STA, 14 May 2019 - Although the general belief in Slovenia is that immigrants from the Western Balkan countries are mostly unqualified labourers, a survey presented by the charity Caritas on Tuesday suggests that most immigrants have secondary education and are often overqualified for the work they do in Slovenia.
Interestingly, Slovenia also does not export only young educated people but also unqualified workers and the number of people leaving the county almost matches the number of people moving into Slovenia, says the publication Our Common Home (Naš skupni dom), funded by the European Commission and the Slovenian Foreign Ministry.
In 2017, 17,555 people moved out of the country, mostly to other EU countries, while 18,808 people moved to Slovenia.
Slovenians living abroad significantly contribute to the development of Slovenia, the authors say. "Our data show that the Slovenian diaspora contributes more (to Slovenia) than the immigrants here contribute to their source countries," a co-author of the publication, Nina Stenko Primožič, said at today's presentation.
Most migrants in Slovenia (86%) were born in one of the Western Balkan countries. According to Eurostat data from 2018, 108,000 of them were born in Bosnia-Herzegovina, 45,000 in Croatia, 25,000 in Serbia, 17,000 in Kosovo, 17,000 in North Macedonia and 3,300 in Montenegro.
Most of the people moving to Slovenia have finished high school but since they could not find a job that would suit their education, they take on jobs for which they are overqualified and accept lower pay.
However, most young people from the Western Balkan countries who currently reside in Slovenia are highly qualified and often work as experts.
In 2015, 10% of female immigrants and 8% of male immigrants in Slovenia had tertiary education. Among Slovenians, the share of people with tertiary education was higher, at 25.7%. But the authors of the publication note that not all highly qualified people from the Western Balkans move to Slovenia.
Foreign students accounted for 4.5% of all students in tertiary education in Slovenia in 2017/2018, according to data by the Statistics Office. Most of them (over 90%) came from the Western Balkan countries, especially North Macedonia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia, and EU countries (mostly Croatia).
Among migrants from non-EU countries, most came from Russia (3,000), China (977), the US (768), Argentina (456) and Canada (372). Migrants from Russia were highly educated (more than 50% of men and 43% of women had tertiary education). Among South Americans, 35% of men and 40% of women finished tertiary education.
Since the end of the crisis, companies and public institutions in Slovenia are trying to attract highly qualified staff from abroad, doctors in particular. In mid-2018, the government prepared legislative changes facilitating the hiring of doctors from non-EU countries.
According to data from 2016, 13% of the 7,500 doctors in Slovenia were foreigners.
The biggest share of migrants from the EU (24%) live in central Slovenia, 18% in Podravje in the north-east and 14% in the western and coastal region.
Most people from Bosnia-Herzegovina live in central Slovenia as do more than half of those from Montenegro and almost 40% of those from Serbia.
People from Albania and Kosovo are more widespread around the country, mostly because of their family businesses.
Many migrants who moved to Slovenia while it was still a part of Yugoslavia live in the areas which used to be strong industrial centres.
According to Eurostat data, just over 250,000 people living in Slovenia at the beginning of 2018 were born outside the country, which is 12.1% of the population. More than a half of them had Slovenian citizenship.
The publication is a part of the project MIND (Migration. Interconnectedness. Development.), financed by the European Commission and led by Caritas Austria with Caritas Europa in the co-lead and ten further Caritas organisations as partners.
The full report, in Slovenian, can be found here
STA, 28 April - Forty-seven people died in Slovenia in 2017 of causes related to drug abuse, seven more than in 2016, shows data from the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ).
Drug-related deaths have been rising since 2013. In 2017, one person who died was a teenager aged 15-19, four were aged 20-24, and as many as 16 were older than 45.
The vast majority of the casualties, or 79%, were men, according to the NIJZ's publication on illegal drugs in Slovenia in 2017 and in the first half of 2018.
The majority of the deaths from 2017 resulted from heroin and cocaine intoxication, 18 and 14, respectively.
As many as seven resulted from other synthetic opioids, and there were eight intentional intoxications, or overdoses.
Police processed almost 2,000 criminal acts related to illegal drugs, with cannabis accounting for the majority, followed by cocaine, heroin and amphetamines.
A survey on treatment has shown 211 persons (86.4%) who sought treatment for the first time or re-entered such treatment in 2017 did so due to problems with opioids.
Fifteen persons (6%) cited problems with cannabis as the reason for treatment.
The number of people seeking treatment for cannabis rose in 2017, after falling in 2016 for the first time in several years.
