Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Saturday, 11 July 2020

By , 11 Jul 2020, 04:25 AM News
Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Saturday, 11 July 2020 Wikimedia - CC by 3.0

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This summary is provided by the STA:

Slovenian, Croatian PMs to step up Covid-19 cooperation

OTOČEC - In a meeting focusing exclusively on the countries' efforts to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus, the prime ministers of Slovenia and Croatia, Janez Janša and Andrej Plenković, agreed the countries' epidemiologists would be in contact about the situation on a daily basis. "All of us are aware that only coordinated action can be effective in this situation," Janša told the press. Plenković assured Slovenian tourists they were safe in Croatia, while Janša commended the country on its action to contain the virus and its plan to introduce a contact tracing app. Several ministers and other officials accompanied the two PMs to their first in-person meeting at Otočec Castle.

Janša asks interior minister to reconsider resignation

LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Janez Janša has asked Aleš Hojs to reconsider his decision to step down as interior minister. "We are in a situation when we need an interior minister who's operational 24 hours a day," Janša said in an interview with the public broadcaster TV Slovenija. Janša said he had not yet opened Hojs's resignation letter. He would open it unless Hojs changed his mind, but only after he had a replacement for him. Hojs resigned on 30 June after police conducted a series of searches sa part of the investigation into the purchasing of medical equipment. He called the probe politically motivated.

Logar agrees to boost dialogue with French counterpart

LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Anže Logar and his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian agreed in a phone call to boost political dialogue in anticipation of the countries' successive spells at the presidency of the Council of the EU. Logar also expressed Slovenia's interest in enhancing the strategic partnership with France. According to the Slovenian Foreign Ministry, the ministers also talked about the Covid-19 pandemic and international issues, in particular the situation in the Western Balkans.

Slovenia records 17 new coronavirus infections

LJUBLJANA - Seventeen out of 1,390 coronavirus tests came back positive on Thursday, a slight increase from 13 the day before. Sixteen people needed hospital treatment. Today, the number of active cases reached 11.34 per 100,000 people. Ten infections per 100,000 inhabitants has been the benchmark used by Slovenia to de-list countries as coronavirus safe. Nevertheless, the National Institute for Public Health said the situation was under control. Meanwhile, a preliminary follow-up report on the April nationwide antibody study, which originally estimated 2-4% or one in thirty Slovenians had probably been exposed to the novel coronavirus, downgraded the estimate to 0-2.8%.

MPs upset by potentially unauthorised access to their files

LJUBLJANA - Coalition New Slovenia (NSi) MP Jožef Horvat revealed that his personal data kept by the police had been accessed on several occasions between November 2019 and May 2020. While he alleges he was under a kind of police surveillance under the Marjan Šarec government, police officials explained that police officers could access such files only for the purpose of doing their job. Several other MPs came forward with the same accusation, while Šarec denied having ordered anyone to look into the records. He said the information commissioner was already investigating the matter.

Culture Ministry unveils media reform, RTV Slovenija facing major cuts

LJUBLJANA - The Culture Ministry published on Thursday proposals for extensive changes to the media act, the act on public broadcaster RTV Slovenija (RTVS) and the act on the Slovenian Press Agency (STA). The changes, which reportedly include a EUR 13 million cut for RTVS, will be subject to public debate until 15 July. Amendments to the STA act include provisions governing the appointment of supervisors, who are to be appointed by the government, and the dismissal of the STA director. The opposition spoke strongly against the legislation, including the short public consultation period, while junior coalition partners said the bills had not been agreed within the coalition.

EU report finds trust in judiciary increasing in Slovenia

BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Commission presented an overview of the situation in the judiciary which shows efficiency and accessibility of EU justice systems had improved in the majority of member states. And while trust in the judiciary continues to fall in some member states, it has been gradually improving in Slovenia for several years. January's Eurobarometer survey shows that trust is gradually improving in Slovenia, up three percentage points in January 2020 from January 2018, after the country was among the worst rated member states for years.

