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S&P G lo The Fo bal: YU Re rmer 25 Ye publics ars La ter Page 9-11

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


European Commission is working to set up the European cloud

Melania Trump, the 2nd foreign-born first lady in US history

December in Ljubljana is magical! The Legatum Institute ranks Don’t miss it! Slovenia 20 out of 149 countries

Renowned business leaders from the region about the Investment environment in Slovenia

Culinary spoiling . .

Slovenian amazing . . info:









ku p op ova pi lni ng vo gu di id č e



Fužinski grad


Anything but basic

Winter Edition 2016

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

Editorial office Bregarjeva 37, 1000 Ljubljana

CEO and Publisher Brane Krajnik

Editor in Chief Tina Drolc

Editorial Consultant Louise Chatwood

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

Contributors Tonja Blatnik, Jan Bratanič, Maja Dragovič, Valerio Fabbri, Saša Fajmut, Silvija Fister, Andreja Jernejčič, Stojan Petrič, Joji Sakurai, Jenny Tumas, Legatum Institute, S&P Global

AD & D Marko Pentek,

Cover Photo

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

The team at The Slovenia Times believes that good stories and WiFi are for sharing. In 2017 we will continue to keep you posted, not only with stories about winning or losing but those that count, encouraged by the challenges of our environment. Therefore, we are proud to present in this TST Winter 2016 magazine an exclusive comment from The Legatum Institute. The International Think Tank, based in London, produces an annual Prosperity Index of countries based on more than just money. This year, the 10th Index, puts Slovenia th at 20 out of 149, ahead of Japan, Hong Kong and Estonia. As we reach the end of the year and our traditional event, the FDI Summit Slovenia 2016 we discover the investment environment in Slovenia with the renowned business leaders from the region and a bilateral investment review for 2016 through the facts and figures of Slovenia’s International Business Partners. Looking at the Former Yugoslavia through fresh eyes after 25 years, the Regional Insight, in association with S&P Global, explores their recent report "The Former Yugoslav Republics 25 Years after the fall of Yugoslavia. Where are they now?" Most ratings in the region sit in the 'B' or 'BB' category, except Slovenia (A/Stable) with S&P concluding that the less-than-effective institutions continue to be among the main weakness of the country. Changes are needed for benefits to be delivered. Mr Jyrki Katainen, European Commission Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, explains in an interview for The Slovenia Times about setting up a European Cloud. In this fast-moving digital era, he believes that a fully functional Digital Single Market could contribute EUR 415 bn per year to the EU economy and create thousands of new jobs. For this reason, the Commission relies on Slovenia and the other EU Member States to move forward quickly with Commission proposals for the digital agenda. Armed with ideas and knowing how to use them in 2017, the Slovenian capital will be under the sign of the architect, Jože Plečnik. There are just a few cities in the world where the work of just one architect changed the fabric of the city. Barcelona had the famous Antoni Gaudi who left a lasting impression on the Catalan city with his buildings and arrangements, while Ljubljana had Jože Plečnik who altered and marked the city in the second quarter of the 20th century. And finally, I sincerely wish you to be brave enough and kind enough to create a good mark once upon a time in 2017! Let it be inspired by the nostalgic sparkles of expectation, honest handshakes and good wishes, the smell of gingerbread and mulled wine in this Christmas time. Thank you to all our supporters and wishing you Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

©DOMUS d.o.o., 2003. All rights reserved.

Truly yours, Tina Drolc Editor in Chief

Winter Edition 2016 | The Slovenian Times


Contents Page 4


4 Slovenia in the top 20 on Legatum prosperity index

5 7th FDI Summit Slovenia 2016

6 Investment environment in Slovenia

8 In terms of investment, Slovenes as a nation with its own language and a history of more than

1200 years can be proud and can be compared to larger nations


9 The Former Yugoslav Republics 25 Years After The Fall Of Yugoslavia. Where Are They Now?

ECONOMY 12 Economic overview 14 Interview: Mateja Vraničar Erman, Slovenia’s Finance Minister 16 FDI in Slovenia: U Member States prevail among investor countries 18 FDI Award 2016 winners: Novem Car Interior Design, Leykam tiskarna,

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Rosenbauer and Glovis Europe GmbH 20 Interview: Professor Metka Tekavčič, Dean of the Faculty of Economics, University of Ljubljana 22 Interview: Perry Timms, HR Futurist 24 International Annual Presidents' Forum and 30th Anniversary of IEDC: "Transformation is an ongoing journey, not a destination" 25 Winners of the 2016 Generali AAA 26 Interview: Anton Chernykh, President of the Management Board, SIJ Group 28 Think Global, Act Local: Goodyear’s Community Engagement in Slovenia 29 18th Portorož Business Conference: World Barricades. Eliminate them! 30 How to achieve energy-saving renovations with MIK energy contracting 32 Manager of the Year, Andrej Božič: "Crucial was the consensus of all stakeholders" 33 Interview: Lukas Kircher, co-founder and Managing Director at C3 34 BTC City Ljubljana: where Slovenian innovation meets global trends

GLOBAL PITCH 36 Slovenia, a land of start-ups


The Slovenian Times | Winter Edition 2016

Contents Page 48

INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS PARTNERS 38 TOPIC: Bilateral investment review for 2016

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


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42 "I can spot them as soon as they walk through the door!"

POLITICS 44 Political Overview 46 ITF Enhancing Human Security - a global leader in the elimination of landmines 48 Bringing the mutual benefits of CEE - China cooperation to reality: Slovenia’s Pipistrel and

China’s Sino GA Group sign a deal Page 58

EUROPEAN UNION 50 Interview: Jyrki Katainen, European Commission Vice-President for Jobs, Growth,

Investment and Competitiveness 52 Interview: HE Paweł Czerwiński, Ambassador of the Republic of Poland in Slovenia

EXPERIENCE & LIFESTYLE SLOVENIA 54 Air France celebrates 50 years in China 56 Interview: Rudy de Waele, Futurist, Innovation Strategist Page 62

SPORT 58 Last "dance" in Maribor

CULTURE & EVENTS 60 In 2017 Ljubljana will be in the Sign of the Architect Jože Plečnik 62 Festive December in Ljubljana 65 Ljubljana, European Green Capital 2016 66 EVENT GUIDE Winter Edition 2016 | The Slovenian Times


European In the Spotlight Union The Legatum Institute puts a big focus on Prosperity, particularly understand and measuring the journey from poverty to Prosperity for individuals, communities and nations and in their eyes true Prosperity is as much about well-being as wealth. Slovenes know they may not be wealthier than the Japanese but according to the Legatum Institute they are richer in some the things that create an environment in which people flourish. The Legatum Prosperity Index does measure a country’s economic quality certainly but it also looks at its Business Environment, Governance, Education, Health, Safety and Security, Personal Freedom and Social Capital. The pillars of Prosperity. The last is the hardest to define but often one of the most important. It measures the strength of personal relationships, social networks and civic participation in society. Measuring these complicated human and societal relationships isn’t easy but the Legatum Institute takes a very strong line on the reliability of the data, and the rigor of their methodology. The data sets used are those used by Governments, NGOs, and Global Institutions, and the methodology reviewed and checked by

Alexandra Muzavizadeh director of Prosperity Index and Baroness Philippa Stroud the CEO of the Legatum Institute

Slovenia in the top 20 on Legatum prosperity index By Legatum Institute

It would seem according the to The Legatum Institute that Slovenes wishing to raise their prosperity do not necessarily have to marry billionaire President-Elects but can simply stay in Slovenia. The International Think Tank based in London produces annually a Prosperity Index of countries based on more than just money. This year, the 10th Index put Slovenia at 20th out of 149 ahead of Japan, Hong Kong and Estonia.


The Slovenian Times | Winter Edition 2016

Slovenia was first in the Natural Environment sub-index beating Finland, France, New Zealand and Germany. world class advisors such a Carol Graham and Nobel Laureate Professor Angus Deaton. This year a 9th Pillar was added to the Index, that of Natural Environment measuring three areas the quality of the natural environment, environmental pressures, and preservation efforts. It may not surprise Slovenes that they came Number 1 in this pillar of the Index. Slovenia not only has a fantastic Natural Environment with forest, mountains, significant biological diversity and abundance of natural bodies of water but has focused on managing them and preserving them. Thanks to protecting 98.4% of its marine area (the highest globally) and 54.5% of its land area (also the highest globally) and other measures in this field Slovenia was first in the Natural Environment sub-index beating Finland, France, New Zealand and Germany. After 2009 when Slovenia quadrupled the size of its protected land area, the rise to the top (now we have modelled our Index for the past) shows it went from 70th to 1st in 10 years. This has clearly pushed Slovenia’s ranking up the overall Legatum Prosperity Index but it’s not the only reason to be optimistic. Slovenia is

European In the Spotlight Union doing well in other areas like Education, where it has performed consistently well, ranked in the global top 25 in the Legatum Prosperity Index. This has been achieved by spending a higher percentage of its GDP on education than its regional peers. Thanks to a diverse and free press, high tolerance for immigrants, people of ethnic minorities, and the LGBT community, Slovenia’s Personal Freedom score. Higher indeed than the USA, the "land of the free" and far above its regional peers. However, there is still work to do. Slovenia was hard hit by the Global Financial Crisis, seeing its per capita income decline sharply, unemployment rise, and its level of relative poverty, while low compared to its regional peers, has risen incrementally ever since. In the Legatum Prosperity Index Slovenia’s worst performance comes in the Business Environment sub-index, where it ranks 60th globally. Its labour market is among the EU’s least flexible and its financial services are the least accessible in the EU. The Legatum Prosperity Index looks hard at a country and what makes it a place to live work love and flourish. No country is perfect, even New Zealand that the very top of the Index has problems, but for Slovenia, it has come out as a country punching above its weight in delivering Prosperity to its citizens and making the very best of the wealth that it has to make better lives for all. Government, Business, and society itself makes these things happen, and Slovenia can be proud, and yet still hungry to do more. 

In the Legatum Prosperity Index Slovenia’s worst performance comes in the Business Environment sub-index, where it ranks 60th globally.

7th FDI Summit Slovenia 2016 Number seven is a significant number in Slovene mythology, and this year The Slovenia Times is organising the seventh consecutive FDI Summit. Over the past several years, The Slovenia Times has been addressing the question of improving the business environment for local and foreign investors. We have hosted the CEO’s of some of the most successful foreign companies who have shared their stories of success with us. Traditionally, the FDI Summit has been attended by high-profile representatives of the Slovenian government (the President, prime ministers, ministers,...) who were interested to hear what investors had to say and for The Slovenia Times, it was essential to establish a public dialogue and make the arrival of foreign capital into Slovenia seem completely normal. During the last few years, marked by the global financial crisis, politicians seemed to hit a dead-end, speaking too much about the privatisation of state-owned property and the loss of national identity. Companies that export over 80 percent of Slovenian GDP are the most vital part of Slovenian society – these companies compete in the global market place and their products must be extremely competitive to achieve this. Are these companies also the owners of natural resources, oil, and gas? Are they globally competitive due to those resources? No, the most important resource in Slovenian companies is the people, their knowledge and skill. Slovenians may not be wealthier than the Japanese however, we do have a natural environment in which people can achieve their full potential. This is why this year’s FDI Summit will focus on the challenges of the future – how to achieve prosperity, Slovenia’s ranking in the Global Prosperity Index, how competitive we are in comparison to our neighbouring countries, and what we have to do as a society to make Slovenia a "talent hub"? These questions will be addressed by top experts: Professor William Lazounick from the University of Massachusetts, USA; Alexandra Muosavizadeh from The Legatum Institute, London; Jure Stojan from the Institute of Strategic Solutions; and Andreja Kodrin from Challenge Future, Slovenia. These keynote speakers will be joined in panel discussions by foreign entrepreneurs who will share their experiences and future challenges. In co-operation with the Faculty of Economics, University of Ljubljana, The Slovenia Times seeks to continue the pursuit of this vision and set ambitious goals. In this way, Slovenia could truly become a talent hub with the most active youth in the world, opening companies and creating a global network for all Slovenian companies across the globe.  We are convinced that talent has the greatest investment potential for Slovenia. Brane Krajnik CEO The Slovenia Times

Winter Edition 2016 | The Slovenian Times


European In the Spotlight Union

Investment environment in Slovenia Dr Riccardo Illy, Vice President, Illy Group, Italy and Member of the IEDC Supervisory Board "Slovenia is a land of opportunities for those companies and entrepreneurs who are seeking a modern business environment, with a lean administrative structure in the context of the European Market. It’s a land rich in resources, including natural, and able to attract tourists from all of the main European countries. It has a high level infrastructures, especially the port and highways, even if the railway system needs further investment. Furthermore, from a political standpoint, there is the need to accelerate the reform process with the adoption of some EU directives and from an economic perspective, the boost of the privatisation processes will help further modernisation of the country."

JoĹže ColariÄ?, President of the Management Board and Chief Executive, Krka, d.d. "Many companies operating in various fields are successful in their business operations in Slovenia. Slovenia has an excellent geopolitical position as it is close to the markets of Western, Central and Eastern Europe, which is an important competitive advantage for everyone engaging in business operations in this part of Europe. Also, conditions for investors which the state has recently adopted are improving and indicate a suitable environment for investments. In addition, Slovenia has many educated and hard-working people who are eager to learn and it is knowledge that is a major contributor to growth and development of any company."


The Slovenian Times | Winter Edition 2016

European In the Spotlight Union

Enzo Smrekar, General Manager, Atlantic Grupa When you are considering doing business in Central Europe, Slovenia offers numerous advantages: geographical location, fast connections, safety, an educated workforce fluent in foreign languages, just to mention a few. Companies in Slovenia are part of the EU business arena while maintaining a deep understanding and involvement in Balkan business communities, which therefore offers excellent opportunities for companies with ambitions in the region and the EU. To further break the FDI barrier, the government needs to keep adopting reforms and follow the vision of the Ministry of Public Administration for Slovenia to become a "Green Reference Country in Digital Europe".

Raynald Joly, CEO Revoz "Renault has been present in Slovenia for 45 years and continues to invest in its plant because it is a plant with the highest skill level and very efficient in terms of quality and results. As Slovenia is part of the European Union, its business environment does not deviate a lot from other European countries. Currently, the main issue for Revoz is to assure the massive recruitment for the start of production of the Clio 4 next year."

Winter Edition 2016 | The Slovenian Times


European In the Spotlight Union

In terms of investment, Slovenes as a nation with its own language and a history of more than 1200 years can be proud and can be compared to larger nations By Stojan Petrič

Long-time President and now Chairman of the Advisory Committee of the multinational Kolektor Group from Idrija

Because of its size and history within Yugoslavia, Slovenia has certain peculiarities that reflect in the summarising of the Western Balkans business culture, as well as in the strong involvement in the international business environment. In this business environment, foreign investment can be an important economic source, both because of direct capital increase as well as other positive economic effects related to the transfer of technology, knowledge and market expansion.

When deciding about investing capital abroad, Kolektor took into account a number of factors related to the size of the market, the available, qualified and academically educated workforce, the stability of fiscal policy, political and social security, and growth of the economic environment, to ensure an increase in the invested capital on the level of input costs, work, material, etc., just to name a few key factors. However, this is one of the basic conditions for a positive investment climate and the attitude towards foreign investors. On the other hand, this is a similar situation in the eyes of foreign investors who come to Slovenia. Except that they first inspect the investment climate for foreign capital. If it is positive, and I believe that in Slovenia it is, the foreign investor begins analysing the Slovenian business environment. Here, the key role is not played only by labour costs but also by all of the previously listed factors. I dare say that Slovenia has a specialised and academically educated labour force, while legal security of employees is comparable to the legal security of employees in Germany, Austria, France, etc. We have excellent conditions for research and development, also in conjunction with knowledge institutes. We are a dynamic society that adapts to changes and all of these advantages are very important for the effectiveness of the capital invested by a foreign (or domestic) investor. Slovenia has well organised infrastructure and it is a politically stable society, which is an additional advantage. This was also confirmed by German investors in Slovenia, and today we have more than 300 who would make investments in Slovenia again. In Slovenia we always wonder what can we improve and there is always something. For example: • Comparable taxation of capital and labour in relation to other EU countries, especially to those that are the most competitive with Slovenia: Slovakia, Czech Republic, Poland.


The Slovenian Times | Winter Edition 2016

• Eliminate bureaucratic obstacles in investment, especially in the construction sector. • Reduce or adapt public administration costs so their share in GDP is comparable with other EU countries. • Deregulation of the country and completion of the privatisation process, ensuring successful corporate governance for state-owned companies. • Direct the economic environment even more toward sustainable development of the economy. • Encourage the banking system to finance investment projects in assets that immediately bring cash flow.

We tend to emphasise the disadvantages instead of the advantages We often hear about corruption in our environment. I am not saying that there is none, but I can say that Slovenia does not deviate from other EU countries. We are sufficiently critical and in assessing the business environment we tend to emphasise the disadvantages instead of the advantages. We do not know if this is a feature of a small nation, but the fact is that Slovenia is a nation with its own language and a history of more than 1,200 years, we are comparable and we can be proud also compared to larger nations. The United States, for example, are a society with a population that emigrated from Europe, South America, Asia and Africa and a history of only a few hundred years. 

Regional Insight in association with S&P

Regional Insight in Association with

S&P Global Ratings

The Former Yugoslav Republics 25 Years After The Fall Of Yugoslavia.

Where Are They Now? It has been 25 years since the Slovenian Independence War marked the beginning of the end of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Today, all of the former republics of Yugoslavia are sovereigns rated by S&P Global Ratings. Most of the ratings are in the ‘B’ or ‘BB’ category, excluding Slovenia (A/Stable). With the exception of Serbia and Slovenia, we rate all of them lower than their initial ratings because of legacy issues that have weighed on creditworthiness over the years. As these issues remain the key rating constraints, addressing them will be key to improving creditworthiness.

Overview • Nascent democracies and less-than-effective institutions continue to be the main weaknesses in the former Yugoslav countries. • Low income levels and poor public finances, as well as the persistently inefficient allocation of resources illustrate the still large presence of the state in these countries, which are nevertheless on the road to becoming market economies. • The process of convergence with the rest of Europe will be a long and rocky one, but some progress is being made under strong external anchors, such as the possibility of EU accession. • Very different monetary regimes in the countries are a manifestation of historical bouts of hyperinflation and institutional limitations. A history of low savings rates and correspondingly sustained current account deficits has resulted in external vulnerabilities in many countries.

Winter Edition 2016 | The Slovenian Times


Regional Insight in association with S&P

External assessment

Fiscal assessment: budget performance

Fiscal assessment: debt

Monetary assessment











































Sovereign Foreign-Currency Institutional Ratings assessment

Economic assessment

Bosnia and Herzegovina










Strengths • Declining narrow net external debt, coupled with the benefits of an actively traded currency; • Lower general government deficits and debt reduction through the drawdown of government cash buffers. Weaknesses • Still high debt burden resulting from the 2013-2014 bank bailout.

Strengths • An independent central bank. Weaknesses • Low income levels and a subdued recovery, and • High government debt and only gradually consolidating public finances.

Strengths • Structural reform momentum, and • Investment-driven growth, especially in exports. Weaknesses • High government debt burden, • Weak monetary policy, and • Low income levels.

Slovenia’s ratings benefit, among other factors, from the region’s highest per capita income. Building on its comparably high productivity and leveraging its more diversified economy, the country was able to quickly transform into an open, export-oriented economy, and consequently was the first former Yugoslav country to join the EU. At the same time, however, its key ratings constraint--a high yet gradually declining government debt burden--is also the result of an incomplete transition from its socialist past. This manifested itself in Slovenia’s 2013-2014 bailout of a number of large banks, two of them state-owned, partly arising from problems with connected lending, that is, lending to parties with relationships to the banks.


