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Overseas Business Risk: Slovenia

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Overseas Business Risk: Slovenia

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Information on key security and political risks which UK businesses may face when operating in Slovenia.

1.Political

The Republic of Slovenia is a parliamentary republic with a multi-party system, governed by a coalition government. The parliament consists of two chambers: the National Assembly, consisting of 90 members, and the National Council, consisting of 40 members. The majority of power lies with the National Assembly. The National Council represents social, economic, professional and local interest groups, and plays an advisory role only. In 2022 there are parliamentary elections (April), followed by National Council, presidential and local elections (autumn).

Slovenia has been a member of NATO since March 2004 and the European Union since May 2004, and hosts the EU’s energy agency ACER. It is also a member of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the Organisation of Economic Development (OECD), the Council of Europe, and is on the executive board of the World Health Organisation and the International Atomic Energy Agency.

2.Economic

There are 2.1 million inhabitants in Slovenia (2022). Population density is 104 people per square kilometre, with the highest density in and around Ljubljana. Unemployment stands at 4.3% (August 2022).

Slovenia adopted the euro in 2007. The Bank of Slovenia supervises Slovenia’s banking system and exchange rates. Annual inflation in July 2022 stood at 11% largely due to an increase in prices for electricity, gas and other fuels; petroleum products and food.

Slovenia’s fiscal policy is expected to tighten moderately in 2022. An OECD economic survey (July 2022) highlights the need for Slovenia to lower labour taxes for low-income workers to help stimulate growth, review state owned enterprises to encourage more competition and to reform its pension system to deal with an ageing demographic. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth in 2022 is forecast at 4.2% and 2.35% in 2023, down from 2021 at 6.9%. GDP per capita is 24,678 euros (2021).

In 2021 the budget deficit stood at 5.2% of GDP and government debt was 74.7% of GDP (at 38.86 billion euros). This is down compared to 2020, when there was a budget deficit of 7.7% of GDP and government debt stood at 79.8% of GDP (37.42 billion euros).

3.Trade

Trade with other EU countries accounts for most of Slovenia’s imports (60%) and exports (55%), down slightly from trade with EU countries in previous years. Germany, Italy, Croatia and Austria are the country’s key trading partners. Exports account for 83% of GDP (2021). In the first half of 2022, Slovenia’s exports increased by 32.1% to EUR 25.5 billion and imports by 47.0% to EUR 27.7 billion, compared to 2021. The trade balance in the first 6 months of 2022 showed a 2.2 billion euro deficit (more imports than exports)compared to 2021 where there was a 1 billion euro deficit.

Total trade with the UK stood at GBP 875 million in 2021. In 2019, the outward stock of foreign direct investment (FDI) from the UK in Slovenia was GBP 148 million, and inward stock was GBP 11 million.

Key export goods are machinery and equipment, motor vehicles and parts, manufactured goods, chemicals, iron and steel, and pharmaceuticals. Slovenia has also increased production of high-tech products, and exports a relatively large number of intermediate products in the following medium-high technology industries:

  • manufacture of vehicles and vessels
  • the manufacture of electrical and optical equipment
  • the manufacture of machinery and equipment

4.Human rights

Slovenia is signatory of the European Convention on Human Rights, which has been incorporated into domestic legislation. Slovenia is a signatory to all International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions on labour rights. Trades Unions are active in all sectors and the Slovene Government regularly engages in dialogue with the unions and other ‘social partners’ on changes to legislation that might affect workers’ rights or terms and conditions.

Discrimination on the grounds of gender, age or sexuality is illegal under Slovenian law. Women and minority groups have equal access to education and employment rights. Some discrimination exists against the Roma population, although there is a robust legislative framework for supporting Roma rights in Slovenia.

5.Bribery and corruption

Bribery is illegal. It is an offence for British nationals or someone who is ordinarily resident in the UK, a body incorporated in the UK or a Scottish partnership, to bribe anywhere in the world.

In addition, a commercial organisation carrying on a business in the UK can be liable for the conduct of a person who is neither a UK national or resident in the UK or a body incorporated or formed in the UK. In this case it does not matter whether the acts or omissions which form part of the offence take place in the UK or elsewhere.

In 2020, Slovenia was ranked 35th (up from 39th in 2013) of 180 countries in Transparency International’s corruption perception index (CPI). Low-level bribery is not common in Slovenia.

The Commission for the Prevention of Corruption of the Republic of Slovenia reported (2019) that areas where corruption was suspected included environment and spatial planning, public procurement, public tenders, employment in the public sector, construction, education and sport, health care, labour law, judicial proceedings and finance.

Slovenia also has a National Bureau of Investigation, which operates as part of the police system, and specialises in economic and financial crime.

6.Terrorism threat

There is a low threat from terrorism.

Read the latest Travel Advice for Slovenia on the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office website. You can find further information on our terrorism threat page.

7.Protective security advice

Crime rates in Slovenia are very low compared to most parts of Europe. The Slovenian Police website lists all registered criminal cases. Read the information provided on our Protective security advice page.

8.Intellectual property

Intellectual Property Rights are territorial, that is they only give protection in the countries where they are granted or registered. If you are thinking about trading internationally, you should consider registering your IP rights in your export markets.

For information on registering your trademark or patent in Slovenia you should contact the Slovenian Intellectual Property Office (SIPO).

9.Organised crime

Some organised crime exists in Slovenia. Businesses and individuals unconnected with such groups have not been specifically targeted by serious organised crime. Businesses should always check the background of any potential partners, and be aware of the potential for online fraud.

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