Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Wednesday, 20 May 2020

By , 20 May 2020, 07:32 AM News
Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 Flickr - Pedro Ribeiro Simões CC-by-2.0

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This summary is provided by the STA:

Janša welcomes EUR 500bn relief fund to revive economy

LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša welcomed a German-French proposal for the EU to set up a 500 billion euro fund to restart the economy after the Covid-19 pandemic. However, he believes an even more ambitious approach would be needed to address a crisis of such proportions. He also discussed it with his Italian and Austrians counterparts.

Croatians free to enter Slovenia without restrictions

LJUBLJANA - Croatia became the first country Slovenia put on a list of countries whose nationals may cross the border without limitations. The decision was made by the government late on Monday after the National Institute of Public Health assessed the determined that the risk to the spread of coronavirus is similar in both countries. Accordingly, there is no need for Croatians to quarantine or self-isolate when they cross the border. Talks are under way on similar arrangements with other neighbouring countries, government spokesman Jelko Kacin said.

Report: Trieste National Hall to be returned to Slovenian community

TRIESTE, Italy - The Trieste National Hall, which used to be the centrepiece of Slovenian cultural life in the town, will be symbolically returned to the Slovenian community there at a ceremony marking the 100th anniversary of the building's arson before its ownership is formally transferred to the community, a process that may take several years, Il Piccolo reported. The University of Trieste, which currently owns the building in the city's centre, will get the building of the former military hospital in Trieste in return.

After sharp downturn, PM Janša expects rapid recovery

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's economy is expected to contract sharply this year due to the coronavirus epidemic, but Prime Minister Janez Janša believes the economy will rebound next year provided the correct measures are taken. "If the predictions hold - and if this government remains in office, it will - we will be roughly at the pre-crisis level in about a year. This means prosperity will not have been significantly affected," Janša told Nova24TV Monday evening.

Coalition declare unity amid defections, speculation of reshuffle

LJUBLJANA - Junior coalition parties rushed to put on a show of unity after two Modern Centre Party (SMC) MPs defected to the opposition, and amid speculation about an imminent government reshuffle. The coalition's majority in parliament has been reduced to 46 out of 90 seats after Jani Möderndorfer joined the ranks of the Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) and Gregor Židan defected to the Social Democrats (SD). Commenting on the latest defection, Janja Sluga, the head of the SMC deputy faction, attributed it to the opposition's desire to bring down the government, saying that the offers some SMC MPs keep getting to defect "have crossed all limits of propriety".

One more coronavirus infection, no new Covid-19 fatalities

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia confirmed one more coronavirus infection on Monday, raising the total number of confirmed cases so far to 1,467, official data show. The national death toll remains at 104, as no new Covid-19 fatalities have been reported. A total of 1,128 tests were performed yesterday, roughly on a par with the daily testing volume since the start of the epidemic.

Self-pay coronavirus testing available from Thursday at UKC Ljubljana

LJUBLJANA - The Department of Infectious Diseases at the Ljubljana University Medical Centre (UKC) will start offering self-pay testing for the novel coronavirus from Thursday at the price of EUR 93. UKC Ljubljana said that those wishing to undergo testing should register online, while more information would be available on Wednesday.

Logar talks cooperation with counterparts from Western Balkans

LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Anže Logar spoke about cooperation in efforts to deal with the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic in a videoconference with counterparts from Western Balkan countries, their neighbours in the EU and high EU representatives. According to the Foreign Ministry, Logar provided an update on the handling of the situation in Slovenia, while he stressed the importance of European solidarity and regional cooperation in the Western Balkans and the region's close cooperation with the EU.

Financial Administration collects 25% less in April due to epidemic

LJUBLJANA - The Financial Administration (FURS) collected EUR 1.2 billion in April, which is 25% less than in the same month last year, the drop being attributed to the slowdown of business due to the coronavirus epidemic. A 4% drop in collected taxes and other levies was already recorded in March, half of which was affected by the anti-epidemic measures.

Banka Slovenije says banks should be fine if GDP falls moderately

LJUBLJANA - An analysis conducted by Banka Slovenije that does not account for stimulus measures suggests that banks in Slovenia would probably stay in the black this year if the economy contracts by no more than 6%. A deeper recession would on the other hand mean significant losses. The analysis notes that banks entered the crisis in good shape and that compared to the last crisis they are more exposed to households than to companies.

