The Slovenia Times Slovenian Magazine in English Language Autumn Edition 2013, Volume 10, EUR 4.90
Finally openning the doors for foreign investors? Interview:
Alenka Bratušek, M.Sc. Prime Minister of Slovenia Interview: Janko Medja, Chairman of the Management Board, NLB, d. d.
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The carousel of damaging “go with the flow” policies continues The summer is coming to an end and the politicians are again working at full power. Unfortunately, there is still the problem that they are moving the country in the wrong direction. Maybe they should first sit down, take a deep breath and find and define the right strategy and then push the throttle to the maximum, otherwise we will soon find ourselves on the edge of a cliff. By Tilen Majnardi, M. Sc. It´s really surprising how difficult it has been, in recent years, for Slovenia to adopt and implement an efficient strategy. At the moment we can say that thank goodness that we are in the EU and the eurozone, forcing us to at least adopt minimum stabilisation measures. Let see what has been done in the last few months. The plan was more or less clear: 1. stabilise the banking sector through the bad bank project, 2. Further sustainable stabilisation of public finances, 3. deleverage the economy, 4. put together a transparent plan of privatisation, 5. start one or two strategic projects using EU funds, international capital and some internal reserves in the public sector. So where are we today? Cleaning up the banking sector is progressing with the same pace as in the last two years - more or less we are not moving ahead. The bad bank project is waiting for additional stress tests requested by the EU because they just don´t believe our data. There is still a credit crunch, even more so. In the first days of September the Central Bank surprised us by starting the liquidation process of two smaller banks holding around 4% market share. This move was coordinated with the EU but there is a lot of controversy around the action, primarily because of the huge state guarantee for the deposits which should obviously prevent any speculation about the stability of other, much bigger, banks. If we look at the current state of public finances it is more than clear that additional cuts should and will be made, probably with the “help” of the European Commission. To be honest, the government was successful in signing an agreement with public sector unions, but the agreement is just not enough and it´s just too short term. It´s clear that the public sector in general does not understand that the current situation is not just temporary but at least mid term. Our public sector is simply
The Slovenian Times | Autumn Edition 2013
too big for the current economic potential of the country. On top of the already high tax burdens, the government has adopted higher VAT and some other tax increases and by the end of the year we can expect also a new real estate tax. If we take into account the situation in the banking sector and public finances, it´s very clear that the third goal, deleveraging the economy, is not moving ahead as planned. Companies are still struggling with excessive debts and development projects are on hold. The adopted law that should help the economy in deleveraging is still only on paper, as usual. Concerning privatisation, the government has compiled an “ad hoc” list of 15 companies that will be privatised but more than clear is that there is no strategy behind it, they are just doing what Brussels asked them to do. For now, nothing serious has happened in this area, we will see what the autumn will bring. I won´t even start analysing the progress on the strategic state projects because there is nothing to analyse for now, only the professional competence of our leaders. We can just conclude that they are extremely incompetent or they are intentionally “playing” with the country. Both are very bad and damaging to our future. But on the other side of this “depressing” Slovenia we can be happy that there is also a different, more agile Slovenia. Our export oriented economy is constantly growing, we have some companies that are becoming global champions, and we are very successful in other areas. Our sportsmen are proving that, with global thinking we can be the best in the world, such as the successfully organised European Basketball Championship. Concerning all the abovementioned problems, we must do everything so that this positive and modern Slovenia will beat the incompetent and clueless political elite who are still in power today.
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Contents AUTUMN SEMAPHORE
4 Will the Coalition survive the new
46 Greater EU Integration a Response
5 Cleaning up the banking sector 5 Can Tina Maze keep her super form
46 New “Old” Problem with Croatia? 47 Excellent relations between
from last winter
6 Politics in state owned companies: Transparency and Political staffing
Slovenia and Austria
47 European Commission:
Slovenia must speed up reforms
8 Fight for leadership in the ruling
48 A New Image for Ljubljana’s Main
9 Bled Strategic Forum: Primary
50 A creative tourist destination 51 SPIRIT Slovenia 52 8th international symposium of
Positive Slovenia party
to the Challenges
Political Event in the Region
10 Interview: Alenka Bratušek, M. Sc., Prime Minister of Slovenia
ECONOMY 14 No sign of light at the end of the tunnel
15 Finance Minister: Shift From
ceramic art in the village Voglje
SPORTS 53 Basketball: In the Best Company 54 Aerobatics: Better than a Rollercoaster
Higher Taxes to Public Sector Cuts
15 Banking sector: Finally starting the cleaning process in Slovenian banks
16 18 Slovenian Firms in Deloitte
56 Gimnazija Škofja Loka is on the
17 Misjudging staffing is too expensive! 18 Interview: Janko Medja, Chairman
58 A Year of Celebrating Cinemas and
Central Europe Top 500
of the Management Board, NLB, d. d.
20 Gorenje and Panasonic Create Strategic Alliance
Royal map Cinema
60 The 19th Sarajevo Film Festival – Festival with a touch of Slovenia
62 Event Guide
21 Odelo Slovenija receives the Automotive Lean Production Award 2013
ECONOMY: FDI SUMMIT 2013 SPECIAL
25 Interview: Maja Makovec Brenčič, PhD, Professor, Faculty of Economics, University of Ljubljana
28 Investment opportunities in Slovenia 30 Interview: Boštjan Skalar, Acting Director, SPIRIT Slovenia 33 TAM – a legend revived 34 Interview: Christof Droste, Managing Director, Hella Saturnus 36 Interview: Rudolf Klötscher, Executive Vice President Eastern Europe, BSH Bosch and Siemens Home Appliance Group
38 Interview: Haimo Primas, General Manager, Lafarge Cement, d. o. o. 40 Interview: Franc Gönc, Regional Development Agency (RDA) Mura 42 Pokolpje region Autumn Edition 2013 | The Slovenian Times
Autumn Semaphore Politics
Will the Coalition survive the new budget cuts? Tensions arose in the debate on the 2014 budget, with the Pensioners’ Party (DeSUS) President, Karl Erjavec, threatening that his party would leave the coalition if the upcoming government measures included any cuts in pensions, unofficial information indicates.
Coalition Meeting; Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA, source: UKOM
Government of RS; Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA, source: UKOM
Ahead of the meeting of coalition party leaders, Citizens’ List (DL) leader, Gregor Virant and Erjavec made it clear that their parties disagreed regarding the necessary measures. While DL opposes new taxes, Erjavec said he would not give in to any proposal for cuts in pensions or annual bonuses for pensioners. Erjavec refused to speak to the press after the meeting, but he is said to have made it clear he would not take more than one or two more coalition meetings such as this. Ahead of the meeting Erjavec said the prime minister should tie any such proposal to a confidence vote, in which case he would vote against. He added that he hoped the coalition was sober enough to seek finance elsewhere. Virant was the only one to speak to the press after the meeting but he did not wish to comment on Erjavec’s statements and merely announced that PM Alenka Bratušek and Finance Minister Uroš Čufer would present the next package of measures “very shortly”.
The Slovenian Times | Autumn Edition 2013
Coalition partners also discussed staffing in state-owned companies following the controversial appointment of former state secretary, Gašpar Gašpar Mišič, as chairman of port operator Luka Koper on 26 August. The coalition agreed that the SOD fund, which currently manages state assets, should have full authority to appoint supervisors and should also take full responsibility, Virant explained. SOD should listen “neither to political parties nor lobbies or anybody else”, he stressed, adding that the emerging Slovenia Sovereign Holding would need to follow the same principle. Commenting on the issue ahead of the meeting, Erjavec said politics would always be involved in staffing and that Gašpar Mišič’s appointment was a result of lobbyist staffing rather than political staffing. He added that staffing should be regulated in a way that will make it transparent and that it will be known “who appointed whom” so that those appointed bear responsibility and that the government has some sort of influence. Coalition SocDems leader, Igor Lukšič, addressed journalists at a separate press conference to speak about the general situation in the government, assessing that the Finance Ministry is its weakest link. He does not blame Finance Minister Uroš Čufer but rather, the extremely demanding financial challenges faced by the government. Lukšič believes the government should hire “serious people” who will assess where reserves can be found and not simply opt for the usual simple and short-sighted solution of pension and public sector cuts. He moreover feels that the work of the Economic Development Minister is not felt, while he admitted that SD’s starting optimism related to the new government was slowly disappearing with the absence of results and real measures. Regarding tensions with respect to health reform, mostly between DeSUS and DL, Lukšič said they were legitimate and that it was the task of the minister to resolve them.
Autumn Semaphore Economy
Cleaning up the banking sector Slovenia still hasn´t started cleaning the banking sector due to additional stress tests in Slovenian banks. Forming the bad bank is seen as the primary priority in Slovenia but economists warn not to expect quick and magical solutions. Liquidation of two small banks is definitely the first step toward a healthier banking sector Economist Jože P. Damijan welcomed the Central Bank’s decision to wind down two struggling banks, Factor Banka and Probanka, as a “logical and necessary” start to serious consolidation of the banking system. But Damijan also lamented the foot-dragging. “Too bad the Central Bank did not start the process four years ago, the cost to taxpayers would have been much lower”. Since the government also issued more than EUR 1bn worth of guarantees for all deposits, the Ljubljana Faculty of Economics economist does not fear a run on the banks, although that can “never be ruled out”. Although both banks could potentially be sold, Damijan doubts that. “Potential investors from exotic countries were only interested in their bank licences; nobody will take on their liabilities.” Looking ahead, Damijan feels the consolidation will probably leave just three or four domestic banks standing. “It is expected that Banka Celje, Abanka and Gorenjska Banka will be merged into or sold to a domestic bank, or potentially to a foreign bank, if there is any interest,” he said.
The biggest »patient« NLB waiting for additional stress test to start the transfer of toxic assets to the bad bank
Tina Maze receiving Golden Order of Services from President Borut Pahor
Can Tina Maze keep her super form from last winter Alpine skiers are already preparing for the next Olympic season. The main question in women´s alpine skiing is whether Tina Maze will be able to continue with her amazing record results of last season. Tina Maze was working hard during summer. She was also decorated by President Borut Pahor with the Golden Order of Services for promoting Slovenia and inspiring people with her exceptional performance in the 2012/2013 season. He stressed that the decoration showed “we can and must celebrate each other’s success”. According to Pahor, decorations are not only acknowledgements for individuals or groups, but also show that “we can get inspired by other people’s victories for the tests that we may be facing ourselves”. Accepting the decoration, Maze said awards also brought responsibility that would need to be taken in the future. Those awarded do not do their work for the sake of the award, she noted, stressing that being an inspiration to others was the most anyone could wish for.
She said the state had always been supportive of her, even in the hard times she was facing when she decided to form her own team. In the 2012/2013 season, Maze won 11 races, was on the podium 24 times (breaking a 13 year record) and won races in all five events. She was in the top ten in 32 out of 35 races. She was first overall in the World Cup and also won the giant slalom, super-G and super combined and finished second in downhill and slalom. Maze, who is setting herself high goals for the coming Olympic season, said that the preparations were running well and that she felt even slightly stronger than last season. The FIS World Cup season will start on 26 October on Rettenbach glacier above Sölden.
Autumn Edition 2013 | The Slovenian Times
Politics in state owned companies
Transparency and Political staffing Gašpar Gašpar Mišič, a member of the senior coalition party Positive Slovenia (PS), was appointed chairman of the state-owned port operator, Luka Koper, in a narrow vote by the supervisory board, one that invited widespread condemnation. Mišič was appointed despite the fact that the state owned SOD fund, which holds more than two thirds of the shares of Luka Koper, was against the appointment By STA, T. M.
In 14 days, From the PM´s cabinet to the management of a state owned company Gašpar Gašpar Mišič, who resigned as a state secretary at the PM’s office amidst mounting pressure following the announcement of his intention to bid for the top job at Luka Koper, won backing from the supervisors representing the employees, the City of Koper as well as Chairman, Dino Klobas. In fact, it was Klobas’ appointment to the helm of the supervisory board a fortnight previously that was interpreted by the media as a sign that Gašpar Mišič would be appointed as CEO in a move allegedly sponsored by Ljubljana Mayor, Zoran Janković, and his Koper ally and counterpart, Boris Popović. Commenting on the appointment, which was backed by five
The Slovenian Times | Autumn Edition 2013
votes to four, Klobas said he had been trying to build a broader consensus but since he had failed, opted to support Gašpar Mišič for the benefit of Luka Koper as any further delay in the appointment of a CEO would cause harm to the operator of Slovenia’s only commercial port. Klobas said the board had a choice of four candidates for the post, which becomes available when the term of the incumbent chairman, Bojan Brank, ends on 6 September and that each supervisor could only back one candidate. “We assessed all the candidates on the basis of the same criteria and we established that Mr Gašpar Gašpar Mišič stood the biggest chance so we opted for him,” said Klobas, adding that Gašpar Mišič had told the supervisors in his interview that they could “remove him without severance pay” if he failed to meet the agreed targets. The problem was that the cri-
teria for appointing a new CEO at Luka Koper were never presented.
What are the criteria to became the CEO of one of the biggest ports in the Adriatic? Gašpar Mišič, 47, a former sailor who graduated in nautical engineering and then had a successful career in real estate before entering national politics in 2011, announced that he would get down to work at once and that he would prove many are wrong about him and his intentions. “I’m foremost an entrepreneur, a businessman and only then, a politician. I entered politics because of my dissatisfaction over the way Slovenian politics had been led... I have no-one in the background, not even in my party. This is my personal decision”.
Noting that he would like the PM to be proud of him as a member of her party and as her former state secretary, he said he has a solution to what he calls the “paralysis of Luka Koper”, which he indicated he plans to tackle by winning support from the local community for the port’s development. Outgoing Chairman, Bojan Brank, who bid for reappointment said the supervisory board’s decisions must be respected but he thanked “the four” supervisors who, as he understood the situation, “saw competence and experience as possibly the criteria that ought to prevail”.
Political Hypocrisy Gašpar Mišič’s appointment invited immediate condemnation from political officials, with PM Alenka Bratušek labelling it as “intolerable”. All other major politicians condemned the appointment and at the same time forgot that everyone is more than “guilty” because they never established a transparent system for staffing in the public sector. They also forgot how previous directors were appointed, more or less in the same manner, it is just that the public didn´t react so strongly on previous occasions. Gregor Virant, the leader of the junior coalition Citizens’ Party (DL), indicated a possible course of action as he said his party demanded of the government to do everything in its power to have the supervisory board and Gašpar Mišič replaced. President of the coalition Social Democrats (SD), Igor Lukšič, was equally indignant. “So utterly out of touch. This has gone too far,” he said, suggesting that the supervisors of the SOD fund which is responsible for the management of state assets, consider the situation and act or else face dismissal.
01 Gašpar Gašpar Mišič, new CEO of Luka Koper 02 Port of Koper 03 »Frozen« president of Positive Slovenia pulling the strings?
“It is up to the management and supervisory board of SOD to act now. Only then is it the government’s call and if it fails to react, we have nothing to do in such a coalition”, said Lukšič, who sees the appointment as a “concentration of everything bad that is known as political staffing”. The state, as the majority owner of the port operator, has the option of calling a shareholders’ meeting to replace the supervisory board, which could then potentially replace the chairman. Asked about the possibility, Klobas said the majority owner had a right to call such a meeting. A call for an immediate appointment of a new supervisory board and Gašpar Mišič’s replacement also came from Karl Erjavec, the leader of the Pensioners’ Party (DeSUS), who called the appointment unacceptable and running against Luka Koper’s interests. The opposition People’s Party (SLS) responded to the appointment in a tweet by party Vice President, Olga Franca, who in the past had served as a member and chairman of the supervisory board of Luka Koper, saying: “Under Gašpar Gašpar Mišič, Luka Koper will go under.” SLS leader, Franc Bogovič, joined the condemnation of the appointment by describing it as the result of last year’s opposition to the Slovenia Sovereign Holding, arguing that those who did not understand why PS opposed the holding then, could see the reason in practice today. The opposition party, New Slovenia (NSi), also pointed to the potentially negative consequences for the company of what it termed as
an “outrageous”, “unethical” and “unhygienic” decision, arguing that being a member of “Janković’s Positive Slovenia is unfortunately the only reference today”. The biggest opposition party, the Democratic Party (SDS), reacted with sarcasm. “Sincere congratulations to Prime Minister Zoran Janković for the successful enforcement of ‘positive’ staffing policy at Luka Koper!”, the party tweeted. Janković, who had to resign as PS leader over a damning graft report just as Bratušek was voted into office in March, expressed satisfaction with the supervisory board’s decision, lauding the board’s “courage and independence” in the face of adversity.
Will the political games affect business at the Port of Koper? Apart from this political thunderstorm, Luka Koper reported a 25% increase in half yearly net profit of EUR 7.8m after posting a net profit of EUR 10.4m in 2012. Although the volume of cargo throughput was down 2% in the first half of 2012, revenues were up 3% to EUR 73.2m. Total throughput hit 17.9 million tonnes in 2012, up 5% year-on-year. Luka Koper’s biggest markets include Austria, Slovenia, Hungary and Slovakia. The port of Koper was established in 1957 to compete with Trieste in neighbouring Italy. A railway connection between the port and the hinterlands was established in 1967 and the container terminal was constructed in 1979. Autumn Edition 2013 | The Slovenian Times
Positive Slovenia at a crossroad
Fight for leadership in the ruling Positive Slovenia party The ruling Positive Slovenia (PS) party will hold an electoral congress on 19 October. Prime minister and PS leader, Alenka Bratušek, has not yet said whether she would vie for the position. The main question is if the former leader of the party and the first president, Mayor of Ljubljana, Zoran Janković, will step back into state politics and try to became the new-old president of the party By B. K. PM Bratušek believes however that everybody is aware “how important political stability is at this moment, it is the key factor in our efforts to achieve certain things”. In January, the party decided to hold an election congress before the end of the year after Ljubljana Mayor Zoran Janković, who founded the party, decided he would freeze his party president status after corruption allegations, so that PS could form a new ruling coalition. Janković said in July that he did not know whether he would stand for party president.
The Slovenian Times | Autumn Edition 2013
He gave the statement days after the media reported a fallout between him and Bratušek at a dinner that was also attended by the PS deputy group. Candidates for party president will be able to register for the election congress until 24 September and the complete list of candidates will be known on 2 October. In the spotlight of the congress will certainly be the recent controversial political staffing at the Port of Koper which is among the most important state owned companies in the country. It is widely perceived that
new CEO, Gašpar Gašpar Mišič, ex state secretary and MP, got the post with the help of Ljubljana Mayor Zoran Janković. At the same time, PM Alenka Bratušek strongly opposed this approach to staffing and announced that she will do everything within her power to implement more transparency in the staffing of state owned companies. The result of elections inside Positive Slovenia will also have a huge impact on the government. If Zoran Janković wins we will probably see the disintegration of the current coalition and an early election.
Politics Bled Strategic Forum
Primary Political Event in the Region Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec summed up the developments at the eighth Bled Strategic Forum (BSF), establishing that this year›s forum, the most important international political event in Slovenia, a success. The event is recognised not only in the region but also more broadly. By STA, E. C.
Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec at Bled Strategic Forum
Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec
Erjavec held several bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the event. He and his Slovak counterpart, Miroslav Lajčak and Finnish European Affairs Minister, Alexander Stubb, agreed to propose that the EU place greater attention on enlargement even in this time of economic and financial turmoil. Erjavec stressed that the process, which is strongly supported by Slovenia, must continue because enlargement is of benefit not only to the countries joining the EU, but to the bloc as a whole. Erjavec also met his counterparts from Bosnia-Herzegovina and Macedonia, Zlatko Lagumdžija and Nikola Poposki and Indian Minister of State for External Affairs, Preneet Kaur. A prominent topic was the effort to boost economic cooperation.
Erjavec was also satisfied with the attendance at the forum. Around 500 participants attended including Austrian President Heinz Fischer, Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta, International Criminal Court Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda and OECD Deputy Secretary General Yves Leterme. The main theme of the forum was ‘Europe’s Changing Role in a
Changing World’ and Erjavec assessed that the selection of the theme was auspicious. Panel debates examined changes in Europe and globally, developments in the Mediterranean, cooperation with Russia and Central Asia and the future of the European Monetary and Economic Union. There was also a focus on EU enlargement. The Foreign Minister said that he had heard many positive reactions to the Young BSF and the Business BSF, which were held in Bled before the official proceedings started . Erjavec announced that next year the forum would focus on topics such as the Mediterranean, energy and the ageing population. The Bled Strategic Forum will get its third international partner, the London-based thinktank International Business and Diplomatic Exchange, BSF Secretary General, Alain Brian Bergant, advised.
