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OECD Territorial Reviews: Slovenia 2011

image of OECD Territorial Reviews: Slovenia 2011

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. 

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Regional Policy in Slovenia

Slovenia has in recent years achieved impressive economic performance, while maintaining a consistent concern to ensure balanced regional development, notably by allocating subsidies to lagging regions. Since EU accession, additional funding from Structural Funds has created an opportunity to invest in projects that will enhance Slovenia’s endogenous growth potential. Yet in a relatively small country with no elected regional tier of public governance, there has been increasing municipal competition for regional policy funding. Slovenia needs to avoid scattering scarce resources across large numbers of small-scale sectoral projects and diluting the overall impact of Structural Funds. It also needs to help regions undergoing structural adjustment and to build their own capacity to fuel sustainable development. This chapter starts with an overview of regional policy reforms in Slovenia. It then turns to how regional policy reforms can help improve physical infrastructure, including spatial planning, the management of Natura 2000 areas, and transport networks. Finally, it assesses how regional policy can contribute to upgrading human capital, regional innovation capacity and the business environment.

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