Books on Slovenia
% of GDP
Update No: 107 - (28/04/06)
Slovenian PM to sign agreements in Moscow
Slovenia was always sufficiently far away from Russia to have no qualms at
cultivating close ties. It was never in Moscow's or for that matter St
Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa said his visit to Moscow, due in late May,
is expected to bolster positive trends in Slovenia's relations with Russia. At a
meeting with Russian journalists in Ljubljana, Jansa applauded Slovenia's
relations with Russia, particularly the two countries' bilateral business ties.
Trade between the two countries exceeded US$1 billion in 2005, he said.
"The capabilities [of bilateral business cooperation] are continuing to
expand. My visit to Moscow in May is aimed at promoting this trend. It will be
an opportunity to finish work on a large number of bilateral agreements and to
sign new ones," the prime minister said.
Skeletons in the Slovenian cupboard
Relations with Belgrade are another matter. Slovenia was of course in the orbit
of Serbia and relations are still strained.
Jansa telephoned his Serbian counterpart Kostunica in early April to protest the
comments made by Serbian officials regarding the Holmec case of suspected war
crimes, which took place on Slovenia's independence in 1991, otherwise a
comparatively bloodless affair, unlike Croatia's or Bosnia's. Jansa was also
upset by the fact that Serbia wants to reopen the case and that certain
officials threatened to boycott Slovenian products and all trade ties with
Jansa said that such statements incriminate those who participated in the Holmec
conflict, in which several Serbian soldiers, trying to surrender with white
flags, were apparently shot. He pointed out that Slovenia had led a widespread
investigation into the incident several years ago. In all 79 Slovenian soldiers
were killed in the struggle for independence, far too many, but not the fearful
death-toll of Bosnia, over 200,000, with a million and a half refugees.
"Such statements and threats of boycotting Slovenian goods should be things
of the past." Jansa told Kostunica, adding that Slovenia has successfully
moved on from those times and that Serbia has begun the process of integration
into the European Union and is at a good point for opening up a new, successful
chapter in its history.
"Slovenia is prepared to help Serbia in this process, so it is in both our
interests not to poison our relations with practices from the past." Jansa
told the Serbian Prime Minister.
Kostunica and Jansa agreed at the end of the conversation that it is important
to strengthen political and economic contacts between Serbia and Slovenia.
Jansa hails final agreement on EU budget
Turning to more pleasant matters, Jansa has welcomed the agreement on the EU's
2007-2013 budget framework that was reached on 4th April, saying it was good for
Slovenia. Slovenia's net position will not change, as the proposal does not
envisage cuts on cohesion funds, Jansa was quoted as saying by his office on 5th
The deal was reached in talks between the European Commission, the EU Council
and the European Parliament, but it still needs to be formally confirmed by the
Parliament and the Council. Jansa said the deal was in line with the conclusions
of the December summit of the EU in terms of the division of cohesion funds.
This means four times more cohesion funds that Slovenia has available in the
current budget period, the PM's office pointed out.
Even though the budget may not be ideal for development, it is a realistic
compromise in the given situation, allowing the implementation of EU policies
and the full integration of the newcomers, the office said.
The Government Office for European Affairs (SVEZ) also hailed the agreement,
since it preserves Slovenia's status as a net recipient of budget funds. Katja
Rejec Longar, the deputy head of the SVEZ, said Slovenia would get up to two
billion euros more than it would pay into the budget over the seven-year period.
Industrial Output Up
Slovenia's economy is growing well, moreover, from a high base level, the
highest in the former communist world. Its industrial output grew by 2.2% in
2005 and 6.6% year on year, according to the latest report by the National
Compared to January 2005, production in the mining sector increased by 9.2% and
the manufacturing sector increased its output by 6.8%. Volumes in electricity,
gas and water supply were up 4.3%, according to the data released by the
National Statistics Office.
Stock Exchange Undergoes Facelift
The Ljubljana Stock Exchange has restructured their indices and introduced a
new index, the SBITOP, which includes the five biggest companies listed on the
exchange based on volumes traded. The most significant index, the SBI20, will
now include shares from the open market, The Slovenia Times reports.
The Stock Exchange management believes these changes will present the companies
listed on the exchange in a better manner.
The "new look" was positively received and the SBITOP index rose 1.4%
in its first day of trading.
Revoz remains top Slovenian exporter
Car maker, Revoz, a subsidiary of Renault, remained the biggest Slovenian
exporter in 2005, increasing exports by 35% year-on-year to SIT 265.5bn (1.1bn
Euro). Revoz accounts for 7.8% of the country's total exports, according to a
survey of exporters, New Europe reported.
The top five includes household appliance maker Gorenje with exports at SIT
207.9bn (867.7m Euro), followed by drug makers Lek (SIT 115.9bn/EUR 483.7m) and
Krka (SIT 98.4bn/410.7m Euro) and the Slovenian Steel Group (SIT 82.4bn/342.7m
Euro). The top five accounted for 22.6% of the overall exports.
There was one notable absence from the top five spots for 2005 - Prevent, the
maker of car-seat covers, which was fourth last year. It was placed 9th with
exports at 54bn (225.4m Euro), down 34% year-on-year. The Slovenian Steel Group
meanwhile climbed two places compared to 2004.
Measured by exports to the EU, Revoz tops the list with sales there worth SIT
234.5bn (978.7m Euro), followed by Gorenje (SIT 110bn/459m Euro), the Slovenian
Steel Group (SIT 61.8bn/257.9m Euro), aluminium maker Impol (SIT 57.9bn/241.7m
Euro) and Prevent (SIT 54bn/225.4m Euro).
