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The Slovenia Times Slovenian Magazine in English Language Summer Edition 2016, Volume 13, EUR 4.90

Special Edition Inside

Human mobility will be an inherent feature of the 21st century

S&P: credit rating for Slovenia from A- to A

100th anniversary of inauguration President Borut Pahor’s address at the Russian Chapel to mark the 25th anniversary of under the Vršič mountain pass Slovenia’s independence

Leading EU and NATO officials' statements on Slovenia's 25th Anniversary of Independence

The Audi Q7 e-tron quattro The next big thing: the first e-tron with quattro and TDI technology. Changes the world. Not everyday life.

Fuel consumption Q7 3.0 TDI e-tron quattro: Fuel consumption, combined (l/100 km): 1,9–1,8. Electrical energy consumption (kWh/100 km), combined: 19,0–18,1. Emissions CO2 (g/km), combined: 50–48. Emissions class: EU6. NOx emissions: 0,0102 g/km. Solid particle mass: 0,32 g/km. Solid particle number: 2,02 x 1011. Emissions of ambient air pollutants from traffic significantly contribute to the deterioration of ambient air quality. They mainly contribute to the excessively elevated concentrations of ground-level ozone, particles PM10 and PM2,5 and nitrogen oxides. The detailed environmental information on the new passenger cars can be found in the handbook of economical fuel consumption, CO2 emissions and emissions of ambient air pollutants. It is free of charge and available at the nearest point of sale and on the car manufacturer’s website


Under the Free Sun

Summer Edition 2016

Published quarterly by Domus, založba in trgovina d.o.o. Bregarjeva 37, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia

Editorial office Bregarjeva 37, 1000 Ljubljana phone – desk: +386 (0)31 446 808

CEO and Publisher Brane Krajnik

Editor in Chief Tina Drolc

Special Edition Editor Maja Dragovič

Editorial Consultant Louise Chatwood

Marketing & Advertising Goran Mladenović +386 (0)31 446 808

Contributors Medeja Kenda, Jan Bratanić, Jenny Tumas, Valerio Fabbri, Igor Šimac, Silvija Fister, Matej Gregorec

AD & D Marko Pentek,

Cover Photo Marko Pentek

Printed by Schwarz Print d.o.o. Circulation: 5.000 copies The Slovenia Times is listed in the Media Register of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia under number 491. All content - texts or pictures - with no author specified are exclusively created by contributors to The Slovenia Times or published in accordance with owner’s instruction. All uncredited materials printed in the Slovenia Times are either created by the Slovenia Times journalists/photographers or acquired from the author/owner in accordance with the legal terms. ©DOMUS d.o.o., 2003. All rights reserved.

"Hello summer", one might say when reading from the back of The Slovenia Times summer edition to discover the full season of events ahead and the festival atmosphere that can be enjoyed across the country this summer. During this festive June, Slovenia will celebrate 25 years of independence. It has been an eventful 25 years and not everyone would say that we have created what was dreamed about on 25 June 1991. Fortunately, the moments of happiness we enjoy have taken us by surprise, during times when we have been doing the best we can. This young country of 2 million hearts celebrates these moments and The Slovenia Times remembers them with a Special Souvenir Edition inside this magazine. We proudly present Slovenia through the lens of EU leaders and NATO, and in our regular section we share how our international business partners have fared over this time in this country. In these 25 years, Slovenia has achieved Olympic success and the Olympic spirit is strong, with the country always in the company of those nations with the highest medal count per capita! See why in the article Slovenia: Realisation of an Olympic dream. While we walk "Under the free sun", as renowned Slovenian writer, Fran Saleški Finžgar, wrote in his historical epic story (Pod svobodnim soncem), other parts of the world still struggle against inexcusable conflicts and, as we often read, fear overcomes the freedom and human rights of a fellow man. Consequently, the refugee crisis that Europe has been facing shows no signs of easing. Dimitris Avramopoulos, European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, emphasises in his interview that "Human mobility will be an inherent feature of the 21st century and we have to be better prepared to seize the opportunities and manage the risks". This year, Slovenia and Russia will mark the 100th anniversary of the inauguration at the Russian Chapel under the Vršič mountain pass. The President of Slovenia, Borut Pahor and Russian President, Vladimir Putin, will participate in the ceremony in late July. We invite you to discover more about the historical and bilateral background of these two countries in the section, Slovenia-Russia. Finally, I invite you to discover more of The Slovenia Times domestic, international, business and lifestyle topics by flipping through this magazine or browsing our online stories (, while enjoying your summer in the embrace of the sea, live music and the free sun. Truly yours, Tina Drolc Editor in Chief

Summer Edition 2016 | The Slovenian Times


Contents Page 4


4 Interview: Dimitris Avramopoulos, European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and


6 How do you see the global talent migration from the point of view of your business?


EUROPEAN UNION 10 Interview: HE Dr Anna Elisabeth Prinz, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Slovenia Page 10

12 Education and schools play a key role in the integration of migrants into their new environment 14 Rethinking Integration

ECONOMY 16 Economic overview 18 Faculty of Economics of the University of Ljubljana Alumni connects 19 Interview: Janez Škrabec, President of the Alumni, Faculty of Economics, University of Ljubljana

and Founder and Director of the Company Riko d.o.o. Page 22

20 Forecast: This year’s economic growth marked by further growth in exports, rising private

consumption and lower government investment 21 Interview: Barbara Uranjek, CEO, British-Slovenian Chamber of Commerce 22 IEDC MBA, one of the leading innovators in business education 24 Safeguarding the Future – 11th Bled Strategic Forum (BSF)

GLOBAL PITCH 26 Interview: Gašper Fečur, CEO at New Frontier Slovenia Page 30

POLITICS 27 Political overview 28 Interview: Liu Haixing, Assistant Minister, MFA of the People’s Republic of China and Secretary

General of the Secretariat for Cooperation between China and Central and Eastern European Countries 30 Interview: Vesna Györkös Žnidar, Ministry of the Interior, Slovenia


The Slovenian Times | Summer Edition 2016

Contents Page 38

INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS PARTNERS 34 TOPIC: What has been your experience of 25 years of Slovenia and what are your expectations for

the future? American Chamber of Commerce – AmCham Slovenia, British – Slovenian Chamber of Commerce – BSCC, The German-Slovene Chamber of Commerce and Industry – AHK Slowenien, Advantage Austria, Luxembourg-Slovenian Business Club (LSBC), Italian Trade Agency (ICE), Slovene - Russian Business Club Page 42

SLOVENIA – RUSSIA 38 The Russian chapel – 100 anniversaries that bind and connect 40 Slovenia – Russia: the bilateral relationship 42 Interview: Jože Colarič, President of the Management Board and CEO, Krka, d. d., Novo mesto

EXPERIENCE&LIFESTYLE SLOVENIA 44 Interview: Mr Haris Pašović, Director, East West Center

Page 50

46 Shopping as a Tourist Attraction… Why not? 48 Eco resort beneath Velika planina – a novelty in Slovenian tourism 49 Air France continues to make strides in transforming the flying experience 50 Life is Ljubljana Festival! 53 European Green Week in Ljubljana 54 EVENT GUIDE Page 54

Special Edition Inside Summer Edition 2016 | The Slovenian Times


European In the Spotlight Union

Dimitris Avramopoulos, European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship

Interview: Dimitris Avramopoulos, European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship

Human mobility will be an st inherent feature of the 21 century and we have to be better prepared to seize the opportunities and manage the risks Prepared by Tina Drolc, M.Sc.

The refugee crisis that Europe has been facing shows no signs of easing and Dimitris Avramopoulos, European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, explains that the EU needs a robust and effective system for sustainable migration management as the status quo of our asylum and migration management is not an option. Mr Avramopoulos emphasises the old friendship between the EU and Turkey which goes beyond the current refugee crisis, and points out the global dimension of the crisis.


The Slovenian Times | Summer Edition 2016

Q Due to the refugee crisis, the EU Commission has been importantly addressing a common European asylum system and an EU migration policy as a whole, seeking a long-term solution. What are the features of the migration policy that we will see in the EU in the future? A The current refugee crisis has shown that the status quo of our asylum and migration management is not an option. The EU needs a robust and effective system for sustainable migration management for the future that is fair for host societies and EU citizens, as well as for third country nationals and countries of origin and transit. The way the refugee crisis has also affected countries along the Western Balkan route is an important example of that. Slovenia has played a crucial role in upholding and implementing a European and collective approach in addressing these challenges. And such an approach is precisely what we already envisaged in our European Agenda on Migration, but also in our recent proposals to reform the Common European Asylum System. Soon we will also present a reform of the European Blue Card to better attract talent from abroad and an EU Action Plan on Integration to step-up support to Member States in this field. What we need is a comprehensive system grounded on common rules of solidarity and a fairer sharing of responsibility at all levels, because human mobility will be an inherent feature of the 21st century and we have to be better prepared to both seize the opportunities and manage the risks, collectively. Q In order to improve border control, the EU has set up hotspots (processing and registration centres) in Italy and Greece. How do these hotspots facilitate access for people who have a legitimate interest in entering the EU? A Our hotspot system is not to manage borders as such, but to better support frontline Member States to screen, identify and fingerprint all the newly arrived migrants, to determine whether they will need genuine protection or not, and to find out more about the smuggling routes used with the help of experts from EU agencies such as the European Asylum Support Office, Frontex and Europol. That is why the full implementation of the hotspot mechanism is fundamental in guaranteeing an effective management of the migration flows at the EU’s southern external borders. This means that everyone who arrives at the European external borders is properly screened according to the same rules, as set out according to the Common European Asylum System, and checked for all relevant background information, including security issues. Everyone is interviewed on an individual, case-by-case basis. Under the current relocation mechanism, only Syrians, Iraqis and Eritreans can be relocated. However, that doesn’t mean that other na-

European In the Spotlight Union Slovenia has played a crucial role in upholding and implementing a European and collective approach in addressing these challenges. tionalities cannot obtain asylum simply in the Member State in which they arrive and apply.

Q With more than 2.7 million refugees, Turkey is a very important stakeholder in the management of the refugee crisis. It seems that cooperation between the EU and Turkey should be more effective, especially in the fight against crimes such as human trafficking and smuggling. A The current refugee crisis is not a European or a Turkish problem – it is a global challenge and therefore requires a global solution. This means that we have to strengthen our collaboration with key third countries – and Turkey is an essential partner in this. Both Turkey and Europe are under significant pressure as we are confronted with the same challenges. We have to commend Turkey for hosting around 2.7 million Syrian refugees and more than 200,000 non-Syrian asylum seekers and refugees, offering them access to healthcare and education and now also employment.  Let me stress that, in recent months, the Turkish authorities have made really substantial progress in fulfilling what was agreed in the 18 March EU-Turkey Statement. As a result of this, for example, they are now fully cooperating with Greece and with the EU on readmission and we see a clear reduction in the number of irregular arrivals to Greece with a continuing downward trend. Thus, I want to be clear: this agreement is beneficial for both sides. It is in Europe‘s interest to have a democratic and stable Turkey as a neighbour and it is to the interest of Turkey to have EU as a stable supporter and partner. This is an old friendship with a long-term perspective which goes beyond the current refugee crisis. As far as the fight against trafficking and smuggling is concerned, it is true that we must develop more effective cooperation with not only Turkey, but all relevant stakeholders. On 19 May, I presented the very first report on the progress made to address the trafficking of human beings. It is not only a serious violation of fundamental rights, but also a highly profitable criminal act. This is also valid for smuggling, as smuggling people into the EU has become a EUR 5bn a year multinational business, according to Europol‘s recent report. And many of the criminals and suspects in both smuggling and trafficking are connected to other forms of crime. This is why we must address not only the risks but also the roots of these crimes, including offering more safe and legal channels

so vulnerable people don’t resort to dangerous smuggling networks when seeking safety.

Q Could the global talent migration in the EU make a difference from your perspective and how do you, on the other hand, handle the radicalisation issue? A First of all let me be crystal clear: we should not confuse migration and radicalisation. In the future we will need skilled migration to address the demographic challenge that many countries in Europe face while, of course, continuing to invest in existing workforce development and addressing unemployment within Europe. This is why, very soon, we will propose a reform of the EU Blue Card to make it more attractive and flexible for foreign talent to come to Europe and also a Skills Agenda to further improve the skills development within Europe. In addition to this, we are also planning a review of our entire legal migration framework to address any gaps or inconsistencies and to make our migration policy more future-proof. Soon I will also present an EU Action Plan on Integration to support Member States concretely across all relevant areas of integration, both for those who have recently arrived as well as those migrants who have already been residing in Europe for a while. As European societies become increasingly diverse, we need to rethink how to make our policies more inclusive for everyone. With regard to the second part of your question, we need to grasp that terrorism cannot be defeated with security measures alone. The response to radicalisation and recruitment to terrorism needs to be holistic, starting from our neighbourhoods and schools, going up to the judicial system, the police and to the political level. We must re-think our inclusion efforts, our educational structures and our whole approach to promoting tolerance and common values. Prevention is the first and most important step, but a comprehensive security follow-up is equally necessary with increased intelligence gathering and sharing. We have the tools for this: from the Radicalisation Awareness Centre of Excellence for practitioners to the EU Internet Forum which creates a mechanism to fight terrorist propaganda online. And of course, in all of this, our cooperation with key third countries that face similar challenges is essential, both on the prevention side through poverty reduction, ensuring sustainable socio-economic

The current refugee crisis is not a European or a Turkish problem – it is a global challenge and therefore requires a global solution.

development and rule of law, as well as on sharing of information and collaborating on security follow up – these are critical pieces of the antiradicalisation and counter-terrorism puzzle.

Q How does the relocation scheme for Europe operate with Germany along with countries such as Sweden being the most favourable destinations for migrants? A Overall I cannot be satisfied with the progress on relocation achieved so far. By midMay 2016, just over 1,500 applicants out of the 20,000 target persons have, in total, been relocated from Greece and Italy. More has to be done, and swiftly! We need to quickly respond to the urgent humanitarian situation in Greece and prevent any deterioration of the situation in Italy. The planning for upcoming relocations must be delivered and I have urged all Mem-

Smuggling people into the EU has become a EUR 5bn a year multinational business, according to Europol‘s recent report. ber States to put in place effective planning to increase their pledges and reduce the response time on relocation requests. Slovenia is progressively relocating refugees from Italy and Greece to comply with its target for this year, and I want to commend Slovenia not only for this, but more generally for the important role it has played in contributing to a European approach of solidarity and responsibility-sharing. One thing is clear: new arrivals cannot choose the country of asylum they wish to go too. We need a fair distribution mechanism and this is precisely what we have proposed under the reform for Dublin. We need a better sharing of responsibility and solidarity. No country can continue to face these challenges alone.  Summer Edition 2016 | The Slovenian Times


European In the Spotlight Union

How do you see the global talent migration from the point of view of your business? Marjan Batagelj CEO, Postojnska jama d.d. Postojnska jama (Postojna cave) is a multicultural destination, annually visited by guests from 156 countries. Cultural respect is an integral part of both our inner as well external operations and we wish that this could be perceived as a Slovenian competitive advantage at the country level. We believe that our cultural mix helps us to improve our services however, people must be properly qualified and have a desire to improve the quality. In these terms, mostly due to the inflexible labour legislation, Slovenia still has a challenge to become a desired work destination for not only people coming from the markets outside Europe but also for people from EU countries.

Professor Danica Purg

President of IEDC Bled School of Management

The global talent migration is inevitable and opens new opportunities because not all smart people work for you! Talent is neither geographically limited nor defined. From an educational point of view, I feel obliged to ‘open the stage to all players’ and help them to be treated as equal. Being educated is the first condition. I am glad that the global talent pool has grown enormously as emerging economies invest heavily in education. China, for example, is witnessing a huge growth of their high school graduation rates and we have just recently started to work more closely with them. We are preparing exchange programs with the School of Management at Zhejiang University, for example. The rapid development of China is also the result of their strategic decision to open themselves to the world and the new initiative ‘Silk Road’ is a good manifestation. Another more recent example is the refugee crisis. I am sure that, in the future, we will witness more such phenomena because we are not even close to a globalised world. Professor Ghemawat, our visiting professor, made a survey in which he shows that the world is roughly 10 - 25 percent globalised. 90 percent of the world population will never leave the country where they were born! So, we are therefore still a long way from the ‘realisation’ of global talent migration.


The Slovenian Times | Summer Edition 2016

European In the Spotlight Union

Alexis Lope-Bello CEO, Comtrade Group

"Comtrade is a multinational and multi-location IT Group. We benefit in places outside Slovenia but global talent migration is a very real issue where we need to carefully defend against the brain drain from our core locations whilst also securing attractive workplaces to bring in new talent as required. In the case of Slovenia and our industry, we are deeply concerned that the high taxation has created a monetary disadvantage for our employees. Take-home pay in Slovenia is around 40% of their hard-earned gross salary compared to more than 60% in other places. When considering how many software engineers graduate in Slovenia, the cost to the state and in combination with the fact that software drives every industry in the world today, it should be a key goal to retain as many of these talented IT engineers in the country to ensure Slovenia is well-equipped for future development. Other countries see the benefits of increasing IT talent through financial taxation gains and, more importantly, as the resource for a future-oriented direction. Slovenia however, is currently experiencing a double loss with home-grown talent migrating elsewhere and therefore diminishing the local know-how and, due to the high tax burden, it is also impossible to attract IT workers."

Tomislav ÄŒeh General Manager, Union hoteli d.d. "The talent and drive of people are essential for the hotel industry and as I have personally seen the absence of highly-skilled workers in our industry, I welcome new foreign talent. Even though Slovenia is not among attractive migrant destinations, maybe we should create selective targeted immigration programmes designed to attract these highly-skilled migrants in order to gain an advantage in the new global economy. I believe migration in our industry has beneficial consequences in the form of knowledge gained and transferred from abroad. It also enhances our multilingualism, opens us up to new ideas and makes us less globally isolated".

Anton Chernykh

President of the Board of Directors, SIJ Group

"In SIJ Group, we are intensively investing in modern technology and our employees, since they make the difference. In Slovenia, we are witnessing the emmigration of the most talented young employees due to the unfavorable taxation or lack of further development opportunities. To prevent this and to stimulate a rewarding and challenging working environment within the group, we started several initiatives and internal programs, such as the Young Potentials program, which is designed to unlock their abilities, contribute to our further development and later, to provide mentorship and employee succession".

Summer Edition 2016 | The Slovenian Times


Regional Insight in association with S&P

Regional Insight in Association with

S&P Global Ratings Country





Period Year

Real GDP growth (%)

Unemployment (%) CPI growth (%)













Net General Government Debt / GDP (%)

Net Narrow External Debt / CAR (%)









































































Croatia On 15 January 2016, S&P Global Ratings affirmed its ‘BB’ long-term and ‘B’ short-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings on the Republic of Croatia. The outlook remains negative. The ratings are supported by slightly decreasing external debt due to deleveraging in the financial sector, which somewhat offsets that of the mounting public sector debt. We remain concerned about Croatia’s public finances as


Net General Government Balance / GDP (%)

The Slovenian Times | Summer Edition 2016

the deficit has not been contained and general government debt, as a share of GDP, continues to increase. We continue to see the risk that the policy response and the momentum of reform could be insufficient to reverse the upward trajectory of debt. The ratings are constrained by Croatia’s weak growth prospects and the public sector’s dominant and inefficient role in the economy, due to a backlog of unimplemented structural and fiscal reforms. We could lower the ratings if government policies do not robustly counter Croatia’s entrenched fiscal and economic hurdles after the

new government is formed, which we expect will take place this month. In addition, we could lower the ratings if we considered that the Croatian National Bank’s effectiveness or credibility was being undermined if increased ‘eurotisation’ weakens its policy transmission mechanism.

Regional Insight in association with S&P Italy


On 13 May 2016, S&P Global Ratings affirmed its unsolicited ‘BBB-/A-3’ longand short-term sovereign credit ratings on the Republic of Italy. The outlook for the long-term rating is stable.

On 8 April 2016, S&P Global Ratings affirmed its ‘BBB-/A-3’ long and short-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings on Romania. The outlook is stable.

Our ratings on Italy are supported by the country’s wealthy and diversified economy and its external position. The ratings also reflect our opinion that the government is gradually implementing several important structural reforms to the education system, the labor market, the banking sector and the electoral system, as well as to the operations of the Senate. The ratings on Italy are constrained by weaknesses we see in Italy’s real and nominal GDP performance and eroded competitiveness, which are undermining the sustainability of its public finance position. The stable outlook reflects our expectation that the Italian government will continue to implement wide-ranging and potentially growth-enhancing structural and budgetary reforms that will stabilise, and start reducing, the very high public debt ratio.

The ratings are supported by Romania’s moderate external and fiscal debt amid reasonably firm growth prospects. The ratings are constrained by low GDP per capita (estimated at US$9,300 in 2016) relative to its peers, alongside pro-cyclical fiscal policy and Romania’s weak governance framework, although we note important efforts have been made to reduce corruption in recent years. The stable outlook reflects the balance between the likelihood of Romania’s twin deficits widening on the one hand, and its modest government and external debt on the other.

Slovenia On June 17, 2016, S&P Global Ratings raised its long- and short-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings on the Republic of Slovenia to 'A/A-1' from 'A-/A-2'. The outlook is stable. The upgrade reflects our expectation that over 2016-2019: • The general government debt-to-GDP ratio will gradually fall as authorities reduce government deficits and draw down on accumulated deposit assets totaling 18% of GDP in 2015; • Tax-rich domestic demand will continue its recovery, albeit at a slower pace than in 2015, contributing to ongoing budgetary consolidation;

• Policymakers' measures to restrict expenditure increases will complement efforts to raise tax collection; • Positive labor market outcomes, both in terms of wage growth and job creation, will persist and in turn support private consumption; and • Credit conditions will likely gradually ease as the health of the banking and corporate sectors improves over time. In 2015, the Slovenian economy expanded by 2.9% on strong export growth. Domestic demand continued its recovery for a second year in a row, growing by 2%. Employment grew in 2014 and 2015 on average by 0.8% and the unemployment rate reduced to 9% in 2015. The current account balance, driven by growing trade and services surpluses, posted a surplus for the fifth consecutive year. In 2016, we expect real GDP growth will be lower at 1.7%. This is because public investment is likely to contract this year, as the 2007-2013 EU budget cycle has ended. However, we expect private-sector activity to increasingly pick up over 2016-2019. Eurostat data indicates that capacity utilization was 83% as of March 31, 2016, among the highest levels since year-end 2008, signaling that investment needs will likely pick up. We still view the monetary and credit transmission mechanism in Slovenia as challenged, despite the European Central Bank's expansionary monetary stance. This is particularly the case for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which, despite deleveraging, remain on average more vulnerable than larger corporates in the manufacturing segment. In the interim, we believe internal cash generation, debt issuance abroad by larger corporate entities, and intercompany loans will finance investment. We also note that, following years of deleveraging, the corporate debt-to-GDP ratio has reduced to below the euro area average, indicating an improved ability of corporates to invest. This should support labor market developments over 2016-2019.

Sources: Standard & Poor’s Rating Services and Eurostat. Please refer to our website for more information about ratings at https: and read our disclaimers at Copyright © 2015 by Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC. All rights reserved. STANDARD & POOR’S and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC.

Summer Edition 2016 | The Slovenian Times


European Union Politics


Interview: HE Dr Anna Elisabeth Prinz, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Slovenia

We should lead the race to a sustainable future Prepared by Tina Drolc, M.Sc.

The future challenge for Germany and Slovenia will be the integration of necessary changes into a stable life and to preserve a beautiful and balanced country but without missing the chance and need for progress and the right answers to the next crises, says Dr Anna Prinz, German Ambassador in Slovenia. Looking back on 25 years of Slovenian independence, she feels the country has reached its goals and is doing comparatively well, with a high standard of living. Based on the German experience with migration, Dr Prinz sees migration as an opportunity for Slovenia, a young country with a diminishing population.


The Slovenian Times | Summer Edition 2016

Q The relationship between Slovenia and Germany began after the proclamation of independence. Germany’s Foreign Minister, Hans-Dietrich Genscher, was the first to recognise the independence of Slovenia. What are your feelings about the development of Slovenia during that time? A 25 years after independence, I think you can be proud! It was crucial that Slovenian politicians convinced the former Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher to trust that Slovenia would go ahead, join the European Union and NATO, and I think the early decision by the German Parliament in a special session just before Christmas 1991, opened the way to the formal decisions in January 1992 by other European Community members. This is why German President Joachim Gauck will join the commemoration celebrations on 24 June in Ljubljana. Austria and other neighboring countries were also among the first to recognise Slovenia’s independence, understanding very well the specific situation of Slovenia. It was trust in the ability and the values of the Slovenian people and Slovenian politicians that was crucial. Q Comprising more than 20 percent of the Slovenia’s foreign trade, Germany has been the country’s largest trade partner for years. Including services, foreign trade exceeds EUR 11bn. How do you see this trend in the future? A Slovenia and Germany are partners in the global market. Distance does not play a role any longer with economy 4.0. I am convinced that the major challenge is to be innovative, green and fast. Smaller flexible companies have the advantage of speed for change. The link between smaller and larger companies is a recipe for success in the global market. I see a bright future if we continue investing in applied research, new technologies, e-mobility and new ways of production that eliminate waste and environmental destruction and help advance the standard of living of many millions who still live in poverty. We should lead the race, not into a global desert, but to a sustainable future. Q Among the major German investments in Slovenia are Fraport’s acquisition of Aerodrom Ljubljana, Mahle’s takeover of Letrika and the acquisition of Adria Airways by 4K Investments. What were the main reasons for these companies to invest in Slovenia? A Trust is the most important factor. In the cases of Mahle and Ljubljana airport, the German companies had already been cooperating for many years with their Slovenian friends and knew each other well and were ready to pay a high price with expectations of growth in the future. In both cases, their strategic partnership will help develop and improve Slovenia’s connections to global markets. There are also greenfield investments in Idrija, Cerknica and

EuropeanPolitics Union Minister for Education, Maja Makovec Brenčič, signed an agreement to support travel by researchers in order to link in with European research and to result in EU research money for Slovenia. by Knauf and Messerer in Škofja Loka, if the local community is supportive. Another example is the transfer of Henkel’s research section in cosmetics for all of Europe to Maribor. Production growth takes place after investment, slowly but steadily. Production is not a buy-and-sell-action with immediate returns. In the future, fewer people will be needed for production, which means decisions are based on the quality of cooperation, quality of training, staff ethics and the time you need to get things done. If negotiations take too long, with too much interference by non-calculable forces implied, then investors will look for easier places to cooperate.

Q The Slovene - German relationship develops also the exchange of knowledge, especially in the areas of research and the student experience. Can you share some good practices so far and the future vision? A In Germany, we want half of our students to go abroad for at least six month to broaden their experience. In Europe, research is done with a minimum of three partner countries involved. Slovenia would cut itself from international research and markets if it stays away from participation. This means allowing also English teaching, mutual recognition of curricula and cooperation in applied sciences. Last year, your Minister for Education, Maja Makovec Brenčič, signed an agreement to support travel by researchers in order to link in with European research and to result in EU research money for Slovenia. We did our best to support the application of Koper University for a significant EU project in wood research with the Fraunhofer-Institute Germany, which might bring more value added to the wood industry in Slovenia. The University of Ljubljana has signed a cooperation agreement with the Technical University of Berlin, a good sign for students and for start-ups. Furthermore, the technical-oriented University of CottbusSenftenberg signed an agreement in 2016 and identified areas for cooperation which also involves industry. Q More than a million migrants and refugees have crossed into Europe since 2015. How do you perceive the global talent migration and what challenges does it bring, especially for young countries such as Slovenia? A The global talent migration is not a new phenomenon. In Germany we see a lot of talented researchers leaving for the United States, but we also see them coming back at a later stage.

We have a lot of migrants in Germany and other European countries who have integrated well. Migration is different from seeking refuge for a short period. Shelter for them is mostly given in neighbouring countries to war zones. If these camps can no longer cope with the numbers, we have to help. However, if refugees turn into migrants who want to stay, they have to undergo special training in Germany. The German government has just decided to create a new integration law which facilitates this. For a young country, which has a diminishing population, migration could be seen as an opportunity. I see, in that respect, that Slovenes are prepared to receive families in need and that parishes and municipalities are contributing. With a European solution, only a manageable number of migrants arrive in a safe and orderly way.

Q Art is a universal language and another field in which Germany and Slovenia have cooperated in a number of projects. Which projects do you find especially meaningful? A I admire the founders, Etko Tutta and Klemen Brun, of the idea "Art Embassies-Art Circle" combining with the wine cellars in Goriška Brda region already 20 years ago. We started an Art Embassy with the Ščurek wine cellar three years ago. The mayor of Nova Gorica, Matej Arčon, proposed the contact with Etko Tutta. We invited three German artists, for the third year, to come here for a week to stay with the Ščurek-family. This year on 3 June, we joined hands with other embassies by organising an exhibition in Vila Vipolže which will be shown until 3 October. Together with the Goriška Brda Tourist Board, Vila Vipolže, the Art Embassy-Art Circle, local wine producers, restaurants and the sponsors, we organised the exhibition opening with wine, food and music for about 500 people In addition to the German and Polish embassies, the embassies of Slovakia, Japan, China, Great Britain, Spain and Russia also contributed. Japanese and Chinese artists have come to Slovenia for the first time, some combining the visit with the Bienale in Venice. I am sure the project will contribute to the spirituality and uniqueness

of this wonderful region. Hopefully, it will also bring new business to the region and for the artists in the years to come. For sure, the fame of the region will rise.

Q This summer you will finish your mandate as German Ambassador to Slovenia. How will you remember your mission here and will you visit Slovenia in the future? A I felt at home here, shared the same sense of humor and interests as many people that I met. I felt a part of your society. I admire deeply the cultural life and the feeling for a balanced life in combination with the will to do something special, be it special food or wine or special airplanes or designs. You can be sure that I will come back. My home is where my friends are and there are a few friends to whom I will stay connected, regardless of where I live. I will become the German Ambassador to Australia this summer. The challenge for the future in Germany and here will be how to integrate the necessary changes into a stable life and preserve a beautiful and balanced country without missing the chance and need for progress and the right answer to the next crises. This is the challenge of our life.  01 Dr Anna Elisabeth Prinz, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Slovenia 02 German Art Embassy 2014 03 Art Embassies 2016 at Vila Vipolže 02


I felt at home here, shared the same sense of humor and interests as many people that I met. I felt a part of your society. Summer Edition 2016 | The Slovenian Times


European Union Politics

Minister for Education, Science and Sport, Dr Maja Makovec Brenčič; Photo: Thierry Monasse/STA

Education and schools play a key role in the integration of migrants into their new environment In May, the Congress Centre Brdo pri Kranju hosted an international conference on the integration of immigrants into the educational system of the Republic of Slovenia. The conference occurred at a time when an increasing number of migrants and asylum seekers are arriving in Europe with the hope of a better and safer life. The conference organiser, the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport of the Republic of Slovenia (MIZŠ), prepared the event in conjunction with the National Education Institute Slovenia and The Centre of the Republic of Slovenia for Mobility and European Educational and Training Programmes. More than 400 school workers were addressed by the Minister for Education, Science and Sport, Dr Maja Makovec Brenčič and the Director of the National Education Institute Slovenia, Dr Vinko Logaj. Mag Kurt Nekula, Director-General for General Education at the Austrian Ministry, who was a guest of the conference, spoke about the organisation of the Austrian system and the integration of immigrants in education. Successful integration is the responsibility of the entire society and therefore involves children and young people as part of the implementation of the commitments enshrined in the Constitution and in the laws and in international declarations, including in the

EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, which requires respect and applies to all the EU Member States for both citizens of the EU as well as for those who come in to the EU. The Minister, Makovec Brenčič, highlighted the importance of openness in communication. "In the last decade, Slovenia has done many things with regard to the integration of immigrants into the education system. We have many examples of good practice. We have also great school staff, principals and teachers, who recognise the plight of migrant children who are first and foremost children. We could say that schools receive and recognise the opportunity that we all learn tolerance, acceptance, intercultural understanding and respect". At the same time,

Successful integration is the responsibility of the entire society. 12

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the Minister stressed that at the core of the Slovenian education system are Slovenian children - their education, development and security; however, that we are obliged to help all children. "We need to define the concern and urgency for the continuous training of teachers in this area as they are not able to get all the knowledge in their study as the tasks are constantly changing and so they must develop new skills throughout their career".

