Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Friday, 26 August 2022

By , 26 Aug 2022, 06:37 AM News
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This summary is provided by the STA


Tourism trumps pre-Covid figures in July

LJUBLJANA - Slovenian tourism surpassed record-high figures posted in 2019 in July as foreign visitors returned to the country, accounting for three-quarters of the nights spent at tourism accommodation facilities. Data from the Statistics Office shows visitors spent 2.7 million nights at the country's tourist accommodation facilities in July, an increase of 17% on the same month a year ago and 5% above the July 2019 figure. Visitor arrivals were up by nearly a fourth to 952,000 from July last year.

Telekom Slovenije posts 10% higher H1 profit on flat sales

LJUBLJANA - Telekom Slovenije, the Slovenian incumbent telco, saw its group net profit in the first half of the year rise by 10% year-on-year to EUR 23.4 million as sales revenue dropped by 1% to EUR 314.2 million. Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) were up by 6% year-on-year to EUR 31.1 million, but earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) fell by 1% to EUR 112.2 million, which the company attributes in part to rising energy prices.

Wolt determined to stick to its business model

LJUBLJANA - Clemens Brugger, the director of the Slovenian branch of Wolt, said the food delivery company was sticking to its business model that is based on flexibility, despite calls for changes. Talking with the STA in an interview, he said most couriers were happy with the current working conditions, but he announced that the company would change the pay system slightly. He said surveys among staff showed almost 90% of some 500 couriers who responded were happy with the working conditions.

Municipal utility to halt gas supply to consumers

VELENJE - The public utility of the Velenje municipality announced it would stop supplying natural gas to its end users on 1 October, in what appears to be the first such case in Slovenia during the ongoing gas supplies crisis prompted by the war in Ukraine. "Despite several calls, no gas distributor has sent in an offer to allow us to continue providing gas to end users after 1 October," Komunalno Podjetje Velenje said in a statement.

Business sentiment improves in August

LJUBLJANA - Business sentiment improved in August after deteriorating for three months. The index was up by 0.9 percentage points to -0.3 points, mostly due to rising confidence in the services sector, the Statistics Office reported. Compared to August 2021, the sentiment indicator decreased by 6.8 percentage points, mainly due to deterioration in the sentiment in manufacturing, consumer confidence and in construction.

Pahor to receive Czech Jože Plečnik Award

LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor will be honoured with the Grand Award of Jože Plečnik on Friday, the president's office said in a press release. On the 150th anniversary of the Slovenian architect's birth, Pahor will become the first statesman to receive the architectural award given out by the Prague Castle Administration. He will host a ceremony to honour the anniversary at the Presidential Palace, the press release added.

Speaker of upper chamber to run for president on broad enough support

LJUBLJANA - National Council Speaker Alojz Kovšca expressed the desire to run for president and called on parties to support his bid. He will file the candidacy only if backed by a wide range of political parties, movements and distinguished individuals. Without such support it would not make sense to run, he told the press. He has informed the party Concretely, whose vice president he is, of his willingness to run and got some positive feedback but the party has not yet decided on supporting his bid.

Opposition challenging omnibus repeal law in court

LJUBLJANA - The opposition Democrats (SDS) and New Slovenia (NSi) asked the Constitutional Court to review a bill repealing the amendments to eleven laws passed under the previous, SDS-led government. The omnibus bill filed by the 8 March Institute NGO was passed in July, when the SDS announced it would challenge it at the court. The two parties consider the law to be in contradiction with several provisions in the constitution, proposing the court to stay its implementation immediately.

Spending in supplementary budget to hit all time high

LJUBLJANA - The government adopted the starting points for the drafting of this year's supplementary budget and set out a new breakdown of expenditure. With significant revenue growth projected, the new document envisages around EUR 14.5 billion in expenditure, up by nearly EUR 600 million on the existing budget. This would be Slovenia's all-time high expenditure.

Govt decides to reach gas supply agreement with Croatia

LJUBLJANA - The government decided to reach an agreement on solidarity measures to ensure security of gas supply with Croatia. The agreement would allow Slovenia to ask Croatia to provide gas to Slovenia's protected customers if gas supply was disrupted, and vice versa. A similar agreement with Italy has already been ratified, and activities to sign one with Austria are also under way.

Czechia to join Slovenia's NATO excellence centre

LJUBLJANA - The government approved the joining by Czechia in the NATO Mountain Warfare Centre of Excellence. Czechia will contribute one armed forces member to work at the centre in the village of Poljče, at the base of Karavanke mountains, as well as funding for the centre, the Defence Ministry said in a press release. The cooperation will be laid down in two notes.

Govt presents analysis of staffing by its predecessor

LJUBLJANA - The government presented an analysis of hiring in the state administration between 1 January 2020 and 2 June 2022. Immediately after being sworn in, it decided to review all appointments, reassignments and promotions to see whether some staff got the job through political connections. Minister Sanja Ajanović Hovnik said the analysis was not a witch hunt, noting that before the current government took over, a 300% increase in open-ended hiring was seen in cabinet employees.

