Slovenia to Ban Croatian Workers for Another Two Years

By 22 March 2018

ZAGREB, March 22, 2018 - Slovenia's outgoing government has proposed a bill under which the Slovenian labour market would remain closed to Croatian workers for another two years, but entrepreneurs think this measure would be counterproductive.

The purpose of the bill is to align this issue with the situation on the labour market and thus ensure its stability over the next two years, the government of Prime Minister Miro Cerar said in a brief statement on Wednesday.

Slovenia must notify the European Commission before the end of June whether its labour market will remain closed to Croatian workers for a full seven years since Croatia joined the European Union in mid-2013.

The Slovenian Chamber of Commerce said that it would be a wrong move and "an own goal" for the national economy, calling on the government to withdraw the bill and lawmakers not to support it if put to a vote. If the bill were adopted, it would additionally destabilise the Slovenian labour market over the next two years and we would continue to increasingly depend on foreign labour if we were to maintain the present pace of development, the Chamber of Commerce said.

Some media said that Labour Minister Anja Kopač Mrak of the Social Democrats was against extending the restriction on Croatian workers, while some say that the Slovenian labour market is relatively uninteresting to Croatian jobseekers because pay differences are not so large, compared to Western European countries which are the main destinations of Croatians seeking work in the EU.

Some media have warned that Croatian students who graduate from Slovenian universities are often very interested in working in Slovenia but they cannot apply for jobs under the present law.