Page 1

The Slovenia Times Slovenian Magazine in English Language Summer Edition 2017, Volume 14, EUR 4.90

Potica, the link between the US First Lady and the Pope

After two World Wars this continent Report from Hong Kong has seen the most successful business luncheon peace project in history - the EU

Event Guide: Culturally coloured summer in Ljubljana

Vazil Hudรกk: "More private investment is needed in Slovenia"


Veil of ignorance

Summer Edition 2017

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

Editorial office Bregarjeva 37, 1000 Ljubljana

CEO and Publisher Brane Krajnik

Editor in Chief Tina Drolc, M. Sc.

Editorial Consultant Louise Chatwood

Marketing & Advertising +386 (0)41 51 62 65

Contributors Tonja Blatnik, Jan Bratanič, Sabina Carli, Saša Fajmut, Silvija Fister, Vazil Hudák, Matjaž Kljajić, Matevž Rašković, Gregory So, Arnold Walravens, Jelka Šutej Adamič, S&P Global

AD & D Marko Pentek,

Cover Photo Alenka Slavinec, photographer and film producer

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.

Late one afternoon I sat by the Ljubljanica River and as the sun was setting, I contemplated the fragile values that somehow prevail in the world. During my reverie, I have been fortunate I was approached by a young boy who started a simple conversation about different ball sports, telling me that he had won a match at school that day. I asked him "What do you need to win?" and he answered very simply: "You need to be free and not angry at anyone". Thank you for le mot juste, the world needs to understand the beauty of the challenge… "We had to learn it the hard way, but after two World Wars this continent has seen the most successful peace project in history – lessons which we can share with the world.", states H.E. Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the European Commission, in her interview with The Slovenia Times, when sharing her views on the European Union with a strong sense of noblesse oblige. Vazil Hudák, Vice President of the European Investment Bank, says in his comment that "Positive results for Slovenia’s companies are the result of the structural reforms and corporate sector restructuring which has been implemented since the crisis." He believes in Slovenia’s path to the cutting edge, however he also emphasises that more private investment is needed to ignite the country’s economic flame. The good news, in this sense, might be the recent announcement by ABC Accelerator of their joint venture with Silicon Valley’s Enterprise Development Group (EDG) which will offer new ways for companies in the European and US markets to innovate. EDG have an impressive client list which includes Apple, Intel, Lufthansa, Swisspost and Audi, amongst others. In this Summer edition of The Slovenia Times you can also read about the building of bridges with China. "One country, two systems has made Hong Kong the 'super-connector', bringing together the rest of China and the rest of the world and that, of course, includes economies along the Belt and Road.", points out Gregory So, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development in Hong Kong in his column. In an interview with Haifeng Huang, Ph.D., Assistant Dean at Peking University HSBC Business School, he reminds us that the "Green Mountains and Green Rivers are as valuable as Mountains of Gold and Rivers of Silk". As Confucius says "Knowledge without practice is useless. Practice without knowledge is dangerous." The Slovenia Times proudly presents a new section this summer, "Education Perspective", dedicated to the scattered bits and pieces of Slovenian knowledge which are gaining visibility on the world map. And wherever this summer will take you, let it be worthy of all your dreams and desires and if you have a moment, you are kindly invited to RSVP The Slovenia Times on its omnichannel communication hub. Yours, Tina Drolc Editor in Chief

Summer Edition 2017 | The Slovenian Times


Contents Page 4


4 Interview: H.E. Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and

Security Policy and Vice President of the European Commission

6 Hong Kong – where business goes to grow

8 Column: Hong Kong – your ticket to the massive Chinese consumer market and its fast-rising

middle class

EUROPEAN UNION 10 Slovenia’s path to the cutting edge Page 22

12 A Europe for people?

14 Regional Insight in association with S&P GLOBAL RATINGS

ECONOMY 16 Economic Overview: Even a blind hen… 18 Interview: Sonja Šmuc, M.Sc., Executive Director, The Managers’ Association of Slovenia 20 Interview: Mojca Kunšek, M.Sc., Director of the Agency of the Republic of Slovenia for Page 26

Public Legal Records and Related Services 22 Interview: Andrej Fištravec, PhD, Mayor of the City Municipality of Maribor 24 4th Slovenia Business BridgeTM Investment and Development Conference –

The Key to Success is Collaboration 25 Zlata nit (Golden Thread): 10 years of measuring work relationships 26 Interview: Haifeng Huang, Ph.D., Assistant Dean at Peking University HSBC Business School

GLOBAL PITCH 30 KIKštarter Kamnik Page 31

31 ABC-EDG connecting Ljubljana and Silicon Valley

LEADeRSHIP CORNER 33 Do you want to change your organizational culture? Start now, be relentless and don’t stop

until you are proud.


The Slovenian Times | Summer Edition 2017

Contents Page 34

eDUCATION PERSPECTIVE 34 Interview: Vesna Žabkar, PhD, Professor and Vice-Dean of Research, FELU 34 Slovenes rank above the EU average in citations, but lower for patent applications 36 Column: Slovenia as a learning laboratory? 37 Column: Give us the best from the west and hold the rest 38 25 Years & ceeman is Conquering the World


Page 44

40 TOPIC: What are the structural reforms Slovenia needs for economic growth?

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, Kazakh-Slovenian Business Club - KSBC

POLITICS 44 Political Overview: Prosperity despite politics? 45 Interview: Barbara Uranjek, CEO, British-Slovenian Chamber of Commerce

Page 50

46 BSF 2017: Rapid changes, globalisation and digitalisation – welcome to the new reality! 48 Belt and Road for International Cooperation

EXPERIENCE & LIFESTYLE SLOVENIA 50 Potica, the link between the US First Lady and the Pope 51 The best restaurants in Slovenia – The Slovenia Restaurant Awards 52 Culturally coloured summer in Ljubljana

Page 52

54 Ljubljana on the list of seven green technologies that will shape our future 56 Ethnographic exhibition 58 EVENT GUIDE

Summer Edition 2017 | The Slovenian Times


In the Spotlight

H.E. Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the European Commission

Interview: H.E. Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the European Commission

After two World Wars this continent has seen the most successful peace project in history - the European Union By Tina Drolc, M.Sc.

As the second biggest economy, the leading trade partner and foreign investor in the world, the largest provider of humanitarian aid and increasingly a global security provider, the EU is much stronger than some Europeans think, highlights H.E. Federica Mogherini. She explains that common engagement and work with the new US administration remains strong in many areas, from Syria to Ukraine to the Middle East. H.E. Mogherini emphasises the EU’s political role in the Syrian conflict, adding that the EU has been, and continues to be, the biggest donor to Syrian civil society since day one, both within and outside of Syria, having mobilised close to EUR 10bn since the beginning of the crisis. 4

The Slovenian Times | Summer Edition 2017

Q In 2017, the European Union (EU) celebrates the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, recently revised the European Neighbourhood Policy, reinvigorated relations between the EU and its neighbours to the east and the south. Where do you see the potential for promoting a stronger role for Europe on the global stage? A First of all, let me say that the EU is already strong, much stronger than some Europeans think. We are the second biggest economy, the leading trade partner and foreign investor in the world, the largest provider of humanitarian aid and increasingly a global security provider. The EU is and will continue to be the reliable, predictable, cooperative and indispensable partner the world needs. We had to learn the hard way, but after two World Wars this continent has seen the most successful peace project in history – lessons which we can share with the world. The European way, choosing cooperation over confrontation, is the approach the world can continue to expect us to promote and uphold in the future. Security, for example, is not only about military might, but rather about finding common ground and stimulating human development and economic growth. It is about democracy, rule of law and human rights. The European way builds on multilateral interaction and cooperation, upholding a rules-based global order, and as Europeans we bring these ideas to life every single day, both inside and outside our Union. Q What conditions are needed to counter terrorism and terrorist financing effectively? A It is crucial that we continue to strengthen our exchange of information and deepen the cooperation among our intelligence services, both within the EU but also with our partners around the world. Ever since the attacks in Paris in 2015, the EU has been working on new ways to tackle both the internal and the international dimension of the threat, in addition to the existing measures. We have passed new legislation to improve police and justice cooperation, to prevent the trafficking of small arms and to close the channels for terrorist financing. Then, engaging with communities to prevent radicalisation and social polarisation is key. Outside our borders, we know that the strength of our partners is our own strength and so we are focusing on capacity building in the Middle East and North Africa, in Turkey and the Western Balkans, in the Sahel and the Horn of Africa, and we have deployed experts to our delegations in key countries to increase cooperation with our partners. Cooperation is a key word, as is openness. Isolation and the restriction of fundamental freedoms can never be an answer to the threats facing our citizens. The EU and the international community need

European In the Spotlight Union Security, for example, is not only about military might, but rather about finding common ground and stimulating human development and economic growth. It is about democracy, rule of law and human rights. to stand united and act with determination to prevent future attacks and terrorist activities.

Q You have said that "NATO is not only the cornerstone of EU security but of US security". With regard to current political policies, where do European and American interests coincide? A Transatlantic relations have been and remain essential to the world, despite some differences. Our common engagement and common work with the new US administration remains strong in many areas, for instance from Syria to Ukraine and to the Middle East. I have had frequent contact over the course of these first six months with Vice President Pence, both in Washington and when he visited the EU institutions in Brussels - which was a very strong signal to Europe of the continued importance that the US authorities place on the transatlantic relationship - as well as with Secretary of State Tillerson, Defence Secretary Mattis, National Security Adviser McMaster among others. I also met President Trump at the end of May in Brussels. The message that I have received time and time again is that there is the willingness from the new administration to keep working together and to maintain our open and constructive dialogue and joint action. And the same goes for us. Having said that, it is no secret that there are areas where we have our disagreements: the full implementation of the Paris climate agreement, for example, where we believe this is essential, or the absolute need to invest in the United Nations and in multilateralism, in conflict prevention, peacekeeping, and humanitarian and development aid. We stay committed to bringing forward this agenda. Q For 2017, European leaders have pledged EUR 5.6bn in aid for Syria. According to the EU Strategy for Syria, how can the EU contribute to a lasting political solution? A We are not a military player in the conflict and I strongly believe that it makes our role even more important because we have not destroyed, because we help people’s daily lives, we have a strong role to play when it comes to the political mediation and peaceful solution to the crisis. We have been on the side of the civilian population since day one and remain the largest donor for Syrians, both within and outside of Syria, having mobilised close to EUR 10bn since the beginning of the crisis. In addition, the EU plays a unique role on the political scene. As outlined in the Syria Strategy,

we are working towards putting an end to the war and helping Syrians prepare for the future, together with the UN, the powers of the region and most of all, the people of Syria. We, the EU, work with all key regional players to help them identify the common ground on the basis of which they could facilitate a political solution to the conflict. The EU provides support to the Syrian opposition and works closely with Syrian civil society groups in preparing for transition, supporting human rights, reconciliation and transitional justice as well as the resilience of the Syrian people and the Syrian society. All this work is directly feeding the UN-led process in Geneva for achieving a political transition in Syria in accordance with UN resolution 2254. At the Brussels conference on the future of Syria and the region that we co-hosted in Brussels at the beginning of April, we started to reflect on the possible reconstruction of Syria, once a credible political process is underway, to show the Syrians what the dividends for peace can be.

Q How will BREXIT affect the EU foreign and security policy? A Firstly, Britain has not yet left the EU. We are still 28 Member States and will remain so for the next two years while the exit is negotiated. This is important to say because in every area of our foreign policy, from being the leading donor of development and humanitarian aid in the world, to being a staunch defender of human rights climate action, and a place for researchers and students to come and further their work, the EU continues to act, to act in unity, at 28. And this will continue until we become 27. As we speak, negotiations on Britain leaving have not yet begun, and our future partnership will be discussed only at a second stage. We, of course, want to retain a strong partnership and to continue to work closely together in the future, but when the UK does leave, this will not affect our global work: the EU will remain a global power, the world’s first market, and the reliable and relevant partner that we are now. To take just one example, the EU has taken greater steps in the area of common security and defence in the past year than in the previous 60 years. The UK contributes about 3% of the civilian and 5% of the military capabilities of the EU, to our 15 civilian and military EU operations around the world. This is a valuable contribution, but not insurmountable by any means, and losing it won’t have a dramatic consequence for our work. And finally, let me say that even though the EU will lose one of our members, there are many

countries doing everything they can to join our community. Just look at the Western Balkans. The European Union’s ability to inspire positive change, to accompany democratic reform and to support the hopes and dreams of the people in our European neighbourhood, for me clearly demonstrates that as a foreign and security player, the EU can be an even stronger player in the future than we are now.

Q The EU and India are committed to increase their bilateral trade and investment through the Free Trade Agreement negotiations that were launched in 2007. What are your feelings since your last visit to India? A A free trade agreement would be a win-win for both the EU and for India. We both stand to benefit from it. While I was in New Delhi at the end of May, I had the opportunity to reaffirm our common commitment to reach such an agreement with Prime Minister Modi and other members of the government. It was a very fruitful visit which has opened new avenues for our cooperation, not only in the areas of trade and investment, but across many areas of our relations, from sustainable development to peace-building, and from security cooperation to tackling climate change together - implementing the Paris Agreement, which is an essential commitment from the global community to our and future generations - a strong partnership between the EU and India can have a positive impact not just for our own citizens, but for citizens across the world.

Cooperation is a key word, as is openness. Isolation and the restriction of fundamental freedoms can never be an answer to the threats facing our citizens.

Summer Edition 2017 | The Slovenian Times


In the Spotlight


Photos by Iztok Brodnjak

Hong Kong –

where business goes to grow By Tonja Blatnik, Institute for Universal Future Communications (iUFC)

The world is increasingly turning its attention to China, the Belt and Road Initiative is, without doubt, the main reason for this. It is therefore important not to neglect the super-connector in this story Hong Kong, a leading global business and finance centre.  Hong Kong is strategically strengthening its status as an investment, financial and logistics hub. On 3 April, the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office hosted a promotional event in Ljubljana, co-organised by The Slovenia Times.


The Slovenian Times | Summer Edition 2017

The business luncheon, 'Hong Kong - Slovenia: Opportunities in Hong Kong for Slovenian Business', was organised during the official visit of Mr Gregory So, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. The event, organised by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office and supported by JT Business Development, was attended by 120 managers and entrepreneurs interested in doing business in Hong Kong. "The most important element of future leadership is connectivity" stressed the former President of Slovenia, Dr Danilo Türk, who gave the opening address. Connectivity, namely mutual cooperation and joint economic and investment opportunities between Slovenia and Hong Kong, was the "fil rouge" of the event. This aim is obviously closely connected to the Belt and Road Initiative (OBOR), spearheaded by President Xi of China in 2013. The keynote speaker of the event, Mr So, gave an inspiring speech, presenting the main opportunities that Hong Kong can offer Slovenian businesses and a perspective on how Hong Kong could help Slovenia capitalise on the wealth of opportunities emerging from the Belt and Road Initiative. He started with the following remark: "Aside from the rich culture, heritage and beauty of this city and this great country, the desire to succeed and your entrepreneurial spirit remind me very much of Hong Kong." A good case of collaboration he referred to in his introduction was the recently signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Cooperation in Wine-related Businesses, The MoU will facilitate cooperation in wine-related trading and

European In the Spotlight Union Did you know that Hong Kong: • has earned the title of the world’s most competitive economy awarded by Switzerland’s IMD 2016 yearbook. • was ranked the freest economy by the Heritage Foundation of the US for the 23rd consecutive year, once again affirming the steadfast commitment to safeguarding free market principles. • offers commercial presence for over 8, 000 international companies • boasts the world’s fifth busiest container port, providing some 350 services a week to more than 500 destinations worldwide. • has 700 shipping-related companies and Hong Kong’s airport has been the busiest cargo airport in the world for more than 15 years. 02

investment promotion, education and training, tourism, prevention of counterfeit wines and more. Agriculture Ministry State Secretary Marjan Podgoršek, stated: "With the MoU, Slovenia can make the best use of Hong Kong’s advantages as a duty-free port, a regional logistics and business hub, and the world’s largest wine auction centre," and added his approval of such events, as political visits open paths for new business opportunities. Like the wine trade, many Slovenian businesses can make use of the unique advantages of Hong Kong to extend their reach to the Far East. "The unique status that Hong Kong enjoys under the 'one country, two systems' principle, and our very strong links with Mainland China continue to make Hong Kong the preferred location for doing business in Asia. Add our fundamental strengths, including the rule of law, free flow of capital and information, a business-friendly environment, a diverse and international talent pool, and a low and simple tax regime." stated Mr So. Mr William Chui, Regional Director, Europe of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council presented eye-opening comparisons between Slovenia and Hong Kong. "Slovenia has an area of 20,273 km2, a population of two million, GDP of US $44bn, GDP per capita of US $21,308 and trade with Hong Kong of US $65m. On the other side, Hong Kong has an area of only 1,104 km2 with a population of 7.3 million, but boasts GDP of US $319bn, GDP per capita of US $43,400 and total trade of US $1,146bn." So, it is quite clear that the size of the country is no limit for success. However, location and accessibility is wildly important. "Half the world’s population is just five hours away," stressed Dr Wing Hin Chung,

Head of Investment Promotion, Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, Berlin. He added that Hong Kong is an international gateway to Mainland China, offering unique physical and intangible connectivity to the Mainland with privileged trade and social access. Hong Kong has a well-established system that connects it to the international community in terms of the legal system, language, trade practices as well as a lifestyle which international traders are familiar with. Jure Tomc, CEO and owner, JT Business Development Ltd, claimed that there are many opportunities for Slovenian businesses in Hong Kong, especially in wine, clean technology, energy conservation, education, food safety and FinTech. To help the development of financial technologies (FinTech), the Hong Kong Monetary Authority is developing a new Faster Payment System to provide a round-theclock, inter-bank, real-time payment platform. The government will also encourage the industry to make good use of the trial environment provided by the FinTech Supervisory Sandbox. Being a global financial, logistics and trading hub, Hong Kong will continue to play the important role of a "super-connector" between Slovenia and Mainland China. According to Mr So, through OBOR, we expect to see soaring investment in infrastructure, deepening financial integration, expanding trade and the building of people-to-people bonds on a global scale. We will see if President Xi’s vision for OBOR to emerge as a driving force of the world economy in this 21st century will come true (soon) but, for sure, Hong Kong is a place to consider if you want your business to grow.


Being a global financial, logistics and trading hub, Hong Kong will continue to play the important role of a "super-connector" between Slovenia and Mainland China.

PHOTOS 01 William Chui, Regional Director, Europe, Hong Kong Trade Development Council Dr Danilo Türk, former President of the Republic of Slovenia Dr Wing Hin Chung, Head of Investment Promotion, Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, Berlin Jure Tomc, CEO and owner, JT Business Development Ltd 02 "Explore your business opportunities in Hong Kong", Business Luncheon in Grand Hotel Union, Ljubljana 03 Dr Wing Hin Chung, Head of Investment Promotion, Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, Berlin

Summer Edition 2017 | The Slovenian Times


In the Spotlight Column

Hong Kong – your ticket to the

massive Chinese consumer market and its fast-rising middle class By Gregory So, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Hong Kong

Gregory So, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Hong Kong

"Being a global financial, logistics and trading hub, Hong Kong will continue to play the important role of a 'super-connector' between Slovenia and the Mainland of China. I am confident our co-operation will only expand in the coming years, thanks to the ambitious and visionary initiative of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, commonly known as the Belt and Road Initiative that was spearheaded by President Xi of China in 2013. This grand and far-reaching Initiative aims to expand trans-continental connectivity, to promote economic, political and cultural co-operation from Asia through Africa and on to Europe. It will emerge as a driving force of the world economy in this 21st century. And how can Hong Kong support Slovenian business, and how we can help you capitalise on the wealth of opportunities emerging from the Belt and Road Initiative?