Ever since 2011, cannabis (THC) has been the drug for which patients were most often treated at the Centre for Clinic Toxicology and Pharmacology in Ljubljana.
Meanwhile, results of a survey into drug abuse has shown that 42.5% of all surveyed 17-year-olds have tried cannabis at least once, boys more often than girls.
An online survey on the use of new psychoactive substances has shown that 12% of University of Ljubljana students abuse them.
According to another online survey, carried out by the Slovenian Traffic Safety Agency in 2016, 5% of almost 3,030 persons polled were involved in driving under the influence in the 12 months before the poll, again more men and women.
In 2017, the Ministry of Labour, the Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities earmarked almost 3.3 million euro for various programmes to fight addiction.
Meanwhile, the NIJZ's estimates the country earmarked a total of 10.4 million euro to deal with the issue, including for preventive programmes.
STA, 25 April 2019 - Figures released by the Statistics Office ahead of Labour Day reveal that of the approximately 981,000 working Slovenians, 7% live below the poverty line, and 2% receive financial or material assistance from welfare organisations.
Employment most notably affects the material aspect of life. "Households with no working family members who have to support children, are at the highest risk of poverty. Some 70% of the members of these households live below the poverty line," said Karmen Hren, deputy director of the Statistics Office, at Thursday's press conference.
Some 17% of the unemployed Slovenians are recipients of financial or material assistance from welfare organisations.
Being out of a job also affects health; some 80% of the working population would describe their health as good or very good, whereas for the unemployed that figure is lower, at 60%.
Following students, the working population is the most content with their life. Among the employed and the self-employed, over half describe themselves as very happy, and 2% as unhappy. The unemployed and other non-active Slovenians are the least happy.
All our stories on employment in Slovenia are here
STA, 17 April 2019 - Slovenians prefer to save in bank deposits, however mutual funds have seen an increase in assets and savers. At the end of 2018 Slovenian households had 1.7 billion euros invested in mutual funds, said Karmen Rejc, director of the Slovenian Investment Fund Association.
The average European invests 10% or 5,800 euros of their assets in mutual funds, whereas in Slovenia that figure is lower, namely 6% or 900 euros, Rejc said at a news conference leading up to Friday's World Mutual Fund Day.
Matjaž Lorenčič, president of the Slovenian Investment Fund Association and Infond Investment Funds chairman, said that out of the over 20 billion euros in last year's bank deposits, between 250 and 300 million euros were lost due to inflation.
Slovenian asset managers manage approximately 2.7 billion euros in 100 mutual funds. Adding the assets in alternative funds and those managed based on contracts for the sound management of operational risk, this figure amounts to approximately 3.7 billion euros. The number of investors in mutual funds is approximately 450,000.
Slovenian mutual funds are managed by six companies. Last year they recorded an inflow of approximately 540 million euros, an outflow of 550 million euros. This year, cash flow is positive, according to Lorenčič.
There are 96 foreign mutual funds operating in Slovenia. These manage 211 million euros in assets.
STA, 18 April 2019 - The level of precarious forms of employment among Slovenian youth is high, which is related to increasing fear of unemployment and stress, a study conducted by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation has found.
Youth Study Slovenia 2018/2019, is the product of a broad survey conducted last year among 1,000 young people aged between 14 and 29, and is part of a project carried out in ten SE European countries (see more here).
"Individualism is increasingly prevalent among the youth, which is being manifested in many areas, from greater care for personal health to getting independent from parents faster, and increasingly individualist values," research manager Andrej Naterer from the University of Maribor said in presenting the study on Wednesday.
One of the findings is that in the period between 2010 and 2016 the number of young people leaving the country increased almost four-fold. It is the youth from wealthier families who tend to move out more often, which shows the pull factors are more important than the push factors.
Naterer said that at the same time youth immigration was increasing as well, with trends indicating circular migration.
When it comes to their values and opinions, young people are increasingly pro-European. Compared to their peers in other countries, they have very liberal values, but they are very supportive of the idea of a strong welfare state.
Researcher Miran Lavrič said that young people were worried about their health, had higher level of stress, which induced them to be active in sports.
"We are by far the most active in this respect, we have very active youth. Alcohol consumption has declined substantially as well so that Slovenian youth is increasingly responsible, in particular in the individualistic sense, because they feel they must take care of themselves in a very precarious labour market," said Lavrič.
The most surprising finding as pointed out by him was that among youth surveyed in all SE European countries, young Albanians are the happiest with their lives, whereas Slovenian youth are the least happy with their lives and with their physical appearance.
