Hot topics

Slovenia Business Week no. 15: Corporate Sector Deems Reforms Too Slow

Samo Hribar Milic, the interim president of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia (CCIS) called for speeding up development-oriented reforms

Samo Hribar Milic, the interim president of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia (CCIS), on Thursday, 12 April called for speeding up development-oriented reforms. However, Development Minister Ziga Turk believes that Slovenia is doing just fine.

Addressing a CCIS-sponsored conference on the Lisbon goals, Hribar Milic put the main blame for the slow development of competitive economy on the labour market, welfare state, red tape and the system of public expenditure. According to him, the Slovenian public sector is comparably one of the biggest in the EU.

In implementing the Lisbon goals, Slovenia often tries to follow the example of countries that have developed efficient use of expertise, but we have to realise these countries have overcome the so-called class struggle, Turk, Slovenia's MR Lisbon, told the same conference.

"If Slovenia's development goal is compared to the Lisbon Strategy, the target would be to reach the EU average by 2013," Turk said. To attain this, Slovenia's economic growth should be 3 percentage points higher than the EU's.

Turk believes much has been done reform-wise, while many things are still ahead. The official is nevertheless optimistic: the economic situation is good, given the 5.2% growth in 2006, we have achieved 82% of the EU25 average and the outlook for the future is good.

According to him, Slovenia "is doing just fine - the shops are full, people are buying, while wages and pensions are going up slowly".

Polona Domadenik of the Faculty of Economy quoted figures from a survey on the difficulty of hiring workers and work time rigidity which ranked Slovenia 145th among 176 countries. Lay-off costs in Slovenia amount to an average of 10 monthly salaries, four times as much as in Denmark.

This is why Domadenik believes Slovenia will attain Lisbon goals only if it reforms employment legislation, while people need to be convinced such changes are pressing.

Labour costs increased by 37.8% from 2000 to 2004, while the bulk of the costs goes for salaries, Miran Zavbi of the National Statistics Office said, quoting a poll on labour costs. The basic gross pay represented 58% of the labour costs in 2004, which Zavbi says is comparable to other EU countries.

Source: Slovenian Press Agency STA

Author: STA, Slovenian National Press Agency