The Slovenian Times | Winter Edition 2016

Croatia also began its transition to an open economy following the Yugoslav breakup, and following the relatively swift establishment of institutional stability, capital inflows, and a dominant tourism industry. This supported income convergence with EU countries, and Croatia joined the bloc in 2013. However, the country has not tackled one socialist legacy that it shares with its former Yugoslav neighbors: loss-making and inefficient SOEs, which have contributed to Croatia’s high debt burden and fiscal deficits. Weighed down by sluggish public-sector and structural reform, Croatia’s economy slid into a six-year recession that ended in 2015. While we anticipate that the Croatian economy will grow at an average annual 2.2% over 2016-2019, this growth still somewhat lags behind peers with similar income levels. At the same time, continued deleveraging in all sectors constrains investment, which had been a growth driver.

Serbia’s high government debt burden is partly the legacy of an inefficient and large public sector, especially SOEs and socially owned enterprises that have been accumulating losses due to loose government control and oversight. Especially over the past five years, this resulted in even higher debt increases (of an average annual 9.5% of GDP 2010–2015) than could be explained by the average government deficit (5.4% of GDP over the same period). In addition, a high share of foreign currencydenominated government debt, coupled with a high share of foreign currency loans and deposits in the banking sector, necessitated monetary policy that was targeted at maintaining exchange rate stability rather than stable inflation. As a result, the transmission of the country’s currently accommodative monetary policy to the real economy has been rather weak. Although a latecomer in the EU accession process due to a number of legacy issues, Serbia has recently sped up its actions under the accession process as well as structural reform and fiscal consolidation efforts under an IMF program. This should enable Serbia to increasingly take advantage of core industrial centers left over from its Yugoslav past, such as the car hub in Kragujevac, now producing mainly Fiat automobiles and a main contributor to Serbia’s exports. The country’s current account deficit could continue to be financed by FDI, as investors are becoming increasingly attracted by Serbia’s cost-competitive manufacturing sector.

Regional Insight in association with S&P

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

Bosnia and Herzegovina



Strengths • Relatively low net debt burden. Weaknesses • Fragile, multilayered government institutions with complicated policymaking processes, • Exposure to external financing pressure given weak FDI, and • Weaknesses in the business environment that are impeding economic growth prospects.

Strengths • Economic growth potential, especially in the high value-added tourism sector. Weaknesses • High debt burden, limited monetary, and fiscal flexibility; and • High external indebtedness.

Strengths • A moderate, yet increasing, debt burden. Weaknesses • Fractured and ethnically divided political landscape, and • Low income levels.

The economic legacy of the former Yugoslavia is still influencing BiH’s economic structure, beyond the war damage from the early 1990s. BiH, with reserves of base metals, has long had a comparative advantage to the other exYugoslav countries, illustrated by the build-up of a mining and metal industry. Today, base metals still contribute to about one-fifth of the country’s exports and hydroelectricity is also an important export driver. Still, in the war’s aftermath, a weak business environment and the fragmented and complex institutional setup continue to hamper FDI into productive capacities and meaningful integration into international supply chains. This prevents a shift away from consumption-based growth, which continues to explain Bosnia’s large current account deficit of 7% of GDP. Therefore, unemployment is likely to remain high (officially at almost 30%). High remittances from Bosnian citizens abroad (about 14% of GDP in 2016) will remain a heavy determinant of living conditions in the country over the medium term. We continue to anticipate that the recently concluded agreement with the IMF will be key to alleviating external financing pressures and would provide an important anchor for structural reforms. BiH’s central bank has been successful in maintaining the stability of the country’s currency board regime. Although it hampers monetary flexibility, this regime--and the peg of the konvertibilna marka to the euro-contributes to the country’s stability.

Montenegro, the last ex-Yugoslav republic to become independent in 2006, was still grappling with the institutional challenges common to such young countries when it decided to unilaterally adopt at first the deutsche mark and then the euro, which essentially eliminated the country of any monetary flexibility. Furthermore, inefficient SOEs, exemplified by formerly state-owned aluminum producer KAP, and significant infrastructure needs raised the country’s debt burden and limited its fiscal flexibility. As a result of these elevated investment needs, the country has persistently been running current account deficits, which are only partly offset by large inflows from tourism and remittances from abroad. The underdeveloped tourism industry, however, also offers opportunities for recurring FDI inflows, which should help finance the current account deficit and drive growth.

Macedonia, being landlocked, has historically been one of the least developed regions in the former Yugoslavia, which still shows up in lower income levels than for its regional peers. Reliance on high remittance from the diaspora to sustain consumption remains high. However, the government has taken decisive measures to improve the economic structure by attracting FDI and diversifying exports by granting tax breaks, setting up special-status free economic zones, and other measures to attract foreign investors. This has yielded some positive results, for example in attracting some automotive manufacturing. Further local integration of the country’s free economic zones would also enhance its growth prospects, if institutional risks, especially from protracted and repeated political crises, can be contained.

Winter Edition 2016 | The Slovenian Times



The Slovenian Ministry of Economic Development and Technology and the Japanese agency for advanced energy and industrial technology NEDO signed a memorandum on cooperation in a project to introduce smart energy networks. Photo Stanko Gruden/STA

Slovenia and Japan to cooperate on smart networks In November, the Slovenian Ministry of Economic Development and Technology and the Japanese Agency for Advanced Energy and Industrial Technology (NEDO), signed a Memorandum of Cooperation for the introduction of smart energy networks. NEDO also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Slovenian grid operator, ELES. The latter also signed an implementation contract with Japanese electronics giant, Hitachi. Prime Minister Miro Cerar said that the signing of the agreements proves "that we are future-oriented, that we keep moving forward, and that we can collaborate with the world’s most technologically advanced nations and companies". The project is worth EUR 50m and will be partly funded by the Economy Ministry. Head of NEDO, Kazuo Furukawa, highlighted that the framework for cooperation was well-considered and so expectations are high. On the national level, ELES will take over the coordination of activities related to power distribution companies, Japanese companies and other suppliers. The solutions which an advanced system of smart networks will bring will be constructed as a cloud service which will ensure cost effectiveness. The solutions will also connect the existing elements of the system with advanced elements, such as systemic power reservoirs and consumer energy management technologies. 


The Slovenian Times | Winter Edition 2016

Hidria forecasts record results and will focus on electric vehicles Industrial conglomerate, Hidria, expects record results for 2016 with EUR 216m in sales revenue and a net profit of EUR 10m. Hidria plans to focus on electric vehicles and hybrids in the future and set up a new green mobility centre in Koper. Hidria continues to invest heavily in R&D, around EUR 10-15m a year, according to CEO, Iztok Seljak, who noted that they plan to turn this into more than EUR 300m in annual sales revenue over the next four years. Hidria is teaming up with foreign companies in an attempt to electrify the Ljubljana-Zagreb-Belgrade-Skopje motorway as part of the Green Balkanica project. In recent years, the conglomerate has become a key developer and supplier of motorcycle frames for premium labels and parts for steering systems for premium car makers, Seljak stressed. Andrej Velec, General Manager of Hidria’s motorcycle subsidiary, Mototec, announced that in addition to working with BMW and Ducati, the company is now adding KTM to the list of big motorcycle makers which it supplies.  Iztok Seljak, PhD. Managing Director of Hidria. Photo: Tamino Petelinšek/STA

Port of Koper Container Terminal. Photo: Anže Malovrh/STA

Net profit of Luka Koper rises almost 25% for January-September The Luka Koper group saw its net profit rise to EUR 33.2m or by 23 percent for January-September 2016 over the same period last year, and sales revenue increased by 11 percent to EUR 149.5m. Throughput was up five percent to 16.3 million tonnes according to an unaudited business report. The company highlighted throughput of cars which grew by 24 percent. Luka Koper attributed the rise to a deal with Daimler, “which is a major achievement for the port, especially in terms of references and image”. “After a year of cooperation we can say that we have fulfilled their expectations and we are ready for a new tender for additional volumes which will be published by Daimler shortly,” according to Luka Koper boss, Dragomir Matić. Container throughput increased by seven percent, just below 631,800 units, with the segment “facing the most intensive investment period ever”. Two additional kilometres of terminal railway tracks have been built and the construction of rails for new RMG cranes is nearing completion. “At the beginning of next year we will be able to operate on five container block-trains simultaneously,” explained Matić. The group allocated EUR 40.9m for investment in the first nine months of the year.  Source: STA

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Mateja Vraničar Erman, Slovenia’s Finance Minister; Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA

Interview: Mateja Vraničar Erman, Slovenia’s Finance Minister

On the Right Course By Maja Dragovič

Slovenia’s first female Finance Minister is determined to continue with fiscal consolidation in order to attract investments and boost further growth. Q You have spent 30 years working in the civil service as a bureaucrat and now you have entered politics. How do you feel about it, does it differ? A Well, it is not 30 years yet (laughing). I have been working at the Ministry of Finance for 23 years and before that I worked almost four years at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. Before this appointment I served as the State Secretary, which is also a political position. The responsibility and the scope of the duties are now bigger of course, but I am prepared to rise to the challenge. 14

The Slovenian Times | Winter Edition 2016

Q What is your strategy to ensure there is enough money in the budget, but that companies and the people are not burdened by too much tax? A The main course of our work is determined by the coalition agreement and the annual plan of priorities of the government. This is the framework that I, with my colleagues, am working on within the Ministry. I am convinced that we have to continue with the fiscal consolidation, because a stable fiscal environment helps to create a stable business environment which will help to boost

investments, job creation and further development.

Q Can you comment on whether Slovenia’s public finances can afford the current pay system? A The current wage system in the public sector was created in 2008, just before the crisis, when the fiscal position of Slovenia was much more favourable than now. In the years following 2012, public wages were subject to severe adjustments in order to support the fiscal consolidation. With the rebound in economic growth in 2015, some fiscal space was created to give back a part of what was taken. We are negotiating possible measures with the trade unions but it will have to be understood that, due to fiscal constraints, all requests cannot be realised. We have set the limits on the expenditure side for the period 2017-2019 which we have to respect. On the other hand, changes to the wage system are needed to support better remuneration according to individual performance and thus help the public sector to be more efficient. Q In managing government debt, some countries made the most of the possibilities from

Economy financial market conditions by issuing extremely long-dated government bonds. Slovenia did not take advantage, why not? A Contrary to your statement, Slovenia is amongst the EU countries that took full advantage of the opportunities in capital market conditions by issuing long and ultra-long dated securities. Slovenia leads among EU countries in debt management as, in the last two years, Slovenia has issued bonds with 16, 20, 24, or 30 year maturities. In March 2015, the Republic of Slovenia issued a 20 year bond with a coupon of 1.5% which was perceived as one of the best deals of 2015 and one of the first to benefit from the favourable market conditions at the time. The Ministry of Finance has been actively managing the debt portfolio of the Republic of Slovenia. In this context, Slovenia executed three liability management transactions lowering our US dollar denominated debt by US $2.6bn (reducing nearly 30 percent of the US dollar portfolio exposure) and replaced it with Euro bonds with 16, 19 and 24 year maturities. This is how Slovenia, on the back of these operations, significantly improved the risk profile of state debt and increased the average weighted time to maturity from 5.7 years in 2013 to 8.1 years in 2016. The duration of the debt portfolio increased from 4.5years in 2013 to 7 years in 2016. This brought Slovenia to a significantly better position on the capital markets.

Q Where is Slovenia’s fiscal space? How much does the budget allow for the investment component? A Slovenia’s fiscal space is very limited. After seven years of fiscal consolidation, we managed to bring the deficit down to below 3% of GDP, but the adopted constitutional provision and the Fiscal Rule Act bind us to improve budgets further in structural terms, primarily with reforms on the expenditure side such as health, pensions and education, to create space for more investment. In order to improve potential growth, we are ready to finance more investment, within general government entities outside the state budget, but the strict EU rules on the deficit are constraining these efforts. Investments in Slovenia were mostly financed by EU funds but the EU financing of investments reduced in 2016. Our state budgets for 2017 and 2018 envisage a revival of the investment cycle but not as strong as in 2014-2015. The share of gross fixed capital investments in GDP is projected at 2.6% of GDP and so we have to focus more on the quality of investments, higher multipliers and job creation effects. We also promote the use of financing instruments and credit funding. The involvement of private investors is also being encouraged with improvements in the overall business environment.

With the rebound in economic growth in 2015, some fiscal space was created to give back a part of what was taken. We are negotiating possible measures with the trade unions but it will have to be understood that, due to fiscal constraints, all requests cannot be realised. Q What are your views on the privatisation process? A The privatisation process is led by the Slovenian Sovereign Holding on the basis of the State Assets Management Strategy. The process of privatisation is ongoing and should continue. I expect it will be led professionally and transparently with the best possible outcome for the Republic of Slovenia.

In parallel, we are preparing the new Real Property Tax Act. We are planning to start the public deliberations this year but we should not expect assessments of the new tax before 2019. Together with municipalities, we are also working on improving the existing system of property taxation and these activities should help in a smoother introduction of the new system.

Q Is Brexit already having an impact on Slovenian public finances? A For now there is not much of an impact on our economy. We have established a special working group at the governmental level and analysed possible scenarios. Above all we have focused on the consequences for the European Budget. I expect that the negotiations on Brexit will not be easy and fast. It is crucial for the EU to maintain the common position toward Great Britain. At the moment it is hard to say anything more about Brexit since the negotiations have not even started.

Q When can Slovenia expect to see changes to its tax system? A Current activities, especially in countries in the middle of fiscal consolidation, are more focused on tax restructuring and closing loopholes within the system and thus making tax systems fairer. This is also the case for Slovenia. I am convinced that the tax restructuring that took place this year is a good basis for future efforts in this regard. Next year we will focus on two specific areas that were pointed out by the business community this year – i.e. possible improvements to the taxation of foreign employment income and improvements to the special scheme for micro businesses (the socalled 'flat rate taxation scheme', which applies to the taxation of business income which is derived by legal and natural persons who perform business activities and where revenues do not exceed specific thresholds). We will continue our efforts to reduce the administrative burden pertaining to tax compliance requirements. 

Q As State Secretary you worked hard on introducing a property tax that was not adopted. What is happening with the property tax now? A The system of real estate taxation in Slovenia is outdated and opaque, therefore we need to improve it. Currently we are in the final stage of preparing the new Real Property Mass Valuation Act. It is expected to be submitted to the parliament by the end of the year.

Winter Edition 2016 | The Slovenian Times



Evropski parlament v Strasbourgu; Photo: Thierry Monasse/STA

FDI in Slovenia:

EU Member States prevail among investor countries The value of inward FDI in Slovenia was EUR 11.6bn at the end of 2015, an increase of EUR 1.36bn or 13.4 percent from 2014. Equity inflows were EUR 1.35bn of which the majority was inward investment into financial and insurance activities and real estate, with the balance of EUR 449.2m reinvested earnings. After six years of divestment, net debt to foreign owners was reduced by EUR 337.7m in 2015 with a large part of the reduction attributable to debt to equity recapitalisations.


The Slovenian Times | Winter Edition 2016

Foreign investors invested most heaviliy in the corporate sector, accounting for 81.4 percent of total inward FDI in value terms, with 3,581 inward FDIs in Slovenia at the end of 2015 (direct capital affiliation only). The average equity value of FDI in existing firms stood at EUR 4.9m at the end of 2015, while the average value of FDI equity in new firms stood at EUR 1.4m. EU Member States prevailed among the investor countries, accounting for 84.3 percent of all inward FDI in Slovenia in value terms at the end of 2015. After two years of losses, firms with foreign owners recorded profit which stood at EUR 936.8m in 2015, most notably in manufacturing firms. The most important investor countries were Austria, which accounted for 30.7 percent of all inward FDI, followed by Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands and Croatia. In terms of activity, the largest investments were in manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade, motor vehicle and motorcycle repair, and in financial and insurance activities. Profits went to investors from Austria (EUR 327.4m), Germany (EUR 153.1m) and Switzerland (EUR 143.1m). The largest increases in inward FDI in Slovenia in 2015 were recorded from the Netherlands, Austria, Croatia and Luxembourg, totalling EUR 1.02m and accounting for 75 percent of the increase in nonresident FDI.

Economy Top five source countries for foreign direct investment in Slovenia, 31 December By activities of domestic enterprises with the highest foreign DI 2014

EUR million Austria Switzerland Germany Netherlands Croatia Other countries TOTAL



Manufacturing 808,1 815,5 398,5 150,3 134,8 997,8 3.305,0


Wholesale and retail trade, repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles

744,5 858,0 900,4 212,0 492,8 255,5 519,8 289,3 189,6 305,0 1.120,6 410,1 3.967,7 2.329,9

848,7 217,4 267,4 271,1 383,3 489,0 2.476,9




Financial and insurance activities 628,0 70,5 4,1 40,9 0,9 843,0 1.587,4

933,4 68,2 7,3 69,1 5,4 974,6 2.058,0



488,4 5,6 9,5 16,2 -7,2 237,1 749,6

439,7 34,7 23,2 16,1 -6,6 179,7 686,8


Information and communication

Real estate activities


229,0 18,3 10,5 86,3 13,1 198,3 555,5




214,4 16,9 14,1 104,3 9,5 326,3 685,5

370,3 28,7 375,3 42,7 329,6 527,7 1.674,3



364,5 3.381,8 3.545,2 75,7 1.150,6 1.313,3 278,3 1.053,4 1.083,1 39,0 625,7 1.019,4 357,1 776,2 938,3 574,9 3.213,9 3.665,2 1.689,5 10.201,6 11.564,5 Source: Banka Slovenije

In the breakdown of FDI by statistical region, the highest concentration of total inward FDI in value terms, over the entire observation period, was to Central Slovenia, which accounted for 65 percent of the total at the end of 2015, followed by Gorenjska (6 percent of total

In 2015, the wages paid per employee by firms with FDI were 12.1 percent higher than the average. ROE (return on equity) at firms with FDI stood at 10.8 percent in 2015, compared with 4.2 percent across all firms.

EU Member States prevailed among the investor countries. The most important investor countries were Austria, which accounted for 30.7 percent of all inward FDI, followed by Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands and Croatia.

inward FDI), the Coastal-Karst (5.7 percent) and Podravska (5.5 percent). At the end of 2015, firms with FDI accounted for 4.5 percent of all Slovenian firms (excluding financial intermediaries). The most important activity was manufacturing which in 2015 accounted for 14.4 percent of all firms with FDI and employed nearly half of all employees at firms with foreign capital. In 2015, the wages paid per employee by firms with FDI were 12.1 percent higher than the average wages per employee in Slovenia overall. Firms with FDI achieved higher net

profit per employee and higher value-added per employee. ROE (return on equity) at firms with FDI stood at 10.8 percent in 2015, compared with 4.2 percent across all firms. ď ´ Bank of Slovenia, Direct Investment 2015

The highest concentration of total inward FDI in value terms, over the entire observation period, was to Central Slovenia.

Performance indicators of the companies in Slovenian corporate sector, 2015

Euros 55.000 Firms with no FDI 50.000 less than 10% of its equity shares 45.000 belong to foreign investors 40.000 Minority share by foreigners - more than 10% and less than 50% of its equity shares belong to foreign investors Majority share by foreigners - more than 50% of its equity shares belong to foreign investors

35.000 30.000 25.000 20.000 15.000 10.000 5.000 0 - 5.000

Firms with no FDI

Minority share by foreigners

Majority share by foreigners

Value added per employee All activities


Firms with no FDI

Minority share by foreigners

Majority share by foreigners

Net profit (loss) per employee

Firms with no FDI

Minority share by foreigners

Majority share by foreigners

Labour costs per employee Source: Banka Slovenije

Winter Edition 2016 | The Slovenian Times


Economy FDI Award 2016 winners:

Novem Car Interior Design, Leykam tiskarna, Rosenbauer and Glovis Europe GmbH Eleven years of awarding companies which recognise Slovenia as an excellent, development-oriented business environment is becoming a tradition. The FDI Award aims to strengthen and expand Slovenia’s reputation as a place filled with investment opportunities, not only because of its strategic geographic location and long-standing industrial tradition, but also because of its stability, safety and support for development. The FDI Award realises the mission of the governmental agency, SPIRIT Slovenia, to further improve the competitiveness of the Slovenian economy and lend a hand to investors. A jury recognised the achievements of the winners nominated in four categories based on the following criteria: • the company employs fifty people or more; • its value added per employee is EUR 35,000 or more; • the company makes a profit; • the number of employees has grown since 2014;  • the company has no outstanding tax matters and liabilities; • the company is rated low-risk according to its scorecard, made in accordance with the Bisnode Failure model; and • the company does not operate in a tax haven.