We could say that schools receive and recognise the opportunity that we all learn tolerance, acceptance, intercultural understanding and respect. In the field of education and socialisation, activities education and school play a key role in the integration of immigrants into their new environment. MIZŠ offers schools, which have included migrant pupils in their first and second year of schooling in elementary and secondary schools, hours of additional professional assistance in learning the Slovenian language. In this school year, 2,275 immigrant pupils in primary and 1,121 students in secondary schools receive such assistance. At the same time, MIZŠ also provides and supports the implementation of teaching the mother tongue and culture in primary and secondary schools, which in this school year includes nine languages and 420 pupils. In addition, the Ministry is preparing an educational program of basic literacy for teens - applicants for international protection. The program for working with immigrant children and materials are already available for learning Slovenian. MIZŠ also actively participates in various international meetings and conferences in the areas of solving the so-called 'refugee challenge'. 

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European Union Politics They are isolated and idle, de-facto allowed to do little more than wait for the decision that determines the course of the rest of their lives. Integrating is hard work.

Childrens in the refugee centre in Ĺ id, Serbia; Photo: Tanjug/STA

Rethinking Integration Prepared by Jenny Tumas

Though the large wave of migration through Slovenia has slowed significantly in the recent months, the support for those who stayed in Slovenia should only be beginning. Since last September, more than 600 people have filed a request for international protection in Slovenia. Many of these individuals are living in one of three asylum homes in Slovenia, where they wait through a long, drawn out procedure that determines their eligibility to stay in the country and the European Union. All across Europe, integration has to be a critical focus of policy and budgets.


The Slovenian Times | Summer Edition 2016

Integration is often thought of in the context of official programming that exists for individuals once they are granted refugee status or subsidiary protection. In other words, integration funding often focuses on programs for refugees to learn Slovenian, get a job, and find a place to live. Between the Centres for Social Work, the Ministry of Interior and relevant non-governmental organisations, the support at this stage of the integration process is relatively robust, at least in Ljubljana. After receiving a positive result on their application for international protection, a person is assigned an integration counsellor from the Ministry of the Interior. This counselor works, in cooperation with non-governmental organisations, to help refugees navigate the process of finding a place to live, signing up for the 300-hours of free Slovenian language courses they are entitled to take and looking for a job or job training programs, many of which are run by Zavod za zaposlovanje. In reality, this process is less streamlined, individually tailored and supportive than it appears. For example, refugees often cannot easily access services like bank accounts or housing, both because of bureaucratic barriers (for example, banks have autonomy to refuse to open accounts for individuals from certain countries due to concerns about money laundering which affects refugees from countries such as Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and Syria) and discrimination. Attention needs to be paid to removing these barriers to access if the existing programs are to be effective. But the more fundamental problem with Slovenia’s approach to integration is that it comes too late. For many people, the procedure

to apply for international protection (refugee status or subsidiary protection) lasts more six months. For these months, asylum seekers live in uncertainty and have minimal access to the necessary services and institutions. They are isolated and idle, de-facto allowed to do little more than wait for the decision that determines the course of the rest of their lives. Integrating is hard work. It is not easy to learn a new language (and one with six cases and the dual form, at that!), to learn and adapt to new cultural practices or to accept the reality of being a minority. If we expect people to do this once they are given refugee status, we have to focus on welcoming them during the asylum seeking process. Not focusing on integration during this period undermines the effectiveness of any integration programs that come later. The following are three specific recommendations for improving the integration process during the asylum seeking process.

Interpreters Integration can (and should) begin as soon as asylum seekers cross the border into Slovenia. Existing practice pays almost no deference to the hardships asylum seekers face in reaching the border. They are greeted, not only by an increased military presence and the widely controversial razor wire fence, but also by untrained, unprofessional and inadequate interpreters. As soon as a person requests asylum, he or she is interviewed by the Ministry of Interior with the assistance of an interpreter. But the requirements to work as an interpreter for the Ministry of Interior are lax at best. There is no official test to determine an interpreter’s actual knowledge of a language and many interpreters lack the knowledge of the sophisticated terminology necessary for accurate translations in these critical interviews. Beyond knowledge of the language on its own, asylum seekers have reported fears that their interpreters have ulterior motives and may misrepresent their claims. These issues not only present significant problems for the effective implementation of the international and European law that guarantee protection, but also foster a feeling of helplessness and victimisation on the part of asylum seekers. At the most basic level, resources need to be invested in developing language training and testing for interpreters employed by the

EuropeanPolitics Union Ministry of Interior. But effective integration policies should go further and also train and employ cultural mediators. Cultural mediation focuses not only on interpreting but also on helping asylum seekers and refugees effectively communicate and navigate cultural differences. Cultural mediators in Sicily, for example, explain their rights to asylum seekers (such as the right to healthcare or the right to police protection against violence) in a way that explicitly acknowledges that these rights are different than the rights in the asylum seekers’ countries of origin. By way of example, approaching an asylum seeker and saying, "you have the right to emergency medical care" (or, as is more often the case, handing them a pamphlet that says this), may be misunderstood by a person coming from a war zone where emergency means something entirely different than in Slovenia. A cultural mediator has training to explain exactly what a right entails in a way that makes sense to people coming from different cultural and political contexts. Programs to train interpreters and cultural mediators exist in parts of Europe not far from Slovenia. In Trieste, cultural mediators complete 500 hours of practical training in mediating based on the specific specialty in which they plan to work. Employing individuals with this kind of training means that asylum seekers and refugees better understand the cultural differences that they need to be aware of between their home country and country of choice, which creates a better living environment and a more fluid process of integration. As importantly, training interpreters to meet asylum seekers on their cultural and linguistic terms fosters a relationship of respect and support which is so crucial to not only respecting human dignity but also to effective integration.

Healthcare The long waiting time before a decision on asylum applications is especially problematic with regard to limited access to healthcare for the asylum seeker. Refugees are given the same access to health services as Slovenian citizens but asylum seekers, with the exception of children, are only given access to emergency care. In practice, this means that when a person has a toothache, they can get dental care to prevent a potentially lifethreatening abscess, but they cannot get the cavity filled to stop the pain. Painful ailments (such as kidney stones or orthopedic injuries) that are not considered to be an 'emergency' are not treated at all. With such limited access to care, asylum seekers may live in physical pain for extended periods of time. Focusing purely on the effect of such a policy on integration, these kinds of living conditions give asylum seekers a perception that Slovenia is

ambivalent to their hardship. As a result, some asylum seekers are unexcited about becoming part of a country where they are treated poorly, and/or they develop a hardened understanding that they have to "go it on their own" if they are going to make it in Slovenia. Both of these perspectives harm the integration process, which is as much about welcoming newcomers into a communitycas anything else. Providing asylum seekers full access to medical care would go a long way to making them feel like they belong in Slovenia. Other countries in Europe, such as Norway and Italy, give asylum seekers access to the same medical care as nationals. In addition, it makes financial sense to expand medical access for asylum seekers. Europe has long known that accessing preventative medicine saves money in the longrun and a 2015 report by the EU Fundamental Rights Agency showed that this situation is no different for migrants. Migrants deserve holistic access to healthcare simply as a matter of limiting their suffering and such a policy is also a financially sound way to improve integration.

Financial Responsibility At the Asylum Homes, asylum seekers are given basic clothing and served daily meals, which mostly consist of tan colored foods such as potatoes, chicken, pasta and white bread. As a means to support themselves otherwise, asylum seekers are given EUR 18 per month. Because asylum seekers are barred from working in Slovenia unless they have been waiting for a decision on their application for more than nine months, this money is the extent of their available income. This financial scheme gives asylum seekers minimal power over even the simplest decisions in their life such as 'What should I eat today? What time am I going to Syrian Childrens in refugee camp Zattari, Jordan; Photo: Xinhua/STA

Refugees in Spielfeld on their way from Slovenia to Austria; Photo: Anže Malovrh/STA

have lunch?' Money could rather seamlessly be reallocated from the cafeteria and given to individuals so that they have enough to shop and cook for themselves. This is the kind of system employed in places like Finland and Norway, which allows asylum seekers to cook food they actually enjoy. Simple changes like this can go a long way to give people back some power over their lives, which ultimately effects integration, according to Živa Gabaj, a social worker who works on integration for Slovenska Filantropija, a Ljubljana-based non-governmental organisation working on migration. Policies need to empower asylum seekers with a sense of responsibility and communicate that they are respected enough to be given a chance to make their own choices. Slovenia cannot leave people in a state of passivity for months at a time and then expect that suddenly, when they get refugee status, they’ll be able to navigate the exhausting and challenging process of integration.

Conclusion Many of these changes stem, first, from a change in mindset. When people are fleeing danger, their safety is of course a top priority. But we cannot be satisfied with merely giving them a place to exist outside of danger. We should want this place to be somewhere these individuals can be healthy; can meet people and make friends; can contribute to the labour force; can think, learn and strive to be educated; and ultimately can live happy, healthy, and productive lives that they find fulfilling. We should want this place to be their home, and the process of helping people make Slovenia their home starts as soon as they get here. 

This financial scheme gives asylum seekers minimal power over even the simplest decisions in their life such as 'What should I eat today? What time am I going to have lunch?' Summer Edition 2016 | The Slovenian Times




Economic overview Prepared by Valerio Fabbri

After the government poured money into its banks and restructured private and public debt, the Slovenian economy is now supported by a stable financial system. This allows for solid growth, with GDP forecasts of 2.1 percent in 2016 and 2.4 percent in 2017. Recently released data proves that tourism is one of Slovenia’s economic backbones. Tourist numbers for 2015 show an increase that is not only the inevitable consequence of the country’s objective to attract tourists, but also the result of constant improvements in the quality of services provided by the industry. The increase was remarkable not only in nominal terms with a spike in foreign tourists, but also in terms of contribution to GDP. Together 03


The Slovenian Times | Summer Edition 2016

with its indirect impact, tourism contributes 13 percent of total GDP and represents 40 percent of exports, the largest exporter of services. As the summer season unfolds and many events, festivals and activities are organised across the country, it comes as no surprise that Zdravko Počivalšek, the Economy Minister, highlighted the importance of regional cooperation in tourism to further propel growth. Joining forces with other countries in the region would be useful in markets such as Japan and China as it is difficult to imagine that tourists would take a trans-continental flight to visit only Slovenia. Instead, cooperation in this realm would facilitate the movement of goods and people in the region, especially if bureaucratic obstacles are removed to enable free movement. Growth could be improved further by increasing productivity, which will also have a positive impact on fiscal consolidation by boosting foreign direct investment and also by continuing to pursue the planned privatisation program. In terms of foreign direct investment, the European Investment Bank (EIB) invested EUR 50m into Gorenje, the whitegoods manufacturer. The investment is geared towards developing Gorenje’s business


internationally. The EIB funding will be coupled with the opening of an office in Ljubljana in the summer, which should propel both institutional and private investors to follow suit. With regard to the ongoing privatisation process, the most notable news was related to Nova Ljubljanska Banka (NLB). After a twoday, non-deal roadshow in London in mid-May, the positive feedback from investors indicate a successful listing of the bank rather than a sale to a strategic buyer or a financial investor. As part of the public offer, NLB shares will be listed on the Ljubljana Stock Exchange (LJSE) and on an international stock exchange. The latter listing will allow NLB to attract a wider international investor base, facilitate direct benchmarking with relevant peers, benefit from broader research analyst coverage and achieve the other advantages of a major international stock exchange listing. In light of this, preparatory activities for the launch of the sale process have started, and the commitment of Slovenia to the European Commission to implement the sale process by the end of 2017 should be respected. 

Tourism contributes 13 percent of total GDP and represents 40 percent of exports, the largest exporter of services. 01 European Investment Bank invested EUR 50m into Gorenje, the whitegoods manufacturer; Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA 02 NLB shares will be listed on the Ljubljana Stock Exchange and on an international stock exchange; Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA 03 Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek talks joint tourism promotion with Croatian Tourism Minister Anton Kliman; Photo: Hina/STA

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Hotel and Hostel Veter*** in Ruše near Maribor

Office building in Ljubljana, Dunajska 110

On a perfect location, right at the foot of the Pohorje hill. The property comprises ground floor plus 4-storey high 3-star hotel and hostel with one underground level. The hotel has 37 modern equipped double rooms, 3 standard, 2 deluxe apartments on the top floor with spacious terrace and a spectacular view at Pohorje, Kozjak and the Drava valley. The hostel has 16 rooms, 8 quadruple rooms with 2 bunk beds and 8 triple rooms with bunk bed and single bed. All rooms have own bathrooms.

The subject of offer is modern fully furnished, 3-storey high A class office building with one underground level. In garage there are parking lots for 30 vehicles, common technical area and small storage room. On the ground floor of the building there are reception area and a small conference room. The rest of the premises are intended for business office activities. Each floor is completed office unit with lavatories and mini kitchen. Floors are connected by a central staircase and elevator.



Net Useable Area: 5,489 m2  Floors: -1, GF, 4 upper floors  Year of construction: 2008  Hotel capacity: 53 rooms, restaurant with 150 seats, fully equipped conference room with 70 seats, cafeteria, terrace with 60 seats  Parking places: 58 underground and 30 external

Floors: -1, GF, 3 upper floors  Net Useable Area: 2,333 m2  Office area: 1,600 m2  Land: 1,081 m2  Year of construction: 2007  Parking places: 30 in garage and 12 external parking places  Type of Use: office Property is fully leased by single tenant.

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Commercial building in Maribor, Ptujska cesta 176

Hotel Smogavc*** in Zreče (Terme Zreče)

Contemporary designed property was built in 1998. It consists of two connected 2 buildings providing 2,700 m2 of showroom areas with offices in 2 the 1st floor and 890 m2 car service building. Both buildings have basements used as garage, storage and service areas. Access to basement areas is enabled via ramp at the back of the showroom building. On the ground floor there is large, open showroom, car wash, mechanical service and vehicle diagnostics area. Property layout and location enable conversion to office building or retail store.

Small family hotel with well-known restaurant, located in center of Zreče town only a few meters from Terme Zreče and close to Rogla Climatic Health, Ski and Sports Center. This charming and comfortable hotel and conference center occupies a dominant position in center of town, above the Dravinja valley and offers restaurant, bar and fitness center with sauna. The hotels ambiance and pleasant surroundings are an attractive combination for those on both a business and leisure trip.


Net Useable Area: 2,177 m2  Floors: -1, GF, 2 upper floors  Land: 1,683 m2  Year of construction: 2000  Renovated: 2004  Hotel capacity: 25 rooms and 5 suites, restaurant with up to 85 seats, conference room for up to 100 seats, fitness, center with sauna  Parking places: 12 parking spaces

Floors: -1, GF 1 floor  Net Useable Area: 3,597 m  Showrooms: 1,110 m  Office area: 200 m2  Car service area: 900 m2  Land: 2,789 m2  Year of construction: 1998  Parking place: 30 external and additional parking lots in basment garage 2




Faculty of Economics of the University of Ljubljana Alumni connects The Alumni connects the graduates of the Faculty of Economics of the University of Ljubljana (FELU) and establishes and develops the professional and social participation of graduate students and the faculty. It encourages loyalty to the faculty, both during the study and after graduation, and promotes FELUs international and domestic achievements, scientific research, education and advisory work in partnership with business, the economy, professionals and the general public.

Alumni goals: • Added value creation for members and the promotion of FELU affiliation (organisation of events, creation of services and benefits for the members such as career counselling, conference discounts...); • promote an active role by members (building cooperation between members and the faculty, as well as the employers of members); • training and involving students in FELU operations; • internationalisation of FELU activities with the faculty present in many foreign markets and students from many countries. Alumni FELU carries out its activities independently through clubs and sections. There are three clubs: the Alumni MANAGERS ‘LOUNGE (Business Administration), Alumni EMTM and Alumni ICPE and five sections: Alumni MARKEThink, Alumni BUSINESS INFORMATICS, Alumni GOLF, Alumni GOURMET and Alumni CYCLISTS. In its activities, Alumni FELU also includes members of the partner associations - Beta Gamma Sigma and MBA Radovljica.

Alumni FELU Participation

The Alumni FELU was founded in 2003 and today has 9,596 members. The Alumni FELU is managed by the FELU Council and is represented by the president, two FELU representatives and two elected member representatives. The current composition of the FELU Council has operated since March 2015. Alumni FELU’s President, Janez Škrabec, actively participates in the Association and also financially supports FELU’s projects. The FELU is honoured to have such a successful and honourable person as Mr Škrabec as the Alumni’s


The Slovenian Times | Summer Edition 2016

president. His business story is a success story. Mr. Škrabec founded the companies Riko, Riko houses and Riko Invest, which are joined in the Riko Group which has been successful in foreign markets. Mr Škrabec supports a wide range of socially responsible projects, won numerous awards and recognition for his work and is a member of several reputable associations and organisations. The Alumni president’s motto is: Expect nothing, blame no one, do something.

To participate in the Alumni Association please complete the form or go to With the Alumni My profile app, graduates can update their personal information. The App is available from There are many ways to participate as an Alumni member with the most common being connecting to social networks, active involvement in Alumni events; preparation of papers, sponsorship of Alumni events and the operation of the Alumni. Communication with alumni members is through multiple channels: the faculty website, Facebook, LinkedIn Alumni profile, newsletter notifications, event participation and the communication channels of business partners. Alumni FELU has significant potential to grow, particularly with regard to the provision of the benefits that members can offer businesses, nonprofit organisations and socially useful work. 

Economy Interview: Janez Škrabec, President of the Alumni, Faculty of Economics, University of Ljubljana and Founder and Director of the Company Riko d.o.o.

I am proud that the FELU nurses my ambitions and Riko’s development Janez Škrabec, President of the Alumni, Faculty of Economics, University of Ljubljana (FELU) and Founder and Director of the Company Riko d.o.o. explains his experience of being a FELU student and highlights the importance of Alumni membership following the successful completion of study. He emphasises the relationship with the Alumni club - lifetime integration, which raises professional, personal as well as social development skills of each member by both contributing to and benefitting from society. TST: You finished your studies at the FELU in 1987 and for many years you have been writing the success story of the Riko Group. What are your feelings about FELU throughout this time? JŠ: Enthusiasm, a vigorous and honest exchange of ideas, great professors open to dialogue, faith in the future of free enterprise, entrepreneurship, business. Unforgettable memories! I cannot stress enough how important this formative period was and how it began to crystallise later in life. It wasn’t just a period of expanding and enhancing knowledge, but also of creating and consolidating values and relevant networks. I first fed my corporate dreams at the faculty by connecting with foreign associates and this nurtured my social awareness. In fact, those were the awakening 80’s – a new era was on the move; a new era with new ambitions. The faculty is my closest institutional companion. Although I left the ex-chair experience, I still follow its scientific, research and technical knowledge. Without it, my comprehension of the "Eleventh school under the bridge" would be meaningless. And I am proud that the Economics Faculty still nurses my ambitions and Riko’s development. The living touch, framed by the Alumni, challenges and inspires me.

JŠ: The relationship within the Alumni club is lifetime integration during times of success and growth, as well as in times of dilemmas and tests that may arise. The connective tissue is knowledge, experience, and most importantly, ourselves as people. Affiliation to the sister system of values flows between us, while openness, integration and ties encourage us to

strengthen and improve a given situation and condition. Professional, personal as well as social.

TST: This year the FELU celebrates its 70th anniversary. How do you see the faculty in the next 10 years and how can Alumni members contribute? JŠ: High on the Shanghai charts. Even more connected to the world and the major international centres. A fluid and desirable study destination for foreign students and an appreciated starting point for Slovenian students who are then guided to continue their studies in an international environment. This is not a prophecy but a forecast based on real diagnosis. Alumni membership has always been a bond and a herald of the qualities of the faculty and its perspective for the future; an encourager and developer.

TST: How would you describe today’s business trends and how do FELU Alumni members cocreate this in Slovenia? JŠ: I would rather leave that to better analysts than me! As an entrepreneur, I am clearly dedicated to Riko and its development. I can state though, that what I am trying to optimise at Riko is the state of internationalisation and the state of the entrepreneurial spirit. The Slovenian economy surely needs this too. TST: How did you come up with the motto: "Expect nothing, blame no one, do something"? JŠ: Simple! - It’s a convincing reflection of my entrepreneurial spirit and business attitude. 

Janez Škrabec; Photo: Mediaspeed

TST: As President of the FELU’s Alumni, what is your message to its community in terms of your experience as its exceptional role model? Summer Edition 2016 | The Slovenian Times


Economy A continuation of the recovery in the labour market

Bakery products; Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA


This year’s economic growth marked by further growth in exports, rising private consumption and lower government investment The Spring Forecast of Economic Trends envisages economic activity to rise by 1.7% in 2016 and by 2.4% in 2017. The main drivers of GDP growth will be exports and private consumption; the slower growth in comparison to 2015 will primarily be due to a lower level of government investment during the transition to the new period of EU funds absorption. The labour market situation is expected to improve further but it will be increasingly affected by demographic factors; wage growth will strengthen slightly. After this year’s deflation, price growth will remain fairly low in 2017. The risks surrounding the Autumn Forecast are related primarily to the international environment. We expect 1.7% growth in economic activity in 2016. The slowdown, relative to 2015, will primarily be due to a considerably lower level of government investment after the expiry of access to EU funds from the previous financial period. After the standstill in the last quarter of 2015, export growth will also fall slightly. Export growth in 2016 will also be affected by the smaller contribution of car sales abroad. Export companies are otherwise projected to maintain their competitive position which has improved notably in the last three years. The contribution of private consumption will also continue to increase. Household consumption


The Slovenian Times | Summer Edition 2016

growth, which resumed in 2014 after two years of decline, will primarily be boosted by the continuation of positive developments in the labour market amid relatively high levels of consumer confidence. For 2017, IMAD projects slightly higher economic growth. Exports will follow the expected increase in foreign demand. Private consumption will also continue to increase. Furthermore, investment consumption will again make a more significant contribution to growth as government investment will also rise again slightly amid the expected further growth in private investment.

Employment, which started to pick up at the end of 2013, will increase further this year. It will be up again in most sectors, notably manufacturing and market services. Unemployment will continue to drop, falling to 107,400 for the year, mainly due to: fewer people losing their jobs for business reasons or company bankruptcies and fewer first-time jobseekers which is attributable to a further decline in the number of young people finishing school. Demographic changes will otherwise also increasingly impact labour market trends due to the decline in the working-age population (20–64 years). Amid continued economic growth, a further increase in employment and a decline in unemployment will also be recorded in 2017. Total wage growth will accelerate slightly in 2016 and 2017, largely on account of higher wage growth in the public sector (mainly owing to the payment of promotion pay rises that were suspended during the crisis).

Price movements similar to 2015 in 2016, afterwards modest growth Lower energy prices, in particular, will also have a decisive impact on inflation this year which will be relatively low in 2016 and in 2017 amid very small inflationary pressures in most groups of products and services.

The key risks to the forecast arise mainly from the international environment International institutions have been lowering their forecasts in recent months due to uncertainties in the global environment, particularly with regard to growth in emerging market economies. This is also reflected in increased uncertainty in the currency markets.  Institute of Macroeconomic Analysis and Development Ljubljana; Photo: Tamino Petelinšek/STA

Economy Interview: Barbara Uranjek, CEO, British-Slovenian Chamber of Commerce

Understanding the culture is the key to building new relationships

Companies that wish to explore trade in the UK and be a part of the BSCC can contact or

International Festival of Business, Liverpool, June BSCC is preparing for the biggest festival of business in the world, which will take place in Liverpool from 13 June - 1 July and will host interesting speakers at different conferences and opportunities for match-making meetings. Visit or contact for more information.

Barbara Uranjek, CEO, British-Slovenian Chamber of Commerce

TST: How much potential do you see for British brands in the Slovene market? BU: Many British brands are now part of global multinational companies, yet they still have a strong British image. One of these is, for example, the MINI which is owned by BMW and yet still keeps its strong British heritage. We see potential for more British brands to have a presence in Slovenia but it depends on the market potential of each brand and the right distributors.

The British-Slovenian Chamber of TST: The UK is among the most sophisticated and TST: How would you describe British business Commerce (BSCC) has announced developed markets, however exports from Slove- culture and what should a Slovenian company to Great Britain represent only 2.2 percent of know before entering this market? a new leadership team with the nia total exports. How do you think that Slovenian BU: The basics are to have a website and all of appointment of Barbara Uranjek as companies could increase exports to the UK? your promotional material in English. We still the new CEO and Miha Žerko as the BU: Many Slovenian companies already export find that some exporters don’t have this. The new President of the Management to the UK through their German or other part- English are very friendly and open but they also These companies would like to enter the expect professionalism, quality and reliability. Board. According to Barbara Uranjek, ners. UK market but need guidance to find the rights Being late to a meeting is not an option. Folthe aim of BSCC is to increase trade partners and entry points. We can provide this low up after a meeting is expected. Everything between Slovenia and Great Britain, through our UK Trade & Investment network should be clearly defined in advance - from mainly through trade delegations, and regional Chambers of Commerce. Our ser- meeting points, the agenda, and expectations. also include helping companies establish Slovenia is not well known in Great Britain and match making meetings between vices an office in the UK, look for funding or help so presenting country facts and making a good UK and Slovenian companies and them with a listing on the London Stock Ex- first impression are the keys to a successful innovative projects, regional visits, change. start. transparency projects and more What is the strategy of the British-Slove- TST: You grew up abroad, went to international member activities. TST: nian Chamber of Commerce over the next five schools and have worked in multinational compayears?

BU: We would like to be more active in the Slovene business scene with activities focused on trade between the UK and Slovenia. Our plans include regional meetings around Slovenia with local chambers, more activities for our members and trade delegations to the Midlands and Scotland in 2017. We will also focus on sports such as football, tennis and equestrian events and build business around it. Our first big event is the Slovenia-England football match on 11 October, where we are also planning the 'Business Is Great' conference which will include football celebrities, match-making meetings and interesting content.

nies most of your career. How will these experiences help you in this role? BU: Having grown up partly in India and Egypt where I went to British schools and having been to the UK many times, helps me to build relationships in this new role, especially in the UK. Understanding the culture is the key to building new relationships. 

We would like to be more active in the Slovene business scene with activities focused on trade between the UK and Slovenia. Summer Edition 2016 | The Slovenian Times


Economy Executive MBA at IEDC stands for: EXCEPTIONAL LEARNING PROCESS Bringing together esteemed professors from the best business schools in the world, such as: IMD, Lausanne (Switzerland), Exeter University (UK), Babson College (USA), University of Cambridge (UK), McGill University in Montreal (Canada), IESE (Spain), etc. and the most promising managers, IEDC creates a learning process that stretches the mind, expands your leadership repertoire and changes the quality of decision-making.

IEDC MBA, one of the leading innovators in business education Not all Executive MBA programs are equivalent and employers know that. Candidates choosing between MBA programs should consider how an Executive MBA will influence their career development and what the return on investment will be. So why is the Executive MBA offered by the IEDC-Bled School of Management, Slovenia, described by the Financial Times as "One of the leading innovators in business education in Central and Eastern Europe," a good choice? For three decades, IEDC has been a leading business school where managers and leaders from across the world come to learn and reflect. Of the participants, 80 percent are from abroad, meaning that in every MBA class at least 15 countries are represented. Along with its highlyranked International Executive MBA, Presidents’ MBA and Doctorate programs, IEDC offers short executive seminars for top management and a wide range of general management programs, including a five week General Management Program and an International Summer School for Young Managers (YMP, DMP). IEDC also provides specially designed programs for international companies such as the Vienna Insurance Group (VIG), Erste Bank Group, Henkel and Medtronic. However, the IEDC Executive MBA is the school’s flagship!


The Slovenian Times | Summer Edition 2016

INNOVATIVE CURRICULUM In 2012, the Executive MBA Program of IEDC was awarded by the Association of MBAs (AMBA) as one of the four most innovative MBA programs in the world. Whether it is the Arts and Leadership, Business in Society, the Sustainability for Strategic Advantage courses or the one-on-one mentorship with experienced business leaders, you are guaranteed a cutting-edge curriculum celebrated for its innovation and impact. VIEW FROM THE TOP The EMBA at IEDC helps you to "see the big picture" and to connect the dots across core management disciplines, develop capacity to deal with emerging opportunities and prepare you to lead and inspire in an era of massive challenges. A LIFE-CHANGING PERSONAL EXPERIENCE At IEDC, every program element is designed to help you in this demanding journey of selftransformation. TRANSLATING GLOBAL INTO REGIONAL Excellence in management is universal and yet it takes special effort to adapt the best global knowledge to the unique realities of a particular region. Whether you are joining us from Austria, Denmark, South Africa or Canada, IEDC makes sure that nothing gets "lost in translation" or loses relevance for your experience.

Economy Regardless of the intensity of day-to-day business and other environments, the sharp transition to the strategic thinking that is studied at IEDC has always represented a special type of relaxation and in particular, an out-of-the-box view of the world as a whole and our place in it. I started to understand deeply the key factors (and their development) that affect how the world and thus our industry will look in the future. That platform enables us to start dreaming of a better world in the future and turn this dream into a concrete vision and strategies which, through innovation, change the reality. This is the way we have become a leader in Europe and in the world in our niche.

Iztok Seljak, President of Hidria Management Board and Executive Director of Hidria, IEDC PMBA Alumnus 1995 and the 1st IEDC PhD Alumnus

A NETWORK FOR LIFE Spending 17 intensive weeks in the company of accomplished managers and leading scholars only marks the beginning of relationships that last a lifetime. An alumni network of over 60,000 executives from more than 70 countries awaits you at graduation. FULL COMMITMENT TO YOU We believe that executive development is a process of transformation, both professional and personal. To make this change happen, the learning process is personalised for every participant based on your individual development needs. Since 1991, more than 1,300 managers have been part of IEDC’s Executive MBA programs. A survey among alumni, conducted in 2014, shows that: • 40 percent of IEDC Alumni have moved from middle to top management after finishing their EMBA at IEDC; • 68 percent of IEDC Alumni received a promotion during or after finishing their Executive MBA at IEDC, 2-times on average; • 74 percent of IEDC Alumni reported a salary increase after finishing their EMBA at IEDC. Executive MBA participants also have the unique opportunity to join other executives from across the globe, through such forums as the annual global initiative "International Roundtables for Experienced Managers", where the program features faculty from around the world including one of the world’s leading management thinkers, Professor Henry Mintzberg, who has said that Professor Danica Purg, IEDC President, has put Slovenia on the world map of management education!

"The EMBA gave me a lot of knowledge and influenced my personal development. At every point there were opportunities for learning, personal development and networking. It was all served up to us, our task was only to gain as much out of it as we could. This was the challenge. There are no big changes in my life due to the MBA, although my perception of challenges and solutions is different - checking assumptions and options is on the daily menu. We were equipped with tools through which we can concrete and have a big influence on our working environment. The intensity of a one year EMBA was special and I’ve enjoyed it very much."

Dolores Kores, Director at PREMIKI Institute for Counselling, Promotion and Development of Accessible Tourism Ljubljana

"IEDC, for me, is a place of transformation where this son of Africa was incubated, guided and loved to become a better student, father and person. I now have the confidence to reach for my unreachables knowing that with application and the right support, anything is possible. I hold nothing but gratitude for the people and staff from IEDC for extending their humanity to include me, therein. BAIE DANKIE (Thank You in Afrikaans, my mother tongue)."

