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Even though Slovenia ranks at the top in terms of safety, accessibility to nature, and quality of life in general, the local environment still faces plenty of challenges that could ensure a better standard of living and prosperity among the populace. In the business community of optimism, which is composed and co-created by members of AmCham Slovenia, we simultaneously recognized the potential and the deficiencies that concern Slovenia and address those topics.

On Friday, November 19, 2021, AmCham Slovenia President, Blaž Brodnjak, and AmCham Slovenia Team met with AmCham Slovenia Patron members, where we acknowledged the pressing issues, while defining AmCham’s role in the support to the companies and creation of solutions.

Energy crisis and culture of dialogue at the forefront of the AmCham Patron meeting

The impact of rising energy prices and inflation and the associated labor cost was recognized as such a pressing issue, pinpointing that Slovenia needs to respond, and like other countries, subsidize the prices of energy to not be left behind. Recognizing that finding the proper balance in economic and fiscal policies is never a straightforward task, there is a need to enable platforms for business to be louder. The business communities have long pointed to the need for tax reforms to stimulate investments and enable reliefs for experts. Including that of establishing a social development cap, which would attract talents and encourage the production of added value in a kaleidoscope of areas.

There is always room for improvement, and a lot of work awaits us in providing a selection of added value jobs, that would both attract and retain talents and ensure promising employment opportunities. Meritocracy is an important step to facilitate that attraction and prevent brain drain, which requires vast stakeholder engagement. Cooperation with different stakeholders can facilitate the establishment of meritocracy as a prerequisite for both fairness and solidarity in society.

It was also recognized that the country faces a deficit in open communication and a lack of optimistic messages. According to foreign observers, our socio-political landscape is characterized by unprecedented bitterness in the public debate. Such an observation reflects our ideological divisions, exploited by many actors in national politics. Establishing a mechanism, that monitors the implementation of programs and commitments of parliamentary parties would have a great impact on their accountability. However, a grave challenge remains to attract capable personnel into politics, which would enable meritocracy in decision-making. Personnel with proper work ethic, experience, values, and ideas to push positive changes, can help build the democratic culture, with a culture of dialogue and constructive media as essential preconditions.

The role of AmCham Slovenia

Here, as a co-creator of a culture of dialogue and an important voice with foundations in civil society, AmCham Slovenia can help by having a positive approach, an ability to accept different opinions, and a vision to encourage constructive dialogues. The business communities are obliged to constantly respond and point out their positions – that is, to continue with focus and penetration in the advocacy approach. The key to this is communicating messages in collaboration with different business communities and organizations, covering various fields of expertise, since addressing a variety of areas covers more corners of the society and appeals better to the general public. These messages also need to reflect ambition, but unfortunately, many knowledgeable individuals often turn to silence when discourses turn toxic. Thus, at all levels, we need to encourage a respectful culture of dialogue, where positive feedback is taken into account and turned into sophisticated policies.