News

01 Jul 2022, 15:58 PM

STA, 1 July 2022 - Some 86% or a combined total of EUR 468.4 million worth of the 2020 and 2021 tourist vouchers was cashed in, shows data by the Financial Administration (FURS), and EUR 75.27 million was left unredeemed by Thursday, the last day of voucher validity.

The 2020 vouchers were part of the third Covid relief package, granting each adult citizen EUR 200, while each minor received EUR 50. The vouchers were redeemable in the tourism sector for overnight stays or for bed and breakfast.

According to data from FURS, 84.5% or 301.47 million worth of these vouchers were cashed in, with a EUR 55.38 million worth of vouchers remaining unredeemed.

Some 86.5% off all citizens fully or partially redeemed their vouchers, most of them in the municipalities of Piran (345,272), Kranjska Gora (127,280), Moravske Toplice (118,978), and Brežice (118,978).

The 2021 vouchers, intended for hospitality services, culture, book-shopping and sports, with each of-age Slovenian receiving a EUR 100 voucher, and children and teenagers a EUR 50 voucher, also expired on Thursday.

Their total value stood at EUR 186.78 million, with EUR 166.9 million or nearly 90% was redeemed. Some 92% of the beneficiaries took advantage of the 2021 vouchers, a higher percentage compared to the 2020 vouchers.

The last day of voucher validity brought in EUR 4.35 million from the 2021 vouchers.

Half of the 2021 vouchers were spent in the hospitality sector, 30% in tourism, and 14% in culture services. Two-thirds of the latter were allocated towards buying school supplies and books. The remainder (6%) was allocated to sport services, FURS noted.

01 Jul 2022, 12:59 PM

STA, 1 July 2022 - Mateja Kos Zabel took office as acting director of the National Museum in Ljubljana on Friday after previous director Pavel Car resigned last month over an art forgery scandal.

Appointed by the Culture Ministry, Zabel previously worked as a curator at the museum's history and applied arts department, and headed the programme management organizational unit.

She will serve as acting director up to a year or until a new fully-fledged director is appointed via an open call.

Zabel, who holds a doctorate in art history and museology, has been working at the National Museum since 1985. She specialises in applied arts, and in recent years she has focused on museology and the role of national museums in the context of modern museum studies. She has lectured art history at the Faculty of Arts in Maribor since 2009.

Her in-depth understanding of the domain and leadership experience have yielded results in her long-standing career at the National Museum, during which she has collaborated with many Slovenian and foreign museums, a press release from the Culture Ministry reads.

She headed two European project groups, many of the museum's projects, as well as a research programme. She also co-authored The Past Under the Microscope exhibition, for which she received the Valvasor Award for an outstanding achievement given out by the Museum Association of Slovenia.

Her predecessor Pavel Car resigned after the Travels exhibition, scheduled to display works from the Boljkovac family collection, including purportedly those of Picasso, Matisse, and Kandinsky, was cancelled last minute following a public outcry over serious forgery concerns.

Car stated he stepped down in order to protect the reputation of the museum and its experts, adding that he had been naive in trusting the wrong person to organize the exhibition.

01 Jul 2022, 08:35 AM

STA, 1 July 2022 - Slovenia defeated Croatia 97:69 (33:8, 54:35, 76:51) in the fifth round of qualifying for the Basketball World Cup on Thursday, cheered on by a capacity crowd at the Stožice Arena that bid farewell to legend Goran Dragić. 

The home team set the pace in the first quarter, which it won with a 25-point gap after a 20:0 run driven by NBA stars Dragić and Luka Dončić.

The closest Croatia came to bouncing back was in the 19th minute, when the score was 49:35, but Slovenia soon opened a 20-plus point gap again.

Dončić was the top scorer with 21 points, 10 assists and 8 rebounds, with Dragić adding 19 points and Mike Tobey 18.

It was an emotional evening for Dragić, who thanked all team members for "recreating the magic of 2017," when Slovenia became European champions.

"We had good chemistry. We have to take advantage of that and win in Stockholm, then we'll see how to go on," he said, leaving the door open for joining the team at the EuroBasket 2022 in September.

