Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Thursday, 5 December 2019

By , 05 Dec 2019, 04:43 AM News
Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Thursday, 5 December 2019 Flickr - Ben Mason CC by 2.0

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A schedule of all the main events involving Slovenia this week can be found here

This summary is provided by the STA:

Šarec satisfied with messages from NATO summit in London

LONDON, UK - After attending a NATO summit in London, Prime Minister Marjan Šarec said he was happy that NATO leaders had again shown unity, solidarity and effort for democracy. He described the discussion as constructive, without harsh words, as the summit was primarily dedicated to marking the 70th anniversary of the alliance. While there were disagreements between some members states ahead of the meeting, everything has been settled at today's summit at the level of the heads of state or government, Šarec said.

Migrations, EU, security discussed as Bosnian presidency visits

LJUBLJANA - The migration crisis, security issues, EU enlargement, and nuclear waste management were discussed as President Borut Pahor met the presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina at the outset of an official two-day visit. Pahor said that Slovenia was favourably inclined to Bosnia and respected its results despite the numerous challenges it faced. He also said Slovenia had always supported EU enlargement to the Western Balkans. Presidency chairman Željko Komšić was glad his country had a friend in Slovenia, saying he was happy that Pahor supported the "mini Schengen" initiative as every cooperation was welcome.

Slovenia's EU commissioner's first trip to post-earthquake Albania

BRUSSELS, Belgium - In the wake of last week's earthquake, Slovenia's European Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarčič is heading to Albania as early as today in what is his first official visit after recently taking over as EU commissioner. The visit is designed to assess the extent of aid the country needs after the recent disastrous event, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said following the first college meeting of the new commission. On Thursday, he will meet Albanian PM Edi Rama and Agriculture Minister Bledi Cuci, who is in charge of crisis management in Albania.

Left lone advocate of Afghan troop withdrawal

LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Defence Committee overwhelmingly voted down the proposal from the opposition Left to call on the government to withdraw Slovenian troops from Afghanistan and to stop payments into the NATO-run Afghan National Army Trust Fund. The Left argued that the NATO operation in Afghanistan had not contributed to the country's democratisation, and that even the US was considering a withdrawal. The other parties argued that a withdrawal would only make the situation in Afghanistan worse and prompt even more people to flee the country, while hurting Slovenia's image in NATO.

Speaker urges govt to declare climate crisis

LJUBLJANA - Parliamentary Speaker Dejan Židan urged the government to declare a climate crisis in Slovenia, which he believes would ensure necessary resources for drawing up a comprehensive strategy to fight climate change. He based his appeal on conclusions reached at a climate change debate the National Assembly hosted last month, which featured scientists, NGOs, entrepreneurs, politicians, civil society representatives and young people. Apart from Židan, his Social Democrats (SD) as well as more than 230 NGOs have already urged the government to declare a climate crisis.

Zajc calls for cooperation at Barcelona Convention meeting

NAPLES, Italy - Environment Minister Simon Zajc called for cooperation among all countries in the Mediterranean at a Barcelona Convention ministerial in Naples, Italy, on Wednesday. He urged joint efforts for sustainable development and preservation of natural resources. Zajc said Slovenia as a maritime country was very active in implementing the goals of the Barcelona Convention as well as in regional processes.

Former FinMin expects painful reform of pensions

LJUBLJANA - Economics professor Dušan Mramor, a former finance minister, believes Slovenia will eventually have to take painful measures and face social turmoil as it tries to keep the pension system afloat, having missed the chance to reform it without major conflict. "The beauty contest by political parties has closed the window of opportunity for painless measures," he said at the presentation of Outlook 2020, a publication released by the Manager Association. Last year Mramor and another economics professor drew up a blueprint for action that would ensure the pension system remains sustainable until 2050, proposing greater exploitation of untapped resources, in particular activation of older workers, and alignment of the pension system with fiscal capacities.

Expert says Slovenian economy crisis-resistant, but challenges remain

LJUBLJANA - Economist Velimir Bole has assessed that the Slovenian economy is much more resistant to new shocks than it was before the last economic crisis, but that the price for that is a somewhat lower growth and a higher saving rate. Arturo Bris, the director of the International Institute for Management Development (IMD), added that despite the higher resistance, there were challenges regarding competitiveness. He pointed to what he believes are Slovenia's two major problems - the (in)ability to attract foreign direct investments, with the reason being unfavourable tax policy, and the rigid and restrictive regulation. The pair spoke at the presentation of the Outlook 2020 publication.

