Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Friday, 24 July 2020

By , 24 Jul 2020, 04:05 AM News
Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Friday, 24 July 2020 Wikimedia - Florian Plag CC by 2.0

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This summary is provided by the STA:

Furlough scheme extended until end of August

LJUBLJANA - The government extended the subsidised furlough scheme by another month until the end of August with Labour Minister Janez Cigler Kralj saying the measure was still deemed needed despite an improvement in the labour market. The minister said that more than 24,000 employees were still on furlough, which meant that some sectors were not yet showing signs of recovery. Under the fourth stimulus package the furlough scheme was extended until the end of July, while giving the government the option of extending it two more times by decree, but not beyond the end of September.

Govt gearing up for EU recovery funds drawing

BRDO PRI KRANJU - Meeting a day after the EU leaders approved the pandemic recovery fund expected to yield EUR 10.5 billion for Slovenia, the government set up on Wednesday two task forces to make sure the country phases all the funds available to it. Mayors and regional development agencies will be involved in the drafting of the national recovery plan, which the government intends to adopt by the end of August. One task force will be headed by PM Janez Janša and will feature government ministers and tax advisor Ivan Simič. They will be meeting once a month. The second task force will bring together experts, including state secretaries, who will be meeting weekly.

EU Commission concerned about media pluralism in Slovenia

BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Commission is concerned about the media legislation planned by the Slovenian government, Values and Transparency Commissioner Vera Jourova said as she presented the most recent Media Pluralism Monitor report. She said Slovenia should not follow in Hungary's footsteps when it comes to media ownership. The report says that "high media concentration, lack of transparency in ownership, the small amount of diverse local and regional news production (including correspondents), poor working conditions, verbal public attacks, frequent insults by politicians on social media and a lack of clear digital regulation are still some of the main issues of the Slovenian media landscape".

27 new coronavirus infections confirmed on Wednesday

LJUBLJANA - A total of 935 tests for Covid-19 were performed in Slovenia on Wednesday, which confirmed 27 new infections, the latest government data show. There were 24 patients hospitalised yesterday, including two in intensive care. One person was meanwhile discharged from hospital, while there were no Covid-19 related deaths, so the death toll remained at 115. The new 27 cases from Wednesday bring the national total of cases so far confirmed to 2,033. The care home in Hrastnik in eastern Slovenia remains one of the largest hot spots as nine residents and two employees tested positive yesterday.

Slovenia to sign joint declaration on 5G security with US

LJUBLJANA - The government was briefed on the intention for Slovenia to sign a Joint Declaration on 5G Security with the United States, which could curb the involvement of China's Huawei in the deployment of the fifth generation wireless communication networks in the country. The government submitted the declaration, along with explanations, to the National Assembly to be acquainted with it. It said the declaration followed from the commitments already accepted by Slovenia within the EU and NATO with a view to enhancing information security and reducing the risks entailed.

Good relations with Poland confirmed as foreign minister visits

WARSAW, Poland - Foreign Minister Anže Logar met his Polish counterpart Jacek Czaputowicz and EU Affairs Minister Konrad Szymanski. The officials reaffirmed good relations between Poland and Slovenia. Logar thanked Czaputowicz for Poland's assistance in repatriating Slovenians stranded abroad in the midst of air travel restrictions during the Covid-19 pandemic. The pair highlighted successful economic cooperation between Poland and Slovenia and pointed to the untapped potential of collaboration in terms transport infrastructure in central Europe. Logar also expressed interest in continuing and strengthening cooperation between the Visegrad Four and Slovenia in the future.

Slovenia and Austria to trial joint technical border surveillance

VIENNA, Austria - Slovenia and Austria agreed to try out joint surveillance of the shared border using technology such as cameras and drones, as Interior Minister Aleš Hojs held talks with his Austrian counterpart Karl Nehammer at a conference on migrations along the Balkan route. The trial will examine the possibility of effective cooperation in joint border surveillance and the transfer of these practices to the Slovenian-Croatian border. The meeting came at a conference on migrations featuring the home ministers of 18 countries at which it was decided to set up a platform to fight illegal migration on the Balkan route.

Sunday shopping ban revoked

LJUBLJANA - The government revoked a temporary ban on Sunday shopping that had been put in place during the earliest stages of the epidemic in mid-March. It said shops were now free to set their opening hours as they see fit. The decision comes just a week after legislation that would permanently close shops on Sunday stalled in parliament. The legislation had been tabled by the Left and appeared to be slated for passage, but last-minute amendments made it impossible to pass the bill outright so it had to be sent into third reading. The government voiced opposition to the legislation and urged retailers and trade unions to find common ground.

