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

Ljubljana, European Green Capital 2016: A moment of gratitude and a moment of pride Interview: Martina Larkin, MBA, Head of Europe and Eurasia, Member of the Executive Committee, World Economic Forum Geneva

The Fourth Industrial Revolution has the potential to raise global income levels and improve the quality of life for populations around the world Interview: Zdravko PoÄ?ivalĹĄek, Minister of Economic Development and Technology, RS

Maximum financial recovery and the future of the company both need to be considered

Baby Boom in Postojna Cave: It looks like the little 'dragons' are growing

Do you know how much energy and money can your hotel save by installing a proper ventilation system? Let’s preserve energy. LET’S SAVE.


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• It uses filters to clean the air for a healthy and pleasant living. • Ensures 100% air exchange through a built-in recuperator and provides savings on heating.

• Prevents draft and intrusion of insects. • Prevents incursion of outside noise. • Effortless installation.


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MIK, d. o. o., Celjska cesta 55, 3212 Vojnik, Slovenia •





Slovenia’s time-tested qualities make it a prime location for greenfield production, regional HQ, distribution and logistics centre or R&D facility. We provide support for foreign investors looking to take advantage of the country’s strengths. We continue to work with businesses under our aftercare programme to ensure your investment is a success. Contact InvestSlovenia Team: T: +386 1 5891 870 E:

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


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



Winning strategy - Global success The end of this year’s winter was truly special for Slovenia. On 20 March 2016, the final event of the FIS Ski Jumping World Cup was held in the renovated Planica Nordic Centre – it was truly spectacular! Slovenian ski jumper, Peter Prevc, stood on the podium four times - winning two gold and two silver medals, including the team medal. These wins saw him win the overall World Cup, the big Crystal Globe, which he won by a significant margin over his competitors as the best ski jumper of 2016. He also won the World Cup for ski flying by taking gold at Planica. Perhaps the most important fact is that the Slovenian team ranked second in the Nations Cup to the Norwegian team. When it comes to World Championships, Slovenians have never ranked this high in any other sport. What is this formula for this undisputable prodigy’s success? It is most definitely his perPhoto: Stanko Gruden/STA sonal traits, hard work, outstanding organisation and confidence. But his success can also be attributed to the environment created by his family, coaches and the system of work practiced by the ski organisation where Prevc trains. Prevc is supported by an amazing team of experts headed by his coach, Goran Janus. The team has a clear vision –to win – and a clear strategy and approach to achieve this goal which they apply at each competition or trial. This talent and hard work of our ski jumpers and their team of experts was celebrated by the 110,000 visitors who attended the four day event at Planica, creating a magical atmosphere and inspiring our sportsmen who proved that, with support, they can be the best. There are certain similarities between the Slovenian economy and sport. In the economy Slovenia also has world champions – innovative export companies with many talented employees who battle the global economic competition daily. These global innovators are increasing their investment in development and growth every year and their success is a key indicator of the importance of this investment to their results. All companies need clearly defined goals and a vision. They can only be successful if their goals are fulfilled and when this happens, they have their employees to thank. Over the last few years, our country and environment have not been supportive toward business (as opposed to the support for our ski jumpers) which is why Slovenia must improve its business environment. How are we supposed to be successful when the taxes on the highly educated and most experienced experts are so high? How can we create job vacancies if no new investments are made? As with Planica where we rewrote history, our country should tend to our economy, provide the best conditions for its growth and make sure the best possible results are achieved. It is high time Slovenia started listening to its entrepreneurs and implements the necessary measures to improve the competitiveness of our tattered economy. Yours truly, Brane Krajnik CEO and Publisher


The Slovenian Times | Spring Edition 2016

Spring Edition 2016 Published quarterly by Domus, založba in trgovina d.o.o. Bregarjeva 37, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia

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

CEO and Publisher Brane Krajnik

Editor in Chief Tina Drolc

Editorial Consultant Louise Chatwood

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

Contributors Mateja Kenda, Andreas Schleicher, Seán Meehan, Jon Younger, Norm Smallwood, Valerio Fabbri, Andreja Jaklič, Iris Koleša, Matija Rojec, Mojca Steiner, Tanja Fajon, Iztok Marošič, Nejc Puš, Matevž Rašković, Andreja Jernejčič

AD & D Marko Pentek,

Cover Photo Zavod za turizem, kulturo, mladino in šport Brda.

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.

Business Partners

Contents Page 20


6 FDI Summit Slovenia 2015 – Management of talent will improve competitiveness

8 Interview: Boris Koprivnikar, Minister of Public Administration of Slovenia

10 How does your company encourage talent and reward good performance? 12 Will Slovenia attract more foreign investors in the future? 14 REGIONAL INSIGHT IN ASSOCIATION WITH S&P RATINGS SERVICES

ECONOMIC REVIEW – SKILLS ENCOURAGEMENT 16 In June, Slovenia will have detailed and internationally comparable data on a range of skills Page 24

16 IMD World Talent Report: Slovenia ranks 38th overall 17 Performance Management in the Gig Economy

ECONOMY 18 Economic overview 20 Interview: Zdravko Počivalšek, Minister of Economic Development and Technology, RS 22 70 years of the FELU: Young, vibrant and an active research faculty! 24 Interview: Martina Larkin, MBA, Head of Europe and Eurasia, Member of the Executive Committee,

World Economic Forum Geneva Page 28

26 Young Manager is Gregor Rebolj, Lifetime achievement awarded to Cvetana Rijavec 28 Interview: Imre Balogh Ph.D., Acting CEO & Executive Director, Bank Asset Management Company

(DUTB d.d.) 30 Women Leaders - Agents of Change in Europe 32 Interview: Vesna Vodopivec, General Manager of Human Resources and Organisation Development,

NLB 33 Interview: Irena Moro, Director, Moro & Kunst Company 34 The future of supply chains: Turning attention toward consumers and demand-driven chains 36 Who Will Take the Infrastructure Lead to Central Europe? Page 30

38 MBA considered best education for career advancement 40 Confucius Institute Ljubljana and the spirit of the new Silk Road: Building bridges in cultural

dialogue and business through language and education


The Slovenian Times | Spring Edition 2016

Contents Page 40

INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS PARTNERS 44 American Chamber of Commerce – AmCham Slovenia, Luxembourg-Slovenian Business Club (LSBC),

The German-Slovene Chamber of Commerce and Industry – AHK Slowenien, Advantage Austria, Italian Trade Agency (ICE), Slovene - Russian Business Club

EUROPEAN UNION 48 Interview: HE Bart Twaalfhoven, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands Page 48

POLITICS 50 Politicial Overview 51 Migration crisis: "Some might describe the current situation as chaotic,

I prefer see it as an opportunity".

GLOBAL PITCH 52 Idea: Facility

Page 54

53 Interview: Paul Pöltner, Co-founder, CONDA

EXPERIENCE&LIFESTYLE SLOVENIA 54 Interview: Tjaša Ficko, Deputy Mayor of Ljubljana 56 Ljubljana, European Green Capital 2016 58 Slovenia has a tense wait for its dragon offspring 60 Audemars Piguet, Big Watchmaker in a Small Village 62 Interview: Matjaž Zorman, Director, Palmieri d.o.o.

Page 58

63 Goriska Brda: where sun, wine and a magical atmosphere meet 64 Third Annual Salon of Sparkling Wines

SPORT 66 Running for a reason 68 Slovenian pride: Prevc and Planica

Page 68


Spring Edition 2016 | The Slovenian Times


European In the Spotlight Union

Photos: AljaĹž Hafner

FDI Summit Slovenia 2015

Management of talent will improve competitiveness The Slovenia Times and the Faculty of Economics Ljubljana have, for the last six years, co-organised the FDI (Foreign Direct Investments) Summit Slovenia. The 2015 Summit provided the opportunity for senior Slovenian politicians, top managers from both local and foreign companies, together with leading economists and the foreign economic chambers in Slovenia, to discuss the issue of Slovenia’s competitiveness.


The Slovenian Times | Spring Edition 2016

European In the Spotlight Union The keynote speaker at the summit was Professor Arturo Bris, Chairman of IMD World Competitiveness Center , who highlighted how competitive Slovenia is, the strengths and the weaknesses. He explained that a competitive country has a good, transparent and efficient government, good infrastructure (physical, education and health) and an efficient private sector, which creates jobs. “Slovenia has good infrastructure, especially in terms of labour the human talent - which is an important pillar. However, two other areas, the government and the private sector are easier and quicker to develop than infrastructure. This should be the main pillar for Slovenia to become a more competitive country”. During the discussions between high profile business leaders, ministers and the Prime Minister of Slovenia, Dr Miro Cerar it was agreed there is a lot of talent in Slovenia but also a lot of room for improvement. In the private sector, business leaders rate themselves quite low in the IMD competitiveness ratings. To improve, we need to learn a lot from each other, from the foreign companies operating in Slovenia and Slovenian companies in other countries. Slovenia therefore needs to improve the credibility of management on corporate boards and access to finance, particularly for SMEs. With regard to the government, Slovenia needs to reduce bureaucracy and improve the speed of decision-making. Slovenia could position itself as the regional R&D hub but would need a better taxation system to enable that. Slovenia also needs to create job possibilities for highly educated people; the high income taxes unfortunately limit the number of high value jobs that can be created. The inclusion of people in the education system is also important and Slovenia must do this, especially in the context of smart specialisation –with talent trained in the green economy in order to meet the needs of the future. If Slovenia does not provide this talent with good governance and good jobs, including professional development opportunities on top of their salary, the risk is that they will leave. The brain drain in Slovenia is still a recent phenomenon and there is a lack of good data to measure the numbers but it is happening. Other countries are competing for Slovenia’s talent. 

As they said… FDI Summit Slovenia 2015 Prepared by Tina Drolc, M.Sc.

"In the European Union, competitiveness means: Let’s export more, let’s lower prices and salaries, let’s make sure that we can produce at the comparative advantage with respect to other countries and once we are cheap, then we will export more and we’ll become competitive. And that is completely wrong!" Dr Arturo Bris, Director, IMD World Competitiveness Center

"In terms of the challenge of how Slovenia can be more competitive on a global scale, we – the government and the business sector - are one team. As a team, we must work together and foster open dialogue and mutual trust." Dr Miro Cerar, Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia

"We live in a society of young global people. They communicate differently than we do; they use many new competencies, which we probably do not even know; they create new skills because they live differently and because they perceive the world differently. The world is just one world for them." Dr Maja Makovec Brenčič, Minister of Education, Science and Sport

"Slovenia would like to be a reference country in a digital Europe – green. We are strongly integrated in the global economy; we are one of the rare countries which exports 80% of GDP." Boris Koprivnikar, Minister of Public Administration of Slovenia

"The pool of talent that stays here is less and less and we have to turn this around - foreign capital is free, it is free of charge and we have to think how to attract it very quickly before our neighbouring countries do." Tomaž Lanišek, General Manager OEM Europe & CIS, Knauf Insulation

"We are too small to do everything. We need to specialise and we need to figure out what our competitive advantages are, which finally we are doing in the industries which have the largest capabilities and competencies. I think this is the right way to produce very tangible results in the next five years." Iztok Seljak, PhD. Managing Director of Hidria

Spring Edition 2016 | The Slovenian Times


European In the Spotlight Union

Boris Koprivnikar, Minister of Public Administration of Slovenia; Photo: Alja탑 Hafner

Interview: Boris Koprivnikar, Minister of Public Administration of Slovenia

Negotiations with the Unions: Salaries should be based on capability and results Prepared by Medeja Kenda

Rigid salary system in the Slovenian Public Administration does not allow effective and successful workers to be rewarded. The Ministry for Public Administration is therefore preparing a plan to improve the pay system and reduce anomalies. Advantages should be seen in the consistent implementation of the reward structures and equal salaries for comparable roles.


The Slovenian Times | Spring Edition 2016

European In the Spotlight Union It is difficult to manage and coordinate the interests of the various unions, who are fighting for their membership, while representing the same activity in the Public Administration. Q The annual bonus payout is EUR 260m, which is 8% of all salaries in the Public Administration. Furthermore, paid bonuses did not change during the crisis and therefore did not provide a clear incentive. Can we expect some drastic changes now? A The allocation of bonuses should be justified. Furthermore, there is too much centrally defined automatism which makes autonomous decision-making difficult, especially regarding planning and optimisation of resources. The problem itself is highlighted through the overnormalised system and in the lack of correlation between payment and the actual results. Q In 1997, Germany introduced a flexible component to salaries which depends on work effectiveness. A year before that, the Swedish unions agreed to salaries tied to work performance ‌ Is effective cooperation with unions possible in Slovenia? A I must say, social dialogue is well-developed in Slovenia and so is the cooperation with the unions, despite the fact that there are more than 40 of them in the Public Administration, which also hinders effective dialogue. We strive to encourage unions with similar interests to connect in to confederations, as is typical in many other countries. It is difficult to manage and coordinate the interests of the various unions, who are fighting for their membership, while representing the same activity in the Public Administration. In upcoming negotiations, I am afraid that most of the unions do not believe in our goals. They are sure that such a reward would not only be subjective, but would be also based exclusively on the results of the work. Therefore, we strive to ensure the criteria and measures of work performance are clearly stated in cooperation with the individual unions. Q In terms of the use of public money, the scale and structure of the Public Administration, Slovenia is comparable to the United Kingdom (UK). However, since 2010, promotion in the UK has been based on merit. Is the employment and promotion process in Slovenia fair and transparent?

A In Slovenia, promotion is based primarily on meeting the prescribed criteria such as professionalism, scope of work, reliability, creativity, etc. Furthermore, promotion to a more demanding work position requires suitable work experience, so it is about the combination of merit and the number of years of work. The seniority in terms of age has no direct effect on progress, unless it is linked with work experience in the specific field of work. The problem is that, in practice, the absence of more precise criteria and measures for promotion leads to subjective judgement by the superiors. Indeed, promotion to a large extent become automatism; salary classes are permanently acquired rights and are not subject to revision according to capabilities and work results. The Public Administration can be attractive in terms of career development. For example, top management positions are selected among candidates through open competition. For those who are already employed at the Public Administration, there is an internal labour market, which enables candidates to apply through an internal selection process for positions within the Public Administration. Q The variable component of the salary is predicted. What level of variation is there? A If the changes that we are considering now with the unions will be enforced, then employees could, based on work productivity, get up to two base salaries on an annual level. Eligibility for the reward of work performance should be checked every three months and if the conditions are met, the employee may receive up to 50% of base salary each time. Q Does the Public Administration have too much bureaucracy? Annually, there are more than 217,000 reports even though many do not result in any progress. How can the Public Administration streamline this? A With appropriate organisational measures it is possible to achieve time savings at the level of individual authorities. This encompasses measures that lead to streamlining of adminis-

trative tasks and optimisation of the reporting system. Not only would we achieve time savings, but also financial ones. We could combine support functions, move location-dispersed bodies in certain urban centres to a single address and stop outsourcing support services. ď ´

With appropriate organisational measures it is possible to achieve time savings at the level of individual authorities. This encompasses measures that lead to streamlining of administrative tasks and optimisation of the reporting system. Not only would we achieve time savings, but also financial ones.

In upcoming negotiations, I am afraid that most of the unions do not believe in our goals. They are sure that such a reward would not only be subjective, but would be also based exclusively on the results of the work. Spring Edition 2016 | The Slovenian Times


European In the Spotlight Union

How does your company encourage talent and reward good performance? Samo Roš

Member of the Board of Management, Lek

"Our associates appreciate interesting and meaningful work that offers opportunities for promotion, participation in the international environment, working with top experts and opportunities for continuous learning. Development is not necessarily always for the way 'up', it can also mean development in the existing job, such as taking on more challenging tasks, gaining knowledge in new areas, exchanging knowledge, engaging in the mentoring programs. Personal development is closely connected with a team and the teams our employees work in are more and more international. Lek has Slovenian roots and international wings. Our employees work in an environment that supports them in reaching for the stars and becoming a star them self. Lek’s Stars are our recognition of individual talent and teams and they are one of several methods of recognition we use. A salary and appropriate financial remuneration for work performance in the form of bonuses and also contribution to the decisions for the career path at Lek, a Sandoz."


The Slovenian Times | Spring Edition 2016

Franjo Bobinac President and CEO, Gorenje d.d. "Gorenje Group is an international group of companies with more than 10,000 employees of 42 different nationalities operating in more than 90 countries worldwide. We are attracting new talented employees through cooperation in different innovative projects with international institutions and schools and we strive to recruit the most talented young people and experienced professionals among them. In order to develop human resources in the most efficient way, we have established a performance management system and we utilise various methods of evaluation and improvement such as competency and potential assessments. Successful employees, with high evaluation results, are nominated as talented high potentials and key employees. They have the possibility to develop their careers internationally in challenging working positions and projects. High performers also have the possibility to take part in the Gorenje Group internal training programs at the Corporate University of Gorenje."

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

"At Knauf Insulation we are aware of the importance and value of high quality and loyal employees. In addition to their expertise, we also look for their proactivity, innovation, entrepreneurial spirit and dedication. All this we try to encourage in young people through the mentoring and coaching programs in the company. In doing so, it helps the business culture in the company, which is also developed within a systematic program of internal values ​​and ambassadorship. We are preparing career plans for the recognised talent in the framework of the Talent Management program. At the same time we encourage them with the company’s internal and external education programs in which they are incorporated. We also work with prominent external stakeholders to develop specific programs for youth talent development (eg. AmCham Slovenia). Due to the size and diversity of the company’s activities where we have development centres, production, sales, etc., all successful and promising employees can gradually progress, which is certainly appropriate motivation and finally, the outstanding individuals we grant with special honorary and financial rewards (Project Orion). Education and talent development for our company is of high importance as we are aware that the company performance, in the end, is about people."

European In the Spotlight Union

Aleksander Zalaznik Senior Vice President Danfoss Commercial Controls

"Accepting the challenges offered by Danfoss in the international environment represents the greatest opportunity for professional development for the majority of our employees. At the same time, we strive to recognise the wishes, expectations and potential of employees and give them feedback about their performance. The talent management process, which includes succession planning, involves all employees, including those in production. Taking on ambitious challenges, drive and a positive approach, being open to new knowledge and changes, as well as a strong work ethic with responsibility for results, provides most employees with the best motivation. If we also add a great deal of trust and enough freedom, we have an excellent combination for innovation and the strong Danfoss organisational culture."

Iztok Seljak, PhD. Managing Director of Hidria "In Hidria we are aware that success of talented, competent and highly motivated employees is crucial. Therefore, we are constantly looking for solutions that enable our employees to achieve the peak of excellence and commitment. To achieve that, we perform different activities and use different tools and approaches. Most important is the development of the Hidria Leadership System, proactive employee involvement in different processes of improvement, regular execution of annual interviews, preparation of career development plans for employees, organisation of strategic and information workshops, a stimulating reward system and promotion within the corporation, ongoing concern for a good working climate and constructive interpersonal relations, with the support of state of the art modern technology and IT equipment and the promotion of a healthy lifestyle. Without all of the abovementioned, Hidria could not have developed as exceptionally as it has, ranking today among the leading conceptual pre-development providers of innovative automotive and industrial technologies in the world. All employees in Hidria have maximum respect toward our corporate values (knowledge, competence, responsibility, innovation and excellence) and we continually pass them to our colleagues, as good examples always count."

Andrej Božič General Manager of Steklarna Hrastnik "After the process of identifying talent, we give them space for self-realisation. This means that employees are given opportunities to put themselves to the test and acquire their own experience. They are each assigned a mentor who has knowledge and experience. Talented employees are included in specialised as well as existing training programs. The opportunity for development, respectful and open communication, and an environment that allows learning from mistakes are important factors for boosting employee motivation. In addition to qualified employees and a stimulating organisational climate, it is also essential to involve employees in finding ideas and solutions. Last but not least, employees are rewarded for their success on a monthly basis through a variable component of their salary."

Agata Jakončič

Executive Director Supply Chain Optimization Europe & Canada, MSD

"First: Create the right environment by driving a top-down talent development approach across the company, visibly engaging all leadership levels. Start by having the CEO mentor 15 of the top talents every year, devoting his/her time for their individual development in the company and communicate such activities throughout the organisation regularly. Second: Hold people accountable by ensuring that top leadership and HR include talent development into individual objectives and country scorecards, so that employees and managers are driving and tracking progress as part of the regular rhythm of business. Third: Provide visibility by nurturing each talent’s hunger for learning and development, providing challenges for growth and visibility within the organisation, while looking for new development opportunities, keeping talent on their toes, engaged and challenged. Four: Maintain a reward system and celebrate success which recognises outstanding performance in both financial and nonfinancial ways. Many employees report that recognition in front of the organisation may be more rewarding than "just" monetary recognition, which has to be embedded into the overall reward system, based on total company effort and performance." Spring Edition 2016 | The Slovenian Times


European In the Spotlight Union

Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA

A survey among companies with foreign equity in 2015

Will Slovenia attract more foreign investors in the future? Prepared by Andreja Jaklič, Iris Koleša and Matija Rojec

The latest survey on the attractiveness of Slovenia as a location for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), conducted by the Centre of International Relations (CIR), shows that the perception of Slovenia as a foreign investment location significantly improved in 2015 despite the long-term negative assessment of the Slovenian business environment and ongoing intensification of its perceived barriers. While a significant number of businesses increased their sales and number of employees in 2015, the forecasts for 2016 are also promising: 57.7% of businesses plan to further increase their sales volume and 36.4% intend to expand employee numbers. A similar optimistic prognosis does not hold for increasing investment in Slovenia, however: there are still numerous barriers to be addressed – particularly the high (labour) costs, administrative barriers and the difficulty to find qualified labour (particularly technical).


