Books on Slovenia
% of GDP
In 1918 the Slovenes joined the Serbs and Croats in forming a new nation, renamed Yugoslavia in 1929. After World War II, Slovenia became a republic of the renewed Yugoslavia, which though communist, distanced itself from Moscow's rule. Dissatisfied with the exercise of power of the majority Serbs, the Slovenes succeeded in establishing their independence in 1991. Historical ties to Western Europe, a strong economy, and a stable democracy make Slovenia a leading candidate for future membership in the EU and NATO.
Update No: 087 - (27/07/04)
The EU matters
Slovenia has not only joined the EU, a fact since May; it has also now signed up for Euroland. Slovenia, along with Estonia and Lithuania, has agreed to join the EU's Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM 2). At a special meeting in Brussels at the end of June the finance ministers of the 12-nation Eurozone and the chairman of the European Central Bank (ECB) agreed to admit the three newcomers to an initial transitional phase, in which they are to peg their currencies to the Euro by not allowing them to deviate more than 15% from rates set at the meeting.
That set of rates was fixed so that one Euro will buy 15.6466 Estonian kroons, 3.45280 Lithuanian litas and 239.640 Slovenian tolars. All three countries can expect that trade and investment flows will now improve with the Eurozone. This will be especially true when they attain full membership in 2007. History is being made.
The best of the bunch
Slovenia may well be the pick of the crop of those countries that adhered to the EU in May of this year. Before the dissolution of Yugoslavia, the Republic of Slovenia was most prosperous and industrialized area, with a per capita output perhaps one-third above the Yugoslav average. It has by far the highest standard of living at $17,000 per capita.
The economy emerged from its mild recession in 2000 with tourism the main factor, but massive structural unemployment remains a key negative element. The government's failure to press the economic reforms needed to spur growth is largely the result of coalition politics and public resistance, particularly from the trade unions. Opponents fear reforms would cut jobs, wages, and social benefits. The government has a heavy back log of civil cases, many involving tenure land. The country is likely to experience only moderate growth without disciplined fiscal and structural reform.
The latest democracy
The existence of these problems shows that Slovenia is genuinely a parliamentary democracy and constitutional republic. Within its government, power is shared between a directly elected president, a prime minister, and a bicameral legislature (Parliament). Parliament is composed of the 90-member National Assembly (which takes the lead on virtually all legislative issues) and the National Council, a largely advisory body composed of representatives from social, economic, professional, and local interests.
The Constitutional Court has the highest power of review of legislation to ensure its consistency with Slovenia's constitution. Its nine judges are elected for 9-year terms.
Primus inter pares
Much depends on its brilliant premier, Anton Rop. He was born on 27 December 1960 in Ljubljana. He graduated from the Faculty of Economics in Ljubljana and received the Preeren Award for Students for his graduation thesis. In 1991 he was admitted to the master's degree in economics, with a thesis on state expenditure and economic growth.
From 1985 to 1992 he was Assistant Director of the Slovene Institute for Macroeconomic Analysis and Development, where he also headed working groups for the projects of fiscal informatics and investments in economic infrastructure and tackled Slovenia's developmental problems. He has written numerous articles about investment, market and housing topics. In his capacity as assistant director of the Institute and advisor to the government he started working in the field of privatisation and legislation drafting as early as 1992.
In 1993 he was appointed State Secretary at the Ministry of Economic Relations and Development, charged with privatisation and regional development. He managed system solutions in ownership transformation and the privatisation process in Slovenia. Between 1996 and 2000 he held the office of Minister of Labour, Family and Social Affairs.
Following elections to the National Assembly at the end of 2000 he was appointed minister of finance. He performed this function until 19 December 2002 when he was elected prime minister. He is fluent in English and has a passive knowledge of German. Slovenia could not be in safer hands.
Slovenia's Ljubljana airport to expand, offer more flights
Aerodrom Ljubljana, the manager of the Ljubljana airport Brnik, will invest 12bn tolars (50m euros) in the construction of a new terminal, car park and an office building. Speaking of the planned connection between Ljubljana and Berlin, chairman, Vinko Moze, said that the UK low-fare carrier EasyJet has already announced the flight, although the contract has not been signed as yet, STA News Agency reported.
Aerodrom Ljubljana will purchase a plot to build a new road, while a small hotel, storehouse and control tower are planned as well. However, these plans will be realized after the year 2010, said Moze.
The construction of the car park, to be carried out by construction company SCT, will be the first in a series of renovations of the Ljubljana airport, which is to conclude with a new passengers' terminal to be completed for 2007.
"We have held discussions on new flights with several carriers, budget ones as well, and probably Air France will launch Ljubljana-Paris flights this autumn," Moze added. He did not wish to divulge which low-cost flight operator the company held talks with.
Moze said Aerodrom did not offer anything more to EasyJet for flying to Brnik than to the national carrier Adria Airways. EasyJet is even paying higher airport taxes than Adria Airways, as it has less passengers, he underlined. EasyJet pledged to bring a certain amount of passengers under certain conditions.
"The Slovene consortium SPOT, which Aerodrom Ljubljana is a part of, is giving the UK company money for the promotion of tourism, as some companies feel it is important to attract passengers and tourists who spend 125 euro a day. EasyJet covers the price gap with commissions from hotels and restaurants that the company advertises on its website," Moze said.
Moze believes the share price of Aerodrom Ljubljana will grow. Current book value of a share stands at 4,600 tolars (19.19 euros), while the market value is twice as high. New investments will surely increase the demand for Aerodrom's shares, Moze said.
