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EBRD supports Slovenian privatisation programme to stimulate economic growth

By Anthony Williams

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Sir Suma Chakrabarti, President of the EBRD, agreed this week to work with Slovenian authorities to help roll out a privatisation process aimed at supporting economic growth.

In discussion with senior Slovenian officials, Sir Suma also pledged to support actions by the Slovenian authorities which are aimed at increasing the inflow of much-needed foreign investment.

"It is in the long-term national interests of Slovenia to open up its economy to foreign investors", he said.

The EBRD President was in the Slovenian lakeside resort of Bled attending the Bled Strategic Forum.

He held discussions with Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa and with Finance Minister Janez Sustersic, who is Slovenia's EBRD Governor.

"Well strucutured privatisation can help stimulate growth and promote employment. This is especially important during this period of heightened economic challenge" Sir Suma said.

Speaking at the Bled Forum, the EBRD President also said that within the EBRD region, south eastern Europe was particularly vulnerable.

However generally across the EBRD region, which stretches from central and south eastern Europe to the former Soviet Union and most recently to the southern and eastern Mediterranean, Sir Suma said he was concerned by a slowdown in reforms, the threat of rising economic nationalism and the danger of protecting "strategic interests". A robust response was needed combining international coordination and strong domestic policy action. On the national front, structural reforms had to be accelerated, the pace of privatisation needed to be stepped up and labour and judiciary systems had to be revamped.

Calling on authorities to step up to an urgent leadership challenge, Sir Suma said, "We need to emphasise national over political interests."

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