Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Saturday, 19 January 2020

By , 18 Jan 2020, 03:52 AM News
Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Saturday, 19 January 2020 JL Flanner

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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:

Johansson calls for unity in tackling migrations

LJUBLJANA - European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson said it was urgent for all EU members to work together to find the right solution to the migration issue, as she paid an official visit. She said a new EU pact on migration and asylum which she was entrusted with drafting by the Commission president should bring a fresh start in this field. Interior Minister Boštjan Poklukar said Slovenia was ready to debate new concepts and had been constructive all along. He said it was important "to get a new legal basis for the common European asylum system as soon as possible".

Ex-environment minister hushes rumour green party in the making

LJUBLJANA - Jure Leben, the popular environment minister who had to resign a year ago over allegations concerning his previous job, declined to comment on a newspaper report alleging he was forming a new green party with a well-known Slovenian environmental activist. The activist, Urša Zgojznik, confirmed for the newspaper Večer that talks with Leben on cooperation in a potential new green party were under way, but "things are not as far yet that we could talk of a concrete project." Rumours that Leben is forming his own green party have been rife for months, but he would not comment for the STA today. "If he's forming a party I wish him good luck," PM Marjan Šarec commented.

EU Commission to aid Slovenian mining regions

LJUBLJANA - The Infrastructure Ministry said that the European Commission would provide technical assistance in bringing about a green shift in Slovenia's Zasavje region and Šalek Valley, known for their coal industries. Slovenia is also expected to reap the benefits of the emerging Just Transition Fund, as the Commission had accepted its proposal to assist both regions in a just transition of phasing out coal. This week, the EU Commission presented the EUR 7.5 billion Just Transition Fund. According to unofficial sources, Slovenia is set to get EUR 92 million.

Builders flock to work on Divača-Koper rail expansion

LJUBLJANA - More than two dozen companies from Slovenia, China, Turkey and several other countries have submitted bids for the principal construction works on the new rail section from Divača to Koper, kicking off what promises to be a fierce contest for an estimated EUR 700 million. 2TDK, the state-owned company managing the project, revealed it had received 15 bids for the section from the inland hub Divača to Črni Kal and 14 bids for the section from Črni Kal to Koper. There are five Slovenian firms among the bidders. Most notably, Kolektor, the country's no. 1 builder, submitted bids for both sections, both in conjunction with Turkish bidders Yapi Merkezi and Ozlatin Insaat.

Russian investors bidding for Adria Airways licences

LJUBLJANA - The auction of Adria Airways' bankruptcy assets due next Thursday has sparked considerable interest with investors linked to the Russian state-owned aircraft manufacturer Sukhoi confirming their interest. The bankruptcy administrator has received five bids for the remaining assets of the Slovenian airline, including its air operator certificate (AOC) and various other licences. Media reports indicate that entrepreneur Joc Pečečnik is interested in business as a whole, and Izet Rastoder, a developer and fruit importer, is keen to obtain the AOC for commercial flights.

Croatian ambassador points to role of EU enlargement

LJUBLJANA - Croatian Ambassador to Slovenia Boris Grigić highlighted the importance of EU enlargement as he addressed Slovenian MPs to present Croatia's EU presidency's priorities in the first half of 2020. Asked how the EU could be brought closer to the Western Balkans as the people there had started losing trust in it, he said this would be done "when we again stress the EU's desire and will for these countries to join the EU and set clear rules, which people will be aware of". Grigić also agreed with the Slovenian MPs that Slovenia and Croatia were "natural allies".

PM promises steps to tackle SMEs' problems

LJUBLJANA - Representatives of small business complained at a meeting with Prime Minister Marjan Šarec that their demands remained unmet, with Šarec assuring them the government was working on solving their problems. Branko Meh, the head of the Chamber of Trade Crafts and Small Business (OZS), noted that small business represents 99.3% of the Slovenian economy. "This is why we deserve special attention from the government," he said. Šarec told OZS members that the government was well aware of their problems. "We cannot say nothing has been done; we have certainly made small steps to improve the situation."

Govt wants to set up domestic sludge treatment system

LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Environment Ministry is looking for a sustainable solution after Hungary has decided to stop importing sewage sludge, including from Slovenia. Minister Simon Zajc announced more concrete plans will be presented in two weeks' time, as sludge has already started to pile up at some municipal waste utilities. Zajc told the press this week talks with Hungary on a transitional period had failed, so he was seeking to make Slovenia self-sufficient in sewage sludge management. "As long as we are not self-sufficient, we'll be vulnerable," he said, adding that the goal was a sustainable solution of a domestic system of sludge treatment.

Krka expects bribery investigation results by end of month

NOVO MESTO - Krka said that its internal investigation into alleged bribery activities in the Slovenian pharma company's Romanian subsidiary was expected to be completed by the end of January. If any irregularities affecting Krka's business performance are indeed uncovered, it would publicly report on them. Reports of alleged irregularities made headlines this week, with the Romanian newspaper Libertatea reporting on alleged long-term systemic bribery in Krka's Romanian branch, claiming it had proof of kickbacks being paid to doctors to prescribe Krka products.

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