en English


“We are considered to be one of the safest countries in the world, and if we could combine its safety with attractiveness for capital investments, including domestic ones, we are bound to succeed,” said Mr. Borut Pahor, former President of the Republic of Slovenia and author of his literary debut Zmaga je začetek, at the first AmCham Business Breakfast of 2024.

This year, AmCham Slovenia, one of the most active international business communities in Slovenia, celebrates its silver jubilee and, with this, 25 years of values, which were the center of discussion at this year’s first AmCham Business Breakfast. Our dear guest, Mr. Borut Pahor, former President of the Republic of Slovenia and author of his literary debut Zmaga je začetek, spoke about the values that will contribute to the creation of a winning environment in 2024, describing integrity as fundamental because if you do not trust yourself, if you do not believe in yourself, you lose sight of everything else. He also shared his thoughts on the economic and social challenges in 2024, how Slovenia and the region will have to operate to remain relevant, and talked about Slovenia as a country of (un)discovered opportunities. The conversation was led by Ajša Vodnik, MSc, CEO of AmCham Slovenia, who, in 2024, took on the role of Chair of the umbrella organization AmChams in Europe.

Blaž Brodnjak, President of AmCham Slovenia and Group CEO of NLB, gave an introductory greeting and shared his view of the challenges and opportunities in 2024. He believes that we are at the geographical heart of Europe and thus a bridge between all the cultures and paradigms: “Today when we are witnessing a loss of moral compass and a global crisis, it is time to reflect, question how to overcome the polarization, and consider how to create an environment where we can even talk about sustainable development. As long as there’s no peace, it’s hard to talk about anything else. However, there’s a certain energy in Slovenia, and there’s a turn of generations. I believe that we’ll be able to successfully address all the challenges. May 2024 be the year of restoring peace.” Reflecting on the 25th anniversary of AmCham Slovenia, he said: “I consider 25 years of AmCham Slovenia to be 25 years of defending common sense and reason. I believe we are addressing the right issues, promoting dialogue, and rejecting polarization.”

Borut Pahor was a Member of the European Parliament, Prime Minister, and President of the Republic of Slovenia. In this sense, he is the most successful Slovenian politician of the independent and democratic Republic of Slovenia. He aspired to be the President of the people, creatively trying to unite the national and civic community. At the event, he highlighted the importance of dialogue, humility, reconciliation, and dignity: “We must protect both the dignity of our rivals and ours. Forgiveness gives us moral strength. Being divided by our differences makes us regress.”

In addition to his roles of national significance, fostering the unity of the nation and civic community, and dedication to public service, Mr. Pahor is a devoted European, an advocate for peaceful conflict resolution, and an individual with a high degree of responsibility. He is also recognized as a supporter of the Western Balkans, as evidenced by the establishment of the Friends of the Western Balkans Institute. He said: “We have to be thankful for Europe as it’s a place that allows us to develop some of our potentials and is thus a wonderful economic, political, and social framework for Slovenia. But it has to reform and innovate.” He also presented a broader picture of what is happening in the region for Slovenia, Europe, and the world: “The Western Balkans has always been a territory that some powers see as a place to export their problems. New conflicts that arise spread fast. The problem with current conflicts is not that they have come and slightly changed the geopolitical situation but that they persist. We must direct all our forces to maintain peace in the Western Balkans.”

Commenting on the global situation and developments in Slovenia, he does not see globalism as a threat but an opportunity: “Liberal democracy has pushed political correctness so fat that it has begun to threaten its principles. The younger generations will have to somehow address this because losing the freedom of speech would mean losing the whole value system. I think the new international situation is still manageable, and we can resolve all issues peacefully … I wish for dialogue, trust, and wisdom to prevail because if we don’t succeed in establishing this at the national level, we won’t succeed at the international level.”

When asked about the line between innovation and regulation, he replied: “I started my career by believing in regulation … But then I came to realize that regulation may suppress innovation. I think today, Slovenia is over-regulated. Over the last 30 years, administrative and other obstacles have stifled Slovenian entrepreneurship too much.” However, there are some things we can be proud of: “We are considered to be one of the safest countries in the world, and if we could combine its safety with attractiveness for capital investments, including domestic ones, we are bound to succeed,” he added, highlighting our mentality, hard work, and opportunities for sustainable development.

To round off, he shared his optimistic vision of the future precisely because of our young people: “It’s not true that young people lack values! When I meet young people, I’m optimistic about the future. However, we don’t make them see that they develop here, so we must work on that. Optimism must prevail. What was the situation like in the early 1990s? The economy collapsed, but we were hopeful. If we can replicate this mood today, our country has every chance of succeeding.” He added that we are too careless of the prevailing mood in the Slovenia and stressed the importance of politics creating a sense of strength rather than powerlessness. Mr. Pahor believes that the future generations who will lead the country will manage to do just that: “I think that the period of political transition for both blocs is coming to an end. Something good will stem from this with the help of the new generation of leaders.”

At the first AmCham Business Breakfast of the year, we also put on display the new yearbook Dialogue: 25 Years of Values, which takes us through the last year and represents the very heart of the AmCham Slovenia community. It highlights inspiring projects and events and puts AmCham Slovenia members at the forefront, as well as the guiding values that are essential for fostering successful business dialogue:

· Trust,

· Optimism,

· Integrity,

· Collaboration,

· Ambition.


The photo gallery is available HERE.