Best Employer Award: Novem Car Interior Design d.o.o. The business of the German-based Novem Concern dates back to 1947 when wooden steering wheels were made. The corporate history of Slovenian-based Novem Car Interior Design d.o.o. started in December 1990 when Emteks d.o.o. was registered. The company’s 76 employees manufacture elements for stylish car interiors for the German market. Eight years later, Emteks changed its name to Novem Car Interior Design d.o.o. and due to constant growth, has over 700 employees working in Žalec today. The number of employees is set to increase due to a recently endorsed new investment project that identifies the creation of 110 new jobs. The Novem manufacturing location in Slovenia has posted exceptionally good sales figures over the past few years. The company’s turnover in 2014


The Slovenian Times | Winter Edition 2016

was over EUR 42m and in 2015 exceeded EUR 73m, mostly generated from exports to foreign markets. The company has an A1++ credit rating.

Long-term Presence in the Region Award: Rosenbauer d.o.o. The company with Austrian equity ownership has been operating successfully in Pomurje for 19 years. The company develops and markets niche products and specific firefighting equipment and systems. A large portion of the products made in Slovenia are destined for subsidiary companies of Rosenbauer international manufacturing and representatives in Central Europe and the Arab Peninsula. Exports account for nearly 99.4% of total sales with the subsidiary in Gornja Radgona responsible for marketing and sales of the complete product range to the markets of the former Yugoslavia. The company generated EUR 8.6m in net sales and EUR 1.4m in profit in 2015. Value added per employee is around EUR 45,000 and the company has seen headcount grow 11 percent in 2014/2015. The company has an A1++ credit rating.

Successful Business Results Award: Leykam tiskarna d.o.o. In addition to being a leader in web offset printing service in Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovenia, LEYKAM Let´s Print is ranked among the top three web offset printers in Europe. The principal markets for the LEYKAM Let´s Print Group include Austria, Germany, Croatia, Hungary, Slovakia and Switzerland, where the 721 employees generate approximately EUR 225.5m in annual turnover. The limited liability company Leykam tiskarna d.o.o. was established in 1994 in Hoče. In 2015, the company averaged 115 highly productive employees and boasts of exceptionally high value add per employee of EUR 90,000. The larger portion of the company’s revenue – as much as 75 to 80 percent – is earned from international markets. The company has an A1++ credit rating.

Logistics Hub Award: Glovis Europe GmbH, Koper. In line with its commitment of positioning Slovenia as a logistics hub, the contribution made by the Koper branch of Glovis Europe GmbH earned this year’s InvestSlovenia FDI award. As a specialist for all stages of vehicle transportation, from factory to point-of-sale by land and water, GLOVIS Europe operates dedicated transport schemes that start or end at Luka Koper (Port of Koper), a strategic logistics hub for Central and Eastern Europe. Controlled by the South Korean multinational Hyundai, Glovis is a leader in finished vehicle logistics and forwarding. The Slovenian branch of the company, which is headquartered in Germany, manages the Hyundai supply chain and manages the logistics of goods transported from South Korea to Central Europe. Glovis has seen constant growth in employee numbers in Slovenia with a headcount growth index of 16 percent for 2014/2015. In 2015, Glovis Europe GmbH, Koper had more than EUR 70m in net sales and EUR 3.5m profit. The company has an A1++ credit rating. 



2 1

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


Photos: 1 Ljubljana, ©Dunja Wedam,, 2 ©Port of Koper, 3 Bled; ©Franci Ferjan;, 4 ©Krka - R & D center in pharmaceutical companies


Slovenia’s time-tested qualities make it a prime location for greenfield production, regional HQ, distribution and logistics centre or R&D facility. We provide support for foreign investors looking to take advantage of the country’s strengths. We continue to work with businesses under our aftercare programme to ensure your investment is a success.

Economy Interview: Professor Metka Tekavčič, Dean of the Faculty of Economics, University of Ljubljana

Smell of international coffee in the FELU courtyard By Tina Drolc, M.Sc.

The Faculty of Economics, University of Ljubljana (FELU) is the first "Triple Crown" school in the region, holding the three most renowned international accreditations EQUIS (awarded by the European Foundation of Management Foundation based in Brussels and with offices in Asia and the Americas), AACSB (awarded by The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business with headquarters in North America, Asia Pacific, and Europe) and AMBA (awarded by The Association of MBAs based in London). FELU’s Dean speaks about the main factors that have contributed to these recognitions and explains the future challenges in education such as digitisation, meaning business schools need to prepare students for jobs of the future. Q Only 80 business schools globally are triple accredited. What are the main criteria for these accreditations and for retaining them? A FELU is very proud to be ranked in the group of triple accredited, so-called "Triple Crown" schools! Each accreditation has a wide range of criteria and they differ in their focus. EQUIS assesses institutions as a whole. It assesses not just degree programmes but all the activities and sub-units of the institution, including research, e-learning units, executive education provision and community outreach. EQUIS is not primarily focused on the MBA or any other specific programme. This is the main focus of the AACSB accreditation that also requires a comprehensive review of a school but focuses on faculty qualifications, and curricula. AMBA is the global standard for MBA programmes.. Accreditors evaluate the quality loop in the teaching process, outcomes and quality of research, community impact of the school and all support services for the students, as well as for the business community. At the same time, the school must be extremely international in the structure of its students and professors. As our students used to say, "there is the smell of international coffee in the FELU courtyard". FELU is deeply involved in the business and wider community and, in particular, it is an institution that pays particular attention to the creation of international contacts and global mindsets through its internationalization processes. However, although we are aware of the 20

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importance of the Slovenian language, a part of the programs is delivered in English since this attracts young people from over 40 countries around the world who are eager to experience the cutting-edge expertise that they obtain in our educational process. In this way, FELU creates significant links that continue to contribute to the growth of the institution as well as the growth of our economy, and thereby the budget from which we can then finance culture and other activities important for preserving our national identity.

institutions invite us to share our experiences to potential followers. We believe that, in this way, the quality of higher education in the region is growing.

Q How does FELU bridge the gap between academia and industry and how does it integrate education with the practical demands of employers? A In this area FELU has long and rich tradition. FELU’s links with the business community have always been and still are recognised as one of the key advantages. Strong support from and connection with business/corporate and government communities, FELU’s embeddedness in socio-economic issues of Slovenia, its influence on policy issues and its positioning in the local market have been continuously assessed as above standard by all accreditations. The process is two-way, from companies to the classrooms we transfer good practice and on the other hand, we share information, which areas need more research etc. From the first year, students are encouraged to participate with companies through numerous competitions, business challenges and projects. Each student gets real business experience because, within the study programs, we host many business people from both Slovenian and international companies. A good example is the organisation of business education for top management of one major company in Ireland where we cooperate, integrate, network and identify synergies. Q AACSB recently announced their Collective Vision for the Future of Business Education which identifies "Enablers of Global Prosperity", meaning that "Business schools must continue to lead in the development of insight about effective, ethical organisations, while encouraging students to use management skills for the greater good". How does FELU approach this?

Our colleagues from other faculties come to us to gain and exchange experience and ideas, they want us to participate in their programs, transmit our knowledge and help them on their path to increased international exposure. Q How is FELU engaged in the region as a Triple Crown accredited business school? A We are very proud that our region recognises a leading economic business school. Our colleagues from other faculties come to us to gain and exchange experience and ideas, they want us to participate in their programs, transmit our knowledge and help them on their path to increased international exposure. FELU representatives attend a number of events, meetings and conferences, where the international

A More or less, all the accreditation associations have similar missions and they are embedded also in the strategy of our school. The internationalisation of the school enables our students to become global citizens who are able to operate in a global environment. FELU is definitely a frontrunner in the internationalisation of higher education in Slovenia, and in the future we will continue to do our best to invest in and expand internationalisation with the funds that we collect through our operations

Economy FELU is definitely a frontrunner in the internationalisation of higher education in Slovenia, and in the future we will continue to do our best to invest in and expand internationalisation with the funds that we collect through our operations in the market, these are non-budget funds. in the market, these are non-budget funds. However, it is important that the government also ensures more support for internationalisation at the system level, it is impossible for institutions to finance internationalisation from funding they get from the market. Opening to the international community is the inevitable direction for Slovenia, a small export driven country.

Q How does FELU encourage the cultural change from creating employees to creating employers? A Through its educational processes and its values the FELU encourages students to be proactive and responsible in life and business. It is not enough that a student only obtains a degree and then goes somewhere, we encourage and reward innovation. Employability of our students is also an important key performance indicator for our school. Our students are trained to work and live in different environments and therefore attention is given to soft skills such as functioning in a multicultural environment, team work and role-playing. By combining contemporary knowledge with leadership, communication and other skills, our graduates are qualified to either take on positions in companies or other institutions or be creative and start a business with good ideas and recruit other colleagues, and therefore provide self-employment and the creation of new value. As part of our initiatives and competitions, employers are pleasantly surprised by the creativity and ingenuity of our students, particularly during challenging times of economic downturn or structural change. Q With digitalisation education has changed. Does FELU have the ambition to develop online learning and hence offer education to talented students globally who may not be able to come here and learn? A FELU already associates with partners that have developed online learning programs, although we find the best combination is so-called blended learning. That is, communication between teachers and students with

Professor Metka TekavÄ?iÄ?, Dean of the Faculty of Economics, University of Ljubljana. Photo: Mediaspeed

At the same time, in the spirit of digitising, we are aware that we train our students for jobs of the future and so it is important to regulate the inter-generational balance. the online support of products and services (mainly lectures) and in-class discussion. I believe this is the right direction for teaching in the future. Online learning can become quite impersonal, there is a lack of contact with students and direct exchange of experiences and there is no intercultural interaction, which for FELU is of high importance. At the same time, in the spirit of digitising, we are aware that we train our students for jobs of the future and so it is important to regulate the inter-

generational balance. Never before has life had so many different technological generations. In addition, our generation of educational institutions is faced with the challenge where we can no longer say that future generations will live better than their parents because the world is changing very fast and this brings a number of uncertainties. Therefore, business schools need to adapt and change even faster in the sense of "The only source of competitive advantage is to learn faster than the others do". ď ´ Winter Edition 2016 | The Slovenian Times



Perry Timms, HR Futurist

Interview: Perry Timms, HR Futurist

Job is dead. Long live work. By Tonja Blatnik

"Corporate comes from the latin 'Corpus' meaning dead. Corporations in the future will need to be more alive and more like eco-systems," claims Perry Timms, HR futurist, whose trademark is energy, passion and insights around people and work. With over 20 years of experience in business change and technology, organisational development and talent, Perry founded his own enterprise PTHR (People & Transformational HR) in 2012, aiming to transform learning and work by bringing the soul back into our working lives. A tenacious reader; enthusiastic networker and voracious learner, he was voted a Top 10 blogger in both international and UK magazines, Perry describes himself as a lifeaholic, determined to change the world of work one conversation at a time. He visited Slovenia in December for a Competo event, where he inspired more than 300 managers and gave this exclusive interview to The Slovenia Times.

Q According to the International Labour Organisation, 500 million new jobs will need to be created by 2020. What are your predictions? A The system we currently have for jobs is based on the mechanical and industrial model, yet we operate virtually and digitally. We 22

The Slovenian Times | Winter Edition 2016

therefore need something other than the current constructs and that requires letting go of the old. New jobs will come through a systemic change and attitude to life. We change the way we look at jobs (full time, 8 hours a day) and we change the terms unemployed and job seeker.

Networked people will be the company of the future. HR will be like the orchestral conductor of a multitude of human inputs - the HR professional of the future will educate and liberate, not regulate and legislate. There will be new jobs in digital, adult social care and assisted living with an ageing population, in education and skills for children, young adults and re-skilling adults; green energy; eco-farming; urban and rural regeneration; entrepreneurial and start-up marketplaces; the market community / crafts.

New jobs will come through a systemic change and attitude to life. Q In your TEDxBucharest talk, you spoke about the shift from jobs to work. Why? A I believe that work will always be needed. It is the construct of a job to do the work that is now being brought into question. If we can work without the need for a job, a job description and all the other made-up things we have put into this equation, then we can work specifically on assignment to assignment. Even if we have permanency in a company, we may be so fluid and adaptable, opportunistic and creative, that a job and its boundaries would restrict us.

Economy So, I believe we will see more work that is the subject of a market place. We bid for work, we join teams doing great work and this is where our energy becomes more noticeable and powerful. With allocated work, we are doing so with friction and some reluctance. So the self-organised movement leads the way here. Instead of allocation, work is collected by workers. Even the tasks not many people like can be done through a sense of commitment and duty and not forced or delegated. So jobs - in the current sense - will cease to be a measure. Work-active; economically participative and the application of skills to work could well become the new measures.

Networked people will be the company of the future. Q How will this reinvention of work influence our lives as individuals and what does it mean for big corporations, for managers? A Big corporations will not simply vaporise, they will be increasingly more virtual and flexible. Big companies may become more like cities themselves: made up of a looser collection of people; specialities; physical and intellectual properties and capabilities - be more about a collective and not a conglomerate. Managers are a scientific technology of 20th century industrialisation. Leaders are the more advanced product of the emotive side of work. Managers will become increasingly unnecessary as seen in the world of self-managed teams. The role of coach, mentor, caring partner, learning partner, advisor, galvaniser, and facilitator will be seen as more powerful ways of applying some experience, wisdom, skill and empathy. So managers will morph into team coaches and scrum masters. Leaders will be all those with the intent, application and stamina to help others with direction and inspiration.

Instead of allocation, work is collected by workers. Q How will digitalisation change the nature of work? A So many tasks can be automated and so much can be miniaturised or programmed into machine routines that in 25 years time - maybe even 15 years time - we will wonder why we spent so much time holding on to work that is routine, repetitive, mundane and so on. We will see many activities become invisible to us and we will use this abundance of time to turn ourselves to more cognitively challenging, humane and complex working ways. 

What are your predictions for the future of work? Gordana Kovačević,

President, Ericsson Nikola Tesla, Croatia

Firstly, I believe there is no point in talking about any predictions without connecting them to the process of digitalisation. The fifth technological revolution has paved the way for the networked society in which everything that can be connected will be connected and will benefit from it. Interconnecting removes both tangible and intangible barriers, which contributes to the better utilisation of every person’s potential. I can acknowledge that from the perspective of the Ericsson Nikola Tesla Group, where nearly 3,000 experts work on attractive, stimulating jobs in advanced ICT technologies due to advanced technologies. Some say that the "job is dead, long live work". Would you agree? I would definitely agree with this statement because today, more than ever, you cannot place your job in a static frame that never varies and is based on your initial education and profession. Nor can you expect that the definition of your workplace will last longer than, for example, the end of a project. Transformation is a key paradigm in all modern-day industries which is reflected in the society and significantly influences individuals.

Branislav Vujović, President, New Frontier Group The digital revolution is changing the way we live and work and introducing the automated shared economy (Airbnb, Uber, Tesla). The sharing economy will change our view on owning and production. It will be more about effectively using the things then owning them. It will be more about personal experience. This will change our priorities in both our private lives and in our work. It will reduce production and add social, cultural and ecological aspects to today’s profit and income. It will focus more on Gross National Happiness then on Gross National Product.

Mirella Visser, Managing Director, Centre for Inclusive Leadership, Netherlands

The future will bring many opportunities for workers to better combine their work and private lives. Remote and flexible working will benefit women in particular, as will the automation of repetitive work tasks and household chores. But there is also a downside. Lots of jobs will be lost, particularly in areas where women work. New jobs will emerge but primarily in technology which is male dominated. So we need women to become active in technology and policies to promote and support them!

Julij Božič, Chief Innovation and Digital officer, BTC d.d. Work of the future will not have upfront defined work time anymore. With the digital revolution, the line between work and private is no longer seen and always connected people will decide when and where they will work based on their competencies and wishes. People will collaborate on different platforms, define their core competence and collaborate with one another on different projects. For example; someone could be a Uber driver during the weekend, organise dancing classes or English instruction in the evenings and collaborate on different project (developing a product, design web pages,…) during the week. Each individual will build their own brand with specific competencies and knowledge and at the same time, constantly develop new knowledge. People will finally get the chance to do what they like to do and make money doing this, not forced to work just to earn the money to survive.

Winter Edition 2016 | The Slovenian Times



International Annual Presidents' Forum and 30th Anniversary of IEDC:

"Transformation is an ongoing journey, not a destination" In November, 120 leaders from 17 countries attended IEDC’s International Annual Presidents’ Forum with Professor Joe Peppard, an expert on digitalisation, Professor at the European School of Management and Technology (ESMT). The Presidents Forum was titled "Digitalisation as Investment in Change".  "Digital transformation is an absolute political priority for the Slovenian government," stressed Dr Miro Cerar, Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia, who opened the 2016 Presidents Forum, held on the 30th Anniversary of IEDC.

1 investments in digital should not be seen as an investment in technology but an investment in change. This includes everything from changes in the business model to changes in employee work practices.

"It is my great pleasure to address you at the opening of this Annual Presidents Forum, particularly in the year when the school is celebrating its 30th anniversary. This anniversary reflects the excellent work and dedication of Professor Purg and her team, who have proven time and again that knowledge, determination and hard work brings great achievement. Therefore, I sincerely congratulate Professor Purg and her team and wish them every success in the future," added Dr Cerar.

2 In the C-suite, conversations about digital should not be about technology. They should, however, be about how digital technologies are enabling new business models or improving the customer experience or leading to a true onmichannel. These are all changes from what the organisation currently does.

The three key messages of the main speaker, Joe Peppard, Professor at ESMT in Germany and Adjunct Professor to the University of South Australia, were the following:


The Slovenian Times | Winter Edition 2016

3 'Transformation' or change is an ongoing journey, not a destination. His lecture was followed by a roundtable with Simon Kaluža, CEO, SAP CEE, Robert Serec, Director, Pomurske mlekarne, Slovenia; Thom-

as Marschall, Disruption Advisor, Business Angel Investor, Denmark, and Dejan Ljuština, Partner, PwC, Croatia. They presented best practices and shared some recent trends in digitalisation. 


Winners of the 2016 Generali AAA At the Generali Alumni Achievement Award Forum, five IEDC Alumni were awarded the 2016 Generali AAA. The winners were Cristian Laurentiu Gheorghe, Romania; Edmond Haxhinasto, Albania; Dijana Kobas Dešković, Croatia; Mateja Luštek, Slovenia; and Marko Majer, Slovenia. "We are proud that the Alumni Achievement Award, which we launched in 2011on the 25th Anniversary of our school, has become a tradition and today we will award, for the fifth time, five of the most successful IEDC alumni for demonstrating and representing the highest ideals that personify outstanding individual career achievement, leadership, innovation, service to the community as well as their contribution to the school’s development," stressed Professor Danica Purg, President and Dean, IEDC.

Edmond Haxhinasto

Dijana Kobas Dešković, GMP 2002 Spona Communications, Director, Croatia "The General Management program gave me a broader overview of the world of business and encouraged me to start my own business following a successful corporate career. Life-long learning is a prerequisite for a successful professional life and I have continued with learning ever since."

Edmond Haxhinasto, EMBA 1996, Politician, Albania Edmond Haxhinasto has been involved in political life since the early 1990’s and his consistent hard work, objective and professional approach, supported a steady and gradual growth in his career path as a public servant. He has held a variety of senior and ministerial posts from foreign policy, economy and infrastructure development over the two decades. Edmond is a symbol of a new breed of young Albanian politicians: devoted, with a new outlook on the country’s development path and political dialogue, providing an example of a technical approach to political issues, far from the pathos of the mainstream politics, and always with a respectful, civilized and intellectual discourse and message to all people.

