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An anniversary in the shadow of the pandemic

The 10th anniversary of Slovenia’s membership in OECD brought praise for the achievements of the young nation – but also some serious concerns related to the effects of COVID19.

“Slovenia has made remarkable economic and social progress since joining the OECD, and the government has done admirably well in its efforts to manage the health and economic fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic,” said OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría on the celebration of 10th anniversary of Slovenia's OECD membership in July.

Gurría praised the Alpine republic as the “star performer in the OECD” between 2014 and 2019 with one of the strongest growth performances and successful reforms. The public and current account deficits were turned into surpluses, all while the country managed to slash the unemployment rate from 9.7% to 4.4%. The Secretary General also pointed out “the impressive progress” in the area of education – young Slovenians for example score very high in math, reading and science. Significant improvements were also made in environmental protection and quality of life.

In 10 years of OECD membership Slovenia has managed to establish itself as one of the most developed Mediterranean countries – closely following Italy and Spain. A decade ago, the country’s GDP per capita was still comparable with Greece and Portugal. In 10 years, Slovenia’s GDP per capita has grown by 48 percent. While the gap between the OECD’s average and Slovenian GDP per capita is still significant, in 2009 Slovenia reached 83 percent of the average figure – in 2019 this share went to 87 percent.

To close the gap Slovenia should focus on productivity and attract more investment – both facts were pointed out in the latest OECD’s country report. The report highlighted Slovenia’s key challenge: its ageing population and consequently smaller workforce. According to the report the COVID19 “crisis was smaller than in most other counties, helped by early implementation of containment measures.” Still, “the ensuing economic crisis will be as severe as in other countries, reflecting the openness of the small Slovenian economy”.


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