A schedule of all the main events involving Slovenia this week can be found here
This summary is provided by the STA:
PM Šarec makes case for EU enlargement to W Balkans
LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Marjan Šarec made a case for the EU enlargement to the Western Balkans ahead of a two-day European Council meeting. In a letter to the Council president and EU heads of states and government, he said that yet another postponement of the decision on the start of negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania should not be an option. He proposes two individual decisions based on merit in which the recommendations of the European Commission, the reform process and the enormous political will, courage and political capital invested in addressing outstanding bilateral issues must be taken into account. Foreign Minister Miro Cerar said that he would strive to present these arguments as clearly as possible to his counterparts on Tuesday at the foreign affairs summit.
Contentious provisions in foreigners act annulled
LJUBLJANA - The Constitutional Court announced it annulled part of the controversial amendments passed in January 2017 that define a special temporary regime on the border in the event of mass migration. The court believes that the changes violate Article 18 of the Constitution, which guarantees the principle of non-refoulement. The annulled clause does not guarantee access to fair and effective legal procedure that would guarantee a substantive assessment that refoulement could not put the person in jeopardy of non-humane and degrading treatment. The Court annulled clause 10.b which would effectively allow the country to suspend asylum law in special circumstances that would have to be endorsed by absolute majority in parliament.
Cerar says Slovenia should not interfere in Spain's sovereign affairs
LUXEMBOURG - Responding to the prison sentences handed in Spain to Catalan leaders, Foreign Minister Miro Cerar said Spain was a sovereign country and that the sovereignty of its internal legal order needed to be respected. "We must not interfere in this," Cerar said after an EU ministerial in Luxembourg, arguing others also respected Slovenia's legal order. He said the emotional reactions in Slovenia were understandable, but argued Slovenia's and Catalonia's independence efforts were not comparable. Ex Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel on the other hand spoke of an "enormous scandal" and analyst Luka Lisjak Gabrijelčič of "distinctively political" judicial arguments.
EU court postpones border arbitration opinion to December
LUXEMBOURG - The European Court of Justice has postponed for more than a month Advocate General Priit Pikamäe's independent legal opinion on the admissibility of Slovenia's lawsuit against Croatia because of the latter's refusal to respect the 2017 border arbitration award. Pikamäe's decision will be known on 11 December and not on 6 November. The court, confirming the postponement for the STA, did not elaborate on its reasons for this step, but it did say that such postponements were quite common, occurring once a month on average, mostly in cases when the advocate general needed more time to prepare the legal opinion.
New housing bill aims to provide easier access to flats
LJUBLJANA - The Environment and Spatial Planning Ministry presented a new housing bill proposal that aims to make housing more accessible to those in precarious jobs, young families and the poor, as well secure more effective management of apartment blocks. It also makes it harder for owners to rent out their apartment through Airbnb, making this conditional on the approval of all apartment owners in their building. Also planned is a kind of national real estate agency that would facilitate the renting out of empty apartments.
Slovenia, Croatia to launch cooperation in treatment of congenital heart disease
LJUBLJANA - Slovenian and Croatian health minsters Aleš Šabeder and Milan Kujundžić agreed that their departments would relaunch cooperation in treating children with congenital heart disease. This comes after Slovenia gave up the plan to establish a regional treatment centre with the help of a US-based surgeon. Šabeder said today that the next meeting in Zagreb would already feature representatives of the Ljubljana UKC and the Zagreb KBC hospitals to work out the next steps and define more closely the areas of cooperation. They will also talk about sending patients with congenital heart disease for treatment abroad.
SOVA turns to police, prosecution over leaking of information
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's intelligence and security agency SOVA denounced "known and unknown perpetrators" to the State Prosecutor's Office and police over the suspicion of unauthorized disclosure of classified information. The move comes after information about staffing at SOVA was leaked to the media following a visit by the parliamentary Commission for the Oversight of Intelligence and Security Services. The commission was there on 1 October to check allegations that PM Marjan Šarec had intervened to secure a job to a friend, a former employee of the municipality of Kamnik, where Šarec was mayor before becoming prime minister.
Labour minister highlights long-term unemployment and precarious work
LJUBLJANA - Labour Minister Ksenija Klampfer has been busy recently with cooling down conflicts among social partners and facing talks on the social agreement and a more substantial pension reform. In an interview with the STA, Klampfer said she was focussed on tackling the issues, including long-term unemployment and precarious work. She also warned about another issue - employees being available 24/7 to their employers through phones and emails, saying that would have to be addressed by balancing out the work and private lives and thus improving employees' mood, health and the falling birth rate, another burning issue, according to Klampfer.
Šarec party all but tied with Janša's SDS in Delo poll
LJUBLJANA - The party of PM Marjan Šarec has lost ground in the latest poll by Delo, its lead ahead of the opposition Democrats (SDS) reduced from four to one percentage point. The LMŠ lost 2.1 percentage points on the month before to 16.8%, as the SDS gained a point to 15.7%. Delo blames the LMŠ's slip on the allegations Šarec had intervened for a friend of his to get a job at the intelligence agency, the spat with the Left and bickering within the minority coalition. The coalition SocDems lost 0.4 percentage points to 6% and the opposition Left 1.1 point to 5.3%.
Maritime traffic control being set up in Koper
KOPER - The Slovenian Maritime Administration signed a EUR 2.6 million contract with the Italian company Elman last week to set up a national maritime traffic control and crisis management centre in a bid to minimise the likelihood of emergency events. The total contractual value of the works is just over EUR 2.6 million, with the investment in the centre estimated at almost EUR 2.29 million, maintenance costs excluded. The EU will chip in EUR 1.56 million.
Nuclear accounts for 42% of Slovenia's energy output
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia met 52% of its energy needs by own sources of energy in 2018. Of the 148,000 terajoules (TJ) in total energy production, the Krško Nuclear Power Plant (NEK) accounted for 42%. Renewable sources of energy, including hydro-power, contributed 32% to the output and coal 25%. Other sources represented less than 0.5%, the Statistic Office reported. Petroleum products represented a third of energy supply (34%), with nuclear accounting for 22%, renewable sources (including hydro energy) for 17%, coal for 16% and natural gas for 11%.
Czech state reportedly selling Vipap Videm to private owners
KRŠKO - The Czech government is reportedly selling Vipap Videm Krško, the largest Slovenian paper producer, to a holding owned by a team of private investors from the Czech Republic. The company is struggling with red figures and the sale is unavoidable, with the new owner expected to carry on with financial and business restructuring. The web portal Siol said the Krško-based company is to be sold by the Czech Finance Ministry to RIDG Holding, which is controlled by the investment group Portiva and the consultancy IPIDC.
Art patron Zois presented as centre of Slovenia's Enlightenment
LJUBLJANA - The National and University Library (NUK) will open on Tuesday an exhibition on art patron Žiga Zois (1747-1819), one of the most influential figures of the Enlightenment era in Slovenia, marking the bicentenary of his death by displaying selected works from his library. The display has been prepared in cooperation with the research centre ZRC SAZU and includes 50 works along with Zois's reflections. Zois was the first to systematically collect Slovenian books, promoting literary pillars of Slovenianhood. The exhibition will be on display until 26 April.
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