Autumn Edition 2013 | The Slovenian Times
Interview: Alenka Bratušek, M. Sc., Prime Minister of Slovenia
It Is Difficult To Remodel Things Overnight Alenka Bratušek assumed the leadership of the Government after a political crisis that shook Slovenia at the beginning of the year. The political crisis was also the reason for Slovenia not tackling the problems that have built up, in accordance with the plans, and why it is lagging behind in numerous areas. The Government’s basic priorities certainly include the recovery of the banking sector, alleviating of the credit crunch, stabilisation of public finance and recovery of the parts of the economy that were caught in the stagnation spiral. The Government is no longer counting the spanners being thrown in the works, and the recent additional cuts in budget expenditures are threatening the existence of the Government coalition. By Tilen Majnardi, M. Sc. 10
The Slovenian Times | Autumn Edition 2013
Politics Q When you took over the reins of the Government, you were first faced with having to “fight the fires” in public finance as well as the threat of international financial assistance. Were you aware of the scope of the problem at that point or were you taken aback by the state-of-affairs? A When we assumed the reins of the Government, we were aware of many things, but we did not know everything. A lot of the information we had about the work of the Government was somewhat distorted. We were most surprised by the state of the budget, and it was because of this fact that we prepared measures for the consolidation of public finance almost literally overnight so as to immediately start fighting the fires as you have put it. We did not have any other option than focusing the efforts of the Government towards the resolution of the situation, and I must say that the road is not an easy one. I am, however, convinced that we will be able to stay the decline in economic growth with the measures proposed. It is important for us to find a way out of the crisis that is acceptable for everyone and to keep in mind that we need the people to trust us that we will distribute the burdens fairly and that we are on the right track. But it is difficult to convince people as these are still unpopular measures or interventions into people’s living standards, something that had been unfeasible under previous administrations. Unfortunately, I am not able to reap rewards in this term of office as not much had been sown before me.
Q It seems that we know what we are to do in Slovenia, but we do not do it unless we are under extreme external pressure or time constraints. How can we overcome this systemic or mental barrier? A Things are much more complicated than they seem at first sight. Even though many might think that we could resolve this in a simpler fashion, it is my experience that the road to our goal is a very bumpy one. Because we have undertaken under the coalition agreement to respect social dialogue, we must also consider this part of the harmonisation. It is, therefore, not enough to only prepare measures on paper – they need to be harmonised with all social partners and then “implemented in real life”, which is when new problems often arise as each sector has its own specificities that must also be taken into consideration. Let me, therefore, reiterate that the most valuable thing for me at this point is time, because things simply cannot be arranged overnight as many would imagine. A well-known saying states: What one generation can easily break will be difficult for the next generation to mend. Today, I understand this saying well as I am experiencing it in my work. As regards the pressures, I would only say the following: “Everyone wishes for the crisis to end as soon as possible and for our
measures to start being reflected in a positive change as soon as possible, but speed is not an advantage in the adoption of such measures because the issues are too complex for that. My administration is not competing with anyone, and time can also not be our benchmarking criterion. It should rather be the quality of the work we have done.
Q Based on the reform and stabilisation programme, the EU gave us a few months in the spring to fulfil our own objectives. It seems that we are falling behind again. What is primarily not visible anywhere on the horizon is any sustainable stabilisation of public finance. How will you go about rectifying this in the following months? A I am not prepared to talk about concrete measures until they have been finalised and harmonised. What I can tell you is that the measures are prepared in such a way as to stimulate economic growth and not stifle it, i.e. they do not only include austerity measures and belt-tightening. They also simultaneously promote the achievement of certain changes for the better. The introduction of taxes is also not intended solely to make cuts because nothing is left on the account. Everything is rather reinvested into modernisation. And if we wish, in the coming years, to preserve basic social rights for which all of us are striving and which include, for example, public health and education, we must then get the money from somewhere in order to keep these “privileges”, which many highly developed countries have long since curtailed, and to provide all of the said public services. As regards the adoption of measures, let me just add that we are not preparing merely short-term measures but rather also long-term ones, and that each and every one of them has to be implemented in order for things to start changing for the better. One of the essential changes in the new package of measures is certainly the fight against the shadow economy.
Q Slovenian economy is divided into two parts: the export-oriented economy is living in its own world – it is relatively successful in spite of the crisis, and it is adapting and developing; while practically the entire part of the economy that is in one way or another tied to the State, its influence and management is stagnating and dealing with itself because it is faced with the pathological politicisation of simple and logical issues – this part of our country is increasingly becoming a burden for the agile part of the economy. How will you break the stalemate of this untenable situation? A The Slovenian economy is tied to the domestic business environment, which includes both companies operating mostly on the Slovenian market and companies generating a part or the majority of their revenues on EU
and other markets. Owing to the development of the EU single market, the Slovenian market has expanded to a market with over 500 million consumers. Slovenia is also a part of this market, which in turn includes Slovenian companies. In reply to your question, I can say that we will not be “breaking” anything but will be taking numerous measures to raise the competitiveness of the Slovenian economy and to stimulate companies, both those that require emergency assistance as well as those that are healthy and stable, i.e. with State aid. One of the priorities of foreign policy is help for the Slovenian economy to break through onto foreign markets, whereby the emphasis will be on economic diplomacy.
Q It is clear that the Government will have to additionally lower budget expenditures. Does it not seem to you that the problem of all the debates is also that we are not willing to come to terms with the current situation not only being a temporary condition but rather a new reality that we will have to face in the long-term? A It is our ambition to raise the GDP to the pre-crisis level by way of the new economic recovery. We believe that additional interventions with respect to the budget will not be necessary in this case. What will, however, be necessary is a change in the way the State, companies and, last but not least, the population function, whereby the crucial aspect at the State level will be greater work efficiency of the public sector and primarily smartly and sustainably engaged assets of the State budget. On the companies’ side, these aspects will include comprehensive restructuring, meaning also the association, transformation and change of business models that will enable access to new markets. On the population side, we will encourage entrepreneurship, innovation and creativity as well as greater responsibility for contributing to the development of the society. In this way, the reality will be one of progress and sustainable growth and will also lead the development policies of Slovenia in this direction.
Q Recently, there has been a lot of talk about the quality of corporate governance in the public or State sector. Experience from abroad shows that it is essential to set and meet management criteria and objectives and to achieve transparency. How is it possible that we are not able or unwilling to do this in Slovenia and that things always happen somewhere “behind curtains”? A I am not sure that Slovenia is an isolated island in regard to this issue. According to the information at my disposal, countries resolve these problems in different ways. There are also more or less similar phenomena everywhere, i.e. when appointments to similar functions trigger numerous doubts and irregularities ocAutumn Edition 2013 | The Slovenian Times
Politics strained conditions on financial markets and the inactive role of the banking sector, the Slovenian Government has appointed the Slovene Enterprise Fund and the SID Bank to actively implement financing measures within the scope of the programme of measures for economic recovery to fill the gap on the financial resources market with an offer of direct credit. Using financial engineering measures in this way, the Government is actively intervening on the market for the access to financing resources in the segment of micro and small enterprises. The measure is of a temporary nature; it is intended to overcome the banking crunch and represents one of the mechanisms for the prevention of financial exclusion of companies faced with financial difficulties.
Q What are the initial data about the increased
Alenka Bratušek, Prime Minister of Slovenia Photo: Tamino Petelinšek & Nebojša Tejić/STA
cur frequently. This principle of employment cannot be easily resolved as it involves numerous stakeholders. I personally strive primarily for two things; firstly that procedures are conducted with maximum transparency and according to professional criteria, and secondly that management and supervisory boards perform their work in good faith and for the public good, so as to maintain the stability of the company and to provide it with new development opportunities. But I must warn even in this respect that it is difficult to remodel things overnight, especially things that none of the previous administrations were able to suitably resolve. As I had already stated on another occasion, you should not forget that poor staffing did not begin with this administration, but I will strive for it to end during the term of this administration.
Q The so-called credit crunch is frequently mentioned in Slovenia as the main short-term problem. Don’t you think that we are forgetting that numerous companies have found themselves in a much more severe crunch, that their management boards are caught up in obsolete models and are dealing solely with their own survival and that competitors are overtaking them left and right? A With regard to the difficulty in accessing loans, which is the result of the continued
The Slovenian Times | Autumn Edition 2013
budget revenues from the higher VAT telling you? Were your projections correct? A Unfortunately, I cannot give you precise data because they are not yet known. I would venture a forecast, however, that we will come close to the planned objectives. According to unofficial estimates, I can roughly say that initial inflows of VAT following it being raised are within the range of the financial effects that had been estimated in advance. But because we cannot expect effects that were linear in all months following the raising of the VAT rates, we will continue to carefully monitor inflows. Detailed and more realistic analyses will only be possible after the inflows from VAT had been monitored for several months.
Q Many people see the solution in the total privatisation of state-owned assets, whereby the main question is, of course, to whom we should sell it, when we should sell it and at what price. Will we finally get a clear strategy of the State regarding privatisation or have we again got caught up in a sort of “go with the flow” concept that will be a testing ground for new politicisation? A As part of the process of the announced privatisation, we are preparing a highly detailed time schedule for each individual company that will be ready by the end of September as may be foreseen. All companies included in the privatisation process will go through so-called public calls for tenders, and I wish to assure you that all sales procedures will be conducted with maximum transparency. We are also coordinating our efforts with the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption in order to get to the bottom of things in each and every document – if I may put it that way – and so that there is not a shadow of a doubt that anything is going amiss. I endeavour to have company employees and numerous Slovenian producers that work with the companies involved in sales procedures protected to the maximum possible extent within the scope of
sales procedures. When it comes to the sale of Slovenian companies, I take the position that the sale of all companies must be conducted in accordance with the regulations, transparently and with the important aspects of the sale being the highest offered price and entry of a strategic partner. The decision on privatisation was taken well over twenty years ago so it is not one taken by this administration. The fact is that the decision on privatisation was accompanied by the decision for a part of the former social property to be used for certain purposes or the repayment of certain transition-related liabilities, which means that these liabilities or obligations must be honoured as well. This is why it is necessary to continue and complete this part of the privatisation process. It is, therefore, not a question of how and what to privatise but whether we are able to carry this out in the right way. It is important for the privatisation to be carried out in the right way and with maximum transparency as it is only then that we can expect maximum benefits from the sale. To privatise also does not mean that buyers can only be foreigners. Unfortunately, attempts at sales to domestic buyers carried out to date, or most of them, at least in the case of large companies, have proven unsuccessful to put it mildly. The results are catastrophic as all of us taxpayers have ended up paying for this privatisation in the form of the banking system recovery.
Q A few days ago, we received a renewed warning from the EU that we are simply “moving” too slowly. How will you put things into a higher gear and appease Brussels and international markets as all of them have probably had enough of our empty talk? A There are currently no larger deviations from the schedule; I can confirm that much has been accomplished since May and to date. I have said on many occasions that our biggest problem is the lack of time. But, let me stress that, when it comes to rushing things, my priority is the people, who require a rapid solution to the problem, young people who are unemployed and see no future for themselves and all other citizens who have in one way or another been affected by the crisis situation. It is only after all of these considerations that we look at the deadlines imposed on us by the EU. We will, of course, try to do all that is within our power to prepare and implement all of the envisaged reform measures within the shortest possible time – unfortunately, we are not alone on this journey, and we often lose the most time exactly where we need it the most. But there is no other way than to patiently and carefully weigh all the decisions, search for consensus and continue on the path we have set for ourselves and which was confirmed as the right one by Brussels in the spring.
Your Daily Source of Information
No sign of light at the end of the tunnel The recession in Slovenia slowed in the second quarter of the year, as the economy contracted 1.7% year-on-year, an improvement on the 4.6% annual contraction in the first quarter. While the Slovenian economy has now failed to register growth for seven consecutive quarters, the pace of contraction declined significantly in the June quarter. By STA, SORS, T. M.
Still weak domestic spending This was helped by a marked easing in the decline of domestic spending which fell by 3.4% year-on-year, less than half as much as in the previous quarter, data from the Statistics Office showed. The smaller drop in spending came on the back of a significant slowing of the contraction in fixed capital formation which shrank 8.1%, down from the 21.4% drop a quarter earlier. Trade continued to be an engine of expansion, as its positive effect on GDP stood at 1.5%. In the first half of 2013, GDP fell 3.2% compared to the same period a year ago. Seasonally adjusted GDP fell 0.3% over the previous quarter and 2.2% over the second quarter of 2012. Consumption remains the main obstacle to growth with state spending once again the biggest drop, at 3.1%. Domestic spending fell 2%. Domestic spending on durable products increased 2.9%, while spending on other products decreased 2.5%. One of the reasons for the increase in spending on durable products may be due to households opting for major purchases, primarily cars and furniture, because of the pending increase in VAT. The drop in gross fixed capital formation remained more or less steady at 3%, but the contraction in inventory slowed to 0.9% from 3.7% in the previous quarter.
Solid export growth Exports grew 2%, up from 1.7% in the previous quarter but the effects of the trade balance were diminished by a growth in imports. The trade conditions were favourable, as export prices grew faster than import prices (index 101.8), for the first time since 2009. This had a
The Slovenian Times | Autumn Edition 2013
positive effect on the economy, as added value increased by about EUR 115m while the volume of economic activity remained the same. Information and communication remained the sole sector showing growth in value added in the second quarter, expanding by 3% yearon-year. The real estate and agriculture sectors remained unchanged. While still high at 11.1%, the contraction in the construction sector slowed significantly from 17.2% in the first quarter. Meanwhile, financial services saw further contraction, as value added in the sector declined by 7.1%, compared to 4.9% the quarter before. Manufacturing shrank by 2.1% (3% in the first quarter), while the public sector contracted by 2% (1.5% in the first quarter). The Statistics Office also published revised GDP data for 2012, saying that Slovenia’s GDP last year decreased by 2.5%, which is 0.2 percentage points down compared to preliminary data. The revised estimate of GDP for 2012 stands at EUR 35.3bn.
Export growth 2013 (%) 2,05 2,00 1,95
1,90 1,85 1,80 1,75 1,70 1,65
Export growth (%) (Source: SORS)
Professor Marko Jaklič; Photo: Borut Peterlin
Economists Expected GDP Drop, Stunned by the Government’s Passive Attitude Economist Marko Jaklič said that the latest GDP figures indicate Slovenia was very close to a free fall. He does not expect the recession to end before 2015. Jaklič, a professor at the Ljubljana Economics Faculty, said that he was not surprised by data showing a 1.7% annual contraction in economic output in the second quarter after a 4.6% year-on-year collapse in the first quarter. «What is surprising is that we are still not doing anything serious to improve things for next year...This drop is the result of our organisational or managerial incapacity to take on the crisis.» The economist argued that the majority of measures adopted after 2008 were misguided and that Slovenia has found itself in a vicious cycle. Lenders are forcing the country into saving which is undermining domestic demand and GDP and increasing the deficit as a result. Jaklič hopes that the cuts are a shortterm adaptation and that the focus will shift to boosting budget revenue. He pointed to a lack of investment, to the poor performance in the phasing of EU funds and delays in short-term measures such as the banking and tax system as well as long-term structural reform where Slovenia is 10 or 15 years behind. Jaklič feels that export-oriented companies will continue to mitigate the situation, while he is still concerned about domestic demand which accounts for 65% of business for Slovenian companies. Thus, he expects Slovenia will stay in recession next year and return to modest growth in 2015, pointing out that GDP has already contracted by around 11% since the start of the crisis and that it will take a long time to return to 2008 levels with slow growth.
Economy Public Finances
Shift From Higher Taxes to Public Sector Cuts Finance Minister Uroš Čufer said that enough additional tax burdens have been introduced and that further steps in the consolidation of public finance “will have to happen on the side of expenditure in the public sector”. Speaking on the sidelines of the Bled Strategic Forum, Čufer said he expects a positive grade from the European Commission in the autumn regarding measures taken in Slovenia. Finance Minister Uroš Čufer (on the left) Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA, Source: UKOM
By STA, M. T.
More work on corporate governance in the public sector He said that much had been done since the government sent the Stability Programme to Brussels in May and that the delay in the bad bank efforts was the product of the Commission’s demand for stress tests and bank assets evaluation. The Slovenia Sovereign Holding Act also took longer than expected because of the wish to draw up a quality law that would end the
poor corporate management of state assets, the Minister added. He explained that the changes were worked on during the summer and could be presented shortly.
The end of GDP contraction in 2014? Čufer announced a revival of steps towards a real-estate tax, after which the «majority of measures planned for this year will have actually been adopted». What will be necessary
then is a change of focus away from taxes to saving in the public sector, he said, arguing that businesses needs a stable environment. The Minister also provided the first government response to the release of data showing a 1.7% annual contraction in economic output in the second quarter after a 4.6% year-on-year collapse in the first quarter. He expects that the measures by the government, which took over in March, will only show effects after two or three quarters. “If we had high GDP growth now, we would not really be able to say that we contributed to this significantly,” Čufer said.
Finally starting the cleaning process in Slovenian banks Crisis managers, headed by foreigners experienced in managing similar procedures in the EU, took over Probanka and Factor bank, two small Slovenian banks which are being liquidated in a supervised procedure launched by the Central Bank, Banka Slovenije, to avoid their outright bankruptcy.
Photo: Banka Slovenije
The management at Probanka will be headed by Imre Balogh, a former bank executive from Hungary and will also include Igo Gruden and Marko Novak, while the management at Factor banka will be headed by Klaus Schuster, a former manager at Austria’s Volksbank and management consultant and will also be made up of Matevž Slapničar in Vitomir Krašovec. Banka Slovenije will take over the role of the shareholders’ assembly and the supervisory board of the banks, which will be operating normally until the liquidation procedure is finished, although they will not be allowed to make new deals or accept new customers. Banka Slovenije stressed that the deposits at the banks, which hold a combined 4% share of
the Slovenian banking market, are safe as the government issued guarantees to the Central Bank (EUR 540m for Factor banka and EUR 490m for Probanka) to secure liquidity in case the assets of the two banks prove insufficient to cover their liabilities. The move is designed to preserve the stability of the ailing banking sector and protect all depositors in the banking system. The Central Bank feared that the collapse of the two banks, which have for months been unable to raise fresh capital, could have undermined trust in the whole banking system. The liquidation is expected to take two to three years, with first estimates from the Finance Ministry putting the final costs of the state guarantee for both banks at up to EUR 400m. Autumn Edition 2013 | The Slovenian Times
Deloitte Central Europe Top 500
18 Slovenian Firms
in Deloitte Central Europe Top 500 Energy company, Petrol, has climbed five spots to 32nd on the list of the 500 biggest companies in Central Europe compiled by the auditing firm, Deloitte. The list includes 18 Slovenian companies, one more than last year. By STA
Mercator, Agrokor would have ranked 13th or 14th. Deloitte also compiled lists of the top 50 banks and insurance companies in the region. Only NLB made it to the list of largest banks by assets in 2012, but slipped four spots to 13th. The list of insurance companies by gross premiums written included five Slovenian companies, one more than last year. Zavarovalnica Triglav ranked highest at seventh, one down from a year ago. Sava Re made it among the top 50 for the first time, but the group would have placed among the top ten had it completed the takeover of Zavarovalnica Maribor. Agrokor; Photo: novilist.hr
A third of the companies listed come from Poland, followed by those from the Czech Republic, while Slovenian companies represent 3.6%. Given Slovenia’s GDP of EUR 35bn compared to Poland›s EUR 380bn, «this is a good result», Deloitte Slovenija official, Janez Škrubej, said as he presented the survey to reporters in Ljubljana. He said a feature of this year’s survey was a slowdown in company revenues; the growth in revenues of all 500 companies listed dropped to 3.3% from 9.8% in a year. The list, based on the companies’ consolidated sales revenue in 2012, is topped by Polish
The Slovenian Times | Autumn Edition 2013
oil company, PKN (EUR 28.7bn), followed by its Hungarian counterpart MOL (EUR 19.2bn) and Czech car maker. Škoda (EUR 10.4bn). The leading Slovenian company, Petrol, generated EUR 3.8bn in sales revenue last year to rank 32nd, followed by retailer Mercator in 44th and power utility HSE in 85th. The list includes more companies from Slovenia than any other country in the region of the former Yugoslavia but the top ranking company is Croatian oil company, INA. Croatian food conglomerate, Agrokor, placed 30th but had it completed the takeover of Slovenia’s
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Autumn Edition 2013 | The Slovenian Times
Interview: Janko Medja, Chairman of the Management Board, NLB, d. d.
