Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Friday, 7 June 2019

By , 07 Jun 2019, 03:00 AM News
Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Friday, 7 June 2019 Gordana Grlič, Foto Pauli - Trubarjeva cesta 38, Ljubljana

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This summary is provided by the STA:

Three Seas Initiative Summit urges EU to consider its goals

BRDO PRI KRANJU - Presidents of the Three Seas Initiative called on the EU following a summit to incorporate the initiative's goals in its existing and future policies, with interconnectivity and energy security topping the list of the initiative's priorities. Presenting the declaration after the summit, President Borut Pahor said that the initiative aimed not only to bridge the gaps between participating countries but also in the EU and strengthens transatlantic relations.

Three Seas Investment Talk urges steps to bride liquidity-investment gap

LJUBLJANA - The Investment Talk panel, held at the business forum of the Three Seas Initiative summit in Ljubljana, noted the major infrastructure investment gap affecting central and east Europe, and called for effective steps and funding instruments to bridge the glaring discrepancy between existing fiscal liquidity and actual investment. The opening address was delivered by Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek, who underlined Slovenia's view that it was key to also focus on innovation along with the three key areas of the Three Seas Initiative - infrastructure, energy and digital interconnectivity.

Last Three Seas panel calls for concrete results, representation

LJUBLJANA - The business part of the Three Seas Initiative summit concluded with a panel which called for the agreements and plans by the 12 members of the initiative to be made concrete as soon as possible, and agreeing that the group should form a steering committee in order to communicate better with other organisations. Opening the panel, Foreign Minister Miro Cerar said that "we must deliver, we have had a lot of ideas and projects and we need to come up with some concrete results."

US official says Slovenian-US relations great

LJUBLJANA - Philip Reeker, acting assistant secretary of European and Eurasian Affairs at the US State Department, does not think Slovenia is too pro-Russian or that its foreign policy stance is straining relations with the US. He says US-Slovenian relations are great. "We're NATO allies, we're very proud of the fact that Slovenia was the first of the former Yugoslav countries to become a NATO member and to join the EU. Those were our foreign policy goals," he told the STA on the margins of the Three Seas Initiative summit.

Govt confirms controversial private school financing

LJUBLJANA - The government confirmed a controversial bill under which private primary schools are to get full state funding to teach publicly approved curricula, but what constitutes curricula was effectively narrowed to the extent that private schools are calling it a betrayal of constitutional commitments. The amendments to the act on the financing of education implement a 2014 Constitutional Court ruling mandating full rather than 85% state financing of publicly approved curricula at private primaries.

Almost 300 refugees accepted under EU solidarity schemes

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia has so far welcomed almost 300 refugees based on EU solidarity schemes, some from other EU members and others from third countries, government data show. As part of the relocation scheme, Slovenia accepted 253 people between 2016-2018 and another 34 as part of the resettlement programme for migrants residing in non-EU countries. Although both schemes ended in 2018, Slovenia still occasionally shares the burden of refugees with other EU countries.

State firm taking over management of Maribor Airport

LJUBLJANA - DRI, a state-owned consulting and engineering company specialised in infrastructure projects, will take over management of Maribor Airport as a stop-gap solution after the current operator's lease terminates next month, the government decided. The decision comes after Chinese-backed airport operator Aerodrom Maribor announced in January it was invoking a six-month notice and terminating the 15-year lease agreement it signed in 2017 due to delays in a planned expansion of the runway.

Changes to VAT law pave way for lower tax on e-publications

LJUBLJANA - The government adopted changes to the VAT act to transpose three EU directives, including one enabling a lower VAT rate for e-publications. The changes will thus make it possible to apply the VAT rate which is applicable to printed books, newspapers and periodicals to these publications in the electronic form.

Quarter of EU cohesion funds paid out by end of March

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia paid out EUR 740 million in EU cohesion funds by the end of March, or 24% of the EUR 3.068 billion available to the country between 2014 and 2020, according to a report adopted by the government. By the end of March, 406 decisions on financial support for projects, schemes and public calls worth EUR 2.36 billion were issued, which represents 77% of the available funding. By the end of April, Slovenia had claimed EUR 722 million in reimbursement from Brussels, or 24% of the funding.

Gorenje to slash over 100 jobs

VELENJE - Home appliances producer Gorenje will lay off 104 workers, which is fewer than the initially planned 270, the in-house trade union said. Of the 1,481 workers planned to be laid off, 1,377 will be offered a new contract and the rest will be sacked, SKEI Gorenje said as it received the lay-off plan from the management. Gorenje employs over 4,200 workers in Slovenia and abroad, and is amid reorganisation following last year's takeover by China's Hisense and EUR 37 million in net loss.

Protests over Italian MP's proposal to amend minority law

LJUBLJANA/TRIESTE, Italy - The Slovenian minority in Italy, the Government Office for Slovenians Abroad and political parties voiced their protest after Italian MP Roberto Novelli had tabled an amendment to the law safeguarding the Slovenian minority under which a population census would be held in the Friuli Venezia Giulia region to determine language communities. The Government Office for Slovenians Abroad underscored that the minority could not be changed without the Slovenian minority's support.

Slovenia's gender pay gap increasing at top speed in EU

LJUBLJANA - A conference held by the German political foundation Friedrich-Ebert Stiftung and the trade union confederation ZSSS called for equal pay for equal work, noting that even though Slovenia's gender pay gap is relatively low compared to EU average, it has been increasing at the fastest rate. The latest figures put Slovenia's gender pay gap at 8% for 2017, which compares to EU average of 16%, but the gap expanded from only 0.9% in 2010. Women's earnings are lagging behind men's most severely in financial and insurance services, health and social care and education. The situation is surprisingly worse in the public sector rather than in private.

Pensioners demand 7% higher pensions, end of austerity

LJUBLJANA - The Trade Union of Pensioners (SUS) urged the government to raise pensions by 7.2% by 30 June 2020. This would make up for the shortfall resulting from austerity measures taken during the economic crisis when pensions were not raised as they should have been in line with legislation. The government had eliminated the austerity measures from the 2012 fiscal austerity law for all groups of citizens but pensioners, the SUS said in an open letter addressed to the government and MPs.

Pulp and Paper Institute launches new research centre

LJUBLJANA - The Pulp and Paper Institute (ICP) from Ljubljana has launched a renovated centre for research of biomas-based materials and products as part of the InnoRenew project. The new equipment will facilitate research of compounds from wood biomass and other biomass such as pulp and green chemicals, and development of renewable materials and end products based on biomass. The investment is worth EUR 1.25 million, of which EUR 750,000 came from InnoRenew and the rest from the ICP.

Attack on Maribor mayor's restaurant related to his work

MARIBOR - Maribor crime investigators have tracked down the perpetrators of the March attack on a restaurant owned by the new Maribor Mayor Saša Arsenovič. It was two young men who damaged a window with an explosive device, but they had been paid to do so by a 41-year-old unhappy with some of Arsenovič's decisions. The 21- and 17-year-old turned themselves in after police published security camera material documenting their night attack. They had been paid EUR 300 for the attack by the 41-year-old man while a 48-year-old man provided them with the explosive device which only caused material damage.

All of Slovenia's bathing waters meet EU quality standards

BRUSSELS, Belgium - Bathing water quality in 41 of 47 Slovenian bathing waters included in the European Commission's report for 2018 were classified as being of excellent quality, with all 21 coastal bathing waters receiving this grade. Five waters were labelled good, one as sufficient and none as poor. With the exception of 2011 when one bathing site was classified as good, all coastal bathing waters in Slovenia have persistently been labelled as excellent since 2009.

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