"We have to define what our prospective and priority industries are, and who are the national champions that will take these industries at the very top of Europe and the world," says the CEO of Hidria, Iztok Seljak, on Slovenia's economic strategy.
The fourth Summit 100 will take place in Portorož next week. It will bring together the leading businessmen, as well as politicians and mayors, of Southeast Europe.
Seljak says the first goal is to open the market area in the former Yugoslavia and other Balkan countries, in order to make those countries interesting for investors. Countries could also consider joint presences on third markets, as there are many unused opportunities for synergy. Seljak stressed that Serbia had a good position in Russia, while Bosnia and Herzegovina in the Arab world. Scandinavian countries could serve as a role model, as they have been closely cooperating with each other both in economic and political areas for decades. Although not all Scandinavian countries are part of the EU, they are developing their region's visions.
The last three Summit 100 business leader initiatives have already led to first bigger forms of cooperation, like for example the joint initiative of the region’s construction companies in the frameworks of a consortium, which was symbolically named Feniks (Phoenix). According to Seljak, around 50 companies from Slovenia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro are part of the consortium. The companies in question have a total trade worth five billion euros and around 30.000 employees.
"We can now seriously take part in big projects abroad worth several billions of euros. Slovenia's construction sector has sadly collapsed. Slovenian companies in the Feniks consortium are not at the construction frontlines, but serve as suppliers of high-tech equipment," says the head of Hidria, which has become an important player in the automobile industry. The company has signed more 100 million euro contracts in recent years with some of the biggest car manufacturers.
Gregor Cerar, MMC;
translated by K. J.