The Slovenian Times | Spring Edition 2016

The Centre of International Relations (CIR) has been conducting a yearly survey among foreign-owned enterprises (with over 10% of foreign equity) in Slovenia since 2008. The study is focused on identifying crucial determinants of foreign-owned business development in Slovenia, with the findings providing a foundation for decision-makers to develop measures and policies contributing to a more favourable business environment in Slovenia. The results of the 2015 survey indicate that the position of Slovenia as a foreign investment location has improved. After a period of constant and extremely negative assessment of its attractiveness by foreign-owners between 2009 and 2013 (the situation peaked in 2013, when 83.9% of businesses assessed that the position of Slovenia had deteriorated since 2012), the share of businesses noting no change in the Slovenian business environment (51.2%) exceeded the proportion of businesses evaluating the position as deteriorating (42.4%, almost halving since 2013). The remaining 6.3% of the surveyed businesses noted that the position of Slovenia as a location for FDI had improved ‒ a significant advancement from 2013 and 2014, when 0% and 0.6% respectively recorded an improvement of the general business climate in Slovenia. A more positive perception of the business environment in Slovenia corresponds to over half of the surveyed enterprises (51.4%) increasing their sales volume in 2015, while 33.5% expanded their employee numbers. This exceeded the proportion of those businesses planning to decrease either sales volumes or number of employees – a segment in constant decline since 2009. Furthermore, companies also expressed optimistic forecasts for 2016: with 57.7% planning to increase their sales volume (compared to 7.3% planning a decrease) and 36.4% intending to increase the number of employees (relative to 9.7% planning reductions). In addition, almost one third (31.7%) of the surveyed companies plan to expand their activities in Slovenia (particularly manufacturing, large and medium sized companies), with the markets of South Eastern Europe and new EU member states (especially Croatia, Serbia, Poland, Czech Republic, Romania, and Bosnia and Herzegovina) presenting Slovenia’s main competitors in attracting foreign capital. When deciding which markets to invest in, foreign equity holders opt for Slovenia, mainly because of the quality of the labour force, access to knowledge, skilled labour and technology, as well as (perceived) relatively low labour costs. For service companies and businesses targeting the Slovenian market, access to the latter is of particular relevance, while manufacturers and exporters also value efficiency of production in Slovenia as well as its geographic location and infrastructure.

European In the Spotlight Union Despite rather high expectations regarding labour quality and costs in Slovenia, once entering the market foreign-equity holders tend to experience the most pressing obstacles to their business performance, with the areas of labour-related taxes and contributions, labour costs, as well as labour force qualifications (together with administrative obstacles and high taxation in general) among the greatest barriers foreign investors are confronted with. For example, more than half of the surveyed foreign-owned businesses (52.9%) have difficulty finding adequately skilled labour. The study records a significant decrease in the satisfaction of foreign investors in the skills of the Slovenian labour force since 2009: Employers face the greatest difficulties in finding graduates of secondary schools/ technical professions – especially in the fields of mechanical engineering/metalwork (44.1% of businesses that find it difficult to employ adequately skilled labour also encounter difficulties when searching for this segment) and electrical engineering (31.5%). They also have difficulty finding skilled workers in commerce/ foreign trade/marketing (21.6%). Skills most missed by foreign investors in the Slovenian labour force include: technical and technological knowledge (44.2%), communication skills (40.7%), knowledge of foreign languages (32.2%), managerial skills (31.7%), and exper-

tise in sales techniques (29.6%). Results show that Slovenia is most appealing to ‘efficiencyseeking’ FDI (i.e. investors who seek to increase their cost efficiency by transferring production to locations with low labour costs or rationalise the operations of existing MNEs through exploitation of comparative advantages in adjacent territories, exploiting economies of scale and scope internationally). In general, the perception of barriers to doing business in Slovenia have increased over the years – especially in 2009 and 2015 (regardless the overall improvement of perceived business climate in the last year). This also explains why a significant proportion of surveyed companies, although planning an increase in sales volume and employee numbers, do not intend to boost investment in Slovenia – rather, they intend to achieve better business results with their existing capacities. Incentives that are most valued by foreign equity holders in Slovenia and which could reverse this trend, include: a reduction in labour market barriers (easier dismissal from employment, faster procedures, etc.) and administrative barriers, an increase in tax deductions and incentives, subsidies for purchasing machinery and equipment, as well as employment subsidies. E-administration and electronic administrative procedures also rank high among the most relevant incentives for foreign investors.

The Centre of International Relations (CIR) is an interdisciplinary research institute at the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ljubljana, conducting research in international relations, international economic relations, international law, diplomacy and human rights, international organisations, and European integration. Its members are acknowledged experts, active as policy advisors and partners in numerous international research projects as well as several established international research networks.  The study was financed by the Public Agency for Entrepreneurship, Internationalization, Foreign Investments and Technology (SPIRIT Slovenia).

Photo: Tinkara Zupan/STA

Spring Edition 2016 | The Slovenian Times


Regional Insight in association with S&P

Regional Insight in association with S&P Ratings Services Real GDP Growth (%)

Unemployment Rate (%)

General Government Balance / GDP (%)

CPI Growth (%)

Net General Government Debt / GDP (%)

Current Account Balance / GDP (%)

Net Narrow External Debt / CARs (%)

Czech Republic 2015

















































Slovakia 2015
























Slovenia 2015
























Czech Republic On 22 January 2016, Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services affirmed its ‘AA-/A-1+’ long- and short-term foreign currency and its ‘AA/A-1+’ long- and short-term local currency sovereign credit ratings on the Czech Republic. The outlook is stable. The ratings reflect the Czech Republic’s diversified productive economy, stable institutions, and moderate levels of public debt. Monetary policy is still effective and we expect that the Czech National Bank (CNB, the central bank) will meet its 2% annual average inflation target within our 2016-2019 forecast horizon. The ratings are constrained by the Czech Republic’s


The Slovenian Times | Spring Edition 2016

lower GDP per capita than its Western European neighbours and risks to long-term fiscal stability from ageing demographics. Growth was exceptionally strong in 2015 and we estimate the economy to have expanded by 4.3%. However, some of this solid performance was driven by one-off factors, such as a push to absorb the last remaining EU funds from the 2007-2013 programming period and changes to tobacco stockpiling rules that boosted growth in the first quarter. At the same time, a broadening demand base is underpinning the robust growth momentum. Although external demand was previously a key growth engine, we think domestic demand, supported by a slightly expansionary fiscal stance, low inflation, and rising employment and wages,

will play a larger role in fuelling the economy over the next several years. Despite growth becoming broader and more durable, we view the fragility of economic recovery in the Czech Republic’s main trading partners as the main risk for the growth outlook, partly reflecting the high export concentration in some sectors, especially auto. We view the Czech Republic’s debt burden as moderate. The Czech Republic benefits from an effective government apparatus which is, however, constrained by occasional friction between coalition partners.

Regional Insight in association with S&P Poland



On 15 January 2016, Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services lowered its long-term foreign currency sovereign credit rating on the Republic of Poland to ‘BBB+’ from ‘A-’ and its long- and short-term local currency sovereign credit ratings to ‘A-/A2’ from ‘A/A-1’. The outlook is negative.

On 29 January 2016, Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services affirmed its ‘A+/A-1’ longand short-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings on the Slovak Republic (Slovakia). The outlook is stable.

On 18 December 2015, Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services affirmed its ‘A-/A-2’ longand short-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings on the Republic of Slovenia. The outlook is positive.

The ratings are supported by Slovakia’s low external debt, improving fiscal metrics, and healthy growth prospects. We expect that domestic demand will support balanced real GDP growth slightly over 3% between 2016 and 2019. The ratings are constrained by persisting structural challenges to the Slovak economy, such as high long-term and youth unemployment, as well as wide regional disparities. Given Slovakia’s strong dependence on exports and large auto sector we continue to see some downside risks to growth, particularly if a slowdown in emerging markets, notably China, weighs on the Eurozone recovery. Specifically, if the Volkswagen emission scandal translates into more negative consequences for the European auto sector, this could dampen Slovakia’s economic performance. We estimate the general government deficit in 2015 will once again remain just below the 3% threshold. In subsequent years, relatively strong growth prospects and, in turn, increased revenue intake, will give the government breathing room to rely less on one-time fiscal measures than previously. As a result, we expect the deficit will narrow to below 2% of GDP by 2018. Slovakia’s mostly foreign-owned and deposit-funded banking system remains well capitalised, with non-performing loans amounting to about 5% of total loans and an average reported capital adequacy ratio exceeding 17%. In our view, the banking system is therefore only a limited contingent liability for the government. Although we assess policymaking in Slovakia as generally effective, we view its political institutions, and the checks and balances between them, as evolving. This is underpinned, in our opinion, by some of the government’s measures to achieve fiscal consolidation, such as imposing bank levies and opening the second pension pillar.

We estimate that the Slovenian economy will expand by 2.5% in 2015 on strong export growth. Deflation, growth in employment and rising disposable income have continued to support the ongoing recovery in private consumption. We believe that Slovenia’s real GDP will likely rise on average by about 2.2% per year in 2016-2018. The outlook for investment depends on an improvement in credit conditions, which we continue to view as tight. This environment reflects Slovenia’s challenged monetary transmission mechanism, despite the European Central Bank’s (ECB’s) expansionary monetary policy stance. Although we expect the ongoing deleveraging in the corporate sector will weigh on the outlook for private investment, we expect the uninterrupted rise in Slovenia’s gross domestic savings rate (at 27% of GDP last year, one of the highest among Organisation for Economic and Co-operative Development countries) will start to reverse, aiding investment and consumption growth. We also believe that the implementation of growth-enhancing structural reforms, including in judicial and administrative areas, could further boost Slovenia’s longer-term economic growth prospects, while reforms of the pension and health-care systems would improve prospects for government finances over time. Although we consider that policy risks in Slovenia have receded since 2013, reflecting in part institutional reforms, we cannot rule out disagreements among the coalition partners in government. Slovenian banks and companies borrow at higher rates than similar entities in the northern Eurozone states, and we consider that Slovenia’s transmission mechanism remains weakened. We view Slovenian banks’ access to the ECB as an important rating factor.

The downgrade reflects our view that Poland’s system of institutional checks and balances has been eroded significantly as the independence and effectiveness of key institutions, such as the constitutional court and public broadcasting, is being weakened by various legislative measures initiated since the October 2015 election. Poland’s new ruling party, Law and Justice (PiS), which holds an absolute majority in the parliament (Sejm) and the senate, has set out to make fundamental changes to Poland’s institutions. For example, the constitutional court’s ability to work efficiently and independently will likely be undermined, in our view, by changes to the court’s composition and decision-making process. The government’s new media law, as another example, gives the government extensive powers to appoint and control the directors and supervisory boards of public broadcasters. A third law terminates contracts of all current senior, career civil servants and removes a constraint regarding previous party membership, therefore enabling the new government to change the structure of the civil service. In our view, these measures erode the strength of Poland’s institutions and go beyond what we had anticipated regarding policy changes from the general election. The negative outlook reflects our view that there is potential for further erosion of the independence, credibility, and effectiveness of key institutions, especially the National Bank of Poland (NBP). The ratings remain supported by Poland’s relatively moderate external financing needs and strong growth potential. The economy benefits from a floating exchange rate regime and domestic capital markets that permit the government to finance itself in local currency at long-dated maturities.

Sources: Standard & Poor’s Rating Services and Eurostat. Please refer to our website for more information about ratings at https: and read our disclaimers at Copyright © 2015 by Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC. All rights reserved. STANDARD & POOR’S and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC. Spring Edition 2016 | The Slovenian Times


Economic Review Skills Encouragement

In June, Slovenia will have detailed and internationally comparable data on a range of skills Slovenia was hit hard by the global financial crisis but the country is now showing clear signs of recovery. However, sustainable and inclusive growth will depend upon ensuring that Slovenians have the right skills and are active in the labour market and society, and use their skills effectively in modern workplaces. Skills are not the same as qualifications. More young people complete upper secondary school in Slovenia than in almost any other OECD country and yet Slovenian students have among the lowest reading proficiency in the OECD. Skills reflect our cognitive abilities in literacy, numeracy, using technology and analytical reasoning, as well as our technical and professional competencies. But skills also capture how well we can collaborate, communicate and negotiate with others. There is a clear link between skills, economic prosperity and social cohesion. Adults with high literacy and numeracy proficiency enjoy higher employment rates and earnings than those with lower proficiency. The importance of skills is magnified by challenges such as long-

term unemployment. Across the OECD, 35% of unemployed persons remain out of work for more than one year. In Slovenia, the rate is 55%. But skills don’t just grow the economy. Adults with higher literacy and numeracy proficiency are more likely to report good health and high levels of trust, to volunteer, and feel like they have a say in democracy. Capturing the benefits of skills in Slovenia will require collaboration from all sections of society and a shared understanding of Slovenia’s skill challenges and opportunities. Better information is also needed to design better skills policies. On 28 June, Slovenia will, for the first time, have detailed and internationally comparable data on a range of skills of its adult population from the Survey of Adult Skills (PI-

IMD World Talent Report: Slovenia ranks 38th overall The IMD World Competitiveness Center releases the World Talent Report annually. The report includes a talent ranking for all countries that are part of the IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook (61 countries as of 2015). The data is gathered from the Center’s extensive database, which encompasses 20 years of competitiveness-related data. All data employed in the development of the report can be accessed through the World Competitiveness website. The report assesses countries in three aggregated factors – investment/development, appeal and readiness – which in turn are derived from a much broader range of indicators. These include education, apprenticeship, employee training, brain-drain, cost of living, worker motivation, quality of life, language skills, remuneration and tax rates. In the latest report, Switzerland leads the way in meeting corporate needs through developing, attracting and retaining talent. The report ranks Denmark second and Luxembourg third, with Norway, the Netherlands, Finland, Germany, Canada, Belgium and Singapore completing the top 10. Several major


The Slovenian Times | Spring Edition 2016

economies fare less impressively with the US languishing in 14th place, the UK 21st, France 27th and Mainland China well behind at 40th. Europe emerges as a major source of, and a magnet for, business talent with eight countries in the top 10, followed by Sweden 11th, Ireland 16th and Iceland 17th. Slovenia ranks 38th overall, reaching 24th in investment and development, 54th in appeal and 39th in readiness. Slovenia ranks seventh in public expenditure on education (per pupil, secondary school), eleventh in total public expenditure on education as a percentage of GDP and fifteenth in the cost of living index. Conversely, Slovenia’s lowest ranking indicators relate to attracting

AAC). Building on that, Slovenia is embarking on a whole-of-government, multi-stakeholder National Skills Strategy project with the OECD to help identify the country’s major skills challenges. By being strategic about skills, Slovenia is well placed to seize this unique opportunity to achieve its economic and social aspirations. Andreas Schleicher Director for Education and Skills Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

foreign highly-skilled staff (59th), implementation of apprenticeship (58th) and level of workers’ motivation (55th). The report indicates that the key attribute among all the countries that rank highly is agility. This is shown in their capacity to adopt and shape policies that preserve their talent pipeline, which in turn makes them, as the report describes, "talent-competitive." These countries consistently achieve a positive balance between encouraging local talent and tapping into top talent from other countries. To put it differently, only agile countries can truly sustain their talent pipeline by constantly updating and refining the required competencies in response to economic, socio-political and other issues. Professor Seán Meehan, the Martin Hilti Professor of Marketing and Change Management at IMD Full report available at:

Economic Review

Performance Management in the Gig Economy

Rapport, the secret sauce of open discussion, blooms when agile talent is regularly invited and expected to honestly discuss potential problems.

We see big changes ahead in performance management. Organizations like GE and Accenture are experimenting with new approaches to that old shibboleth: the annual performance review. And far-thinking companies are replacing the annual rating and ranking process with more-timely capture of critical incidents and authentic spot feedback.

Demonstrate two-way feedback

But one important and growing population in organizations isn’t benefiting from this feedback renaissance. They’re the external professionals your organization increasingly counts on: freelancers, gigsters, advisers, and consultants, the people we call agile talent in our new book. In our research, performance management is the weakest link in managing and engaging agile talent and in gaining the greatest productivity from your external talent investment. According to Deloitte, external workers may represent 30% or more of your organizations’ true workforce. Freelancers Union reports that as much as 40% of the U.S. workforce views themselves as freelancers. And our research found that over 50% of leaders fully expect agile talent to increase as a percentage of total employees. Why? Certainly, one goal is cost efficiency. But the more important drivers are speed, flexibility, and innovation. Most organizations, however, are not set up to benefit from their increased investment in agile talent. Research by PMI describes most problems in project performance as being the result of alignment issues. Our findings concur. And the alignment gap is greatest when it comes to performance management. What can we do to close the performance alignment gap? Our research suggests six important steps: Photo: Tinkara Zupan/STA

Share context Too often agile talent reports that they are excluded from critical meetings and discussions that would provide helpful — and sometimes essential — context for their work. Our data show that both agile talent and their client organizations miss critical opportunities to provide a thorough orientation to the work and its importance.

Measure more than cost, schedule, and quality Defining the usual measures isn’t enough. Agile talent wants to know the nuances, and they’re particularly concerned that issues like cultural fit or other "soft" factors are often left unsaid or undefined until problems arise, creating additional cost or difficulty and enabling preventable conflict with internal colleagues.

Encourage agile talent to communicate concerns before problems bloom To resolve problems before they affect a project, organizational leaders must sincerely encourage agile talent to communicate concerns. Our interviews reinforce the importance of regular review and a well-defined agenda for review.

But encouragement isn’t enough. When we ask agile talent whether their client organizations really want feedback, we often see more teethgnashing than affirmation. We learned that boundaries are important in two-way feedback — for example, “We talk about issues, not individuals,” or what some people call the “no gossip” rule.

Make sure the right managers are supervising your agile talent Is your organization assigning the right professionals and managers to supervise agile talent and their work? We heard time and again from external experts about the importance of both a performance and a developmental mindset. Managers who are performance-oriented but not developmental may assess well but not provide effective feedback and coaching. Managers who focus on development more than performance may miss when it comes to frank, tough assessments. Good managers of agile talent — just like good managers of FTEs — do both.

Acknowledge excellence and share the news Finally, agile talent is just as motivated by appreciation and recognition as your full-time employees — more so, in fact, given that client satisfaction is the basis for their career success. Whether through something as simple as public praise or as personal as sending a dozen flowers  and a handwritten letter, reinforce with acknowledgement and thanks. And let colleagues know. Agile talent is growing and here to stay, and organizational leaders are increasingly turning to external experts to provide the speed, flexibility, and innovation they need and to more cost-effectively plan  initiatives. But organizations will only gain the full benefits they seek if they recognize that their agile talent needs strong performance management support too. Jon Younger and Norm Smallwood, Harward Business Review

Spring Edition 2016 | The Slovenian Times



Brnik Airport; Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA

Economic overview Prepared by Valerio Fabbri

The Slovenian economy grew at the slowest pace in six quarters in Q4, 2015, although recent data suggests a fairly strong beginning to 2016: industrial production and export growth accelerated, unemployment has fallen to levels not seen since early 2012 reflecting strengthening in manufacturing and market services. Confidence in the economy otherwise deteriorated at the beginning of 2016, although it remains high and indicates a continuation of the gradual recovery of economic activity.


The Slovenian Times | Spring Edition 2016

As Slovenia recovers, it should continue to protect some of its great achievements such as having one of the lowest levels of income inequality and relative poverty in the OECD. While this signals economic health, Slovenia would benefit from a greater inflow of foreign direct investment (FDI) and more efficient innovation policies that would improve the prospects for growth and productivity. Better investment in skills would help Slovenia realise the potential of technological progress and provide impetus to productivity growth. For example, although Slovenia has made progress in raising the performance of its education system, the higher education system should equip a larger share of young people with a wider range of relevant skills. Investment in knowledge-based capital and innovation more generally, has an important role to play in increasing productivity and helping the country move up the value chain to become a truly knowledge-intensive economy. By the same token, the majority of funds that Slovenian start-ups acquired in 2016 were dedicated to build web solutions for education, mobility and media, indicating a market need and demand for such services. Slovenia leads Central and Eastern Europe in a range of innovation-related indicators, but its potential to benefit from technology spillovers through inward FDI is not fully realised due to low FDI inflows relative to other Central and Eastern European countries. The Slovenian innovation system also appears unable to maximise the benefits of existing technologies for new innovative purposes given the small share of high-technology exports, a big minus for an export-driven economy like Slovenia. Data shows little change in innovation activity in the manufacturing sector and only a gradual increase in services. This however

PM Miro Cerar's address at the Slovenian Economic Summit; Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA

Slovenia leads Central and Eastern Europe in a range of innovationrelated indicators, but its potential to benefit from technology spillovers through inward FDI is not fully realised due to low FDI inflows relative to other Central and Eastern European countries. should not overshadow Slovenia as an attractive start-up hub with few entry barriers and private financing opportunities that may compensate the lack of state support for start-ups and FDI. Ljubljana’s low rents, easy infrastructure and open attitude mean that the city has the potential to attract innovative business with start-ups becoming as ubiquitous as cafes. However, it is clear that its start-up ecosystem must become more structured and mature to reach and retain a critical mass, let alone attract global companies and great talent. The old-fashioned investment mindset prevailing in the country tends to hinder the growth of start-ups and, to some extent, for innovation in general, making seed capital – and FDI – relatively scarce. Many young businesses either bootstrap or turn to alternative options, such as crowdfunding, for which Slovenia has developed true expertise and can be of great help for setting up a campaign, as happened with the successful campaign of Trobla wood amplifiers. The data supports this: the country has had more than 27 successful campaigns in the past three years, gathering more than EUR 2.2m. In other words, the potential for innovative business is there to be taken. 

Investment Opportunities

More information about investment opportunities is available at

HETA Asset Resolution d.o.o. in Slovenia is part of the HETA Group, a wind-down corporation owned by the Republic of Austria. Its statutory task is to dispose of the non-performing and non-strategic portion of Hypo Alpe Adria, nationalised in 2009, as effectively as possible whilst preserving value. As part of the asset disposal process, we present an attractive opportunity to invest in Slovenia. We offer a portfolio of over one billion financial claims as well as over 350 residential and commercial properties. HETA’s real estate assets are well diversified across Slovenia, in type and industry. Equally attractive is the diversity of the claims portfolio in terms of issuers, exposure and maturity.