Dončić said the Stožice Arena crowd had shown once again that Slovenians are "the best fans in the world. They've put on a spectacle and I enjoyed every minute of it."

Slovenia, which have three wins now, will wrap up this stage of qualifying by facing Sweden on Sunday before moving on to the next stage of the World Cup qualifying.

01 Jul 2022, 04:45 AM

Check the date at the top of the page, and you can find all the "morning headlines" stories here. You can also follow us on Facebook and get all the news in your feed.

This summary is provided by the STA:

Slovenia to receive nearly EUR 286m less in EU recovery grants

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia will receive EUR 1.49 billion in grants from the EU post-Covid recovery mechanism, which is almost EUR 286 million less than the initial allocation, show recalculations by the European Commission. The lower amount is a result of more favourable economic trends in 2020 and 2021 than originally estimated. Due to a lower grant allocation, the country will now have to make up the gap with loans. Even before the latest developments, the new government coalition said it will strive to make use of the entire spectrum of possible funds through changes to the national recovery plan, and it has until the end of August 2023 to do this. Prime Minister Robert Golob said the previous government was responsible for that because it had signed an agreement which contained provisions to this effect.

Slovenia's annual inflation accelerates to 10.4% in June

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's annual inflation rate accelerated to 10.4% in June, up 2.3 percentage points from May, driven by rising prices of petroleum products, food and electricity, the Statistics Office said. The monthly rate stood at 2.7%, an increase of 0.7 percentage points on the back of higher prices of electricity, vacation packages and food. The annual inflation in June is the highest since 10.7% were recorded in July 1996. The last time annual inflation exceeded 10% was in September 1997. Prime Minister Robert Golob announced new measures to fight the cost of living crisis, some of which could be taken at tomorrow's government session.

Slovenia warns NATO not to ignore Western Balkans

MADRID - Prime Minister Robert Golob warned NATO not to overlook the Western Balkans as it strengthens its presence on its eastern flank as part of a new deterrence and defence posture. It is important "not to overlook our soft underbelly, the Balkans," he said, noting that this is a region where Slovenia is present and for which it is trained. In the framework deterrence and defence, Slovenia is thus willing to "act primarily where it can contribute the most", he told the press after the NATO summit in Madrid.

Slovenia keen on Croatia entering Schengen zone, but dilemmas remain

MADRID, Spain - Slovenia wants Croatia to enter the Schengen zone as soon as possible, but numerous dilemmas must be resolved since the Schengen zone does not currently work, Prime Minister Robert Golob said. "Our position is quite clear. Schengen does not work today, this is its main problem. After all, we feel this ourselves on the border with Austria." "Schengen formally exists but it is not implemented," he said about Austria's ongoing police checks on the border with Slovenia.

C-bank governor says high inflation demands swift response

LJUBLJANA - The current inflation trends demand a resolute response of monetary, income and fiscal policies, central bank Governor Boštjan Vasle said. Inflation has been driven by the lingering consequences of the Covid pandemic and the war in Ukraine, said Vasle, adding that historically speaking such circumstances are rare. In terms of monetary policy, he believes it is sensible to continue the existing path toward normalcy, both via completion of the purchases of securities and gradual increase in interest rates which is already in the works at the EU level.

Parliament launches inquiry into financing of "party propaganda in media"

LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly launched a parliamentary inquiry into suspicions of illegal financing of "party political propaganda in the media with funds of state-owned companies, state institutions or foreign institutions or entities" targeting media owned by or linked with the SDS. The inquiry, requested by the coalition and covering the period from 13 March 2020 to the present, will investigate the suspicion of illegal financing of campaigns of political parties for the 24 April general election.

Slovenia's general government deficit down to 3.1% of GDP in Q1

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia recorded a general government deficit of EUR 405 million or 3.1% of GDP in the first quarter, less than half the deficit from the first quarter of last year, the latest Statistics Office figures show. General government revenue rose by 8.3% to EUR 5.65 billion on the back of an 11.7% increase of tax revenue and social security contributions that rose by 4.7%. Overall expenditure meanwhile amounted to EUR 6.05 billion, down 1.3% year-on-year. Consolidated gross debt stood at EUR 40.22 billion or 75.1% of GDP, up by EUR 1.37 billion over the end of 2021 due to fresh government borrowing.