Finland imposes entry restrictions for Slovenians

HELSINKI, Finland - The Finnish government placed Slovenia on a list of countries for which restrictions apply on arrival due to the coronavirus outbreak. From Monday, the restrictions will also apply on arrivals from Austria and Switzerland. This is because these countries have seen an increase in the number of coronavirus infections since the previous assessment. EU countries already on the list from before include Spain, Luxembourg, Portugal, Poland, France, Sweden and the Czech Republic.

Carinthia plebiscite centenary to send out message to all Europeans, says Pahor

KLAGENFURT, Austria - President Borut Pahor announced that the centenary of the Carinthia plebiscite to be marked on 10 October would be an important day for all Europeans, not just Austrians and Slovenians, as he discussed preparations for the centenary in Austria's Carinthia. "It'll be an event, a day that will matter not only to Klagenfurt, to Slovenians and Austrians, it will be an important day for all of Europe and Europeans," Pahor said at a joint press conference with Carinthia Governor Peter Kaiser.

New energy efficiency bill to expand car charging infrastructure

LJUBLJANA - New buildings with more than ten parking spaces will need to have plug-in car charging infrastructure in place under a new bill adopted by the government. Another major provision will be the requirement that all new buildings with central heating or cooling systems or those connected to district heating and cooling systems will need to have individual metres installed to monitor consumption of heat for heating, cooling and hot water separately. The energy efficiency bill will extract provisions pertaining to energy efficiency and efficient energy use from the energy act and adapt it to European law in the field.

Petrol shareholders endorse record dividend

LJUBLJANA - The shareholders of energy company Petrol endorsed a record dividend payout of EUR 22 per share, which means nearly all, or EUR 45.22 million of the EUR 45.36 million in distributable profit will be paid out. The state owns almost one third of the shares in the company directly or indirectly, which means it will be the biggest beneficiary of the payout. The shareholders' meeting also appointed Janez Pušnik to the supervisory board to substitute for Nada Drobne Popovič, who took over as Petrol CEO in February.

Third of country to get 5G network by end of year

LJUBLJANA - Telekom Slovenije has started setting up the country's first commercial 5G networks using its existing base stations and within the existing 2600MHz frequency spectrum used in 4G. The national telecommunications operator said that coverage will initially be provided in about 25% of the country but is expected to exceed 33% by the end of the year. It added that the upgraded 4G/5G network will allow for data transfer speeds faster than provided by the LTE/4G network. However, the full potential of 5G will become available only after additional spectres are awarded.

Gen-I sells EUR 25m in commercial papers, half-year EBIT 20% above plan

LJUBLJANA - The energy group Gen-I has successfully completed the sale of 12-month commercial papers in the total nominal value of EUR 25 million to repeat a similar borrowing operation from a year ago. Announcing the news, Gen-I said the purpose of the issue is financing working capital and dispersing the structure of short-term financing sources in comparison with bank crediting. It also announced that its half-year EBIT exceeded plans by 20% to EUR 11.1 million. By the end of June, the group sold 65 terawatt hours of electricity and natural gas, which is almost 80% of sales in 2019.

Ruling on Teran case to be given in September

LUXEMBOURG, Luxembourg - The General Court of the EU will hand down its ruling on a case related to a derogation enabling Croatia to use Teran as the name of a red wine protected by Slovenia on 9 September, the Agriculture Ministry confirmed for the STA. Slovenia's Teran is protected under the EU Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) quality logo sign, however in mid-2017 the Commission granted the derogation allowing Croatian producers in Istria to use the name on the label as long as the name of the region was featured more prominently. Slovenia is challenging the exemption granted by the EU Commission.

Celje win national football championship for first time ever

CELJE - The football club Celje was crowned on Wednesday evening the new Slovenian champions after drawing 2:2 with Olimpija Ljubljana in what is its first ever national championship. Celje climbed to the top in the 2019/20 season, which was interrupted due to the coronavirus epidemic, by defending the home turf in the last, 36th round of the premier league, drawing a thriller with the rivals from the capital. Olimpija finished third in the standings and was leapfrogged by Maribor, the champions from the previous season, due to the better head-to-head record.

Dutch man pulled over with 29 illegal migrants in his van

LJUTOMER - The police pulled over near Ljutomer (NE) on Wednesday a van driven by a Dutch citizen, in which he transported 29 illegal migrants - 24 citizens of Afghanistan and five women from Somalia. The Murska Sobota Police Department said the Dutch suspect would be brought before an investigating judge, while the foreigners would be returned to the Croatian authorities once the official procedure was concluded.

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