2.610.000 + VAT

6.860.000 + VAT

Commercial and production facility in Ljubljana

Development plot in the north part of Ljubljana

The property is located on the periphery of the capital city, 8 km northeast of the city centre in the commercial area "Industrijska cona Ježa". The production building has good location due to the easy connection to the motorway as well as to the public transport network.

Restored construction site foreseen for development of large residential – commercial building is located on a prime location in the north part of Ljubljana at main road in the city. The subject of offer is brownfield development land with construction pit on a good location in the northern part of Ljubljana.



Property comprises a 2,592 m² production and 620 m² storage areas as well as 818 m² office and commercial spaces divided in two levels (GF+1). The clear internal height of the warehouse and production halls is 7 m high, whilst the office and commercial spaces have an internal height of 2.5 m. Delivery zone accessible by trucks is at the front side of the complex next to large parking space for employees and clients.

Directly accessible from one of the main traffic arteries in the city, this 8,100m2 large plot is perfect for large commercial or residential building. The conceptual design according to Municipal Spatial Plan foresees construction of a 21 high freestanding building with 19,616 m2 of net effective surface area above ground levelintended for 280 apartment units, 4,500 mcommercialpremises and 673 parking places in 4-storey undergroundgarage.

1.018.000 + VAT

1.100.000 + VAT

Business building in Maribor

Casino Rio Central in Ljubljana

Real estate intended for office activities is located in Tezno, along the main artery road from Ptuj. In the vicinity, there are car show rooms, specialized stores and logistic centre. The real estate is less than 1 km away from the highways connecting Maribor to Ljubljana, Croatia, Austria and Hungary.

Casino Rio Central is located in Ljubljana city centre. With more than 280,000 inhabitants, Ljubljana is the largest city in Slovenia and the most important economic centre with 12,628 entrepreneurs, 18,560 registered limited liability companies and 343 corporate companies. The nearby exhibition centre has more than 400.000 visitors. In 2014, there were almost 1 million overnight stays recorded in Ljubljana city centre.

KEY FIGURES: The facility has two floors. It was built in 1995. There are 446 m2 of business premises on the ground floor and 442 m2 on the first floor. The rooms are air conditioned, technical and video surveillance is provided. The facility is well maintained and in good condition. Parking spaces are available in front of the facility. The building is suitable for office activities.

KEY FIGURES: Casino covers over 560 m2 on the ground floor and basement and is long-term leased. There are 2 electronic roulettes and 139 gaming machines available. Subject of sales do not incudes equipment!

Economy Interview: Zdravko Počivalšek, Minister of Economic Development and Technology, RS

Maximum financial recovery and the future of the company both need to be considered Prepared by Tina Drolc, M.Sc.

Zdravko Počivalšek is the Slovenian Minister of Economic Development and Technology. Prior to his parliamentary role he headed Terme Olimia for 15 years. When asked about the challenge of making Slovenia a more competitive economy, the Minister pointed out the administrative, tax and market flexibility issues. Although Slovenia is an export-oriented economy, the Minister believes the privatisation process is needed, emphasising that maximum financial recovery from selling the companies is not the only criteria. Q In Slovenia, there is a lot of talk about increasing the amount of foreign direct investments for which we need certain conditions to be fulfilled such as a stable, predictable and competitive business environment. What actions is your ministry taking to improve the competitiveness of our business environment? A When we talk about the investment climate in Slovenia, we look to our ministry to create favorable conditions for either domestic or foreign investors. We believe that reform is necessary in three areas: reducing administrative barriers, which are problematic in general, not just for investment; secondly we have a problem with the cost of labour, particularly in higher salary grades; and lastly, the rigidity of the labour legislation. At this point it is important to point out that, in the last two years, we have managed to stabilise the economic and political situation in the country and the state budget, which is within the Maastricht criteria, so this enables us to tackle the abovementioned reforms. In terms of administration we cooperate with the Ministry of Public Administration. The team from our ministry collected the most pressing administrative problems and now our ministries are working together on improvements. The second is tax reform which is the responsibility of the Ministry of Finance. We cooperate with them in terms of the cost of labour where we need to increase our competitiveness, especially in the higher salary grades by paying highly-skilled workers and those that are the most productive. Thirdly, we are dealing with changing the currently rigid labour-legal legislation so it will have greater flexibility so that more contracts for an indefinite period of time can be implemented, which also means lower unemployment. Based on these, the economy must then be given the possibility 20

The Slovenian Times | Spring Edition 2016

to breathe with the market so as to react more easily and faster to the changes.

Q Slovenia has, in comparison with other European countries, one of the greatest tax burdens on labour. You’ve already mentioned solutions for transferring the tax burden, can you be more precise? A To reduce the tax burden for the higher salary grades, we are thinking about an instrument which would allow a part of the profit that would be used for bonuses for employee performance. This would be a voluntary principle of profitable enterprises in the form of the so-called thirteenth or fourteenth salary, which would be completely relieved of duties, only the personal income tax would have to be paid. Q Which Slovenian sectors and / or companies do you consider as strategically important in terms of attracting foreign direct investors and how can Slovenia be successful in this? A First of all we have to realise that Slovenia is an export-oriented economy. Specifically, the automotive industry in terms of supplying spare parts, the pharmaceutical industry, technical industry and there is potential in the metalwork industry. Additionally, for the future, it is important to support research and development, particularly in terms of the green economy, such as the forestry-wood chain and

We need to increase our competitiveness, especially in the higher salary grades by paying highly-skilled workers and those that are the most productive.

tourism. From these fields, our ministry has been organising several delegations, especially to markets outside the EU. We recently visited Vietnam and Iran. With us there have been many Slovenian entrepreneurs who have successfully performed and networked.

Q Slovenian tourism has faced many challenges. It seems that Slovenia was lacking the right strategy in this area for a long time. Last year you reestablished the independent Slovenian Tourist Board (STB). What are your expectations? A Slovenia has more or less always had a good tourism strategy, the problem however was that it was not fully implemented. Tourism is an industry which exports VAT and annually collects approximately EUR 250m in VAT, which is almost 13% of GDP. The potential however is much greater, in 2016 the goal is EUR 3bn in turnover. The strategy was set in 2012 but, unfortunately, nothing was done to implement it. For tourism development, as in other areas, it is important that effective promotion is carried out in foreign markets. For this reason we decided to rebuild the STB. Tourism for Slovenia is an extremely important segment and needs special attention. Accordingly, we have doubled the promotion budget which is exclusively for foreign markets, from EUR 6m to EUR 12m in 2016. Q EUR 276m of EU funds is intended for socalled "Smart Specialisation", that is measures in research, development and innovation. As you have said, the ministry wants to increase the share of innovation active enterprises, accelerate the transfer of knowledge in the economy and the commercialisation of research. Slovenia is challenged by commercialisation and the international breakthrough of its innovations. What are the measures you are planning?


Zdravko Počivalšek, Minister of Economic Development and Technology, RS; Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA

A The new EU financial perspective leads to important changes and therefore our ministry manages two relatively large financial sources; EUR 276m as you mentioned and an additional EUR 520m intended for small and medium-sized companies. Here, it is important to emphasise that this money is not meant to be spent on grants alone. By funding so-called "Smart Specialisation", it is the first time that several ministries are cooperating. In addition to our ministry, there is also the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport that funds research from development to prototype manufacturing and then our ministry funds the project further, from prototype to the market. We have, at our ministry, six years and EUR 90m for this. Q Although Slovenia has spent billions to rehabilitate state companies, some have been sold at a lower price than could be actually achieved and realised. You have accepted the proposal that key companies (Triglav, Krka, Luka Koper, Pošta Slovenije, Modra Zavarovalnica, DARS, Slovenian Railways and Energy) have been earmarked as strategic investments and will therefore remain in state hands. How does the country retain the majority ownership in these companies?

Significant progress has been made with the State Assets Management Strategy. It is necessary to point out that we have, in the state ownership portfolio, more than 100 companies managed by the Slovenian Sovereign Holding (SDH). There is not one most important classification of companies as strategic, where the state must preserve 50% plus one share. The important area is the strategy where the state share consists of 25% plus one share and of course the portfolio companies that are for sale. The most important measure is that the profitability of state-owned enterprises must be at least 8%, which is coincidentally the same as the profitability achieved by the French state-owned companies. The task of SDH is to ensure this 8% across industries. In the future I believe this will be the basis for assessing the performance of management teams in stateowned companies - the level of planned results achieved. Additionally I want to emphasise that the country strives to continue the privatisation process, where it is necessary that both SDH and the Bank Asset Management Company (DUTB) take into account two aspects in terms of sales: maximum financial recovery on sale and the future of the company that is being

For tourism development, as in other areas, it is important that effective promotion is carried out in foreign markets. For this reason we decided to rebuild the STB. sold. We want that the companies are sold for the good of the Slovenian state and the benefit of the company which is sold.

Q What kind of changes are you considering for the Act Governing the Remuneration of Managers of Companies with Majority Ownership held by the Republic of Slovenia or Self-Governing Local Communities? A The fact is that the law was passed in a time when we had different managers of state assets, but today they are all have concentrated in SDH and the bad debts in DUTB. We are not going to abolish the law, we will only transfer the responsibility of the owner, SDH, which is required to monitor through the set of results of which I spoke earlier, to make the correlation between achieving profitability and reward.  Spring Edition 2016 | The Slovenian Times



Professor Metka Tekavčič, Dean

70 years of the FELU: Young, vibrant and an active research faculty! This spring marks the 70th anniversary celebration of the Faculty of Economics at the University of Ljubljana (FELU). Founded in 1946 as part of the University of Ljubljana under the name 'Business Faculty', it soon became one of the most influential academic organisations in the region. Since its beginnings, 38,556 students have graduated, 6,775 students have completed their Master’s studies and 399 have received their doctoral degree. FELU contributes decisively to the economic and political development of society in Slovenia and her story is filled with enormous effort, impressive achievements and a strong brand established over the past 70 years.


The Slovenian Times | Spring Edition 2016

"We have faced many challenges along the way, be it countless schooling reforms, a fundamental change of political and economic system or simply being ahead when it comes to the internationalisation of higher education. We put our pioneering efforts in to the international accreditation processes when it comes to Central and Eastern Europe. We are proud of our strong bonds with the business community, our dedication to high quality experience for our students and the quality of our research. The expanding international network of partner institutions and research collaborations are recognition of our quality and the reputation that we have built and sustained over the years. Furthermore, we believe that our key competence rests in our understanding of the uniqueness of different world cultures, our ability to accommodate them and our flexibility when it comes to responding quickly to the ever changing needs of societies. Despite our age, we stay young, vibrant and an active research faculty." Professor Metka Tekavčič, Dean In the seven decades FELU has been operating, it has evolved into the leading Slovenian education and scientific-research institution in the fields of economics and business science and has also won recognition in the broader economic area. The two international accreditations of excellence (EQUIS and AACSB) rank as one of the 116 business schools in the world that hold both business education accreditations, which is an outstanding achievement on a global scale.

Economy the faculty’s. The Faculty is particularly proud of its Alumni Club, a community of graduates with more than 11,000 active members. In the jubilee year of 2016, FELU will organise and host several professional and business events dedicated to its operations and celebrating this important anniversary. In autumn, the jubilee year will then be rounded off with an international conference of Deans of business and economic schools in Ljubljana, scheduled for February 2017, under the auspices of the European Foundation for Management Development. In the new strategy for the period 2016 – 2020, FELU sees opportunities mostly driven by the demand for high quality higher education and research in Central Asia, China and India. Our well-staffed institution will pursue its vision to be the school of international choice for studying and research in business and economics in Central Europe. FELUs community, flexibility and innovative approach mean that we are prepared for the task. Join us!  "FELU holds EQUIS and AACSB accreditations and is the only double-accredited school in the region. FELU was EQUIS reaccredited in October 2015 for a further period of three years. The EQUIS mark was first received in 2006 and reaccreditations followed in 2009 and 2012. For FELU, the reaccreditation is valuable recognition of our efforts to continue reinforcing our leading position in Slovenia and the surrounding region and to strengthen our standing within Europe and internationally. Schools that are accredited by EQUIS must satisfy a set of rigorous standards and demonstrate high quality in all areas of their activities, particularly in terms of internationalisation of teaching and research. Every reaccreditation cycle raises the bar and motivates continuous

change and improvement as evidenced by stronger international alliances, an effective learning environment, high academic quality, academic research with an international impact and professional relevance." Assistant Professor Petra Došenović Bonča Over the decades of its operations, FELU has established a number of connections with the business community and the wider social environment, as reflected in the participation of representatives of the business sector and other organisations in the Faculty’s community and their active role in the management of

Spring Edition 2016 | The Slovenian Times



Martina Larkin, MBA, Head of Europe and Eurasia, Member of the Executive Committee, World Economic Forum Geneva

Interview: Martina Larkin, MBA, Head of Europe and Eurasia, Member of the Executive Committee, World Economic Forum Geneva

The Fourth Industrial Revolution has the potential to raise global income levels and improve the quality of life for populations around the world Prepared by Tina Drolc, M.Sc.

Martina Larkin is Head of Europe and Eurasia and a member of the Executive Committee of the World Economic Forum Geneva. As she states, the Annual Meeting in Geneva this year marked a number of successes, from both the human and the sustainability aspects. Sharing the insights on the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the central topic of this year’s WEF, Martina Larkin believes in its potential to improve the quality of life for populations around the world. With regard to the refugee crisis, she explains that Europe needs to learn how to integrate refugees better as it is critical that the global refugee crisis is addressed with policies that can build resilience in addition to responding to the immediate crisis. 24

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Economy Q Since 1971, around 2,500 political, business, cultural and civil society leaders travel annually to the snowy Swiss mountains to meet in Davos. How would you describe the purpose and the impact of this gathering? A For 46 years, the World Economic Forum (WEF) has brought together leaders and leading thinkers in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, to exchange ideas and seek answers to the fundamental economic questions of the times. The Davos agenda reflects the world’s focus on managing global challenges and opportunities, from economic crises to political transformations and new technologies. At the Annual Meeting 2016, technology played a central role as this year’s theme was Mastering the Fourth Industrial Revolution. During the meeting, more than 2,500 participants from all walks of life come together to learn from each other, exchange views and prepare for a future of exponentially disruptive change. The meeting this year celebrated a number of successes: since its launch a decade ago at the WEF Annual Meeting 2006, the RED campaign has raised more than USD 350m to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa; this year the Forum and International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development launched a detailed blueprint for strengthening the global trade and investment system; and the UN  Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim announced a high-level panel to mobilise urgent action on water and sanitation-related Sustainable Development Goals. In addition, we continued our tradition of honouring distinguished artists, including American actor Leonardo DiCaprio, Chinese actress Yao Chen, musician and artist Olafur Eliasson, with the Crystal Award for their achievements and exemplary commitment to improving the state of the world through their craft. Q The so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution was high on the agenda in Davos this year where Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the WEF said: “There has never been a time of greater promise or greater peril”. What kind of awareness does this message bring? A We stand on the brink of a technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work and relate to one another. In its speed, scope and complexity, the transformation will be unlike anything humankind has experienced before. The possibilities of billions of people connected by mobile devices, with unprecedented processing power, storage capacity and access to knowledge, are unlimited. And these possibilities will be multiplied by emerging technology breakthroughs in fields such as artificial intelligence, robotics, the Internet of Things, autonomous vehicles, 3-D printing, nanotechnology, biotechnology, materials science, energy storage and quantum computing.

As with previous revolutions, the Fourth Industrial Revolution has the potential to raise global income levels and improve the quality of life for populations around the world. However, the revolution could yield greater inequality, particularly in its potential to disrupt labour markets. Overall, the Fourth Industrial Revolution has a major impact on business, government and people – forcing all actors in the global system to re-examine the way they do business, govern and live their lives. Ultimately, this all comes down to people and values. We need to shape a future that works for all of us by putting people first and empowering them.

Q From an economic perspective, which are the most competitive economies in the world and what challenges do they face? A According to our most recent Global Competitiveness report, Switzerland, Singapore and the US are at the top of the Global Competitiveness Index, which profiles 140 economies. They have shown a strong ability to nurture, attract, leverage and support talent. However, most countries need higher productivity to address sluggish global growth and persistent high unemployment. In addition, they need to be better prepared to deal with the speed, scope and complexity of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which will challenge all economies. Q Among the global risks of highest concern in the society field of the WEF 2016 are migrants, specifically the migration crisis in Europe. What is the greatest potential impact on society? A The global migration crisis has dominated the agenda in 2016 – 60 million people across the world are displaced by war, violence and environmental disaster. The civil war in Syria has forced 11 million from their homes. 4 million have sought sanctuary in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, and over 1 million refugees fled to Europe last year. Particularly in Europe, where the number of migrants quadrupled compared to the previous year, politicians are scrambling for solutions. However, things are likely to get worse with further deterioration of the environment, droughts and food crises likely to increase migration in the future. It is therefore critical that the global refugee crisis is addressed with policies that can build resilience in addition to responding to the immediate crisis. There are potential solutions but they need imagination and courage to implement. In Jordan, a country which hosts 1.3 million Syrians, the government has created economic zones where refugees can find employment. Without the independence and self-respect that employment brings, refugees stuck in camps lose hope and fall prey to recruitment by extremists. To make this idea happen, however,

We need to shape a future that works for all of us by putting people first and empowering them.

requires investors to relocate supply chains to the region and train refugees in skills they can later take home. Turkey has granted work permits to the 2.5 million refugees on its soil and is providing eduation to 700,000 of their children. Germany’s Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble has called for a new Marshall Plan to invest billions in the regions from where the refugees have come. Europe also needs to learn how to integrate refugees better. In the US, David Lubell has created Welcoming America, an innovative NGO which works to make the “host soil” of local communities a more fertile and welcoming environment for the migrant “seeds” to take root.

Q Water seems to be among the most important future topics. The annual cost of replacing and maintaining water infrastructure (as the OECD) is USD 1.3trillion for developed countries and emerging markets and remains a challenge in many countries. 783 million people still do not have access to clean water. How did WEF participants approach the topic this year? A The water crisis is one of the most significant long-term challenges in the world. According to the OECD, over a billion people lack access to improved water. Some 2.7 billion – or 40% of the world’s population – suffer water shortages for at least a month each year. And there is a real danger for climate change to exacerbate water crises, with impacts including conflicts and more forced migration. In Davos this year, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim announced a high level panel to mobilise urgent action on water and sanitation-related Sustainable Development Goals. Chaired by the Presidents of Mauritius and Mexico, the panel will comprise heads of state and government from both developed and developing countries, with support from the WEF’s networks and platforms. According to the UN and World Bank, at least 663 million people lack access to safe drinking water and  2.4  billion people lack access to basic sanitation services, such as toilets or latrines. To meet the targets set out in SDG6 – ensuring the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all –  the panel will focus on publicpolicy dialogue, private-sector models and civil society initiatives, as well as promoting efforts to mobilise financial resources and scale up investment.  Spring Edition 2016 | The Slovenian Times


Economy software solutions, with a focus on mobile platforms and processing data in real time. In 2012, Klika became part of the Swiss group, Sportradar, the world’s leading provider of sports data and Rebolj was appointed director of Sportradar’s mobile services. Under his leadership, Klika has grown from five employees to nearly 100, the traffic in the last three years has increased by 355% and profit has increased by 245%. Infected with a virus of innovation, Gregor, in the future, wants to create a laboratory of innovation where they are able to explore and try out new technologies. "I understand the award is recognition for my work and encouragement for the future," he added and thanked his team and family.

Lifetime achievement awarded to Cvetana Rijavec Photo source: Barbara Reya

The Managers’ Association of Slovenia:

Young Manager is Gregor Rebolj, Lifetime achievement awarded to Cvetana Rijavec At the start of the year, the Managers’ Association of Slovenia awarded Gregor Rebolj, CEO, Klika, Young Manager 2015 and awarded for her lifetime achievement, the renowned Slovenian Manager, Cvetana Rijavec. "We Slovenes have the greatest potential if we really want too! I am Slovenian, I do not whine, I seek solutions," stated Dr Miro Cerar, Prime Minister of Slovenia, to more than 350 participants at the meeting as he appealed for participation and tolerance. He highlighted the importance of security to ensure Slovenia during the refugee crisis. Among the measures which the government is providing to support the economy he mentioned the government’s economic delegations, the opening of an embassy in Iran, improving the tax environment and the digital agenda.

Slovenians can do it all if the environment is transparent and encouraging The President of the Managers’ Association, Aleksander Zalaznik, highlighted the above


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average results of the companies run by members of the Association: the value added per employee exceeds the Slovenian average by 25%, return on equity by 58% and profit by 116%. The research also showed that members of the Managers’ Association stand out with several characteristics, including optimism, adaptability, creativity and commitment to ethics. Managers are interested in progress: "Let’s give the optimism a reason to domesticate here and I assure you that the bottom 20% in international competitiveness rankings will quickly be replaced with a top 20%. Slovenians can do it all, if the environment is transparent and encouraging."

Young Manager: Gregor Rebolj, CEO , Klika Klika, co-founded by Gregor Rebolj in 2003, is a research and development laboratory for

Cvetana Rijavec ranks among the Slovenian managers with distinctive and penetrating business results achieved by companies under her leadership. A chemical engineer by profession and a lover of culture, she has co-created some of Slovenia’s best known commercial brands and given a seal of development to the Slovenian economy. She successfully led the turnaround and international breakthrough of Fructal; in her six years of managing Lek Cosmetics she strengthened its position as market leader in the field of creams in Slovenia; and, in just two years, she managed to transform the brands, streamline operations and double exports and turn Ljubljanske mlekarne’s nearly USD 13m loss into profit. "I had the chance to work in reputable Slovenian companies which have been marketing oriented. I am proud of this and that I was at the birth of the two brands. If I am sorry for anything, it is that we lost good brands from Slovenian ownership. Trademark ownership is the property of the economy and a basis for autonomy", she said on stage. As Cvetana Rijavec also said, the recognition for her life’s work is like a whisper in her ear, which she says has ended a very active period: "However, I still have big plans, I will write a book." 

