Despite the inevitable effects of the recent global economic upheavals on all European countries, Slovenia is fairly uniquely placed to recover and continue to attract financial investment, both from overseas, and from internal sources. Much of this, of course, depends on levels of investor confidence which have, regrettably, taken a severe battering since the US mortgage market collapse of September 2008. However, a country that has seen, within the last century alone, wars, privation, a communist takeover and then transitioning to independence, all with comparative political stability and emergent prosperity, has the type of track record which attracts financial optimism.
On a national level, the soundness and careful reform of Slovenia’s economic management has always been the key to its consistent financial buoyancy. Historically, despite a population of less than 8% of the total of Yugoslav republics, by the time Slovenia gained its independence during 1991 it was already producing 33% of Yugoslavia’s exports and contributing a full 20% of the total GNP. Even under communism, Slovenia had strong economic ties with the West, and membership in international trading unions was stepped up after free market capitalism was adopted.
Although national prosperity in an advanced economy normally translates into a high standard of living for families, access to finance for the average Slovenian consumer is not nearly as easily obtained as it is usually expected to be in the West. In fact, in regard to consumer finance Slovenia is entrenched, like many other small European republics, in historical precedents that make even housing mortgages slow and difficult to acquire. This sluggishness can be largely traced back to the feudal influence of the limited valuable real estate being in the hands of the nobility class, locking in notions of heritage to the exclusion of progress. This situation is vastly different from progressive western nations like the United States and Australia whose extensive borders were settled through free offers of large acreages, and easy-term incentive loans for housing.
Today in Slovenia, most families are small and have working parents who spend a lifetime building or buying a house or unit. Government welfare benefits are negligible, and significant pressure is placed on the younger generation to gain at least a university education in order to compete for the type of careers generally available in this postindustrial modern economy. Current obstacles to freely available mortgage finance and home ownership include
Each of these problems, however, has been recognized and today’s Slovenian government is taking steps to develop a more responsive and less archaic domestic financial market. The country’s only daily newspaper, Finance Slovenia, regularly monitors and reports on the progress made in this area, and foreign investors would be encouraged to use this media resource to inform themselves of such significant changes. With its low level of public debt, Slovenia remains perhaps the soundest of European republics in which to financially invest.