Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Friday, 22 May 2020

By , 22 May 2020, 04:19 AM News
Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Friday, 22 May 2020 JL Flanner

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This summary is provided by the STA:

Emergency bill to help kick-start investment

LJUBLJANA - The government adopted late on Wednesday an emergency bill to facilitate investment seen key to kick-start the economy after the Covid-19 epidemic. Investments worth EUR 500 million in total will get priority treatment in all procedures, including administrative and judicial procedures. As eligible investments Economy Minister Andrej Vizjak listed major roads and railway tracks, including Koper-Divača track, hydro power plants and the Ljubljana passenger terminal.

Talks on border crossing deals with neighbouring countries under way

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia and Croatia are expected to initial a bilateral agreement regulating the crossing of their border by the end of this week, government spokesperson Jelko Kacin announced. While Croatia is the first country Slovenia put on a list of countries whose nationals may enter without limitations and a formal agreement is in the making, Kacin said Hungary and Austria were expected to follow soon.

FM Logar discusses concerted response to coronavirus with Canadian counterpart

LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Anže Logar held a phone conversation with his Canadian counterpart Francois-Philippe Champagne focusing on national measures to combat the coronavirus epidemic. The ministers emphasised the importance of cohesion and concerted action in transatlantic relations and in the international community in general. They also voiced support for an independent and comprehensive estimate of the World Health Organisation's (WHO) response to the pandemic.

Logar meets ambassadors to discuss pandemic

LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Anže Logar attended a meeting of ambassadors from EU countries accredited to Slovenia which was hosted by Croatian Ambassador to Slovenia Boris Grigić, whose country presides over the Council of the EU in the first half of the year. Logar urged close cooperation among EU members as they relax lockdown measures and welcomed the European Commission's recommendations for a coordinated approach to re-establishing the freedom of movement.

Parliament to debate EU General Court judge nominees next week

LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Privileges and Credentials Commission debated three candidate judges for Slovenia's two spots at the EU's General Court in Luxembourg, approving Klemen Podobnik, while a vote will be taken by the plenary next week to decide whether Jure Vidmar or Nina Savin Bossière will take the second spot. The three candidates had been put forward by President Borut Pahor after consulting the government, the Judiciary Council and parliamentary groups.

Motion to replace two members to RTVS supervisory board withdrawn

LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Privileges and Credentials Commission withdrew a proposal from the ruling Democrats (SDS) to dismiss two members of the supervisory board at public broadcaster RTV Slovenija and appoint two that would better reflect the current balance of power in parliament. The move comes after the parliament's legal service said that the replacement may be made only under the conditions determined by the law, of which the balance of power is not one.

Care homes to start readmitting residents

LJUBLJANA - Care homes, which have accounted for the vast majority of Covid-19-related deaths in the country, will start receiving residents who were moved into home care during the epidemic as well as new residents on Monday under a government decision. The move marks a major milestone in the gradual restoration of pre-coronavirus reality, since a handful of over 100 care homes in the country had developed into major Covid-19 hotspots.

Public administration and court services to resume on 1 June

LJUBLJANA - The government decided to fully restore public administration and court services as of 1 June, a day after the epidemic is formally over. The protective measures in place for more than two months had suspended procedural deadlines and restricted in-person submitting of requests as well as court hearings and personal deliveries of documents.

Slovenia's Covid-19 death toll rises to 105

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's Covid-19 deaths toll has increased to 105 after one more patient died yesterday, while the case count remains at 1,468 with none of the 909 tests conducted yesterday returning positive, data from the government show. Only 21 Covid-19 patients remain hospitalised, three of them in intensive care. Slovenia has not seen more than one new daily case for a week now.

Health insurance fund expects EUR 129m loss due to Covid-19

LJUBLJANA - The ZZZS, the fund collecting and managing mandatory health insurance, expects a shortfall of EUR 129 million by the end of the year due to the Covid-19 epidemic. The fund would like the loss to be offset by the national budget, or else healthcare funding could be suspended in December. The fund expects its revenue to drop by EUR 205 million this year, with a current deficit projected at EUR 215 million, EUR 86 million of which ZZZS is to cover from reserves.

