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SLOVENIA


 

 

In-depth Business Intelligence

Key Economic Data 
 
  2002 2001 2000 Ranking(2002)
GDP
Millions of US $ 21,108 18,800 18,100 67
         
GNI per capita
 US $ 9,810 9,760 10,060 53
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

Books on Slovenia

REPUBLICAN REFERENCE

Area (sq.km) 
20,273

Population 
1,935,677

Capital 
Ljubljana 

Currency 
Tolar 

President 
Janez Drnovsek

Private sector 
% of GDP 
40% 

  

Update No: 090 - (27/10/04)

Upset victory for opposition in parliamentary elections
Slovenian voters on October 3rd ousted the government of Prime Minister Anton Rop, who was forced to admit defeat in national elections handing victory to the centre right Slovenian Democratic Party. 
Slovenia's centre-right opposition coalition has won a narrow upset victory in the national elections five months after the former Yugoslav state joined the European Union. The Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS) and its ally, the conservative New Slovenia (NSi) party, had taken 38 percent of the vote compared to the governing centre-left coalition's 37 percent, the electoral commission said after 99 percent of votes were counted. The SDS-led group would take 38 seats in the 90-member parliament, while 37 seats would go to the three parties that make up the government. 
Prime Minister Anton Rop's Liberal Democracy party (LDS), which has held power in the former Yugoslav state for nearly 12 years, managed to take only 22.8 percent. The prime minister admitted defeat not long after voting closed. "It seems very likely that the Liberal Democracy party (LDS) will move to the opposition. We are firmly decided to work hard within the opposition," Rop said. His defeat came only five months after leading the former Yugoslav state into the European Union. 
It was Rop's first test at the polls as frontman of the centre-left Slovenian Liberal Democracy (LDS) party after taking over as prime minister and party president two years ago when Janez Drnovsek resigned both jobs to become the country's president.
Analysts have said the right-wing has managed to eat into the prime minister's support in the past year and a half by challenging it on issues with a nationalist undertone. These include a row about building a mosque in the capital Ljubljana, and a referendum on restoring citizenship to some 18,000 members of fellow former Yugoslav states that were wiped off the register when the communist federation broke up. 
The close results mean that neither bloc had taken enough votes to form a government on its own, putting the independent Slovenian Nationalist Party in the position of kingmaker with its estimated 6.3 percent of the vote. 
President Drnovsek, who has to appoint a candidate to put together a new government, had earlier said that if exit polls proved correct, the lack of a clear majority would make it difficult for him to do so. "If these results prove to be true, it will be harder for me to choose the candidate for creating a new government and he himself (the candidate) will have a tougher task when preparing a coalition," Drnovsek said.

Likely new premier indicates no new foreign policy
After Prime Minister Rop admitted defeat, SDS leader Janez Jansa said if called upon to form the next government he would pursue a "new policy" domestically, but keep foreign policy in the new EU and NATO member on course. 
"Slovenia stepped today on a new way ... that new policy, if we get to create the new government, will be a policy of continuity for all the good things done so far, and a policy of changes where the managing of the state was not aimed at progress." 
"Our foreign policy will be based on our alliances, the relations we recently established and which grant us our future." 

Problems with Croatia
Voting took place against the backdrop of a limited journalists' strike and a new twist in the country's troubled relations with neighbouring Croatia. Zagreb chose election day to create a protected fishing and ecological area off its Adriatic coast, which Slovenia has complained would leave it without access to international shipping waters. 
The Piran Bay area is also highly contentious. The issue heated up just before the elections when Croatian border guards arrested a group of men led by a member of the Slovenian Parliament, Janez Podobnik of the opposition Slovenian People's Party, in the disputed Piran Bay area after they refused to show their identity cards. The arrests were filmed by a television crew and broadcast on Slovenian television the same evening.
EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana on 5 October urged Croatia and Slovenia to solve their border row through dialogue. "It should be solved in the spirit of Europe. That is the spirit of dialogue, negotiations, the spirit which is the opposite of violence," Solana told journalists after meeting Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader in Zagreb. 
The neighbouring states reached an agreement on the disputed Piran Bay area in 2001, but the deal was widely unpopular in Croatia and Zagreb never ratified it.
Rop's handling of long-standing territorial disputes with Croatia had been criticised by the SDS in the election campaign, along with his handling of the economy, road infrastructure problems and pension issues. 
The prime minister, who led the country into the EU and NATO this year, has countered that his government helped to set Slovenia on the path of becoming one of the EU's most developed countries. 
The right-wing, which holds four out of Slovenia's seven seats in the European parliament, is considered pro-Europe and unlikely to change policies towards Brussels. 

