OECD Territorial Reviews: Slovenia 2011

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Despite its relatively small size, Slovenia is a good illustration of the potential of regional development policy. Its internal diversity, openness and experience of rapid structural change all reinforce the need for efficient reallocation of resources, while underscoring the need to take account of the potential positive and negative externalities associated with the shifting structure of economic activity.  

With 36% of the national territory falling under Natura 2000 protection, spatial planning is particularly challenging and yet also particularly important. Given the absence of a regional tier of government and the extreme fragmentation of the municipal level of authority, Slovenia needs to develop capacity at intermediate levels, to address policy problems that are best tackled at a scale in between the local and the national. 



Assessment and Recommendations

Overall, Slovenia’s regions have experienced strong growth since the mid-1990s. While there has been some increase in inter-regional disparities in both growth performance and levels of GDP per capita, the increase in disparities was driven largely by the dynamism of the capital region, and even the worst-performing regions have been growing faster than the OECD average. The widening of interregional disparities during the period of strong growth before 2009 was in any case typical of economies in transition, and inter-regional disparities remain relatively low by OECD standards. Nevertheless, two regions stand out as chronic under-performers, with per capita GDP levels falling further and further below the national average. They represent a cause for concern, as their poor performance could, unless reversed, impose significant long-term costs in the future. While the recent crisis hit Slovenia hard, its aggregate impact on labour markets has been in line with the OECD average; the unemployment rate rose from 4.4% in 2008 to 5.9% in 2009. However, the spike in unemployment was geographically quite concentrated: more than half of job losses (60%) occurred in only two of Slovenia’s twelve regions.


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