This summary is provided by the STA:
Janša warns lack of joint action potentially fateful for EU
LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Janez Janša called for joint EU action to fight the coronavirus crisis. "The scale of the crisis is truly large and may have grave and fateful effects on the cohesion of the EU and the economic and monetary union," he told EU leaders at Thursday's EU summit. He said adequate and timely action was needed to mitigate the social and economic consequences of the crisis. "Considering the extraordinary circumstances, Slovenia has endorsed the initiative for a common debt instrument," Janša was quoted in a Government Communication Office press release.
Covid-19 death toll rises to nine as two more deaths reported
LJUBLJANA - The coronavirus death toll in Slovenia rose to nine as two persons died, the second day in a row that more than one fatality has been confirmed. By Thursday midnight the total number of confirmed infections rose to 632, up by a record 70 cases in a day, the latest government data show. More than 18,000 tests were carried out by midnight on Thursday, over a thousand yesterday alone, while reports from hospitals suggest 101 Covid-19 patients were in hospital today. The National Institute of Public Health expects the growth in cases to slow down because of the lockdown measures imposed in Slovenia nearly two weeks ago.
Hojs optimistic about chances of giving army police powers
LJUBLJANA - Interior Minister Aleš Hojs is optimistic a two-thirds majority could be mustered to trigger article 37.a of the defence act to temporarily give the Slovenian Armed Forces police powers. After consulting deputy groups, he said he would shortly send them the final proposal updated with some of their proposals so that the government could adopt it and parliament pass next week. With the exception of the National Party (SNS), the opposition is reserved towards the proposal, but would make its mind up once it has seen the final proposal. However, today Hojs praised all opposition parties for being constructive. Among their proposals he finds useful he highlighted strictly limiting the territory along the border with Croatia on which soldiers would be allowed to exert police powers to help the police cope with illegal migration.
Government to continue work on stimulus package on Saturday
LJUBLJANA - The government convened a session to finalise a economic stimulus package estimated at EUR 2 billion, but later announced that it would take a vote on it on Saturday after conducting further talks due to its complexity. The government was only acquainted with the package today, the STA has learned. The proposed measures include loan guarantees for companies, purchase of claims to companies, co-financing of social contributions and temporary layoffs, temporary basic income for the self-employed and a one-off allowance for pensioners. PM Janez Janša has said the ideal scenario would be to pass it by 1 April and parliamentary Speaker Igor Zorčič has announced that en emergency session would be held in the middle of next week.
Quarantine protocol to apply to all Slovenian returning from hotspots
LJUBLJANA - The government announced all Slovenians returning to Slovenia from coronavirus hotspots will be put into state-administrated quarantine. The announcement was made after 41 Slovenian citizens who were flown in from Madrid late on Thursday were not sent into self-isolation but quarantined in a hotel in Velenje for two weeks. There is some opposition in Velenje, with the local community expressing indignation that it had learnt about the Paka Hotel quarantine from the media. Jelko Kacin, the government's spokesman for the coronavirus crisis, confirmed today the measure would apply to all Slovenians returning from coronavirus hotspots. Another group from Spain is to arrive on Saturday.
Slovenia urges cohesion policy flexibility due to crisis
BRUSSELS, Belgium - EU ministers in charge of development and European cohesion policy appealed to the European Commission to come up with a second set of measures enabling more flexibility in the phasing of EU funds to tackle the coronavirus epidemic ramifications, with Slovenia urging maximum possible wiggle room for taking action. Slovenia's Zvonko Černač urged the greatest possible degree of flexibility in allowing changes and implementing measures to mitigate the coronavirus fallout, adding that every day counted.
Electricity consumption in Slovenia down
LJUBLJANA - In the wake of production shutdowns and public life grinding to a halt, electricity consumption in Slovenia has seen a downward trend in the past two weeks, show the latest data from SODO, the state-owned electricity distribution system operator. Between 12 and 26 March, electricity consumption decreased by 7.85% compared to the same period in 2018 and by 3.89% on 2019. Trends recorded by power supplier Elektro Maribor reflect the shift to nationwide lockdown mode: industrial consumption decreased by 6% in March, while household consumption increased by 6%.
Cavitation researcher Dular wins prestigious Bessel Research Award
BERLIN, Germany - Matevž Dular, a lecturer and researcher at the Ljubljana Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, has been awarded the prestigious Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award. This is the second Bessel prize for a Slovenian researcher in as many years, last-year's winner being particle physicist Jure Zupan. Financed by the German government and conferred by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation on around 20 scientists each year, the honour includes a EUR 45,000 grant and a six-month research project in Germany.
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