Pierre Arne Kleinhans, Director, The Mekky Company

Globally, 8,381 companies have signed up to the UN Global Compact's Ten Global Compact principles toward sustainable business. Of these, 5,988 published a "Communication on Progress (COP)" in 2015, but only 457 could indicate ‘advanced progress’, i.e. that they have implemented best practices on sustainability. So: is the commitment to sustainability truly an everyday reality in business? The IEDC Coca-Cola Chair for Sustainability exists to help companies in the region to implement values-driven business across all organisational functions. Towards this goal, the Coca-Cola Chair is working on developing "Shared vocabularies towards a value-driven business", aimed at sharing best practices, concepts and role-descriptions to make sustainable business a reality across organisational silos.

Professor Mollie Painter-Morland, Coca-Cola Chair of Sustainable Development at IEDC-Bled School of Management For additional information regarding the IEDC Executive MBA Program please contact mag. Uršula Grošelj, Executive Development Advisor:

IEDC-Bled School of Management Prešernova 33, 4260 Bled Slovenia T: +386 4 57 92 500 F: +386 4 57 92 501 E:

Summer Edition 2016 | The Slovenian Times



11th Bled Strategic Forum (BSF)

Safeguarding the Future Prepared by Matej Gregorec

Amidst international geostrategic turbulences, the annual Bled Strategic Forum will be dedicated to finding answers to the most pressing threats and challenges, which have shaken the foundations of our global security. A leading conference in Central and South East Europe, the 11th Bled Strategic Forum (BSF), taking place on 5 and 6 September 2016 under the title 'Safeguarding the Future', will provide a high-level platform for discussion of pressing regional and global issues. The complex and interdisciplinary challenges of today’s globalised world require comprehensive solutions and in the past years, our sense of global security, stability and freedom has been seriously undermined by various threats. Thus, our response to these challenges will have an important impact on our common future, based on universal values, standards and norms. Attracting several hundred participants, including heads of state and government, ministers, diplomats, representatives of the business sphere, scholars and the media from the entire world, the Forum will kick off with the Leaders’ panel, held under the patronage of the President of Republic of Slovenia. The consecutive debates, spanning over two days,


The Slovenian Times | Summer Edition 2016

will address issues such as water risks and positioning water as an essential factor of cooperation and an instrument of peace, future the European Union and weakening trust and solidarity among its member states, challenges posed by global energy trends, security of the individual, as well as the need for adaptation of European security and defence structures. Western Balkans, a traditional topic of discussion, will look into the enlargement process, which has been one of the most successful EU policies. Nonetheless, due to a number of crises in the past couple of years that have abruptly exposed the EU’s vulnerabilities and weaknesses, the panel will attempt to assess how long the EU can retain its pull factor and attractiveness in the region. An integral part the Forum, the Business BSF, organized in cooperation with the American Chamber of Commerce in Slovenia and IEDC-Bled School of Management, will be devoted to discovering innovative opportunities and focus on key challenges of European

and global economy. Participants will be able to listen in on debates about digital transformation, how taking use of the information and communications technologies is advancing us to the age of smart cities, as well as how the contemporary developments are challenging our well-established concepts of mobility and automotive industry. In light of Ljubljana being the 2016 European Green Capital, tourism and sustainability experts will also try to answer questions of global security challenges and sustainability in today’s tourism industry. In addition, the BSF will continue its tradition of discussing less conventional issues – the Hidden Dimensions of International Relations. The 6th Young Bled Strategic Forum (Young BSF), featuring a select group of young leaders, will be taking place under the title 'Global Citizens' in the days preceding the Forum. With the ever-changing global situation, the BSF remains determined to strive towards innovative thinking and forward-looking visions. Enabling a unique opportunity for bilateral and multilateral meetings with the foremost regional and global stakeholders, and a possibility for extensive networking between political and business leaders of today, it is our hope that the Forum will continue to grow, evolve and influence various policy agendas and solutions of tomorrow. 

6 − 5 R E B M E SEPT 6 1 0 2

© 2016 Bled Strategic Forum | Ilustration and design: David Fartek




Economy Global Pitch Interview: Gašper Fečur, CEO at New Frontier Slovenia

Turning the challenge of digital transformation into business opportunity TST: How would you define your business? Gašper Fečur: A very important part of our business is digital consulting, where we advise companies on the key steps that have to be undertaken in their digital transformation journey. By doing this, we help companies to understand the impact of digital on their business capabilities and how they can transform and implement new business models that can help them gain new revenue streams.

We help companies to understand the impact of digital on their business capabilities and how they can transform and implement new business models that can help them gain new revenue streams.

Gašper Fečur, CEO at New Frontier Slovenia

After defining their digital strategy, we help companies to establish an innovation environment that consists of existing business processes and introduces some new ones that are essential for digital business. At this stage, we can offer companies digital products, services or even certain business skills in order to drive this initiative in the right direction. For example, the WAGA platform enables companies to implement new products, services or even digitalise existing core services in a very short time.

we need to be very careful not to jeopardise the operations of the existing business. To accelerate change and encourage enterprise thinking, companies are adopting design principles that facilitate rapid local decision making. With this purpose, we introduce a parallel digital unit that is supported by a digital service backbone and therefore we establish an environment where companies can develop, test, implement or even fail in their new digital business models. All these units or programs within industries are differently structured and managed.

WAGA platform enables companies to implement new products, services or even digitalise existing core services in a very short time. TST: What is the future that digital will bring and how strong is Slovenia in this field? GF: In the near future - driverless cars and trains, flying drones that deliver our packages, the internet through your contact lenses, sensors in your clothes, computer screens that fold like handkerchiefs, as well as desktop fabrication through 3D printers. The internet of things has the potential to connect 75 billion people, devices and things by 2020! We observe that Slovenia is noticing the digital transformation agenda and trying to adapt to digital business models. We are working with some of the biggest Slovenian companies that are aware of the upcoming changes in the business environment and business streams. We consult on different digital transformation topics and most of the companies are really focusing on new go-to-market approaches and not so much on new business models. I may add that we are working with the biggest Russian telecommunications operator where they would like to change the structure of their revenue streams. In doing this, they are implementing new products and services that are based on new digital business models and not so much on go-to-market approaches. If they succeed in their initiative it will have a significant impact on their long term future. 

Gašper Fečur is the CEO at New Frontier Slovenia, which is part of the New Frontier Group, headquartered in Vienna, Austria. As he points out, they execute digital transformation In undertaking a digital for large and multinational companies TST: How do you execute the process of digital transformation we need to be transformation in a company? in Slovenia and the CEE region. GF: First, we discuss with the management

what kind of transformation they would like to execute. Would the company like to change their business model or Go-To-Market approach? Based on this analysis, we prepare a digital transformation strategy for the company. In undertaking a digital transformation


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very careful not to jeopardise the operations of the existing business.



Political overview By Valerio Fabbri

Slovenia’s government continues to be vulnerable to domestic politics due to the party’s relative inexperience and the risk of intra-coalition disagreements. However, while the privatisation process advances slowly and presents hurdles at every turn, the government’s activism on the international scene is commendable. Marking the 25th year of independence, the government celebrated Slovenian Diplomacy Day on 22 May by dedicating the anniversary to the polyhedral personality of Izidor Cankar, a former Slovenian diplomat who served in different posts in the middle of the twentieth century. During the celebrations, Prime Minister, Miro Cerar, expressed his full appreciation of the exceptional progress of diplomacy in terms of the support provided to Slovenia’s export-oriented economy. The Prime Minister also highlighted the key role played by the EU as the guarantor of stability, safety and prosperity, advocating the role of Slovenian diplomacy in shaping the EU’s common foreign security policy and the preparation of a global strategy. Most importantly, the Prime Minister reiterated the country’s full adherence to the principles and values of the United Nations Charter, including the right of self-determination of people and the respect for human rights and fundamental liberties.

Human rights were addressed in a two-day World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul in May, where the Prime Minister emphasised the ongoing promotion of international humanitarian law and its enforcement. Referring to the UN was not without underlying meaning, as the organisation may be centre stage for a high-profile campaign by Slovenian politics and diplomacy. As Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon’s term as Secretary-General comes to a close, supposedly it will be Eastern Europe’s first turn at the helm of the New York-based organisation, with former Slovenian President, Dr Danilo Türk a potential candidate to replace the outgoing Secretary-General. However, well-informed diplomats say the bloc is not coordinated, meaning that it risks losing the opportunity for the post. Among the heavyweight candidates are Vuk Jeremić (Serbia) and Vesna Pusić (Croatia), while Miroslav Lajčák, the Slovakian Foreign Minister and former EU representative in Bosnia, is expected to announce his candidacy shortly. Foreign-policy activism was also geared toward more concrete goals. True to the saying "build on your strengths", Slovenia could boast of two other achievements. One, the country will lead the way in coordinating sustainable forestry management for 2016-2017 between China and Central and Eastern European countries: an action plan aimed at encouraging multi-functional forestry management and protection of wetlands and wild animals was signed at Brdo pri Kranju by all the stakeholders. Secondly, the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food, Dejan Židan, is trying to establish 20 May as World Bee Day within the framework of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). As a country with a long-standing tradition in bee-keeping, Slovenia would like to raise global awareness on the important role of bees in ensuring sustainable development in agriculture, expecting to formally celebrate World Bee Day in 2018. 




01 Prime Minister Miro Cerar at a press conference; Photo: Tamino Petelinšek/STA 02 Potential Slovenian candidate Danilo Türk to replace the current UN Secretary-General. Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA 03 Potential candidates to replace the current UN Secretary-General: Igor Lukšić (Montenegro), Danilo Türk (Slovenia), Antonio Guterres (Portugal), Vesna Pusić (Croatia), Irina Bokova (Bulgaria), Natalia Gherman (Moldova), Srgjan Kerim (FYR Macedonia), Helen Clark (New Zeland) and Vuk Jeremić (Serbia). Photo: Xinhua/STA 04 Slovenian beekeeping is known for its painted beehive panels. Photo: Tina Kosec/STA

Summer Edition 2016 | The Slovenian Times


Politics Interview: Liu Haixing, Assistant Minister, MFA of the People’s Republic of China and Secretary General of the Secretariat for Cooperation between China and Central and Eastern European Countries

China’s modernisation is based on a balance between environmental protection and economic development Prepared by Silvija Fister, M.Sc.

Despite global growth slowed in 2015, China’s GDP increase of 6.9 percent, showed the highest growth rate of the most mayor economies. Liu Haixing, Assistant Minister, MFA of the People’s Republic of China and Secretary General of the Secretariat for Cooperation between China and Central and Eastern European Countries, points out that in the previous year, the Chinese economy contributed more than 25 percent to global growth. He explains that, for the next five years, China will follow their new vision of innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development.

Liu Haixing, Assistant Minister, MFA of the People’s Republic of China and Secretary General of the Secretariat for Cooperation between China and Central and Eastern European Countries


The Slovenian Times | Summer Edition 2016

Q Against the backdrop of sluggish economic recovery in Europe and beyond, how will the Chinese economy maintain its steady development? A 2015 saw the slowest growth of the world economy in six years, global trade slowed down and commodity prices plummeted and heightened volatility in international financial markets. In such a complex and unfavorable environment, the Chinese government was committed to forestalling risks and promoting stable growth and at the same time, making structural adjustments and shifting the growth model. It developed new ways of conducting macroeconomic regulation, intensified reform and opened-up, advanced industrial innovation, and upgraded and improved people’s wellbeing. As a result, progress was achieved and stability ensued in economic and social development. GDP reached 67.7 trillion yuan, representing an increase of 6.9 percent, a growth rate higher than that of most other major economies. The service sector, as a proportion of GDP, rose to 50.5 percent, accounting for more than half for the first time. Living standards improved. Per capita disposable income increased by 7.4 percent in real terms, overtaking the growth rate of the economy. The Chinese economy has been further integrated into the world economy, as evidenced by increasing mutual influence, interactions and linkages between China and the rest of the world. China today plays a bigger role in the world economy. Countries have greater ex-

pectations with regard to China and a stronger interest in working with China. In 2015, the Chinese economy contributed more than 25 percent to global growth, which is set to continue. The recent annual sessions of the National People’s Congress (NPC) and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), adopted the 13th Five-Year Plan for Economic and Social Development. 2016 is the first year of the Plan. In the next five years, we will follow the new vision of innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development, with a view to finishing building a moderately prosperous society in all respects. We will grow the economy at an average annual rate of at least 6.5 percent, continuously raise living standards, promote social progress on all fronts and see that everyone shares in the fruits of development and moves steadily toward common prosperity.

GDP reached 67.7 trillion yuan, representing an increase of 6.9 percent, a growth rate higher than that of most other major economies.

Politics Countries have greater expectations with regard to China and a stronger interest in working with China. In 2015, the Chinese economy contributed more than 25 percent to global growth. Q How should the relationship between development and environmental protection be handled? How do you see the Belt and Road initiative as an opportunity for aligning development and environmental protection? A Chinese President Xi Jinping said, "Clear waters and green mountains should be considered valuable assets." Environmental problems are development issues, in essence, and are inevitable in the course of modernisation. A paramount task in China’s modernisation drive is to seek a balance between environmental protection and development. This year’s Report on the Work of the Government and the 13th Five-Year Plan outline explicit requirements for environmental protection. We encourage green ways of working and living and will speed up efforts to conserve ecosystems and the environment, so as to improve the environment, while we achieve economic development. We have set a number of quantifiable targets. We will aim to cut water consumption, energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP by 23 percent, 15 percent, and 18 percent respectively and raise forest coverage to 23.04 percent. We will develop and use energy and resources much more efficiently and improve the quality of ecosystems and the environment. In particular, we strive for major progress in the control and prevention of smog and see to it that the air quality of cities is at or above the prefectural level, which is good or excellent for over 80 percent of the year. The Vision and Actions on Jointly Building the Belt and Road Initiative requires us to promote ecological progress and make the Silk Road an environmentally-friendly one. First, we will apply the principle of green development to the whole process of building the Belt and Road. Second, we will integrate the efforts of ecological and environmental protection, using regional cooperation mechanisms in this field as a platform. Third, we will establish new mechanisms for green finance and boost green investment. Fourth, we will build a cross-border network to make environment information more readily available. I stayed in Slovenia for just two days, yet I was deeply impressed by the beautiful landscape here. It is due to the government’s work on environmental protection and the environmental awareness of the public. In this regard, we are willing to learn more from you so that we are able to preserve clear waters and green mountains for our future generations while pursuing economic development.

Q As China-CEE cooperation deepens, practical cooperation between the two sides has yielded fruitful results. At the moment, some CEE countries are taking the brunt of the ongoing refugee crisis. Do you see any possible cooperation between CEE countries and China in managing the persistent influx of refugees? A Thanks to the collective efforts of all sides, China-CEE cooperation has developed into an important platform in just four years. It has expanded and drawn more countries in and delivered tangible benefits to the people of the 17 countries. As an important participant of China-CEE cooperation, Slovenia takes the lead among CEE countries with regard to tourism, think-tank exchanges and forestry cooperation.

A paramount task in China’s modernisation drive is to seek a balance between environmental protection and development.

Europe is facing the refugee challenge. We are convinced that Europe has the wisdom and capability to meet the challenge. China has followed the matter closely and provided relevant countries with multiple tranches of humanitarian relief through bilateral and multilateral channels. As a Slovenian saying goes, "Skupaj zmoremo več (Together we can do more)". Likewise, a Chinese saying goes, "A flame will burn high when everyone adds a piece of firewood to it." China stands ready to step up communication and cooperation with relevant countries, including Slovenia, and the wider international community and play a constructive role in the resolution of the refugee issue.

Q What is your view on the role of media in gaining public acceptance for the Belt and Road initiative and related mechanisms? A The Belt and Road initiative is designed to promote policy coordination, road connections, unimpeded trade, financial flows and people-to-people bonds. Public diplomacy is an important way to enhance people-to-people bonds. Supported by the internet and other new media, people-to-people bonds can tran-

scend time and space and contribute to the public acceptance of the Belt and Road initiative. The media have a significant role to play in building the Belt and Road initiative. Media cooperation could help increase trust, dispel misgivings and pool consensus. More importantly, it could inject more positive energy into this initiative and allow the Belt and Road, which have spanned two millennia and across Asia, Africa and Europe, to regain past glory

We are willing to learn more from you so that we are able to preserve clear waters and green mountains for our future generations while pursuing economic development.

and enhance the wellbeing of people along the routes. Journalists should report the development progress in countries and regions along the routes in an objective, rational, faithful and readable manner, contribute to greater mutual understanding and trust among the countries involved and constructively advance this ambitious endeavor which reinvigorates and benefits regions along the routes and beyond. Second, carry forward the spirit of the Silk Road in an open and inclusive way. The media should promote inter-civilization and cross-cultural dialogues and exchanges with an open and broad mind so as to serve as a bridge of friendship connecting people of different countries, a driver for progress of human society and a facilitator of world peace. Third, advance the Silk Road cooperation and take part in the initiative. Efforts should be made to create more platforms for communication through various forms of rich dialogues, exchange of news products, personnel and new technologies, as well as through public diplomacy and non-governmental activities. 

The media should promote inter-civilization and cross-cultural dialogues.

Summer Edition 2016 | The Slovenian Times


Politics We are obliged to help both governmental and non-governmental organisations and take particular care of the most vulnerable groups such as children and families. Q How does the integration process operate? A In May, in the context of relocation, the

Vesna Györkös Žnidar, Minister of the Interior, Slovenia; Photo: Tinkara Zupan/STA

Interview: Vesna Györkös Žnidar, Ministry of the Interior, Slovenia

Integration is a two-way process requiring effort from both the country and the individual Prepared by: Medeja Kenda

In late spring 2016, the first group of refugees arrived in Slovenia from Greece, referring to Solidarity Refugee Resettlement within the European Union (EU). To date, 34 Iraqis Syrians and Eritreans have the opportunity to stay in Slovenia. By 2017, 567 people are expected to arrive and seek refuge. The Slovenian Minister of the Interior explained the integration process which, in her view, is not so new for Slovenia and she points out that today, Europe and consequently Slovenia are facing the greatest humanitarian challenge since the Second World War.


The Slovenian Times | Summer Edition 2016

Republic of Slovenia accepted 28 citizens of Iraq and Syria from Greece, and six Eritreans from Italy. By September 2017, we will accept a further 567 persons and also 20 persons from third countries in accordance with the commitments given at the EU level. The final number is likely to be higher, but it depends on the current migration situation and final agreement on the number of displaced persons. Persons with recognised refugee status have, in Slovenia, a permanent residence permit, which means that their stay here is unlimited. Persons granted subsidiary protection have a temporary residence permit in the Republic of Slovenia for the duration of protection. Persons with international protection are, after the acquisition of the status, immediately resettled from an asylum home to an integration house and are included in a starter, three-month orientation program which involves learning the basics of the Slovenian language, help with paperwork and practical knowledge of everyday life. Once the orientation program is completed, the individual will be included in the existing aid schemes, including the 300 hour program for learning the Slovenian language and knowing Slovenian society. Integration is a two-way process that requires work and effort from both the country and the society, particularly by the various organisations and also by those with international protection. Slovenia has experience with integration as there are already slightly less than 300 persons with recognised international protection in Slovenia. We gained a lot of good experience in the 1990s when more than 60,000 people from the former Yugoslavia came to Slovenia.

Q Local animosity towards refugees sometimes brings threats. How does Slovenia deal with security? A The Ministry of the Interior is aware that the success of the integration process significantly affects the local environment. During the migratory wave, we were often faced with the concerns of the local population where the reception centers for the migrants are located. We have tried to explain to the locals that we understand their concern which is, however,

Politics unnecessary as has been also shown. To dilute the excessive concern, we regularly communicate about our actions in all the municipalities that are particularly impacted by the refugee problems and we strive to ensure an exchange of views and to coordinate positions. Nevertheless, the rise of intolerance and distrust towards the refugees in Slovenia is sometimes still, unfortunately, having an unwarranted dimension. The solution lies in creating a positive social climate, promoting mutual respect and tolerance, particularly with regard to the rule of law. In many municipalities, residents accept that migrants and refugees are an opportunity and not a threat. As an example of good practice, in the most recent period, we can highlight the municipality of Logatec and its inhabitants.

Q Migrants are forecast to contribute to GDP by about 0.25% by 2017 which implies a small, negative impact on GDP per capita throughout the period. The European Commission reports that migrants typically receive less in individual benefits than they contribute in taxes and social contributions. Is the refugee crisis also an opportunity for Europe’s ageing continent which needs some extra vitality? A Recently, the whole of Europe and consequently Slovenia, have faced the greatest humanitarian challenge since the Second World War - the highest mass influx of migrants ever. Migrants have been forced to flee from war in order to save their own lives and the lives of their children. They want to live in peace, to educate, to work and allow their children a better and above all safe future. In doing so, we are obliged to help both governmental and non-governmental organisations and take particular care of the most vulnerable groups such as children and families. The main principle, which the Ministry is following, is to enable those who are eligible for international protection in Slovenia to begin to live an independent, full and equal life as soon as possible.

agencies in Slovenia and also foreign security forces work together on this At the international level, Slovenia launched a series of initiatives for more efficient and above all faster operational cooperation; of the highest importance is a good cooperation among countries in the region. One of the most prominent examples of successful cooperation is the creation and development of the integrated and complementary approach in the fight against violent extremism and terrorism in the Western Balkans under the framework of the Brdo Process - the so-called WBCTi initiative. In the area of counter-terrorism cooperation, Slovenian police are active with Europol on both the system as well as in the operational field. Particularly intense cooperation with Europol was established at the time of the migrant wave, when Slovenia provided daily updates about the interesting operational areas. In this time, Europol has executed intensive cooperation between Slovenia and certain countries. The Slovenian initiative to strengthen cooperation between the EU and the Western Balkans was realised in a way that Europol now has a network of counter-terrorism experts from the Western Balkans and become a member of the Slovenian initiative.

Q According to the Council of Europe, Slovenia’s identification of victims, awareness and focus on other aspects, such as sexual exploitation is inadequate. In which areas could Slovenia pay more attention to the fight against human trafficking? A Human trafficking is a worldwide social problem and its extent transcends national borders. It is a multi-faceted issue where action to repress the trafficking is not enough, it needs prevention, protection of victims, training of

professionals faced with the problem through their work, and importantly both international and regional cooperation. In the fight against human trafficking, Slovenia has been actively involved since 2001 with the creation of the Intergovernmental Working Group and the appointment of a national coordinator who regularly informs the Slovenian government. The 2015 report points out that there are key deficiencies in the training of those involved in the process of recognising incidence, the treatment of criminal matters and the administrative proceedings. Interpenetration of human trafficking with other areas such as migration issues, labour exploitation and forced labour and in particular of migrant workers, begging, forced marriage, unaccompanied children, etc., shows the need for a comprehensive and coordinated approach. Based on the report on the Implementation of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings in Slovenia and the list of recommendations from GRETA, a manual has been created for the assistance and protection of victims of trafficking. It defines the concept of trafficking in human beings, the role and functions of state bodies, holders of public authority, public services, local bodies and non-governmental and humanitarian organisations in addressing human trafficking and provides the measures to assist and protect victims. 

In many municipalities, residents accept that migrants and refugees are an opportunity and not a threat.

Vesna Györkös Žnidar, Slovenian Minister of the Interior, gives speech at the Congress Centre Brdo pri Kranju; Photo: Daniel Novakovič /STA

Q The Europol report states that in 2015, 211 terrorist attacks were prevented and more than 1,000 people were arrested within the EU. Attacks have not had a direct impact on Slovenia, but certainly they have had an indirect impact. How would you evaluate the situation in Slovenia? A Terrorism for the Slovenian police is not a new phenomenon since the fight against terrorism and terrorism-related offenses, has been a priority for many years. The level of a terrorist threat in Slovenia is low, however might change relatively quickly. Police constantly monitor the various security risks and implement measures for the timely detection and prevention of these particular events, including early detection of the violent radicalisation that leads to terrorism. All the security Summer Edition 2016 | The Slovenian Times


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1 Pipistrel I Panthera, the first serially produced four-seat aeroplane with a modular choice of power train (piston, electric or hybrid) in the world I; 2 Talking Friends I Talking Tom 1app. Pipistrel I Panthera, the first serially produced four-seat with a modular of power (piston, electric or hybrid) in the world I; 2 Talking Friends I Talking TomI I; 3 Lumar I Lumar Black Line Pure Saeroplane I; 4 Elan I choice Amphibio skis I train; 5 Akrapovič I Akrapovič Evolution Line (Titanium) for the Ducati 1199 Panigale app. I; 3 LumarI Oven I Lumar Black Line Pure S I; Elan II Amphibio skis I; Akrapovič I Akrapovič Evolution Line (Titanium) for the Ducati 1199 Panigale I; 6 Gorenje interface I; 7 Adria4Mobil Matrix Supreme motorhome; 6 Gorenje I Oven interface I; 7 Adria Mobil I Matrix Supreme motorhome I

Connect Connect to to Slovenian Slovenian Business Business Excellence Excellence Slovenia boasts a surprising number of internationally Slovenia boasts a surprising number of internationally renowned brands like household appliances producer Gorenje, renowned brands like household appliances producer Gorenje, motor homes producer Adria Mobil, ski manufacturer Elan, and motor homes producer Adria Mobil, ski manufacturer Elan, and names like skier Tina Maze, philosopher Slavoj Žižek, composer names like skier Tina Maze, philosopher Slavoj Žižek, composer and musician Slavko Avsenik and his Oberkrainer ensemble etc. and musician Slavko Avsenik and his Oberkrainer ensemble etc. Some of the world known products such as the 35 mm slide Some of the world known products such as the 35 mm slide frame, the perfume atomizer, alpine carving skis, the first frame, the perfume atomizer, alpine carving skis, the first hybrid yacht and the best selling Talking Friends smart phone hybrid yacht and the best selling Talking Friends smart phone application were created in Slovenia. application were created in Slovenia.

Slovenia is a traditionally export-driven economy. The Slovenian education system Slovenia a traditionally export-driven economy. Slovenian education system meets theishighest standards and produces a highlyThe qualified and diverse workforce. meets the highest standards and produces a highly qualified and diverse workforce. Advanced technological solutions, ongoing investments in R&D, highest quality Advanced solutions, ongoingand investments in ecological R&D, highest quality productiontechnological processes, spirited innovation widespread awareness production processes, spirited innovation and widespread ecological awareness in the greenest of Europe’s natural environments are firmly integrated in the in the greenest Europe’s strategies natural environments are firmly integrated in the development andofproduction of an increasingly wide array of ambitious, development and production strategies of an increasingly wide array of ambitious, forward-looking Slovenian companies. forward-looking Slovenian companies.

If you are searching for a supplier or planning to set up or relocate an export business, Ifchoosing you are searching a supplier planning to setyou up ever or relocate export business, Slovenia for could be theorbest decision made.anSlovenia offers a choosing Slovenia could be the best decision you ever made. Slovenia offers a supportive environment for emerging businesses looking to thrive internationally supportive for emerging looking infrastructure. to thrive internationally through its environment technically-savvy workforcebusinesses and pro-business Slovenia’s through its technically-savvy workforce and pro-business infrastructure. Slovenia’s appeal is not a low-cost manufacturing but the reputation of its technologyand appeal is not a low-cost manufacturing but the reputation of its technologyand innovation-driven industries. innovation-driven industries. Why not grow your business by taking advantage of Slovenia’s business potential Why not grow your takingtoadvantage of Slovenia’s business potential and benefit from ourbusiness services by tailored meet the needs of your company? and benefit from our services tailored to meet the needs of your company?

All our services are free of charge and include: All our services are free of charge and include: • business specific information on industries, • business specific information on industries, legislation, taxes and incentives, legislation, taxes and incentives, • data bases with investment projects and industrial • data bases with investment projects and industrial sites, sites, • information on Slovenian suppliers, • information on Slovenian suppliers, • organization of fact-finding missions, • organization of fact-finding missions, • links with industry and local authorities, and • links with industry and local authorities, and • counselling and advice in practical matters. • counselling and advice in practical matters.

Contact us: Contact us: SPIRIT Slovenija - Public Agency of the Republic of Slovenia SPIRIT Slovenija - Public Agency of the Republic of Slovenia for the Promotion of Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Development, Investment and Tourism for the Promotion of Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Development, Investment and Tourism Verovškova ulica 60, SI-1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia Verovškova ulica 60, SI-1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia T: +386 1 5891 870 T: +386 1 5891 870 E:, E:,

Slovenia 1991 – 2016


Slovenia: Facts & Figures 400 km Radius • More than 45 million consumers • 11 countries, jointly representing more than 40% of the total GDP of the EU

Name: Republic of Slovenia Political system: Parliamentary democracy since 1991 International membership: Member of the EU; NATO; OECD Capital: Ljubljana Official language: Slovene with some border areas speaking Italian and Hungarian Currency: Euro International dialing code: +386 Internet address: .si President of the Republic: H.E. Dr Borut Pahor (since December 2012)

Area: 20,273 km2 Time zone: GMT/UTC +1 Length of borders: 1,370km

GDP: €18,679 (2015)

Length of coastline: 46.6km

Average gross wage: €1,520.88 (February 2014)

Landscape: Alpine in the north, mediterranean in the south west, dinaric in the south and pannonian in the east

POPULATION Number of inhabitants: 2,064,188 (May 2016) Population density: 99.1 inhabitants per km2 Nationalities (2002 census): Slovene 1,631,363; Hungarian 6,243; Italian 2,258; other 324,172 Religion: Roman Catholic 57.8%, Muslim 2.4%, Orthodox 2.3%, other Christian 0.9%, unaffiliated 3.5%, other or unspecified 23%, none 10.1% Main cities: Ljubljana (261,700), Maribor (108,600), Kranj (39,400), Celje (38,400)



The Slovenia Times – Special Edition

Climate: Continental in central Slovenia, alpine in the north west and sub-mediterrenian along the coast and its hinterland Average temperature: January -2º°C; July +21°C Highest mountain: Triglav, 2,864 meters Longest river: Sava, 221km Largest lake: Cerknica, 26km2 Highest waterfall: Čedca, 130m Longest and deepest tourist krast cave: Postojnska jama, 19.5 km Protected natural park: Triglav National Park, 83,808 ha

Slovenia, our country, our homeland, is celebrating. Borut Pahor, President of the Republic of Slovenia

We are celebrating our Silver Jubilee, a quarter of the century of our autonomy and independence. We admire the unity of our nation that brought about the establishment of our own state. Slovenia became an independent country because that is what we wanted. What a great of the people's will! What determination of a united nation! We know that we can. Therefore, we look into the future not with fear but with hope. Slovenians appreciate the national and people's unity from a quarter of a century ago. But the unity did not happen overnight. It was a result of dialogue, cooperation and trust. The virtue of independence was in the fact that people were involved and not excluded. We have to remember that. This is essential and also applies to our continuing aspirations. We will be able to achive the social reforms that will benefit all of us, only if we work together and we do not exclude each other. This is the most valuable lesson from those times for our current and future challenges. We have our own country and we are involved in the most connected part of the European Union and the western world. We are in the right place at the right time. There is no reason to regret any groundbreaking decisions that have brought us here, including our accession to the EU, NATO, the eurozone and the Schengen area. This does not mean we are all satisfied. But what we have created together puts us in the drving seat when shaping our future. This year we celebrate the first 25 years of the Slovenian state and we plan for the next 25 years. We celebrate with a proud look to the past and a brave look into the future. We cannot predict the future nor will it solely depend on us. But it is a matter of our will to strengthen what unites us and tolerate what differentiates us. There are more things that connect us than divide us. This awareness has preserved us as a nation and enabled us to establish our own country. This confidence has enabled us to join the European family of nations and states. We need to continue the dialogue, cooperation and trust. Amongst ourselves and with other nations. We will succeed. << President Borut Pahor's address at the official ceremony to mark the 25th anniversary of Slovenia's independence

The Slovenia Times â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Special Edition



8 Leading EU (Jean-Claude Juncker, Donald Tusk, Martin Schulz) and NATO (General Petr Pavel) officials' statements on Slovenia's 25th Anniversary of Independence


10 Slovenia – 25 years of Independence: An Economic Perspective 12 AJPES: Business Performance Highlights of an Independent Slovenia (1991 – 2015)


14 Slovenia’s Value Proposition as a Location for FDI 16 25 Years of Success | Interview: Božo Emeršič, MBA, Chairman of the Board at GRAWE Insurance PLC 18 25 Years of Independence: Increasing Competitiveness

DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE 21 The Right Move 22 Voice of Reason 23 Openness is an Issue


24 Preserving a Competitive Edge


26 Backbone of the Economy 28 Pharma is Where Big Data is One of the Key Challenges | Interview: Vojmir Urlep, M.Sc., President of the Board of Management of Lek, a Sandoz company


30 Top Priority 32 Small Innovative Companies Will Carry the Slovenian Economy | Interview: Edi Kraus, The Director-General of Julon, d.o.o. 34 High Expectations for R&D in Medicine, Diagnostics and the Study of Cells | Interview: Professor Jadran Lenarčič, Ph.D., Director of the Jožef Stefan Institute

WOOD AND FORESTRY 36 Taking Back the Charge


38 Green, Active and Healthy 40 Postojna Cave: Underground Paradise 42 Things You didn’t Know About Slovenia


44 Slovenia: Realisation of an Olympic Dream

Special Edition Cover Photos: Nebojša Tejić/STA and Peter Božič/


The Slovenia Times – Special Edition


Dear readers, Slovenia peacefully realised its dream of becoming an independent country on 25 June 1991. The Slovenia Times has dedicated a special section of our summer edition to commemorate this milestone, where we highlight our country‘s greatest strengths and achievements. After a few years of economic woes, the present and the future look optimistic. Varied indicators show that our economy is well on its way, with GDP improving, an increase in the employment rate and trade, and a reduction in the budget deficit. Brane Krajnik CEO The Slovenia Times

In this commemorative publication, we look at Slovenia‘s economy over the last 25 years, with a specific focus on the automotive industry, the chemicals and pharmaceutical sectors, innnovation and wood and forestry. These industries are either already the backbone of our economy or have a strategic role in the government‘s future economic policies. We wish to show you who we are, where we come from and the advantages of doing business in and from Slovenia. In this special edition, you will also have the chance to see Slovenia through the eyes of foreigners who have made our country their home. You will notice that all those interviewed have a common theme: a great quality of life. As Slovenes, we became an independent nation in 1991, went through a successful transitional period with our economy going from strength to strength until the crisis in 2008. We weathered the storm and our economy is now on the up again, with optimistic forecasts for the future. The focus to attract more foreign investors is also bearing fruit, with indicators showing that FDI in the country is increasing. Our natural beauty is a given fact and we are recognised as a tourist destination. Regardless of your entry point into Slovenia, you will immediately notice the green of our forests and our waters, which together represent our strategic resources. But our greatest wealth is our well-educated people - the majority speak at least one foreign language and our students and graduates can be compared with the best in the world. We also have excellent knowledge and understanding of our neighbours and in particular, those from the former Yugoslavia where we share 45 years of history with the people of the now six independent states that are also in or on their way into the EU. The potential for international business connections and opportunities is therefore exceptional as a result of our shared history. Although the daily news is often depressing, when putting together this publication we, at The Slovenia Times, were reminded of how far our country has come and how many success stories it has written - so far! <<

The Slovenia Times – Special Edition



Triglav, the highest Slovenian mountain, is the centre of Triglav National Park. ▪ Photo: RDO Gorenjska Archives

23 December 1990

Plebiscite on independence of Slovenia. 88.2 % of the people vote FOR an independent Republic of Slovenia

25 June 1991

The Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia adopts the Basic Constitutional Charter, the Constitutional Act and the Declaration of Independence.

