Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Friday, 19 April 2019

By , 19 Apr 2019, 02:29 AM News
Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Friday, 19 April 2019 JL Flanner

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A schedule of all the main events involving Slovenia this week can be found here

Visiting Ljubljana? Check out what's on this week, while all our stories on Slovenia, from newest to oldest, are here

This summary is provided by the STA

Budget blueprints just within fiscal rule

LJUBLJANA - The Fiscal Council found the budgets planned for 2020-2022 to be on the edge of what is still acceptable under the fiscal rule. While the 2019 budget violates the fiscal rule, the blueprint of 2020-2022 general government sector budgets adopted last week "walk the edge," said council chair Davorin Kračun. The blueprint projects for budget revenue to exceed expenditure by 1% of GDP in 2020. In the two years after that the surplus is to increase even more.

Govt tightens control of bad bank

LJUBLJANA - The government adopted guidelines that will give it more say over the day-to-day dealings of the Bank Assets Management Company (BAMC). These come in response to several controversial decisions adopted by the bad bank and an adverse audit report that highlighted serious shortcomings in governance. The guidelines stipulate that the bad bank will have to consult the government before taking strategic decisions, such as sale of property designated in national documents as strategically important.

Slovenia catching up with EU peers in development

LJUBLJANA - The Institute of Economic Analysis and Development released its annual development report which finds that the gap between Slovenia's economic development and the EU average has been narrowing since 2016. Nevertheless, the country will have to speed up its productivity growth, adjust to demographic change, promote the role of the state in development, and protect the environment. Productivity growth since the crisis has remained modest and innovation indices are negative.

Govt adopts proposal to enter sign language into constitution

LJUBLJANA - The government submitted to parliament the proposal to set down the Slovenian sign language as an official language in the constitution, starting the procedure of enabling the Slovenian deaf and hearing-impaired community to fully exercise their basic human rights. Labour Minister Ksenija Klampfer said the deaf and hearing-impaired considered the sign language their native tongue so its status needed to be regulated. There are around 1,000 deaf people and some 100 deaf-blind in Slovenia who use the sign language.

Real estate valuation delayed by nearly a year

LJUBLJANA - The government adopted legislative amendments to delay the next round of real estate appraisal until next year. Instead of this summer, the valuation will be completed by the end of March 2020. Environment and Spatial Planning Minister Simon Zajc said that the changes to the act on mass appraisal of real estate were needed to allow more time to find consensus about valuation models used. The appraisal is basis for the introduction of the real estate tax, which has been delayed for years.

Slovenia unlikely to hit 2020 renewables target

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia is unlikely to hit the target to raise the share of renewables in total gross energy consumption to 25% by 2020, suggest government documents released on Thursday. Getting there would require tripling the pace of increase achieved in 2010-2017. The share of renewables stood at 21.5% in 2017, 3.5 percentage points or two terawatt hours short of the target, the Government Communications Office said.

Producers and sellers now liable for disposal of waste candles

LJUBLJANA - The government adopted a decree mandating that producers and sellers of grave candles will be liable for the disposal of waste candles. Specially designated waste collecting companies have so far been responsible for disposal, but they have faced mounting problems since the system is underfunded, with mountains of waste candles building up as a result. It is estimated that Slovenians buy 16 million grave candles each year, generating hundreds of tonnes of waste that has to be carefully disposed.

Judge pressure allegations not deemed as dramatic as presented

LJUBLJANA - The Ljubljana District Court established that the allegations of pressure, made by judge Zvjezdan Radonjić as he delivered the verdict on Tuesday acquitting Milko Novič for the December 2014 murder of Chemistry Institute director, were not as dramatic as presented to the public. "The motion for exclusion and the writing by the head of the Specialised Prosecution Service cannot represent unlawful pressure, even less can such actions be perceived as a demand for disciplining the judge," the court said.

EU projection: SDS/SLS and SD to win two MEPs each

LJUBLJANA - The last projection released by the European Parliament before May's elections forecasts that the opposition Democrats (SDS), running on a joint ticket with the non-parliamentary People's Party (SLS), will win two seats, as many as the coalition Social Democrats (SD). The other four Slovenian seats are projected to go one each to the ruling Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) and the opposition Left, National Party (SNS) and New Slovenia (NSi). Compared to the previous projection, the LMŠ lost two seats.

EU issues top agenda of Hungarian official's visit

LJUBLJANA - Foreign Ministry State Secretary Dobran Božič received Hungarian Minister of State for EU Relations Judit Varga for talks on EU issues, the Foreign Ministry said. The officials debated issues including "respect for the principles of the rule of law and the future of the Union, in particular in light of the coming European Parliament elections."

Petrol shareholders endorse record dividend payout

LJUBLJANA - The shareholders' meeting of energy company Petrol endorsed the management's proposal to pay out a record EUR 37.6m in dividends at EUR 18 gross per share, two euro more than last year. The remaining EUR 12.2m out of the EUR 49.8m in distributable profit to be retained for other reserves. Czech financial group J&T as the biggest single shareholder (12.78%) raised its demand to be represented on the supervisory board. The state holds a combined 32% in Petrol directly and indirectly.

Housing fund secures loan for 800-unit developments

LJUBLJANA - The national Housing Fund has secured a EUR 50m loan from the Council of Europe Development Bank to build 600-plus affordable rental units in two developments in Ljubljana, and a 200-unit development in Maribor. The flats are scheduled for completion in 2021. The flats will go some way towards addressing a pressing shortage of affordable housing in Slovenia, although demand is significantly higher with estimates suggesting Ljubljana would need 4,000 affordable rental flats now.

Govt sets priorities in fight against crime

LJUBLJANA - The government endorsed a draft resolution on the new national strategy for the prevention of crime in 2019-2023. The resolution addresses different types of crime, including terrorism and hate speech. Terrorism is not considered a direct threat to Slovenia, but the possibility of terrorist activities cannot be excluded, especially targeting foreign representations in the country. Special concern is violent extremism, supported by religion, in the Western Balkans, and in Austria and Italy.

Air quality in Ljubljana improving, cycling on the rise

LJUBLJANA - The air quality in Ljubljana today is significantly better than it was decades ago, Nataša Jazbinšek Seršen of the environment department of the Ljubljana city told the press. The situation has improved so drastically also because increasingly many people cycle rather than drive a car in the city. Contributing the most to air quality, however, was the development of the city's heating system. In 2015, 74% of the population used the system and the goal is to raise this share to 80% by 2024.

Hypersonic vehicle to represent Slovenia at Venice Biennial

LJUBLJANA - A project titled Here We Go Again...System 317 will represent Slovenia at the upcoming 58th International Art Exhibition in Venice. Creator Marko Peljhan revealed that the project would feature a hypersonic propulsion vehicle enabling visitors to reflect on the current global state. The contribution concludes Peljhan's 20-year artistic project Resolution and will enable visitors to pose questions and search for answers regarding the current environmental and political situation in the world.

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