Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Thursday, 2 July 2020

By , 02 Jul 2020, 04:40 AM News
Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Thursday, 2 July 2020 Flickr - Pedro Ribeiro Simões CC-by-2.0

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This summary is provided by the STA:

Počivalšek will not resign, wants prompt and professional investigation

LJUBLJANA - Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek does not intend to step down following Tuesday's house searches related to an investigation into alleged wrongdoing in the procurement of medical supplies and personal protective equipment during the epidemic. He told the press today he had PM Janez Janša's full support to carry on, while his Modern Centre Party (SMC) is also strongly behind him. He said he had fully cooperated with the police and expected them to do their work promptly and professionally and without apparent political motivation. "I'm not going to apologise for the decisions I took during the epidemic to prevent the loss of lives, but will defend them everywhere and always," he said.

NBI director denies house searches politically motivated

LJUBLJANA - The director of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Igor Lamberger, rejected the allegation by now outgoing Interior Minister Aleš Hojs that Tuesday's house searches related to the procurement of medical and protective equipment were politically motivated. The police investigators have proved that they are guided exclusively by the principles of legality and expertise, he told the news portal 24ur.com. He said that police investigators "are unbiased in their work no mater who is a suspect". He recalled the NBI had launched the investigation on the basis of a report it received in April. "I stand behind by employees and given their professional work, I see no reason for my resignation," said Lamberger, who was appointed acting NBI boss under the Janez Janša government in early May. Hojs's statements were also strongly criticised by police associations and trade unions. Political analyst Alem Maksuti meanwhile said that Hojs's resignation was a carefully crafted manoeuvre designed to divert attention and that by resigning, Hojs protected Prime Minister Janez Janša.

Andrej Jurič appointed acting police commissioner

LJUBLJANA - The government appointed late on Tuesday Andrej Jurič acting police commissioner effective from 1 July to replace Anton Travner, who handed his resignation along with Interior Minister Aleš Hojs. Jurič has been with the police force since 1986, serving as commander of the Trbovlje Police Station and the Ljubljana Traffic Police Station and most recently as a senior inspector at the Centre for Minor Offence Cases at the Uniformed Police Directorate of the General Police Department.

13 new infections as concern raised about secondary cases

LJUBLJANA - The government's chief Covid-19 adviser Bojana Beović raised concern about the emergence of secondary infections in Slovenia as well as cases without no apparent source as cases are rising exponentially. She told the government press briefing that she was worried Slovenia might close down its borders too late, while she said the advisory team she heads were divided on whether to close the border to the Balkans. This was after Slovenia recorded 13 new cases across the country for Tuesday, bringing the tally of estimated active cases to 110, and the total case count to 1,613.

Janša says EU multi-year budget must be adopted before break

LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša reiterated the need for the EU to adopt the next multi-year budget before the summer break as he talked to EU Council President Jean Michel in a videoconference. He warned that the current, relatively advantageous situation, as far as the coronavirus pandemic went, might be misleading as everything could change very quickly. Janša believes the EU must focus on the key recovery package, meaning aid to those member states that have been hit worst and have the poorest recovery outlook. He also expressed support for additional cohesion policy measures, rural development and the fair transition fund.

Logar defends president's wreath laying in Basovizza

LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Anže Logar told the parliamentary Foreign Policy Committee that he did not understand the disquiet around the 13 July Trieste meeting of President Borut Pahor with his Italian counterpart Sergio Mattarella, who will also pay tribute to Italian victims of post-WWII killings. Quizzed by a SocDem MP on the matter, Logar said that the meeting, taking place 100 years to the day after Fascists burnt down the National Hall, a community centre built by the Slovenians in Trieste, was "extremely symbolical" and would mean the two countries "turning a new leaf" in their relations.

Slovenia joins EU statement on new Hong Kong law

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia joined the EU's declaration which expresses the bloc's concern with China's 30 June adoption of a law which curbs Hong Kong's autonomy as well as rights and freedoms of its residents. The document urges preserving Hong Kong's high-degree autonomy as set down in the Hong Kong basic law and China's international commitments, the Foreign Ministry told the STA. The EU maintains that in line with the assurances China gave in the past, rights and freedoms of Hong Kong residents should be fully protected, and the rule of law and human rights not violated.

