Overseas Business Risk – Slovenia

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

Political and Economic

Economic forecast

According to the latest forecasts by domestic and foreign institutions, Slovenia is set to remain in recession also is 2014, returning to growth only in 2015. The Slovenian Central bank and the IMF further downgraded their GDP forecasts for 2013 in 2014, both projecting a drop of 2.6 % for 2013 and that of 0.7 % and 1.4 % respectively in 2014. However, the Central Bank expects to economy to return to growth in 2015 at 1.4 % growth in GDP. Institute for Macroeconomic Analysis (Government’s think tank) preserved its forecast for 2013 at – 2.4 % but downgraded their forecast for 2004 to -0.8 %.  Unemployment is below EU average but rising, expected to reach 13.3 % of registered unemployed by the end of 2013, followed by 13.6 % in 2014. 

Heavy deleveraging is taking place in the companies and the banking sector, where the share of non-performing loans (NPLs) has exceeded 20 %. The results of asset quality review and stress test were published on 12 December. The results stated the, under adverse macro-economic conditions, the entire banking system could have a capital shortfall of €4.8 bn. In response to the tests the Government has injected €3bn into the country’s three largest State-owned banks. The overall result has been that Slovenia will not now need to apply for external assistance, which in turn has reassured markets and brought down the cost of borrowing for the country. The Government is looking for ways to attract FDI, and has hosted a series of investment roadshows in major European cities including Paris, Moscow and Berlin. In June 2013 Parliament earmarked 15 companies for privatisation, including Adria Airways, Elan, Fotona, Helios and Telecom.

More information on political risk, including political demonstrations, is available in the FCO Travel Advice.

Business and Human Rights

Slovenia has high standards of Human Rights. As a member of the European Union, Slovenia is signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights, and this instrument has been incorporated into domestic legislation. They are also signatory to all ILO conventions on labour rights. Unions are active in Slovenia, and striking in legal. Slovenian Governments regularly engage 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, but the head of the European Roma Society described Slovenia as the best country in Europe to be a Roma in since the legislative framework for supporting Roma rights is the most robust in Central and Eastern Europe.

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 2013, Slovenia was ranked 43rd (down from 37th in 2012) of 180 countries in Transparency International’s corruption perception index (CPI).

The largest problem of corruption in connection with the economy is in the area of public tenders, awarding licenses and concessions where the other party is the state administration or local government. According to the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption of the Republic of Slovenia, the independent state authority specialising in dealing with the prevention of the corruption at all levels, Slovenia was most affected by systemic corruption in the form of elitism and politicisation, especially political appointments to state owned enterprises, but had relatively non-existent street corruption (eg. bribing public officials to get better service).

The Commission represents the Republic of Slovenia in various international bodies dealing with the prevention and combating of corruption, e.g. Group of States Against Corruption (GRECO) evaluating compliance with anti-corruption standards, MONEYVAL evaluating mechanism on money laundering, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in its Working Group on bribery of foreign public officials, European Partners Against Corruption (EPAC), European Healthcare Fraud and Corruption Network (EHFCN), and others.

The Commission wants to build trust among the international community, stimulating them to report mishandlings and find ways to increase efficiency. They have opened a special e-mail account to ensure a speedy communication channel for reporting: embassy@kpk-rs.si. The Commission has also established a web application called Supervizor which enables insight into key financial transactions involving State funds. Supervizor aims to contribute towards reducing the risk of bad management, abuse of power, systemic corruption, unfair competition and cronyism in public procurement.

The number of received and handled reports by the Commission from 2008 to 2012:

Year

Reports received

Reports handled

2008

226

465

2009

1027

728

2010

1271

855

2011

918

424

2012

1841

1888 (including conclusion of some investigations from earlier years)

Data Jan – Dec 2012

Source: Commission for the Prevention of Corruption of the Republic of Slovenia, email: anti.korupcija@kpk-rs.si

See also the guide “International Corruption, Bribing Foreign Public Officials, Reporting Cases of Corruption and Witness Protection”.

The National Investigation Office, a state body specialised in the fight against white-collar crime and corruption, was established in 2010. It operates as part of the police system.

For further information please consult our Bribery and corruption page.

Terrorism Threat

There is a low threat from terrorism. There have been no attacks attributable to international terrorism within Slovenia. But you should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks which could be in public areas, including those frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers.

Work in the field of the fight against terrorism is directed towards the exchange of crime and intelligence data with foreign security authorities aiming to prevent and discover terrorist activities and to prevent the financing of terrorist activities. In co-operation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a system of checking persons applying for entry Schengen visa had been established. Source: Policija – Annual Report on the work of the Police – 2009

Read the latest Travel Advice for Slovenia on the Foreign & Commonwealth Office website.

