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Slovenia Business Week no. 43: PM Convinced Time Is Right for Reform

According to him, the current economic stability is fertile ground for taking measures that will make Slovenia's economy better and prepare it for increasingly fierce global competition

PM Janez Jansa is convinced that the "time is right" to carry out structural reform in Slovenia. According to him, the current economic stability is fertile ground for taking measures that will make Slovenia's economy better and prepare it for increasingly fierce global competition.

Jansa believes that the package of reforms being put forward is one of the best around. Outlining the measures to domestic and foreign business officials on Tuesday, 18 October in Bled, he said that Slovenia was looking to make better use of its potentials, something that the planned reforms should enable.

"With the implementation of the key measures of this package in 2007, Slovenia can expect to enter a period of overall improvement," Jansa told officials gathered at a business conference organised by The Economist.

Jansa admitted that the gradualistic approach to reform adopted by Slovenia since independence in 1991 had produced a stable economy in Slovenia. Now we want to draw on that stability to implement more radical measures that will make Slovenia even better, he said.

The aim of the measures is to create a more business-friendly environment that will make Slovenia more competitive, allow it grow rapidly and subsequently catch up with the most developed countries in the world.

A number of measures, he said, have already been implemented, including efforts to cut red tape. But now it is the turn of the key measures, including a simplification of the tax code, he added.

According to him, the most controversial of the planned measures - the flat tax - is an attempt to simplify Slovenia's tax code. In his opinion, the trade unions have been too quick in stating their outright rejection to flat tax.

We want to lead a dialogue with the social partners so that we can achieve broad consensus, he stressed, adding that the unions should keep an open mind instead of attacking measures before even considering their potential benefits.

He admitted that the government was wary of a referendum being called to decide on some of the measures, particularly the flat tax. There have been cases where previous governments have had to shelve reforms because of opposition from unions, he pointed out.

Moreover, Jansa is convinced that the planned measures will speak for themselves and will as such be an important factor in improving Slovenia's global reputation. Coupled with its stint as EU president in 2008, he thinks that Slovenia has a good opportunity to promote itself as a location to do business.

Jansa's made his comments as he addressed The Economist Roundtable with the Government of Slovenia. The one-day event was seeing top-level attendance among politicians and business officials.

Source: Slovene Press Agency STA

Author: STA