Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Wednesday, 8 April 2020

By , 08 Apr 2020, 04:47 AM News
Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Wednesday, 8 April 2020 pixabay - vardansevan CC-by-0

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This summary is provided by the STA:

PM says easing of lockdown could start in a week

LJUBLJANA - As Slovenia preserved a flat curve of new coronavirus cases - reports for Monday said confirmed cases were up by 35 to 1,055 and the death toll rose by 6 to 36 - PM Janez Janša announced that some of the restrictive measures could perhaps be eased as early as next Tuesday, provided that certain conditions, including the stability of the healthcare system, are met. He said the government was examining the possibility of relaunching manufacturing, part of the services sector, commerce and transport if protective measures are implemented. Janša was critical of developments in the EU, saying solidarity in the procurement of protective gear was non-existent and suggesting a failure to support corona bonds could imperil the future of the common currency and even of the bloc.

Top court: State doesn't have to fund non-mandatory curricula at private schools

LJUBLJANA - More than five years after deciding the state must provide equal funding for public and private primary schools, the Constitutional Court has specified that this applies only to the mandatory part of school curricula at private schools but not to non-mandatory curricula, such as morning and afternoon care, or remedial tutoring. The court said that legislation stipulating that non-mandatory curricula at private schools get 85% of the funds provided for public schools was not unconstitutional. Left-leaning parties, which the court criticised for keeping funding for both curricula at 85% after the 2014 ruling, welcomed the news, suggesting their interpretation had been vindicated, while the senior coalition Democrats (SDS) believe the decision opens new questions.

Debate on giving military police powers postponed

LJUBLJANA - Parliament backed a coalition proposal to postpone a debate on granting the Slovenian Armed Forces (SAF) limited police powers to help patrol the border to contain illegal migration while many policemen are helping in the country's anti-Covid 19 efforts. The coalition gave no formal reason for the postponement of the debate, which was meant to end without a vote, angering the opposition, which opposes giving the SAF police powers for up to three months. But the idea is to consult constitutional jurists on whether parliament can vote on giving the SAF police powers even if a government motion to do so failed to win the required two-thirds majority on the parliamentary Defence Committee last week.

Parliament embraces remote voting

LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly voted with the needed two-thirds majority in favour of changes to the rules of procedure that allow it to hold sessions and vote remotely in exceptional circumstances such as the coronavirus epidemic or some other natural disaster. The amendmentsallow MPs in exceptional circumstances to debate and vote remotely with the help of information and communication technology at a plenary session, and in some cases at sessions of parliamentary working bodies. The sessions will be public. It will be possible for a remote session to be called in case of a natural or other grave accident (a state of emergency), if a session with MPs present in person is a risk to MPs' health or safety and when such a session is urgent to pass decisions that cannot be delayed.

MPs pass referendum act changes to prevent slowing of epidemic-mitigating laws

LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed legislative changes that will shorten the period for laws, which cannot be challenged in referendi, to take effect. The changes were passed with 66 votes in favour and 8 against, are expected to speed up the implementation of laws designed to alleviate consequences of the Covid-19 epidemic by 8 days. The changes stipulate that the relevant bills would take effect immediately after the upper chamber showed no intention of vetoing them. The changes will only apply to bills that cannot be challenged with a referendum. The government may decide that a bill cannot be subjected to a referendum if its purpose is to introduce emergency measures for reasons of defence and security, and to mitigate consequences of natural disasters.

Healthcare system preparing Covid-19 exit strategy

LJUBLJANA - After focussing all resources on Covid-19 patients and emergency cases since mid-March, the Slovenian healthcare system is preparing to gradually reopen to other patients while taking stringent precautionary measures. Hospitals have already received instructions from the Ministry of Health to start accepting other patients. In the first phase of the exit strategy the country's biggest hospital, UKC Ljubljana, plans to start accepting patients with the level of urgency indicated on referrals 'fast' along with the 'urgent' and 'very fast' that it is accepting now. At UKC Maribor, medical councils are going through medical files to determine the order in which the hospital will start admitting other patients that need treatment.