"One country, two systems" has made Hong Kong the "super-connector", bringing together the rest of China and the rest of the world and that, of course, includes economies along the Belt and Road.


The Slovenian Times | Summer Edition 2017

When you are in Hong Kong, you are in China - but a Special Administrative Region of China that provides the combined advantages of "one country" and "two systems". Hong Kong is an international gateway to Mainland China, offering unique physical and intangible connectivity to the Mainland with privileged trade and social access. On the other hand, Hong Kong has a well-established system that connects us to the international community in terms of our legal system, language, trade practices as well as lifestyle which international traders are familiar with. Traders in all sectors, and from all jurisdictions, can trade freely in Hong Kong. And all persons, businesses and organisations, regardless of their nationality, are treated exactly the same. Every business in Hong Kong can enjoy the same privileges and benefits provided by our international agreements. Consider, for example, CEPA (the Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partner-

ship Arrangement), Hong Kong’s free-trade agreement with the Mainland of China. CEPA provides preferential treatment to Hong Kong service providers, regardless of nationality, as well as tariff-free treatment for products that have been conferred with Hong Kong origin. "One country, two systems" has made Hong Kong the "super-connector", bringing together the rest of China and the rest of the world and that, of course, includes economies along the Belt and Road. This also makes us a magnet for business. Hong Kong has always been a preferred venue for hosting regional headquarters or trading offices for multinational companies to manage their businesses in the Asia Pacific. Aside from trade, logistics is another key area that has been driving Hong Kong’s development as an international business centre. The Belt and Road will catalyse the movement of people and goods, boosting demand for reliable logistics services. From Hong Kong, you can reach all major Asian economies within four hours’ flight time. Half the world’s population is just five hours away. Because we have a deep pool of talented professionals, from engineers and surveyors to architects, designers and planners, not to mention other professionals specialised in financing, insurance, arbitration, risk management and project consulting. Other than professional services, financial services will of course be another important area for cooperation under the Belt and Road. Hong Kong is China’s international financial centre and we are also one of the leading financial centres in the world. We have the experience, the expertise and the connections to serve as the fundraising and financial management hub for the Belt and Road. Hong Kong has what you need in a strategic partner for the 21st century. We welcome Slovenian investment and talent. The Belt and Road will be built on collaboration - on deepening the bonds between nations, economies and cultures."

The European Investment Project Portal (EIPP) The meeting place for project promoters and investors The European Investment Project Portal is the EU's online match-making platform, enabling EU-based project promoters to reach potential investors worldwide. Investment projects can be submitted by visiting and following the 'Add your project' link and instructions. Free submission of eligible investment projects (public or private) in any of the 24 EU languages. To be eligible for publication, a project must:  Have a total cost of at least EUR 1 million  Be in one of the pre-determined high economic value-added sectors  Be expected to start within three years of submission (or shall have started already)  Be promoted by a public or private legal entity established in an EU Member State

European Investment Project Portal

 Be compatible with all applicable EU and national laws The Portal is a European Commission initiative, as part of the Investment Plan for Europe, aiming to mobilise investment, promote economic growth and create jobs in the EU.

The meeting place for promoters and investors

Are you an investor? You can now register online, search for projects according to your preferences and subscribe to project updates according to your interests.


Do you have a project you want to share with investors worldwide? Register on the Portal today!

European Union

Slovenia’s path to the cutting edge More private investment is needed in Slovenia to flame the country’s economic spark By Vazil Hudák, Vice President, European Investment Bank, Luxembourg

Vazil Hudák, Vice President, European Investment Bank

The most burning question of today is: What does the European Union represent and where is it heading? There is, however, a bottom-line and it is simple— the EU needs to reform and invest. Lack of reform is holding back a much stronger rebound for EU economies, limiting company potential and hindering job creation. This is highlighted in the most recent survey of the European Investment Bank.

To get a thorough understanding of how companies of all sizes and in all main sectors of the economy operate, the Bank’s economists carried out a survey of more than 12,500 firms from all of the EU’s 28 Member States, with 416 firms from Slovenia. We wanted to find where the problems are so that we can try to fix them.

provided a EUR 50m loan to Gorenje for research and development aimed at connecting Gorenje devices to the "Internet of things", bringing everyday tools online, allowing them to send and receive data. Swift changes in technology means that companies such as the Velenje-based maker of domestic appliances have to invest a lot to be ahead of the curve.

Positive highlights

Worrying signs

There are some positive highlights from across the EU. The survey found that 84% of Slovenian firms made an investment in the last financial year, with the Europe-wide level a little lower at 79%. It’s encouraging that the number of companies planning to boost investment this year is greater than the number of businesses planning to limit their investment activities. Slovenia’s results are particularly good, particularly in light of the aftermath of the country’s banking crisis. Positive results for Slovenia’s companies are the result of the structural reforms and corporate sector restructuring which has been implemented since the crisis. Against this backdrop, the EIB supports companies that want to invest. Last year we

Nonetheless, there are worrying signs across the continent. Companies that have invested too little in the past three years to prepare for future expansion amount to 15% of the total. In Slovenia, this number is higher at 28%. Although corporate investment activity in Europe is recovering, it is at a very sluggish pace. Only one third of Slovenian firms expect to increase their investment this year which is in line with the European average but is a very subdued upswing. All this amplifies the significance of the EIB’s role. During the crisis, the EIB played an exceptionally counter-cyclical role, dramatically increasing financing for investment. With the economic cycle moving into a more positive

Positive results for Slovenia’s companies are the result of the structural reforms and corporate sector restructuring which has been implemented since the crisis. 10

The Slovenian Times | Summer Edition 2017

Only one third of Slovenian firms expect to increase their investment this year. phase, we need to continue investing heavily because the legacy of the crisis is a backlog of necessary investment. We must address this backlog if Europe wants to keep up with the global technological challenges and remain competitive in the long run. Much remains to be done to address Europe’s investment gap which is why the Investment Plan for Europe, which the EIB is helping to implement, is so important. The investment gaps will not go away by themselves and so we decided to strengthen the second pillar of the Investment plan, the European Investment Advisory Hub (EIAH) and its presence at the local level. We believe that the "EIAH Going Local" approach and cooperation with local partners will help unlock the potential of bankable projects for European firms.

Innovation focus The EIB is focused on innovation. Without innovation, Europe will not become more competitive, nor will it be able to maintain its current advantages. The results of our survey show that, for European companies, expanding capacity is not the main investment goal. What

European Union The lack of skilled workers is a major factor for Slovenia and for the entire Central and Eastern European region. they want instead is to upgrade their existing capital stock. Just 44% of existing machinery and equipment is seen as "state-of-the-art" across the continent. Slovenia’s numbers in this area are good. Slovenian firms say that 50% of their machinery is state-of-the-art. Compare this to Bulgaria, for example, where only 26% of firms could say the same of their machinery. Nonetheless, Slovenian firms recognise the need to pick up the pace of investment. Investments at nine out of 10 Slovenian firms were mostly for capacity expansion last year rather than for replacing outdated equipment. The EIB can help by stimulating investment appetite, taking on more risk—all this to catalyse private investment. We are already half way toward our initial target of EUR 315bn of mobilised investment by 2018 under the Investment Plan for Europe. In 2016 the Investment Plan backed EUR 10m of the EIB’s total EUR 140m Slovenian investment. That translates into EUR 390m of mobilised investment.

A place for skills Equipment is not the only thing needing update and modernisation. The skills of European workers must be improved—we need this desperately. The lack of skilled workers is a major factor for Slovenia and for the entire Central and Eastern European region, highlighting the need for investment in human capital. The investment survey also shows that to boost innovation, to create jobs and make Europe competitive globally, regulatory reform is vital. The EU is far from the fully harmonised, coherent, barrier-free, investment-friendly place we all wish to see. Companies struggle to navigate an ocean of inconsistent cross-border rules. Regulators and legislators, both at the national and the EU level, must come together and accelerate the pace of reform. This is the only way to ensure that future economic surveys like the one we’ve just completed, show a brighter picture for Slovenia and all of Europe.

Long term barriers by investment performance Uncertainty about the future Availability of external finance Adequate transport infrastructure Business regulations Labour market regulations Access to digital infrastructure Energy costs Availability of staff with right skills Demand for products or services



40% 60% Share of firms

Firms that invested sufficiently


Firms that invested too little

Long term barriers to investment Uncertainty about the future

EU average

Availability of finance

Adequate transport infrastructure

Business regulations

Labour market regulations

Access to digital infrastructure

Energy costs

Availability of staff with right skills

Demand for products or services

The EU is far from the fully harmonised, coherent, barrierfree, investment-friendly place we all wish to see.


20% A major obstacle

40% 60% Share of firms



A minor obstacle

Summer Edition 2017 | The Slovenian Times


European Union

A Europe for people?

Photos: MatjaĹž DamiĹĄ

"Following the terrorist attacks that have struck Europe in the past few years, the relations between communities have been put under increasing strain as terrorists, xenophobes and extremists spread their hate through violence and fear. As socialists and democrats, we are continuously highlighting the need for not just a simple security response in dealing with terrorism, but also the need to tackle the social questions in third-party countries which are the root cause that allows terrorism to grow, that is policies to combat poverty, promote human rights and pursue the resolution of conflict. Against this background, we need to guarantee security, protect fundamental rights and uphold the rule of law; address and tackle the root causes of terrorism; and ensure that the common European foreign and security policies tackle terrorist threats around the world and their causes."

Gianni Pittella, Member of the European Parliament

"BREXIT may be a recent warning and as such, probably the last opportunity for the EU to reawaken in the sense of reanimating its almost two decades old, historically successful development by introducing not just some minor technical corrections, but a robust political imagination that would lead to EU 2.0. Without such inventive political rupture, BREXIT will only invite similar unpleasant "guests", which would or could terminate the EU as a promising civilised step forward. There is still the hope that the EU will eventually get rid of its fatal ideological embrace of the neoliberal ideology of the last three decades and open itself to the alternative which gives priority to its citizens and democracy encapsulating the economic and in particular, the financial sphere and thus ending the EU’s "love affair" with fundamentalist subordination to pure "market" and "money".

Rudolf Rizman, PhD, Professor of Sociology and Political Science, University of Ljubljana

"The Eurobarometer data is concerning in that only 45% of Slovenes still believe that the EU brings them benefits. Very often we hear the rhetoric that Brussels is guilty of something and imposes on us, but very rarely do we take responsibility. We are responsible for life in Slovenia and we have to have a strong voice in the EU. For Slovenes, it is very important to have a strong and united Europe and that Slovenia is a part of such a Europe and also a part of this global force in the outside world. Because we have our own history, we still remember the bloody walls in our neighborhood, in the Western Balkans, just over 20 years ago and so we have a very good memory of what happens if we cannot preserve peace and stability in our continent."

Tanja Fajon, Member of the European Parliament


The Slovenian Times | Summer Edition 2017

European Union

"For a successful common future and globalisation, the EU Member States need to find common goals. From this perspective, it is important to define common standards on digitalisation that will connect us more within the EU and Europe, completely changing the economic framework. In addition, new ideas and the business models of the younger generation and start-up environment need to be considered. The EU is facing a transition as every country tries to find its own pattern (e.g. Schengen), but we need to find a dialogue."

Gertrud Rantzen, President of the Slovenian-German Chamber of Commerce

"I do not believe a Europe of different speeds can be the standard. It might be the scenario for the future but I hope that the principle of the initial idea will prevail in the sense that equality, solidarity and searching for the common denominator will be the leading principle, also in the future. It is up to the willingness of every EU Member State to adopt further integration in the various fields: economic development, fiscal unification and the economic monetary union. In addition, integration in the common foreign and security policy needs to be enhanced - not in the sense of creating a European army, but in strengthening intelligent diplomacy and the mechanisms that the EU will have in order to spread stability in the neighbourhood and maintain its role in a global world."

Marko Makovec, Foreign Policy Adviser to the President of the Republic of Slovenia

"The 60 year process of European integration has been an excellent response by the continent to the two devastating wars in the first half of the 20 th century. The process of integration was, indeed, politically initiated and was aimed at preventing a repetition of hostilities, but its implementation has largely been focused on economic integration. Within this process, numerous compromises have been made in practically all integration stages, from the customs union over the common market to the monetary union. For the latter specifically, a set of design failures became obvious at the outbreak of the crisis and these failures have unfortunately not yet been fully addressed." Professor Mojmir

Mrak, Faculty of Economics, University of Ljubljana

Summer Edition 2017 | 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 rate (%)

CPI growth (%)

Net General Government Balance / GDP (%)

2017 2018 2019 2017 2018 2019 2020 2017 2018 2019 2020 2017 2018 2019 2020

2.7 2.4 2.5 3.1 2.5 2.5 2.5 1.5 1.5 1.5 1.5 0.9 1.0 1.2 1.2

7.7 7.5 7.4 12.4 12.3 12.3 12.2 6.3 6.3 6.2 6.1 11.3 11.0 10.7 10.3

1.5 1.6 1.9 0.8 1.3 1.4 1.4 1.7 1.7 1.8 1.9 1.2 1.4 1.6 1.9

(1.8) (1.5) (1.5) (2.2) (2.0) (1.9) (1.9) (1.4) (1.1) (0.9) (0.6) (2.3) (2.3) (2.2) (2.1)

Net General Government Debt / GDP (%)

Current Account Balance / GDP (%)

61.4 60.5 59.5 75.4 74.5 73.4 72.3 76.9 75.3 73.5 71.4 124.8 125.3 125.2 125.3

6.7 6.3 6.0 3.1 3.0 2.9 2.8 1.7 1.6 1.4 1.5 2.0 1.7 1.7 1.8

All years are S&P Forecast

Slovenia (December 2016) – Next rating update: 16 June, 2017 The outlook revision reflects S&P’s expectation that the recovery of the Slovenian economy will continue at a solid pace. The rating agency now estimates that the Slovenian economy will grow by about 2.5% in 2016 and accelerate to 2.7% in 2017, supported by strong net exports and increasing private consumption. The latter will be supported by higher disposable incomes thanks to improving labour market conditions, low, albeit slowly increasing, inflation and likely public sector wage hikes, as well as growing household credit. In addition to domestic demand, Slovenia’s economy will continue to be supported by the country’s competitive export-oriented economic structure. Private investment will further underpin export potential – for example, as production in the automotive sector


The Slovenian Times | Summer Edition 2017

is extended. As the output gap narrows and wages continue to increase, the agency anticipates that inflation will be over 1% in 2017. S&P also believes that the implementation of growth-enhancing structural reforms, including in judicial and administrative areas, could further boost Slovenia’s medium-to-long-term economic growth prospects, while healthcare reform could improve the prospects for government finances over time. Furthermore, the educational system plays an increasingly important role in preserving the international competitiveness that the open Slovenian economy enjoys. Although the economy benefits from its openness to international trade – exports of goods and services will amount to about 80% of GDP this year – in S&P’s view, significant administrative barriers, e.g., in judiciary, still inhibit business and investment. The rating agency believes that rising domestic demand and the recent strong labour market performance – with the unemployment rate decreasing from around 8% on average in 2016 to 7.7% by the end if 2017 – will support the

authorities’ budgetary consolidation efforts. S&P projects the general government deficit to average 1.8% of GDP over 2016-2019, with the deficit in 2017 likely to be slightly higher than that envisaged by the government, depending on the outcome of ongoing negotiations on public sector wages and the stance on relieving consolidation measures introduced in recent years. S&P could also revise the outlook to stable if it considers that there is a risk of a material slippage in Slovenia’s budgetary trajectory and a reversal in net general government debt dynamics, or if the current account turns into a deficit position, including a position due to a significantly weakened external macroeconomic environment. A weakening of Slovenia’s key institutions or policy consensus across the currently governing coalition with the potential to hamper policy cohesiveness could also lead the agency to revise the outlook to stable.

Regional Insight in association with S&P Croatia



In March 2017 S&P Global Ratings affirmed its ‘BB’ long-term and ‘B’ short-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings on Croatia. The outlook is stable.

In March 2017, S&P Global Ratings affirmed its ‘AA+/A-1+’ long- and short-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings on Austria. The outlook is stable.

In May 2017, S&P Global Ratings affirmed the unsolicited ‘BBB-’ long-term and ‘A-3’ short-term sovereign credit ratings on the Republic of Italy. The outlook is stable.

The ratings are supported by the country’s declining general government deficit, notwithstanding a projected slight widening in 2017, and its gradually falling external indebtedness, primarily on the back of continued banking sector deleveraging. At the same time, the ratings remain constrained by Croatia’s still-high government debt burden, low income levels in a European comparison, and the new administration’s relatively short track record of implementing structural reforms and consolidating public finances. In 2017, S&P expects economic growth in Croatia will accelerate to slightly over 3.0% from 2.9% in 2016. Export growth should remain strong as the positive momentum in the tourism industry will likely be sustained due to continuously increasing capacity. At the same time, export growth is becoming more diversified, including in the pharmaceutical and shipbuilding industries. Moreover, the agency views that domestic demand will remain strong. Household consumption will benefit from strong labour market improvements including a drop in the unemployment rate to below 13%. While still high, this is a marked improvement from the 16.3% just a year ago. At the same time, last year’s tax reform that came into effect this year and included changes to personal and corporate income taxes, positively affects household disposable incomes and should lead to continued investment in the corporate sector. That said, the political uncertainty that overshadowed an otherwise positive 2016 seems to have abated, with the HDZ-MOST government operating largely without significant publicly-visible dissent. The government has initiated important reforms, such as the already mentioned tax reform, and has identified a number of structural reforms including improvements in the business environment, reduction of para-fiscal charges and reforms in the healthcare sector. Maintaining strong reform momentum will be the key to raising Croatia’s potential growth rate, bringing public finances sustainably on a healthier footing, and building a track record of continued reform implementation.

The affirmation reflects that S&P ratings on Austria continue to benefit from the sovereign’s prosperous, competitive, export-oriented economy, and its position as a net external creditor. The ratings also reflect the agency’s assessment of Austria’s institutional effectiveness, including the credibility of budgetary policies. Recent tax and expected labour reforms support medium-term growth prospects, in S&P’s view, by increasing participation in the job market. S&P Global Ratings expects general government deficits will decline after a slight increase in 2016, reflecting last year’s personal income tax reform alongside election-related spending pressures. In S&P’s view, Austria’s public debt burden is substantial, but on a declining trend. The agency also underlines that economic growth will be supported by high immigration, firming external demand and a recovery in investment. S&P forecast GDP growth to average1.5% annually over the 2017-2019 forecast horizon. Austria’s economy is synchronized with that of the eurozone and Germany in particular, and most of its trade is with EU Member States. S&P forecast current account surpluses will average about 1.6% of GDP in 2017-2019. The narrow net external debt, the preferred measure of external leverage which excludes non-financial private sector external assets, stands above 100% of annual current account receipts (CARs). As total net external assets exceed narrow net external debt by more than 100% of CARs, S&P view this as a strength for Austria’s external position. The stable outlook means that S&P does not see a likely scenario that could prompt the agency to change our ratings on Austria over the next two years. It also reflects the expectation that Austria’s economic, fiscal and external credit metrics will remain close to current levels over the agency’s 2017-2019 forecast horizon.

