October 17, 2016 Print

Slovenia’s economic freedom rankings had declined for six years in a row in the Fraser Institute’s Economic Freedom of the World annual reports until the 2016 edition (incorporating data through 2014), when it advanced by 14 places — currently ranking 97th out of 159 countries. Still, this position lags behind Slovenia’s earlier peaks. In an effort to help Slovenia embrace greater economic freedom, Atlas Network partner the Visio Institut partnered with Fraser in a two-year project to audit the country’s economic policies through multi-disciplinary conferences and a translation of Economic Freedom of the World into Slovenian.

“As economic freedom has been shown to generate positive social and economic outcomes, including higher economic growth, enhanced job creation, increased political stability, and the peaceful development of other freedoms, it is essential for the Slovenians to see an increase in economic freedom in its own country,” said Visio Institut President Tanja Porčnik. “The audit conferences in Slovenia in 2015 and 2016 consisted of a series of colloquiums to examine areas of economic policy. Participating researchers, opinion makers, and academics prepared policy recommendations for Slovenia, which were presented and discussed during the meetings. After the meetings, conclusions and recommendations were presented to government, the media, researchers, business, opinion leaders, and the public.”

The most recent conference, held on Lake Bled in Slovenia, included presentations from several economists throughout the region, as well as the notable Fraser Institute scholars Michael Walker, Robert Lawson, and Fred McMahon, who spoke about the methodology, history, and future of Fraser’s Economic Freedom of the World annual reports.

The Visio Institut issued a call for papers to be presented at the conference that explain “ideas for a visible increase of economic freedom in their country, or in a certain group of countries, and to analyse consequences that will follow.” The organization plans to collect and publish in a journal sometime this year.

“The fact is that Slovenia in the period 2008 to 2013 has fallen so low that cosmetic corrections in the form of so-called mini reforms or restructuring of public policies is not sufficient,” Porčnik said (translated from Slovenian). “It is therefore necessary to carry out structural reforms, although they are politically unpopular, that will primarily tackle the inefficient consumption and spending of government. At the same time, it is necessary to continue eliminating administrative barriers for both citizens and businesses, to reduce labor taxation, and continue deregulation of the labor market with a view to making it more flexible, which will significantly help less qualified people and young people without work experience to more easily and quickly find a regular job.”