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

Bank of s Slovenia’ rt: epo Special R ia en FDI in Slov

Slovenia’s PM Dr Miro Cerar: "Slovenia is now the partner and no longer the prey"

Philip Evans, Senior Advisor, BCG: "Artificial intelligence is not a substitute for common sense"

The fairytale atmosphere on the streets and squares of Ljubljana

Uršula Cetinski, CD Director General: "The areas which includes the arts will enjoy a prosperous future"

World Bank Report 2017: The level of entrepreneurship and company formation in Slovenia increased


Le sensé de la vie

Winter Edition 2017

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

Editorial office Bregarjeva 37, 1000 Ljubljana

CEO and Publisher Brane Krajnik

Editor in Chief Tina Drolc, M. Sc.

Editorial Consultant Louise Chatwood

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

Contributors Tomaž Lanišek, Mario Ohoven, Tonja Blatnik, Silvija Fister

AD & D Marko Pentek,

Cover Photo Brane Krajnik

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

Soon we will jump into 2018 and hopefully a year full of opportunities to try new things and stop resisting the unknown. The Slovenia Times online platform is enriched with the Opinion Corner, the forum where we will challenge acknowledged opinion makers to discuss the hot topics and the ongoing issues for leadership, politics and business, while The Slovenia Times Winter magazine concludes 2017 with reports from the World Bank, the Bank of Slovenia and the Institute of Macroeconomic Analyses and Development. Optimism is the common thread, with economic growth expected to continue next year and the level of entrepreneurship and company formation in Slovenia increasing. Based on the favourable climate in the country, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia, Dr Miro Cerar, highlights that "Slovenia is now a partner and no longer prey" in an exclusive interview with The Slovenia Times. When asked about the challenges of the FDI environment in Slovenia, the Prime Minister explains how the new Investment Incentives Act will ensure equitable treatment and conditions for all investors. The artificial intelligence phenomenon opens the issue of how much AI is really intelligent and whether people see AI as a treat rather than an opportunity. The Slovenia Times speaks with Philip Evans, Senior Advisor at Boston Consulting Group and a BCG Fellow, who points out that "Artificial intelligence is not a substitute for common sense". As he says, "a machine uses data and statistics, it does not understand what it is doing, it does not have common sense - it is purely statistical and therefore the things that machines do is limited by the data the machines has". Fortunately, as human beings we should not be limited in our understanding of what we are doing. To lead a purposeful life, we should follow our passions. It is the festive season and let the glamorous air with the peculiar festive lighting on the streets and squares fill us with the inspiration to contribute to society through all the good we can. Maya Angelou, American poet, memoirist and civil rights activist said "Nothing can dim the light which shines from within" and it is especially important to be aware that when life does not help, there comes our courage and kindness to act honestly and honourably. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Specialist in Business English for when you need to ‘talk-the-talk’ Contact: Louise Chatwood,, +386 (0)40 424 850

Yours, Tina Drolc Editor in Chief Winter Edition 2017 | The Slovenian Times


Contents Page 4


4 Interview: Dr Miro Cerar, Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia

6 Comments: As an investor in Slovenia, what is your experience with the Slovenian government?

8 Interview: Philip Evans, Senior Advisor, Boston Consulting Group and BCG Fellow

ECONOMY 10 Economy Overview: NLB Group’s net profit doubles to EUR 184m for January-September;

Hidria launches a new roboticised production line; Government not buying Mercator, will look into Agrokor sale contract Page 15

11 IMAD: Broad-based economic growth is expected to continue this year and next 12 Bank of Slovenia: Foreign Direct Investment in Slovenia 14 It feels like a charge for a breakthrough, but it is important to think about what’s ahead 15 Mario Ohoven: Slovenia can boast of its infrastructure and Mediterranean access 16 EOQ Congress 2017: Slovenia on the world map for quality 18 The Misfit Economy: lessons in creativity from informal entrepreneurs 20 Interview: Rok Svetek, Managing Director, Adria Kombi and President of the Transport Association,

Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia 24 Interview: Professor Janez Prašnikar, Faculty of Economics, University of Ljubljana (FELU) 26 World Bank: Sound Insolvency Regimes may Encourage Entrepreneurship 28 Interview: Jeffrey Tirman, Chief Executive Officer, Elan d.o.o Page 26

29 New opportunities to build prosperity along the Belt and Road 30 Btc City – Unique Smart City 32 Interview: Professor José F. P. dos (Joe) Santos, INSEAD

GLOBAL PITCH 34 Interview: Andrej Orožen, CEO & Co-founder, DEWESoft Page 32

LEADeRSHIP CORNER 35 Interview: Saša Fajmut, M.Sc., MBA, Director Leadership Services at Amrop Adria


The Slovenian Times | Winter Edition 2017

Contents Page 36

eDUCATION PERSPECTIVE 36 IEDC’s International Annual Presidents’ Forum: "In today’s world, we need good managers

more so than a good economy"

INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS PARTNERS 38 TOPIC: Government treatment of domestic and foreign investors in Slovenia

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), Kazakh-Slovenian Business Club - KSBC

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POLITICS 42 Political Overview: Pahor concerned the refugee issue may affect the geopolitics of the EU;

Slovenia providing support to Adriatic Charter countries; No end in sight for healthcare woes

CULTURE 43 Interview: Uršula Cetinski, General Director, Cankarjev dom

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EXPERIENCE & LIFESTYLE SLOVENIA 44 EUROCITIES 2017: Cities have the power to lead by example 46 Always on top 47 Festive December in Ljubljana 48 Transition of the City of Maribor to a Circular Economy 50 EVENT GUIDE

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Winter Edition 2017 | The Slovenian Times


In the Spotlight Slovenia is a country, in the heart of Europe, in which maintaining geostrategic significance is a priority. Dr Miro Cerar, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia, explains in this interview how transparency in the project to build a second rail track from the Port of Koper will be assured. He also addresses how the new Investment Incentive Act will ensure the treatment and conditions for foreign and domestic investors will be equitable. Lastly, Dr Cerar explains why he believes that Slovenia’s biggest bank, NLB, is not yet ready for privatisation, although it operates very well. Q In the development of efficient railway infrastructure, Slovenia is two decades overdue. The project to build a second track from Koper to Divača is estimated to cost EUR 961m. How does the government ensure transparency so that the investment value of the project will not be overestimated? A There is no doubt, Slovenia need 2. RailDr Miro Cerar, Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia

Interview: Dr Miro Cerar, Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia

Slovenia is now the partner and no longer the prey By Tina Drolc, M.Sc.


The Slovenian Times | Winter Edition 2017

way. It saddens me to see, that in 20 years we were not able to find political consensus for this project. I believe that we need to start the construction of the railway infrastructure immediately otherwise we will miss and negate the comparative advantage of the Port of Koper - some of our neighbouring countries are becoming more competitive and are striving to overtake us. The estimated value of EUR 961m has been determined professionally, which does not necessarily mean that the final price will be that high. We believe that, through public tender, we can identify a quality contractor who will deliver the project at a lower price, but we wanted to set the criteria to assure the transparency of the project. The estimated price includes all of the risks. Based on the fact that the railway will have 20km of tunnels and will go via karstic ground, where the structure of the earth is very uncertain, the estimated price per kilometre is EUR 27m. This is really a very transparent project which has been prepared in cooperation with the European Commission (EC), the Joint Assistance to Support Projects in European Regions (JASPERS), the European Investment Bank (EIB) and six countries, including five CEE countries (Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland, Austria) and Spain. There has already been a lot of supervision and if we would want more EU funds in the future, we have to ensure the project is transparent. On national basis, we have approvals from the Court of Auditors, the Financial Administration of the Republic of Slovenia and the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption (KPK), and there was also a civil initiative included into the supervision. I am proud to say that we have assured the financial construction of the project which is fair, effective and the taxpayer burden is minimal - only EUR 200m. The balance will be funded from a combination

of Hungary, a loan from the European Investment Bank and from those who will directly benefit from the project: the Port of Koper and Slovenian Railways.

Q The OECD has called for improvements in Slovenia’s business environment for attracting investment. For the realisation of the Foreign Direct Investment from Magna Steyr, the government adopted a special law and financially supported the investment. At the same time, there are domestic investors who have been waiting years for certain permits for the realisation of their investment projects and other who have moved their production abroad for the same reason. How will the government regulate the business environment for domestic and foreign investors so that all will be treated on an equal basis? A At the beginning of the mandate of my government, we were faced with obsolete legislation and many rigid practices in the country, including the government administration. All these factors enabled FDI in Slovenia. My government has succeeded in the partial amendment of the legislation and furthermore, has enabled some great foreign investors to come to Slovenia. From this perspective, and including some other activities we have put Slovenia on the world map as a successful country, Magna, Yaskawa and Lonstroff are a proof that we are going in the right direction. The investment by Magna Steyr is the first large greenfield investment since Slovenian independence, and I want to highlight that Magna is not only a paint shop, in the next phase there will be a car factory. As the project develops, there will be a few thousand new jobs which is crucial for Štajerska region where we are facing high unemployment. The Slovenian Ministry of the Economy, my cabinet and myself, have put in considerable effort to bring this eminent company and the Canadian investor to Slovenia and therefore we should implement some special measures. We have recently prepared the proposal for the Investment Incentives Act, which will assure better conditions for investments in Slovenia for both foreign and domestic investors and equate them. But I would also like to stress

European In the Spotlight Union that Slovenia needs to stay politically stable. There are no new significant foreign or domestic investments, if the country is not politically stable.

Q What are main features of the Investment Incentives Act that assure equal treatment of all investors in Slovenia? A The main focus is the equal treatment of domestic and foreign investors, whether in terms of grants or government support for project development. We strive to be more effective in granting permits in the environmental field and at the same time, still preserve our environment. In addition, we are establishing the processes for denationalisation and support for entrepreneurship.

Q In 2013, the Slovenian government made a commitment to the European Commission to privatise the largest bank, Nova Ljubljanska Banka (NLB), by the end of 2017. In accordance with this commitment, Slovenia cannot alter or postpone it without EU consent. At what stage of the privatisation sales process is NLB? A First of all, I have to say that in 2013 Slovenia was in crisis and at that time the government of Ms Alenka Bratušek made this commitment which is now a great burden for the bank and for the country, and my government is facing this and solving the issue responsibly. We wish that NLB will operate well in the future, however we do not want a privatisation or any other EC measure that 'injures' our taxpayers as they were hurt by the previous injection of equity capital into the banks. The biggest risk that exists from the privatisation of NLB is the problem of the Croatian depositors of about EUR 350 – EUR 400m, that may significantly decrease the value of the bank within the sales process. As we cannot agree to that risk, the government is seeking a solution which would be within the the spirit and goals of the given commitment, although partly modified. If we do not meet our commitment to sell the bank, we will be sanctioned. I have to say that the reason for the crisis in Slovenia from 2008 / 2009 on was not just the global situation, foremost it was the significant number of bad practices in the country: bad loans, artificial insolvencies, etc. This is the reason I went into politics, I wanted to end these bad practices. We have therefore been fighting so much – the old forces in the country want to go back to these bad habits. The point here is that if the country is in crisis, it becomes prey to foreign multinationals and other foreign forces. If the European Troika comes to Slovenia, it means the sale of Slovenian assets by foreign order, etc. Our government has, within

the first two years of this mandate, consolidated the public finances and established clear, transparent and obligatory criteria for the management of state assets – according to the principles of corporate management. We have started decreasing the public debt and we have now started to repay the principle. The economic indicators have shifted toward a positive direction and that has made Slovenia credible again. Based on this and other improvements, Slovenia is now a partner and no longer prey.

Q According to the Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia, the trust Slovenian citizens have in the legal system is among the lowest in the EU, estimated at 2.7 on a scale from 1 to 10. The EU average is 4.6 with the Danish, in comparison, scoring 7.5. How do you, as the Prime Minister and a lawyer by profession, tackle this problem in the country?

the work of independent judges, however my government has created better conditions for their work.

We have recently prepared the proposal for the Investment Incentives Act, which will assure better conditions for investments in Slovenia for both foreign and domestic investors and equate them. PHOTOS 01 For its 20 th anniversary in Koper, Hidria opens a 5 million investment in a 60-million business for VW 02 Prime Minister Miro Cerar hailed the investment by Japanese robotics giant Yaskawa in Kočevje 03 Foundation stone for new Magna Steyr factory laid in Hoče

A My government has been dealing with this


problem since the beginning of our mandate. In this area, we have already adopted 26 Acts, achieved many improvements and even the European Council have recently said that we have fulfilled all the criteria we did not fulfil at the beginning of the mandate of this government. Slovenia is no longer a problem in the area of human rights, we have significantly decreased the backlog in the courts, and in the area of prosecution of judicial crime, the prosecutor’s office has been strengthened with 30 new state prosecutors. With the different measures in the law, we enable a fluid prosecution of banking crime, and the many economic cases with a high level of corruption have now become obsolete as this is not possible anymore. I therefore expect from the state prosecutors and judiciary that in the case of a bank hole, a final verdict will be issued. I cannot and must not influence the work of the state prosecutors and even less



Winter Edition 2017 | The Slovenian Times


In the Spotlight

As an investor in Slovenia, what is your experience with the Slovenian government? Igor Akrapovič

Owner of Akrapovič

"Akrapovič a leading manufacturer of premium exhaust systems for motorcycles and performance cars is located in Slovenia. At the Akrapovič company, we believe that by remaining in Slovenia we have access to highly skilled workforce which is the key to one of our main competitive advantages: attention to details and quality workmanship. In the past few years we have seen improvements in the business climate and better cooperation between the government and the business world. However, we believe there is still much room for improvement regarding taxes, especially for above average salaries and investments in creating better road connections in regions more distant from motorway network."

Ivo Boscarol

Founder and CEO of Pipistrel

"Slovenia is much kinder towards foreign investors than its own. For foreign investors we do practically everything, we change the laws, subsidize the construction and reduce the necessary procedures to a minimum. Slovenian investors have different experiences. Let’s take a look at the example of Mr Joc Pečečnik, who has been struggling for more than a decade to get the permission for renovation of Plečnik’s stadium in Ljubljana. If he was a foreigner, the legislation would change in a few weeks because of a project like this, maybe even a new law would be passed only for that and he would obtain the license within months. In general, obtaining licenses in Slovenia takes unreasonably longer compared to the rest of the world, administrative procedures are uncertain, objections are common and construction of new buildings is possible only on a very small percent of Slovenian territory. All those reasons contributed to our decision to build a factory in Italy. The next one will be in China."

Günther Apfalter

President Magna Europe and Magna Steyr

"As a foreign investor we had a highly professional and supportive cooperation with the government. Slovenia was our first choice due to its well-skilled and educated workforce, great infrastructure and close proximity to our Graz plant. Nevertheless, as an investor we have to rely on a clear and stable legislation that guarantees planning reliability in the long term. Slovenia has all potential to succeed as an attractive destination for foreign investment but minimization of administrative obstacles will play a big role in this endeavor."


The Slovenian Times | Winter Edition 2017

European In the Spotlight Union Joc Pečečnik

Founder and Chairman of the Board, Interblock Group

"As investor, unfortunately I do not have the best experience, as the curse of unorganized investment environment – despite of the fact that I was born here – is accompanying me for more than a decade. Our government does not care for Slovenian investors. Since we work hard, pay our taxes and are in most cases very successful, we are not a problematic factor and therefore unnoticed. Our money is used as donations to foreign investors which in Slovenia seem to be worth more and respected more. Slovenian management business has due to mistakes that happened during transition period become half criminalized, even though entrepreneurs that have started their businesses in garages have nothing to do with the transition and the past. Despite of the fact that I employ over 300 people here in Slovenia, pay all my taxes locally, am exporting 99% of my production with value of almost $100MM per year and want to make the investment of $225MM with my own money that would employ 850 people nobody really cares. Probably because I am not a foreigner."

Manfred Stern

President & CEO, Yaskawa Europe GmbH

In October 2016, YASKAWA decided to build a factory for robot production in Slovenia. The process started in January 2017 with a trilateral meeting between the Slovenian government, headed by Prime Minister Cerar, the Mayor of Kocevje, Dr Prebilic and YASKAWA. All parties quickly agreed on the conditions of the project and nine months later we officially laid the foundation stone of the plant. At all times, we have had a very positive experience, all applications were processed and permits received in record time. Literally, true and successful team work.