Economy Q DUTB is focused on facilitating the restructuring of banks, running the privatisation process and the settling the state’s liabilities. Which financial institutions (e.g. investment banks, private equity houses, corporations…) are the most interested in your assets? A We have different types of investors for different types of assets. We have financial investors looking for yield, there are real estate specialists and strategic investors who are interested in a specific type of either assets or usually a whole company, because they can strengthen their regional position, adding a new line to their product range, etc. Geographically, the majority of investor interest comes from Europe. DUTB already has investors from Germany, Austria and Italy amongst others, however, often the subsidiary or strategic partner, which is already based in Slovenia, is interested in investing. In addition, we also have investors from global financial centers where abundant capital and talent are seeking new opportunities here nevertheless, we compete with many other institutions to attract their attention, because they are investing across many countries in Central and Eastern Europe. Imre Balogh Ph.D., Acting CEO & Executive Director, Bank Asset Management Company (DUTB d.d.)

Interview: Imre Balogh Ph.D., Acting CEO & Executive Director, Bank Asset Management Company (DUTB d.d.)

Real estate and construction are definitely causing more headaches than companies in the manufacturing or food sectors Prepared by Tina Drolc, M.Sc.

Imre Balogh is currently running the Bank Asset Management Company (DUTB d.d.) as CEO and Executive Director. The merged entity manages around €1.6 bn of predominantly distressed assets of large corporates and SMEs. According to Balogh, the majority of investor interest comes from Europe and from international financial investors focusing on the region.


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Q You said that the assets started to sell at a time when market conditions had stabilised. How long are you willing to wait for the “right moment”? A There is no uniform moment for each and every asset. We have to separate two different basic classes of assets. First, there are several companies that are not viable in terms of their production/sales or they are already in legal procedures such as bankruptcy. In such cases, the timing is determined by legal procedures and expressed interest from investors. A completely different approach applies if the companies are viable but financially distressed, in most cases they need operational restructuring as well and, for them, the options are broader. In these situations we wait in a way and actively manage the case in that we put requirements and milestones as to what kind of improvements should be achieved. Through these restructuring measures, there is the possibility to significantly increase the value of a company. To give you an example: the restructuring of Avtotehna group, financial as well as corporate governance restructuring, enabled healthy operating companies to develop. And one of them, Swatycomet, was sold for a price that exceeded even the optimistic expectations because their performance improved a lot during the restructuring process and, as it was secured in a competitive bidding process, investors were willing to pay a reasonable price for it. I have to also mention, that there are some discussions in Slovenia as to why sell restructured distressed debt before full repayment at

Economy discount to contractual value. I would say that if full repayment at the end or refinancing will happen then it means that the restructuring was really successful, but DUTB cannot take the companies in most cases to that phase, the last step usually can be secured by the final investor who can further contribute to the development of the company with capital and resources beyond DUTB’s reach. In addition to that we have the legal obligation to sell min. 10% of our assets every year and that is the main source of the repayment of our liabilities. Therefore it is crucial that we secure a constant cash flow.

Q Which valuation methods do you use and how much importance do you put on the discount rate? Which components are included in the discount rate? A DUTB’s financial accounts are entirely based on fair value accounting, which means that we regularly reassess the fair value of every single asset. We use the so-called binominal real option pricing model, which means that, for the cases where we deem a company viable, the first step is the assessment of the possible outcome of the restructuring (financial and operational). Then we assess the existing value of the underlying collateral assets. Finally, we assess the probabilities of the outcome of the above operations. This probability distributions at the same time substituting the risk element of the discount rate. The other method could have been that, through an assessment of the risk, we would include risk premiums into the discount rate. However, we chose the first approach where the discount rate reflects only the time value of money which is changing every year, while the risk is expressed as the probability of the alternative scenarios in the model. Q Regardless of the method, do you strive to reconstruct companies before they are sold and how much time do you spend on this? Is the process conducted with potential partners? A There is no one-fits-for-all solution. DUTB’s portfolio, before the mergers of Probanka and Factor Banka, consisted of around 560 debtors, of which 450 were recovery cases where the primary aim is selling the assets behind the claims or the claims themselves, and majority of them are already in legal procedures, basically in bankruptcy. On the other hand, we are talking about 110 restructuring cases but, in terms of value, the restructuring cases are more than half of our portfolio. Out of these, the time needed for reasonable restructuring is very different. Some are put in the pipeline relatively early – in a couple of months, half a year and so on. And there are cases where the restructuring process takes from one to three years. We usually do not have cases where

The ultimate requirement of DUTB is that we return on taxpayers’ investment as much as we can, which means that our ultimate target is to maximise these revenues. future investors are already involved in initial phases of restructuring, as we do not want to grant exclusivity to anyone, rather we run competitive process in every single case.

Q When selling the companies, do you put in place certain requirements such as maintaining personnel? A The ultimate requirement of DUTB is that we return on taxpayers’ investment as much as we can, which means that our ultimate target is to maximise these revenues. We also have to take into account that Slovenia, as a member of the EU, signed a number of international agreements, securing the free flow of capital, goods, etc. and so, in such a framework, any kind of restrictions could be only exceptional and have a limited time until when they can be effective. When we talk about players competing in international markets, and Slovenia is a small and integrated open market, any constraints that hinder long-term competitiveness are practically non-viable. Moreover, DUTB is now obligated even by law to observe state aid rules. My opinion is that the best way to secure jobs in a sustainable way is by transforming the business and operational model of the enterprises into a very efficient and competitive one. Q Although the companies are small from an international point of view, from the Slovenian perspective we are talking about strategic companies with significant importance for the country and, for this reason, should there be other requirements taken into consideration? A In the private sector, there is a notion of shareholder value and the general understanding of it is that there is a more complex assessment of performance then just short-term profitability itself. But ultimately, the target of the business and the measure of success is long-term sustainable return on investment. DUTB is in the public sector and applying that

analogy we may take into account various aspects, but only to the extent that it does not endanger the maximum recovery of the investment by the taxpayers. The social aspects should be taken care of with that framework.

Q What is your preference; the highest payment immediately or do you consider also the potential long-term strategic opportunities? A In cases of the recovery of assets, the criterion is obviously achieving the maximum financial return, taking into account also the time value of money. I would not say immediate is always the best because, for a number of assets, especially in the real estate segment, it can happen that waiting, even if you apply the discount factor for the future revenue from the sale, is worthwhile because the price may increase. For single sales the optimal timing is when the time value of money is at the maximum. For viable companies, if there is significant risk down the road in the restructuring process, then a faster sale is more advantageous for DUTB. In the other cases, when we can secure the right framework for fundamental restructuring, it is the best to realise most of the upside ourselves. As an example the sale of Pivovarna Laško shares resulted in a huge profit for all participants, because it was the right restructuring process and the right timing. Q Which assets (e.g. industries, companies, real estates, etc.) are the most problematic for you to manage? A Real estate and construction are definitely causing more headaches than companies in the manufacturing and food sectors. Also relatively difficult are holding companies, either financial holdings or partial holdings with operational activities. Usually they are at the apex of complex groups where there are many cross-ownerships, cross-guarantees and so it is difficult to identify and measure the value, and cut through the opaque structures. 

In cases of the recovery of assets, the criterion is obviously achieving the maximum financial return, taking into account also the time value of money. I would not say immediate is always the best because, for a number of assets, especially in the real estate segment, it can happen that waiting, even if you apply the discount factor for the future revenue from the sale, is worthwhile because the price may increase.

Spring Edition 2016 | The Slovenian Times



Women Leaders Agents of Change in Europe For its 30th anniversary, IEDC-Bled School of Management is organising, in cooperation with the IEDC Coca - Cola Chair for Sustainable Development and the European Leadership Centre 2016, an international leadership conference: 'Women Leaders - Agents of Change in Europe', which will take place on Thursday, 14 April and Friday, 15 April 2016. The event will be opened by Slovenian Prime Minister, Dr Miro Cerar.


The Slovenian Times | Spring Edition 2016

"With this conference we would like to create the awareness that women leaders are an important factor of development in Europe. By presenting best practices in different fields created by women leaders (business, government and NGOs), we will encourage younger women to take on the responsible positions. We expect 100 top women leaders from around the world," stresses Professor Dr Danica Purg, President, IEDC-Bled School of Management. The keynote speaker at the conference will be Dr Susan R Madsen, a professor at Utah Valley University in the United States. She is a worldrenowned expert in women leadership and is heavily involved in researching the lifetime development of prominent women leaders from across the globe. As she states, "Strengthening girls and women to learn to lead is a critical imperative these days for local, national and global leadership and success". She has published or edited five books as well as the well-known book series 'Women and Leadership'. At the conference she will exclusively present the research findings for her latest book 'Women and Leadership Around the World', published in 2015, where a

Economy special chapter 'The Leadership Development Journey of One of Slovenia’s Most Influential Women' is dedicated to IEDC President Professor Danica Purg. "When women are on boards and in leadership there tends to be higher employee satisfaction, a smaller gender pay gap, lower corporate fraud, more corporate social responsibility initiatives, greater creativity and problem solving capabilities, stronger team decision making and reduced groupthink", according to Dr Madsen for The Slovenia Times.

Participants will have the exclusive opportunity to learn from and to participate in discussions with established speakers including: • Professor Dianne Bevelander, Executive Director, Erasmus Centre for Women and Organizations, the Netherlands, • Sasha Bezuhanova, Founder of MoveBG and former General Director of Hewlett-Packard, Bulgaria, • Branimir Brkljać, Founding President, Terra Panonica, Serbia, • Tanja Fajon, Member of the European Parliament, Slovenia, • Gordana Kovačević, President and CEO, Ericsson Nikola Tesla, Croatia, • Dr Bola Olabisi, Founder and Chair, Global Women Inventors and Innovators Network, UK, • Irena Prijović, Secretary General, Slovenian Directors Association, Slovenia, • Ljerka Puljić, Senior Executive Vice President for Strategic Business Groups, Agrokor Group, Croatia,

Changing the perception on what is considered as the leader role model "Talking about the topic is raising awareness about the lack of women experts, the lack of women in business in general, which is rooted in the same historical factors as the lack of women in the boardroom. These are the facts that were summarised perfectly by Rowena Ironside, the Chair of Women on Boards UK. Quoting her: "… these factors include both demand and supply-side issues. On the demand side, historically, the main experts were men. These men will know more men than women through their work and social networks, have an unconscious bias toward people like them and have a clear idea of what an "expert" looks like - a man. On the supply side, the current paucity of female role models discourages women from staying in the race. If it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert, why would you put in the time if your expertise is never acknowledged publicly? It also means they are more reticent to put themselves forward. It takes a lot more courage to be the first." I believe these are the facts or paradigm well known to every woman in business. On the other side, I have had a very different personal experience which I would like to share. Being an Attorney at Law, I have the opportunity to speak on a daily basis with the board members and guess what, they are in the majority-men. I never feel I am different because I am a women; I never feel I am put aside as a professional because I am a women and I never think about the issue: being a woman in a man’s world! For me it was never like that. But I remember fifteen years ago, I read that Hillary Clinton once sad that she deliberately neglected her looks to be taken seriously by men and to succeed in man’s world. This affected me a lot. Actually, I never stopped thinking about that and never stop making judgements about that. When I start to analyse why that is so, I started thinking about which skills and values I articulate while interacting in business: putting expertise, meaningful communication and substance over form always worked for me together with ignoring any female related comments. The solution is always in the problem itself, meaning that by changing the paradigm itself we will change our perception of what we consider as a leader role model. Do we need different leaders from those preferred now? Do we need rational or more emotional leaders or both combined in some circumstances or companies? Therefore, in 20 years, it is possible that we will consider empathy, social skills, soft skills and the emotional over the rational decision-making model.” Anita Hukelj, MBA, Attorney at Law and President of the IEDC Alumni Club Croatia Anita Hukelj

• Melanie Seier Larsen, Principal, Boston Consulting Group, Slovenia, • Edin Šarčević, HUB387, Bosnia and Herzegovina, • Gülden Türktan, W20 President and Member of KAGIDER Council of Presidents, Turkey, • Olga Veligurska, Director, CEEMAN, Slovenia. • Mirella Visser, Managing Director, Centre for Inclusive Leadership, The Netherlands The moderator of the conference will be Professor Mollie Painter-Morland from the Nottingham Business School in the UK and the Coca-Cola Chair of Sustainable Development at IEDC- Bled School of Management.  Spring Edition 2016 | The Slovenian Times


Economy Interview: Vesna Vodopivec, General Manager of Human Resources and Organisation Development, NLB

NLB: proven excellence in HR Prepared by Medeja Kenda

NLB is the first Slovene institution to receive a Top Employer international certification, thus proving it is among the best employers in Slovenia and according to international benchmark. Vesna Vodopivec, General Manager of HR Management and Organisation Development at NLB, emphasised that the certification process itself required extensive effort and is an achievement by the whole team of committed employees and a result of long-term work. "There will be no HR service in the future if it is not able to translate the business KPIs into work with employees, into the introduction of new methodologies and understanding strategy and supporting its business."

Vesna Vodopivec, General Manager of Human Resources and Organisation Development, NLB; Photo: Barbara Zajc

Q What does the process of certification involve? A The certification is awarded by the independent Top Employers Institute. Through a complex certification process, it determines how well companies apply different approaches to working with employees. We prepared all the necessary documents, practices and evidence of our work in this area which was then followed by checking and then interviews. The certification classifies us among visible international companies and reputable financial institutions, such as BNP Paribas, ING, UniCredit, Danone, DHL, Heineken, McDonalds, Roche, SAP etc.

Q Due to market circumstances, NLB started the reorganisation of its business network and 32

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abolition of unprofitable units in 2013. The main goal was to lower the number of employees by 20% by 2015. Did this transformation have an influence on salaries, awards and motivation among employees? A The main goal of the transformation was to cut costs which was, of course, also tied to the number of employees. The bank did this responsibly, considering the employees, their families and consequently, their commitment and motivation. The process was a long one for that very reason, as we wanted to mitigate the negative consequences as much as possible. The bank did not wish to reduce the motivation of the employees, although it was not possible to completely avoid that. There has been no reduction in salaries. On the contrary, we have established a more transparent remuneration and promotion method. The bank has also maintained the funds allocated to training and development and focus on talent management.

Q After the introduction of seven new measures which improved the wellbeing of employees, NLB was also certified as a Family-Friendly Company in December 2014. It was presented by the Ekvilib Institute and the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities. What added value do you offer your employees? A This process also took several years. Satisfied employees form the cornerstone of business success, which is also fostered by pursuing a family-friendly policy. The measures introduced and supplemented annually, concern all employees, young families and older employees, with the clear aim to understand different needs and listen to them. Among the 12 adopted measures, four are supportive in the area

of communication with internal and external audiences. They are essential for the efficient implementation of all the other measures. The remaining eight measures concern working time, work organisation, structure of payment and remunerated achievements, and services for families. The adoption of new measures and preservation of the certificate has long-term positive effects on the employees as it enables easier coordination of family life and work.

Q What is the biggest challenge HR is facing today? Is the forecast for the future similar or do you expect new trends? A The role of HR is growing. There is an increasing understanding of its significance; sometimes, expectations are even too high. HR does (still) not have a magic wand. In my opinion, the challenges remain the same as regard the content. However, it will be a great challenge in terms of how to participate in the implementation of the corporate strategy and achievement of the business goals. HR has often introduced new practices without understanding the strategy and goals. There will be no HR in the future if it is not able to translate the business KPIs into work with employees, into the introduction of new methodologies and understanding strategy and supporting its business. Q Such a prestigious award is great confirmation of your efforts so far. Do you find it also challenging for the future? Does the certificate give you also some future tasks? A Such an award, that is the certificate, means a large commitment for the team in the HR department and, of course, the bank as a whole not to rest on its laurels, but to be even better in the treatment of employees, imposing on us continuous improvement in the HR practices and following the global trends in different areas of HRM. ď ´

Satisfied employees form the cornerstone of business success, which is also fostered by pursuing a familyfriendly policy. The measures introduced and supplemented annually, concern all employees, young families and older employees, with the clear aim to understand different needs and listen to them.

Economy Interview: Irena Moro, Director, Moro & Kunst Company

Countries with the highest gold reserves present a plan for repatriating gold Prepared by Tina Drolc, M.Sc.

Moro & Kunst Ltd, founded in 1993, is one of the leading bullion traders with a strong business presence in the major precious metals markets of Germany, Switzerland, Croatia, Austria and Slovenia. As pointed out by the company’s Director, Irena Moro, to trade gold internationally certain conditions need to be considered and also, gold coins should be considered as an investment. Q You represent nine of the world’s leading mints, among them the Swiss Mint, Argor Heraeus and the Austrian Mint. What are the criteria that are taken into consideration when deciding about the types of investment in gold and other precious metals which you trade? A We first started bullion trading in Slovenia in 2005, a year after Slovenia became an EU member and started operating under the European legislation for gold bullion trading. Under this legislation, gold bullion is exempt from VAT or any other taxation and therefore more attractive for investors. We have selected fine gold bars with the highest liquidity for Slovenian investors. Argor Heraeus is recognised as a "Good Delivery" producer and one of the five referees for the control of quality standards of the LBMA Good Delivery members. When choosing the Austrian Mint we considered also the history. Throughout the era of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, many workers received their payment in florin-denominated gold coins and people traded in crowns and ducats. These gold coins are considered as one of the best choices when investing in gold as they don’t have any numismatic value and the spread is also very low. For the last 27 years, the Austrian Mint has been minting the only bullion coins denominated in euros, the Vienna Philharmonic gold coins. Argor Heraeus from Switzerland mints gold bars for the Austrian Mint, therefore gold bars of the Austrian Mint also enjoy Good Delivery certification, which many of the investors are not aware of. We are also the official representative partner for collector coins minted by the Austrian Mint in Slovenia and Croatia.

Q For trading a given market, gold bars must comply with certain standards which are known as the "London Good Delivery" standard. What are the guarantees of this standard and why London? A The LBMA is an international trade association which represents the London market for gold and silver bullion and includes some of the gold-holding central banks, private sector investors, mining companies, producers, refiners and fabricators. The Association sets refining standards, prepares trading documentation and establishes important trading practices. In 1750, the Bank of England set up the Good Delivery List which identifies the refiners of gold and silver whose large bars were found to meet the required standard when originally tested. Today, the LBMA own and manage the Good Delivery Lists for both gold and silver. The global bullion trade is based in London and the LBMA is the organisation which sets trading standards globally, known as "Responsible Gold Guidance”. Moro has also had an important role in preparing the guidance, meaning that Moro strictly and responsibly follows the practices in accordance with the LBMA’s Responsible Gold Guidance, which aims to prevent money laundering. These standards and guidelines guarantee that the investor can buy or sell gold bullion anytime and anywhere at the spot price. Investors can also use Good Delivery gold bars as collateral for bank loans. Q When is a coin an "investment coin" and which are the most liquid gold coins in the world? A At the beginning of December every year, the European Commission (EC) publishes a list of gold coins, issued by different countries.

Irena Moro, Director, Moro & Kunst Company

Some countries don’t send their annual reports to the EC and so dealers and banks must follow the legislation of the individual EU Member State as the EU is a common free market. The terms for all gold coins are the same, which requires that the coins: • are 0.900 fine or more; • minted after 1800; • are (or were) legal tender in the country of origin; • are usually sold at a price that does not exceed 80% of the market value of gold.

Q At the beginning of the year we observed an upward trend in the gold price and forecasts predict the trend will continue. Even the global banks (particularly in Russia and China) are increasing their gold reserves. What is your assessment of the gold market in 2016 and what factors will influence this? A The World Gold Council reports that China and Russia are constantly increasing their gold reserves but, in my opinion, it is unrealistic to expect that these two countries will report their actual purchases and holdings. What seems very important to me is that European countries with the highest gold reserves in the world, that is Germany (2), Italy (4) and France (5), presented a plan on how to repatriate gold at this year’s LBMA conference in Vienna. These countries have some of their gold reserves stored in countries including the USA, Great Britain and Switzerland. Q Moro is also part of the eminent society - the World Gold Council (WGC). What is the basic mission of WGC and what conditions need to be met to join? A The WGC is the market development organisation for the gold industry. They provide insight into the international gold markets and set the Conflict Free Gold Standard. The World Gold Council’s 18 members are some of the world’s most forward-thinking gold mining companies. Moro consistently cooperates with WGC as well as with LBMA from London. Currently, we are the biggest precious metals trading company in the region.  Spring Edition 2016 | The Slovenian Times



Photos: Faculty of Economics, University of Ljubljana

The future of supply chains: Turning attention toward consumers and demand-driven chains Prepared by Mojca Steiner

The future of supply chain excellence lies in a demand-driven supply network, but what exactly does this mean and what are the future trends in this field? Three key players from the field: Tomislav ÄŒorak, Principal at The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) for CEE region; Peter Kukovica, Member of the Management Board in charge of supply chain management at Gorenje; and Mitja Praprotnik, Vice President of Danfoss Heating Segment at Danfoss Trata; turn our attention toward the planning process, the ongoing process of trying to adapt to consumer demands, increasing the amount of data and information processing, digitalisation, robotisation and other "hot" issues, which need to be considered in-depth by companies throughout the region. A decade ago, the supply chain concept was extended to include a focus on production, involving both the supply and distribution sides of a company. As the chain expands, the distance between the manufacturer and the end consumer increases, both geographically and from an operational point of view and, at the same time, there is a strong trend toward more and more customer-oriented products and production, which requires close relationships between suppliers and customers. Tomislav ÄŒorak from BCG often challenges their clients with the existence of a 'magical' touch point


The Slovenian Times | Spring Edition 2016

which could help explain the common ground between the premise of lean management, the ongoing effort to respond to consumer demand at any given point in time and as efficiently as possible, and the need to introduce efficient data analytics software tools in to the process of tracking activities across the supply chain. Peter Kukovica from Gorenje points out that the challenges that are present in supply chains could be summed up in the following four areas: strategic, process-organisation, IT support and development (new forms of distribution, connectivity, etc). "The answers to all

these challenges should lead to the main objective supply chain management - which is the basic guide to the creation of added-value for the customer." Mitja Praprotnik, from Danfoss Trata, adds that their greatest challenge revolves around market instability and market unpredictability. "As a result, it is difficult and increasingly complicated to prepare informative sales forecasts for the supply management teams, who need this information for the purpose of production planning and for making sure that all product deliveries to end consumers are made on time", he explains. This is why, at Danfoss Heating – Commercial Controls, the supply-chain related goals and detailed plans for supply-chain activities are set on a yearly basis. To ensure greater flexibility in their supply chain processes, they encourage the employees be more aware of the fact that greater flexibility in supply chain management is the only suitable response to market instability and market unpredictability. At the same time, they also put a great deal of attention on the flexibility of the production equipment supporting their manufacturing processes.

