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Report highlights Slovenia's progress towards Lisbon goals

One year on from the adoption of its reform programme aimed at achieving the Lisbon Strategy goals, the Slovenian Government has published a report indicating the steps already taken. Measures include the reform of the country's tax policies to stimulate greater private invest...

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One year on from the adoption of its reform programme aimed at achieving the Lisbon Strategy goals, the Slovenian Government has published a report indicating the steps already taken. Measures include the reform of the country's tax policies to stimulate greater private investment in research and development (R&D) and the introduction of a programme to encourage researchers to work in industry.

During the 2005 Spring Council, Member States were called upon to renew their efforts to reach the Lisbon goals of creating sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion by 2010. In response, in October 2005 the Slovenian government adopted a package addressing five key areas of reform: economic growth and competitiveness; creation of a knowledge economy; better management of public administration; labour and welfare reform; sustainable development with special focus on environment protection.

According to the report published on 12 October, the most significant progress was made in tax reform, with the introduction of a law to abolish payroll tax. The government says this will significantly reduce the economic burden on employers and encourage them to take on more highly skilled professionals - a much needed resource in the creation of a knowledge economy.

The government has also approved draft amendments to gradually reduce corporate tax from 25% to 20% and maintain corporate tax incentives for R&D. Both measures aim to encourage greater investment by business in R&D. By 2004, business investment already accounted for 60% of the country's overall R&D expenditure.

On knowledge transfer, the report points to measures aimed at increasing the number of researchers in industry, with specific initiatives to encourage those already working in the public research sector to cross over to industry.

Other progress includes increases in the state-financing of applied research, and measures to support so-called 'knowledge mediators' working between research institutions and enterprises. The latter is a promising development considering that linkages between academia and industry were picked up by the 2004 Innovation Trendchart as one of the main barriers standing in the way of Slovenia creating a viable research and innovation structure.

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Slovenia