Report to be compiled on militia police station visit

LJUBLJANA - Government spokesman Jelko Kacin told reporters that Interior Minister Aleš Hojs had asked the police commissioner to file a report on the visit by the self-styled uniformed village guard called Štajerska Guard to the Slovenjska Bistrica police station on Sunday. This was after the left-leaning opposition parties condemned the incident, urging Hojs and Defence Minister Matej Tonin to take action in response to the incident, or else the Left threatened to seek a vote of no confidence in them. Tonin as well as the coalition Modern Centre Party called the incident inadmissible.

Janša's appeal in defamation case rejected

CELJE - After the Supreme Court quashed a guilty ruling in a defamation case brought against PM Janez Janša by a journalist over an insulting tweet, the Celje Higher Court has rejected Janša's appeal in a separate case filed against him by the other journalist mentioned in the controversial tweet. The Celje Court has rejected Janša's appeal in the defamation case brought against him by RTV Slovenija journalist Evgenija Carl in which he was ordered to pay EUR 6,000 in damages for calling her a "washed-up prostitute" on Twitter.

Info commissioner cautions about use of thermal imaging

LJUBLJANA - After Slovenia started to emerge from a two-month coronavirus lockdown, the Information Commissioner's Office called for caution in the possible use of thermal cameras as tools to prevent Covid-19 contagion. Businesses considering body temperature screenings should first consult medical experts. The purpose of thermal imaging is to identify individuals with elevated body temperatures so as to take timely action, however, the office said this in itself is personal data processing.

US donates protective equipment to Slovenian care homes

LJUBLJANA - US Ambassador to Slovenia Lynda C. Blanchard handed a US donation of 1,660 protective face shields to the Labour Ministry. The protective equipment, sponsored by the United States European Command as part of its international humanitarian aid programme, is intended for care home staff. The US Embassy described the donation as "a symbol of the longstanding partnership". The visors had been made by the small Ajdovščina-based company 3D Solutions.

Krka reports over 20% rise in Q1 profit, revenue

NOVO MESTO - Pharma group Krka Group saw its net sales revenue increase by 22% year-on-year to EUR 462.9 million in the first quarter as the coronavirus pandemic pushed up the demand for its products. Operating profit rose by as much as of 85% year-on-year to EUR 133.9 million, and net profit was up 21% to EUR 85.2 million. The group generated 95% of sales outside Slovenia, with East Europe, its biggest market, accounting for 33.2% of overall sales.

Minister to propose furlough scheme extension for car industry

LJUBLJANA - Coming out of a meeting with representatives of the automotive industry, Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek said he would propose that the latest stimulus legislative package included a one-month extension of subsidies for furloughed workers also for that sector. As the measure would not solve all the sector's problems, a task force is to be established to see "how to address the challenges ahead of the automotive cluster with investments in research, development and innovation."

Gorenje reduces planned lay-offs from 830 to 560

VELENJE - Hisense, the owner of Velenje-based household appliances maker Gorenje, announced it would lay off fewer people than initially planned. Citing the coronavirus crisis, the group said in April it would fire nearly 830 people in Slovenia, but the statement today suggests the number will be at about 560. The in-house trade union agreed with the management that the company must not make redundant both spouses or partners and no single parents.

Consumer confidence improves in May, but still low

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's consumer confidence somewhat improved in May, with the relevant index going up by five percentage points compared to April. It was however still 25 percentage points below the long-term average, the Statistics Office reported. The slight improvement comes after the consumer confidence index plummeted 30 percentage points on the monthly level in April to the lowest point on record, or since March 1996.

Covid-19 measures drag down March salary statistics

LJUBLJANA - Gross average pay in Slovenia was 2.3% lower in nominal terms in March compared to February. The Statistics Office attributed the drop to the fact that the state covered salaries of furloughed workers. The drop was biggest in the hospitality sector, while there was a substantial increase in the banking and insurance sectors. Average net pay in March was at EUR 1146.11, 2% lower in nominal terms and 1.2% in real terms.

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