Supply chain equals "demand chain"? Demands for more effective support often come from customers, so it can be said that all players in the supply chain can be seen as both customers and suppliers, depending on the position from which you view the chain. Regardless of the viewpoint, the end of the chain is always the final customer. From the perspective of most companies, the ongoing process of trying to adapt to changes in consumer demand is recognised as the greatest challenge of dealing with supply chain management, since it inevitably leads to higher complexity in the

Economy The Demand-Driven Supply Network (DDSN) – a supply chain driven by the voice of the customer DDSN is a system of coordinated technologies and processes that senses and reacts to real-time demand signals across a supply network of customers, suppliers and employees. The goal is to improve operational efficiency, streamline new product development and launch and maximise margin. whole process and the requirements related to the process of managing an increasing amount of (consumer) data. "Today’s global organisations focus exclusively on the challenges of capturing and using big data. Furthermore, numerous companies in our region, unfortunately, still find themselves preoccupied with dealing with the problem of bridging the differences between procurement, production, logistics, and sales processes", claims Čorak. He further states that adopting an integrated approach to supply chain management could solve this problem. His advice is to adopt the logic of a demand-driven supply chain. This approach enables companies to halve the time of product delivery to consumers which, in turn, directly results in the reduction of safety stock levels by up to 30%.

The demand-driven supply chain reality in Slovenia Companies that switch from a "push" method of moving product, based on incomplete or inaccurate demand information, to a "pull" method, based on responding quickly to realtime demand signals are expected to better and more accurately forecast customer needs. According to AMR’s latest research, companies that are 30% better at demand forecasting average 15% lower inventories, a 17% improvement in perfect order fulfilment and 35% shorter cash-to-cash cycle times. In Slovenia, the reality for most companies, from the field, still lies somewhere in-between, but there are bright examples. As pointed out by Praprotnik, Danfoss Trata can be proud of the fact that "92% of their deliveries to customers are made on time and 97% of all deliveries are completed within the timeframe stated on the customer order. The company has also recorded a 10% yearly increase in productivity and a yearly reduction in purchasing costs of 3%-4%." Kukovica explained how Gorenje manages the complexity of supply chain processes and pointed out that the first challenge Gorenje had to deal with was to grow the awareness that a supply chain should be understood as a process in which all partners are working towards a common goal. "The supply chain is only as strong as its weakest link", he added. He is clear about Gorenje’s operation of its supply chain, which is monitored at three levels: the added value for the customer, cost optimisation and increasing profitability. "We have defined KPI’s

through which we monitor the accuracy of forecasting sales, the success of the implementation of orders and promised production dynamics, fulfilling promises on the cost side, optimising inventories (turn and level) and reducing logistics costs. We also monitor compliance with promised delivery times, both from the stores of our sales companies and warehouses of manufacturing sites."

Information processing, digitalisation, robotisation – the trends in demand-driven supply chain When asked about information processing along the supply chain, Kukovica stated that the information should be updated regularly and accessible at all times to all participants in the supply chain. He concluded that the key responsibility for achieving a sound level of systematisation lies with the employees because they have to be goal-oriented as well as motivated to follow the latest trends and, last but not least, be prepared to integrate those trends in their daily management of the supply chain. Praprotnik briefly touched upon the topic of digitalisation and robotisation of supply chain processes, both closely connected to the changes brought to the fore by the "Internet of Things". He states that both the digitalisation and robotisation of supply chains have a significant effect on the current changes taking place within the production environment, as well as

along the entire supply chain. He believes that, in the next five to ten years, these processes can lead to highly improved productivity and flexibility of companies. Keeping this in mind, Čorak expressed a belief that the future of supply chain management lies in developing sustainable supply chains. Accordingly, a sustainable supply chain is understood as a strategic corporate function. With help, companies can achieve higher supply chain flexibility and reduce their safety stock levels. Several other supply chain experts explain that four vital characteristics must be met to successfully incorporate the processes of the demand-driven supply chain into the organisation: coordination, communication, capacity and commitment. Is your company ready to address these future supply-chain management challenges?  Article sources: Inbound Logistics – Supply chain strategies on demand is in demand Supply Chain Quarterly - What do we really mean by supply chain management? SupplyChainOpz - What is Logistics and Supply Chain Management? Industry week - Demand-Driven Supply Chains Are In Demand Supply and Demand Chain Executive - Follow the 4 C’s to Implement a Demand Driven Supply Chain

Spring Edition 2016 | The Slovenian Times


Economy The port must upgrade its maritime window into the world with a land-based counterpart. Since the competition is strong, it must do so as quickly as possible!

Port of Koper; Photo: Port of Koper

Who Will Take the Infrastructure Lead to Central Europe? Port of Koper in the Spotlight In 2015, the Port of Koper broke new records in container and car throughput. The port has big development plans including: extending the first pier, installing new ship-lifts and railway tracks, setting up new storage areas and deepening the container shore. These investments are of vital importance to ensure the port continues to be competitive with the rapidly modernising neighbouring ports in Trieste and Rijeka. Koper is not only the most important Slovenian port – it is also the most important port for Vienna, Budapest and Bratislava and potentially, it could be the maritime Silk Road from Asia/China to Europe. However, to ensure the future of the Port of Koper, maintain its status as a leading northern Adriatic port and a driving force of Slovenian economic development and growth in the Adriatic, Mediterranean, European and global port businesses environments, efficient and contemporary transport links between Koper and the Central and Eastern European markets is critical. Both Trieste and Rijeka are observing with attention the actions of Slovenia. The neigh-


The Slovenian Times | Spring Edition 2016

boring countries are rapidly investing in their railway infrastructure: the Croatians wish to build a railway connecting Rijeka to Budapest and the Austrians are building a modern railway from Graz to Klagenfurt which will extend all the way to Trieste. This could lead to a loss of transit for the Slovenian railways and the exclusion of Slovenia from the core European railway corridors.

Slovenia/Koper – The port and logistics hub of Central Europe The Port of Koper, situated in the very heart of Europe, has the most strategic position of all the North-Adriatic and Mediterranean ports. It has the advantage of offering the shortest route to the hinterland markets due to its location in the centre of European transport corridors V. (Barcelona-Kiev), X. (SalzburgThessaloniki-Istanbul) and the Baltic-Adriatic corridor. Without a modern railway link, it could lose its strategic position. By means of regional internationalisation, Slovenia is seeking the support of its neighbours in the building of a second track from Divača to Koper. However, the building of the second track infrastructure

will be difficult without plans to expand and modernise the port into a Central European hub which would, in accordance with global trends, operate an increasing number of production activities within the port itself. It may be that Slovenia is already too late to take the central role in logistics which means that the competitive development of the Port of Koper is in danger. Ideas for building a multimodal land-based logistics hub in Hungary could not help particularely the Port of Koper become an actual Central-European hub port. Similar ideas can also be traced in Austria where they’re rapidly investing in their railways. Development of logistics infrastructure would also mean more foreign investment and the creation of new jobs which Slovenia desperately needs to combat its high unemployment rate.

The second track from Divača to Koper – a necessary link to CEE markets Modern railway links between Koper and the key markets of Central Europe are a must. For decades, Slovenia has been aware of the development problems and dilemmas connected to the railway infrastructure of the Port of Koper. In addition to professional disagreements, the hesitation to build the necessary railway links has been plagued by political disagreements regarding the rationale and variants of the project. To successfully complete this national project of strategic importance by attracting also private investors, political agreement by all parties will have to be sidelined. The plans of the neighboring countries to modernise the Adriatic ports and build modern railway links to the hinterland markets and the plans of the Chinese to expand into the Central Europe from the Port of Piraeus in Greece, mean that Slovenia has very little time to decide, prepare a plan and seek investors for the implementation of a key project that will ensure the future development and competitiveness of the Port of Koper and Slovenia.  Iztok Mirošič Ambassador and Former Ambassador of the Republic of Slovenia to Italy and to the United Kingdom

Economy Interested in an MBA degree? Access MBA bridges the distance between business executives and elite MBA programmes from around the world through personalised One-to-One meetings between potential MBA candidates and Admissions Directors. The Access MBA Tour will come for the first time to Ljubljana on May 7th at Hotel Lev. The event will bring together top international business schools from Europe and North America, as well as prestigious local institutions. Access MBA’s Spring Tour features 125 international business schools and takes place in 34 cities across the world.

MBA considered best education for career advancement 2016 is the most optimistic year for the MBA job market according to both business schools and employers A number of recent studies – most notably the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) 2015 Prospective Student Report – indicate that MBA education has established itself as the go-to place for prospective students who wish to progress their careers. More than half of postgraduate candidates see the MBA degree as the only possible option for enhancing their careers, compared to 22% who see the classic Masters degree as the life-changing diploma that would bring them into the fold of upper-middle class earners. The American organisation’s latest yearly report states that 65% of prospective students across the globe "pursue graduate management education to increase the job opportunities that are available to them". Of those, more than onethird seek better jobs, while another third aims to switch career lanes. The remaining 28% – an unsurprising number in the current start-up craze – claim to be aspiring entrepreneurs.

Expectations not far from reality Voices on both side of the fence express optimism when it comes to these numbers. Business schools around the world suggest that 2015 is possibly the best year since the 2008 Global Financial Crisis when it comes to companies hiring freshly graduated MBA students.


The Slovenian Times | Spring Edition 2016

At the same time, employers help revitalise a labour market, which only a few years ago, saw its highest unemployment rates in decades. One dean at Wisconsin School of Business in the US even goes as far as saying that "It’s going to be a (graduating) students’ market for the next 15-plus years", while Barbara Hewitt of University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, claims that "only 4.2% of last year’s graduating class of seniors were still seeking employment four to six months after graduation", according to the BBC. More importantly, employers’ attitudes towards MBA graduates have reached overwhelmingly positive numbers in 2015. According to the same 2015 GMAC report, "the proportion of employers hiring recent business school graduates continues to trend upward in 2015" with "84 percent of employers (planning) to hire MBA graduates this year, compared with 74 percent that hired them in 2014" – a growth rate of 12% over a period of one year.

More than half of MBA graduates are managers Earlier this year, Paris-based Advent Group conducted a similar survey across a wide range of prospective, current, and graduated business education students from around the world. Its

findings open a window into the future of some of the students graduating now, by comparing the current success of MBA alumni to the initial expectations of candidates. According to the study, 60% of MBA graduates currently hold mid- or senior level management positions, compared to 43% of Master’s graduates. When asked about the kind of skills that candidates expect to acquire during their MBA education, most answer "global vision", "leadership skills", and "interpersonal skills". These can be broadly branded as "soft skills" – a highly sought-after set of applied skills and qualities essential for managers. Interestingly, these three answers are also the most popular among MBA graduates. In addition, a combined 66% of MBA graduates claimed that they either attained a betterpaying job or managed to climb the career ladder as a result of their studies. Commenting on the results of the survey, Christophe Coutat, CEO and Founder of Advent Group said "An MBA degree teaches the management-level mix of soft and hard skills essential for today’s dynamic, and often volatile, business environment". "Whether we’ll enter a period of economic growth or another crisis in the global market remains unclear. But one thing is certain – the time for great experts capable of taking on the responsibilities that come with these new realities – is now", Coutat concluded. 

Confucius Institute Ljubljana "When I assumed the position of director of Confucius Institute Ljubljana 6 years ago, I did not know what an important role the Faculty of Economics at the University of Ljubljana can play in incorporating Chinese language and culture across Slovenian kindergartens and universities, and bringing together local and business communities between China and Slovenia. I hope that Chinese language can be vertically incorporated into the whole Slovenian education system, like they have done in Russia, Portugal, and South Africa. In the US, a new Million Strong Initiative has been recently launched to teach 1 million students Chinese language. Through learning language and building cultural understanding, we also try to provide more job opportunities to Slovenian students and business opportunities for our economy." Danijela Voljč, MA (Director of Confucius Institute Ljubljana).

High-level visit to Confucius Institute Ljubljana as part of the 10 th anniversary of Confucius Institute Network

Confucius Institute Ljubljana and the spirit of the new Silk Road:

Building bridges in cultural dialogue and business through language and education Prepared by Matevž Raškovic´, PhD

The new One Belt One Road initiative proposed by Chinese president Xi Jinping is not only aimed at strengthening trade, investment and logistic ties between Europe and China, as two of the world’s largest trading partners, but also at reviving the spirit of the original Silk Road which brought important technological and cultural exchange between Europe and China. However, many in Slovenia do not know that the strengthening of ties between China and Slovenia is not a matter of recently growing economic and political cooperation under the 16+1 platform linking China to 16 countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). It is in fact a historical friendship going much further back to the beginning of the 18th century, when a prominent Jesuit monk Fredinand Avguštin Hallerstein rose to minister-level position at the Chinese empirical court and made several important contributions in astronomy, mathematics and demography studies. "Hallerstein was the head of The Imperial Board of Astronomy at Emperor Qianlong’s court. He dedicated his life to science, maintained relations with scientific circles in different European countries and became an important cultural link between Europe and China." Prof. Mitja Saje, PhD (Professor of Sinology at the University of Ljubljana)

Two and a half centuries after his death, the spirit and the ideas of the original Silk Road remain as relevant as they were, or perhaps even more. As knowledge and learning hubs, Confucius Institutes (CIs) can play an important role in reviving the spirit of the Silk Road through culture, language and business education. "The Confucius Institute Ljubljana has opened new possibilities to bring Chinese civilization, history and culture to the Slovenian people. Geographically, China is very far from Slovenia, but with the activities organized by the Confucius Institute its history and art became closer and more familiar to many Slovenians." H.E. Mrs. Marija Adanja (Former ambassador of the Republic Slovenia in the PR China)


The Slovenian Times | Spring Edition 2016

Confucius Institute Ljubljana Confucius Institute Ljubljana: No business with China without language, history and cultural understanding

"Confucius Institute Ljubljana has become a key bridge in culture, language, education and research between China and Slovenia. It has opened doors for us to collaborate with leading Chinese universities and the prestigious Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, putting Slovenian science and research 'on the map' in China." Prof. Ivan Svetlik, PhD (President of University of Ljubljana and President of the board of CI Ljubljana)

"Confucius Institute Ljubljana sets up not only a platform for Chinese language teaching and Chinese culture introduction, but more importantly it builds a bridge of mutual learning and understanding, a bridge of friendship between Chinese people and Slovenian people."

CI Ljubljana’s unique and pioneering model of Chinese culture and language teaching and learning in Slovenia has been recognized by Hanban and also emulated beyond Slovenia. It is because of this unique model that more than 700 kindergarten, primary school and secondary school students in Slovenia were learning Chinese language and culture within four Confucius Classrooms (CCs) in Maribor (234 students), Ljubljana (197 students), Kranj (174 students) and Koper (98 students) in 2015.

Duquan Xie, PhD (Chinese director of Confucius Institute Ljubljana)

"The Slovenian model of Chinese culture and language teaching is based on theoretical knowledge, years of practical experience of teaching Chinese and research results. The long-term goal of CCs is to establish a vertical link in the field of Chinese culture and language teaching and learning between kindergartens, primary schools, high schools and universities.CC Ljubljana developed a unique sixstep model, which forms a good basis for teaching and learning Chinese: - Step 1: Introduction of Chinese language learning (why), - Step 2: Articulated curriculum (how), - Step 3: Teacher training (professional development), - Step 4: Team teaching (combining expertise), - Step 5: Creative workshops (encouraging creativity, project work and teamwork), - Step 6: Social engagement (making sense)." Tina Ilgo, PhD (Head Slovenian project coordinator of the CC network in Slovenia at Trnovo Primary School)

Duquan Xie, PhD (Chinese director of CI Ljubljana)

Joining the ranks of London School of Economics, Copenhagen Business School and State University of New York, CI Ljubljana is one of only a few selected CIs located at a business school in a global network of over 500 supported by its parent organization Hanban and affiliated with the Chinese Ministry of Education. Opened in May 2010, CI Ljubljana is a non-profit organization and the only such business-oriented institute in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). CI Ljubljana links the basic purpose of promoting Chinese language and culture with building bridges between the business worlds of China and Slovenia, and also fostering academic business research related to China-CEE cooperation in order to support business and support policy makers. In 2013 CI Ljubljana initiated with a group of CIs from CEE and several prominent Chinese universities a new China-CEE academic research conference platform with the first biannual conference being held in Ljubljana in 2013 and the second one held in 2015 in Cracow, Poland. Spring Edition 2016 | The Slovenian Times


Confucius Institute Ljubljana Plans are also underway for two more CCs in Celje and Ljubljana #2. To realize this ambitious plan, CI Ljubljana also needs to develop Slovenian sinology teachers, which will co-teach Chinese language and culture in CCs. "Our goal is to build a solid foundation for future Chinese teaching and learning that would bring great benefit to Slovenian school system, teachers involved and to the children when facing a globalised world." Irena Kokovnik (Principal of Trnovo Primary School).

In collaboration with successful Slovenian painter and artist of Chinese decent, Mrs. Huiqin Wang, which has been living in Slovenia for some 30 years, CI Ljubljana has also published the first two picture books in Chinese and English language about Ferdinand Avguštin Hallerstein - a Slovenian in the Forbidden City and Giuseppe Castiglione – an Italian painter in the Forbidden City. "Based on the success of classes among our children, we have also started to run a class for their parents. We are happy that whole families are getting involved in Chinese language and culture learning." Ana Kuhar Režek (Principal of Koseze Primary School)

Additionally, CI Ljubljana has also organized dozens of Chinese language courses for over 150 university students at the Faculty of Economics, Social Sciences, Administration, Pedagogy and even Architecture, as well as organized individual Chinese business lessons for Slovene business people. All students attending these language classes can also qualify to obtain official HSK certification of Chinese language knowledge. Other people interested in mastering basic Chinese every day phrases can also learn Chinese for free online, through a new website "The demand for Business Chinese is growing in Slovenia. Many Slovenian businesspeople are starting to recognize growing business opportunities between China and CEE. They are very eager to learn. For this reason, we will soon be launching a free website for learning basic business Chinese." Zhonghui Ding, MA (Head Chinese teacher at Confucius Institute Ljubljana)

CI Ljubljana is also running a unique business elective course on How to do business with China at the Faculty of Economics in English. It is one, if not the most popular English undergraduate elective course, attended by close to 60 students from 25 different countries during the regular school year and by an additional 80 international students also during the Ljubljana Summer School in July at the Faculty of Economics.


"In this academic year, we are the only High School in the region which offers Chinese, the only nonEuropean language in the school program, as regular subject. We expect to expand our activities from learning Chinese to short time exchange of students and teachers with our partner school in China. Lastly, learning and speaking Chinese will in the future also offer students abundant study and career opportunities in China."

"Within the How to do business with China course we develop the right mindset for Chinese business, build awareness of the importance of interlinking language, culture and business, and develop the right business, communication, negotiation and marketing skills. Each year, we work with on concrete projects for successful companies (e.g. Medex, TAM Europe, Eta Kamnik etc.) and help them purse business in China and create employment opportunities for our students."

Mišo Dačić (Head of CC Kranj at Kranj High School)

Matevž Rašković, PhD (Professor of How to do business with China)

The Slovenian Times | Spring Edition 2016

Confucius Institute Ljubljana

"Confucius Institute Ljubljana is uniquely situated at the Faculty of Economics and has its economic aspect as well. Because of this, it is also contributing to the development of economic and business ties between the two countries. I do hope that in the future more Slovenian companies will use the opportunities that CI is offering to them to get to know better the Chinese business environment and to gather the courage to access the big and demanding Chinese market." H.E. Mrs. Marija Adanja (Former ambassador of the Republic Slovenia in the PR China)

In addition to celebrating all key Chinese holidays and festival, especially the Chinese New Year, CI Ljubljana also runs summer schools camps for children in Ljubljana and Novo mesto, Chinese workshops at summer camps in Dolenjske Toplice attended by more than 800 children. CI Ljubljana also organizes a large summer school for over 100 university students of different backgrounds, where they get first-hand experience with China and its people, learn about Chinese language and culture, as well as get a taste of working in China. Many of them also travel around China afterwards and some of them have started to pursue business opportunities directly as a result of this, especially in the areas of tourism and export/import business.

"It was a great honor for us to enact a special performance regarding the Slovenian Jesuit monk Hallerstein in the Forbidden City based on Mrs. Huiqin Wang’s book for the Chinese New Year in order to mark the entry into the year of the Monkey." Verica Šenica Pavletič (Principal of Savsko naselje Primary School).