The affirmation reflects S&P’s forecast that Italy’s economy will grow by about 0.9% in 2017 as domestic demand stabilises amid the gradual improvement in the labour market. The agency expects, however, that employment growth will slow given the phasing out of hiring-related tax credits. S&P Global Ratings forecasts that the average unemployment rate will be about 11.3% this year, down from 11.7% in 2016, before falling further to 11.0% in 2018. At the same time, private consumption will likely be dampened by rising inflation, partly caused by higher oil prices. S&P anticipates that monetary policy will remain accommodative. In the agency’s view, the negative impact on purchasing power resulting from an increase in inflation will be partly offset by the government’s fiscal policy measures, which include ending the public-sector wage freeze that has been in place since 2010; measures to support families and low-income pensioners; and providing more flexible access to the social security system. In 2016, the Italian economy grew by 0.9% in real terms. It appears that the political and financial uncertainty related to the failed constitutional referendum and adverse developments concerning the Monte dei Paschi di Siena bank have not had any significant negative impact on Italy’s economic recovery. Investment activity has also been recovering, especially in non-construction sectors, and S&P expects it to continue to support economic growth this year. In the agency’s view, favourable financial conditions will remain in place, coupled with the government’s extension of the so-called “super amortisation” (namely the introduction of “hyper amortisation” for innovative industries, alongside tax credits for research and development, innovative industries, and small and mid-size enterprises) and corporate income tax cut to 24% from 27.5% previously. As a result, rising profitability of firms is increasing their capacity to invest. S&P expects public investment to grow in line with nominal GDP over 2018-2020.

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 © 2017 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 2017 | The Slovenian Times




Economic Overview

Even a blind hen… By Jan Bratanič

75% of GDP and considerably less fiscal space than before the last crisis, will Slovenia rue the inability of its leaders to take meaningful strides in reforming the economy and righting the systemic wrongs which have been evident for more than a decade? Let’s hope not! But with leaders, whose main accomplishment is supposed to be building fences at the borders to keep out the "terrorists" invading our land, there must be some unease as to the direction this country is taking. With measures that promote hate and exclusion, although common throughout Europe, Slovenia won’t go far. Instead of a small open economy that should place its bet on innovation, technology and entrepreneurship, Slovenia could become increasingly closed. There is a saying in Slovenia: "Even a blind hen eventually finds the grain". For Slovenia – the country’s borders on the world map look like a hen - this eventuality seems a long way off. Fortunately companies, especially those that are exportoriented, continue to outperform their foreign peers despite the ineptitude of the political leaders.

PHOTOS 01 Ljubljana, Trubarjeva ulica; Photo: Tamino Petelinšek/STA 02 Wikimedia Commons; Photo: A. Bailey 03 Real estate in Ljubljana; Photo: Tamino Petelinšek/STA 02

A friend of mine worked on property tax legislation for more than two years and yet, the Slovenian government decided not to implement the new tax this election cycle. "It’s politics," my friend said, pondering the time spent writing and rewriting the legal text. He is right of course, except that it is not just politics, it is also about the economy. This modus operandi has become all too familiar. Playing for votes, short-term results and postponing the unpopular, yet necessary, reforms. The logic is simple, do everything to win the election, even if the cost is the longterm health of the economy and that the costs of reform are bound to be far greater in the future. This is the reason Slovenia has non-functioning healthcare, a costly pension system in dire need of overhaul and an economy without a strategic compass. On the surface, everything looks great. The Slovenian economy is booming, with growth rates higher than most other economies. This year, GDP is forecast to grow more than three percent (European Commission forecasts 3.3%), due to growth in exports, new investment and above all, domestic demand. Unemployment in Slovenia is falling and therefore household spending is increasing. The real estate market has come to life. Auctions, sombre and poorly attended until re-


The Slovenian Times | Summer Edition 2017

cently, now see potential investors and homeowners locking horns in bidding wars. Even the Slovenian Housing Fund wants a piece of the action. Despite its mission to supply affordable homes for young families, the Fund has increased prices for some housing projects to EUR 3,000 per square metre or more. With the growing demand, there is an increasing probability that the apartments will be sold and prices will continue to increase. The automotive sector is also booming. Where car sellers used to "throw" their cars at potential buyers, competing amongst themselves with discounts of 20% or more, they are now raising their prices and sales keep growing. Slovenians bought almost 90,000 cars in 2016, 11% more than in 2015. And yet there is the nagging question of what the future will bring. Economies go through cycles every seven to ten years. In a couple of years, the EU and US will be overdue for another crisis. With public debt of around



EASY TO NAVIGATE Every second passenger who turns up at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport is in fact here only to change planes, as 54% of passengers have connections. So it is no wonder that the airport pays particular attention to their convenience. The

Paris-Charles de Gaulle: World’s Most Improved Airport Skytrax Award 2015

their way around the airport. By means of this free geolocation and

FASHION AND GASTRONOMY Passengers can enjoy more than 6,000 sq. m. of shops, bars and restaurants, mainly arranged around of Paris and the art of French living. Aéroports de Paris has also included a Museum area which will

dining experience, degust of wines and menu items selected by chef Alain Ducasse, with an elegant table service. This lounge has been

COMFORT IN EVERY MOMENT spare until their connection, time they do not want to waste. Refurbished a couple of years ago, the areas leading to the boarding piers have been designed to recreate the city, a new Business Class lounge area spanning over 3,000 sqm. adopts a new nature-inspired architectural concept. There are a multitude of

INSTANT PARIS LOUNGE When in transit at Paris-Charles de Gaulle for three hours or more, treat yourself to a moment of relaxation and well-being in true Parisian style in the heart of the airport’s international area.Instant Paris is a breath of French art of living on 4,500 m2 providing a unique experience in Hall L of Terminal 2 for a couple of hours or even an entire night. Use the library featuring more than 300 international publications; sink into a and international news using one of the tablets available. You can also

but couches and other pieces of furniture on which passengers can listen to music and watch movies.

in real time through a virtual window.

Economy Q From the perspective of the European Commission Advisory Committee on Equal Opportunities for Men and Women, what kind of motivators do women need in order to strive for the leading positions? A Today, it is a statistical fact that men have many more opportunities than women to take their careers to the top. McKinsey’s divided the world into 10 regions and determined that, if every country would achieve gender equality within their region then world GDP would grow US $12 trillion. This is a powerful number. Enabling women to be part of the workforce and to progress through the institutional hierarchy actually benefits both the economic and democratic development of a country and region. The UN calculated that such a trend would increase global GDP by 12%. From the perspective of the EC Advisory Committee on Equal Opportunities for Men and Women, a body that combines all EU

Sonja Šmuc, M.Sc., Executive Director, The Managers’ Association of Slovenia

Interview: Sonja Šmuc, M.Sc., Executive Director, The Managers’ Association of Slovenia

Men always have a say, women only sometimes By Tina Drolc, M.Sc.

If every country would achieve gender equality within their region then world GDP would grow US $12 trillion. Member States and observation organisations, within which I represent the CEC - European Managers Association, gender equality in all walks of life is important. Equality is one of the leading virtues of the EU and it is an integral part of a fair society. We have to ensure equal opportunities in terms of gender because gender is not a minority – neither men or women can be seen as a minority. I believe that if we cannot fix the balance between genders then there is no chance that we will ever fix it with minorities of any sort or eliminate discrimination based on age, nationality, religion, sexual orientation etc. Societies that are more liberal and open to human differences usually translate into being a more equal society and are simply more prosperous. This is the vision that drives me.

Research shows that the work done by a woman is not measured in the same Q How does Slovenia rate in terms of genway as that of a man and that there is not a single country in the world where der equality? A There is no single country in the world where there isn’t a gender pay gap although, on a global basis, Slovenia is positioned among the best. Sonja Šmuc, Executive Director at The Managers’ Association of there is not a gender gap. The gender pay gap Slovenia is among the lowest and Iceland, Slovenia, highlights that in 2014, in 71% of the 101 largest Slovenian companies, in which has the lowest, is predicted to achieve there was no female representation on the Management Board. gender pay parity within the next 10 years. In the Global Gender Gap Report, prepared by the World Economic Forum, Slovenia is eighth. In some of the United Nations ratings Slovenia is sometimes first due to a better political balance and our very good infrastructure: kindergartens, schools with after-hours


The Slovenian Times | Summer Edition 2017

Economy care for children, the extent of maternity leave provisions… In the current government, half of the ministers are women and there is a high percentage of women in parliament, over one third. Slovenia’s free education is extraordinary – 63% of university graduates are women. There is also a high rate of female full-time employment. So, Slovenia has this excellent infrastructure that allows people to work and move forward in their careers although, when it comes to senior management in Slovenia, there is the same challenge as in any other EU country. Women achieve middle management positions but thereafter it is closer to impossible than possible to get ahead. Why is it so hard for women to have, at the very top levels, the same opportunities as men despite their education and competence? This is a daunting social problem. Many other countries rate much lower on gender equality because they do not have the aforementioned social infrastructure that Slovenia has, and yet Slovenia proves that even great social mechanisms are simply not enough.

Q Can you highlight some prominent female managers in Slovenia and share their achievements? A 20 years ago, the most prominent female business leaders included Tatjana Fink, Danica Purg, Cvetka Selšek and Sonja Gole who had all been in leading positions for some time and some of them still are. Danica Purg is still an inspiration with her unbelievable stamina, Sonja Gole is also not backing down – Adria Mobil, one of the biggest European caravan producers, is having a record year every year under her guidance. Also amazing is Aleša Mežigoj who completely transformed Medex, and from the younger generation I recently met Sabina Sobočan in Lendava who took on the leadership of Varis from her father. Varis manufactures pre-fabricated bathrooms and is a company which now has around 240 employees after Sabina employed 80 new people last year.

Executive Director of The Managers’ Association of Slovenia, Sonja Šmuc, in New Delhi (India) as one of the panelists speaking at the Women’s Economic Forum which took place in May 2017 under the motto "Creating, innovating, understanding and management of the future" where she received a special award from the organisers for her contribution to change in the field of gender inequalities and creating a better world for all.

Q Why do you think it is harder for women to get ahead? A The answer is a complicated maze of layers and layers of reasons. One of them is the lack of role models making it more difficult for girls to envision their possible grand future. For instance, in media the ratio between female and male experts is 20:80, in films women are still portrayed in traditional stay-at-home-or be-gorgeous roles and have only about 30% of speaking roles. This, along with our upbringing that focuses on ladylike behavior, has a profound influence on low self-esteem and deep self-criticism. A huge part of the problem is also human resource practices in organisations which are shaped to 'appear' gender neutral but the statistics show that, in practice, they are working for men and against women. Companies cannot say that they promote the best people they have unless they have both men and women at all levels! If only the men are getting promoted

been proved beyond doubt in business, music, science …, is probably the hardest obstacle to achieving gender parity. Because we don’t even recognise the gender bias that is rooted in all of us – women and men - we all discriminate against women without even knowing it. A lot of times when we think we are objective, we are actually not. Changing these psychological and social patterns is the real challenge of our and the next generation.

The data from the 101 largest Slovenian companies for 2014 is surprisingly disappointing since 71% of those companies do not have a single female Management Board member.

In the Global Gender Gap Report, prepared by the World Economic Forum, Slovenia is eighth. In some of the United Nations ratings Slovenia is sometimes first. There are many fantastic business women in Slovenia, but many more are caught up within companies that don’t know how to use their talent. The data from the 101 largest Slovenian companies for 2014 is surprisingly disappointing since 71% of those companies do not have a single female Management Board member. From this perspective Slovenia is actually quite a long way from gender equality.

then the companies are blind to half of the population and simply cannot prove that they are promoting the best people. Most disturbingly, research shows that we do not measure the work of women in the same way as the work of men. The work and creativity of men is valued more highly than that of women – even when it is exactly the same. This phenomenon of double standards, which has Summer Edition 2017 | The Slovenian Times


Economy Interview: Mojca Kunšek, M.Sc., Director of the Agency of the Republic of Slovenia for Public Legal Records and Related Services

AJPES strives to be a locally operated unit for the global identification of entities Mojca Kunšek, M.Sc., Director of the Agency of the Republic of Slovenia for Public Legal Records and Related Services

TST What is the proportion of foreign entities that decide to register their business in Slovenia and what is the trend? A Although we do not keep information on the nationality of a founder of a business entity in the Slovenian business register (PRS), AJPES can identify the origin of the founder through their temporary or permanent address. From 2012, there has been a fall in the number of companies from outside Slovenia, from 11.2% to 7.8% in 2017, with most of the foreign founders from Italy. The number of founders from Croatia has increased from sixth place in 2012 to second from 2016. The largest decline is the number of founders from the Republic of Kosovo who generally set up companies in section G - wholesale and retail trade, repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles, followed by M - manufacturing, F – construction, H - transportation and storage and C - Professional, Scientific and Technical Activities.

TST The Business Registers Interconnection System (BRIS) is being set up at the EU level as a joint effort involving all EU Member States and the European Commission, and will be operational in June. What is the involvement of AJPES in the project and what sort of data will Slovenian residents will be able to access? A AJPES manages the Slovenian Business Register, a central database containing information about all legal entities in the Republic of Slovenia and at the same time, a source of 20

The Slovenian Times | Summer Edition 2017

The vision of the Agency of the Republic of Slovenia for Public Legal Records and Related Services (AJPES), is to be the primary source for business information, including data and information for a transparent business environment. Mojca Kunšek, who heads the Agency, highlights recent activities to facilitate access to information on EU companies and digital support where annual reports are collected electronically and of which more than 93% are e-signed.

documents and particulars for BRIS. AJPES also serves as the BRIS National Service Desk. BRIS infrastructure will facilitate access to information on all EU companies and ensure that all EU business registers communicate with each other electronically in relation to cross-border mergers and foreign branches. Citizens, businesses and national authorities will be able to search, via the e-Justice portal, for information filed by companies in the national registers.

TST Tourism contributes almost 13% to Slovenia’s GDP and the Bank of Slovenia data shows that inflows from travel services in the first ten months of 2016 was EUR 2bn, a 3.9% growth compared to the same period in 2015. How is AJPES preparing for the reporting of tourism accommodation statistics? A The reporting of information on tourist activity requires unnecessary administrative obligations and burdens for the providers as they need to disclose the same or similar information to four different institutions. In order to simplify the reporting of this information, rationalise the work of the users of the information and provide better quality of collected data, AJPES will establish a Register of Accommodation Establishments and an information solution for unified reporting. The providers will only to need to provide the information through the AJPES web application for all mandatory reporting and legitimate information users.

TST How international is AJPES and how do you approach digitalisation?

A The digitalisation strategy dates back 15 years to the beginning of the Agency. During this period, AJPES has established more than seven registers and numerous e-services as the basis for data collection. All annual reports are collected electronically, with more than 93% e-signed, and the web portal has become more user and mobile-device friendly. These efforts aim to promote and implement modern e-services development principles (user-centricity, digital by default, Once Only, One Stop Shop, openness & transparency, inclusiveness and accessibility, cross-border by default, etc.). AJPES is now internationally connected with all the registries in the ex-Yugoslav states and is an important member of international registry organisations. One of the short-term goals is to become the locally operated unit in the region for global identification of each entity.

One of the short-term goals is to become the locally operated unit in the region for global identification of each entity.

Create your future in Slovenia with us! PRIMARY ONE-STOP SHOP & MOST RELEVANT SOURCE OF BUSINESS INFORMATION: Registers Annual Reports Financial Data Credit Ratings And much more

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






Make The Right Decision by Managing Your Risk Exposure

AJPES Credit Ratings S.BON Rating Scale Internationally Comparable to Moody‘s, Fitch and Standard & Poor‘s ORDER NOW!


Economy Interview: Andrej Fištravec, PhD, Mayor of the City Municipality of Maribor

FDI and the Circular Economy,

the Main Drivers of Growth in the City of Maribor By Tina Drolc, M.Sc. Andrej Fištravec, PhD, Mayor of the City Municipality of Maribor

Around 1,700 new jobs in the last year is one of the outcomes of the City Municipality of Maribor’s (CMM) strategy to create a business-friendly environment for foreign investors. This year, the Slovenian-based Chinese company, SHS Aviation, will invest around EUR 30m into the Maribor Airport and Maribor’s mayor believes that, together with the arrival of Magna Steyr, this employment trend will continue. Q SHS Aviation claimed that the Edvard Rusijan Airport in Maribor would have eleven regular routes by the end of this year, and one of the routes would be to China. How is the plan progressing? A The International Investment Group, SHS Aviation, purchased Aerodrom Maribor and with that obtained a 15 year concession to manage the airport and have announced that they will commence flight operations this year. The initial plan was made with knowledge of Slovenian legislation although, unfortunately, it takes more time in Slovenia to be granted all the licenses necessary to create the conditions to fulfil their investment plan. VLM Airlines d.d., a subsidiary of SHS Aviation, received their Airport Operators Certificate (AOC) in May, not April as initially planned. Fortunately, SHS Aviation is a very active company and seeks other solutions and so recently purchased Thomas Cook Airlines in Belgium which has 40 employees and an AOC for the Airbus 320. With this new airline company, SHS now has two A320 Aircraft with AOC licences which will certainly also be of benefit for Maribor Airport. I believe that in the second half of this year, SHS will start with flights inside Europe and once the infrastructure at Maribor airport is developed, I think that they will start continental flights with China.


The Slovenian Times | Summer Edition 2017

Economy I believe that in the second half of this year, SHS will start with flights inside Europe and once the infrastructure at Maribor airport is developed, I think that they will start continental flights with China. Q For a long time one of the biggest projects in Maribor has been the Pohorska Livada Hotel and Ski Resort which is waiting for an estimated EUR 30m investment. Do you have any additional plans as it seems there is a lack of money among domestic investors and little interest from foreign investors? A The Pohorska Livada project is more than 10 years old and the main challenge has been that the operations at the Pohorje Ski Resort have not run smoothly, and this project is closely connected to the hill at Pohorje. Last year everything changed, we now have a new long-term concession holder of Pohorje Ski Resort - Marprom. Last winter there was already some improvement; Pohorje is not only the biggest ski resort in Slovenia but also became the best ski resort and consequently, I believe that this investment project will soon be attractive again. We want to manage Pohorje in the spirit of public interest. The strategy is to develop yearround tourism, the harmonious development of the entire area of Pohorje in close cooperation with all the stakeholders. The vision of the City of Maribor is to develop Pohorje within the concept of sustainable development and therefore introduce new programs that are in tune with nature (glamping, eco camping, biking, etc.), with a focus on protection and preservation of nature and jobs. Q The objective of CMM is to reduce cars in the city centre by 15% by 2020, and to close the city’s old town (e.g. Lent) to traffic. What measures have already been implemented and are they in line with sustainable mobility? A As part of the implementation of sustainable mobility, the integrated transport strategy leads to a 15% slowdown of traffic in the city centre by 2020, CMM has an architectural solution, known as the "Drava River embankment" and chosen through an international competition, which provides for the closure of Lent. According to the measures already taken, we plan to implement this solution in the short term. In the integrated transport strategy of CMM, urban public transport, cyclists and pedestrians take precedence over cars. In terms of sustainable mobility, we recently expanded the pedestrian zones (Trg Leona Štuklja, Rotovški market, Židovski trg), purchased 21 new buses for urban transport with the EURO 6 ecological standard (in 2014 the average age of public

transport buses was 12 years which has now been halved to 6.6 years), and we will rearrange parking in the city centre, extend paid parking zones on the right bank of the Drava, progressively extend paid parking outside the existing zones and expand the green areas in the city centre.

