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Significant fiscal consolidation will be needed after the recession. The authorities should improve the spending and tax structure, efficiency of public spending and continue with fiscal federalism reforms
Slovenia achieved strong economic growth leading to a marked catch up with the EU15 during the last decade. This dynamic growth has been interrupted by the global recession, adversely affecting Slovenian exports and banks’ refinancing possibilities. As the economy recovers, efforts to achieve real convergence need to be renewed.
Slovenia belongs to the group of new EU member countries, which have given a high priority to fiscal prudence. This both stabilised the economy and paved the way for entry to the EU in 2004 and adoption of the euro in 2007. It also created room to counteract the current weakening of the economy. But fiscal policy has to cope with four main challenges: i) ensuring a return to fiscal consolidation after the current economic downturn;
Though labour market outcomes have improved markedly in past years, some challenges remain such as low labour force participation of the elderly, low employment rates of youth and rising labour market dualism.
Slovenia’s product market regulation appears more stringent than in some neighbouring countries, though less restrictive than in some transition economies. In key service sectors (financial services, energy and telecommunication), low contestability linked to state involvement and strong market concentration may have deterred inward FDI.
The United Kingdom is in a deep recession. The recovery is likely to be slow and depends on further improving conditions in credit markets. Financial market regulation and supervision should be overhauled, and policies should be put in place to promote fiscal consolidation.
France has seen a marked decline in its export performance, which is related to a series of factors, rather than to any single cause. Restoring competitiveness will require steps to strengthen the country’s growth potential and to address the main long term determinants of that potential, such as fostering research and development, promoting innovation, reducing the tax burden, boosting competition and creating favourable conditions
The authorities have undertaken numerous structural reforms since the last OECD Economic Survey was published in June 2007 and many of those reforms go in the direction of the recommendations offered at that time. These efforts will have to be pursued and the momentum of reform maintained, with the greatest challenge being to raise the employment rate of youths and seniors in order to restore the health of public finances and sustain
The financial crisis did not spare the French economy, which is facing a deep recession in 2009, even if the situation is less severe than elsewhere. Once the recovery begins, a priority will be to phase out the general government budget deficit but, given the already very heavy burden of taxes and compulsory contributions, public finance consolidation will require strict control over expenditures.
Despite the great progress France has made in opening its markets for goods and services, and in strengthening the overall framework for competition, there are still regulatory barriers to entry in many sectors, particularly in retail trade and various professional services. The emergence of real competition in the retail market for gas and electricity and in telecommunications (provision of high speed Internet through a fibre optics