Balance of power
Slovenia is a democratic parliamentary republic. The state is run by a centre-left coalition that is led by Stranka Mira Cerarja (SMC). The party is chaired by Miro Cerar, the Prime Minister of Slovenia. The Slovenian President is Borut Pahor. The presidential function entails great authority, but lacks major powers to manage the state. The greatest powers are held by the government, which is monitored by a parliament of 90 members. Presently, there are seven political parties sitting in the parliament. The largest opposition party is the centre-right SDS, which is led by Jože Tanko.
One of Slovenia’s major policy successes was joining the European Union. This was one of its first major goals following independence in 1991. After years of negotiations, Slovenia succeeded in joining the organisation with nine other countries on 1 May 2004. In 2005 it assumed the presidency of the OSCE, and then two and a half years later, on 1 January 2007 to be precise, Slovenia was the first of the new EU members to join the euro, before becoming the first new member to hold the presidency of EU in the first half of 2008. Slovenia has been part of the Schengen Area since the end of 2007, which means that there is no control of border crossings with neighbouring countries in the EU. Slovenia presided over the Council of Europe’s committee of ministers in 2009, and has joined the OECD in 2010.
Rapid economic development
As a member of the EU, Slovenia now has trade relations with the countries of western Europe, Germany, Austria and Italy in particular. Slovenia is known as a small but reliable partner, with a rational way of acting, and a skilled workforce. Its economic development since independence has been a considerable success, particularly between 1995 and 2008, when the economy grew by an average of 4% each year. The official unemployment rate stood at 6% at the end of 2008, although the true rate was even lower. Slovenia saw its first significant decline in economic growth in 2009 as a result of the global economic crisis.
Slovenia’s per capita GDP is 91% of the EU average, ranking it 16th of the 27 countries.
Main sectors of the economy
Services are the largest sector of the economy, accounting for 64% of total GDP in 2008. Tourism is an increasingly important service sector. Manufacturing accounts for approximately 26% of total GDP, construction for 8% and agriculture for 2%.
The most important sectors of manufacturing industry include steel and metals, the car industry, white goods, wood and textiles, pharmaceuticals and chemicals, and machinery.
Slovenia’s economy offers opportunities in the development of sectors and jobs with high added value, particularly in liquid crystal technology, nanotechnology, medical physics and pharmaceuticals, but must ensure that learning is transferred into applications and that corporate workforces are well trained.