23 December 1991

The Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia passes a new constitution, which becomes the first constitution of independent Slovenia.

15 January 1992

Slovenia is recognised by the European Community and its Member States.

8 - 23 February 1992

25 Slovenian sportsmen compete at the Albertville Winter Olympics under the national flag of Slovenia for the first time.


The Slovenia Times – Special Edition

22 May 1992

Slovenia is accepted to the UN as its 176th member

25 July - 9 August 1992 Slovenia’s first Bronze medal at the Summer Olympics in Barcelona.

30 September 1992

The Bank of Slovenia issued the first banknotes of the Slovenian Tolar.

6 December 1992

The first parliamentary and presidential elections since Slovenian independence are held.

15 January 1993

Slovenia becomes a member of the International Monetary Fund.

14 May 1993

Slovenia officially becomes the 28th full member of the Council of Europe.

30 July 1995

Slovenia becomes the 105th full and founding member of the World Trade Organization.

1 January 1996

Slovenia becomes a full member of the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA).

1 January 1998

Slovenia becomes a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council.

23 May 1998

Slovenia presents itself at the EXPO in Lisbon for the first time.

1 August 1998

Slovenia assumes one-month presidency of the UN Security Council.

1 February 1999

The Association Agreement with the EU comes into effect, and Slovenia officially becomes an associate member of the EU.

21 June 1999

10 June 2008

12 July 2015

American President William J. Clinton visits Slovenia

Slovenia hosts the EU-US Summit, which is also attended by the President of the United States of America, George W. Bush.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg was on his first official visit in Slovenia.

1 October 2000 - At the 2000 Sydney Olympics, rowers Iztok Čop and Luka Špik win the first ever gold for the independent country in double sculls.

7 October 2000

Slovenian extreme skier Davo Karničar skies non-stop down the world’s highest mountain Mount Everest (8850m).

16 June 2001

The American and Russian presidents, George W. Bush and Vladimir Putin, meet for the first time at Brdo pri Kranju.

14 November 2001

Slovenian national football team battles to its first World Cup finals in play-off against Romania.

29 March 2004

Slovenia becomes a member of NATO

1 May 2004

Slovenia becomes an EU member state.

28 June 2004

Janez Potočnik becomes a European Commissioner for Science and Research .

5 - 6 December 2005

OSCE ministerial meeting takes place in Ljubljana

1 January 2007

Slovenia enters the euro area. The euro becomes the Slovenian national currency.

22 December 2007

Slovenia enters the Schengen area.

1 January 2008

Slovenia takes over the EU Council Presidency for six months.

The Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edin- burgh make a three-day state visit to Slovenia.

12 May 2009

Slovenia takes over the six-month chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.

21 July 2010

Slovenia becomes the 32nd member of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

16 November 2010

The world’s leading motor glider aircraft designer and producer Pipistrel is selected as the winner of the prestigious European Business Award selection in the category UKTI Award for Innovation.

20 July 2012

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Kimoon paid an official visit to Slovenia.

17 March 2013

Tina Maze concluded the alpine skiing World Cup finals by winning the competition in giant slalom. She was the first Slovenian to win the big crystal globe with an outstanding total of 2,414 points..

23 March 2014

Peter Prevc won the finals of the World Cup Ski Jumping competition.

14 February 2015

Slovenian ski jumper Peter Prevc won the ski jumping competiton in Vikersund. With 250 meters in the second series, he made what was then the longest jump in history of mankind.

1 May – 31 October 2015 Slovenia participated at the World Expo in Milan; its pavilion was visited by more than one million people and presented more than one thousand Slovenian companies.

26 - 27 July 2015

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev attended the traditional ceremony at the Russian Chapel located at the foot of the Vršič mountain pass to commemorate the Russian soldiers who died during the First World War

23rd december 2015 25th anniversary of the plebiscite proclamation

24th June 2016 Slovenian national day

25th october 2016

Sovereignty day – 25 years since the last JNA soldier left Slovenia

23rd december 2016

Independence and unity day – 25th anniversary of the adoption of the constitution of the republic of Slovenia


15 September

21 October 2008


Tomaž Humar climbs the southern rock wall of Daulagiri (8167 m).


6 November 1999

The Slovenia Times – Special Edition



How do you perceive Slovenia as a young, 25 year old state? What are the main challenges and opportunities for the country? Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission Twenty five years ago, a new era began in the history of Slovenia – a milestone when, with confidence and pride, you won independence through your own efforts. By taking risks and making sacrifices you became masters of your own destiny. This was a change for the better: you gained democracy, political autonomy and territorial integrity. Slovenia is a young but mature state. As of 1 May 2004 you became a proud member of the European Union, thus reconciling European geography and history. Slovenia was, rightly, the first country among the 2004 enlargement wave to introduce the euro in 2007 and successfully held the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU in the first half of 2008. Your people – from scientists to sportsmen – are great ambassadors. Despite these numerous accomplishments, major challenges lie ahead. As a responsible member of the international community, Slovenia contributes decisively to security and stability in the region. You serve as a bridge between the EU and the countries of the Western Balkans aspiring to become EU members. You also play a key role in the management of the refugee crisis and I would like to applaud the Slovenian people for their solidarity during the most difficult months of this crisis. On the economic front, the country has reached a turning point. Slovenia can count on our support and solidarity. Under our Investment Plan for Europe, EUR 180m is already available for SMEs in Slovenia. This is just the first step to bigger and better finance for investment projects. We look to the future with determination and courage. Together, let us address our shared challenges and make the most of new opportunities. As President of the European Commission, I Feel Slovenia!

Donald Tusk, President of the European Council "Slovenia is a land of remarkable charm and a country of variety, being located at a crossroads of Europe’s cultural routes, the Alpine and the Adriatic. Since independence, Slovenia has consolidated its unique role in the family of European countries, demonstrating confidence and competence: from the successful Slovenian EU Presidency in 2008 to your country’s role in the major political debates in Europe today. One example is the ongoing migration crisis. Last year, Prime Minister Cerar was absolutely a key voice around the European Council table pushing for a comprehensive approach on irregular migrants and asylum seekers. This is indeed the path we then took, allowing us to get the situation in the Western Balkans under control. That is not to obscure another huge challenge affecting all our citizens, namely the need to propel the European economy towards significant growth again. This is true in Slovenia, with its industrious and clever people, and especially in the Balkan region which has suffered a lot in recent times. Finally, I would say that all of us in Europe need to be on guard against the kinds of brutal

and radical populism we see on the rise in many places in Europe. But I am full of confidence in this respect, because of all you sacrificed in the recent past to have independence and peace here."


The Slovenia Times – Special Edition

Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament

Slovenia @25: a young state that thinks big "This year Slovenia celebrates its 25th Statehood Day, which marks the country’s declaration of independence from Yugoslavia in 1991. If one goes back to consider the events that led to Slovenia’s independence, one can already appreciate the temper with which this small and young state has been forged. Slovene citizens courageously stood on the side of freedom and on the side of Europe. This twin vocation has accompanied Slovenia throughout its history, making it in many ways a pioneering nation. Slovenia reformed itself in record time: it adopted a new and forward-looking constitution; it abandoned the state-controlled economic model and it joined NATO in 2004. Its European path has been equally impressive: it has been the first country of the former Yugoslavia to join the EU in 2004 showing an impressive and unmatched reform zeal. Thanks to the determination and pro-Europeanism of Slovene citizens, the young state joined the single currency in 2007. Slovenia has worked hard for peace and reconciliation in the Balkans and has worked hard to ensure that other Balkan countries could also benefit from EU integration. Successive Slovenian governments have always stood on the side of European integration and I still remember vividly the productive enthusiasm of the 2008 Slovenian Council presidency, which led to agreements on important files ranging from environmental protection to labour law. Slovene MEPs in the European Parliament have worked tirelessly and competently to advance and improve EU legislation and scrutinise the work of the European Commission. European Commissioners from Slovenia have equally shown professionalism and a strong pro-European commitment. Throughout these years Slovenia has shown how a nation small in size can think big to the benefit of the whole EU. I am sure Slovenia will continue to inspire and strengthen the European project."

General Petr Pavel, Chairman of the NATO Military Committee Being from the Czech Republic, I remember well how things were before the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact. Although Slovenia was never part of the Soviet Bloc, you did not really escape the Soviet influence. Slovenia has come a long way since that time. After your independence in 1991, you joined the EU and NATO in 2004. Since then, Slovenia has been a highly valued and reliable NATO ally, actively contributing to NATO missions and operations in Afghanistan and Kosovo. And, starting in 2018, together with Italy you will be a part of the Very High Readiness Task Force that NATO has recently established. I want to commend Slovenia for its plans to further develop and better equip its armed forces by 2025. You are also committed to stopping defence cuts by 2016 and plan an increase for 2017. This is an encouraging step towards achieving the pledge made at the Summit in Wales to stop the cuts in defence spending and then gradually increase to two percent of GDP over a decade. All of this reflects Slovenia’s strong commitment to NATO. Slovenia also benefits from the collective defence and the collective security NATO provides. NATO is an Alliance based on the idea of "one for all and all for one" – we protect and defend each other and that is important for all of us.

Photos of Slovenia, EU and NATO flags and symbols: Domen Grögl, Tamino Petelinšek and Thierry Monasse/STA

The Slovenia Times – Special Edition



Slovenia – 25 years of Independence:

An Economic Perspective Prepared by Valerio Fabbri

Stability and continuity are the trademarks that have characterised Slovenia’s evolution since its independence in 1991. From tolar to euro, from a non-aligned bloc to full European Union (EU) membership, and from a socialist, managed economy to a fully-fledged capitalist economy, Slovenia has long been considered the poster child of post-Communist transition, although the recent financial crisis pushed the country to the verge of economic collapse, along the lines Greece and Cyprus. But solid macroeconomic fundamentals and far-sighted, yet politically difficult choices, i.e. stability and continuity, prevented Slovenia from falling deeper into recession than it did. Despite being a small, open economy, the country has managed to offset the negative consequences of economic downturns in the international environment relatively well, thanks to its traditionally solid economic backbone. With excellent infrastructure, a well-educated workforce and a strategic location between the Balkans and Western Europe, Slovenia has one of the highest per capita GDP’s and is

one of the wealthiest countries in Central Europe. These achievements have been attained through hard work and the tough choices since independence.

A gradual transition A well-educated workforce and effective institutions have significantly contributed to the overall economic performance of

Average wage (net) 1200 1.021 €


925 € 773 €

800 600 400 200 0

43 € 1991



2016 Source: SURS


The Slovenia Times – Special Edition

Slovenia, although the success stories are often taken for granted. When it comes to the transition from the communist bloc to capitalism, Slovenia is the epitome of a gradual approach, while Poland stands at the opposite end of the spectrum with Balcerowicz’s "shock therapy". If the latter case has been widely, perhaps bitterly debated, the former has rarely been under the spotlight. Slovenia’s gradualist approach towards structural reform was crucial, in particular with respect to liberalisation and privatisation. The country opted for a gradual regime change as it was considered that such an approach would minimise the risk of profound and rapid structural changes which would ultimately backfire on the economy. Tiny Slovenia had less than eight percent of the population of Yugoslavia, yet Slovene firms accounted for an estimated 33 percent of Yugoslav exports. With a degree of price liberalisation higher than in other postCommunist countries of a similar size, Slovenia was in a favourable position to start the transition with good initial conditions. Many of the distinctive features of the present day economy were already long-standing peculiarities at the time of independence. Slovenia was the principal trading arm of the former Yugoslavia, itself the most open economy in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). Most of its trade was with more advanced market economies in the West: Germany and Italy being Slovenia’s main trading partners in 1990, together taking 40 percent of exports. Today, these countries still top the chart of Slovenia’s trading partners, although with a smaller percentage, the main difference being that some of the other former Yugoslav Republics now also account for exports. In addition, enterprises in the former Yugoslavia were characterised by a system of self-management and social capital, the so-called "market socialism". This system of decentralised control, where markets were allowed to play a significant role in the allocation of resources throughout the economy, stood in contrast with the much more centralised economic management that prevailed elsewhere in CEE. In continuity with the past, independent Slovenia could rely on cheap inputs of labour and raw materials from the rest of the former Yugoslav Federation as the country readily inserted itself into the supply chains of Austrian, German and Northern Italian manufacturers. Quite inevitably, Slovenian exports went in equal proportions to the West, the renewed Eastern bloc, and the other South Slavic nations. This success, due to favorable initial conditions, is encapsulated in the survival of well-recognised and muchappreciated Slovenian brands, from

GDP per capita in EUR






Source: SURS

1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Data before 2007 was recalculated into Euros based on on a fixed exchange rate 1 EUR - 239,64 tolar

appliances (Gorenje) through to automotive (Revoz, Hidria) to pharmaceuticals (Krka, Lek). These companies managed to undergo the transition relatively smoothly to maintain and further grow their market positions, while other vulnerable industries, such as the textile industry, suffered from international competition and gradually disappeared. The run-up to EU accession brought significant challenges for Slovenia. After 1997, virtually the whole CEE region moved towards what was known as the Hungarian way: privatisation to transnational enterprises, especially in the manufacturing, banking, financial, retail and energy sectors. Only Slovenia decided to keep the economy in national hands. The difference is crucial: because of the economic structure, Slovenian firms remained independent from the global production chains of multinational corporations and are just as exportoriented as the assembly plants of the transnational firms elsewhere in CEE. However, in contrast to other countries in the region, the profits stayed in Slovenia, paving the way to further integration into western economic institutions. Slovenia became the first 2004 EU entrant to adopt the euro, on 1 January 2007. In March 2004, Slovenia became the first transition country to graduate from borrower status to donor partner at the World Bank, while in 2007 it was invited to begin the process for joining the Organization for Economic and Cooperation Development (OECD), a group of 34 advanced countries that discuss and develop economic and social policy, to which it became a member in 2012.

However, while state presence in the economy was vital to manage the first years of economic transition, globalisation forces did not stop at Slovenia’s doorstep, nor should the country have shielded itself from it. The long-delayed privatisations, particularly within Slovenia’s largely stateowned and increasingly indebted banking sector, fueled investor concerns in 2012 when the global economic situation became bleak. In 2013, the European Commission granted Slovenia permission to begin recapitalising the ailing lenders and transferring their non-performing assets into a "bad bank" which was established to restore bank balance sheets. Strong demand by yield-seeking bond investors for Slovenian debt helped the government in 2013 to continue to finance the country independently, a great sign of confidence from the international markets under the circumstances.

Conclusion In retrospect, it is easy to say that the gradual approach was the correct one, as Slovenia outperformed the other transition countries in nearly every macroeconomic indicator. Economic, social and political stability are considered to be the most prominent advantages of the gradualist approach. Indeed, shocks have been largely avoided. While good initial conditions helped the country manage the earliest stages of transition at relatively low cost, it was the implementation of effective stabilisation policies that then helped the economy recover its strength. With stable economic growth and no major macroeconomic imbalances, losses of

output and jobs have been kept small and social peace preserved. Per capita income, while lagging behind the EU average, is comparable to that of Greece or Portugal. However, some structural rigidities remain, as evidenced by the small share of the private sector in the economy. In recent years, the government has embarked on a program of state asset sales intended to bolster investor confidence in the economy and increase competitiveness. Perhaps, once again, Slovenia could be on the road to a gradual, successful transition. <<

State presence in the economy was vital to manage the first years of economic transition, globalisation forces did not stop at Slovenia’s doorstep, nor should the country have shielded itself from it. The long-delayed privatisations, particularly within Slovenia’s largely state-owned and increasingly indebted banking sector, fueled investor concerns in 2012 when the global economic situation became bleak. The Slovenia Times – Special Edition



Business Performance Highlights of an Independent Slovenia (1991 – 2015) The establishment of an independent country; changes to the economic system; the loss of old and access to new markets; rapid expansion; and an economic crisis have, in the 25 years of Slovenian independence, left
 an imprint on the business performance of companies. In 1991, 13,309 companies submitted their financial statements to the Public Financing Service of the Republic of Slovenia (SDK), bearing witness to the flow of thousands of Slovenian tolars. From an accounting perspective, the passing of the Companies Act (ZGD) which required accounts to be kept in accordance with the Slovenian Accounting Standards (SRS), also governed the accounting approach in the years to follow. The number of companies submitting data from their annual reports for national statistical purposes has increased through the years from 1991 through to 2015. In 2015; 65,214 companies submitted their annual reports, around five times more than in 1994. The Agency of the Republic

of Slovenia for Public Legal Records and Related Services (AJPES) first collected and processed the reports for 2002,

taking on the role from the Agency of the Republic of Slovenia for Payments.

AJPES has been dealing with this independently for the past 14 years. AJPES also looks after: • The registration of businesses, keeping the Slovenian Business Register and other registers and the official release of information; • Statistical research and data collection; • The collection, processing and publication of annual reports of registered businesses; • Implementation of credit rating services and other marketing services. The promotion of the free entrepreneurial initiative has brought about the differentiation of the tasks performed by AJPES, making it the main registration authority in the country

Key dates in the history of AJPES

In accordance with its mission, AJPES follows its strategic vision of co-creating a transparent economic environment; encouraging the digital exchange of data and information; cooperating with interest groups and institutions to improve the legal and institutional environment and removing administrative burdens. AJPES will remain an essential provider of credit ratings and other marketing services as well as manage the register and other fields of work.

Table: performance of companies during the crucial years In the years observed, not only has the number of companies increased but also their earnings, share of net earnings from sales in foreign markets and net added value per employee. However, based on the working hours, the number of employees has decreased. Net profit was at its highest in 2007, which was also the first year when companies submitted their annual reports in euros. Number of companies Number of employees (on the basis of working hours)

1991 13,309 593,625

1994 30,941

2001 37,210

2007 48,781

475,120 473,445 499,465 444,839

Income (€m)






Net revenue from foreign markets (€m)






% of net revenues from sales in foreign markets Net earnings (€m) Net added value per employee (€) % share capital in liabilities Average monthly wage per employee (€)










1,640 41,124















In the quarter of a century of Slovenia’s independence, the structure of business has changed. The proportion of industrial and manufacturing companies has declined, while companies in the service sector and trade have increased. It is evident the Slovenian economy made immense progress since its independence and that following the years of crisis, the foundations have strengthened. However, as a very small economy, Slovenia will continue to be dependent on the conditions in global markets. <<


The Slovenia Times – Special Edition

2015 65,214


Credit ratings

Annual reports

Financial data



VEM One-stop shop

Official publications






KOPER The Agency of the Republic of Slovenia for Public Legal Records and Related Services



Slovenia’s Value Proposition as a Location for FDI

Since the late 1970s, when the first foreign investors came to Slovenia, the skill base has remained the country’s key attraction as an inward investment location. Skilled labour is available to a range of industries making Slovenia an easy location for investors to fill talent. Other advantages include adaptability of companies and of the workforce, business legislation, investment incentives, a 17% corporate income tax rate and investment tax allowances. Foreign investors’ perception of Slovenia as a host for FDI is improving as gross value added per employee keeps increasing against a backdrop of the decreasing number of employees over the past few years. Manufacturing companies lead the way in generating the highest gross value added, and among them large companies account for more gross value added than all other companies put together.

Foreign direct investment and an effective go-to-market strategy help to increase competitiveness and economic growth. Slovenia’s business environment is conducive to entrepreneurial activity, but its potential as a gateway into the region of 45 million consumers and further on into the EU market, with 500 million people, is still waiting to be fully developed. Its supportive environment with probusiness infrastructure and a technicallysavvy workforce should compensate for the fact that further fiscal stimulus is not likely given the current state of public finances and the need to decrease the deficit and reduce those items with lowest multipliers on GDP. What serious foreign investors appreciate in Slovenia are its many qualities: a talented workforce capable of delivering smart and sustainable solutions, a powerful and adaptable technological and industrial base, ability to cope with the volatile global market and keep pace in a rapidly changing and increasingly complex industry. Just add the country’s welldeveloped infrastructure for inland transport of goods, modern port infrastructure, reliable electricity and gas supply and dependable internet connections and Slovenia has all the attributes of an FDI destination of choice.

Quality infrastructure Ideally situated to serve Europe’s west and east, north and south, Slovenia not only has excellent communication and transport infrastructure, high-quality services and a functioning public administration and financial system,


The Slovenia Times – Special Edition

02 01 Črni Kal Viaduct; Photo: DARS 02 Ljubljana Tromostovje (the Three Bridges); Photo: SPIRIT 03 Riko prefabricated wooden houses; Photo: Riko 04 Logarska Valley; Photo: Tomo Jeseničnik/


but has people with long business and personal links in the Western Balkans. Goods are moved quickly and reliably, clearance procedures are efficient and once goods enter Slovenia via road, rail, air or sea, they are at the doorstep of the EU market. In addition to well-developed physical infrastructure, a well-developed ICT industry is a key enabler for building a country’s competitiveness, attracting foreign investment and developing the information society.

Quality workforce Slovenia’s focus is on education, training and industry-driven research to support what it can offer to the high technology and other high value added sectors such as information and communication technology, pharmaceuticals and life sciences. Its workforce has a high reputation for flair for technology and innovation thanks to a successful combination of a long industrial tradition and quality formal schooling as an important contributor to the skills of the individual and to human capital. According to Eurostat, Slovenia meets two Europe 2020 goals regarding education: 40.1% of people aged between 30 and 34 have completed tertiary education (2002: 20.7%) and less than 4% of those aged between 18 and 24 have left school early. Not only the young but also those who are young at heart have IT skills and digital literacy, and over 70% of the population can have a conversation in at least two foreign languages. English, German and Italian are widely used.


Quality link to regional markets For over 20 years, Slovenia’s economy has been exposed to the advantages and disadvantages of free trade and foreign investment. Its location at the heart of Europe makes it one of the most attractive locations for investment and a springboard for European companies wanting to do business in the Western Balkans as well as for the Balkan countries wanting to penetrate the EU markets. The benefits from technology transfers such as giving impetus to modernisation processes and creating new jobs are easier to acquire when the diffusion of new ideas and technologies is not hindered by geographic or political factors. Slovenia has all the attributes needed to do business across the region: knowledge of language, customs and culture, as well as personal connections.

Quality of life There is the right blend of strategic location, competitive business costs and world class talent for investors looking to explore opportunities in technology, products and innovative trends in one of the safest, cleanest and greenest countries in the world. Business friendliness and life satisfaction go hand-in-hand in Slovenia as best seen in its capital. Ljubljana maintains an economic momentum but still feels small and friendly. According to its inhabitants, it is one of the most liveable cities in the world. Its sights and neighbourhoods are easily accessed on foot, by bike or by public transport. It is this quality of life and the provision of all kinds of amenities that contribute to the quality of life of foreign investors that attract a mobile workforce in search of economic opportunity and a good standard of living. << The Slovenia Times – Special Edition


>>FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT GRAWE Slovenia will still be stable, future oriented and continue to serve its satisfied customers.

Božo Emeršič, MBA, Chairman of the Board at GRAWE Insurance PLC

Interview: Božo Emeršič, MBA, Chairman of the Board at GRAWE Insurance PLC

25 Years of Success Prepared by Aleksander Koren

GRAWE Insurance PLC from Maribor has its roots in 1828, when it was founded by Archduke Johann as a fire insurance company. Group started its internationalisation in 1991 with expansion from Austria to Slovenia and by year 2008 covered 13 East-European countries. In 2015 Slovenian branch exceeded its expected profits and created EUR 2.3m net income. The chairman of the board that has been with the company for the last 16 years explains GRAWE’s development and strategy. Q GRAWE is often praised for its long tradition and being present in Slovenia for the last 25 years. What are the main advantages of GRAWE Group that is stretched from Austria all the way across Balkans to Ukraine? A The main competitive advantage was already mentioned by you and this is our long tradition. GRAWE has its roots in provinces of Austrian empire mainly populated by Slovenians at the time. 16

The Slovenia Times – Special Edition

Considering this fact GRAWE is a true Slovenian company. On the same note we have three major competitive advantages. The first one is our tendency towards long term sustainability; our concrete orientation towards customer; and preservation of our long tradition with gained experiences.

Q The company created EUR 2.3m of net profit in 2015 and expanded its market share

to 1.81%. The solvency rate also grew to as much as 435%. Where do you see GRAWE in the next 25 years? A Of course we have short term business plans, medium term business projections and long term strategies with a vision for our company’s future. Slovenia’s GRAWE development mainly depends on the market development over time. We are asking ourselves: Is the insurance industry going to be centralised? Are the major players going to be privatised? These issues will definitely influence GRAWE’s position in the Slovenian market. But we are certain that in 25 years GRAWE Slovenia will still be stable, future oriented and continue to serve its satisfied customers.

Q In recent times there were a lot of calls for health care reform, which would tackle supplementary healthcare insurance. How would such action impact insurance market in Slovenia and GRAWE itself even if your company is not directly linked to the particular type of insurance policy? What are your general predictions for Slovenian insurance market? There are signals that Triglav Insurance PLC will not be privatised, what is your comment? A We are following the market development, but the question of Triglav privatisation should be asked to the management at Triglav, the owners or other relevant parties in order to find an adequate answer. Quite similarly I cannot comment on a reform that has not yet been drafted and furthermore implemented in the society. Generally speaking, the longevity of human life span is constantly increasing by improved medical technology. The problem raises the issue of pension and rising costs of entitlement benefits programs. A lot of insurance companies are addressing the question of sustainability of such entitlement programs and GRAWE is by no means an exception. As mentioned, we do not offer supplementary healthcare insurances but we offer other life insurances that will help our customers in case of dread diseases or life insurance packages for savings that will enable our customers to receive additional funds when they enter to state entitlement program. <<

We are asking ourselves: Is the insurance industry going to be centralised? Are the major players going to be privatised?


25 Years of Independence:

Increasing Competitiveness

Since independence in 1991, Slovenia has made a transition from a socialist federal republic to a free market economy in a very short period and in the smoothest way possible. Although not as fast as in some other new EU member states, the foreign direct investment has grown steadily in Slovenia. Despite all fears that the country may be too small or that the privatisation processes are too slow, the number of foreign investors, albeit small in comparison to some other eastern European countries, keeps growing. According to the Bank of Slovenia, between 1994 and 2014, growth in FDI in Slovenia averaged 12.3% per year. More recently, the total stock of foreign direct investment in Slovenia rose by EUR 896m in 2015 on the back of an increase in foreign ownership stock in the country. At the end of 2014, the stock of inward FDI in Slovenia amounted to EUR 10.1 billion, up 13.9% on the end of 2013. Ever since Slovenia joined the European Union, EU member states continue to

prevail among investor countries, together accounting for 85% of all inward FDI in Slovenia in value terms at the end of 2014. The most important of these investors is Austria, which accounted for 33.6% of all inward FDI. The second-largest investor country in terms of FDI value is Switzerland (11.3% of the total). Germany, the third biggest investor country, held 10.4% of total FDI in Slovenia, up EUR 358.4 million on the previous year. The fourth biggest investor

was Italy, whose inward FDI in Slovenia amounted to EUR 803.5 million (7.9% of the total). Croatia was the fifth-ranked, accounting for 7.7% of total inward FDI.

Improving competitiveness Sloveniaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s determination to attract more foreign investors is also reflected in recent reports published by the World Bank and Bank of Slovenia; Photo: M. Pentek


The Slovenia Times â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Special Edition

The country made the biggest jump in economic effectiveness and productivity where it rose as many as 14 places. In government efficiency, the country rose six spots on the back of better public finances and political stability.

Policies that improved Slovenia’s competitiveness – World Bank report 2015 ● Slovenia made starting a business easier through improvements to its one-stop shop that allowed more online services. ● Slovenia made trading across borders faster by introducing online submission of customs declaration forms. ● Slovenia made dealing with construction permits easier by eliminating the requirement to obtain project conditions from the water and sewerage provider. Globally, Slovenia stands at 71 in the ranking of 189 economies on the ease of dealing with construction permits ● Greater computerization in Slovenia’s land registry reduced delays in property registration by 75%.

the Swiss-based International Institute for Management Development (IMD). The World Bank’s Doing Business report puts Slovenia at 29th place (moved up from 35 in 2015) in the ranking of 189 economies on the ease of doing business. Slovenia also rose six places to rank 43rd out of 61 countries on IMD’s World Competitiveness Scoreboard to be among countries making the biggest inroads in economic competitiveness over the past year. The improvement in Slovenia’s ranking on the index compiled by IMD came on the back of better economic performance and government efficiency. "There is a more positive perception in the business community about what is happening with this government in terms of regulation and a more business-friendly environment", says Professor Arturo Bris, director of IMD. "Within the society there is more cohesion, a better attitude toward globalisation and more internationalisation of people."

