Miro Cerar and His Yugoslav Arithmetic

Foto: epa

It seems the Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar has a special “socialist calculator” with a bit of added Louis XIV (“L’Etat, c’est moi”). The Libertarian Tomaž Štih took to Twitter with the amusing observation that all EU Member States attribute their current economic growth to widespread expansion, only Slovenia has Miro Cerar’s guiding hand to thank for it.

The economy will grow at a stable rate – around 2.5% – well above the Eurozone average”, Cerar’s government quoted the Bank of Slovenia on Twitter. The forecasts for the EU are what they are, but is Miro Cerar really justified in blowing his own trumpet? Looking at the data, the Slovenian GDP per capita is expected to increase by USD 518 (from 20,747 to 21,265); in Germany, it’s expected to go up by USD 614 (from 40,952 to 41,566), in Austria by USD 1,136 (from 43,724 to 44,860), and so on.

With this kind of “growth”, which is between 0.5 to 1.5 percentage points greater than the EU average, Slovenia won’t catch up with developed countries for at least a couple of decades. Similar transition countries like Poland, Slovakia, Latvia and Lithuania, on the other hand, will edge their way to the front of the line with economic growth forecasts of 0.3 to 1.5 percentage points higher than Slovenia. But leaving GDP aside, which is an indicator of development, but a limited one, and looking at the GDP per capita measured with the Purchasing Power Standard (PPS), Slovenia inches even closer to the doldrums.

Eurostat data shows that last year, the Czech GDP at purchasing power parity (the calculated GDP adjusted for the cost of living expenses) reached 87 percent of the EU average, while Slovenia was at 83 percent. With 77 percent of the EU average, Slovakia is hot on the heels of Slovenia; considering its rapid economic growth, it will undoubtedly overtake Slovenia in the coming years. Estonia and Lithuania are lagging behind for now, being 75 percent of the EU average. But the economy of these counties is rapidly expanding. According to Eurostat, Slovenia was 86 percent of the EU average in 2004, which is less than in 2015.

Kavarna Hayek