Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Wednesday, 25 March 2020

By , 25 Mar 2020, 04:29 AM News
Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Wednesday, 25 March 2020 Flickr - 白士 李 CC by 2.0

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This summary is provided by the STA:

Govt announces EUR 2bn stimulus package for economy

LJUBLJANA - The government presented a package of economic stimulus measures worth roughly EUR 2 billion designed to protect jobs and keep society in general functioning through the crisis. The measures, which will be hashed out in the form of legislation this week, include loan guarantees for companies, purchase of claims to companies, co-financing of social contributions, temporary basic income for the self-employed and allowances for pensioners. Matej Lahovnik, the economist who heads a special task force of economists and executives advising the government on the measures, said this was the biggest stimulus ever in Slovenian history. PM Janez Janša and Finance Minister Andrej Šircelj assured the public that the funds to finance the package were sufficient, with reliable sources available to tap into. Both the opposition and businesses welcomed the package.

Fourth Slovenian coronavirus death confirmed

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia recorded the fourth coronavirus-related death today as an elderly woman died at the Šmarje pri Jelšah nursing home, one of the hotspots of the coronavirus epidemic in the country. The woman had multiple underlying chronic conditions and died "at a very advanced age", the Šmarje pri Jelšah municipality said on its website without specifying the woman's age. The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Slovenia was up by 38 in a day to 480 by 10am today.

Slovenia reintroducing border checks with Austria

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia will reintroduce border checks with Austria from midnight to restrict access to the country because of the coronavirus epidemic. A total of 13 border checkpoints will be set up at former border crossings with Austria, announced Jelko Kacin, the spokesman for the government coronavirus crisis unit. According to Kacin, PM Janez Janša has signed a decree restricting entry to Slovenia from Austria in line with the rules that already apply on the Italian border.

Slovenian, Portuguese presidents discuss anti-coronavirus efforts, post-coronavirus future

LJUBLJANA - Slovenian President Borut Pahor rang up his Portuguese counterpart Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa to discuss their countries' efforts to contain the coronavirus pandemic and a post-coronavirus future. Pahor's office also said that Rebelo de Sousa's April visit to Slovenia was rescheduled. Exchanging views on a post-coronavirus future, the heads of state assessed people and societies needed to brace for major changes. These will also have to be taken into account by individual countries and the international community.

Four presidents to discuss state of political institutions this week

LJUBLJANA - The president of the country, the heads of the parliament's two chambers and the prime minister will hold their first meeting after the appointment of new government on Thursday to discuss the functioning of political institutions during the crisis. The meeting of the four presidents is usually held in December, but given the circumstances a decision was made to meet sooner, President Borut Pahor announced on Twitter.

Around 400 Serbians stuck in Slovenia to be taken home

LJUBLJANA - The government has reached an agreement with Serbia to organise transport for around 400 Serbian citizens who are stuck in Slovenia while trying to return home from Slovenia or while on their way back from other European countries as Serbia shut down its borders to contain the spread of the new coronavirus. The agreement was reached on Tuesday following diplomatic efforts by the Serbian Embassy in Slovenia and the relevant Serbian and Slovenian institutions authorities.

Slovenia welcomes EU's greenlighting accession talks for N Macedonia, Albania

BRUSSELS, Belgium/LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's Foreign Ministry State Secretary Gašper Dovžan welcomed the decision of EU European affairs ministers who agreed via videoconference to let Albania and North Macedonia begin accession talks after a series of setbacks. Dovžan said the step was a vital political signal for the region indicating a path to EU membership. Dovžan also stressed the importance of the EU's practical approach in tackling other open issues in the Western Balkans.

ECB's supervisory measures expanded to all banks in Slovenia

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's central bank has decided to extend to the entire banking system in the country a series of supervisory measures the European Central Bank (ECB) has taken amid the coronavirus pandemic. The decision to extend the measures to smaller financial institutions under Banka Slovenije's direct supervision is designed to provide equal treatment of all banks in a bid to prevent a potential deterioration of their situation, Banka Slovenije said.

Slovenia issues EUR 1.1bn worth of bonds

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia today issued EUR 850 million worth of three-year bonds and increased by EUR 250 million the existing 10-year bond issue with a maturity date on 14 March 2029, the newspaper Finance reported, adding that the required yield on the three-year bond is 0.253% and 0.695% on the nine-year debt. Earlier today, the Finance Ministry said it had commissioned several major international banks to manage a new issue of a three-year euro-denominated bond and increase the issue of the bond due in 2029.