Q There is a general trend toward digitisation of processes and services. Is CMM following this trend and where do you see the greatest demand and potential of digitisation? A In the context of the European project, UPSIDE, CMM established a website and mobile application "Improve Maribor" that, in one place, enables monitoring and submission of initiatives and questions to CMM, its offices, institutions and public enterprises. Residents and visitors to the city are offered the opportunity to actively participate in the improvement of the city in all areas of environmental regulation - of the transport, education, social welfare, culture, sport and other important areas. Suggestions or questions that require investment and planning funds from the budget are systematically addressed and included in the plans of each of the competent institutions within CMM, all with the aim of improving living standards and the quality of life in the city and broader region. Based on the reaction of citizens and the number of submitted initiatives, we believe that the citizens have responded very well to this application.

Q CMM is among the leading municipalities for developing the concept of the circular economy. You have connected public companies and you are about to build a sorting plant for separate waste collection. Why the decision for a circular economy and what are the benefits for Maribor’s citizens? A The concept of the circular economy, in which Slovenians has had a significant role thanks to our European Commissioner, is the answer to a different approach to social reproduction. This approach recognises the scarcity of natural resources and therefore products and materials that are developed should return to production chain. Thus, the extraction of raw materials decreases and natural resources entering the production cycle are used for longer, preserving the environment. The Municipality has implemented a strategic project, WCYCLE, which includes public utility companies, Energetika, Snaga, Nigrad, Vodovod Marprom.

Together with the business sector, we identified 18 joint projects which will be realised collaboratively in the coming years, we identified degraded areas to implement planned projects and thus contribute to the revitalisation of these areas. From the synergies of implementation, CMM will ensure optimal utilisation of all material resources, shorten physical channels, create new products and thus generate new sustainable green jobs. I am pleased that we are moments before the first shaft will be placed for the construction of the most technologically advanced plant for the processing and sorting of mixed municipal waste in the European Union, which is also the most advanced in the processing industry and the sorting of mixed municipal waste in Slovenia. In this way, we are starting to implement the concept of the circular economy in Maribor, importantly we are a leader and not a follower of the concept. We are aware of the challenges associated with being a pioneer and therefore we want this to be perceived as a positive pilot project, which in future years will also provide benefits to the other local communities in Slovenia.

Q How does the Municipality approach the investment of Magna Steyr and the location of its manufacturing plant? A Based on a comparative analysis of spatial possibilities, the Municipality of Maribor prepared a list of locations for Magna which included the chosen location next to Edvard Rusijan Airport Maribor. The position in the municipality Hoče - Slivnica was made possible because, in the early 1960’s in the spatial strategy for the southwest of the city, the Municipality of Maribor reserved a large complex for an industrial area known as Maribor - Hoče - Tezno. The airport was therefore built along with many other small industrial facilities. The arrival of Magna is a strategically important project for the development of the local and regional economies. In this way, Maribor has begun the construction of large industrial enterprises, which are lacking in the structure of local industries, but are necessary for developing SMEs and service activities. Maribor and its surroundings have industry knowledge, tradition, experience, institutions and research. This is an excellent opportunity for the University of Maribor, which was formed from the industry to meet its needs. We want that young people seek opportunities at home and not go to Austria for work. We also look forward to increased competition among the employers, as this will further affect the growth of wages in the region which is significantly below the average. The project can also encourage immigration in our region and hence the rise in prices in the housing market and its recovery.

Summer Edition 2017 | The Slovenian Times



4th Slovenia Business BridgeTM Investment and Development Conference

The Key to Success is Collaboration When thinking about changes and what inspires them it is about collaboration. Collaboration was the most important message at the 4th Slovenia Business BridgeTM Investment and Development Conference: Opportunities in the Centre of Change, which focused on the investment opportunities and investment environment in Slovenia. Slovenia represents an environment worth investing in and allowing new business projects and opportunities to be developed. "We have knowledge, talented people, constantly develop new ideas and products, have an excellent geographic location for international business, and are aware of the importance of investing in research and development (R&) – meaning the country offers the features of an R&D centre, a green economy and of a logistics center," said the Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia, Miro Cerar. "We again see that Slovenia has incredible potential and it is important to be open and to put more trust in ourselves and in investors – foreign as well as domestic – and to learn how to work together. At this year’s conference, the participants shared their knowledge and ideas. We are certain that with the rapid changes of the 4th industrial revolution, positive benefits for everyone can only be achieved through cooperation between the economy, the state and civil society," said Ajša Vodnik, Executive Director of AmCham Slovenia.

Slovenia is interesting for investors but must take advantage of it‘s opportunities The Slovenia Business BridgeTM opened with the AmCham Business Breakfast - "Does Slovenia feel Investors?" which brought together the experience of leading international companies that

Sponsor of the AmCham Business Breakfast:


have invested in Slovenia in recent years. All of the speakers agreed that Slovenia offers numerous opportunities and could become a regional hub because it has great export potential for the industrial sector that should be promoted and developed. Investors stated that Slovenia is perceived to be attractive due to its banks, strong business environment and stable economic growth, and they noted that it is easier to make new contacts in Slovenia due to its small market scale. During the AmCham Business Breakfast suggestions were made that Slovenia should privatise its state-owned enterprises, establish a fund to help SMEs, and seek strategic investors and not just financial ones. One of the problems Slovenia must work on is the loss of talented people and its educated workforce leaving the country, with a proposal that the government should invest in education and learn from foreign experts. By focusing on talented people, Slovenia would be more attractive for investors.

Co-Creation Paper Will Bring Some Useful Ideas The second part of the conference, "Creative Collaboration: Slovenia - Opportunites and Challenges", provided the opportunity for governement representatives, business representatives and investors to sit together and co-create. For change to happen it is necessary to establish a dialogue

Partners of the Slovenia Business Bridge™ Conference:

The Slovenian Times | Summer Edition 2017

between politics, business and the broader society and therefore the participants sought good practices that could be an example and the way for Slovenia to turn the disadvantages into advantages and become more attractive to investors.

Slovenia lives the future today The final part of the Slovenia Business BridgeTM was "Get Inspired with Slovenia: Ready4DFuture" which brought together ideas of Slovenian groundbreaking individuals, who live the future today, and showed that Slovenia really has the knowledge and the courage to change the world. Mitja Jermol (Jožef Stefan Institute), Jurij Krpan (Kapelica Gallery), Matej Čer (Avant car) and Zenel Batagelj (Valicon and Iconomi) presented their views of what changes bring for countries, society and business. They all agreed that Slovenia has an exceptional opportunity to use the advantages of the new wave, of the 4th industrial revolution, as the market size is perfect and proves that Slovenia can be a Green Rreference Country in Digital Europe. Zenel Batagelj asked "How to put Slovenia in the centre of the world?," and then responded with: "Slovenia is already there". The Deputy Prime Minister, Boris Koprivnikar, then closed the Slovenia Business BridgeTM with the words: "We are one of the most innovative countries in the world but we have to change the way we think and be proud of ourselves".

Economy Zlata nit (Golden Thread):

10 years of measuring work relationships By Matjaž Kljajic´

At this year’s tenth anniversary celebration of the best Slovenian employers, three categories were recognised. The members of the Selection Board were most convinced by Lotrič Meroslovje among the small businesses, Javno podjetje Komunala Brežice among the medium-sized companies and among the large companies, Krka from Novo mesto was selected for the fourth time in ten years. Zlata nit (Golden Thread) is one of the largest research studies in South Eastern Europe. Since 2007, 347 companies and 73,537 employees have participated in the study. "Zlata nit proves that Slovenia has good employers whose goal is to produce creative jobs and employ innovative and decent individuals who represent a company’s potential for growth," emphasised Dr Anja Kopač Mrak, Minister of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, at the closing ceremony of Dnevnik’s selection of the best employers of 2016.

Slovenia is the first country in the world to measure the quality of work relationships The Zlata nit questionnaire, comprising 45 statements, was developed in Slovenia and is a pioneering study focussing on the importance of relationship management for innovation development. Uniquely, it sets the employeeorganisation relationship at the centre of the study, measuring it in seven categories. Zlata nit closely links relationship quality with business performance. Based on the balanced scorecard (BSC) performance measurement, it observes marketing and financial indicators as well as indicators of innovation and human resource management. "Measuring the quality of the relationship between the company and its employees is an X-ray study of the company," said Anisa Faganelj, Head of Zlata nit, when summing up the findings of the companies which used the Zlata nit questionnaire for staff and organisational development. Analysis and credible statistics

usually confirm feelings and provide a more reliable basis for organisational adjustment. "In the contemporary environment, it is especially important that measurement supports the general perception of the organisation. More and more emphasis is placed on the agility and flexibility of organisations while experts on digitalisation emphasise that companies need organisational transformation rather than digital. Zlata nit is a tool that supports both digital and organisational transformation", using Zlata nit as a tool states Edita Krajnović, who is responsible for its methodology.

53% higher added value per employee

Awarded best employers in 2016 were: KRKA, d. d., Novo mesto, in the category of large companies, Javno podjetje Komunala Brežice, d. o. o., in the category of mediumsized businesses, and LOTRIČ Meroslovje, d. o. o., in the category of small businesses. The Best Practice Award was presented to Lek d.d. for its project "Vrnitev možganov v Slovenijo: Bio karierni zajtrk" (The Return of Brains to Slovenia: Bio Career Breakfast).

with greater profitability and increased added value per employee. Research by Dr Matevž Rašković from the Faculty of Economics at the University of Ljubljana, shows that companies with above-average results for passionately dedicated employees (effective commitment) achieve 53% greater added value per employee. Business success is also related to the charisma of managers. According to a survey by Profiles International and the Association of Managers, the managers in companies that systematically measure the quality of the company-employee relationship with the Zlata nit study, achieve a higher managerial charisma index. Among them, colleagues rate 12% as highly charismatic, compared to 9% among others.

Models developed on the basis of Zlata nit data reveal that high quality relationships correlate Photos: Maja Marko, Dnevnik

Summer Edition 2017 | The Slovenian Times


Economy Interview: Haifeng Huang, Ph.D., Assistant Dean at Peking University HSBC Business School

China’s path to a green economy By Tonja Blatnik, Institute for Universal Future Communications (iUFC)

Professor Haifeng Huang is the Assistant Dean at Peking University HSBC Business School. His passion and expertise is entirely devoted to the green economy and the effective combination of sustainability with business. In addition to being the Special Inspector for the Ministry of Land and Resources in China, he is also Director of the PKU Center for the Green Economy, Executive Chairman of the Ecological Development Union International, author of several books, and a member of one of the first groups to work on the United Nations Environmental Program Green Economy Report, to name a few. Professor Huang strives for green sustainability and in this exclusive interview for The Slovenia Times, the author of The Road of China’s Economic Transition: 21th Century Green Revolution, explains what China should do to achieve sustainable growth. Q How does China’s future development strategy achieve a green economy? A China’s future development strategy is closely linked with green thinking and green development design. The Chinese government elevated the Green Economy to a national strategy and the Chinese government has also started to implement their concept of the "ecological civilization". There is a famous motto by Chairman Xi Jinping who said that: "The Green Mountains and Green Rivers (healthy rivers are commonly described as a shade of green in China) are as valuable as Mountains of Gold and Rivers of Silk". This is the so-called two mountains theory which shows how China has changed its way of thinking. In the past, China only focused on material goods and GDP. But now, China is focused on green GDP, on efficiency and also on green development. This is a big change. For example, the local governments will now receive punishments if they do not perform well in terms of environmental protection, even if the official in question is already retired. Q Some interesting statistics - the population of Beijing is 25 million and of Shanghai is 34 million. The urban population in China represents 57% of the 1.38 billion total population and the expectation is that, by 2020, it will be about 60%. Around 250 million Chinese peasants have abandoned their land to become seasonal workers in cities. How does this change the Chinese economy on the one hand and its soul on the other? A China is now in a period of transition, many townships and cities are being constructed, the Haifeng Huang, Ph.D., Assistant Dean at Peking University HSBC Business School


The Slovenian Times | Summer Edition 2017

Economy cities are getting bigger and bigger. These cities have many issues, the first being that they need more workers for construction. There is a lot of demand for the so-called migrant workers from the countryside. At the same time, because of the technological advancement in agriculture, not as much manpower is required in the hometowns of migrant workers anymore. Due to this unbalanced demand, many people of working age move from their hometown to the city which has led to two significant developments. Of course, when the farmers leave their hometown it is not very good for their families, but it is very advantageous for their work qualifications because they are still young, they can gain know-how from the cities. The second significant development from this is that from this "learning by doing", they gain invaluable working skills and for those people who go back to their hometown, they may set up their own businesses and thereby help their hometown. But this, of course, also has some downsides. Most young parents from the countryside will leave their hometown, they will leave their children in the countryside with their grandparents. This is a big issue for the young generation. They cannot get adequate support from their parents because their parents work in the city although now, some children will also move with their parents despite life in the city being very expensive. It is also now more common that, after a few years, the families will consider the city their home, but there is the issue of the Hukou, the government’s household registration system. They cannot get access to most social welfare systems which leads to a social transition and conflicts although, at least now, the government has initiated a new policy which allows the children in these families free access to education and gives them more opportunities. This is an important transition time and with time, the Chinese government and Chinese people will be able to solve this problem.

Q International media reports Xiong’an, a new special economic area near Beijing, as a new starting point for the humanisation of eco-friendly urban life. Is this perhaps a part of the solution? A Xiongan is very close to Beijing and it should be ground zero to start the new green development in China. It would be comparable to the four original special economic zones in China – Shenzhen, Zhuhai and so on. Xiongan represents a fundamental change in China’s national strategy, it will share some functions with the capital, Peking and it can also take over some tasks from Peking. For example, Peking University now wants to invest some resources for research functions in Xiongan. I think Xiongan will take a very important symbolic role in the future due to its connection to Peking. Fur-

thermore, the national government called the strategy regarding Xiongan the "1000" strategy, meaning that this is a long-term strategy, not a short-sighted development. The implementation of this project will include green development. For example, the government forbids some industries from entering this area and some real estate development projects have stopped until the planning is finalised. This shows the future development direction of Xiongan. Overall, I expect that Xiongan will become the second most important part of Beijing. Finally, Xiongan will develop with original Chinese development concepts in mind, in a distinctive Chinese style, not European or American style. Of course, Xiongan will also involve modern technologies – highway, subways, green buildings and green transportation. Q How do you see the future of China in the context of the Belt and Road initiative and its connection with CEE countries, and specifically Slovenia? A I am very optimistic about the future of China. Firstly, I think that China is right now the motor of the global economy. At the same time, many Chinese are going abroad, with open minds, and taking in outside influences, understanding the world. They gain great knowledge about what is going on in the world. With regard to Central and Eastern Europe, of course China will become a strategic partner of the countries in this region, not only because of the history, but also because of the Belt and Road strategy. CEE countries offer many advanced technologies as well as a large market and they also need China’s cooperation. Specifically, for Slovenia, I would say that we should focus on cooperation, and use the Belt and Road initiative as a basis for this. The initiative could definitively benefit cooperation between our two countries. The natural environment in Slovenia is very beautiful and Slovenia is also a high-tech country. Therefore, China and Slovenia could improve their mutual understanding and set up many bilateral projects which should also include the education sector, we should have a more intensive exchange. We can share knowledge, education, and build good relationships. Belt and Road is initiated by China, but it has the potential to become very important for the countries of the CEE region. Without any doubt, if we can cooperate, we can create win-win situations.   Q On the invitation of Professor Purg, Founding President of the IEDC-Bled School of Management, you visited Slovenia. How important is management education and student exchange? A I really want to thank the IEDC-Bled School of Management for inviting me. I learned about

Green Mountains and Green Rivers are as valuable as Mountains of Gold and Rivers of Silk the school and discovered that it is a great leadership training centre in Europe. I heard about the history of the school and it really touched my heart. The founder of this school made the effort to establish a globally recognised school, a great training platform for many business people who learn to do a better job in terms of leadership. The education is very professional and suitable to improving the skills of its students. I gave a short speech on business ethics and social responsibility during my visit to the school. I think those are the most important topics for the future of business. In China, some people may be very rich but not have any sense of their social responsibility. We really do not need those people. It is most important for management science that people can exchange ideas between different countries. Therefore, I want to express my hope that we can set up more joint research projects between Slovenia and China, and also more exchange programs, especially summer schools. Chinese people should also learn during their education how they can protect the environment and how they can improve their leadership skills.

Summer Edition 2017 | The Slovenian Times



Qlandia phase II Novo mesto, Slovenia Its attractive location along an important international traffic route Ljubljana - Zagreb and across the street of the regional shopping centre provides numerous development opportunities on a local, regional and international level. Its overall marketgravitational area covers over 120,000 residents with high purchasing power.


• • • • • • • •

Location: Otoška cesta, Novo mesto Land: 57,774 m2 Development Greenfield Project: Qlandia ph. II Type of Use: commercial Footprint ratio: 30% Max. height: 12 m Asking price: EUR 3,416,000

The Detailed Spatial Plan for commercial zone Mačkovec – 1 is approved by City Council. This prime green field development plot lies right next to main road junction to Novo mesto city and across the street of the regional biggest shopping centre. Current planning acts define the property as building land for commercial and service activities. The Detailed Spatial Plan divides the land plot to three building parcels for construction of self-standing commercial buildings with 389 parking spaces and at least 10% of green area. Local building regulations limit maximum building height to 12 meters.


The Slovenian Times | Summer Edition 2017

Location The land plot is located in the northeast of Novo mesto about 4 km from the city centre. It is directly connected to the highway (A2) Ljubljana - Novo mesto. Public transportation is available within walking distance from the property. The city of Novo mesto is located in the southeastern part of Slovenia, close to the Croatian border and represents the administrative, cultural, religious and business centre of the Dolenjska region. There are 23 major companies in the region, working in the field of pharmaceutical and automobile industry, electrical and electronics industry, compressor manufacturing, manufacturing of metal constructions, civil engineering and other activities. These businesses employ more than a half of the region’s population. Novo mesto has a population of approximately 41,000 inhabitants and a total of approximately 14,000 households. In the immediate vicinity there is shopping mall Qlandia, the main regional retail centre with over 200,000 monthly shoppers. This prime retail development property has market gravitational area of 120,000 residents with over EUR 12,500 purchasing power per capita. The land plot is located in the northeast of Novo mesto about 4 km from the city centre. It is directly connected to the highway (A2) Ljubljana - Novo mesto. Public transportation is available within walking distance from the property.

