Slovenian and German Entrepreneurs Sign Cooperation Agreement

On the 15 January 2018, CEA-PME Slovenian Member, the Slovenian Business Club (SBC) hosted its 1st Forum dedicated to the program of initiatives and measures to be adopted and put in practice in the governmental mandate 2018–22. The event was titled "Unparalleled Cooperation: Slovenia and Germany" as its main highlight was the signature of the Cooperation Agreement between SBC and BVMW, CEA-PME German Member.

The German entrepreneur Dr. Ing. Jochen Leonhardt, member of the BVMW board, and the President of the Management Board of Postojnska jama and President of the SBC Marjan Batagelj signed, in the presence of the President of Slovenia Bohut Pahor, the document opening to new opportunities for both associations and the companies they represent.

Although the Slovenian market is small, Slovenia's purchasing power and investment environment make it an attractive market and a starting point for German companies. Germany has long been one of the main partners of Slovenia and the trade exchange between the two states in 2016 amounted to almost 10 billion euros, 4.4% more than in 2015. German companies have built business relations with more thzn 750 entrepreneurs in Slovenia and new investment opportunities are numerous. On the other hand, Slovenia is an indispensable partner for Germany and holds the 39th position as a trading partner.

The Slovenian Business Club, whose members hold a share of around 10% of the country's GNP, represents a key element of the Slovenian economy. The members of the SBC are well known in Slovenia and are characterized by a common set of values that they feel committed to. Hence BVMW knows it can rely on their support for entering the Slovenian market and other markets of the Western Balkans.

Moreover the two association discussed what it the best way to connect to politics and decision-makers. BVMW Board member Jochen Leonhardt discussed BVMW's strategy that led it to become an influential organisation in German politics. He pointed out the importance of SMEs organisations for the economy, for the State, and for society at large, and emphasised the numerous opportunities ensuing from German-Slovenian collaboration, highlighting the attractiveness of economic cooperation with Slovenia.

On SBC's side, some of it members presented the proposals of the organisation "FOR Propulsive Slovenia", containing a set of measures to be implemented by the government through the mandate 2018–2022. From among the 16 proposals, the SBC President Marjan Batagelj, the SBC Executive Director Goran Novković, and successful Slovenian entrepreneurs Igor Akrapovič, Marko Lotrič, and Tanja Skaza emphasised the following demands:

- The same stimulation for all investors, local and foreign (the urgent adoption of the law on promotion of investments);

- Additional easing of the taxation on salaries, transparent data on salary statements, gradual introduction of a development cap, and reform of the personal income tax;

- Measures for more company scholarships;

- A proactive immigration policy which would attract foreign experts;

- Public monitoring of graduate employability and mandatory specialisation for young researchers in Economy.

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