All performed healthcare services to be paid for as of 1 September

LJUBLJANA - Health Minister Danijel Bešič Loredan announced that all healthcare services provided in the public system will be paid for from 1 September in what is one of the measures from a decree adopted by the government. The ministry will not determine the scope of the programme that healthcare institutions need to perform as could be concluded from the press release after Wednesday's correspondence session, he said after concerns were raised that the government is intervening in healthcare.

Govt adopts two copyright bills

LJUBLJANA - The government adopted two bills to modernise copyrights and related rights and sent them to the National Assembly to be fast-tracked through parliament as the deadline to implement relevant EU directives expired in June last year. The penalty for failure to do so until now tops EUR 2 million. Economy Minister Matjaž Han said at a news conference that both bills were endorsed after "a long, expert, very thorough and intensive coordination" process that took two years.

Ministry proposes bill to keep school meal prices flat

LJUBLJANA - The Education Ministry put forward an emergency bill to keep the prices of school meals and student dorms the same as last year despite rising costs. The difference in the prices would be covered from the state budget by allocating EUR 11.7 million - EUR 2.6 million would be paid out this year and just over EUR 9 million next year. The bill is now under public consultation with remarks accepted until 9 September.

Fotopub scandal moving to parliament

LJUBLJANA - The opposition Democrats (SDS) asked for an emergency session of the parliamentary Culture Committee to urge the Culture Ministry to produce a report on the use of public funds by NGOs in the culture sector over the past decade. The request comes in the wake of a scandal in which Fotopub gallery head Dušan Smodej is alleged to have sexually abused young women. The SDS is worried the Left's leader Luka Mesec, now labour minister, may have known about this. The Left and Mesec distanced themselves from Smodej and condemned any sexual violence on Monday.

SDS urges emergency session of agri committee over drought

LJUBLJANA - The opposition Democrats (SDS) requested an emergency session of the parliamentary Agriculture Committee to discuss drought-related financial aid for farmers. They would call on the government to prepare an emergency law within one month to help farmers facing severe droughts and the rise in the prices of energy products and raw materials. The SDS deputy group has other proposals in mind as well.

UKC Ljubljana boss sees no reason to step down

LJUBLJANA - Jože Golobič sees no reason to step down as director general of Slovenia's largest medical centre UKC Ljubljana as urged to do by Health Minister Danijel Bešič Loredan. In a note to the minister, PM and members of the UKC council obtained by the STA, Golobič rejected all accusations and labelled the call for resignation a political move. He blamed poor investment, pay anomalies and flawed education system for problems in healthcare. If the UKC council decides he should go, he will honour the decision.

Cybersecurity incidents up 14.5% in 2021

LJUBLJANA - A total of 3,177 cybersecurity incidents were recorded in Slovenia in 2021, a 14.5% rise over 2020, according to a report released by the the national Computer Emergency Response Team (SI-CERT). The year was marked by a large number of information disclosure vulnerabilities, with supply chain vulnerabilities at the forefront. Phishing attacks again stood out among the reported incidents, increasing by 37% to 950. A large number of incidents were malicious code injections, at 306.

IT courses for over-55s suspended

LJUBLJANA - Acting on an appeal from the Government Office for Digital Transformation, the Slovenian Regional Development Fund ordered all providers of courses at which citizens aged 55 or more would improve their digital competences to suspend all related activities. The suspension comes after the office found suspicion of a number of irregularities in the selection process and with some providers of the courses, especially Smart Naris.

Free self-testing kits to be available for uni students too

LJUBLJANA - In addition to primary and secondary school students, university students will also be entitled to ten free self-testing kits per month in the new school year, the government decided under a decree that takes into account the health authority's recommendations. The self-testing kits will be available from Monday, and the testing will be voluntary.

Wednesday's Covid count up on week before

LJUBLJANA - Health authorities in Slovenia reported 1,571 new cases of coronavirus for Wednesday, an increase of 27% from the same day a week ago. Two patients with Covid-19 died. Figures released by the Health Ministry show 90 patients required hospital treatment for Covid-19, eleven of whom were in intensive care. The latter figure is the same as a week ago and the former is up by two. According to the National Institute of Public Health, the 14-day incidence per 100,000 of the population rose to 898.

Nights in Old Ljubljana get under way

LJUBLJANA - The largest street music festival in the Slovenian capital starts tonight with a concert by Bakalina Velika in the Novi Trg square. The 34th Nights in Old Ljubljana will see 21 free-of-charge events in six venues in three days, featuring more than 90 musicians from nine countries. Highlights include Caribbean voodoo blues rock band Moonlight Benjamin from France, and Spanish flamenco, jazz and electronica band Sentido Project, which will perform with Slovenian jazz saxophone player Jure Pukl.

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