Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Friday, 18 December 2020

By , 18 Dec 2020, 04:23 AM News
Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Friday, 18 December 2020 Flickr- Jason Ralston CC-by-2.0

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This summary is provided by the STA

DeSUS leaves the coalition

LJUBLJANA - The council of the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) voted in favour of a proposal that the party leave the coalition and backed leader Karl Erjavec as a candidate for prime minister-designate. Erjavec explained that DeSUS was exiting the coalition not because of the epidemic or work of individual ministers, but because of the policies pursued by Prime Minister Janez Janša. "We don't want an 'Orbanisation' of Slovenia." At least one of the five MPs, Robert Polnar, is expected to remain with the coalition and will be excluded from the deputy group, the decision of the other four is expected on Friday. The decision on the fate of the government ministers who are members of DeSUS is on Janša. The exit is seen as a major step towards the formation of a centre-left government, but the left parties are well short of the majority and are counting on defections from the Modern Centre Party (SMC), whose deputy group is expected to meet on Friday.

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EU court rules Slovenia breached inviolability of ECB archives

LUXEMBOURG, Luxembourg - Fully upholding the European Commission's position, the European Court of Justice ruled that Slovenia breached the inviolability of ECB archives in a 2016 police search of archives at the country's central bank that was part of an investigation into the 2013 bank bailout. The court's Grand Chamber also found Slovenia in breach of the obligation of sincere cooperation with the EU. The Commission said it had taken note of the court's decision and expected Slovenia to implement it. The ECB said the ruling confirmed its initial concern that the seizure of Eurosystem documents did not respect the principle of the inviolability of the ECB's archives.

State of epidemic extended by a month, more services open

LJUBLJANA - The government formally extended the state of coronavirus epidemic by 30 days beginning on 18 December. However, more shops, including those selling technical goods, tree and plant nurseries as well as shops with goods for installation, maintenance and repair services will reopen for five days, from 19 to 23 December. Book shops, shops selling stationary and gifts, shops offering photocopying services and those with baby and children's products will only open in the four regions with a better epidemiological situation - Central Slovenia, Goriška, Obalno-Kraška and Gorenjska. In these regions museums, galleries and libraries will be allowed to open as well. Religious ceremonies may be held from Saturday.

1,642 infections recorded on Wednesday, 43 patients die

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia recorded 1,642 coronavirus infections from 6,350 tests on Wednesday. Compared with the day before, the positivity rate declined from 32% to 25.8%. 43 Covid-19 patients died, bringing the death toll to 2,233, the latest government data showed. The hospitalisation figures decreased slightly - the number of persons in hospital dropped by 22 to 1,229 and the total of those requiring intensive care by three to 208. The daily rise in new infections was down on the same day a week before for the fifth straight day.

Slovenia marks 30th anniversary of its armed forces

KOČEVSKA REKA - The 30th anniversary of the first public formation of MORiS, a special-forces unit of what was then Territorial Defence was celebrated to mark an event that is seen as the beginning of the Slovenian Armed Forces. The prime minister at the time, Lojze Peterle, said that was "the day when it started smelling of Slovenian armed forces". President Borut Pahor said the formation was important because it happened only a week before the independence referendum to let the citizens know that "we will fight and win".

Chief of general staff promoted to rank of major general

LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor, the supreme commander of the Slovenian Armed Forces (SAF), promoted Chief of the General Staff Robert Glavaš to the rank of major general. The promotion is according to Pahor a result of Glavaš's excellent military career and his results at all SAF levels as well as of the experiences he gained in missions abroad and in NATO structures. Glavaš thus joined another two active generals in the Slovenian army, both ex-chiefs of the general staff.

Slovenian, Kosovo FMs discuss bilateral, regional issues

LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Anže Logar and Kosovo Foreign Minister Meliza Haradinaj-Stublla discussed bilateral relations, highlighting economic cooperation, the situation in SE Europe and Kosovo's Euro-Atlantic prospects. Measures to contain the coronavirus pandemic were also in the focus. Logar expressed support for Kosovo's EU prospects, and called for a continued reform drive and a completion of the implementation of visa liberalisation with the EU.

