The latest opinion survey among German investors in Slovenia shows that they are happy with the high level of work force and suppliers. They complain, however, about the inefficient bureaucracy and high taxes. Regarding the overall perspectives they remain wary – yet slightly more optimistic than in 2013. The present crisis has put Slovenia’s weaknesses in the spotlight. On the other surveys that take a more long term look at the country – like World Bank’s Doing Business – still put Slovenia very high in the rankings.

Slovenian companies controlled by German investors create altogether some 7 billion euros of sales turnover – a fifth of the total yearly revenues of Slovenian industry. Every year the Slovenian German Chamber of Industry and Commerce (DESLO – AHK) prepare an opinion survey among its members evaluating the investment conditions in Slovenia and comparing its attractiveness to other countries. The results of the latest edition of the survey were published in mid-April.

According to the survey Estonia is the most attractive market for German investors at the moment. Slovenia ranks 8th and remains among the five most attractive investment targets in Central and Eastern Europe. The respondents were especially satisfied with the quality of the employees and the high overall level of skills resulting in high productivity. Among the key advantages they also mention the country’s EU membership, high level of exports and well developed infrastructure. German investors in Slovenia are in general also satisfied with the local suppliers.

On the other hand the respondents complain about the unstimulating tax system. They perceive the public administration in Slovenia in general as inefficient, which is exemplified in the unsuccessful measures against corruption. The low level of payment discipline forced one half of the members of the chamber to use their advance payments.

It is not surprising that 82 percent of the respondents see the current economic conditions in the country as discouraging. Yet their answers are a bit more optimistic than in 2013. 41 percent of the respondents expect that the conditions would worsen – that’s 15 percent less than in 2013. The share of optimists is rising and many respondents believe the conditions to improve as early as this year. The representatives of the chamber observe a growing interest in Slovenian component suppliers from German automotive companies. They also see many opportunities emerging in “green” industries, smart energy and logistics.

The present unfavorable conditions provoke much criticism from both local and foreign businesspeople. Yet the situation in Slovenia is in many ways much better than it may appear in the context of present financial and political woes. Take the latest World Bank’s Doing Business report. It puts Slovenia on 33rd place in its ranking on the ease of doing business. That’s not much worse than Austria, Switzerland and Japan – and better than Belgium, France or Italy. For example, it is not a well-known fact – Slovenia sets the world’s benchmark on the low cost of starting a business. Another example: there are only 13 economies around the globe where the investors enjoy better level of protection than in Slovenia.