Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Tuesday, 22 September 2020

By , 22 Sep 2020, 04:08 AM News
Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Tuesday, 22 September 2020 Orest Kiprensky. Readers of the Newspaper in Naples. 1831. Oil on canvas. The Tretyakov Gallery. Moscow, Russia

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This summary is provided by the STA

Pahor and Macron agree closer cooperation

PARIS, France - President Borut Pahor held a working meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron focussing on the future of the EU, its neighbourhood, and bilateral relations. Closer cooperation was agreed, both personally and at the level of the two countries, Pahor said, announcing that "circumstances permitting", he could host Macron in Slovenia before the end of the year. Noting many shared views with Macron, he said they saw unity among 27 member states as a promise of internal and external cohesion.

Logar eagerly awaiting EU's new migration pact

BRUSSELS, Belgium - Foreign Minister Anže Logar, who attended a session of the Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels, told reporters the EU's forthcoming pact on migration and asylum was eagerly anticipated and that Slovenia would continue to oppose mandatory distribution of migrants, which the country made clear in June. Logar also held courtesy meetings with Executive Vice President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans and European Commissioner for the Environment Virginijus Sinkevičius. He presented them Slovenia's priorities for the upcoming EU presidency from green technologies to water diplomacy.

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Bach praises Slovenia as great sporting nation

LJUBLJANA - International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach praised Slovenia as a true giant in sports, as he met some of Slovenia's athletes aspiring to attend the Tokyo Olympics. He reiterated the IOC would do all in its power for the Tokyo Olympics, rescheduled due to the coronavirus from 2020 to 2021, to be held next year. He also met PM Janez Janša and Sports Minister Simona Kustec, saying the prime minister and his government were aware of the important role sport plays in society, especially during the health crisis. Bach also attended a fund raiser for underprivileged athletes, contributing US$50,000 on behalf of the IOC, and visited the grave of recently deceased sports official Janez Kocijančič (1941-2020).

DeSUS threatens to leave coalition if ex-leader Pivec stays minister

LJUBLJANA - The opposition, led by the Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ), filed a motion of no-confidence in Agriculture Minister Aleksandra Pivec, a member of the coalition Pensioners' Party (DeSUS). The motion alleges risk of corruption, violation of integrity rules and concealment of public interest facts. DeSUS deputy group head Franc Jurša meanwhile announced the coalition would lose DeSUS's support if Pivec, the DeSUS former leader, who stepped down recently, remained minister. In the words of Tomaž Gantar's, health minister and DeSUS's interim leader, this is in fact an appeal to the prime minister to finally resolve the issue of Pivec's ministerial post.

Hojs remains interior minister after talking it over with Janša

LJUBLJANA - Aleš Hojs remains interior minister not only after surviving a motion of no-confidence in parliament on Saturday but also after today's meeting with PM Janez Janša. He told the STA that Janša had returned him the envelope with his resignation, which he tendered in late June after four opposition parties filed a motion to dismiss him. Back then he indicated he resigned because the police was serving the deep state in an investigation into ventilator procurement related to Covid-19. Janša and Hojs also discussed further coalition commitments that are yet to be implemented. Hojs said changes to the foreigners act, the international protection act and the police organisation and work act were ready. Another attempt is planned to give soldiers some police powers in protecting the border against illegal migrants.

50 coronavirus infections confirmed in scaled-down testing on Sunday

LJUBLJANA - The number of new Sars-Cov-2 infections discovered in Slovenia fell substantially to 50 on Sunday, but the number of tests carried out, 984, was only about a third of the figure during recent week days. There were no new fatalities, so the death toll remains at 142. The number of hospitalised patients increased by four to 70. The number of patients in intensive care increased by one to 14, with 12 attached to ventilators, show official data released on Monday. Meanwhile, the Economy Ministry and business chambers urged companies to implement all necessary measures to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus in a bid to keep the economy running.

Poll shows people not very concerned about coronavirus

LJUBLJANA - Although the epidemiological curve in Slovenia has been rising, people are not very concerned, the latest Vox Populi poll suggests. The share of respondents who are not concerned by the new coronavirus spreading rose from 13.3% in March to 27.2% in September. The share of those who are very concerned rose slightly, from 17.5% to 20%, but that did not change the overall situation. An analysis of responses has shown that women are more concerned by the situation and that the anxiety increases with age.

