A schedule of all the main events involving Slovenia this week can be found here
This summary is provided by the STA:
Coalition makes healthcare, pensions budgetary priorities for 2020, 2021
BRDO PRI KRANJU - Coalition partners and ministers agreed at a summit that the healthcare and pension systems would be the priorities of Slovenia's budgets in 2020 and 2021. Each will get EUR 200-300 million more annually, but the budgets will still be in surplus. The coalition agreed to have the budget surplus at around 1% of the country's GDP, with a view to have a structurally balanced budget by 2022. Health Minister Aleš Šabeder said his ministry's priorities were a long-term care bill, improving the management of medical organisations and reducing waiting times. He indicated private doctors will be needed to cut the long waiting times, but PM Marjan Šarec was quick to add this should not be a cover for "permanent privatisation". Defence Minister Karl Erjavec, the leader of the Pensioners' Party, said the budgets should enable Slovenia to meet its commitments to NATO and to raise pensions. Slovenia's possible candidates for the European commissioner were not discussed.
Coalition could reach consensus on abolishing electoral districts
BRDO PRI KRANJU - Public Administration Minister Rudi Medved presented to coalition leaders a proposal to change electoral legislation by abolishing electoral districts and introducing a relative preference vote. Although coalition parties are not unanimous on the proposal, Medved is optimistic a consensus could be reached. Forty-six votes in the 90-seat parliament are needed to redraw the map of electoral districts, whereas the preferential vote would require 60 "yes" votes. The five coalition parties in Marjan Šarec's minority government, however, have fewer than 46 votes, so no reform can be made without the opposition.
Šarec calls on new MEPs to cooperate closely with government
LJUBLJANA - PM Marjan Šarec hosted five of the eight newly-elected Slovenian MEPs to express his wish for their closer cooperation with the government. While they do not represent Slovenia directly as part of the EU, cooperation needs to be coordinated nevertheless, he said after the meeting. Missing were the three MEPs elected on the joint slate of the Democrats (SDS) and People's Party (SLS), as they are attending a meeting of the European People's Party (EPP) in Spain. Ljudmila Novak of New Slovenia (NSi), also an EPP member, did attend. While Šarec said everybody had their priorities, Novak does not see the absence of the EPP colleagues as contentious.
Lawyer Rok Čeferin nominated for the Constitutional Court
LJUBLJANA - Rok Čeferin, a high-profile lawyer from one of Slovenia's best known law firms, has been formally nominated for the Constitutional Court seat that will be vacated in September. Pahor made the announcement following consultations with parliamentary factions that showed Čeferin was the only one of three candidates who could muster the requisite majority in the National Assembly. Rok Čeferin, 55 and the older brother of UEFA president Aleksander Čeferin, works for the law firm founded by their father Peter Čeferin. He has made a name for himself in professional circles as a theoretician of law and lectures media law at the Faculty of Social Sciences in Ljubljana.
SSH invokes Abanka sale commitment, says govt may step in
LJUBLJANA - Slovenian Sovereign Holding (SSH) has invoked state aid commitments in response to Prime Minister Marjan Šarec's suggestion the holding should reconsider continuing the sale of Abanka, but also said that the government could take a final decision on the bank's sale. "The SSH has an obligation to comply with the commitments to the European Commission and implement the strategy of management of state equity stakes," the holding told the STA when asked for a response to a tweet by Šarec, which came as he called the privatisation into question following a TV report which questioned the Commission's role in the bailout of banks in 2013 and 2014. Responding to SSH's statement, Šarec did not give a clear answer as to whether the government would take a decision on the Abanka sale.
NLB shareholders confirm dividend of EUR 7.13 per share
LJUBLJANA - The shareholders of NLB bank confirmed the proposal to pay out EUR 142.6 million in dividends at EUR 7.13 per share, and endorsed all new candidates for the supervisory board. Mark William Lane Richards, Shrenik Dhirajlal Davda and Gregor Rok Kastelic have been appointed new supervisors and Andreas Klingen was reappointed effective on 11 June. The management has been authorised to buy NLB up to 36,542 own shares on the organised market over the next 36 months to be used in remuneration packages. Chairman Blaž Brodnjak described 2018 as a very special year since the bank was privatised, which will allow it to conduct business free of limitations imposed by the EU due to state aid commitments once the state has reduced its stake to 25% plus one share.
Tomaž Mencin new ambassador to Ukraine
LJUBLJANA - Tomaž Mencin is slated to become Slovenia's new ambassador to Ukraine, also covering Armenia, Georgia and Moldova, the Foreign Ministry said, noting President Borut Pahor signed a decree about his appointment on Friday. Having worked for the Foreign Ministry since 1992, Mencin has served at various posts at Slovenia's diplomatic missions around the globe. In 2011-2015 he was ambassador to Argentina, and charge d'affaires in India's New Delhi in 2002-2004.
Minister promotes Koper-Divača rail project in China
NINGBO, China - Infrastructure Minister Alenka Bratušek has set out the advantages of the new railway connecting Slovenia's sole maritime port as she addressed China - CEEC Investment and Trade Expo fair in China. According to a statement from her ministry, Bratušek addressed ministers and other senior officials of the countries participating in the fair in Ningbo, underscoring the importance of the emerging modern-day Silk Road that would create closer transport links between Asia and European countries. She noted the EUR 1 billion-plus project to build a second rail track between the Koper port and the tail junction in Divača in inland Slovenia. Bratušek will also visit Beijing where she will meet Chinese Transport Minister Li Xiaopeng.