Contact For further information, please feel free to contact us: HETA Asset Resolution d.o.o., Dunajska cesta 167, Ljubljana Mr. Enver Mustedanagić

Investment Opportunity

More information about investment opportunities is available at


Office premises in Ljubljana Ljubljana, Slovenia Office premises located in modern, 8-storey high B class office building with underground garage lies in Vič business district at Tržaška cesta, one of the main roads to the city centre. The property is long-term leased to tenant from public sector.


• • • • • • • • •

Location: Tržaška cesta 21, Ljubljana Type of Use: office, class B Year of construction: 2002 Energy consumption: 70 kWh/m2a Floors: from 2nd to 8th floor Net Useable Area: 5,217 m2 - offices 4,929 m2 - archives 288 m2 Parking: 41 parking places in garage Occupancy: 100 % Asking price: EUR 8,200,000

Unique opportunity to acquire fully leased institutional quality Class B office premises on a prime location in Slovenian capital city. The long-term tenants from public sector enable stable rent roll and a solid yield levels. The building is Z shaped with a reinforced concrete frame structure. Office spaces are divided into unites through a central main corridor in the middle of the building. Every floor has 2 toilets and a kitchen. The archive and storage area are available on the underground levels. The current layout can be altered in line with the actual demand of the tenants thanks to the pillar frame of the property. The ground and first floor of the building are owned by the Ministry of Justice of Slovenia.

Location Property is situated in a commercial / office area in the district of Vič. The immediate surroundings is characterized by office, retail, restaurant, hotel and residential buildings. Business premises are in vicinity of down town Ljubljana and easily accessible from the motorway as well as via public transport network. On-site parking is limited, however there are three public parking areas located in the neighbourhood. Ljubljana lies at the crossroads of important transport routes from Northern Europe to the Adriatic Sea, and from Western Europe to Eastern Europe, the Balkans and the Near East. Its central geographic location within Slovenia, transport connections, concentration of scientific and research institutions made Ljubljana the political, scientific and cultural centre of Slovenia. With more than 280,000 inhabitants it is the largest city in Slovenia and the most important economic centre with 12,628 entrepreneurs, 18,560 registered limited liability companies and 343 corporate companies.

Contact For further information, please feel free to contact us: HETA Asset Resolution d.o.o., Dunajska cesta 167, Ljubljana Mr. Enver Mustedanagić Summer Edition 2017 | The Slovenian Times


Global Pitch

was developed under the umbrella of the Youth Center Kotlovnica, which was aware of the potential of the young population in the area and their need to be motivated and encouraged to develop their own entrepreneurial ideas. The creation of a stimulating co-working place was seen as an experiment to revive and redefine Kamnik from a sleepy settlement, into an environment offering many opportunities and providing hope. The youth are provided with a boost and the opportunity to create a better tomorrow for themselves and the people surrounding them, regardless of their circumstances. The initiative, launched in January 2014, is achieving bigger and better results daily and is supported by the Municipality of Kamnik, the Kamnik Entrepreneurship Club and Rudolf Maister Grammar and Secondary School Kamnik. Regular and thorough cooperation with Kamnik entrepreneurs inspired us to establish the Kamnik Entrepreneurship Club in 2015, which motivates and stimulates new companies and talent and connects all the companies in the Kamnik area. Currently 58 companies are part of the club.

Sleepy bottle makes baby formula in less than 10 seconds. Sleepy regulates the temperature of the water to a recommended 37°C and with its clever design, allows you to prepare fresh baby formula in less than 10 seconds. With Sleepy Bottle, you‘ll get your sleep back.

AdStar is a digital marketing agency that is the right address for improving the online performance of a company. They cooperate with clients from all over the world and help them achieve better results.

The vision of is to create the biggest place for adventures in the world. They are developing a special and dedicated web app tailored for tourism. Members can co-create content by simply logging their adventures and trips so that others can easily get new ideas and find new places to go.

PracticeTape is an online platform that allows music teachers to create and sell personalised lessons whenever they want and their students to practice and get private feedback whenever they want.

"In the Kamnik region, business people and entrepreneurs understand their responsibility to promote future generations to be able to create value for companies, society and the environment. In Slovenia, historically one of the most creative environments on the earth, we have great potential and as we see every day, we know what to do. As the initiator of the KIKštarter accelerator, I see the inner needs of young entrepreneurs and I also see great potential and a bright future for the startups. I’m glad of the team of supportive people and enthusiasts who support the idea and bring ideas to life. Thank you to Nina, Urban, Aleš, Matej and all the others for making it happen." Tomaž Lah, CEO Nektar Natura, Initiator and Co-Founder KIKštarter pospeševalniki & Vice President, Business Club Kamnik "I am proud that our co-working KIKštarter ranked third from 300 European co-working projects, it is the best motivation to continue our vision. My personal great pleasure is to observe our KIKštarter residents and their development and growing success, which is also supported by members of the Business Club Kamnik and the Municipality of Kamnik. Together we have managed to connect all the participants in the local community and we cooperate together perfectly." Matjaž Jug, KIKštaretr Manager & CEO, ETC Adriatic "I support KIKštarter Kamnik because I know how it feels when you start a business all alone... at least I can share with young innovative business people my experiences to motivate them somehow on their way to success." Joc Pečečnik, Interblock Group "It is hard for young people to enter the market and so the members of the Business Club Kamnik enable young companies a faster launch to perform in Slovenian and global markets." Urban Bergant, CEO ELektrina


The Slovenian Times | Summer Edition 2017

Global Pitch

Photos: Siniša Kanižaj

ABC-EDG connecting Ljubljana and Silicon Valley In the middle of May, ABC Accelerator announced a joint venture with Silicon Valley’s Enterprise Development Group (EDG) to present new ways for companies in the European and US markets to innovate.

Shift from the digital to the hyper-digital era The world is changing quickly and companies are realising that they need to keep up with the pace and develop new models in order to survive. The digital era is over and we have moved to the hyper-digital era where everything is connected, machines have sensors and they communicate with each other. It is therefore key to observe what is happening in the world, what the disruptions are and the risks that threaten. Companies need to see the signals and then look for the potential or as Lisa Friedman, EDG’s co-founder says, "You need to

EDG is a well-established company with more than 20 years of experience in managing innovation in companies, having developed different workshops and various methods to support innovation. EDG have an impressive client list which includes Apple, Intel, Lufthansa, Swisspost and Audi, amongst others.

understand where the future is going before you start developing". The next important step is to then think about the role the company wants to play in the future and what it wants to become. All this is done through a series of short workshops where ABC-EDG help a company identify the trends and the potential and then set the strategy.

Companies need to speed up their processes and this is the objective of ABC-EDG. ABC and its Enterprise Accelerator present a system of innovation and incubation, they have been running three to six months programs for companies to change the internal innovation processes and the mindset! The hackathons that ABC organises as the first step of the program, serve as an idea generator and potential first projects. "We’ve been doing this for a long time but it was really good to partner up with ABC, they have a disciplined approcah and that’s why their projects are likely to succeed. Creative people with ideas

ABC Accelerator was established in Ljubljana two and a half years ago as a startup accelerator and now has offices in Munich and Silicon Valley, and has also established the Enterprise Accelerator to work with talent in the region. ABC-EDG is a venture of two strong players from either side of the Atlantic, EDG is rich in experience from the corporate world and ABC is experienced in the fast-paced startup ecosystem.

don’t always know how to turn them into working products and so they need ABC’s help to succeed", says Lisa Friedman. "At BTC City, there is the possibility to test new products in a real environment ... we haven’t seen this anywhere in the world but ABC has it!" Companies need to make the prototype, test it and gather the knowledge. They need to build the knowledge base and the capability for the rest of the company. Companies need to start with one unit, with the pioneers, and then spread to the rest. You cannot do this without a group of people that innovate together to build the future, and this is when ABC enters. Innovation is the key for the company’s survival. It’s important for the leaders to see this and get on board as quickly as possible to lead the way.

EDG: "Innovate early, innovate often, innovate everywhere". Every company is at a different point and they know that they need to change and innovate but generally they don’t know how. The ABCEDG partnership presents a unique way for companies to onboard the hyper-digital train to the future. Their experience, their knowledge and special energy make it a powerful holistic solution. Summer Edition 2017 | The Slovenian Times


Language however is not an issue if you are visiting Bratislava, Ljubljana, Prague, Košice or Kiev thanks to HOPIN TAXI, a growing service which is hoping to make getting around these cities extremely easy, while also ensuring their customers get the 'local price' and the quickest route. HOPIN TAXI started in Bratislava in 2012 and has now expanded to the other cities, with the service starting officially in Ljubljana last August. Don’t speak the local language? Users can choose from 16 different languages, taking away the pain and confusion

The Taxi Service Putting you in Charge. As someone who has very limited smartphone experience but who has travelled extensively, I understand the beauty and the challenges of being in a place where English is not spoken extensively. Getting around can be difficult, but having to call a dispatch service for a taxi in a foreign country can range anywhere from easy at best to exhaustingly frustrating at worst.


The Slovenian Times | Summer Edition 2017

HOPIN TAXI promotes its service as: 'Ride like the locals do'. The benefit of HOPIN TAXI is that the user has control – when they enter the pickup and destination points, they are given the approximate price before the taxi arrives. They will also be informed when the taxi is about to arrive, so no more standing out in the rain! HOPIN TAXI wants to 'up the ante' in quality taxi service and their goal is to make their service a positive experience for everyone. A state-of-the-art system monitors and track drivers to ensure quality control, any price differentials will be refunded or applied as a credit to the next journey. If a driver is found to use longer routes on multiple occasions, then they will be warned or maybe dismissed. Left something in the taxi - no problem, it is easy to contact the company or even the driver. As with Uber, it is possible to rate the driver. Unlike Uber, it is possible to remain anonymous with HOPIN TAXI and it is not necessary to have a credit card. Jaka Oman, the Head of HOPIN TAXI, Slovenia, said that on any given day the company has approximately 40 drivers on the road, in all there are 60 cars working for the company in Ljubljana. HOPIN TAXI is cheaper that hailing a taxi off the street, Oman informed me that HOPIN TAXI has a base rate of one euro with about €0.89 per kilometre, compared with the regular taxi rate which starts at around two euros with €1.50 for each kilometre thereafter. Despite my lack of experience with using smartphones, booking my first ride was very simple. The app clearly showed the pedestrian streets and the location to meet my taxi. Give HOPIN TAXI a try in any language you may be familiar with. I suspect that, like me, this will be an app that can serve you well whether you travel for business or pleasure. Interested in setting up a corporate account? Oman can help you and you can also establish parameters for your company profile so that taxi use can be managed. Everything is there for you to explore at HOPIN TAXI puts YOU in charge!!

Leadership Corner

Do you want to change your organizational culture?

Start now, be relentless and don’t stop until you are proud. By Saša Fajmut, M.Sc.

These days, one of the most frequently heard buzz-words is 'organisational culture', a term which could not even be found in some of human resources handbooks 10 years ago. However, everyone now seems to talk about it; or to be more precise – the world is talking about changing organisational culture. The reason might be the fact that, according to Deloitte Human Capital Trends Report, only 19% of CEO and Human Resources leaders feel they have the "right culture". Before exploring this popular phenomenon, let’s see what organisational culture is all about. Can we grab it, hold it, look at it? The answer is no, which is why organisational culture is so difficult to understand and also highly challenging to manage. In theory, organisational culture is a set of values, behaviours and beliefs that people demonstrate on a day-to-day basis. Actually, you can feel it as soon as you walk through the company’s front doors. Are the premises light or dark? Is the place spacious and open-office style or traditional with many closed doors? Do people in the hallways say a friendly hello or do they seem to be very busy and not even notice you? "It’s the way things are done here" would probably be one of the best and most simple descriptions of organisational culture. So what is all the fuss about? Every company has its own and unique organisational culture, its "way of doing things", so why should we change it? Well, the issue is that many companies are facing non-constructive behavioural styles which cause many problems in daily corporate life. Such culture can literally "eat strategy for breakfast", according to management guru Peter Drucker. When we experience passive and defensive behaviour, criticism, cynicism, excessive power displays and control, overly competitive and aggressive behaviour, status quo, lack of accountability, distrust and over-obedience etc. on a daily basis, this is an alarm and a clear signal that you need to do something about it. And you need to start now. The first step is to use empirical tools to understand employee attitudes and actions. What gets measured, gets managed. Then, after analysing your current culture, define your ideal organisational culture. Ask yourself and your people, how this place should ideally look like? How should we behave to feel proud? Usually, companies will target behaviours that reflect quality of work and achievements, innovation, customer-orientation, daily possibilities to use and develop own potentials, cooperation and uniqueness. In other words, these are constructive behaviour styles which are proven to support the achievement of company’s goals. If the current situation conflicts with the desired cultural values, pick your general future direction and "implement like hell", as Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric and management guru, put it. However, "leaders must understand that their beliefs and actions are the primary drivers of the organisation’s culture. Senior leaders must drive cultural change, just as they do other cross-organisation issues, reinforcing the behaviours necessary to support the business strategy" (Deloitte Human Capital Trends, 2016).

Step 1:

Analyse current culture.

Step 2:

Define ideal culture.

So how can we change it? If you want to be an innovative company, create time and space to explore ideas in an unconstrained manner. Unfortunately, making colourful meeting rooms for "brainstorming" without any proper freedom and support won’t help much. If you want to enforce more collaboration, empower teams of high-performing individuals instead of empowering managers and hierarchies, allowing them to dominate the discussions. If you want to drive accountability, give people slightly more freedom that you are comfortable with and do not allow management practices that are overly directive and micromanaging. In other words, if you don’t feel uncomfortable, you have not given your people enough freedom. Last, but not least: start with the basics. Each and everyone in the company is responsible for creating your corporate culture. As a leader, you could start by setting a positive example and consistently saying "thank you" and "well done" to people. On the other hand, if you tolerate negative attitude, solo players and comfort zone, don’t be surprised if this becomes "the usual way of doing things" in your company. Sources: • Bock, L. (2015). Work Rules!. London, John Murray (Publishers). • Deloitte Human Capital Trends (2016): focus/human-capital-trends/2016/impact-of-culture-on-business-strategy.html • Garton, E. (2017): Time, Talent, Energy: Overcome Organizational Drag and Unleash Your Team’s Productive Power. Boston, HBR Press. •

Step 3:

Stop talking, start acting.

Saša Fajmut, M.Sc., Director Leadership Services at Amrop, responsible for leadership assessments and development. She holds a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology and an Executive MBA.

Three simple steps for changing organisational culture.

Summer Edition 2017 | The Slovenian Times


Education Perspective Interview: Vesna Žabkar, PhD, Professor and Vice-Dean of Research, FELU

Slovenes rank above the EU average in citations, but lower for patent applications By Tina Drolc, MSc

Vesna Žabkar, PhD, is a full professor and Vice-Dean of Research at the Faculty of Economics, University of Ljubljana (FELU). Among the priorities of FELU research she highlights an interdisciplinary approach, in the fields of sustainability, competitiveness, supply chain management, international business and leadership. She explains that these are the fields that FELU has the responsibility to be not only a regional leader but internationally impactful, as, based on international comparisons and taking the number of scientific papers per million inhabitants, Slovenes are above the EU average. Q Currently, Slovenia invests around 2% of its GDP in scientific research. How much of its budget does the University of Ljubljana and FELU apply to research, and how much money is allocated to Slovenia by the EU?

A Slovenia has four universities, about 15 public research institutes and 600 R&D units in companies. 2% of GDP is approximately EUR 800 million and quite a large proportion of this budget goes to companies, with

Vesna Žabkar, PhD, Professor and Vice-Dean of Research, FELU


The Slovenian Times | Summer Edition 2017

only about 0.5% of GDP going to research and higher education – to the four universities of which the University of Ljubljana is the largest and probably the most established. In terms of output, half of all internationally claimed sci-

Education Perspective entific publications are from University of Ljubljana research. The total number of researchers in Slovenia is about 11,000, of which 40% work in companies and 30% at the University of Ljubljana, with one percent of all researchers at FELU. The University of Ljubljana is allocated EUR 40 million or about 28% of the annual budget of the Slovenian research agency (ARRS) (i.e. EUR 140m) and FELU one percent of the funds from ARRS. From the EU Horizon 2020 projects, the University of Ljubljana is allocated about EUR 8m for research annually.

Q According to Thomson Reuters, Belgium’s KU Leuven is at the top of the annual Reuters Top 100: Europe’s Most Innovative Universities (in 2015, the university’s research spend exceeded EUR 454m). Despite the budget difference, Reuters placed Slovenia 11th, based on the number of citations, from EU Member States in the period 2011-2015. What are the strengths of Slovenian research? A On the basis of international comparison and taking account of the number of scientific papers per million inhabitants, Slovenes are above the EU average - also by the number of citations, the top 10 most citied papers and even the number of researchers, but then we have less patent applications. ARRS does comparisons on how different disciplines are doing and at the national level it seems that physics and clinical medicine are certainly the fields that are doing very well. I am proud that in the social sciences, our field of economic and business sciences is very successful in terms of number of top publications we have, and we have made tremendous progress since the school decided to be accredited and we are constantly compared to the best business schools in Europe and globally, which encourages strong scientific output on our side. KU Leuven is a partner school of the University of Ljubljana and recently there was a visit by Paul Van Dun, the Head of the Technology Transfer Office (TTO) and it was interesting to see the circumstances that they have for work in comparison to what we have. For 45 years and with 90 employees, TTO is about thirty times larger in terms of number of full time equivalents, they have a tradition and established culture to be able to run collaborative research, licencing and to work on spin-offs and their financial results are evident! Q What are the mechanisms that support the FELU Research Policy and what are the research priorities? A We are a big school and international accreditations sometimes state that "FELU is a big fish in a small pond". Our responsibility is to be the regional leader in all economic and business areas, to cover economics, management,

accounting, finance, information technology. To encourage regional leadership, we require that all of our professors are active researchers, meaning that they must constantly publish their research output in scientific journals, monographs and book chapters. We also encourage them to hold research seminars where they show their working progress to their colleagues, and also to participate in scientific and professional conferences. We provide them access to a scientific literature database which is a significant investment for the school. Certain areas of research excellence we want to support better and for this we offer additional funds, help with applications for EU projects and help in organising international conferences so that the top researchers come here. We offer best research paper awards and certainly an important element of research policy is that we promote international excellence and interdisciplinary research to connect different fields of knowledge. The priorities for interdisciplinary approach are in the fields of sustainability, competitiveness, supply chain management, international business and leadership.