Bill on National Demographic Fund passes first reading

LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly assessed that the bill on the National Demographic Fund is fit for further debate in a 48:36 vote. The discussion on Tuesday showed that while all MPs agree that a solution is needed to ensure decent pensions, the opposition does not agree that a new overarching state fund is the right solution.

Bill passed to amend criminal procedure act

LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed in a 43:36 vote a bill amending the criminal procedure act. Based on the freedom of information act, the changes make it possible for anyone to access prosecution or court records in criminal procedures if there are no reservations for such access. Moreover, the amendments set down that the state prosecutor is required to make a decision on whether to bring the indictment or not in 90 days at the latest.

Legislation cutting motor vehicles tax passed

LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly endorsed a reform bill on motor vehicles tax as a result of which most car and motorbike buyers will pay less tax, especially buyers of more powerful vehicles. The levy will depend on emissions. The legislation has been criticised by the Consumer Association, which said the new system would make it more difficult to entice consumers to buy more environmentally friendly cars or improve the use of public transportation.

MPs back special tax treatment of shipping companies

LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed changes to the tonnage tax act extending by another ten years a special regulation under which shipping companies pay an alternative form of corporate income tax. The current corporate income tax act has allowed shippers since 2007 the option of paying a lump sum relative to the net tonnage and the number of days the ship is in operation.

EUR 5.67 billion in borrowing planned for next year

LJUBLJANA - The budget financing programme for 2021, adopted by the government on Wednesday, shows that EUR 5.67 billion in borrowing is needed next year. In that case, the central government budget debt would increase to EUR 36.62 billion or around 75% of the country's gross domestic product (GDP), the Finance Ministry said.

PM says Slovenia preserved development potential during crisis

LJUBLJANA - The measures Slovenia has adopted put it in a good position to continue fighting the consequences of the epidemic and to successfully transition to the fourth industrial revolution, Prime Minister Janez Janša told the Business Summit. He said that Slovenia had secured EUR 10.5 billion in the EU's multiannual budget and rescue package, funds that provide the resources for research and development, innovation, digitalisation, education, and training for professions of the future.

Telekom secures EIB loan to expand fibre optic network

LJUBLJANA - Telekom Slovenije signed a loan agreement with the European Investment Bank (EIB) worth up to EUR 100 million for the expansion of its fibre optic network through 2023. The EIB funds will allow the company to finance the continued expansion and upgrade of its network with gigabit speeds, both in urban centres and rural areas, including so-called white spots, where there is no market interest in building networks.

DRI's management of Maribor Airport extended

LJUBLJANA - The government confirmed at its Wednesday session a report on Maribor airport and decided that the state-owned consulting and engineering company DRI would continue to temporarily manage the airport until the end of next year. This was proposed by the Infrastructure Ministry as a temporary solution until a long-term one is found.

Ljubljana airport operator hoping for revival in spring

LJUBLJANA - Although regular passenger transport at Ljubljana airport has been slashed because of the epidemiological situation, airport operator Fraport Slovenija director Zmago Skobir remains optimistic. The damage because of coronavirus has been estimated at almost EUR 17 million, however Skobir told the STA in an interview he is confident the airport will come to life again in the spring.

Pensions to go up by 2.5% next year

LJUBLJANA - Pensions will be raised by 2.5% from 1 January to be adjusted to the growth in wages and costs of living in the past year with the higher pensions to be paid out in February. This comes on top of a 2% rise this month. The decision on the regular adjustment was formally endorsed by the Pension and Disability Institute (ZPIZ) after it had already been determined in the budget documents passed by parliament in November.

Katja Šaponjić wins French Institute translation prize for comics

LJUBLJANA - The French Institute in Slovenia presented its Charles Nodier Award to Katja Šaponjić for her translations of graphic novels and comic strips from French. The award, recognising best translation of a French book into Slovenian, was first presented in 2018. This time it celebrates the year of comics. The judging panel recognised Šaponjić's entire body of work in translating comics between 2015 and 2020.

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