State borrows another EUR 2.25 billion

LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian state has borrowed another EUR 2.25 billion by carrying out a new 10-year bond issue and expanding the amounts of the previous two bond issues, the business newspaper Finance reported, referring to Bloomberg. The government has issued anew a 10-year bond worth one billion euro, increased the amount of a bond issue due in August 2045 by EUR 100 million and of a recent three-year bond issue, due in March 2023, by EUR 1.15 billion. Since the coronavirus epidemic was declared in mid-March, the state has expanded the amounts certain bond issues and also issued more than half a billion worth in treasury bonds of different maturity. It has borrowed a total of EUR 5.4 billion this year.

Stock market index surges 6%

LJUBLJANA - The SBI TOP index of the Ljubljana Stock Exchange continued to recover, surging 6.11% to 780.64 points as all blue chips recorded strong gains, the biggest gainer being the port operator Luka Koper (+10.59% to EUR 18.80). The drug maker Krka accounted for around a third of the daily turnover of some EUR 3 million. Following Luka Koper in terms of gains were the insurers Sava Re (+9.15% to EUR 15.50) and Zavarovalnica Triglav (+8.11% to EUR 28). Krka gained 6.38% to EUR 70 on deals worth EUR 1.02 million and was the most coveted item today, followed by the energy company Petrol (+4.61% to EUR 295), which accounted for EUR 584,090 in deals.

Real estate market waiting for coronavirus epidemic to end

LJUBLJANA - The real estate market has slowed down due to lockdown measures to restrict the spread of the coronavirus epidemic. But while real estate agencies have seen a significant drop in turnover, they say clients have not abandoned their intentions to buy or lease, and that the true impact of the crisis would depend on the duration of the epidemic and its effect on purchasing power. According to Boštjan Udovič, the head of the Real Estate Association at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS), the number of transactions is dropping, but prices remain stable.

President says electoral law reform should return to agenda

LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor thinks a reform of electoral law in accordance with a 2018 Constitutional Court decision should return to the political agenda as soon as the situation permits. "This issue affects democracy in Slovenia. Elections are not everything, but without elections there is no democracy," he told the STA. "Of course we cannot press ahead with this now, but as soon as we find the opportune time allowing us to dedicate ourselves to this matter, we have to focus on it. We cannot afford a shadow of constitutional doubt hanging over the next election," he said.

Fiscal Council finds government coronavirus measures justified

LJUBLJANA - The Fiscal Council, the body overseeing Slovenia's adherence to the fiscal rule, endorsed the measures taken by the government to contain the coronavirus epidemic and mitigate its consequences. It said the Slovenian government's measures were for the most part in agreement with recommendations by international organisations and comparable in scope to measures taken by other countries. However, in the future the measures must be more targeted, simple and limited in duration.

Postal company reports higher revenue, profit below target for 2019

MARIBOR - Pošta Slovenije, the national postal company, generated EUR 262.7 million in revenue last year, EUR 12 million more than the year before. While failing to disclose the profit figure, the company said it was substantially below projections. The main reason for the lower-than-expected profitability is mainly a pay deal the company had struck with trade unions. Director-general Boris Novak could not project yet how the coronavirus pandemic will affect the company's operations and bottom-line, noting that the effects on the economy were multi-faceted while it was yet to be seen how fast production processes and logistic chains returned to normal.

Soaring demand for digital content recorded in March

LJUBLJANA - Demand for content on Slovenian digital platforms surged to record values in the second half of March as Slovenia switched to a coronavirus lockdown mode, an analysis carried out by advertising agency Iprom shows. The number of users of online platforms increased by 52% over February and they consumed an average of 75% more content daily. Content for children and youth posted the biggest rises: its average daily reach was up 166% and daily visits by 213%.

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