Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Friday, 3 July 2020

By , 03 Jul 2020, 04:27 AM News
Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Friday, 3 July 2020 Elijah O'Donnell CC-by-0

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This summary is provided by the STA:

Slovenia's daily coronavirus count for Wednesday at 21

LJUBLJANA - Out of 1,198 coronavirus tests conducted on Wednesday, 21 came back positive, the highest daily figure since 16 April when Slovenia recorded 36 new cases. Nine persons were in hospital, none in intensive care. The total of estimated active cases is 122, according to the national Covid-19 tracker site data. The government's chief Covid-19 advisor Bojana Beović said the bulk of new cases continued to be imported, although the virus was also spreading within the country, the source of which could not be established, which she believes is a cause for concern. The virus has been spreading among the younger generations mostly, but Beović warned the young could develop a more severe form of the disease as well as well as pass the virus on to older relatives.

Croatia, France and Czechia to be on yellow list as of Saturday

LJUBLJANA - In a bid to contain the spread of the coronavirus, the government is to remove Croatia, France and Czechia from the green list of countries considered epidemiologically safe by Slovenia, effective on Saturday, as it meets for a correspondence session today. Being put on the yellow list means that most foreign citizens arriving in Slovenia from these countries need to subject themselves to a two-week quarantine, while this does not apply to Slovenians returning from yellow-listed countries. The government's coronavirus spokesperson Jelko Kacin also announced that Belgium and the Netherlands would be meanwhile green-listed, and that the government would examine the border regime to put in place conditions for effectively serving quarantine orders already on the border.

Pahor and Hungary's Ader praise relations, talk migration, history

BUDAPEST, Hungary - Paying an official visit to Hungary, President Borut Pahor confirmed with his counterpart Janos Ader the excellent and friendly relations between the two countries and pointed out Slovenia and Hungary were among the countries successfully managing the new coronavirus. Pahor briefed Adler on Slovenia's plan for the EU presidency in the second half of 2021, saying Slovenia would push to restore the EU's authority. He broached the issue of "greater Hungary" maps, saying they were causing concern among Slovenians, being seen as an expression of Hungary's territorial claims. Pahor moreover addressed migration, with his office saying both countries were proponents of the protection of the EU's external border and were striving for the search for solutions to prevent illegal migration. Slovenia is also very much in favour of a search for shared models of solidarity. Pahor was accompanied by the economy and agriculture ministers, and was scheduled to meet Speaker Laszlo Köver.

Janša attacks prosecution in the face of anti-govt protests, faces criticism

LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša has sent a letter to State Prosecutor General Drago Šketa, saying the prosecution is neglecting its role in relation to the anti-government protests by failing to respond to inciting to violence. Janša published the letter dated 19 June in full today after the newspaper Dnevnik ran an article about it. The letter, in which he also says Šketa will be responsible if the violence escalates, has been met with strong criticism. Šketa responded by asserting that the prosecution was efficient and acting in line with the law, and the head of the opposition SocDems, Tanja Fajon, said the party would initiate an impeachment motion against Janša. Another two opposition parties, the Left and the Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB), are willing to discuss the SD proposal. Former State Prosecutor General Zvonko Fišer meanwhile said he had not witnessed such an inadmissible move in his entire career as prosecutor, not even in Yugoslavia.

Austrian and Slovenian speakers on Slovenian minority

VIENNA - Parliamentary Speaker Igor Zorčič met his Austrian counterpart Wolfgang Sobotka in Vienna in what was Zorčič's first foreign visit. The pair discussed improving the situation of the Slovenian minority in Austria and exchanged experiences in responding to the Covid-19 pandemic. Zorčič said Sobotka told him that a coalition agreement target which envisaged more funding for minority organisations would be implemented. In the light of the coming centenary of the Carinthian plebiscite, both speakers agreed that they would meet again in September. Zorčič also plans to meet the speakers of Slovenia's other neighbouring countries.