"The opinions expressed in this section 'In the Spotlight' are solely those of the contributors and are not necessarily supported by The Slovenia Times or its associates."

Winter Edition 2017 | The Slovenian Times


In the Spotlight Interview: Philip Evans, Senior Advisor, Boston Consulting Group and BCG Fellow

Artificial intelligence is not a substitute for common sense By Tina Drolc, M.Sc.

Philip Evans is a senior advisor at Boston Consulting Group and a BCG Fellow. Mr Evans established BCG’s media and Internet sectors and has consulted to corporations in the consumer goods, healthcare, financial services, media, retail and high-technology sectors. He has also advised governments on military organisation, homeland security, economic development and digital policy. Mr Evans is the author of many publications, including four Harvard Business Review articles with his article, Strategy and the New Economics of Information, winning the McKinsey Prize awarded annually for the best contributions to HBR. Mr Philip Evans, Senior Advisor, Boston Consulting Group and BCG Fellow; Photo: Tin Košir Popovič

Q In recent years, artificial intelligence (AI) has entered the mainstream business domain. According to research conducted by BCG and the MIT Sloan Management Review, AI will have a major impact, in all industries, within the next five years. What companies / industries will AI initially impact? A The issue is what AI really does; it is not a machine or a simple substitution of people for machines. What AI does, which is perceive and see patterns; (this is a glass, you are a lady, etc.) was not possible ten years ago. This kind of technology can be used for a very wide range of applications, most notably voice, face and object recognition, which makes tasks such as automation in call centres, people processes, factories and systematic identification of patterns in data, essentially statistics, possible. So, any company that is in the business of providing products or information services is able to use AI in order to customise them in a way that was not possible before. However, in the case of sales, I do not think I could be persuaded by machines; they are not charming or funny, they do not make eye contact. I am a bit skeptical that a sales function is likely to be taken over by a machine, people are not usually persuded to buy things by machines. With AI you have to set it task by task and therefore you cannot generalise about whether AI will ‘take over’ because there are many different challenges; machines are good at some of these but really bad at others and therefore we will see very different paces of evolution.


The Slovenian Times | Winter Edition 2017

European In the Spotlight Union Q Many concerns have been raised around the management and control of AI. Could this be the main threat and is it safe? A No-one knows what will happen in the distant future but the way that a machine learns is from data, it does not learn the way you and I learn. A machine uses data and statistics, it does not understand what it is doing, it does not have common sense - it is purely statistical and therefore the things that machines do is limited by the data the machines has. This means that AI with one set of data is good to solve one set of the problems, it is not about generating general intelligence. So, what we can do is to use machines for those problems where common sense is not needed. We are not yet in a world where machines could replace human beings and they are not a threat to humanity, that is science fiction. It may happen that tomorrow someone will invent a code that may have common sense, but we are not yet even on that trajectory.

Q In the future AI will take many jobs. Do you think that the use of robots and AI should be taxed? A This argument has been introduced by a number of people, including Bill Gates. In the long run, any kind of automation transforms the work that human beings do and does not create unemployment. The machine cannot replace the entire job, but what it can do is replace specific tasks within jobs and therefore reduce the number of people needed for the job and/ or increase the productivity of the people doing the job. There are exceptions – driverless trucks and taxis are coming, but slowly! However when robots replace people for one task, then individuals can focus on another task which creates value because robots are doing all the other tasks and so we all benefit. Therefore, it should not be taxed but rather AI should be encouraged. The key question is how quickly these changes will happen and the speed of adjustment of the economy. This, in my opinion, will happen quite slowly and certainly not overnight. Therefore, my view is that there is no reason to tax it because the economy will absorb the unemployment that it creates.

Q Digital technologies are reshaping the banking industry. Can you explain how the banking model has been reshaped?

rity, it takes a few days for the transaction to be completed because the systems that banks use are extremely old and inefficient. So why don’t the banks have more efficient systems? It is not in their interest! If all the banks are using the same systems, banks have no interest in solving the problem as their only competition is the other banks. But, now Fintechs and movements such as Bitcoin present the possibility of new transaction networks that are outside the banking system and for the first time create a competitive imperative to modernize those antiquated systems.

Q Cryptocurrencies and the like are not legal tender or regulated…

A It depends on the system and the location. With a PayPal account, I can send you the money more quickly and cheaply than via a bank. Alipay has a very high proportion of transactions in China. So, in some context, there already exists a threat to the banking system. It is a really big deal in poorer countries – Africa, South America etc., when the banking system only serves a fraction of the population and the alternative payemnt systems can go directly to the masses, making it possible to make payments even with a digital currency. What we see now is that the banks are waking up and realising that their competitor is not another bank, but PayPal, Bitcoin, Alipay, etc.

A Banking is many different businesses. In

Q But these threats are from the gig economy and are not fully legalised, so what about safety?

many of those businesses technology is working perfectly fine, so there is a lot of exaggeration of how 'dead' the banks are. Banks do have some extremely inefficient platforms: international payments, for example, is slow, expensive and it takes time. Similarly, buying a secu-

A The answer is different from place to place; maybe they are legal in one country and not in another. You have to ask about the risks of the new systems and the problems they solve. There is no universal answer. Paying with Bit-

coin is not illegal but the question is how it should be or whether it should be regulated? Bitcoin serves two purposes: it is a medium of exchange and a store of value – I can buy a Bitcoin in the hope that its value will go up. In recent years, Bitcoin has been more important as a store of value, an asset, transactions with Bitcoin are growing slowly – 10% - 12% a year.

Q Do you think central banks will invent their own cryptocurrency? A Central banks have good reasons to introduce their own digital currency; a 'Bitdollar' or a 'Biteuro.' There are also a lot of questions around its design, the problems it will solve and the platform that will make it possible. A central bank, for example the European Central Bank (ECB), could create its own digital currency and everyone could have an App that enables payment with euros settled through a blockchain – thousands of computers that all record a transaction. The problem is that blockchain technology is currently very inefficient. The Visa system processes around 2,000 transactions a second, Bitcoin processes about five transactions a second and it cannot go much faster. But, despite the inherent inefficiency of blockchain technology, it will not go away. You could set up a digital technology but in a totally different way, for example PayPal works with a single server and when I pay you, a single message goes through and the transaction is completed in our respective accounts. However, we have to trust PayPal. With Bitcoin you do not need to trust anyone. So, the central banks could set up "Eurocoin", just like a Bitcoin, as a decentralised system that is digitalised but inefficient. Or they could simply allow everybody to have an account with the ECB. The latter would be a much more efficient system than a blockchain. Winter Edition 2017 | The Slovenian Times


Economy Overview

Hidria launches a new roboticised production line

NLB Group’s net profit doubles to EUR 184m for January-September The group around NLB bank has posted EUR 184m in net profit for the first nine months of 2017, after generating EUR 91.5m in net profit for the same period last year. The figure is a significant improvement on the full year net profit for 2016 of EUR 110m. According to unofficial information, the Group’s profit could reach EUR 200m by the end of the year, almost double that of 2016. "The Group’s profit for the first nine months forecasts record results for 2017," Chief Supervisor, Primož Karpe, said after the supervisors were acquainted with the nine-month report. NLB banks in the Balkans contributed EUR 73.8m to the group’s net profit or 52% more than for the same period last year, and paid a dividend of EUR 48.1m to the banks owner, the core company, NLB, which helped push up profit to EUR 145.3m for the January-September period, up from EUR 53.9m for the same period last year. The bank’s nine-month results exceeded last year’s profit by 128%. The supervisors believe that, by finishing in the black for the fifteenth consecutive quarter, that NLB group has confirmed sustainable profitable operation. Karpe added that the Group’s operations in the Balkans offset the effects of the current situation in Slovenia and the "significantly lower margin which the core bank has in the domestic market". The Group’s profit before provisions and impairments of EUR 36.9m, reached EUR 158.4m in the first nine months, up 10% year-on-year. Net revenue rose by 2%, while costs fell by 3%. The share of bad loans was 11.9% at the end of September, while the share of negative exposures fell to 8.3%. Capital adequacy reached 16.3%.


The Slovenian Times | Winter Edition 2017

Hidria will need the new facility to manufacture aluminum steering systems after striking a EUR 60m contract with Volkswagen. Hidria CEO, Iztok Seljak, said that the company is now able to offer development three years before the launch of production of key steering components. The new line also marks a "leap to the top rank of steering component manufacturers" and a major reference in the global market, and will enable Hidria to increase its market share in Europe above its current 20%. At its Koper location Hidria is planning to establish a platform for development of green mobility, dubbed the Edison, as well as the InnoRenew centre of excellence for research and innovation in the area of renewable materials and sustainable building. Hidria plans to increase sales revenue to EUR 242m this year, from EUR 215m in 2016.

EBITDA is projected to increase from EUR 26m to EUR 32m. Growth of between 5% and 10% is also planned for 2018. Hidria employs more than 430 people at its Koper location and has invested EUR 45m in production there over the past eight years.

Government not buying Mercator, will look into Agrokor sale contract At the end of November, the Economy Minister, Zdravko Počivalšek, told MPs that the government was not thinking about buying Mercator as there were other ways to ensure the stable operation of the retailer. The government will attempt to determine whether the contract for Mercator’s sale to Agrokor contained an anti-corruption clause. Briefing the parliamentary Public Finance Oversight Commission on the latest developments related to Mercator, the Minister noted that the retailer was improving its results, despite the troubles of its Croatian owner. The government wants Mercator to be a stable and developing company in the long run, he said, adding that he was in touch with Ante Ramljak, the Croatian government-appointed crisis manager for Agrokor. "There are two paths for something to change in Mercator: the decisions of the current owner, which in a governing sense means that through the representative of the Croatian government, or with measures taken by credi-

tors on which the government has no influence." According to the Minister, the government wants stable ownership in Mercator, but nationalisation of the retailer is not an option because Mercator needs a partner which would embark on restructuring. Considering that Agrokor had presented incorrect balance sheets upon acquiring Mercator in 2014, the Minister expects that the companies which sold their stakes will examine the sales contract and find out whether they contain an anti-corruption clause. The government does not have direct insight into the contract, but can task the Slovenian Sovereign Holding (SSH) to demand the state-owned companies to examine it.

Source: STA

NLB Bank; Photo: STA

At the end of November, Slovenian industrial conglomerate, Hidria, launched a EUR 5m roboticised production line at its Technology Park factory in Koper, to supply top-end steering components to the automotive industry. The ceremony was addressed by Prime Minister Miro Cerar.

Economy IMAD:

Broad-based economic growth is expected to continue this year and next IMAD’s Autumn Forecast predicts GDP growth for Slovenia of 4.4% this year and that broad-based economic growth will continue over the next two years. The key drivers of this year’s higher growth are strong growth in exports, and government investment which is expected to increase this year after dropping substantially in 2016. Over the next few years, economic growth will be increasingly affected by demographic factors, which will result in lower employment growth and consequently, in disposable income and private consumption. The same expectations were exposed in the Autumn Forecast published by the European Commission at the beginning of November.

4 2 0 -2 -4























2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018


Employed persons


Registered unemployed persons Source: SURS, Eurostat, IMAD, EC.

Domestic demand will also remain a significant factor of growth in 2017–2019. Household consumption will continue to be boosted by growth in disposable income amid favourable conditions in the labour market, which has a favourable impact on consumer confidence. Over the next two years, growth in private consumption will otherwise gradually slow, primarily due to anticipated lower employment growth. Investment is expected to increase further. The rising demand and favourable conditions for investment (high profits and low interest rates) will support growth in investment in machinery and equipment; amid the rebound in the property market, we also expect growth in housing investment. After 2016’s significant decline due to the transition to the new EU financial perspective, general government investment will accelerate as a proportion of total investment growth in 2017. Otherwise, modest growth in government consumption will continue in all three years.

Number of registered unemployed persons, in %


The level of employment will be high, rising in most sectors with unemployment consequently reducing further to below 90,000 persons for the year. Over the coming years, employment growth will be increasingly affected by demographic factors, i.e. the expected contraction of the working-age population. In 2017–2019, wage growth will remain moderate and will not exceed productivity growth.

Employment according to the national accounts statistices, in '000

Average real GDP growth, in %

The accelerated export growth is driven by stronger growth in foreign demand in most of Slovenia’s main trading partners, supported by export performance which has been rising since 2011 and has thus improved significantly this year. Export growth will also remain high over the next two years, when similar growth in foreign demand is expected alongside further improvements in export performance.


Source: SURS, ZRSZ; forecast IMAD (sept. 17)

Inflation will hover around 2% in the next few years. After a period of low price growth/deflation, the growth of domestic and foreign demand will boost the growth of service prices in particular, while – in the absence of commodity shocks from abroad – price rises in energy and non-energy goods will remain moderate. The European Commission in its Autumn Forecast also predicts broad-based economic growth in 2017 and the next two years. The key drivers remain high export growth, investment and household consumption. The European Commission also exposes increasing demographic factors over the next few years. Institute of Macroeconomic Analyses and Development

Winter Edition 2017 | The Slovenian Times



Foreign Direct Investment in Slovenia The stock of inward FDI in Slovenia was EUR 12.9bn at the end of 2016, up 11.5% from the end of 2015. There was an inflow of EUR 938.1m of equity in 2016, the largest were inward investments in financial and insurance activities and in manufacturing. Foreign owners have provided net financing to Slovenian firms throughout the 1994 to 2016 horizon. Firms with foreign owners record a total of EUR 1,118.4m in overall profits in 2016, up EUR 177.5m or 18.9% on 2015. The most important investor countries were Austria, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Italy and Germany.

owners by EUR 375.9m in 2016. Net debt thus amounted to EUR 1,407.4m at the end of 2016, down 22.2% on the end of the previous year. EU Member States prevail among investor countries, accounting for 84.7% of all inward FDI, in value terms, at the end of 2016. The most important of these investors is Austria, which accounted for 24.7% of all inward FDI, followed by Luxembourg, Switzerland, Italy and Germany. Even though investments form Luxembourg recorded the highest increase in 2016, these investments generally do not involve capital of Luxembourg origin. In terms of ultimate investing countries, the Top 5 investors come from Germany, the United States, Austria, Italy and Switzerland. Also, in terms of the ultimate investing country, France, the Russian Federation and Mexico are all much more important investor countries in Slovenia than is suggested by the breakdown by the immediate partner country. Germany holds the majority of its indirect investments in Slovenia via Austrian subsidiaries, while the same is also true of the Russian Federation and Mexico. The US, as the ultimate investing country, held EUR 1,795m of inward FDI in Slovenia at the end of 2016, the majority of the investments being held indirectly via subsidiaries in Luxembourg, Sweden, Germany and Switzerland. Service activities are prevalent over the time series for inward FDI, and accounted for the 65% of total inward FDI in Slovenia in 2016, and recorded an average annual growth rate of 6.8% over the last ten years and 14.6% over the last year alone. In the breakdown of FDI by statistical region, the highest concentration in total inward FDI, in value terms over the entire observation period, is to the region of Central Slovenia, which accounted for 60.8% of the total at the end of 2016 followed by Podravska (10.4% of total inward FDI), the Coastal-Karst and Gorenjska (5.9% each). 2016 saw a large increase in inward FDI in Podravska, where it increased by EUR 708.3m or 111.4%.

