A schedule of all the main events involving Slovenia this week can be found here
This summary is provided by the STA:
Court of Audit points to faults in social security system
LJUBLJANA - A report by the Court of Audit found that the government has been unsuccessful in providing access to social security services to all those who need them. The state has failed to guarantee equal treatment to all and has not come up with solutions in long-term care. Only 9% of the 395,127 claimants received aid in the form of various social security services in 2016. The state had no data on nearly 90% of claimants and does not know how many persons eligible for aid were left without it in the 2007-2018 period. Court of Audit president Tomaž Vesel said that most people in homes had no money left after paying for the service, but even so the system is at the verge of collapse.
Slovenian, Cypriot speakers announce joint small countries initiative
LJUBLJANA - Slovenian parliamentary Speaker Dejan Židan hosted his Cypriot counterpart Demetris Syllouris, with the pair announcing a bilateral initiative for cooperation of small countries. The initiative will aim to support the rule of law in the EU and "the end of dual morals" in Europe, according to Syllouris. "Small countries are more interested in finding friends, nurturing friendships and share information" because this is the only way to gain allies, Židan said in a joint statement. He said the talks discussed the position of small countries in the EU, with both Slovenia and Cyprus demanding equal treatment and the rule of law as the basic principle of the EU.
Lenarčič hearing at European Parliament likely on 2 October
STRASBOURG, France - Janez Lenarčič, the EU commissioner-designate for crisis management, will have his confirmation hearing before the European Parliament's Development Committee, the STA has learned from unofficial sources. The date of the hearing has not been confirmed yet but is likely to be 2 October. The Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee is expected to join the hearing and members of both committees would have the right to vote. There is not a single Slovenian MEP on the Development Committee, while Ljudmila Novak (NSi/EPP) is a member of the Environment Committee.
Govt sets municipality funding for 2021 and 2020
LJUBLJANA - The government and representatives of local communities have failed to agree on the amount of local government funding for the coming two years, so the government plans to enforce the initially proposed amount of EUR 589.11 per capita in 2020 and EUR 588.30 in 2021. The news was announced by Finance Minister Andrej Bertoncelj after the talks with representatives of municipality associations, who have been seeking more money, failed to produce an agreement. The Finance Ministry calculated the per-capita amount by following the currently valid methodology, that is on the basis of the average of local government expenses over the past four years.
Social partners fail to agree on tax changes
LJUBLJANA - A meeting of the Economic and Social Council (ESS) did not result in agreement on planned tax changes, putting into question the government's plan to send the changes to parliament on Thursday, and possibly even throwing a wrench in the 2020 and 2021 budgets. In order for these changes to take effect on 1 January 2020, the government would need to submit them to parliament this week. Instead, Bertoncelj is now proposing a new round of talks, which, however, seem unlikely to take place, according to Branko Meh, the president of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS).
Adria Airways signs collective agreement with pilots
LJUBLJANA - Adria Airways signed a new collective bargaining agreement with pilots, a move the airline says that "calms down the labour situation at the company". The new agreement "allows management to remain focused on stability of operations and provision of services," the company said after signing the agreement. The deal was signed a little over a week after a tentative deal was reached with pilots, helping the airline to avert a series of multi-day strikes that the pilots had announced for September and early October. During that time the Trade Union of Pilots put the deal to a vote, which appears to have been successful.
Janković-linked debt write-off to be challenged at higher court
LJUBLJANA - The Ljubljana District Court is challenging a decision by its own judge to endorse simplified debt restructuring that would allow companies owned by Ljubljana Mayor Zoran Janković's sons to get written off EUR 29 million in debt amid a major public controversy, the news web portal Siol reported. The report says that the court appealed against the decision on Friday, a day before the decision would have become final, in its capacity as a claimant over unpaid court tax. Simplified debt restructuring was introduced in 2013 as a means of speeding up lengthy insolvency procedures. A decision was made to amend the relevant law after a debate in parliament last week.
