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The global economy, including Slovenia, is currently experiencing big changes, and to succeed in this tumultuous period, adaptation and cooperation will be key, said the participants of AmCham’s business breakfast debate, which was also attended by Foreign Minister Anže Logar.

At the AmCham hybrid event on Friday, entitled Slovenia on the Rollercoaster of Global Trade, Logar highlighted Slovenia’s size as an advantage.”The advantage of Slovenia’s small size is that it can turn around quickly and, in the context of the EU, I think this could be a trump card for the country and its business sector,” he said.Andreja Jaklič, a professor at the Faculty of Social Sciences in Ljubljana, said that cooperation in all fields was needed, and highlighted rising energy prices and costs due to halted deliveries as the main challenges for 2022.

These rising costs are eating into funds for innovation, she warned, highlighting agility, digitalisation, sustainable business models and employee training as key to maintaining prosperity. The latter was also underlined by the president of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS), Tibor Šimonka, who also believes that Slovenia lacks more technology-oriented university programmes. He pointed in particular to the demands of the economy for the introduction of a social cap and an income tax reform, and said that over the last ten years, at least 25,000 highly educated people had emigrated from Slovenia. Logar agreed with Šimonka and added that “demagoguery exploded” at the proposal to introduce a social cap, urging the business representatives to join the public debate and demonstrate how important this is for Slovenia’s development.

“Naturally, we need more tax incentives to attract talent,” said AmCham president Blaž Brodnjak. He also called for a reform of the pension and healthcare systems. Logar agreed that it was necessary to create a more attractive environment in the country for those people who probably earn much more abroad than they would in Slovenia, adding that discussions on this topic were ongoing at government level.

On the current economic situation, Šimonka said that high energy prices were causing great uncertainty. If the trend does not change, he said, many companies fear for their long-term survival, which was shown by a recent survey carried out by the GZS. Slovenia’s economy has not been that badly affected by supply chain bottlenecks, added Šimonka, who sees energy and raw material prices as a much bigger problem, as much of the Slovenian industry is energy intensive.

But while the economy has so far been optimistic that the energy crisis would start to ease in the spring, this sentiment has recently been fading, with prices of gas and electricity increasingly looking like they will remain high.

Source: STA

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