Fajon and Šarec talk NATO's southern neighbourhood and W Balkans

MADRID, Spain - Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon attended on Wednesday a meeting of foreign ministers of NATO's southern neighbourhood held on the sidelines of the alliance's summit in Madrid. She stressed the importance of cooperation with partners in the region, especially in light of the changed geopolitical situation, her ministry said. Defence Minister Marjan Šarec meanwhile discussed the Western Balkans with his counterparts, stressing the importance of a Euro-Atlantic perspective of the region, reads a tweet by his ministry.

NIJZ director resigns, acting director appointed

LJUBLJANA - Milan Krek, the director of the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ) handed in his resignation citing "unbearable political pressure" by the new government. The decision comes after Health Minister Danijel Bešič Loredan made it clear he did not trust Krek with leading the top institution for pandemic measures after a two-year stint during which Krek has often been the target of criticism due to misguided messaging, fear-mongering and deference to government wishes. The council of the NIJZ appointed Branko Gabrovec, who has been with the NIJZ since 2014, acting director.

Minister, two EU commissioners back EU measures for Ukrainian students

LJUBLJANA - Together with two European commissioners, Margaritis Schinas and Mariya Gabriel, Education Minister Igor Papič expressed support for EU measures dedicated to helping Ukrainians students, the Education Ministry said. The three officials showed their support in a letter noting that joint efforts by the European Commission and EU member states have the same goal of ensuring education for all students, whether in the EU or in Ukraine.

Foreign direct investment in Slovenia up by 10% last year

LJUBLJANA - Foreign direct investment in Slovenia totalled EUR 18.4 billion last year, a EUR 1.7 billion or 10.4% increase year-on-year, the central bank said. Almost a quarter of all foreign direct investment came from Austria, followed by Luxembourg and Switzerland. Last year EUR 1.1 billion in profits was paid out to foreign investors, a more than 50% increase compared to 2020. Meanwhile, Slovenia's direct investment abroad totalled EUR 7.8 billion last year, up 11.8% on 2020. Companies abroad paid out EUR 175 million in profits to Slovenian owners in 2021, almost double the amount in 2020.

Survey unemployment rate inches down to 3.9% in May

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's ILO-compatible survey unemployment rate was at 3.9% in May, down by 0.1 percentage point on April and 0.6 percentage point year-on-year, the Statistics Office said. Their estimate shows there were some 40,000 unemployed people in Slovenia last month. The survey unemployment rate stood at 3.7% for men and 4.2% for women. Slovenia's registered unemployment figures are higher with the jobless total dropping to some 55,850 in May in what was the lowest figure since 1990.

Nearly 1,000 Covid cases confirmed on Wednesday

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia confirmed 996 new cases of Covid-19 on Wednesday, up by almost 30% on the week before, as hospital numbers rose slightly following more than two weeks of rapid case growth. The 14-day case notification rate stood at 414, up by 25 over yesterday.

Photo exhibition by Uli Weber opens at Ljubljana Castle

LJUBLJANA - An exhibition by world-renowned photographer Uli Weber will open at Ljubljana Castle this evening showcasing photographies of horses, celebrities and cars under the title Moments. His work has been featured in some of the most prominent museums worldwide and he is best known for his celebrity portraits. The exhibition will be on display until 4 September.

30 Jun 2022, 17:17 PM

STA, 30 June 2022 - The SDTS, the retail workers' union, said on Thursday that disgruntlement is growing in the sector in the face of stagnating wages despite ever growing profits. "There have been open demands for a strike," it said.

Addressing the press in Ljubljana, SDTS secretary general Ladi Rožič said the union had tested the sentiments with a petition. "We started with retailer Engrotuš and will continue with all major retail companies."

Tina Podbevšek of the Cedra centre for social research added that 640 signatures had been collected in two weeks and that membership of the Tuš Slovenija trade union associated with Engrotuš had grown by 50%.