The increase in inward FDI in Slovenia was mostly attributable to transactions (EUR 1,139.5m), and less to other changes (EUR 198.2m). The largest inflows in 2016 were in the form of equity transactions, which amounted to EUR 938.1m. The largest factors in the in-


The Slovenian Times | Winter Edition 2017

crease were foreign investment in financial and insurance activities and in manufacturing (EUR 643.1m). In addition to equity inflows, reinvested earnings contributed EUR 577.4m to the increase in 2016, while transactions in debt instruments reduced net debt to foreign

At the end of 2016, companies with FDI accounted for 4.7% of the total population of Slovenian companies, down 0.2 percentage points on 2015. The most important activity was manufacturing, which in 2016 accounted for 14.5% of all companies with FDI and employed more than half of all employees at companies with foreign capital. The wages per employee paid by companies with FDI were 12.7% higher than the average wages per employee in Slovenia overall. Companies with FDI also achieved higher net profit per employee and higher value-added per employee. Source: Bank of Slovenia

Economy Table: Foreign DI in Slovenia - immediate and ultimate country presentation Countries v milijonih EUR / EUR million

By countries

2015 Immediate partner country

2016 Ultimate investing country

Immediate partner country

Austria 3.547,9 1.595,1 3.192,8 Luxembourg 574,8 354,8 1.439,0 Switzerland 1.313,2 960,4 1.371,9 Italy 863,2 1.053,4 1.142,2 Germany 1.083,4 1.793,5 1.108,0 Netherlands 1.014,7 437,4 1.015,0 Croatia 927,2 607,7 912,1 France 629,5 725,4 633,4 Sweden 83,9 119,0 335,5 Serbia 81,4 86,4 87,0 Slovenia 0,0 163,9 0,0 United States 43,4 546,8 53,6 Russian federation 61,7 277,5 72,9 Mexico 0,0 189,3 -0,2 Japan 71,1 125,1 73,4 Unallocated1 29,6 1.482,8 32,5 Other 1.287,0 1.093,4 1.480,6 TOTAL 11.612,0 11.612,0 12.949,7 Source: Bank of Slovenia 1 Value of item ‘Unallocated’ represents direct investment shares in Slovenian companies that do not surpass 50% and unallocated share of real estate.

Ultimate investing country 1.349,4 160,5 1.052,1 1.117,2 1.861,5 415,0 576,9 691,1 115,3 96,0 190,9 1.795,0 287,2 224,0 130,0 1.575,0 1.312,6 12.949,7

Winter Edition 2017 | The Slovenian Times


Economy added in Slovenia. There is, of course, a prerequisite for this which is a favorable investment environment which Slovenians have in terms of security and geographical position, although there is still a lot of work to be done on tax exemptions, work, de-bureaucratisation and judicial protection. In particular, the problem of income tax is known as it is emphasised by everyone, but somehow there is the bitter realisation that in this area, which has a rapid effect if changed, we obviously do not want to breakthrough.

The current situation can be misleading because it is not sustainable in the long run and so it is important to think about what follows.

Tomaž Lanišek, M.Sc., General Manager, OEM Europe & CIS

It feels like a charge for a breakthrough, but it is important to think about what’s ahead By Tomaž Lanišek, M.Sc., General Manager, OEM Europe & CIS

This year will be remembered as a very interesting year as there has been growth in all sectors. At the national level, this growth will be slightly below an enviable 5%, while for companies, the growth is much higher. Indeed, today, many companies face limited capacity which is a major obstacle to growth not being higher. In short, it feels like a charge for a breakthrough and it’s not trivial how we will use it. With the 2050 vision, Slovenians have set the ambitious goal of raising the quality of life, with the key goals to 2025 to increase the standard of living, measured as a rise in real purchasing power, to at least 86% of GDP per capita in terms of purchasing power parity relative to the EU. This means an increase in GDP per capita from 2016, by a good third, to EUR 28,000. Such a breakthrough is possible to achieve only through coordinated policies at all levels and above all, by acknowledging that it is the basis for raising the quality of life in


The Slovenian Times | Winter Edition 2017

an economy that is in good shape. The current situation can be misleading because it is not sustainable in the long run and so it is important to think about what follows. The breakthrough formula is simple: we need to achieve as many jobs as possible with the highest added value, which can be achieved by maximising investment in R&D and at the same time, through measures that ensure the long-term existence of domestic companies with higher value added in Slovenia, and increasing foreign investment with higher value

Business is done by people and a breakthrough will only be possible with enough motivated colleagues and there should be enough. The fact that young people are moving away with the speed of a racing snowball is a challenge for the investment environment. In addition to the goal of increasing the employment rate of older people, Slovenia has to become attractive for highly professional young people, which can be done by reducing their outflow, while increasing their return back to Slovenia. It is difficult to find an argument why this would not be the common goal of all of us involved - employers, trade unions and the government. The current situation in the economy is pleasant and the thought that we do not need to make bold changes, is problematic. Both domestic and foreign investors in Slovenia are actively preparing for the challenges that will be faced in the coming years. It is therefore important that all the parties are listened too and heard. Because we are equal, interdependent and because, as was pointed out at the recent Slovenian Business Summit in Brdo pri Kranju at the end November, our concerns are more similar than different. Therefore, the distinction between domestic or foreign investors is absurd, it is only reasonable to distinguish between investors who can bring more quality jobs which will result in higher added value. Management in companies and the public sector must be bold enough to change the organisation in a timely manner, which will enable the organisation to respond to the challenges of tomorrow. Offer opportunities for talent in organisations today, do not wait until tomorrow. This in itself carries the actual charge for breakthrough.

Economy Investing in energy efficiency, digitisation or infrastructure development offers opportunities. Attractive as an investment location, the country also has a well-trained workforce, innovative power in the country should also be highlighted, and the universities and institutes are well developed in relation to the national size. Slovenia has therefore been quite successful in attracting foreign investors in recent years. Foreign direct investment stock reached nearly US $12bn in 2015, compared to only US $1.8bn in 1995. According to UNCTAD, its share of GDP in 2015 was 27.7% (1995: 8.5%).

Slovenia has been quite successful in attracting foreign investors in recent years.

Mario Ohoven, President of the German BVMW Mittelstand Association and President of the European Entrepreneurs CEA-PME


Slovenia can boast of its infrastructure and Mediterranean access By Mario Ohoven, President of the German BVMW Mittelstand Association and President of the European Entrepreneurs CEA-PME

Slovenia, with its approximately two million inhabitants, is one of the smaller European markets. However, the country has a strong economy as well as powerful and innovative companies. The interdependence with the European economy is high and GDP per capita is higher than in the other countries of Central and Eastern Europe, including the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. Because of its high purchasing power and its attractiveness as an investment location, Slovenia is an interesting market for German companies, despite its small size. Around 40% of German foreign trade with countries of the former Yugoslavia is accounted for by Slovenia.

Slovenia’s central location in Europe and the still existing connections to the countries of the former Yugoslavia and Central and Eastern Europe, make Slovenia an interesting location for investment and a platform for processing other markets, such as the Western Balkans.

With its advantageous location, Slovenia can also boast of its infrastructure and Mediterranean access. The motorway network is developed with connections to all of its neighbours. Slovenia still has its advantages as a bridgehead to other countries of the former Yugoslavia thanks to its good regional language and market knowledge. The business environment in Slovenia and business relations with Slovenian partners are better than in the region. In the 2016 World Bank Doing Business Report, Slovenia was ranked 29th out of 189 evaluated countries. The evaluation of Slovenia in the Global Competitiveness Report of the World Economic Forum (WEF) 2015/16 is favorable. However, investors also want effective anticorruption measures. The reason for this is seen in the close link between politics and business. There is also room for improvement in the tax burden on income and the flexibility of the applicable labour law. However, Slovenia scores better in this area than most other Central and Eastern European countries. For the development and modernisation of Slovenia, in the EU funding period 2014 to 2020, almost EUR 4bn will be available from EU investment funds. The expansion and modernisation of infrastructure (especially the transport networks), projects in the area of​​ e-mobility and energy efficiency, or programs to digitise the economy (Industry 4.0), will also open up a few business opportunities for German companies. On the one hand, the Slovenian Business Club is going to be a member of our European umbrella association CEA-PME/European Entrepreneurs. On the other hand, we plan to intensify the bilateral cooperation between Slovenia and Germany-exchange of knowledge, finding business partners, joint events and workshops. Winter Edition 2017 | The Slovenian Times


Economy EOQ Congress 2017:

EOQ Congress 2017

Slovenia on the world map for quality By Tonja Blatnik; Photo by Drago Papler

The President of the Organising Committee, Janez Benčina

Dong Mingzhu, the Chairperson and President of Gree Electric Appliances Inc.


The Slovenian Times | Winter Edition 2017

How Europe will respond to China’s decision to increase investment in quality improvement was one of the key challenges highlighted at the 61st International EOQ Congress. More than 400 participants from 46 countries gathered in Bled at the beginning of October to debate this and other challenges. The honorary sponsor of the congress was the Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia, Dr Miro Cerar and prominent lecturers included Dong Mingzhu, Chairperson and President of Gree Electric Appliances Inc., who is among the most influential managers in China, the 'Chinese Iron Lady' according to Forbes. Ms Mingzhu highlighted that China wants to move away from the consumer perception that Chinese products are cheap and of low quality. The largest international meeting on quality and excellence in Europe was held in Slovenia for the first time. The congress, which has been under the auspices of European Quality Organization (EOQ) since 1956, is organised by the national quality organisations and this year was co-organised by the Slovenian Association for Quality and Excellence. The President of the Organising Committee, Janez Benčina, emphasised that: "This year’s congress puts Slovenia on the world map for quality," adding that

quality in the business world needs investment as it enables quality of life for everyone and enables individuals, companies, organisations and also countries to be more internationally competitive. The thread of the congress was the rapid change that is brought by the digital world. The best international practices to achieve greater efficiency in an economy and in the public sector were presented- the most noteworthy was the presentation from HE Maryam Al Hammadi, Assistant Director General for Government Performance, Ministry of Cabinet Affairs and Future of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), who lectured on the National Strategy of the UAE. The importance of quality and excellence in the light of digitisation and global trends was a topic discussed by the former president of the International Academy of Quality, Gregory H. Watson, who emphasised that the key challenge today is how to process large amounts of data, qualitatively, such that it will have a usable value and make sense. Tim Cole, a digitalisation expert, stated that in the future the key focus will be on the so-called connectivity of digital systems so that they will cooperate with one another and the information collected can be streamlined. Under the auspices of the congress, the EU / SINO forum also took place. The participants from the business sector included a 40-member Chinese delegation, headed by Dong Mingzhu, the Chairperson and President of Gree Electric Appliances Inc. which has an annual turnover of USD 15bn. Dong Mingzhu stated that "Our slogan is 'Made in China, loved by the world', which means that our goal is to develop, produce and sell products based on innovation and top quality." "While the Chinese are very committed to improving the quality that leads to consumer confidence, maybe the rest of the world is more focused on profits, which in the long run can be a big problem", warned Gregory H. Watson.

Three key awards were presented during the congress: • the EOQ Quality Award for the successful upgrade of the e-Government portal was received by Tatjana Mizori Zupan from the Ministry of Public Administration of the Republic of Slovenia; • the European Quality Leader award was received by Harald Eik, Glencore Nikkelverk AS from Norway and; • the China Association for Quality (CAQ), at the conclusion of the EU / SINO Forum, presented a special award to Janez Benčina, President of the EOQ Congress Organising Committee.

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The Misfit Economy:

lessons in creativity from informal entrepreneurs By Tonja Blatnik, Founder, iUFC- Institute for Universal Future Communications

What do pirates, terrorists, computer hackers and inner city gangs have in common with Silicon Valley? Innovation! More and more, misfit ideas are beginning to spill over into mainstream culture, argues the author of the bestseller, The Misfit Economy, Kyra Maya Phillips, who was a speaker at the 2017 Meaning Conference, held in Brighton, England, on 16 November.

Misfit innovators

Unknown innovators who can teach us that leadership can come from where you least expect.

The Gangster Motivated, loyal, seeks a sense of belonging and shows a willingness to take risks. Most often found in the black market. Has a tendency for territorial behavior and likes to protect their "turf." Operates within hierarchical structures.

The Hacker Anti-establishment, educated, skilled and experimental. Pursues reputation through risk-taking. Most often found online. Holds the values of openness and anarchy.

The Unseen Inspiration is probably the most important leadership trait - top leaders inspire other people. However, there is also another point of view: where do leaders get inspiration? You can hardly find an interview with a renowned leader which does not include this question, from nature or art are the most common and expected answers. In most cases, this inspiration ends in a new product or service - the conventional story … So, who are the boldest innovators in the world? What is the source of their breakthrough ideas? The usual suspects are Steve Jobs, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Mark Zuckerberg. "However," states Kyra Maya Phillips, author of The Misfit Economy, "the ‘itch’ to innovate is not the exclusive privilege of funky startup entrepreneurs from Silicon Valley or corporate boardrooms." At the 2017 Meaning Conference, held in Brighton, England, she presented her research into the dark side of innovation. Her message was clear - innovation also comes from the ships of pirates, the underground world of hackers, the havens of Mexican drug lords, the enterprising underworld of Mumbai and others who work on the margins of business and society.

Innovation on the fringe. All over the world, diverse innovators operating in the black and gray economies are developing solutions to all kind of challenges. Far from being 'deviant' entrepreneurs that pose a threat to social and economic stability, these innovators display remarkable ingenuity, pioneer original methods and best practices that we can learn from and apply in our own worlds. A good example comes from the corporate world. The author refers to this in her book – the socalled League of Intrapreneures – which brings together entrepreneurial misfits from across Fortune 500 companies. They build entrepreneurial capacity inside large companies by supporting misfit ideas that generate value


The Slovenian Times | Winter Edition 2017

for both the business and society. Hierarchies can be overstepped in the service of good ideas. Intrapreneurs come from big companies such as Unilever, BMW, Barclays, GSK and several NGOs, and they are creating a new economic model from within the system.

Resourceful, motivated by frugality and a concern for livelihood. Often found within grey markets and the informal economy; dependent on social capital and community for survival.

"The future is an inside job."

Fiercely independent and competitive. Feels a sense of entitlement to imitate and appropriate. Operates within the shadow or "copycat" markets.

Imagine our world in the future. One of the most influential HR thinkers from the UK, Perry Timms, who is known for his famous TED speech, The job is dead, long live work, comments: "…even lifelong meaningful work with more human and fulfilling properties. It sounds too idealistic to be true but can you imagine the workers of the late 1800s looking at how we work now? They would think it fictional and impractical that warm, carpeted offices and hot drinks on demand is the norm for millions of us. In the next stage, it is our chance to be, it is our turn to create something new labelled 'work'." Misfit innovators operating outside the formal economy are a vital part of our economic history, think Johannes Guttenberg or Nikola Tesla, and will continue to be a part of our economic future. "By 2050, one-third of the world’s workers will be employed by the informal economy. In fact, if you combine the annual income of informal markets across the globe, it comes to a staggering US $10 trillion." "This magnitude means that we simply have to care about this: underground innovators have been ignored and misunderstood for too long," stresses Kyra Maya. Ms Phillips has introduced a series of archetypes that illustrates the diversity of those who make up the Misfit Economy (refer appendix). As the famous bestselling author, Daniel Pink, wrote in his book review: "Think you can’t learn anything from outlaws and provocateurs?" This case will make you think again! People operating on the fringes can actually create unique business models and in the process, transform the culture around them.

The Copycat

The Agitator Inquisitive, mission-driven, primarily motivated by the need to influence and alter. Displays tremendous ability to mobilise populations. Likely found in antagonism with an existing political structure.

The Zealot Charismatic, visionary, pursues truth and stability. Feels most comfortable when in control. Operates largely in hierarchical structures. Perceives only one reality and has a tendency toward closed-mindedness and orthodoxy.

The Provocateur True individuals motivated by the need for attention; operate in peer-based networks and found mostly in niches bordering on artistic or urban culture. Have a tremendous capacity to shock and provoke.

Economy Interview: Rok Svetek, Managing Director, Adria Kombi and President of the Transport Association, Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia

If the Koper-Divača railway is not built soon, the truck traffic will increase 80 percent By Tina Drolc, M.Sc.

Transport infrastructure and transport policy measures are for the purpose of efficient movement of people and goods. Considering the geostrategic position of Slovenia, the construction of the second railroad, Koper-Divača, is a key project for the further development of Luka Koper, Slovenian Railways and the entire Slovenian economy. Rok Svetek, Managing Director, Adria Kombi and President of the Transport Association, Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia, explains the fusion and interdependence of Slovenian transport infrastructure, particularly for the Port of Koper and the environmental dimension of increasing cargo. Q In your opinion, when should the second track have been built and why is important for the future? A The second track is not only important for the Port of Koper and the Slovenian economy,

but it is also important for the mobility of the Slovenians and will put the Slovenian economy within the European and global economies. The European Commission is reintroducing former X. corridor as the Alpine-Balkan Corridor, which is supposed to operate by 2023, however the second rail track should have been built at least five years ago. For the customers of the Port of Koper, it is important that the goods are at their destination on time and not six hours later or earlier, this is the basis for planning just in time production and all the other activities that depend on this, including the end-market. Safety and security is important when the infrastructure is occupied more than 80 percent and the single track Koper – Divača overburdened: e.g. the railing breaks, it stops immediately and means a lack of certainty for delivery, which is the most disturbing factor.