● Slovenia made transferring property easier and less costly by introducing online procedures and reducing fees. ● Slovenia abolished its payroll tax and reduced its corporate income tax rate. ● Slovenia made paying taxes easier and less costly for companies by implementing electronic filing and payment of social security contributions and by reducing the corporate income tax rate. ● Slovenia strengthened investor protections through a new law regulating the approval of related-party transactions. ● Slovenia abolished priority rules for reemployment, changed the notice period and severance pay provisions for redundancy dismissals and increased the minimum wage.

The country made the biggest jump in economic effectiveness and productivity where it rose as many as 14 places. In government efficiency, the country rose six spots on the back of better public finances and political stability. Slovenia continued to be graded highly on infrastructure, gaining six places in

basic infrastructure, ranking 30th in terms of infrastructure overall. Finally, in June Standard & Poor’s has upgraded Slovenia’s credit rating by one notch to A, from A-, restoring the rating cut in February 2013 ahead of the bank bailout later that year. The outlook on the rating is stable.

Foreign direct investment in Slovenia in million euros 12000 10000 8000 6000 4000 2000 0

Source: Bank of Slovenia

1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014

The Slovenia Times – Special Edition



in 1000 EUR 2000000





Source: SURS

2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016

"We expect the ongoing recovery in privatesector demand to strengthen over 2016-2019, aiding Slovenian authorities’ budgetary consolidation efforts," the agency said. The agency projects for Slovenia’s gross general government debt to be reduced to about 74% of GDP by 2019. "The pace of debt reduction could be faster if economic conditions and the authorities’ willingness support a faster narrowing of the deficit."

There is still work to be done Meanwhile, the annual survey by the IMD found that some of the chronic limitations

remain, with business effectiveness remaining a key challenge, as the country ranked 53rd in this respect. "Overall, the economic performance of the country was much better in 2015 than in 2014," says Professor Bris. "While the country had negative GDP growth for some time, the growth is now positive. Employment has also improved. However, economic performance is not enough to state that a country is competitive." Corporate governance, a lack of openness to foreign ideas, and lack of flexibility for dealing with new challenges remain key problematic issues. Ownership of companies and speed of privatisation are also ongoing issues, as is indebtedness of the corporate sector. In banking, regulation and access to loans all require improvement.

in the government’s document called FDI Declaration. "We have to undertake structural reforms in three key areas to make our companies more successful abroad and make the country more attractive to FDI," says Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek, singling out taxes, labour law and administrative obstacles. It may be small steps, but they are steps in the right direction. <<

Ownership of companies and speed of privatisation are also Keep the progress going ongoing issues, as is indebtedness of the corporate Slovenia’s main competitive advantages remain a highly educated workforce and sector. In banking, regulation reliable infrastructure, said Sonja Uršič of and access to loans all the Institute of Economic Research. require improvement. The country has also advanced with the

Professor Arturo Bris, Director, IMD World Competitiveness Center


The Slovenia Times – Special Edition

help of research and development. "This is an important competitive advantage for Slovenia: compared to other countries in central and eastern Europe, this is an area where Slovenia ranks better," says Uršič. Except for the ongoing regular promotion of Slovenia as investors’ destination, the government is looking to continue addressing the major issues that prevent more investors from putting their money into the country. The goal is to increase FDI from EUR 10.5bn now to EUR 15bn in five years which is also contained


Piran; Photo: M. Pentek

The Right Move Prepared by Tina Drolc MSc

Q How long have you lived in Slovenia and how would you position the country within the EU? A I moved to Piran with my wife Tomomi only three months ago from London, and already we have been made to feel right at home. So far it’s turning into the best decision we could possibly make. The stunning nature; the kind-hearted people; the culture and music; the romantic Venetian architecture; the pristine air and waters, and of course the food products from mountain and sea. It’s amazing to be in such a small place with so much to offer. Every day has been a new adventure. On top of those advantages, infrastructure’s great and everything works. Slovenia may not rank near the top of the EU charts for economic might or competitive edge, but in terms of quality of life? Quite possibly number one.

Joji Sakurai, a veteran AP foreign correspondent editor Q What is your experience with our society, who also writes for esteemed is it open enough? publications including A On a personal level, Slovenia is one of The Financial Times, New the most open countries I have visited in a lifetime of traveling the globe. People are Statesman, and the New York friendly, helpful and extremely tolerant – Times, made a bold decision in a part of Europe that is not always for tolerance. Our new town Piran to move from London to Piran known has a mayor from Ghana and now two with his wife, embarking happy residents from Japan. Everybody on a new writing path as here has gone out of their way to help us our feet in this beautiful town. As a an independent journalists, find journalist, however, I’ve been made aware essayist and a critic. In only that Slovenia might do more to open up to three short months of being in foreign investment and competition. With your highly educated and motivated the country, it already feels like workforce, Slovenia has nothing to fear home. from the outside world. Everybody says

Joji Sakurai, a veteran AP foreign correspondent editor

has what it takes to make a big impact on the European economic stage.

Q What are your current projects in Slovenia?

A We moved to Piran for a nice quiet place to pursue my new path as an independent journalist and commentator. It’s the perfect tranquil spot from which to think about the European, Asian and global currents that have preoccupied me for the past several years – and which I hope to continue writing about for FT, New Statesman and Yale University. Slovenia’s also smack in the middle of Europe, the perfect location for me to launch magazine feature expeditions in a rich variety of countries, from Italy to Hungary ... And of course Slovenia is such a stunningly beautiful country – with everything from sea to Alpine summit – that I can’t wait for the chance to break into travel writing! <<

Slovenia may not rank near the top of the EU charts for economic might or competitive edge, but in terms of quality of life? Quite possibly number one.

Slovenia is a small country. But Slovenia

The Slovenia Times – Special Edition



Voice of Reason Louise Chatwood

Louise Chatwood is an Australian professional with extensive management, client relationship, operational and marketing experience in developed and transition markets. She moved to Slovenia 10 years ago. Q How long have you lived in Slovenia and how would you position the country within the EU? A I moved to Slovenia 10 years ago, shortly before the country adopted the euro, when the Slovenian economy was booming, life was good and the country was beginning to build its profile within the EU. Slovenia’s image was tarnished during the difficult post-financial crisis years, however with the ongoing refugee crisis which has been handled both empathetically and efficiently here, Slovenia has regained respect among the Member States and is building a profile as a voice of reason during this ongoing humanitarian crisis.

As a society however, there is still work to be done in terms of being open to opportunities and possibilities. There is a certain irony to this, although I find there is a general resistance to change Q What is your experience with and a reluctance to accept our society, is it open enough? different ways of looking at A Slovenians are extremely hospitable people and rightly, very proud of this situations, there are many very beautiful country. As a society however, successful entrepreneurs whose there is still work to be done in terms of open to opportunities and ideas are now globally being possibilities. There is a certain irony to this, recognised brands. although I find there is a general resistance to change and a reluctance to accept different ways of looking at situations, there are many very successful entrepreneurs whose ideas are now globally recognised brands and personally, because of its small size and transition country, I have had more opportunities here than would ever be open to me in my home county which is a so-called developed country and has an open society.


The Slovenia Times – Special Edition

Q What are your current projects in Slovenia?

A My career in emerging markets investing is what originally brought me to Slovenia and I spent my first five years here at a local funds management firm. Today, I teach Economics and Business to the senior students at the British International School Ljubljana who are looking to complete their further studies outside the region and will be the future business and political leaders in the region. In addition, I’m still involved in the business environment as I also consult to local businesses on financial and strategic issues. <<

Openness is an Issue Valerio Fabbri

Valerio Fabbri is an Italian national who moved to Slovenia in 2013. He is a public relations and communications professional with expertise and track record in strategic communications projects and journalism, focusing on the Eurasian region.  Q How long have you lived in Slovenia and how would you position the country within the EU? A I have been living in Ljubljana since December 2013, though I first visited the country in the summer of 2005. The capital has dramatically improved, the mayor has done an incredible job, and overall city infrastructure is pretty decent. As for the country, in my opinion Slovenia is an epitome for Central Europe, a pure theoretical definition for me until I moved here. Besides, the Balkan whiff gives the country a charming touch.

Frankly speaking I don’t think society is open enough, and I don’t think it Q What is your experience with is because I am a foreigner. our society, is it open enough? It is funny to see the reactions A Frankly speaking I don’t think society is open enough, and I don’t think it is because when I say this to my Slovenian I am a foreigner. It is funny to see the prijateljem (friends): sometimes reactions when I say this to my Slovenian prijateljem (friends): sometimes the listener the listener gets offended, but gets offended, but oftentimes s/he oftentimes s/he criticizes criticizes someone else, as if society is not by them as well. In my opinion, the someone else, as if society is done issue of openness is problematic from a not done by them as well. professional point of view rather than from

Q What are your current projects in Slovenia?

A I work in the P.R. and communication sphere with my beloved s.p. (selfemployed). Everybody says that it is impossible to work or find a job in Slovenia, but I disagree. Well, of course it is not a cakewalk nor are there as many opportunities as there would be in, say, London, but that’s not the point. The point is that if you have talent, ideas, competencies, and the most crucial assets of all, id est the will to work hard and go the extra mile, well, even in Slovenia you can work well, perhaps better than elsewhere exactly because of its size. Another big project of mine related to Slovenia is running the Ljubljana marathon. I am halfway there: picking up running as a hobby is something I could imagine doing only here!! <<

a social point of view. Different people bring different experiences, expertise and ideas, and not necessarily what comes from outside or abroad is negative. But I noticed that the society is closed even among villages, cities or regions per se – and to me it is striking to realize how many city councils there are for a population smaller than Rome, which is where I was born.

The Slovenia Times – Special Edition



Photo: Tamino Petelinšek/STA

Preserving a Competitive Edge Slovenia’s automotive industry has a long tradition and has been the engine of the Slovenian economy throughout its 25 years of independence. Automotive industry in Slovenia dates back to the end of the 19th century. The first industrial production of buses in Avtomontaža – one of the first factories in Europe that manufactured buses with steel bodywork - started in Ljubljana in 1936. In the early fifties production of industrial vehicles – trucks and buses - was established in Maribor. TAM Factory of Automobiles Maribor manufactured vehicles and motors under the license and cooperation with Deutz from Germany. In 1959, the production of personal vehicles started in Novo mesto with the establishment of IMV Industry motor vehicles. After its independence in 1991 the production of commercial vehicles was significantly reduced after the loss of markets in former Yugoslavia and other eastern markets and due to transitional deindustrialisation. The sector today is 24

The Slovenia Times – Special Edition

represented by the production of Renault’s personal vehicles in Revoz company and a well developed automotive suppliers industry with 245 companies.

Major tax contributors In Slovenia, during the crisis, there haven’t been any measures to promote the sale of cars such as those in some other European Union countries but this also had a positive impact on the businesses of Slovenian suppliers. A significantly greater impact was the introduction of a credit line by SID Bank for a clean and energy-efficient Slovenian supplier industry, where companies received, based on the elaborates, long-term loans for industrialisation projects in the areas of emission reduction and energy efficiency of vehicles. This measure enabled Slovenian

companies to follow their customers during a time of reduced cashflow and to sustain their long-term competitiveness. It certainly helped as the sector’s revenue has been on the continuous increase from 2009 to 2015. Sales by Slovene suppliers were EUR 2.4bn in 2009, EUR 2.8bn in 2010, EUR 3.2bn in 2011, 3.4bn in 2014 and 3.7bn in 2015. Hence, the massive role the automotive sector plays in Slovenia today is selfevident: revenues generated by the companies in the sector represent 10% of the country’s GDP. Furthermore, 80% of the products and services are exported, representing 21% of total Slovenian exports. With over 16,000 employees, the sector is also one of Slovenia’s biggest employers. The number of highly qualified people working directly and indirectly for car and truck manufacturers totals 150,000.

Innovation is key Slovenia’s automotive sector is above average in the field of investments, especially in investments into new production technological equipment, which guarantees the quality of vehicles and components and also assures high productivity. The competition due to relatively high labor force price in comparison with the competition in Central and Eastern Europe (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia) is achieved by using high technology, innovation and labor force quality. According to Dušan Bušen, President of the Automotive Cluster of Slovenia, the secret to the automotive industry’s success is the dedication to innovation. "On average, Slovenia’s automotive companies invest 5% of their turnover in development and 12% in new technology," Bušen says. "This means we have been able to seize the opportunities offered by development trends in the automotive industry including hybridisation and the technology for making vehicles." Such investments have also established Slovenia’s automotive manufacturers as reliable partners. As Invest Slovenia states on its website, "off-shoring engineering tasks allows car manufacturers to reduce development-related costs and Slovenian automotive suppliers and engineering firms have a reputation of suitable partners," "They handle calculation and simulation work, electrical and electronic development tasks, and detail design engineering tasks such as sample and prototype construction."

As safety and environmental requirements are becoming stricter, automobiles are becoming more electronically controlled. "Many leading players in the automotive industry set up operating partnerships with Slovenian firms in the electronic control unit (ECU) development area: software coding, hardware design, the design and testing of entire assemblies and other electrical integration tasks such as CAD modelling are offshore to Slovenia."

Remaining competitive New opportunities are opening up as the demand for personal vehicles is on the increase and the focus remains on innovation. "For the long-term competitiveness of the Slovene automotive industry it is very important to support three development centres in the fields of electric mobility, highprocessed castings and electronics," Bušen said at the Cluster’s seventh annual convention. "More investment in research, development and innovation, training and education of employees and engineers is necessary," he added. Bušen pointed to strong integration in global supply chains as the main advantage of Slovenian companies in this area. In order to preserve the sector’s competitive edge, the influential cluster has also adopted a strategy regarding the sector of sustainable mobility. The strategy document, which has been labeled as the first of its kind in the Slovenian industry, is based on the European Commission’s CARS 2020

Automotive industry revenue (in billion EUR) 4,0 3,5 3,0 2,5 2,0 1,5 1,0 0,5 0





2015 Source: SURS

Key figures in 2014 Number of companies: 245 (2015) Number of employees: 16,370 Revenues (in €): 3.4 billion Exports (in €): 2.9 billion

Key export markets: Austria, Croatia, Hungary, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Romania, Spain, Turkey, UK, USA Source: AJPES, 2015

Key products • Seats and seat components • Components and materials for interior furnishing • Car body parts • Components for braking systems • Mechanical and electric/electronic components for engines • Exterior equipment and body lighting equipment • Exhaust systems • Engine and gearbox components • Steering system components • Drive components • Other systems and components • Manufacturing spot welding equipment • Tooling for automotive industry • Research, testing and other development activities

strategy for the automotive sector and Slovenia’s industrial strategy for the 2014-2020 EU budget periods. Priority to maintain the quality of its workforce is also high on the list of priorities. Nearly 12,000 students in secondary schools for automotive and mechanical engineering (car-body maker, car service and sheet metal working), some 3,300 students enrolled in undergraduate courses in mechanical engineering and more than 2,000 registered researchers are a guarantee that many Slovenian Tier 2 and 3 suppliers are poised to be promoted to the Tier 1 status. As automakers continue to place emphasis on operating with lean organisations and increasing their productivity, dedicated and creative workforce found in Slovenia is capable of working to high professional and technical standards. In addition, knowledge of foreign languages and high interpersonal skills are an asset in an industry where only the best get to sell to original equipment manufacturers. << The Slovenia Times – Special Edition



Krka – new production facilities Sinteza 1 in Krško. Photo: Rasto Božič /STA

Backbone of the Economy Slovenia’s manufacturers of pharmaceuticals and chemical products are the country’s most successful companies thanks to a long tradition of the chemical industry in this part of Europe dating back to the first half of the 19th century when soap, paints, spirit and various chemicals were produced. To this day, the sector continues to grow from strength to strength, being one of the biggest contributors to the national revenue. The first industrial chemical plants in Slovenia were established in the middle of the 19th century: KIK Kamnik, Cinkarna Celje and TKI Hrastnik. The railway connection with Vienna and the port of Trieste, the coal mines to produce energy, chemical commodities and a pool of skilled workforce gave impetus to the Slovenian chemical industry. It is the human capital that eventually led to the successful evolution of the industry from the manufacturing of basic chemicals to the manufacturing of finished consumer goods: pharmaceutical and cosmetic 26

The Slovenia Times – Special Edition

products, pesticides, and rubber and plastic products.

Going strong Currently, knowledge and skills of over 27,000 employees in some 850 companies make the Slovenia’s manufacturers of pharmaceuticals and chemical products highly successful in key export markets while 4,000 students in secondary schools for chemistry, pharmacy, biology and veterinary medicine guarantee highly qualified entry-level employees. The figures

illustrating enrolment in postsecondary education are equally high: some 5,200 students are enrolled in undergraduate courses in chemical technology, biology, pharmacy and veterinary medicine. The local chemical and pharmaceutical industry accounts for a hefty portion of the country’s export mix with nearly 77% of sales earned in foreign markets. Pharmaceuticals are the backbone of the export mix of the chemicals industry, tyres and inner tubes for vehicles come second followed by plastics. In 2014, the most export-oriented activity based on the

percentage of exporters and the share of their sales revenues was pharmaceuticals production. As many as 52.2% of the companies in the sector are exporters, generating 99.8% of total sales. Pharmaceuticals and chemicals consumer products as well as tires from Slovenia are very popular on the markets of the new EU member states, central and south-eastern Europe and CIS countries. Slovenia has a long industrial tradition in processing basic chemicals in a variety of products. This line of business demands complex processing technologies and substantial investment to keep abreast of competitors. Flexibility and ability to provide customers with the right product on short notice are the qualities that make the difference. Renowned domestic and foreign companies in the chemicals sector specialise in the production of paints, varnishes, coatings, synthetic fibres and other chemical products. Household names are Helios, Color, Jub, Cinkarna, Julon (Gruppo Bonazzi) and Henkel. Sava Tires, wholly owned by the Goodyear Dunlop Tires Europe, is the only tyre manufacturer in Slovenia and it makes tyres for Sava and for other Goodyear mid and premium brands. In pharmaceuticals, Krka and Lek, with a combined force of nearly 8,000 staff, are the leading manufacturers of generic drugs in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and the engine of the sector’s growth. Krka is the largest exporter in Slovenia (EUR 1.114 billion in 2014) and its most important corporate tax payer. Lek is an important member of the Sandoz family, a leading

world generics company. It is a global development centre for products and technologies; a global manufacturing centre for active pharmaceutical ingredients and medicines; a competence centre for the development of vertically integrated products; a Sandoz competence centre in the field of development and manufacturing of bio similar products; and, a supply centre for the markets of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), South East Europe (SEE) and Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Both companies have a foothold in many key markets and have plants in many foreign countries. Krka has plants in Croatia, Germany, Poland and Russia, while Lek has companies and representative offices in over 20 countries worldwide. Chemical companies are expanding successfully into the emerging markets of CEE and SEE countries. Lek, for example, manufactures its products in four different locations in Slovenia, as well as in Poland and Romania. Krka, in addition to its large plants at home, also operates plants in Croatia, Germany, Poland and Russia. Chemicals manufacturers have been working on expanding into the emerging CEE markets as well as acquiring enterprises in the territory of former Yugoslavia.

Key figures 2014

Future prospects

• Man-made fibres

Considerable spending on medicines, high standard of healthcare and general health awareness will continue to drive demand for innovative treatments making Slovenia attractive as a destination for

Number of companies: 851

Number of employees: 27,000 Revenues (in €): 5.4 billion Exports (in €): 4.2 billion

Key export markets: Albania, Austria, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Russian Federation, Serbia, Slovakia, USA … Source: AJPES, 2015

Key products: • Basic chemicals • Pesticides and other agrochemical products • Coatings, paints, varnishes and similar coating, printing ink and mastics • Basic pharmaceutical products and pharmaceutical preparations • Soap and detergents, cleaning and polishing preparations, perfumes and toilet preparations • Other chemical products • Engineered rubber and plastic products • Tyres and air-tubes for vehicles

pharmaceuticals. Pharmaceutical costcontainment measures will hardly affect Slovenian pharmaceutical spending expected to rise even though there will be less funding available for public sector expenditure on healthcare. <<

JUB – 45th anniversary of Jupol Classic. Photo: Aljoša Rehar/STA

The Slovenia Times – Special Edition


>>CHEMICALS AND PHARMACEUTICALS Interview: Vojmir Urlep, M.Sc., President of the Board of Management of Lek, a Sandoz company

Pharma is Where Big Data is One of the Key Challenges Prepared by Tina Drolc, M.Sc.

With seven production locations and three development centres for the most complex products, Lek is the largest development centre in the Sandoz Group, the generic pharmaceuticals division of Novartis, which offers its medicines globally. In 2015, Lek opened its largest investment in Slovenia, a new logistics system for its Lendava Packaging Centre, costing more than EUR 24m. Employing more than 3,350 people, the company currently deals with more than 90 global markets. According to its president, the ageing population is good news for the pharmaceutical industry. Q What is the main focus of your development centre and what is the impact at a country level? A We are the biggest development centre within Sandoz and we run almost a third of global development projects for Sandoz. We have four development units in the Slovenian development centre as we deal with development from active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) for both small molecules as well as biosimilar as finished dosage formulations (FDF). We are the leading centre in certain technologies where we have been chosen as a sort of centre of competence and we try to build as many of these as possible because there is so much knowledge and experience in this small Slovenian environment and it would be a pity not to use it.

Q What is the educational mix at the centre?

A We have very highly educational Vojmir Urlep, M.Sc., President of the Board of Management of Lek, a Sandoz company

Our local sales in Slovenia represent less than 10%, so more than 90% of all medicines we manufacture here are exported to the global markets. Currently we cover more than 90 markets globally.

employees, not only in the development centre but also across the organisation. In the development centre we have approximately 42% of graduates which are mostly Masters of Science and PhDâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s, the vast majority of the rest associates are mostly technicians working in different labs.

Q How many products are made by Lek and which ones are exported to Sandoz markets?


The Slovenia Times â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Special Edition

Our local sales in Slovenia represent less than 10%, so more than 90% of all medicines we manufacture here are exported to the global markets, you will hardly find a product 'Made in Slovenia' in more markets than medicines coming from our plants. Currently we cover more than 90 markets globally and we are looking forward to increasing this structure in the future.

Q What is Lek’s average number of patent applications per year and which drugs prevail? A Last year, we applied and were granted seven patents and in all, we have more than 1,000 patent rights granted globally. If I remember correctly, a few years ago the Slovenian newspaper, Delo, published local statistics where we were by far the best in terms of the number of patents. They cover a variety of areas but wherever we see a possibility for an innovative solution, we go for it. In addition, the Slovenian Chamber of Commerce awarded our innovations and I hope this trend will continue in the future.

Q How much has Novartis invested in Lek

Lek, a Sandoz company

Novartis, since its acquisition of Lek in 2003, has invested more than EUR 1.7bn into the expansion and modernisation of our manufacturing and development capacity.

since the company was taken over?

A Novartis, since its acquisition of Lek in 2003, has invested more than EUR 1.7bn into the expansion and modernisation of our manufacturing and development capacity. The average investment has been around EUR 130m annually, with 2015 particularly high as we opened our brand new, high-bay warehouse, which was our biggest investment last year in Slovenia. This year we will continue opening some new facilities, mainly in development and manufacturing.

Q As the head of the Foreign Investors Forum, you recently presented a declaration in which the main objective is to increase FDI in Slovenia from EUR 10.5bn to EUR 15bn within five years. What is the basis for this goal and what are the main challenges to achieving it? A We all know that we need ambitious objectives if we want to move forward and if we want to grow and we know that we want to grow. Currently, Slovenia is not a very attractive business environment for either domestic or for foreign capital and we want to change that. We set this number based on the experiences of those countries which are much more successful in attracting foreign investments than Slovenia. We believe that it can be done but only if the key stakeholders understand what needs to be done and will support it and this includes not only the government but also the trade unions, media and others that play an important role in this society. The key challenges start from the extremely high labour burden (taxation and social contributions), the administrative burdens and some environmental

restrictions… I hope and believe that we are able to get together and get EUR 15bn of foreign investment by 2021.

Q Novartis has partnered with Google as well as some data-management and tech companies - how does digitalisation of medicine drive innovation? A Today, digitalisation is definitely a trend that is reshaping many industries, including pharmaceutical. The pharma industry is one where big data is one of the key challenges to deal with. If we want to develop and produce safe and efficient medicines, we need an enormous amount of data to properly structure, analyse and use for the sake of the patient and it is here that digitalisation plays a key role. The Novartis participation with Google is focused on eye care where new technologies play a ground-breaking role, using Nano technology to develop extremely small sensors which may monitor the key biologic processes in the human body to give immediate online results to the medical professionals and therefore making our lives completely different than they are today.

potential interaction between different medicines because this may be the game stopper as we may do a lot of harm to a patient and the industry must therefore be aware of this and do the necessary studies on how to deal with this. On the other hand, it is not just about disease when we talk about ageing but also about how to make life at old age still have a proper quality. We talk a lot about 'lifestyle' drugs and it is about how to raise the quality of life going beyond the 60s and 70s and so the industry is aware of this and is actively looking at these areas.

Q You have devoted your career to the pharmaceutical industry. What do you think the challenges in the healthcare system will be over the next 10 years? A The key global challenge is definitely the ageing population and, as has already been mentioned, the older we are the more medicines we need and this is closely linked to the financing of healthcare. This means that we need to find the proper leverage of how to assure access to the essential medicines needed by the ageing population at an affordable cost. <<

Q The global population is ageing as life expectancy increases, which means that not only demand for healthcare is rising but also the nature of that care is changing. What is your response to this? A The ageing population is good news for the pharmaceutical industry because, if you look at the statistics, the consumption of medicines increases with age – the older we are, the more medicines we take. Now, we therefore need to pay attention to the

We need to find the proper leverage of how to assure access to the essential medicines needed by the ageing population at an affordable cost. The Slovenia Times – Special Edition



Company Pipistrel – production hall. Photo: Anže Malovrh/STA

Top Priority Slovenia is one of the countries where R&D expenditure increased steadily both before and after the financial crisis in 2008. As a result, Slovenia had the sixth highest R&D intensity in the EU in 2011, a development which reflects the country’s commitment to ensuring increased and sustainable economic growth. Slovenia has been increasing expenditure on R&D since its independence in 1991. Contrary to most central and eastern European economies, R&D expenditure did not collapse in the early 1990s; it remained stable and even grew during the financial crisis.

Constant increase From 2000 until 2010, the expenditure almost doubled, from 1.38% in 2000 to 30

The Slovenia Times – Special Edition

2.11% in 2010 and reached 2.47% in 2011, a value higher than the EU average of 2.3%. The fluctuations over that period are mirrored by fluctuations in the R&D intensities of both the private and public sectors. In 2011, business enterprise expenditure on R&D as a percentage of GDP was 1.83% compared to an EU average of 1.26% and public sector expenditure on R&D as a percentage of GDP was 0.64% compared to an EU average of 0.74%. In the last decade both business expenditure on

R&D and government funding of R&D increased. In spite of the economic crisis, the share of R&D financed by business enterprise has indeed been higher than the EU average since 2007. In fact, in 2011, business enterprise expenditure on R&D as a percentage of GDP reached 1.83%, making Slovenia one of the top performers in the EU in terms of business R&D. Notwithstanding, budgetary constraints, public sector expenditure on R&D in 2011 was equal to 0.64% of GDP, slightly below the EU average but above that of countries with similar research and knowledge structures. Between 2008 and 2010, business expenditure on R&D increased in real terms at an average annual growth rate of 15.3%, while government funding of R&D increased in real terms over the same period at an average annual growth rate of 1.4%. Regarding scientific production, Slovenia has high levels of international scientific co–publications and public– private scientific co–publications but needs to improve their quality in order to

perform better in terms of scientific publications within the 10% most cited scientific publications worldwide. In terms of knowledge commercialisation Slovenia has an increasing number of PCT patent applications and has a high level of patent applications to the EPO in the field of health–related technologies. However, the levels of both total PCT and total EPO patent applications are below the EU average. Slovenian SMEs perform well in terms of (non– technological) marketing and organisational innovations and fairly well in introducing product or process innovations. However, Slovenia needs to improve its attractiveness for R&D investment by foreign firms as is illustrated by the fact that the share of business R&D expenditure financed from abroad is much lower than the EU average.

Key strategies This is a clear signal that Slovenia regards investment in R&D as a priority for the development of medium– high–tech, high– tech and competitive enterprises and for increased and sustainable economic growth. Slovenia is meeting the challenge of reaching its 2020 R&D intensity target of 3% by mobilising incentives and resources from public and private sources (human, financial, infrastructural) and providing smooth paths for more technological innovation. In order to tackle challenges, a National Research and Innovation Strategy 2011– 2020 was prepared and approved in 2011. The strategy defines the R&D priorities for the next decade (2011–2012) and aims to create a high-performance research and innovation system that will improve the quality of life. It sets out the following main priorities: 1) better integration of research and innovation; 2) increasing scientific excellence, partly by increasing competitiveness within S&T stakeholders and partly by

providing necessary resources, both human and financial; 3) promoting closer cooperation between universities, research institutions and the business sector; 4) strengthening the capacity of research to contribute to economic and social development. The government has also adopted the National Higher Education Programme (NHEP) which aims to upgrade the Slovenian higher education system to a level which is more consistent with education and skills needs in general and for science and engineering in particular. Within the Resolution on Research and Innovation Strategy of Slovenia (RISS), a special section is devoted to the issue of research infrastructure, stipulating the need for a special Slovenian Research Infrastructure Roadmap (2011–2020) to deal with two problems related to the current state of Slovenian research infrastructure. These problems are: a lack of cooperation between research institutes, and the fragmentation and suboptimisation of R&I utilisation. In this regard, the key objectives of the Research Infrastructure Roadmap are: better exploitation of the existing national research infrastructure; upgrade and construction of new research infrastructure in priority areas, and international integration based on access to large research infrastructures. In addition, Slovenia also has several programmes and instruments to support research and innovation, such as the innovation voucher, the mentorship voucher, the mentorship of young researchers, calls for basic and applied projects, financial assistance to institutions that support innovation, the strengthening of development units in the business sector and the transfer of technologies from the public sector. The future looks promising. Historically, Slovenia has a strong endowment of

Slovenia's advantages • Strengths of Slovenia’s Innovation System • Successful socioeconomic development and good record in economic performance • Leading new EU member states on many economic and innovationrelated indicators • Strong endowment in scientific talent and culture of research • Clusters of excellence in academic and industrial research • Substantial increases in the numbers and quality of scientific publications • Successful participation in European Framework programmes • Strong focus on innovation driven by recognised need to upgrade economy • Differentiated set of institutions engaged in science, technology and innovation • Dedication and focus on innovation in government, industry and academic communities Source: OECD

scientific and creative talent. According to OECD’s report on the state of R&I, "Slovenia is comparatively strong in humna resources and well known for their creativity in a broad range of areas." "Slovenia has a good potential for future development based on its population‘s creativity and innovation," the report concludes. << *Artcile was taken from the publication by the European Commission "Research and Innovation Performance in Slovenia"

Key indicators of research and innovation Investment and input

Performance/economic output


R&D intensity 2011: 2.47 % (EU: 2.03 %; US: 2.75 %) 2000-2011:+12.46% (EU:+0.8%; US:+0.2%)

Excellence in S&T 2010: 27.47 (EU: 47.86; US: 56.68) 2005-2010: +3.99 % (EU: +3.09 %; US: +0.53 %)

Innovation and structural change

Index of economic impact of innovation 2010-2011: 0.52 (EU: 0.61)

Knowledge–intensity of the economy 2010: 45.9 (EU: 48.75; US: 56.25) 2000-2010: +4.25 % (EU: +0.93 %; US: +0.5 %)


Hot–spots in key technologies Health, Food and agriculture, ICT, Materials, New production technologies, Environment

HT + MT contribution to the trade balance 2011: 6.05 % (EU: 4.2 %; US: 1.93 %) 2000-2011: +14.72% (EU: +4.99%; US: -10.75%)

Source: European Commission

The Slovenia Times – Special Edition


>>INNOVATION Interview: Edi Kraus, The Director-General of Julon, d.o.o.