Working hard to provide responsive, honest and quality service
Q In recent years, in Slovenia, we talk a lot about the credit crunch and the lack of banking activity, we are however facing an acute capital crunch, companies are critically undercapitalised and they are stuck in a maze of stagnation. What is your assessment of the current situation from the “inside” view of banking sector? A Actually it´s still very true, we are in a situation where we have to deleverage the economy. We have, by quite a significant margin, indebted companies which compared to European or even globally, are above the average - significantly above average. That means that we are probably facing a long period of adjustment. As you know, overleveraged companies are less flexible in a crisis which is why, after the crisis hit us in 2009, we still have more problems than some of the countries where leverage was not so high.
Janko Medja became the Chairman of the Management Board of NLB on 2 October 2012. Since then he has been in the public spotlight, NLB is widely How is the process of cleaning up NLB going? perceived as one of the biggest problems of the Slovenian economy and Q What is the situation regarding “toxic” assets? “guilty” for the deteriorating economic state of the country. He has a tough A Around 2009, NLB came out of a 10 year job to “clean up” the bank and improve its poor image. period of strong and quite aggressive growth from two main directions: credit, leverage and
By Tilen Majnardi, M. Sc. lending; and foreign expansion. As you know, 18
The Slovenian Times | Autumn Edition 2013
Economy NLB invested a lot in the Balkan region and some other markets and after the crisis hit and liquidity became scarce, the bank obviously had to react. It reacted, at that time, with a couple of recapitalisations, actually of quite small amounts - the early ones were still part of the growth story and then later recapitalisations had to cover loan losses, provisions etc. Now the cleaning that we have been doing in the last year, or less than a year, does not only help us with the problems of the “old portfolio” as we are also focusing very strongly on the current business, the clients, improving processes and service, we are trying to win clients back. We have actually had quite some success in the last couple of months, the clients who left NLB two or three years ago are now returning and starting to work with us again.
Q The general public still perceive the credit crunch and the banks in general, as the main problem but in reality, do you have quality projects and investment proposals from companies that you could finance or are companies in need of urgent restructuring of problematic debt? A Of course we would like to finance good projects, in fact we do from time to time, but we all find, all of the bankers, that there is simply not enough demand for this. Projects are very scarce. We are, in fact, trying to encourage companies to do this and there are some other institutions doing this also - there are all sorts of programmes to stimulate the projects. Unfortunately the state of the economy is such
that deleveraging is, by far, the highest priority. If you ask me how we can solve this problem privatisation and stimulation of foreign direct investment. This can deleverage companies far quicker than deleveraging by themselves. The latter would be a slow and painful process.
Q The government is now preparing a privatisation list. Do you think that, at some point, NLB will again be on that list? A As far as I know, NLB is not at this moment on the privatisation list. You probably know better than me the different expectations and opinions we have in Slovenia about privatisation. There are some that are very clearly for the privatisation of NLB and there are some that strongly oppose. From my professional point of view it is clear that, at the moment, it would be very difficult to start any privatisation process for NLB. Slovenia first needs to stabilise the banking sector according to the law for the rehabilitation of the banks and in addition, needs to stabilise public finances and make sure that it can still participate in international financial markets. Like it or not, the rating of the country has a very big influence on the economy.
Q In your opinion, when will see the results of this process of cleaning the banking sector and a fully operational and effective bad bank? A Actually, right now there is a lot of activity. As you know, the European Commission has asked for an independent opinion and quality review of the whole system which is now happening. One could not say that we are waiting, we are actually speeding ahead to get to a situation whereby the European Commission will feel comfortable to approve state aid and ensure that the same thing will not happen again next year. I think that now everybody has the same goal, to rehabilitate this year through
measures and in the amount which will make sure that in future years nothing like this happens again. Our important job, the job of the management of the bank which is long-term, is that we turnaround the business in the way that we will never again need help from the state. We need a long-term sustainable business model.
Q One of the biggest problems in Slovenia is that when the government or top management in companies have good ideas, business strategies and plans, those ideas don´t seem to reach the very important middle management which is crucial for real change in the business model or for better functioning of the whole economy. How are you dealing with this in NLB? A NLB is a large institution and as you correctly put, there is always some loss of information either from the bottom to the top or the other way round. However, I must say that there are excellent people working at NLB in the branches and I don´t think that it would be correct to be negative about the people. There are always some that are not up the challenge but those are definitely in the minority.
Q Lastly, we have quite a large number of other banks in Slovenia and they are very aggressive and also in better shape. What would you say to people, companies and potential clients so that they would choose NLB? A This answer is different for each type of client - company, individual, worker, student, foreign diplomat… What is common to all of them is that we are working very hard to be able to say that at NLB you will get honest and responsive service. In addition, we cover a broader region in comparison to some other banks. But, in the end, good service is connected to people and in NLB we have good people that can provide good service.
Autumn Edition 2013 | The Slovenian Times
Economy Mr. Laurent Abadie, Chairman and CEO of Panasonic Europe said: “Gorenje’s commitment to developing innovative, design-led and high quality products make it the ideal partner for Panasonic. We are looking forward to working together to build a solid and long-term platform for growth that will propel both organisations to new strengths within the European home appliance market. By combining our complementary product and manufacturing technologies, sales channels and marketing expertise, we look forward to bringing advanced, smart and ecologically responsible appliances to consumers across Europe, including Russia, in the coming years.”
Gorenje and Panasonic
Create Strategic Alliance Long-term strategic pairing to leverage combined scale and strengths Gorenje Group and Panasonic Corporation recently announced the creation of a longterm strategic alliance designed to take full advantage of the combined strengths and capabilities of the two companies, contribute to the profitability of both partners and improve their competitiveness, and all to the benefit of consumers. The Gorenje-Panasonic alliance is structured around two pillars: joint R&D and sharing of selected manufacturing platforms for selected product categories (washing machines, refrigerators and built-in ovens); and the sales network and know-how for distribution throughout Europe. In addition to these primary pillars, the alliance will also create a flexible foundation that allows both companies to pursue other areas of cooperation. Mr. Franjo Bobinac, Gorenje President and CEO stated: “Forging a strategic alliance with a corporation of Panasonic’s reputation is a historical milestone for Gorenje and an important step in the pursuit of our strategic policies. Panasonic is a global leader with a tradition spanning nearly 100 years and a strong commitment to investment into green innovation. Gorenje, still committed to its stand-alone long-term vision, has an in-depth
The Slovenian Times | Autumn Edition 2013
knowledge of the European market and its consumers and fosters a focus on design, innovation, and quality. Synergies in design, manufacturing and sales will yield benefits for both enterprises which will trickle down to end-users and other stakeholders. This partnership will result in a number of opportunities for both corporations and will surely open up new ones as it develops in the years to come. We look forward to cooperating with Panasonic.”
Gorenje and Panasonic will implement the alliance jointly in the areas of R&D, manufacturing, and sales, with an initial emphasis on: the joint development of new generation washing machines to be distributed in the EU; the production of Panasonic brand refrigerators by Gorenje to be distributed in the EU, Russia and other CIS Markets; and the joint distribution potential of selected Panasonic brand built-in kitchen appliances in Europe and the production of built-in ovens by Gorenje. As a sign of confidence in the success of the alliance and a commitment to the long-term business relationship, Panasonic is investing EUR 10m and acquiring a minority interest in Gorenje, and to allow existing and new shareholders to benefit from the alliance, Gorenje will execute an equity increase. The strategic alliance will allow both parties to better serve their customers by creating synergies that leverage the respective strengths and competitive advantages of each party. 01 Strategic partnership between Gorenje and Panasonic was presented to the press by Ichiro Kikuchi, Vice President, Panasonic Corporation – Appliances, Laurent Abadie, Chairman & CEO, Panasonic Europe Ltd, Franjo Bobinac, Gorenje President and CEO and Branko Apat, Gorenje Management Board Member (from left to right). 02 To announce the strategic partnership a press conference was held in Ljubljana.
Holeczek Klaus, CEO odelo Group and Dobočnik Davorin, Plant Manager
Holeczek Klaus, CEO odelo Group
Odelo Slovenija receives the
Automotive Lean Production Award 2013 Odelo Slovenija was the winner of the prestigious European Automotive Lean Production Award 2013 in the International SME category. Klaus Holeczek, CEO of odelo Group responded, “This award is a result of the ongoing implementation of the lean concept in the Slovene plant.” Odelo Slovenija, d.o.o. drew attention to itself by receiving the prestigious European Award. The company was awarded the Automotive Lean Production Award for lean production in the automotive industry in the international SME category. It is awarded by the German professional journal Automobil Produktion and the consulting company Agamus Consult. Among this year’s winners were other automotive production companies including VW, Seat and Fiat. The award ceremony will take place at the Automotive Lean Production Congress at the VW plant, Wolfsburg Germany, on 23. October 2013. “Learn from the best!“ – for the past six years this has been a goal and important criteria for the “Automotive Lean Production” study and award. In this benchmark study for the prestigious award, lean production OEMs and suppliers take part. The best plants are awarded with an Automotive Lean Production Award that is divided into six different categories. This year more than 100 production companies from European automotive companies took part.
Ever since the company was founded in 2005, the lean culture has been an inherent part of the philosophy of the plant of Odelo Slovenija d.o.o. The introduction of various lean methods, since the beginning, as well as the consistent and successful application of lean manufacturing principles and the pursuit of a clear roadmap achieved by ongoing auditing of goals, led to the award win. For CEO Klaus Holeczek, motivated employees, a culture open to mistakes and to innovation, flexibility of employees and full support of the plant management, are just as important as the lean alignment of processes. The importance of lean thinking in the plant was also underlined by establishing its own lean promotion team, which continuously observed all processes in the plant and further developed the “Lean Spirit”. Managing Director of Agamus Consult, Dr. Werner Geiger stated: “Odelo Slovenija has shown, in an exemplary manner, the successful introduction and implementation of lean methods: an intelligently built lean roadmap, strong commitment at all levels of management and persistence which are definitely the success fac-
tors of the company. The plant in Prebold has taken part in our study since 2009 and we have followed their work and progress ever since. We wish all the best to Odelo Slovenija and give our highest recognition to them.” The plant in Slovenia was also supported by product and process development in Germany. The high competence level of the employees and good team-work between Slovenia and Germany ensured that projects were launched into the plant with a high degree of maturity. Odelo is a well-established producer of high quality tail and signal lights for the premium automotive industry. In 2011, the Odelo Group was taken over by Bayraktarlar Holding A.S., a leading manufacturer from the automotive lighting sector in Turkey, headquartered in Istanbul. In odelo Slovenija in Prebold, they produce structurally high complex lights, seen in car brands such as Mercedes, Audi, Volkswagen, BMW, Porsche, Bentley, Ferrari, Rolls Royce and others. There are currently more than 900 people employed at odelo Slovenija and in 2013 they expect around EUR 135m turnover. Autumn Edition 2013 | The Slovenian Times
More info on: www.investslovenia.org
REPUBLIC OF SLOVENIA MINISTRY OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND TECHNOLOGY
Slovenia boasts a surprising number of internationally renowned brands like household appliances producer Gorenje, motor homes producer Adria Mobil, ski manufacturer Elan, and names like skier Tina Maze, philosopher Slavoj Žižek, composer and musician Slavko Avsenik and his Oberkrainer ensemble etc. Some of the world known products such as the 35 mm slide frame, the perfume atomizer, alpine carving skis, the first hybrid yacht and the best selling Talking Friends smart phone application were created in Slovenia. Contact us: SPIRIT Slovenija - Public Agency of the Republic of Slovenia for the Promotion of Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Development, Investment and Tourism Verovškova 60 SI-1000 Ljubljana Slovenia T: +386 1 5891 870 E: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
More info on: www.sloveniapartner.eu
Economy : FDI Summit 2013 Special Finding the funds to generate growth The FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) Summit Slovenia 2013 is a major international business event focusing on foreign direct investment and current development issues, specifically the measures for generating growth in the current volatile European and global economic environment. The leading theme of the summit will be “A Clear Vision for the Future” to highlight that endless and often self-destructive politiIn recent years, the FDI Summit has become one of the top business events discussion is not what Slovenia needs but in Slovenia. This year´s conference will focus on the current volatile situation cal rather immediate action in terms of active ecoand problems Slovenia faces in stabilising the economy and generating new nomic policy and adoption of crucial structural growth. changes. The 2013 summit will be held in Ljubljana at the Faculty of Economics on 17 September 2013 with up to 30 speakers participating in seven round table discussions and an evening Conclusion paper from the third FDI reception, with up to 200 participants from 1. Alenka Bratušek, Prime Minister Direct Investment) Summit Slovenia 2012 (Foreign Slovenia and abroad attending. 2. Uroš Čufer, Finance Minister
A Clear Vision for the Future Speakers
3. Gregor Virant, Interior and Public Administration Minister
A rich and varied programme
Recognising the new reality and The conference programme was prepared by a steering committee comprising Brane Kra 5. Professor Dušan Mramor, Dean of the Faculty of Economics, University of Ljubljana jnik, CEO, The Slovenia Times; Tilen Majimplementing measures are 6. Japec Jakopin, Founder and co-owner of the Seaway Company nardi, Editor, The Slovenia Times; Professor Dušan Mramor, Dean of the Faculty of Eco 7. Professor Marko Jaklič, Faculty of Economics WKHÀUVWVWHSVWRUHJDLQLQJFRQÀGHQFH nomics, University of Ljubljana; Peter Kraljič, 4. Jean-Marc Peterschmitt, Managing Director, Central and South Eastern Europe, EBRD
8. Ivan K B Lee, Hong Kong Economic and Trade Affairs (Central and Eastern Europe) 9. Damir Kuštrak, Executive Vice President for Export Markets, Agrokor Group, 10. Holger Postl, General Manager, TAM Durabus 11. Boštjan Gorjup, Managing Director, BSH Hišni aparati 12. Boštjan Skalar, Director, SPIRIT Slovenia, Public Agency for Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Development, Investment and Tourism
13. Stanislav Raščan, Ambassador, Director General Directorate for Economic Diplomacy 14. Marjan Hribar, Director General, Tourism and Internationalisation Directorate, Ministry of Economic Development and Technology 15. Christof Droste, Managing Director, Hella Saturnus 16. Haimo Primas, Managing Director, Lafarge Cement 17. Matej Potokar, President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Slovenia (AmCham) & General Manager, Microsoft Services, Central & Eastern Europe 18. Enzo Smrekar, Senior Executive Director and Member of the Board, Droga Kolinska 19. Dr Yuri Sidorovich, Deloitte Audit Partner and Country Leader in Slovenian Practice 20. Franc Gönc, RRA Mura - Regional Development Agency 21. Sonja Šmuc, Executive Director, Managers’ Association of Slovenia 22. Jure Košir, former alpine skier, Olympic medallist 23. Sabrina Schütz-Oberländer, Managing Director, Development Agency of Carinthia-Austria 24. Petra Majdič, former nordic skier, Olympic medallist 25. Goran Novkovič, Adviser to the General Manager, Chamber of Commerce and Industry
The Slovenian Times | Autumn Edition 2013
Director Emeritus McKinsey & Co. Inc.; Japec Jakopin, co-founder and co-owner, Seaway Group; Christof Droste, Managing Director, Hella Saturnus and Slovenian Manager of the Year 2011; and Marjan Hribar, Director of Directorate for Tourism and Internationalisation, Ministry for Economic Development and Technology The conference speakers and participants include: • respected international and domestic experts, • CEOs of domestic and foreign companies, • key representatives of government institutions responsible for shaping the business environment, • existing and potential foreign investors, • representatives from business and economic institutions, both foreign and domestic, • diplomatic representatives from several countries.
FDI Summit 2013 Special : Economy
Interview: Maja Makovec Brenčič, PhD, Professor, Faculty of Economics, University of Ljubljana
We need a proactive and integrated approach in the promotion of Slovenia Maja Makovec Brenčič, PhD, is a Professor of International Business at the Faculty of Economics, University of Ljubljana (FELU). Her main research areas are internationalisation of firms, international marketing, B2B and relationship marketing. She published in the Journal of International Marketing, the International Marketing Review, the European Journal of Marketing, Industrial Marketing Management and other international journals. She has contributed to different international monographs and conferences and served as a reviewer for international conferences or academic journals in her research areas. In June 2013 she was appointed as president elect of EMAC (European Marketing Academy). At FELU she is a Vice Dean for Development, where she coordinates strategy, internationalisation and new product development. By Tilen Majnardi, M. Sc. Autumn Edition 2013 | The Slovenian Times
Economy : FDI Summit 2013 Special Q What is your general impression of the overall promotion of Slovenia, visual constants, content....? A We are progressing, but slowly and not systematically enough. What I still miss is a proactive and integrated approach by all institutions responsible for the promotion of Slovenia. Actually, there should be a clear strategy with a yearly operational plan concerning who, when and how to promote Slovenia. It is not that an idea for how to do it does not exist; it is just too fragmented when it comes to its implementation. For example, the slogan ‘I Feel Slovenia’ is well accepted in Europe but not communicated enough, not just for tourism for which it was predominantly created, we could also use it more generally and in creative ways in other areas, in industry. We have accepted the colours – green, blue, white reflecting our nature and landscape but before aligning all the elements of communication I think we should first answer the key question: do we know and accept our identity, our values, the ‘personality’ of our country, our mission and vision. This is what we should communicate to the world – an interesting, unique and commonly accepted acknowledgment of who we are, our advantages, distinctive capabilities and uniqueness which differentiate us from other countries and country brands. These are the crucial elements of the development of every country brand strategy and consequently, its promotion.
Q Do you think that our promotion is more about what we think about our country and less about what our real advantages are? A In fact, it is both. Self-perception is very important when developing the elements of promotion and it is generally important in every marketing activity; if we do not believe in something then it is hard to ensure that others will believe it. But we need to see our little but quite unique world, more positively than the current general climate. I think we should more strongly communicate all the natural advantages we have and from which, also historically, most of our achievements have arisen. Maybe we just do not see them anymore in that way since the modern era, globalisation and international competition have prevailed in most industries. But Slovenian achieve-
ments are still based on people´s persistence, distinctive individuality, flexibility and knowledge. Let us look at the industries and locations of production (e.g. machinery, steel products, electrical, food production etc.) – most of them have developed in very difficult circumstances, but (some of them) are still operating, despite financial and market pressures – mainly because people have retained the fighting spirit of long-term survival.
at the most important competitions. This is an important step forward to a unified identity, at least in some communication elements. As the area of sports is one of the most recognisable, I have a reasonable hope that this will teach us how having a unified visual presence and communication is important for all areas and for the whole country.
Q Why don’t we use our global champions for promotion, Tina Maze, Anže Kopitar... corporate
Q What do you think about the official slogan ‘I global champions, Pipistrel, Seaway..? Feel Slovenia’? A Some attempts have been made and at the A I think it encompasses our social and natu- industry level certain companies have already ral environment well. I also like that it stresses ‘feel – feelings’ and indirectly exposes love. These are positive messages and even in these economically demanding and necessarily rational times we need this type of country spirit. However, accepting this slogan also means we need to implement it and translate it into action – irrespective of which areas, industry, social or other activity. This is where we still need to strengthen our ‘belief’.
Q Ok, if the country slogan and visual constants are connected, why is nothing unified, the colour of the football team, the hockey team, the colour of the government plane.... This is confusing. A Well, at the Slovenian Olympic Committee and its marketing body we have aligned the colours and visual elements and the use of symbols by athletes who represent the country
recognised how important it is to have ambassadors who can share proper values, motivate employees and customers and create a strong belief in the quality and value of a product or service. These ambassadors should not only be athletes but could also come from other areas: science, culture, art, entrepreneurs, as you mentioned. Some institutional communications (organisations which present or support industries in internationalisation) have encompassed our stars well in their communication. However, since there is no systemic and systematic approach or common and mutually accepted strategy (at least to my knowledge) such attempts and certain elements do not garner attention or support in the long run. But each of us is also an ambassador of our own country, we can also contribute a lot, as individuals, to a positive image.
Q A lot of foreigners are very positively surprised
The Slovenian Times | Autumn Edition 2013
when they come to Slovenia, why is that? Obviously we are doing something wrong in promoting our country, what would be your advice? A As I explained above it is all about implementing an integrated, effectively planned and of course, financially supported promotional strategy. From the consumer standpoint, having no expectations or low expectations and then a positive experience, is a good thing.
