On Monday, April 13, 2015 at Best Western Premier Hotel Slon in Ljubljana, Slovenia, the Visio Institute in association with international partners such as the Austrian Economics Center, Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom, Liberty Fund and European Students for Liberty proudly kicked off the 8th Free Market Road Show®, which is organized by over 90 leading think tanks and universities.
The 2015 Free Market Road Show® in Lubljana brought together leading businessmen, scholars, opinion makers, public policy experts, elected officials, diplomats, students, and other interested parties from across Europe and the world to discuss the kind of Europe its citizens want to develop.
The first panel titled “ECONOMY – OVERCOMING STAGNATION” tried to answer the following questions: What recipe does Europe need to turn around the trend of a free fall and to experience economic growth, the latter leading to higher standards of living and the elimination of the remaining pockets of poverty? Are the liberalisation of the economy, structural reforms, balanced budgets, lower tariffs, taxes and subsidies a solution?
The panel was joined by Dr Jure Stojan, Senior Fellow, Visio Institute; Dr Andrzej Rzońca, Member, Monetary Policy Council at the Polish National Bank; Mr. Oliver Rothschild, Chairman, Oliver Rothschild Corporate Advisors; Mr. Christof Zeller-Zellenberg, President, Europa Institute; Dr Barbara Kolm, President, Friedrich A. v. Hayek Institute; and Dr Ekkart Zimmermann, Emeritus, Dresden University of Technology.
The second panel titled “FOREIGN INVESTMENT – FROM AN ENEMY TO A FRIEND“ exploredthe reasons for Slovenia’s unfriendliness towards foreign investment, which has had a negative impact on economic growth, employment, and well-being. There are multiple reasons for this position, from vast political interest in owning and controlling the Slovenian economy to having one of the world’s most rigid labour markets, an excessively regulated economy, and an investment unfriendly tax code.
The speakers presented institutional and policy changes needed to help open Slovenia to foreign investment. The panel was joined by Dr Anže Burger, Senior Fellow, Visio Institute; Dr Peter Hasslacher, Director, Advantage Austria; Mr. Radovan Ďurana, Analyst, INESS; Mr Ivan Jovetić, Senior Analyst, Institute for Studies and Projections; and Mr. Roland Fritz, Research Fellow, Austrian Economics Center.
The third panel titled “ENTREPENEURSHIP – BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT ACHIEVING THE POTENTIAL“ agreed that a business-friendly environment is the precondition of economic growth, progress, innovation and improving the well-being of the citizens. As Slovenia is witnessing an exodus of physical and human capital due to the rigid labour market, over-regulated economy, high taxation and excessive scope of state ownership in the economy, its global competitiveness is diminishing. The panel explored ways for Slovenia to create a friendlier business environment – with start-up zones or keeping the regulators as distant as possible from entrepreneurs.
The panelists were Mrs. Tanja Porčnik, President, Visio Institute; Mr. Marjan Batagelj, President, Slovenian Business Club & CEO, Postojnska Jama; Mr. Tomaž Butina, Member, Supervisory Board, KD Group d.d.; and Mr. Goran Novković, Adviser to the CEO, Slovenian Chamber of Commerce.