ZZZS worried about 2020 despite higher spending cap
LJUBLJANA - The ZZZS public health insurance fund does not expect smooth sailing next year despite an increase in its spending limit, the ZZZS management board said after going over projections for 2019-2021, identifying a government-imposed delay in payments as the problem. In 2020, the ZZZS's revenue will go up by EUR 225 million over this year, while expenditure is to increase by EUR 266 million. Director general Marjan Sušelj said a third of the additional funds, or EUR 90 million, will be used to pay for the services that will have remained unpaid at the end of the year due to this year's spending cap.
Illegal migrations peak at over 2,000 crossings in August
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia keeps seeing a surge in illegal migration with the latest police data showing that the number of illegal crossings peaked at 2,352 in August, the highest monthly figure since the 2015-16 refugee crisis. In the first eight months of the year, police registered 9,801 instances of people trying to cross illegally into the country, which compares to 5,899 in the whole last year. In most of the cases the migrants were citizens of Pakistan (2,344), followed by Algerians (1,427) and Afghanis (1,064). The migrants filed 2,577 petitions for asylum between January and the end of August this year, almost 500 more than in the whole of 2018.
High-performing hydro station opens on Kneža
PODBRDO - A high-performing small hydro station was inaugurated on the Kneža river in western Slovenia. The EUR 2.3 million installation run by power utility Soške Elektrarne is expected to produce as much 3.3 GWh of renewable energy a year, more than many larger hydro stations produce. The high performance was achieved thanks to a 2,300-metre underground pipeline, which runs along a local road and allows the station to harness the energy of 74-metre drop. The engine room features a generator with installed power of 850 KWh, and a horizontal-axis turbine.
Jews remembered with Stolpersteine in Lendava, Murska Sobota
LENDAVA/MURSKA SOBOTA - Lendava and Murska Sobota remembered local Jewish families that perished in the Holocaust, as Stolpersteine, granite cubes bearing the names of the victims, are installed in various locations around the two north-eastern cities in high-profile commemorations. In Lendava, the "stumbling stones" will be installed in Glavna Ulica street in front of the former homes of the families Blau, Balkanyi and Schwarz. The ceremony in Murska Sobota remembered the families Berger, Hahn and Frim apart from many other Jewish victims of the Holocaust from the region of Prekmurje.
Maribor hosts exhibition on Poland during and after WWII
MARIBOR - The Museum of National Liberation in Maribor launched a pop-up exhibition on Poland and its citizens during and after WWII, marking the 80th anniversary of the invasion of Poland and the start of the war. Fighting and Suffering: Polish Citizens during World War II was curated by the Museum of the Second World War from Gdansk in collaboration with the Polish Foreign Ministry, and will be opened by Polish Ambassador Pawel Czerwinski. It presents Nazi Germany's attack on Poland, developments during the war and the country's post-war history.
Socially critical features in focus of annual film festival
PORTOROŽ - The 22nd Festival of Slovenian Film opened with Metod Pevec's latest feature Jaz Sem Frenk (None), which brings a confrontation of socialist and capitalist values. The festival will feature a total of 106 films, of which more than half in the competition section. Eleven new features, of which four are documentaries, are among the 57 films competing for over 20 Vesna awards. The festival brings a shift from social drama to political thriller, which however remains socially charged, its director Jelka Stergel said as she presented the event.
Something for everyone at Slovenian Jazz Festival
RAVNE NA KOROŠKEM - Slovenian jazz musicians, both internationally-acclaimed acts and up-and-coming talents, will be showcased at the 15th annual festival in Ravne na Koroškem in the north of the country this week. Along with the pre-festival events, the Slovenian Jazz Festival is featuring 23 events at nine venues, including 12 concerts, three exhibitions, two film screenings and two days of workshops. The festival starts in tonight with the launch of an exhibition of jazz-themed photographs by Iztok Zupan, followed by a concert by percussionist Gal Furlan.
Slovenia's 2017 EuroBasket win to be enshrined on film
LJUBLJANA - The historic success of Slovenia's basketball team from 2017 when it was crowned European basketball champions will be made into a documentary slated for release in 2020. The feature-length film will be directed by award-winning director, writer and basketball fan Goran Vojnović, the Slovenian Basketball Association announced. In addition to interviews with players, extensive archive material will be used, including videos made by fans, whom the association invited to share them so that Vojnović could pick some of them for the documentary.
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