FDI Summit 2013 Special : Economy However, if this positive experience is not repeated on a higher quality level or not experienced at all, it will not help our existing and future international positioning – but we all know how much we need it. We need visitors, tourists and investors to come repeatedly and not just ‘on occasion’, to continuously provide them with a good experience and, hopefully, they will spread a positive message. Word of mouth is one of the most sensitive, but at the same time very important, segmental promotions. It is a good feeling, e.g. when we have conferences at the FELU or when we host marketing experts at the Slovenian Marketing Conference, when people say: we are impressed with your country. It is also the duty of all of us to share this good perception – as ambassadors of our country. 01
Q What do you think about the formal organi- Actually, there should be a sation of promotion, now we have the unified agency, SPIRIT, that combines corporate and tourist promotion. Does this new organisation bring better quality or just new packaging? Is the name SPIRIT effective? A I like the name SPIRIT – it sends a positive message. For now, it seems to me that SPIRIT is burdened with too many tasks and areas to be able to deal with them efficiently in a short time. It also has to overcome certain traditions from other organisations and institutions when promoting investment and industries; its financial sources are also relatively limited, especially if we want to take a step forward regarding FDI. Since tourism in Slovenia is a very important contributor to GDP and it requires a strong expert organisation, I would not include it in such a large organisation. On the other hand, due to the times and circumstances we are currently experiencing, I do understand the rationale for such integration; but then we need to enable this with the proper resources – in terms of content and finance.
Q How would you make Slovenian promotion more effective, more ‘sexy’?
A I do not think we need to make it more ‘sexy’ or deliberately try to be different from the others. I think we just need to be stronger in conveying our advantages and beliefs, using more direct instruments of communication, more PR content, industry and product-oriented PR, to attract all segments – from visitors, tourists
clear strategy with a yearly operational plan concerning who, when and how to promote Slovenia. It is not that an idea for how to do it does not exist; it is just too fragmented when it comes to its implementation.
to investors. We also need to be more consistent and efficiently organised in what we want to convey to the world. We are noticeable but at this point not in the way we would like to be.
Q Do you think that we are using the EuroBasket championship well enough to promote the country, not just sport? A We have. Maybe not to the extent of some other European countries with a tradition, marketing experience and strong sponsorships, but in comparison to other championships and events in Slovenia, from the marketing and promotion perspective, we have gone a step forward. Especially in this time of so many (new) constraints I think that the organising and marketing team has done a good job, also in attracting Slovenian companies for sponsorship and their international promotion.
01 Live performance by Tina Maze with the Feel Slovenia Band on the main stage in Schladming. 02 Maja Makovec Brenčič, PhD, Professor, Faculty of Economics, University of Ljubljana 03 KZS: Official jersey of Slovenia Basketball team 2013. 03
Autumn Edition 2013 | The Slovenian Times
Economy : FDI Summit 2013 Special
Investment opportunities in Slovenia Slovenia is faced with deep structural weaknesses and one of the measure to stablise the economy is the withdrawal by the state’s from local companies. In early 2013, to achieve this, the National Assembly adopted a resolution to sell the state ownership stakes in 15 companies under the Slovenian National Holding Company Act.
State capital investments in which the sale process has started due to their need for capital injections to maintain market share Company Name
Adria Airways d.d. www.adria.si
AERO d.d. www.aero.si
Adhesives & Coatings
Elan www.elan.si Bovec
Fotona Medical Equipment www.fotona.com/enKobarid Tolmin
Paints & Coatings
Rav na K
National flag carrier operating more than 170 weekly flights to destinations throughout Europe
Chemical, graphic and paper manufacturers
Leading producer and supplier of sports and leisure time actiŠošta vities equipment including skis, snowboards, yachts and power 86 Tržič Dedicated to technical development and progressive Brezjeboats. Kamniška Ljubno Mozirje design through an innovative approach and advanced technology Bistrica ob Savinji
Kranjska Hrušica Gora Mojstrana
Črna na Koroškem
One of the most experienced developers of high-technology Preddvor Naklo recognised for the design, manufacture, and laser systems, Ljubljana, Central Slovenia 70 Brdo support of advanced solid-state laser systems for medicine Železniki (aesthetics, surgery, gynecology), dentistry, industry & defence KRANJ Kamnik A leading Comprises more than 40 different companies. 17
Domžale, Dolenjska Cerkno
In addition to reducing the role of the state in Slovenian companies, the country is seeking to Deskle attract more foreign direct investments. There are many opportunities across Slovenia which are open to foreign investors. NOVA
manufacturer of paintsVodice and varnishes in South-Eastern Europe ŠKOFJA Mengeš generating more than 50% of its revenue outside the EU. LOKA
Coast and Western Slovenia Eastern Slovenia: LJUBLJANA Žiri
TRBOV Zagorje ob Savi
• Port of Koper, Planned toincrease Major infrastructure projects: Idrija capacity, seabed container terminal • Construction of the second block at dredging, construction of quays, ... for the nuclear power plant Krško Vrhnika large infrastructure investments will be • Radioactive Waste Repository Stična GORICA looking for a private investor or a strategic Companies inGrosuplje reconstruction: Logatec partner who will be responsible for the • Pomurka –food processing Treb Ivančna Ljubljana and Central Slovenia Ajdovščina Borovnica development of container traffic. • Lip Polčane – wood processing Gorica (Gorenjska, Posavje) • Slovenian Railways has announced the Investments in tourism sector: Vipava • Ljubljana-Sport Stadium, Bežigrad - seekconstruction of a second railway track from • Hotel Terme Benedict and Benedict ing an investor to complete the shopping Štanjel Port of Koper to Divača. Construction with • Health resort “Rimska carda” Žužemberk centre and business area of the Stadium construction expected to begin in 2014. with geothermal borehole Cerknica • Execution of the commercial, industrial and • Hotels for sale in Portorož: Kempinski • Solar thermal spa hotel complex in Korovci Postojna logistics areas of project Phoenix including hotel, Hotel Metropol, Lucia, Roža, Barbara Business Zonez: the development of the airport Cerklje and Salinera are looking for new investors. • Technopolis Celje Ribnica Sežana • Chain of hydropower plants • Cimos (automotive) is looking • Industrial zone Tris Kanižarica (Bela on the lower Sava River for a strategic partner Krajina) of 100ha, the possibility to Lipica Pivka building solar electro plants, the possibility • Large companies for sale: Mercator (under of- Companies in reconstruction: fer), Litostroj Power and Papirnica Radeče, • Primorje Ajdovščina (machinery of building electro-plant from biomass Škocjan and real estate) On sale by the Slovenian • Companies in liquidation process: SCT Kočevje - once the largest construction company • MIP Nova Gorica (meat-food company) Ministry of Culture: Ankaran/Ancarano (machinery, vehicles, real estate). Viator• Lipica Stud Farm is looking for an investor • Gradac Castle (near Slovenj Ilirska Bistrica Vektor - the largest transport company. in the hotel, catering and golf course. Gradec, Štajerska) KOPER/CAPODISTRIA Tourism: Izola/Isola • Mountain ski resort Kanin needs an • Castle Dornava (near Ptuj, Štajerska) Osilnica • Bled, hotels for sale including Hotel Krim, investor to boost tourism in Bovec • Negova Castle (near Radenci Spa) Kostel Piran/Pirano Hotel Ribno and Villa Bled. Portorož/Portorose Hrastovlje
The Slovenian Times | Autumn Edition 2013
FDI Summit 2013 Special : Economy Companies where the state ownership share is for sale but the process has not yet started Grad
Aerodrom Ljubljana www.lju-airport.si
Management of the Jože Pučnik airport and ground handling Moravske of airplanes, passengers and cargo
Maintenaince, repairDobrovnik/ and overhaul services for Dobronak airlines MURSKA
Adria Airways Tehnika www.adriatehnika.com
Radlje ob Dravi Nova KBM
BankingMARIBOR Maribor, Štájerska
vne Lovrenc Koroškem Telekom Slovenije na Pohorju
Cinkarna Celje www.cinkarna.si
Chemicals Slovenska Bistrica
Ljubljana, Central Slovenia
PTUJ Celje, Štajerska Pragersko
Ljutomer Leading operator of fixed telephony in Slovenia and the leading provider of broadband internet access.
Organises domestic and international fairs and exhibitions and other events,
Sladki Vrh, Štájerska
A household name in some 30 countries outside Slovenia the company develops and manufacturs high quality hygienic paper products
Podčetrtek, Srednje Sotelsko
Wellness centre with thermal baths and therapies
Hand tools manufacturer using the latest computercontrolled machines for thermal, mechanic and surface processing of materials and protection of the products. Production segments (Hand tools, Forging parts, Sinter, Special machines and Tourism) .
Ljubljana, Central Slovenia
The largest Slovenian producer of baking products, flour and pastries, pasta, frozen foods, rice, teas, spices and confectionary
Paloma web.paloma.si/en Žalec
Products for construction focused on domestic sales and sales to the markets of the former Yugoslavia. Dornava31 Ormož The group encompasses construction and renovaSredišče ob Dravi tion materials, cement glues, construction mortar and machine plaster.
Gospodarsko VELENJE Dobrnarazstavišče Exhibition & Conventio Poljčane Ljubljana, Central Slovenia www.ljubljanafair.com Slovenske Polzela
Terme OlimjeCELJE Bazeni www.terme-olimia.com
Unior Rimske Toplice www.uniortools.com
SOBOTA Offers a broad range of banking services to individuals and legalBeltinci entities, as well as certain supplementaLendava/ ry financial services, including leasing, management Lendva of mutual and pension funds and stock trading.
Lenart v Slov. goricah
Gornja Radgona Radenci
Šentilj v Brnik, Gorenjska Slov. goricah
The government assures Brežice that the sales process will be transparent with equal treatment of all tenderers. Sales will be carried out by public offers in domestic and foreign media and direct invitations to potential investors. Šmarješke Toplice The state will sell the companies through public auctions. Čatež Šentjernej Sales of individual investments will be carried out under the supervision of a commission appointed by the of Finance. NOVO Minister Otočec MESTO
Autumn Edition 2013 | The Slovenian Times
Economy : FDI Summit 2013 Special
Interview: Boštjan Skalar, Acting Director, SPIRIT Slovenia
Putting more SPIRIT
into the promotion of Slovenia Slovenia has had many problems with promotion, in fact ever since independence. With low recognition of the symbols, national colours and the decentralised organisation of promotion, it has been very difficult to put together a simple and effective promotion strategy for the country. In addition, Slovenia has been closed to foreign capital and fell off the map of global investors. Boštjan Skalar, Acting Director of SPIRIT, the new agency responsible for promotion, is trying to put general and corporate promotion on a new level. By Tilen Majnardi, M. Sc. 30
The Slovenian Times | Autumn Edition 2013
Q Slovenia reorganised the promotion of the country into a single agency promoting tourism, the economy, entrepreneurship… called SPIRIT. What real changes has this new organisation brought? A From the beginning of 2013, the Slovenian economic space gained a new institution – the Slovenian Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Development, Investment and Tourism Public Agency of the Republic of Slovenia or SPIRIT Slovenia. The new institution has a mandate to achieve better efficiency and competitiveness of the Slovenian economy. It unites under one umbrella agency the most important areas of the Slovenian economy: entrepreneurship, innovation, development, investment and tourism. For the Slovenian economy this means provision of support in a harmonised, transparent and comprehensive manner. Thus the Slovenian economy has, at its disposal, an institution that unites the key areas for growth, development and promotion of Slovenian companies in the most important target markets. The mission of SPIRIT Slovenia includes the realisation of strategic goals and
FDI Summit 2013 Special : Economy development programme policies in Slovenia, as an innovative, technologically developed, export oriented, tourist and for foreign investors, attractive destination. The key distinction in the provision of support to companies by the newly established agency is the implementation of support activities at one point which brings numerous synergies. Q Do you think that the promotion of Slovenia is effective enough? Are we focusing on the right content? A Our activities are in line with the expectations of Slovenian companies. We are aware that in these sharpened global competitive conditions, we are only able to compete with the most successful countries in a harmonised and partnership-based approach. The current conditions demand from the Slovenian economy that it provide more effort to achieve the desired results. Therefore, our agency provides Slovenian companies with comprehensive support for the presentation and sales of their products and services in selected markets. In our promotion activities we are focusing on the synergetic overlapping of the activities of individual sectors and, at the same time, optimisation of the operations in individual areas. Numerous synergies in the area of promotion of Slovenia are achieved by the development and implementation of the I FEEL SLOVENIA national trademark. This trademark is the strongest marketing tool of modern countries in individual areas - therefore, SPIRIT Slovenia is developing and implementing the national trademark in all areas. This means a more efficient and uniform presentation of Slovenia and its economy abroad in building recognition of Slovenia, Slovenian companies and other organisations in foreign markets as globally competitive, quality and reliable development partners.
Our vision for Slovenia and its brand is clear - we are committed to preserving Slovenia’s boutique ‘green’ offering and to growing this through organic development. in services. Slovenia is a EU member country and part of the EU internal market, meaning that establishing a company in Slovenia offers access to the largest world market. Slovenia is also an ideal springboard for doing business with the countries of South Eastern Europe. Slovenia also has comprehensive connections with economically important regions in neighbouring Austria and Italy, and in nearby Germany. Slovenian firms have growing technological and innovation activities. Lastly, Slovenia has great natural and cultural diversity. Our country is natures meeting point between the Alps, the Mediterranean and the Pannonian Plain. It is also a cultural meeting point between Germanic, Roman and Slavic cultures.
Q Don´t you think that we are caught in the
outdated “cliche” concept of promotion. We are promoting the same things as, for example, Italy and Austria – mountains, lakes, etc…….? A Slovenia is not like other countries, Slovenia is special. It brings together many elements in its unique unspoilt nature. Slovenia’s tourist attractions are linked together by nature and its cultural and natural heritage. The unique Slovenian experience in tourism is created by its people and the unique features of our country. In tourism we are promoting green facts, surprising Slovenian features, important historical turning points and records written by Slovenia. In our promotion activities for sustainable Q What are, in your opinion, the most recognis- and green tourism, green facts are important. able features of Slovenia? Slovenia belongs to the most biologically diA Slovenia has the right mix of features: qual- verse countries in the world - 1 percent of all ity infrastructure, a quality workforce, quality living beings and 2 percent of land animals live here. Slovenia is the third most wooded counlinks to regional markets and quality of life. Slovenia has a high quality, well-educated try in Europe - almost 60% of all its territory is and motivated labour force with excellent covered by forest. More than one third of Sloknowledge of foreign languages and a high venian territory is protected and classified in level of computer literacy. We are not cheap, we the Natura 2000 European network that protects biological diversity. Slovenia is also one of are cost-effective. The general infrastructure is well-developed the most water-rich countries in Europe. And and we have an excellent geographical position there are still remains of a rainforest in Slovewith access to regional markets. We have qual- nia - they are only 60km away from Ljubljana. ity infrastructure with comprehensive transThe story of promotion is based on the key port and telecommunication networks. competitive advantage of Slovenian tourism. There are many identified competitive ad- Moreover, we continue with the implementavantages of Slovenia as a location for FDI. First: tion of consistent and comprehensive overlapSlovenia is a small, but fast growing and rela- ping of the promotion of Slovenia and Slovetively rich market which has proven to be at- nian tourism in key markets and substantially tractive for foreign investors, especially those use the synergies with other Slovenian indus-
Photo: Vladimir Toš
tries. Our marketing and promotion is critical in prospective outgoing markets for addressing the key target public. Most foreign investors are attracted by Slovenia’s strategic position at the heart of Europe, its excellent transport and ITC infrastructure, its value chains, industry clusters and centres of excellence. Investors, keen to locate their operations at the heart of a market with 500 million consumers, will find Slovenia’s international commercial contacts and the landsea-air transport system ideal. An observance of international technical standards, personal integrity and company loyalty have made a foreign manager’s job easy ever since the first big international companies established their operations in Slovenia. But for an investment to succeed it takes time and perseverance. Serious investors run a marathon, not a sprint, while host countries have to implement necessary systemic changes.
Q We have a quite recognisable promotional slogan ‘I feel Slovenia’. We are the only country with the word ‘love’ in the name. Where can we really “feel love” in our promotional activities? A We are aware that a strong brand is the best marketing tool for modern countries faced with increasing competition. We have a clear manifesto for our programme of marketing activities and the ‘I feel Slovenia’ brand is leading these activities. In the area of development and implementation of the brand, I feel Slovenia, we are also achieving synergies. SPIRIT Slovenia acts on the development and implementation of Autumn Edition 2013 | The Slovenian Times
Economy : FDI Summit 2013 Special A SPIRIT Slovenia is aware of the significance
01 www.pipistrel.si 02 Boštjan Skalar, Acting Director, SPIRIT Slovenia
the national trademark, in all areas and with consistent use for various activities and tools. This already leads to a more efficient and uniform presentation of Slovenia and its economy abroad in building the recognition of Slovenia, Slovenian companies and other organisations in foreign markets. In our promotional activities we present the core of the brand of Slovenia - the ‘Slovenian green’. Slovenian green shows the care in preserving the natural environment. In technological development, taking care of the increase in the competitiveness of Slovenia by using our own knowledge and providing development cooperation in Slovenia and abroad. All these activities are intended to increase the economically successful use of developed products, pro-
The Slovenian Times | Autumn Edition 2013
cedures and services that include technological and non-technological innovations. The environmental aspect represents one of the most important guidelines of the SPIRIT agency in its principle ‹Together with nature›. In our promotional activities we present the sustainable development and promotion of green investments as the main policy of the new European financial perspective - HORIZON 2020. In tourism, the core of the brand – the green - represents more than just a colour. Slovenian green expresses the balance between the calmness of nature and the diligence of Slovenians. It speaks of unspoilt nature and our focus on preserving nature. Our vision for Slovenia and its brand is clear - we are committed to preserving Slovenia’s boutique ‘green’ offering and to growing this through organic development. Q We talk a lot about the promotion of foreign investment in Slovenia. Is this promotion sensible if we are not serious about the privatisation process and we are not prepared to make a clear list of projects that are on the table? A It goes without saying that the pending sales process will be governed by the recently promulgated law and carried out transparently. The first list of the companies to be offered to potential buyers includes 15 Slovenian companies and we are led to believe it will be amended as needed. The relevant information will be provided as soon as more details are known.
Q The best promoters of Slovenia are our sportsmen, athletes, innovative businessmen, Tina Maze, Anže Kopitar, Akrapovič, Boscarol………., are we using these people enough for our promotion?
of having top athletes, economists and other celebrities representing and promoting Slovenia, the Slovenian economy and tourism. For this reason, SPIRIT Slovenia actively cooperates with successful athletes and well-known people within the frame of the possibilities given. An example of such cooperation is the promotion of the Slovenian tourism themed GREEN.ACTIVE.HEALTHY.SLOVENIA. In line with the significance of sport to our national integrity, reputation and promotion, we have designed and made a catalogue, an advertisement and a series of posters with motifs of well-known Slovenian athletes in Slovenian tourist destinations. In Slovenia we have many outstanding individuals and companies that we use in our promotional activities abroad. Slovenia boasts a surprising number of internationally renowned brands such as household appliance producer, Gorenje; motor homes producer, Adria Mobil; ski manufacturer, Elan; and names like skier, Tina Maze; philosopher, Slavoj Žižek; composer and musician, Slavko Avsenik and his Oberkrainer ensemble etc. Some world known products such as the 35mm slide frame, the perfume atomiser, alpine carving skis, the first hybrid yacht and the bestselling Talking Friends smart phone application were created in Slovenia.
Q How will Slovenia use EuroBasket 2013 for tourist and corporate promotion?
A SPIRIT Slovenia is aware that EuroBasket 2013, the European basketball championship, is a great opportunity not only for achieving new sporting success and strengthening sportsmanship and the national spirit, but also for increasing visits and the number of overnight stays in our country, not to mention promoting and strengthening our reputation. Since last year, numerous tourist promotional activities have been carried out in selected foreign markets to inform people about this major sporting event. SPIRIT Slovenia, or formerly the Slovenian Tourist Board, has been planning for this event since the very beginning, i.e. during Slovenia›s candidacy to organise this great sporting event, while the key activities were launched at the end of 2012. The marketing communication activities focused primarily on the first half of this year. During the championship, i.e. within the frame of the matches and other accompanying activities or events, SPIRIT Slovenia, as one of the chief sponsors of the event, will carry out a number of marketing activities (including advertising) for the «Invest Slovenia» brand, which is aimed at promoting Slovenia as an attractive investment opportunity for foreign direct investment.