Several demands have been addressed to employers, foremost among them a raising of the basic wage that the union insists must not be lower than the statutory minimum wage.

Also demanded are full travel costs, a holiday allowance of at least EUR 1,500 without the inclusion of coupons, an end to understaffing practices, and consistent adherence to collective bargaining agreements.

Rožič stressed that in 2021, 90,347 people worked in the sector that more than doubled its net profit from the preceding year to EUR 1.3 billion.

"Salas revenue grew by 25.1% at the annual level or by 5.1% when excluding motor fuels. Turnover grow, profits grew, while wages remain the same," he said.

He added the workforce was becoming smaller each year even though new shops were opening all the time.

Andraž Mali, also from Cedra, said that the focus on profit was built on pressure on suppliers and workers.

"The diving forces here are in particular the retail chains Lidl and Hofer, which are based on low prices and very high labour intensity that is a result of systemic understaffing. Other, more traditional chains in Slovenia, are increasingly following this trend," he explained.

The currently valid collective bargaining agreement envisages a basic pay of EUR 640,71 gross for sales assistants, which Rožič labelled as absurd even if employers are made to pay extra to met the legally prescribed EUR 1,074 minimum.

30 Jun 2022, 14:19 PM

STA, 30 June 2022 - Slovenia's annual inflation rate accelerated to 10.4% in June, up 2.3 percentage points from May, driven by rising prices of petroleum products, food and electricity, the Statistics Office said on Thursday. The monthly rate stood at 2.7%, an increase of 0.7 percentage points on the back of higher prices of electricity, vacation packages and food.

The annual inflation in June is the highest since 10.7% were recorded in July 1996. The last time annual inflation exceeded 10% was in September 1997, when it stood at 10.1%, while 10.3% were recorded in August 1996.

Higher prices of electricity, natural gas and other fuels contributed the most to the June rise on the annual level - 2.1 percentage points - with gas rising by 49.4%, heating by 43.6% and electricity by 29.4%.

This was followed by higher prices of petroleum products and food, which pushed inflation up by 1.9 percentage points. Prices of liquid fuels rose by 54.6%, and prices of fuels and lubricants for cars grew by 34.5%.

In the food segment, where prices went up by 12.8% year-on-year, bread and cereal products (16.2%) and meat (12.9%) recorded the biggest price hikes.

Meanwhile, the annual rate of inflation was moderated by 0.2 percentage points by cheaper services in the communications segment, where prices fell by 5.3%.

Measured with the harmonised index of consumer prices, an EU benchmark, Slovenia's annual inflation in June ran at 10.8%, which compares to 8.7% in May and 1.7% in June 2021, and the monthly rate stood at 2.3%.

The Statistics Office noted the jump came after inflation had been kept at bay in the first half of the year as a result of a lowering of excise duties on petroleum products, energy and cigarettes.

30 Jun 2022, 13:12 PM

STA, 30 June 2022 - Slovenia will receive EUR 1.49 billion in grants from the EU post-Covid recovery mechanism, which is almost EUR 286 million less than the initial allocation, show recalculations by the European Commission. The lower amount is a result of more favourable economic trends in 2020 and 2021 than originally estimated.

Just shy of EUR 1.78 billion was first earmarked for Slovenia under the EUR 672.5 billion European Recovery and Resilience Mechanism that is part of the EUR 750 billion Recovery Fund.

The calculation of these funds was based mainly on the size of population, GDP per capita compared to the EU average, and the average unemployment rate in 2015-2019 in relation to the EU average.

In addition to these criteria, the calculation for the allocation of 30% of the final amount also took into account the fall in GDP in real terms in 2020 and the overall real terms decline in economic activity in 2020-2021.

Regarding this segment, the regulation took into account the Commission's autumn 2020 economic forecast, but also provided for new recalculations for EU member states based on final data. The deadline for publishing the new figures was today.

