A review of major events in the week between 19 and 25 April, 2019, as prepared by the STA:
FRIDAY, 19 April
LJUBLJANA - The newspaper Dnevnik reported the government had appointed career diplomat Vojislav Šuc Slovenia's new ambassador to Croatia. Before he replaces Smiljana Knez, he must be quizzed by the parliamentary Foreign Policy Committee and receive Croatia's approval.
LJUBLJANA - Social partners on the Economic and Social Council agreed the Labour Ministry would draft a new social pact by the end of May, based on three proposals by employers and one by trade unions. They would like to reach a consensus by the end of the year so that a new social pact could take effect in 2020.
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's general government surplus in 2018 was 34 million euro higher than initially calculated by the Statistics Office in March. It reached 337 million euro, equivalent to 0.7% of GDP. The country's debt amounted to 32.23 billion euro, or 70.1% of GDP.
LJUBLJANA - Tourism contributed 5.7 billion euro or 12.3% to Slovenia's GDP in 2018 and provided jobs for 110,700 people or 12.8% of all jobs, showed a report by the World Travel and Tourism Council.
TORONTO, Canada - Slavoj Žižek, the internationally acclaimed Slovenian philosopher, and Canadian bestselling author and psychologist Jordan Peterson, faced off their views on capitalism and Marxism. The long-awaited debate at the packed Sony Centre for the Performing Arts saw Peterson defend capitalism, arguing it also created wealth for the poor, while Žižek pointed to climate change as one instance of what is eating capitalism inside out.
SATURDAY, 20 April
LJUBLJANA - The newspaper Dnevnik reported that the Higher Court had reduced the fine imposed by the Ljubljana Local Court on the opposition Democrats (SDS) over an illegal loan of 60,000 euro from 20,000 to 4,200 euro. It also reduced the fine imposed on party leader Janez Janša from 2,000 to 500 euro.
SLOVENSKA BISTRICA - Impol, a Slovenian maker of aluminium products, obtained the EN 9100 standard certificate proving its compliance with the international quality standard for the aerospace industry which should enable it to get into the demanding market of top-quality products.
LENART - Local authorities in Lenart urged suspension of the Salomon waste sorting operation in the north-east town after waste deposited there went up in flames twice in a week, on 13 and 19 April. Unofficial information suggests the fires were caused by a spontaneous combustion.
SUNDAY, 21 April
LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor and Foreign Minister Miro Cerar condemned bomb attacks in churches and hotels in Sri Lanka, which killed more than 300 people, and expressed condolences to the families of the victims.
GLASGOW, UK - Pia Babnik, a 15-year-old Slovenian golf player, won the Helen Holm Scottish Women's Open Championship with a seven-shot win over France's Charlotte Bunel, affirming her status as one of the best up-and-coming female players in Europe.
TUESDAY, 23 April
BRDO PRI KRANJU - President Borut Pahor and Foreign Minister Miro Cerar pledged Slovenia's commitment to multilateralism and the rule of law as they addressed the annual consultation of Slovenian diplomats.
BEIJING, China - Minister of Economic Development and Technology Zdravko Počivalšek began a multi-day visit to China designed to strengthen economic relations between the two countries as well as Slovenia's role in the Belt and Road Initiative. He also visited the headquarters of Hisense, the owner of Slovenian household appliances maker Gorenje.
LJUBLJANA - Political analysts told the STA that with turnout at European Parliament elections very low - under 25% in 2014, the path to success hinged on mobilising core constituents in the weeks leading up to polling day. Alem Maksuti and Rok Čakš believe this will also crucially inform the substance of the debate, which they fear will not feature substantive discussions on the EU's future.
LJUBLJANA - A year after the state provided emergency funding for 15 public hospitals, three hospitals fell short of their 2018 financial goals. The first year of the four-year restructuring process has however produced better-than-expected results at twelve hospitals, showed a report debated by two parliamentary bodies.
NOVO MESTO/KOPER - A total of 111 migrants were apprehended illegally crossing the Croatian-Slovenian at the past weekend, the police said. The number of illegal crossings of the border in the first three months was up by nearly 150% compared to the same period in 2018, to 1,639. Most foreigners came from Algeria.
WEDNESDAY, 24 April
BRDO PRI KRANJU - PM Marjan Šarec made the case for a proactive and balanced foreign policy as he addressed the annual consultation of Slovenian diplomats. He stressed Slovenia's continued commitment to a strong and effective EU and a firm transatlantic alliance.
