A schedule of all the main events involving Slovenia this week can be found here
This summary is provided by the STA:
Slovenia to join Instex mechanism to preserve trade with Iran
BRUSSELS, Belgium - Slovenia will join to Instex mechanism meant to help European companies continue doing business with Iran despite US sanctions against the Gulf country, Foreign Minister Miro Cerar announced. The mechanism was set up in January by Germany, France and Great Britain and allegedly eight more members already announced they would join. Cerar quoted the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini as saying that the number of members wishing to join is growing, while third countries are also expressing interest. Unofficially, 12 EU member states have so far expressed interest to participate, including the three founders.
Pahor and Pendarovski urge EU to start North Macedonia accession talks
LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor reiterated Slovenia's support for North Macedonia to join the EU and NATO as he hosted North Macedonia President Stevo Pendarovski. Pahor expects the EU to deliver on its promise and green-light the start of accession negotiations in October. Pendarovski picked Slovenia as the destination for his first official visit abroad since taking up his post in May. He said North Macedonia had felt disappointed in June, but highlighted he had been assured the postponement was of a technical nature and thus he remained optimistic about October.
Concerns in parliament over Italy's plans for border fence
LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Home Policy Committee discussed joint Slovenian-Italian border police patrols at an emergency session with the opposition arguing that these were misguided and could give an excuse to Italy put up a border fence. Jernej Vrtovec, the deputy for opposition New Slovenia (NSi), which called the session, labelled the joint patrols a mistake with long-term consequences. He argued that in this way Slovenia would give Italy an excuse to consider other, stiffer measures to control migration, including erecting a fence on the most exposed border sections.
National Council vetoes cut of state funding for private primary schools
LJUBLJANA - The National Council, the upper chamber of parliament, vetoed legislative changes that cut state funding for private primary schools, arguing the cut was in opposition to the Constitutional Court decision ordering that funding be equalised with that for public schools. The opponents of the changes claim the legislator introduced an unfair distinction between publicly approved curricula and those that obtained public certification, the latter applying for private schools. The veto could spell trouble for the controversial changes, adopted in a 42:36 vote. The coalition Modern Centre Party (SMC), which abstained from voting last week, said it would not change its mind, meaning the absolute majority needed to override the veto is not there.
Upper chamber vetoes bill curbing realtors' rental fees
LJUBLJANA - A bill to limit commission fees for leasing real estate and other costs which real estate agencies can charge their clients was vetoed by the National Council. The veto comes as real estate agencies have vehemently protested the bill and have threatened to petition the Constitutional Court. While the supporters of the bill, led by the opposition Left, argue the cap on the commission fee for rentals and having landlords cover it in full would protect the weakest, businesses argue the changes encroach on the free market. Having the back of the coalition, the Left is confident the veto will be overridden by the National Assembly.
Bad bank reports record yield in 2018
LJUBLJANA - The Bank Asset Management Company (BAMC), managing more than EUR 800 millions in assets, generated EUR 57.7 million in profit after tax last year and EUR 228 million in turnover, according to an audited annual business report. The bad bank's capital gains yield reached a record 28.8%, far over the required 8%. The bank's capital increased by EUR 53.4 million to EUR 199.9 million last year. At the end of the year, the bad bank managed EUR 830.1 million in fair value assets. The figure was 13% lower than in 2017. Loans accounted for 67% of the assets managed by BAMC, followed by real estate (22%) and investments (11%).
Slovenian researchers in major materials breakthrough
LJUBLJANA - A group of researchers from the Jožef Stefan Institute has discovered what they describe as an entirely new kind of matter that cannot be understood with existing physics and which opens up an entirely new field. Their paper was published in the latest issue of Nature Materials. Conducting experiments designed to create new kinds of quantum materials under non-equilibrium conditions, the researchers used short laser pulses to crate an unusually thick amorphous matter in which electrons become jammed because of strong interaction.
Average pay up year-on-year
LJUBLJANA - The average gross salary in Slovenia was at EUR 1,728.12 in May and EUR 1,113.88 net. Compared to May 2018, average gross salary was 3.9% higher in nominal terms and 2.5% higher in real terms. Net salary was 3.4% higher in nominal terms and 2% higher in real terms compared to the May of last year, according to the Statistics Office. The highest net wages were paid out in the financial and insurance sector, EUR 1,556.92 net. Compared to April, average gross and net pay was 0.1% lower in nominal terms and 1% lower in real terms.
EUR 200m broadband internet investment launched in Slovenia
LJUBLJANA - In the next three years, some EUR 200 million will be invested in the building of broadband optical networks in rural parts of Slovenia as part of the RUNE project, co-funded by the EU and the European Investment Bank (EIB). The Rural Network Project will be launched this year and will bring internet speeds of up to 10Gb/s to rural households, RUNE Enia, the company in charge of the investment in Slovenia, said.
Šarec party's lead wearing thin in Delo poll
LJUBLJANA - PM Marjan Šarec's party slipped back in the latest poll commissioned by the newspaper Delo, its lead ahead of the opposition Democrats (SDS) narrowing down to a mere 0.3 percentage points. The poll, conducted by Mediana and carried by Delo, gives the Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) 14.6%, down as much as four points from the month before. The SDS is now at 14.3%, having lost 0.8 points, followed by the Social Democrats (SD), who slipped half a point to 7.8%. While the leading trio lost ground, the Left gained as much as 1.5 points, the most of all parties, to poll at 7.7%.
British Airways launching flights to Ljubljana
LJUBLJANA - British Airways is launching a new route to Ljubljana with its first plane from London Heathrow Airport due to touch down at Jože Pučnik Ljubljana Airport. The British air carrier had already operated scheduled flights to Ljubljana from Gatwick airport at the turn of the millennium, when Slovenian air carrier Adria Airways was flying to Heathrow. Becoming the third carrier to fly between London and Slovenia's capital, British Airways will link the capitals twice a week, on Mondays and Fridays, on a 220-seater Airbus 321.
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