You can find further information on our Terrorism threat page.

Protective Security Advice

The Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure also provides protective security advice to businesses

Slovenia is one of the safest countries in Europe, but sensible precautions should be taken when carrying money in busy tourist areas.

Crime in Slovenia is predominantly targeted at property rather than physical assault, with 90% of all criminal activities involving property. Compared to 2008, in 2009 robbery of property rose by 25% and arson by almost 29%.

Among new forms of crime, an increase in investigations into computer-related offences stands out, with an increase from 38 to 112 cases investigated in 2009. Similarly, the number of investigated suspects rose from 19 to 96. The number of criminal offences of illegal access to information systems and manufacturing and producing utensils for breaking in or illegally accessing information systems also increased. Source: Policija – http://www.policija.si/eng/images/stories/Statistics/AnnualReport2009.pdf.

Read the information provided on our Protective security advice page.

Intellectual Property

IP 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, then you should consider registering your IP rights in your export markets.

When Slovenia joined the EU in 2004, it began to enforce the legal protection of industrial designs and trademarks in accordance with the European legislation, and representatives of SIPO started to actively participate in activities of the European bodies in the area of intellectual property.

The Slovenian Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) is an autonomous body within the Ministry of Economy. It is responsible for the field of industrial property and copyright.

The Copyright and Related Rights Act is an up to date piece of legislation based on the legal framework established within the European Union, the Council of Europe, WIPO, WTO etc.

Apart from the protection of classic works, the Act also provides for the protection of computer programmes and databases. New economic rights (e.g. rental, lending, distribution and importation, satellite broadcasting and cable retransmission), related rights and their collective administration are also regulated by the Act. In compliance with the WTO TRIPs Agreement, special attention has been paid to enforcement issues, such as, for example, punitive damages, provisional measures inaudita altera parte, securing of evidence inaudita altera parte and border (customs) measures.

Intellectual Property

General (Acts comprising provisions on intellectual property rights):

  • Penal Code of the Republic of Slovenia (Official Gazette RS, No 55/2208)

  • Act Implementing the Customs Regulations of the European Community (Official Gazette RS, No 25/2004, No 111/2007) (this regulation falls within the competence of the Customs Administration)

  • Rules on insuring payment of expenses and determining the level of costs of safe-keeping and maintenance of goods during temporary detention and seizure of goods in case of application of customs measures in cases of intellectual property violations (Official Gazette RS, No 33/2004) (this regulation falls within the competence of the Customs Administration)

Further information can be found on our Intellectual Property page.

Organised Crime

In the sphere of organised crime, policing was aimed at detection of criminal associations which smuggled high duty goods, illegal drugs and people on the so-called Balkan route. In 2011, 318 criminal offences were investigated which were a consequence of organised criminal activities- this is an decrease of 9.7% compared to the year before. Organised forms of criminal offences relate to illegal state border crossings, money counterfeiting (down 24.7%), illegal manufacturing and trade in weapons and explosives (down for 12.9%). illegal manufacture and trade of illicit drugs and blackmailing went down 25.7%.

A table of Organised Crime figures is available in the annual reports of the Slovenian Police at http://www.policija.si/eng/index.php/statistics.

Scams

Foreign visitors and residents can be targeted by scam artists. These scams can pose great financial loss to victims. If you receive an e-mail purporting to be from HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs) offering a tax refund on provision of your bank details, you should make sure that it is not part of a scam.

International co-operation is of key importance in preventing international crime and uncovering criminal offenders. The Slovene criminal police successfully participate in various forms of international co-operation in the field of crime suppression via the Interpol National Central Bureau. Slovenia became a full member of Interpol in 1992. Source: Republic of Slovenia, Ministry of the Interior; email: Gp.mnz@gov.si .

Economic criminal offences

There was less economic related crime in 2011 than the year before. The Police dealt with 12,746 economic crimes (13,064 in 2010), which represents a 2.4% decrease.

In 2011, damage caused through economic criminal offences was estimated at 176.3 million Euros (505.4 million Euros in 2010), a 65% decrease.

Economic crimes such as, use of a counterfeit bank, credit or other card, business fraud, abuse of position, unauthorised use of another’s property and money laundering went up in 2011.

Source: http://www.policija.si/eng/images/stories/Statistics/AnnualReport2009.pdf

Read the information provided on our Organised crime page.

More information is available on overseas business risk in a range of markets.

UK Trade & Investment Contact:

jana.verk@fco.gsi.gov.uk

Countries: Slovenia
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