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Office of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia

09/15/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 09/15/2021 16:21

Prime Minister Janša: The Government is taking measures to create a more favourable business environment for the domestic economy and a significantly more attractive[...]

Before the joint meeting of the Governments of the Republic of Slovenia and Hungary, the Prime Minister Janez Janša today attended a ceremony marking the opening of the 53rd International Trade Fair in Celje and addressed the participants.

The Prime Minister began by welcoming the Prime Minister of Hungary, Viktor Orbán, and other high-ranking guests, exhibitors, businesspeople and representatives of the Slovenian and Hungarian governments. He pointed out that Hungary was participating in the 53rd International Trade Fair in Celje as a partner country. He assessed that this cooperation and the possibility of re-launching trade the fair in Celje proves that we have successfully passed the corona crisis trial, that we have all proved our resilience and that we can look forward with optimism. He thanked Hungary, whose participation in the trade fair proves that it recognises Slovenia as a partner in the economic field. 'We are looking forward to further deepening our economic cooperation. As Prime Minister Orbán said, our relations are diversified and friendly, and our regular meetings certainly contribute to this. I am glad that after many years, we will hold a joint meeting of our two governments,' said the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister continued his speech by recalling that Slovenia is celebrating the 30th anniversary of its own statehood this year, which will be followed next January by the 30th anniversary of international recognition and the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. He noted that Hungary was one of the first countries to recognise Slovenia; their diplomatic relations were established on 16 January 1992. 'Since then, we have developed friendly relations that go beyond the diplomatic level.'

According to the Prime Minister, the fair events are of great importance for the economy. 'It was probably only last year, when this trade fair had to be cancelled, that we realised how important it is. As Mr Meh, the Chairman of the Chamber of Craft and Small Business of Slovenia, has already said, despite the fact that we fully committed to digital transformation, it cannot replace interpersonal contacts anywhere, even in the business field,' the Prime Minister went on to say.

Mr Janša further noted that despite optimism about the corona crisis, caution is still needed. He thanked businesspeople for their persistent communication efforts during the fight against the epidemic, especially in the service industry, as it took a lot of sacrifice, understanding and tolerance. He pointed out that the epidemic was not over yet, but that we have a tool, a vaccine, to stop the epidemic. 'It would be a great pity to miss this opportunity. You businesspeople know best how a lost opportunity always brings harm. We all trust science in every field, so I don't know why we shouldn't trust it now when it comes to health and life,' he said.

The Prime Minister also pointed out that the corona crisis has exposed some traditional weaknesses in management. 'The Government has adopted a comprehensive package of anti-bureaucratic measures and a comprehensive proposal for tax changes. They will shorten procedures and eliminate numerous bureaucratic burdens, enable a more favourable business environment for the domestic economy and a significantly more attractive environment for foreign investment. The tax changes, on the other hand, will raise people's salaries without increasing costs for companies,' said the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister then commended all those who had contributed to the implementation of measures during the epidemic while managing to prevent any part of the Slovenian economy being destroyed. He also thanked the Minister for Economic Development and Technology, and Deputy Prime Minister Zdravko Počivalšek, who was the voice of economic reason in the Government. With his help and under his leadership, the Government sought alternatives to shutting down or causing harm to any part of the economy. He also thanked Borut Meh, the Chairman of the Chamber of Craft and Small Business. He expressed the hope that we will avoid another lockdown of the economy, and reiterated the need to take advantage of other options available, especially vaccination.

As the Prime Minister pointed out, the forecasts for the future are optimistic. 'With economic growth, we will exceed last year's drop by over six per cent. In other words, we will not only fill the gap, but create more and invest more. The forecasts for the next two years are similarly optimistic,' said the Prime Minister. At the same time, he highlighted the considerable funds available from the next financial perspective of the European Union and a number of other sources. 'Recovery and resilience will not only fix something that has collapsed, but will also be a great opportunity to modernise our economy and the environment in which it operates.' The Prime Minister added that Slovenia had returned record economic growth in the second quarter of the year. 'It was higher not only because of the fall it experienced last year, but also higher in the pre-crisis comparison. We have record low unemployment, the lowest since 2008, and consequently high employability,' the Prime Minister pointed out, while also noting the structural problems and a lack of skilled labour in some fields. 'The measures that are being taken by the government now are aimed not only at tomorrow, but also at the period stretching five and ten years from now, and at future generations of descendants and future businesspeople,' said Prime Minister Janša.

Successful cooperation with neighbouring Hungary is also reflected in the figures. Despite the lockdown in the first half of this year, trade in goods between the two countries amounted to almost a billion euros in the first five months of this year. 'If these trends continue, this could be a record year,' said the Prime Minister, who also thanked businesspeople of both countries for contributing to this and creating a real basis for prosperity. He congratulated Hungary on its development over the last ten years, on its outstanding economic and development results, and on positive developments in demographic policy, which is a major issue across Europe. The Prime Minister also thanked Hungary for vigorously defending the common Schengen border, as only a protected environment will facilitate normal social and economic development and political stability. 'Border protection is one of the essential elements for stability,' said the Prime Minister. He went on to congratulate Hungary on preserving its own, and thus a genuinely European, identity. 'Hungary has shown that a free market environment, which is an environment free of customs restrictions, creates an environment in which potentials can be fully exploited. Economic growth and the growth of prosperity in Central Europe proves that this part of Europe is something central, that it is also a central power in many other respects. Hungary, together with the other Visegrád Group countries and the whole of Central Europe, has demonstrated that the free market environment in the EU, i.e. an environment in which there are no customs and other restrictions, creates an atmosphere in which potentials can be further exploited. According to the Prime Minister, the above-average economic growth and the growth in purchasing power across Central Europe, compared to other Member States, prove, as the geographical name itself suggests, that it is something central, the central economic power of the European continent, as well as the central power in many other respects,' said the Prime Minister.

He went on to say that the two governments will hold a series of bilateral meetings today, a joint session and working lunch, where they will look at other opportunities for strengthening joint cooperation. A number of agreements will be signed, including an agreement that increases investment in the Slovenian minority in Hungary and the Hungarian minority in Slovenia. 'This is the potential that has recently been highlighted in the fight for the common good and this agreement will further develop these possibilities.'

The Prime Minister concluded his speech by thanking the organisers of this year's International Trade Fair in Celje and all those involved in the fair's activities for their patience in slowly returning life to normality. 'May the 53rd International Trade Fair be successful and break every record!'