Q How will the building of a second rail track relieve the traffic on Slovenia’s motorways? A When traffic by rail is not available, trucks are used for all urgent consignments and this truck component has increased, which means the carbon footprint has also increased. If the Koper-Divača railway is not built in the near future, truck traffic will increase 80 percent.

Rok Svetek, Managing Director, Adria Kombi and President of the Transport Association, Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia


The Slovenian Times | Winter Edition 2017

Q When is the second track anticipated to be built, and what is the estimated value of the project according to the comparisons with best practices from abroad?

A The Slovenian government says that the Koper-Divača railway will be finished in 2025. In my opinion, it could be built in five years, by 2023. I think this would be the normal timeframe for building it. As to the price, I think only the market will indicate the price; when the tender is made, we will get the price. I think, however, between EUR 700m and EUR 900m would be the normal price. There has also been a comparison made with the prices for building similar railway projects in Austria and it was found that the price in Slovenia is competitive.

Q The second track will mean a significant increase in cargo for the Port of Koper. In 2014, the Port of Koper won the prestigious award from the European Seaports Association (ESPO) as the most environmentally friendly port, over Rotterdam, Lisbon, Marseilles and Spain’s Huelva. What is important from the environmental perspective? A The Port of Koper has an excellent environmental policy and one of the measures is to move more cargo by rail. It is important to say that the Port of Koper has limited space for development and they will have to decide what types of cargo they will develop and encourage and on the other hand, to reject the cargo which is not so environmentally friendly. However, for example, we will still need to load the coal for the heating plant in Ljubljana, despite this creating quite a risk for pollution when the wind blows.

More information about investment opportunities is available at

Investment Opportunity

Development Project "Delamaris Resort" Prime touristic development project located next to the ancient fishing and trading port Izola. The town is spangled with art galleries, craftsmanship shops, cafes and gourmet restaurants. It is unquestionably an undiscovered tourist destination on the Istrian coast, perfect for a new resort on the Slovenian coast. The subject of offer is a building plot in the eastern part of the Izola town. The land next to the shipyard is currently in use for manufacturing purposes. The property is occupied by mostly abandoned food production facilities that need to be demolished. The old fish processing and magazine building are under cultural heritage protection. And in the middle of the land plot are ruins of St. Pietro Church, under heritage protection, where a large square filled with greenery is planned. The revitalization project foresees a modern 4-star SPA resort with 270 rooms accompanied by private villas and an apartment complex. The fish magazine building would be transformed into a distinguished meeting and event venue. The production facilities will be repurposed as a fusion of an unique fish restaurant and a fishery museum. Land: 37,516 m2 Development: Brownfield Type of use: Touristic - Hotel 16,700 m² - Spa 8,600 m² - Congress 1,750 m² - Villas 1,750 m² - Apartments 6,400 m² GBA: 47,450 m2 Footprint ratio: 50% Floors: GF + 2 upper floors Parking: Garage for 300 vehicles Asking price: 7.000.000 EUR Detailed Spatial Plan is prepared, however it still needs to be approved by city council. The property lies along the coast of the Adriatic Sea close to downtown, a park at the lighthouse and the city marina. The immediate surroundings are characterized by commercial and residential buildings.

The land is accessible along the south and west sides. The plot will be easily reached from the H6 highway connection to the regional capital city of Koper, and Trieste, in Italy. HETA Asset Resolution d.o.o. Dunajska cesta 167 · SI-1000 Ljubljana

Enver Mustedanagić

Real Estate Transaction Manager T: +386 (0)1 580 46 47 ·

Investment Opportunity

Small family hotel Alpine style hotel with well-known restaurant is located in centre of Zreče town, only a few meters from the Terme Zreče and close to the Rogla Climatic Health, Ski and Sports Resort. Address: Slomškova ulica 4, Zreče Net useable area: 2,240 m2 Floors: -1, GF, 2 upper floors Land: 1,683 m2 Year of construction: 2000 Renovated: 2004 Energy consumption: 53 kWh/m2a Hotel capacity: 26 rooms and 6 suites, restaurant with up to 85 seats conference room for up to 250 seats fitness center with sauna Parking places: small private parking lot Asking price: 805.000 EUR Hotel Smogavc ***, built in 2000 and in 2004 extended by additional building to Hotel Smogavc PLUS ****. This charming and comfortable hotel and conference center occupies a dominant position in center of town, above the Dravinja valley and offers restaurant, bar and fitness center with sauna. The hotels ambiance and pleasant surroundings are an attractive combination for those on both a business and leisure trip. The hotel features 26 elegantly furnished double rooms and offers 6 suites, decorated in a charming traditional Alpine style. In total the hotel provides 76 beds. All rooms are fully equipped and have balcony with magnificent views to the neighbouring hills. The conference center, with 9 conference rooms, is an ideal setting for conducting business and can comfortably accommodate up to 250 people. Property has a small parking lot behind the building. The hotel is located in the heart of Zreče and only 150 meters away from the Terme Zreče. Zreče is a small town in north-east Slovenia at the foot of Pohorje in the valley of the Dravinja. The town lies close to the main Ljubljana–Maribor motorway and is the administrative center of the Zreče municipality. It represents an economic

and, with wellness resort Terme Zreče and the Rogla Climatic Health, Ski and Sports Center nearby, an important tourist center. Local market can be found 100 meters away from the property. Sports facilities, such as volleyball and basketball courts, can be found 200 meters away while Rogla Center is only 16 km away. It offers numerous possibilities for active holiday; golf, biking and hiking trails in the summer and skiing and other snow fun in the winter. HETA Asset Resolution d.o.o. Dunajska cesta 167 • SI-1000 Ljubljana

Mario Lukić

Real Estate Transaction Manager T: +386 (0)1 580 46 39 •

More information about investment opportunities is available at

Investment Opportunity

Touristic development land plot Prime development property located near Bled town and opposite to the Golf Course Bled provides unique investment opportunity in leading alpine tourist destination in Slovenia, visited by 370 thousands tourists yearly. Project: Land: Development: Type of use: Footprint ratio: Max. usage ratio: Asking price:

"Golf Bled" 79,659 m2 Greenfield touristic 30% 65% 3.050.000 EUR

This Greenfield development plot lies right at the regional road connecting Bled with A2 highway. The current planning acts define the property as building land for construction of tourist, sports, recreation and leisure facilities. The preliminary development designs for the land plot foresee a hospitality complex with restaurant, SPA resort and parking garage in the basement. The southern half of the plot at the edge of the river bank protected forest could be developed for wellness, recreational and park usage. The urbanistic goal is to fuse tourist facilities with the nature and seamlessly passing the development into the protected nature of the Sava River. The Detailed Spatial Plan is subject to change as long as programme of the investor is aligned with the strategy of the local authority. The property lies between the road Lesce - Bled and the river Sava, right across the street of the Golf Course Bled, theme park Dinopark Bled and next to hippodrome Lesce. The real estate is located 2 km from the centre of Bled town and the A2 highway connection Lesce. Bled is the leading alpine tourist resort in Slovenia. The destination is visited by 370 thousands tourists yearly desiring to experience one particular wonder of nature – a unique island on an Alpine lake surrounded by mountains and overlooked by a majestic castle. Bled is often characterized as one of the most beautiful tourist sites in Europe especially among tourists from ASEAN market. The destination generates 810,000 overnight stays and yearly revenue of 170 million euros by visitors enjoying wide variety of options for leisure activities in pristine natural surroundings – from swimming, golf, walking and mountaineering to

skiing, jogging and countless other activities. In addition the town is one of the most recognizable conference destinations in Slovenia with extensive conference capacities and its own International School of Management – IEDC Bled. HETA Asset Resolution d.o.o. Dunajska cesta 167 • SI-1000 Ljubljana

Mario Lukić

Real Estate Transaction Manager T: +386 (0)1 580 46 39 •

Economy Q Can you share some background to the 19th Portorož Business Conference theme of "Living among cyclops and robots" – a challenge that is being addressed globally? A The mission of the conference is to open

Professor Janez Prašnikar, Faculty of Economics, University of Ljubljana (FELU); Photo: Jernej Lasič

Interview: Professor Janez Prašnikar, Faculty of Economics, University of Ljubljana (FELU)

It is not about the generation or a persons background, it is about setting the standard By Tina Drolc, M.Sc.

Professor Janez Prašnikar from the Faculty of Economics at Ljubljana University (FELU) is Executive Director of the Institute for South-East Europe and former Director of Business and Organisation, IMB program. He is a research associate and visiting scholar at the University of Michigan and CEPR, London. The professor has been involved in several research projects and has published a number of papers and books relating to the economics of transition, corporate restructuring and corporate governance. He is also the Chair of the Program Committee of the annual Portorož Business Conference. He has served as a president or member of the supervisory board of numerous Slovenian companies.


The Slovenian Times | Winter Edition 2017

relevant questions to the business and politics. Today, it seems that memories of the crisis are still fresh, although people are looking forward. While preparing the conference program, I usually visit major conferences worldwide to discover the important questions for the next conference. This conference is about strong leaders, while it can be seen that the crisis has softened, strong leaders appeared worldwide. To paraphrase using Homer’s, The Odyssey, which describes cyclops who have positions of Gods but look like humans, it seems to me a good parallel to describe a trend that we are among "cyclops" and the next big trend are robots. Look at the US where studies show that one robot has pushed out six to seven workers and there are so many unexpected consequences. And for the purpose of the conference we published a book titled "Robots among us", authored by my colleagues and the FELU students of the IMB program.

Q The event also addresses the topic "Slovenia, EU and the Western Balkan in 2018". What are the issues that are important to highlight? A The conference traditionally focuses on the regional issues and, as you know, there is quite an intensive debate about the EU and the relations between the core (German, France, etc.) and the peripheral (mainly Mediterranean) countries. We add a new group of countries, the so-called sub-peripheral countries, which are not generally observed and are, in our view, the special countries of the former Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and Romania. We are interested to see how the relations among these three groups of countries evolve. With the changes that have happened in the last year, the traditional economics in terms of the concept of the Philips curve is somehow under pressure – there are new trends which are, from the theoretical perspective, difficult to explain; inflation is stagnating but wages are not going up. Employment is increasing. There is growth in the subperipheral countries between 2 to 4% and it is hard to explain this controversy.

Q What are the drivers of the abovementioned growth in the sub-peripheral countries? A Unfortunately, the crisis has hit these countries very hard and the financial system almost collapsed. Things stagnated after the crisis for a long time, but now we observe different

Economy There are new trends which are, from the theoretical perspective, difficult to explain; inflation is stagnating but wages are not going up. Employment is increasing. There is growth in the sub-peripheral countries between 2 to 4% and it is hard to explain this controversy. tendencies, Romania is growing very fast. It looks that the bubbles are growing again. On the other hand, there are some improvements in Croatia and this has changed the philosophy of which country today has export growth and there are improvements in its current account.

Q From the monetary perspective, in what direction should there be progress - the Euro area, in fact the whole world, is challenged by cryptocurrencies and blockchain networks? Is this manageable?

in the most advanced digitalized and robotic countries in EU increased in recent years as new jobs related to the use of new technologies emerged. There is still a lot of room for making taxation and fiscal policies more efficient, for example the profits that are going in the haven countries and the proposal of the Universal Basic Income. I think this will go hand in hand, depending how quickly you will build an economy based on the new trends. We already have good examples in the highly taxed Nordic countries.

was in charge of IMB program for the last 24 years and we have a very nice mix of students (many from abroad) who learn from each other. Secondly, teamwork is very important. The projects are designed for the real world and business, and students have to apply it. It is not always good and nice but you have to insist on certain issues. But once you impose the standards, teamwork works, it is not about the young generation or people from different parts of the world, it is about setting the standard.

There are different views; Bill Gates just said recently, let’s slow digitalization a bit that people will adjust easier.

A I am old enough to have observed similar attempts during my lifetime which did not end so well. I believe that blockchaining will be seen in the future but the crypto… it is difficult to judge what is supporting it. In the EU, if the Euro collapsed, you still have in each Member State the currency and the tax system underlying it. What is supporting cryptocurrencies? So, this looks like a danger, but let’s see. Even in Slovenia there was an attempt with a parallel currency in the past but it collapsed. People do not trust it. How safe it is? It seems to me that there are some limitations.

What is supporting cryptocurrencies? So, this looks like a danger, but let’s see. Even in Slovenia there was an attempt with a parallel currency in the past but it collapsed. Q Since the digital economy has entered our lives practically overnight, many business models have become obsolete (e.g. telecommunications vs Viber, What’s up, Taxi vs Uber). What should be the basis of digital economy taxation? A Some industries are developing really quickly and the question is how this affects the whole economy. There are different views; Bill Gates just said recently, let’s slow digitalization a bit that people will adjust easier. In our book "Robots among us" we show that employment

Q How are students gender, socioeconomic status and background related to their performance in the assessment and to their attitudes towards collaboration in general? Also, how does FELU help young people develop the skills they need to solve problems collaboratively? A According to one of my colleagues, two Syrian immigrants at FELU just passed the exam in these days, which is a good sign. We want to have foreign students who respect the standards and we have different experiences. I

There is still a lot of room for making taxation and fiscal policies more efficient, for example the profits that are going in the haven countries and the proposal of the Universal Basic Income.

Winter Edition 2017 | The Slovenian Times


Economy World Bank:

Sound Insolvency Regimes may Encourage Entrepreneurship Doing Business 2017: Equal Opportunity for All is a World Bank flagship publication. The fourteenth in a series of annual reports measuring the regulations that enhance business activity and those that constrain it, was published on 31 October 2017 and highlights the importance that insolvency reform in Slovenia has had on the economy. According to the report, the level of entrepreneurship and company formation in Slovenia increased, with 6,243 new businesses registered in Slovenia one year after the reform was introduced. The beginning of the new millenium was a period of significant reform in Slovenia as the country prepared to join the European Union in 2004. A new insolvency law was adopted in 2007 but it was inadequate, it did not cope with the challenging economic and financial conditions brought on by the global financial crisis of 2008; many companies became insolvent. Firms suffered from over-indebtedness and had difficulties repaying their loans, leading to an increase in corporate non-performing loans of around 20% of total loans. Firms in Slovenia needed effective corporate restructuring procedures to guide the restructuring of their debt. To address these needs and to ensure the legal framework more closely reflects international best practice, the government modified the corporate restructuring framework in 2013. The changes included the creation of a new, pre-insolvency restructuring procedure for distressed medium and large companies to restructure their financial claims, as well as a new, simplified compulsory settlement procedure to offer a reorganisation option for micro and small companies. A change was also made to the existing compulsory settlement procedure to enable creditors to initiate the reorganisation of companies for the first time. The procedures quickly became a popular option for debtors and creditors. In the first two years following the reform, the proportion of companies using one of the three procedures more than doubled, rising from 6% of total insolvency proceedings in 2013 to 14% in 2015.