Small Innovative Companies Will Carry the Slovenian Economy Prepared by Blanka Markovič Kocen

The Director-General of Julon, d.o.o., a manager and a conscious Slovenian from Trieste (Trst), Edi Kraus, actively participated in the privatization of this at-the-time Slovenian company.

Edi Kraus, The Director-General of Julon d.o.o.

Julon Julon is a chemical and agricultural company situated in Ljubljana. They produce polyamide fibers used in the textile industry (nylon) and carpeting industry. It is the most important product of the Aquafil group, who has 15 companies on three continents and in eight countries. In Europe, Aquafil has several companies in Slovenia, Italy and Germany and a single company in Croatia and Scotland, whereas in Asia, they have one company in China and Thailand. They also have a company in the USA. The Aquafil group has more than 2,400 employees, producing more than 130 tons of polyamide fibers annually. 32

The Slovenia Times – Special Edition

According to his words, it was all thanks to the set of circumstances. At that time, his father and he were the head of the tourist agency Aurora Viaggi. "Because I knew both languages – Slovenian and Italian – and was familiar with both cultures, I was invited to participate in a complicated process of privatization," says Kraus, who also emphasizes that Julon was one of the few, if not the only big company in Slovenia that was privatized by the means of recapitalization. Kraus remembers the tough year-and-a-half long negotiations, recalling: "As we recapitalized Julon with the Italian Aquafil Group, they asked me to stay for an additional six month period. Those six months dragged out into the past 20 years." In the interview for Moja Slovenija, Kraus shares with the readers his views on the Slovenian minority, Slovenian-Italian relations and, of course, the Slovenian economy.

Q How would you comment upon the privatization process of Julon from the point of view of today? Would you have done it any differently? A As I said, we were the only company in Slovenia that was privatized at the time of recapitalization, meaning that we had to agree upon it with the former works council at Julon and the privatization committee comprising the employees of the company. The state and the privatization committee were joined by a lawyer who would brood over the process, making sure that we were abiding the law. The process of privatization was, therefore, very transparent and open. At the end, it was predicted that 640 minority shareholders would remain in the capital. We bought their shares for a fair amount of

money. The whole process took nearly 20 years, meaning that we actually finished the privatization two years ago

Q How would you comment upon the sales of state-owned companies?

A I believe these sales are more than necessary but what matters the most is how these sales are executed. These companies need to be sold to a bidder who has been verified to be offering the highest bid. It is of vital importance to avoid direct sales to financial funds and to only sell to those bidders who are already operating within the specific sector in the market. Aside from the capital, these bidders can also provide new knowledge which is essential for the development of these companies.

Q In 2013 in Trieste (Trst), you were appointed the position of the municipal councilor for economic development. In terms of economy, where does Trieste stand today? In your opinion, what are the advantages and what needs to be improved? A Trieste is a city with many special features: it is marked by a pronounced demographic decline; almost 25 percent of the city’s inhabitants are older than 65; industrial production affects the GDP for less than 10 percent; and many companies and services are state-owned. It is also true that after the war, Trieste was physically, geographically and politically considered to be the Italian periphery, which had a special effect on the status of the city. However, the tables turned when Slovenia and Croatia joined the European Union, causing the national borders to fall. Once again, Trieste is restoring the status of a maritime window into the world for Central European countries that it held

prior to WWI. The future of Trieste – in terms of port and industrial activities – looks promising. However, the industrial zone, despite its huge size, is poorly utilized. The old part of the port, measuring approximately 500,000 square meters, is located in the city center right by the sea. It is, undoubtedly, the pearl of the Mediterranean. The development in this area would bring about a renaissance of Trieste – not just the city but the whole wider region which includes Slovenia.

Q Do you still commute from Trieste to Ljubljana on a daily basis?

A Since I was appointed the position of the municipal councilor, I commute less. On other days, however, I still go to Ljubljana. Two days a week I have to be at the municipality.

Q Do you ever visit the Trieste Book Center? A The last time I visited it was a couple of days ago when I picked up the copies of The Littoral Daily (Primorski dnevnik). I am trying to help with the organization of an event during the Barcolana regatta. Last year, together with the Consulate of the Republic of Slovenia in Trieste and our sailing clubs at the Book Center, we organized a reception for all Slovenian teams participating in the Barcolana. I hope that in future, this becomes a tradition – an official part of the Barcolana program, bringing together Slovenian sailors, associations, the Consulate and the Trieste Book Center.

Q What is it like being a Slovenian in Trieste?

A I believe that in the past 15 years, things have changed dramatically. The nationalist spirit which once interfered with the relations has worn down, in turn improving the relations between Slovenia and Italy. In my opinion, they are improving tremendously. Thanks to the politics and diplomacy, their current state is great. Positive changes in Trieste can also be felt on the local level. My Slovenian nationality is not an obstacle in the Trieste municipal administration. I think this shows that things have, indeed, changed for the better.

Q What are the differences between the Italian and Slovenian business environments? A I don’t think there are any major differences. Nonetheless, both systems require a tremendous amount of work, innovation and access to new markets. Neither Slovenia nor Italy has sufficient raw materials or intermediate goods. They are also energetically weak, meaning that in terms of work and innovation, they have to be competitive in the market. After the 20-year-long wave which followed

the Slovenian liberation when the whole economy was putting its efforts into big companies and tycoons, it is important to acknowledge that Slovenia is witnessing the growth of immensely innovative companies run by young entrepreneurs with 10-20 employees. These companies are very aggressive in the market and I think they will carry the Slovenian economy. The situation is similar in Italy, where both small and medium-sized companies are carrying the entire Italian economy. They are completely independent from the current political situation and that is of vital importance. It is something that needs to happen in Slovenia.

Q Taking that into account, do you think that these times are truly the toughest for entrepreneurs? A I think they are. At the receptions I attend on the state level, at the chambers of commerce and various banks, I have sensed that the cycle has changed completely. People have changed – there are many who are young. I, too, am experiencing certain difficulties because I don’t know these people. I think they’re young people who are a part of the economy. It is a good start of the rebirth and I think it is what will, in the future, support the Slovenian economy.

Q Which economy – the Slovenian or the Italian – will be the first to recover from the crisis? A In comparison with the Italian, the Slovenian economy is very small. I always juxtapose them as a big ship and a small boat. The Italian economy, being the big ship, will sink slower in times of crisis; however, it will also recover much slower in times of prosperity. The Slovenian economy has worsened at the beginning of the crisis but is now recovering very quickly. Probably, the Slovenian economy will be the first to set sail but we must not take that for granted because another crisis may start at any given time.

Q In May 2011, Julon made an investment which was, according to your words, supposed to ensure the future of production in Ljubljana. It was an important investment for the Aquafil group and its sustainable development. Have those predictions come true? A More than that! The Econil product, which we use to regenerate waste materials and nylon 6, has surpassed all our ambitious plans, bringing excellent results. This investment has attracted numerous representatives of different global corporations who didn’t even know where Slovenia was. They couldn’t believe this project was actually working. I believe that we have made a huge advertisement for Slovenija and Ljubljana in particular,

launching them into the political and social peaks, where much is being said about sustainable development and green energy. This ensures an added value not just for our company but the whole region.

Q How do you think Slovenia and Italy could improve their cooperation?

A It is necessary to establish a cooperation between both ports – Koper and Trieste. There are countless possibilities and even the smallest investments could bring great results. It is probably possible to do something in terms of energy. Italy has a potential, the knowledge and capital; but it lacks additional energy sources. This is where Slovenian companies could partake in the Italian economy.

Q If we change the topic a bit: you also participate in other projects, like "Zadruga Naš Kras", "Kraška hiša" and "Kraška ohcet". Are you still the head of the "Zadruga Naš Kras" project”? A Yes, I still am. We have just started looking for applicants willing to participate in the "Kraška ohcet" project this year . We are looking for a new couple from Trieste that is willing to marry on – as usual – the third Sunday in August. Last year, we had to cancel the project because we couldn’t find a couple, so I hope we will get the applicants this year. We are going to wait for them until the end of the month and then move on to the preparations for the wedding. The "Kraška hiša" project is still very much alive. Last year, we repaired a leaking roof. It was quite a financial burden. Otherwise, all the activities are going according to plan.

Q We are at the very beginning of 2016. What are your expectations for this year?

A At Julon, we are preparing for a new

cycle of investments. We have just started cooperating with the nearby Atlantis, heating it with our waste heat. The project is not only important for us but for the whole of Ljubljana, because it allows the reduction of carbon emissions, providing significant environmental benefits. It is especially interesting to see two neighbors who share a mutual trust agreeing on such an investment and finding synergy. We are also making certain investments in Kranj, where we would like to update our logistic center. The same holds true for our location in Ajdovščina. Most probably, we will also decide to update our traditional production capacity. There is certainly a lot of work to be done this year! <<

The Slovenia Times – Special Edition


>>INNOVATION Interview: Professor Jadran Lenarčič, Ph.D., Director of the Jožef Stefan Institute

High Expectations for R&D in Medicine, Diagnostics and the Study of Cells Prepared by: Tina Drolc, M.Sc.

Founded in 1949, the Jožef Stefan Institute (JSI) is the leading Slovenian research organisation. It is responsible for a broad spectrum of basic and applied research in the fields of natural sciences and technology. The staff of around 960 specialise in physics, chemistry and biochemistry, electronics and information science, nuclear technology, energy utilisation and environmental science research. Director of the Institute, Professor Jadran Lenarčič, explains the recent breakthroughs in robotics and in biological fields and the Institute’s long tradition in developing collaborative partnerships with industry.

Professor Jadran Lenarčič, Jožef Stefan Institute (JSI); Photo: Marjan Smerke


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Q Does your institute cooperate in R&D We recently, for example, reported on an achievement in with some international institutes / the field of early and non-invasive detection of tumours using organisations and in which fields? reverse design prepared selective substrates for cathepsin S, which A The Jožef Stefan Institute would not exist without international collaboration. enables tracking of the tumour activity both in vitro and in vivo. This statement is valid for all of the fields Q Europe strives to maintain its position in robotics which raise the importance of digitised industry. Last year, the Slovenian government adopted a smart specialisation strategy which will serve as the basis for drawing EU funds for the 2014-2020 budget period. Will this help JSI in its research in "smart" fields? A A new generation of intelligent robots is knocking at the door of modern industrial plants and service robots are becoming an important tool in everyday life, including smart homes, hospitals, entertainment etc. Europe has become the world leader in robot technology due, in part, to the enormous investment in research nationally and through European projects. But keeping the leading position is extremely difficult. Slovenia has played an important role despite our small size. For example, the robotics group at the Jožef Stefan Institute currently coordinates two EU projects in the robotics area. The orientation of the Slovenian strategy of smart specialisation largely coincides with the activities of our Institute, particularly in the areas of robotics, artificial intelligence, and information and communication technologies. We need to know that the strategy of smart specialisation is just the cherry on the pie.

Q A group of JSI scientists achieved a breakthrough in the use of rare earth elements in the production of high-energy magnets, greatly reducing the cost of such magnets which are essential components in electric vehicles and turbines. What was the main reason for starting this research? A Modern industry is virtually dependent on the production of magnets, since they can be found in virtually all mechatronic products as they are crucial components in motors, sensors etc. It is well-known that China is a monopolist in rare earth deposits and therefore other countries struggle to develop appropriate alternatives. The European project, Romeo, coordinated by our Institute, was aimed to develop a substitute for rare earth deposits and thanks to our department of structured materials, a breakthrough discovery was reported and the first prototypes were presented.

Q Last year, the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Yukiya Amano, was in Slovenia and visited JSI’s nuclear reactor centre in Brinje. Where do

you see the opportunities for Slovenia and your institute in this? A In 1966, the Triga II reactor was put into operation at the Jožef Stefan Institute. Later, the nuclear plant in Krško was built and our country became committed to following the international norms and to actively contribute to international activities related to nuclear safety. The Institute’s cooperation with the IAEA has traditionally been very successful in all these years and our experts were involved in campaigns supported by the agency. In our centre at the Institute, we regularly organise international seminars for IAEA. This cooperation and exchange is crucial to also further develop our system of experts.

Q A year ago JSI’s researcher, Matjaž Humar and his colleague Seok Hyun Yun of Harvard University, made a notable achievement in biological cell research when they succeeded in the creation of selfcontained cellular biolasers. What has this work changed for the better and who may it help? A Dr Humar is one of our most promising young researchers. After his fruitful visit to Harvard, he is once again back at the Institute working on new discoveries in the field of micro lasers. The above-mentioned discovery opens a vast repertoire of new scientific problems and offers the potential for several new applications. I cannot reveal his plans at this time but I can say that we expect a breakthrough in the field of medicine, diagnostics and the study of cells. For the benefit of all of us, I would like to add that, in Slovenia, we have quite a few such successful young researchers but unfortunately the conditions for this work in Slovenia are scarce.

Q What are the other new research techniques and diagnostic methods in clinical medicine that JSI has been discovering? A We recently, for example, reported on an achievement in the field of early and non-invasive detection of tumours using reverse design prepared selective substrates for cathepsin S, which enables tracking of the tumour activity both in vitro and in vivo. Members of our department of biochemistry and molecular biology achieved this result as part of an international group of researchers. We should not forget the other studies that are conducted in the field of biosensors and nano sensors that will have a significant impact in the future.

of the Institute. We carry out about 400 international projects per year, which represents more than 25% of the revenue. Very extensive collaboration is in place with EU countries, in particular with Germany, France, the UK, and our neighbours Italy and Austria. We also have very important collaboration with USA and Japan. Our Institute, as is well known, is one of the most successful in European projects. For example, the previously mentioned research activities in magnetic materials are taking place in the so-called associated laboratory with the French Institute CNRS.

Q The Institute devotes a considerable amount of effort to transferring the results of its research and knowledge to productive applications and taking them to market and a few years ago, the Technology Park was established in Ljubljana. Which are the hitech enterprises that you actively support to accelerate the cycle of development of innovative products? A The Institute has a long tradition of developing collaborative partnerships with industry and the alliance with industry continues to be a priority of the Institute. This collaboration turns out a continuous stream of new products and services which, in turn, advance our economy, improve our quality of life and bring real-world technology and management issues into our research laboratories. We work with over 100 Slovenian and foreign companies per year, including Domel, Kolektor, Gorenje and not to forget our spin-offs, such as Cosylab and Balder. I am pleased to say that more recently we are noticing more interest from companies for joint research projects. It may be caused also by the national smart specialisation strategy. <<

The European project, Romeo, coordinated by our Institute, was aimed to develop a substitute for rare earth deposits and thanks to our department of structured materials, a breakthrough discovery was reported and the first prototypes were presented. The Slovenia Times – Special Edition




Taking Back the Charge


Forest covers about 60% of Slovenia and is a symbol of the country’s recognition as well as reflection of its attitude towards sustainable development. Therefore, it is not surprising that in recent years the government has put a lot of emphasis on the sector, marking it one of the most strategic industries for the future economic growth of Slovenia.

Wood has always been an important product for Slovenia – it is the third most forested country in Europe after Finland and Sweden. Approximately 4 million cubic metres of timber are produced each year from 1,186,104 hectares of forest. In addition, the forested land has expanded from 35% to almost 60% in a matter of decades. Wood processing is considered the only Slovenian economic sector and product chain that has a sufficient quantity of raw material; it is geographically dispersed; it has technologically well-equipped manufacturing facilities; and a highly diversified market for products. The companies that operate within the sector are diverse, producing almost every kind of product ranging from semifinished, construction fixtures and fittings, to a broad spectrum of furniture.




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25 years ago, the wood products industry employed 37,000 people, while together with the forestry sector this number was as much as 45,000 people. However, until the global economic crisis in 2008 the number of employees shrunk to 20,000 and by 2010, the number has fallen below 14,000 (based on the submitted final accounts). Part of the reason for such decline was that with independence, Slovenia lost a large part of the market in the states of former Yugoslavia, which for a few years was the main reason for the contraction in the industry. Despite a promising past, the downward trends in recent decades have placed the wood sector as non-profitable and low value-added, a sector where there is no future. Consequently, the interest in occupations related to the industry waned, schools teaching sector-related subjects were closed and inevitably, a stagnation of nearly 20 years followed. However, this is now changing.

Turning the tables After more than 20 years of steady decline, the government and the sector have recognised the country’s huge potential and have taken concrete measures to improve the faltering situation in the industry. "The advantages and value of wood have been neglected for too long and it is now time to change that", said the former Minister of Economic Development and Technology, Radovan Žerjav, in 2012. The government has included the wood and forestry industry as a strategic sector for the future economic growth of Slovenia. The strategy for the sector was adopted with an action plan designed to increase the competitiveness of the sector by 2020. The key aims of the policy called Wood is beautiful is to create a market for timber products and services; increase the felling of forests according to plans for forest management; increase volumes and greater complexity timber processing with new technologies; create new jobs and growth in value added per employee in the industry. In 2013, Slovenia cleared 3.92 million cubic metres of wood, although it had the capacity to cut 5.5 million cubic metres annually and in future years it will be 05

possible to increase it to 6.5 million cubic metres. "All Slovenia needs to do now is to add value to its raw material and sell it abroad," says Gregor Benčina, President of the Board of Jelovica Group, the leading Slovenian manufacturer of energy-efficient houses, windows and doors. Part of the action plan is the establishment of the state-owned company – Slovenski gozdovi d.o.o. (Slovenian forests Ltd) – that will manage the forests owned by the state (approximately 255,000 ha, 20% of all forests). Prior to its establishment, management of state owned forests was based on concessions from 1996, which were conferred without a public call for applications for a period of 20 years. The move to established the stateowned company is expected to completely overhaul the existing system of licensing forest exploitation to private firms. The main task of the new company will not only be to manage state-owned forests but also to acquire new forest area. The company will also manage centres for collection or processing of wood and create conditions for the development of the forest-wood chain. One of the goals is to make forest management more profitable, create green jobs, increase the area of state-owned forests in the long run and increase transparency in awarding contracts for forest work and sale of wood. "The major advantage for the (Slovenian) wood-processing industry is mainly the possibility of easier access to wood, various tree species and quality classes. The company will only sell timber and will operate in the Slovenian market and, given the current extent of logging in state forests, it will annually provide at least 1,000,000 m2 of wood. As it will offer the market with the total amount of wood harvested in state forests, it will be much easier to meet the various needs of our timber industry, where difficulties in purchasing the appropriate timber depending on the type of recovery, were repeatedly highlighted," says the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food.

Coordinated action The government has taken other concrete steps since the industry was perceived as strategic and as such placed it in the 06

Slovenian forests in figures Forest area: ............................................ 1.186.104 ha Forestation: ...................................................... 58.5%
 Growing stock: .327.458.525 m (276.08 m3/ha) Annual increment: ... 7.985.256 m (6.74 m3/ha) Possible cut: ....................................... 5.126.609 m3 Total annual cut: .................................. 3.74.191 m3 Coniferous trees: ............................. 1.853.772 m3
 Deciduous trees: ............................... 1.520.419 m3 Realised cut represents 70% of possible cut. Length of forest roads: ........................12,624 km
 Length of forest borders: .........cca 115,000 km Source: Slovenian Forest Service

industrial policy: the law was adopted on green public procurement which will have an impact in creating demand for wood products at home; the Eco Fund has started to finance energy-saving products made only from natural materials (in practice this means wood); there has also been the establishment of a strategic council for wood which is a body coordinating the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry for the Economy and the Chamber of Commerce, and has clear responsibility for the steps needed to bring more funds into the sector. An important role is also played by SID bank (Slovenian export and development bank). The responsibility for promoting Slovenian wood abroad is taken by SPIRIT, the Slovenian Public Agency for Entrepreneurship. Whether such highly organised, coordinated approach will bring the desired results, will become apparent soon. <<

Photos: 01 Managing state-owned forests; Photo: Tamino Petelinšek/STA 02-06 Exhibition The Charm of Wood at Cankarjev dom, Ljubljana; Photo: Daniel Novakovič and Nebojša Tejić/STA 07 Exhibition The Touch of Wood, Slovenj Gradec; Photo: Vesna Pušnik Brezovnik/STA


The Slovenia Times – Special Edition



Piran; Photo: Julia Wesely/STO â&#x20AC;&#x201C; SLO Tourism

Green, Active and Healthy Tourism in Slovenia is an important economic activity with multiplier effects and considerable potential for development and growth. Tourism accounts for 12.8 percent of GDP, and in 2015 accounted for 37.6 percent of service exports and 7.5 percent of total exports. In comparison with the European and global average, tourism in Slovenia represents a higher than average share in GDP and a greater share of employment than average. Last year was a record year, for the first time since the independence of Slovenia in 1991, overnight stays exceeded 10 million with revenue from the sector of EUR 2.2bn.


The Slovenia Times â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Special Edition

Disappeared from the tourist map 25 years ago, Slovenia was on the European and global tourist map as a new state and Slovenia faced the challenge of competing alongside well-known and established tourist destinations. In 1991, a little more than 1.4 million tourists visited the country and in the year after independence, tourist numbers were more than halved and did not improve until 1994. Since independence, the Slovenian tourism sector has had to confront the consequences of major crises three times: in 1991, when the number of foreign tourists decreased by 73 percent compared to the previous year; in 1999 following the attack by the armed forces of NATO in Serbia, a 10 percent drop was recorded; and in 2009, a 7 percent decline during the time of the global economic crisis.

Great comeback Prior to 1999, there were markedly more overnight stays by locals but, since then, the trend has reversed. From 1992-2015, domestic tourists numbers improved by nearly 63 percent and foreign tourist numbers improved by 339 percent, with overall 187 percent growth. Since independence, visitors from Italy, Austria and Germany have made the most overnight stays although, more recently, there has been more and more tourists arriving from overseas, especially from the Asian countries.

7.000.000 6.000.000 5.000.000 4.000.000 3.000.000 Overnights – foreign guests


Overnights – domestic guests

1.000.000 0














Orientation in a boutique and sustainable Today, Slovenia’s objective is to increase the visibility of Slovenia as a green, active, healthy and safe boutique destination with EUR 3bn generated in annual revenue from tourism, which means an annual growth rate of at least six percent. <<

Key figures • Tourism contributes nearly 13% to GDP. • Tourism represents almost 40% of service exports and 8% of overall exports • In 25 years, Slovenia has been visited by more than 59 million tourists who have generated 187 million overnight stays. • 1 in every 8 employees in Slovenia works in tourism which is above the European and global average. • Slovenia is currently 39 th in terms of world tourism competitiveness. • According to the Global Peace Index (index of global security) the country is ranked 10 th from the 163 countries.

Kriški podi (zgoraj) in Bled (spodaj); Photo: Marko Pentek

"Today, tourism is a successful and growing economic sector which the government identifies as having an important role in the economy. Over the past 25 years, tourism in Slovenia has shown above-average growth. By the end of 2015, when the most recent investment cycle was completed, the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology contributed EUR 168m to 135 projects, which included accommodation and wellness centres, ski slopes and golf courses, with a total investment value of EUR 657m. This has been a key achievement of this investment cycle," Zdravko Počivalšek, Minister of Economic Development and Technology. "Slovenia is becoming a more and more attractive and desirable destination on the global tourist map, identified as a green, active, healthy, safe and a hospitable boutique country that provides visitors with tourist offers which give unique experiences. Over the past quarter of a century, the behavior of tourists has changed significantly, we are now witnessing a digital revolution; the world is more open, connected and accessible however, at the same time, vulnerable even in areas that were not previously. The competition to conquer the hearts of tourists is growing and this is why we are now confronted with new challenges. We look on them positively because, as I have already cited to the Minister of Economy of the United Arab Emirates, "it is easy when you are marketing such a wonderful country," Maja Pak, Director of the Slovenian Tourist Board The Slovenia Times – Special Edition



The Postojna Cave, the Diamond; Photo: Iztok Medja

Postojna Cave: Underground Paradise Postojna Cave, one of Slovenia’s most popular tourist destinations, is the most visited cave in Europe and the secondlargest stalactite cave in the world, with 27kilometres of underground tunnels. Since its opening to the public in 1819, more than 35 million ‘adventurers’ have visited the karst cave. This unique underground world has, since 2010, been managed by Postojnska jama d.d. According to the Chairman of the Board, Marjan Batagelj, the main challenge has been to change the culture and attitude toward guests.

Executive with a sporting spirit Marjan Batagelj is a geographer and

ethnographer with a very respectful attitude towards Slovenian natural and cultural heritage. At a young age he was a successful athlete, inter alia, the second in the world in bowling. He believes that the discipline of sport importantly marked his success throughout his 25 years in business, "You have to work hard; there are no instant fixes." Since he has taken over the management of Postojnska jama, the number of visitor has been steadily increasing with around 500,000 visitors annually. Batagelj says that the company has invested a lot in to the promotion of the caves and he believes the upward trend will continue. "In addition to the ownership structure, it is very important for the owners that ownership means not only material goods", points out Batagelj.

Even Europe’s most visited cave needs a good strategy To be successful in the development of tourism, Marjan Batagelj emphasises a global orientation, information technology and the quality of the product. "Slovenia is a


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part of South-Eastern Europe with an extremely rich natural and cultural heritage and varied landscapes. With 11,000 caves, I like to say that we are the best part of the basement Europe! Postojna Cave had only one disadvantage: although it was recognisable, it did not have the necessary glamor and as such, the excellence of the destination was not recognised. Today, in terms of the organisational, technology and development and marketing, we can compare Postojna Caves to any destination in the world". By electric train or on foot, visitors to Postojna Cave can see more than five kilometres of magnificent underground halls and natural tunnels, and can be dazzled by a wealth of speleothems: calcite formations, stalactites and stalagmites in a variety of shapes, colours and age. The constant temperature in the caves ranges from 8°C - 10°C and audio-guides are available in 15 languages (Slovene, English, Croation, German, Italian, Spanish, French, Polish, Hungarian, Czech, Russian, Hebrew, Japanese, Korean and Mandarin). Until Batagelj’s arrival, visitors spent an average of 3 to 3.5 hours at the caves however, now it is more likely to be six hours. Among the many activities that have been added, Batagelj points to the

exhibition pavilion, Expo, and the fully renovated hotel. "This way we will try to hold a guest overnight and I believe that, in the next five years, we can come up with an adequate period to stay. In addition to Postojna Cave, Predjama Castle is ranked among the top ten castles globally!"

The first "Baby Dragon" has been born Each new life is a miracle and it is even more extraordinary when the new life is a "baby dragon"! In Postojna Cave, a bevy of blind baby "dragons" hatched in May, exactly four months after one of the female olms laid her first egg. Although both science and the previous experience of the researchers meant an almost zero chance that the olm eggs would hatch, the people from Postojna Cave had faith that it would happen. Olms are simply too big of a mystery, partly because they live their mysterious lives in the depths of caves, in total darkness, completely hidden from humans. According to statistics, a mere two baby olms successfully hatch from 500 eggs in their natural environment. <<

The Postojna Cave, the Beautiful Caves; Photo: Iztok Medja

Marjan Batagelj – CEO Postojna Cave Vivarium Proteus; Photo: Iztok Medja

The Predjamski grad castle; Photo: Iztok Medja

Proteus Anguinus egg

Proteus Angiunus guards its eggs

The Slovenia Times – Special Edition



The Škocjan Caves Park; Photo: B. Kladnik/

Things You didn’t Know About Slovenia Slovenia is among the most biologically diverse countries in the world, it accounts for less than 0.004% of the Earth’s surface but is home to more than 1% of all living creatures and 2% of terrestrial creatures - a total of 24,000 animal species. Slovenia is the third most forested country in Europe with almost 60% of its territory covered by forest. In recent decades, the proportion of forest has been increasing, since every year we plant over 1,200,000 trees. Over one third of Slovenia’s territory is protected and included in the Europe-wide Natura 2000 network, which protects biodiversity. Sečovlje Salina Nature Park is the only Slovenian wetland area on the UNESCO list of wetlands of international importance. Today only a small section of the saltworks, which are more than 700 years old, is still used to make salt, 42

The Slovenia Times – Special Edition

but in the abandoned areas we find a treasury of plant and animal life, including the Etruscan shrew, the smallest mammal in the world! Slovenia has one of the largest brown bear populations in Europe with between 500 and 700 bears. Slovenia is one of the richest countries in Europe in terms of water. It has almost 27,000 kilometres of rivers, streams and other watercourses. It also has numerous thermal and mineral springs and many subterranean waters. Slovenia is home to the world’s oldest vine and it’s still in use today. It is located in Maribor, a city in the northeast and Slovenia’s second largest city. It is estimated that the vine is over 400 years old and it even holds its own Guinness world. Its Žametna Črnina grapes still produce 25 litres of wine every year.

Sečovlje Salina Nature Park; Photo: Anže Malovrh/STA Photo: Arhiv LTO Bovec, David Štulc Zornik

Slovenia’s world-famous Lipica stud farm, celebrated for its aristocratic Lipizzaners, has been operating uninterruptedly since its foundation in 1580. The adult Lipizzaner is notable for its white colour and its remarkable learning ability.

Lipica Stud Farm; Poto: Stanko Gruden/STA

Maribor – the oldest grapevine in the world; Photo: Matjaž Ledinek

Kurent; Photo: Tamino Petelinšek/STA

On the way toward high mountain huts and viewpoints

The geographical and climatic variety and diversity of Slovenia mean that in a single day you can pick autumn fruits in the morning, bathe in the Adriatic in the afternoon, and go night skiing in the evening. Slovenia’s Karst Plateau has given its name to karst landscapes and karst phenomena all over the world. It was in the Karst that experts first explained numerous karst features such as underground caves, dolines and ponors. Slovenia has the tallest cliff on the Adriatic coast. In the Strunjan Peninsula, an almost vertical flysch wall rises up from the sea to a height of 80 metres. The most famous Slovene carnival figure is the Kurent? The presence of this traditional figure drives away winter and brings good fortune. Kurents can be seen driving away the winter at the main carnival procession in Ptuj. In Slovenia you can see the traces of real dinosaurs. Traces from the early Triassic, probably around 200 million years old, can be seen on Zalarjev Vrh near Idrija. The battle that was the direct cause of the break-up of the Roman Empire into its eastern and western parts was fought on Slovene soil? This battle between the armies of the Emperor Theodosius and the usurper Eugenius, each numbering a hundred thousand men, took place on 5 and 6 September AD 394 in the Vipava Valley. The Freising Manuscripts are the oldest surviving document in Slovene and also the oldest surviving document written in any Slavonic language. The manuscripts consist of liturgical texts written around the year 1000. They are kept in the Bavarian State Museum in Munich. France Prešeren is considered the greatest Slovene poet: he is celebrated above all for his sonnets, while his poem The Toast is Slovenia’s national anthem.

The Toast (Zdravljica), the Slovenian National Anthem was written by France Prešeren

The Old Pharmacy in Olimje is the oldest pharmacy in Slovenia and one of the oldest surviving monastic

pharmacies in Europe. It contains frescoes painted by Lerchinger in 1780. Vilenica cave near Lokev is the oldest show cave in Europe. Tourists have been visiting it since 1633. Every year the Vilenica international literary prize is awarded in the cave’s ‘Ballroom’. The canteen of the coal mine in Velenje, 160 metres below the surface, is the lowest-lying dining room in Europe. It is approximately 15 metres long, and can seat 48 people at 12 tables. The world’s longest stone-arch railway bridge is the Solkan Bridge on the Bohinj line. The main arch has a span of 85 metres and the total length of the bridge is 219.7 metres. The tallest industrial chimney in Europe is in Slovenia. This accolade goes to the chimney of the power station in Trbovlje, which is 362 metres high. It was built to this great height in an attempt to prevent pollution of the lower atmosphere. Slovenia has over 7,000 kilometres of mountain hiking trails, along which there are 165 mountain huts and bivouacs. 216 km² of Slovenia is covered by vineyards. Slovenia has many interesting gastronomic festivals. These include the Saltworkers’ Festival, the Cabbage Festival, Chestnut Sunday and Bean Day. In Slovenia you can pay to spend the night in a prison cell. The Celica Hostel in Ljubljana is a former military prison with comfortable and imaginatively designed cells for guests. Some scenes from the film Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian were filmed in the Soča Valley. Couples still get married on Bled Island. According to tradition, in order to ensure a long and happy marriage, the groom must carry the bride up the 99 steps leading to the island. Restaurant Strelec (photo above); Photo: D. Dubokovič

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Žan Košir; Photo: OKS

Skier Tina Maze; Photo: STA

Slovenia: Realisation of an Olympic Dream Prepared by Jan Bratanič

Slovenians love to dance polka, but for at least one month this summer they’ll gladly switch to Brazilian samba. Almost anyone who loves sport will have their eyes turned to Rio de Janeiro, a fascinating, vibrant city and the host of this year’s Summer Olympic Games, which is a little ironic since August is a winter month in the southern hemisphere.


