A schedule of all the main events involving Slovenia this week can be found here
This summary is provided by the STA:
Šarec urges EU membership for W Balkan candidates
DAVOS, Switzerland - Prime Minister Marjan Šarec said the EU's enlargement to the Western Balkans was key to the region's stabilisation and transformation, as he spoke at a panel on resuming strategic dialogue on the Western Balkans at the World Economic Forum in Davos. He reiterated Slovenia's disappointment with the EU's failure to launch accession talks with North Macedonia and Albania. Debate on the EU's future will be incomplete if enlargement is not implemented, he said.
NLB requests constitutional review of tight loan restrictions
LJUBLJANA - Bank NLB asked the Constitutional Court to review tighter restrictions on lending imposed by the central bank in November. After filing the request, the bank expressed belief that its request would be a matter of priority for the court because of the "radical effect" the measures had on the quality of Slovenians' lives. NLB believes that the measures have to be abolished and any anomalies detected in "individual market players" should instead be addressed with targeted and not systemic measures.
Police announce token strike for 3 February
CELJE - Slovenian police officers plan to stage a four-hour token strike on 3 February over the government's failure to implement commitments made in the December 2018 agreement that had ended a protracted strike. The strike was announced by the Trade Union of Police Officers (SPS), one of the two unions in the force, which also invited the second union, the Police Trade Union of Slovenia (PSS), to join in. The union claims agreed pay raises and promotions had not been fully implemented.
White paper on defence raises issues
LJUBLJANA - A public presentation of the white paper on defence at the National Council raised a number of concerns, above all about plans to increase the number of soldiers and what some believe is a lack of focus on technological development. Several participants wondered how Slovenia was to reach the goal of a 8,000-strong professional military force and a 2000-strong standing reserve by 2035, up from 6,400 and 700, respectively. Officials argued the goal was feasible without a military draft.
Stern warnings issued over climate action
LJUBLJANA - The standing panel on climate policy set up by President Borut Pahor warned on Monday that Slovenia was running late in setting out and implementing climate policy. An even sterner rebuke came from Human Rights Ombudsman Peter Svetina, as he spoke the Ombudsman's Council session dedicated to the environment. "We can speak in a very high-flying manner about climate and environmental policy by 2050, but over the past 20 years we haven't made small steps that would show the state actually means it."
Slovenia goes from below to above-average in drawing of EU funds
BRUSSELS, Belgium - Slovenia's new Development and EU Cohesion Policy Minister Angelika Mlinar was happy after her first meeting with European Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms Elisa Ferreira, saying that Slovenia had gone from below-average to above-average in drawing of EU funds at the end of last year. Moreover, the European Commission has withdrawn its warning that payments to Slovenia may be suspended due to problems with the IT system used in the process.
PM meets Croatian counterpart in Davos
DAVOS, Switzerland - Prime Minister Marjan Šarec held several high-level bilateral meetings as he participated in the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos. He exchanged views on the Slovenian-Croatian bilateral relations with his Croatian counterpart Andrej Plenković and discussed the current macroeconomic and economic situations in Slovenia with new Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Kristalina Georgieva.
Dragonja to step down as state secretary in March
LJUBLJANA - Finance Ministry State Secretary Metod Dragonja is to retire in March, the ministry confirmed for the STA. The business newspaper Finance meanwhile speculates that Dragonja is bowing out mainly due to disagreements over the plans to extend the life of the Bank Assets Management Company (BAMC). Another reason for his retirement is, according to unofficial sources, his general disagreement with Alenka Bratušek, the leader of the Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB), the political faction he belongs to.
MPs call for more funds for railways in infrastructure investment plan
LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Infrastructure Committee spent several hours debating the 2020-2025 road infrastructure investment plan, with members cautioning that the EUR 3 billion plan should not be changed by each new incoming government and calling for more funds for rail infrastructure.
Activists criticise asylum policy
LJUBLJANA - An event on integration of persons enjoying international protection, hosted by the Peace Institute, heard that debate on integration in Slovenia was of secondary importance, as things get stuck at the question of whether an asylum seeker should be accepted in the country at all. Iztok Šori, the institute's director, said that the Slovenian police were rejecting migrants on the border with Croatia, making it impossible for them to apply for international protection.
Finance Ministry expects trouble ahead for Green Deal fund
LJUBLJANA - The EU's finance ministers expressed their support for the European Green Deal, but only in theory. The debate indicated that the question of funding the climate agreement would prove to be a contentious issue. Certain member states seemed reluctant about the deal potentially leading to cuts in agricultural and cohesion funds. Finance Minister Andrej Bertoncelj said that strong measures were needed while taking into account individual member states' energy needs.
Economy minister and OZS to fight against populism
LJUBLJANA - Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek and Slovenia's Chamber of Craft and Small Business (OZS) intend to fight against populism which prevents far-reaching change in economy and labour legislation. Addressing the OZS management board, Počivalšek said it was hard to implement change without strong support by all business chambers in the country, urging all employer organisations to close ranks in the talks with social partners - the government and trade unions.
Slovenia rapidly reducing risk of cervical cancer
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia is one of the most effective EU countries in fighting cervical cancer, mostly due to its successful ZORA screening programme. Moreover, prevention efficiency has been boosted by a steady increase in the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccination rate among girls. The vaccination rate for 11-year-old girls rose by 10 percentage points to nearly 60% last year, health officials said on the occasion of European Cervical Cancer Prevention Week. To eradicate the disease in the entire population, at least 90% vaccination rate is required.
Border crossing in NE Slovenia gets revamped
ORMOŽ - The Ormož border crossing on the Slovenian-Croatian border was inaugurated on Tuesday following a renovation designed to make it more passenger-friendly and to strengthen the cooperation of Slovenian and Croatian police forces. The investment's price tag is estimated at almost EUR 1 million. Interior Minister Boštjan Poklukar, Public Administration Minister Rudi Medved and Police Commissioner Tatjana Bobnar attended the inauguration, praising the reconstruction project.
Over 327,000 lorries registered in electronic tolling
LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian electronic tolling system for cargo vehicles DarsGo, which was introduced in April 2018, had more than 91,000 users at the end of last year who entered more than 327,000 vehicles into the system. Most users are from Slovenia, followed by those from Romania, Poland, Germany and Hungary. Last year, 85% of DarsGo users covered their costs using the service, while the share of pre-paid users is decreasing. At the end of 2019, the number was almost 10% lower than in December 2018.
New shopping mall opening in Ljubljana in March
LJUBLJANA - The new shopping mall in Ljubljana's Šiška borough, which is being constructed by Spar European Shopping Centers (SES), will open its doors on 19 March. Announcing the launch, SES Slovenija said the EUR 150 million project was expected to create 700 jobs. The 32,000 square-metre three-storage Aleja shopping mall with two underground car parks will house 80 shops, a food court of 2,300 square metres and several coffee shops with sports facilities on its green roof.
If you're learning Slovenian then you can find all our dual texts here