Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Friday, 24 June 2022

By , 24 Jun 2022, 07:55 AM News
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This summary is provided by the STA:

Golob and Zelensky have first talk, Ukraine's candidacy in focus

LJUBLJANA/KYIV, Ukraine - Prime Minister Robert Golob had his first conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday, with the talk focusing on the status of an EU candidate country that is expected to be given to Ukraine at today's EU summit. The Slovenian government said on Twitter that Golob assured the Ukrainian president that although there had been a change of government in Slovenia, the country's attitude towards Ukraine had not changed. A post by Zelensky said that the Ukrainian president "expressed gratitude for the readiness to support granting Ukraine the status of a candidate for accession to the EU."

Golob hopes for consensus on Bosnia candidate status

BRUSSELS, Belgium - Arriving for an EU summit, Prime Minister Robert Golob expressed the hope that EU leaders will reach a consensus on giving Bosnia-Herzegovina candidate country status at the summit as he dismissed reports by some media that Slovenia is willing to block Ukraine's bid to achieve that. "There has been no talk about a blockade, nor has there been any need to," he said on arrival at the summit about reports by some foreign media that Slovenia and Austria would block the adoption of summit conclusions unless Bosnia-Herzegovina gets candidate status.

Justice Committee endorses declaration on war crimes in Ukraine

LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Justice Committee unanimously endorsed a draft declaration on the European Parliament's resolution on fighting impunity for war crimes in Ukraine, which was tabled by the opposition Democrats (SDS). The committee voted for the motion a day after the government endorsed the resolution. The EU parliament's resolution calls on the EU to take all the necessary measures to support prosecution of those who have committed crimes against humanity in Ukraine.

Slovenia stresses its opposition to Austria's border checks

LJUBLJANA - Interior Minister Tatjana Bobnar reiterated Slovenia's position of opposing Austria's border checks on their joint border nearly a fortnight after an Austrian administrative court decided that the border checks, which have been in place since 2017, are unlawful. Such control of the border can only be of limited duration and must be in line with the principle of proportionality, Bobnar said after a government session, adding that Austria's actions were inadmissible.

Golob attends summit of European Liberals, discussing role of Renew

BRUSSELS, Belgium - PM Robert Golob, the leader of the Freedom Movement, took part in a summit of leaders from the liberal Renew group in the European Parliament on the sidelines of an EU summit in Brussels today. He said they had agreed it might be time for Renew to be at the forefront of European change as the strongest political movement.

Verbal communication allowed between prosecution, police once again

LJUBLJANA - The government changed a regulation laying down the cooperation between the police and the prosecution and other bodies in pre-trial procedure, abolishing a restriction that allowed prosecutors to communicate their orders to the police only in written form. The restriction was put in place by the previous government.

Supervisors in nine hospitals replaced due to poor financial results

LJUBLJANA - The government has replaced members of the supervisory boards of nine hospitals due to the institutions' poor financial performance and will carry out a special audit to see how they continue to post losses despite receiving hundreds of millions of euros in extra funding last year. The aim is to stabilise their finances and make sure they emerge from the red by the end of the year, Health Minister Danijel Bešič Loredan told the press after a cabinet session.

Lawyer Pirc Musar announces presidential run

LJUBLJANA - Lawyer Nataša Pirc Musar, best known in her former role as information commissioner, announced she would enter the presidential race in the autumn election as an independent, becoming the first candidate to formally announce her bid. "For several years I've had this desire to do something in Slovenian society and politics and the role of president would fit like a glove," she told the press. To run as an independent, Pirc Musar must collect 5,000 voter signatures. While she plans to formally run as an independent in any case, she says she is not averse to discussing receiving support from political parties.

Govt abolishes two duties to cut diesel prices along motorways

LJUBLJANA - The government adopted two regulations to temporarily abolish two environmental duties on diesel at service stations on the motorway network, where prices are fully liberalised. The measure to lower the price of diesel to help hauliers will take effect when published in the Official Gazette, on Friday at the earliest. It is designed to cut the price of diesel along motorways - where it has topped EUR 2 a litre since liberalisation kicked in on Tuesday - to the level outside motorways, currently at EUR 1.848.

No foul play detected by inspectors at service stations

LJUBLJANA - Checks carried out by market inspectors at service stations across Slovenia in the aftermath of severe fuel shortages have not produced indications that fuel retailers intentionally kept supplies low to take advantage of higher prices after the transition to a new price regulation model. The inspectors found there were severe jumps in fuel sales the weekend before the new pricing model took effect, according to chief market inspector Andreja But.

Brussels opens in-depth investigation into MOL's acquisition of OMV Slovenija

BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Commission said it had opened an in-depth investigation to assess Hungarian energy group MOL's purchase of service stations of OMV Slovenija, the second largest such network in Slovenia. Brussels is worried that the takeover would severely reduce competition on the Slovenian retail motor fuel market. MOL signed a EUR 301 million contract in June 2021 to acquire a 92.25% stake in OMV Slovenija while it already holds the remaining 7.75% stake through Croatia's INA. The deal means MOL - with 53 filling stations the third largest fuel retailer in Slovenia - would get another 120 stations around the country.

Govt secures more staff to care for Ukrainian children in Postojna

LJUBLJANA - The government has secured more staff to help Ukrainian guardians take care of the 20 children from a Luhansk orphanage who are temporarily staying in the village of Slavina near Postojna. A vehicle will also be purchased for transporting children to different institutions and activities. The government made the decision after calls were made for more staff to attend to the orphans, aged between one and seven, who arrived in Slovenia accompanied by their guardians and their children in early May.

