Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Thursday, 11 June 2020

By , 11 Jun 2020, 04:18 AM News
Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Thursday, 11 June 2020 pexels.com Thach Tran CC-by-0

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This summary is provided by the STA:

OECD forecasts at least 7.8% GDP drop for Slovenia this year

LJUBLJANA - The OECD's latest forecast for Slovenia says the country's GDP is expected to shrink by 7.8% this year, or as much as 9.1% in the event of a second wave of coronavirus infections. For 2021, the OECD expects that Slovenia's economy will grow by 4.5%, or by 1.5% in the event of another Covid-19 outbreak. The unemployment rate is expected to reach 6.4% this year, or 6.9% in the adverse scenario, and next year to stand at 5.4% or 8.1%, respectively. Measured with the harmonised index of consumer prices, the inflation rate for this year is expected to stand at 1% under both scenarios, and at 2% or 1.7%, respectively, next year.

EU Commissioner asks PM for clarifications on dismissal of Statistics Office head

BRUSSELS, Belgium - European Commissioner for Economy Paolo Gentiloni has addressed a letter to Slovenia's Prime Minister Janez Janša, asking him to clarify the changes at the helm of Slovenia's Statistics Office, the Commission's press service confirmed for the STA. The letter was sent to Janša on Tuesday with the aim to provide complete compliance with the principles of impartiality and professional independence of national statistics offices, the press service said. In late May the government dismissed director general of the Statistics Office Bojan Nastav and appointed Tomaž Smrekar acting director general.

Coalition decides demographic fund bill to be drafted within weeks

BRDO PRI KRANJU - Coalition partners underlined their unity in statements for the press after a coalition summit. A bill on the establishment of a demographic fund is to be drafted in the coming weeks, with the coalition agreeing that all state assets would be transferred onto the new fund. "One of the key starting points we agreed on is that all state assets will go into this fund. All other details will be coordinated as we go along," said Danijel Krivec of the senior coalition Democrats (SDS). He expects the bill to be discussed in parliament no later than September.

Slovenian soldiers involved in Italy border incident, POP TV reports

LJUBLJANA - The commercial broadcaster POP TV reported that two members of the Slovenian Armed Forces had likely been involved in an incident on the Slovenian-Italian border, when a man with dual citizenship was stopped at gunpoint in the woods along the border in early May. The man allegedly identified the two uniformed men in photos as part of the police investigation, which also fund that the incident happened a day earlier than previously thought. Because troops might have been in the area that day, the MOD's Intelligence and Security Service took over the investigation.

Austrian foreign minister to visit Slovenia on 22 June

LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Anže Logar announced his Austrian counterpart Alexander Schallenberg would visit Slovenia on 22 June. Logar also told the Foreign Policy Committee that he believes there are no sound reasons for Austria to continue with border checks it introduced five years ago. He also noted Austria opened the border with Slovenia sooner than with Croatia, which he attributes to "our diplomatic efforts". Answering questions about a Greater Hungary map and a new WWII related municipal day in Trieste during the debate on relations with neighbours, Logar said the Foreign Ministry had not and would not react to various provocations.

Slovenia records two new coronavirus cases

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia has recorded two new coronavirus cases, out of 738 tests carried out on Tuesday, the government said. The latest cases bring the national tally confirmed so far to 1,488, with only 17 cases still active. Six Covid-19 patients remain hospitalised, none of them needing intensive treatment. There have been no fatalities for over a week now, leaving the death total at 109.

Minister expects regional players to be involved in Koper-Divača track

LJUBLJANA - Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec called for a greater involvement of regional construction companies in the EUR 1 billion-plus project to build a new rail track between the Koper port and Divača, as he argued for the need to respect EU public contracting guidelines when third-country contractors are involved. The minister's comments come after 2TDK, the state-run company managing the project, has decided to enter negotiations with ten of the 15 bidders that responded to an international call to tender for the main construction work, including several Chinese and Turkish companies, aside from builders from Slovenia, Italy, Austria and Switzerland.

Slovenia sees record monthly drop in industrial output in April

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia recorded another monthly drop in industrial production and turnover in April. Both rates were the lowest since January 2000, the Statistics Office said. Industrial output was down by 14.7% in monthly and by 22.8% in annual comparison. Turnover was down by 21.1% compared to the month before. Output in manufacturing fell to a record low, dropping by 16.1% at the monthly level, and production also decreased in electricity, gas and steam supply (by 1.1%). The 22.8% annual drop in industrial output is the third biggest annual drop so far, after a 25.1% decrease in April 2009 and a 24% in June 2009.

Boris Novak to head bad bank management board

LJUBLJANA - Shortly after being appointed one of the four non-executive directors of the bad bank by the government Boris Novak has now been named chairman of the Bank Assets Management Company (BAMC) management board. The appointment was announced by BAMC in a regulatory filing on Wednesday following the decision taken on Tuesday by the board, which comprises four non-executive directors and three executive directors. Appointed as deputy chairmen of the board were non-executive directors Marko Tišma and Aleksander Lozej, who have been serving on the board since December 2018 and June 2019, respectively. Novak had previously served as director general of the state-owned postal operator Pošta Slovenije.

Parliamentary committees hear calls for improving conditions at care homes

LJUBLJANA - A debate on the treatment of care home residents during the coronavirus epidemic at the parliamentary health and labour committees on Tuesday heard calls for improving the conditions in care homes and setting new norms for the number of staff in the homes. The initiators of the session, MPs of the opposition Left, called for staffing, financial and infrastructural improvements at care homes, and for a plan for a possible second wave of the epidemic. Government officials asserted the elderly received proper treatment during the epidemic, and that the government was actively preparing for a potential new wave of infections, particularly at care homes.

Slovenians deem corruption result of politics and economy intermixing

LJUBLJANA - A vast majority of Slovenians think that corruption is widespread in Slovenia, but only roughly a third were affected by corruptive practices themselves, showed a recent Eurobarometer survey. Most believe that corruption in Slovenia is a result of the economy and politics being intermixed too tightly. A total of 87% say that corruption is widespread in Slovenia, whereas 10% think that it is rare. Not a single respondent believes that corruption is non-existent in the country.

Alojz Kovšca re-elected upper chamber president

LJUBLJANA - Alojz Kovšca was re-elected the president of the National Council in a 25:11 vote as members of the upper chamber of parliament met half way into their five-year term to elect its leadership. Kovšca, serving since December 2017, was the only candidate for the top job at the upper chamber. Addressing members of the National Council, Kovšca assessed his work in the first half of the term as successful and announced he would continue to strive for fairness. He also assessed the upper chamber's work as successful, noting more than half of its vetoes not being overriden in the lower chamber of parliament.

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