"Slovenia should adopt a clear vision and strategy to be able to compete in the globalised world, which no longer plays by the rules but has become unpredictable," was one of the messages at the AmCham Business Breakfast, entitled "Global Challenges ― Does the Slovenian Economy Have the Necessary Answers?"
Economist Mojmir Mrak noted that the significantly changed business environment throughout the world. "China and India are increasingly big players and globalisation has started to show its negative aspects," he said, adding that this was not good for small and open economies such as Slovenia's. He said that Slovenia used to have a vision, when it decided to join the EU and adopt the single currency, while it was not capable of forming a consistent strategic vision today. "Another problem is that we'll enter the new European perspective without a vision of strategic development," he said. "We are losing good years, this and last year, without getting anything serious done," he added, listing pension and health reforms.
Blaž Brodnjak, the chairman of NLB bank, said that in this unpredictable situation everyone is left to fend for oneself without getting any help from the government. "There's been talk of reforms for years, but there's been only cosmetic corrections," Brodnjak said, describing Slovenia as a society of spoilt people in a comfort zone who would not decide on their strategic activities. Listing logistics, tourism and the wood processing industry as such activities, Brodnjak said that Slovenia should become an attractive destination for talents as well.
He believes that Slovenia, apart from adopting a strategic vision, should also set up an appropriate tax environment and change the electoral system so that "those who rule in fact have the mandate". Mrak added that a five-party coalition was an expensive coalition unfit to make far-reaching change.
As factors contributing to instability, the president of AmCham Slovenija Nevenka Kržan listed Brexit, geopolitical tensions, cyber attacks, which in Slovenia was coupled with an absence of reforms, demographic challenges and a generational change. "It's necessary to change the conduct," she said, calling for changing the education system to change the structure of the labour force in response to artificial intelligence gaining a foothold.
Mrak called for a more serious response to migration, an issue that Sandi Češko, chairman of Studio Moderna Group, said should be addressed in a "less political and emotional" way.
More on our Slovenian site.
You can watch the whole event here.
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