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TELECOMMUNICATIONS

Mobitel to launch UMTS services

An advertising campaign was scheduled recently to launch the sale of third-generation mobile telephone services, UMTS, by the leading Slovenian provider, Mobitel.
While the campaign will at first be aimed only at students, it will become available to all subscribers in the near future. Mobitel is the only Slovenian mobile services provider with the UMTS licence. The company purchased it in November 2001, paying 22 billion tolars (91.7m Euro) for it. The UMTS signal is currently available 
in a majority of Slovenian towns or by over 50 per cent of the population, Mobitel said. Where UMTS signal is not available, the mobile phones automatically switch to GSM network, STA reported.

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TRANSPORT

Slovenia, Slovakia mull Luka Koper link

Slovenian and Slovakian transport ministers discussed ways to improve cooperation in transport, in particularly establishing a rail connection between Slovenia's port of Koper and Slovakia, as they met in Ljubljana on September 9th. After holding talks with Slovakia's Minister of Transport, Post and Telecommunications Pavol Prokopovic, Slovenian Minister Marko Pavliha said that the two countries are cooperating well, but there was space for improvement. Prokopovic echoed this statement, saying that the rail connection is one of the main opportunities for strengthening ties in this field. "My colleague and I have agreed to hold talks with Slovenian and Slovakian railways on the establishment of a competitive way of transporting cargo through Luka Koper," the Slovakian minister told STA. Pavliha stressed the importance of Luka Koper for Slovenia and the wider region, especially given its position at the very start of the fifth pan-European route.
"The construction of a second railway line between Koper and Divaca will allow Luka Koper to double its capacity in cargo transported by rail," Pavliha said. The railways connection between Slovenia and Slovakia received a boost with the opening of a direct line between Hungary and Slovenia via Hodos three years ago. Meanwhile, Prokopovic also announced the two countries would be exchanging experiences in various fields of transport policy. For one, Slovakia will present its model of privatising Bratislava airport, he said.

Slovenian Railways to open freight train to Istanbul

As part of its efforts to place Ljubljana at the centre of European rail transport routes, Slovenian Railways will soon launch a new heavy goods train on the Ljubljana-Istanbul route, STA reported recently.
The freight line between the Slovenian capital and Turkey's largest city is part of the Network Europe project of European heavy goods railway connections. Slovenian Railways has already established heavy goods connections between the Slovenian capital and Munich, Bologna, Belgrade and Milan.
The link with Istanbul means that the company will be connected to Asia's gateway. The first "East Express" train was scheduled to leave Ljubljana on September 30th. On this occasion, the general managers of national railway companies from Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia-Montenegro, Bulgaria and Turkey are to sign an agreement on the connection. The surge in freight operations has helped Slovenian Railways.
The company made a profit of 613m tolars (2.55m Euro) in the first six months of the current year compared to a loss of one billion tolars (4.17m Euro) in the same period of 2003. Revenues from freight operations went up by 17 per cent in the first half of this year, Slovenian Railways' general manager, Borut Miklavcic, said. Higher revenues from freight coupled with job cuts have helped turn Slovenian Railways into a profit-making company, he explained. As part of its expansion in freight operations, the company also plans to establish a connection with Prague and possibly other European destinations.

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