In the Covid year 2020, Slovenia recorded a decline of "merely 4.2%" in GDP, and a 8.1% growth in 2021. Meanwhile, Brussels forecast in November 2020 that Slovenia would suffer a 7.1% GDP decrease and a 5.1% growth in 2021.

The actual situation was thus significantly better, and since the Slovenian economy fared better during the Covid crisis, with increased public spending and government stimulus measures, the country will now receive less in recovery grants.

Up to EUR 3.2 billion in loans are available to Slovenia in addition to these grants as part of the mechanism, under which the Commission borrows on behalf of member states and then allocates the funds to them, either through loans or grants. This ceiling is calculated as 6.8% of gross national income in 2019.

Same as other member states, Slovenia prepared the National Recovery and Resilience Plan based on this mechanism. The roadmap was approved at EU level a year ago, and the country envisaged EUR 2.5 billion to fund programmes and projects, including the entire quota of the grants allocated and EUR 705 million in loans.

Due to a lower grant allocation, the country will now have to make up the gap with loans. Even before the latest developments, the new government coalition said that it will strive to make use of the entire spectrum of possible funds through changes to the national plan. It has until the end of August 2023 to amend the plan.

Slovenia already received EUR 231 million in advance funding from the Commission for the implementation of the recovery plan last September, and is expected to apply for the first instalment of the grants of just over EUR 57 million by the end of this month.

30 Jun 2022, 10:42 AM

STA, 30 June 2022 - Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon will visit Berlin on Friday to meet her counterpart Annalena Baerbock. Fajon's first bilateral visit will focus on the crisis in Ukraine, as well as bilateral cooperation, the EU and the Western Balkans, the Foreign Ministry said ahead of the trip.

The foreign minister's trip to Germany comes ahead of a visit by Prime Minister Robert Golob to Berlin expected in July. For him as well this will be the first bilateral visit since taking office at the start of the month.

Fajon said in a recent interview with the STA that Berlin had been chosen for the first trip as Slovenian foreign policy turns "toward core countries of Europe" and to boost cooperation with "the axis Berlin-Paris-Rome".

She also underlined that her goal was to strengthen Slovenia's reputation abroad as a credible country dedicated to European values, the rule of law and democracy.

Her visit in Berlin will be dominated by the war in Ukraine and its consequences, above all the growing prices of energy and food.

At the start of the war, Germany was criticised by Kyiv for hesitating in its decision to send heavy weapons. On the other hand, Germany's response to the Russian invasion was considered resolute and praised by many, including Slovenia.

The war came after Germany had been strengthening its economic cooperation with Russia for years, becoming strongly dependent on its energy sources, with the North Stream 2 pipeline being especially contentious.

Now, Germany has decided to step up its defence spending and Prime Minister Olaf Scholz announced at the sidelines of the recent G7 summit that the country would build the biggest modern conventional military in Europe. Before that he also called for a Marshall plan to help rebuild Ukraine after the war.

Moreover, Germany has co-shaped a united response from the EU, NATO and G7, imposing the strictest sanctions against Russia to date and strengthening the deterrence and defence of NATO's eastern flank.

Among other things, Germany has sent several hundred additional soldiers to Lithuania as part of a NATO battle group, and the supply of heavy weapons to Ukraine has been launched as well. Slovenia was initially to be a part of this but the plan was not implemented.

Fajon meanwhile promised firm support of Slovenia for uniform stance of the EU and NATO on the war in Ukraine. She promised additional aid, including military aid, but above all humanitarian and development aid.

Slovenia has underlined its capacity to help with demining, which may be done in cooperation between Germany and the Slovenian ITF foundation.

Fajon also told the STA it was understandable to be worried about the consequences of the war for Slovenia, adding that issues have arisen relating to the effectiveness of the sanctions and their effects on Europe's economy.

She wants to see an in-depth debate on ways to strengthen diplomatic means to address the crisis and get both sides behind the negotiating table.

Slovenia is worried by security risks caused by the war in Ukraine in the Western Balkans and has been trying to speed up the debate on EU enlargement in the region, also by proposing immediate candidate status for Bosnia-Herzegovina.

While no concrete headway was made at the EU summit last week, Fajon and Golob believe that initiating an honest and exhaustive debate was a success in itself.

