Policy Performance


Economic Policies

Despite robust growth, Slovenia receives a relatively low overall ranking (rank 30) with regard to economic policies. Its score on this measure has improved by 1.2 points relative to 2014.

Economic growth accelerated in 2017, 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 progressed slowly.

Unemployment rates are falling steadily, but remain moderately high. Long-term unemployment still represents more than 50% of total unemployment, and employment rates among older and low-skilled workers remain below the EU average. A modest recent tax reform included lower personal-income taxes and increased corporate-income tax rates.

Deficits have fallen below 1% of GDP, with small surpluses envisaged for coming years. However, fiscal adjustment has relied on one-off measures, as well as ongoing growth. 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

Showing a mixed record, Slovenia falls into the upper-middle ranks (rank 16) with regard to social policies. Its score on this measure has gained 0.2 points 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 and seek to close the gender gap. Income-inequality rates are low. Most crisis-era social-benefit cuts have now been reversed, and additional anti-poverty measures have been implemented.

A compulsory public health care system, supplemented by private insurance providers, offers generally good care but is financially troubled. An ongoing health-system reform campaign has been slowed by controversy and political conflict. Child care and parental-leave provisions are strong, and the employment rate for women is high.

A pension reform is underway that will raise the actual retirement age and index pension growth, while increasing minimum pension levels. The annual number of work permits issued has gone up following a crisis-era decline. Amendments to the law addressing refugees have been criticized internationally as denying rights guaranteed under international and EU law.

Environmental Policies

With a rich natural landscape, Slovenia receives a high overall ranking (rank 12) in terms of environmental policies. Its score on this measure has gained 0.2 points 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, biodiversity 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. Fires at several waste-processing plants in 2017 resulted in serious environmental damage, and underscored substantial deficiencies in environmental administration.

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.



Quality of Democracy

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 is unchanged relative to its 2014 level.

Political parties receive public and private funding, but recently passed campaign-financing laws prohibit donations from private companies or organizations. Donations from individuals are allowed, and their volume is rising. Monitoring provisions are robust. Journalists are occasionally subject to government or other pressures when covering political sensitive issues.

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 as a result of contradictory provisions and the use of fast-track legislative procedures. However, the government and the administration generally act in accordance with the law. Courts are largely independent despite politicians’ attempts at influence. Corruption remains a serious issue.



Executive Capacity

With a number of a significant gaps, Slovenia’s executive capacity score falls into the bottom ranks (rank 37). 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. All concerned ministries must be consulted before bills reach the cabinet.

RIA quality is uneven but improving, and much legislation is exempt. Consultation with external groups is frequent, reaching occasionally significant breakthroughs. However, some outside groups say their positions are not taken seriously. Coalition partners sometimes publicly oppose the government line. Numerous core reform goals have been repeatedly postponed.

Financing for municipal governments has led to considerable conflict. 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

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 0.3 points since 2014.

Parliamentarians have adequate resources and ample executive-oversight powers. The Court of Audit is independent and well-regarded, but underfunded. The independent ombudswoman is well regarded, but often has limited impact, and has been criticized by the opposition for a lack of action in several prominent cases.

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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