Resignation of Ambassador Kos linked to internal oversight

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's former Ambassador to Switzerland Marta Kos told the newspaper Dnevnik that she had resigned on Monday because of diverging views on how the embassy should be run and foreign policy led. She also confirmed the resignation was linked to the Foreign Ministry's recent oversight of her management of the Embassy in Bern. The ministry told Dnevnik oversight had been launched after the staff complained the embassy was not run adequately. These allegations have persisted since she served as ambassador in Berlin, it added. Kos's resignation took effect on Tuesday.

Iskratel acquired by Austria's S&T

KRANJ, Slovenia/LINZ, Austria - The Slovenian telecoms equipment maker Iskratel, which has been looking for a strategic partner for a while, was acquired by the Austrian group S&T under a EUR 37.5 million deal, signed on Tuesday. The transaction is expected to be finalised in the autumn as it awaits regulatory approval. The Iskratel group, which last year generated EUR 115 million in revenue, has been guaranteed to be able to keep its identity and brand as part of the S&T group.

Lindab closing down Slovenia subsidiary

IDRIJA - Swedish multinational Lindab will close down the IMP Klima Group, its Slovenian-based cooling arm that it acquired in 2015 from industrial conglomerate Hidria. The decision will affect 212 jobs in Slovenia and 14 in Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina by the end of the year. Lindab cited fierce market competition, losses recorded by IMP Klima for several years in a row and a further deterioration due to the coronavirus crisis as the reasons for its decision announced on Tuesday.

Slovenian Sovereign Holding chairman Gabrijel Škof resigns

LJUBLJANA - Gabrijel Škof resigned as the chairman of Slovenian Sovereign Holding (SSH), the custodian of state assets. He cited personal reasons, saying he would focus on new challenges. The holding will be now temporarily headed by Igor Kržan, a member of the supervisory board. Škof took over as SSH chairman on 1 October 2019, replacing Kržan, who was in charge temporarily following the resignation of chairwoman Lidija Glavina. Škof said in a written statement that he was leaving SSH in a stable condition, showing good results and having met all the managerial goals.

TEŠ takes first step to get permit for waste co-incineration

ŠOŠTANJ - The TEŠ coal-fired power station from Šoštanj has sent the Environment Agency an environmental impact assessment report related to its plan to introduce co-incineration of solid recovered fuel (SRF) obtained from non-hazardous waste, thus officially launching the relevant procedure. The plan to introduce co-incineration of waste at TEŠ's newest generator, an investment estimated at EUR 6-10 million. TEŠ director general Viktor Vračar said the co-incineration plan is acceptable, as it would not worsen the existing environmental situation in the Šalek Valley.

TI Slovenia presents new tool for keeping track of lobbying

LJUBLJANA - Transparency International (TI) Slovenia has launched a new website called Integrity Watch, featuring tools for keeping track of lobbying contacts of the government and parliament, and business restrictions that apply for them. The NGO hopes the tool will improve transparency in decision-making and strengthen political integrity, thus increasing people's trust in state institutions. The tool makes it possible to select and filter data, make charts and analyse the results.

Free bus and train rides for pensioners

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's pensioners, people with disabilities and war veterans are entitled to free intercity bus and train rides from 1 July in line with changes to the road traffic act that were passed unanimously in October 2019. Some 600,000 persons are eligible for free public intercity bus and rail services, but they are required to submit an application to make use of the benefit. Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec has indicated he will seek to expand free rides to city transit services.

Beethoven music opens Ljubljana Festival

LJUBLJANA - The Ljubljana Festival opened with Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 and Piano Concerto No. 3. Conducted by Charles Dutoit, the opening concert featured Slovenia's lading pianist Dubravka Tomšič Srebotnjak, the orchestra and choir of the Slovenian Philharmonic, and the Megaron choir, and soloists Sabina Cvilak, Monika Bohinec, Egils Silins and Rodrigo Porras Garulo. The 68th summer festival will be running in Ljubljana until 30 August.

Exhibition at Ljubljana Castle marks 40 years of Laibach

LJUBLJANA - An exhibition of posters for Laibach concerts, theatrical performances, films and exhibitions dubbed Liberty Leads the People will open at Ljubljana Castle tonight to mark the 40th anniversary of the internationally acclaimed Slovenian art and music group. It is not widely known that since their inception in 1980 Laibach have been creating works of art, visual pieces such as posters, paintings, woodcuts, installations, videos, performances and artistic magazine projects, known as Laibach Kunst.

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