Mateja Luštek, EMBA 2010/11 Studio Moderna, COO, Slovenia "I am honoured to have received the Generali Alumni Achievement Award as it represents a great achievement in my professional life, confirming the path I chose when I took the job of a project manager at Studio Moderna 16 years ago. If Studio Moderna introduced me into the world of business and taught me how to manage through its ups and downs, the school gave me a broader perspective on how to further develop a business, make it sustainable, and how to embed it into society."

Marko Majer

Cristian Laurentiu Gheorghe, EMBA 1999 Nexus Consulting International; Managing Partner; Romania "One way of viewing the impact of the MBA degree I obtained at IEDC is by identifying and commenting on what I see as some of the success criteria for one’s professional career, they also apply to our personal lives. I learned them at IEDC and I have used them since my graduation. They are: setting objectives, strategic thinking, decision making: team spirit and synergy, networking and a quest for building better organisations and a better society. Successful business people - leaders - have the power to influence and change; they should use that for creating value for shareholders and a better society for us all."

Dijana Kobas Dešković

Cristian Laurentiu Gheorghe

Mateja Luštek

How did your MBA (GMP, PhD) change your life?

Marko Majer, PhD 2016 & EMBA 1991 Mayer McCann, Founding Partner & CEO, Slovenia "I have had two life-changing experiences associated with IEDC: first the MBA which opened the horizons of business management, and secondly the PhD study which introduced me to the broad perspectives of academic thinking and reasoning. Both resulted in career path changes and a personal epistemological shift. Now I hope to reverse the flow of knowledge, to become a donor rather than just a recipient." Winter Edition 2016 | The Slovenian Times



Anton Chernykh, President of the Management Board, SIJ Group

Interview: Anton Chernykh, President of the Management Board, SIJ Group

Slovenia is not only "green", it is also a place of excellence By Tina Drolc, M.Sc.

From 2009-2015, SIJ Group has significantly raised its global market share in Europe, the U.S. and Asia, selling more than EUR 570m of product in foreign markets, accounting for more than 85 percent of the group´s total revenue. SIJ’s Chairman, Mr Anton Chernykh, explains that the secret lies in tradition, smart investment strategy and know-how. However, the Russian businessman highlights that the Slovenian FDI environment is still poor, mostly due to the Slovene mindset which is local instead of global. 26

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Q SIJ Group generated EUR 413.9m in revenue in H1,2016, a 13.5 percent increase on the same period last year, and improved profitability with an EBITDA margin of 14.5% (up 3.2 percentage points). Investment has also been increasing since the Russian group, KOKS / the Zubitskiy family, privatised SIJ in 2007. What is the total investment since 2007 and what has been its purpose? A The purpose was to survive and secondly to become a more important player and create higher added value to our company and products, and to become stronger than our competitors. When KOKS group came, two steel plants (SIJ Acroni and SIJ Metal Ravne) were not equipped properly and we changed that in first investment cycle (2007-2014), which included modernisation of the full production cycle. In addition, in 2007 we signed an agreement with the government that the investment of the strategic investor would not be less than EUR 250m for production modernisation, which we achieved in 2011/2012. However, we continued to invest - by 2016 the total investment made since 2007 accounted for more than EUR 450m. Today, with these changes, SIJ Group is one of the leading specialist steel producers

Economy in Europe with very high profitability and a robust business model.

Q Crude steel production in 2016 has been increasing in China, Asia, Japan, India and South Korea. Where is Europe, together with Russia, in this and what is the competitive advantage of "our" steel? A The competitive advantage of our steel is the added value of the product. Over the years we have visited a lot of customers, trade shows and many international events and, of course, our Asian and Indian friends were everywhere. They present themselves, they are growing, but at the same time they want our knowledge and this is our power, our competitive advantage. This was proved again at our last event in Moscow when a Chinese businessman came to us and said that they are interested and open for joint cooperation, since they want our knowledge. However, this is quite complicated for them since they have all the best equipment from Europe but it is not enough, you need to know "traditional recipes" and have knowledge about the production process which takes years to fine tune. It is about the people here, their experience and the skills they have. And this is what is lacking in Chinese production because they cannot use the best European equipment to 100% of its ability of. Q SIJ Group is one the most successful European steel producers with growing global market share… A For stainless steel, in terms of quality, first in Europe and third globally as estimated by EUROFER (the European Steel Association, Brussels). A part of our excellence is also our specialty and therefore, in the last four years, we have also changed our strategy. In steel for special applications (not mass or commodity steel) we have increased the portfolio nearly 60 percent and with this product we want to expand our competitiveness in Europe, Asia and other countries. We have already increased our presence in the US and Russia and we are becoming stronger and stronger. I must emphasise that our steel is really sophisticated and as such is not used in mass production, for example in the automotive industry; in cars our special application steel is used for really complicated parts which are very small but there are many and they are crucial parts of the car. Q According to the World Steel Association, the environment for the steel industry remains challenging, with escalating uncertainties driven by geopolitical situations in various parts of the world; for example the UK referendum outcome has raised further uncertainty. How does the result of the US elections influence the industry and your business?

A It depends on the perspective you take; it could be nothing or it could be very important. If we talk about the business, the UK issue does not directly affect us since our biggest markets are Germany, Italy, the US, and Russia is becoming important. However, globally, everything is related - if Germany supplies the UK then it influences us. However, we do not depend on only one product line or supplying one industry; we work with pharma, oil and gas, automotive, kitchen applications, aerospace, almost everything, even 3D machines need steel to produce carbon fibre.

Q In 2015, SIJ Group decided to acquire the poultry maker, Perutnina Ptuj. Agriculture and food production are among growing sectors in Russia. Is there any correlation? A Not direct, it was just a smart idea about life in general if you think about what people cannot live without, and food is one of them. On the other hand, our shareholders were looking for some diversification. We wanted to distribute our risks in the steel business and be protected from disruptive market conditions. Food industry can bring us some insurance in that regard. Q Based on your experience, how do you perceive the investment environment in Slovenia, for both domestic and foreign investments? A Without being polite, the FDI situation in Slovenia is quite hard. Although the government has opened some issues in this field, Slovenes are extremely divided as local communities, also in their minds, are too locally oriented so that it is complicated to introduce new ideas and encourage them to think globally instead of locally. I understand people are afraid because of their past experience with Yugoslavia, where everything was centralised and ruled by the government in Belgrade, but without globalisation and centralisation of the process it is quite complicated to build something. If you have a flat fist you cannot move anything, you need a strong fist and with our Group it is the same. Each company was working quite separately and the results was good, but not excellent; then we centralised everything and not only are the results better, but also the world recognises us as, in addition to being "green", Slovenia is a place of excellence!

etc. When talking with our business partners from Finland, Sweden, UK, Italy, sometimes it is really complicated to bring some people here since they have to spend a whole day to reach us! In our world, decisions are worth millions or billions of euros, and when you need hours to reach Ljubljana this becomes quite complicated. It is not the only problem but just one of the issues that is still open… For example, it is quite complicated to keep a good specialist in Slovenia – comparing to Austria and Germany, their tax environment is more preferable, and in Slovenia I sometimes think we are sitting on a pile of oil and gas because the taxation is really close to the highest rate of countries such as Norway.

Q On the other hand, regardless of the digitalisation of processes and even people in the business, what is the position of a handshake, do you consider it as indispensable on some occasions? A Going back to my previous answer, how can you arrange a handshake if you are not able to fly to a destination? 

Without being polite, the FDI situation in Slovenia is quite hard. Although the government has opened some issues in this field, Slovenes are extremely divided as local communities, also in their minds, are too locally oriented so that it is complicated to introduce new ideas and encourage them to think globally instead of locally.

Q We usually hear "accusations" that Slovenia is very small. Do you think this is still relevant, especially in this digital era? A It is still a problem even with globalisation, and a very simple case is transportation in Slovenia. World capital for finance - London. Do we have direct connection with London from Slovenia? Yes, but schedule could be improved. Slovenia is without air connection with cities such as Milan, Rome, Dusseldorf, Winter Edition 2016 | The Slovenian Times



Think Global, Act Local: Goodyear’s Community Engagement in Slovenia By Jenny Tumas

Alison White is the Director of Community Engagement at the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. In October, she visited Goodyear Dunlop Sava Tires to support their community engagement programs, including their noteworthy sustainability initiative Pay Attention to the Environment (Pozorni za okolje). While in Slovenia, Ms White spoke at the American Chamber of Commerce’s Business Breakfast about leveraging digital transformation in community engagement. Q Can you give an overview of community engagement at Goodyear? A Goodyear has a long history of community engagement and corporate social responsibility. We operate all over the world and our associates help bring our company’s commitment to care for our communities to life. Within the last few years, we’ve undergone a change process and started to think about some of the core areas that are authentic to Goodyear, that we can align community programs too. We have started to focus our efforts around safety, smart (education), and sustainability. A great program in sustainability is here in Slovenia – "Pay Attention to the Environment." The foundation piece for us is associate engagement, so I wouldn’t presume to know what we’re doing in all of our regions throughout the world. We really like the idea of a focused yet flexible approach, where we empower our associates to be advocates on the ground. That is a cornerstone 28

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of the work that we do. Community engagement is a win-win for us because our associates interact with their communities, they get to be proud corporate citizens acting on behalf of Goodyear, and our communities receive the benefit of engagement.

Q Why are you in Slovenia? A I’m here as an advocate for our team’s work. We kicked off the seventh annual Pay Attention to the Environment campaign. Within sustainability, this program is one that we always point to on a global scale, so I’m here to see it first-hand. This program is aligned with our overall strategy (safe, smart, sustainable). It also meaningfully involves Goodyear associates. The program itself actually started as an idea from our associates and it’s leveraging their expertise. Another big piece is that it involves partners. We are very collaborative by nature and we recognise that we will be

able to achieve greater results if we involve other companies that are focused on similar causes. Pay Attention to the Environment now has 60 partner organisations, including schools and other sustainability organisations. For many different reasons, this program and our team here in Slovenia are best in class in how Goodyear wants to engage in our local communities.

Q What are the challenges of empowering people to be involved, especially in a multinational company? A We recognise that not all of our associates are interested in the same things. I think that it’s really about getting their input and asking what would be meaningful to them. It’s not about trying to empower all people or engage them with one initiative from Goodyear, but asking what someone cares about and finding out if there is something going on where we can act them with. We connect like-minded associates together. If someone in Brazil wants to do a sustainability initiative working with schools to reduce their carbon footprint, we’ll refer them to Slovenia. We like best practice sharing throughout our organisation. Q How does community engagement transform internal workplace relationships? A Community engagement and giving back is a team building experience. We look at two things: the ability to network with others who you might not work with day-to-day and new skill sets that you might develop through working together in a community space. 74 percent of employees say their job is more fulfilling when they are provided with opportunities to make a positive impact. Many times it’s just up to the company to set that up and harness it. We notice that when Goodyear provides the opportunity to engage, it trickles back into the workplace more than if associates went out and found it on their own. And they have this sense of comradery. I think that any manager or leader who is looking for ways to positively influence their staff, community engagement is a great avenue to consider. 


18th Portorož Business Conference:

Photos: Jernej Lasič

World Barricades. Eliminate them! During 17 - 18 of November 2016, the 18th Portorož business conference was held, organised by Finance and the Faculty of Economics, University of Ljubljana (FELU). This year the event brought together lecturers and participants under the slogan "World Barricades. Eliminate them!". FELU has always made a significant contribution to the event with Professor Janez Prašnikar acting as program manager and the FELUs researchers (J. Prašnikar, J. Cepec, S. Damijan, P. Domadenik, M. Dominko, A. Guštin, M. Koman, M. Kovač, D. Marinšek, A. Oblak, M. Pahor, G. Pfajfar, T. Redek, D. Trobec) who, together with the IMB students, prepare a comprehensive study. This year the study focused on two areas: 1. The characteristics of Slovenian micro, small and medium-sized enterprises and an analysis of the perceptions of the companies on the possible impact of TTIP on their business; 2. Changes in global markets conditioned by the new consumer trends (especially ecological awareness), and their impact on the creation of new opportunities for companies. In the presentation of the results, Research Professor Tjaša Redek pointed out that Slovenian micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, mainly family-owned, focus mainly on the domestic market and that many of them are not yet integrated in to the global flows since they are not export motivated. 70 percent of companies highlighted the importance of the domestic market and only 30 percent of them say the same for the EU 15 markets. The results also showed that there are significant differences in the motivation and resources among the companies who are exporters and those who are not. Companies generally have very poor knowledge about TTIP. Two-thirds do not know TTIP, a quarter may have heard about it and only 13 percent of the companies consider that they are familiar with it. The companies agree that the introduction of the free trade agreement could have a positive impact on exports and invest-

ments and also lower prices, increase competition, access to markets and there will be cost pressure. In general, companies consider the potential of the macroeconomic impact of the free trade agreement favourably but they believe that their companies will not have a significant impact. Professor Matjaž Koman introduced the second part of the research covering the changes in global markets conditioned by new consumer trends. The analysis was focused on trends in the electrification of transportation, especially electric buses. Due to global warming and the high contribution of transport to the increase in total emissions, there is an increase in electric transport use. Conceptually, it is about establishing the concept of smart cities which includes also the use of electric buses. From the perspective of Slovenian companies, it could therefore present an opportunity in the process of producing electric buses and components. The analysis presented the possibility of electrification of transport in Ljubljana and simulation of investment needs to line the bus route number 6. However, it should be noted that electric vehicles alone will not necessarily lead to a cleaner environment, electric vehicles need power. The key issue is therefore the production of energy. If the source is from nonrenewable energy sources, then greenhouse gas emissions will not be eliminated. Cities will be cleaner but the quality of life in the neighborhood of non-renewable energy source producers will deteriorate. Professor Koman highlighted that it is necessary to look at the changes from a broader perspective otherwise the problem of global emissions will not be solvable. 

Winter Edition 2016 | The Slovenian Times


Economy MIK has the solution for tightly confined spaces. They have developed a unique window ventilation system, MIKrovent, that enables ventilation of the area by closed windows without heat loss, while maintaining 70% - 90% of the heat in the outgoing air through the 100% air exchange in the room.

How to achieve energy-saving renovations with MIK energy contracting Rehabilitation and reconstruction represents about a quarter of all construction work, and in Slovenia 80% of public buildings currently need energy renovation as they do not meet the basic standards of energy efficiency. In addition to public buildings, many private buildings also need energy renovation. The reason for such a large number of energy-intensive public and private buildings needing renovation is often due to the inability to finance it. One of the largest Slovenian companies for the production of windows and doors, MIK, saw the potential in energy efficient renovation and offers both public and private owners of energy-consuming building the solutions for renovation, followed by the system for energy contracting. A similar system has already been implemented abroad, where energy contracting is an established practice in the rehabilitation of buildings. Customers, from either the public or the private sector, are given the option of immediate renovation without their own contribution since the investment is paid by the savings generated after the completion of the renovation. Energy consultants at the MIK clinic prepare the entire project, which includes checking

Property owners, by changing the windows, save on heating and energy consumption. The savings are significant and evident within a few years. For old buildings, the energy savings are from 30 to 50%. 30

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the real potential for energy savings, an energy audit and an assessment of energy savings. In one of the rooms of the building that will be renovated, they carry out the renovation of glazing and ventilation. Based on a comparison of measurements in a sample room and a non renovated room they assess the amount of the savings, the contracting period and of course the ROI (return on investment). In addition, they carry out sample testing of windows and the ventilation system in the MIK test chamber, which shows the operation of the selected windows and ventilation system in different

weather conditions. Data to simulate weather conditions is obtained from the weather stations at the desired location, and they then create the weather conditions for all of the seasons (temperatures from -25C - +50C, humidity of 0%-99%) in which they test the windows and the ventilation system, MIKrovent.

Example of a hotel rehabilitation using MIK’s energy contracting model 1. An energy audit of a building using thermal imaging system (TIS). In addition, we also measure noise, air quality and safety. 2. Installation of energy-saving windows and the MIKrovent ventilation system in three hotel rooms. 3. Contemporary measurements of energy consumption for heating and ventilation, noise, air quality and safety in the sample rooms and unrenovated rooms. 4. Comparison of the results and an estimation of savings, ROI calculation and the determination of the process for rehabilitation and appropriate model for contracting. 5. Substitution of the windows and installation of ventilated systems in the rest of the building. 6. The users of the building immediately get the new windows and new ventilation system and can immediately benefit from all of the advantages (such as reduced energy consumption, lower noise, better security and better air quality). Investment is returned after a few years when the actual cost of lower energy consumption is repaid. 7. The obligation of the owner of the energywasteful building is that, after rehabilitation and for the duration of the contract, they pay the same amount of kWh of energy at market price as they were before the rehabilitation.

50% of all paid thermal energy is consumed in the ventilation of the area! With MIKrovent we can reduce energy consumption by 40% and we only pay 10%.


Manager of the Year, Andrej Božič: "Crucial was the consensus of all stakeholders" Andrej Božič, General Manager of the glassworks, Steklarna Hrastnik, received the Manager of the Year award at the Managers Association Annual Congress 2016 at the Bernardin, Portorož. Božič, 56, graduated in economics and undertook postgraduate studies in marketing and finance at Cleveland University in the US. In 2010, Božič took over the management of the struggling Steklarna Hrastnik, founded in 1860, which was facing bankruptcy. Andrej Božič turned around the export-oriented Steklarna Hrastnik in his first year of management, moving it toward successful rehabilitation and away from the losses. Within a few years he has made it prosperous and stable, a technologically modern company with ambitious plans for the future. In 2015, the company exceeded EUR 55m in revenues and concluded the business year with more than EUR 6.2m net profit for the fifth consecutive year. Return on assets is steadily increasing, and in 2015 exceeded 11% with return on equity of more than 25%. In 2014/15, the original plan for restructuring the European business received a European Business Award (EBA). "For the success of the sustainable turnaround of Steklarna Hrastnik, a focus on employees was the crucial consensus of all stakeholders. Therefore, I appreciate that everyone, including employees, be-

Manager of the Year: Andrej Božič, General Manager of the glassworks, Steklarna Hrastnik

lieved in the plan and supported me. They were part of this turnaround. We succeeded together, without forgiveness, so I am sure that our example can be of great encouragement to all those who have a vision and be able to adapt to situations and bite-off projects that may seem, to many people, impossible," said Božič at being recognised as the Manager of the Year.

The main focus of the investment was EUR 3m worth of new machinery for the production of bottles of special shapes and perfume bottles, a new market segment. In the last six years, the company has allocated EUR 36m for modernising production and economic efficiency, and today it has one of the best glass production technologies.

Financial turnaround with significant investment

Strategy of innovation and development of young people

Steklarna Hrastnik generates 95% of its sales abroad. In their major markets of Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, Israel, Iran and Slovenia, the company has 20 - 30 percent market share in glassware. In all three main product lines - packing glass, glassware and glass lighting – the company invested EUR 5.7m last year.

Steklarna Hrastnik set its strategy around knowledge and innovation. In the last three years, they have developed 66 new products. Many of them have won numerous awards: the product ‘Puzzle’ was rewarded with the RedDot international award for design and over the last six years the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia granted 30 awards for inventors and innovations in Zasavje. Steklarna Hrastnik also received the National Award for the best energy project, the EBA award 2015/2016 in the category of sustainable development and at the international SIP Awards in the US, three bottles won awards - two the highest platinum award for packaging and the third rated as best in category. 

You are cordially invited to the next big event of the Manager’s Association of Slovenia - the January meeting, the first and largest meeting of economic representatives in the new year. Thursday, 26 January 2017, Four Points by Sheraton Ljubljana Mons


The Slovenian Times | Winter Edition 2016

Economy Digitalisation brings democratisation of communication and the real brands are those that people talk about. Q Your agency counts Porsche, Bayer, IBM, Voda-

Lukas Kircher, co-founder and Managing Director at C3; Photo: POMP 2016

Interview: Lukas Kircher, co-founder and Managing Director at C3

Communication starts with listening By Tina Drolc, M.Sc.

