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Lying at a junction of natural trading routes, Slovenia is sometimes also referred to as the revolving door of Europe. It has been a crossroads, a huge gateway, since the Romans were marching around this region. In the last decade and a half, Slovenia has raised itself from anonymity to a top country among the EU member states. It is proud of its rich industrial history, traditional openness to the world, rational economic policies, and enviable economic development. As a member of the European Union, Slovenia now has trade links primarily with Western Europe. It is known as a small, but reliable partner, with a rational way of doing things, and a highly educated labour force. Moreover, Slovenes are very proud to be known as a very hard-working nation.


Since independence in 1991, Slovenia’s economic development has been very successful, making it one of the most thriving countries in transition. Especially during the period 1995–2005, economic growth in Slovenia was stable, reaching an average of about 4%. The Slovenian economy is open, and levels of internationalisation, measured by the average share of exports and imports in gross domestic product (GDP), increased from 52% to 70% from 1995 to 2008. Economic growth was further enhanced by an increase in the growth of private consumption and investment spending, which peaked in 1999. Higher economic growth compared to the EU average has enabled a gradual decrease in Slovenia’s development lag. Thus in 2007, Slovenia reached 89.2% of the average GDP per capita of the EU-27, in terms of purchasing power, which corresponds to an increase of 14.8 percentage points over 1995. This placed Slovenia in 16th place in the EU.

Following economic growth, there was also an increase in employment, which has exceeded the European average since 2004 (in 2005, employment in Slovenia was 66%, as against 63.8% in the EU). Compared to the EU average, Slovenia also has a considerably high employment rate for women (61.3% in 2005). The employment of older workers remains low (30.5% in 2005), but the situation is improving. For several years, unemployment has been slightly lower than the EU average (in 2005, 6.5% in Slovenia, as against 8.8% in the EU). Long-term unemployment is also lower than the EU average (in 2005, 3.1% in Slovenia and 3.9% in the EU). The wages policy ensures a sound increase in wages in relation to growth in labour productivity. According to the Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia, the average monthly net wage in December 2006 was EUR 818.94.

On 1 January 2007, Slovenia became the first and so far the only new EU member to adopt the euro, after the European Commission and the European Central Bank made favourable assessments of Slovenia’s readiness for the introduction of the common European currency, and following a recommendation for Slovenia’s inclusion in the EMU. Based on the assessment in convergence reports that Slovenia met the Maastricht criteria, the political decision for Slovenia’s entry to the Eurozone was taken at a European Council meeting in June 2006, while the formal decision, including the fixed and irrevocable tolar to euro conversion rate (at 239.64 tolars for 1 euro), came at the July 2006 Council of the EU of finance ministers of the euro area and Slovenia.

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