Slovenia central bank urges reform to avoid new downturn

Thursday 17 July 2014 18.56
Slovenia narrowly avoided a bailout in December
Slovenia narrowly avoided a bailout in December

Slovenia needs to speed up economic reforms and attract foreign investment if it wants to avoid a new downturn, the central bank warned, as a new government prepares to take over. 

"We are at a crossroads and the sense of complacency based on recent data could be deceptive and lead us into a vicious circle again," the head of the central bank Bostjan Jazbec told a news conference.

Hard-hit by the global economic crisis, euro zone member Slovenia narrowly avoided a bailout in December as the outgoing government injected €3.3 billion to recapitalise state-owned banks.

The economy then exited a recession, with gross domestic product expanding by 1.9% in the first quarter of this year.

But "further delays in the restructuring of the economy will gradually minimise the effects of December's bank recapitalisations," Mr Jazbec warned.

"To secure sustainable growth, we need a new investment cycle," he added, before urging the incoming government to continue privatising state-owned companies, a move launched by outgoing Prime Minister Alenka Bratusek.  

The winner of Sunday's anticipated elections, political newcomer Miro Cerar, has pledged to back measures to stabilise the public finances but opposes the privatisation drive.

A new government has not yet been named but Mr Cerar will likely be asked to lead it.