The Slovenian Times | Winter Edition 2017

Microenterprises, however, underwent corporate liquidation proceedings in the vast majority of cases (96%) in 2016, as they have less capacity for reorganisation and for securing resources to enable them to operate in a situation of financial distress. Despite these challenges, microenterprises have also benefited from the restructuring options, the number of simplified compulsory settlement proceedings for the benefit of microenterprises increased from 59 cases in 2014 to 85 in 2016. Creditors have progressively taken advantage of the access to the compulsory settlement proceedings granted to them in 2013; by 2016 they had initiated almost one-third of

all cases. During the same period, the number of successfully terminated reorganisation proceedings increased significantly. In 2016, most ended with an approved settlement. One of the companies that benefited from the restructuring procedures was Pivovarna Laško, Slovenia’s largest brewer. By the end of 2014, the company’s total financial liabilities stood at EUR 226.8m (about US $268m). The company negotiated a restructuring plan with its creditors, which included a two-year debt rescheduling, the sale of shares in other companies and an intensive search for additional capital. Following the agreement, the company was bought by Heineken International BV, which committed to provide financial stability to the company. Following the sale of its assets in various corporations and entering into long-term loan agreements with Heineken, the company was able to repay its creditors in full in October 2015. Its value increased, the brewery was able to continue operating, saving hundreds of jobs. Apart from increasing the likelihood of business survival—as shown by the rising number of successfully terminated compulsory settlement and simplified settlement procedures—the insolvency reform may have contributed to broader positive economic effects. First, the level of entrepreneurship and company formation in Slovenia increased. One year after the reform was introduced, 6,243 new businesses were registered in Slovenia, the highest number in a decade and near that of pre-crisis levels. Second, progress has been made in addressing Slovenia’s high level of nonperforming loans, which decreased from 15% of total loans in 2012 to 7.9% in 2016. While these results do not establish a causal relationship with the insolvency reform, they suggest that sound insolvency regimes may encourage entrepreneurship and accelerate the speed of adjustment of non-performing loans. Source: The World Bank

Corporate reorganizations in Slovenia have become more successful over time Procedures (number) 100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 2013




Rejected compulsory settlement and simplified compulsory settlement/conversion to bankruptcy Approved compulsory settlement and simplified compulsory settlement Source: Slovenia Ministry of Justice 2017

SUCCESS STORY The joint master’s programme European Master in Tourism Management (EMTM) Tanja Mihalič, Ph. D.

EMTM Programme Coordinator Faculty of Economics, University of Ljubljana

One of the key decisions in life is also an investment in one’s education. It is not merely about financial means but also about used time and the willingness to go abroad during the time of your studies. The joint master’s programme EMTM was chosen by the European Commission as ‘a success story’. ‘Success stories’ are projects which stand out with their influence, contributions to policy designs, innovative results, their creative approach and are also an inspiration to others. The European Master in Tourism Management is a joint master’s programme that has been carried out since 2007 by three partnering universities: Southern Denmark University, the Faculty of Economics of the University of Ljubljana, and the Spanish University of Girona.

TASTE THE WORLD CHAMPION PREŠERNOVA 4 / PTUJ / SLOVENIA Bojan Kobal: +386 (0)41 348 596 Andrej Sajko: +386 (0)6 8178 259

"This year the EMTM programme is celebrating its 10th anniversary. Since 2010, the programme attracts about 600 candidates each year. Among all the applicants, 35 students are selected from 25 European countries, as well as non-EU members. Considering the extremely high standards of entry and selection, only the best students enrol into EMTM. During the ten years of the programme’s operation, 277 students have enrolled; of which 159 concluded the programme successfully (the last generation has yet to graduate)."

Economy results. Hence, I pushed the decision-making process down to the line managers, empowered them to make the necessary decisions that they see fit, within certain guidelines of course, and informed them that they would be held accountable for their results, including financial compensation in the form of bonuses. Hence, they have been encouraged to take measured risk and more importantly, that it is okay to fail or to make a mistake. I believe that this is the only way for an organisation to progress. I insist on honesty and integrity in all business dealings, both internal and external. No one at Elan gets terminated for making a mistake. However, the same cannot be said for dishonesty.

Q How is the growth distributed among the divisions and how will 2017 end for Elan? Mr Jeffrey Tirman, Chief Executive Officer, Elan d.o.o.; Photo: Tinkara Zupan/STA

Interview: Jeffrey Tirman, Chief Executive Officer, Elan d.o.o


From competitive sport sponsor to family and friend oriented sporting and leisure activities By Tina Drolc, M.Sc.

After a transitional period following its change of ownership in 2015, Elan has posted growth in all divisions this year. Elan CEO, Jeffrey Tirman, highlights the simple management practices centered on responsibility, accountability, honesty and transparency, as the company moves it focus to family and friend sporting and leisure activities. Q What would you highlight about the corporate governance system that directs the company?

A First, we made changes to the board structure of the company, which was two-tiered when I arrived in late December 2015. With significant restructuring activity to undertake, I felt that a two-tier structure would unnecessarily slow down the decision-making process – there is a reason why there is one steering wheel in a car. Hence, with shareholder support, we collapsed the board into a normal, three person board of directors which is accountable to the shareholders and made the


The Slovenian Times | Winter Edition 2017

management (myself and the management team) directly accountable to the board. The Board sets the strategy and the management team executes it. The management team can now, very quickly, assess issues and opportunities, and quickly make the necessary adjustments without a lengthy approval process. This is imperative in today’s instantaneous world. The other major impact comes from simple management practices centered on responsibility, accountability, honesty and transparency. Often, workers are held accountable for results without being properly empowered to make meaningful changes or to take the necessary actions required in order to bring about better

A All divisions are growing this year on a topline basis. The pace is being led by the Marine Division at 23%, followed by the Wind Power Division at 13% and then the Winter Division at 12%. All very solid numbers which we are pleased with, but we know that much more works lies ahead.

Q Investment in R&D has led to a growth in sales of the skis, the US and the Chinese markets in particular are growing. What is Elan’s strategy in these markets and is there any market segmentation? A We have a very strong ski line-up that has been very well received, not just in the US and China but in all markets. It is true that Elan is growing very nicely in the US, the most important ski market in the world, which is being led by a more focused marketing effort and frankly, superior products. For China, we have a great partner who is wholly dedicated to Elan and who has positioned Elan very well in this fast-growing market. We believe that Elan is the ski of choice in China and we plan to keep it that way.

Q What is Elan’s presence in the competitive sport disciplines and can you share some recent or future major projects? A In general, Elan is moving away from sponsoring competitive sports, which we see is more about "me" and "I", and we are instead focusing on more family and friend oriented sporting and leisure activities, which is more inclusive, focused on "we" and "us". That being said, Elan is active in sponsoring Ski-Cross, where we have a number of top-ranked athletes skiing on Elan and winning events. We also continue to support local Slovenian skiing at the junior level and younger through a variety of programs aimed at helping to develop local talent.


New opportunities to build prosperity along the Belt and Road By Silvija Fister, M.Sc.

The Communist Party of China’s 19th National Congress, which took place in October, re-elected President Xi Jinping as the leader and incorporated his ideology, the Xi Jinping Thought, into the Party’s charter. The amended charter also included the ambitious Belt and Road Initiative, an economic and infrastructure project that aims to connect more than 60 countries from Asia, Europe and Africa, for mutually beneficial cooperation. The inclusion is evidence that China hinges its future development on intensifying cooperation which will endure beyond Xi’s tenure. In his speech at the congress, President Xi explained the importance of adopting policies to promote high level economic liberalisation and the facilitation of trade and investment: Openness brings progress, while self-seclusion leaves one behind. China will not close its door to the world; we will only become more and more open. We should pursue the Belt and Road Initiative as a priority, give equal emphasis to "bringing in" and "going global," follow the principle of achieving shared growth through discussion and collaboration, and increase openness and cooperation in building innovation capacity. The Belt and Road Initiative has gained support and recognition since its launch in 2013, through major events such as this year’s inaugural summit, in Beijing, when President Xi Jinping pledged US $124bn in funding for the initiative. Mr Vincent HS Lo, from the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, estimates that China has so far invested US $515bn in Belt and Road countries. For him, the potential of the Belt and Road Initiative is enormous: Many of the Belt and Road countries are developing countries which need to reduce poverty, and by improving the infrastructure as a fundamental step, then industrialisation and growth will follow. If this is achieved through the Belt and Road Initiative, it will translate into profits, jobs, knowledge, better transportation and better lives for all. Another mechanism which started to deepen connections between China and 16 Central and Eastern European Countries (CEEC) in 2012, is now building momentum along the Belt and Road. The so-called '16+1' initiative

Summit of the Heads of Government of the 16+1 countries in Budapest, in November; Photo: EUobserver

has already brought numerous tangible results for Slovenia: average annual trade with China stands at 15% in recent years, with particularly high growth for Slovenian exports (increase of 83.5% in 2016 and 52% in the first half of 2017). At the summit of the Heads of Government of the 16+1 countries in Budapest, in November, Slovenia took the opportunity to formally join the Belt and Road Initiative. Slovenian Prime Minister, Dr Miro Cerar, met with his Chinese counterpart, Li Keqiang, at the summit and praised the initiative: "For the Slovenian economy, which is very open and export-oriented, this initiative means a window of new opportunities". The signed Memorandum of Understanding includes priority areas for cooperation such as logistics, the promotion of trade and investment, financial cooperation and cooperation in the areas of technology, tourism, culture and sport.

Further opportunities are expected through future projects such as the newly announced, world-class, China International Import Expo which will take place in Shanghai in November 2018. China invites the business community and government officials from across the world to support trade liberalisation and economic globalisation, while actively exploring the Chinese market.

Slovenia formally joins the Belt and Road Initiative. The amended charter includes the ambitious Belt and Road Initiative. Winter Edition 2017 | The Slovenian Times



Btc City – Unique Smart City BTC has been the home of innovation and uniqueness for more than 60 years. The company is the trusted partner of more than 3,000, globally recognised, multinational and regional companies. However, BTC is probably the most famous for its one of a kind, BTC City. BTC City is a unique environment that represents the largest and most visited business, shopping, entertainment, recreational, cultural and innovation city, within a city, in South East Europe. It covers 398,970m2, hosts 70 food and drink vendors, 450 shops and more.

Establishing Living Labs "A characteristic of laboratories is that they are a separate environment, isolated from reality and external influence. BTC City Ljubljana is entirely different. With 21 million visitors per year, characterised by a collection of related and diverse activities and content, it is very much alive and vivid," stresses Jože Mermal, President of the Management Board and CEO of BTC. An example is BTC City, which is developing a completely new concept – BTC City Living Lab. It is transforming the shopping industry and creating new value for local businesses and their customers. The rich and diverse infrastructure of BTC City Ljubljana, enables a testing space for the most advanced technologies in Smart City solutions. BTC City Living Lab will provide the opportunity for local and global companies to


The Slovenian Times | Winter Edition 2017

test their new solutions at BTC City Ljubljana, to continue innovating, to present their solutions to customers, and to connect wihin an ecosystem of an open sociery. All those companies that are developing advanced solutions for smart cities and are interested in presenting their ideas to potential customers and cooperating with BTC in the joint promotion and development of user-friendly technological solutions will be invited to join the LivingLab.

ABC Accelerator In 2015, BTC co-created the new development story of Slovenia: ABC - Acceleration Business City. Focused on strong, globally ambitious startups with a finished product, ABC accelerates multiple generations of startups every

year. So far, ABC Accelerator has accelerated more than 80 startups and raised more than EUR 30m in invesment. ABC Accelerator is growing, establishing offices in the United States (San Jose, Silicon Valley), Germany (Munich), Ukraine (Kiev) and Tuzla. ABC Silicon Valley is the headquarters of the Acceleration Business City. With its personalised approach and program, it represents a global home for startups. Due to its exceptional network and location in WeWork, ABC Accelerator Silicon Valley offers instant contact with relevant representatives of venture capital and business angels, and to mentors who have worked with extremely successful startups such as Uber and AirBnB, and also to sponsors who have helped giants such as Tesla and Apple. In Germany, Europe’s biggest and commercially most advanced market, it enables startups to be in


direct contact with large technology companies that can use their solutions or, of course, invest in them. At both locations, offices and homes are provided, ABC ensures that young entrepreneurs focus only on their business. A year ago, ABC launched another program – ABC Enterprise Accelarator. This comprehensive program was specifically formed to allow large, traditional companies to leverage entrepreneurial experience. Some acknowledged experts that have helped to change the way of leading and innovating in giants (e.g. Apple, Alibaba, Airbus, Travel Channel, US Army, DELL, Cisco) are involved, including Patrick Cowden with the Beyond approach; Herman Gyr, Lisa Friedmann and Laszlo Gyorffy, Enterprise Development Group, Palo Alto; and Andy Baynes from Nest Labs, among others.

Awards) recognise and celebrate the best entrepreneurial spirit and startup ecosystems. In November, ABC Accelerator won first place. Next year, the ambition is to be the first in Europe! In three years, ABC Accelerator has fulfilled its mission to become the "engine of innovation and change"; not only for startups but also for larger companies, both within and outside of Slovenia.

CESA (Central European Startup Awards) recognise and celebrate the best entrepreneurial spirit and startup ecosystems. In November, ABC Accelerator won first place. Next year, the ambition is to be the first in Europe!

Celebrating the startup spirit across Central Europe, CESA (Central European Startup

Winter Edition 2017 | The Slovenian Times


Economy Interview: Professor José F. P. dos (Joe) Santos, INSEAD

Instead of thinking the world is there to sell, think the world is there to create! By Tina Drolc, M.Sc.

José Santos is an Affiliated Professor of Practice in Global Management at INSEAD, Fontainebleau, France, who centres his research and teaching on the general management of multinationals, with a particular focus on global integration and global innovation. As a guest speaker at IEDC’s International Annual Presidents Forum, in November, Professor Santos shared a discussion on what a global world might be and the potential implications for business, for companies and for management.

Q The current backlash against globalisation will not turn back the clock. You say that globalisation as the creator of global markets is gone and has been replaced by the emergence of a new world. Can you be more precise?

Professor José F.P. dos (Joe) Santos, INSEAD

A What is happening is that individuals and nations are now connected, interdependent, and integrated across the world – and this is creating a "new world". Such global world is emerging, is shaping, and we cannot know exactly what it will be; people everywhere are naturally anxious and a negative sentiment has grown about our global nature. Since the early 80s, we saw globalization turn the world into a marketplace and thrive on sameness. But global is not about being the same, but about being united. And now we know we are. The Internet nailed it. We constantly share information and ideas. The flows that matters today are flows of data across borders, not international trade. China is here, as it were, in your phone, and a new idea about a business from Brazil is there too, now. Any company, even a small startup, can use the world to source knowledge and combine it to create its future. Geography is no longer destiny. Q Many leading multinationals are finding that their biggest competitors in emerging


The Slovenian Times | Winter Edition 2017

economies are local players and not big global names. Why?

A Because the more the world is global, the more local differences matter. With world class knowledge and talent dispersed in the world, we need to stop thinking about the US or Europe or Japan as the centre of the world. No place is. Sure, people everywhere may want to drink a Coke, drive a Porsche, own a Louis Vuitton bag, or eat sushi. Such "cultural exports" will always root their advantage in their country of origin. But is most businesses, companies here and anywhere can now source components as well as design, engineering, and other knowledge services in global markets, source capital and hire talented people from far away, access technologies by partnering or acquiring innovative companies abroad — while benefiting from knowing their local markets deeply. This is even more so in China or Brazil or any other markets where the dynamics of emergence make local adaptation by foreign companies an inferior strategy. Local companies lead the Chinese market in ice cream, detergents, or home appliances, let alone e-commerce — despite the long presence of the world leading multinationals there. Likewise with cosmetics in Brazil, for example.

Q What is the biggest advantage of local companies? A The local companies can now use the world to their advantage but at the same time they hold deep knowledge of their local context, their people, their experiences, their needs. In the past, we thought about the company creating a new offering or business model in their home country and later taking such innovation to the rest of the world. Today, companies can start from the world to innovate for their home market too — or for the world. Success does not come from the home country’s economy, but from the company’s management ability. Companies can actively participate in the development of their countries. So instead of thinking the world is there to sell, think the world is there to create!

Global is not about being the same, but about being united. And now we know we are. The Internet nailed it.

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Global Pitch

Interview: Andrej Orožen, CEO & Co-founder, DEWESoft

Development contributes to the development of the industry globally By Tina Drolc, M.Sc.

DEWESoft is a renowned name in the global market for measuring techniques and among its prominent customers are NASA, the Kennedy Space Center, Lufthansa, Bosch and the majority of the automotive manufacturers. The Slovenian company, established in 2000, has sales activities in Austria, Germany, France, the UK, USA, China, Russia, Singapore, Brazil and Sweden. Q What is the basis of your competitive advantage? A Since 2000, we have been developing a


many countries are you present and why did you decide to base R&D in Slovenia? Is it costly from the taxation perspective?