Panel discusses ways of transposing EU copyright directive

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia is behind in implementing the EU directive on copyright on the single digital market, which covers areas such as publishing, journalism, education and the audio visual industry, so panellists at Thursday's STA-hosted discussion called on the authorities to finally regulate this field. Slovenia's audiovisual industry is worth over EUR 200 million a year, employs 2,500-3,000 staff, has a 1.8 multiplier effect and, comparatively speaking, is on a par with Norway, film producer Danijel Hočevar said.

Sava Re shareholders to get EUR 1.50 dividend

LJUBLJANA - The shareholders of insurance company Sava Re approved the proposal of the management and supervisory boards to distribute EUR 23.3 million from last year's distributable profit of EUR 37.05 million for dividends. The dividend will amount to EUR 1.50 gross per share, and the rest of the distributable profit will remain unallocated.

Property prices in Slovenia continue to rise in Q1

LJUBLJANA - Property prices were up 4.1% in the first quarter of this year compared with the previous quarter and up 16.9% year-on-year, the Statistics Office said. The prices of resale flats and houses have been rising continuously on a quarterly basis for more than two years. In the first three months of 2022, they went up by 5.2% - resale flat prices by 5.5% and resale house prices by 4.7%. Geographically-wise, resale property prices rose the most in Maribor, by 6.9%, followed by the rest of Slovenia, up 6.3%, and Ljubljana, up 5.3%. Prices of new residential property declined after five consecutive quarterly increases.

Govt urged to draft bill on protection of whistleblowers

LJUBLJANA - Transparency International Slovenia urged the government to fulfil a pledge made before the general election to pass an effective law on whistleblower protection within the first year of the government's term. Whistleblowers must be protected to help fight corruption and ensure a higher level of democracy, it said on the occasion of World Whistleblower Day. The new law must do more than just transfer the EU directive on the protection of whistleblowers into Slovenian legislation, it added.

Govt does not support mandatory drug testing for office holders

LJUBLJANA - The government said it did not support an opposition-sponsored bill that would require MPs, ministers, state secretaries as well as the prime minister and the president of the republic to undergo mandatory annual drug testing. The bill excessively interferes with individual privacy, the Government Communications Office said.

Covid case count up nearly 40% week-on-week

LJUBLJANA - A total of 763 people tested positive for coronavirus in Slovenia on Wednesday, up by 39% over the same day a week ago. There were no additional Covid deaths and hospitalisations remained stable, fresh official figures show. The number of patients treated for Covid-19 as their main condition in hospitals totalled 39, including six who needed intensive care, which is a slight increase on the day before. Compared to the same day a week ago, hospitalisations were up by seven.

Number of travels up by more than 50% in first quarter

LJUBLJANA - The first quarter of 2022 in Slovenia saw the overall number of travels increase by over 50% year-on-year, the Statistics Office reported, noting that 22% of Slovenians over the age of 15 opted for at least one private trip. Slovenians over the age of 15 made some 976,000 travels in total between January and the end of March. The number of private travels rose by 14 percentage points year-on-year, and by 17 percentage points compared to 2020, with 377,000 people going on at least one trip.

Roman Rozina's Hundred Years of Blindness declared best novel of the year

LJUBLJANA - The winner of the 32nd Kresnik Prize for best novel of the year, given out by the publisher Delo, is Roman Rozina. He convinced the jury with his historical novel Sto Let Slepote (Hundred Years of Blindness), portraying the Knap family and the rise and fall of mining in the 20th century. The other four nominees were Davorin Lenko with his novel Triger, Andrej E. Skubic with Krasni Dnevi (Wonderful Days), Dušan Šarotar with Zvezdna Karta (Star Map) and Marjan Žiberna with Dedič (Heir).

Ana Desetnica brings street theatre to 13 cities

LJUBLJANA - The Ana Desetnica street theatre festival will open today, taking place until 3 July in 13 Slovenian cities, with most events being held in Ljubljana, including the opening event and the birthday party. Having first started in the capital 25 years ago, the festival will bring shows to 12 other towns this year, including Maribor, Ptuj, Kamnik, Logatec and Nova Gorica. Almost 100 artists from 10 countries will travel between the cities for 11 days to perform 37 shows and urban interventions.

Speaker advocates minority rights during visit to Klagenfurt

KLAGENFURT, Austria - Parliamentary Speaker Urška Klakočar Zupančič visited Klagenfurt to mark 30 years since Slovenia opened its general consulate in the city. She underlined the importance of Article 7 of the Austrian State Treaty, which guarantees the rights of the Slovenian minority. Addressing the ceremony, she said that "suitably regulated and implemented minority safeguards were a key standard of democracy in modern societies, and they must be continually developed and improved".

Minority radio station gets access to Radio Slovenija shows, assistance

LJUBLJANA - Radio Monošter, a Slovenian minority radio station in Hungary, has entered cooperation with Radio Slovenija that enables it to broadcast shows of the Slovenian public radio broadcaster. The contract was signed on Wednesday, a day before the radio station from the town of Szentgotthard/Monošter, celebrates 22 years since it went on air. It gives Radio Monošter access to all Radio Slovenija shows, including the music archives, as well as to Slovenian language training and other assistance.

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