Foreword by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr Boris Frlec for QUARK Magazine
connection between research and development in Slovenia and Slovenian
foreign policy might seem debatable at first sight. However,
the connection is a close one, extending back to 1991, when numerous
Slovenian scientists and researchers abroad and at home used
their international connections and the information technology
at their disposal to spread the news about the Slovenian struggle
for independence from the increasingly unwieldy Yugoslav Federation.
At a time when Slovenian foreign policy depended on rapid action
and promptly informing the international community about developments
at home, people from the Slovenian research and development fields
After the international recognition of Slovenia as an independent and sovereign state, the Republic of Slovenia further consolidated its international position and respect, both by accelerated economic growth and by its policy of catching up with the advanced European democracies.
The success of a small economy is reciprocal to its openness to the free flow of goods and services, capital, know-how, information and people. The priority task of the Republic of Slovenia is therefore full membership in the European Union. The implementation of this goal will have substantial and comprehensive consequences, which far outreach the foreign policy aspects of a states operation and extend also to the international developmental, research and scientific fields. The present situation gives us every reason to conclude that the efforts of the Republic of Slovenia in the process of adjusting to the standards of the European Union have produced positive results.
Undeniable proof of the above is the positive opinion of the European Commission on the readiness of the Republic of Slovenia to start negotiations with the European Union.
We may expect that the present activities of the Republic of Slovenia will, in the light of its future full membership in the European Union, bring about new opportunities. These include: better access to capital, equipment, knowledge and technology, and new educational and employment opportunities for Slovene citizens. The integration of the Republic of Slovenia into the economic structures of the European Union, and adoption of the technical regulations, standards, business knowledge and organization techniques of the advanced countries of the European Union, will certainly improve the competitiveness of the Slovene economy. In addition, Slovene companies will endeavour towards restructuring, introducing new technologies, and modern business and management methods, since they are facing considerable competition from the internal market of the European Union. We can therefore expect that the creativity and competitive skill of Slovene companies will be increased. The same may be anticipated for the liberalisation of trade and services. An increased number of exchange services among countries will encourage domestic activities and give them better know-how, new information technologies, and also enable them to join partners from the European Union countries.
What is even more important, Slovene citizens, eager for knowledge, will have broad opportunities for education and professional training. At present, the TEMPUS programme financed by PHARE has partly enabled them to participate in these programmes. We can also expect a better interchange of Slovene and foreign experts, and there remain possibilities for cooperation in all EU research programmes.
We must , however, be aware that being successful in the market nowadays does not mean only that the product should be expensive, of good quality and delivered on time. To be competitive in the market means that companies, the state and educational institutions should work together in harmony. It is, therefore, important that we control the structures; however, competitiveness should be built on the relations between the structures mentioned. It is vital for Slovenia to follow the development of technology and knowledge. I believe that the potentials offered by the research-development and business market of the European Union are contributing to the global progress of the Republic of Slovenia and its integration into economic, research, political and security fields.