Slovenia is well-known to the French public for its exceptional athletes like two-time Tour de France winner Tadej Pogačar.
However, the French tend to overlook Slovenia as a country with significant business and investment opportunities. Despite being one of the largest economies in Europe, France accounts for only 3.6 percent of Slovenia's foreign trade with 2.1 billion euros in exports and 1.6 billion euros in imports from France. Notably, France's share in Slovenia's foreign trade has significantly declined compared to ten years ago when it represented 4.6 percent of the total.
The situation is similar when it comes to investments. In 2022, France ranked as the tenth largest country of origin for foreign direct investments in Slovenia, with a value of 506 million euros. However, this only represents 2.5 percent of the total investment value.
Renault's plant Revoz in Novo mesto is by far the largest French investment in Slovenia (TOP300: rank 12 – see also the article on the largest Slovenian companies). A decade ago, the French Lactalis Group acquired the largest Slovenian dairy company, Ljubljanske Mlekarne (TOP300: Rank 55). Poclain Hydraulics, a specialised producer of hydrostatic and electrohydraulic transmissions, operates a small factory in Žiri, one of the winners of 2022 Slovenian Innovation Award. French retailers such as E.Leclerc (Rudnidis d.o.o, TOP300: rank 159) and Decathlon have also established a small yet popular network of shops in Slovenia.
However, apart from these examples, French presence in Slovenian business remains limited – and vice versa. Efforts have been made to improve business relations between France and Slovenia, including the establishment of the French Slovenian Business Club a few years ago. It is hoped that initiatives like these will contribute to a strengthening the ties.