Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Friday, 05 July 2019

By , 05 Jul 2019, 02:47 AM News
Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Friday, 05 July 2019 JL Flanner

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This summary is provided by the STA:

Govt adopts guidelines on division of 2020, 2021 budget funds

LJUBLJANA - The government divided among its departments budget funds for the next two years. The 2020 budget has previously been capped at EUR 10.450 billion, while the 2021 budget is capped at EUR 10.455 billion. The cabinet set the upper limits for individual departments, which now have a few weeks to draft their financial plans for the two periods. Despite what are to be record high budgets, coalition partners are not happy with the funds allocated to the ministries. "Even if there were additional EUR 100 million available, there would still be dissatisfaction," said Igor Zorčič, deputy group head of the Modern Centre Party (SMC) as he was coming out of a coalition meeting this morning.

Krka's net profit up 37% to EUR 140m in H1, dividends up 10% from last year

NOVO MESTO - The drug maker Krka generated EUR 761.8 million in sales revenue in the first half of the year, which is 12% more than in the same period last year. Net profit rose by 37% to EUR 139.9m, the Novo Mesto-based company said. Estimated operating profit grew by 14% to EUR 154.9 million and estimated gross operating profit rose by 10% to EUR 210.3 million. The shareholders also decided that EUR 101.66 million out of last year's distributable profit of EUR 189.47 million will be allocated for dividends at EUR 3.20 gross per share. This is a 10.3% increase compared to last year's dividend.

Govt adopts changes to law on integrity and corruption prevention

LJUBLJANA - The government adopted at its weekly session changes to the law on integrity and the prevention of corruption which change the appointment of corruption watchdog officials and reorganise the work of the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption. The changes bring new standards governing the appointment of officials on the commission. A new condition that a vetting commission will have to take into account is "personal suitability". Some changes will also be made to the commission selecting the candidates for the three posts, but the final selection remains in the hand of Slovenian president.

Ministry says minimum wage increase in 2020 will cost EUR 200m

LJUBLJANA - The Ministry of Labour has come up with a calculation of the effect of the planned rise in the minimum wage in 2020 on the entire economy, establishing that, coupled with the elimination of bonuses from the minimum wage, it would cost the private sector EUR 197.1 million or 1.77% of the wage bill. The calculation comes as a response from the government to the criticism from employer representatives about it having failed to make proper projections before adopting legislative changes raising the minimum wage.

Govt orders adoption of overdue national zoning plan for Poček

LJUBLJANA - The government decided that a new national zoning plan be adopted for Poček, the main training area of the Slovenian Armed Forces. A new zoning plan is needed after the Constitutional Court, petitioned by the Postojna municipality, which hosts Poček, annulled the old one in December 2017. The court argued the zoning plan had not been adopted by considering all environmental risks, giving the government a year to amend the situation.

NSi requests another debate on Slovenian-Italian police patrols

LJUBLJANA - The deputy group of the opposition New Slovenia (NSi) has requested a session of the parliamentary foreign policy and interior policy committees to discuss the newly introduced mixed police patrols on the Slovenian-Italian border. The party believes the joint patrols were a mistake that could have long-term consequences. The NSi argues that the mixed police patrols on Slovenia's border with Italy undermine Interior Minister Boštjan Poklukar's claims that Slovenia is protecting the border with Croatia well.

Cerar says preserving W Balkan's EU accession prospects a must

POZNAN, Poland - Foreign Minister Miro Cerar attended a conference on the Western Balkans as part of a Berlin Process summit, saying that preserving the region's EU accession prospects was a must, and that young people in the region must be enabled to develop their potential. In the discussion on the Berlin Process and the EU accession prospects of the Western Balkans, Cerar expressed Slovenia's support for the enlargement process and the expectation that the EU will take strategic decisions regarding the accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania this year.

Pahor receives credentials of four new ambassadors

LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor was presented with the credentials of Peruvian Ambassador Eric Anderson Machado, Colombian Ambassador Miguel Camilo Ruiz Blanco, Malaysian Ambassador Cheong Loon Lai and Afghan Ambassador Khojesta Fana Ebrahimkhel today. All of them are concurrent ambassadors based outside Slovenia.

Slovenia gets fmr Yugoslav embassy in Guyana

BELGRADE, Serbia - Nearly three decades after the start of the breakup of the former Yugoslavia, the countries that emerged from it continue to settle their succession issues. As part of the process, Slovenia got the building of the former Yugoslavia's embassy in Georgetown, Guyana, at the most recent succession meeting in Belgrade. The Foreign Ministry said in a press release that the meeting also assigned to Slovenia several artworks that used to adorn the former Yugoslavia's diplomatic and consular properties.

Insurance market stable in 2018, regulator says

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's insurance companies generated a cumulative net profit of EUR 132.7 million in 2018, up 6.5% annually, with re-insurers posting a 17% rise to EUR 46.4 million. The director of the Insurance Supervision Agency, Gorazd Čibej, said the industry had operated in a stable manner last year, meeting all capital adequacy standards. Collected gross premiums reached EUR 2.1 billion, up 5.7% over 2017, rising by 6.3% in property insurance and 3.9% in life insurance. Loss ratio improved by 2.1 percentage points because 2018 was more favourable than 2017 for the industry. For reinsurers, 2017 was the fourth worst year in 40 years, Čibej said.

Rail operator firm wins EUR 21.5m project in Croatia

RIJEKA, Croatia - The rail construction firm SŽ-ŽGP of the national railways operator Slovenske Železnice has been picked for a project of reconstructing the railway network in the Croatian Rijeka port. The subsidiary signed the EUR 21.5 million contract today. Apart from reconstructing the network, the firm will also perform demolition work, modernise a logistics platform as well as reconstruct a link to a passenger train station. The project is expected to be completed in two years' time.

Court of Audit honoured with state decoration

LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor has honoured the Court of Audit with the Order of Merit as the institution watching over the use of public funds celebrates its 25th anniversary. The president's office praised the court for its independent, efficient and responsible supervision of taxpayers' money. Court of Audit president Tomaž Vesel said the decoration was a great honour and encouragement, which also brought responsibility to keep up the good work.

Debate warns about youth exodus from Slovenia

LJUBLJANA - A debate which was part of an annual get-together of Slovenians living abroad, hosted by the parliamentary Commission for Relations with Slovenians Abroad, discussed youth brain drain, with participants being critical of the state and sharing their views on homeland and personal experience. The vice-president of the commission Karla Urh pointed out that economic growth and higher recruitment rate did not curb the emigration. She thus called for determining causes for that and developing mitigation strategies.

Ministries urge sacking medicinal products agency members

LJUBLJANA - The newspaper Dnevnik reported that health and agriculture ministries had recently launched the procedure of dismissing four members of the board of the Agency for Medicinal Products and Devices on the grounds of negligence and lack of expertise. The members deny the accusations, deeming them absurd, and are appealing the dismissals.

UKC Ljubljana ordered to rehire main defendant in line-skipping trial

LJUBLJANA - UKC Ljubljana hospital has been ordered by the Ljubljana Labour and Social Court to rehire Uroš Smiljić, who is standing trial for allegedly taking kickbacks from patients wanting to skip waiting lines for exams and procedures at the country's biggest hospital. The court said that the reasons for dismissal stated by the hospital were fabricated. The hospital said that the stocktaker was being fired because his post was being abolished, with the court now establishing that the need for services he provided did not cease to exist after he was fired.

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