A schedule of all the main events involving Slovenia this week can be found here
This summary is provided by the STA:
Conference calls for job creation in Africa
LJUBLJANA - The 8th Africa Day conference got under way, focusing on relations between Africa and Europe, and economic and investment opportunities in Africa. The opening debate heard calls for creating jobs for young people in Africa. Foreign Minister Miro Cerar urged enhancing dialogue and cooperation between Europe and Africa, and between Slovenia and Africa. As part of the efforts, Slovenia signed an economic cooperation memorandum with Ghana on the sidelines of the event. The conference is featuring the foreign ministers of Cape Verde and Central African Republic, among others.
US curtails activities at military exercises in Slovenia
LJUBLJANA - The US army has decided to curtail ongoing military activities in Slovenia due to restrictions imposed at the Poček grounds near Postojna. "US Forces are awaiting concrete rules and guidelines, to be outlined by the Ministry of Defence in consultation with local municipalities, so that they can forecast, plan, and conduct future training within those rules and guidelines," the US Embassy told the STA on Wednesday.
Govt to help Slovenians get out of Venezuela
LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Miro Cerar told the parliamentary Foreign Policy Committee that the ministry would host consular days in Caracas this month to help Slovenians in Venezuela who want to leave the country get the necessary documents. Cerar said the situation in the country "is bad, and is getting worse, with no signs of a peace process whatsoever". Around 300 Slovenian citizens and a few hundred persons of Slovenian descent living in Venezuela are in need of help.
Slovenia considering pulling peacekeepers out of Mali, Lebanon
LJUBLJANA - The Defence Ministry is considering withdrawing Slovenian members from the peacekeeping missions in Mali and Lebanon. Foreign Minister Miro Cerar told the parliamentary Foreign Policy Committee that his and the Defence Ministry were considering the next course of action and the position would be presented to the government. Eight Slovenian force members are involved in the EUTM Mali EU mission and 15 in the the Unifil Lebanon UN peacekeeping mission, data as of April show.
EIB approves EUR 250m loan for Koper-Divača track
LJUBLJANA - The board of directors of the European Investment Bank (EIB) approved a EUR 250 million loan for the construction of a second rail track between rail hub Divača and Koper port. The approval is considered a significant step in securing the funds still missing for the project, estimated at just under EUR 1.2 billion. The state-guaranteed loan will be taken out by 2TDK, a company incorporated with the purpose of building and managing the new track.
Prince Edward advocates non-formal education
LJUBLJANA - Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, wrapped up his two-day visit to Slovenia by attending an event held as part of the international Duke of Edinburgh Award programme, and planting a tree of friendship between the UK and Slovenia in Ljubljana's Tivoli Park together with President Borut Pahor. He also took part in a debate hosted by the British-Slovenian Chamber of Commerce in which he talked about the importance of non-formal education. Apart from Pahpr, the prince also met PM Marjan Šarec.
New attempt to convert franc loans to euro
LJUBLJANA - The National Council, the upper chamber of parliament, adopted a bill to help several thousand people who took out mortgages in Swiss francs and ran into trouble when the Swiss central bank stopped protecting the value of the currency in 2015. The bill would make it obligatory for banks to convert all Swiss franc loans to euro at the exchange rate valid at the time the loan agreement was signed. A similar bill, filed in December 2017, was harshly criticised by banks and the ECB.
Unions threaten referendum if minimum wage law amended
LJUBLJANA - Trade unions announced they would fight with all means available what they believe are concealed attempts to change the law on minimum wage to gratify employers, as suggested by statements by government officials and debates held by employers. Representatives of the trade union confederations ZSSS and Pergam told the press they were ready to push for a referendum on the minimum wage law if it was changed. The Left said it would help them collect signatures for the vote. Meanwhile, the Labour Ministry said there was no reason to change the law.
Eastern region pushing for cohesion policy changes
MARIBOR - Mayors and representatives of regional development agencies in eastern Slovenia, gathered for a meeting in Maribor, called for a change of the cohesion policy concept and regional policy. They said that cohesion policy as implemented in the period 2007-2019 was not producing results as the gap between the more developed west and the less developed east is widening. Maribor Mayor Saša Arsenovič urged decentralisation, proposing Maribor get an office for the drawing of cohesion policy funds.
Triglav reports higher Q1 profit, premiums
LJUBLJANA - The insurance group Zavarovalnica Triglav posted a pre-tax profit of EUR 29.9 million in the first quarter of 2019, up 8% year-on-year, while also recording the same growth rate in consolidated gross premiums, which amounted to EUR 317 million. The company's unaudited quarterly report said that the group's premium growth on most of its markets exceeded the growth of the markets as a whole. The group collects 76% of consolidated premiums in Slovenia.
Cinkarna Celje revenue, profit down in Q1
CELJE - The chemical company Cinkarna Celje reported net sales revenue of EUR 45.5 million for the first quarter of the year, a drop 13% year-on-year. Net profit plummeted 64% to EUR 4.6 million and exports fell by 11% to EUR 40.6 million. The company blamed the poorer results on lower prices of titanium dioxide pigment, its main product, and uncertainty about future economic trends. It also said that the first quarter of the year was a low season for the company.
Average pay up in March
LJUBLJANA - Average monthly gross pay in Slovenia amounted to EUR 1,752 in March, a 2.2% increase on February in nominal terms and a 1.5% increase in real terms. Compared to March 2018, gross pay was up by 4.9% in nominal and by 3.2% in real terms, the Statistics Office reported. Average net pay amounted to EUR 1,12, a 2.6% year-in-year increase in real terms. Net pay in the public sector rose by 2.8% on the monthly basis in March. In the private sector it was up by 1.3%.
Ex-head of Serb Orthodox Church found guilty of embezzlement in retrial
LJUBLJANA - Peran Bošković, the former leader of the Ljubljana Serb Orthodox community, who was found guilty of embezzlement in July 2017, was convicted of the same offence in a retrial and again given a six-month suspended prison sentence by the Ljubljana District Court. The judge also ordered Bošković to return the illegally obtained assets. He is required to return EUR 33,689 during a one-year period.
Two Slovenian pro cyclists suspended for doping
AIGLE, Switzerland - The world body for sports cycling, UCI, provisionally suspended Slovenian riders Kristijan Koren and Borut Božič after receiving information about doping suspicions from the Austrian law enforcement authorities. The Slovenian riders were suspended along with Italian Alessandro Petacchi and Croat Kristijan Đurasek as part of blood doping investigation codenamed Aderlass. Their team, Bahrain-Merida, confirmed their suspension. The pair allegedly violated anti-doping rules in 2012-13.
Slovenian Book Days festival gets under way
LJUBLJANA - Slovenian Book Days got under way in Ljubljana, featuring a fair in front of the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Arts, as well as events at the National Gallery, the headquarters of the Slovenian Writers' Association, and the St Cyril and Methodius Church. The festival has been moved from April to the start of May to capitalise on the pre-summer book buying and warmer evenings, perfect for reading or hanging out.