Lukas Kircher is a co-founder and Managing Director of the leading content marketing agency in Europe - C3. For his work on Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, Lukas received the award for the best designed newspaper in the world. He is a member of the Art Directors Club of Germany, a member of the Newsdesign 2020 working group of the American Press Institute, and has sat on numerous competition juries. Q You are co-founder and Managing Director of the leading European content marketing agency. How do you define the main content marketing principles for today and how do you see future development? A We are in the middle of significant disruption in the advertising industry where the old idea was that, since there was a lot of distance between consumers and the companies, they needed to invent brands to give the consumers guidance as to what they should buy. This is still the way that many companies think, however these times are completely over since digitalisation brings democratisation of communication and the real brands are those

that people talk about. And the challenge is in finding a communication that really means something to our target group, that they want to have, which solves their problems, inspires them and saves time for them. It is very important that you forget your messages, what you want to say as a company, you need to listen! Once you see what people are interested in, you rethink everything and start building a conversation. Instead of saying "we are cheap", say "we understand your problem". It is a more humanistic approach and a completely new way of building communication which later leads to bigger sales and reputation.

fone, Sainsbury’s among its client base and more than 50 percent of Germany’s top 30 companies are clients. How do you approach their challenges and how do you measure effectiveness? A We do content marketing projects for those companies and some of them are more about how we can re-convince people to consider a brand, others are insurance companies where we do not talk about the product at all but create the knowledge around the product, and then there are others such as Sainsbury’s who simply push sales… First and most important, is to define the goal and that is how we start. Based on that and about thinking how their clients, how people have changed over the years, we develop a strategy. The measurement is very simple, we have analytics (digital) and physical feedback.

Q Newsroom is a popular trend in content marketing, more and more companies do it… can you share with us best practice created by C3 A We built a newsroom for Porsche, they had a press website which is a pool communication method, and we completely changed it into a magazine with press stories supported by statistics, a CRM system. The idea is that a website in the future needs a journalist who reads more than one article. Currently, they usually read from three to five topics and leave their email address to be updated about new developments. The big thing is the electronic beats that we did for Deutsche Telekom. It is from 10 - 15 music nerds that put your song together, constantly produce cutting edge content around electronic music and the club culture in the way of "I’d love to be there" and it has become one of the best music magazines in Europe. Q One of the challenges of content marketing is creating original content and the time – cost – quality triangle. How do you manage that? A I do not. This is a very production centered approach to content marketing. I do not have that discussion. My discussion would be what kind of content is really moving the needle? And then cost gets a completely different meaning. Simply do one really interesting thing! We think that what is important is to understand how the content will be something really important and useful for our community and that is how budgeting is worked. It is about raising CPIs and not lowering the costs.  Winter Edition 2016 | The Slovenian Times




BTC City Ljubljana:

where Slovenian innovation meets global trends The world is facing major technological change. Digitalisation, automation, the Internet of Things, have all become familiar topics on economic as well as political agendas. In the long-term, such changes are either fatal for organisations or the opportunity to stand out from the business crowd and successfully ride the innovation wave. BTC Company has accepted the challenge of the Fourth Industrial Revolution by actively introducing new technologies into all of the pillars of the company which is on the brink of digital transformation, bringing exciting features for visitors and expanding business opportunities for partners.


The Slovenian Times | Winter Edition 2016

Establishing BTC City Ljubljana as a unique innovative city‌ BTC City Ljubljana is not only the biggest shopping centre in Slovenia, but also an important business centre, a place of sports and cultural events, and also a place of creative and business opportunities. Along with the BTC 2014–2020 development strategy, the company co-founded ABC Accelerator and start-up co-working, ABC Hub, in 2015 and established BTC City Ljubljana as a recognised city of innovation. With more than 3,000 domestic and international companies located in its unique business district in the north-east of the Slovenian capital, and with over 21 million visitors annually, BTC City Ljubljana represents a great environment for testing progressive ideas. Current and potential partners can enjoy a diversity of commercial properties to boost their business, develop solutions and reach out to their customers. Shopping spaces offer opportunities for outstanding happenings like pop-up stores. Events can be organised in the premium conference halls or in the relaxed atmospheres of the Atlantis Water Park and Sports Centre

Economy Millenium. Partners can rent business premises of any shape or size, including at premium locations such as Crystal Palace. In addition, ABC Hub is pioneering with an innovative setting for co-working and offering progressive events such as training, team-building and hackathons. In 2016, ABC Accelerator organised two demo days and an International Business Hackathon, which together attracted more than 430 domestic and foreign investors and guests, including Patrick Mullane, Executive Director of HBX, Harvard Business School. All in all, BTC City Ljubljana presents a living laboratory for established businesses as well as start-ups.

…in Slovenia and beyond… As creativeness and an entrepreneurial mindset have no borders, BTC seeks to create a wide network of partners on a regional, European and global level and on this basis, ABC Accelerator has this year opened two branches: Venture Gates in Germany and ABC Global Home in Silicon Valley in the USA.. Together with BTC Company they are co-creating a global business story for Slovenia and positioning BTC City Ljubljana on the global business map.


…and bringing global trends to Slovenia The connection of BTC City Ljubljana to global centres of innovation and technology fosters the exchange of ideas as well as opens Slovenia to global trends. BTC and its progressive partners offer visitors to BTC City Ljubljana the opportunity to experience some of the latest advancements in sustainably mobility, innovative banking and sales, multichannel solutions, etc. But BTC Company’s digital transformation has only just begun and it is leading to the company’s profitable sustainable growth, enhanced business reputation both nationally and globally, improved relations with stakeholders and – last but not least – an open society by 2020.  PHOTOS: 01 The business skyscraper the Crystal palace, BTC City 02 Openning of the ABC's first American accelerator location with a launch in San José, California 03 Patrick Mullane, Execuitive Director of HBX, Harvard Business School, Jože Mermal, the president of BTC Management Board 04 Electric car sharing, Avant2Go vehicles 05 Lidl business hackathon in BTC City 06 The Demo Day of ABC Accelerator Smart Living & Health program on 21st of January 2016 in BTC City participated by the startups from Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Austria and Hungary. 07 Jeff Burton, co-founder of Electronic Arts at the ABC Demo Day 2016 08 Marathon Franja BTC City 2016; Marathon Franja was premierely organized on 22nd July, 1982 by the cycling club Rog (Rog at that time was a well established bicycle manufacturing company).







Winter Edition 2016 | The Slovenian Times


Global Pitch

Slovenia, a land of start-ups By Jan Bratanič

Although small in size, Slovenia has a vibrant start-up community which has evolved greatly since the beginnings of Zemanta. When thinking of its brightest stars, one cannot bypass a sensation such as: Outfit 7, whose apps have been downloaded more than three billion times; Celtra, the developer of a platform for rich-media mobile ads, which has achieved success in the US, Great Britain and even Japan; Lyst, a Slovenian-British high fashion start-up that has attracted more than EUR 36m in financing; Bitstamp, which is at the forefront of bitcoin exchanges; 4th Office, that offers mobile office solutions; Bellabeat, which enables its users to track a pregnancy, was voted the best medical start-up; and Uniplaces, the Airbnb for student accommodation and which netted the biggest investment last year of EUR 22m. Slovenian start-ups have come a long way since their beginnings. Zemanta, for instance, managed to sell its editorial assistant and related posts technology to Sovrn. Many have found a way to become financially independent and others have found ways to attract investors. Slovenian start-ups raised over US $120m last year – twice as much as in 2014 – and have even sparked interest from China. The amount of investment has doubled in each of last two years and is set to surpass the total amount invested in Slovenian start-ups from 2007 to 2015 of US $270m in the not too distant future. Getting venture capital is not insurance for success as a company. Although we all like to read about young entrepreneurs who take the market by storm with new and advanced technology to become billionaires, the real numbers are bleak. One in 10 start-ups fail. Among those that get venture capital investment, only one in four become successful, according to the Wall Street Journal.


The Slovenian Times | Winter Edition 2016


Bitcoin ATM in Singapour. Photo: Xinhua/STA


Yet some do succeed and being interesting enough to attract investors must count for something. Emotech, a start-up co-founded by Slovenian Jan Medvešek, managed to get second round funding of EUR 10m this summer. Emotech and its smart assistant, Olly, who learns its owner’s habits and uses that knowledge to give better suggestions or user experience be it in smart home solutions and appliances, audio and video components and other unmanned systems, has great potential. It tries to tap into the growing global market of the Internet of Things (IoT) that connects around four billion consumers of devices and generates more than US $540bn of revenue. Research and advisory group, Gartner, estimates that the global consumer market for the Internet of Things will be worth more than US $1,500bn by 2020. Seeking opportunities on the IoT market is Kolektor through its Kolektor Venture Fund, which made its first seed capital investment in the start-up, Smart Optometry, which specialises in apps that help specialists test eyesight. Slovenian entrepreneurs have long been known for bringing innovative and commercially viable ideas to the market. One of them is GoAvio (by start-up Nizkocenovci), an award winning online travel platform which allows

users to search, explore and discover low-cost flights in Europe and across the globe. It combines flights, trains and buses to find cheaper routes between cities. The company that brought in EUR 100,000 of revenues last year, but hopes that revenues grow to a whopping EUR 15m this year. Most young start-ups are far from those numbers. Reveel, an app that helps you find and buy a product you see on TV or in print for instance, got US $2m of funding but is yet to crack 1,000 downloads on the Google Play store. Many are collecting awards but are still trying to find the market for their product such as the award winning start-up, TAFR, which makes smart robots who tend to vines and vineyards. Some have already found it such as GINA, a smart coffee instrument with a builtin scale and an app that enables different ways to brew coffee. The second project of GOAT Story already has more than 1,700 backers on Kickstarter, who have pledged US $345,000. 


One of the most successful gold bullion coins worldwide, the Vienna Philharmonic counts among the favourites with investors in Europe, Japan and North America. Made of 999.9 pure gold, Vienna Philharmonics are available in five different sizes and face values, making them ideal for all types of investors. Named in honour of the world-famous orchestra, the coin boasts a classic award-winning design by Austrian Mint head designer Thomas Pesendorfer, which depicts a harmonious assortment of musical instruments on its reverse and the organ of the Musikverein concert hall in Vienna, the orchestra’s home, on its obverse. The Vienna Philharmonic has been available in silver for some time in the 1 ounce format and it is now also available in platinum. Platinum makes an excellent alternative investment to gold and has no cause to shun comparison. On the contrary, the coveted precious metal is almost as valuable as gold itself. All three types of Vienna Philharmonic are legal tender, thus have global acceptability and are easily traded at the daily gold, silver or platinum price wherever major bullion coins are sold. Moro is the official partner of the Austrian Mint in Slovenia.

INvesT. COLLeCT. GIve.


International Business Partners TOPIC: Bilateral investment review for 2016

American Chamber of Commerce – AmCham Slovenia Slovenia Remains Interesting to Foreign Investors, Including American The American Chamber of Commerce in Slovenia – AmCham Slovenia – encourages investments in the Slovenian economy which open new jobs and facilitates the transfer of good practice from foreign investors to the Slovenian business environment. Furthermore, foreign investors have a positive effect on Slovenian companies through such partnerships. Investors are generally attracted by Slovenia’s geostrategic position and excellent workforce, although red tape and slow decision-making remain a dissuasive factor. Another important factor is the general attitude towards accepting investors in the country, too often investors feel unwanted by authorities and local communities and so decide to channel their investments to a neighbouring country where they are warmly welcomed with extra benefits such as subsidised social contributions for employees.

To attract American investors and convince them that Slovenia is a great choice for expanding their business, AmCham Slovenia strives to promote the awareness that new jobs are crucial for the future of Slovenia, both talented young professionals and experienced adults. We pay particular attention to new, different types of workplaces, new forms of jobs, and the “extinction” of some professions, all the result of new technologies. To be prepared for “disruptors” in all branches, our members are given the opportunity to visit global technology corporations where they can have a glimpse into the future. The AmCham Investment Committee will definitely play an important role in these efforts.  Vida Dolenc Pogačnik, Deputy Director & International Cooperation Leader, AmCham Slovenia

British – Slovenian Chamber of Commerce – BSCC 2016 has been a year of change for our Chamber. We started the year with a fresh team and a new strategy for increasing trade and investment between Slovenia and Great Britain. Then, in June, the Brexit vote arrived unexpectedly, making us rethink our business strategy. We believe that Brexit is an opportunity for us. As the United Kingdom gradually nears its exit from the European Union, Slovenia can be even more attractive for UK companies that are looking for a greenfield investment, partnerships or export opportunities in Slovenia. To support this, we’ve initiated a new market-


The Slovenian Times | Winter Edition 2016

ing strategy focused on raising awareness of Slovenia as a business destination, as a hub in the Adriatic, and a green gem with a highly skilled and educated workforce. We organised a large Sports Meets Business conference in October in Ljubljana, with many distinguished speakers from Slovenia and the UK. This brought us more awareness and interest, as well as new opportunities.

We’ve also been focusing on our strong network of Chambers in the UK, already seeing initial results – British manufacturers, investment funds and other institutions have been contacting us with various interests, some of which is FDI, greenfield or purely importing from Slovenia to the UK. And with this positive trend we hope to increase all these fields, turning obstacles into opportunities. 

International Business Partners

The German-Slovene Chamber of Commerce and Industry – AHK Slowenien The German-Slovene Chamber of Commerce, which represents the bilateral economic relations between the two friendly states, is very pleased that the foreign trade in 2016 will exceed the EUR 10bn mark again, around 20 percent of all of Slovenia’s foreign trade. The investment from Germany is also rising as, in the last two years, some very well-known German companies have come to Slovenia through the privatisation process. Of course, we cannot undermine the importance of the investments

by the companies with German capital already present in Slovenia which are expanding their plants and at the same time employing more and more people. The success is proven by Novem Car Interior Design as a FDI Award Slovenia winner in the category of Best Employer. In a survey we conducted, we found that small companies with German capital invest in Slovenia up to EUR 1m per year, with the large companies investing EUR 20m to EUR 35m per year. They must surely be within the biggest investors in Slovenia.

We believe that knowledge should follow the goods, therefore we started the Industry 4.0 initiative at the beginning of 2016 and today, almost everybody speaks about it. In 2017 we will bring even more specialists from the field to Slovenia to share the importance of the digitalisation of industry and bring the needed knowledge to Slovenia. We will focus on the theme: Smart Business – Smart People, at the German-Slovene Business Summit to be held on 5 April 2017. 

Advantage Austria Ljubljana, Investment Climate Survey 2016 indicates Slovenia is becoming more attractive every year. "As a constantly growing neighbouring market, Slovenia is one of the most attractive investment destinations for Austrian businesses, as proven repeatedly in our annual survey", says Dr Peter Hasslacher, Director, Advantage Austria Ljubljana. "The Slovenian market could attract more than 700 companies from Austria to open permanent subsidiaries and their CEOs are becoming more satisfied with Slovenia’s investment climate." Based on the survey which was conducted amongst the Austrian subsidiaries, strong improvement was observed in the supporting measures for SMEs. The well-educated and motivated employees are regarded as one of Slovenia’s main advantages, although many employers identify gaps in practical education within secondary and tertiary education. One of Advantage Austria’s main objectives is therefore to support the introduction of more practical-based, dual vocational education and training.

With EUR 1,300 of purchased Austrian goods and services annually per capita, Slovenia is a world champion. Yet Austrian FDI in Slovenia may be an even more impressive factor, with more than EUR 3.4bn last year. Austrian companies are by far the biggest foreign direct investors in Slovenia, with major investments already announced a further significant increase is expected in the coming years. Austria is also becoming more and more attractive for Slovenians to start business abroad. Interest in information and specific events on handling business in or with Austria is constantly rising. Exports from Slovenia to Austria are also increasing - about 2.7% in the second quarter of 2016. Centrally located, Austria with its eight bordering countries is often seen as the perfect starting point to enter international markets. 

Advantage Austria

Winter Edition 2016 | The Slovenian Times


International Business Partners Economy

Luxembourg-Slovenian Business Club (LSBC) Encouraging news recently published in the media indicates that possibly six high-tech companies are considering investing in Slovenia. The economic benefits and the opportunities for human capital can deliver positive returns over the long term, however we have to be proactive to ensure we meet the needs of these and future companies. LSBC sees significant potential for Slovenia in Brownfield investing, especially in the tourism sector. The revitalisation and reuse of older buildings should be outspoken to attract investment. All interested stakeholders should be brought together and involved in the planning process; with interests harmonised and a

focused investment plan established - collaboration instead of cooperation. Slovenia’s public administration must embrace business challenges and decide on the level of commitment and its role. With the internet and digital technologies transforming our world and the initiative of the EU’s single market, there are wasted opportunities. 

Above: Newly opened Slovenian showroom in Luxembourg (photo LSBC)

700 investees). Last year, the annual inflow of FDI from Italy was about EUR 50m. The net profit of Italian companies in Slovenia for the same year was EUR 51m, which also positively contributed to the increase in equity as more than EUR 31m was reinvested. The most important sectors for Italian FDI in Slovenia are finance, manufacturing and wholesale, with investments mostly from the nearby regions of Friuli Venezia Giulia, Veneto and Lombardia toward the central Ljubljana region, the Karst and Primorska. In the last 20 years, important Italian companies invested in Slovenia, among them Aquafil, Cecomp, ENI, Eurospin, Fantoni, Gen-

erali, Intesa SanPaolo, Intersocks, Safilo, SIAD, Sogefi, the Sol Group, UniCredit and many others. More recent investments are those of Palladio in Cimos, SIAD expanding its ownership in Istrabenz plini and Serioplast and Novo Meko setting up new facilities in the country. On the other hand, there is space for Slovenian outward FDI to Italy. Notwithstanding their limited dimension (EUR 57 million - 1 percent of total, concentrated on 34 companies and 42 investees) it includes brands of outstanding performance such as Pipistrel. 

Italian Trade Agency (ICE) Italy is an important investment partner for Slovenia. In the last 10 years, the stock of Italian inward FDI in Slovenia has more than doubled from EUR 377m at the end of 2006 to more than EUR 840m at the end of 2015, with an average annual growth of 8.4%. Based on Slovenian Central Bank statistics which refer to the direct affiliation criteria, Italy was sixth in terms of investing countries in Slovenia at end of 2015 with 7.3 percent of total FDI. On the basis of ultimate investing country criteria, Italy is the third largest investment country, after Austria and Germany, with inward FDI exceeding EUR 1bn. The Italian investments are directed at 538 companies (with more than


The Slovenian Times | Winter Edition 2016

International Business Partners It’s up to us to build bridges.. or sit on the walls of our stereotypes

Yury Praslov, Slovene-Russian Business Club in Moscow; Photo: Victor Kibus

According to the Russian Central Bank, on  1 January 2016 the accumulated direct  investments  of Slovenia into the Russian economy were US $152m, while those of Russia into Slovenia  were US $170m. This year’s bilateral data is not yet available although the general trend is positive: US $8.3bn of foreign investment into Russia for Jan-Sep 2016 (3.6 times more than for the same period in 2015 of US $2.3bn). The main players in the Slovene-Russian investment field are predictable: SIJ (KOKS Group) which acquired Perutina Ptuj in 2015, Sberbank, Krka and some others. Despite the seemingly reviving Russian economy, there is not enough evidence to expect any breakthroughs in new bilateral investments this year. Projects are being discussed but Europe and Russia are no closer to resolving the political stalemate that hinders any economic progress and freezes investment activity. Toplevel diplomatic exchanges have not melted the ice to help business get back to normal.

Slovene - Russian Business Club On the other hand, Slovenia still underestimates the direct interest of physical Russian citizens willing to buy real estate, through direct ownership, and live in Slovenia. Croatia has lowered the legal barriers for Russians to buy property there. Slovenia still fears any major moves, thus depriving itself of sizable income from private Russian investments. The Slovene-Russian Club has reiterated this problem in many quarters – all to a phlegmatic shrug of the shoulders of Slovene officials with a "what can we do?". Well, it is up to us to make the effort to build bridges or continue to sit on the walls of our stereotypes! 