Q FELU researchers and their projects have participated in many international projects and have been awarded in Slovenia and abroad. Can you share some recent scientific breakthroughs? A In terms of size, an interesting project is "ISIGrowth" (Innovation-fuelled, Sustainable, Inclusive Growth) led by Dr Patricia Kotnik in cooperation with international partners including Professor William Lazonick who is an established economist, collaborating for years with Professor Tea Petrin. We also have a research group, in which Professor Jože Sambt is involved, that recently published in the Science journal where they deal with fertility and demographic trends. In total we have more than 150 researchers and there are several areas where they can show significant results; supply chain management, international business, sustainability and these are the topics I think we cover pretty well. One area that we are trying to develop now is applying to the EU Research Council (ERC grants). We are also actively participating in the Smart Specialisation Strategy, specifically in the fields that deal with food, tourism and automobile cluster.

Q "The new tourism strategy will definitely make Slovenia a five-star destination", stated the Secretary-General of the UNWTO, Dr Taleb D. Rifai, in an interview for The Slovenia Times. As FELU research co-created the Strategy 2017-2021, what are the methods that will bring the focus to Slovenian tourism in the future? A Tourism is certainly an important area of FELU research and the approach of our re-

searchers in the area of sustainable tourism will now be implemented in the Strategy 20172021 which will be presented in June. Since tourism contributes about 13% of GDP and is responsible for about 8% of total exports, it is certainly an area that deserves special attention. I am proud that our researcher professors, Tanja Mihalič and Ljubica Knežević Cvelbar, are contributing to a strategy that actually positions Slovenia as a green country according to the measures of, for instance, the Environmental Performance Index that rates Slovenia very high.

Only about 0.5% of GDP going to research and higher education. Q With the Open Educational Resources (OER) project - teaching, learning or research materials that are in the public domain or released with an intellectual property license that allows for free use, adaptation and distribution – UNESCO wants to enable universal access to high quality education. What are your thoughts? A This is a very exciting and important area and certainly we believe that the knowledge multiplies if it is shared, it makes a difference in the world. It is certainly our responsibility to enable this transfer of knowledge. Another development area relates to the publishers because when we (as researchers) submit a specific article to a journal we have to accept the conditions of that journal and different publishers have different embargo policies, meaning that in order to have that work available immediately we sometimes have to provide funds for so-called golden access where articles are immediately available without embargo. Bigger countries, such as the UK and the Netherlands, have established negotiating policies at the national level which has resulted in specific conditions for their researchers when they publish with a specific publisher. Slovenia has the disadvantage of being a relatively small player and so the conditions that we are able to negotiate with publishers are different than for larger research communities. There are several other issues connected to the OER since there are many publishers that enable open access are based on author-pays model, which means that the researcher has to pay a submission fee. The number of open access journals has grown tremendously in recent years and we have to be quite careful in considering which journal we choose for publication.

Summer Edition 2017 | The Slovenian Times


Education Perspective Column

Slovenia as a learning laboratory? By Matevž Raškovic´, PhD

With commencement around the corner, now is the best time to reflect on an incredible experience as a Fulbright scholar at Harvard. In a recent talk to students at Harvard Business School, Professor Shelle Santana had this to say to the new generation of future business leaders: "Your experience here at HBS makes you different from most people you will interact with, but it doesn’t necessarily make you better. Don’t allow that difference to separate you from others." Matevž Rašković, Assistant Professor International Business at the Faculty of Economics, University of Ljubljana and 2017 Fulbright postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University, FAS Sociology.

I am convinced Slovenia has the potential to be the leading CEE learning hub, as identified by the award-winning documentary film maker, Michael Moore, in his film "Where to invade next" in which he was captivated by Slovenia’s education system.


The Slovenian Times | Summer Edition 2017

This made me think about Slovenia. What is the unique value that we can offer potential graduates to set them up for success that goes beyond "generic" business education? How different is Harvard beyond the asymmetry in resources, supporting infrastructure and the esteemed brand? I am convinced Slovenia has the potential to be the leading CEE learning hub, as identified by the award-winning documentary film maker, Michael Moore, in his film "Where to invade next" in which he was captivated by Slovenia’s education system. Despite their obvious differences, both the Faculty of Economics and Harvard Business School share one important essential element in common: internationalisation, not just any kind of internationalisation, but a specific type which I call "mosaic internationalisation". Contrary to renowned UK, German or French business schools, when I enter my English class in Slovenia to teach "How to do business with China?", I have 55 students from 22 countries and 5 continents. This means only two or three students from the same country. When teaching at a top German and UK school, almost half of my international students were Chinese, a quarter Indian and the rest a mixture of Western European students. A very different kind of internationalisation where each clique simply sticks together. Like Harvard, the education process in our flagship English track at the Faculty of Economics forces students to interact cross-culturally and to network. It becomes a matter of sink or swim and so builds important cross-cultural skills ranging from communication and time management to conflict resolution and even

differences in creativity. To further facilitate better team work and avoid the typical divideand-glue-together approach, I have started to ask students to do videos instead of written works. Think about it: how often does your boss have time to read a 40-page report? Videos have unleashed unimaginable creativity and teamwork. One company that has recognised the value of this is Akarpovič which has engaged our students in helping it be more successful in the Chinese market - I don’t know who was more enthusiastic and had learned more by the end: the students or the company? Working on cases is a further similarity to Harvard. Slovenia’s educational potential lies in its environment and unique mosaic internationalisation. Its geo-strategic position in Europe also offers students the opportunity to discover Europe through short trips. As an old Chinese saying goes: it is better to travel 10,000 miles than read 10,000 books. By studying in Slovenia this can be achieved through both inward and outward internationalisation at a fraction of the Harvard tuition fee. Yes, there is a difference, but does the difference in cost reflect that value if you want to live, work and study in Europe? Harvard Business School, Boston, MA, USA

Education Perspective Column

Give us the best from the west and hold the rest By Prof. Arnold Walravens, IEDC-Bled School of Management, Slovenia

If you ask people who are engaged in long-term regional management development projects what the basis is for the success of their endeavors, you do not need to wait too long for an answer: "Education, education, education." It was this conviction that led to the establishment of CEEMAN (International Association for Management Development in Dynamic Societies) more than 25 years ago. Danica Purg and her colleagues from a number of countries in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) understood that to be able to cope with the social-political and economic changes in the region, it was necessary to develop managers and leaders for the time. They also understood that they had to take the responsibility and the initiative. A quick analysis showed that the region was in need of 2,500 professors of management with the skills and mindset to prepare managers and business leaders for the new environment. They were also sure that schools from Western Europe and North America would not send the best professors needed to close the management gap. Danica Purg launched the slogan: "Give us the best from the west and hold the rest". This was a brave and confident statement, not meant as a criticism but as a plea for understanding that it would be in everyone’s interest to accelerate the change process in Central and Eastern Europe. It was an example of her visionary leadership to bring professors and experts together at the beginning of the 90’s from countries that had just started enjoying their independence or lived in frustration because of disintegration. CEEMAN has been a success from the beginning. Through seminars and conferences, it assisted in developing the administrative and educational capacity of business schools and faculties in the region. The membership shows constant growth from 63 in 1996 to 225 members today. The original members were mainly from CEE countries, although some schools understood the importance of the initiative from the beginning, such as institutions from Canada, Kazakhstan and the US. In 1996,

the first institution from India joined the association, in 2000 from Mongolia, in 2002 from Egypt as the first African country, and in 2003 an institute and a school from Peru. Today CEEMAN connects institutions from 54 countries worldwide. Why did so many institutions from the so-called developing, dynamic and rising countries join CEEMAN? Obviously because they discovered that CEEMAN offered an adequate answer to the needs of these countries in the process of institution building, increasing quality of services and preparing educators for the leadership and management needs of the 21st century. As in CEE, CEEMAN tries to contribute to the development of innovative and socially responsible business leaders in other dynamic societies and members of CEEMAN consider it their mission to help create welfare and peace in their environments.

Professor Arnold Walravens, IEDC-Bled School of Management, Slovenia

Schools from Western Europe and North America would not send the best professors needed to close the management gap.

Summer Edition 2017 | The Slovenian Times


Education Perspective

25 YEARS & CEEMAN IS CONQUERING THE WORLD What started as an association of business and management schools from Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) after the fall of the iron curtain has, over the years, become a global association of management development with members from across the world. CEEMAN is of Slovene origin, established by Professor Danica Purg, one of Slovenia’s most recognised business leaders, who started CEEMAN in 1993, just five years after establishing IEDC-Bled School of Management which was the first business school in CEE.

Factbox: CEEMAN: International Association for Management Development in Dynamic Societies FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT: Professor Danica Purg OFFICES: IEDC - Bled School of Management ESTABLISHED: 1993 MEMBERS: 220 management and business schools and institutions from 62 countries. CEEMAN IQA: Provides international acknowledgement that the accredited school is excellent according to the internationally recognised quality standards and in its relevance to the society and responsible corporate and leadership practices. CEEMAN IMTA: International Teacher’s Academy educating the educators about new approaches in management education.


The Slovenian Times | Summer Edition 2017

"Establishing the first management school in CEE, in Slovenia, I was facing a lack of understanding in Slovene society as well as in the broader region. In Slovenia, this was a new and strange idea and abroad, nobody knew of Slovenia and nobody believed that we could create something great in this country and in a region where professional management had no tradition. I was certain that we had to work together for recognition, but even more certain of establishing the standards of good management education which could support the reform processes in this part of the world. The start of CEEMAN was difficult, but today we are all proud of our achievements and the international standing of our organisation". Danica Purg, CEEMAN President and President of IEDC-Bled School of Management In establishing CEEMAN, Danica Purg showed the determination and courage of a fearless girl, a statue of which was put in front of the Wall Street bull in Manhattan last spring as a symbol of women in leadership. From the beginning, Professor Purg rejected the idea to just copy/paste the western model of management education, instead CEEMAN took into consideration the development needs of societies as a primary principle for management education with ethics and sustainable development at its core. Over the years, CEEMAN has not changed its stand, but in the meantime sustainability has become fashionable. "When we started, we were thinking how to develop elementary management skills but now that we have really moved along, we talk much more about developing leaders and entrepreneurs. This is the change. The idea of helping management institutions to be closer to practice, to understand how to do something relevant for practice, that has not changed at all. The idea of relevance to local needs, the markets in which these schools are operating, that has not changed at all". Derek Abell, CEEMAN board member and former president of ESMT (European School of Management and Technology), Berlin

At the turn of the millennium, CEEMAN started to conquer the world and in the last few years it has become very popular among Chinese business and management schools. As a rising economy, the Chinese want to avoid profit-only management education and are very eager to incorporate social responsibility, sustainability and ethics in their curriculums. It is therefore of little wonder that this year, CEEMANs annual conference and 25th anniversary will be held in China. "I am very pleased to have the privilege of hosting the event. In China specifically we can learn a lot about sustainability from CEEMAN members. We can learn a lot about the values created in cultural businesses and in creative businesses. CEEMAN’s members, particularly from Eastern and Central Europe, can learn how Chinese people changed their lives through manufacturing with their businesses growing so quickly. There are a lot of lessons that we can teach each other." Wu Xiaobo, CEEMAN board member, Dean of the School of Management, Zhejiang University, China At the China conference, CEEMAN members will discuss the rethinking of entrepreneurship in a way that will best support the challenges for management education in rising economies - not only in China but also in Asia more generally and in Africa. "Entrepreneurship is a mindset. You really need to create that mindset among the leaders of tomorrow, who we are educating today, so they can be ready for the world we will face tomorrow." Gazmend Haxhia, CEEMAN board member, Entrepreneur, ACMS and A.S.G. Group, Albania

Wide offer of culinary delights and gastronomic Slovenian and international dishes in BTC City Ljubljana. • Over 70 food & drinks vendors • Open market BTC City • Open food court • Local eco offer

International Business Partners TOPIC: What are the structural reforms Slovenia needs for economic growth?

American Chamber of Commerce – AmCham Slovenia

British – Slovenian Chamber of Commerce – BSCC


The Slovenian Times | Summer Edition 2017

With the goal of inspiring positive change and making our beloved Slovenia an even more desirable place to live and work, we see that the key structural reforms are tax reform, labour market reform and health reform. We strive for a more competitive and predictable business environment in which companies have a chance to grow and develop, and in which the fiscal and financial environment encourages rather than obstructs. Slovenia needs and wants new jobs, jobs with high added value, and with the changes to business models brought about by the 4th industrial revolution, we need a stimulating education system that will promote open-minded, creative, innovative, multi-disciplinary thinking, financial literacy and entrepreneurship, development of social skills, and provide the knowledge employers need now and in the future. We also believe that the foundation for the quality of life to be sustainable there needs to be effective, accessible and people-focused healthcare – focused on patients as well as on doctors and medical personnel. Healthcare should be discussed as an important economic industry that contributes to GDP growth in the long-term, and due to the complexity of healthcare, good organisation is of key importance. In order to guarantee economic growth, we believe Slovenia should continue with reform of its fiscal policy which will contribute to the strengthening of its economic recovery and will ensure lasting sustainability in Slovenia’s public finances. Continuing with healthcare reform is crucial, with an emphasis on cost efficiency, accessibility and quality of care. Slovenia should also adopt the necessary measures to ensure a long-term sustainable and adequate pension system. To boost investment and employment there needs to be greater flexibility in the labour market, with simpler hiring and job termination procedures, and should also include efforts to increase the employability of part-time, lowskilled and older workers. We believe Slovenia should improve its financing conditions, while allowing a permanent solution to the problem of non-performing loans and access to alternative sources of financing, and ensure full implementation of the strategies of DUTB. These measures should be accompanied by a reduction in the administrative burdens arising from spatial planning and issuing building permits. Last but not least, poor governance of state-owned enterprises from the past only strengthens the hypothesis that selling them would bring higher added value in terms of employment, investment and GDP growth.

International Business Partners

The German-Slovene Chamber of Commerce and Industry – AHK Slowenien

Slovenia has left the years of harsh economic conditions behind and has, in the last few months, improved. With regard to our survey among those companies in Slovenia with German capital, the expectations for the second half of the year are even better economic conditions and growth, and therefore the investment policy and employment policies of companies are said to be more stable.

The German-Slovene Chamber of Commerce had proposed to the Slovenian authorities that this gives the opportunity to drive through the necessary comprehensive structural reforms in the fields of taxation, labour, health and pensions, with the goal of enabling a good environment for small and medium enterprises as well as for attracting the regional headquarters of large multinational companies. A step towards

this is the Law on Vocational Training which is useful for production companies. The government must also consider reducing administrative barriers to enable easier greenfield or other investment. Once the prerequisites in terms of human resources, conditions for R&D and local suppliers are favourable, the rest can be done with a view to a brighter outlook for future generations.

Advantage Austria

Challenges of Austrian investments in Slovenia Advantage Austria Ljubljana carries out an annual survey with Austrian companies settled in Slovenia. The survey focuses on the "economic climate in Slovenia" and highlights the challenges and problems Austrian companies might have in the Slovenian economic market, how they assess the current economic situa-

tion and what their future expectations are. On the one hand, Austrian companies wish for improvements in fighting corruption, payment discipline, flexibility of Slovenian labour law and in the tax system. On the other hand, the companies praise the investment support for SME´s, the training, availability and quali-

ty of Slovenian workers, and the access to state aid. Furthermore, the brand "Made in Austria" is well known and highly appreciated in Slovenia. In summary 92.5% of the surveyed companies do not regret their decision and would chose Slovenia again as place to establish.

Summer Edition 2017 | The Slovenian Times


International Business Partners Economy

Luxembourg-Slovenian Business Club (LSBC) Does Slovenia have a Vision for the Future – Not Really! By Iztok Petek, Nejc Kebe It is difficult to take the "Vision for Slovenia in 2050" seriously as it is formulated with the concept and mindset of the last century. Tomorrow’s winners will be those that can anticipate the changes in technologies and new concepts in an economy and adjust their long-term strategy accordingly. Trends such as digitalisation, the sharing economy, automa-

tion and the collaborative economy will not only change some industries and make others completely obsolete, but have the potential to permanently remake our societies. Slovenia has proven its potential in innovation, creativity and R&D - being a small country works for Slovenia’s competitive advantage as it is less dependent on large rigid systems

and so can afford to be more daring than other countries. Our advice to the decision makers is to therefore look for the vision in the most daring projects of startups and entrepreneurs and implement it through structural changes while you still can. Photo: Siniša Kanižaj

markets, low taxation as well as open, transparent and quick administrative and judicial procedures for protecting their rights, obtaining authorisations and permits, and resolving possible trade disputes. Satisfactory results have been achieved in consolidating public finances. Slovenia is becoming more attractive to foreign investors. It is not by chance, with a stock of over EUR 1bn, that  Italy  is the third

largest investor in the country. This cycle of economic growth seems to be a good moment for a step forward to reduce foreseeable  pressure on public social and pension funds  due to the Slovenian demographic structure and ageing population. In this perspective, active and meritocratic policies to retain talent and boost entrepreneurial initiatives could have a positive impact.

Italian Trade Agency (ICE) According to the most recent European Commission forecast, economic growth in Slovenia in 2017 will accelerate to 3.3%, almost double the EU average of 1.7%. The strong economic growth prospects could encourage Slovenia to undertake some structural reforms that are still pending in its economy and which can help the country to become more competitive through capital investments from both national and foreign investors. In addition to assessing their sector of activity, which would bring the wellknown Slovenian excellence in several sectors such as automotive, electrical equipment and machinery, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, metal, rubber, plastic and wood products, it is well known that investors pay the utmost attention to a few common requirements including financial stability, effective and flexible labour


The Slovenian Times | Summer Edition 2017

International Business Partners

Slovene - Russian Business Club Slovenia and Russia are "false mirrors of Silicon Valley" The ageing population, social inequality, vulnerability of the financial sector, inefficiencies of state-run companies, unemployment and migration issues, all add up to a pile of structural problems that our governments have to face. The Russian agenda includes the diversification of the economy, raising export competitiveness and balancing our internal resources with the scarce financing from abroad under sanctions. Slovenia looks much more robust with GDP growth of over 2.5% and a strong economic recovery due to its export-driven industries. However, as per the recent EC country report, one in three jobseekers in Slovenia is

over 50 years old, fixed contracts are low at 12.4%, and 28.8% of the labour force are lowskilled workers. The closer the digital economy becomes, the wider the shortfall in human capital becomes. A high tech and FinTech edge could make Slovenia or Russia a true centre of global innovation. Russia shows weaker performance with slow technological advancement and over-regulation in all industries‌ Uber’s capitalisation exceeded that of Gazprom in 2016 and many disruptions are yet to come! With all the positive statistics, our countries so far seem to be unable to drive this digital era where quicker structural reform must be undertaken.

Kazakh-Slovenian Business Club - KSBC "The fact is that labour market reform is necessary and pension reform is also necessary. The pressure on pension funds has in fact already been slightly mitigated, however demographics continue to change and some of the other factors in the current system will sooner or later take it to the edge. The stimulant for growth is definitely exports but what is needed is an encouraging and developed environment, investments and jobs, especially jobs with added value, and last but not least a stimulative fiscal environment, including incentives. The current engine of the favorable economic climate in the country is a strong export economy initiative that generates development. I hope that there will also be a time when the politics will actively and effectively face the challenge of reform."