Aerodrom Ljubljana recently reported that the number of passengers flown in by foreign airlines jumped by 90 per cent in May over the same month last year. This is mostly due to two new foreign airline companies operating scheduled flights to Ljubljana since April, namely EasyJet and Hungarian airline Malev.
Schweizer deliver first 300C
Schweizer Aircraft Corp recently delivered a new 300C to Flycom of the Republic of Slovenia, the local media cited Schweizer sources as revealing, New Europe reported recently.
Jaroslav Najman of LD Aviation Prague, Schweizer's distributor located in the Czech Republic, sold the aircraft to Flycom. The helicopter, the first Schweizer 300C to be delivered to Slovenia, will be used for light utility work and flight training. Flycom is a multifaceted commercial helicopter operation that provides a wide variety of helicopter services including power line inspections, pipeline inspections, aerial photography, aerial filming, fire mapping, infrared inspections of buildings, telecommunications, assistance with criminal apprehension and VIP transport. Their new 300C is already committed to a five-year aerial photography contract. "We are very excited to see Schweizer helicopters being sold into the Republic of Slovenia helicopter market," said Paul Schweizer, President "and we are sure that Flycom will be extremely pleased with their new 300C."
FOOD & DRINK
Zito ups share capital
The bread and pasta maker Zito decided to increase its share capital by 49.5m tolars (207,000) by issuing 4,950 regular shares with the nominal value of 10,000 tolars per share, a company release informed recently, New Europe reported.
The company's share capital will thus increase to 3.54bn tolars (14.82m). The company added that the move was approved by the supervisory board in December. The shares will be bought by investment fund Infond ID, which will pay for the shares by handing over to Zito 15,360 regular shares of bakery Pekarna Vrhnika, with a nominal value of 1,000 tolars (4.19) per share.
Gorenje gears up for Czech Mora Moravia takeover
Slovenian house appliance manufacturer Gorenje signed a deal on the takeover of the Czech cooker producer Mora Moravia, the company said in a recent statement. Gorenje intends to become a full owner of the Czech company by the end of the year and hopes to become one of the biggest producers of cookers in Central and Eastern Europe, Gorenje said.
Situated in Marianske Udoli in the Moravia region, Mora Moravia was established in 1825. It controls an important market share in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and other eastern European countries, Gorenje said.
Last year Mora Moravia generated revenues of 55.8m and a net profit of about 800,000, according to Gorenje. The Slovenian company posted a net profit of about 91m tolars (380,000) on the Czech market last year through its Czech-based companies Gorenje Real Spol and Gorenje Kuchyne Spol, which employ 85 people.
The Velenje-based company substantially increased sales in entire Eastern Europe last year, up by 17%. Last year's net sales revenues posted on the Czech market amounted to 18.5bn tolars (7.7m).
According to Gorenje CEO Franjo Bobinac, the Czech and Polish market will be the most important East European markets for the company this year as well. Gorenje's ambition is to create a strong pan-European trade-mark, Bobinac said, STA local News Agency reported.
MINERALS & METALS
SZ profits rise in Q1
Slovenian Steelworks (SZ) group reported revenues of 36.1bn tolars (151m) and profits of 19.8m tolars (83,000) in the first quarter of the year. All the group's companies reported profits with the exception of the Ravne-based Metal and the Jesenice-based SUZ, STA reported recently.
The figures were below the business targets, but the group expects the results will improve by the end of the year, the company told the supervisory board at a recent meeting.
Hit opens resort in Montenegro
Slovenian tourism and casino company Hit on June 4th opened its largest foreign investment to date - 29.3m hotel resort on the Montenegrin coast, New Europe reported recently.
The renovated resort Maestral, located near the prestigious Sveti Stefan resort, boasts 16,000sqm of hotel facilities. According to Hit, Maestral has 171 hotel rooms and nine suites, two restaurants, a casino with 100 slot machines and 12 playing tables, as well as a conference centre, a wellness and fitness centre, indoor and outdoor swimming pools and other amenities. Hit claimed that Maestral is the biggest such resort on the south Adriatic coast. The company counts on vacationers from Italy, Russia, Great Britain and German-speaking countries. Purchased in 2001, the resort was open in the summers of 2002 and 2003, yet it took until this year for Hit to completely refurbish the outdated facilities.
Seovlje saltpans soon a tourism resort
The saltpans nature reserve of Slovenia is soon to undergo major investment projects that will promote its tourism value, New Europe reported recently.
According to recent reports by seeuropenet, a strategic partnership agreement between Saltpans nature reserve and a tourism company was signed with investments planned for the next two years estimated at some 150m tolars (628,000).
In particular, Niko Trost, chair of the Hoteli Morje company, elucidated that Istranbenz has signed the contract to expand and improve its tourism division; and the saltpans, with their important tradition in Slovenia's heritage, represent an essential part of its tourism programmes.
The document covers strategic cooperation in tourism for the famous Secovlje saltpans. It was signed in the coastal city of Portoroz by Alojz Jurjec of Soline and Trost, which is owned by the Istrabenz group.
Of the estimated 150m tolars of the projects that are planned for the next two years, 60% will be provided by the Istrabenz Group, which includes Hoteli Morje, a company managing three four-star hotels in Portoroz.
According to Jurjec, the joint investments include the renovation of several buildings, the restructuring of the channel Jernejev kanal, and investments into a seawater treatment pool (thalassotherapy).
Anton Majzelj of Slovenia's leading mobile telephony operator Mobitel said his company did not take over the saltpans two years ago just because the time was favourable, but also because of the site's historic importance. In addition, the involvement of Istrabenz will promote the site as a tourist attraction.
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