FDI Summit 2013 Special : Economy
TAM – a legend revived
TAM – Tovarna Avtomobilov in Motorjev Maribor – once the pride of the Yugoslavian commercial vehicle industry and known for its quality and reliability throughout the region, has faced tough times since the breakup of Yugoslavia. With its recent successor, TVM Tovarna Vozil Maribor d.o.o., filing for bankruptcy in March 2011, many saw the company and its famous brand disappearing forever. However and much to the surprise of both Slovenian politics and the players in the bus industry, two and a half years later the first newly built tourist bus was finished by a team of 100 Slovenians and successfully presented at the UITP fair in Geneva, Switzerland. TAMDuraBus (DuraBus d.o.o.), an entity established by a consortium of Chinese, Dutch and Austrian companies, acquired the assets from bankruptcy, hired the skilled and experienced local workforce and restarted development and production of buses and commercial vehicles. Both the local and export markets awarded the effort of TAM-DuraBus with sizable orders, enabling the new company to reach its goal of producing around 70 buses in its first business year. FDI at its best! Won over by an ambitious management team which today runs the company in Maribor, the large-scale Chinese state-owned company, CHTC (China Hi-Tech Group Corporation), decided to take the lead in the investment with the goal of reviving the half century-long tradition of commercial vehicle building in Maribor. Convinced by the prospects of turning the investment into a successful long-term business based on knowledge about the availability of suitable market niches and the access to a highly skilled workforce, CHTC decided to take the risk by investing in Maribor, the first Chinese foreign direct investor in Slovenia in the manufacturing sector. Attracting the first
Chinese FDI project to Slovenia and to the region of Maribor was not an easy task and many unknown factors raised questions of whether Slovenia would appreciate and support the investment led by a China based conglomerate. The TAM-DuraBus investment project immediately received wide attention and support from the local business partners, the people and the Municipality of Maribor. Re-started production is going in accordance with the investment start-up plan, with an emphasis on tourist and airport product lines and the hope that the development of city transportation products and supporting infrastructure can be started in the first year. The investors have given a lot of attention and importance to city-buses and public transport infrastructure, not only with a view to increase sales but also for two other, very important, reasons. Firstly, city-buses with the new TAM brand logo would re-establish the TAM-DuraBus brand in the daily life of the people of Maribor and also other Slovenian cities and secondly, the city-bus segment has been identified as the most appropriate for introducing new alternative technologies such as electric and hybrid drive-lines. However, plans to immediately start the development of an entirely new TAM-DuraBus line of city-buses and related pilot projects (first to be started in the city of Maribor) have been delayed by an unexpected combination of administrative hurdles
related to the FDI subsidy procedure, creating doubt for the Chinese investor about Slovenia’s commitment to FDI. Investment projects such as the one undertaken by CHTC in Maribor, can act as an international showcase for Slovenia in the global environment struggling to find appropriate solutions for investments in the current economic situation. Investors such as CHTC, being the world market leader in the segment of textile machinery with subsidiaries in Switzerland, Austria, Italy and The Netherlands, with a major commercial vehicle section producing large quantities of commercial vehicles, employing some 55,000 workers and generating a combined turnover of several billion euros, are a top-level target for all small open economies, such as Slovenia, in attempting to attract FDI. In this respect, the TAM-DuraBus project shows that even small and relatively unknown business environments can successfully attract investments from major global conglomerates. However, one thing that is true not only for individuals but also for governments and government bodies, is that with great success comes great responsibility. Investors from CHTC are hoping that Slovenian authorities will act responsibly so that the TAM-DuraBus project will be able to obtain the necessary decisions from the responsible government bodies to enable TAM-DuraBus to finally start its city-transport project and at the same time, prove to CHTC that the Slovene system of FDI support is more than just a system of empty promises and insurmountable administrative hurdles. We hope that Slovenia will prove itself to its current and potential investors as an attractive FDI location, most of all for the sake of revival and/or preservation of the few existing Slovene “blue-chip“ companies and brands like TAM.
01 President Borut Pahor visiting TAM-DuraBus 02 Production in TAM-DuraBus
Economy : FDI Summit 2013 Special Q What five steps would you propose to the government to achieve by the end of the year?
A To further stabilise the coalition; to continue talking to all social partners to form a strong opposition against the crisis; have a vision for the positive times after the crisis; and then working hard; and working harder.
Q Is higher VAT affecting your business? A Higher VAT is making Slovenia more expensive and with this weakening competitiveness.
Q Exports in Slovenia are doing quite well despite the crisis, what is your explanation for that? A I was always saying that even in crisis there are opportunities. Look, now we can all see it is true. So, let us grasp these opportunities.
Q What do you think about government inter-
Interview: Christof Droste, Managing Director, Hella Saturnus
Solution for Slovenia: Working Hard and Working Harder! Christof Droste is well known in Slovenia. He is a frequent guest at conferences and a regular at the FDI Summit. He is also well known for his openness and directness. His professional attitude and style of management has resulted in Hella Saturnus being amongst the most recognised and successful companies in Slovenia. By B. K. Q We have spoken for many years at our confer- government, parliament and all people living ences about what the government should change in this country - is anyone listening? A I am sure that the government or at least a part of government was always listening. However, the last government did not have enough time, there were too many coalition partners and too many different ideas. Beacause of all that, it was not possible to do the really significant changes.
Q Do you think that we are seeing a change in attitude or is this happening as a result of EU pressure? A Are you talking about the actual â€žpositiveâ€œ trend in changes?!? For sure, the EU pressure is increasing but I think the understanding of the
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in Slovenia is inceasing as well- we need to do something!
Q Did you experience any boost in the efficiency of the public sector last year?
A Personally not. But I can see that Slovenia is really working on this but unfortunately, it takes some time.
Q What do you think about the current governments privatisation plans?
A It is the right way. That is, what we need in Slovenia. Important is finding the right investors, not only bringing short-term money to the country, but bringing long-term prospects for the companies and for investors.
vention in some companies, will this work in the long run? A Long run government interventions cannot be good. I think the government knows this and I hope they are working on future solutions.
Q Are you satisfied with the speed of sorting out the banking sector?
A For sure not. But I personally cannot judge what is decelerating the procedure. From my point of view this is the most important issue to be closed.
Q You were Slovenian Manager of the Year 2011. Would you consider the position of prime minister? A No, honestly, I am at home in business. And fortunately, Slovenia has a prime minister. ď ´
LED STREET LIGHTING
SMART LED LIGHT
HELLA Saturnus Slovenija d.o.o. Letališka c. 17 1000 Ljubljana/Slovenija Tel.: +386 1 520 32 58 firstname.lastname@example.org www.hella-saturnus.si
Economy : FDI Summit 2013 Special Interview: Rudolf Klötscher, Executive Vice President Eastern Europe, BSH Bosch and Siemens Home Appliance Group
Implementation and execution of changes is the answer BSH Hišni aparati, d. o. o., is a very successful part of the Bosch and Siemens Home Appliance Group. Rudolf Klötscher, former head of the Slovenian branch is definitely “responsible” for this success. Now that he is observing Slovenia from the outside, he has a very clear opinion about the current situation and the necessary actions to get back on track. By G. M. Q You have now been “out” of Slovenia for a few mentation in daily business and to execute the
A Fortunately we prepared our company in
years. How do you see Slovenia at the moment? A Personally my wife and I really miss Slovenia but we still have some good friends there so we visit your beautiful country for private reasons several times a year and as Executive Vice President Eastern Europe, I´m still responsible for Slovenia so I´m not totally «out». Regarding the political and economic situation of the country, I feel quite sad because I think that Slovenia is losing more and more of the benefits and stability it built in previous years through great effort and hard work.
the years before and we were therefore able to deal appropriately with the crisis, so no reconsideration is necessary.
Q What was, in your opinion, the biggest mistake of Slovenian decision makers after 2004/2005? Where did we miss the point of being an EU member? A The biggest failure and the root of the current development issues, in my opinion, is the still existing and too pronounced interlocking between the state/politicians and the economy. Just to point out one current example, the decision for the new CEO of Luka Koper, one of the biggest and most important companies in the country. The still too strong and complicated bureaucracy as well as the high taxes and costs are also an issue. To be competitive within the EU, especially to attract foreign investors and companies, the process of privatisation and simplification is, by far, too slow!
content. Concerning attitude, speaking as a friend I unfortunately feel more standstill than change and that is across society, not only with politicians and entrepreneurs!
Q Is, in your opinion, quick privatisation at this moment the right approach?
A Just “quick” is not enough. Of greater importance is finding the right entrepreneurs in the real sense of the word “entrepreneur”, which means that they must have the needed skills, attitude and political independence as well as sustainable, future-oriented strategies to guarantee proper and ongoing stability for the companies. If this is possible in a short time it would be highly appreciated from my side!
Q We talked a lot in the past about transparency in the public sector. Do you think that Slovenia is on the right track? A As I said before, the first steps are done but there is still a long path in front...
Q Would you be prepared to invest additional money in Slovenia?
A If the previously mentioned topics change – probably; in the current situation - definitely not.
Q Do you think that the Croatian accession to the EU weakened Slovenia’s economic position in
Q Do you see some positive actions over the last the EU? year? Some laws were changed but did we change A If Slovenia develops in the future like it did the attitude?
in the last years, yes!
right track. But, in addition, improvements are still necessary... The mere changing of laws is not enough, even more important is the imple-
Q How is the crisis affecting Bosch Siemens in
A Yes, you are right, some topics are on the
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Slovenia, will you reconsider your plans for the future?
Q What is your view on the strategic cooperation between Gorenje and Panasonic? Will this affect your operations in the Western Balkans and Central Europe? A I always appreciate competition. At the end of the day the quality and the customers decide.
Q Is the EU doing enough and in the right way to boost business in troubled EU countries?
A The measures by the European Central Bank to reduce interest rates in order to stimulate investment is, for me, the right approach. In addition, the EU is giving a lot of subventions. However, I´m not quite sure if the EU is focusing enough on sustainable measures. And last but not least, being an EU-member doesn´t release a country from its own responsibility!
h BSH HiĹĄni aparati d.o.o. Nazarje
Tradition. Quality. Innovation. Nazarje. The Nazarje BSH Home Appliances Group has been developing and manufacturing small electric household appliances since 1993 and, as of 2008, technologically advanced hot drinks machines that the BSH Group markets worldwide.
200 well trained engineers with a variety of professional profiles ensure the continued development of the appliances appearing on the world market under the Bosch, Siemens, Ufesa and Profilo brand names.
Innovation, quality, reliability and energy efficiency. For a better tomorrow. Innovation, quality, reliability and energy efficiency are our most fundamental values and set our products apart, while also being reflected in both our work process and leadership. They are the basis of the philosophy of our business conduct and, in combination with our highly motivated staff, constitute the foundation of an effective business.
Our competitive market advantage will also be ensured in the future with energy saving and user friendly appliances that are based on innovative, smart technologies. Only then will we be able to achieve tomorrow's demands today.
20 Years in Slovenia â€“ The BSH Group
BOSCH AND SIEMENS HOME APPLIANCES GROUP
Economy : FDI Summit 2013 Special “What Lafarge has done in the last 11 years is outstanding. The biggest share of the 32m€ has been dedicated for environmental investments. “ Haimo Primas, General Manager of Lafarge Cement Trbovlje
Interview: Haimo Primas, General Manager, Lafarge Cement, d. o. o.
Lafarge feels confident in the future of Slovenia Lafarge is world’s leading company in construction materials, present in 64 countries - since 2002, also in Slovenia. The Group started operating in Slovenia with the acquisition of the Trbovlje cement plant. Since its very beginning, they have invested in cleaner, safer and more efficient technologies – nevertheless, their challenge remains the acquiring of the environmental permit for the operation of the plant. The process of obtaining the permit has been dragging on for 7 years. Q France is the fifth biggest investor in Slovenia open and honest relationships with public and the last visit of the French president François Hollande confirmed serious intensions for further economic cooperation between the countries. How does Lafarge view this cooperation as a French investor in Slovenia? A Over 10 years of its engagement as Lafarge Group have resulted in very good business relations with local companies. We are also constantly striving to develop and nurture
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bodies and private initiatives. Over the past, our engagement has shown Lafarge’s interest in the environment, for the people and for the economic development. Long-term business relations are a result of a very respectful cooperation with our business partners.
Q World Investment Report reveals that last year Slovenia was the least attractive country
in the EU for foreign direct investments (FDI). At the global level, the flow of FDI fell by 18% in Slovenia as much as 85%. Lafarge Cement is, however, still investing in Trbovlje cement plant. Why does Lafarge as an investor still persist in Trbovlje? A The economic environment has changed significantly over the last three years. A drop in construction output, bankruptcies of big construction companies and poor liquidity all over the construction sector have been the most challenging. As a long-term investor Lafarge feels confident in the future of the country. Cementarna Trbovlje is the nearest cement plant for two big capital cities – Ljubljana (Slovenia) and Zagreb (Croatia). Our materials, services and innovative solutions contribute to better cities, better infrastructure and better environment. There are still construction areas in Slovenia where concrete as construction material is underrepresented, as is the case in other countries. We see the potential in concreting roads and in increasing buildings energy efficiency by offering heating and cooling with concrete.
Q Lafarge has been present in Slovenia as a foreign investor for 11 years now. Within this time the company has invested over 32 million euros in modernization of the cement plant in Trbovlje ensuring that the plant has Best Available Technology (BAT) installed. Despite all these efforts, the plant still does not have final IPPC permits for operating and using the alternative fuels. What do you consider is the biggest obstacle in this process? A What Lafarge has done in the last 11 years is outstanding. The biggest share of the 32million euros has been dedicated for environmental investments. By doing so, Lafarge has been able to improve its environmental impact significantly by decreasing emissions heavily such as SO2, NOx and dust. Currently, we are still in the phase of appealing to the decision about the IPPC permit – at this point a lot of different interests have to be considered by the
FDI Summit 2013 Special : Economy authorities. As far as the biggest obstacles are concerned, the answer might be that despite some legal and procedural issues, Lafarge will have to work harder in placing its arguments to convince the stakeholders.
Q Slovenia is said to be “known” for its longlasting procedures of obtaining environmental permits and has already received several warnings from the EU. Lafarge Cement Trbovlje case has been dragging on for over 7 years now. What are Lafarge experiences in such cases in other countries? A We operate globally, but we haven’t had any similar experiences with procedural problems such as here in Slovenia. As we have some experience in other European countries, we can say that applications are treated as expected. Politicians define the rules of the game industry has to comply with. It is hard to understand that after all those years rules have still not been finalized in Slovenia and consequently the industry has problem to follow. Investors need stable and reliable environment. A lack of predictability reduces attractiveness of longterm investments in the country.
Q Successful multinational companies all over the world emphasize the importance of social re-
sponsibility. Lafarge Cement Trbovlje has a quite open strategy and communication in this field, working hand in hand with local community, decision makers, media and other stakeholders. Public understanding about alternative fuels is slowly changing, but there are still many people who are skeptical towards this question. Why do you think this is the case? A Our operation can impact local ecosystems; any industrial activity leaves a footprint. We consider it our responsibility to minimize such footprint. The rehabilitation of our quarry is the first step for more biodiversity. Investments in new technologies - filter and a closed process water circuit - have significantly improved the environmental impact of our factory. Recycling, the use of alternative materials and fuel contribute to better efficiency of a society. Lafarge considers itself being a part of the Zasavje community investing in its operations on the long-term. Our ambition is to make a net positive contribution to the society and to the nature, as we play an active role in the socio-economic development of the communities around our plant. There is still a long way to go when we talk about the “public perception of the alternative fuels”. We believe that quality information, open discussion and the involvement of the local communities will
give our skeptical stakeholder a better understanding of the local impact and the benefits of the use of recycling material.
Q The situation in Lafarge Cement does not look promising. We are familiar with the obstacles to obtain the environmental permit for alternative fuels. Now ARSO has rejected the environmental permit for the operation of the plant, so there is a real threat of shutting down the plant. What is your view on the situation and your plans for the future? A I have to emphasize we are still in the phase of appealing to the IPPC permit decision, including the use of alternative fuel. The decision has not yet become final. A valid IPPC permit is required for legal operating of the plant. If we don’t get the IPPC permit, the legal implication of shutting down parts of the operation will be a result of authorities’ decision and not of Lafarge’s business decision. To be competitive on the market we have always stated that midterm a permit to use alternative fuel will be necessary. The scope of business will depend on a valid permit for alternative fuel as well and by that define the future of the plant. Lafarge is confident in succeeding and believes in operation in Trbovlje.
Economy : FDI Summit 2013 Special
Interview: Franc Gönc, Regional Development Agency (RDA) Mura
The Key Achievement of Recent Years is the Mental Shift The Pomurje region in eastern Slovenia, on the border with Hungary and Croatia, experienced huge problems after the crisis hit in 2009. In the past, the region was closely connected to the success of Mura, a local textile company, and consequently also the problems that hit the company. Slovenia gave the Pomurje region special status and adopted a special law for restructuring the region´s economy. It seems that the system is working and there is some light at the end of the tunnel. By G. M.
A How is the general economic situation in the
A How successful was RDA Mura last year?
region affected by the ongoing economic crisis in Slovenia? Q We can’t say that the economic crisis has not affected the Pomurje region, but we are happy to see very positive economic trends since 2009, in fact, 2012 was a very positive year for the Pomurje economy. In comparison with 2011, the total income of companies increased by 10.6%, net added value by 7.6% and total exports by 15%. With these results the economy has reached the pre-crisis levels of 2008. The cumulative profit of the economy has reached EUR 30m, positioning Pomurje in fifth place among regions in Slovenia. Although unemployment in the region is decreasing, it is unfortunately still the highest in Slovenia at 16.7 % in June 2013.
What were the main projects and investments, and what can we see in practice? Q Aside from activities in the public interest, the Regional Development Agency Mura Ltd is continuously carrying out activities for promoting the region and supporting investors that would like to invest in the region. In 2012 we were successful in securing two new greenfield investments totalling EUR 2.1m and creating 105 new employment positions over the next three years. These have, however, not been the only foreign investments in the region because some new investments and growth in existing foreign investments have also occurred without our support. In general, we can be satisfied with the constant yearly increase in FDI in the region.
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In 2012 we commenced a new initiative where we started with internationalisation support for existing companies in the region. This activity will be strengthened in 2013. For small companies we started with a combination of subsidies and favourable loans. This measure creates EUR 4.70 for each euro of public funds, which is a very good result.
A Do you feel that there are enough good projects in the region or is there still too much pessimism and lack of business activity? Q In my opinion, the region’s most important achievement in recent years is the mental shift in the sense that we can make the necessary changes and think big and broadly. The strongest companies in the region became even stronger and what is very promising, is that
FDI Summit 2013 Special : Economy new companies and entrepreneurial activities have been started which will show their impact on the regional economy in the next few years. In the preparation of the 2014-2020 regional development programme for the region we can see a lot of very good projects; especially promising is the fact that more and more companies are planning joint R&D activities.
A Is the concept of the special status of the Pomurje region paying off? Can it be applied to other regions or would this mean a deterioration in the transparency of public spending? Q The law creating the special status of Pomurje has definitely helped the region in the restructuring of its economy. Personally I would support such an approach also for other regions in Slovenia. We have to be aware that even though Slovenia is a small country, it is very versatile and regions have very specific problems. A regional approach can create regional specific measures.
A Are the country’s austerity measures affecting your activities, your funding?
Q For sure they have an impact on our activities and funding. This year the funds from the special law for the Pomurje region have been cut but we expect to source all available funds in 2014 and 2015.
Franc Gönc, Adviser, RDA Mura
A What are the main current projects and projects for 2013?
Q Our objectives for 2013 are the identification of locations for new industrial and business zones, supporting local communities in the further development of existing industrial and business zones, promotion of new tourism infrastructure projects in the region, strengthening activities for supporting internationalisation of companies from the region, renewing promotion materials and the web site. We have also strengthened our promotion activities abroad this year, implementing activities in our own organisation and through the activities of SPIRIT Slovenia. This year we have also engaged foreign representative consultants
We understand your needs and support your investment on a highly customized level.
Creates attractive business environment for companies.
Shows high level of direct foreign investments.
Pomurje prides itself on its highly qualified workforce.
with the objective to identify potential foreign investors for the region. Our activities have already shown results, we have supported two new investments in 2013 that will have an important impact also in future years.
The Pomurje Region won 4 ”European Cities & Regions of the Future 2012/2013” awards.
Pomurje is home to several companies ranking among the top five European companies in their respective industries.
The national co-financing tenders and national cost sharing grant scheme for foreign investors cover up to 50% of investment costs. Foreign investments in Pomurje grew by more than 90% in the last 5 years.
Provides special tenders for foreign companies. Represents a springboard for reaching other markets in the region.
Shows excellent quality of life.
