Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Friday, 20 November 2020

By , 20 Nov 2020, 04:00 AM News
Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Friday, 20 November 2020 Flickr - Lionel Martinez CC-by-nc-nd-2.0

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This summary is provided by the STA

Over 2,000 new coronavirus cases logged again, 45 fatalities

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia logged more than 2,000 new coronavirus cases for the second day running as a further 45 patients with Covid-19 died, bringing the death toll to 964. According to government spokesman Jelko Kacin, 2,064 of the 6,806 Sars-CoV-2 tests performed on Wednesday came back positive, which means as many as 30.33%, up almost four percentage points from the day before. While officials are "deeply worried, in particular doctors and other health personnel", Kacin said the situation in hospitals improved slightly; 1,238 patients with Covid-19 were being treated in hospitals yesterday, 42 fewer than the day before.

Budgets for 2021-2022 passed, bringing record expenditure and investments

LJUBLJANA - Parliament passed late on Wednesday the budgets for 2021 and 2022, which bring expenditure of EUR 13.5 billion and EUR 12.6 billion, respectively, and record investments amid the coronavirus pandemic. The opposition expressed concern over how increasing expenditure would be financed and the debt, raised to fund stimulus measures, repaid even if the deficit is to fall gradually. Around EUR 2 billion will be spent on investment in 2021 and in 2022, with Finance Minister Andrej Šircelj stressing "Slovenia has never before invested that much".

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No non-essential shops, cultural events for another week

LJUBLJANA - The government extended by seven days the closure of shops selling non-essential goods and the ban on cultural events, Covid-19 spokesman Jelko Kacin said. It also suspended the deadlines in court procedures, Kacin explained. The decision is based on the law on courts, which says the deadlines are suspended if courts cannot work due to an emergency. The suspension can last up to three months. The decision on the extension of other major measures, such as the night curfew or the movement between municipalities, is expected on Friday.

Logar says transatlantic relations should be strengthened

LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Anže Logar stressed the importance of strengthening transatlantic relations across the board as he attended a session of the EU's Foreign Affairs Council. He said cooperation needed to be strengthened in areas including security, critical infrastructure and addressing hybrid and cybernetic threats. The Foreign Ministry said many ministers, Logar included, agreed that effective multilateralism was still the best way to address global challenges, assessing that the EU has the political, economic and financial power to co-shape the multilateral order.

Speaker argues for efficient return of migrants ineligible for asylum

LJUBLJANA - National Assembly Speaker Igor Zorčič argued for an efficient return of migrants not eligible for asylum and for tackling the causes of illegal migration as he addressed a virtual high-level inter-parliamentary conference on migration and asylum in Europe. The conference was organised by the European Parliament and the parliaments of the Trio Presidency comprising Germany, Portugal and Slovenia. Along with Zorčič, several other members of the National Assembly took part.

Motor vehicles tax to be reduced

LJUBLJANA - The government endorsed a reform bill on motor vehicles tax as a result of which most car and motorbike buyers will pay less tax. The levy will depend mostly on emissions, while plug-in vehicles will not be taxed. Calculations from the Finance Ministry show the tax burden on buyers will be reduced by more than 65% on average. "It means lower tax on cars and motorbikes for most models," Finance Minister Andrej Šircelj said. The bill also scraps an extra levy introduced in 2021 on luxury vehicles, that is those with an engine capacity of more than 2.5 litres, so that single tax will apply to all vehicles.

Employer club calls against further lockdown of businesses

LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Business Club (SBC) urged steps to make it easier for businesses to continue to operate arguing the government must not tighten the lockdown any further. It also criticised the "excessive bureaucratic measures" in shops, where certain goods cannot be purchased while being on shelves, and the restrictions for hairdressers and beauty parlours, which it believes encourages undeclared work. The club believes that the regime on the borders is "nonsensical" as a relatively low number of infections has been imported from the non-EU countries.

Fearing collapse, meetings industry urges state aid

LJUBLJANA - Events organisers urged the government to provide state aid for the Slovenian meetings industry, which employs some 15,000 workers and generates almost EUR 900 million in revenue. In the opposite case, the meetings industry, at a standstill since the first wave of the coronavirus epidemic in March, could collapse. The meetings industry has drafted several proposals to be included into state aid packages, but its representatives said the government only heeded their calls with the sixth package, which is now in parliamentary procedure.

