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 has been steady and strong, driven by exports and private consumption, and 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. An ongoing privatization program has progressed slowly.

Unemployment rates have fallen steadily, reaching 5.2%. 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. Recent tax reforms have been modest, but the new coalition agreement calls for more substantial reforms.

The budget has reached a point of small surpluses. However, this fiscal adjustment has continued to rely on one-off measures along with ongoing growth. Public debt levels remain comparatively high despite declines, 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 15) with regard to social policies. Its score on this measure has gained 0.3 points relative to 2014.

Education-system outcomes are generally good, though the tertiary sector is underfunded. Spending on education has been increased, and a recently passed higher-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 a 10-year national housing program is underway.

A compulsory public health care system, supplemented by private insurance providers, offers generally good care but is financially troubled. An agreement on doctors’ wages helped trigger broad public-sector strikes, which contributed to the fall of the government. 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. The government’s anti-refugee stance has softened, with the first resettlement program completed in late 2018.

Environmental Policies

With a rich natural landscape, Slovenia falls into the upper-middle ranks (rank 13) in terms of environmental policies. Its score on this measure has gained 0.3 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. Strategic plans on the issues of emissions reduction, disaster assessment, drinking water, biodiversity and waste management remain 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. New safety mechanisms and procedures are now being implemented.

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 middle ranks (rank 18) with respect to democracy quality. Its score on this measure has fallen by 0.2 points 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. Monitoring provisions are robust, with the largest opposition party sanctioned for violations in 2018. Public-media journalists are occasionally subject to political pressure.

A controversial referendum over railway construction had to be held a second time after the Supreme Court declared that the government had impermissibly used taxpayer money for campaign purposes the first time. While the second vote opposed the project, turnout was too low to make it binding. Civil rights are largely respected, but 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 concern, with prosecutors unable to win convictions against several politicians accused on the issue.



Executive Capacity

With a number of a significant gaps, Slovenia scores relatively poorly (rank 33) with regard to executive capacity. Its score on this measure has improved by 0.5 points since 2014.

Institutional strategic-planning capacities are generally weak, but a new overall strategic policymaking framework has been adopted. 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 but improving, and much legislation is exempt. The Cerar government’s concessions to doctors on wages helped trigger widespread public-sector strikes, contributing to the prime minister’s resignation. Before this point, the government had slowed its reform pace, with many goals and deadlines from the coalition agreement still unmet.

Financing for municipal governments has produced considerable conflict, but the new government has placed a stronger emphasis on providing adequate funds. Successive governments have appointed loyalists within the civil service, increasing politicization. However, regulations are generally enforced effectively and without bias.

Executive Accountability

With a public increasingly distrustful of the government and politicians, Slovenia falls into the middle ranks internationally (rank 19) with regard to executive accountability. Its score on this measure is unchanged relative to its 2014 level.

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. The independent and effective data-protection authority was created in 2005.

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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