Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Thursday, 18 June 2020

By , 18 Jun 2020, 04:39 AM News
Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Thursday, 18 June 2020 Flickr - Thomas Hawk CC-by-2.0

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This summary is provided by the STA:

Key Covid-19 advisor urges reimposing border measures

LJUBLJANA - Bojana Beović, the head of the team advising the Health Ministry on coronavirus, has urged reimposing stringent measures on the borders at once after an increase in new infections originating abroad, while PM Janez Janša warned new restrictions would be inevitable unless those in place were respected. Beović said the situation was rather critical and added that the new cases in recent days were due to the open border regime, warning that those new imported cases could lead to dozens of new cases in the future. National Public Health Institute (NIJZ) director Milan Krek thus announced a rethink on justifiability of some of the exemptions that allow arrivals from countries not listed as Covid-19-safe to avoid a mandatory two-week quarantine.

Four new coronavirus cases confirmed in three Slovenian cities

LJUBLJANA - Four new coronavirus cases were confirmed in three Slovenian cities on Tuesday, the highest single-day increase since 5 June, bringing the total number of infections to 1,503. There were no new fatalities. There are now 26 active cases in Slovenia, according to Covid-19 Sledilnik, a tracking website. A total of 986 tests were performed on Tuesday, the highest daily figure since mid-May. A total of 109 people have so far died of Covid-19. The last death was recorded on 31 May.

String of foreign ministers expected in Ljubljana

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's Foreign Minister Anže Logar will host a number of counterparts for talks in Ljubljana over the coming days and weeks, Foreign Ministry spokesman Aleksander Geržina announced, along with a shift to a more ambitious foreign policy. A double visit by the foreign ministers of Germany and Portugal was announced for 3 July. Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg is due in Ljubljana on Monday, while Edi Rama, the Albanian foreign minister who is chairing the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, is scheduled to visit on 6 July.

PM promises better status to army, more funds for equipment

VRHNIKA - PM Janez Janša visited one of the locations of the ongoing Leap 2020 military exercise, announcing the government's effort to improve the status of soldiers and additional funds for the purchase of military equipment. Visiting the Ivan Cankar barracks, the prime minister was received by Defence Minister Matej Tonin, the Slovenian Armed Forces (SAF) chief-of-staff, Brig-Gen Robert Glavaš and the force commander, Brigadier Miha Škerbinc. Janša noted that the defence budget had been shrinking in the past, and that the Defence Ministry and the government were preparing solutions to improve the situation of Slovenian soldiers.

Fiscal Council says 2019 fiscal policy not restrictive enough

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's fiscal policy in 2019 was expansive although it should have been restrictive, considering the state of the economic cycle, the Fiscal Council, a government advisory body, said in its assessment of compliance of the general government sector budgets with fiscal rules. Slovenia's public finances recorded EUR 260 million in surplus last year, or 0.5% of GDP, which is a drop on 2018 and 50% below plans. The surplus was mainly a result of a further improvement of the situation on the labour market and of continued economic growth, the Fiscal Council said.

Blanchard: Slovenia feels like second home

LJUBLJANA - US Ambassador to Slovenia Lynda Blanchard has put strengthening US-Slovenian economic development in the focus of her efforts, and would also like to encourage cooperation between Slovenian and US universities. Blanchard, who arrived last August, spoke to the STA about good progress in initiatives that were already started by her predecessors, for instance defence cooperation and cooperation among universities. Even if Slovenia's defence spending is below 2% of GDP, Blanchard said Slovenia has been working well with NATO for a long time. While not commenting in detail on a potential agreement on 5G technology between the US and Slovenia, she said the memorandum of understanding mimics much of the EU toolbox which encourages EU member states to avoid unsafe 5G vendors.

Supreme court says judicial files off-limits to public

LJUBLJANA - In what is seen as a legal precedent, the Supreme Court has said that provisions governing access to public information do not apply to judicial proceedings and case files. It said such access for governed by acts such as the criminal procedure act, the civil procedure act and the state prosecution service act. Special rules and adjustments are laid down for such access, the court added. The Information Commissioner responded by stressing public oversight is crucial for the legal functioning of authorities and that legislative changes may be needed.

Police suspect eight of threat over "Death to Janšism" slogan

LJUBLJANA - The police have launched proceedings against eight persons suspected of committing the criminal act of threatening the safety of another person related to slogans carried at anti-government protests. The invitation for an interview to one suspect shows that slogans imply threat to Prime Minister Janez Janša. The invitation, which has been detected by the newspaper Svet24 on Facebook, says that the suspect has been invited to be interviewed about a "slogan with a written threat to the prime minister". The report comes after Janša published last weekend on Twitter a photograph of protesters with slogans, one of them saying "Death to Janšism, Freedom to All".

Minister visits Slovenian minority in Croatia

RIJEKA - Helena Jaklitsch, the minister for Slovenians abroad, visited the Slovenian minority in Croatia in what was her first day-long visit abroad. One of the topics discussed was how to engage young people in minority associations. She visited the Slovenian community in Prezid in the border area of Gorski Kotar before meeting representatives of Slovenian associations in the port town of Rijeka. One of the issues discussed was how to rejuvenate the Slovenian associations in Croatia, as well as the population count in Croatia next year.

Trade union defends soldier involved in alleged border incident

LJUBLJANA - A soldiers' trade union has criticised accusations levelled against a soldier who stopped a civilian at gunpoint in a forest near the Italian border, and against the Slovenian Armed Forces as a whole, arguing that facts had not yet been established as the investigation was still ongoing. The union now claims the man had violated the lockdown ban on crossing the Slovenian-Italian border. "Having himself declared that he illegally crossed ... we'd expect that proceedings against him would have been completed already." Previous media reports indicated the man, a dual Slovenian-Italian resident, was merely taking a walk in the border area.

President presents state orders of merit

LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor conferred state decorations on three persons. Physicist and researcher Boštjan Žekš and architect Boris Podrecca have been decorated with the Golden Order of Merit, whereas Andrej Šter, the head of the Foreign Ministry's consular service, has received the Order of Merit, most notably for his repatriation efforts.

Bled Strategic Forum to be held as one-day event on 31 August

LJUBLJANA - The 15th Bled Strategic Forum, Slovenia's premier foreign policy conference, will be a one-day event this year owing to the coronavirus epidemic. It will be held on 31 August, the organisers announced. Running under the title Challenges and Opportunities in the Post-COVID-19 World; Neighbours - Regions - Global World: Partners or Rivals?, the conference will be organised as a hybrid event. A high-level segment will take place in Bled while some discussions will be held online. The Bled Strategic Forum has in recent years been organised as a two-day event in early September preceded by several days of sessions in the Young BSF segment.

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