A The reason that we are in Slovenia is quite simple. We were born here and we love to live here. Slovenia is filled with smart, young people like everywhere on the globe and therefore we have everything that is needed. And yes, we have tax also like everywhere else on the globe. We have organised sales activities in Austria, Germany, France, UK, USA, China, Russia, Singapore, Brazil and Sweden through Dewesoft owned companies and we cover more than 30 others with the help of our partner network.

unique software package. The idea was to create a high-performance DEWESoft software package to make it easy to capture and analyse data, and we did it! In 2008, we also started to develop our own measuring instruments which positioned us among the most innovative companies on the market. Today we are able to offer the total solution. The ease of use was upgraded with the possibility of acquiring a wide range of measuring signals (current, voltage, vibrations, noise...), measured in different applications (power, combustion analysis, torsional vibration, sound power, measurements in vehicles, train measurements, measurements on a bridge and in sports). We combine, in one instrument, everything that can be done in a simple but powerful way.

Q In 2000 you co-founded the company together with Dr Jure Knez. Can you share the background, why this industry and what have been the main milestones that have led to the success?

Q DEWESoft is a global company with its headquarters, research & development and manufacturing in Trbovlje, Slovenia. In how

A In 2000, we decided to bring together sales and technical skills. Jure had a clear vision of what needed to be changed in the data ac-

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quisition world, he had done a lot of measurements and started the development based on his experiences as an engineer in the field. The field of measurement is demanding and therefore it is possible to stand out through great and innovative ideas. To be present and recognised globally needs more than just producing something, you need to invest a lot of knowledge and after so many years, also a lot of experience. We’ve gained all that through close cooperation with industry leaders and the most demanding customers in the world. Today, the field of test and measurement has changed significantly. Electrification of vehicles, autonomous driving, energy quality… all demand new developments. Measurement instruments need to become more powerful, capture data more quickly and analyse data more simply. We follow technology developments globally and more importantly, we listen to the requests of our customers. At the development stage, we also add our ideas and innovative solutions that help us gain trust and offer the best possible solutions to our customers. What makes us most proud are the developments that contribute to the development of the industry globally.

Q In the future, do you see the opportunities in industry 4.0 and the development of autonomous and electric vehicles. Can you share how will you approach this? A With the development of new measurement instruments, we will bring every instrument to a stage where it will be so smart that it will be able to connect in a network of universally connecting units for measurements in the phase of informatisation, industraialisation… Andrej Orožen, CEO & Co-founder, DEWESoft

Leadership Corner Interview: Saša Fajmut, M.Sc., MBA, Director Leadership Services at Amrop Adria

Instead of being "taught by subject" children are "taught by topic" By Tina Drolc, M.Sc.

Saša Fajmut, M.Sc., MBA is Director Leadership Services at Amrop Adria, responsible for leadership assessments and development. In this interview, Ms Fajmut explains the challenges that Slovenia has been facing in managing human capital. Based on best practices from some European countries, she talks about how the system could develop and motivate local talent more and attract talent from abroad. Q The latest OECD Economic Survey of Slovenia (September 2017) encourages Slovenia to boost investment and productivity through better skills and regulation. What are the measures Slovenia needs to implement to achieve this? A OECD survey shows that Slovenia has sufficiently skilled workforce. Key challenge is how to foster competitive economic environment, create efficient work processes within organizations as well as sufficiently reward talents to be able to utilize such knowledge and skills. In this context, we could say we have an overqualified workforce in Slovenia which is underutilised and consequently dissatisfied. This contributes to the growing trend of brain-drain, with mostly highly qualified people moving to more developed and more productive working environments abroad. Another challenge is prequalification of employees from those industries that do not offer a competitive advantage in a global context, such as the textile industry, certain manufacturing industries, mining etc. Companies and the government should lead a proactive human resources strategy, recognise the discrepancies and prepare action steps to re-train the workforce to other, high valueadded industries. Our school system should develop more cross-functional skills and less purely technical expertise. The Finnish school system, which ranks as one of the top in the world, has already banned typical school subjects and therefore instead of "teaching by

subject", children are "taught by topic". They are encouraged to analyse daily world events from different perspectives. For example, a teenager studying a vocational course might take "cafeteria service" lessons which would include elements of math, languages (to help serve foreign customers), writing skills and communication skills. This is proactive development of a different, yet much needed, skill-set from early age on.

Q The OECD survey encourages Slovenia to "develop and attract highly skilled workers". What are your thoughts, is Slovenian business environment, including the tax regulation, driving them away?

A Slovenia needs more initiatives in the area of cooperation between the economy and research institutions, accompanied by incentivising mechanisms for such cooperation. We have highly-skilled institutions and individuals who develop state of the art inventions and innovations, but we fail in the implementation of these into business and benefitting from the economies of scale. Such environment, combined with unattractive compensation and taxation system, is not able to compete with other markets to attract highly skilled talent. Our taxation system for the middle class is very demotivating and frustrating. Smart, educated and skilled individuals invest time and energy in their education and career, to being as productive as possible and in return

Saša Fajmut, M.Sc., Director Leadership Services at Amrop; Photo: Žiga Intihar

they get a paycheck with the same amount as a mechanic in Germany. Such a system does not only not attract talent from abroad but it also drives local talent out of the country.

Q Slovenia’s unemployment rate is currently 6.5% and declining. Although the labour market has recovered we face the issue of an ageing workforce. According to the OECD survey, more than 60% of older people (55-64 year olds) are unemployed or retired. How should this be managed? A This is a serious socioeconomic issue. We need to act now at both – on a national level and within organisations. Aside from stimulating longer working, state unemployment services need to invest more into skills’ development and the re-training of older, unemployed workers who need to build their ability in digital skills, foreign languages etc. They also need motivation and self-esteem to re-enter the labour market. Organisations should foster an open culture and respect towards older employees who bring valuable life experience and wisdom to their teams. In order to leverage multi-generational diversity, some companies already train employees and raise awareness on the positive effects of generational differences. While Millennials could help the older generation to become more digitally literate, Baby Boomers and Generation X can provide crucial advice to their younger colleagues on how to navigate the office hierarchy, develop leadership skills and behave professionally. In order to facilitate these learning processes, more and more companies are implementing (reverse) mentoring programs. Winter Edition 2017 | The Slovenian Times


Education Perspective

(from left to right): Professor Joe Santos, INSEAD; Professor Danica Purg, President and Dean of IEDC-Bled School of Management; Dr Miro Cerar, Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia

IEDC’s International Annual Presidents’ Forum:

"In today’s world, we need good managers more so than a good economy" On 15 November 2017 more than 100 leaders, from 18 countries, attended IEDC’s International Annual Presidents’ Forum with Professor Joe Santos, a wellknown specialist who has been centering his research and teaching on the general management of multinationals with a particular focus on global integration and global innovation. "The world has become global but we are still local in physical terms. With globalisation, we need leaders with a vision that will also take into account the social aspects of globalisation, not just the financial. We now have a confusion of visions from the leaders," said the President and Dean of IEDC-Bled School of Management, Professor Danica Purg. The Forum was opened by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia, Dr Miro Cerar. In his opening speech, the Prime Minister highlighted that: "Slovenia is not a big country, nor should we say that it is small. In many ways, we could say that its size is just right – and this


The Slovenian Times | Winter Edition 2017

is our strategic advantage. Given our geostrategic position, businesses have exploited this advantage: some innovative and visionary Slovenian companies have succeeded by targeting certain niche markets and are proof that obstacles can be turned into opportunities." The Prime Minister also took the opportunity to compliment Professor Danica Purg on being one of the greatest promoters of Slovenia. In his keynote speech, Professor Joe Santos noted that we are facing a new trend in understanding the market. "Today, the world is a place for creativity, not just a place for production and trade. Creativity is the reason that we see the

world differently. In today’s world, we need good managers moreso than a good economy. It is the managers that allow local integration. Some companies take the world as their market, but still keep the local specialties. Among them are companies such as Netflix which in the 80s would have been a media company such as CNN. Today, Alibaba is establishing a market in the global village. In 2017, in China alone, in less than 24 hours, they sold more than US $25bn worth of goods." A roundtable then followed where business leaders shared their experiences of the global economy and world market. Alessandro Calligaris, Chairman of the Italian furniture company, said that they are focusing on new products that are interesting to customers, but they want to become a company that will manage every market, not just the company that will export to it. "We have opened sister companies in other countries. Many of our stores are run by partners and the parent company supports them. Our goal is to sell products that will keep buyers." His company employs about 600 people who produce more than 90 different products under the brand names Calligaris and Conubia. Sandi Češko, Founder and co-owner of Studio Moderna, presented his experience of expanding the company to other countries: "When we expanded to the US I began to work with a Chinese company, similarly in the UK with a Russian company. This is the way the world is working today." He stressed that they have found a successful business model for global expansion, although there is still a lot of work as the world changes from one moment to the next. Pavel Popov, Head of United Rocket Space Corporation, a Russian space technology company, highlighted the importance of human capital and said that they needed a lot of time to change people’s thinking and attitude at the local level. Participants at the forum concluded that the importance of local businesses is growing despite globalisation, but that it is important to have a vision and good managers that make employees and business partners feel good and give the feeling that they work for the local environment. (from letf to right): Professor Joe Santos, INSEAD; Sandi Češko, CEO and Co-founder, Studio Moderna, Slovenia; Pavel Popov, COO and CFO, United Rocket Space Corporation, Russia; Alessandro Calligaris, President, Calligaris s.p.a., Italy; Alessandro Bolzan, Chief Business Analyst, Hikvision Europe, Italy; Dr Mark Pleško, CEO and Co-founder, Cosylab, Slovenia.










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International Business Partners TOPIC: Government treatment of domestic and foreign investors in Slovenia

American Chamber of Commerce – AmCham Slovenia Recently, there has been quite a few visible successes in terms of investments in Slovenia and the number of realised foreign and domestic investments is increasing. This shows that Slovenia is becoming more and more interesting for investors, which is great news. The AmCham Investment Committee welcomes any government effort to attract new investments and hence jobs in Slovenia, but at the same time warns that there is a need for systemic regulation of legislation in the area of investment promotion, and long-term systemic measures that will improve the economic and social environment of Slovenia for sustainable

investments. Among the long-term measures needed, we primarily see the strengthening of the competences of the future and the innovativeness of the Slovenian economic environment, improving the functioning of state institutions and corporate governance in a sustainable macroeconomic environment, including a flexible labour market. A favorable investment environment will have a positive effect on the

British – Slovenian Chamber of Commerce – BSCC


The Slovenian Times | Winter Edition 2017

Slovenian economy and the competitiveness of the country, which will encourage investors, both Slovene and international, to bring more sustainable investment to Slovenia. Additional, quality investments have a positive impact on the welfare of the country and create new jobs. Now is the time for reforms and even greater transparency and affection for domestic and foreign investors.

We have noticed more interest from British companies in investing in or outsourcing too Central Eastern Europe since the Brexit referendum. To capture this interest and to position Slovenia as an inward investment destination, we’ve set up a plan of activities in the UK for 2017-2018 with the support of the Slovenian Ministry of Economic Development & Technology. The government has identified this as an opportunity to get more greenfield investment from the UK and to push Slovenian exports to the British market, especially in this period before the exit from the EU, and their support for foreign investors is clearly a strong focus. We welcome this initiative very much. As economic growth in Slovenia continues, domestic companies are looking to expand production and they quite often stumble upon administrative barriers and higher costs, compared to neighbouring countries. If the Slovenian government wants to stimulate domestic investment and make Slovenia more attractive for foreign investors, it needs to address issues such as the high level of income tax, social contributions and administrative barriers, and continue to invest in highly skilled labour, which is our advantage for investors.

International Business Partners

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

Investments contribute to economic growth and therefore every single investment, whether greenfield or an extention of activities, is important. The results of the research we conducted together with the German Chambers in CEE Countries, shows Slovenia is second within the CEE countries in terms of attractiveness for investments. However, the perception of the economic environment among

the competitive countries is less favourable for Slovenia. The quality of the labour force, and in particular the researchers and developers, reflects in the the investments made by all companies in the Republic of Slovenia, both foreign and domestic capital. The investment environment in Slovenia has to improve, mostly in terms of the flexibility of the labour law, the cost of labour, the

tax burden, the tax system and authorities, and the efficiency of Public Administration, which is where the competing CEE countries do better. In the long run, Slovenia must adapt the education system to meet the requirements of the economy and digitalisation.

Advantage Austria

The government has ensured better support for investments through a new law, with a feature of the law being the equal treatment of domestic and foreign investors. In fact, there is growing interest from foreign companies in investing in Slovenia. Austria is the most important foreign direct investor in the country with investments of EUR 3.5bn, across all economic sectors, through 700 subsidiaries in Slovenia.

The productivity and quality of the Slovenian workforce is appreciated the most. One of our surveys states that the support of SME investments and access to state subsidies is at the middle of the satisfaction scale and the attraction for FDI’s in Slovenia is average to high. 93% of the Austrian businesses would consider Slovenia again as their branch location but, as the largest investor, we would recommend

stronger cooperation with the government as well as government related institutions in legal decisions which consider foreign direct investments. FDI: EUR 3.5bn 30.7% of all FDI in Slovenia

Winter Edition 2017 | The Slovenian Times


International Business Partners Economy

Luxembourg-Slovenian Business Club (LSBC) Slovenia: Hidden Gem for High Tech Investment

Photo: Nemanja Glumac

By Iztok Petek, Nataša Zajec Recent, successful, greenfield investments have shown Slovenia’s potential as a superior destination for high value-added investments. The country was chosen because of it’s trained and skilled labour force, strategic position and stable fiscal policy. However, Slovenia does not do enough to promote investment opportunities. Our experience is that very few people know about the opportunites, Slovenia is clearly not active enough in promoting such opportunities. Slovenia is an attractive country for investment but the lack of information outside the country prevents more investors investigating the opportunities. Our observation and practice show that the orchestrated action of economic diplomacy, honorary consuls from business or business people interested in Slovenia, combined with business networking,

achieves the best results in spreading information most effectively in designated countries or regions. The role of the Embassy and business organisations is to collect relevant and pre-selected information and share it with the honorary consuls/business people who are able to distribute it to the decision-makers within their own business community. LSBC has the great privilege to work with one of the most proactive Slovenian embassies and with Luxembourg business people who clearly see the potential of Slovenia. We plan to intensify activities by setting up a systematic approach and flow of information to foreign investors. As the world is getting closer more quickly, we see the neccessity of acting not only bilaterally but globally, especially as Luxembourg and Benelux are a hub for global business operations.

Italian Trade Agency (ICE)

The European Commission recently published the updated Autumn economic growth estimates for Slovenia which is forecast to expand 4.7% in 2017 and 4% in 2018, driven by exports, private consumption and investment. Indeed, in the first half of 2017, investment increased by 10% as result of a rebound in the public component, supported by the start of the new EU financing cycle. According to the Bank of Slovenia‘s first release, the FDI stock in Slovenia in 2016 reached almost EUR 13bn, with annual growth of 11.5%. This encouraging data, closely related to the positive European trend, could still largely benefit from structural reforms and a reduction of the administrative burden on companies. As the 2018 World Bank’s Doing Business report singled out, there is still


The Slovenian Times | Winter Edition 2017

room for improvement in enforcing contracts, getting credit, dealing with construction permits, paying taxes and starting a business. In this context, the government has a key role in promoting domestic and foreign investments, particularly by simplifying the process. We understand the upcoming new law is precisely aimed at this, providing equal treatment and facilitating strategic investment. If so, the rising trend of Italian investments in Slovenia, of which the CIMOS acquisition is a significant example not always fully valued by the media, could further build upon the overall excellent political and economic relations between our two countries.

International Business Partners Policy must be equivalent for all investments by Dejan Štancer, President of KSBC I believe that Slovenes are generally pleased about every foreign investment that comes to the country as investment generates social development and progress. KSBC therefore looks forward to every foreign investor which brings new knowledge and technologies, no matter where they come from. We are pleased that, with the growth of the economies in the European area and the joint monetary union, of which Slovenia is a member, there is increasing interest for investing in Slovenia. However, we are on the side of those who warn that the treatment of each investor must be equitable, regardless of where they come from. We believe that the country should look more closely at the background of the investment funds that have recently emerged, while at the same time it would be rational to strengthen the portfolio investments of domestic legal entities. KSBC welcomes the government‘s announcement that a special law will be submitted to the National Assembly which aims to equate foreign investors with

domestic. It is the domestic economy that is the foundation of lasting social development and only a strong and competitive domestic economy will be able to cope with the challenges of new crises, which cannot be avoided. KSBC will continue to strive to strengthen exports and increase investment between Slovenia and Kazakhstan. With this goal, we will be organising a third delegation to Kazakhstan in December this year, following the ‚Smart Business Delegation‘ and the successful EXPO 2017 exhibition of which KSBC was a partner.