Lendavska 5a, SI-9000 Murska Sobota | T: +386 (0)2 536 14 61 | E: email@example.com | www.rra-mura.si
W W W. I N V E S T P O M U R J E . E U
Economy : FDI Summit 2013 Special tions for the entire period from 2011 to 2016, if the worker remains employed. The employer social security contribution rate in Slovenia is 16.1% of gross salary per month. The reimbursement of social security contributions is only valid for new positions, not for replacing employees. Vulnerable groups are: • persons who have been without regular employment for the previous 6 months, • elderly persons (more than 50 years old) • persons without upper secondary level of education or vocational training • ethnic groups • disabled persons
Tax relief for hiring and investing
Pokolpje region ‘An ideal location for investors seeking opportunities in traditional European markets and the fast-growing Balkan markets’ Pokolpje is situated in south east Slovenia and stretches along the Slovenian/Croatian border, around the Kolpa River. Pokolpje includes seven municipalities: Črnomelj, Kočevje, Kostel, Loški Potok, Metlika, Osilnica and Semič. FACTS AND FIGURES (Source: SORS, AJPES, 2013): • Area (km2): 1,377.50 • Population (June 2013): 46,185 • Number of companies (2012): 1,816 • Active working population (June 2013): 12,976 • Registered unemployed (June 2013): 4,131 • Average monthly gross wage (June 2013): EUR 1,182.44 Pokolpje is a region in which the government of the Republic of Slovenia has adopted a programme to encourage competitiveness and offers development aid measures for the period 2011–2016 (Pokolpje programme). In addition to these measures, the Pokolpje region is the priority area of Slovenian development policies for 2011–2016. The Programme Pokolpje has seven development measures, five of which are intended for strengthening and developing entrepreneurship.
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Public tenders for Pokolpje region The objective of the public tender is to reduce the initial cost for investors whose investment will have a favourable effect on employment, technological development programmes or on promoting the development of entrepreneurship or tourism. The public tender is open to foreign companies, however, the recipient of funds can only be a company registered in the Republic of Slovenia. The amount of cofinancing cannot exceed 50% of eligible costs for small enterprises, 40% of eligible costs for medium-sized enterprises and 30% of eligible costs for large enterprises. The maximum subsidy per company is EUR 500,000, the minimum is EUR 15,000. Three public tenders have already been published with the next tender expected to be published at the end of 2014 for investments planned in 2015 -2016.
Reimbursement of employer social security contributions In the Pokolpje region, an employer who employs an unemployed person from a vulnerable group shall receive a one-off reimbursement of social security contributions paid for this worker for a period of one year. An employer who employs a disabled worker shall receive the reimbursement of social security contribu-
Employers in the Pokolpje region may claim a reduction in their tax base of 70% of costs for a worker from a vulnerable group (gross salary and mandatory employer social security contributions) but only up to the amount of the tax base and up to the highest amount allowable according to the rules of state aid. Tax relief for hiring are valid for new, additional employment and not for replacing employees. The relief can only be used for the first 12 months of employment and only once per employee. Tax relief for hiring cannot exceed 50% of gross salary per employee. Tax relief is only for hiring from vulnerable groups: • persons who have been without regular employment for the previous 6 months, • elderly persons (more than 50 years old) • persons without upper secondary level of education or vocational training • ethnic groups • disabled persons Companies in the Pokolpje region may claim a reduction of their tax base for investments up to 70% of the invested amount for new initial investments in equipment and intangible assets but only for investments in the Pokolpje region and only up to the amount of the tax base and up to the highest amount allowable according to the rules of state aid.
Guarantees with subsidised interest For companies in the Pokolpje region there are also available guarantees with an interest rate subsidy for investment loans in the framework of the regional guarantee scheme for south east Slovenia. The objective is to provide comprehensive aid for investments by companies in the Pokolpje region.
FDI Summit 2013 Special : Economy Two types of guarantees are available: • guarantees with a subsidised interest rate for investment loans for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, • guarantees for working capital for micro-enterprises.
Ministry of agriculture and the environment tenders Entrepreneurs from the Pokolpje region can receive additional points on some invitations to tender.
A large number of plots, fully equipped with infrastructure at attractive prices, intended for economic activity... In the Pokolpje region there are 40 locations intended for economic activities. The six most important business zones are: • Technological and development industrial centre Kanižarica (tris kanižarica) • Business and service zone pri Pildu Metlika • Business and service zone Vrtača (psc Vrtača) • Business zone Lik I, Kočevje • Business zone Lik II, Kočevje • Industrial park Predgrad Technological and development industrial centre Kanižarica (tris Kanižarica) TRIS Kanižarica is the largest business zone in the Pokolpje region and is situated south west of the town of Črnomelj, along the regional road Kanižarica–Vinica. The area is intended for business and manufacturing activities. Within the business park, a large number of plots are available, measuring from 2,000m2 up to 10,000m2, while their position allows the combining of individual units in accordance with the needs of the investor. The zone has infrastructure in place. At the entrance to the park there is a parking area for trucks. Other parking spaces are provided at each plot. Service and connecting roads within the zone are paved. There is water supply, a separate sewerage system, power supply, telecommunications and a gas network, as well as public lighting. Waste collection is organised on regular basis. The business park grounds have been consolidated and are not subject to flooding and so construction work will be safe and fast. • Zone surface: 106 hectares • Occupancy: 19% available • Zone expansion: Possible • Price: €9/m2 (land cost: €2/m2 + utility cost: €7/m2)
Development benefits of the Pokolpje region • a quality labour force (a high percentage of skilled workers previously employed in the electro, metal and textile industries. 75% of registered unemployed persons are industrial workers or potential industrial workers), • a large number of plots fully equipped with infrastructure at attractive prices intended for economic activity (prices €9-€25/m2), • strategic location between Central and Southern Europe at the border with the Republic of Croatia. Ljubljana, the capital of the Republic of Slovenia and Zagreb, the capital of the Republic of Croatia, international airports are in the vicinity and easily accessible, as are the important ports for Central Europe –Koper, Rijeka and Trieste, • special tax incentives for investments in the Pokolpje region, • extremely well-preserved natural and cultural heritage for the development of tourism,
• forested landscape and a wealth of renewable energy sources (wood biomass, solar, water and geothermal energy), • support to potential investors from development institutions, • high quality of life.
Invest in the Pokolpje region!
DEVELOPMENT AND INFORMATION CENTRE BELA KRAJINA Trg svobode 3, 8340 Črnomelj Peter Črnič, director e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org phone: +386 40 740 738 Autumn Edition 2013 | The Slovenian Times
Porsche Slovenija d.o.o., BravniÄ?arjeva 5, Ljubljana
European Union Slovenia/Croatia
New “Old” Problem with Croatia? There seems to be disagreement over the response of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) to a request by Slovenia and Croatia to mediate on the LB bank dispute. Whereas Croatia claims BIS turned down the request, Slovenia believes this is not the case. Alenka Bratušek at BSF
Future of the EU
Greater EU Integration a Response to the Challenges The European Union must respond to the growing challenges facing the bloc with greater integration, Slovenian PM Alenka Bratušek stated at the Bled Strategic Forum. “For me, there is no option but...to build a stronger, more integrated Europe...because only a strong, integrated and competitive EU can be a global player”.
Too many compromises inside the EU Assessing that the “EU was not prepared for the crisis”, she blamed this on “compromises in the past, which were weak and didn’t complete the structures in a way to ensure protection against sudden economic and financial downfall”. She said efforts must now be focused on an effective response to the crisis which is altering the map of Europe and in some cases causing borders to reappear. “This is not the way to a stronger Europe,” she said, calling instead for “smart integration”. “One of the lessons of this crisis, at least for me, is that there are no easy solutions, no quick fixes, but long-term process and long-term vision,” she stressed at the opening of this year’s deliberations which were running under the title “A Changing Europe in a Changing World”.
More simple and transparent union The EU should focus on “simplifying procedures and reducing administrative burdens” and establishing a level playing field for citizens and business in Europe. She also called for the strengthening of the banking union as a means of «achieving the goal of creating a stable environment for economic growth». The prime minister emphasised that integration at the EU level also meant all countries needed to implement structural reforms equally. Moreover, the bloc must learn that constant but gradual change is better than quick and forced change and the only way to achieve lasting development and growth. Bratušek also urged the EU to press ahead with enlargement following Croatia’s entry. “In all of the recent cases, enlargement proved to be beneficial for the EU,” she stressed in calling for the bloc to embrace the candidate countries.
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Croatian Foreign Minister, Vesna Pusić, said that BIS had turned down the request for mediation, a statement that Slovenia’s Karl Erjavec later described as Pusić’s “interpretation”. “We understand the letter differently, we understand it as [the BIS] not declaring it is not competent for the issue,” Erjavec told reporters after meeting with Pusić. “It is important that this matter is not resolved in front of the Croatian courts but under the auspices of succession talks,” Erjavec said. “We’ve been saying all along that we have to find a third party that will find a solution to this open issue...It is important that we have a meeting, that we examine this letter and we agree on subsequent steps,” he said. “We should not forget that Croatia made a commitment to honour the memorandum, which means that this issue is being resolved as part of succession talks,” he also pointed, noting that a meeting was therefore required to agree on further steps. Erjavec said he and Pusić would meet with financial experts from both countries after the Croatia Summit, which takes place in late September, to discuss the issue. Pusić later reiterated her position in a statement for reporters, saying that “BIS thinks they cannot contribute to the resolution of this issue and the only thing they can offer is a space for meetings...But we don’t need a space, we can meet in Croatia or Slovenia and we agreed to meet.” But unlike Erjavec, Pusić said Croatia did not see the agreement as enabling the mediation of a third party other than BIS. “There is no other option.” Nevertheless, she said the two countries could agree to “some sort of third-party intervention”, provided that the two financial experts, Slovenia’s France Arhar and Croatia’s Zdravko Rogić also agree. The two countries had turned to Basel as part of what was billed as a final resolution of the issue of the debt of the Slovenian LB bank to Croatian account holders - a deal agreed in a memorandum signed by the two countries in March in Mokrice. The reason the agreement was important is that it removed the final obstacle for Croatia’s EU accession by meeting Slovenia’s demand that the issue be resolved as part of talks on the succession from the former Yugoslavia, not as a bilateral issue. The agreement suspended lawsuits that Croatian commercial banks had launched against LB and its successor, NLB, in Croatian courts, on behalf of Croatia. Slovenian and Croatian FM, Karl Erjavec and Vesna Pusić
European Union Slovenia/Austria
Excellent relations between
Slovenia and Austria Good relations were highlighted as President Borut Pahor hosted his counterpart, Heinz Fischer, for talks in Ljubljana. Fischer expressed confidence in Slovenia’s ability to tackle its economic and financial woes and the pair underscored the need for a UN mandate over Syria. He also pointed to EU where he said “Austria has always acted with solidarity”. He said that the Austrian authorities had sometimes come under fire at home for their support of Slovenia but that Vienna helped countries in trouble at the EU level because it believed everyone was in the same boat, which must stay afloat.
Common position on the Crisis in Syria
Slovenian and Austrian President, Borut Pahor and Heinz Fischer
Austria the leading Foreign Investor in Slovenia Addressing reporters after their talks, Pahor said that the fact that this was his second official meeting with Fischer in six months “is a demonstration of the excellent political relationship between the countries”. Slovenia’s third most important trade partner, Austria is the leading foreign investor, accounting for 48% of foreign direct investment in Slovenia. Noting the mostly positive experience with Austrian investors, Pahor said that prospective investors from Austria would be welcome to participate in the planned privatisation. The economic and financial crisis in Slovenia also ranked high on the agenda, with Pahor repeating his view that Slovenia was capable of solving its problems on its own, but that time is a “vital factor” and that it “is slowly running out”. Maintaining that measures could still be applied without major social, political and other shocks, Pahor expressed his support for the government’s plans but added that action should be taken immediately and that the government must present concrete measures to the public and parliament during September. “I believe and wish for Slovenia to solve its problems in the best possible way,” Fischer said, adding that the best help Austria could offer Slovenia at the bilateral level was to support as much as possible the cooperation, trade and transfer of technology between the two countries.
According to Pahor, the pair also share the same position on the crisis in Syria. He described the use of chemical weapons against the civilian population there as a “dreadful tragedy” and “horrendous act in violation of international law”. Pahor said the international community “must definitely” act in response to such acts. But the Slovenian president also said that he and his Austrian counterpart agreed “these sanctions need to be adopted by the UN Security Council which is required to take measures to punish those who caused this dreadful tragedy”. Fischer and Pahor also visited representatives of the German-speaking community in southern Slovenia which Fischer said was a demonstration of the countries’ “respect for any minority”, and an important message for Europe that minorities “must be treated with care”. Although not recognised as an ethnic minority enjoying constitutional protection in Slovenia, the Gottschee Germans are financially backed by both countries. The Slovenian Culture Ministry doubled the funding last year. Pahor briefed Fischer on Slovenia’s efforts in relation to the Western Balkans and the Brdo Process to promote cooperation among the countries in the region. Fischer told Pahor that he would consider taking part in one of the meetings himself. Fischer also met with PM Alenka Bratušek, with the pair calling for stronger political and above all, economic cooperation and also with Parliamentary Speaker Janko Veber, who expressed satisfaction that there is readiness for cooperation also with the provincial authorities in Austria.
Slovenia must speed up reforms
European Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn urged Slovenia, along with France, Italy, Spain and Belgium to speed up structural reforms in exchange for the additional time it has been given to shore up public finances. The ageing population will be a major factor undermining growth in the coming decade and reforms are key not only for bridging the current crisis but also for effectively tackling long-term demographic challenges, Rehn said at a conference in Alpbach, Austria. While some countries have been given additional time for fiscal consolidation - Slovenia got two more years to deal with an excessive public budget deficit - this time needs to be used effectively to speed up structural reforms, he said, mentioning France, Italy, Spain, Belgium and Slovenia. Sources in Brussels announced in July that a delegation of the European Commission will visit Slovenia, probably in the second half of September, to check Slovenia’s progress in the implementation of recommendations issued by the Commission in May. The key points in the recommendations are the need to fix the banking system and take bold steps to reduce the deficit. European Commissioner OIli Rehn
Autumn Edition 2013 | The Slovenian Times
Experience&Lifestyle Slovenia 01
The tree avenue will connect the versatile appearance of the buildings on the Slovenska Street. 02/03 A rich collection of ideas has been transformed into a design for an integrated arrangement of the public area, depicted above.
Redevelopment of Slovenska street
A New Image for
Ljubljana’s Main Street For many years we have been provoking public curiosity around the redevelopment of Slovenska Street, currently a noisy and polluted traffic corridor, which should contribute to a better quality city centre area. A group of experts have been trying, for more than a year, to design a redevelopment proposal that meets the expectations of those who keep an eye on the renovation of the city centre. This process includes different, but closely linked, forms of architectural, landscape, traffic, environmental, economic and social renovation of the most densely populated and representative part of the city. Text edited by: Vita Kontic´
Slovenska Street – the Capital’s Backbone Slovenska Street is considered by the majority of Ljubljana residents to be the most important traffic road in the capital, enabling drivers to cross the city centre in no time. This concept however, corresponds to neither the character nor the meaning of the city’s main street which is why the major part of the anticipated redevelopment is a changed traffic regime, adapted
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to the sustainable principles presented in the city’s new transport policy. Limiting transit for cars on Slovenska Street is one of the main measures of the City of Ljubljana’s (MOL) Transport Policy which can be implemented now that the Štajerska highway junction has been built and the inner city ring completed. The project proposes an altered traffic arrangement that limits transit motor traffic on Slovenska Street whilst giving priority to public transport, cyclists and pedestrians through
the newly acquired public areas. In the central section of the street, between Šubičeva and Gosposvetska streets, transit motor traffic will be interrupted, but in other sections, between Šubičeva and Aškerčeva streets, and Gosposvetska and Tivolska streets, motor traffic will have two lanes in both directions. Public buses will run the entire length of Slovenska Street stopping at two main and two intermediate bus stops. In the central part there will be two uniformly designed bus stops: Konzorcij/Kazina and Ajdovščina/Figovec. The parking garage under Kongresni trg will be accessible from Šubičeva Street and from the southern section of Slovenska Street via a special traffic lane. Access for residents, shop deliveries, the central Post Office and guests of Hotel Slon will be issued with special electronic surveillance and permits. The north and south sections of Slovenska Street will retain the existing character of a traffic road, but the central section will become a lively and comfortable hub for public transport, bicycle lanes and sidewalks leading in all directions.
Avenue of “Golden” Trees The redevelopment will transform the existing transit motor traffic corridor which doesn’t contribute to the street life, into the capital’s central public area. The withdrawal of motor traffic will enable programmes to expand and design a space with its own character, which will at the same time still partly maintain the historical character of a road that the city centre draws on due to buses, taxis and deliveries. Because of the two traffic lanes, there will be extended sidewalks with bicycle lanes on both sides. The two-lane road and pedestrian area will be levelled to visually connect the street area and make it easier for pedestrians to cross. The new concrete paving will be unified for the same reason, but processed differently, so that the public transport lanes in the middle of the street will differ from the side lanes intended for pedestrians and cyclists. The key feature and the most distinctive element of the new arrangement will be a tree avenue that will be planted along the eastern verge of the street. The avenue of Ginkgo trees, which turn golden-yellow in the autumn, will connect the currently heterogeneous architectural image of the street and have a strong green impact. The newly renovated street will acquire a unique identity, modern in every as-
pect. In addition, in the pockets of transverse streets that are linked to the central part of Slovenska Street, there will be smaller squares for socialising and entertainment with specially designed urban equipment, resting isles, playgrounds and additional lighting. Integrated and sustainable solutions will give the street a unique, representative character of national importance. The integrated redevelopment will be carried out gradually. The most extensive works will be performed on the central section of the street where outdated public utility infrastruc-
ture will be replaced and then new paving, the new bus stops, the planting of the tree avenue and finally new street furniture. Construction works will continue for about a year with an estimated total cost of about EUR 3m. On the north and south sections of Slovenska Street, on Gosposvetska Street and on other sections of important streets, there will be a rearranged traffic regime. The complete redevelopment of both sections and Gosposvetska Street with the tree avenue, infrastructure renovation and new paving will be carried out later.
Gradually creating the Final Image – with public Cooperation There have been many public announcements regarding the closure of the central section of Slovenska Street to motor traffic during European Mobility Week 2013. On the last day of that week, which the European Commission has declared ‘In Town Without My Car!’ day, traditionally on 22 September, a temporary arrangement will be set up that is expected to last until the middle of January 2013. In the meantime, testing and monitoring of the effects of the new traffic arrangement, public feedback and ideas from local residents, building and shop owners, experts and all other interested parties who will be informed about the project in greater detail. For this purpose, an exhibition on the changing image of the city’s main street through time with designs for the final redevelopment will be set up. There will also be two information points where suggestions for possible improvements to the project will be collected. The temporary arrangement will be performed without construction intervention. LPP (Ljubljana Public Transport) buses will run on the two lanes on the western side of the street and the temporary equipment will be set up on the eastern side. This is also where mobile bicycle racks will be placed and an assembly platform for the LPP station opposite the post office. An extended pedestrian area will be decorated with trees and potted plants in the shape of pocket parks. Chairs and tables will be set up for the public to sit at leisure. There will be special floor graphics to warn people about the changes in the traffic regime. All the elements of the temporary arrangement will be re-used in other public places in the city once construction begins. The estimated cost of the temporary arrangement is about EUR 20,000.
The key feature and the most distinctive element of the new arrangement will be a tree avenue that will be planted along the eastern verge of the street. Through Productive Cooperation, Finding the Best Solution At the beginning of 2012, the MOL Urban Planning Department (UPD) and Architects’ Society of Ljubljana started collecting suggestions for the urban and architectural redevelopment of Slovenska Street. Four architectural firms prepared their suggestions: DeklevaGregorič arhitekti, Katušič Kocbek arhitekti, Sadar+Vuga and Scapelab&Arhitekti Dobrin. Their ideas were presented in November 2012 in the Gallery Kresija and at the beginning of December in Kongresni trg. The collection was interesting and diverse. In order to reach a harmonious decision, from January to May this year we carried out a workshops, where, together with author groups and experts in traffic, landscape design, public lighting and building materials, we developed the joint proposal that is presented here. The participants of the workshop included Professor Janez Koželj, Deputy Mayor, Alenka Pavlin, Urban Planning Department (UPD), David Polutnik and Petja Pirnat, Commercial Activities and Traffic Department (CATD), Blaž Lokar, MOL Board for Spatial Management and Planning, Jošt Šmajdek, LPP, and others.
Autumn Edition 2013 | The Slovenian Times
Photo: Bojan Kar
wine and cold snacks. From a small winery, through the development of different tourist products, they developed a comprehensive offer which encompasses a farmhouse inn offering comfortable and relaxing holidays in the countryside and a small shop stocked with their own products. The Paserro Winery, which is a true gourmet spot for indulging in homemade delicacies, added a new chapter to the opulent story of the Passero estate, written in the chocolate bars and pralines of the Country Chocolatire.