SID Bank carries out its first "Covid-19" bond issue

LJUBLJANA - The state-owned SID export and development bank issued on Wednesday its first "Covid-19 bonds" to collect almost EUR 350 million. The bonds, issued on Wednesday in a public auction, come with the maturity of five years, with the annual interest rate set at 0.125% and yield to maturity at 0.141%. SID Banka said on Thursday the issue was a part of its regular borrowing on capital markets and is intended for financing SID Banka's programmes aimed at helping the Slovenian economy exist the coronavirus crisis.

Car sales stabilising after epidemic

LJUBLJANA - The situation in the automotive industry seems to be slowly stabilising after the epidemic. In the first six months of the year, sales were down by a third but in June the year-on-year drop was only 7.27%. In the January-June period, 31,741 new vehicles were registered, which is 32.55% less year-on-year, but in June 7,231 new vehicles were registered, which is 7.27% less than in June 2019, the Slovenian Chamber of Commerce (TZS) said. Just over 28,005 new cars were registered in the first six months or 31.9% less than in the same period last year. The most popular brand was Renault (4,792 cars sold), Volkswagen (4,690) and Škoda (2,946).

Conference stresses importance of bilingualism in Carinthia

KLAGENFURT, Austria - Marking this year's centenary of the Carinthian plebiscite, a two-day conference on the future of Carinthian Slovenians got under way in Austria's Klagenfurt, with the role of bilingual identity in the area, bilingual education in particular, highlighted on the first day of the event. A bilingual environment is an advantage of the region and should be promoted as such, heard the debate, with participants sharing their experience as well as views for the future. The speakers included Austrian Minister for Women and Integration Susanne Raab, State Secretary at the Office for Slovenians Abroad Dejan Valentinčič, and Reinhart Rohr, the speaker of Carinthian parliament.

Protest held against planned lay-offs at Ljubljana airport

BRNIK - Some 50 Ljubljana airport workers and trade unionists protested against the redundancies planned by airport operator Fraport Slovenija. They urged the company to put on hold the measure, which is expected to slash the company's workforce by a quarter or by some 120 workers, at least until the end of the year when the circumstance regarding traffic estimates will be clearer. Boštjan Šijanec, a legal expert of the management, responded by highlighting that the company needed to do everything it could to ensure a sustainable business. "The possibility to wait with the redundancies until the end of the year is practically non-existent," he said, adding that the operator was faced with enormous costs and extremely low revenue, and could not afford delaying such an action.

Merger to create agro co-op with a projected EUR 65m in annual revenue

TREBNJE - Two agricultural cooperatives operating in the south-east of Slovenia announced plans for a merger that will create the largest cooperative in the country with almost 1,000 members, 260 employees and an expected annual revenue of almost EUR 65 million. The merger of KZ Krka and KZ Trebnje under the wings of the latter is expected to be completed by 1 May next year at the latest. Listing the reasons for the merger, KZ Trebnje director Stanko Tomšič highlighted the need for a more competitive market position, better services and helping out KZ Krka, which has been struggling with losses for several years.

Govt allocates EUR 2.8m to municipalities for border protection costs

LJUBLJANA - The government decided to allocate EUR 2.8 million to municipalities that have seen their costs rise because of border control activities. The decision comes after the mayors of the municipalities on the external Schengen border - with Croatia - had stressed on several occasions that the increased presence of the police and army led to higher infrastructure maintenance costs. A total of 32 municipalities along the border with Croatia will be eligible for the funds. They will, however, not be reimbursed for costs of cleaning the waste that illegal migrants leave behind. The government said it expected such reimbursements would not be necessary in the future, "because the government will do everything to limit as much as possible the access of migrants who illegally cross the border".

Report says bulk of FFP2 masks in Slovenia, Europe not properly tested

LJUBLJANA - As much as 85% of the FFP2 face masks delivered to Slovenia by mid-June were supplied without the required certificates, with all but one supplier putting forward legally invalid certificates by issuers not certified for testing personal protective equipment (PPE), the Slovenian web portal Oštro reported. The report, which is the result of an international investigative journalism effort coordinated by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, reveals a similar situation across Europe. Most of the FFP2 respirator masks, the gold standard for filtering out tiny airborne particles, had certificates issued by the Italian company ECM from Bologna, which is a certified body for testing certain industrial machinery, radio equipment, elevators and certain kinds of medical equipment, but not PPE.

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