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Slovenia has reached a crossroads. As the economy begins to recover from recession – aided by the outgoing government’s efforts to stabilize the banking sector – voters are headed back to the polls to elect a new Parliament. Any government that emerges will face a long list of vital economic reforms that, if implemented properly, can set this country firmly and finally on its path toward economic prosperity and growth.

The American Chamber of Commerce in Slovenia represents over 260 companies unified by a shared desire to see Slovenia live up to its potential as a premiere investment destination and attractive partner for business – Slovene, U.S. and other foreign companies. We look forward to partnering with all political groups in order to restore investor confidence in the Slovenian market and support a long-term strategy to capitalize on Slovenia’s potential. In that spirit, we offer for public debate these five principles for how Slovenia’s next government can accelerate this country’s economic recovery and improve the standard of living for all Slovenian citizens.

· Ensure Transparency: Investors expect a level playing field when they consider doing business in Slovenia – or any other market. Above all, we must eradicate any perception of corruption from the public procurement process and vigorously safeguard the transparency of government tenders in order to create a solid foundation for foreign investment.

· Accelerate Privatization: State dominance of the economy has degraded long-term competitiveness, dampened prospects for foreign participation in the economy, and undermined strong corporate management. We call on Slovenia’s future leaders to swiftly and wisely implement a clear strategy to privatize state-owned assets wherever possible. Privatization commitments must be respected.

· Rationalize Public Finances: A consistent tax regime would reduce investors’ risk and open new avenues to attract outside capital. Comprehensive pension and health reforms would also boost investor confidence that Slovenia can manage its finances effectively. Similarly, high wage taxation and onerous social contributions risk driving away high-quality, high-skills jobs to neighboring countries. Smart regulation makes sense, but needless red tape does not.

· Strengthen Corporate Governance: Every enterprise in Slovenia deserves professional management capable of making decisions free from political interference. We urge the next government to take all efforts to seek out qualified leaders – irrespective of party affiliation – to serve on management and supervisory boards. We must also capitalize on Slovenia’s human potential to create jobs at ever higher points in the value-added chain.

· Reinforce the Banking Sector: Taxpayers contributed ten percent of national income to shore up the banking sector and avoid an international bailout in 2013. As the banks return to health, we must rigorously safeguard their freedom to extend credit solely on the basis of their professional determination of risk, free from outside pressure or influence.

As representatives of the business community and the U.S. government, we are committed to Slovenia’s success and confident that these principles can lay the groundwork for long-term growth. We look forward to working with Slovenia’s next leaders to realize this program and see Slovenia become an economic role model for the Central European region and beyond.