All these activities have transformed attitudes towards China and the Chinese within Slovenian society. For example, as recent research by CI Ljubljana presented at the prestigious Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing has shown, Slovenian business students display the lowest levels of social distance towards the Chinese among selected CEE countries and rank the Chinese fourth in terms of preference for doing more business after the Germans, Americans and Russian, and before the Serbs, Japanese, Koreans and the Polish. "If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go with others. This saying speaks to the truth that China cannot develop without the world and the world cannot flourish without China." Mrs. Liu Yandong (Vice-Premier of PR China)

Spring Edition 2016 | The Slovenian Times


International Business Partners TOPIC: Generation Y | Millennials

American Chamber of Commerce – AmCham Slovenia

Tomorrow’s Success is Today’s Development Values - a magic word that makes someone see them self and others in a better light. Five years ago, the American Chamber of Commerce - AmCham Slovenia, launched a program offering young leaders a platform to expand the network in which they can exchange ideas, knowledge and best practices. The program enables them to meet Slovenian and foreign experts and top leaders and create exceptional new stories.

Values When we first started the AmCham Young Professionals™ program, we were not fully aware of the dimensions toward which it would take us. Today, its community consists of over 620 young leaders. The first generation proved that we are on the right track. As our first success story, we consider the fact that our young participants identified 12 values, which every business leader should constantly strive for: Responsibility, Ambition, Communication, Creativity, Integrity, Passion for work, Professionalism, Social responsibility, Empathy, Principles, to be a Motivator and Visionary.

IQ, EQ, SQ vice-versa and across The leaders of the present and future are true Renaissance men. The combination of intellectual, emotional and social skills should always lead to a common conclusion - a successful leader must first and foremost be and remain human.

Networking is not to be sneezed at Networking has always been one of the most important factors for a successful company. Within the AmCham Young Professionals™ program, networking reaches beyond these frameworks. Over the years, in fact, it has turned out that program participants forge special ties and develop friendships.

What is our contribution to the development of young leaders? We teach young leaders to appreciate the importance of so-called soft skills, values and qualities, we teach them to be aware of their own potential and we help them find a way to reach it. What will be their contribution to a better business environment in Slovenia? It will be significant. 

Luxembourg-Slovenian Business Club (LSBC) Our new fast-forward world makes for fast-forward changes The future is changing now and there’s really no other option but to adopt this mindset in the business world or to sink. LSBC has chosen the first option and enjoys making a difference and also giving opportunities to Millennials to utilise their full potential. 44

The Slovenian Times | Spring Edition 2016

The Luxembourg Slovenian Business Club (LSBC) realises that the future lies in using state-of-the art communication tools, virtual communities and a collaborative mind-set. By adopting a traditional and unconventional “no box” approach, efficiency and flexibility into daily operations, LSBC’s activities immediately result in successful partnerships. Since Millennials are the first fully connected generation, LSBC has included them in the Club’s operations from the very beginning

and given them a place where they can employ fresh ideas and a success driven and globally oriented mindset. As LSBC is constantly evolving toward an ever more advanced community, we continue searching for new team members and will welcome all who will contribute to the LSBC story – that is, all proactive and solution oriented young people who aren’t afraid of the complexity of globally oriented LSBC projects and would like to leave their mark. 

International Business Partners

Generation Y is the generation of tomorrow’s leaders In the German Slovene Chamber of Commerce we are keen that Generation Y will make the world a better place to live. We are therefore including Generation Y in all our working groups where different ideas, opinions and views are shared to obtain a common position. In our working groups, younger participants always get feedback from their elders through the mentoring program. Learning from the most experienced managers is what we can and want to give this generation of future leaders

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

who will shape the economy and politics in the near future. We cannot, however, forget the next generation, Generation Z, which is different from its predecessor. We strongly support the establishment of vocational training in Slovenia, which would ensure the youngsters work, as well as undergoing an educational process which can lead to success in research, development and innovation where Slovenia has a comparative advantage. 

Advantage Austria In addition to supporting the inter-regional economic cooperation between Austria and Slovenia in every possible way, Advantage Austria Ljubljana (AA) organises a multitude of information and networking events, participation at fairs and various other joint opportunities for Austrian and Slovene businesses. One of Advantage Austria´s current special areas is to increase the effort to connect and encourage the start-up communities in both countries. Following events, meetings and guided delegations that have taken place in recent months, AA is working hard to ensure that motivated, highly-skilled young potentials get the platform they deserve. But the engagement towards “Generation Y” starts at an earlier (st)age: AA is involved in the reintroduction of the dual vocational education system at secondary school. The focus lies on highlighting the personal skills of young pupils and, in the process, meeting the requirements of today’s economy.  Spring Edition 2016 | The Slovenian Times


International Business Partners

Italian Trade Agency (ICE)

investors, provide professional training to foreign talent and encourage our companies to introduce digital solutions. Specific attention is paid to precisely the sectors which have the highest potential to improve our lives such as life sciences, mechanical and engineering, ICT, energy management and production, agrifood, etc… .

Our main objective, in Slovenia, is to bridge the gap between actual and potential cooperation and we are doing our best to awake the sleeping beauty. As shown at the fourth IBF, organised with the Italian-Slovenian Forum which took place at the Jožef Stefan Institute in February, entrepreneurship is the missing link between innovation and competitiveness. 

The core activity of the Italian Trade Agency is internationalisation of SMEs. A precondition to survive in international markets is innovation. We are very well aware that an adequate environment promoting scientific research, together with entrepreneurs capable of valuing innovative products and processes and the use of advanced skills, are needed. Millennials have advanced skills. They were born in the digital age and educated in a world of fast developing technology. They are optimistic, engaged and team players. Our organisation is engaged in fostering company and entrepreneurial knowledge of international markets. We support them in identifying business development opportunities in terms of qualified counterparts and resources. We help our start-ups find potential

Young talent in Russia benefitting from a self-run SBA program

Slovene - Russian Business Club


The Slovenian Times | Spring Edition 2016

As an IEDC participant 11 years ago, Yury Praslov, Head of the SloveneRussian business club, was one of the youngest in the Executive MBA class. “This is quite typical for Russia. You will find the youngest CEOs, the youngest billionaires and the youngest ministers. Generation Y are now also starting to set the rules of the game in business education too!” Leading marketing at the Russian Managers Association, Yury has witnessed the emergence of a unique MBA program in Russia. The program is so unique in that it is self-run by the young people themselves, without any academics involved. "We first supported them with the right infrastructure and some business contacts and basically they started to develop it by inviting guest speakers!" "The Soft skills & Business Administration program (SBA in short) was an answer to the gap that has always existed between lagging university programs and demanding employers in Russia. Moscow, in particular, is a very competitive environment and most graduates are left to their own devices after university, and then only a very few high potential students make it to the best companies", says Yury. As Vlad Shipilov, CEO of the SBA program says, it is not just about soft skill development, such as problem-solving, stress management

and emotional intelligence, the program also boosts quite practical skills from various functional tracks such as marketing and law, to make them candidates for the best employers and entrepreneurs. "The crucial difference from a classic MBA program is that SBA attracts only practitioners from the best industry leaders and the final decision is with the young guys running the program. It is through this that the program supplies young talent to McKinsey’s, BCG, PwC, Deloitte, EY, Sberbank and other leading international employers", says Vladislav. The best proof that this approach of a selfrun MBA program is successful is that, since 2011 when the program started, over 1,000 students have graduated SBA and the program is closely monitored by talent buyers in Russia and abroad. It is my wish that such a program in Russia cooperates closely with IEDC’s initiatives involving young talent. 


Congratulations on the occasion of the King’s Day!

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



European Union Politics

HE Bart Twaalfhoven, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands; Photo: Matej Pušnik

Interview: HE Bart Twaalfhoven, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands

The European Union is one of the biggest economic and political blocks in the world Prepared by Tina Drolc, M.Sc.

For the first six months of this year, the Kingdom of the Netherlands holds the Presidency of the EU Council. As explained by HE Bart Twaalfhoven, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Slovenia, the migration crisis and all the consequences thereof, are the top priority within the EU Presidency which is striving to find a common solution within Europe, tackling the crisis from the aspect of the refugees, Members States and the Schengen area. One of the priorities of the Dutch Presidency, as stated by Twaalfhoven, is digitalising the single European market for goods and services.


The Slovenian Times | Spring Edition 2016

EuropeanPolitics Union Q Among the set of priorities, the Netherlands wants to open up digital opportunities in Europe. Which areas/sectors do you want to digitalise? A In the first place, it is very important for Europe that we have a common digital market and that means that the majority of the fields we are dealing with in our day-to-day life should be digitalised. However, as the Presidency, we can put some subjects on the table but, at the end of the day, it is on the Member States to decide upon those subjects and then the European Commission has to work out a set of rules and regulations. For us, it is very important to digitalise in the field of smart industry. Since the fourth industrial revolution is coming, production processes are being linked to the internet and therefore we should work out the rules and regulations to facilitate the process. The second field is services, which is not yet as developed as the European Union market for goods. Thirdly, of course, geo-blocking is the area we put a special focus and finally the sharing economy, collaborative economy where digitalisation can also facilitate the whole process. Q An informal meeting on competitiveness was held in Amsterdam at the beginning of this year, where both the Slovenian and the Netherland’s perspective on this issue were brought forward. Minister Kamp noted that the worldwide web has made the world smaller, but it has also created new, virtual borders. What is the plan for the removal of these virtual barriers between countries within the EU market? A When we talk about digitalisation within the EU, we are talking about creating trust, choices and protection. Although the markets grow, as Minister Kamp says, there is still a lot of barriers in the sense of discrimination. For instance, a holiday package could be much cheaper or more expensive for certain people from certain countries. It might be that a German tourist pays much more for the same package deal in a certain European country than his French or Greek counterpart and that, of course, should be equalised. The same also for certain goods that could be bought on the Internet, but cannot be transported and delivered in another country. Today, when we can reach every corner of the world with the Internet, we should make it equally accessible for all consumers. Q The priority of the Dutch EU Presidency is also ‘strengthening democratic legitimacy’ through an ‘active involvement by people and civil society organisations’ in policy debates and to promote transparency in the EU decision-making process. How will you improve this? A An example would be by including NGOs in the discussion during informal Council meetings. For us, one of the key elements is an EU that connects – with people, businesses and

The idea of the Dutch Presidency is to stimulate this exchange of ideas of all the stakeholders who are, at the end of the day, the consumers of the EU but also the decision-makers of the EU, as they should come together and discuss the future of the EU. with institutions and organisations, but also connects with parliaments. Therefore, it is important that national parliaments are also included in the discussions when we are deciding about Europe. The idea of the Dutch Presidency is to stimulate this exchange of ideas of all the stakeholders who are, at the end of the day, the consumers of the EU but also the decisionmakers of the EU, as they should come together and discuss the future of the EU.

Q Extra focus is being put on the approach to migration and international security. The increased influx of people seeking a safe haven makes it clear that a common border, asylum and migration policy is needed. How is the Dutch Presidency addressing this topic? A The migration crisis and all the consequences thereof are the top priority within our EU Presidency. It is our clear conviction that the only solution is a common solution, made by all 28 Member States of the EU respectively all 26 States of the Schengen area. It is important to focus on a common solution for the acceptance and relocation of the refugees who are in Europe, a common solution to protect our outer borders and a common solution to tackle the root causes in the countries where the migration crisis originated and then, in particular, looking at the situation in Syria. Q What is the structure of the abovementioned common solution? A We have made a very significant agreement with Turkey, unfortunately but very understandably, the Turkish Prime Minister could not attend the last meeting because of the attacks in Turkey. We are looking forward to continuing the discussion in March in presence of the Turkish prime minister. Hopefully a solution can then be found to curb the influx of the migrants into Europe. In the meantime, we have to convene repeatedly with our international partners to tackle the root causes of the migration, especially in the countries on the other side of the Mediterranean Sea. Q The migration crisis has revealed various shortcomings in the areas of freedom, security and justice that require action. Slovenia and the countries of the Western Balkans are severely affected by the current migration. What is the action plan for Slovenia, candidate Member States and potential Member States to deal with this challenge?

A There are many countries affected by the migration crisis. The first are Turkey and Greece, receiving so many migrants at the same time and trying to take care of them. Then we are talking about the countries of the Western Balkan and Slovenia that are doing absolutely their very best to accommodate the stream of migrants, however they are not the destination countries. So then, we have destination countries which, at the end of the day, will have the biggest burden in the long term. For those, as already said, only a common solution will work. How the solution will be for the non-Member States, that is of course another chapter and we have to look into that too, but first we have to find a solution within the EU. If we will have this, it will positively affect other countries. However, the specific measures only for specific countries like Slovenia and the Western Balkan countries you are asking for, are not, per se, the aim of the Presidency, since we are looking for a common solution by all EU-member states in favor of all affected countries.

Q There is only a certain number of people which Europe can accept. Are you already dealing with this? A This is definitely a question that we, as the Presidency, will put on the table however it is not up to the Presidency to decide how many people will be granted access to Europe. The European Union is one of the biggest economic and political blocs in the world – we are talking about 500 million people. How many migrants may be accepted, this is up to the Members States and will be decided by European Council. 

The specific measures only for specific countries like Slovenia and the Western Balkan countries you are asking for, are not, per se, the aim of the Presidency, since we are looking for a common solution by all EU-member states in favor of all affected countries.

Spring Edition 2016 | The Slovenian Times



The Slovenian Interior Minister, Vesna Györkös Žnidar in the company of EU Council President Donald Tusk visits the migrant reception centre in Dobova; Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA

Dušan Mramor, the Slovenian Minister of Finance; Photo: Tamino Petelinšek/STA

Politicial Overview Prepared by Valerio Fabbri "A week in politics is a long time", British Prime Minister Harold Wilson famously said in the mid-1960s. Let alone a few months, Dušan Mramor, the Slovenian Minister of Finance must be pondering. Last year he was named European Finance Minister of the Year by The Banker Magazine, part of the Financial Times Group in London, and this year he is struggling to pass taxation reform. The prestigious title was given to Dr Mramor, a "safe pair of hands" in understated City language, for stabilsing the Slovenian banking system without foreign help; upholding the privatisation process; and implementing a comprehensive reform program geared towards the steady consolidation of Slovenia’s public finances. Despite reducing the government deficit from 5% in 2014 to 1.7% and issuing, for the first time, a 30 year bond, testament to the country’s renewed trust from international financial mar-


The Slovenian Times | Spring Edition 2016

kets; Dr Mramor is stuck in the backwater of a fiscal reform that has been dragging on since 2015. Such reform is intended to improve the efficiency of the taxation system and lessen the administrative burden on taxable persons, while aiming for higher capital gains tax which at 20% is the lowest in the European Union. If these stumbling blocks weren‘t enough, Dr Mramor has also been under pressure from Brussels, having received a warning about the unbalanced budget deficit and public debt for 2016. Not incorretly, Dr Mramor claims that unforseeable problems related to the refugee crisis have impacted state finances. Since Hungary closed its border with Croatia to refugees in October 2015, Slovenia has become the northern-most outpost of the so called Balkans corridor and the first Schengenvisa country, that is the last transit point for refugees to reach one of the much preferred destinations – namely Germany, the U.K. and Scandinavia. The refugee crisis, with asylum seekers coming mostly from war-torn Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, escalated quickly into a humanitarian crisis. In Slovenia, about 460 of the nearly 478,000 migrants (comparable to approximately four million people transiting the US) who have entered the country since October and applied for asylum. Despite objective difficulties, the transit of these people through the country has gone smoothly at the politi-

Refugees in Rigonce near Dobova; Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA

cal level. Initially, the Slovenian government asked the parliament to approve assistance to the police from the armed forces to control the state border, while also building a barbed wire fence along the border with Croatia. The culmination of Ljubljana‘s political activism was the formal shutdown of the Balkan route to illegal, undocumented migrants on 9 March. The decision, spearheaded by Slovenia and coordinated with Croatia, Macedona and Serbia, received the implicit backing of the European Union after the signing of an unprecedented agreement with Turkey to slow the flow of migrants. All these measures were meant to avoid Slovenia becoming a bottleneck. The Slovenian Interior Minister, Vesna Györkös Žnidar, said that the number of migrants Slovenia will receive will be within the daily quota imposed by Austria. However, while opposition to Brussels and refugees in Slovenia is less radical than from the Visegrad countries, the poster child of post-Communist transition is provoking more than a headache in liberal circles across Europe, as the country is witnessing endured protests from grassroots forces, which are a major voice in the country against the welcoming of refugees, regardless of the extreme, inhumane conditions these people are having to endure, countered only by feeble opposition from the urban elite. 


Tanja Fajon, Member of the European Parliament; Photo: Tomi Lombar / Delo

Migration crisis:

"Some might describe the current situation as chaotic, I prefer see it as an opportunity". Prepared by Tanja Fajon, Member of the European Parliament

"Europe has been facing one of its greatest challenges, the migration crisis. Some might even describe the current situation as chaotic but, as an optimist, I prefer to see it as an opportunity. It is quite clear that the existing European migration policy has failed to effectively or appropriately address the current situation. We have faced and overcome a major crisis before but major reform is needed if the EU wants to survive. Are we ready for it? The crisis itself and Europe’s response to it has, so far, been largely dictated by external factors. The Middle East turmoil has prompted millions of refugees to flee their homes, with almost three million seeking refuge in an unstable Turkey. With a future which is not bright and with a safe Europe just a couple of kilometres across the Aegean Sea, most of them continue on their way - Illegally - with the help of people smugglers who make big gains at the expense of this human tragedy. And Europe bears a share of the responsibility. We have estab-

lished a common European asylum system but failed to create a legal and safe way for refugees to reach it. Only when hundreds turned into thousands and when the picture of drowned three year old Aylan circled the internet, did Europe wake from its sleep. As a response, an agreement on resettlement was one of the first measures adopted but its effect is yet to yield results. Part of the blame can be attributed to Brussels due to its slow response, but most of it lies with the Member States. At their meetings, European

leaders promised solutions. After arriving home, actions did not follow the words. With no solidarity and countries becoming increasingly closed, adopting unilateral measures was only to satisfy local public opinion and score cheap political points. But these measures are, in my view, focused too much on safety and lack a humanitarian note. Enhanced protection of the external borders and tightening of asylum laws are the result of the incoherent European policy. In Brussels, we distinguish the issue of the migrant crisis and that of security. Nothing can be achieved if, at the same time, we are not willing to tackle other difficult challenges such as integration and addressing the core problems - wars, persecution and poverty. Of course, from the perspective of the citizens, safety is very important but building fences on our borders is certainly not the solution. And I strongly believe the Union’s future is not within walls. Alarmingly, Greece is on the verge of a humanitarian disaster. I recently visited refugee camps in south-east Turkey on the border with Syria. Measures in Turkey do not entirely work, in part due to lack of funds. Turkey is our strategic partner but one thing is clear; neither Europe nor Turkey can solve this crisis alone. Now the EU has to deliver on its financial assistance to Turkey and Turkey must play its part, bearing in mind that its accession process depends solely on the progress of the reform program. It is therefore hard to say what we can expect from the latest agreement between both sides, but it is vital that the measures are fully in line not only with international humanitarian law but also human dignity. I try to find some optimism in the fact that, after World War II, there were 12 million refugees in Germany alone, nonetheless the country economically flourished. Now we are talking about two million people who have arrived in a peaceful and not so poor European territory. I am therefore convinced that the current numbers can be managed, however, not with the obsolete Dublin Agreement with its rules that impose a heavy load on individual countries, while others remain unaffected. We need drastic and truly European solutions which are based on solidarity. The success of these measures directly depends on the will of our governments to carry through on them as, in reality, there are no instruments at the EU’s disposal to enforce them. If the EU, as a whole, does not deliver in the coming weeks, then I am afraid that the Schengen system will crumble. And the cost of non-Schengen will be significantly greater than the cost of this migration crisis - Europe as we know it will look very different in the very near future." 

Spring Edition 2016 | The Slovenian Times


Global Pitch Economy



Facility is a hotel management software which replaces paper, phone and verbal communication with one, easy-to-use, application.

Italy, Serbia and the UK. Our goal is to reach at least 1,000 hotels. We offer a complete solution and the hoteliers we have met are really responsive and positively surprised about the solution we offer. We have some competition, for example there are some housekeeping apps, but for us, that is just one of the modules we offer. Our advantage in the hospitality industry is that we offer you a complete solution, covering all departments in a hotel.

TST: What is the investment necessary for the realisation of your project and what kind of funding are you looking for? LB: At the moment we need investment to enter the global market. As we stated previously, we are entering five countries this year and there are a lot more to go. In 2015 we received angel investments which turned out to be really efficient – and since then we’ve entered two markets and increased the presence of the Facility app from 10 hotels to 100. So, at the moment, we are looking for venture capital which would enable us to upscale globally and contribute to the whole hospitality industry. TST: Why is your solution special and different from the existing solutions? LB: Facility is different because it is a complete solution for the entire

TST: How did you come up with the idea? Luka Berger, CEO: In 2012 I decided to get a summer job in the USA. I was a housekeeper in one of the hotels in Yellowstone National Park. While working there, I realised that the staff organisation was a mess and all I could see was time and money wasted. I figured that there had to be a solution but there wasn’t, at least not a complete one. After I got back from my summer job, I explained my experience to Aljaž. We had started a company for IT solutions before my departure to USA, which was brilliant because we had a starting point. We brainstormed a little and Facility was born. The first version of the app had little functionality but after presenting it to a few hoteliers and, together with our first clients, we developed the app that we now have. After two years of development, which is ongoing, we now offer it as a product.

TST: What is the main purpose of your app? LB: Our app is meant to simplify and organise workflow in hotels. Whether it is a hotel with 50 rooms or 500 rooms, Facility works. It connects every department in the hotel and makes the communication between the staff effortless and effective. If the hotel still uses paper notes for assigning tasks, it means they can now forget about them. If there’s inventory loss, it will decrease. A hotel with 250 rooms can save up to 200 man hours per month with this easy to use application where everything you need to know is just a click away.

