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Vizjak: “The role and importance of integration are essential for development!”

In Stockholm, the Slovenian Minister of the Economy, Andrej Vizjak, in cooperation with the Swedish Government, hosted the first day of the European Conference on Innovation and Clusters. He opened the Conference together with the Swedish Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Enterprise and Energy, Maud Olufsson, and the Vice-President of the European Commission, Günter Verheugen.

“Promoting competitiveness and innovation is and must be one of the main priorities of the European Union and, consequently, of its Presidency,” stressed Mr Vizjak in his address to the participants at the Stockholm Conference. He declared that Slovenia was proud to have the opportunity to participate in such an important process as the implementation of the Lisbon Strategy.

The Conference places emphasis on linking together the political, economic and research-and-development spheres within innovation policy. To this end, Mr Vizjak also hosted a round table discussion, where he spoke about modern concepts of competitiveness in the global competitive business environment which requires cooperation between all the key development actors in the economy, science and politics for the benefit of overall development.

“Increasing globalization also means that distance is no longer significant; the world is becoming a single common market,” said the Minister in his address. He referred to four stages of integration:  establishment, growth, maintenance and decline. Slovenian practice had shown that “successful cluster development depends on the initial phase”. The Minister expressed his satisfaction at the excellent opportunity provided by the conference for exchanging good practices.

Slovenia has a number of successful clusters. The Conference is also being attended by Mr Aleš Nemec (CEO of Iskra Avtoelektrika), representing one of the most successful cases of clustering of the economy and research and development in economy development projects in the automotive industry.

On the first day of the Conference, Mr Vizjak was handed the recently presented and launched European Clusters Memorandum, which provided a basis for concerted activities at the level of clusters, agencies and regions.

In the margins of the Conference, Mr Vizjak met with the Swedish Minister for Enterprise and Energy and Deputy Prime Minister, Maud Olufsson. They talked about the Slovenian EU Council Presidency, the Conference and energy issues, mainly the challenges inherent in the climate change and energy package, which is to be presented by the Commission tomorrow.


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Date: 22.01.2008