Headlines for Slovenia: Thursday 7 May, 2020

By , 07 May 2020, 07:08 AM News
Headlines for Slovenia: Thursday 7 May, 2020 Flickr - Pedro Ribeiro Simões CC-by-2.0

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This summary is provided by the STA:

Govt report on PPE points finger at ex-PM, says ventilators had expert backing

LJUBLJANA - The government released a report on PPE purchases, saying all procurement was executed in line with protocol and amid difficult circumstances that were aggravated by the failure of former PM Marjan Šarec to react sooner. The report says all the ordered ventilators had expert backing. Announced by PM Janez Janša after the 24 April whistleblower accusations about heavy political meddling, the report provides insight into the stock of personal protective equipment before the epidemic and the current situation, stressing the PPE available on 16 March did not suffice for even a single day of the assessed needs at the time. The opposition Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ), SocDems and the Left responded to the report by saying it did not provide insight into the developments but was primarily meant as a defence of the government.

Antibody study shows one in thirty Slovenians exposed to coronavirus

LJUBLJANA - A nationwide antibody study has found that one in thirty Slovenians has probably been exposed to the novel coronavirus. This means that about 2-4% of the population may have gained some sort of immunity to Covid-19, according to the Institute of Microbiology and Immunology, which led the study. Miroslav Petrovec, the head of the institute, cautioned that this did not necessarily mean those people are immune to Covid-19, nor how durable their immunity may be. The almost 1,400 participants of the study will now be monitored every two weeks until the end of October, which will give public health authorities a clearer picture of the course of the epidemic.

Almost 11,000 jobs lost in Slovenia in April

LJUBLJANA - The coronavirus crisis is taking a heavy toll on Slovenia's job market with data from the Employment Service showing that 10,793 people were added to the unemployment register in April alone, pushing the total up by 19.9% year-on-year to 88,648. Since Slovenia declared coronavirus epidemic in mid-March, the number of people registered as unemployed rose by 13,622. The majority of layoffs were in the hospitality sector, manufacturing and retail.

Brussels projects 7% GDP drop for Slovenia this year, 6.7% recovery in 2021

LJUBLJANA - The European Commission projects that Slovenia's GDP will drop by 7% this year, while a 6.7% recovery is expected in 2021 on the back of stimulus measures. The forecast is nevertheless somewhat better than for the entire eurozone on average, which stands at -7.7% for this year and +6.3% for next year. The Commission said Slovenia had entered the coronavirus crisis in a relatively strong position, but supply disruptions and containment measures are expected to produce strong negative effects, especially in the first half of 2020.

Igor Lamberger new acting head of National Bureau of Investigation

LJUBLJANA - Acting Police Commissioner Anton Travner dismissed National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) director Darko Muženič, appointing Igor Lamberger as the NBI's acting head. Lamberger served as a deputy president of the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption from mid-2014 to mid-2019 and had previously worked for the Criminal Police Department, heading its sector for white-collar crime between 2002 and 2005. Muženič led the NBI since June 2019 and was dismissed without his consent. The opposition Marjan Šarec List already called for a session of the parliamentary Home Affairs Committee to debate what it believes to be the last in a series of politically motivated staffing changes at the police and security agencies.

Janša says EU enlargement needs to continue without delays

BRUSSELS, Belgium - Prime Minister Janez Janša urged that the EU's enlargement process continue without any further delays despite the coronavrius epidemic as the EU held a virtual summit with the leaders of Western Balkan countries. The EU needs to stay active in the region despite all the challenges, the PM's office wrote. While the summit saw EU leaders reiterate support for an EU future for the countries in the region despite continuing doubts about the EU's true commitment to enlargement, Janša stressed the socio-economic development of the Western Balkans and its EU integration were of crucial importance for the whole of Europe.

One more Covid-19 death, three new infections reported

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's official coronavirus case count has risen to 1,448 and the death toll to 99 as three more people tested positive and one patient died on Tuesday, fresh government data show. The three new cases come from 1,449 tests conducted yesterday, which is slightly more than the day before.

Athletes allowed to train, competitions in individual sports to resume

LJUBLJANA - The government gave registered athletes the green light to start practising in outdoor facilities and to resume competitions in individual sports up to and including the national level, albeit without spectators. It will be possible to stage sports competitions up to and including the national level, but only in individual sports which have a registered official competition system under the relevant law. Athletes will have to observe social distancing rules and will mostly be limited to individual training. The Olympic Committee of Slovenia (OKS) welcomed the partial easing of restrictions.