Trade, investment discussed as Japanese minister visits Ljubljana
LJUBLJANA - Ways of encouraging economic cooperation were in the focus of a meeting between Japan's State Minister of the Economy, Trade and Industry Yoshihiro Seki and Slovenia's State Secretary Aleš Cantarutti. The pair also discussed NEDO, a three-year Japanese-Slovenian project developing smart networks, and Society 5.0, a Japanese initiative focusing on the question of how to utilise modern scientific and technological breakthroughs for the benefit of all segments of society. Signing a bilateral agreement on regular air traffic and a deal on flights between air carriers Adria Airways and ANA would be according to the ministry very important for Slovenia, as an increasing number of Japanese tourists visits Slovenia.
Defence Ministry finances road to placate locals around Poček
LJUBLJANA - The Defence Ministry will co-finance the expansion of a local road near the Poček training grounds as it seeks to placate mounting local opposition to what is the Slovenian army's main training facility. The local road Zagorje-Bač is in bad shape due to use by military vehicles and the Defence Ministry has agreed to pay three-quarters of the EUR 800,000 budgeted for the works. Defence Minister Karl Erjavec said it was "in the interest of the Slovenian Armed Forces to have orderly relations when it comes to cooperation with local communities." The Armed Forces have faced stiff local opposition to Poček, with residents arguing that the shooting and flyovers, including in night time, are damaging to the environment and people's health.
Unions happy with govt's proposals to improve soldiers' work
LJUBLJANA - A Defence Ministry task force presented a set of proposals to improve the status of Slovenian soldiers and their pay to trade unions. The proposals do not increase the wage bill, but include a number of other measures that would have positive effects on the lives of soldiers during service and after they retire at 45. The ministry would for instance like to provide more flats which can be rented out by soldiers at below-market prices and offer assistance when they retire. The unions representing Slovenian soldiers welcomed the planned measures. "At last one government is making a serious attempt to improve the situation in the military seriously," Marjan Lah of the Defence Ministry's Trade Unions said.
Pre-emptive right holder allowed to buy Tobačna City
LJUBLJANA - After a two-year dispute on the sale of land from the bankruptcy estate of a failed developer for the planned Tobačna City development in Ljubljana, the Higher Court has ruled that Igor Pezdirc, the owner of a tiny part of the land, will be able to buy the entire complex as the holder of the pre-emptive right. The development was sold by the administrator of the bankrupt builder Imos-G to the Austrian company EWO - Bauträger for EUR 25m in July 2018, but Pezdirc stepped forward to prevent the transaction. The court, which ruled in line with an April decision of the Constitutional Court, rejected speculation that he did not have enough money for the deal and that he was acting on behalf of Montenegrin businessman Alen Sijarić.
Industrial output continues to grow
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's industrial production rose 5.6% year-on-year in April and was 1.8% higher than in March, the Statistics Office said. The monthly increase comes after two months of contraction, but on a year-on-year basis output has been growing since December. Mining contracted severely, by almost 12% over the year before, and electricity, gas and water supply was broadly flat, but manufacturing proceeded apace, growing by 6.4%. Industrial revenue grew, though at a slower pace than output.
Official says EBRD interested in investing in tourism, finance
LJUBLJANA - Jürgen Rigterink of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) told Delo that Slovenia was one of the most developed countries the bank cooperates with. He noted that the EBRD would like to invest in tourism and the financial industry in Slovenia, as well as in a potential privatisation of Petrol and possibly in the new rail line for the port of Koper. The EBRD is already active in the Slovenian banking sector with investments, and it expects the privatisation and consolidation of the sector to continue, the first vice president of the London-based bank told the newspaper in an interview.
Operator T-2 continues shopping spree
LJUBLJANA - Telecommunications operator T-2 has purchased a majority stake in Avision, a small provider of wireless services in western Slovenia, for an undisclosed price. It is the latest small operator to be acquired by T-2, a top-three telecommunications provider which has recently also bought cable operator Inatel after having acquired Telesat and KKS Kabel Kamnik in April. The buying spree follows a massive 2018 settlement with market leader Telekom Slovenije over antitrust behaviour whose value is believed to be worth roughly EUR 50m. While the market is consolidated at the top tier, T-2 has joined Telemach in consolidating the remaining bits.
Slovenia's supercomputer to be part of EuroHPC network
MARIBOR - The European Commission has selected eight centres to house the EuroHPC supercomputers, among them Slovenia's supercomputer in Maribor. The EU's high-performance computing (HPC) centres will be located in several EU cities, providing support to the research community and industry in developing know-how and knowledge applications in medicine, advanced materials and climate change combat. Called VEGA, after mathematician Jurij Vega, the Slovenian supercomputer, will have the capacity of five petaflops.
Ski star Štuhec's new coach is Stefan Abplanalp
LJUBLJANA - Women's downhill world champion Ilka Štuhec presented her team for the next World Cup season, having selected Swiss skiing expert Stefan Abplanalp as her new coach. The new addition to Štuhec's team has a wealth of experience, as he has coached ski stars including Lindsey Vonn, Julia Mancuso and Dominique Gisin. Štuhec, who is returning to skiing after suffering a knee injury in February, will be getting ready for the 2019/2020 season with the help of new fitness trainer Jani Gril and new physiotherapist David Kukovec. Abplanalp has replaced the skier's previous coach, Grega Koštomaj, with whom Štuhec surprisingly parted ways in March after years of successful cooperation.
Roglič to skip Tour de France
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's best road cyclist Primož Roglič, who has recently finished third in the Giro d'Italia, will not participate in this year's Tour de France, which starts on 6 July, his team Jumbo-Visma has confirmed. This is in line with the season plan for the 29-year-old, but speculations about Roglič taking part as a helper and being allowed to win individual stages at the Tour de France appeared after the Giro. Roglič finished fourth at the Tour last year for the best Slovenian result ever.
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