Germany has been a major advocate of the EU's enlargement onto the Western Balkans, even launching the Berlin Process in 2014. This year, Scholz and Baerbock have visited the Western Balkans, promising a revival of the Berlin Process.

Bilateral topics and economic diplomacy will also be on the agenda of Fajon's meetings in Berlin, and possibly also the renewal of a cooperation action plan until 2024. Fajon is moreover scheduled to meet German industry representatives.

Germany remains Slovenia's top trade partner, especially in automotive industries and new technologies. However, the outlook is not too good as German industry is worried by energy price hikes, logistical problems and material shortages, as well as grave uncertainties in global markets.

Moreover, high inflation and fear of a recession have driven consumer confidence to record low levels, while Russia has been reducing the amount of gas supplied to the country and Germany is bracing for the possibility of a total suspension of gas supplies.

The Slovenian Foreign Ministry said ahead of the visit that Fajon and Baerbock will also talk about the 2023 Frankfurt Book Fair, where Slovenia will be a guest of honour, and about support for the 2019 Stockholm Initiative for Nuclear Disarmament.

Political relations between Germany and Slovenia are considered excellent, with frequent visits and contacts. Baerbock hosted Fajon's predecessor Anže Logar in February.

In October 2021, outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Ljubljana, receiving the Order of Merit for Distinguished Service, Slovenia's highest honour, for her personal contribution to deepening the relationship between the two countries and for her credible and trust-inspiring European leadership.

30 Jun 2022, 06:23 AM

Check the date at the top of the page, and you can find all the "morning headlines" stories here. You can also follow us on Facebook and get all the news in your feed.

This summary is provided by the STA:

MPs pass amendments to communicable diseases act

LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed changes to the communicable diseases act in a 49 to 20 vote. While coalition parties backed the bill because it rectifies the segments of the law that were found to be unconstitutional, the opposition Democrats (SDS) voted against, and New Slovenia (NSi) decided not to oppose it by abstaining. The bill, which was drafted by the NGO Legal Network for the Protection of Democracy and was tabled by coalition MPs, imposes parliamentary oversight of Covid measures after the previous government's unconstitutional rule-by-decree.

SDS initiates referendum on act on the composition of government

LJUBLJANA - The opposition SDS initiated a referendum on the act governing the composition of government in a bid to thwart the new government's plans to expand the number of ministries. The party submitted 2,500 voter signatures at the National Assembly, which, once the signatures are counted, triggers a 35-day period during which the party must collect the 40,000 signatures needed to call a referendum. Since this window would fall on summer holidays, the signatures will be collected after 1 September.

SDS motions for referendum on RTVS fee and for changes to STA act voted down

LJUBLJANA - MPs rejected the Democrats' (SDS) motion for a referendum on the opposition party's own legislative proposal to scrap the compulsory subscription fee for public broadcaster RTV Slovenija. Also voted down was the SDS's proposal to have the government as opposed to parliament appoint the state's supervisors at the Slovenian Press Agency (STA). A number of other opposition-filed legislation proposals were rejected in parliament today, including an SDS motion addressing rules on the awarding of public licences to pharmacies deemed unconstitutional in some aspects by the Constitutional Court.

PM says Slovenia should meet NATO commitment of 2% of GDP sooner

MADRID, Spain - The government is expected to prepare a roadmap on the implementation of NATO commitments on defence spending within six months, said PM Robert Golob in a doorstep statement on the second day of the NATO summit in Madrid. Slovenia is currently expected to reach the 2% of its GDP mark in 2030, but this will need to be stepped up due to the global developments, he noted. A review of a deal involving the purchase of 45 Boxer APCs that was signed under the previous government will not have a significant impact on the implementation of the commitments, according to Golob.

Committee endorses Sweden's and Finland's bids to join NATO

LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Foreign Policy Committee endorsed motions for Slovenia to sign the NATO accession protocols of Sweden and Finland. Both countries decided to apply for NATO membership due to Russia's attack on Ukraine, and every country has the right to decide autonomously which alliance to join, committee members noted. The debate featured many condemnations of Russia's aggression against Ukraine, as well as some critical views of the Alliance and mainly the US. The coalition Left is against the motions, but PM Robert Golob said this was not a big deal.