Special council set up to cut red tape

BRDO PRI KRANJU - A Debureaucratisation Council was set up to tackle the red tape, seen by many as an obstacle for the Slovenian economy. Prime Minister Janez Janša announced that the council would be headed by Ivan Simič, a tax expert who has headed both Slovenia's and Serbia's tax administrations in the past 15 years. In the tweet, Janša said that "more than 20,000 regulations are simply too many". The council will look into taxes, economy and the environment, the press release from the Government Communication Office said.

Gorenje workers come to Ljubljana to protest against layoffs

LJUBLJANA - A group of some 30 workers and trade unionists from home appliances maker Gorenje, a group which has been in China's Hisense ownership since 2018, came from the town of Velenje to Ljubljana to protest against the planned layoffs and to tell Slovenian decision-makers that they had let Gorenje workers down. Hisense said almost a month ago that it would lay off nearly 830 Gorenje workers. The protesters believe the Chinese takeover was "a big scam" and that the decision makers had broken their promises about new jobs and investments at Gorenje.

Over 400 jobs slashed as Revoz scraps night-shift

NOVO MESTO - Revoz, the Slovenian subsidiary of the French car maker Renault, will scrap the night shift due to a fall in demand brought on by the coronavirus pandemic as a result of which 400 jobs will be lost. Speaking to the STA, Revoz said the final decision had been taken not to launch half-capacity night shift, while production in two shifts would continue at full capacity.

Steklarna Hrastnik slashing workforce due to coronavirus fallout

HRASTNIK - Glass maker Steklarna Hrastnik plans to reduce its 700-strong workforce by almost a tenth by September, having recorded a severe contraction of demand. The company said had adopted measures aimed at keeping the business afloat and maintaining the healthy core of operations in the long-term. Whole-year sales are projected to contract by a quarter and net profit by a third.

Insurer Sava posts 5.6% drop in Q1 profit on higher claims, lower returns

LJUBLJANA - Insurance group Sava posted a first-quarter net profit of EUR 10.3 million, down 5.6% year-on-year, as higher reinsurance claims and lower investment returns affected the bottom line despite a 17.3% increase in gross written premiums. The group generated nearly EUR 149.0 million in operating revenue, up 16.2% over the year before, as gross premiums written rose by 15.1% to EUR 197.5 million.

Gen-I posts record EUR 15 million net profit for 2019

LJUBLJANA - The energy group Gen-I last year sold a record 83.4 terawatt-hours of electricity to generate more than EUR 2.2 billion in revenue for a third year in a row. Net profit exceeded EUR 15 million for the first time ever, increasing by 16% from 2018. CEO Robert Golob said that the group had also improved its financial standing last year by further reducing debt. Return on equity exceeded 16% for a third year in a row.

Prosecution decreasing number of pending indictments

LJUBLJANA - The Office of the State Prosecutor General says in its 2019 report that the Slovenian prosecution managed to decrease the number of pending indictments for the sixth year in a row last year, which brought their number to a record low. The number of convictions meanwhile increased compared to 2018. Last year, the state prosecution received 28,495 indictments and resolved 1.9% more. Up the most was the number of indictments targeting legal entities and minors.

Plans launched to upgrade rail network in greater Ljubljana

LJUBLJANA - Plans have been set in motion to upgrade the railway network in the greater Ljubljana area, with the Infrastructure Ministry determining the existing railways leading from Ljubljana to Kamnik in the north and to the south-eastern border as priority. Minister Jernej Vrtovec has tasked the public company for public railway infrastructure engineering to start siting the projects.

President's panel says anti-epidemic measures must not deepen climate crisis

LJUBLJANA - The president's climate policy advisory panel warned the government and parliament that, as measures to restart the economy after the coronavirus epidemic are being drafted, the ongoing climate and environmental crisis must not be deepened. President Borut Pahor presented the panel's recommendation for after the Covid-19 crisis, which includes the expectation that "the light at the end of the tunnel should be sustainable development."

Uniformed group visits police station to protest police procedure

SLOVENSKA BISTRICA - About 50 members of self-styled village guards or militias dressed in uniform visited the Slovenjska Bistrica police station on Sunday to protest against police activity prompted by a three-day camp held by the group in the area. Led by Andrej Šiško, who has spent time in prison for organising a militia that call themselves Štajerska Guard, the uniformed men pressed two officers to explain why the home of the owner of the land provided for the camp had been visited by police.

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