TST: What is your assessment of the potential market? LB: At the moment we are present in 100 hotels in Slovenia, Croatia and Portugal. This year, we will enter five new countries – Austria, Germany,


The Slovenian Times | Spring Edition 2016

hotel management process - from housekeeping, reception, maintenance to the manager of the hotel. With Facility we are following our three key pillars: 1. Knowledge We are the most specialised with the most specialised product in the field of hotel operations. Our knowledge is from our own experiences gained while working in the hospitality industry and from developing Facility together with our clients. There are two perspectives of our solution – the management and the employee. We know how to satisfy them both perfectly. 2. Simplicity Every solution is as good as the users who adopt it. The learning curve for Facility is less than one day, even if the employees are completely new to smart device technology. How can we achieve that? We have worked their work and understand their needs. Fast simplicity. 3. Completeness A solution is not complete if it leaves parts of the problem to other solutions, which is why Facility aims to cover the operational needs of all hotel employees. In this way, no phone calls, paper or other communicational tools, other than Facility, are needed. This can be achieved only by combining knowledge and simplicity. 

Our app is meant to simplify and organise workflow in hotels. Whether it is a hotel with 50 rooms or 500 rooms, Facility works. It connects every department in the hotel and makes the communication between the staff effortless and effective.

Global Economy Pitch Interview: Paul Pöltner, Co-founder, CONDA

CONDA: Crowdinvesting as a financing instrument Prepared by Valerio Fabbri

CONDA is a crowdinvesting company based in Vienna, active in Germany and Switzerland, which is growing its presence in Slovenia and other European countries. If you have an innovative business idea and need finance, they have a solution for you. For this reason, crowdinvesting might as well become the new buzzword not only among the millennials, but also among a much wider array of "investors". In short, anyone with the barest digital skills, who is curious and needless to say, economically savvy, can become an investor. How does it work? CONDA’s Co-founder and Managing Director, Paul Pöltner, states that it is enough to know that everyone in CONDA has an interest in business success: the penniless entrepreneur, the investor and, of course, CONDA which provides support through the execution process. As he puts it, a win-win situation!

Q Crowdfunding or crowdinvesting: is it just a different suffix or is there something else? It seems that investing requires more commitment from the investor and perhaps more risk than with simple funding. A Crowdinvesting and crowdfunding are two different services. With crowdfunding, you donate money to a company or you give money to a company to receive a future product. With crowdinvesting, you make an investment in the company. This means that you not only receive some incentives from the company, but also participate in the future development of the company.

Q How many applications do you receive and how many do you accept? A We receive more than 500 applications per year, from ideas to full business plans. During the pre-investment phase, we get in touch with the companies and explain to them how crowdinvesting works. We describe what it means to use crowdinvesting as a financing instrument. Following this, partners, the company and CONDA have to agree that crowdinvesting is the best fit for their business strategy. Less than 10% of the applications finish this process.

Q What is CONDA’s business model? A CONDA’s responsibility is to provide a

from EUR 100, the possibility to invest into companies and participate in the growth of these companies. But, it must always be pointed out that it is a risky investment. So if the company goes into bankruptcy, the money is gone. However, on the other side, if the company is successful you can participate in the future activities of these companies.

platform for investors and companies to find each other and have a standard framework to allow investment into companies. Our business model is transaction-based, we charge the companies a fee based on the money invested.

Q What has been the most difficult obstacle to overcome: social barriers, cultural differences, financing hurdles? A A little bit of all of these. It is about setting up a financing instrument for companies which has to be known and understood by all stakeholders in the ecosystem.

Q Why should someone use crowdinvesting? A Crowdinvesting gives everyone, starting

Paul Pöltner, Co-founder, CONDA

Q Judging from your website, projects have been over-financed which is a rare thing in the current circumstances. A We always present a minimum and a maximum financing threshold. Depending on the collected amount of money, the company can grow in different ways. Over-financing therefore means that the company is able to start more activities based on their business plan. Q Money is like water, it always finds its way to reach out to valuable ideas. And talent attracts capital more strongly than capital attracts talent: so is CONDA’s crowdinvesting just the first step for start-ups to get off the ground or is CONDA an angel investor? A CONDA wants to give a little additional finance to the companies in order for them to get additional financing from business angels, funding agencies or banks. This is why CONDA is not only for start-ups, it can also be used by SMEs that want to expand to other markets or establish new products. 

Q How do you select your projects? A We have an internal process where we select the companies to work with. However, it is up to the investor to make the decisions by which companies have the potential to become successful. Spring Edition 2016 | The Slovenian Times


Experience&Lifestyle Slovenia

Photo: Nik Rovan

Interview: Tjaša Ficko, Deputy Mayor of Ljubljana

The only option for cities is sustainability because the number of citizens is increasing Prepared by Tina Drolc, M.Sc.

With March, Ljubljana formally became European Green Capital 2016. The EU title was awarded to Ljubljana for its sustainable development over the past ten years, particularly in local transport and the pedestrianising of the city centre. Deputy Mayor, Tjaša Ficko, stresses the importance of green policies in the city’s urban planning. She also affirms that Ljubljana’s citizens are the municipality’s most important stakeholder and believes that, in the future, Ljubljana will definitively shape its brand and take its place among the most successful European and world capitals. 54

The Slovenian Times | Spring Edition 2016

Q Ljubljana is the proud holder of the title European Green Capital 2016. In the opinion of the European Commission Ljubljana has made the highest number of changes with regard to quality of life in the shortest time. Which changes are crucial in that aspect and can you present them as well in numbers? A Foreign and domestic general public especially stresses the change of traffic regime in the city centre as the biggest shift – motor vehicles were removed from the centre. This was without a doubt an important reason that the European Commission paid attention to Ljubljana’s candidacy for the title. We have not only transformed one street, but an area of more than 100 hectares, which used to be full of cars and today, it is a large living room for people. An important step forward was a comprehensive transformation of the centre – in order to shorten the distances for pedestrians, new bridges were built, as well as the old ones were renovated. Electric Kavalir vehicles, free of charge for the users, and a bicycle sharing system Bicikelj, which will be further expanded in the future, were introduced. Another wide area of changes was a transformation

We have not only transformed one street, but an area of more than 100 hectares, which used to be full of cars and today, it is a large living room for people. of degraded areas into new parks, green and recreational areas, which now offer great opportunities for quality free time spending. To name a few: Severni park and Šmartinski park near Žale, which used to be an abandoned part of the city and illegal waste dump, and today, it is a popular recreational-educational centre. There were more than 80 hectares of similar transformations in the past years.

Q We are the only city in Central and South-East Europe to receive this prestigious title. Do you share and if how, these best practices with other European cities? A It is true what our mayor says – there is no other European green capital thousands of kilometres from Ljubljana, and the expert committee that awarded the title encouraged us to spread good practices in this part of Europe. We are doing this intensively, at bilateral meetings (with European capitals and also our partner cities), at multilateral events and conferences, where we are invited or we are the organizers. In March, there was a round table for mayors from our region where best practices were discussed and Ljubljana was set as an example for its achievements. It is crucial that cities learn

Experience&Lifestyle Slovenia Foreign delegations that are coming to Ljubljana want to learn Ljubljana is a European capital with about our state of the art waste management system, they are z the biggest share of recycled interested in our changes of the traffic system, some are keen to see our urban waste (65%). allotments, and others would like to implement Kavalir vehicles into their cities. from each other rather than repeat the same mistakes. Foreign delegations that are coming to Ljubljana want to learn about our state of the art waste management system, they are interested in our changes of the traffic system, some are keen to see our urban allotments, and others would like to implement Kavalir vehicles into their cities.

Q Among others, the city marks the green year also with local self-sufficiency theme. How is that presented and implemented, who are the main addressors here? A The operative programme of the European Green Capital is headed by Nataša Jazbinšek Seršen and her team. Numerous activities take place in the green pavilion in front of the City Hall and in other locations in the city. Key ambassadors are also the city quarters which attract many citizens. The topic of self-sufficiency was addressed in February – we have invited those who grow fruits and vegetables at home to share their experience with others who want to do so, but do not have the experience yet. An important audience are always the children, in schools and kindergartens, since they are perceptive and have a large impact on their family members. They made friends with bees, produced aromatic lavender bags, conducted experiments with apple cider vinegar, learned about the importance of drinking water, etc. Photo: Nik Rovan

We would like that the citizens of Ljubljana accept the European Green Capital project as their own – happily, many of them already have – and become aware of their own role in providing healthy environment for future generations. Hand in hand, we can achieve more and better.

Q You have mentioned drinking water. Globally, the trend of privatising drinking water, which is a public good, has appeared. Ljubljana stands for another solution – how do you do cope? A Privatising drinking water has been a hot topic for many years, ever since some German cities decided to do it. In Ljubljana, the mayor and the management of our public company VO-KA made it very clear that water sources have to remain publicly owned. When it comes to water, the aim cannot be profit, but quality. Many cities that made wrong changes in the past are now looking for a way back. According to research, Ljubljana has sufficient ground water reserves for a few hundred years; however, we encourage our citizens with numerous activities to use water responsibly and respectfully. Also because we actively preserve natural resources in the city, we are the European green capital. Q Separately collected waste in Ljubljana represents over 55% of total municipal waste, and the

share of recycled waste amounted 65% last year. What is the amount of the investment in this system and when will it yield return? A RCERO represents one of the key projects of sustainable development and environment protection for many reasons: it is an object with state of the art technology following the Zero-waste strategy and reduce-reuse-recycle principles. Above all, it connects 37 Slovenian municipalities and is a solution for waste management for a third of Slovenian population. It is the largest cohesion project in this area with common value of EUR 155 million, more than EUR 77 million of European funds. As already mentioned, Ljubljana is a European capital with z the biggest share of recycled waste (65%) and I believe this trend will continue, since the users see it is a win-win game.

Q 2014 was a record year for tourism in Ljubljana; however, the number of foreign tourists is still increasing. From which countries foreign tourist mostly come and what kind of experience they are looking for? A In 2014, the number of nights in Ljubljana exceeded one million, and in 2015 it was close to 1.2 million, which is a consequence of increased international recognisability of the city and its brand. The majority of tourists come from Italy, Germany, Great Britain, France and Austria, also from the USA and Far East. Increasingly, a lot of tourists decide to visit green destinations, which is of our advantage, and another important criteria has become safety – Ljubljana has always been a very safe city. In business and congress tourism, Ljubljana has become an interesting destination. Additional capacities, such as a new high category hotel, are more than welcome. Also, I would like to welcome green activities of Ljubljana hotels, e.g. electric rolling stock, food of short supply chains and even awarding guests who travel in a sustainable way. Seemingly small ideas; however, an important impact on our environment. 

In Ljubljana, the mayor and the management of our public company VO-KA made it very clear that water sources have to remain publicly owned. When it comes to water, the aim cannot be profit, but quality. Spring Edition 2016 | The Slovenian Times


Experience&Lifestyle Slovenia

Exceptional atmosphere in the Stožice hall; Photo: MOL Archive


European Green Capital 2016 On March 10 2016 Ljubljana celebrated the title European Green Capital 2016. The Slovenian capital celebrated the green title with a series of events culminating this evening with the ceremony at Stožice Arena which was attended by a number of eminent guests, including politicians and two European commissioners. The ceremony highlighted the main environmental projects that the Municipality of Ljubljana in recent years made huge steps forward in the field of sustainable urban development and improving the quality of life of the citizenships. The ceremony was attended by many distinguished guests, among them Heads of State, Government, National Assembly and the National Council, the European Commissioner for Mobility and Transport Violeta Bulc, European Commissioner for Environment, Fisheries and Maritime Affairs Karmenu Vella, a number of ministers, MPs, businessmen, ambassadors and the heads of major religious communities in Slovenia.

The ceremony was attended by many distinguished guests.


The Slovenian Times | Spring Edition 2016

Ceremony was also marked by youthful energy.

Photo in this row: Nebojša Tejić/STA

Experience&Lifestyle Slovenia

Cavaliers have become a trademark of Ljubljana, the European Green Capital 2016.

Celebration ceremony at Stožice hall.

Shopping bag. For you.

Open Kitchen After the opening ceremony in Stožice visitors can stroll among the Open Kitchen stalls, where the goodies were offered by 13 restaurants from Ljubljana and 3 suppliers of wine. The main theme were Slovenian dishes prepared from local and organic ingredients.

Open Kitchen stalls; Photo: Nik Rovan

Responsible today - solidary with future generations; Photo: Nik Rovan

Photos in this row: Nik Rovan

Already in the morning the Estate Hall at Ljubljana Castle hosted a brunch "Responsible today - solidary with future generations", attended by Đorđe Balašević, Tomo Križnar, Janez Škrabec, Emil Tedeschi and Aleksander Zadel, Ph.D. Among other things, they highlighted the need for a better life and preservation of the environment, to which each should contribute according to his/hers ability.

Fashion designer Nina Šušnjara created a shopping bag – Shopping bag. For you, for Ljubljana, European Green Capital 2016. A unique fashion shopping bag is made from sustainable and recycled materials, which is an alternative to single-use bag.

The discussion was followed by mayors on stage entitles "Cities of the future. How to be a solution, not the problem", participated the mayor Zoran Janković and the mayors of Belgrade, Budapest, Istanbul and Sofia, and the European Commissioner for Mobility and Transport Violeta Bulc. At the mayors on stage, Mayor Zoran Janković pointed out that the change Ljubljana has made should be executed by very good plans with having a lot of courage.

Mayors on stage "Cities of the future. How to be a solution, not the problem"; Photo: Nik Rovan Mayor Zoran Janković and designer Nina Šušnjara – in the middle; Photo: Archives MOL

In Ljubljana, the European Green Capital 2016 was, according to the European Commission made several changes in the quality of life in the shortest time. In early 2007 with the creation of a vision Ljubljana 2025, the city embarked on the path of sustainable development, where pursuing the aim to ensure quality of life for all the residents in a green, clean, safe, solidary and orderly place. Spring Edition 2016 | The Slovenian Times


Experience&Lifestyle Slovenia

Slovenia has a tense wait for its ...

... dragon offspring 01

30 January 2016: Juan Pablo Maschio, a guide in

Postojna cave, noticed the first olm egg attached to the glass of the aquarium, which is located in the Concert Hall of Postojna Cave. It was placed at the spot where the female olm had spent a lot of time throughout last summer. News about the potential underground offspring spread quickly around the world and Postojna cave, which already attracts a million tourists a year and is one of the most important Slovenian sights, is now getting even more attention.

Photos: Iztok Medja/Postojna Cave

In the Postojna Cave system, a hundred metres below the surface, the female olm or proteus, is nursing her precious clutch of eggs. Nobody has ever seen this cycle in nature and this is the reason why everyone is so curious and excited about the Slovenian icon. Hundreds of years ago, when floods from time to time washed the olms from the underground cave systems to the surface, the animals were first labelled as baby dragons by the locals.

Most famous Slovenian family "The first egg was attached to the glass of the aquarium which is not a good place for its growth. Females usually find a suitable spot under the rocks but, at that time, other olms were occupying those locations, which is why we moved them to another aquarium. After a couple of days, the female moved to a proper place and continued to lay eggs.



The Slovenian Times | Spring Edition 2016

Experience&Lifestyle Slovenia We were not expecting this as the purpose of the aquarium is representative only. It seems these rare amphibians have great conditions here," explains SaĹĄo Weldt, one of two biologists at Postojna Cave. Olms reproduce once every six to seven years. Surprisingly, the last time eggs were noticed in Postojna Cave was in 2013 but unfortunately they were eaten by other cave inhabitants before they were born. Therefore, as soon as this egg was noticed, precautions were taken to eliminate the threat. "Eggs are easy prey because of the lack of food. The female therefore protects her eggs until they hatch. We helped our female and moved the other olms to another aquarium. Furthermore, we began to ventilate the water as eggs need to breathe more ventilated air than adult olms," says Weldt. Eggs are usually laid over a month and for now, the female olm has laid around 60 eggs which means she is reaching the end of her cycle. Eggs are very sensitive and vulnerable to water quality and temperature changes and, so far, everything looks fine. The female has proven to be determined and strong in fighting for her offspring.

Evidence of embryo development There is not a lot of data about anything relating to reproduction. In the wild, eggs have not been found in larvae as they are mostly hidden in a specific location in the underground world. Weldt therefore emphasises their scientific research approach: "We darkened and isolated the aquarium and installed an infrared camera to keep an eye on Slovenia's most famous animal family. Records are valuable data as they show the female's behaviour and moreover, visitors can watch the olm live on a special screen inside the cave without interrupting the natural cycle."

Underground ecosystem makes a perfect home "Olms live in the underground flow of the Pivka River, which also created the Postojna Cave system. It seems the living conditions in the aquarium perfectly simulate the river and we can expect reproduction in the future," Weldt believes. With the depth of the cave, the impact of pollution from the surface is reduced and the water conditions improve to the point that these blind salamanders can be noticed. The aquarium provides a large water surface and the water circulates and cleans itself. The olms are fed with small crustaceans which are their natural food. Furthermore, they do not experience temperature oscilation as the cave has a temperature of 9°C throughout the year. Survival in the harsh cave environment requires many adjustments. The biggest obstacle to reproduction of these enigmatic animals is therefore the the eggs do not grow, which is typical for the proteus but still, the adult olms do not completely influenece it. Some eggs may have signs of breaking open and thus young olms are likely to hatch from them. Still, 120 days may pass from the egg-hatching before we can actually see the baby and meanwhile, all that biologists can do is try to take care of them. ď ´



01 Proteus Anguinus egg 02 Proteus Angiunus has three toes on front leggs and two toes on rear leggs 03 Proteus Anguinus Aquarium 04 The aquarium with the olm has been blacked out; visitors can see what is going on inside the aquarium live via an IR camera 05 Proteus Vivarium Presentation 06 Proteus Angiunus breathes mainly through gill 07 Proteus Angiunus guards its eggs 05



Spring Edition 2016 | The Slovenian Times


Experience&Lifestyle Slovenia The Secluded Joux Valley

Photos: Nejc Puš

Audemars Piguet, Big Watchmaker in a Small Village Prepared by Nejc Puš, Moments by Malalan Magazine

Audemars Piguet, the icon of haute horology with a rich history and a strong commitment to tradition, has been enriching the watchmaking world for over a century with extremely sophisticated and innovative mechanical timepieces. We visited their manufacturing headquarters, located in the Joux Valley and home of many prestigious brands of watches. An hour after we left Geneva and climbed the winding road, away from the city streets and advertising signs, we saw the sign next to the road: Le Brassus. The small village is surrounded by mountains and vast forests, so it soon became clear why haute horology flourishes in such a remote area. 60

The Slovenian Times | Spring Edition 2016

This success story was written because of the distance from large cities, the working rural population, poor soil and iron ore deposits. The Joux Valley was first inhabited in the sixth century by monks in search of a peaceful environment for prayer. In the short summer months they farmed but were hampered by infertile soil. The true development of settlements in the valley began with the discovery of iron ore deposits which they used to make farming tools, blades, guns and locks. The long and harsh winters that people spent in the shelter of their homes contributed to the diversification of their products with patient and precise work, developing simple watch mechanisms. In the nature-surrounded village, the story of haute horology is told by the buildings of Audemars Piguet. Each building represents a chapter in the history of this watchmaking family empire. In order to really understand their origins and historical significance, we first enter into the oldest part: the house where Jules Audemars and Edward Piguet founded their watchmaking workshop 140 years ago and which now houses a museum of their watchmaking legacy. The extremely rich family collection of timepieces contains functional pocket and wristwatches with numerous complications, and various chronographs and minute repeaters, unique pieces, limited editions and much more.

The Magical Restoration Workshop There is also something for the enthusiasts of the watchmaking craft: we visit the workshop where they assemble extremely complex tourbillions and a restoration workshop where they breathe life back into old timepieces. This history-filled place takes us back in time to the beginnings of manufacture. When one of the restorers opens an almost unnoticeable closet, full of neatly labeled wooden boxes, we are finally sucked into the past. The unfinished mechanisms are from a century ago, the letters that were exchanged between the watchmakers and clients, as well as hand-drawn designs with precise instructions, written in beautiful script, portray the true meaning of the word tradition. The masters study the contents of these priceless boxes with precision because they serve as references for renovation and repairs.

The Meditative Silence of Manufacture We enthusiastically head towards the modern manufacturing facility which is located a few hundred metres away. Hundreds of watchmak-

Experience&Lifestyle Slovenia ers work in this huge facility where they make various components, assemble mechanisms and complete watches. There is an almost meditative silence in the workshop that we visit. All we hear is the slight buzzing of the machines, the sounds of polishing and quiet music. The workshop resembles a high-tech laboratory and the watchmakers sit behind bright, extremely clean and neat tables, completely focused, assembling complex mechanisms with incredible precision. On the day of our visit, Audemars Piguet introduces the new Royal Oak wristwatch with a perpetual calendar and so we are able to view the first samples of this masterpiece. The ultra-slim case, with a 41mm diameter, hides the mechanism which is equipped with a perpetual calendar complication and is only 4.31mm thick. The perpetual calendar is a mechanism that can display the date for more than 125 years without correction – the future owners will never need to set the date during their lifetime. On the dial, we see a moon phase indicator, which is a laser-engraved microreproduction of a photo of the moon, and a specific hand that indicates the week of the year.

eight months. When the watch gains an owner, all the maintenance and repair works of that complex mechanism are taken care of by the person who knows it best: the one who assembled and manufactured the watch.

The Grand Complication, the Pride of the Company

Royal Oak: from Horror to Legend

Our visit was concluded with a visit to the workshop where a small team, comprised of the best watchmakers, assemble the complex and prestigious watches – grand complications, which have a perpetual calendar, a minute repeater and a rattrapante chronograph. Each of the masters makes and assembles the entire watch on their own, which takes more than

Contemporary spirit most definitely manifests itself in the Royal Oak collection, which has dictated a new era since its inception in the 1970s, a fusion of traditional watchmaking and contemporary design. The wristwatch from this collection was met with strong disapproval upon its presentation in 1972: the design genius, Gerald Genta, protected the delicate mech-

Combining Traditional Watchmaking and Modern Design The timepieces with the Audemars Piguet signature are not only extremely precise, handmade and hand-assembled indicators of time but carry even more meaning. During the dominance of corporations that combine and transform watchmaking brands, they have remained faithful to their tradition. After 150 years, the company is still in the hands of the founding families who, with sincere affection, maintain the rich watchmaking tradition and follow the philosophy of Jules Audemars and Edward Piguet. When designing new technical and design solutions, they demonstrate their deep knowledge of traditional watchmaking, which they are continually complementing with many innovations.

anism with a robust case made of steel, which was something completely outrageous for that time. The disapproval turned into enthusiasm after a few years and the Royal Oak created a new trend of sporty-elegant timepieces and the iconoclastic creation has paradoxically become a watchmaking classic.

