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Slovenia: Doning business and staying in touch

Doing Business in Slovenia

Business conventions and etiquette in Slovenia are very similar to those in the rest of Europe. Slovenia has been an EU member since 2004 and visitors who have worked within the EU before should encounter few surprises.

Smart dress is advised. Appointments are usual and visitors should be punctual. A firm handshake is the usual start to any business meeting. Business cards are essential. Executives will generally have a good knowledge of German, English and sometimes Italian. There is a well-developed network of local agents, advisers, consultants and lawyers willing to act for foreign companies.

Gifts are welcome for business lunches and dinners and essential when visiting someone's home. The most suitable gifts include luxury items such as a bottle of Scottish whisky or a good bottle of wine.

Office Hours

Business hours are generally Monday to Friday 0900-1700 (or 1900), although quite a few still operate 0700-1500. Working the weekends is not the norm, though many shops now also open on Saturdays and some on Sundays too.

Economy

Slovenia was one of the most prosperous parts of Yugoslavia and, because of its proximity to Austria and Italy, easily slipped into the western European ways when it became independent in 1991.

For the first 15 years it prospered thanks to its fertile land, strategic location and educated workforce. Slovenia was the first of the eastern European countries to join the EU (in 2004) and the first to adopt the Euro (2007). It was, however, hit hard by the recent recessions and narrowly avoided a bank bailout.

The government's harsh austerity plans provoked protests in the major cities and it was only in 2014 that the economy has shown signs of stabilising. The new government (elected in July 2014) has some big decisions to make on privatisation – whether it sells its assets to reduce its growing budget deficit.

GDP

US$ 45.47 billion (2012).

Main exports

Manufactured goods, machinery and transport equipment, chemicals and food.

Main imports

Machinery and transport equipment, manufactured goods, chemicals, fuels and lubricants and food.

Main trading partners

Germany, Italy, Austria, Croatia and Hungary.

Keeping in Touch in Slovenia

Telephone

Calls can be made with magnetic phonecards, sold at post offices, newspaper kiosks and tobacco shops. For emergencies, dial 112 (ambulance service and fire brigade) or 113 (police).

Mobile Phone

Roaming agreements exist with most international mobile phone companies. Coverage is good.

Internet

Internet cafés are available in cities.

Media

The media scene is diverse and free, and the constitution supports freedom of expression. About two-thirds of TV households are connected to cable or satellite. English-language publications include Ars Vivendi, Slovenia Weekly, Slovenian Business Report and Slovenija.

Post

Reasonable internal service. Stamps can be bought at bookstalls. The post office at Cigaletova 5, Ljubljana is open 24 hours.

Post Office hours

Mon-Fri 0800-1800, Sat 0800-1200.

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