Office for Slovenians Abroad marks 25th anniversary

LJUBLJANA - The Government Office for Slovenians Abroad marked its 25th anniversary at a high-profile ceremony at Ljubljana's Cankarjev Dom, with its head Peter Česnik saying the establishment of the office was an important milestone in Slovenia's cooperation with the Slovenians living outside the country's borders. Česnik, the minister without portfolio for Slovenians abroad, said preserving Slovenian identity had been the office's main mission for the past 25 years, and a challenge. State secretary Olga Belec announced the office had still many ambitious plans to realise, stressing it had no intention of "yielding to routine".

SDS urges committee session over Telekom Slovenije's dwindling market cap

LJUBLJANA - The opposition Democrats (SDS) urged a session of the parliamentary Public Finance Oversight Commission to debate the state-owned telecoms company Telekom Slovenije in the face of its dwindling market recapitalisation. The party blames the situation on the company's unsuccessful and ineffective management as reflected in the many scandals and instances of bad corporate governance. It also proposes three resolutions to be adopted in relation to Telekom's joint broadcasting venture with Greece's Antenna Group following a legal battle that has cost it EUR 23 million.

Slovenia's jobless total down 5% y/y

LJUBLJANA - Employment Service figures show the number of people registered as unemployed in Slovenia remained virtually unchanged in November, at just below 72,400, but the figure is 4.9% lower year-on-year and considerably below projections. IMAD, the government's economic forecaster, projected 74,100 unemployed for this year in its autumn forecast. Employers reported 10,664 vacancies in November, 9.7% fewer than in October and 8.8% fewer than a year ago. The biggest demand was for lorry drivers (557).

Regulator approves Generali's takeover of Adriatic Slovenica

LJUBLJANA - The Insurance Supervision Agency approved the takeover of insurer Adriatic Slovenia by Generali CEE, an affiliate of Italy's Generali Group, with the procedure to be finalised with the entry into the court register, expectedly at the beginning of 2020. The takeover will merge the Slovenian insurance companies Zavarovalnica Generali and Adriatic Slovenica, with the new insurer named Generali. The merger will create the second largest insurance company in Slovenia, with an estimated market share of 19%. Currently, Slovenia's largest insurer is Zavarovalnica Triglav, followed by Zavarovalnica Sava.

Geodetic information to be fully electronic after 2021

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia is planning to fully digitise its spatial data such as land and building registers and cadastres by the end of 2021, whereupon e-government services related to all such data, for example applications for building permits, are to be available. The records and registries will be connected in a computer cloud in order to speed up administrative procedures. "We want applications to be submitted electronically and to prepare and issue decision electronically," Tomaž Petek, director general of the Surveying and Mapping Authority, told the press. The digitisation of the databases is part of a EUR 22.4 million EU-funded project called eProstor (eSpace), which was launched in 2016.

Coalition that spearheaded independence founded 30 years ago

LJUBLJANA - A coalition of parties that won Slovenia's first multi-party election in 1990, formed a government and led the country to independence in 1991 was founded 30 years ago, to the day. The Democratic Opposition of Slovenia (DEMOS) brought together several parties founded in the year and a half before as part of a democratic movement demanding an end to the one-party Communist regime. Representing a great variety of interests, political and ideological views, the parties had one goal in common - to change the political system, which also involved taking Slovenia out of the Yugoslav federation. Its main goal achieved, DEMOS fell apart on 30 December 1991, due to the difference in views on how to transform the economy, particularly on the manner of privatisation.

Source of Britof gas leak blast found, malfunction eliminated

KRANJ - The source of a gas leak that led to an explosion near Kranj on Tuesday was detected with a camera sent into the pipeline and the malfunction eliminated, according to the gas pipeline contractor. An investigation will show whether the leak occurred during construction or whether the pipeline was damaged later. The pipeline running through Britof, a Kranj suburb, was completed just a month ago and is not yet in use so gas should not have been in the pipeline, Vera Zevnik, the director of the gas pipeline operator Domplan, told the press. Two workers who entered a sewage shaft were injured when the explosion occurred, as were four children playing nearby. They all sustained burns but none of them is in critical condition.

Majority of Slovenians have low vitamin D in winter

LJUBLJANA - The vast majority of adults in Slovenia have low vitamin D status in winter: some 80% do not have sufficient vitamin D and up to 40% have serum concentrations at levels so low it may pose a health risk, according to the first study of its kind in Slovenia. The study was carried out by the Nutrition Institute, the National Institute of Public Health and the UKC Ljubljana hospital, analysing the blood samples of 280 residents aged 18-74. It is to serve as a basis for new national dietary guidelines.

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