New army force commander to take office on 1 August

LJUBLJANA - Major General Robert Glavaš, the chief of the general staff of the Slovenian Armed Forces (SAF), has relieved Major General Miha Škerbinc of his duties as the force commander, according to a report by the news portal 24ur.com which has been confirmed by the SAF. He will be succeeded by Glavaš's deputy, General Major Roman Urbanč, on 1 August, in what the SAF said was a "regular" replacement.

NBI gets new head in Boštjan Mlačnik

LJUBLJANA - Boštjan Mlačnik, who has so far served as the head of investigations, is taking over from Petra Grah Lazar as director of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the police said. Igor Lamberger has been replaced as the head of service of the director general of the police by Uroš Lepoša, Grah's predecessor. Acting Police Commissioner Boštjan Lindav also appointed Stanislav Vrečar, so far the deputy police commissioner, to a senior position in the police force.

Brežan says latest Fit for 55 measures address climate challenges

BRUSSELS, Belgium - EU environment ministers on Tuesday endorsed a plan to end sales of vehicles with internal combustion engines as of 2035 and agreed on a general approach to all other legislative acts as part of the Fit for 55 package. Slovenia's Uroš Brežan said that the proposed measures adequately addressed climate challenges and the green transition, read a press release by his ministry. "In the negotiations, we succeeded in making Slovenia a beneficiary of funds from the Modernisation Fund," Brežan said.

Govt approves EUR 1.83m in subsidies to ten airlines

LJUBLJANA - The Ministry of Economic Development and Technology decided to distribute almost EUR 1.83 million to ten airlines in a public tender for subsidies to improve Slovenia's air connectivity with the world. The selected airlines will perform more than 700 flights between Ljubljana and other countries as part of the deal. The funding will support the existing air links provided by eight airlines and establish two new routes - Ljubljana-Dubai and Ljubljana-London.

Minority in Hungary urged to get organised ahead of census

FELSŐSZÖLNÖK/SZENTGOTTHARD, Hungary - Minister for Slovenians Abroad Matej Arčon has urged the Slovenian minority in Hungary to get organised ahead of the census in Hungary so as to maximise the number of those who pick Slovenian as their ethnicity. "The first challenge that awaits us is the census in Hungary, which is essential for the preservation of the national community," he said during an introductory visit to the community.

NGOs will not be evicted from Metelkova compound

LJUBLJANA - After her predecessor launched proceedings for the eviction of several NGOs renting out the Culture Ministry's premises in Ljubljana's Metelkova Street, Asta Vrečko, the new culture minister, announced that the procedures would be terminated. The ministry has also cancelled plans to give the premises to the Museum of Natural Sciences and announced that talks on a renovation of the building would start in the summer.

Melamin slowly getting back on track

KOČEVJE - After the deadly accident in May, the Kočevje-based Melamin chemical company is slowly restarting production. The biomass-fuelled boiler room and one manufacturing unit are in working order again, while the wood and the paper industry units are expected to restart by mid-July, director Srečko Štefanič said. 140 out of the 220 employees are back at work, others are furloughed or on annual leave or temporarily working for Melamin subcontractors.

Gorenje served by dedicated trains from Trieste

VELENJE - Slovenian home appliances maker Gorenje will be supplied by a new dedicated train from the Port of Trieste, which will deliver raw materials and components to Velenje twice a week. The first delivery with the Hisense train was made on Tuesday, the company said. In the future, the new train line will also ship end products from Velenje to Trieste and from there all over the world. The Trieste port has been chosen by the logistics firm Cosco, while Slovenia's Koper remains the main port for Gorenje, the company said.

Covid case count more than doubles week-on-week

LJUBLJANA - The number of new coronavirus cases confirmed in Slovenia on Tuesday is more than double of the figure from a week ago, as 1,056 cases were detected. The number of patients hospitalised with Covid as their primary condition was slightly down on a daily basis, and there were no Covid deaths yesterday. The 14-day case notification rate per 100,000 population rose by 28 on a daily basis to 389, and the 7-day case average is at 697, which is 55 more than on the day before, reported the national health authorities.