Kazakh-Slovenian Business Club - KSBC

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Political Overview

Pahor concerned the refugee issue may affect the geopolitics of the EU

Pahor, who starts his new five-year term in the office at the end of December, said that it would be important for Slovenia to do its bit as a sovereign country and as an EU and NATO member, in order to contribute to stabilisation and deal with issues internationally. One of the biggest challenges Pahor identified was the refugee issue, where he believes that the EU President Borut Pahor; Photo: Tamino Petelinšek/STA

Slovenia providing support to Adriatic Charter countries Slovenia is providing active support to the Adriatic Charter countries, Defence Ministry State Secretary, Miloš Bizjak, said as he attended the annual US-Adriatic Charter defence ministerial in Ohrid, Macedonia. The two-day event, in early December, was attended by defence officials from the US, Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Bulgaria, Kosovo, Serbia and Slovenia. The conference focused on regional


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has failed the test. "This has shaken confidence in addressing the EU’s development." The president advocates proportion rather than exaggeration when it comes to accepting refugees in Europe, "or else the situation will get out of control". This is why he understands the concerns of Interior Minister Vesna Györkös Žnidar, whom he backed in the case of the Syrian refugee, Ahmad Shamieh. He believes that Slovenia should "not give the impression that it is departing in any way from the conduct of virtually all other countries which understand that the number of refugees fleeing to Europe is much larger than is the readiness of the 28 countries to share the burden of care for them". The "overriding concern" in Europe today is that "no politician should produce the effect of Angela Merkel’s 'Willkommenspolitik' through their words or actions". In this sense, Pahor sees tightening controls at the external Schengen borders as the only way forward. Pahor believes that the expected German-French initiative for the future of the EU will probably also demand a "certain positioning" on the part of Slovenia.

projects, defence cooperation, participation in the NATO-led Resolute Support mission to Afghanistan, and gender perspectives in the military and defence ministries. Slovenia, an observer of the Adriatic Charter, encourages member countries to introduce necessary reforms and provides concrete help, including through international NATO missions, Bizjak said. Touching on Resolute Support, Bizjak said that Slovenia would step up its involvement in the mission in 2018. While in Ohrid, Bizjak met Laura Cooper, US Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence and Dragan Nikolić, State Secretary at the Macedonian Defence Ministry, the Slovenian Defence Ministry advised in a press release. The event was addressed by Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, who said that the Adriatic Charter motivated the countries to work towards achieving NATO standards. He is confident that Macedonia will meet NATO standards soon and become the thirtieth member of the alliance.

Health Minister Milojka Kolar Celarc; Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA

Pediatric Clinic of the UKC Ljubljana; Photo: Tamino Petelinšek/STA

No end in sight for healthcare woes The cornerstone of the government’s health reform efforts collapsed this year as Health Minister Milojka Kolar Celarc failed to get support for a bill to reorganise the health insurance system and secure more stable healthcare financing. The coalition did manage to push through a law designed to improve the management of waiting lists at hospitals and another regulating the concessions for private practitioners, which doctors unsuccessfully sought to challenge in a referendum. A law was also passed to bail out ailing hospitals with EUR 136m over the next two years. However, financing and waiting times remain problematic and hospitals keep overpaying for medical equipment. A grouped public procurement for stents failed as virtually all bids exceeded the price ceilings, and the parliamentary inquiry investigating stent purchases found that they were hugely overpriced and that hospital purchasing departments acted in accord with suppliers and willingly violated public procurement legislation. The Minister, who survived another ouster motion in 2017, also faced criticism over the situation at the Pediatric Clinic of the UKC Ljubljana hospital, where infighting and accusations for allegedly preventable deaths further undermined public trust in the hospital’s ability to treat children with congenital heart disease.

Source: STA

In an interview published in early December, President Borut Pahor raised concerns that the refugee issue could determine the geopolitical position of individual countries in a future reorganisation of the EU.

Culture Interview: Uršula Cetinski, General Director, Cankarjev dom

In the glow of worldwide performers, Slovenian literary hero Ivan Cankar By Tina Drolc, M.Sc.

Cankarjev dom cultural and congress centre is Slovenia’s largest cultural institution, built between 1982 and 1983 and designed by the architect, Edvard Ravnikar. Ravnikar’s Line exhibition has recently been unveiled in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the laying of the foundation stone. Annually, the centre attracts 500,000 visitors and hosts approximately 18,000 performers. This year, the centre will organise around 1,100 artistic performances, with the program of the Events and Congress Management Department listing as many as 850 events.

Uršula Cetinski, General Director, Cankarjev dom Photo: Tina Ramujkić

Cankarjev dom combines various genres of art under one roof: music, film, fine arts, theatre and dance, humanist arts and cultural education. Can you share some facts and figures about your international cooperation? In the 2017/2018 season, the Golden Series presents some major international orchestras, including the Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra, the Spanish National Orchestra, the Young German Philharmonic Orchestra, the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. The outstanding ballet adaptation of The Glembays by the Ballet

of the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb, has already featured as part of The Magnificent 7 Series, as has the sublime Tristan and Isolde, choreographed by Japanese dance and visual artist, Saburo Teshigawara. We are eagerly anticipating Romeo and Juliet, an exquisite ballet by the masterly French choreographer Angelin Preljocaj, for one of our New Year’s Eve shows. In 2018, two more companies will no doubt mesmerise us: the Sydney Dance Company and Compagnie Käfig from France. In cooperation with the Ivan Meštrović Gallery in Split and the Atelier Meštrović in Zagreb, the centre will launch Corporeality and Eroticism in Sculpture, an exhibition of more than 60 sculptures and drawings, on 9 February 2018. The traditional 59th Jazz Festival Ljubljana will be held in late June. It is the oldest in Europe with ongoing, uninterrupted activity. Last September, the centre was greatly honoured to act as the host of the 4th European Jazz Conference, a prestigious event bringing together over 200 eminent professionals. We have achieved widespread recognition with our International Film Festival Liffe as well as a smaller festival of Documentary Film, to be held for the twentieth time next year. In April, we keenly await the concert by art-pop star and iconic voice of the new French chanson, Camille, and our invitation for an April visit to our centre is being strongly considered by Orhan Pamuk, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature. As the forecasts state, the global MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions, and Events) market is expected to reach US $1.59bn by 2021 from US $1.11bn in 2016.

What role does the centre play in congress activity? While primarily an arts centre due to its strong congress activity, Cankarjev dom also enjoys a significant regional and global presence as an important scientific centre. In line with the centre’s strategy, our Events and Congress Management Department covers between 20% to 25% of our program and in view of our limited spatial and personnel capacities, we have no plans to expand the congress activity. In this regard, we are doing extremely well and we are fully booked for 2018. It gives me great pleasure to announce that in August 2018, Cankarjev dom will proudly host the 15th International DOCOMOMO Conference (DOcumentation and COnservation of MOdern MOvement), which will bring together 600 delegates from 70 countries. What are your feelings toward Virtual Reality in connection with MICE? Do you think it will become a feasible feature of most MICE operators? Virtual reality and its endless possibilities are undoubtedly changing our lives. Digitalisation of society has introduced numerous changes, changes for which the effects are, for the most part, positive. However, as mankind will not renounce the privilege of meeting in real space, the areas that refuse to be robotic – which includes the arts – will enjoy a very promising and prosperous future. What are the highlights for 2018? In 2018, Cankarjev dom will place special emphasis on marking the centenary of the death of Ivan Cankar (1876–1918), the illustrious writer after whom the centre has been named. Within the context of the Cankar on Cankar Festival, to be launched in January 2018, is Scandal in St Florian Valley. Directed by Eduard Miler, the production will feature some of the most accomplished actors engaged by the Drama National Theatre and the City Theatre Ljubljana. In cooperation with the City Museum of Ljubljana, the centre is planning a large-scale exhibition dedicated to the writer. The show, at the City Museum of Ljubljana, will chronicle the writer’s life and times, and the comparative exhibition at the Cankarjev dom Gallery will focus on the influences on his work, an output testifying to the fact that Ivan Cankar is unquestionably a major Central European author. The exhibition is titled Cankar and Europe. From Shakespeare to Kafka. Cankar’s works will be compared to those of European literary giants, names as illustrious as Gorki, Shaw, Jarry, Mann, Rilke, Joyce, Gide, Kafka, etc. Winter Edition 2017 | The Slovenian Times


Experience&Lifestyle Slovenia EUROCITIES 2017:

Cities have the power to lead by example EUROCITIES is the network of major European cities and was founded in 1986 by the mayors of six large cities: Barcelona, Birmingham, Frankfurt, Lyon, Milan and Rotterdam. Today, the network brings together more than 135 local governments of Europe’s largest cities and over 45 partner cities that govern 130 million citizens across 39 countries. EUROCITIES influences and works with EU institutions to respond to common issues that affect the day-to-day lives of Europeans.

The CIRCULAR café with networking and listening the presentations of interesting and inspirational people


The Slovenian Times | Winter Edition 2017

Ljubljana Mayor Zoran Janković

The EUROCITIES Ljubljana conference took place on 15-17 November 2017 with the circular economy as its main theme. There were approximately 600 participants in attendance from across Europe. Ljubljana Mayor Zoran Janković underscored the importance of cities in ensuring the quality of life for their citizens and future generations, and highlighted the two main challenges which are currently being faced: climate change on the one side, wars and terrorism on the other. The Mayor added that these challenges can only be managed through cooperation. Daniël Termont, President of EUROCITIES and Mayor of Gent, emphasised the future significance of transitioning to the circular economy and highlighted that cities have more ambition in this area than countries. He added that, in the future, cities will have to reorganise themselves and cooperate with each other to attain the set sustainable goals. Termont stressed that "cooperation is key," and added that cities are willing to learn from each other and mutually adopt good practices to help their citizens. Conference participants were also greeted by the European Commissioner for Transport, Violeta Bulc, who addressed the participants by stressing the importance of good cooperation between cities. She added that she is interested in hearing proposals from cities and wants to open a dialogue with them, ending her address with the words that the circular economy is the right path for the future, but that we have to be aware that it is in the hands of consumers which is why awareness has to be raised among them and available options presented to direct them toward the right path. The Secretary General of EUROCITIES, Anna Lisa Boni, specifically thanked Mayor

Zoran Janković for transforming Ljubljana into a sustainable jewel. Among other things, she emphasised that 2017 represents the door into the future and that it is important to react to the changes being witnessed, while stressing that the European Union has to work together with the cities and their residents. "Together, let’s shape our future!"

Circular economy good practices The EUROCITIES conference hosted the round tables with participants discussing society, partnerships, economy and further growth according to circular principles. The discussions lead by Karl Falkenberg, Igor E. Bergant, Ladeja Godina Košir and Chris Wherry focused on transitioning jobs and skills, breaking silos and creating communities, the power of public procurement and developing the urban model. Study visits followed during which the conference participants were able to see cases of good practices in the area of the circular economy, in Ljubljana. They visited the Reuse Centre, the Celica Hostel, Hotel Park, RCERO Ljubljana and an apartment designed on the basis of the zero-waste principle. Janez Potočnik, Co-chair of the UNEP International Resource Panel and former European Commissioner for Environment, presented the role of the circular economy in the resource story and cities. Among other issues, he stressed that there is no sustainable future without sustainable cities, and he encouraged conference participants to act as leaders. The conference continued with Circular Talks during which lecturers Matej Čer, Founder AvantCar and Iza Login, Co-Founder Login5 Foundation and former co-founder and

Experience&Lifestyle Slovenia EUROCITIES Awards for excellence in the circular economy The winners of 2017 EUROCITIES were awarded in three standard categories – cooperation, innovation and participation - linked to the theme of the annual conference, which this year considered the impact of the circular economy on cities. The winning projects were: • for Cooperation: Munich’s 'Halle 2 – Munich’s second-hand store as the nucleus of the local circular economy' • for Innovation: Brussels Capital Region’s 'Be circular – be Brussels – call for projects for enterprises' • for Participation: Gothenburg’s 'Smart map'.

New concept at EUROCITIES Ljubljana - Have coffee with ... participants decided who they want to have coffee with.

In July, nine cities were shortlisted for the awards across the three categories: Brussels Capital Region, Munich and Tampere – Cooperation; Almere, Brussels Capital Region and Lille Métropole – Innovation; and Antwerp, Brighton Hove and Gothenburg – Participation.

Deputy CEO of Outfit7 discussed how we can live without noise, pollution and car ownership and why there is no more time to postpone sustainability.

2018: Edinburgh

Daniël Termont, President of EUROCITIES and Mayor of Gent

Next year, Edinburgh will host the EUROCITIES conference and Lord Provost of Edinburgh, Frank Ross, said the main theme will be Creative Competitive Cities. He stressed the importance of cooperation between cities and added that the aim of the main theme is to highlight that creativity and culture raise the quality of life at all levels. He also presented a young conference ambassador, as 2018 is Scotland’s Year of Young People and therefore their proposals and ideas will also be heard at the conference.

Iza Login, Co-Founder Login5 Foundation and former co-founder and Deputy CEO of Outfit7 and Janez Potočnik, Co-chair of the UNEP International Resource Panel and former European Commissioner for Environment


Violeta Bulc, European Commissioner for Transport

Winter Edition 2017 | The Slovenian Times


Experience&Lifestyle Slovenia


on top There is a time when it seems that everything is going smoothly and success arrives. At such moments, it could even be forgotten how much effort was invested. Today, it appears that Ljubljana has the whole world in the palm of its hand as the city collects one award after another in the international arena. The awards are not taken for granted; they are the fruit of the long-standing, professional work of the team at the City of Ljubljana and Mayor Zoran Janković. The City is pleased to receive each and every award, but at the same time aware that it carries a lot of responsibility for their future work.

Ljubljana among the finalists for the title European City of the Year In mid-November, in London, the 2018 urban prizes were awarded by the Academy of Urbanism, an autonomous, politically independent organisation that promotes outstanding places. The City of Ljubljana is proud that over 500 experts, from different fields, recognised the potential of Ljubljana on their own initiative and ranked the city as one of the three finalists in the European City of the Year category. They highlighted Ljubljana’s green environment, to

Source: The Academy for Urbanism


The Slovenian Times | Winter Edition 2017

which the City puts a lot of attention, as well as the green, environmentally-friendly vision for the development of the city, which nicely complements its natural features. In the final, Ljubljana was considered alongside Vienna and the winner, Bilbao. Ljubljana congratulates Bilbao on this award.

New award for responsible tourism in Ljubljana Tourism Ljubljana received the prestigious WTM Responsible Tourism Award, in London, in the category of best communication in responsible tourism. The award further strengthens the position of Ljubljana at the top of Sustainable Destinations. The expert jury was convinced by the sustainable orientation of Ljubljana development and expressed their enthusiasm over the results achieved by Ljubljana in the short term. The commission received over 500 applications, from which 12 finalists were chosen, with only three from Europe, including Ljubljana.

Source: Office of the President of the Russian Federation.

"I am extremely honored to receive this recognition", Mayor Zoran Janković said in his acceptance speech, adding that he is proud that the only monument dedicated to the Russians and the Soviets who fell during the First World War was set up in Ljubljana. He also highlighted the good relations between the twin cities of Ljubljana and Moscow, and invited President Putin to return to Ljubljana and Slovenia.

Recognition for the remarkable contribution to the development of tourism

The proud team of the City of Ljubljana and Tourism Ljubljana, with the Deputy Mayor, Tjaša Ficko and Tourism Ljubljana Director, Petra Stušek M.Sc. Source: Nino Verdnik, STO

The Order of Friendship for Mayor Zoran Jankovic In Moscow, the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, awarded the Order of Friendship, one of the most honored awards of Russia, to Mayor Zoran Janković for his contribution to strengthening Slovenian-Russian relations and preserving the memory of fallen Russian and Soviet soldiers on Slovenian territory during the First and Second World Wars.

