A schedule of all the main events involving Slovenia this week can be found here
This summary is provided by the STA:
Janša thinks early election possible
LJUBLJANA - Janez Janša, the leader of the opposition Democrats (SDS), believes that the coalition is "clinically dead", and with the current balance of power making it impossible to build a strong alternative majority, he thinks an early election is in the cards. Janša told TV Slovenija in a rare interview late on Sunday that "it will be clear in the next few weeks" whether someone is ambitious enough to try to put together a government. Opposition New Slovenia (NSi) leader Matej Tonin confirmed today his party was taking part in talks about a potential new coalition, saying such talks were under way all the time. MP Jerca Korče of the ruling Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ), on the other hand, said that the government was far from clinically dead.
PM reacts to controversial Christmas greeting
LJUBLJANA - PM Marjan Šarec responded to a Christmas greeting Education Ministry State Secretary Jernej Štromajer had posted on Twitter and the backlash it had caused, by saying that the post was "highly inappropriate" for a senior state official. He added that if Štromajer were a member of his party or his cabinet, he would have been dismissed immediately. On Christmas Eve, Štromajer twitted a photo saying "Merry Christmas Ya Filthy Animal", a well-known quote from Christmas classic Home Alone 2.
Minister: Measures more important than declaring climate emergency
LJUBLJANA - Environment Minister Simon Zajc responded to calls for Slovenia to declare a state of climate emergency from NGOs as well as the parliamentary speaker and a special climate policy panel of experts at the Slovenian president's office. "Concrete measures are more important than declaring a climate crisis," he said, adding the measures would be set down in the emerging national climate strategy until 2050. It is important to see if a majority in parliament supports the necessary measures that would have to be taken if a climate emergency is declared, he said.
Five hospitals must return EUR 5m in bailout funds
LJUBLJANA - The newspaper Delo reported that five hospitals must return a total of EUR 4.9 million in the restructuring funds they had received from the state in 2017 because the funds had not been spent withn the deadline, which was however set retroactively. The decision of the Budget Supervision Office concerns the Ljubljana Institute of Oncology, the Slovenj Gradec, Celje and Trbovlje general hospitals and the Kranj Maternity Hospital. The Institute of Oncology has already returned EUR 3 million to the state budget, while the others will appeal the decision. On 30 November 2017, 15 hospitals received EUR 136 million to get out of the red by the end of 2021. In July 2018, the government set, upon intervention of the Budget Supervision Office, the cut-off date for spending the funds.
Chemistry Institute gets follow-up grant for CRISPR innovation
LJUBLJANA - A senior National Chemistry Institute researcher has received a EUR 150,000 follow-up grant from the European Research Council (ERC) to develop applications for a novel gene-editing method that was discovered as part of an earlier ERC grant. Roman Jerala, the head of the Chemistry Institute's synthetic biology department, had received the prestigious EUR 2.5 million ERC advanced grant for protein research in 2018 and his team have already discovered a novel way to use the popular CRISPR gene editing technique.
Energy group GEN's annual revenue at EUR 2.2bn
KRŠKO - Power utility group GEN generated EUR 2.2 billion in revenue and EUR 48 million a net profit last year, and invested EUR 100 million. The parent company, GEN Energija, generated EUR 207 million in revenue and EUR 26 million in net profit. The group, which exceeded plans by 25%, had a good business year, GEN Energija CEO Martin Novšak told the press. Even if the government has not taken any final decision on building a second nuclear reactor in the country, GEN Energija, which manages Slovenia's only N-plant NEK, will continue planning its construction, deeming the project "economically viable and justified from the aspect of the environment and climate".
Human rights ombudsman meets Austrian counterpart
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's Human Rights Ombudsman Peter Svetina met his Austrian counterpart Werner Amon, who is also secretary general of the International Ombudsman Institute, to discuss cooperation between ombudsmen in Europe. The institute was formed in 1978 to promote the role of ombudsman, cooperation and know-how exchange, with Slovenia being its member for more than a decade.
Maritime pilot hero honoured for preventing disaster
LJUBLJANA - The Environment Ministry gave out its first environmental award today to honour Andrej Gorup, a maritime pilot working in the port of Koper who prevented an environmental disaster in April 2019. Gorup rerouted a Swedish oil tanker heading towards the port with an alarming speed. The tanker was carrying between 25,000 and 28,000 tonnes of diesel fuel, according to Gorup's estimate.
Slightly fewer cars sold last year
LJUBLJANA - Some 84,350 new cars and vans were sold in Slovenia in 2019, which is 1% less than the year before. Volkswagen dominated the market, selling the most cars, followed by Renault and Škoda. Some 73,190 cars were sold last year, a 2% drop compared to 2018. The number of vans registered for the first time increased by 6% to 11,160, shows data provided by the Slovenian Chamber of Commerce.
Ambitious Brda Spa project proceeding
GORIŠKA BRDA - A project to build a spa resort complex in the heart of Brda, a popular wine region in western Slovenia, has been given fresh impetus, as an investment agreement was signed last week between the Brda authorities and an Italian fund. Construction is expected to start in the near future. The EUR 50 million investment is expected to boost tourism and create new jobs.
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