Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Saturday, 18 May 2019

By , 17 May 2019, 23:05 PM News
Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Saturday, 18 May 2019 Flickr - Ben Mason CC by 2.0

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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:

Civil group says police violating human rights on Schengen border

LJUBLJANA - Slovenian police officers are systemically denying migrants the right to asylum and are illegally returning them to Croatia, according to a report by Info Kolpa, a civil initiative launched about a year ago in response to growing allegations by migrants that Slovenia was denying them the right to asylum. The head of the border police, Peter Skerbiš, rejected the accusations saying the actions of the Slovenian police were professional and in line with the law. He said these claims had been checked several times in the past by NGOs, the Human Rights Ombudsman and the UNHCR but no irregularities had been found. Police denied the claims.

Police union hits back at govt over border checks, says measures insufficient

LJUBLJANA - A police trade union is pushing back against government comments on border protection, arguing that measures ostensibly designed to step up border controls would come to naught. Joint border patrols with soldiers are a "Sisyphean effort" since soldiers cannot perform police duties, Kristjan Mlekuš, the president of the Trade Union of Police Officers (SPS), told the press. With shortages of police officers, he also wondered who would man the joint Slovenian-Italian police patrols that Foreign Minister Miro Cerar said would be established to improve protection of the border with Italy.

Slovenian, Italian police hashing out details of joint border checks

ROME - Slovenian Police Commissioner Tatjana Bobnar met with her Italian counterpart Franco Gabrielli in Rome on Friday to discuss the details of joint border checks. While the general guidelines are set, details will be agreed at the operational level. The joint patrols are to be conducted on both sides of the border on sections where illegal crossings are most common, the police said, adding that both countries have assessed joint patrols will make the Western Balkan migration route less attractive.

Govt defends public sector pay system in parliament

LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly is debating the opposition Democratic Party's (SDS) call for extracting some professions from the single pay system in the public sector in an emergency session. The government has argued for upgrading the system rather than dismantling it. The session comes after the majority on the Home Policy Committee has already voted down the SDS's recommendation to the government to draw up proposals to remove soldiers, doctors and nurses from the system, which was put in place by an SDS-led government in 2008.

Slovenian soldiers suspend training of Iraqi forces

LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Armed Forces (SAF) have suspended their training of the armed forces of the Iraqi Kurdistan in Erbil due to the aggravated security situation in the country. The Slovenian contingent will nevertheless stay in Iraq and continue to perform other tasks, Slovenian media reported. The move comes after the US Central Command announced American soldiers in Iraq and Syria were at the highest level of preparedness, as credible threats by the Iranian forces had been detected in the region.

The first to suspend the training of the Iraqi forces were the German and Dutch military.

Cerar advocates multilateral system at CoE ministerial

HELSINKI, Finland - Foreign Minister Miro Cerar is attending a meeting of the Council of Europe's (CoE) Committee of Ministers in Helsinki. In his address, he said that Slovenia was a supporter of the multilateral system based on international law. He pointed out that the enforcement of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) judgements was one of the basic principles of the rule of law, said a Foreign Ministry press release.

Analysts: migrations top campaign issue, most seats already decided

LJUBLJANA - With just over a week to go until voting day in EU elections, migrations and security have become firmly established as the main campaign topics. While there are still several major TV debates on the agenda, the outlines of the likely results are already clear, according to analysts. Migrations are undoubtedly the no. 1 topic, trailed by climate change and Brexit. People are also interested in the benefits of the EU, but issues such as trade agreements and personal data protection are not prominent, Igor Kršinar, a journalist for the conservative weekly Reporter, told the STA.

S&P lifts NLB rating to investment grade

LJUBLJANA - Rating agency Standard and Poor's (S&P) raised NLB's credit rating by one notch on Friday, to BBB- from BB+ (outlook stable), a move that takes it to investment grade territory. Justifying the upgrade, S&P said that industry risks in Slovenia's banking system had decreased because of the state's reduced ownership of banks, and stronger banking supervision.

Petrol reports slightly higher Q1 profit

LJUBLJANA - Slovenian energy company Petrol saw its sales revenue grow by 19% year-year to EUR 1.4 billion in the first quarter of the year, while net profit rose by 2% to EUR 18.2 million. According to a regulatory filing posted on the web site of the Ljubljana Stock Exchange, the group's quarterly adjusted gross profit increased by 10% year-on-year to EUR 112.1 million.

Abanka to pay our EUR 66.7m in dividends before privatisation

LJUBLJANA - The state-owned bank Abanka will pay out EUR 66.7 million in dividends or roughly three-quarters of the total distributable profit to the state as the only shareholder just before privatisation. The state will get roughly EUR 11.1 million of the sum in the form of Abanka's shares in the insurer Sava Re.

GPs give govt more time to tackle primary care crisis

KRANJ - Two dozens of general practitioners who handed in their resignations at the Kranj Community Health Centre in April in collective protest at excessive work overload, have extended their notice periods until 15 September after the government effectively reduced the upper number of patients per GP. In a written statement, the doctors said the move taken by the government on Thursday was a signal from politicians that they wanted to tackle the situation in primary care.

Govt, locals still on opposing sides over Poček training grounds

POSTOJNA - A session of the parliamentary Defence Committee on Thursday showed that the Defence Ministry and the Postojna community are still on opposite sides over the use of the Poček military training grounds. Local initiatives expressed doubts about state-commissioned reports on the effects of war games on drinking water, showing increased levels of certain metals but within safe levels for drinking water.

Pikalo signs agreement on R&D projects funding with China

BEIJING, China - Minister of Education, Science and Sport Jernej Pikalo met with Chinese Minister of Science and Technology Wang Zhigang in Beijing during his visit to China. The pair signed a memorandum of understanding between the two ministries today on the joint financing of research and development (R&D) projects. The agreement outlines the joint R&D funding between universities, institutions and other organisations in both countries.

Slovenia calls for decriminalisation of homosexuality

LJUBLJANA - Marking International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, observed on 17 May, the Foreign Ministry pointed out that human rights applied for all and called for decriminalisation of same-sex relationships around the world. The ministry noted the recent progress of ensuring human rights for the LGBTI community, but it also pointed out that in more than 70 countries, same-sex relationships were still criminalised and could result in the death penalty.

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