Summer Edition 2017 | The Slovenian Times


Politics Political Overview

Prosperity despite politics? By Jan Bratanč

It has taken two years of strong economic growth and a lull in the migration crisis for Slovenian politicians to, once again, engage in their petty struggles for votes and to satisfy their personal interests. Magna Styer is just one example. The Canadian automotive giant wants to build a paint shop near Hoče and not so long ago, the arrival of Magna Styer was supported by most members of parliament. However, the concerns of local farmers and environmentalists apparently swayed opinion of the largest opposition party, SDS. Interestingly, SDS have yet to raise concerns regarding ADK, an existing paint shop in Hoče, whose owner has close ties to the Slovenian Council for the Republic, a movement closely linked to SDS. Then there is the construction of the second railway track between Koper and Divača. The project will cost around EUR 1bn, considerably more than the amount estimated by independent studies. There is no logic to the financial construction that entails loans from the European Investment Bank and possibly Hungary, which incurs interest of more than five percent on its loans on financial markets. It would definitely be cheaper to convince Slovenians to invest in the railway track, but the leading parties have to add their own share, lining pockets in the process would be nothing new for an infrastructure project in Slovenia. And while the politicians are fighting their small battles, the situation in European and global politics has again begun to deteriorate. Donald Trump’s attendance at the G7 meeting in Sicily was touted as a victory by some: "That’s how low the bar has been set - points for attendance," suggested Politico. What followed was more worrisome, Trump openly opposing


The Slovenian Times | Summer Edition 2017

Ljubljana, National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia, Trg Republike. Photo: Tamino Petelinšek/STA

established views on climate change and exiting the Paris climate agreement. Who knows, he may next challenge the European order post Second World War. Trump wouldn’t be alone. Ever since the devastation caused by the financial and debt crisis, which brought high unemployment and even more uncertainty with regard to livelihood, there has been a huge rise in the number of Europeans who have lost their belief in the current political system and order. The political class has failed to appease them. In typical European fashion, politicians do not walk the talk. Unity was and is a problem for the EU, the leaders of the 29 nations have time and time again demonstrated the lack of ability or the willingness, to find political solutions and implement common policies. Fear and dissatisfaction have given rise to xenophobic nationalism across Europe and the world. The refugee crisis shook Europe to its core, its mismanagement highlighted additional cracks in the European idea, especially in the hard-hit, frontline countries. The rise of hatred – towards Brussels and the refugees – was a natural response. Because EU leaders live far away, immigrants fast became the number one "threat" to Europeans. Trump soon found out that he could stoke the same fears and hatred G7 Summit 2017, Sicily, Italy; Photo:

in America and if it wasn’t for the fear, Hillary Clinton may well be the president of the United States and David Cameron would probably still be the prime minister of the United Kingdom – no Trump and no Brexit. Although it wasn’t meant to be, there is a bright spot in the chaos. The fact that Emmanuel Macron won the French presidential election from Marine Le Pen, might well have saved the EU. Macron didn’t just beat the face of xenophobic nationalism, he won with a bold stand for the EU and the European idea. Will it be enough? It is hard to tell, but changes are definitely coming. Not only in the way immigration is managed so that most would feel the benefit, as Martin Wolf from the Financial Times puts it, but also in the role EU states play, acting individually or together.

The leaders of the 29 nations have time and time again demonstrated the lack of ability or the willingness, to find political solutions and implement common policies.

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

Brexit Ambition Initiative The British-Slovenian Chamber of Commerce and the Evropa Misli think tank have established the Brexit Ambition initiative which aims to identify potential difficulties which businesses will encounter as a result of the exit of the UK from the EU. The initiative is also preparing position papers for presentation to the Slovenian Government.

Barbara Uranjek, CEO, British-Slovenian Chamber of Commerce

TST What is the objective of Brexit Ambition? A The Slovenian government has given a mandate to the European Commission to negotiate the exit of the UK, but it must also be based on the real problems of Slovenian companies working with the UK, British companies in Slovenia, as well as the people, creative industries, researchers, universities and so on. Our initiative involves Slovenian companies working with the British market and British companies in Slovenia. To hear as many opinions and potential issues as possible, we will organise three round tables this year and conduct various surveys. The round tables will involve different stakeholders affected by Brexit and at each round table there will be different industries with different points of view. After the round tables, surveys will be conducted and position papers will be presented to the Slovenian government. TST How has Brexit already affected business in Slovenia?

A After our first round table in April, we saw that companies are particularly anxious to follow the negotiations of a new trade agreement between the UK and the EU. They agreed that the first major issue to be resolved is the mobility of people. The concern here is mainly about the rising cost to business due to possible restrictions on mobility which might involve more administrative burdens. In our survey,

conducted after the round table, 40% of companies said their business was impacted by the exchange rate, 7% were affected by employment issues, 7% by investment delays/cancellations, 7% by reduced orders and the rest see no impact as yet.

TST What impact do you expect Brexit to have on business once the UK has completed its withdrawal from the European Union? A Slovenian companies already exporting to the UK are quite confident that they will continue to do business in the UK, even if trade tariffs will be applied. It is still a premium market that opens doors to global markets. The value chain might be adapted to involve more distributors in the middle that will deal with the administrative procedures, which could increase costs. There could also be a shift of purchasing decisions from the UK to the EU, especially in British companies now owned by EU capital. Brexit could also have an impact on the production sites, they may move or develop more in the EU instead of the UK. British investors in Slovenia are worried about the restriction of capital flows between the UK and the EU. TST What steps should the government take during the negotiations so that the UK’s withdrawal agreement is implemented with minimal disruption to business?

Brexit could also have an impact on the production sites, they may move or develop more in the EU instead of the UK. British investors in Slovenia are worried about the restriction of capital flows between the UK and the EU.

A All the speakers at our round table were united in the importance of minimal restrictions being implemented between the EU and UK, in terms of standards and regulation, trade tariffs and capital flow. It is also important to keep the administrative processes for business as simple as possible. The status of individuals should not be part of the negotiation process as restrictions on mobility will increase costs for business and make it less competitive globally. The UK is one of the most innovative and open economies in the world and it is important for EU businesses that the ease of doing business remains, that it continues to be the capital and financial hub in Europe that it is today, and that the UK will still be easy to access and to live and work there. Our survey identified expectations of no import barriers (33%), that governments guarantee grandfathering provisions such that the regulatory licences will continue to be valid in the UK and EU27 states for a period after Brexit (33%), that workers have the ongoing right to work across the EU and UK (20%), and that industrial/tax policy remains the same in the UK for a period of time (13%). TST What have you so far proposed to the Slovenian government? A We have prepared a position paper – a synthesis of our first round table and first survey – which we handed to the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The aim of this policy paper is to provide the ministries with information from the businesses that are affected and concerned by Brexit, and to inform them of the crucial issues for the separation negotiations. We will continue to present position papers to the Slovenian government over the next two years as Brexit gets closer. Summer Edition 2017 | The Slovenian Times



BSF 2017: 12th Bled Strategic Forum

Rapid changes, globalisation and digitalisation –

welcome to the new reality! Prepared by Sabina Carli

The world is rapidly changing. Globalisation and digitalisation are significantly increasing the pace of our lives and bringing us closer together than ever before, but also presenting profound challenges for our self-perception, politics, economy, security and society. The annual Bled Strategic Forum will address the "New Reality" we live in and seek the answers to the pressing issues of today’s globalised world. Providing a high-level platform for discussion, the 12th Bled Strategic Forum will take place on 4 - 5 September 2017 and will address the challenges posed by the "New Reality". As a leading strategic conference in Central and South-East Europe, it provides the forum for the exchange of ideas and concepts through panels, round tables and one-on-one interviews in the idyllic environment of Bled, Slovenia. The established political, economic and social elite are losing ground. Populist, nationalist and extremist movements are on the rise. It is difficult to keep up with the vast amount of information that bombards us daily, let alone evaluate its true value or meaning and put it in a proper context. Wars and conflicts in Europe’s immediate neighbourhood and in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, challenge our


The Slovenian Times | Summer Edition 2017

views on morality, norms and values. Terrorist attacks fuel fear in our societies and the fact that there are millions of refugees worldwide deepens our sense of insecurity. With the world order possibly at breaking point, we need strategic vision, strong democratic leadership and perseverance. We need to adapt to the new reality but also remember the foundations on which our modern societies were built. It is vital to ensure that human rights and fundamental freedoms, democracy and the rule of law continue to be respected. With the challenges of adapting to the new reality, the forum will commence with the Leaders Panel. This year’s program provides an insight into global nuclear governance, the strategic and security role of water resources and the influence of transformation on the

concept of human rights. The European Union, the Western Balkans and the EU enlargement process, and the Southern Mediterranean region will be examined closely through the geopolitical and geostrategic panel discussions. In order to keep a close eye on the societal transformations, fake news, digital diplomacy and realistic hope as the approach of futureoriented thinkers and doers will be explored. Pressing regional and global issues also bring forth the question of the role of the business sector. Since it no longer sufficient to understand changes solely on the basis of past experience and to adapt to a new reality with traditional approaches, we need to create and implement new business, economic and social concepts and new approaches. The search for such approaches will be at the core of the Business BSF, an integral part of the forum, organised in cooperation with the Ministry of Public Administration, the American Chamber of Commerce in Slovenia, and the German-Slovene Chamber of Commerce and Industry, under the title "Innovating New Reality". The tourism panel, organised in collaboration with the Slovenian Tourist Board and Ministry of Economic Development and Technology, will weigh in the opportunities and threats presented by the collaborative economy. The challenges of the younger generation in their aspirations for a better future will be, as always, incorporated into the Young BSF. Taking place on 1 - 3 September 2017, it will tackle the "(Dis)connected Reality" and give visionary young leaders an opportunity to form real, connected or virtual partnerships and networks. Attracting around 1,000 participants, including heads of state and government, ministers, diplomats, businesspeople, scholars and the media from around the world, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Centre for European Perspective put a unique emphasis on bilateral and multilateral meetings with regional and global stakeholders and the leaders of today and tomorrow.



© 2017 Bled Strategic Forum | Ilustration and design: David Fartek



7 1 0 2 EMBE




Belt and Road for International Cooperation By Silvija Fister M.Sc.

On 14–15 May, China hosted the first Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. The forum was part of the global trade cooperation and infrastructure development program known as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which was proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013. With more than USD 90bn, BRI is several times larger than the Marshall plan which restored Western Europe after the Second World War. More than 1,200 participants, including heads of state, ministers, officials, experts, entrepreneurs, the media and representatives from financial and international organisations from 110 states, flocked to Beijing to jointly consult on the future development of the project and to review the progress. Those who travelled to Beijing for the forum included: Russia’s President Vladimir Putin; Myanmar’s State Counsellor, Aung San Suu Kyi; Turkey’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan; Germany’s Minister for Economics and Energy, Brigitte Zypries; Serbia’s Prime Minister and President-elect, Aleksandar Vučić; America’s top Asia policymaker, Matthew Pottinger; Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres; President of the World Bank Group, Jim Yong Kim; Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde;


The Slovenian Times | Summer Edition 2017

and Slovenia’s Minister for Economic Development and Technology, Zdravko Počivalšek. The joint communiqué, issued at the conclusion of the Leaders Roundtable of the Belt and Road Forum confirmed the shared commitment of the participants to the next phase of economic globalisation: We reaffirm our shared commitment to build an open economy, ensure free and inclusive trade, to oppose all forms of protectionism including in the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative. We endeavour to promote a universal, rules-based, open, non-discriminatory

and equitable multilateral trading system with the WTO at its core. For economists such as Stephen S Roach, there is no doubt that China now appears to be changing from an adapter to a driver of globalisation. The BRI, also known as the OBOR (One Belt One Road) initiative, is China’s foreign economic strategy and reflects China’s dream, a plan for national rejuvenation under the leadership of Xi Jinping. As BRI takes shape as a concrete plan of action, it is becoming obvious that the dream is globally inclusive, open and integrative. Taking its inspiration from the

As estimated by the McKinsey Global Institute, by 2050, the Belt and Road region aims to contribute 80 percent of global GDP growth and advance three billion more people into the middle class. historic Silk Road, its main ambition is to bring together more than 60 countries and regions from Asia to Europe via Southeast Asia, South Asia, Central Asia, West Asia and the Middle East, currently accounting for approximately 30 percent of global GDP and more than 35 percent of the world’s merchandise trade. The Chinese economy has long been one of the greatest beneficiaries of globalisation in terms of export-led growth and poverty reduction. However, to achieve the status of global economic superpower, there was a need for

Politics Creating a prosperous and peaceful community with shared future for mankind is our common aspiration. structural economic reforms to adapt to and bring about new opportunities. Somewhat ironically this runs against the anti-globalisation backlash in many developed countries, sometimes directed explicitly toward China. Although, as stressed repeatedly by its highest representatives, China’s strategy is not to challenge the existing global order, but to acknowledge its achievements and shortcomings and promote sustainable and harmonious global growth within international norms and commitments such as the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The communiqué further states: In this context, we welcome bilateral, triangular, regional and multilateral cooperation where countries place emphasis on eradicating poverty, creating jobs, addressing the consequences of international financial crises, promoting sustainable development, and advancing market-based industrial transformation and economic diversification. We note, with appreciation, that various development strategies and connectivity cooperation initiatives have been put forward, providing broad space for strengthening international cooperation. As estimated by the McKinsey Global Institute, by 2050 the Belt and Road region aims to contribute 80 percent of global GDP growth and advance three billion more people into the middle class. To achieve this, the pan-regional initiative combines economic assistance with the building of infrastructure, supported by recently established financial institutions, including the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the New (BRICS) Development Bank, and the Silk Road Fund. The measures to be taken and developed, according to the participants of the Leader Roundtable of the Belt and Road Forum, include prioritising in-depth policy consultation on macroeconomic issues, trade promotion, infrastructure connectivity, financial cooperation, promoting e-commerce and the digital economy, developing free trade areas and the signing of free trade agreements, advancing global value chains development and supply chain connectivity, ensuring safer work places, increasing two-way investment, enhancing cooperation in emerging industries and crossborder economic zones, advancing renewable energy and energy efficiency, deepening practical cooperation on education, science, technology, sport, health, think-tanks, media and capacity building through internships etc. Overall, the joint communiqué advocates peace, openness, transparency, inclusiveness,

equality, mutual learning, mutual benefits and mutual respect through the strengthening of cooperation on the basis of extensive consultation in line with the applicable international laws: Creating a prosperous and peaceful community with a shared future for mankind is our common aspiration. Slovenia attended the Forum to strengthen bilateral economic cooperation between countries and explore its role in the initiative. Together with other representatives from the European Union, Minister Zdravko Počivalšek

joined a discussion on trade cooperation and met the Vice-President of the National Development and Reform Commission. Before the forum, a very concrete long-term success and development proposal from Slovenia to use its experience and know-how to help China develop sporting infrastructure for the Winter Olympic Games in Beijing 2022 was shared. An agreement between the China National Sports Group and Slovenian company, Duol, was signed, including a deal worth an estimated EUR 25m over the next five years.

An agreement between the China National Sports Group and Slovenian company, Duol, was signed, including a deal worth an estimated EUR 25m over the next five years.

Summer Edition 2017 | The Slovenian Times


Experience&Lifestyle Slovenia Potica recipe (By Ingredients for the dough: 500g white flour 30g yeast 120g butter 80g sugar 3 egg yolks 250ml milk rum lemon or orange peel vanilla essence salt

US President Donald Trump, First Lady Melania Trump and Pope Francis; Official White House Photo


the link between the US First Lady and the Pope By Tina Drolc, M.Sc.

Hollywood actor Bill Murray eating potica in Sevnica, Melania Trump’s hometown; Photo: Rasto Božič /STA

"So props to Pope Francis for trying to chat up First Lady Melania Trump about potica, a baked specialty from her native Slovenia." (The Washington Post)

At the meeting at the Vatican on 24 May between US President Donald Trump, First Lady Melania Trump and Pope Francis, potica was a conversation point. Pope Francis asked the Slovenian born First Lady about the Slovenian cake, asking her "What do you give him to eat? Potica?" The sound-byte went global, giving Slovenia a higher profile on the world map, with many media headlines raising the topic. According to STA, the search for potica, made famous by the pope and the First Lady last month, led Hollywood actor Bill Murray to Melania Trump’s birthplace of Sevnica, a small town east of Ljubljana where Murray got more than he bargained for. Potica is a typical Slovenian festive dish, baked for the holiday season, for Christmas, Easter and other important occasions. The cake can be rolled with different fillings - nuts, raisins and tarragon, however some potica’s also include cheese, poppy seeds or even chocolate.


The Slovenian Times | Summer Edition 2017

"Thanks to Pope Francis and the US First Lady, a traditional Slovenian dish is hitting the headlines." (AP News)

"Melania Trump’s staff confirmed to AFP that Pope Francis had produced a custom-made joke for her benefit. According to a Vatican spokeswoman, Pope Francis loves potica and always mentions it when he meets a Slovenian." (The Guardian)

"Pope jokes that Melania Trump feeds her husband Slovenian cake during Vatican meeting" (Independent)

"Slovenia calls for recognition of nut cake after Pope’s quip to Melania Trump at the Vatican" (The Telegraph)

"The Pope just joked about Donald Trump eating lots of Potica, a nut-filled cake from Slovenia" (Huffington Post)

Put the flour in a bowl, sift if you like, add salt. In a cup dissolve the yeast in water or milk and in another cup mix the eggs, sugar, rum, vanilla essence, lemon or orange peel. Heat the milk and melt the butter. Add hot milk to the flour, stir and then add the mixture of eggs, sugar, rum and vanilla essence. Stir again, add dissolved yeast and butter and stir into a medium thick dough. Knead until it is elastic inside and smooth on the outside. Make sure the dough does not stick to the bowl and that it is not too hard. Cover the dough with and leave to rise until it has doubled in size. Dough should always be left to rise at room temperature. Knead the dough, roll it out and then spread it with the filling. Ingredients for the filling: 500g ground walnuts 100g sugar 100g honey 100 ml milk 2 eggs vanilla essence ground cinnamon ground cloves lemon peel rum Melt the honey in tepid milk and then add half the walnuts, sugar, eggs, vanilla essence, spices and rum. Spread the filling on to the rolled-out dough and sprinkle with the other half of the walnuts. The temperature of the filling should be the same as the temperature of the dough. Roll tightly, place in a mould, prick and leave to rise. Before baking, coat with a thin layer of milk and egg mixture – make sure the holes are not blocked. Bake 50 minutes at 190°C. Potica; Photo: Daniel Novakovič /STA

Experience&Lifestyle Slovenia

The best restaurants in Slovenia –

The title of Best Restaurant 2017 went to Hiša Franko and its internationally acclaimed chef, Ana Roš. Photo: Oto Žan

In March, the official award ceremony was hosted at Fužine Castle in Ljubljana for the selection of the best restaurants in Slovenia The Slovenia Restaurant Awards sponsored by Diners Club 2017, where regional winners, chosen by the expert committee, were awarded along with the announcement of the winner of the Best Restaurant 2017. Following several months of preparation by the expert committee which identified 140 restaurants, followed by almost two months of voting by the Chefs & Foodies Academy and the general public, The Slovenia International Publishing House were informed of the finalists and winners of the best regional restaurant awards, and the winner of the Best Restaurant in Slovenia award. The Expert Committee; Photo: Oto Žan

From a selection of 30 finalists from all regions and the winners for each of the five regions, the committee selected the overall best restaurant in Slovenia. Top regional restaurants (by alphabetical order) • North: Gostilna Danilo, Gostilna Krištof, Hiša Raduha, Dvor Jezeršek, Vila Podvin, • South: Gostilna Rakar, Gostilna Repovž, Gostišče Kapušin, Ošterija Debeluh, Restavracija Grad Otočec • East: Gostilna Rajh, Hiša Denk, Pavus-Grad Tabor, Restavracija Mak, Restavracija Sedem • West: Domačija Klinec, Gostilna Mahorčič, Gostilna pri Lojzetu, Gostilna Tomi, Hiša Franko • Ljubljana and Central Slovenia: Gostilna As, Gostilna Belšak, Gostilna Mihovec, Gostilna na gradu, Gostišče Grič, Restavracija Cubo, Restavracija JB, Restavracija Strelec, Skaručna, Sushimama The prestigious title of Regional Winner 2017 was awarded to the following restaurants: • North: Vila Podvin, • South: Ošterija Debeluh, • East: Gostilna Rajh, • West: Hiša Franko • Ljubljana and Central Slovenia: Strelec Restaurant.

