Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Wednesday, 16 December 2020

By , 16 Dec 2020, 04:14 AM News
Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Wednesday, 16 December 2020 Wikimedia - Pedro Ribeiro Simões, CC-by-0

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This summary is provided by the STA

DeSUS leadership to discuss whether or not to leave coalition

LJUBLJANA - The top bodies of the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) will meet on Thursday to discuss whether or not the party should leave the coalition, party leader Karl Erjavec said, noting that there was pressure from the rank-and-file, dissatisfied with the government's work. Erjavec made the statement after meeting the leaders of the four centre-left parties that make up the Constitutional Arch Coalition (KUL). Zdravko Počivalšek, the head of the Modern Centre Party (SMC), which is also being wooed by KUL as it needs more votes in addition to those from DeSUS, again rejected the possibility of leaving the coalition.

Banka Slovenije expects GDP to contract by 7.6% this year, expand by 3.1% in 2021

LJUBLJANA - Banka Slovenije, Slovenia's central bank, expects the economy to contract by 7.6% this year before growing at a rate of 3.1% in 2021. The forecast hinges on the successful rollout of coronavirus vaccines. The figures mark a sharp downgrade from its forecast in June, when it projected that the economy would contract by 6.5% this year and expand by 4.9% in 2021. The forecast for 2022 has, however, been upgraded by almost a full percentage point.

Anti-graft commission launches probe against eight over PPE purchases

LJUBLJANA, - The Commission for the Prevention of Corruption launched multiple probes into purchases of personal protective equipment in spring. Eight persons are under investigation, including Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek and Ivan Gale, the former Commodity Reserves Agency employee who first made allegations of irregularities. The suspicions relate to eight contracts the agency has signed with multiple providers, including contracts with Public Digital Infrastructure, Hmezad - TMT, Gorenje and Geneplanet. Počivalšek said he would cooperate fairly with the commission as he wanted to clear his name.

Trial mass testing to begin in Ljubljana next week

LJUBLJANA - Health Minister Tomaž Gantar announced that voluntary mass testing for coronavirus could start in Ljubljana as early as next week prior to Christmas holidays, with testing to be made available more widely after New Year's. "We'll start performing testing as a trial next week in the Ljubljana area; testing will be voluntary, with only health insurance card being required," Gantar said.

Another 1,524 test positive for coronavirus, 44 die

LJUBLJANA - Another 1,524 people tested positive for coronavirus in Slovenia on Monday and a further 44 Covid-19 patients lost their lives as the number of hospitalised patients dropped somewhat, government data show. Of the 5,634 tests performed yesterday, 27.05% returned positive results, meaning the positivity rate was slightly up again after dropping to 25.67% from over 31% the day before. The number of patients hospitalised with Covid-19 dropped by 36 to 1,284 after 127 were discharged home, and the number of those requiring intensive care fell by four to 204.

PM meets ambassadors of EU members in Slovenia

BRDO PRI KRANJU - PM Janez Janša met ambassadors of EU member states to Slovenia, an event organised by the German EU presidency. The PM answered questions from ambassadors concerning the most recent EU summit, the main challenges for next year and Slovenia's preparations for its EU presidency in the second half of 2021. The PM's office said Janša had pointed to the successful response by the EU to the economic consequences of the pandemic, as the bloc agreed on the recovery fund alongside the next multi-year budget. Janša believes that the key challenge for the EU next year will be the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic in the coming months, which he believes could be even more demanding than so far.

Logar meets OPCW director and ICC president in The Hague

THE HAGUE/Netherlands - FM Anže Logar visited the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to meet OPCW Director General Fernando Arias. He also met International Criminal Court (ICC) president Chile Eboe-Osuji, and a meeting with Dutch counterpart Stef Blok is also scheduled. Logar and Arias reviewed Slovenia's cooperation with the organisation, especially in the light of the country's EU presidency in the second half of 2021, while the meeting with ICC president Eboe-Osuji stressed the importance of constructive cooperation in fighting impunity and the role of independent judiciary.

Memorandum signed to build Ljubljana passenger terminal

LJUBLJANA - Public and private investors, including the government, signed a memorandum to cooperate in the construction of a EUR 387 million passenger terminal in Slovenia's capital, also known as Emonika. Welcoming the step, Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec said Ljubljana and Slovenia deserved to have a modern coach and bus station they could be proud of, noting Ljubljana had been waiting for the project for 18 years. The project comprises a new railway station, along with appertaining track infrastructure and platforms, a coach station with a multi-storey car park and a commercial hub.

Tonin meets Croatian, Austrian counterparts ahead of CEDC meeting

POSTOJNA - Ahead of a two-day ministerial of the Central European Defence Cooperation (CEDC) in Postojna, Defence Minister Matej Tonin his Croatian counterpart Mario Banožić and Austria's Klaudia Tanner. The talks focused on bilateral cooperation in the fields of military and defence and cooperation within the EU. Tonin and Banožić also discussed regional cooperation, joint training, participation in international operations and missions and cooperation within NATO. Slovenia's EU presidency was a topic as Tonin met Tanner, with the ministers agreeing that the Western Balkans needed to stay on the agenda of the EU.

Foreign Ministry: EEZs not to bring major changes for Slovenia

LJUBLJANA - With Croatia and Italy declaring exclusive economic zones (EEZ) in the Adriatic as planned not much would change for Slovenia, its fishermen or access to the Koper port, Aleksander Geržina, the Foreign Minister's spokesman, told the STA, adding that the move would also not affect the border arbitration award. "Things are not changing substantially for us," Geržina said about the consequences of EEZs for Slovenia, adding that this also held true for fishermen, whose representative today underscored the need for them to continue to be able to fish in international waters although few do now.

Swiss-made train brings first passengers to Ljubljana

LJUBLJANA - As public passenger transportation resumed on Tuesday as part of the first major easing of coronavirus restrictions in Slovenia, a new modern Swiss Stadler train brought first passengers from Kamnik to Ljubljana Central Station. Joining the passengers for part of the journey, Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec noted the significance of modernisation of the railway infrastructure. The train is one of the first five diesel trains that the Slovenian railway operator formally took over from Stadler in late November. They will link Ljubljana with Novo Mesto and Kamnik, and with Kočevje, once the service there opens.

Ljubljana adopts new strategy for post-Covid tourism

LJUBLJANA - The Ljubljana City Council adopted a new strategy for the development of tourism in 2021-2027 on Monday. The main goals include increasing off-peak season visits and average spending, and extending the average stay. The strategy acknowledges the post-coronavirus tourism recovery will take time. The Slovenian capital seeks to increase the number of tourist nights by 14%, with the average spending per tourist to rise from EUR 101 to EUR 140 and average duration of stay to increase from 2.5 to 3 nights.

Some Covid-19 restrictions temporarily eased

LJUBLJANA - Certain business restrictions related to the Covid-19 epidemic are being eased today until 23 December. Some services resumed nationwide today, such as public transportation, as well as hair salons, flower shops, car washes and dry cleaners. Others will be limited to the four regions with the best epidemiological situation. Public transportation restarted in limited fashion, which means up to half capacity, while gondolas will be limited to one person or one family.

Average gross wage up by 1.2% in October

LJUBLJANA - The average gross pay in Slovenia in October stood at EUR 1,821, up by 1.2% nominally on September and by 0.9% in real terms. The average net pay totalled EUR 1,181, a 1% increase in nominal terms at the monthly level and a 0.7% rise in real terms, show data by the Statistics Office.

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