Slovenia

   

Policy Performance

#20

Economic Policies

#33
Despite robust growth, Slovenia receives a relatively low overall ranking (rank 33) with regard to economic policies. Its score on this measure has improved by 0.8 points relative to 2014.

Strong economic growth continued in 2016, driven by exports and private consumption boosted by an improving labor market, rising consumer confidence and low energy prices. EU-funded infrastructure investment has helped pave the way for the return of private investment. The privatization program outlined in 2015 has been implemented only to a limited degree.

Unemployment rates are falling steadily, but remain high. Labor-market policies undermined by crisis-era cuts are slowly recovering. A modest tax reform includes lower personal-income taxes and increased corporate-income tax rates.

Deficits have fallen below 3% of GDP, but fiscal adjustment has relied on one-off measures. The public debt remains at worrisome levels, and the country faces a serious long-term sustainability gap. The R&I sector is underdeveloped, but spending is increasing.

Social Policies

#17
Showing a mixed record, Slovenia falls into the upper-middle ranks (rank 17) with regard to social policies. Its score on this measure has gained 0.1 point relative to 2014.

Education-system outcomes are generally good, though the tertiary sector is underfunded. Spending on education has been increased, and a new high-education act will ease bureaucratic burdens. Income inequality is low. Most crisis-era social-benefit cuts have now been reversed, and a new affordable-housing program has been implemented.

A compulsory public health care system, supplemented by private insurance providers, offers generally good care but is financially troubled. Health care reform has been repeatedly postponed, and doctors have struck for higher salaries. Child care and parental-leave provisions are strong, and the employment rate for women is high.

Increased retirement ages have improved pension-system sustainability, but more reform is necessary. Bureaucratic hurdles have been lowered and protections strengthened for foreign workers. Faced with an influx of nearly 500,000 refugees, the government pushed to close the Western Balkan route, and has sought the ability to turn away migrants at border crossings.

Environmental Policies

#14
With a rich natural landscape, Slovenia receives a high overall ranking (rank 14) in terms of environmental policies. Its score on this measure has gained 0.1 point relative to its 2014 level.

The country has established a comprehensive environmental legislative framework in the last decade, introducing risk-based inspections and improving compliance monitoring. Emissions-reduction, disaster-assessment, drinking-water and waste-management plans are under development.

Financial support is given to individuals for energy efficiency and renewable-energy use. Well-managed forests cover more than 60% of the country’s area.

Slovenia works closely with its immediate neighbors on water management and biodiversity issues, and maintains informal professional contacts with countries of the western Balkans. Environmental NGOs play an important domestic watchdog role.

Democracy

#15

Quality of Democracy

#15
With fair and inclusive electoral procedures, Slovenia falls into the upper-middle ranks (rank 15) with respect to democracy quality. Its score on this measure has improved by 0.2 point since 2014

Political parties receive public and private funding, but new campaign-financing laws prohibit donations from private companies or organizations. Monitoring provisions are robust. A referendum campaign successfully forced withdrawal of a law legalizing same-sex marriage. A proposed media-regulation strategy would improve ownership transparency, but potentially weaken media freedom.

New online tools have greatly improved access to official information. Civil rights are largely respected, though problems with judicial integrity have emerged. Court backlogs have been reduced. While anti-discrimination measures are wide-ranging, foreign workers and women earn lower average wages than Slovenian men, and same-sex couples and Roma individuals face discrimination.

Legal certainty suffers from contradictory provisions and the use of fast-track legislative procedures. Courts are largely independent despite politicians’ attempts at influence. Corruption remains a serious issue.

Governance

#33

Executive Capacity

#38
With a number of a significant gaps, Slovenia’s executive capacity score falls into the bottom ranks (rank 38). Its score on this measure has improved by 0.3 points since 2014.

Institutional strategic-planning capacities are generally weak. The government office (GO) reviews bills from a legal and technical perspective but lacks sectoral expertise. Legislative projects depend largely on coalition-party negotiations, and are drafted by line ministries or interministerial teams with little GO participation.

RIA quality is uneven, and much legislation is exempt. Consultation with external groups is frequent, but in some cases fails to produce results, with outside groups complaining that their positions are not taken seriously. Government communication coherency has improved, with some coalition-partner contradictions. Numerous core reform goals have been repeatedly postponed.

Municipal governments have sued the government over financing issues. Creation of a new ministry has helped increase the EU-fund absorption rate. Self-monitoring is not well developed. Changes in institutional arrangements have improved strategic capacity.

Executive Accountability

#23
With a public increasingly distrustful of the government and politicians, Slovenia falls into the middle ranks internationally (rank 23) with regard to executive accountability. Its score on this measure has declined by 0.4 points since 2014.

Parliamentarians have adequate resources and executive-oversight powers. The Court of Audit is independent and well-regarded, but underfunded. The independent ombudsman is well regarded, but often has limited impact.

Citizens’ knowledge about government policymaking is limited, with trust in parties and government extraordinarily low. The private media offers largely superficial content, but the public broadcast media provide high-quality policy information.

While parties are heterogeneous, decision-making tends to be centralized. Economic-interest organizations cooperate with academics, and have good analytical capacities. Other interest groups also tend to have considerable policy knowledge, despite a decline in public funding.
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