Source: Nik Rovan

The high recognition that the Mayor received in Moscow was not the only confirmation of his recent work. He was also awarded by the Slovenian Tourist Board during this year’s Slovenian Tourism Days, with the highest recognition for his outstanding contribution to the development of Slovenian tourism. In addition, he was highlighted for his efficient, successful and penetrating destination management and great influence on the sustainable development of tourism throughout Slovenia, not just in Ljubljana. "Zoran Janković has created a good example of the revival of the capital’s old city. With his charisma, perseverance, and insight, he connects the local population with the city, tourists and the economy. The optimism, clarity of decisions, development orientation and ideology of Mr. Zoran Janković are remarkable." These are just a few reasons why the mayor has earned this high recognition.

Photo: archive

Experience&Lifestyle Slovenia Ice fantasy at Kongresni trg At Kongresni trg, from 25 November through to 7 January, visitors will be able to enjoy more than 2,000m2 of ice rink, the "Ice fantasy". For children up to the age of six, entry is free. At the ice rink there will be an entertainment program and accompanying catering offer.

Guided tours of festive Ljubljana and a holiday boat ride Festive december in the city of Ljubljana; Photo: Shutterstock

Regular guided city tours will also have a festive note in December. From 1 December to 7 January, it will be possible to experience a fairytale Ljubljana, every day at 5pm, from the Tourist Information Center at Adamič Lundrovsko nabrežje 2. A truly special experience will be to view festively decorated Ljubljana from one of the tourist boats. Cruises last half an hour with a glass of mulled wine or tea included in the price. Boat rides will be available until 2 January 2018.

Christmas concert and Magical festive lighting, listening to hurdy-gurdy men on the streets and squares, New Year’s Eve celebrations the smell of cooked wine, smiling faces and sparkles of expectation in the eyes of the youngest, all this is December in Ljubljana. You are invited to participate in the events during the December holidays and experience the fairytale atmosphere on the streets and squares of Ljubljana. The full December program is published at

Turning on the lights and the festive fair The festive program in Ljubljana begins on Friday, 1 December. This year, the holiday lighting is designed by Zmago Modic and builds on the unique concept of previous years. On the same day, a festive fair will open on Breg, Prešernov trg, Pogačarev trg, Kongresni trg, and Cankarjevo nabrežje and Gallusovo nabrežje which, in December, become the centre of the social events. Visitors will be able to walk among the festive booths, which offer original products and gifts, as well as the catering booths that are particularly popular among the locals. The festive fair will be open until 2 January 2018 and the catering booths until 7 January.

Nativity scene of straw From 1 December to 7 January, at Breg in front of the Zois Palace, there will be a nativity scene made from straw. The unique, hand-made work is by amateur artist, Anton Kravanja. The nativity scene is special because all the figures are life size.

The traditional Christmas concert will be a special experience, in the heart of festively decorated Ljubljana at Mestni trg, on 24 December at 5pm. The peak of the festive events will be the mass celebration on the streets and squares in the centre of the city - at Kongresni trg, Mestni trg, Pogačarjev trg and French Revolution Square. Festive december in the city of Ljubljana; Photos bellow: Dunja Wedam

Magic forest in Zvezda park From 3 to 23 December, Zvezda park will be transformed into a Magic Forest. Every afternoon there will be creative workshops for children who will create nature-friendly New Year’s ornaments.

Arrival of St Nicholas On Sunday, 3 December, the four day St Nicolas Fair begins on Prešernov trg. The festively decorated stalls will offer traditional gifts for St Nicholas. On Tuesday, 5 December, St Nicholas will arrive in Krekov trg, from the castle hill and parade with the devil and the angels who will cycle all the way to Prešerenov trg where the good man will address visitors. Winter Edition 2017 | The Slovenian Times


Experience&Lifestyle Slovenia

Transition of the City of Maribor to a Circular Economy The City of Maribor (the Municipality) has demonstrated, in recent years, that a municipality which is burdened with a difficult economy and various other social challenges, can successfully direct its development path toward a brighter future. Since 2014, the Municipality has been planning an integrated urban system that includes the comprehensive management of all waste, excess energy and wastewater generated in the urban area of the ​​ city, based on the concept of a circular economy for effective resource management. The approach will also integrate the core principles of a cooperative economy, involving the citizens, which both the European Commission and the United Nations also endeavour. Through numerous interactions with citizen representatives, experts, governments, companies and EU representatives, the Municipality has developed an umbrella project for its transition into a circular economy - the Wcycle project. 48

The Slovenian Times | Winter Edition 2017

The Municipality is currently among the few, not just in Slovenia, which is redirecting its operations, the performance of its businesses and citizens, toward the efficient resource management model. Not only does it include the concept of a circular economy in the area of municipal waste, but also the implementation of the concept of waste management in construction and industry and the management of redundant energy, purified water and urban mobility. At the same time, the Municipality continues to implement a cooperative economy by promoting cooperation with NGOs, youth and the elderly. These activities highlight the extremely innovative approach of the city to policy-making, creating synergies for all groups of the population, the environment and the economy. The Wcycle project is a strategic development model to transform the City of Maribor, as an urban centre, in the areas of integrated waste management, wasteful energy and wastewater, based a policy of the circular economy as a material, energy and water strategy for the use of recovered waste, excess energy and purified water. The integration model also includes the community’s involvement as a cooperative economy. The presentation of the Wcycle Maribor project sat under the framework of the European Week of Cities and Re-

Experience&Lifestyle Slovenia gions, in October 2016, in Brussels and with the support of former European Commissioner Dr Janez Potočnik, the concept was presented to the citizens of Maribor in November 2016. The Municipality’s council had approved the concept in March 2017, which confirmed the further development of the project and the establishment of the Wcycle Institute Maribor (IWM) - Institute for the Circular Economy. The strategy for the transition of the City of Maribor into a circular economy as well as the Wcycle project is a modular system for managing all of the resources that are available in the municipality and the broader urban environment. The company’s municipal offices are primarily equipped for the development of the necessary projects but so far, they have not had interoperability capabilities, which is a fundamental principle in the transition from a linear to a circular economy. Only close cooperation among public companies, citizens, industry and the local government can lead to a successful, interconnected system that optimises resources and economic, environmental and social results. This is a long-term project of transition to a different organisation of society, which provides development-oriented management of resource flows in the local and regional environment. The purpose of the strategy and the Wcycle project is cross-sectoral cooperation in the processing and re-use of material, energy and aquatic waste sources. The implementation of a circular economy model in Maribor is organ-

Maribor will do everything to ensure that the development and implementation of the Wcycle Project, as a model of efficient sectoral urban resource management, will be a successful story which the citizens of Maribor will be proud of. For the currently recognised needs of the urban area of Maribor, IWM has already designed 18 projects in the area of efficient resource management, at an estimated implementation value of more than EUR 50m, to be realised by the end of 2020. Projects are not financially based on the conditions for obtaining grants, real investment money, there are many good projects. Time will show whether Maribor will be an example for the other cities of an urban circular economy, however due to the concrete actions and development goals, the state already informally recognises Maribor as the centre of the circular city for the development potential of the country.

Andrej Fištravec, PhD, Mayor of the City Municipality of Maribor

ised around six selected sectors (pillars). The expected outcome of these activities will be the emergence of new business opportunities for the Municipality, citizens and industry, the creation of high-quality, predominantly green jobs, new added value and a new economic boost. In order to meet the general goal of the strategy, radical new ways of thinking are needed. This approach is truly innovative in all aspects of implementation - technological, organisational, social, cultural and behavioral. The idea is based on the foundation that companies and institutions in the urban environment share information and work together to achieve the highest possible re-use of resources. The starting point for the implementation of the Wcycle Strategy and the Wcycle Project is that the city does not want landfill or a waste incinerator, which the citizens of Maribor have repeatedly expressed publicly. Therefore waste, surplus energy and wastewater generated by one sector must be used as a new source in the operation of another sector, once processed. This will be connected through the development of an interactive information support tool. The project covers an innovative system of the circular economy, which does not yet exist and is now complementary to the principles of a cooperative economy. The strategy, as a basic

document at the local government level, makes it easier to implement the project and gives a clear signal that Maribor, as one of the first cities in the European Union, is being strategically moved to a circular economy. In April 2017, Wcycle Maribor - Institute for Circular Economy was established by the five companies that are owned or majority-owned by the Municipality to implement the Wcycle Strategy and Project. IWM is the umbrella organisation responsible for implementing projects within the strategy, founding enterprises, citizens and private entities. In just a few months, IWM is successfully implementing the concept which is rapidly gaining national and international recognition. The Wcycle project received the first Future of Cities Award in 2017, and the Municipality, in cooperation with IWM as part of Urban Innovative Actions, acquired the Urban Soil 4 Food project, which will bring EUR 3m from the European Union but also a number of positive effects for citizens.

Winter Edition 2017 | The Slovenian Times


Event Guide

Event Guide  Culture The Magnificent 7 Subscription and Non-Subscription Series

Romeo and Juliet, Ballet Preljocaj Thursday, 28 December at 19.30; Friday, 29 December at 19.00; Saturday, 30 December at 18.00; and Sunday, 31 December 2017 at 20.00, Cankarjev dom (Cultural and Congress Centre), Ljubljana

 Entertainment

Bled: Ice rink with a view 24 Nov 2017 – 4 March 2018, Hotel Park Coffee Shop terrace

 Culture - Exhibition

The ice rink is open every day, until 4 March, from 9.00am - 9.00pm. You are invited to join us for the animation events on the ice rink: Every Wednesday, 6.00pm - 9.00pm Curling Price: EUR5.00 per person (min. 4 persons) Come and have fun and try something "new" - 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 a mulled wine. Every Saturday, 11.00am - 12.00pm Ice skating with the swans Zaki and Rozi Childrens 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 skating to the rhythm of DJ music, enjoy winter gastronomy and toast with a mulled wine.

Postojna Cave: Live Nativity Experience

Photo: Benjamin Pezdir

25-30 December 2017, Postojna Cave, Postojna Step into a Christmas fairytale with Postojna Cave‘s live nativity experience. Ranked as one of the world‘s most beautiful Christmas scenes, experience an unforgettable festive fairytale at Slovenia‘s Postojna Cave. Enter the subterranean world of for an immersive, live nativity scene as you walk the five kilometre underground route. …Transformed into a Festive Fairytale Postojna Cave’s annual living nativity scenes transforms the entire five kilometre tourist route into a magical Christmas venue. At the entrance to the cave, experience a traditional Christmas market with local delicacies, crafts and stalls, before heading underground to explore an immersive nativity scene. Photo caption: For 28 years, Postojna Cave has been the place to visit in Slovenia during the festive season.

Choreography: Angelin Preljocaj Music: Sergei Prokofiev, Romeo and Juliet Angelin Preljocaj created the choreography for Romeo and Juliet, based on Prokofiev’s ballet, for the Lyon Opera in 1990. Twentyfive years later, the piece was restaged by Ballet Preljocaj, a company based in Aixen-Provence and has since toured a range of venues worldwide. When the piece was created, Preljocaj was practically unknown on the international dance scene; the unassertive young choreographer first hesitated to accept Lyon Opera’s commission. It was the essence of Shakespeare’s timeless story that impacted his decision to eventually take up the challenge – the limiting influence of power over one of the most essential individual freedoms, the freedom to love. Preljocaj’s radically envisioned choreography allows no room for families, for intimacy, it focuses on the confrontation between clans fighting for their territory. The creation retains Shakespeare’s iconic balcony scene, the setting for ultimate love, bloody clan wars and tragic fate.

 Culture

Vruja 27 Dec, 8pm, Cankarjev dom (Cultural and Congress Centre), Ljubljana Continuing the tradition of musical groups from Slovenian Istria, Vruja has greatly influenced the popularisation of Istrian musical heritage over the recent decades. The group’s name is of a dialectic origin and translates as source / spring. The musical tradition, from southern Istria, is presented with authentic instruments. With the addition of guitar, mandolin, flute, electric bass and bagpipes, Vruja create a musical atmosphere based on their own inspiration. From its source, Vruja convey the fresh, merry and cheerful spirit of the Istrian people which informs their upbeat live performances.


The Slovenian Times | Winter Edition 2017

Event Guide

 Culture

New Year’s Concert

Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir 1 Jan 2018, 18.00, Cankarjev dom (Cultural and Congress Centre), Ljubljana Conductor: Philipp von Steinaecker Soloist: Sebastian Bertoncelj, cello Program: Russian composers (Tchaikovsky, Glinka, Rachmaninov, Mussorgsky, Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Stravinsky)

 Culture

Photo: Peter Uhan

virtuosity and passion 7 February 2018, SITI TEATER, Ljubljana

Bizarre operetta, SNG Nova Gorica

This musical play by the cult London group, The Tiger Lillies, is an adaptation of the world-renowned children’s picture book, Shockheaded Peter (Struwwelpeter, 1845) by the German psychiatrist, poet and writer, Heinrich Hoffmann. The ‘junk-opera,’ as the authors themselves called it, was first shown in London in 1998 and has since been staged all over the world, from Broadway to the Burgtheater in Vienna. It has won a number of awards, including the most important, the Olivier Award for Best Entertainment (2002). The bizarre stories talk about children’s bad behaviour and its potentially dangerous consequences. This unusual play, aimed at adults and young people, enthralls with its grotesque-morbid intensification of wellknown stories and dark humour, and promises a rewarding theatre experience. Lavish entertainment for the entire family!

Photo: Jure Matoz

Tango Story -

The Tiger Lillies, Julian Crouch, Phelim McDermot, Shockheaded Peter

30- 31 December 2017, 19.30, Cankarjev dom (Cultural and Congress Centre), Ljubljana Directed by: Ivana Djilas

 Culture

 Sport

54th Golden Fox 2018 6 – 7 Jan 2018, Mariborsko Pohorje (Habakuk slope and the snow stadium) Experience the unforgettable atmosphere that accompanies the Annual Golden Fox Competition, the traditional women’s competition in Maribor for the FIS Ski World Cup. The Mariborsko Pohorje ski centre boasts the largest number of skiers in Slovenia and the longest downhill night run in Europe. It has been honoured with the Golden Snowflake Award as the best ski centre in Slovenia. The large crowds that this competition draws contribute to the global appeal of the race. The spectators 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.

Borut Zagoranski - accordion Matija Krečič - violin Žiga Golob - double bass Marko Koročec - guitar Mladen Delin - piano Andreja Podlogar & Blaž Bertoncelj - dance Nuška Drašček - voice Tango Story was one of the projects of the European Capital of Culture (EPK) Maribor 2012. Together with the world famous violinist Stefan Milenkovich, the group performed on the biggest stages in Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and also had a very successful tour of the USA. This time, on its return, it includes one of the most important of the current generation of virtuosos, Borut Zagoranski, on accordion, with Matija Krečič on violin, Žiga Golob on double bass, Marko Korošec on guitar and the leader of the project, Mladen Delin, on piano. Special guests are the world dance champions in tango, Andreja Podlogar and Blaž Bertoncelj, and the vocals from one of the best Slovenian singers, Nuška Drašček.  Internationally renowned musicians will take you from the old Tango Vieho, from taverns and a brothel, to Tango Nuevo, a classical modern tango.

 Carnival

Kurentovanje, one of the most interesting carnivals in the world 2 to 13 February 2018, Parade through the city streets and squares, Mestni trg, Ptuj Lonely Planet singled out Kurentovanje as one of the 10 best carnivals in the world, on par with those in Venice, Rio de Janeiro and New Orleans. Kurentovanje features a number of folk and carnival parades, the carnival promenade, presentations of traditional costumes, concerts, masquerade balls, exhibitions and so much more, divided into ArtFest, EtnoFest, and KarnevalFest. Winter Edition 2017 | The Slovenian Times



AIRFRANCE.SI Gradually installed on long-haul flights on a part of Boeing 777 fleet.

Always Good Times


SLX featuring

ARROW TECHNOLOGY Arrow technology is the utilization of strategically shaped carbon plates and titanium structual layers in the ski that work in harmony to deliver lightning quick response with world class precision and accuracy. A cambered carbon plate is fixed to the ski and acts as a booster that generates power to the tip. An arrow shaped titanium layer gathers and transfers this energy simultaneously that translates into instant superior edge pressure.

The Slovenia Times Winter Edition 2017  

The leading Slovenian magazine in English

The Slovenia Times Winter Edition 2017  

The leading Slovenian magazine in English