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


Leadership Corner

"I can spot them as soon as they walk through the door!" By Saša Fajmut, M.Sc.

Sound familiar? When selecting a new employee, research has shown that most interviewers decide upon a candidate within 3 - 5 minutes! But can you be sure that you always make the right hiring decision? No? When it comes to hiring a new person, it is actually like looking into a crystal ball; you need to predict whether the person will know how to do the job, get along with other people and all the other relevant factors, in very limited time. Especially if you are hiring a new leader, the decision is even harder because being a leader is not about working on tasks, it is about working with people. Working through people, actually. Knowing them. Knowing what motivates them. Knowing what is a trigger for someone and for someone else maybe not. Persevere even when everyone else around you thinks the Earth is flat. Predict how people will react in a bunch of different job situations. With all these challenges, it is no wonder that there is so much research on leadership. We might call it a science, or maybe even art. Based on research, there are several traits that good leaders possess including: • positive energy - the ability to persist in good as well as turbulent times, • the ability to energise others, • edge - the ability to say yes or no, not maybe, • the ability to execute and make things happen, • passion. Some of these traits are innate, some can be taught. How to assess all these traits in an average interview which typically lasts less than 30 minutes? In a situation when you need to hire a new leader, are you sure that your "gut feel" is enough when deciding whether someone will have the ability to energise others and to persist through difficult times, or not? How frustrating can a false positive be? Research shows that the classic job interview, which is usually non-structured and seem more like a discussion over a cup of coffee, is correct in only about 20% of cases

Perfect Prediction (1) 1 0.9 0.8 0.7

Assessment Centres Work sample tests Ability tests


Personality tests (in combination with Structured Interview)


Structured Interview


Typical (unstructured) Interview

0.3 0.2 0.1 0

References Graphology Astrology Chance (Random) Prediction (0)

Predictive validity of different selection methods (Taylor, 1998)

(Taylor, 1998). Don’t rely on a candidate’s years of experience either, it explains as little as three percent of a person’s future job performance (Bock, 2015). Sadly, this means that using only "inner sense", "good selection skills", "extensive experience with hiring people" etc. will lead to around 80 percent of poor hiring decisions. The good news is, however, that there are other selection methods which have proven to be much more effective. If you interview a person in a structured way, meaning you set the selection criteria upfront and use the same set of questions for all candidates, and give a person a real on-the-job situation simulation, the predictive validity* improves 20 percent. If you decide to use assessment centres, which are a comprehensive set of psychometric tests and work simulation tasks, the prediction validity becomes very powerful at about 60% -70% correct decisions. To conclude, there is nothing more expensive than the wrong hiring decision but it happens often. To avoid it, make the effort, define in brutal detail the kind of person you want to have and then implement all of the possible assessment methods when deciding whether someone fits the criteria or not. Don’t trust your gut. This applies particularly to leadership positions where there is both an art and a science to leading people which simply cannot be assessed over a cup of coffee. * Predictive validity in hiring process is the extent to which a score on a selection method or test predicts actual job performance.

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


The Slovenian Times | Winter Edition 2016

Literature: • Bock, L. (2015). Work Rules! • Taylor, I. (2008). The Assessment and Selection Handbook: Tools, Techniques and Exercises for Effective Recruitment and Development.




Political Overview By Valerio Fabbri The US election has put Slovenia on the global map following Donald Trump’s win. Melania Trump, wife of the President-elect, is a Slovenian-born, former top model, who will become the new First Lady, and the second foreign born First Lady in US history. Following this momentous election, Russian MP, Vyacheslav Nikonov, suggested that Slovenia could be the right location for a meeting between the Presidents of the United States and Russia, leveraging Melania Trump’s country of origin. Closer to home, President Borut Pahor paid an official state visit to Pope Francis, in what was a continuation of the dialogue between Slovenia and the Vatican, following the visit by Vatican’s Secretary of State Parolino to Ljubljana earlier this year. Accompanied by a sizeable delegation, central was an audience with the Pope where the two spoke about reconciliation and young people. President Pahor and Pope Francis described the reconciliation process as a building block for the European Union, of which little is known by younger generations. The reconciliation issue may have addressed Slovenia, it may be no coincidence that two weeks after the visit to the Vatican, Slovenia announced the decision to re-bury around 800 victims from a mass grave containing the remains of thousands of people believed to have been killed in the aftermath of World War II by the Communist authorities. The remains will be laid to rest in a memorial park in Maribor, in a symbolic gesture seen as a key step toward achieving national reconciliation despite enduring postwar division. The victims are believed to be mostly Croats and Slovenes from WWII pro-Nazi groups killed by the victorious communists. A similar reconciliation spirit does not seem to exist in the public health system, with doctors severely challenging the government’s stability with their ongoing strike. After the Health Minister, Milojka Kolar Celarc, survived a no-confidence vote in mid-October, critical remarks could still be heard around the lack of action to address the long hospital waiting times, corruption and the lack of systemic legislation. Furthermore, despite a tireless dialogue with FIDES, the strongest Slovenian doctors union, doctors have been tightening their strike measures to underline the importance of issues such as workload standards and norms, as well as changes to the pay system used for all public sector employees. Despite bitter differences, both parties agree that there is a shortage of doctors in the country, a situation that will be normalised by 2023. 


The Slovenian Times | Winter Edition 2016


04 PHOTOS: 01 President-elect Donald Trump, US elections 2016. Photo: Xinhua/STA 02 Slovenian-born Melania Trump, wife of the President-elect, will become the new First Lady. Photo: Robi Poredoš/STA 03 President Borut Pahor paid an official state visit to Pope Francis in Vatican. Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA 04 Health Minister Milojka Kolar Celarc and FIEDS President Konrad Kuštrin initialised the agreement on temporary suspension of strike activities. Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA

Politics every cent, and we can report back to the donor at any time on where the money is.

Q How has a humanitarian group from Slovenia attracted donors from around the world? A It was actually a coincidence. When we started to work in 1999, Bosnia was the focus of the international community, everybody wanted to help and the first area in the postconflict rehabilitation was de-mining. We were among the first and then we became the most trusted and that’s how we started to work with these big countries – the United States, Canada, Japan, Norway etc. When we start to work in other countries, our donors went with us and now we are working with the Canadians, Japanese and Americans in other parts of the world - from Afghanistan to Colombia. Author/Agency: Žiga Živulović

ITF Enhancing Human Security a global leader in the elimination of landmines By Joji Sakurai

ITF Enhancing Human Security was founded in 1999 by the Slovenian government, with the mission to help with the recovery of BosniaHerzegovina. Since then, the de-mining agency has become a global leader with a full-time staff of only 12 people. ITF has raised US $400m in donations, cleared more than 135 million square metres of land, and expanded its operations to Africa, Central Asia, the Middle East and Latin America since its inception. Ambassador Damjan Bergant, ITF’s Chief Executive, speaks to The Slovenia Times about how a small operation has carved out an oversized role for good in the world. Q What makes ITF unique among the world’s de-mining organisations? A The first unique point is that we come from a small country –a country that has not been troubled by land mines. The history of the former Yugoslavia forced us to tackle this issue and in 1999 Slovenia wanted to help BosniaHerzegovina with its post-conflict rehabilitation, and that’s how we began. Another unique factor is that we are a small institution with only 12 people working full-time for ITF in Ljubljana, but we have deployed our US $400m


The Slovenian Times | Winter Edition 2016

in global funding for more than 3,500 projects around the world.

Q What is the key factor which has made ITF a global success story? A One of the leading elements is transparency. Every donor, that is every country that contributes humanitarian aid, wants to know where the money goes. ITF has built a strong record of transparent work over the past two decades and now we enjoy a reservoir of trust. We follow each and every dollar, each and

Q Please share a bit more about your expansion around the world. A We started in South Eastern Europe, in Bosnia and the countries around Bosnia. We then expanded to the South Caucasus, to Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. Our work then went further: to Central Asia – to Afghanistan; then the Middle East, where we are present in Gaza, in Lebanon, Jordan and also indirectly Syria. Now we have started interesting projects in West Africa, Colombia and Ukraine. If you look at the map of the world, ITF is working in all continents except Australia. Q ITF adopts a holistic approach to community healing and rebuilding, how do you approach this? A Our work started with de-mining and everything connected with landmines. We then started to work with war victims, those wounded by landmines. Next we expanded those activities to other fields of human security, the first being psycho-social programs for children affected by war. For example, we run such healing programs in Ukraine and every year we bring almost 80 children from Eastern Ukraine to Debeli Rtič in Slovenia for this emotional rehabilitation. Q What is your greatest achievement at ITF? A Definitely the greatest achievement is that we have almost 30 partners – donors - that means 30 countries supporting us. We need partners to do our work. The numbers testify to our results: more than US $400m in donations; over 135 million square metres of land cleared which can now be used for farming, housing and economic activity. Then there are the people rehabilitated by ITF – more than 1,500 people with a chance for a normal life and last but not least, I would end where I started, our biggest achievement is that we come from a small country and we are doing big things. 

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

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

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

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

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

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



Bringing the mutual benefits of CEE - China cooperation to reality:

Slovenia’s Pipistrel and China’s Sino GA Group sign a deal By Silvija Fister

On 5 November 2016, the 5th Summit of China and Central and Eastern European Countries (CEE) was held in the Latvian capital of Riga. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and his most senior political counterparts from 16 European countries met to further advance the so called "16+1" cooperation established in 2012. For the first time a representative from the EU attended as an observer, as well as representatives from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development from Austria, Belarus, Greece and Switzerland.


The Slovenian Times | Winter Edition 2016

The summit was part of the ongoing activities of the 17 countries, with the intention to "forge an efficient, practical and lasting 16+1 cooperation; build a partnership featuring openness, inclusiveness and mutual benefit, develop synergies between the 16+1 cooperation and the EUChina Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, including through the EU-China Connectivity Platform". Two documents were issued at this summit: the Riga Guidelines for Cooperation between China and CEE covering the issues of trade and investment, connectivity, cooperation in industry, energy, science and technology, financial cooperation, agriculture and forestry, health and local cooperation. The Riga Declaration focuses on reaffirming the Adriatic-BalticBlack Sea Port cooperation in terms of developing transportation hubs, ports and industrial parks on the coastal areas of the Adriatic, Baltic and Black Sea and along the inland waterways, working together to build industrial clusters near ports and establishing modern road, rail and river corridors to connect them. In his keynote speech, Premier Li Keqiang stressed that the "16+1" framework has already accumulated valuable experience which should be further upheld. Most of all equality, mutual

Politics Mutual benefit, win-win cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, joint contribution and shared benefits are all crucial for the real economic needs of each of the 17 countries. respect and mutual assistance, irrespective of a state’s size, wealth or strength, should be the leading principles of the mechanism. By further applying the Chinese economic diplomacy perspective of 'no political strings attached', different development paths and the accommodation of each other’s core interests is possible. Mutual benefit, win-win cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, joint contribution and shared benefits are all crucial for the real economic needs of each of the 17 countries. Together they can make sure that concrete development plans will be quickly put into action. This is how "16+1" will have regional and global positive effects, as it will contribute to global peace and prosperity in these politically and economically uncertain times. There is no need for rivalry or worries: "We have always stressed that the "16+1" cooperation is a part of and useful complement to China-EU cooperation". The biggest accomplishment for Slovenian representatives has been the signing of a contract between Slovenian aviation company, Pipistrel and Chinese Sino GA Group Co. The event in Riga was chosen for the signing because the deal is of particular significance for bilateral relations. Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar has commented several times that he is convinced the deal is the result of Pipistrel’s innovative knowledge, but also that the political work and economic diplomacy was crucial. Pipistrel’s co-owner, Ivo Boscarol admitted that communication between governments helped the process which concluded with the signing of the contract for the promising cooperation of an estimated combined value of US $500 m. Pipistrel is an internationally well established and pioneering player that builds on the 02

challenge of sustainable and so-called green aviation. More than 25 years of innovative technology development was crucial for the Chinese validation of four Pipistrel aircraft certificates, which has now opened immense possibilities for sales in China. The company believes that in Sino GA they have found a more than appropriate partner for success in the burgeoning aviation market. The deal comprises a long-term joint-venture, in light and general aviation, in the regions of China, East Asia and Asia Pacific. After two years of preparation, the two companies agreed on the transfer of technologies and setting up a new company in China where electric aircraft will be manufactured, in particular the Alpha Electro and Panthera Hybrid models. Production capacity will be more than 500 aircraft per year. Pipistrel also plans develop a new, zero emission 19-seat aircraft, powered by hybrid electric technology and hydrogen low temperature PEM fuel cells. They hope that the new type of aircraft will be available for public transport between the cities in China and all over the world. The contract is hailed as an example of successful Euro-Asian economic practice and for Slovenia, Pipistrel is its great ambassador. It is an optimistic sign for other players who want to harvest the "16+1" framework in their business pursuits. At least two more, wide reaching initiatives are already being actively promoted. At the time of the summit, the Slovenian Minister for Agriculture, Dejan Židan, was attending the Kunming Agriculture and Trade Fair which featured a Slovenian pavilion. The possibility of Slovenia hosting the next agricultural fair of the 17 states was proposed at the fair. Another promising area of cooperation

The 16+1 initiative of the People’s Republic of China is aimed at intensifying and expanding cooperation with CEE countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Macedonia. For the first time a representative from the EU attended as an observer. Estimated combined value of the deal between Slovenian Pipistrel and Chinese Sino GA Group is US $500m. The deal is an optimistic sign for other players who want to harvest the "16+1" framework in their business pursuits.

is in winter sport infrastructure and capacity building. Slovenian expertise and experience in the area has been stressed as potentially important for the Winter Olympics 2022 in Beijing on several occasions such as at 'Ningbo week' in Ljubljana earlier this year. 

They hope that the new type of aircraft will be available for public transport between the cities in China and all over the world. PHOTOS: 01 Prime Minister Miro Cerar attended a meeting of leaders of the Central and Eastern European countries and China, Riga (Latvia). As part of the fifth 16+1 summit, he also attended the business forum and the signing of a contract between Slovenian maker of ultralight aircraft Pipistrel and Chinese company Sino GA Group Co.. Photo: Stanko Gruden/STA 02 Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Prime Minister of Latvia Māris Kučinskis. Photo: Stanko Gruden/STA 03 Pipistrel Press Conference on cooperation between Pipistrel and Chinese Sino GA Group Co; The Executive Director of Sino Group GA Danny Wu Hao, Managing Director of Sino Group GA Guo Ying Wu and Director of the company Pipistrel Ivo Boscarol. Photo: STA


Winter Edition 2016 | The Slovenian Times


European Union Politics Interview: Jyrki Katainen, European Commission VicePresident for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness

We are working to set up a European cloud By Tina Drolc, M.Sc.

Finnish, Jyrki Katainen is the European Commission Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness. He spoke to The Slovenia Times about the challenges of EU capital markets and the development of the capital market ecosystem across all Member States. For the digital agenda, the Commission relies on Slovenia and the other EU Member States to move forward quickly with Commission proposals as a fully functional Digital Single Market could contribute EUR 415 bn per year to the EU economy and create thousands of new jobs. Q You recently said for Bloomberg that the "Capital market is not well developed in Europe". What are the main drawbacks and on the other hand the potential opportunities for attracting more capital from third countries? A As banks have withdrawn from their role as the predominant source of funds for European business, we need to strengthen the role of capital markets; new bank loans to the business sector are now 40 percent lower than at the start of crisis. The need is greatest for high-growth firms which are looking to scaleup and which need risk capital. Some smaller and newer Member States are faced with a particularly important catch-up process. While it will take time to build new financial circuits and change business and investor attitudes to market-based finance, we start to see positive dynamics – notably in the growth of corporate debt markets. The Capital Markets Union program is about developing the capital market ecosystem across all of our Member States through a mix of legislative and non-legislative actions. We are progressing well with its implementation (around half of the measures have been adopted in one year). But, given the need to sustain momentum, we will be reviewing this agenda

in the next few months. Through this work we hope to make investment – including by third country investors – in European capital markets more attractive.

Q What are the Commission measures for the improvement of economic growth in the EU and do they include helicopter money and if so, in what form? A A key plank of European Commission efforts to boost economic growth is the Investment Plan for Europe. It is already making a significant contribution to increasing investment and raising additional finance, and the Commission is stepping up its efforts through a reinforced European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI 2.0) which proposes extending the life of EFSI and increasing the program’s investment target from EUR 315 bn to at least EUR 500 bn of public and private investments by the end of 2020. This investment program will be underpinned by an EU budget guarantee of EUR 26 bn and an European Investment Bank contribution of EUR 7.5 bn. EFSI 2.0 will also enlarge the focus to include projects that contribute to achieving the Union’s ambitious goals set at the Paris Climate Conference (COP21). Energy interconnection

We are working to set up a European cloud that will give Europe’s 1.7 million researchers and 70 million science and technology professionals a virtual environment to store, manage, analyse and re-use a big amount of research data. 50

The Slovenian Times | Winter Edition 2016

priority projects and energy efficiency projects will be increasingly targeted. In addition, a larger share of financing will be geared towards SMEs, given the exceptional market demand for SME financing under EFSI: 40 precent of the increase of EFSI’s risk-bearing capacity should be geared toward increasing access to financing for SMEs. Already now, more than 375,000 European SMEs are benefitting from the investment plan.

Q To support the digitalisation of European industry, the Commission package aims to mobilise EUR 23 bn from EU funds (EUR 5 bn) and private capital (EUR 18 bn) to complete the transition towards Industry 4.0. How could digital growth relaunch economic growth in Europe? A If I understand correctly, the amount you cite seems to reflect investments in public-private partnerships. However, other investments are foreseen (EUR 50 bn). In April we presented a set of measures to support and link national initiatives for the digitisation of industry and to boost investment through strategic partnerships and networks. We propose speeding up the development of common standards in priority areas such as 5G communication networks or cybersecurity, and to modernise public services. As part of these plans, we are working to set up a European cloud that will give Europe’s 1.7 million researchers and 70 million science and technology professionals a virtual environment to store, manage, analyse and re-use a big amount of research data. Our plan to digitise European industry should mobilise over EUR 50 bn of public and private investment. While many parts of the economy have been quick to take on digital technologies and processes, European industry across sectors and regardless of company size must fully use digital opportunities if it is to be globally competitive. Traditional sectors such as construction, agro-food, textiles or steel, and SMEs are particularly lagging behind in their digital transformation. Recent studies estimate that digitisation of products and services will add more than EUR 110 bn of revenue for industry per year, in Europe, in the next five years. Companies will be able to develop new products, processes and business models that can provide improved safety and greater comfort for users. They will be able to sell personalised products at mass production cost, and they will optimise the use of energy and other resources. Digitisation can help solve issues related to the ageing society (people can stay longer at home), use less energy (for instance city lighting that only switches on when it is needed), monitor the environment, and much more. Several EU Member States have already launched strategies to support the digitisation of industry. But a comprehensive approach

EuropeanPolitics Union A fully functional Digital Single Market could contribute EUR 415 bn per year to our economy and create hundreds of thousands of new jobs.

We have proposed making parcel delivery more affordable and efficient, to protect consumers better when they buy online and to tackle unjustified geo-blocking. We will soon simplify VAT rules. Also, to be presented in the coming weeks, is the free flow of data initiative. One of the aims is to prevent unnecessary restrictions on where data is located or on data access and so encourage innovation and the data economy. We rely on Slovenia and the other EU Member States to move forward quickly with our proposals. There is no time to waste: a fully functional Digital Single Market could contribute EUR 415 bn per year to our economy and create hundreds of thousands of new jobs.