Supply of ventilators and protective gear on schedule

LJUBLJANA - Senior Slovenian officials have assured the public that the supply of ventilators and the protective equipment required to contain the spread of the coronavirus epidemic in the country is running without disruptions. President Borut Pahor received Chinese Ambassador Wang Shunqin today to thank him for his country's support in the supply of ventilators, which are expected to be used on patients most affected with the coronavirus.

Crisis already reflecting in sole proprietorship, unemployment figures

LJUBLJANA - After the government's economic think-tank IMAD projected on Monday a six to eight percent contraction in the country's GDP for 2020, preliminary data showing spikes in the number of sole proprietorships closed and of newly registered unemployed persons are starting to reveal the impact of the coronavirus crisis. The Agency for Public Legal Services (AJPES) told the STA that 779 sole proprietors had closed shop between 1 and 20 March, which is 44% more than in the same period last year, 48% more than had been the case for 1-20 February and 29% more than in the 1-20 January period.

Illegal migrant flow increasing, no Covid-19 cases yet

LJUBLJANA - The flow of illegal migrants across the Slovenian border appears to be continuing apace despite the coronavirus pandemic, a trend that the police attribute to warmer weather. Last week alone, 234 migrants were recorded, but no one has yet tested positive for the novel virus. Slovenian police recorded 1,165 cases of people crossing the border illegally in the first two months of the year, an increase of 80% compared with the same period a year ago.

Work on major infrastructural projects slows down

LJUBLJANA - The coronavirus epidemic and the ensuing restrictive measures have slowed down work on major infrastructural projects in Slovenia. Work on the second tube of the Karavanke motorway tunnel is down to a minimum and the intensity of work on the new railway serving the port of Koper has been reduced. Major works have been suspended because of disruptions in the supply of material and difficulties in securing proper accommodation for workers.

Over 100 prisoners sent home due to coronavirus concerns

LJUBLJANA - Some 130 prisoners were released in March as a result of efforts to stem the coronavirus spread, the newspaper Večer reported today, based on unofficial information. Former Istrabenz CEO Igor Bavčar and former Laško CEO Boško Šrot are supposed to be among them. Due to the epidemic, visits to Slovenian prisons have been banned and inmates' movement outside prisons restricted since 13 March.

Ljubljana Stock Exchange launching GDR trading

LJUBLJANA - The Ljubljana Stock Exchange (LJSE) is to enable trading with global depositary receipts (GDR) as of Wednesday. The step will facilitate indirect listings of securities from foreign countries, which would open doors for more investment opportunities on the stock exchange. "The new product is the outcome of collaboration between a number of Slovenian capital market participants and points to our commitment to the development of the domestic market," said the LJSE.

Slovenian cultural institutions to incur significant loss of income

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's public cultural organisations are trying to work out to what extent the coronavirus outbreak will affect their business if they stay closed for two weeks, a month or more. Some have opted to offer their production online as a gesture of good will for many staying at home, but this will not improve their bottom line. All events have been cancelled, work largely suspended or reorganised from home, with those unable to work from home being put on hold, or instructed to use days off.

Slovenia welcomes decision to postpone Summer Olympics, Olympic committee calls for measures to help sport

LJUBLJANA - Slovenian Olympic Committee (OKS) president Bogdan Gabrovec welcomed the decision to postpone the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, which had been scheduled for 24 July-9 August. He said that common sense had prevailed and that it was athletes who would benefit the most from the decision, which took a huge burden off their backs. The OKS called on the government today to include sport in its measures to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus epidemic, noting that sport had suffered a great loss with the cancellation of competitions.

NBA star Dončić makes it into EuroLeague all-decade team

LJUBLJANA - Slovenian basketball player Luka Dončić, one of the key players of the Dallas Mavericks and former member of Real Madrid, has been named to the EuroLeague's 2010-2020 All-Decade Team, being a third pick after Spanish Juan Carlos Navarro and US Kyle Hines. Dončić was first short-listed for the team, with fans, sports journalists and EuroLeague captains and coaches deciding on the final selection of ten players.

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