Travel and hospitality services hit worst in first Covid-19 wave

LJUBLJANA - The services sector has been heavily affected by the Covid-19 epidemic. In Slovenia, the biggest monthly drop in services income was recorded in April, a 18.4% decrease. Pub, restaurant or cafe owners and travel agencies were hit worst in the months following the first epidemic declaration, a Statistics Office study showed. Following the April drop, income figures were rising for three consecutive months and in July they were higher by 6.6% on June. However, services income dropped again in August, this time by 2% on the month before.

Krka sees 6% nine-month revenue rise, net profit up by 22%

LJUBLJANA - The group around the drug maker Krka generated EUR 1.16 billion in sales revenue in the first nine months of the year, which is 6% more than in the same period last year. Net profit was up by 22% to EUR 210.14 million. Sales were up the most in Eastern Europe, where the most revenue was generated. Operating profit jumped by 57% to EUR 300.75 million and EBITDA increased by 40% to EUR 384.6 million. Sales were up compared to the same period last year in all regional markets, except Turkmenistan, but the crucial growth was that in Russia, Krka's largest individual market.

Cinkarna Celje records 3% drop in nine-month revenue, net profit down 27%

CELJE - Chemicals company Cinkarna Celje generated EUR 130.4 million in sales revenue in the first nine months of this year, a 3% decrease year-on-year. Net profit fell by 27% to EUR 13.8 million. Sales of titanium dioxide pigment, Cinkarna Celje's flagship product, were up by 4.8% compared to the same period last year, but average selling prices were 4.6% below those in the comparable period in 2019, the company said.

Intereuropa profit, revenue drop due to pandemic

LJUBLJANA - The logistics group Intereuropa generated EUR 111.6 million in revenue in the nine ten months of the year, a 7% drop over the same period last year but still 6% above business plans. Profit dropped by 42% to EUR 2.4 million. The group said the performance drop was due to the coronavirus pandemic, which affected particularly the second quarter. While figures declined in all segments, the biggest drop was seen in land transport, where revenue dropped by 11% in the first three quarters year-on-year.

Accounting firm Unija expands in Croatia

LJUBLJANA - Unija, one of the biggest accounting service firms in Slovenia, said it hadmerged with Croatia's biggest accounting firm Data-Link. The merger is in line with its plan to become the most progressive and the best accounting service in its field in the region by 2022. The group now expects to increase its revenue by EUR 2 million to EUR 10 million a year and employs more than 250 people. The Croatian company has been renamed Data-Link Unija and has more than 80 employees.

PM endorses planned Ljubljana passenger terminal and rail upgrade

LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Janez Janša met with Ljubljana Mayor Zoran Janković on Wednesday to discuss the future of rail infrastructure in the country. Janša gave his support to the revived plans to upgrade the capital's rail infrastructure and set up a new bus and train terminal. "It is time to relaunch and implement the project," the prime minister said about the EUR 100m-plus project, which was stalled almost ten years ago due to the financial crisis but was listed among the 2020-2023 development investments strategy by the government in September.

Smrekar gets full term at helm of Statistics Office

LJUBLJANA - The government appointed acting director of the national Statistics Office Tomaž Smrekar for a full five-year term. He succeeds Bojan Nastav, who was appointed for a full term by the previous government in August 2019 and dismissed by the current government this May due to difficulties with the office's responsiveness as the government required certain data to prepare anti-coronavirus measures.

Total assets of 100 wealthiest Slovenian increase, Logins firmly on top

LJUBLJANA - The spouses Iza and Samo Login remain the wealthiest Slovenia, topping the list of the Manager magazine for the seventh year running. The Logins were the main founders of popular apps company Outfit7 that was sold to China's United Luck Group for US$1 billion in 2017. The total assets of the 100 wealthiest Slovenians amount to an estimated EUR 5.8 billion, EUR 147 million more than last year. The threshold for the list fell by 6% to EUR 20.9 million.

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