Q If and when Brexit is finalised, which city or country will take the role of the City of London? A From a legal point of view, the outcome of the referendum has not changed anything for the time being. The UK remains a member of the EU with all the rights and obligations of a Member State until the terms of its exit are agreed. EU law continues to apply in full to the UK, and in the UK until it is no longer a member. The possibility of the UK leaving the EU a couple of years from now does not mean that the EU has to overhaul its perspective. We continue with our ambitious agenda to build a Capital Markets Union for the benefit of growth and jobs in Europe. Functioning capital markets are vital for the prosperity of the EU, whether it has 28 or 27 Member States.

Jyrki Katainen, European Commission Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness

at the European level is needed to avoid fragmented markets and to reap the benefits of digital evolution such as the Internet of things.

Q Slovenia is a small but open European economy that still lacks attractiveness for domestic or foreign investments, partly due to the under-developed capital markets. Could specialisation and a focus on digitalisation improve our prosperity in the future? A Yes indeed. Our Digital Economy and Society Index shows that Slovenian businesses are increasingly going digital; getting more and

more revenue from e-commerce, using e-invoices. However, more effort needs to be made when it comes to public services – e-government can bring a lot of benefits to citizens and businesses. We can only encourage Slovenia to make the most of digital technologies, and we are committed to supporting these efforts at the EU level with our Digital Single Market strategy. As part of this strategy we have launched initiatives to meet the increasing needs of European consumers and businesses in terms of internet connectivity and to boost e-commerce.

Q Does the European Commission have an economic plan if Brexit leads to a "domino effect" and if yes, what are the key ingredients? A We do not speculate. Q Based on the common European values, what is the competitive advantage of the EU community and its business environment that makes Europe more attractive as a place to work and invest? A Highly educated people, a strong emphasis on research and development, well-functioning infrastructure, a focus on the environment and a stable legal framework, together with an internal market of 500 million Europeans together makes Europe a good place to live, work, invest and do business. ď ´ Winter Edition 2016 | The Slovenian Times


European Union Politics Interview: HE Paweł Czerwiński, Ambassador of the Republic of Poland in Slovenia

Poland’s bilateral trade of EUR 1.5 bn with Slovenia is almost equal to Poland’s trade with Canada By Tina Drolc, M.Sc.

Since September 2015, Mr Czerwiński has served as the Ambassador of the Republic of Poland in Slovenia, having previously served in Ljubljana as First Secretary at the Polish Embassy from 1998 - 2002. However, not satisfied with the Polish – Slovene FDI relations, he highlights the importance of Slovenian innovation in the Polish market and the mutual goals within the Chinese Silk Road initiative, where both countries could benefit from infrastructure and transport projects.

HE Paweł Czerwiński, Ambassador of the Republic of Poland in Slovenia


The Slovenian Times | Winter Edition 2016

Q Recent Polish investments in Slovenia include the purchase of Slovenian construction company Trimo Group by private equity firm Innova Capital, Linetech Holdings acquisition of the aircraft maintenance firm Adria Airways Tehnika, and Tesla Recycling which took over Gorenje Surovina. Polish fund, Abris, however cancelled its bid for Slovenia’s Paloma. What has been the motivation for Polish companies to invest in Slovene companies and what, on the other hand, has discouraged them? A For quite a long time there was little interest from Polish companies to invest in Slovenia and we have done our best to successfully change that attitude. There was the challenge of the size of the market - Polish companies used to focuse on the market size and for some, a market of two million is not enough which is of course the wrong approach. The high labour costs and ambivalent attitude toward FDI in Slovenia have also been discouraging and which I thought would change with the new FDI strategy of the Government. Considering some of our investors, I unfortunately have the impression that things are not going in the right direction. Sometimes it is a lack of transparency or the attitude of trade unions which has caused the withdrawal of the Polish offer. Nevertheless, I think that the future of Slovene-Polish economic relations lies in the development of FDI. Polish investors are aware that Slovenia is an excellent starting position for the markets of the former Yugoslavia and Slovenes are real experts for that part of Europe which gives our investors opportunities to expand much further. In the area of trade, we have been doing very well. The trade volume has been increasing steadily and this year, for the first time, we have, according to Polish Statistical Office, a small surplus in bilateral trade with Slovenia! The value of trade amounts to EUR 1.5bn and is almost equal to our trade

with Canada. It is a really great result. From this perspective, FDIs are an important driver.

Q Where do you see the main potential for the expansion of Slovene exports to Poland and why? A We have had very good experiences with Slovenian businesses and there are many excellent opportunities, from pharmaceuticals and other goods, but crucial is the role of new technologies. For example, an automotive industry - Poland has three car factories, but over 800 manufacturers of car components. They are mostly very innovative companies, looking for proper foreign partner, and Slovenia is perfect in this regard, as the country that is paying a lot of attention to the innovations. With its well educated people, Slovenia has a very strong base for cooperation and I believe that Slovenian innovations could build a strong position in the Polish market. In addition, in some cases, it has already happened; Gorenje with its electronic and household appliances has been present in Poland for a long time and has a good reputation. Q You mentioned the car industry, is it too early to talk about the Tesla production company in Poland? A It is difficult to say! We have started the investment in battery production for electric cars (LG – the first factory producing batteries for electric cars in Europe) but, in my opinion, I think it is still too early to find electric cars dominating road traffic, at least in Europe. However, that being said, in 10 or 20 years

On the list of the 2,000 largest companies present in Poland, only 51 percent are owned by Polish capital.

EuropeanPolitics Union large Tesla or similar electric cars factories will be one of Poland’s economic pillars. In addition, in the new national program for development of the Polish economy launched by our Deputy Prime Minister, Mr Mateusz Jakub Morawiecki, electric cars are for many reasons one of the priorities and therefore this branch is very promising for us.

We established a legal framework and a number of initiatives for foreign investors such as the tax waiver program for the initial years of operation in Poland, many tax exemptions concerning concrete branches or goods, and many special economic zones were created in order to attract investors.

Q In 2015 Poland joined the top 20 FDI recipients in the world and ranked among the top 10 best countries for FDI in Europe. What has been the main contributor in the FDI strategy of your country to this? A At the very beginning, in the early 90s, there was the awareness that without foreign investors we could not transform our economy from the old communist model to a modern one, market and innovation-oriented. We have never been afraid of foreign capital. On the list of the 2,000 largest companies present in Poland, only 51 percent are owned by Polish capital and we like to learn from foreign investors. Additionally, this structure of ownership does not reflect the real benefits because, at the same time, we noticed an increase in income and we understood very quickly that it is a win-win process. Accordingly, we established a legal framework and a number of initiatives for foreign investors such as the tax waiver program for the initial years of operation in Poland, many tax exemptions concerning concrete branches or goods, and many special economic zones were created in order to attract investors, both domestic and foreign. Creating new jobs and the transfer of technologies has always been a focus of our FDI policy.

vanced business processes (knowledge process outsourcing, KPO) for the world’s leading corporations, as are HP, IBM, 3M, Google, Amazon etc. Thanks to foreign investors, we can benefit from the transfer of modern business, process and technology solutions, that is boosting the innovativeness of the entire Polish economy and creating new workplaces. However Poland, as stated in the Action plan for responsible development in Poland is very much interested in reindustrialization and FDIs in different modern industries.

Q Where is the majority of FDI from and which areas are the most significant? Can you name some recent large projects? A In 2015, about 211 investments were finalised of which 142 were new. In all, about 50,000 foreign companies invested approximately EUR 180bn. Based on taxes paid, the biggest investor country is the Netherlands however, it is well known that also very active are companies from Germany, France, Spain and the U.S. The newest branch we are developing and seeking foreign investors is the creation of hubs for business services of various kinds. BSS (Business Service Sector) has become the fastest growing branch of the Polish economy and one of the largest employers in the country. The employment in BSS exceeded to 193,000 in 852 companies. The average headcount in a business services centre in 2015 is 227 people. Poland has become an important player in BSS, even in a global scale. We are an equal partner for international companies. Solutions developed in Poland are very often implemented in the international market. Poland is gaining an internationally recognized specialization – management of ad-

Q China is actively building the European "Silk Road – One Belt One Road" plan, from which the "16+1," initiative has developed where the 16 CEE countries cooperate with China and in which both Poland and Slovenia are included. Do you see any opportunities for our two countries to cooperate within this initiative? A There are opportunities, to be used both individually and together. We are very active in developing relations with China and our Embassy in Beijing is supported by consulates in Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hong Kong and Chengdu. Until now, the CEE countries have cooperated on a limited scale, focusing first on joining the EU. The concept "16+1" has moved CEE to an absolutely new global level and it is particularly important because it gathers together both Member States of the EU and membership candidates within the project "One Belt, One Road", which has a universal dimension and with which all participants can be present and recognisable on a much larger scale than before. Because of our primary areas in this field I believe there is a lot of space for cooperation between Poland and Slovenia. The key strategic element of Poland’s contribution to the Silk Road project lies in infrastructure and transportation. Poland has two of the very few direct rail connections between China and Europe – for example, Polish city of Łódź has a direct railway connection with Chengdu, a city

that is very important for the Chinese economy. Given that Slovenia is interested in the development of infrastructure and transport projects within CEE, it would be absolutely logical to expand this objective to the "16+1" but, of course, it needs a lot of investment. For example, the Port of Koper could play a very important role in this ambitious plan and together with our ports, ports in the Baltic States and Black Sea ports, be an important player in CEE cooperation with China. However, the issue of the 30km track between Koper and Divača in Slovenia is a serious problem. Another opportunity for cooperation may be the Asian infrastructure and investment bank. Poland is the only Central-European country that joined this institution and this bank plays an important role in the "One Belt, One Road" program as it grants the loans for building the infrastructure.

Q What is your view of the Visegrad Group (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia) in relation to the EU? On some issues, these countries have a very different opinion from the majority in the EU. A This is a tricky question! Sometimes Member States differ in their opinions, and migration is one of such issues. Well, finally it has been proven that we were right. Although our approach a year ago was criticized, it is now part of a common European solution. The security of the European citizens is a question of the utmost importance, and the criteria of admittance should be clear. We are not avoiding our responsibility; we just want the responsibility to be proportional to the real capacities of each Member State. We cannot grant refugees the same treatment as Germany because not even our citizens have such opportunities in terms of the social welfare. Besides, the refugees and immigrants know it perfectly, and in fact most of them don’t want to stay anywhere else but in a couple of richest countries, offering the highest living standard. 

Polish city of Łódź has a direct railway connection with Chengdu, a city that is very important for the Chinese economy. Given that Slovenia is interested in the development of infrastructure and transport projects within CEE, it would be absolutely logical to expand this objective to the "16+1". Winter Edition 2016 | The Slovenian Times


Experience & Lifestyle Slovenia

Air France celebrates

50 years in China In September 1966, Air France launched its Paris-Shanghai route and became the first European carrier to serve the People’s Republic of China. Over the past five decades, Air France-KLM has strengthened its network. With its Chinese alliance partners, China Southern Airlines, China Eastern Airlines and Xiamen Airlines, the Air France-KLM group offers up to 132 flights a week to China. Air France-KLM is the leading European carrier in terms of capacity from Europe to China and offers 90 weekly flights linking the hubs at Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Amsterdam-Schiphol, to nine destinations in Greater China: Beijing, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Taipei, Wuhan and Xiamen. Recently, Jean-Marc Janaillac, Chairman and CEO of Air France-KLM declared: "We are very proud to be in Shanghai to celebrate 50 years of service between France and the People’s Republic of China. Air France has been present in mainland China since 1966 and has been investing continuously to strengthen our network connecting Europe to China. Air France and KLM were the first European airlines to fly to Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hangzhou Chengdu, Wu-

han and Xiamen. Today, Air France-KLM is the leading European carrier, in terms of capacity, from Europe to China and we will maintain our focus to further enhance our products, services and destination possibilities in China." Frédéric Gagey, Chairman and CEO of Air France added: "The first flight from France to China is at the heart of the company’s history. We have been continuously striving to share our most innovative products on our Chinese routes: new travel cabins, personalised service, products developed exclusively for Chinese customers, the latest aircraft etc. We must continue this momentum and help strengthen Air France’s presence in Greater China, where the company has already received several awards for our products and services."

Air France-KLM is the leading European carrier in terms of capacity from Europe to China and offers 90 weekly flights


The Slovenian Times | Winter Edition 2016

France – China, 50 years of history In September 1966, the Boeing 707 "Château de Cheverny" launched the Paris-Shanghai route. Three different crews shared the 23 hour flight, with stop-overs in Athens, Cairo, Karachi and Phnom Penh. Air France became the first European airline to fly to the People’s Republic of China. At Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport, a special team of staff speaking Mandarin and Cantonese are available to assist customers with check-in, on arrival and with connections. On certain flights between Paris-Charles de Gaulle and China, customers can enjoy the latest Air France travel cabins, including the La Première designer suite, a cocoon in the sky in Business class, and comfort for all passengers in Premium Economy and Economy. Crews have adapted their services to welcome Chinese passengers. Air France has launched an awareness program to increase the knowledge of Chinese culture among its flight attendants. This constant desire to provide excellent, welcoming service is embodied in both the body language and respectful language used. Furthermore, Chinese interpreters are present on all the company’s flights to and from China. During the trip, Air France takes great care to adapt itself to its passengers’ culture or diet and offers refined Chinese dishes as well as a truly French gastronomic experience. During the trip, the crew distribute menus, that have been translated into Chinese, to all passengers. 





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Experience & Lifestyle Slovenia Interview: Rudy de Waele, Futurist, Innovation Strategist

We need to teach people -

empower them to use technology and build a new type of economy By Tina Drolc, M.Sc.

Rudy de Waele is a futurist and innovation strategist. He assists global brands and startups with cutting edge, open innovation strategy using new methodologies to reinvent and transform business. Through technology trend forecasts, analysis and idea exchange on thriving in the new economy, he has helped diverse global brands such BMW, IBM, Coca-Cola, Google, Intel, Louis Vuitton, Orange, PayPal, Samsung, Telefonica, Vodafone and the World Bank. Q In the not too distant future we will be offered self-driving cars. What are the major opportunities and where do you see the challenges? A The opportunity is that there will be fewer accidents, less people killed and already there are insurance companies that give lower premiums if you have a self-driving car. Another is the move by society from ownership to access, you use a car when you need it and this means less cars overall and so less pollution, especially in cities. Uber gave the example that by 2030 they will have a self-driving fleet which will replace their fleet of 124,000 cars in New York City with just 9,000 self-driving cars, and they can do this for half the price and twice as fast. The downside is that people will lose their jobs and so they should learn to do something else so as to be able to participate in this new economy of the future. Q Which country is the most advanced in terms of encouraging self-driving cars? A The most advanced is the U.S. I saw the first self-driving car there five years ago and when I got back to Europe no one could believe me. However, now every car manufacturer is building this technology and furthermore, there are also self-driving trucks and they have already been tested in Europe: six convoys of three trucks, driving through Europe by road from Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Belgium and Holland, and they all drove to the port of Rotterdam without a problem! Q Do you think digital and artificial intelligence will transform the financial industry and if so, how? For how much longer will we still pay in cash?


The Slovenian Times | Winter Edition 2016

A This is already happening; Wall Street is running on algorithms. They already test these algorithms without human interference. There is an investment company in Hong Kong that has assigned a board member and is an algorithm. They cannot legally do this because it has to be a physical body under the law, but it is not a stupid decision – it is scanning all the opportunities from the markets and it does so much faster than a human being. So artificial intelligence is going to have a lot of positive implications, in a lot of areas such as finance, health and also in legal - there is a company that scans legal documents in a second and gives the advice to the lawyer with options one, two or three.

Q As already mentioned, many jobs will disappear with robotics. What are the jobs that artificial intelligence cannot improve upon (as yet)? A The areas that we are looking at are all the human fields of creativity, imagination, intuition… We see that as technology progresses, the rest of the future will be in human services e.g. artificial intelligence can make music, but when you listen, it is terrible! Music is about the interaction among people, which has always been the bottom line of creation. Because, to get creativity, you put people together and then things happen. On the other hand, computers are all about the predictability and therefore the robots will do any repetitive task. Q Will it be important in the future to empower people in relation to robots? A Absolutely! For the future it will be important that we ask robots to do the work that we

don’t want to do. What we see in the start-up culture is that they are actually empowered and they do passionate things, so therefore they move much faster than any old companies and even corporations. And that will be a big difference in the economies of tomorrow. Recently I was at a conference in London for the Top 150 digital transformation leaders and they didn’t have any clue about what is happening! The difficulty is about adapting the technology inside the corporation but it is difficult for them because it is a different DNA. Start-up people use technology for a reason and they do meaningful things and unemployment is not a problem – we need to teach people, to empower them to use technology and build a new type of economy. People are creative human beings and we need to invent new services to live better.

Q How will the workplaces change? Will employees still need to spend the majority of their time in their offices, particularly as everyone is personally and professionally connected to work 24/7… A Already now people don’t need to necessarily be in the same place but for the companies it is important that they work together. In Silicon Valley, a company operates in a virtual reality. Actually, there is no desktop anymore, since they do everything within the glasses; just design your own screen and then you do whatever you want. Within 10 years this will be within our normal glasses and there is going to be a mixed reality; real and virtual. Another trend is voice; you will talk to your digital assistant and there will be a lot of tools that will help you with everything. For example, the Viv start-up from Silicon Valley sends your money to a friend, orders flowers for your mother and books your family in a hotel, within one minute of talking to the device, the chat box does everything.  Rudy de Waele at the Manager's Association of Slovenia Management Congress 2016, Bernardin; Photo: Barbara Reya

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Above and beyond



Last in Maribor By Jan Bratanič


Some scientists say that humans have been skiing for five or even ten millennia. Evidence supporting these claims was found in Russia, Scandinavia and even China, but there is a time in more recent history when Slovenians were practically the only Europeans using skis with some skill. "Farmers in some places in Carniola, especially near Turjak and there about, are familiar with a rare invention which I have not seen in any other country; they slide down high hills on snow, in winter, with incredible speed into the valley. For this purpose they use two wooden planks," wrote the famous historian, Janez Vajkard Valvasor, around 325 years ago, seeming to suggest that Slovenians were born with skis by their cradle. A nation of avid skiers has, however, had to wait for a girl from the small town of Črna for global recognition on the grandest of stages. That girl is Tina Maze, and yet her path to glory was not straight but long and winding, like the many downhills, super-Gs, giant slaloms and slaloms she won during her career.


The Slovenian Times | Winter Edition 2016

Hard earned glory Tina Maze was three years old when she made her first skiing "steps" on the slopes of the surrounding hills. A gifted skier, she won the first official FIS competition she entered, with a starting number of 125. The beginning

of her career was extremely promising, she quickly became a serial winner of lower ranked races, along with legendary Croatian skier, Janica Kostelič. Then, in 2002 at just 19 years old, she won her first race on the professional circuit. It was the giant slalom in Sölden, an Austrian ski resort that is traditionally the venue for the season premiere of the Alpine World Cup. She was on the cusp of becoming her childhood hero, Mateja Svet, and yet she failed to deliver on the high expectations. Maze, an all-round often emotional competitor, won "only" six times in the next six years A perfectionist and often a hard character to get along with, Maze fell out with the national skiing federation. In 2008, when the world economy had already been sucked into the vortex of the deepest recession since the Great Depression, she finally parted ways with the Slovenian national team, and it proved to be one of the best decisions of her professional

Sport life. A decision that meant having to survive the almost inhuman training regime of her partner, Andrea Massi, but a decision that ultimately led first to the Everest of Alpine skiing, the World Cup and then to the summit of Mount Olympus.

She won two Olympic gold medals and twice as many World Championship medals of the brightest sheen. But what stands out the most is her perfect season of 11 victories and 2,414 points, the highest in skiing history.

A tale of foes Maze spins a tale of determination and glory like no other in Slovenian sport, and yet it could have easily turned into a tale of "could have been". The first part of Maze’s professional career was marred by bad results in big competitions, convincing many that she was mentally fragile and therefore not cut out to be a champion like, for instance, Janica Kostelič, who seemed to never stop winning. Maze rarely climbed out of the shadow of the Croatian superstar. Janica’s shock retirement at just 25 years of age gave Maze a new purpose, but there was already another foe in her way – Lindsey Vonn. Animosity may fade with time. Vonn, although a specialist in speed events, is on her way to becoming the best female skier ever, with 76 wins so far, and yet she may feel underappreciated in her homeland. Though tremendously talented, Americans don’t really know her for her skiing pedigree, but more as a celebrity, an ex of Tiger Woods. Tina Maze never had the same problems, although recognised by the tabloids, she was first and foremost a skiing champion in the eyes of her countrymen.

