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Prime Minister Janez Janša keynote speaker at the celebration of the Chamber of Craft and Small Business of Slovenia

  • Former Prime Minister Janez Janša (2020 - 2022)

Prime Minister Janez Janša today in Brdo pri Kranju attended the celebration of the Chamber of Craft and Small Business of Slovenia, where he delivered the keynote speech. At the ceremony, the Prime Minister also presented the Craftsman of the Year and Entrepreneur of the Year awards for 2020 and 2021 and the Oldest Craftsman of the Year award for 2020.

In his address, Prime Minister Janša spoke about the pandemic and the difficult period for businesses, which, considering the results, we tackled well. “It is thanks to you primarily that last year economic growth was 8% in real terms. Or, taking inflation into consideration, nearly 11% in nominal terms. In June 2021, we made up for the fall from the epidemic, we now have real growth and the highest employment in our history.”

He added that during the epidemic meetings with the representatives of businesses had been held at this very place.  “Thank you once again for your patience and proposals. Many measures in the anti-corona legislative packages were introduced following your proposals. We acted in a timely and efficient manner, which is reflected in the economic results.” The Prime Minister went on to say that craftsmanship, entrepreneurship and the economy are the basis of everything, but that for the normal functioning of the state, the public sector is also needed to provide efficient and user-friendly public services, which should not be expensive. There must be a balance between the economy and the public sector, but if you create nothing, you have nothing to share and nothing to earmark for services, he stressed. “Only if we create something, if we have economic growth, can we have a real basis for lasting prosperity.”

He also mentioned the war in Ukraine, which has changed everything. “On 24 February the world actually changed, even more than we were aware of at the time and more than the majority of people are aware of today. It is human nature to believe that everything will turn out alright and to find it difficult to accept that something bad will happen, which makes us ill-prepared for such moments.” Furthermore, in its response to the war in Ukraine, the Western world has shown that it is more connected and united than previously assumed.

Prime Minister Janša also spoke about government visits to the Slovenian regions. “In this context, the Government visited many Slovenian companies. The high price of electricity is a very big problem for many economic activities. It is incomprehensible to many that the price has risen so much, given that Slovenia is largely self-sufficient in electricity.” He pointed out that Slovenia is part of the European energy market, where certain rules apply. A formula has been introduced according to which the price of gas is the main factor for setting the price of electricity. “Already during its EU Council Presidency in 2021, Slovenia insisted on initiating procedures to change this formula.” At first, the European Commission did not concede, but last week it received a united instruction from the European Council to revise the formula to be put into effect in May at the latest.

In the speech, the Prime Minister also recalled his visit to Israel, which is the third most innovative country in the world. “Slovenia is not bad at innovation, but we do not excel, we are not among the best.” According to the Chairman of the Board of the Israeli Innovation Authority, the difference between Slovenia and Israel, in terms of innovation and entrepreneurial mentality, is that Israel has, for decades, encouraged discussions about failure alongside success, whereas in Slovenia and in Europe we are, in his opinion, somewhat shy about it. The Prime Minister explained that failures, ups and downs, are also part of entrepreneurship.

He concluded his speech by saying that Slovenia also needs large companies, but that the backbone of the Slovenian economy is small and medium-sized enterprises, craftsmen. “You gathered here today have been successful, you have made Slovenia a developed country. Thank you for your contribution to prosperity. I wish you a lot of entrepreneurial courage in the future too.”