LJUBLJANA - PM Marjan Šarec warned of the danger of populism in an interview with the Associated Press, arguing the EU needed more efficient leadership to successfully counter the populist surge. He cited prolonged Brexit talks as an example of the EU's slow decision-making, even though he said delaying Britain's departure from the bloc was nevertheless positive.
LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary foreign policy and culture committees condemned Hungary's interference in freedom of the press in Slovenia, meeting almost three weeks after the Hungarian ambassador to Slovenia protested with the Foreign Ministry because of a Mladina cover portraying Hungarian PM Viktor Orban with his hand raised in a Nazi salute.
LJUBLJANA - The supervisory board of Slovenian Sovereign Holding endorsed hiring a legal adviser to sell a further 10% minus one share in NLB after the state already sold 65% in Slovenia's largest bank last year. The state's stake needs to be reduced to 25% plus one share under commitments given to the European Commission.
ILIRSKA BISTRICA - Interior Minister Boštjan Poklukar and Police Commissioner Tatjana Bobnar visited Ilirska Bistrica to assure city officials and local residents the police were doing their job in protecting the border with Croatia. Nevertheless, the locals urged more police officers on the border, to better prevent illegal migrations, and in towns in the municipality so that they would feel safer.
LJUBLJANA - The Finance Ministry announced the NLB bank and its defunct predecessor LB had lost another case linked to Yugoslav-era bank deposits in Croatia as a Zagreb court upheld the ruling ordering them to repay more than 8 million euro in principal plus interest and litigation costs. Slovenia says the ruling runs afoul of Croatia's commitments under international agreements.
LJUBLJANA - The fund management branch of insurer Zavarovalnica Triglav completed the acquisition of fund manager Alta Skladi to become the leading provider of mutual funds in the Slovenian market with a 34% market share.
LJUBLJANA - Researchers and scientists held a March for Science and a public debate urging the state to provide more and steadier funds. They noted the current short-term project financing system was misguided, fuelling fierce rivalry between researchers and institutions.
THURSDAY, 25 April
LJUBLJANA - Despite criticism by the opposition, parliament endorsed a government decree setting the outlines of public finances for 2020-2022, when revenue and expenditure are to grow at an average 3.9% and 3.7%, respectively. A surplus of 1% of GDP is planned for the entire general government sector in 2020 compared to the 0.8% target for 2019, rising to 1.1% and 1.2% in 2021 and 2022, respectively.
LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly abolished taxes on holiday allowance amounting up to the average gross salary in Slovenia, which stands at just over EUR 1,700.
LJUBLJANA - Slovenian Sovereign Holding (SSH) estimated in the 2018 annual report to have posted a 6.3% return on equity last year, which was 0.2 of a percentage point below the peak figure posted the year before, but above the target of 6.1%.
LJUBLJANA - Interior Minister Boštjan Poklukar talked to his Austrian counterpart Herbert Kickl over the phone, reiterating Slovenia's position that there is no need for border controls on the Austrian-Slovenian border, a measure Austria extended earlier this month.
LJUBLJANA - Matej Pirc, the former chairman of Slovenian Sovereign Holding, was appointed chief executive officer of the Bank Assets Management Company (BAMC), having served as acting CEO since the end of January, as part of BAMC's overhaul following an audit which exposed a contentious sale of a piece of land.
LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed changes to the social assistance act to enact free-of-charge counselling and other forms of assistance for victims of crimes and their family members.
VELENJE - Household appliances maker Gorenje said it expected to lay off 270 people after the newspaper Večer learnt from unionists that 1,720 people would be sacked, of which 1,450 would be offered new contracts.
LJUBLJANA - The opposition Democrats (SDS) sent to parliament a bill to set up a demographic fund to prop up the pension system. The bill envisages all state assets being transferred to the fund.
LJUBLJANA - German MEP Gabrielle Zimmer, the leader of the left-wing GUE/NGL political group in the European Parliament, visited Ljubljana ahead of May's EU elections. She said the European Parliament needed more people who fought for change in the EU without destroying the bloc.
LJUBLJANA - Sergej Racman, the former owner of the cinema chain operator Kolosej, pleaded not guilty as he appeared in court charged with cutting off creditors, chiefly the NLB bank, by selling the Kolosej cinema centre in Ljubljana, which had been pledged as collateral for almost EUR 13m in loans.
LJUBLJANA - A comprehensive exhibition of visual arts from the Kingdom of Yugoslavia (1929-1941) opened at Moderna Galerija, as the museum of modern art's main exhibition this year.