Jordan of skiing Slovenians have had their fair share of winter champions. Bojan Križaj, Rok Petrovič and 02

Mateja Svet were fan favorites in the eighties, then came the golden nineties with Jure Košir, Mitja Kunc, Urška Hrovat, Špela Pretnar and others. But it was only appropriate that Tina Maze would be the first ever Slovenian to win a gold medal at the Winter Olympics. Tina Maze eclipses them all. She won two Olympic gold medals and twice as many World Championship medals of the brightest sheen. But what stands out the most is her perfect season of 11 victories and 2,414 points, the highest in skiing history. "I don’t see anyone at the moment who could challenge it, the record can only be broken if a skier performs well in all disciplines in a single season," were the words of Janica’s brother, Ivica Kostelič, after Maze’s perfect season. No one has even come close to Maze’s achievement - except for the legendary Austrian skier, Hermann Maier, who collected 2,000 points – and probably no one will, at least not for a very long time.

Once a Golden Fox, always a golden fox "There is a reason you call 'someone the Michael Jordan of' – Michael Jordon of neurosurgery, or the Michael Jordan of rabbis, or the Michael Jordan of outrigger canoeing. - and they know what you’re talking about. Because Michael Jordan is the

Michael Jordan of greatness. He is the definition of somebody so good at what they do, that everybody recognises them. That’s pretty rare," were the words of praise President Barrack Obama spoke recently about probably the greatest basketball player of all time. Tina Maze was, without doubt at one point in her career, the Michael Jordan of alpine skiing, a skier so good that everybody couldn’t help but recognise it, a skier who could defy the laws of physics and do it with the aesthetics of a ballerina but the mindset of a natural born killer. A true great in the sport, she is about to say goodbye in the best way she knows – in Pohorje, with her ski boots on, hitting the finish line at breakneck speed to the cheers of thousands of fans, hopefully followed by her famous cartwheel in celebration of another, her 27th, victory. "I was always thinking about it," Maze said after announcing her retirement: "I have a lot of motivation to compete one last time in front of my home crowd." The fans in Maribor, where she has won twice, share her excitement. Three years ago Maze managed to attract 40,000 people to Pohorje, come January we may see another record.  PHOTOS: 01 Golden Fox, Maribor - Tina Maze, FIS World Cup, Ladies' Giant Slalom; Photo: Anže Malovrh/STA 02 Tina Maze at the presentation of the new Tina Maze Win Energy drink. Photo: Daniel Novakovič /STA 03 Tina Maze and Andrea Massi, Tine Maze's team leader. Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA


Winter Edition 2016 | The Slovenian Times


Culture & Events

In 2017 Ljubljana will be in the Sign of the Architect Jože Plečnik

The last Plečnik portrait, Brijuni Islands, 1956. Photo: Dr. Lojze Gostiša

A stroll through the centre of Ljubljana is actually a visit to the largest exhibition of Plečnik’s architecture in situ. The path takes visitors from the famous Central Market, across the unique Triple Bridge to Kongresni trg with its Zvezda Park, and then on to Vegova Street with its avenue of Slovenian composers and the National and University Library which captivates with its monumentality. The Križanke complex charms visitors with its detail and then it is a quick walk to the Trnovo district where Plečnik arranged his own home. It is at Plečnik’s House, where in 2017 the Plečnik Year, a series of interesting exhibitions and events, will take place. Plečnik Year will start in January with an exhibition dedicated to the last completely finished project of the architect, the 1956 garden pavilion on the Brijuni Islands. The exhibition will be a collaboration with the Manuscript, Rare and Old Prints Collection department from the National and University Library, which acquired a precious donation from Dr Lojze Gostiša. This donation revealed hitherto unseen original plans for the pavilion and photographs of Plečnik’s visits to Brijuni. Among them were also the last Plečnik’s portraits, taken in autumn of 1956. Especially valuable is the personal testimony of Dr Gostiša regarding the circumstances that led to the realisation of the project, which now stands as a symbol of Plečnik’s testament. Spring at the Plečnik House will be a collaboration with the Archive of Prague Castle (exhibition’s author is Dr Martin Halata). The exhibition will shine a light on Plečnik’s plans for the rearrangement and equipment of the presidential living spaces within Prague Cas-


The Slovenian Times | Winter Edition 2016

there are just a few cities in the world where the work of just one architect changed the fabric of the city. Barcelona had the famous Antoni Gaudi who left a lasting impression on the Catalan city with his buildings and arrangements, while the Slovenian capital, Ljubljana, had Jože Plečnik who altered and marked the city in the second quarter of the 20th century. Ljubljana will dedicate 2017 to this extraordinary master of architecture – the year in which the city will commemorate two anniversaries of his life; 145 years since his birth (23 January 1872) and the 60th anniversary of his death (7 January 1957) tle, and the important personal connections Plečnik had with Czechoslovakian President Masaryk and his daughter, Alice. The exhibition will present plans and photographs of Plečnik’s original design for Masaryk in the 1930s, as well as chair replicas. Prague Castle is an important subject in Plečnik’s oeuvre and still connects Prague and Ljubljana to this day. The exhibition simple titled, JOŽE, is assured to attract many visitors to Plečnik House during summer. In a collaboration between the gallery and project space, DobraVaga and Plečnik House, young artists will be able to present their current artistic production which will focus on their perception of the Slovenian architect. During autumn, with the Plečnik Year slowly ending, visitors will be able to take a peek into the original material of the Plečnik Collection. The exhibition will present original plans by Plečnik and archival photographs of projects connected with water: wells, monuments, commemorations... the vast majority of which were never realised. Special attention will, of course,

be also given to completed projects in Ljubljana and around Slovenia. Plečnik Year will not only be marked by the events at Plečnik House, interesting exhibitions and events will also take place around Ljubljana. During the spring months of 2017, Jakopič Gallery will hold a retrospective exhibition of Damjan Gale, an architect who took photographs, and a photographer that put architecture as his focus. The exhibition will offer an insight into Gale’s unique oeuvre dedicated to Plečnik’s architecture. In the summer, Ljubljana Castle will exhibit Plečnik above Ljubljana, an exhibition which will also present the never realised architect’s visions for the Castle Hill. All architecture enthusiasts will also have the possibility of participating in guided tours of Plečnik’s Ljubljana. The tours, either on foot or by bicycle, will be organised by Visit Ljubljana throughout 2017. Plečnik Year will serve Plečnik’s Ljubljana with a cup full of adventures. Do not miss them! 

In 2017, the enchanting Plečnik House will host a series of interesting exhibitions dedicated to the architect. Photo: Matevž Paternoster/MGML

Culture & Events

Festive December in

Ljubljana Smiling faces, handshakes and good wishes, the smell of mulled wine and roasted chestnuts, nostalgic hurdy gurdy men on the streets, sparkles of expectation in the eyes of children ... this is December in Ljubljana. Photos of festive december in the city of Ljubljana: Dunja Wedam


The Slovenian Times | Winter Edition 2016

Culture & Events The city is dotted with magical light decorations which attract many visitors, while a particular mood creates an interesting program on the city streets and squares, which culminates with the celebration of New Year on the town squares. Among other things, visitors can stop at the Festive and St. Nicholas Fair, listen to hurdy gurdy men on the streets and squares, and enjoy a Christmas concert. Meanwhile the children are the most excited about the processions of St Nicholas and Grandpa Frost and a visit by the Good Fairy. On the streets and squares, there is street theatre performances and a diverse music program.

Festive Fair At the decorated stalls visitors can buy selected articles suitable for holiday gifts. The Festive Fair is also a social event and so there are also stands with food and the scent of aromatic tea, mulled wine and other delicacies that suit the December festivities. Gift stands will be open until 1 January and food stands until 8 January 2017.

Music Program Traditionally, the Christmas atmosphere in Ljubljana includes a diverse musical program in urban markets that attracts many visitors to the city. The centre of the music scene is Kongresni trg, where concerts of various musical genres take place and also at Pogačarjev trg, Mestni trg, Novi trg and Trg francoske revolucije.

New Year's Eve Party New Year's Eve is the most visited event of the December calandar, attracting visitors to the varied musical program which cater to different tastes, and the magnificent fireworks from Ljubljana Castle. New Year's Eve at Kongresni trg is intended to be enjoyed by a wide circle of visitors, while at Mestni trg, lovers of evergreen songs will enjoy. The program at Pogačarjev trg is aimed for lovers of Slovenian performers of popular and folk music and at Trg francoske revolucije the new year is celebrated by fans of rock music.

On New Year's Eve you can enjoy theatre and film treats The Ljubljana City Theatre (Mestno Gledališče Ljubljansko) invites you at 7pm or 9pm on New Year's Eve to the big stage to watch a comedy, Miracle Therapy by Daniel Glattauer and directed by Tijana Zinajić or to the small scene at 8 pm where they are preparing a black comedy, A piece of plastic, written by Marius von Mayenburg and directed by Primož Ekart.

In accordance with the vision of sustainable development and the title of European Green Capital 2016, caterers at fairs will use environmentally friendly packaging instead of plastic this year.

Winter Edition 2016 | The Slovenian Times


Culture & Events

Photos of festive december in the city of Ljubljana: Dunja Wedam

Insert from the film Loving; Photo: Kinodvor archive

Kinodvor also invites you on New Year’s Eve when they are preparing three special screenings where you can, in the warm embrace of the cinema, toast the coming year with a glass of champagne. At 3pm they will first delight children who will be able to view the animated movie, Long Way North and indulge in children’s champagne, to be followed by the traditional New Year's Eve sneak preview - the film Loving at 6 pm, while the last hours of the year can be spent enjoying Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling in the magnificent musical romance, La La Land at 9pm.


The Slovenian Times | Winter Edition 2016

Free parking

Festive guided tours

Visitors to the December events will be able to park free until 3 January 2017 at Vodnikov trg from Monday to Saturday between 6:30pm and 5am the next day, while on Sundays and holidays parking is free all day until 5am the next day.

Regular guided tours of the city will have a festive touch in December. Ljubljana Tourism have prepared a Tour of festively decorated Ljubljana, where until 8 January 2017, on an evening stroll through the city, visitors will be able to experience fairytale Ljubljana every day, starting at 5pm, from the TIC at Stritarjeva ulica.

Culture & Events Children's program Particular attention in December 2016 in Ljubljana is given to children who, until 23 December, are invited into the magical forest in Zvezda park. Every day at 4:40pm they will be able to attend workshops where they can create holiday ornaments and gifts, while during weekends the program will be enriched with puppet shows, reading and storytelling. In front of the Town Hall, small and big kids can visit the Good Fairy who will carry out good wishes. Children can also look forward to Grandpa Frost who will drive his carriage, led by a Lipizzaner horse, throughout the city centre every day from 26 to 30 December at 5pm. The festive atmosphere will culminate on 31 December at 4pm, when a New Year's Eve Party for children will take place at Kongresni trg. Children can also spend New Year’s Eve at the Ljubljana Puppet Theatre (Lutkovno gledališče Ljubljana), where at 5pm a performance of Scary Fairy will take place. Grandpa Frost will also visit the theatre. A real New Year's Eve with a New Year's Eve show, gala dinner and an unforgettable party, without parents, can be enjoyed by children until 1am at the public institution, Mala ulica. The full program of events in December 2016 in Ljubljana is published on the website of Ljubljana Tourism


Ljubljana, European Green Capital 2016 This year, Ljubljana is the proud holder of the European Green Capital title. In this "green" year we have prepared, in cooperation with a number of stakeholders, a one year program which has been divided into thematic months. At the end of the year, we are preparing a series of interesting events and activities aimed at promoting awareness by the citizens and visitors to Ljubljana of the importance of a sustainable lifestyle in all areas. The common themes of the December program are eco-innovation, green jobs and sustainable local governance. Details about the events can be found at the info point for the Green Capital of Europe "Točka. Zate" in front of the Town Hall, and on web site In addition to the events, there will also be festive colour: we will organise a holiday party to achieve as little waste from used materials as possible. We will prepare snowballs, gifts, holiday decorations and greeting cards, and scented candles from waste oil. The ultra-green tinted year in Ljubljana will finish on 2 January 2017 when, at Kongresni trg, the closing event ZELENA NOČ.ZATE (Green Night for You) will take place at 8pm with a performance by Perpetuum Jazzile.


December in Ljubljana is magical! Don’t miss it! Winter Edition 2016 | The Slovenian Times


Event Guide

Photo: Marko Ocepek


 Music Festival

 Show

 Concert

Kurzschluss – various events

Moscow Circus on Ice (Russia) by Natalia Abramova


18 Nov – 31 Dec 2016, Gospodarsko razstavišče

9 Dec 2016 Tivoli Hall Ljubljana 10 Dec 2016, Zlatorog Hall Celje 11 Dec 2016 Arena Bonifika Koper 12 Dec 2016 Tabor Hall Maribor

The finale to the musical year in Ljubljana will be the Kurzschluss festival of electronic music, which will include a string of top-quality club events featuring more than twenty internationally awarded bands, solo artists and DJs.

15 Dec 2016, Cvetličarna Formed in May 1998 by local musicians/ friends, Tabu, soon became one of the leading Slovene bands and concert attractions. Their new album Nabiralka zvezd will be presented at the concert.

From 8 December 2016 until 22 January 2017 the legendary Moscow Circus on Ice will perform across Europe as part of the "Sensation" tour! A fantastic circus show, new and elegant costumes, superb special effects, dazzling and dynamic skating performances come together as one magnificent spectacle, crafted just for your entertainment. And the best part: it is executed on ice skates, even the acrobatics and tightrope performances! In just two hours you can experience the extravagant, authentic art of circus supported by a top class musical and light show, guaranteed to leave you and your children in a state of enchanted awe.

 Various Skating Events

Bled: ice rink with a view 12 Nov – 2 March 2016, Hotel Park Coffee Shop terrace The ice rink is open every day, from 9.00am 9.00pm. You are invited to join the animation events on the ice rink: • Every Wednesday, 6.00pm - 9.00pm Curling Price: EUR 5.00 per person (min. 4 persons) Come and have fun and try something "new" – a knowledge of curling is not necessary! You only need to register in advance at the Hotel Park Coffee Shop. • Every Friday, 8.00pm - 9.00pm Salsa dancing Salsa dancing on skates, enjoy winter gastronomy and toast with mulled wine. • Every Saturday, 11.00am - Midnight Ice skating with the swans Zaki and Rozi Children‘s ice skating in the company of Zaki and Rozi! • Every Saturday and Sunday, 6.00pm 9.00pm Ice skating to the rhythm of DJ music Ice skate to the rhythm of DJ music, enjoy winter gastronomy and toast with mulled wine.


The Slovenian Times | Winter Edition 2016


 Concert

Vlado Kreslin – folk rock kconcert Cankarjev dom, 15 – 17 Dec 2016 Vlado Kreslin is one of the most influential Slovenian musicians, whose distinctive style combines elements of folk, pop and rock music. His ability to combine different music genres is complemented by his exquisite selection of guest performers to join him at his concerts.

 Concert

Tony Cetinski 10 Dec 2016, Tabor Hall Maribor Listen to Tony Cetinski’s biggest hits, in Maribor. His love of music, vocal skills, energetic performances and the power of connecting with the audience, collectively creates a delightful experience for his audience.

Event Guide Dance Event

Magic Slovenian Salsa Festival Photo: Špela Kasal,

 Concert Photo:

 Musical

Mamma Mia Musical 9 Dec 2016, Marof Hall Novo mesto 16-17 Dec 2016, Hala Tivoli Ljubljana 22 Dec 2016, Dvorana Tabor Maribor The musical, Mamma Mia!, revives the legacy of the legendary music group, Abba, will be performed by a cast of more than thirty Slovenian actors.

Eroika Christmas Concerts 15 Dec 2016, Cultural centre Litija 18 Dec 2016, Festival Hall Bled 23 dec 2016, Grand Hotel Union Matjaz Robavs (baritone), Aljaz Farasin (tenor) and Metod Žunec (tenor) will gather in a Group EROIKA, in December this year when they celebrate 10 years of enriching the music world with cover versions of timeless hits in the pop opera genre. The three exceptional vocalists, who with their debut album "Eroika" conquered Slovenian and other audiences, and with their second album "Nad mestom se dani" and their third album "Življenje" (Life) finally expanded their fan circle and won over many people. Their anniversary will be celebrated with a Gala Christmas Concert accompanied by the Symphony Orchestra and Conductor, Patrik Greblo.


 Concert

Perpetuum Jazzile 11 Dec 2016, Vojnik Hall 16 Dec 2916, Rogaška Slatina Cultural centre – Sold Out 17 Dec 2016, Zlato polje Hall Kranj Slovenian musical group, Perpetuum Jazzile, is best known for their 2009 acapella cover of Toto's "Africa" performance video that has received more than 19 million YouTube views. Join them on their Slovenian tour beofre they take on Italy.

 Art Event

12th Slovenian Biennial of Illustration 21 Dec 2016 - 1 Mar 2017, Cankarjev dom (cultural and congress centre) The central overview of Slovenian illustration, the Biennial unites generations of illustrators employing diverse artistic methods and rewards their finest achievements with the Hinko Smrekar Award and the Smrekar distinctions and accolades.

 Sport Event

53rd Golden Fox 2017 7 – 8 Jan 2017, Mariborsko Pohorje (Habakuk slope and the snow stadium) Experience the unforgettable atmosphere that accompanies the Annual Golden Fox Competition, the classic women‘s competition in Maribor for the FIS Ski World Cup! The large crowds that this competition draws contribute to the race’s worldwide appeal. The excitement and cheering of the competitors creates an incredible atmosphere around Pohorje. The nearby city centre of Maribor, Slovenia’s second largest city, attracts visitors from near and far, increasing the allure of the competition.

12 - 15 Jan 2017, Hotel Union The Magic Salsa Festival is held in a single place for your complete convenience. Located in the centre of the city (main square) – Hotel Union will tend to all your salsa needs: workshops, a Salsa bar, parties and accommodation. Experience Ljubljana through this heartful festival with charming hospitality, a very beautifull venue, top instructors, great dancers, the best DJs and an easy stay at the venue hotel for a reasonable price.

Music festival

MENT Festival & Conference 1 – 3 feb 2017, Various venues A three day club festival of fresh bands from all of Europe and beyond, where around 50 acts perform at different venues in Ljubljana. The international conference focuses on the music industry and creativity. As a platform for supporting and promoting Slovenian musicians abroad, MENT accompanies performers to international events such as Tallinn Music Week, the INmusic Festival, the Reeperbahn Festival, Eurosonic Noorderslag, Waves Vienna & Bratislava, Liverpool Sound City, Taksirat Festival and more. Under the patronage of MENT, twelve acts carried out 31 performances at eight international events in 2015

Film Festival

11th International Mountain Film Festival 20 - 24 Feb 2017, Cankarjev dom (cultural and congress centre) The festival program features world-class mountaineering films from Slovenia and abroad, lectures by eminent alpinists, presentations of new books on mountaineering, and round table discussions. The festival, which is the biggest of its kind in Slovenia, has been a member of the International Alliance for Mountain Film (IAMF) since 2007. Each year, it showcases a rich selection of films about mountains which are complemented by a diverse accompanying program: lectures, exhibitions and round tables. The festival is organised by the Mountain Culture Association (Društvo za gorsko kulturo).

Winter Edition 2016 | The Slovenian Times


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(GPS-coordinates: 45 46 47 N, 14 12 19 E)

The Slovenia Times Winter Edition 2016  

The leading Slovenian magazine in English

The Slovenia Times Winter Edition 2016  

The leading Slovenian magazine in English