Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Thursday, 6 June 2019

By , 06 Jun 2019, 02:10 AM News
Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Thursday, 6 June 2019 Photo by Rosemary Ketchum from Pexels (cropped), CC-by-0

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This summary is provided by the STA:

Slovenia hosts Three Seas Initiative summit

LJUBLJANA - A two-day summit of the Three Seas Initiative got under way with a large business forum featuring more than 600 participants from over 40 countries. The summit, hosted by President Borut Pahor, is attended by the presidents of Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania, while Austria, Hungary and Slovakia are represented by junior officials. German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and US ebergy Secretary are the guests of honour. The presidential panel was marked by calls for moving from words to action. Pahor as the moderator of the panel said the participating countries would have concrete proposals to present as the new team of the European Commission shortly took office.

Energy, transport high on agenda of Three Seas Initiative summit

LJUBLJANA - A high-profile panel on energy held as part of the Three Seas Initiative summit pointed to diversification of sources, decreasing dependence on one source of energy and investments in expansion of renewable energy as the most important measures in the field. A panel on transport meanwhile saw the participants highlight connectivity and decarbonisation of transport as the main future priorities in the EU and in the countries of the initiative, which are heavily in rail infrastructure, to close the gap with the west. European Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc pointed to four priorities - decarbonisation, digitalisation, investment and innovation, putting a special emphasis on the last one.

US keen on selling nuclear tech to Slovenia

LJUBLJANA - Meeting President Borut Pahor and Prime Minister Marjan Šarec on the sidelines of the Three Seas Initiative summit, US Energy Secretary Rick Perry said the US was keen on selling Slovenia technology for small modular nuclear reactors. Slovenia is "an excellent potential market for this game-changing technology", Perry told reporters when asked why Slovenia, which is considering building a second reactor in Krško, should choose a US-made reactor over designs from other countries. He said the issue was not only about the best technology but also about safety and non-proliferation.

Brussels tells Slovenia to proceed with reforms and privatisation

BRUSSELS, Belgium/LJUBLJANA - The European Commission made a repeated call on Slovenia to secure fiscal sustainability, reforms in healthcare, long-term care, the pension system and labour market, improve the business environment and proceed with privatisations. The recommendations, issued as part of the European Semester, were also extended to investment with the Commission saying it should focus on innovation, energy transition, sustainable transport and environmental infrastructure. Responding to the recommendations, the Finance Ministry said the Commission had acknowledged the progress Slovenia made in public finance.

Cerar, Šarec say speculation about EU commissioner candidate uncalled for

LJUBLJANA - In response to the speculation he was tipped as a candidate for Slovenia's EU commissioner, Foreign Minister Miro Cerar said the coalition had not yet discussed potential candidates, adding PM Marjan Šarec would be the one to nominate them. Cerar said the speculation, coming after he decided not to stand for re-election as SMC leader at his party's congress in autumn, were uncalled for and inappropriate, a view also expressed by Šarec. Šarec said there were several suitable commissioner candidates, so the government would have a hard choice to make.

EU enlargement in focus of Montenegrin speaker's visit

LJUBLJANA - Montenegro's EU integration and the Western Balkans featured high on the agenda as Speaker Ivan Brajović began an official two-day visit to Slovenia by meeting his counterpart Dejan Židan and Foreign Minister Miro Cerar. Židan congratulated Brajović on Montenegro's progress towards the EU, hoping the integration process would be completed as soon as possible. He is convinced this will contribute to stability in the region and give hope to some other countries aspiring to join the EU. "Montenegro can count on Slovenia's support," Židan said. Brajović said Montenegro counted on becoming the first new EU member when the Union expanded.

CoE urges Slovenia to bridge "impunity gap in hate speech cases"

STRASBOURG, France - A report by the Council of Europe's anti-racism commission covering 2014-2018 finds progress in anti-discrimination legislation in Slovenia, but it also calls on the country to bridge the "impunity gap in hate speech cases". The report by the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance also notes a lack of reliable and updated data needed to combat racial discrimination, and continued issues faced by Roma with respect to access to housing and safe water.