Public transport to be relaunched on Monday

LJUBLJANA - Public transport in Slovenia will be relaunched on Monday, 11 May, after being suspended because of the coronavirus epidemic on 16 March, the Infrastructure Ministry said. Details regarding the safety measures that will apply are yet to be agreed on and should be presented to the public by the end of the week.

Supreme Court reverses defamation ruling against Janša

LJUBLJANA - The Supreme Court has quashed a ruling that ordered the incumbent prime minister, Janez Janša, to pay EUR 6,000 in damages to a journalist for calling her a "washed-up prostitute" in a tweet. The journalist has announced she will take her case to the Constitutional Court.

NGOs challenge first anti-coronavirus mega law at top court

LJUBLJANA - Three NGOs announced they had asked the Constitutional Court to examine tighter standards for NGOs to participate in procedures in which building permits are issued, which were introduced with the changes to the first fiscal stimulus package the government adopted to help businesses and households cope with the Covid-19 epidemic. The Focus Association for Sustainable Development, the Slovenian Native Fish Society, and Lutra - the Institute for Conservation of Natural Heritage want the court to put a temporary injunction on several segments of the law on emergency measures to contain the epidemic and mitigate its consequences.

Management of state forest company replaced

LJUBLJANA - The supervisory board of the SiDG state forestry company dismissed director general Zlatko Ficko and appointed chief supervisor Samo Mihelin in his place until a new management with full powers is appointed, but not longer than one year. Leaving the management of the operator of state-owned forests along with Ficko is Darja Derganc, the director for finance, accounting and controlling.

Fraport Slovenija posts EUR 2.4 million operating loss in Q1

BRNIK - Fraport Slovenija, the company operating Ljubljana airport, posted an operating loss of EUR 2.4 million in the first quarter of the year as its parent company Fraport reported its first quarterly loss since getting listed on the stock market in 2001 amid the coronavirus pandemic. Fraport Slovenija generated EUR 6.9 million in revenue in the first quarter, 32% less than in the same period a year ago.

Car sales in Slovenia down 71% in April

LJUBLJANA - Car dealerships have been hit hard by the coronavirus lockdown. Sales of new cars and vans plunged by 71% year-on-year in April and 39% in the first four months compared to the same period last year, show the latest Chamber of Commerce figures. Just 2,140 new cars and vans were sold in April, and 16,354 vehicles in the first four months of the year.

Economic zone mooted as Italian ambassador visits border region

NOVA GORICA - Italian Ambassador to Slovenia Carlo Campanile visited the border city of Nova Gorica to discuss the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the economy and tourism in the cross-border region with one of the solutions suggested for a way out of the crisis being an economic zone. Such a zone would be especially important for the region spanning Nova Gorica, Gorizia and Šempeter-Vrtojba, the three border municipalities that have founded the European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation.

First Slovenian satellites expectedly to be launched in June

MARIBOR - After the launch of Slovenia's first satellites, Trisat and Nemo HD, was postponed several times, most recently because of coronavirus, the project head, Iztok Kramberger of the Maribor Faculty Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, announced on Wednesday the satellites were expected to take flight between 8 and 15 June, as the launch site in French Guyana is to reopen.

Spa resorts gradually reopening, most for rehab services

ZREČE/LAŠKO/OTOČEC - Almost two months after being forced to shut down due to the coronavirus epidemic, spa resorts across Slovenia are tentatively reopening for business. Several have resumed medical rehabilitation services, and some also resumed wellness services and reopened bar terraces. Terme Krka, the spa company of the drug maker Krka, also reopened its tennis courts and golf course at Otočec near the Croatian border. Tourism company Sava Turizem, which runs a number of hotels and spa resorts in the lakeside town Bled, on the coast and in the north-east of the country, will wait a bit longer before reopening.

Doctor Radan's acquittal upheld by higher court

LJUBLJANA - The Higher Court in Ljubljana has rejected the prosecution's appeal against the acquittal of doctor Ivan Radan, thus upholding the 2018 ruling of the first-instance court. Radan's acquittal in the high-profile trial is now final, the newspaper Delo reported. Radan was tried for the alleged manslaughter of four terminally ill patients, unlawful recording of patients and abuse of office in prescribing drugs.

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