State Attorney challenges decision allowing Thompson concert

LJUBLJANA - The State Attorney's Office triggered an administrative dispute targeting a recent decision of the Interior Ministry to lift a ban on concerts by Croatian nationalist performer Marko Perković Thompson. The office argues that irrespective of whether a concert is to be organised, the permit alone is a violation of human dignity, Delo reported. According to the State Attorney's Office, the lifting of the ban, originally issued for a 2017 concert, can be understood by the public in terms of the authorities expressing tolerance towards the glorying of the Ustasha regime.

Friday protesters continue

LJUBLJANA - Anti-government protests resumed for the 12th Friday running in Ljubljana and some other Slovenian towns, with calls in support of independent media added to the list of demands. Also targeted were those who protesters said supported the "unbearable situation" in the country through inaction. The protests in the capital were centred on the huge square in front of the parliament building which had not been fenced off, but there was considerable police presence, as an anti-protest by government supporters wearing yellow vests was also held simultaneously.

MPs reject report on paediatric cardiology

LJUBLJANA - Parliament voted against an extensive report on the responsibility of politicians for dysfunctional child heart surgery at Slovenia's main hospital, UKC Ljubljana, in 2007-2018, but nevertheless decided to send it to the police and prosecution to investigate the suspicion of criminal acts it points to. In a 35:29 vote, the MPs decided to send the 150-page interim report to the National Bureau of Investigation and the Specialised State Prosecution. However, only 35 MPs voted in favour of the main findings of the report, against 38.

Historian Mitja Ferenc receives Austrian decoration

LJUBLJANA - Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen bestowed the grand state decoration on historian and researcher Mitja Ferenc for academic achievements. The award was conferred on Ferenc, who is a professor of contemporary history at the Ljubljana Faculty of Arts, by Austrian Ambassador to Slovenia Sigrid Berka on Thursday.

Exports down 6% in first five months, imports drop 11.5%

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's exports decreased by 6% to EUR 13.2 billion in first five months of the year, while imports fell by 11.5% to EUR 12.5 billion, Statistics Office data show. In May, exports were down by 19.8% year-on-year to EUR 2.38 billion and imports fell 22.4% to EUR 2.21 billion for an export to import ratio of 107.8%. Slovenia recorded an external trade surplus in all of the first five months of 2020, the surplus in all five months combined amounting to EUR 726.9 million, the export-import ratio was 105.8.

Govt proposes Simič and Emeršič for SSH supervisors

LJUBLJANA - The government asked the National Assembly to appoint tax expert Ivan Simič and former long-serving chairman of insurer Grawe Božo Emeršič new supervisors of Slovenian Sovereign Holding (SSH), the custodian of state assets. The Finance Ministry put forward the pair from six candidates proposed by a vetting commission based on two calls for applications. If appointed by parliament, Simič and Emeršič will replace Duško Kos and Damjan Belič, whose terms run out in mid-July.

NSi vice-president appointed DARS CEO

LJUBLJANA - After the management of the state-run motorway company DARS resigned, the supervisory board appointed a new management board, with vice-president of the coalition New Slovenia (NSi) Valentin Hajdinjak becoming the new CEO. DARS said the management stepped down by mutual agreement. Apart from Hajdinjak, the new board includes Boštjan Rigler, who already served on the board in 2007, former Infrastructure Minister Peter Gašperšič and Romana Fišer.

Industrial output up in monthly, down in annual comparison

LJUBLJANA - After two consecutive all-time high monthly contractions, Slovenia's industrial output expanded by 9% in April. But in annual comparison, a 16.9% drop was still recorded, data from the Statistics Office show. The monthly growth was driven by the output in manufacturing, where production grew by 10.2%. In electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply, and in mining and quarrying it declined by 0.1% and 1.1%, respectively.

Fantastic film festival kicks off in north-east

ORMOŽ - The 16th Grossmann Fantastic Film and Wine Festival gets under way today. Following a weekend in Ormož, the festival will move to Ljutomer on Tuesday, altogether featuring almost 30 full-length films, seven musical documentaries and 30 short films from 27 countries. All festival awards will be presented on 18 July when the festival wraps up in Ljutomer.

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