The Slovenia Food Truck Festival will be held for the first time under the auspices of the Festival Urbane Kulture Slovenia - KICKOFF event. All lovers of gourmet will be offered a wide selection of dishes served in the urban way as appropriate for a modern culinary culture and the global trend of urban cities. The streets of Ljubljana will, from 30.6. - 1.7.2017, be the venue for those looking for top street food selected drinks, music and good company in the centre of Ljubljana at Kongresni trg. Visitors will be able to select from a varied range of both local and international dishes from the suppliers of street food and experts in wine and beer, which will all meet the strict criteria in terms of quality, diversity and uniqueness at affordable prices. All lovers of the street food scene will be catered for and have the chance to taste anything the gourmet wishes including tasty burgers, vegetarian and vegan food, sweets, as well as typical Slovenian dishes. Kongresni trg will be the stage for two days of tastes and culinary experiences enriched by contemporary music.

The other regional finalists were awarded the title of Top Regional Restaurant. The Expert Committee’s award and the title of Best Restaurant 2017 went to Hiša Franko and its internationally acclaimed chef, Ana Roš.

More information will be available soon, accompanied us on social media: Facebook - The Slovenia and the Instagram - @ the.slovenia #tsff Summer Edition 2017 | The Slovenian Times


Experience&Lifestyle Slovenia

Elina Garanča, Photo: Holger Hage / Deutsche Grammophon

Culturally coloured summer in Ljubljana

Valery Gergiev © Alexander Shapunov

Carmina Burana, Photo: Iñigo Ibañez

Ljubljana Festival Summer in Ljubljana offers many lively cultural events where everyone can find artistic delight. This year’s events are dedicated to the famous architect, Jože Plečnik, as the city celebrates the 145th anniversary of his birth and the 60th anniversary of the death. A highlight of the summer will be the 65th Ljubljana Festival, one of the largest summer festivals in Europe, which will again bring an excellent program and exceptional talent.


The Slovenian Times | Summer Edition 2017

The 65th Ljubljana Festival is featuring a great number of world renowned names. The opening of the festival will be held on 27 June at Congress Square, we will witness the scenic cantata Carmina Burana performed by the internationally established theatre group La Fura dels Baus. Even before the start of the festival the musicals Vesna and Mamma Mia! are on the programme and the traditional Summer’s Night concert. In addition to concert of opera arias with Elīna Garanča the Ljubljana Festival will include the operetta The Gypsy Princess, the chamber opera Wedding, the opera Madama Butterfly performed by the China National Opera House from Beijing and the staging of the third and fourth part from the tetralogy The Ring of the Nibelung performed by the Mariinsky Theatre. The summer is also

going to be marked by renowned soloists and orchestras. The St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Yuri Temirkanov and the Mariinsky Orchestra conducted by Valery Gergiev are coming to Ljubljana. Performing as soloists are pianists Martha Argerich, Gian Maria Bonino, Anastasya Terenkova, Stephan Kiefer and Akane Sakai, cellist Nie Jiapeng, violinists Dmitry Sitkovetsky and Lana Trotovšek, flutists Boris Bizjak, Claudi Arimany, Michael Martin Kofler, Martin Belič and Massimo Mercelli, Richard Galliano on the accordion, Mojca Zlobko Vajgl on the harp, and young soprano Nika Gorič. There will be chamber performances by the Trio Astra, the Belgrade Philharmonic String Quartet, the Ulysses String Quartet, the MD7 Contemporary Music Ensemble, the Chamber Orchestra Franz Liszt and the Slovenian Philharmonic String Chamber Orchestra. In charge of a more

Experience&Lifestyle Slovenia relaxed atmosphere are Roby Lakatos with an evening of Gypsy music, Tomaž Domicelj with his new arrangements, Marko Hatlak together with singer and songwriter Iztok Mlakar and Vlado Kreslin. The Slovene group Sam's Fever is bringing to life memories of the the King of Rock n' Roll, Elvis, a musical evening titled Highlights of West End and Broadway Musicals will please the fans of legendary hits. The Immaculate, hommage to director Tomaž Pandur, who unexpectedly passed away last year, and an evening in the company of the eminent actor John Malkovich joining the I Solisti Aquilani ensemble. Ljubljana Festival will be concluded on 31 August with the Mariinsky Orchestra conducted by Valery Gergiev joined by a rising star of the piano firmament: uzbek pianist Behzod Abduraimov. The complete programme of the Ljubljana Festival is available on the website

Plečnik Year

The anniversary of the birth and death of Jože Plečnik, the architect who created Ljubljana as we know it today, is celebrated with a year of activities dedicated to the architect. During the summer months there is the opportunity to visit three exhibitions: Until the beginning of October you can visit the exhibition, Plečnik Above the City, Permanent exhibition at the Plečnik House.

Film under the Stars at the Ljubljana castle courtyard

at Ljubljana Castle which displays Plečnik’s realised and unrealised plans for the hill. The exhibition, Ljubljana, A City with Plečnik’s Signature, can be viewed at the Jakopič Promenade in Tivoli. On one side visitors can view archival photos by Peter Naglič, and on the other, pictures of contemporary Ljubljana by Matevž Paternoster. The exhibition will be on display until 5 September. In Plečnik House a temporary exhibition JOŽE can be viewed from 7 July until 1 October. The exhibition includes artistic productions by young artists who, through art, demonstrate their personal experience of the Slovenian architect. Visitors are also warmly invited to visit the newly renovated Plečnik House, where they can visit architect's original home and a permanent exhibition of life and work of Jože Plečnik.

Summer Cinema Kinodvor and Ljubljana Castle once again invite you to Film under the Stars in the castle courtyard. From 5 - 29 July there will be premieres, previews and a selection of the most acclaimed films of the most recent cinema season. Films will be screened in their original language with Slovenian subtitles. Non English speaking films will be subtitled in English as well as Slovene. Tickets: €4.50; (€5,50 Premieres and Avant Premieres) At the end of the summer, between 22 and 24 August, you are invited to Open-air Cinema in Congress Square, where you can see three screenings highlights of the seventh art. Open-air Cinema in Congress Square is dedicated to important anniversaries and events in the city and film. Admission is free! Open-air Cinema in Congress Square

Summer Edition 2017 | The Slovenian Times


Experience&Lifestyle Slovenia

Library under the Treetops

Library under the Treetops At six locations in Ljubljana –Trnovo, Tivoli and Zvezda parks, the courtyard of Ljubljana Castle, the banks of the Petkovšek / Vodnik home in Šiška – you can this year borrow a book and read it on a couch at Library under the Treetops. At Ljubljana Castle, until the end of August, the library will be held every Sunday at 11am accompanied by a selection of live music.

Maria Bonomi, Pendulum, Time…, 1993, photo by Željko Stevanić, IFP© MGLC

From 16 June to 29 October Jakopič Gallery is hosting the Biennial of Graphic Arts with the exhibition of a world-renowned Brasilian artist Maria Bonomi.

Photo: Litostroj Wind Orchestra / Archive ZKD Ljubljana

A special attraction each summer, on a Wednesday, are the one-hour concerts by various brass bands, on the banks of the Ljubljanica and which always attract many curious tourists and locals. The musicians board a boat at Trnovo Quay (Trnovski pristan), then sail to the Dragon Bridge and back.


The Slovenian Times | Summer Edition 2017

Ljubljana on the list of seven green technologies that will shape our future The Virgin International website placed Ljubljana on the list of seven green technologies that will leave a green mark on our lifestyle in the future. Ljubljana was included for the Urbana card which is Ljubljana’s solution for environmentally friendly transport. Ljubljana, European Green Capital 2016, was ranked fourth on the list. In the opinion of the judges, the uniform city card, Urbana, has had a significant impact on the environment as it encourages locals and tourists to forget their cars and use the bus, rent a bicycle and for the city centre which is reserved for cyclists and pedestrians, to hail the electric-powered Kavalir. Among the solutions from around the world that are included on the list, the Urbana card is one of the few that is already in use, the others are still in the planning or testing phase. City card Urbana

CO-CREATING THE STORY OF THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY In the City of Ljubljana, the circular economy is one of the main focus of the year and of the international Eurocities conference, which Ljubljana is to host in November. We are convinced that reorientation from a linear to a circular economy will have a significant impact not only on individual business models and the economy, but on the whole social order, and on changes in our way of thinking. If we learn to consume and spend less, use things multiple times and continue to follow the principle of the sharing economy, the winners will be us and our environment.

Experience&Lifestyle Slovenia

Ethnographic exhibition By Jelka Šutej Adamič

Afghanistan: Slovene Views, currently exhibited in the Slovene Ethnographic Museum is finally open and has already had many visitors who are interested in discovering the old and not often exhibited culture. The ethnographic exhibition introduces the Slovene public to the culture, history and geography of Afghanistan from historical times to the present. Afghanistan – Slovene Views is based upon the rich Afghan collection from the Asia and Pacific Museum in Warsaw, displays objects from different Slovene travellers, collectors, etc., and photos, interviews and complementary collections from the Slovene Ethnographic Museum in Ljubljana. Through the use of about 400 objects, photos, videos and audios, the exhibition reflects different stories about Afghanistan in the past and present. The exhibition include a collection of paintings by Afghan refugee children and beautiful photos by many Slovene photographers of international fame. Visitors are, while discovering Afghan culture, surrounded by an artistic sound installation by internationally famous Slovene sound art designer Ms Hanna Preuss. The exhibition explores all aspects of Afghan culture and daily life. The "Cultural" theme explores ethnic diversity, Islam and it‘s tremendous impact on the Afghani way of life, the bazaar and customs and habits. "Art in Afghan" culture addresses forms such as crafts and handicrafts, calligraphy and miniature painting, music, poetry, architecture, jewellery, traditional costumes and Buzkashi. "Contemporary Afghanistan" explores the role of women, the proliferation of NGOs in Afghanistan, development cooperation and humanitarian assistance, as well as Afghani refugees and their reintegration. The exhibition is accompanied by a vibrant program of cultural events including lectures, music performances, art & craft workshops and a film series. The curator of the museum project is Ralf Čeplak Mencin, M.A. and the exhibition will be open until 30 March 2018.


The Slovenian Times | Summer Edition 2017

Slovene Ethnographic Museum 25 May 2017 – 30 March 2018

Slovene Views

photo Mare Lakovič


Slovenski etnografski muzej, Metelkova 2, Ljubljana. Open: Tuesday - Sunday 10.00 – 18.00, closed: Monday & public holidays. Free admission every first Sunday in a month.

Event Guide

 Exhibition  Summer Festival

Lent Festival 2017 23 June – 1 July, Maribor Overnight the promenade along the Drava river is transformed into a meeting place that invites locals and visitors to discover the hidden treasures of the authentic, heartfelt and cheerful town under the Pohorje mountains with music, theatre, culture and cuisine. The rich festival program is a mixture of the best Slovenian and foreign musicians, traditional folklore, street and classical theatre, sporting events and many creative workshops for the young and young at heart. 500,000 visitors, from near and far, join more than 400 events within an internationally influenced cultural program involving more than 3,000 performers from 35 countries.

Oliver Belopeta, Exhibition, 58th Jazz Festival Ljubljana 27 June – 2 September, Cankarjev dom (Cultural and Congress Centre), Ljubljana Macedonian Oliver Belopeta was born in Skopje in 1952. Since 1996 he has been the owner and director of the non-profit, non-government cultural "Skopje Jazz Festival" and Artistic Director of the Skopje Jazz Festival from its start in 1982. The Cultural Institution, Skopje Jazz Festival, organises two festivals, the Skopje Jazz Festival for 35 years and the world-music oriented festival "Off-fest" for 15 years and produces and releases CDs mainly by Macedonian jazz and ethno artists. Belopeta is a member of important European organisations including the European Jazz Network and the European Forum of Worldwide Music Festivals. From 2000-2004 he was an Artistic Director of the Ljubljana Jazz Festival, Slovenia.

 Wine Competition

The 59th International Wine Competition Vino Ljubljana 30 June - 2 July 2017 Gospodarsko Razstavišče – The Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre The International Wine Competition Vino Ljubljana is the oldest one worldwide. At the event 500 samples from more than 20 countries will be evaluated by 48 tasters from 16 countries. Traditionally, Vino Ljubljana grants awards for the World Champion, Slovene Champion, Champion of the Wine-Growing District, Slovene Champion of an Individual Sort, trophies Vinofed, Tsukamoto, and Akos Asvany, Winner of Slovene Wine Curiosities and Great Gold Medal.

 Music Festival  Exhibition

 Sporting Festival

Cars & Coffee Slovenia 2017

Soča Outdoor Festival

25 June, Piran

The first three successful Soča Outdoor Festivals left participants enthralled and proved that Tolmin, already a recognised festival town, together with the Soča valley is also the perfect destination for a sporting festival. The festival will offer an unforgettable "flow" on the water, trails and evening parties. Cyclists will search for the adrenalin on the numerous trails across the mountain pastures of the Soča valley. The valley and its attractive running paths are already trembling with anticipation. Kayakers will be able to catch the right wave, and paragliders and hang gliders will chase the air currents and everyone can then join the evening outdoor parties.

The globally known automotive phenomenon, Cars & Coffee, is finally coming to Slovenia. An exciting event, surrounded by the Adriatic Sea, involving a wide variety of drivers travelling from across Europe, takes place on Sunday morning, 25 June. At the public event, organised in the town of Piran, the public will be able to admire the supercars, classic cars and hypercars from Slovenia and Europe.


The Slovenian Times | Summer Edition 2017

30 June – 2 July, Tolmin

53rd Pivo in cvetje Laško festival 13 – 16 July, Laško The 53rd festival will be the highlight of the summer, playing lively music for all generations and tastes in music. 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.

Event Guide

 Music Festival

MotörCity Blues Rock Festival  Music Festival

27th Okarina Ethno Festival Bled 26 July - 7 August, Bled Okarina Festival Bled, dedicated to the music of the world, has been held since 1990. 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. The program director of the festival, Leo Ličof, is a connoisseur and dedicated lover of ethno music. Every year crowds of people gather in and around concert venues create an amazing atmosphere, the best proof of the quality of the festival.

 Music Festival

 Music Festival

Tartini Festival

24 – 27 August, Tolmin

17 August – 14 September, Piran

MotörCity hosts various blues musicians from all over the world: Chris Thomas King, Hans Theessink & Terry Evans, Matt Schofield, Sven Hammond, the Henry Freischlader Band, Prismojeni profesorji bluesa, Dan D, Stray Train and others. The MotörCity Festival has another specialty – a custom vintage motorcycle, the Blueberry Bomber, which once proudly wore the name Honda GL 1000 and has returned to the world in a new, custom made, vintage form and will get a new owner at MotörCity who will be selected by a raffle on the last day of the festival, and all those with a festival ticket can participate.

The Tartini Festival is an international music festival dedicated to the Piran-born maestro, Giuseppe Tartini. Program Directors and founders of the festival, Jasna Nadles and Milan Vrsajkov, have over the past 14 years striven to bring eminent, world-renowned performers to Piran and Slovene Istria. 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 contribute to the festival and Slovenia’s profile on the international stage.

 Championship

15 – 19 August, Tolmin

8-9 September, Cankarjev dom (Cultural and Congress Centre), Ljubljana

World Driving Championship for Pairs 2017

Summer music festivals have put Tolmin on the Slovenian and international festival landscape. Tolmin is ideal for true festival holidays: a relaxed atmosphere, good music and idyllic nature which, with the help of Soca and Tolminka rivers, manifests itself into one of the most beautiful Alpine beaches in Slovenia. The Overjam International Reggae Festival attracts fans of reggae, dub, dancehall and other genres associated with reggae music. The festival starts on Tuesday 15 August with Dub FX (early arrival day) and continues from 16 - 19 August, with three performance stages and artists including Ky-Many Marley, Alborosie, General Levy, Ward 21, Don Carlos, Freddie + Chino + Stephen "Di Genius" McGregor, Manudigital etc.

A group of acclaimed Slovenian Latin American and Ballroom Dancers joined forces over a decade ago and led by Jurij Batagelj, created a most unique and inspiring dance theatre performance called "The 50s Show", with an unforgettable, incredible story that had never been told before. The dance story has since been expanded and now returns to the stage under the kind patronage of the Dolphin Entertainment production house. Audiences will be treated to one superlative after another: from vibrant set design, through to glamorous costumes and the exciting choreographies of the original cast, which is now complemented by new amazing dancers, including some of Slovenia’s best modern dance, jazz and hip-hop artists.

The Lipica Stud Farm is the cradle of Lipizzaner horses with a tradition dating back to 1580. The green estate is home to more than 300 Lipizzaner horses and has been the venue for international driving competitions for several years. After the World Driving Championship of pony-drawn carriages in 2011, Lipica Stud Farm has organised the World Driving Championship for Pairs from 20 - 24 September 2017. More than 65 top drivers, from more than 20 countries, will drive for the title of World Champion. A competition of this size can, of course, be carried out only by a wellcoordinated team with the support of many volunteers, sponsors and donors.

Overjam International Reggae Festival 2017

 Dance Show

Dance Amore

20 – 24 September, Lipica

Summer Edition 2017 | The Slovenian Times


5.– 29. 7. 2017, 21:30 Ljubljanski grad / Ljubljana Castle

ADVANCE TICKET SALES BEGIN JUNE 14. Films are screened in their original language with English subtitles. English spoken films are screened with Slovene subtitles only.

OPEN-AIR CINEMA CONGRESS SQUARE 22. – 24. 8. | Free admission. Made possible by:

AF160033_Destination_USA 2016_230x297mm_SI-EN_PRESS.pdf 1 25/05/2017 10:36:25




The Slovenia Times Summer Edition 2017  

The leading Slovenian magazine in English

The Slovenia Times Summer Edition 2017  

The leading Slovenian magazine in English