The Slovenia Times – Special Edition

Sailor Vasilij Žbogar, hammer-thrower Primož Kozmus and sharp shooter Rajmond Debevec. Photo: Dejan Mijović/STA

This contradiction aptly describes the exhilarating, yet extremely difficult times in which Brazil finds itself. Once a rising economic power and darling of the group of the fast growing BRICS, it is facing a political, constitutional and economic crisis. Not to mention the mosquito-borne Zika virus outbreak, which has caused some 150 doctors, scientists and bioethicists to raise their voices in an effort to postpone or move the 2016 Olympics. Winter is coming, both literally and metaphorically, but the Brazilians will try to cling to summer for at least the following couple of months. With the help of international athletes and millions of tourists, some also from Slovenia, they may just succeed.

Olympic moments Since independence, Slovenians have shared many of what could be called "Olympic moments". Those times of triumphs and gritty performances which bring pride and unity to the nation and are bound to live in collective memory for generations. Tears of joy from Slovenia’s greatest sharp shooter, Rajmond Debevec, during the national anthem in his honour is one such "Olympic moment"; the excruciating pain written across the face of our cross country skier, Petra Majdič, overcoming the odds and winning a bronze medal despite the broken rib she sustained during training, is another. In 12 Olympic Games there were just two occasions – in Nagano 1998 and Torino 2006 - when the Slovenian flag

Ski jumper Peter Prevc; Photo: OKS

Rowers Iztok Čop and Luka Špik. Photo: Tamino Petelinšek/STA

hasn’t flown at a medal ceremony. All in all, Slovenian athletes have won 34 medals, 14 in the winter cold and 19 under warm summer skies. Granted, it is a small haul by American, Russian or indeed any big nation standards, but in the context of population size – there are only two million people living on the sunny side of Alps - Slovenia is a sensation, always in the company of those nations with the highest medal count per capita. In Sochi 2014, Slovenia came second to Norway, winning eight medals one medal per 257,000 Slovenians. Therefore, it could be said that Slovenians have never been good at following the idea of the father of the modern Olympic Games, Pierre de Coubertin, who famously said: "The important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle, the essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well". Slovenian athletes have always fought well, but they have also triumphed and often. Sport has evolved to become fiercely competitive. It takes talent, years of dedication and 100 percent focus to find glory and become a champion. So, when we celebrate the beauty of competitive sport and the achievements of our compatriots, we also celebrate their sacrifices, their blood, sweat and tears.

Champions of our era It is the summer of 1992 when images of picturesque Barcelona attractions and Olympic facilities travelled around the world, the people walking the streets

studded with unique Gaudi buildings were in a frenzy each time the bus of the American Dream Team passed. Basketball legends including Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Charles Barkley and co. drew the attention, but the main story for Slovenians happened some 130 kilometres to the north. The Lake of Banyoles was the venue for the rowing competition and the first two true Slovenian triumphs. The Slovenian rowers outdid themselves, winning two bronze medals. Iztok Čop has since became the greatest male Slovenian Olympian since independence, going on to win gold, silver and bronze medal over the next 20 years, all with his outspoken sidekick, Luka Špik. The domination in one sport continued in the winter months of 1994 around the Norwegian city, Lillehammer, where Slovenians justified their reputation as a ski nation, winning three bronze medals. It all began with Alenka Dovžan in the alpine combination, continued with Katja Koren surprising in slalom and finished with Jure Košir in the men’s slalom. Although Dovžan won the first Slovenian Winter Olympic medal, it was the hugely popular Košir who made the greatest impression on fans back home, clawing his way from eighth place in his first run to step on the podium after the next, following crashes by four of the race favourites, including local hero Kjetil André Aamodt. The sheen of medals turned from bronze to silver in Atlanta 1996 where sprinter, Brigita Bukovec, just missed out on gold in the 100 metre hurdles and Andraž Vehovar came second in the kayak

Vesna Fabjan & Teja Gregorin; Photo: STA

white-water slalom. But it was a few short hours in Sydney 2000 which took the Slovenian Olympic experience to a whole new level. On 23 September, Iztok Čop and Luka Špik, dominated the rowing competition in the double sculls to win the first ever gold medal under the Slovenian flag. The euphoria hadn’t had time to subside in their homeland when Rajmond Debevec, his hands calm and sight focused, hit one target after another to write his page in the history books as the second Slovenian winner of Olympic gold. Slovenia, as a sporting nation, clearly took on the traits of good wine – the older it grew, the better its athletes became. Following in the footsteps of the former champions was a new and hungrier generation of serial medal winners. In the six Olympic Games since Barcelona 1992, Slovenian sportsmen and sportswomen have won 10 medals and in the next six they have won a whopping 24, including gold medals from hammer-thrower Primož Kozmus, judoka Urška Žolnir and skiing sensation Tina Maze, who is the most decorated Slovenian Olympian since independence, with two golds and as many silvers. Sochi 2014 is the highlight of Slovenian "Olympic moments". However, not only because of the eight medals won, including a silver and a bronze by todays best ski jumper in the world, Peter Prevc, but also the heroic effort from the ice hockey team, which was led by Anže Kopitar to the last eight and maybe the biggest success in Slovenian team sports history. The Slovenia Times – Special Edition



Gymnastic legend Miroslav Cerar. Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA

First champions Although a young nation, the history of Slovenian Olympians stretches through a significantly longer time period than just the last few decades. Leon Štukelj, a gymast during the times of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia once shared his thoughts. Being at one time the oldest Olympian in the world, he remembered watching Jessie Owens silence Nazi crowds in Berlin 1936 and was able to build a bridge from the inception of Olympic movement to modern times. "I realise that I’m now 100 and I thought about it for a while. Then I realised I’m doing just fine and I’m glad I could come here to be with you. I’ve had many struggles in my life, but also a lot of happiness. I look forward to each new day," said the then still vigorous Olympian, who remains the most decorated in Slovenian history. He won three gold medals, a silver and two bronzes for the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. But he was not the first Slovenian to climb the podium at the Olympic Games. That honour went to Rudolf Cvetko in Stockholm 1912, who won silver in fencing for the Austro-Hungarian Empire and started the rich history of Olympic champions, from gymnastic legends like Štukelj and Miroslav Cerar to skiing greats such as Maze - each collecting two gold medals - to many others who serve as the inspiration for Slovenian kids, spurring them on to achieve greatness for themselves and their nation. You can’t foretell the future without knowing the past. In reliving former "Olympic moments", we can but think that Rio de Janeiro will hold new success stories for Slovenian athletes and joy for their followers.  46

The Slovenia Times – Special Edition

Year 1992 1994 1996 2000 2002 2004 2008 2010 2012 2014 Total

Sprinter Brigita Bukovec. Photo: Stanko Gruden/STA

Medal Summer OG Winter OG Summer OG Summer OG Winter OG Summer OG Summer OG Winter OG Summer OG Winter OG

Gold     2     1   1 2 6

Silver   2     1 2 2 1 2 10

Bronze 2 3   1 3 2 1 2 4 18

Total 2 3 2 2 1 4 5 3 4 8 34


Interesting facts: Over 60 world records in ski jumping and ski flying have been set in Planica. Ski jumpers in Planica were the first to break the magic 100-metre and 200-metre barriers. Slovene Davo Karničar was the first man to ski down Mount Everest, the highest mountain in the world? He was also the first man in the world to ski the highest peaks of all seven continents. The Slovene ultra-marathon swimmer Martin Strel was the first man to successfully swim the Amazon, the Mississippi and the Yangtze.





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Photos: 1 ©The Brdo Congress Centre, 2 ©Port of Koper, 3 Bled; ©Franci Ferjan;, 4 ©Krka - R & D center in pharmaceutical companies


Financed by the Ministry of the Republic of Slovenia for Economic Development and Technology.


International Business Partners TOPIC: What has been your experience of 25 years of Slovenia and what are your expectations for the future?

American Chamber of Commerce – AmCham Slovenia Believe in Slovenia Recently we were asked a provocative question: "What would it mean for the world if Slovenia disappeared?" Our answer, which came straight from the heart, was "irreparable damage" since it would mean the disappearance of the only country in the world that has LOVE in its name. Of course, it’s not just our name that distinguishes us. Slovenia has creative people and a highly developed infrastructure, with a focus on security, reliability and openness. With the establishment of the single European digital market and digital transformation, Slovenia is THE COUNTRY of choice for developing new proven concepts at the national level, be it in healthcare, education, energy efficiency or cooperation. In addition to being an excellent reference environment, Slovenia also boasts exceptional levels of expertise and knowledge, enabling it to become "Slovenia – a green reference country in a digital Europe". Major steps toward this have been done - now we must prove that we know how to collaborate. It is time to smash stereotypes, paradigms and old beliefs. Thankfully, the future is in our own hands but we need to demonstrate responsibility and enjoy it. 

British – Slovenian Chamber of Commerce – BSCC BSCC congratulates Slovenia on a special anniversary We congratulate Slovenia on its 25th birthday! The last 25 years have brought a lot of changes, including a slow, but steady, growth in trade between Slovenia and the United Kingdom. We would like to help increase this through our British Chamber in Slovenia and our network of British Chambers in the UK. Our focus will be on specific industry activities, through trade delegations to England and


The Slovenian Times | Summer Edition 2016

Scotland in 2017, design and luxury events in London and match-making meetings between companies. Although there has been foreign direct investment in Slovenia in the last 25 years, we hope this will continue with a clear government strategy and a healthy business environment, which is the basis for British companies to invest.

Did you know? British people obviously love Slovenian apples. Evrosad, our BSCC member, is one of the biggest exporters to the UK. In 2014 they exported cca four thousand tons of Slovenian apples.

International Business Partners

The German-Slovene Chamber of Commerce and Industry – AHK Slowenien Dr. Volker Treier, Deputy Chief Executive at the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce Gertrud Rantzen, President of the Slovenian-German Chamber of Commerce Zdravko Počivalšek, Minister of Economic Development and Technology, RS; Photo: Mediaspeed

The relationship between Slovenia and Germany began 25 years ago – slowly - after the proclamation of independence, Germany, with its Foreign Minister Hans – Dietrich Genscher who left us not so long ago, being the first country to recognise the independence of Slovenia. In the first 25 years, the economic relations between the countries has been increasing but still balanced, particularly in recent years.

In 2015, the foreign trade between these two friendly countries stood at just below EUR 10bn. Over the 25 years and including services, the foreign trade is already over EUR 11bn which classifies Germany as the first and most important foreign trade partner, comprising more than 20% of the Slovenia‘s foreign trade. The German-Slovene Chamber of Commerce and Industry is looking forward to even more 25 years ago, in 1991, ADVANTAGE AUSTRIA Ljubljana (AA) opened its doors in Slovenia with the goal of supporting Austrian companies doing business in Slovenia. Since 1995, Austria has been the biggest investor in Slovenia. According to the Bank of Slovenia, the first registered foreign direct investment (FDI) was recorded in 1994. At that time, EUR 242m of Austrian FDI in Slovenia was recorded. From 1995, more and more companies have dared to take the step of internationalisation and come to Slovenia. Today there are more than 700 subsidiaries with a FDI volume of EUR 3.4bn, which is a fifteen-fold increase. In future, AA will even more strongly promote Slovenia as a business destination. Therefore, the organisation focuses intensively on cooperation and communication with other stakeholders and also on boosting public relations in Austria as well as in Slovenia. The interest in doing business between Austria and Slovenia is huge and AA provides the platform for this. 

foreign trade and an even better relationship between the countries. In its favour is that there are more German companies present in Slovenia as well as more Slovene companies producing for the German market, and every day more Slovene companies wanting to export to the German market. We help those companies with our experience and services. 

Advantage Austria

Peter Hasslacher, Director of Advantage Austria Ljubljana; Photo: Mediaspeed

Summer Edition 2016 | The Slovenian Times


International Business Partners Economy

Luxembourg-Slovenian Business Club (LSBC) 25 years later: where to invest, who to attract Slovenia is missing a development strategy and still does not know which the key sectors for investment and for development are in the long run. Hopefully, the future will bring increased internationalisation through Slovenia’s greater linkage to developed markets, connections through Slovenian experts engaged in foreign systems and through a clear development strategy being formulated and followed.

Let’s take the example of Luxembourg’s pragmatic concept as being the market for innovative ideas, especially in sectors where they are traditionally well positioned (i.e. the financial sector, ICT, automotive, materials, space) and which has resulted in five percent growth per year since the financial crisis. The Slovenian cryptocurrency company, BitStamp, has recently moved its headquarters to Luxem-

bourg as the first fully EU-licensed and regulated bitcoin exchange in Europe. Slovenia will find its path of glory through a pragmatic and well-structured approach to leverage our strengths efficiently and build on our strong internationalisation to not only keep domestic companies but also to attract foreign companies for the sectors where we have natural potential. 

for Italy, which is Slovenia’s second largest trade partner and third ultimate investment country. Achieving these results, that is more than EUR 6bn in trade flows and EUR 800m in direct investments, was possible thanks to years of cooperation that have nurtured bilateral trust. It is not by chance that Italians are the first tourists in Slovenia. Italy’s presence is

epitomised through the long-term operations of well-established companies and by entrepreneurs who enjoy the benefits of trans-border activities. The future that can be built on this solid relationship is one of further economic integration which deserves to be supported through improved logistics and transport. 

Italian Trade Agency (ICE)

The Italian Trade Agency – ICE is pleased to celebrate Slovenia’s 25th anniversary as an independent state. The trade promotion section of the Italian Embassy (ICE), headquartered in Ljubljana, has been operating to support bilateral trade and investments that have been thriving since 1991. Today, Slovenia is among the top 10 per capita trade markets


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International Business Partners Slovenia and Russia celebrate their independence in June.

Yury Praslov, Slovene-Russian Business Club in Moscow

Both Slovenia and Russia are young democracies and yet, I believe, there is a great difference in them. According to a poll released last year before the Russian 25 year jubilee, only 39% of people actually knew it was the Day of Russia. Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a feeling, especially among elderly Russians, that independence from the USSR led the way to the breakdown of a great country. This is not the same as for Slovenes who have, in fact, gained independence for the first time since Carantanian times. To a Russian layman, Slovenia looks like a friendly Alpine country and still, sometimes, associated with Yugoslaviaâ&#x20AC;ŚIt has no real implications since there is a growing nostalgia for the Soviet times, even among some younger Russians. But what really differentiates us from Slovenes is that we like to think big. Independence for Russians touches the sacred memory of its heroic past where we played a pivotal role in World War II. Victory Day on 9 May is, by far, a true national independence day with big festiv-

Slovene - Russian Business Club ities however, regretfully, a quiet approach to this day in Europe...if not reconciling with Nazi veterans in some European countries. There is zero tolerance to this in Russia which lost 27 million people in the war and may indeed be a dividing gap between Russia and Europe. Slovenia, in contrast to others, is not ruining monuments of the past. It has always held sacred the memory of foreign soldiers that found peace in Slovenia. It is not a coincidence, therefore, that the 100 year jubilee of the Ruska Kapelica, in late July, must play a key role in bridging Russia and Europe in these current controversial times. ď ´

Your Daily Source of Information Summer Edition 2016 | The Slovenian Times


Slovenia – Russia

The Russian chapel – 100 anniversaries that bind and connect Prepared by Igor Šimac

On the slopes of the northern Gorenjska side of the 1611m mountain pass, Vršič, rests an orthodox chapel, erected to commemorate the great loss of lives during World War I. More than 300 lives were lost in one accident during the construction of the mountain road to reach the 100km Soča valley on the other side, which was of strategic importance to maintain a successful defence of the Soča front. Although an easier and better built road existed through the neighbouring pass of Predil, it was too close to the front line and thus not reliable. The Soča front was opened when the Kingdom of Italy, a former ally of the Empire of Austria, secretly switched sides and attacked the soft unprotected belly of the Empire, which was not guarded by any troops but those left out of the local defence, Landsturm-Črnovojniki – men older than 55 or younger than 17. These 'soldiers' however succeeded through organisation and maneuvering to first delay and then hold off the invasion until the first rescue troops arrived from the east. Their last stand was on the top and slopes of Mount Krn, overlooking the Soča valley, where this small bunch of local men and adolescents, with their knowledge of the terrain, stopped the superior forces of the Italian Alpinists. The order from the high command was given to quickly build a supply road. The work was hastily done by 10,000 Russian prisoners of war captured on the front line to the east of the Austrian empire.

Deadly Avalanche Soča front was opened when the Kingdom of Italy, a former ally of the Empire of Austria, secretly switched sides and attacked the soft unprotected belly of the Empire.


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In March 1916 there was a sudden abundance of snow. The Russians said that even in Siberia they had not witnessed such an intense snowfall and that in such severe conditions they would preferto go back to the bloody front line just to stay away from the damned avalanches. The conditions worsened rapidly and the supply route was threatened and so the Austrian command ordered that the snow be cleared day and night to keep the road open. More than 20,000 soldiers were fighting in the same conditions on much higher ground - from Mount

Krn on one side to Mount Kanin and Rombon on the other side of the Soča River in the upper Soča valley. The area could only be supplied by a road through Vršič, with the over 800 metric tons of materials including food, ammunition, fuel and fuel wood, medicine and construction materials, needed daily. On Ash Wednesday, 8 March 1916, at around noon, a mighty avalanche swept away the Russian camp. Suddenly the terrible screams of hundreds of voices stopped abruptly. Heavy snow destroyed all those in front of it, the Russians and their Austrian guards were united in a cold death embrace. Only a lucky few escaped. The destruction of the road and its mighty log roof built specifically against the same forces of nature was obliterated in seconds. Due to their fear, those prisoners who were not caught in the avalanche believed that no rescue would be possible that day, even under the threat of guns, but in truth, the Austrian guards were also afraid to go to their rescue. It would have been in vain as the force of heavy snow was such that none of the bodies were recognisable.

The Chapel The wooden chapel, built in an Orthodox style, stands at an altitude of 1811m. The chapel is dedicated to St Vladimir and was built by Russian prisoners of war to commemorate those who died during the building and maintenance of the road to Vršič, the Russian Road. The chapel was initially covered with tree bark and then later, with small wooden planks in the

Slovenia – Russia On Ash Wednesday, 8 March 1916, at around noon, a mighty avalanche swept away the Russian camp. Suddenly the terrible screams of hundreds of voices stopped abruptly. Heavy snow destroyed all those in front of it, the Russians and their Austrian guards were united in a cold death embrace. Only a lucky few escaped. The destruction of the road and its mighty log roof built specifically against the same forces of nature was obliterated in seconds. 01

local style. Its modest interior has an interesting altar with iconostases and hammered chandeliers and candlesticks. The chapel was also used as orthodox sacred place where prisoners could rebuild their faith and hope in the hard times. Further up on the road is the socalled Russian cross, which was erected by the Austrians to commemorate their dead guards. The exact number of those who died was never known due to war secrecy. Nearby is situated a pyramid over the tomb with the inscription in Russian "Synam Rossii" To the sons of Russia, 02


which was added later. After the war, the locals looked after and maintained the chapel and erected a fence around it. When reconstructing the road, many skeletons were found and which have now been buried in the ossuary below the pyramid.

Russians in Slovenia WWI Russian graves can also be found in the cemetery near the top of Vršič, on the other side in Trenta in the Soča valley, and in Ukanc near Lake Bohinj. Ljubljana’s Ruska ulica, a street near the Union brewery, was also built by Russians prisoners. There are more than 300 graves in Ljubljana’s main cemetery, Žale, where this year in the presence of Russian President Putin, there will be a new memorial opened to commemorate all the Russian soldiers who died on Slovenian soil. Mr. Putin will, on the same visit in July, also visit the Russian chapel, in its centenary year, on the day of his personal saint, St Vladimir. In all, there were between 20,000 and 30,000 Russian prisoners stationed in Slovenia during the war years. In WWII, the Red Army liberated, with the Slovenian partisans, Prekmurje in the eastern part of the country. Many of the Russian prisoners returned home after the German surrender, but some stayed and found jobs and started families- in 1921, they were joined by arrivals from the defeated Wrangler army. Every year, both Russians and locals visit the chapel on St. Vladimir day at the end of July. The tradition has been kept for 100 years, but with increasing international significance and occasionally representatives from the highest positions in both countries such as President Medvedjev and others.

This year in the presence of Russian President Putin, there will be a new memorial opened to commemorate all the Russian soldiers who died on Slovenian soil. Mr. Putin will, on the same visit in July, also visit the Russian chapel, in its centenary year, on the day of his personal saint, St Vladimir. No war elevates. This makes the role of the Russian chapel all the more important as it connects nations and reminds of the terrible mistakes from our past which must not be repeated and binds people and nations together.  Sources: Kako se je začelo na Soči 1915 (1,2,3) – How it started on Soča 1915, Šimac Rudi

Photos 01-03 Traditional memorial service at the Russian chapel on Vršič in memory of the Russian prisoners of war who died when mighty avalanche swept away the Russian camp. Photo: Daniel Novakovič /STA and Tina Kosec/STA

Summer Edition 2016 | The Slovenian Times


Slovenia – Russia

01 Traditional memorial service at the Russian chapel on Vršič in memory of the Russian prisoners of war. Photo: Daniel Novakovič /STA 02 Paintings of Moscow. Photo: Daniel Novakovič /STA


Slovenia – Russia:

the bilateral relationship Prepared by Valerio Fabbri

Strategic importance of Vršič: 1916 and 2016 In early 1915, the small town of Kranjska Gora suddenly became strategically important due to its proximity to the Soča Front. Because of the problems of supplying the hinterland, the Austro-Hungarian army decided to build a mountain road over Vršič, a pass of over 1,600 metres between the Soča and Sava valleys. Due to a shortage of labour, the army used Russian prisoners of war for the construction. During the intensive work in 1916, an enormous avalanche buried a large number of people, among them about 170 Russians to whose memory the remaining prisoners built a small wooden memorial chapel. 28 July marks the traditional day when the remembrance of this event takes place. On the 100th anniversary of its inauguration, the President of Slovenia, Borut Pahor and Russian President, Vladimir Putin, will both participate in the ceremony in July 2016. Once again, the Vršič mountain pass may be of strategic importance, for Putin


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to visit a European Union (EU) country is a rare event and more-so since the imposition of EU economic sanctions on Russia in July 2014 for its annexation of Crimea. Slovenia is among a select group of countries, including Germany, Greece, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Austria and Italy, whose leaders have advocated an end to the penalties imposed on Russia. During the 2015 visit of Russian Prime Minister, Dimitri Medvedev, to the Vršič chapel, the President of Slovenia, Miro Cerar, stated that Slovenia wanted the EU to lift economic sanctions on Russia as the sanctions were affecting trade between the two countries, which has decreased by 40 percent as a consequence. A year later, Germany is leading the efforts of countries increasingly in favour of easing the pressure on the trade relationship between Russia and the EU. German Foreign Minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, recently raised the idea of a phased removal of sanctions as progress is achieved through the implementation of the Minsk agreement on Ukraine.


The Slavic factor in bilateral trade Enjoying a combination of different geographical features in a small area, Slovenia is often described as a microcosm of Europe. Although the country is not widely known in Russia, those who know Slovenia love it and want to move to this western-most Slavic country. As Andrej Stopar, a former Moscow correspondent for RTV Slovenija, puts it "the perception is that a small, cute, clean, environmentally-friendly Slavic country is a cozy destination for middle class Russians, mainly from the country’s European part". The Forum of Slavic Cultures, established by Slovenia and Russia in 2004 with the aim to preserve and develop the cultural values and traditions shared by Slavic-speaking countries, is further testament to this. For all these affinities, Russians moving to Slovenia tend to integrate with local people. Furthermore, cultural contiguity also helps bilateral trade. Top-level political dialogue was opened in 2001 when Slovenia hosted the RussianAmerican Summit in Brdo pri Kranju. Since that event, state-level meetings have been held on a regular basis. Russians are perceived as acceptable and silent investors in Slovenia, highlights Klemen Grošelj, a professor at the Faculty of Political Science of the University of Ljubljana and a Russian expert. Slovenia and Russia are traditionally strong economic partners. Russian interests in the metallurgical industry and tourism in Slovenia are significant, while Slovenia has been an investor in Russia, predominately in the pharmaceutical sector, and an exporter of wireless telecommunication equipment, electrical machinery, mechanical systems and coatings. As a member state of the former Yugoslavia, Slovenia manufactured

Slovenia – Russia good-quality products, similar to those of the west but for more reasonable prices. This was, and to some extent still is, important for Russian consumers who have always associated a positive, trustful sentiment to the country. As a result, Slovenian investment is focused on the consumer market. The 1998 ruble crisis forced some Slovenian companies to either leave or downsize operations, and then with the stability brought by Putin’s first two terms in office, a number of Slovenian companies opened offices or set-up plants. Slovenian companies: Krka, Iskra and Riko are the top three Slovenian investors in Russia, each with different stories and traditions, making up the biggest chunk of exports from Slovenia. Krka recorded an impressive 13 percent increased turnover in Russia in 2015 (EUR 134m). Slovenia counts Russian tourists among its most important guests (4 percent increase in 2015), many of whom decide to buy a property in the coastal area. These figures make Russia in the top ten trade partners of Slovenia. Imports from Russia include oil, gas and aluminum products, i.e. 70-75 percent of all Russian imports. The first significant Russian investment came with the privatisation of Slovenska Industrija Jeklo (SIJ) in 2007, recently coupled by the purchase of Perutnina Ptuj, which is testament of the acceptableinvestor perception vis-à-vis Russia which is critical for future investments. Since 2006, Gazprom, the Russian energy giant, has been actively promoting the South Stream project to deliver gas to the southern flank of Europe, including Slovenia, by bypassing Ukraine. However, as the project stalled for political reasons, energy investments from Russia have come to a halt. Despite such a solid relationship, bilateral trade has been hurt both by the drop in energy prices and by sanctions. In its peak year of 2013, trade reached EUR 1.46bn, while in 2015 it accounted for slightly more than EUR 1bn, according to data from Izvozno Okno. 03 Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Russian Ambassador to Slovenia Doku Zavgaev and the Slovenian Heads of State. Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA 04 Speech of Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev at the Russian chapel on Vršič. Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA 05 Exchange office in Russia. Photo: Xinhua/STA 05



A strategic visit? Slovenia will be the second EU country that Putin has visited since 2014. As Professor Grošelj puts it, Slovenia’s foreign policy has been unable to frame a strategy on how to deal with major powers. With Russia, there has always been a special relationship at the personal level and the visit should be considered in this regard. When Putin visited Greece last May in an attempt to reinforce the economic cooperation between the two countries, Alexis Tsipras, the Greek Prime Minister, said that the strengthening of Greek-Russian relations was "a strategic choice". While the visit to Slovenia was borne out of the Vršič chapel special anniversary and

not a strategic choice, it is unclear to what extent both parties will go in addressing the situation. According to the experts, it is hard to imagine that Putin will miss the opportunity to underline the negative impact of sanctions. According to Polona Frelih, a former Delo correspondent in Moscow, there is likely to be a mention of the South Stream project. In summary, it is virtually impossible to believe that Putin will not make any statement in the interests of Russia or touch upon some sensitive issues. There is consent, however, that the visit is not strategic and so it is safe to say that there will not be any negative repercussions for Slovenia’s foreign policy. 

Summer Edition 2016 | The Slovenian Times


Slovenia – Russia

Jože Colarič, President of the Management Board and CEO, Krka, d. d., Novo mesto

Interview: Jože Colarič, President of the Management Board and CEO, Krka, d. d., Novo mesto

Krka does not withdraw from countries facing economic and other fluctuations Prepared by Tina Drolc, M.Sc.

In the last five years, the generic pharmaceutical industry has seen revenue growth based on the growing demand for generics. With two percent market share the Slovenian Krka Group, headquartered in Novo Mesto, is one of the leading global generic pharmaceutical companies. As its president and CEO explains, the group plans to grow sales to EUR 1,210 million in 2016, with new products making a significant contribution. The Russian Federation is one of Krka’s key markets and its largest individual market and Mr Colarič explains how business has flourished since Krka’s initial presence in 1965 and he emphasises the value of the friendship between the Russian and Slovenian nations.


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Slovenia – Russia Our plan is for sales to grow in terms of quantity and revenue in 2016, with forecast profit of EUR 160m

Euros lagged sales for the same period of 2015 by 9 percent. At the same time, sales expressed in the Rouble increased by 9 percent and in terms of quantity by 10 percent.

Q You increased R&D expenditure to EUR 115.4m and outperformed your sales growth target for 2015. What is your main focus for future growth? A Our plans are ambitious but, at the same time, we are aware that our business operations will continue to be affected by individual market conditions. Our plan is for sales to grow in terms of quantity and revenue in 2016, with forecast profit of EUR 160m and a similar amount to be allocated to investment. New products will be an important contributor to growth and I can say that, in the Krka Group, new products launched in the last five years represent more than 40% of revenue. In our business strategy, we focus not only on the already established therapeutic areas but also on entering new areas. At the same time, we connect certain key business functions in a way that they will make our vertical integration business model perform even better, which allows us to develop a product and ensure quality production of both the pharmaceutical ingredient and the finished product. It also includes marketing and sales activities that end with the regular collection of trade receivables. Speed and flexibility, which are our significant competitive advantages, are also important. I believe that we have built solid foundations for our further business development.

Q How do you, as a global player, reduce the impact of financial risk and economic hazards on group operations? A In unpredictable business conditions risk management is very important so that we can ensure operations are as stable as possible. Due to dispersed international operations, the Krka Group is definitely exposed to fluctuating foreign exchange rates in individual markets which is why in 2015 we adjusted the policy of managing currency risk. We did this due to the changed and unstable conditions of energy based markets which directly influence the value of the Rouble and other currencies in the region. During the period of increased uncertainty in foreign exchange markets in the second half of 2015, we occasionally hedged the fluctuating Russian Rouble with forward contracts. Otherwise, all financial risks are managed centrally by the controlling company.

Q Krka has a significant presence in the Russian Federation, which is the company’s largest individual market for prescription pharmaceuticals. What is the sales volume and the infrastructure capacity in Russia and when did Krka establish a presence? A The Russian Federation is one of Krka’s key markets as well as its largest individual market. In Krka, we know this market well and the customers know us and our advanced, quality, effective and safe products. We are a well-known company in Russia due to our longterm business operations. The first time we entered Russia was in 1965 when we presented our first pharmaceutical products at a fair in Moscow and successfully sold them. The cooperation grew stronger over the years such that in 1992 we established a representative office in Moscow and strengthened it with additional branch offices. In 1999 we established a production company, OOO Krka Rus, and in 2000 a distribution company, OOO Krka Farma. 2003 was a turning point as we became a local producer by building a state-of-the-art production plant, Krka-Rus, in Istra in Moscow Oblast. In 2013 we built a second plant, Krka-Rus 2, extending to 34,500m2, with an investment of

EUR 135m. The first building phase was completed in 2013 with a value of EUR 95m. Technological equipment will be installed gradually during the next few years, in line with market needs, until the final annual plant capacity of 1.8 billion tablets and capsules and 18,500 pallet places in the warehouse is achieved. Today, 50 percent of all products sold in the Russian market are manufactured in the Krka-Rus plant. Unfortunately, the sales results in the Russian Federation have been affected by the decrease in the Rouble in recent years. In 2015 we sold EUR 224.7m worth of products, which is one fifth less than the year before. However, sales expressed in Rouble terms increased by 6.5 percent and there was also an increase in terms of the quantity of products sold.

