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Once Star Of EU Newcomers, Slovenia Falters

But Slovenes say that behind the apparent normalcy, the mood is grim.

"All around us, people are losing jobs," Plut said. "And there is nothing in sight to tell us that things will get any better."

Slovenia's borrowing costs on its government bonds reached 7 percent this summer â¿¿ a threshold that had prompted Greece, Ireland and Portugal to seek financial support from the EU. The International Monetary Fund said the current recession in Slovenia â¿¿ which it described as one of the worst in the EU â¿¿ has shown "Slovenia's past economic model to be unsustainable."

The head of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Suma Chakrabarti, recently had some strong advice for Slovenia.

"It is in the long-term national interest of Slovenia to open up its economy to foreign investors," he said.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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