Breaking the Rules After two decades of success of the now iconic Royal Oak collection, in Le Brassus they decided to approach the younger crowd with a new design. They presented the Royal Oak Offshore which, believe it or not, suffered the same reception as its predecessor. The watch was marked as a “beast” and even Gerald Genta disagreed with the new design. Despite the discontent of many, Audemars Piguet managed to reach the global public. The watch subsequently appeared on the wrists of many celebrities: the bold design was embraced by those who wanted something more out of a watch, just as happened 44 years ago. Many see Audemars Piguet as an example of overcoming challenges since it demonstrates that mere adaptation to change is not enough. When you know the rules of the game, it is necessary to take a step forward, which can often mean that the rules must be written anew. 

Spring Edition 2016 | The Slovenian Times


Experience&Lifestyle Slovenia Interview: Matjaž Zorman, Director, Palmieri d.o.o.

Eco Resort beneath Velika Planina, an exquisite experience in sustainability 01






The Slovenian Times | Spring Edition 2016

In September 2016, Slovenia’s tourist offer will include a new, sustainable resort, the Eco Resort beneath Velika Planina. As explained by its founder, Matjaž Zorman, Director of Palmieri the investor in the project, the resort will adopt the criteria and requirements of the modern tourist and therefore offer a unique experience in unspoiled nature in an environment coloured by tradition and ethnological value. TST: Soon you will open a tourist resort, the Eco Resort beneath Velika Planina, in the village of Godič pri Kamniku. What is your idea and what is the tourist offer? Matjaž Zorman: I’ve been preparing for five years for this project. When I’ve travelled, I’ve seen resorts and villages throughout Europe that are all the similar and do not consider the ethnological value as we have and, as such, we will also be a novelty in Slovenia and abroad. In terms of preserving cultural heritage, the value of this resort is immense. The resort will be opened in September 2016 and will consist of around 30 houses, 20 Glamping tents, a biological swimming pond and next to the resort there will be a wildlife zoo. In the zoo there will be autochthonous Slovenian animals, a biological swimming pond, a beach near the Kamniška Bistrica River which is the second cleanest river in Slovenia, a small wellness centre and much more. TST: How will the tourist offer introduce guests to the tradition of Velika Planina? MZ: The resort is based on the symbol of Velika Planina where we introduce its tradition and ethnological value. Guest accommodation is based on the architecture of the huts on Velika Planina, as is the overall design of the ethnological resort. We will offer our own seasonal organic vegetables, all the food products that will be offered in our gastronomic shop and market will be produced in the subsistence gardens of the surrounding farms. TST: What activities will the resort offer and what is the profile of the guests that you want to attract? MZ: Through the story of the small farm we want to acquaint guests with autochthonous Slovenian animals. There will be different workshops for adults and children, presenting

traditional customs and habits such as milking cows, cheese production, care of the animals, etc. The resort will offer water activities as we will have a biological swimming pond and a beach beside the crystal clear waters of the Kamniška Bistrica River. In the mini-wellness centre, guests will be able to relax in the sauna, have a massage or even kneipping. With the activities within the Eco Resort beneath Velika Planina, we will create a welcoming atmosphere for families and individuals. With the ethnological activities, which will take place on sustainability-oriented elements, we will care for all generations. Everyone will find a place for tranquility, adventure and activities.

TST: Why did you choose Glamping and from which countries do expect guests? MZ: The Eco Resort beneath Velika Planina is so-called Glamping as we want to offer holidays in a completely natural environment and at the same time a high level of comfort. With the additional offer we will follow the criteria and requirements of the modern tourist. We expect guests from all around the world, particularly the slightly more demanding guests who are looking for new experiences, a high quality offer and, at the same time, wish to experience a holiday in unspoiled nature, in an environment coloured by tradition and with a wide range of activities. 


Construction site opening: Matjaž Zorman, Director, Palmieri, Marjan Šarec, Mayor of the Municipality of Kamnik 02 The Eco Resort beneath Velika Planina 03-05 The Eco Resort beneath Velika Planina Glamping Tents

Experience&Lifestyle Slovenia old streets and squares of the renovated medieval town of Šmartno. Then, in June, Wine Days are an excellent opportunity to watch and taste the winemaking tradition. This is also when the traditional Cherry Festival takes place which is the biggest and most attentiongrabbing cultural and tourist event, full of ethnological, cultural and sporting events and entertainment for all generations. This year, in expectation and honour of this fruit which once meant survival in this region, the festival is celebrating its 50th jubilee. Idyllic landscape breathing with tradition, hills, bathing in the warm Mediterranean sun, local cuisine and hospitable locals make this small region a rich one. It is no surprise that the Brda region was anointed a European destination of excellence in 2015.  Photos: ZTKMŠ Brda


Goriska Brda:

where sun, wine and a magical atmosphere meet Prepared by Medeja Kenda 02

The days are getting warmer and the sun is reminding us to discover the beauty of nature and refill our souls. The region of Goriška Brda is proudly showing the fresh green of spring, just one of the many reasons to visit, discover, taste and experience it. This land of hills, located halfway between the Alps and the Adriatic, offers an adventure. Trek the cherry-trails encompassing many natural attractions such as the natural stone bridge, Krčnik and the Kotline pools. To turn back time there is the medieval Castle Dobrovo and the renovated Villa Vipolže and many other sacral heritage sites, including churches scattered around the hills. Views from this magical landscape go as far as the sea, Italian Friuli and Veneto. One of best viewing points is definitely the 23m tower in Gonjače or the even higher, Korada and Sabotin hill. However, numerous opportunities to spend active leisure time in nature can be combined with eco-mobility. Using electric bikes and scooters to drive in the embrace of the Brda regions green treasure is even more pleasant, environmentally friendly, with more freedom and authentic contact with locals. To really feel the countryside’s beat, the most daring can also try a donkey ride. This stunning region is where tradition is also at home. Goriška Brda is a synonym for superb Slovenian wines and therefore this hidden

pearl in Europe is not so hidden anymore, but well known around the world. According to the records of certain wine producers, winemaking in this region dates back to the middle of the 18th century. Outstanding winemakers focus on quality wines. Movia and Kabaj are two among the Top 100 World Wineries in 2015 and Simčič achieved, with its dessert wine Leonardo, a place among the top five in 2016. It would be ridiculous not to mention the unique excellence of Ščurek or Štekar’s bio-wine. Culinary delights also tempt with flavours of Mediterranean cuisine, healthy, fresh and homemade Brda food, combined with high quality olive oil and fruit make it even more perfect. It is said, that the autochthonous wine, Rebula, is identical to the locals – modest and persistent. Every April it is honoured at the Rebula and Olive Oil Festival in Višnjevik when Brda & Wine - the traditional cuisine and wine festival where winemakers and other caterers are represented at their best. This festival, also in April, invites visitors to experience local cuisine, cooked over open fireplaces among the



01 Dobrovo Castle 02 Natural stone bridge Krčnik 03 Villa Vipolže 04 Cherry Festival

Spring Edition 2016 | The Slovenian Times


Experience&Lifestyle Slovenia Highest rated wines in the opinion of the expert committee Charmat Method – white and rosé 1 P&F Jeruzalem Muscat sparkling wine white 2 P&F Jeruzalem Rosé sparkling wine rose 3 Evino d.o.o. Gašper sparkling wine white Traditional Method – white 1 Bjana Brut 2 Radgonske gorice d. d. Gold sparkling wine 3 Wines Erzetič Sentio


white white white

NV NV 2012

Traditional Method – rosé 1 Istenič Gourmet Rosé Brut rose 2 Dveri-Pax d.o.o. DP Brut Rosé rose 3 Sanabor Wines Florida sparkling wine rose

2006 2012 2010

Opening of Wine-Gastronomic Season in Ljubljana

Third Annual Salon of

Sparkling Wines The season of wine-gastronomic events in Ljubljana started on Friday, 19 February 2016, with the opening of the third annual Salon of Sparkling Wines in the Grand Hotel Union Great Hall. This year, the event surpassed all the expectations – 34 (Slovenian and foreign) winemakers, 111 wines and 600 visitors. The selection of sparkling wines was accompanied by the culinary treats prepared by the chefs of Grand Hotel Union and relaxing music performed on the Great Hall stage. After the main part, the event moved to the Wine Library of the Grand Hotel Union Café. Once again, the organizers fulfilled their mission to spread and raise the level of wine culture by the means of education or two guided wine tastings for the visitors which took place before the Salon of Sparkling Wines. This year’s Salon of Sparkling Wines once again proved that sparkling wines are not just wines meant to be drunk on holidays and special occasions – they can be enjoyed each and every day and also during meals. This is especially true due to certain changes made to the style of sparkling wine production in the last few years. We are talking about four main aspects: the traditional production method is becoming dominant, meaning that wines mature inside the bottle; the levels of unfermented sugar is steadily dropping which means that the number of sweet wines is de-


The Slovenian Times | Spring Edition 2016

creasing while that of dry wines is increasing; there is an increase in the production of rosé sparkling wines and those sparkling wines that are made from indigenous and domesticated varieties (based either on the variety or type), for example Zelén, Pinela, Klarnica, Ribolla, Malvasia, etc.

Assessment and Union’s selection of sparkling wines The fact that this year’s variety of sparkling wines was indeed wide and rich was confirmed by the assessment of the expert committee, accompanying the Salon of Sparkling Wines for the first time. The committee led by Franc Čuš and Bojan Kobal, composed of wine experts, sommeliers, representatives of the Union Hotels, journalists, merchants and amateurs, assessed a total of 76 sparkling wines which might just be the biggest wine assessment in Slovenia. They assessed the wines in three separate categories: white and rosé sparkling wines produced by the charmat method, white sparkling wines produced by the traditional method, and rosé and red sparkling wines produced by the traditional method. 

3R Salon – Laški Rizling & Riesling & Ribolla Wednesday, 4 May 2016, 4pm-10pm, Grand Union Hotel Great Hall, Ljubljana Last year, we organized the first R(izling) & R(iesling) Salon within the two organized thematic wine lounge events. This year, we wish to upgrade the offer and make the event even more extravagant. Laški Rizling and Rhine Riesling will be joined by the Queen of western Slovenia – Ribolla. That is why this year’s event will be called 3R Salon: R(iesling) & R(izling) & R(ibolla). As was the case with the Salon of Sparkling Wines, the event will be held at one of Ljubljana’s most beautiful sites – the Great Hall of the Grand Hotel Union – where wine lovers will have a chance to enjoy different Rizlings, Rieslings and Ribollas accompanied by different culinary delights. The atmosphere will be taken care of by live music played on the Great Hall stage. After the main part, the event will be moved to the Union Café Wine Library. More info is available at

Sport even included the President of the Republic of Slovenia, His Excellency Borut Pahor, who became the Honorary Patron of the Wings for Life World Run from 2015, and personally committed to running for those who can’t in 2016. Last year’s record on the 100 kilometre round track, which takes runners from Ljubljana to the foothills of the Kamniško-Savinjske Alpe and back, was set by Robert Radojković who managed to evade the catcher cars for 69.36 kilometres. The Wings for Life World Run global winner was Lemawork Ketama of Ethiopia who was caught just short of the 80 kilometre sign in Austria. Join the Wings for Life World Run, be a part of something truly global, set a new track record but most of all, run for those who can’t on 8 May 2016! 

Samo Vidic for Wings for Life World Run

Running for a reason

On 8 May, Slovenia will once again run for those who can’t It is human nature to feel empowered when being a part of something big. Several millennia of evolution has taught us that the only way one can make an impact on the world is to unite with like-minded souls toward a common goal - to be a part of something big feels good for a reason. That said; imagine being a part of something truly global, something bound to make an impact on human kind, something that takes place on the same day, at the same time, in 34 locations, across 17 time zones, on six continents, for a single cause – running for those who can’t.


The Slovenian Times | Spring Edition 2016

This is the story of the Wings for Life World Run – a simple idea to get the world running toward a cure for spinal cord injuries. How? By raising awareness and support for the Wings for Life Foundation, which dedicates 100% of its funds to cutting-edge spinal cord injury research projects around the world. A simple idea indeed and yet exceptionally executed. Colin Jackson, a former World Champion, Olympic medallist, world record holder in hurdles and Wings for Life World Run Sport Director explains: On 8 May 2016 at 11am UTC, a shot will be fired from 34 starting pistols all over the world to start the third global fundraising run with a twist unlike any other. Exactly 30 minutes after the start, the "finish line" in the form of two "catcher cars" will start to move toward the runners, catching them one by one until the last person running in the world gets crowned as the global winner of the Wings for Life World Run 2016. As the event takes place simultaneously on 34 courses scattered around the globe, participants will run from dawn to dusk and well into the night in temperatures ranging from a chilling 10C in Oslo to a scorching 40C in Dubai. Colin Jackson visited Slovenia last October and held a lecture about the Wings for Life World Run on the eve of the 20th Ljubljana Marathon. The Sunny Side of the Alps boast one of the most picturesque tracks among the 34 Wings for Life World Run venues. The country where sport is perceived as a way of life or even a "mainstream religion", has already successfully hosted two of the world runs in 2014 and 2015. The strong group of 1,500 participants who took part in Ljubljana last year

To find out more and register at:

Samo Vidic for Wings for Life World Run

Uros Rojc for Wings for Life World Run

Uros Rojc for Wings for Life World Run




Slovenian pride:

Prevc and Planica Prepared by Andreja Jernejčič

Peter Prevc and Robert Kranjec wrapped up a dream season for Slovenian ski jumping last weekend, taking first and second place in the second double Slovenian win of the World Cup finals. Prevc, who had secured the overall World Cup win prior to Planica, cemented his place in the history books with the record 15th individual victory of the season and the 22nd podium finish. The 2015/2016 season established Slovenia as a ski jumping superpower, as Prevc pulled the entire team ahead. Planica, the symbolic centre of Slovenian ski jumping, was a curse for Prevc last year, with a weak final jump costing him the overall World Cup win. This year, he had secured the win prior to  Planica  but he still feels  Planica  is a special place. "Last year it was raining, this year the weather held up. What symbolism. It has paid off to wait and work," Prevc said. This was the seventh career World Cup win for the 34-year-old Robert Kranjec, while Prevc improved on his all-time record in points won to 2,203 and grabbed an all-time record 21th podium finish in a single season.


The Slovenian Times | Spring Edition 2016

In the World Cup standings Prevc beat runner-up Severin Freund of Germany by over 800 points with 2,303 points won in the season, another all-time record. His win wraps up a season that sports commentators are already describing as one-of-a-kind. The star jumper was quick to point out that such an extraordinary season is unlikely to become the norm: "A lot happened this year, I was strong, performed well throughout. I have warn that it will be difficult to repeat such a season," he said. Prevc not only won the overall rankings and broke the individual records, he also won the


prestigious Four Hills Tournament and the separate ski-flying rankings, where Kranjec finished second. In the Cup of Nations Slovenia came in second for the first time in history, ceding only to Norway, the birthplace of ski jumping. "We took everything we could," head coach Goran Janus told reporters today. The team is also very cohesive, with key members close friends. This was evident throughout the four days of competition in Planica, as the team members cheered each other on. The apex came on Sunday when Kranjec ran to Prevc after the final jump, took him down and started pouring champagne on him all while holding a custom-made eagle‘s head, a reference to the team being popularly known as the Slovenian Eagles; "This was all Robi‘s work. He comes up with these things. He‘s great," Prevc said about his friend and rival. "First Robi tackled me to the ground, then they sprayed me [with champagne], when we sang the anthem without musical accompaniment. I don‘t know how many athletes have experienced that." Prevc‘s dream season was also reflected in attendance, as about 100,000 people came to Planica for the four days of competition, of which 33,000 came on Sunday.  01 Peter prevc takes the crystal globe for overall World Cup winner. Photo: Stanko Gruden/STA 02 Tens of thousands gathered for the World Cup season final in Planica, including Slovenian president Borut Pahor. Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA 03 Double win for Slovenia at second individual event of sky flying in Planica. Peter Prevc (left) and winnerRobert Kranjec. Photo: Stanko Gruden/STA

Event Guide

It looks like spring is bringing really Concert Wine Festival lively events all around Slovenia. Tori Tango: Za en dotik 10th Wine Festival Šempas Ljubljana, 24. March 2016 Šempas, 3. April – 4. April 2016 Local specialties, typical for different regions, are waiting to show off at Presentation of the first Slovenian authorial Event takes place in order to attract visitors tango record is at the same time promotional and gather wine lovers at the Vipava Valley. culinary and ethnological festivals. concert. Melancholic sensibility of the accordi- Presentations of winemakers and olive growThose, keen on culture are offered onist Jure Tori is trying to intertwine intimate ers from all over Slovenia and also abroad are to check the spectaculars theatre, and gentle instrumental declaration, using there approved by professional reports, guided also jazz, folk and ethno elements. After all, he tastings and workshops. More than 60 winballet, dance performances and art eventually set up something entirely new. With emakers from all three Slovenian winegrowing exhibitions. Active ones, may attend Austrian double-bassist Ewald Oberleitner, regions, olive growers, caterers and sommeliers many sport events, either taking part Cuban guitarist Ariel Cubria and excellent vio- will attend the event. It is definitely an awein or just to cheer. Moreover, European linist Kurt Bauer from Austria, they co-created some opportunity to develop a culture of wine total unique version of tango. The repertoire drinking and socialize with producers and tours of world music icons will stop of the band consists of completely new songs, other wine lovers. For even better atmosphere, also in Slovenia, giving their fans composed of intimate and lyrical instrumental there will be a performance of Slovenian singer tenderness and Latino genre. and musician, Tinkara Kovač as well. fabulous performance. There is no doubt, everyone can find something proper for himself in such an action!

Culinary experience

Opening of 4th Odprta kuhna Ljubljana, 25. March This exciting culinary adventure is taking place at Pogačarjev trg every Friday from 8 AM to 10 PM, till the end of October. Street food masters, wine experts and beer connoisseurs, tourist farms and bistros will teamed up with renowned chefs from all over Slovenia. This popular and unique food market offers a great opportunity to try traditional Slovenian as well as international food and drinks. Man can choose among best offer of vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan and meat meals, barbecue dishes, fish and desserts. Bon appétit!


The Slovenian Times | Spring Edition 2016

Event Guide

Ethnological Festival

Karst Lavender Festival Kregolišče, Komen, 25. June – 26. June 2016

Culinary experience

5th Chocolate Festival Radovljica, 15. April – 17. April 2016 The first and only chocolate event in Slovenia takes place in the Linhart Square and in the Radovljica Mansion. Town’s rich tradition dates back to 1922 when the first chocolate was produced. Event is where local and foreign chocolate producers represent themselves and offer sweet specialties. It encompasses workshops for children, cooking shows, street performances, improvised theatre and dance performances, whereas in the Mansion chocolatiers demonstrate the creation of their products. Great opportunity for those having sweet tooth or just being curious in what all kind of shapes can chocolate surprise us.

Dance show

Step Afrika! Ljubljana, 20. April 2016 Dance group Step Afrika! comes from Washington and is the first professional dance ensemble in the world which is dedicated to the tradition of steppe. In 19 years, it reached placed among the Top 10 African-American dance organizations in the United States. Every year, it performs in 10 countries around the world and combine fantastic explosive steppe and urban rhythms, encompassing music, dance and story-telling in one mixture. Recently, ensemble performed at the White House for President Obama and the First Lady in order to celebrate the Blach History Month. In Slovenia, group will be accompanied by Slovenian beatboxer Murat, from Slovenian duo Murat & Jose.

At Krogolišče, a small village near Komen, 4,000 lavender shrubs were planted in 2012. At the area of a former vineyard Lavandula X Intermedia grows and is later used in diverse number of products, which are also presented at the event. Man can get from bouquet of lavender, to syrups, liqueurs, essential oils, soaps, lavender oil and also chocolate and ice cream. Moreover, manual harvesting by ox yoke and water distillation of lavender can be seen. Guests can attend also meditation at the lavender fields or workshops for production of herbal balms, lip balms, creams and soaps. Located at the Karst, it offers also market with many local culinary specialties. Great opportunity to breathe again in lavender essence.

 Concert

Alice Cooper Ljubljana, 12. June 2016 A living legend and an icon of popular music, American singer, author, musician, television and film actor, radio presenter and especially unsurpassed master of theatrical rock spectacle is coming to Slovenia for the first time. He will serve with his famous stage show, including essential electric chairs, guillotines, costumes and dolls. In rich, more than half a century long career, he became an author of many evergreen hits of heavy, pendulum and at the same time melodic classic rock. However, he is still highly motivated and creative and is in recent years experiencing a real rebirth.

Art exhibition

Vladimir Lamut: 100 years Novo mesto, 10. December 2015 – 3. September 2016 Commemorative exhibition to honor 100 years from the birth of famous Slovenian artist will show his 128 works of art, which are especially characterized by the Krka River. His creations represent all the techniques and methods of artistic expression. His own state of mind, tough life, restless and his constant search of something deeper made him a respected and esteemed artist, certainly worth to remember. Spring Edition 2016 | The Slovenian Times


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Conductor, composer and honorary citizen of Ljubljana


A city that lives in


harmony with the environment

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Member of staff at the City of Ljubljana City Administration


The Slovenia Times Spring Edition 2016  

The Slovenia Times is the central magazine in the English language in Slovenia since 2003.

The Slovenia Times Spring Edition 2016  

The Slovenia Times is the central magazine in the English language in Slovenia since 2003.