Plečnik in the eyes of Geoffrey James on display in Vienna

VIENNA, Austria - An exhibition of photographs by the acclaimed Canadian photographer Geoffrey James that marks the 150th anniversary of birth of the great Slovenian architect Jože Plečnik will open this evening at Architekturzentrum Wien in Vienna. It focuses on the social and emotional aspects of the transformation of Ljubljana done by Plečnik. It features photographs taken at different times of the day and seasons to explore the complexity of Plečnik's urban spaces.

Slovenian wins diatonic accordion European championship

LJUBLJANA - Slovenian Danaja Grebenc won the 18th Diatonic Accordion European Championship in the Italian town of Attimis in the Friuli Venezia Giulia region on Sunday with the jury giving her a score of 100/100 points, her mentor Klemen Rošer announced. She was recognised for the most innovative arrangement of an original composition, won first place in her age group, and received a trophy as the absolute European diatonic accordion champion for 2022.

29 Jun 2022, 16:30 PM

STA, 29 June 2022 - After her predecessor launched proceedings for the eviction of several NGOs renting out the Culture Ministry's premises in Ljubljana's Metelkova Street, Asta Vrečko, the new culture minister, announced on Wednesday that the procedures would be terminated. The ministry has also cancelled plans to give the premises to the Museum of Natural Sciences.

Vrečko told the press after a meeting with the affected independent producers and organisations that her predecessor Vasko Simoniti and the previous government had pursued a fairly hateful discourse targeting NGOs.

While the ministry is aware of the infrastructure issues of the Museum of Natural Sciences, the ministry noted the building at Metelkova 6 had from the very start been intended for NGOs and that it needed to stay this way.

Vrečko announced the court proceedings meant to secure the eviction of 18 NGOs and six libraries would be terminated as soon as possible. Talks will probably also start in the summer on a much needed renovation of the building.

The director of the Peace Institute Iztok Šorli said on behalf of the users that today's meeting inspired optimism. He expects the new government to secure better conditions for NGOs in Slovenia when it comes to infrastructure.

29 Jun 2022, 12:50 PM

STA, 29 June 2022 - MPs rejected on Wednesday the Democrats' (SDS) motion for a referendum on the opposition party's own legislative proposal to scrap the compulsory subscription fee for public broadcaster RTV Slovenija. Also voted down was the SDS's proposal to have the government as opposed to parliament appoint the state's supervisors at the STA.

The RTVS motion for a consultative referendum, put forward with the argument that the broadcaster had lost up to 250,000 viewers in the past decade and that people should decide on their own if and how much subscription to pay, was rejected in a 54:28 vote.

While the SDS and the fellow opposition New Slovenia (NSi) argued the EUR 12.75 monthly fee was higher in Slovenia than in some other European countries and the efficacy of RTVS poorer, the Culture Ministry warned the changes sentinelled significant financial consequences and would prevent the provision of information in line with public interest.

The government labelled the referendum proposal unacceptable, saying the aim of the idea's proponents was to financially ruin the public broadcaster.

Meanwhile, the National Assembly also rejected the SDS's proposal for changes to the act on the Slovenian Press Agency (STA).

In line with the changes, the government and no longer parliament would appoint four of the STA's supervisors, while the changes would also affect rules governing the agency's income from copyrighted photos.

MPs voted 54:22 against the proposal, with the coalition arguing that it ran counter to its commitment for changes to media legislation that would reduce political influence, boost the independence of public media and secure stable funding for content that is in public interest.

The government had moreover argued that the proposal was not based on studies concerning the agency's execution of its public service and market activities and lacked an assessment of the impact, especially on the STA's financial situation.

A number of other opposition-filed legislation proposals were rejected in parliament today, including an SDS motion addressing rules on the awarding of public licences to pharmacies deemed unconstitutional in some respects by the Constitutional Court.

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