Q Krka was twice awarded the Best Foreign Pharmaceutical Producer in Moscow. What do you consider the main challenges and opportunities are for your business? A Users know and appreciate our medicines and so we believe that our products will continue to be in high demand. Of course, the conditions are challenging and so more effort must be put in to achieving results. However, we look to the future with optimism as we have a strong marketing and sales network in Russia, from Kaliningrad to Vladivostok and as I mentioned before, we also have the status of a local producer. We have nearly 2,000 highly educated people employed in marketing and sales and most are local experts. I can see a lot of opportunities in Russia. Q As mentioned, the fluctuations of the Russian Rouble had a major impact on sales last year. How did Krka respond to that and what is the situation now with the exchange rate improving? A Krka does not withdraw from countries facing economic and other fluctuations but remains present. We adapt to conditions quickly and our answer to the current situation is to work with even more intensity and to increase the production and sales of our products. So, in the first trimester of 2016 due to the lower average value of the Rouble, sales expressed in

2003 was a turning point as we became a local producer by building a state-of-the-art production plant, Krka-Rus, in Istra in Moscow Oblast.

We think that the best defence of our independence is successful business operations. Q You have been directing the story of Krka as president since 2005. Among the company’s strategic objectives 2020, your Interim Report 2016 defines "Maintain independence". How do you approach this? A We included independence in the strategy because we can see many business opportunities for Krka on this path. Krka has everything it needs for its independence: an extensive and attractive range of products; several products in the pipeline; our own marketing and sales network; our own production capacities in Slovenia and abroad; and capable and motivated employees. We think that the best defence of our independence is successful business operations. But, of course, the decision lies in the hands of the shareholders. Q Based on your experience in Russia, what are your feelings on the 100 year jubilee of the Russian Chapel in late July? A The traditional memorial service at the Russian Chapel demonstrates that friendship between the Russian and Slovenian nations is not only being kept but is deepening. Our cooperation has so far greatly contributed to the strengthening of economic, trade and cultural ties between the two countries. I am convinced that this will also be the case in the future.  Summer Edition 2016 | The Slovenian Times


Experience&Lifestyle Slovenia showing them movies. What virtues do you share in your approach? A Professor Danica Purg, the Head of IEDC Bled School of Management and I developed a particular strand in the Arts and Leadership program in which I approach leadership from an unexpected side. I connect the experiences of business leaders with the characters and actions in some great movies. This approach creates a new discourse in which a leader sees himself/herself from a new perspective. Yet, the bottom line is to examine leadership principles, methodologies and styles.

Mr Haris Pašović, Director, East West Center

Interview: Mr Haris Pašović, Director, East West Center

I approach leadership from an unexpected side Prepared by: Tina Drolc, M.Sc.

Haris Pašović, Director of the East West Center, is an internationally acclaimed, multi-awarded theatre and film director. As co-founder and Professor of Directing at the Performing Arts Academy in Sarajevo and a professor at the IEDC – Bled School of Management, Pašović explains his approach to training business leaders through some great movies. As a leading cultural and public figure in the Balkans for decades, he raises some challenges for Slovenia and the world, which need to be considered in a broader sense. Q In 2005, you established the East West Center in your hometown, Sarajevo. How does the name reflect your raison d’être in terms of your profession? A The East West Center is a true example of "from zero to hero." In 2005, everything around me was unproductive; too uninventive; too slow. I did not want to get entangled in any institution and I formed an independent cultural organisation – the East West Center. I started with zero money, zero space and zero people. Nevertheless, I had the idea to create a multicultural platform for arts and 44

The Slovenian Times | Summer Edition 2016

culture. Now, more than 1,000 artists from 23 countries have played in East West Center projects; we have performed in 17 countries on three continents; taken part in some of the biggest world art festivals; and played in over 40 small Bosnian towns where theatre never goes. We have been working 14 hours a day along the way; often without weekends, often without holidays. Yet, love and excitement has never left our work, even for a moment.

Q As an IEDC professor, you are used to teaching (business) people to lead through the lens of art;

Q In 2002, you directed Shakespeare’s "Romeo and Juliet" in Sarajevo about a Muslim Romeo and a Christian Juliet. From the global perspective of today’s conflicts and consequently migration, it seems that we have learnt nothing from history… A "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet," says Juliet, referring to the world in which names and origins define our fates. In the global world, when someone prioritises a nation, religion, race, gender or sexual orientation, it becomes tribalism. Everything in our industries, business, and technology is so cosmopolitan and yet we often stick with xenophobia, which is a complete atavism. We will either get rid of these ancient feelings or otherwise we will be doomed to perish. Q One of the biggest co-productions the East West Center made was with Slovenia’s Mladinsko Theatre. What was the main reason and how do you perceive Slovenian actors? A I have had lots of connections with Slovenian artists for many years. It is one of the most talented artistic scenes in Europe. It is unfortunate that they experience many hardships regarding cultural funding which prevents them from putting Slovenia more significantly on the world cultural map. Both Slovenian artists and Slovenia itself deserve it dearly. Q This year, Slovenia marks its 25 years of independence. Recently you said "In Yugoslavia, Slovenes were the champions, but when they got what they wanted they lost the vision of progress…" Can you be more precise? A Slovenia was a leader in many fields in Yugoslavia. For example, the Slovenian record in human rights was enlightening. Today, in this independent democratic country, the barbed wire fences have been built to prevent the people escaping the war and famine and seeking refuge; the Roma people experience troubles at their Slovenian homes; the immigrant workers are treated little short of slaves; culture and arts are marginalised. There is certainly a problem with the vision of progress in Slovenia. 

Experience&Lifestyle Slovenia



Crystal Palace on the edge of BTC City

The shopping center BTC City Ljubljana

Shopping tourism is one of the key factors for economic development and main motives for travel. At one point in history, buying souvenirs was as close to shopping as you would get during travel. That, however, is no longer the case. Shopping tourism is quickly becoming one of the key factors in the choice of destination and an increasingly important element in attracting tourists. At BTC, they are also starting to realize just how important shopping tourism has become. They are putting all the efforts for broadening the diversity of their content into making the BTC City shopping centre an indispensible part of visiting Ljubljana and Slovenia in general. Balanced program and content offers designed in accordance with the newest trends are the keys for development at BTC City Ljubljana. Being one of the biggest business-shopping, entertainment, recreation and cultural centers in Europe, annually frequented by 21 million visitors, BTC City Ljubljana represents a new social environment with innovative contents. The visitors can experience these contents through a diverse offer of products and services

Shopping as a Tourist Attractionâ&#x20AC;Ś

Why not?

New York, London and Barcelona are among the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Aside from their history, architecture, great restaurants and a vast array of activities, they also offer an abundance of shops, stores and supermarkets. Shopping makes it to the top of most New York visitorsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; to-do list; Barcelona is famous for high-end designer clothing; and London is the one of the global fashion capitals where everyone will find something to their liking. Increasingly popular as a shopping destination, is also Ljubljana. The shopping center BTC City Ljubljana is becoming more and more prominent on the tourist map. 46

The Slovenian Times | Summer Edition 2016

Experience&Lifestyle Slovenia

Festival of shoping and fun

Festival of shoping and fun

by established international brands; through numerous local and international sports and cultural events; and through the advanced and user-friendly traffic and infrastructure. Altogether, the shopping experience – both for locals and for visitors – is very diverse and offers a ton of experiences. Since nothing goes better with shopping than fine cuisine, the culinary offer has been improved with street food which has become popular all around the world as it represents a new dimension of experience. For this specific purpose, BTC City Ljubljana has opened the door to the renovated south park of the marketplace, inviting guests with a whole specter of different street food dishes. Six catering service providers are responsible for the preparation of a whole specter of Spanish, Asian, vegetarian dishes, hamburgers, etc. The socalled "Flavors of BTC City" invites customers to sit at the tables set up among six neat little houses. This concept enables visitors to have a mean in a relaxing open-air environment. "At BTC, we have decided to renovate a part of the marketplace according to the street-food model in order to offer a comprehensive and pleasurable

experience to our customers. BTC City has been more than just a shopping center for a while now. It is becoming a social, recreational and cultural center for all generations. Excellent and diverse food goes well with socializing in a comfortable environment out in the open. It is essential for our well-being," says Damjan Kralj, Board Member, Director of Sales and Marketing at BTC. BTC City Ljubljana is a meeting point, a leisure center and a place of business opportunities. In order to preserve its public importance and status of an attractive and safe destination for all users, we must also take care of the urban infrastructure, traffic and humanization of the area by establishing one-way streets, making the traffic more fluid and pedestrian and cyclist trails safer. Additional green areas for socializing make the environment nicer for the people, in turn livening up the atmosphere of the entire BTC City Ljubljana shopping center. 

Cycling festival Maraton franja BTC City Water park Atlantis



Experience&Lifestyle Slovenia Authentic atmosphere The activities in the Eco resort beneath Velika planina will attract both families and individuals. The ethnological activities, which will take place on sustainability-oriented elements, will cater for all generations. Everyone will be able to find a place for tranquility, adventure and activities.

Dream job – Shepherd!


Eco resort beneath Velika planina – a novelty in Slovenian tourism With only a few months until the opening of the Eco Resort beneath Velika planina, there is already a lot of interest among both Slovenian and foreign guests seeking an attractive tourist destination with fascinating content. Attention was raised with the offer of a dream job as a shepherd. A myriad of applications from all around the world proved how strongly people want and need contact with nature to disconnect from the everyday stresses.


The resort, located in unique; unspoiled nature, fresh mountain air, close to the crystal-clear river, Kamniška Bistica and surrounded by mountains, is perfect for an unforgettable experience for both guests and those selected for the dream job of a shepherd. The specialness of the Eco Resort is reflected in the architectural design and the activities that will take place in it, with ethnological coloration it will introduce the tradition of Velika planina to guests, which is the common thread of the entire resort.


Wooden romance The wooden houses of the resort are based on the architecture of the huts on Velika planina, but although they are modern and comfortably furnished, they simultaneously conjure up the spirit of the tradition. They are suitable for families and couples who want close contact with nature and comfort at the same time.


This special place also offers a dream job as a shepherd. For a few weeks, candidates will have the opportunity to experience work as a shepherd and at the same time enjoy the offer of the Eco Resort. Four lucky candidates have already been chosen: American businessman, experienced Macedonian shepherd and Slovenian musicians Nuša Derenda and Frenk Nova. In July even the President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor will join by guiding the children's workshop to revive the cultural heritage and shepherd's profession. 

The Slovenian Times | Summer Edition 2016

In the spacious wooden glamping tents, couples will be able to experience romance in a comfortable but slightly more adventurous way.

Local food & relaxation in nature The resort will offer local seasonal organic vegetables and ingredients as part of its gastronomic offer, which will be produced in the resort’s garden and the local surrounding farms. Through the story of the small farm, which will be placed within the resort, guests will be acquainted with Slovenian autochthonous animals and the workshops will present traditional customs and habits such as milking cows, cheese production, care of animals, etc. The resort will also offer water activities in the biological swimming pond and at the mini wellness centre guests will be able to relax in the sauna, have a massage or kneipping.

04 01-02 Comfortable wooden houses. 03 Slovenian musicians Nuša Derenda and Frenk Nova will try the pastoral work 04 Eco Resort Farm

Experience&Lifestyle Slovenia

Air France

continues to make strides in transforming the flying experience Throughout the spring, Air France has launched a number of initiatives to improve the passenger experience. To begin with, the airline has acquired its 70th Boeing 777 by procuring a new Boeing 777300. The new energy-efficient aircraft adds to Air France’s impressive long-haul fleet, which served 80 countries last year. And the list of destinations the airline serves keeps growing. In the last two months, Air France has announced that it will expand its reach with direct flights from Paris to San José, Costa Rica (starting in winter 2016) and to Tehran, Iran. Direct flights running twice weekly to San José will give travellers seamless access to destinations across South America and the Caribbean, while also supporting the growing tourism industry in Costa Rica. Similarly, Tehran is a strategic location both to connect passengers to Europe from all over the world and as a destination for European travellers. Passengers curious to know more about Tehran and other 'hot' Air France destinations can always find travel advice and inspiration on the airline’s digital travel blog at The blog highlights more than 95 destinations and unique information about two new cities is added each month. Other innovations the airline launched this spring focus on customer satisfaction on more established long-haul routes. To commemorate the 70th anniversary of the airline’s first flight connecting Paris and New York – a

journey that lasted 23 hours and 45 minutes in 1946 – Air France will now be serving John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York from both Paris-Charles de Gaulle and ParisOrly airports. This expanded access from its traditional route will make travel easier, particularly for passengers coming from various regions of France or parts of Europe where they would have previously been required to change airports in Paris. Adding to passenger ease on this connection between New York and Paris, Air France has developed a "Night Service" for Business Class passengers. Recognising that many Business Class customers need to prioritise rest on the overnight, transatlantic flight, these passengers can now elect to have their evening meal in a private area in the airport lounge before boarding the flight. They may then eat again on the flight or focus on getting a good night’s sleep right after boarding. And sleep will get even easier on an increasing number of Air France flights because the airline will continue to upgrade the travel cabins of its long-haul jets, focusing on its Airbus A330s. By the end of 2018, the airline will have upgraded the entire A330-200 fleet. The latest design features innovations in all three cabins: Business, Premium Economy and Economy. The model for Business Class seats is "a cocoon in the sky," and each seat not only lays completely flat into a foam bed, but also includes a down pillow and duvet. The Premium Economy class features a new, ergonomically designed seat that allows passengers to recline up to 130 degrees and affords them more leg and storage room. In Economy, seats are equipped with new cushions, more legroom, a wider tray table and a more comfortable headrest. These new cabins will be the same as in the Boeing 777s which the airline updated last year, a move that won Air France "2015 world’s most improved airline" from Skytrax. From novel destinations to innovative comfort, it is evident that Air France continues to make strides in transforming the flying experience to be more responsive to customer comfort and needs.  Summer Edition 2016 | The Slovenian Times


Experience&Lifestyle Slovenia

LIFE is Ljubljana Festival! Life is a festival! Especially this summer when the 64th Ljubljana Festival will bring many new events and well-known names in music, opera, dance, theatre and musicals to Ljubljana.

The festival opening will be glorious with guest bass-baritone, Erwin Schrott. Photo: Thommy Mardo

Sissi; Photo: József Gorácz


The Slovenian Times | Summer Edition 2016

Boris Eifman’s State Academic Ballet Theatre from St. Petersburg

The festival opening will be glorious with a performance by guest bass-baritone, Erwin Schrott, performing on 27 June at Kongresni trg with soprano, Jaquelina Livieri. Other guest performances during the festival will include the famous opera stars José Cura (6 July) and Walter Fraccaro (7 July) in Verdi’s opera, Othello, and the legendary Polish tenor, Piotr Beczała (6 September) accompanied by the RTV Slovenia Symphony Orchestra conducted by Marc Piollet. Prior to the commencement of the festival, the immensely popular musical Mamma Mia! will be performed on 17 and 18 June followed on 21 June by the traditional concert of Slovenian festival hits, Summer’s Night. This summer in Ljubljana is also going to be remembered for excellent dance performances. The China National Opera and Dance Drama Theatre will perform the ballet, Confucius and the Slovenian National Theatre Opera and Ballet Maribor will stage the ballet, Le Corsaire. There will also be the flamenco evening Vida! and a dance performance with a Romani vibe, Sissi. Boris Eifman’s State Academic Ballet Theatre from St. Petersburg will return to Ljubljana with the ballet, Up and Down, which will conclude this year’s festival on 13 September. The 64th Ljubljana Festival is enriched with world-famous orchestras and conductors: the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Gianandrea Noseda; the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam with Danielle Gatti; and the Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra from China. In addition, distinguished soloists will perform including, pianists Simon Trpčeski and Denis Matsuev, violinists Lana Trotovšek, Dmitry Sitkovetsky, Janez Podlesek and

Sergei Krylov, and bass Grigory Soloviov. Also on the programme is the Mediterranean Youth Orchestra concert, theatre plays Pylade performed by La MaMa from New York, and the production of the Anton Podbevšek Theatre and the music group Laibach Thus Spoke Zarathustra. Slovenian audiences can also see the group at a concert with the RTV Slovenia Symphony Orchestra. Also performing are the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra, the Russian Folk Dance Ensemble Beriozka, Vlado Kreslin and others. This summer, the 19th international art colony and creative workshops for children will also be organised and for the first time, some festival events will take place on riverboats on the Ljubljanica River. The festival life welcomes you!

Photo: Borina Mišica

Experience&Lifestyle Slovenia

Photo: Bobo, Source Ljubljana Tourism

View of the open-air cinema in the Ljubljana Castle courtyard. Photo: Domen Pal

Explore the sights of Ljubljana

Film Under the Stars

The best way to explore the sights of Ljubljana is to purchase a Ljubljana Tourist Card. In order to offer visitors truly exceptional city experiences, Ljubljana Tourism has created a wide and diverse range of guided city tours and experience tours, where visitors can explore the uniqueness of the city. In 2016, a number of new, eco-friendly tours of the European Green Capital 2016 were added to the range of guided tours already available. The new tours take visitors not only around the historical city centre but, in line with the city’s sustainability strategy and friendly mobility policy, also to Ljubljana’s green hills, parks, river embankments and gardens. The tours range from walking and cycling tours to stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking and segway trips and even include a super sweet guided walk along the Ljubljana Beekeeping Trail.

7–30 July 2016, Ljubljana Castle

Photo: D. Wedam, Source Ljubljana Tourism

One of the new guided tours is a unique Ljubljana beer experience which gives the opportunity to taste various local beers while learning about the rich history of brewing in Ljubljana. For more information and booking, visit

Kongresni trg is turned into an open-air cinema for three summer nights. Photo: Domen Pal

On summer nights the stars come out in (and above) the castle courtyard! The city cinema, Kinodvor and Ljubljana Castle will present 24 films including the very best of the past season as well as eight much-anticipated premieres. Films are screened in their original language with Slovenian and English subtitles. Advance ticket sales begin June 15. More information is available on the program leaflet.

Open-Air Cinema Kongresni trg 23–25 August 2016, Congress Square (Kongresni trg) The cinema on Kongresni trg was modelled after the "grand" open-air cinemas on Bologna’s and Locarno’s Piazzas. In Ljubljana, it was set up for the first time in 2014 on the occasion of the 90th anniversary of the city cinema, Kinodvor. To celebrate cinema and cinemas, the capital has continued with the project by offering locals, visitors and esteemed guests three film classics at Ljubljana’s central square to mark significant anniversaries. The three day series will open under the patronage of the President of the Republic of Slovenia on the 25th anniversary of the Republic of Slovenia with the national premiere of the newly restored and digitised version of the Slovenian classic Valley of Peace. All three films will be screened in English and Slovenian. Free admission! Summer Edition 2016 | The Slovenian Times


Experience&Lifestyle Slovenia

Genesis on display in Ljubljana As one of the main cultural projects of the 2016 European Green Capital, the museum and galleries of Ljubljana are presenting the momentous exhibition Genesis, a project by the world-renowned photographer, Sebastia ~o Salgado. The exhibition, curated by Lélia Wanick Salgado and will be open until 31 August at the Jakopič Gallery and the City Museum Ljubljana. Genesis, referred to by Salgado himself as his "love letter to the Planet", has been a source of inspiration for the conservation initiative My love letter to the Planet (#lovelettertotheplanet), which provides an opportunity for exhibition visitors to take part in several campaigns at both a local and global level and range from eliminating invasive alien species to cleaning the environment. Visitors will also be able to turn the symbolic tree in the City Museum of Ljubljana green with their own "love letters to the Planet". The City of Ljubljana, this year’s European Green Capital, is taking part in a pilot project for processing invasive, non-native Japanese knotweed into paper at a semi-industrial level. In spring, the removal of Japanese knotweed in Ljubljana was carried out by volunteers who cleared approximately 1,500 kg of dried knotweed. The knotweed will be processed into paper of different weights from which useful products will be made such as notebooks and paper bags for produce. In this way, Ljubljana is contributing to a sustainable and cost-effective solution to the problem of invasive non-native plants.




01 Iceberg between Paulet Island and the South Shetland Islands in the Weddell Sea. Antarctic Peninsula. 2005. ©Sebastia ~o Salgado. Amazonas Images. 02 In the Upper Xingu region of Brazil’s Mato Grosso state, a group of Waura fish in the Piulaga Lake near their village. The Upper Xingu Basin is home to an ethnically diverse population. Brazil. 2005. ©Sebastia ~o Salgado. Amazonas Images. 03 Since elephants (Loxodonta africana) are hunted by poachers in Zambia, they are scared of humans and vehicles and usually run quickly into the bush. Kafue National Park. Zambia. 2010. ©Sebastia ~o Salgado. Amazonas Images.

Ljubljana castle – capital’s green oasis AT 376m, just a stone’s throw from the city centre in the centre of the green Castle Hill, rules the mighty fortress and the city symbol – the Ljubljana Castle. The main driver of its cultural and artistic program, as well as it activities with regard to the recognisability of Ljubljana Castle as an attractive tourist point is, also during the summer, the title Ljubljana, European Green Capital 2016. In addition to discovering the most beautiful views of the capital city, spanning even more from the Lookout Tower, getting to know the content of the castle through permanent exhibitions such as the Slovenian History, the Museum of Puppetry, the Penitentiary and the Virtual Castle, you are also invited to visit the temporary exhibitions: the photographic exhibition National Geographic – Rarely Seen, the exhibition about bees and the bee-


The Slovenian Times | Summer Edition 2016

Ljubljana Castle; Photo: Source STA

keeping tradition in Slovenia titled Save the Bees, the documentary exhibition the Botanical History of the Castle Hill or in the shade under the castle’s chestnut trees, the greenest

library at the top of the green capital – the Library under the Trees. More info at

Experience&Lifestyle Slovenia



Green Week in Ljubljana

On 30 May in Ljubljana, the European Green Week "Ljubljana. Tailored to the Youth", an annual gathering held under the auspices of the European1 Commission, SloveniaTimes_230x150.pdf 02/06/16 11:55was PM launched.




This is the first time that the most important events of the European Green Week, which has traditionally taken place in Brussels, was elsewhere. This year, the European Commission decided to hold the opening event in Ljubljana, this year’s European Green Capital. Mayor Zoran Janković stressed the importance of solidarity with fellow people and future generations so that they inherit the wellpreserved nature that we have. 75 percent of the population live in cities and therefore it is necessary to apply the principles of sustainable development. In addition to the official opening, numerous other events took place in Ljubljana during European Green Week including: "100 SUPs on the Ljubljanica" where paddle boarders cleaned the embankments of the Ljubljanica River from their paddle boards. The City Museum of Ljubljana opened the Genesis exhibition by world-renowned photographer, Se-

bastião Salgado and at the Ljubljana Castle, the European Forum on Urban Forestry (EFUF) "Urban Forests for Resilient Cities" was held and attended by 80 scientists, researchers and experts from around the world. 

01 The European Green Week was opened by Mayor Zoran Janković and the European Commission’s DirectorGeneral for Environment Daniel Calleja Crespo. 02 Mayor Zoran Janković stressed the importance of solidarity with fellow people and future generations so that they inherit the well-preserved nature that we have. 03 The European Commission’s Director-General for Environment Daniel Calleja Crespo pointed out that we can be proud of Ljubljana as it has made the highest number of sustainable changes in the shortest period of time and by so doing, received the flattering title of European Green Capital. 04 The students from the Poljane primary school handed the Director-General a 'message in a bottle', in which they expressed their wish to preserve our environment and nature so our planet will remain beautiful and friendly.

#ljforyou The cosmopolitan seal of the city in the last nine years is imprinted by more than 1,700 larger and smaller projects. These have been carried out to raise the quality of life for every resident. For the projects we have been awarded numerous domestic and international awards and titles.

This city which fills us with limitless energy always

Photo: Saša Hess

takes us a step further.

The Ambassadors Filip Kržišnik and Blaž Slanič At Ribja brv


Event Guide


Nikola Tesla – A Man of the Future Ljubljana, Cankarjev dom, 11 April – 6 November "If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibrations." (Nikola Tesla) Nikola Tesla- an ingenious scientist, engineer, inventor and discoverer of natural principles and laws. The Nikola Tesla exhibition, held within the scope of the Art Science Technology series, deals not only with the life and work of this great man but also with the history of some important scientific and technological ideas, with problems of creativity and innovation, and especially with the interrelationships between technology, culture and education in our modern civilisation. The exhibition consists of several thematic units and is shown through multimedia information boards, models of inventions, 3Ddigital models and more. The exhibition is open from Tuesday to Saturday, 10.00 –19.00 and on Sundays between 10.00 and 14.00. The exhibition is closed on Mondays, except for groups by prior arrangement.


The Slovenian Times | Summer Edition 2016


Save the Bees, Exhibition about bees and the Slovenian beekeeping tradition Ljubljana Castle, 21 May – 25 November Due to Slovenia’s biodiversity and various forms of outreach to the public, it remains a green oasis, recognised globally as a country of excellent beekeepers. According to the experts, there are around 20,000 different species of bees in the world. Most of them lead a solitary life in natural hives and, unlike honey bees, not all of them actually produce honey. Although mankind has been aware of the economic importance of bees for centuries, the rather unreasonable intervention into the nature prove time and again that man substantially undervalues their importance. The first part of the exhibition classifies bees and their prevalence on earth, the biology of a honeybee, her life cycle and her phenomenal importance to the existence of the human race. The second part of the exhibition is dedicated to Slovenian beekeeping as an economic activity and its produce. The bestknown Slovenian bee products include honey, beeswax, royal jelly, pollen, propolis and bee venom. On Saturdays and Sundays, from 14.00 to 18.00, experts will demonstrate the process of making objects from beeswax, baking Dražgoše honey bread as well as painting beehive panels.


Creative camp Sajeta Tolmin, 11 – 17 July The Sajeta Creative Camp is a festival and a place of encounter for various artistic practices and experiences, with music as its central component, It tries to create a harbour of creativity and diversity in this specific natural setting. The Sajeta stages welcome diverse musical genres such as electronic music, jazz, rock, ethno or classical with experimentation and creativity at their core. Although music represents a large part of the program, the spectrum of artistic forms at the festival is broader and includes film, multimedia, poetry, sculpture, performances, dance and graphics.

Event Guide

7 August, top musicians will perform at Bled Castle and on the lake shore promenade, sending out a clear message on the importance of multiculturalism. More than 240 ensembles and solo musicians, from all continents, have performed in Bled over the past quarter of a century as part of Okarina Festival. This year’s festival program brings fresh world music and jazz trends to Bled and in turn to Slovenia. For the last decade, the Okarina Festival has been organised under the patronage of the Bled Culture Institute. Bike Festival

Black Hole Bike Festival Črna na Koroškem, 23 – 31 July


Beer and Flowers festival Laško, 14 – 17 July In 2016, the Beer and Flowers festival celebrates its 52nd anniversary. Since the event started, it has hosted several million visitors, featured almost 1,000 bands and individual performers, exhibited more ethnographic groups than all other local ethnographic festivals put together and invited numerous local brass bands, florists, flower professionals and enthusiasts and many others, all while drinking over 10 million litres of the Zlatorog beer. Every third weekend in July, Laško becomes the centre of Slovenia and the capital of the liveliest summer happening that becomes more popular every year.

The Black Hole Bike Festival is a multi-day mass recreational/competitive event, which brings together the best that the Koroška region has to offer in mountain biking. Having become one of the favorite tourist mountain biking destinations for bikers from all over the world in recent years, it certainly has a lot to boast about. 9 days of mountain biking events; Black Hole Marathon – the world’s only biking route that takes competitors deep into the heart of the underground via abandoned mine tunnels; Black Hole Enduro – a 2 day competition kicked off by a spectacular urban prologue in Ravne na Koroškem; Unforgettable guided tours over Koroška’s mountain peaks and through its forests International video contest and film screenings. Music Festival

Okarina Ethno Festival Bled Bled, 26 July - 7 August The Okarina International Music Festival will be held in Bled for the 26th consecutive summer. World music of all shades and from all parts of the globe, clothed with the rhythms of contemporary music, attracts visitors to the idyllic setting of the Bled. From 26 July to

Music Festival

Tartini Festival Piran, 2 August – 5 September The Tartini Festival is an international music festival dedicated to the Piran-born maestro, Giuseppe Tartini. The Program directors and founders of the festival, Jasna Nadles and Milan Vrsajkov, strive to bring eminent, world renowned performers to Piran and Slovenia’s Istria. The festival takes place in Primorska, with the majority of events taking place in Piran. The festival presents a series of artistic events of the highest calibre and has won high praise from critics as well as audiences year upon year, which undoubtedly contributes to the festival and the Slovenia’s profile on the international stage.

Summer Edition 2016 | The Slovenian Times


Thursday, 7. 7. Opening Night

Houston, We Have a Problem! Žiga Virc, SLO / HRV / DEU / CZE / QAT, 2016, 88’ Friday, 8. 7. Avant Premiere

Julieta Pedro Almodóvar, ESP, 2016, 99’

Thursday, 14. 7.

Saturday, 23. 7.


The Big Short

Justin Kurzel, GBR / FRA / USA, 2015, 113’

Adam McKay, USA, 2015, 130’

Friday, 15. 7. Avant Premiere

Sunday, 24. 7.

Where to Invade Next Michael Moore, USA, 2015, 120’

Carol Todd Haynes, USA / GBR, 2015, 118’’ Monday, 25. 7.


Saturday, 16. 7.

Planet Single

Jafar Panahi, IRN, 2015, 82’

Mitja Okorn, POL, 2016, 136’ Sunday, 17. 7.

Tuesday, 26. 7. Avant Premiere

The Lobster

The Commune

Sunday, 10. 7.

Yorgos Lanthimos, IRL / GBR / FRA / GRC / NLD, 2015, 118’

Thomas Vinterberg, DNK / SWE / NLD, 2016, 111’


Monday, 18. 7.

Wednesday, 27. 7.


Steve Jobs

Tom McCarthy, USA / CAN, 2015, 128’

Danny Boyle, USA / GBR, 2015, 122’

Tuesday, 19. 7. Avant Premiere

Thursday, 28. 7.

Saturday, 9. 7.

The Nice Guys Shane Black, USA / GBR, 2016, 116’

Paolo Sorrentino, ITA / FRA / GBR / CHE, 2015, 123’ Monday, 11. 7.

The Jungle Book


Jon Favreau, USA, 2016, 106’

Miles Ahead

Tuesday, 12. 7. Peugeot Avant Premiere

Don Cheadle, USA, 2015, 100’

Maggie’s Plan Rebecca Miller, USA, 2016, 98’ Wednesday, 13. 7.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens J. J. Abrams, USA, 2015, 136’

Lenny Abrahamson, IRL / CAN, 2015, 118’ Friday, 29. 7. Avant Premiere

Wednesday, 20. 7.

Rams Grímur Hákonarson, ISL / DNK, 2015, 93’ četrtek, 21. 7. / Thursday, 21. 7.

Amy Asif Kapadia, GBR, 2015, 128’

Captain Fantastic Matt Ross, USA, 2016, 120’ Saturday, 30. 7. Vikend Avant Premiere

Jason Bourne Paul Greengrass, USA, 2016

Friday, 22. 7. Avant Premiere

Indignation James Schamus, USA, 2016, 110’



7. – 30. 7. 2016, 21:30 Ljubljana Castle


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The Slovenia Times Summer Special Edition 2016  
The Slovenia Times Summer Special Edition 2016  

The Slovenia Times has been the premier magazine in the English language in Slovenia since 2003. It is published quarterly. The Slovenia Tim...