Slovenia protests over Trieste councillor map

LJUBLJANA - PM Marjan Šarec and the Foreign Ministry condemned a move by Trieste city councillor Lorenzo Giorgi, who marked Italy's Republic Day, observed on 2 June, by posting on his Facebook a map of Italy with parts of Slovenia as well as Croatia's Istria and Dalmatia. "Historical revisionism goes against the basic principles of the European system, while such actions do not benefit neighbour relations," the ministry said, while Šarec called the move a stab in the heart.

Lobbying reports quadrupled in four years, corruption watchdog report shows

LJUBLJANA - The president of the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption, Boris Štefanec, presented the watchdog's report for 2018, expressing satisfaction with more reported cases of lobbying. In 2014, some 1,120 cases were reported to the commission, while the figure exceeded 4,860 last year. He believes the rise shows the commission was successful in raising awareness about reporting all attempts at influencing decision making. He also indicated he might apply for re-appointment as his term expires at the end of March 2020.

Vilenica Prize goes to Dragan Velikić

LJUBLJANA - Dragan Velikić, one of the most esteemed Serbian authors, is the winner of the Vilenica Prize, which will be presented at the conclusion of the 34th Vilenica International Literary Festival in Slovenia in mid-September. Commenting on the news for the newspaper Primorske Novice, Velikić said the Vilenica Festival was very important to him. Velikić has won all the major literary awards in Serbia as well as accolades abroad.

Slovenia showcased at Prague Quadrennial with mural, triptych

PRAGUE, Czech Republic - Kapital 2018, a mural by art collective Irwin, and a triptych of video books, are Slovenia's show pieces at the 14th Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space. Running between 5 and 16 June, the Quadrennial is the largest international festival of theatre and stage design. Curated by Barbara Novakovič Kolenc from independent art producer Muzeum, the Slovenian installation, themed Warped Space, is showcased in the main section, Exhibition of Countries and Regions.

Slovenia's joblessness keeps falling

LJUBLJANA - The number of people registered as unemployed with the Slovenian Employment Service decreased by 2.6% in May to 72,012, a decline of 6.1% compared to the same month a year ago. In May 4,515 people were freshly registered on the unemployed roll, a drop of 9% compared to April and 11% fewer than a year ago. Out of the 6,468 removed from the roll, 4,723 found a job or got self-employed. This is 20% fewer than in April and 10.5% fewer than in May 2018.

Slovenia's minimum wage ranks 9th in EU

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia ranks ninth among the 22 EU member states that have a statutory minimum wage in terms of the gross minimum wage rate. This year's increase in Slovenia's minimum wage to EUR 886.63 was among the modest ones, finds the annual report on minimum wages in the EU and Norway, published by Eurofound on Monday. The highest wage rate was registered in Luxembourg (EUR 2,071.10), and the lowest in Bulgaria (EUR 286.33).

TEŠ drags HSE group into the red

VELENJE - As the Šoštanj coal-fired power station (TEŠ) sunk deeper into the red last year, its owner, national power utility HSE, also posted a loss in 2018, HSE CEO Stojan Nikolić said on the sidelines of an energy conference. The loss amounted to EUR 31 million, but HSE can still cope with it, as it is within plans. Nikolić attributed TEŠ's mounting loss to impairments.

Slovenia and Hungary sign energy memorandum

LJUBLJANA - Infrastructure Minister Alenka Bratušek and Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjarto signed a memorandum of understanding on energy cooperation which focuses on gas pipelines and high-voltage power lines. The pair also discussed Slovenia's construction of a new rail line to its port of Koper, with Bratušek noting a decision on whether any country would take part in the project "will be taken shortly, perhaps by the end of the year". Hungary had been mentioned by the previous Slovenian government as one of the possible landlocked countries to co-finance the investment.

Plastics maker Plastika Skaza honoured by German business

LJUBLJANA - Plastika Skaza, a fast-growing maker of plastic products, is this year's winner of the award for innovations given out by the Slovenian-German Chamber of Commerce. The company was honoured for its focus on synergies, sustainable development and corporate social responsibility.

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