Meanwhile, the biggest exporter of services was the gaming group Hit, with
exports worth SIT 49bn (204.5m Euro), followed closely behind by logistics group
Viator&Vektor (SIT 47bn/196.2m Euro), Slovenian Railways (SIT 30bn/125.5m
Euro) and shipping company Splosna plovba Portoroz (SIT 28bn/116.9m Euro).
According to the forecasts for 2006 provided by the companies, Slovenia's
exports are expected to increase 5% this year, whereby 14% of the 198 companies
included in the survey expect exports to drop.
The forecasts of the top five exporters are mixed: Revoz expects exports to
plummet by over 20%, Gorenje sees them level, Lek provided no data, Krka expects
to up exports by roughly 10% and the Slovenian Steel Group expects them to drop.
The survey is based on data provided by the companies themselves. The authors
point out that exports have been classified in the traditional sense: sales to
EU countries are counted as exports, whereas the EU deems only sales outside the
EU as exports.
Slovenia stays on top in the region
Slovenia remained in top spot in Eastern Europe alongside Slovakia, according to
the April report of the international rating firm Dun&Bradstreet (D&B).
Both have a DB2c rating, while Slovenia's trend is still pointing upwards.
The report points to the almost doubled rate of growth in government consumption
expenditure, which in 2005 stood at 3.1% compared to 1.6% in 2004.
According to D&B "this reflects increased spending on a range of new
guarantees and benefits for pensioners," exacted by the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS)
for staying in the centre-right coalition.
The increase was also caused by "payment of wage arrears in the education
sector, and repayments of overcharging by the Tax Administration."
Despite somewhat slower growth in exports, D&B expects positive trends to
continue and that Slovenian GDP would continue to grow.
Slovenia and France Sign Agreement on Cooperation in Energy
Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology, Jure Zupan, and the
vice-chairman of the French Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), Jean-Pierre Le Roux,
signed an agreement on cooperation between the Slovenian ministry and the CEA,
Slovenia News reported recently.
"The agreement is a result of years of cooperation between Slovenian and
French researchers, which will now be taken to an even higher level," Zupan
said, adding that the two countries cooperate in 30 to 50 science and technology
projects a year.
Slovenian institutions which have been successfully cooperating with the French
institutes include Slovenia's main research institute, Institut Jozef Stefan,
the Ljubljana Medical Faculty, the Chemistry Institute, the National Biology
Institute, and the Agency for Radwaste Management.
The two countries are also working together in 103 joint projects within the EU,
such as Cost, Eureka and the 5th and 6th Framework Programme, while Zupan and Le
Roux expressed hope that the 7th Framework Programme will also be included soon.
Furthermore, Slovenia cooperates in the construction of the international
experimental fusion reactor ITER. In Le Roux's view, it is important that the
two countries have a positive approach toward nuclear energy.
He also pointed to the problem of new energy sources, which would replace fossil
energy sources, and to environmental issues. He stressed that Europe must follow
the goal of a sustainable and efficient energy policy.
Mercator eyes "links" with retailers
Slovenian retailer Mercator pulled out of the takeover race for Serbian
retail chain C-market last year over a long-lasting legal dispute, but it is
eyeing opportunities to expand in Serbia, New Europe reported.
Mercator's new top man, Ziga Debeljak, however, denied reports that there have
been any concrete talks with Serbian Delta, which operates retail chains Maxi
and Pekabeta, or Croatian Agrokor on a possible merger of the three Balkan
retail majors. Mercator, which already has hypermarkets in Serbia, wants to take
the leading position in the market by expanding the network of stores in
Belgrade, Vojvodina, and eventually in other large Serbian cities, according to
Tops EU average in mobile phone use
Slovenia is ahead of the EU average in terms of the number of mobile phones
users, Slovene Press Agency STA reported, citing the latest statistics from
According to data from 2004, 93.7 out of 100 Slovenians used a mobile phone,
which was above the 89.6 per 100 average in the EU. Moreover, Slovenia even
outstrips the EU-15, where on average 92.5 out of 100 people used a mobile phone
in 2004. According to Eurostat, 1,849,000 Slovenians were users of mobile phone
services in 2004, which is a 4,500 per cent more than in 1996.
Leading the EU in terms of mobile phone users is Luxembourg, where there are 143
users per 100 people, meaning that some people have two subscriptions. However,
in fixed line telephony, Slovenia trails the EU average of 49.6 lines per 100
people, as it has 43 lines per 100 people. Meanwhile, 47 per cent of Slovenian
households had an Internet connection in 2004, which is four percentage points
above the EU average.
Telecom Slovenia wants majority in On.Net takeover bid
Telecom Slovenia is to take over the majority stake in Macedonia's Internet
service provider, On.Net, Makfaz News Agency reported.
Slovenia's newspaper, Finance, published the news but did not reveal the value
of the transaction, by which, Telecom Slovenia will become owner of a 76 per
cent stake in On.Net. The paper said that the estimated number of permanent
subscribers to On.Net services is 3,000 and the number of temporary users is
some 20,000. The On.Net internet provider covers 23 per cent of the Macedonian
market. Being a sole broadband provider in Macedonia and also a provider of
wireless internet access, On.Net claims it has 1,500 subscribers plugged into
its Wi-Fi network. The company provides internet access to 500 schools and
provides international telephone calls through 1,200 leased telephone lines.
On.Net company was founded in 2000 by two private investors and the American
private Fund SEAF.