More than 30 years after transitioning to a market economy, Slovenia has yet to complete vital structural economic reforms and reduce state involvement in the economy, although recent governments have made progress by privatizing the banking sector. Many Slovenians remain resistant to privatization and foreign acquisitions of state-owned firms, despite general awareness of foreign direct investment’s (FDI) importance to economic growth, job creation, and innovation. Potential investors in Slovenia still face significant challenges, including a lack of transparency in economic and commercial decision-making, time-consuming bureaucratic procedures, opaque public tender processes, and heavy tax and regulatory burdens. Key reforms, such as privatization, increased openness to foreign investment, more transparency in public procurement, pension reform, and business and investor-friendly changes to the labor and taxation code, would make Slovenia’s economy more competitive and increase opportunities for trade and investment.
The workforce is highly skilled and educated, but relatively high social welfare and income taxes can make it expensive to hire new workers. Slovenia has taken positive steps to privatize some state-owned companies and implement limited tax reform, but many private sector contacts assess the pace of the reforms as too slow. Judicial backlogs sometimes prevent timely resolution of legal disputes, although a February 2019 European Commission assessment noted that the total backlog decreased by more than 7 percent in 2019 compared to 2018. In 2021, the backlog decreased by 1.2 percent compared to 2020.