“The new Slovenian Prime Minister was elected by the National Assembly on March 13th, just as the crisis was picking up in this part of Europe,” says Uros Cop, Managing Partner at Law Firm Miro Senica and Attorneys, in Ljubljana. “Fairly quickly, the new Prime Minister formed a team of ministers, which was confirmed the following week by the Parliament – we were in luck that this process went smoothly.“
In fact, Cop reports, the previous government had already initiated many important measures to help stem the crisis, which made the work of the new government a bit easier. “The new government made it a priority to mitigate the social and economic impacts of COVID-19 pandemic,” Cop says, “and in the past two weeks has undertaken a lot of effort to protect businesses in these economically difficult times.”
“Slovenia has the fact that it’s a small country going for it,“ Cop continues, noting that the country of 2 million people can “isolate and shut down rather quickly and make quick moves to change directions. Furthermore, Slovene people are quite disciplined and considerate of others, so they self-isolated quickly and effectively. But probably the most important advantage in this situation was that Slovenia still has a very strong public health system which played an enormous role in containing the epidemic and saving lives.“
Still, he notes, although its size may have helped Slovenia get ahead of the crisis early, it may eventually prove to be a bit of a problem later on. “Due to our relative size, we’re mainly an export-oriented economy, contingent on our main export partners – Germany, France, Italy, and the UK – all of which are experiencing major difficulties," he says. "Until these countries reopen for business, Slovenia is jammed.“
However, with China’s economy slowly getting back on track, Cop reports that the production part of the Slovenian economy may be able to pick up at least a little sooner after the crisis dies down. “Slovenia’s major contributor to production materials is China, and insofar as it keeps its distribution lines open, we can count on our factories reopening quickly after our borders do.“ Also, Cop believes that the country's banking sector may play a large role in reanimating the economy. “Slovenian banks work closely with domestic clients, so if they get back in play and continue to finance domestic projects, I think that the economy might be on course to get back to its pre-crisis speed.“
For the time being, though Cop reports that both Slovenia’s Government and Parliament are heavily focused on combating the new coronavirus, with all other efforts put on hold. “There isn’t really any new legislation which isn’t related to COVID-19,” he says. “However, as soon as this is all over, as much as it can be, the changes most likely to occur will be those to the election system. The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Slovenia established that 26 years after the adoption of the electoral legislation, the areas of the electoral districts no longer correspond to the criteria outlined in our constitution and gave the legislature a two-year time limit to eliminate the established unconstitutionality. In what direction will the new electoral legislation go is still not clear.” Also, Cop feels it likely that new legislation will rationalize administrative proceedings and bureaucracy in general, stimulate renewable energy investments, upgrade the tax system, and address the need for infrastructural overhauls.