This is the second major youth study by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation and the Centre for the Study of the Post-Yugoslav Societies at the Maribor Faculty of Arts after the one in 2013.
A PDF of the full study on Slovenia, in English, can be found here
STA, 16 April 2019 - Slovenia is one of the most environmentally friendly countries in the world, according to the Good Country Index, compiled by analyst and professor Simon Anholt from the University of East Anglia. It ranks fourth among 153 countries in terms of its positive contribution to the planet and climate, preceded only by Norway, Switzerland and Portugal.
Slovenia did particularly well in the implementation of environmental agreements and reducing the use of substances that cause ozone depletion.
It also got good scores for ecological footprint and exports of dangerous pesticides, and it was close to average in terms of the share of renewable energy sources.
The photo at the top of the page shows the River Soča, a great destination for outdoor sports - read more about it here
The Good Country Index measures how much a country contributes to the planet and the human race, through their policies and behaviours.
Slovenia ranked 16th in terms of its contribution to culture and 21st for its contribution to the global science and technology. It is 45th in terms of its global contribution to the world order and the 47th most important advocate of prosperity and equality.
Slovenia is also 65th in efforts towards health and well-being, and 128th when it comes to promotion of international peace and security.
You can see Slovenia’s results, in more detail, here
STA, 4 April 2019 - Slovenia recorded the biggest drop in the number of road casualties among all EU member states, with the number decreasing by 13% compared to 2017 and by 34% compared to 2010, European Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc noted on Thursday as she presented the latest EU transport statistics.
The number of road casualties in Slovenia dropping below 100 for the first time last year is encouraging data, said Bulc, adding that Slovenia's statistics were specific, as many accidents happen due to driving in the wrong direction.
The positive trend has not continued this year, unfortunately, with as many as 26 persons in Slovenia being killed on the roads in the first three months, compared to 14 in the same period last year.
While recording the biggest drop in the number of casualties in the whole EU last year, Slovenia is still far behind the leading countries in terms of the number of casualties per million people, recording a ratio of 44.
The most successful EU country in this respect is the United Kingdom with 28 casualties per million people, followed by Denmark (30). Faring the worst are Romania with 96 and Bulgaria 88 casualties per million people.
With 49 casualties per million people, European roads are the safest in the world, but 25,100 casualties is a horrific number and no one should be satisfied with it, said the Slovenian commissioner.
This is 1% less than in 2017 and 21% less than in 2010, Bulc said, adding that safety-related measures should be stepped up for the EU to reach the set goals in road transport.
STA, 2 April 2019 - Slovenian prisons are slightly overcrowded, shows a report on the state of European prison systems released by the Council of Europe (CoE) on Tuesday. The country's incarceration rate remains one of the lowest in Europe, with an increase of foreign prisoners recorded last year.
The number of inmates in Slovenia slightly exceeded the number of places available in 2018. Slovenia had an average 100.5 inmates per 100 places available, while the European average was 91.4.
Responding to the report, the Slovenian Prison Administration said it was trying to solve the problem by means of organisational measures, however the only long-term solution would be building a new prison.
Slovenia has been grappling with the problem for years. It culminated in 2014 when the prison population peaked. It was declining in the coming years, but the prison population trend turned up again in 2018.
The administration said the current occupancy rate was 104%. Due to an increase in remand prisoners, some facilities are overcrowded. There were an average 319 remand prisoners in 2018, an eight-year high.
The CoE report highlights eight countries dealing with severe prison overcrowding, including North Macedonia (122.3 inmates/100 capacity), Romania (120.5/100) and France (116.3/100).
Slovenia is below the EU average regarding the share of prisoners per 100,000 inhabitants (61.1/100,000), with Iceland being the country with the lowest share - 46.8. The CoE did not take into account countries with less than 300,000 inhabitants.
Countries where the number of inmates is among the highest include Russia (418.3 inmates per 100,000 people), Georgia (252.2/100,000) and Azerbaijan (235/100,000).
The number of foreign prisoners grew significantly in Slovenia last year. They accounted for 14% of the prison population, compared to 9% in 2017.
The Prison Administration said the trend was related to illegal migration. A total of 874 foreigners were incarcerated in Slovenia in 2018, most of them (565) were remand prisoners.
According to the administration's data, the percentage of foreigners among all of those incarcerated in Slovenia rose from 18% in 2017 to 23.5% in 2018.
Switzerland had the highest share of imprisoned foreigners, 71.4%.
Slovenia was also listed among the countries which notably increased the prison budget in 2018, having earmarked an additional 17.5% in funding for the purpose.