Janša announces funds to cut waiting times, changes to public sector pay

LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša said the government will discuss the fifth omnibus bill bringing anti-coronavirus measures this week and the bill will also bring fresh funds to cut waiting time in healthcare. It will moreover feature measures designed to prevent the spring scenario when practically all non-urgent medical services were suspended, Janša said in parliament. He also announced talks to exclude the services part of the public sector from the uniform public pay system would start soon. Health Minister Tomaž Gantar later explained excluding at least healthcare from the public sector pay system was feasible, so a task force of Health Ministry representatives and doctors would try to come up with different remuneration criteria.

2030 strategy looks to create knowledge-based industry

BRDO PRI KRANJU - The Economic Development and Technology Ministry presented a draft of the industrial strategy for 2021-2030, which looks to create the conditions for restructuring Slovenia's industrial sector into an industry of knowledge and innovativeness for new and better jobs. The principal indicator of the Slovenian industrial strategy is labour productivity, which the ministry wants to reach EUR 66,000 in added value per employee by 2030. The document was presented at a conference in Brdo pri Kranju, where PM Janez Janša urged structural reforms if Slovenia is to take advantage of the coronacrisis to gain a development momentum.

Janša announces additional oversight over immigrants

LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša announced more oversight over the system of social transfers as he responded to an MP question from Zmago Jelinčič from the opposition National Party (SNS) about the status of immigrants from third countries and their social transfers. Janša said the coalition agreement envisaged a reform of social transfers. He noted that in some towns, more than a hundred persons are registered at a single address, which should be looked into. Many of the loopholes in the current legislation will be fixed with changes to the foreigners act, he said.

Pahor and Logar to attend first virtual UN general debate

NEW YORK, US - This year's general debate of the UN General Assembly will be held virtually for the first time in UN history due to Covid-19. Slovenian President Borut Pahor and Foreign Minister Anže Logar will contribute their speeches via videolink. Pahor's speech is expected on Thursday, while Logar will attend a virtual meeting of the Informal Ministerial Network for the International Criminal Court on Wednesday and a ministerial of the Alliance for Multilateralism on Friday.

Vox Populi poll: Parties losing ground, SDS remains in the lead

LJUBLJANA/MARIBOR - Most parties lost ground in September's Vox Populi poll, conducted by Ninamedia for the newspapers Večer and Dnevnik, but the senior coalition Democrats (SDS) remain on top, followed somewhat closer than before by the opposition Social Democrats (SD) and Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ). If an election was held this Sunday, the SDS would receive 22.1% of the vote, followed by the SD with 13.6%. The LMŠ in third place would be receive 9% of the voters. The opposition Left, which was the only parliamentary party to see a slight rise in support thismonth, polled at 7.2%.

Jaklitsch concludes Germany visit in Baden-Württemberg

STUTTGART, Germany - Minister for Slovenians Abroad Helena Jaklitsch concluded a two-day visit to the Slovenian community in Germany on Sunday in the state of Baden-Württemberg, where she met representatives of Slovenian associations in Stuttgart and Sindelfingen and a Slovenian Catholic mission there. Slovenians in this part of Germany are facing similar problems as those living in Bavaria, whom Jaklitsch visited on Saturday. Membership is declining, as some of the older members are returning to Slovenia upon retirement, while it is hard to encourage the younger generations to get involved in the organised activities of the Slovenian community.

Trade union wants MPs to define relations between interior ministry and police

LJUBLJANA - The SPS trade union, one of the two representing Slovenian police officers, called on parliament to provide an "authentic interpretation" of the organisation and work of the police act in the part where the law determines the relations between the Interior Ministry and the police force. The move comes after tensions between Minister Aleš Hojs and police following his July order issued to the police commissioner to review five high-profile cases handled by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI). The trade union believes this is necessary to stop clashes in the media, which are harming the police force's reputation.

Over EUR 200 million out of last year's budget for R&D

LJUBLJANA - Last year, Slovenia earmarked EUR 219.8 million in budget funds for R&D activities, up 14.7% or EUR 28.1 million on 2018. Budget funding for R&D increased for the fourth year in a row in 2019 and exceeded EUR 200 million for the first time since 2011. The share of public funding for R&D in GDP also went up from 0.42% to 0.46% in 2019 compared to 2018, show Statistics Office data.

New exhibition marks Laibach's 40th anniversary

LJUBLJANA - An exhibition of artworks by Laibach opened at Gallery P74 on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of this alternative band. Entitled RE:KONS:TRUKT, the show is a re-imagining of old works by Laibach and will be on display until 2 November. Ausstellung! Laibach Kunst is a series of exhibitions by Laibach, and according to curator Barbara Borčič, this particular exhibition evokes the memories of their early artistic practice, especially of the band's first two exhibitions at the Škuc Gallery in 1982 and 1983.

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