A Pannonia style luxury getaway Photo: RRA Mura
Photo: Igor Barton
A creative tourist destination In the eastern part of Slovenia, where four borders meet, a rural landscape inspires creative people for regional development, in particular, tourism. It is no coincidence that the Creativity in Tourism international conference took place at the junction of the borders between Slovenia, Hungary, Austria and Croatia. This multi-ethnic environment offered a variety of different ideas for new products and services in tourism. The region of Pomurje offers a variety of different leisure activities, from sports and recreation, wellness, local food, rest and relaxation far away from the urban hustle and bustle to cycling, hiking, tourist farms, historical, cultural and natural heritage discoveries, to name a few. The diversity is the fruit of creativity and innovation in tourism. Therefore it is no coincidence that the third international conference, Creativity in Tourism, was held in this region. The conference attracted more than a hundred creative and creativity hungry guests and participants. The event was organised by the Regional Development Agency Mura together with Thermenland Steiermark, the Medžimurje Tourist Association, Goričko Nature Park and Nastja Mulej, an expert in Dr Edward de Bono’s tools of creative thinking.
Creativity is a skill The conference focussed on tourism and was directed to those interested in a creative ap-
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proach in the development of products and services and to embracing creativity in their marketing. The conference offered a platform for the presentation of Slovene businesses trying to break into the market, for experts, entrepreneurs from Pomurje, tourist service providers and Slovene and foreign speakers who addressed various approaches to creativity, marketing and developing new products and services in tourism and the use of creative thinking techniques. Nastja Mulej, the only licenced trainer in Slovenia of de Bono tools of thinking, presented a few creative thinking tools, while Harald de Negro from Austria presented systematic innovation in tourism. Both agree that creativity is a skill which can be learnt by anyone willing to take the time.
From wine to chocolate A story, shared by Jasmina Passero, began on the slopes of Goričko where the Passero family opened a winery, offering homemade
Aleš Kegelj, the manager of the Sun House, also started from the perspective that creativity is the skill that leads to sustainable development and products and gives services added value which is especially important in the tourist industry since it is imperative to be aware of the trends and desires of guests. Sun House villa is a success story, offering luxury in the middle of the flatlands of Pomurje. The Sun House has five spacious and lavishly decorated suites, wellness, culinary delights and much more. Guests can choose between several packages with offers for romantics, family vacations or for pampering.
It is all about the marketing Marketing has always been associated with creativity and only creative people dive into the waters of marketing. By adding tourism there are a lot of good ideas; one such idea is the advertising services offered by Showmearound.net which offers a new way to market tourist services, removed from mass tourism. The web site markets the products and services of local businesses, emphasising that they are authentic, original and local. The approach is very personal and individual with almost made-to-measure packages, where guests can select their personal guide who takes the order and leads the guests on their adventure.
To the castle chambers The last part of the conference was a series of workshops which activated creativity in various areas. The special feature of this conference was a wide variety of speakers and participants who came from the local area, other parts of Slovenia and the border regions. The winner of a competition for the creative solution in tourism received an attractive award from the Goričko Nature Park. Next time we meet he will tell us how he spent the night in one of the 365 rooms in the castle. In the meantime we will indulge in the culinary delights of the Pomurje marketplace which offered local products to the participants.
SPIRIT Slovenia Dedicated to promoting Slovenia as an attractive place for business, investment, work and enjoying life For a small market within the global context, utilisation of international markets is critical to give an impetus to Slovenia’s sustainable economic growth through increased international trade and to attract further foreign investment. Increased trade also means more foreign competition for domestic companies. Consequently, Slovenian businesses are ready to improve their competiveness and seek new markets. Slovenia has a competitive advantage in its skill base and its business infrastructure; people are willing to learn and adopt new ideas so that companies become more innovative, further improving their competitiveness. This is imperative in the rapidly changing economic landscape where the most growth is seen not in developed, but in emerging economies. The Slovenian government and government organisations that support companies to trade worldwide and help foreign investors seeking to set up or expand in Slovenia agree on the direction and priorities of the national strategy. This strategy comes from the international trade and investment ambitions of the government and its commitment to support local companies to expand internationally and to attract investors to Slovenia. The trade and investment arm of the Slovenian government – SPIRIT Slovenia – leads the activities with the goal of achieving set targets and bringing more visitors to Slovenia’s numerous natural and
historical sites. Many public and private sector partners also play a critical role in supporting greater trade and investment including skill development, research capability, infrastructure development and regulation. Bringing together the resources of partner organisations to deliver support for companies investing in Slovenia and the country’s international trade development activities has been of central importance in the economic recovery plans. The government has identified the sectors where Slovenia has a competitive edge: ICT and electronic technologies; creative industries; energy; business services; life sciences; tourism; and food and drink. Foreign direct investment in research, design and development projects with high knowledge content, international strategy development, partnership investments between Slovenian and foreign companies and organisations serving to get a foothold in new markets, encouraging exports of more first-class goods and services to new markets, are some of the opportunities and priorities for Slovenia to increase its trade and investment performance in an effort to achieve sustained economic growth. With the benefit of hindsight, it is easy to see that in many countries economic growth was built largely on the shaky foundation of real estate speculation and consumer debt. By fostering the right environment for privatesector investment and by improving the pro-
cess by which research is commercialised, the Slovenian economy will reclaim its reputation as one of the most competitive and vibrant economies in Europe and beyond. Here, too, Slovenia’s most valuable asset in the course of its long industrial tradition – its highly qualified and hard-working people - will lead the way. Doing business in Slovenia also means working with its entrepreneurs and innovators, research laboratories and universities and benefiting from the support to international companies based in Slovenia through inward investor support activities. After 20 years of political independence, Slovenia is still waiting to show its strengths not only to the foreign investors who came 30 or 40 years ago but to many more still looking for a country where their investment can succeed. SPIRIT Slovenia plays a key role in helping Slovenian companies develop trade worldwide and showcasing the country to foreign investors. It takes commitment for an innovative concept to succeed and an entrepreneurial firm to exploit international markets. The team at SPIRIT would be delighted to assist foreign investors and provide a full package of international business services to support exporters and equip them with the skills necessary to confront increasing competition from developed and emerging economies and to tap new market opportunities. 01 Mobile summer house / Coodo; http://www.coodo.si/ 02 Port of Koper 03 R & D centre at pharmaceutical company, Krka d.d.; http://www.krka.si/ 04 EKWB cooling solution with a CPU water block.
SPIRIT Slovenia, Public Agency of the Republic of Slovenia for the Promotion of Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Development, Investment and Tourism
Verovškova ulica 60, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia T: +386 1 589 18 70 F: +386 1 589 18 77 E: email@example.com W: www.investslovenia.si Autumn Edition 2013 | The Slovenian Times
8 international symposium of ceramic art in the village Voglje th
Clay art is one of the most demanding techniques in the field of art, despite this it may be taken up by all age groups. However, a simple and logical approach to the material is not enough, those of us who work with clay are aware of the fact that apart from following the tradition, there is always much to be discovered and created. Knowledge comes from a systematic analysis of individual elements derived during various development phases. Clay, as a means of expression, offers a wide variety of creative possibilities.
The Institute V-oglje, founded and led by the Štembergar Zupan family from the village of Voglje in Šenčur, focusses on the promotion of ceramic art, the publication of professional literature and offers quality courses and workshops in ceramics. The Institute V-oglje is also the organiser of the traditional international symposium of ceramic art where acknowledged artists from all over the world participate. The choice of participants is well thought out to bring artists with different knowledge, experience, tradition and fresh ideas into the Slovenian cultural landscape. Visitors to the symposium can thus get to know different approaches to work, different technological solutions and new trends in the development of modern ceramic art. In 2011 the Institute Voglje, as a ceramics centre, was accepted into an elite global association of ceramics, the International Academy of Ceramics in Switzerland. It was an extraordinary recognition of success. To date, 89 participants and guests from 24 countries have taken part in the symposium. One piece from each artist is presented in the Museum of Šenčur and it is the only permanent collection of ceramic art in Slovenia.
01 Barba Štembergar Zupan, Head of Zavod V-oglje Photo: M. Ličar 02 Tomaš Proll-Češka 03 NikoZupan Photo: M. Ličar
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Edita Rydhag,a participant of the symposium, wrote: “I just counted and realised that I have spent a year of my life at ceramic symposiums in different countries. Each one is special and provides new experiences and friends but it is not in every place that you feel as you do in Voglje. Barba and Niko Zupan open not only their studio and garden for the symposium participants but also their arms and hearts. It is this atmosphere of friendship and love that I noticed from the first day that I was ‘getting wings’. Only when you are surrounded by trust and love can you get confident and ‘grow wings’. Those wings take you to a space without borders where everything is possible. You can call it inspiration. The creativity is floating and new
forms grow easily, somehow by themselves. Suddenly it is time to break up and go home. Your works stay with a piece of your heart but you know you’ve got a great gift and feel privileged to have been at the V-oglje symposium. Thanks again to Barba and Niko who are doing such a great job for the development of ceramic art! And, of course, GOOD LUCK in the future.” Also among the people who wrote about last year’s symposium was Monika Gass, Director, Keramikmuseum Westerwald, Germany: “Clay / Argilla / Ton / die Erd` leads sometimes to unknown results and brings up new experiences even when your basic idea has failed. But working with clay needs, on the other hand, all your power, your professionalism and every effort to get the very best results out of the kiln, whatever kiln it may be. Using clay as a material for expression in art or solidity in tradition and craft means to train you in patience and to train a true believer in something like “I trust I will get to my goal and get my real dreams coming through...” And working for that real success as hard as I can ... so I can succeed!” This year eight artists took part in the symposium: Simcha Even-Chen (Israel); Anna Malicka Zamorska (Poland); Grainne Watts (Ireland); Lale Demir Oransay (Turkey); Khaled Sirag (Egypt); Günter Praschak (Austria); and Barba and Niko Štembergar Zupan from Slovenia. Four guests were also present: Irena Radej; Zlatica Becci; Eva Peterson Lenassi; and Igor Bahor. The opening of the exhibition of works created at the 8th International Symposium of Ceramic Art will take place on 1 October 2013 at the Šenčur Museum.
Slovenian, Croatian or European basketball,” he said in an interview. Regarding the controversy surrounding his nationality, he has an answer that should please both sides: “I’m an Istrian.” But at the same time he concedes that he would support Slovenia if it played against Croatia. “I was born in Croatia, I hold both passports but I developed my basketball skills in Slovenia and I made my way into the Yugoslav team from Olimpija. In terms of basketball, I indeed feel more Slovenian.”
In the Best Company Slovenian basketball is inseparably linked with Yugoslavia. It owes much of its success to the former state but it has also given back a lot. As many as 36 Slovenians played for the mighty Yugoslav team between 1947 and 1991.
By Simon Demšar Vinko Jelovac in action
Basketball was reportedly brought to the territory of the former Yugoslavia from Czechoslovakia in the 1920’s. The first national championship was organised in 1940 but without the participation of Slovenian teams. The Udarniki and Svoboda teams were put together only after WWII, although basketball was played during the war as Italian occupying forces supported sport in general, including basketball. The first official game was played in 1946 between Svoboda and Udarniki when Svoboda won 37-14. Arguably disappointed with the result, Udarniki were soon disbanded while Svoboda went on to become Olimpija, the team that later enjoyed great national and international success. It took some time before basketball became rooted in both Yugoslavia and Slovenia. Yugoslavia was close to dropping basketball as an official sport until Aleksandar Nikolić took over in 1953 and took the ‘bottom-of-theheap’ team to a European Championship silver medal in 1961. In the 30 years following that victory, Yugoslavia’s national team failed to win a European Championship medal on only three occasions. Aca, as he was known, coached Yugoslavia for eleven years from 1954 to 1965. He began his career with an 11th place (out of 12) at a World Championship and finished second at a European Championship. It was during this time that Ivo Daneu, one of the greatest players of his time, began his international career although he was not the only Slovenian in the national team. In 1961, for example, when Yugoslavia won the silver medal at the European Championship in Belgrade, four Slovenians were part of the team: Daneu, Marjan Kandus, Miha Lokar and Vital Eiselt. At the World Championship in Ljubljana, when Yugoslavia won, there were three Slovenians. Later,
another two Slovenians (Peter Vilfan and Jure Zdovc) became world champions, while Zdovc and Vinko Jelovac also became European and Olympic champions with the Yugoslav team. While Slovenians played a prominent role in Yugoslav basketball from the early 1960’s until the late 1970’s, there was no place for them in the national team in the mid-1980’s, then dominated by the giants such as Dragan Kičanović, Dražen Dalipagić, Dražen Petrović, Toni Kukoč, Dino Radja, Vlade Divac and others. Slovene Jure Zdovc joined them at the end of the decade but the great company came to an abrupt end when the war broke out in Slovenia and Croatia in 1991.
An overlooked legend
In the 20 years of Slovenian independence, European basketball championships have always been a major event, gluing thousands of fans to their televisions. For the fans, the 20 years can be roughly divided into two phases: during the first decade the expectations were high but the final results were disappointing with the team finishing their competition after preliminary rounds. Learning from the disappointments, the fans and the media began to be more cautious, while still secretly hoping for a good result. In Slovenia’s case, it means a medal. Coached by Jure Zdovc, Slovenia came closest in 2009 in Poland when they finished fourth. Two years ago, Slovenia was seventh under the leadership of the renowned Serbian coach, Božidar Maljković. These results are widely perceived as disappointing but Sani Bečirović, a long-time national team member, said in a recent interview that in the immediate aftermath of the events he felt the same but looking back, he appreciates the achievements and is proud of them. “Maybe we take sport too seriously,” he said. Photo: Aeropolis
Looking at the statistics, one name stands out – Vinko Jelovac. Between 1968 and 1977 he played 240 games for the national team, becoming a world champion, European champion three times and winning a silver medal at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal. He has been somewhat overlooked by the broader public and professionals alike, probably for two reasons - one is that he was born in Croatia and Croatian basketball authorities also often list him in their statistics. The second reason is that after a brief spell as a coach, he completely retired from basketball and now lives a quiet life on the coast of Croatian Istria, running two firms that have nothing to do with sport. Thus, it is not surprising that they “forgot” about him when the Slovenian Athletes Hall of Fame was founded in 2011 although he was inducted in the second round. “Believe it or not, I’m not at all interested in basketball. I don’t know what is going on in Autumn Edition 2013 | The Slovenian Times
Better than a Rollercoaster Tomo Poljanec may fly high, performing dangerous tricks in the sky, but he stands with his feet firmly on the ground. Asked what his ambition is for the future, he shoots: “Staying alive! There is always some risk involved.” By Simon Demšar It must be understood that aerobatics, in a country the size of Slovenia, cannot be a mass activity. There are three, maybe four, ‘serious’ pilots in Slovenia but the competition amongst them is fierce and defeat doesn’t come easy. In the early 2000’s, Poljanec was a four time national champion and more recently, he has won a number of regional events. You may
“You must not get carried away – you should do exactly what you have practised and it is better to do 10 percent less than 10 percent more. This attitude has kept me alive,” explains Poljanec. 54
The Slovenian Times | Autumn Edition 2013
think that results do not bear much importance if there are only four or five competitors in contention but Poljanec proves the opposite. “A competition is not only a display of your abilities but a serious race. Through the results you increase your market value and attract the attention of sponsors,” says Poljanec, who won the Adria Air Race (AAR) in Bled earlier this summer. Bled is the latest addition to the series of three or four events per year which are also held in Croatia. Last year there were also events hosted in Macedonia and Bulgaria. Poljanec was involved in its creation, developing the rules some seven years ago. The Red Bull Air Race (currently on hold) is maybe the best known air race but it is based only on navigating an obstacle course in the fastest time. “Because we use aerobatic aircraft I added conventional aerobatic manoeuvers that each pilot has to perform on a course consist-
ing of ‘air gates’, known as pylons. Time and accuracy are measured. The second part consists of regular free-style, similar to that performed at the European and World Championships. Using the gyroscopic force of the propeller as one of the controls, you do dynamic tricks that are not geometrically defined. Compared to the Red Bull Air Race, our competition is staged on a smaller course which we believe is more interesting for spectators. But both competitions are difficult and dangerous,” says Poljanec, who was in contention to join the Red Bull Air Race but decided against it mainly due to the enormous cost. He believes that the AAR offers great value for money: “We can stage it for EUR 50,000, for Red Bull’s event it was close to EUR 2m. Because aerobatics are basically a sport, pilots train just like other athletes. “Our basic fitness is similar to track and field athletes. I work out in a gym, ride a bicycle and go hiking. Due to extreme g-forces, the main problem is your neck muscles. Of extreme importance is your preparation on the ground, visualisation in particular. I’m in the plane once a week and before competitions, it is every day for two weeks. Then there is your mental preparation: in the air there is no place for boasting. You must not get carried away – you should do exactly what you have practised and it is better to do 10 percent less than 10 percent more. This attitude has kept me alive,” explains Poljanec. For him, flying is a way of life and he enjoys dealing with other machinery too, such as motorbikes and cars, restoring a Mustang or two each year.
Sports In a way, he also built his Giles 202 aircraft. He bought the kit in France and then with Tomaž Avsenek, according to Poljanec ‘probably the best composite materials expert in this part of Europe’, another 4,000 hours to assemble it. “For 18 months, I was working on the plane full time, eight hours every day. Painting alone took us 700 hours.” It is therefore not surprising that one hour in the aircraft costs EUR 700 if you take depreciation, insurance, running and other costs into consideration. As an outside observer, his aircraft doesn’t look much different from an ordinary sports aircraft but the reality is exactly the opposite. “Comparing them is like comparing a Formula 1 car and an ordinary car, especially in terms of aerodynamics and power. Aerobatic aircraft typically cost between EUR 200,000 and EUR 400,000 depending on the specification.” Want to experience the thrill of aerobatics? Come to Lesce and Poljanec is willing to quench your thirst during a 15 minute flight. “I do between twenty to thirty tandem flights per year. Usually, they come as birthday or other gifts. So far, no-one has been disappointed as I tailor the flight according to what the passenger can stand. Some are more sensitive and more scared than others; some can stand more than others. Passengers experience deceleration and acceleration forces of between -3 and
+6 G. There are cameras in the cockpit so you can see your reactions afterwards.” Poljanec’s teenage daughter, who was present during the interview, said that flying in the passenger seat is ‘definitely very thrilling and better than a roller coaster’. Wanting to see Poljanec in action? Be somewhere around the Bled golf course on 27 September at the promotional golf tournament or visit his website www.tomo-airshow.com.
Tomo Poljanec – in the middle
Gimnazija Škofja Loka is on the Royal map On 28 June 2013, at Brdo, HRH The Earl of Wessex presented 50 Gold Awards to the Slovenian participants of the International Award – MEPI (Mednarodno priznanje za mlade) of which 34 were from Gimnazija Škofja Loka. By Mateja Prevodnik Mayland, Award co-ordinator at Gimnazija Škofja Loka
The Award The readers of British descent would probably raise an eyebrow at the mention of MEPI but the Duke of Edinburgh Award may ring some bells - not however in Slovenia. The programme is relatively young but spreading fast. In 2004, Gimnazija Škofja Loka was in the first wave of schools to join the programme and can boast the largest number of participants and gold award holders in the country. The award, with its instantly recognisable levels of bronze – a 3-month endeavour, silver (6 months) and gold (12 months) is voluntary, non-competitive and available to anyone aged 14–24. It is about individual challenge. Participants choose a service where they take part in voluntary activities, most often they help in
The Slovenian Times | Autumn Edition 2013
kindergartens, primary schools, old people’s homes and the like. Surprisingly perhaps, students find it extremely rewarding to play with toddlers and re-live ‘lego’ moments or even, what a 15 year old called ‘weirdly cool’, become friends with a blind pensioner. Participants must also take part in physical recreation where they join a sporting club such as volleyball, basketball, badminton, yoga, aerobics, tennis, hip-hop etc. “I never would have done it if it wasn’t for MEPI – I feel better about myself,” said a teenager about her badminton course. The skills activity involves participation in scout organisations, voluntary fire fighters, drama groups, choirs, language or computer courses and many more. The fourth phase is an adventurous journey. In Škofja Loka we have been organising it with help from the Slovenian Army, to the great delight of all the students who are extremely impressed by the uniform
and the presence of an army survival expert teaching them how to make an open fire, a raft or simply extremely useful tips such as how to tend blisters. “Seriously, Bear Grylls should take lessons from him,” said an amazed student when witnessing a demonstration of surviving on worms. During 2, 3 or 4 days, depending on the level, participants follow a route on their maps, pass marked check points, sleep in tents, prepare meals, survive on the contents of their rucksacks and eventually arrive at the finish line of their 24, 40 or 80 kilometre journey. The only person they compete against is themselves, challenging their own beliefs about what they can achieve. For gold award participants, exchange expeditions have been organised with Truro School in Cornwall where the Slovenians experience rain, wind and surfing! The British exchange participants on the other hand, experience the steep slopes and problematic high June temperatures of Primorska’s karst region. The impact of the award is shown on many levels: participants talk about increased confidence, improved team skills, greater leadership ability, improved decision making, not to mention making friends, growing as a person and of course having fun. Isn’t that what we want young people to be these days?