The Prison Administration said its expenditure in 2018 amounted to EUR 39.9m, about 2% more than in 2017, whereby it realised all key planned activities and provided basic living and working conditions for the staff and inmates.
The priority going forward will be to secure funding to increase staff numbers, provide investment maintenance, purchase new equipment and uniforms, and to modernise security systems.
The report included 44 prison administrations and 47 CoE member states, indicating that the share of prisoners in Europe between 2016 and 2018 dropped by 6.6%. On the other hand, the share of detainees increased to 22.4%, compared to 17.4% in 2016.
A PDF of the full report can be found here
STA, 21 March 2019 - The latest World Happiness Report, an annual publication of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, lists Slovenia as 44th among 156 countries ranked according to various categories meant to reflect happiness levels. The happiest country in the world for the second year running is Finland.
The 7th World Happiness Report, measuring happiness in the 2016-2018 period, gives Slovenia 6.118 points compared to Finland's 7.769 and to 2.853 for last-placed South Sudan.
Slovenia gained seven places compared to the 2018 report, placing behind Uzbekistan, Lithuania and Colombia, and right in front of Nicaragua, Kosovo and Argentina.
Slovenia did particularly well in two of the eight categories used as indicative for happiness; it is ranked 13 when it comes to freedom to make life choices and 14 in the social support category.
The latter had individuals responding to the question "If you were in trouble, do you have relatives or friends you can count on to help you whenever you need them, or not?".
Slovenia did the poorest - ranking only 114th - in the "positive affect" category, which comprises the average frequency of happiness, laughter and enjoyment on the day prior the the survey.
In the negative affect category, recording worry, sadness and anger on the previous day, Slovenia ranks 71st.
It also performed poorly, ranking 97th, in corruption perceptions, while it fared better in the categories generosity (54th), GDP per capita (34th) and healthy life expectancy (29th).
The report, first published in 2012, was released on Monday to mark 20 March, the International Day of Happiness.
STA, 28 February 2019 - Slovenia had another record year in tourism in 2018, with the number of tourists up by 8% to 5.9 million and the number of nights they generated up by 10% to 15.7 million, the Statistics Office said Thursday. While the number of foreign guests went up, the number of Slovenian guests was about the same as in 2017.
Tourists from abroad generated 4.4 million arrivals (up 11% from 2017) and 11.2 million nights (up 15% from 2017).
"This means that every day in 2018, 4,084 more nights than in 2017 were generated by foreign tourists on average," the Statistics Office said.
Note that the previous year = 100 for the index
The number of Slovenian guests was level at 1.5 million and they generated some 4.5 million nights, which is almost the same as in 2017.
The share of foreign tourist-generated nights has been on the rise since 2010. While tourists from abroad generated 56% of all tourist nights nine years ago, the share rose to 64% in 2015, 68% in 2017 and 71% in 2018.
They mostly came from Germany and Italy (both 12%), Austria (9%) and the Netherlands and Croatia (5% each).
The number of nights generated by guests from the Netherlands was up the most (by 22%), followed by Germany and Croatia (+17% and +16%, respectively).
Outside Europe, the most visitors came from the US, generating 3% of all nights (a 24% increase from 2017), followed by Asia and Israel.
Hospitality services in the Alps generated EUR 1.77m in revenue, which is 11.4% more than the year before, recording 4.49 million nights, up 14% year-on-year. Nearly a third of the guests came from abroad.
Hotels, B&Bs and other hospitality establishments in and around spa resorts generated EUR 1.01m in revenue (up 1%), recording 3.49 million nights, which is level with 2017. Nearly 40% of the guests were Slovenian.
At the seaside, tourism generated slightly over EUR 929,000 in revenue (6% up year-on-year) with 3.01 million overnight stays (6.9% more than in 2017).
Hotels and other facilities in Ljubljana generated EUR 1.02m in revenue (9.1% more than the year before) and recorded 2.18 million of overnights (22.3% more than in 2017).
The highest number of tourist nights were recorded in the municipalities of Ljubljana, Piran, Bled, Kranjska Gora, Brežice, Bohinj and Moravske Toplice.
Hotels accounted for 53% of overnights, with guests staying for an average of 2.6 nights, which was also average duration of all stays last year. Guests in spa resorts tended to stay the longest, 3.5 nights on average.
The Slovenian Tourism Board (STO) welcomed the latest statistics, saying 2018 had been the fifth consecutive record-breaking year for Slovenian tourism.
"The guests are staying longer on average and we're particularly happy that the value of travel exports is rising and that it reached EUR 2.7bn last year," the STO said.