Slovenia

   

Policy Performance

#17

Economic Policies

#26
Slowing slightly after several buoyant years, Slovenia falls into the lower-middle ranks (rank 26) with regard to economic policies. Its score on this measure has improved by 1.3 points relative to 2014.

The robust economic growth of recent years has declined somewhat, to about 2.5%. The slowdown came in large part due to the export sector’s strong dependence on development in the larger European economies. The government has continued to pursue controversial infrastructure projects, but has been more successful than its predecessor in the privatization of state banks.

The overall unemployment rate has continued to fall, reaching 4.4%. However, long-term unemployment has increased, and employment rates among older and low-skilled workers remain below the EU average. A modest tax reform is ongoing. The tax rate for enterprises is below the EU average, but high by regional standards.

The budget continued to show a small surplus despite the economic slowdown. Public debt fell to 66.7% of GDP. Public R&D spending has increased but remains below 1% of GDP.

Social Policies

#15
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 0.4 points relative to 2014.

Education-system outcomes are generally good, though the tertiary sector is underfunded. Spending on education has been increased. Income-inequality rates are low. The last of the remaining austerity-era benefit cuts have been reversed, and a number of social benefits have been boosted. The minimum wage is being increased in phases.

A good quality compulsory public healthcare system, supplemented by private insurance providers, offers access to basic services, but does not cover all care. The system suffers from financial problems, but a reform plan has been slow to emerge. 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 has erected a fence and set stronger guards along the southern border to keep out transiting asylum-seekers.

Environmental Policies

#14
With a rich natural landscape, Slovenia falls into the upper-middle ranks (rank 14) 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, with ambitious policy goals particularly in the area of waste. Implementation and coordination of environmental policy has been largely effective.

Greenhouse-gas emissions were below targeted amounts from 2013 to 2017. Under the shared EU framework, the country’s target for 2020 is to avoid increasing emissions by more than 4% relative to 2005. The target for 2030 is to reduce emissions by 15% compared to 2005.

New policy instruments were introduced in 2019 to promote waste prevention, make reuse and recycling more economically attractive, and shift reusable and recyclable waste away from incineration. The ecological status of most lakes and rivers, and all coastal waterbodies, has been assessed as “good” or better. The country engages in cross-border water-management efforts with its neighbors.

Democracy

#16

Quality of Democracy

#16
With fair and inclusive electoral procedures, Slovenia falls into the upper-middle ranks (rank 16) 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, as well as from entities located abroad. Monitoring provisions are robust. A growing polarization between mainstream and opposition media has complicated media access.

Political parties are increasingly entering the media sector. A major newspaper merger has created the largest printed daily paper in the country. Civil rights are largely respected, but same-sex couples and Roma individuals face discrimination. Court backlogs have dropped dramatically, and the legal position of NGOs has been strengthened.

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 parliament having failed to adopt an ethical code for lawmakers.

Governance

#28

Executive Capacity

#31
With a number of a significant gaps, Slovenia scores relatively poorly (rank 31) with regard to executive capacity. Its score on this measure has improved by 0.5 points since 2014.

While institutional strategic-planning capacities are generally weak, a strategic policymaking framework was recently 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 Šarec government succeeded in averting public-sector strikes, calming tensions through a series of negotiations. After a rocky start, communication from the new government has been relatively coherent. Rhetoric promising a depoliticization of the public administration has shown little tangible result.

New funding for municipalities has largely been eaten up by public-sector wage increases. While regulations are generally enforced effectively and without bias, they are at times affected by interest-group pressure. Legislation creating a regional structure is under development.

Executive Accountability

#17
With a public increasingly distrustful of the government and politicians, Slovenia falls into the middle ranks internationally (rank 17) with regard to executive accountability. Its score on this measure has improved by 0.1 point 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 ombudsman is well regarded, but often has limited impact. The independent and effective data-protection authority was created in 2005.

The population’s interest in politics appears to be rising. Trust in political institutions is also improving, but remains below the EU average. The media has focused on scandals rather than in-depth analysis, leading to increasing polarization. Even the public media have become more biased.

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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