Prince Edward, Gimnazija and Škofja Loka The Škofja Loka local community is actively present. The award ceremonies are hosted by the Mayor and attended by the British Ambassador. For such occasions, walking shoes give way to something more elegant and hiking attire is replaced by skimpier clothes but the participants are only too happy to dress up. There have been three Gold Award ceremonies: in 2008 at the Slovenian Philharmonic Hall attended by the President of Slovenia, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh; in 2010 at Ljubljana Castle; and this year at the Brdo Residence where Prince Edward and President Borut Pahor congratulated the 50 new Gold Award holders – 34 from Gimnazija Škofja Loka where the ID slogan of one read ‘Even the blondes can do it’, which of course brought a smile to a royal face. The mentors are frequently asked about ‘the secret ingredient of success’. People involved have an incredible drive and enthusiasm to encourage, inspire and dare the students and sometimes each other. Time and again the students and mentors surprise each other with their energy and perseverance. We still have a lot to learn and the more we know, the more ideas we get of how to improve to continue our success. It’s simply great to be a part of such a team.
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• More than 300 participating restaurants • Up to 50% discount on festival menus • Extravagant events across Slovenia Get festival card for cheaper menus Ticket sale: Eventim sale-points across Slovenia (including Petrol), for phone order call: 031 200 000 (working days 9h - 17h), online order: www.festivalokusov.si/vstopnice. Informations: 031 200 000, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, WEB: http://www.festivalokusov.si and http://www.restaurantclub.eu, Facebook: www.facebook.com/rcslo
LETO KINA - Kinodvor 90:
A Year of Celebrating Cinemas and Cinema “On Monday evening, the formal opening of the Ljubljanski dvor cinema -which will contribute to the splendours of the city - took place,” wrote the daily Slovenski narod a few days after the opening on 15 October 1923. Thus, Ljubljana had its ‘cinema-theatre’, the kind of cinema that all European cities looking to enhance their prestige, built in the 1920s. It will be 90 years this October since the Ljubljanski dvor cinema, today’s Kinodvor City Cinema, opened its doors in a brand new palace. In order to mark this anniversary, but above all to raise the understanding of the meaning that cinema as a social space of culture and art carries through time and space, two of the main film institutions in Slovenia, Kinodvor and the Slovenian Cinematheque -the latter celebrating its 50th anniversary - conceived the Leto kina (The Year of the Cinema) project. From the autumn of 2013 to the autumn of 2014, numerous programmes dedicated to film culture
The Slovenian Times | Autumn Edition 2013
will take place under this heading in cooperation with several cultural and educational institutions and organisations in Ljubljana and Slovenia. This October, Kinodvor will host an international symposium on current topics of film exhibition, its second conference of this kind in five years. In 2009, Kinodvor was one of the first film institutions to deal with the transition to the digital era and also the necessity to set up a national cinema network. This year, the conference of Slovenian and foreign experts titled The Place of the Cinema, will
discuss the position of the movie theatre today and at the same time reflect on its history and imagine its future. At the Kinodvor Gallery, the exhibition Cinema Paradise – Moments from the Golden Age of Cinema in Ljubljana, curated by Klemen Žun with the help of the staff at the National Museum of Contemporary History, will be on display until mid-October. Through a selection of photos and memorabilia, the exhibition reopens the doors of former movie theatres allowing visitors to admire red carpet premieres, peer behind the scenes into the
Culture&Events projection booths and through other glimpses feel the former glory and magic of cinema. The exhibition is an introduction to the Mapping the Cinemas project which, next spring, will take visitors back to the golden era of cinema. Since 1896, cinemas have operated in one form or another in nearly 100 different locations. The cinema map of former film locations will be drawn anew with a booklet presenting the main characteristics of all venues and guided tours through former and current cinemas. The most renowned and interesting ones will be revived by a special film screening. In its early years, the elite Ljubljanski dvor cinema left its stamp on another part of Slovenian film history. Graphic designer and photographer, Peter Kocjančič, designed between 1925 and 1929 the first Slovenian film posters, a large part of which were for movies that premiered at the cinema in Kolodvorska Street. The exhibition of rarely seen but most precious Slovenian film posters, archived at the National and University Library in Ljubljana, will be on display at the NLB Gallery Avla until 7 November 2013. The exhibition was curated by Metka Dariš, Head of the Museum Department at Slovenian Cinematheque. The history of the oldest, still operating cinema in Ljubljana is also closely connected to the street on which it is located. The exhibition titled Kolodvorska Street – From Travelling to Cinema will be on show until 5 October at the Slovanska Library, Centre for Local Studies and Special Humanistic Collections of the Ljubljana City Library. At the exhibition, curated by Gašper Hudolin and Matjaž Bizjak, one can discover a lot about the rich history of this street, named after the nearby railway station. These are just a few glimpses of what awaits us in The Year of the Cinema. A more detailed programme, including numerous interesting film events related to cinema history, can be found at: www.kinodvor.org/leto-kina/. The preparation of the project involved extensive research and collection of archive material in cooperation with Lilijana Nedič, long-serving former Head of the Museum Department at the Slovenian Cinematheque, Klemen Žun, a collector from Ljubljana and connoisseur of Ljubljana’s cinemas, young researcher and cooperator of Kinodvor, Nika Gričar and Špela Čižman, Curator at the Museum Department of the Slovenian Cinematheque. The collected historical material will be presented as part of the Kinodvor 90 exhibition in October and November, shedding light on the interesting periods in the life of Ljubljanski dvor – today’s Kinodvor. After its opening in 1923, Ljubljanski dvor soon became the premiere elite cinema with a varied, high profile programme. In addition to the numerous foreign films, among which the viewers could see Erotikon featuring the first
Slovenian film star, Ita Rina, shining in the leading role, cinemagoers also had the opportunity to watch the second Slovenian feature The Slopes of Triglav, which premiered at Ljubljanski dvor on 9 December 1932. In October 1933 Ljubljanski dvor, as the last silent movie theatre in Ljubljana, became the sound Dvor Cinema. Two years later the Sloga National Railway Music Society took it over and renamed it Sloga Cinema. In the mid1960s, Sloga started to reorient its programme towards screening erotic and later pornographic films, thus becoming the first cinema of this kind in the territory of the former Yugoslavia. The cinema kept its ‘notorious’ name until 1992 when it was again renamed Dvor Cinema. The construction of the first multiplex on the outskirts of Ljubljana resulted in the closure of most of the cinemas in the city centre. In 2001, Dvor was subject to the same fate. Luckily, a year later, the endeavours of the first director of the Slovenian Cinematheque, the late Silvan Furlan, led to an agreement between the City of Ljubljana, the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia and the Slovenian Cinematheque regarding the renovation and reopening of the Dvor as an art house cinema intended for screening contemporary films. 01 Kinodvor (Photo: Miha Mally, Source: Kinodvor) 02 The Flight Around the World (Poster is part of the Peter Kocjančič Slovenian Film Posters Collection and will be presented in an exhibition at the NLB Gallery Avla) 03 Paradiz Cinema (Photo: Marjan Ciglič, Source: National Museum of Contemporary History, Slovenia) 04 Kolodvorska Street (Photo: Marjan Ciglič, Source: National Museum of Contemporary History, Slovenia) 05 Scratch Film Workshop (Photo: Domen Pal, Source: Kinodvor)
Kinodvor operated from 2003 until April 2008 when the management of the Cinematheque decided to close its doors. Fortunately, Ljubljana did not stay long without its oldest operating cinema. With the establishment of the Kinodvor Public Institution, the City of Ljubljana revived the cinema which soon became what it had once been – a real city cinema showing quality contemporary world film production. 03
Autumn Edition 2013 | The Slovenian Times
Culture&Events Facts & Figures • 214 films from 59 countries • 11 venues • 577 employees and 380 volunteers • more than 1300 accredited guests • more than 800 accredited media representatives from 32 countries • more than 100.000 visitors for all programmes
Main Awards COMPETITION PROGRAMME – FEATURE FILM HEART OF SARAJEVO FOR BEST FEATURE FILM IN BLOOM / GRZELI NATELI DGEEBI Directors: Nana Ekvtimishvili and Simon Groß (Georgia)
The 19th Sarajevo Film Festival – glamour and glow despite the crisis
Festival with a touch of Slovenia Once a year, Sarajevo radiates a strange positive energy comparable only with the energy of the XIV Olympic Winter Games which were held in the same city in 1984. Celebrities, strangers and locals in the same café bars, nice people, smiling faces and even the legendary and contagious “NO PROBLEM!” meme becomes a way of life for more than a week every summer. Problems are forgotten, the streets are cleaned, the best clothes are taken from the closets, some spending money obtained and the show commences. A carousel of film, concerts, parties, culinary events, fashion shows, city tours… starts spinning with a little help from sponsors. Sarajevo is ready to give you a heart and, of course, take yours (if you are not careful), forever. By Almir Flisar During the nine days of the 19th Sarajevo Film Festival, numerous eminent filmmakers presented their work to the public and confirmed SFF’s status as the leading film festival in the region. Despite the crisis and financial problems, the festival has maintained both a high artistic level
The Slovenian Times | Autumn Edition 2013
and the image of the festival, which tend to get world and regionally famous names. This year celebrities on the red carpet were Armand Assante, Danny Glover, Danis Tanović, Cristy Puiu, Bella Tarr as well as Tomaž Pandur, Severina, Mira Furlan, Jadranka Kosor and many others.
The 19th Sarajevo Film Festival was opened with the premiere of ‘An Episode In The Life Of An Iron Picker’, by Danis Tanović and closed with ‘The Lunchbox’ by Ritesh Batra. The 20th Sarajevo Film Festival will take place from 15 - 23 August 2014.
Special jury award
Human rights award
A STRANGER Director: Bobo Jelčić (Croatia, B&H)
SPECIAL JURY MENTION PRIDE / ЧECT Director: Pavel G. Vesnakov (Bulgaria, Germany)
HEART OF SARAJEVO FOR BEST ACTRESS Lika Babluani and Mariam Bokeria (IN BLOOM / GEORGIA)
Competition programme – documentary film
Honorary heart of ˝Sarajevo
HEART OF SARAJEVO FOR BEST ACTOR Bogdan Diklić (A STRANGER / CROATIA, B&H)
HEART OF SARAJEVO FOR BEST DOCUMENTARY FILM SICKFUCKPEOPLE Director: Juri Rechinsky (Austria)
Competition programme – short film
Special jury mention YUGOSLAVIA, HOW IDEOLOGY MOVED OUR COLLECTIVE BODY/ JUGOSLAVIJA, KAKO JE IDEOLOGIJA POKRETALA NAŠE KOLEKTIVNO TELO Director: Marta Popivoda (Serbia, France, Germany)
HEART OF SARAJEVO FOR BEST SHORT FILM SHADOW OF A CLOUD / O UMBRĂ DE NOR Director: Radu Jude (Romania) SPECIAL JURY MENTION RABITTLAND Director: Ana Nedeljković and Nikola Majdak,jr (Serbia)
SPECIAL JURY PRIZE FOR COMPETITION PROGRAMME DOCUMENTARY FILM THE CLEANERS Director: Konstantinos Georgousis (Greece)
MARRIED TO THE SWISS FRANC Director: Arsen Oremović (Croatia)
Béla Tarr, Director (Hungary) Roberto Olla, Executive Director of Eurimages, the Council of Europe support fund for European cinema (Italy)
Slovenia at the 19th SFF The feature film, ‘Adria Blues’ by Miroslav Mandić was presented in a new programme at the Sarajevo Film Festival. In the documentary competition programme, Slovenia was represented by Hanna Slak’s, ‘Screens’ and Petra Seliškar’s ‘Mama Europa’. Participants of the Talent Campus were director, Urška Menart and actor, Domen Valič. The production company, Vertigo/Emotion film was co-producer of two feature films - ‘An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker’ and ‘With Mum’.
Introduction of Bled Film Festival at Bled Strategic Forum Rade Šerbedžija, actor and director gave an inspiring presentation about Bled Film Festival at Bled Strategic Forum. In the frame of special panel The Water Challenge in the MENA Region he introduced the idea of festival with a mission to use the power of moving images to create a better world. In addition to drawing public attention to some extraordinary films, festival is also seeking to raise general awareness about water problems and the other environmental issues which jeopardize life on our one and only planet. The audience has warmly welcomed his invitation to support and join the festival in the June 2014. Autumn Edition 2013 | The Slovenian Times
Event Guide Exhibition
Struggling Cities: From Japanese Urban Projects in the 1960s
EuroBasket 2013 Wed 4 Sep–Sun 22 Sep, various venues Small can be big! Slovenia, which may be a small country but is big in terms of basketball, will host EuroBasket 2013, the European men’s basketball championship organised by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA). The semi-final and final matches will be played in Ljubljana. The championship will bring together 24 European teams, including the national team of Slovenia, where basketball is the most popular team sport. The best known Slovenian players to appear at the championship include Goran Dragić, Erazem Lorbek, Mirza Begić and Matjaž Smodiš, all members of renowned European or American NBA teams.
Manu Chao La Ventura Tue 10 Sep, 8pm, Cvetličarna, Ljubljana, EUR 20 The cult French singer of Spanish origin, Manu Chao, will perform with his band La Ventura, presenting his musical expression in its purest form and his well known energetic concerts. Manu Chao began his musical career as a member of the folk-punk band, Mano Negra. Being not only a music star but also an activist, a globetrotter, a critic of globalism, and a voice for the marginalised and the oppressed, he keeps away from the mainstream music industry, ever faithful to his convictions.
The Slovenian Times | Summer Edition 2013
Tue 10 Sep–Sun 13 Oct, Museum of Architecture and Design, Ljubljana The exhibition takes a fresh look at proposals for the city that were put forward by Japanese architects in the 1960s when Japan was flourishing in architecture. The exhibited proposals are all ambitious ideas addressing various problems engendered by the urbanisation which Japan was facing during this period. The exhibition will be opened by H. E. Mr Shigemi Jomori, Ambassador of Japan to Slovenia, on Tuesday, 10 September at 8pm
30th International Biennial of Graphic Art Sat 14 Sep–Sat 23 Nov, various venues, Ljubljana Ljubljana’s International Biennial of Graphic Arts, held since 1955, is the largest and one of the most acclaimed events of its kind in the world. Over its more than 50-year history, it has received overwhelming response not only from artists and experts but also from the public. In addition to the main exhibition, the 30th Biennial of Graphic Arts will include two exhibitions of work by the winners of the previous Biennial, an exhibition on the history of the Biennial, held at the CD Gallery, an international symposium, and several accompanying exhibitions referred to as ‘art satellites’. The curator of the main exhibition will be Deborah Cullen, PhD.
Evgeny Kissin Mon 30 Sep, 7.30pm, Cankarjev dom, Ljubljana, EUR 22–38 Evgeny Kissin rose to fame at the age of twelve as a child prodigy after having performed Chopin’s Piano Concertos 1 and 2 in the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory with the Moscow State Philharmonic. Musical awards and tributes from around the world have been showered upon Kissin, one of his special achievements being the recording of piano concertos by Beethoven, which he likes to play over a succession of a few days. The inspiration of Evgeny Kissin’s poetic fantasy as well as poetry readings, a speciality of his, mesmerise audiences worldwide.
2013 Golden Stick Festival Mon 30 Sep– Sun 6 Oct, various locations, Ljubljana The Golden Stick (Zlata paličica) festival is an international biennial theatre festival featuring professional theatre productions for children. The competition programme of the 15th festival will include performances by Slovenian theatres and the accompanying programme guest performances by children’s and youth theatres from different European countries.
Peter Gabriel Sat 5 Oct, 8pm, Arena, Zagreb, Croatia, EUR 25–90 As the leader of Genesis in the early 1970s, Peter Gabriel helped move progressive rock to new levels of theatricality. He was no less ambitious as a solo artist but he was more subtle in his methods. With his first eponymous solo album in 1977, he began exploring darker, more cerebral territory, incorporating avantgarde, electronic, and worldbeat influences into his music. He has remained at the cutting edge of innovation and experimentation in pop and rock music and remains one of the most influential artists.
Fri 18 Oct, 8pm, Cankarjev dom, Ljubljana, EUR 31–65 An orchestra boasting a venerable tradition, the Staatskapelle Dresden is steeped in European musical history. In 2008 the orchestra celebrated its 460th jubilee. Over its long history, the ensemble has been shaped by many distinguished conductors and internationally celebrated instrumentalists. World renowned conductor and pianist, Myung-Whun Chung, performs regularly with the Staatskapelle Dresden. One of their astonishing successes has been a rendition of Messiaen’s TurangalilaSymphony given at the Semperoper.
Sat 9 Nov, 8pm, Stožice Sports Park Arena, Ljubljana, EUR 16.5–40 The Slovenian vocal jazz ensemble, Perpetuum Jazzile, achieved fame across the world for their recording of the vocal arrangement of the song Africa by Toto posted on YouTube. The main part of the programme will feature compositions arranged in Perpetuum Jazzile’s signature style, with vocals replacing musical instruments, particularly percussion. The ensemble will perform their own renditions of well known pieces of music of a variety of different styles, including some purely instrumental.
London Philharmonic Orchestra
Mon 18 Nov, 8pm, Cankarjev dom, Ljubljana, EUR 31–65 The London Philharmonic Orchestra is one of the foremost British symphony orchestras. Since 1951, the ensemble has been based at the Royal Festival Hall. Among other things, it also gained renown as the resident symphony orchestra of the Glyndebourne Festival Opera. The conductor is Andrés Orozco-Estrada with soloist, Rudolf Buchbinder, on piano. The programme includes pieces by Zoltán Kodály and Ludwig van Beethoven.
Ljubljana Wine Route
Ljubljana Marathon 2013 Sun 27 Oct, Streets of Ljubljana The Ljubljana Marathon is a mammoth celebration of running with nearly 18,000 runners from 35 countries. The Ljubljana Marathon is gaining more popularity every year and the number of participants is on the increase. This year, competitors will be running a classic marathon (42km), a half marathon (21km) or various shorter recreational races. All the races will be held within the wider city centre area. Traffic will be hindered or redirected in certain areas of the city.
Sat 9 Nov, Old city centre, Ljubljana, Free entrance The Ljubljana Wine Route (Ljubljanska vinska pot) marks St. Martin’s Day when, according to Slovenian tradition, grapes must officially turns to wine. The event includes tastings of young wine and culinary delights served from stalls set up in front of the old city centre’s bars and restaurants. Slovenia is a country of good wines distinguished by their remarkably natural taste. Ljubljana is not part of a wine-growing region but due to its tradition as a commercial centre for the country’s wine-growing districts, it holds the international title of a “City of Vine and Wine”. The Ljubljana Wine Route, held annually in the Ljubljana city centre on the banks of the Ljubljanica river, brings together winemakers from all the wine-growing regions of Slovenia. In addition to wines it also features traditional Slovenian dishes.
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Mon 25 Nov, 8pm, Dvorana Tivoli (sports hall), Ljubljana, EUR 39 Earlier this year, after a break of several years, the cult rock band Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds released a new album, Push the Sky Away, and made their comeback to the music scene. The last time they played in Ljubljana was twenty years ago. In the meantime, Nick Cave teamed up with the band Grinderman. Their sold-out 2010 concert at Ljubljana’s Križanke Summer Theatre was considered to be one of the city’s best concerts of the year. Summer Edition 2013 | The Slovenian Times
The invention of the wheel is the foundation of civilisation and culture. Thousands of years of inventiveness have not created anything to replace the wheel. And the oldest wooden wheel with an axle, 5,200 years old, was discovered in Slovenia in the Ljubljana Marshes. The wheel is making its first public appearance in the City Museum
of Ljubljana at an exhibition which links ancient heritage and technological and scientific development with culture and art in an original manner and even escapes the limitations of our planet. Visit the exhibition and experience the wheel in a completely new and surprising manner.
Published on Sep 12, 2013