Minister Logar and Minister Počivalšek chair the session of the Internationalisation Council
Today, Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr Anže Logar and Minister of Economic Development and Technology Zdravko Počivalšek chaired the Internationalisation Council session.
The Council is tasked with addressing various issues related to the promotion of internationalisation of the Slovenian economy, bringing together governmental and non-governmental stakeholders and providing effective assistance to businesses as they embark on their economic relations with foreign countries.
Besides regular members of the Council, the chairs invited additional guests to today’s session, namely Andrej Šircelj, Minister of Finance, Boštjan Koritnik, Minister of Public Administration, Aleš Mihelič, State Secretary at the Ministry of Infrastructure, Robert Rožac, State Secretary at the Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning, and Bojan Pograjc, State Secretary at the PM Office in his capacity as national coordinator of the Three Seas Initiative.
In his introductory remarks, Minister Logar underscored that “the International Council has always served as an important platform of positive and effective dialogue between those responsible for and the stakeholders of the internationalisation; this will become all the more crucial in the post-Covid-19 world, where additional emphasis will be placed on targeted activities in key markets, the predictability and stability of the business and investment environment, and strategic thinking”.
Minister Počivalšek added that the “Council acts as a nexus between government services and business representatives, and at the same time a source of valuable information to steer internationalisation policy and coordinate activities in foreign markets. Effective coordination will play an even more important role in these dire, uncertain times, both for the Slovenian and the global economy”.
The session’s agenda featured the Three Seas Initiative as a channel of crucial importance for further strengthening the internationalisation efforts of the Slovenian economy in Central and Eastern Europe; a review of the plan for internationalisation activities in the business sector and economic diplomacy in the post-Covid-19 period, and the role of investment and free-trade agreements as an important vehicle for recovery in the time of and after the pandemic. During the discussions, various perspectives on the topics covered were also shared by representatives of the SID Bank, Spirit Public Agency, the Slovenian Tourist Board, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia and the Chamber of Crafts of Slovenia.
Minister Logar and State Secretary Pograjc got the meeting underway by presenting the Three Seas Initiative. At the initiative of President Borut Pahor, Ljubljana hosted last year’s Summit, while a business forum was held on the margins of the event. This year, the Summit will take place in Tallinn, Estonia. The participating states are currently identifying economic and infrastructure projects and examining opportunities for cooperation in the initiative’s investment fund.
According to Minister Logar, Slovenia’s active role in the initiative offers enormous potential, while Finance Minister Šircelj warned that we need to identify good but also well-prepared projects with completed investment documentation.
Ministers and other stakeholders were in agreement on the support for regional dialogue and North-South cooperation, particularly in the areas of investment, transport connectivity, energy infrastructure, environmental protection, and research and development, as well as digital communication in the region. The cooperation with these countries is already well developed, both at the governmental and business levels. Another compelling aspect of the initiative is the economic potential participating states represent for Slovenian businesses. In light of all these reasons, Slovenia’s activities in the region should be enhanced, especially in the context of the current crisis, as neighbouring markets have traditionally been our most important and biggest markets.
In addition, the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology presented the National Programme for the Promotion of Investment and Internationalisation of the Slovenian Economy 2020–2024, which revolves around the motto “Slovenia – Green. Creative. Smart”. In the face of the pandemic and its consequences on the economy, the programme will be complemented and updated in cooperation with other ministries and non-governmental actors with adapted measures.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology went on to take stock of internationalisation activities carried out before the pandemic, and review the activities planned by both ministries by the end of 2020, which will depend very much on the epidemiological situation in individual countries.
The Council resolved to further strengthen the activities and put plans into action in order to secure true internationalisation of the Slovenian economy.