian businesses;
- organise visits of foreign diplomatic missions to Slovenian companies (B2D);
- analyse the bilateral economic cooperation with certain countries and advise on ways to strengthen it;
- supply legal materials (agreements, memorandums); and
- coordinate economic activities relating to the EU, the OECD and other international organisations.
SPIRIT Slovenia, Business Development Agency
The key reference point for foreign investors and companies wishing to do business in Slovenia is the Slovenian Public Agency for Entrepreneurship, Internationalisation, Foreign Investment and Technology (SPIRIT Slovenia).
The mission of SPIRIT Slovenia is to realise the strategic goals and guidelines of the development programmes of Slovenia as an innovative, technologically advanced, export-oriented and tourist destination that is attractive to foreign investors. SPIRIT Slovenia is also entrusted with regulatory, expert and development tasks aimed at making the Slovenian economy more competitive with regard to entrepreneurship, internationalisation, foreign investment, and technological development. Foreign businesspeople can obtain support and advice from:
SPIRIT InvestSlovenia Team
Since 1994 the InvestSlovenia Team has been providing customised solutions to foreign investors. They put investors in touch with private and public organisations, including an aftercare programme, and create partnerships with foreign investors in order to help take advantage of new opportunities for the benefit of all stakeholders broadly perceived as vital to the long-term economic success of Slovenia and its partner countries.
The support and facilitation of services for investors are free of charge and include:
information on industries, legislation, taxes and incentives;
details of industrial sites and local suppliers;
links with industry and local authorities; and
the organisation of fact-finding missions, business and investment conferences and trade shows.
SPIRIT SloveniaPartner Team
The SloveniaPartner Team is dedicated to growth and partner-matching. All of its services are cost-free and include critical information to help develop business strategies, understand sector trends, and make contact with authorities and supplier clusters. It provides:
business-specific information and company advice;
information on Slovenian suppliers;
the organisation of fact-finding missions;
links with industry and local authorities;
advice and assistance in practical matters; and
continuing partner support, even when a project is already underway.
The Centre for International Cooperation and Development (CMSR) is an independent non-profit research and advisory organisation in the field of international economic relations. CMSR implements a part of the Slovenian bilateral international development cooperation pursuant to the International Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Assistance of the Republic of Slovenia Act.
CMSR supports the cooperation of Slovenian and foreign companies by providing business information about Slovenian and foreign markets. Its research activities focus on European countries, including those in its neighbourhood, but also globally. CMSR specialises in providing economic and institutional country and sector analyses, risk assessments, and other on-demand services for successfully entering emerging markets.
The CMSR has also been publishing the business guide “Doing Business in Slovenia” since 1993, also available in the form of an e-book at the Slovenian Business Portal (www.poslovniportal.si).