Janez Poklukar appointed new health minister
LJUBLJANA - Janez Poklukar, a 42-year-old doctor-turned health manager who has been leading Slovenia's largest medical centre through the biggest ever health crisis, was appointed new health minister by the National Assembly in a 50:31 vote. Poklukar successfully restructured Jesenice general hospital before taking over as director general of UKC Ljubljana in August 2019, where he is credited with adroitly managing the coronavirus epidemic. His priorities will be battling out the coronavirus epidemic and improving access to health services.
Slovenia to seek "additional options" for vaccines
LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Janez Janša announced that Slovenia will look for "additional options for vaccine supplies" amidst sluggish supplies from the joint EU purchase. "We are working in this direction. Of course it is still necessary to prioritise safety, credibility and trust in the vaccine," he told the National Assembly.Milan Krek, the head of the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ), said last week that Slovenia would insist on using vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency.
Uptick in daily case count and 7-day average
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia reported 899 new coronavirus cases from 4,369 PCR tests on Monday in what is an increase compared to a week ago when a similar total of tests was conducted. The 7-day average of new daily cases grew from 744 to 767. The PCR positivity rate was 20.6%. Hospitalisations dropped by 17 to 567 after 62 patients were discharged home yesterday. The number of those requiring intensive care rose by three to 107. Eight Covid-19 patients died for a total death toll of 3,792.
Constitutional Court stays retirement provisions of stimulus legislation
LJUBLJANA - The Constitutional Court stayed until its final ruling the provisions of the seventh economic stimulus law under which employers may unilaterally terminate the employment contract when a worker meets retirement criteria. The constitutional review was initiated by trade unions, which want the court to review two provisions which they believe pave the way for forced retirement of older workers. The court said the consequences of continued implementation of the provisions would potentially harm some workers long-term, which is why they issued a stay.
Energy and transport cooperation in focus of Poland visit
WARSAW, Poland - Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec wrapped up a two-day visit to Poland, having held talks with Infrastructure Minister Andrzej Adamczyk and Environment Minister Michal Kurtyka. He said Slovenia sought to strengthen cooperation with Poland in maritime transport, in particular through the Koper port. In talks with Kurtyka, he said Slovenia supported the EU's aim to become climate-neutral by 2050 but it was necessary to consider "the principle of just transition, national specifics and the use of all low-carbon technologies, including nuclear energy."
Slovenia, Serbia plan a joint conference to boost investments
BELGRADE, Serbia - Slovenia and Serbia plan to hold a joint investment conference in summer or autumn, according to a report by the Serbian media following a meeting between Slovenian Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek and Serbian Minister of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunication Tatjana Matić. "We believe that we will further facilitate the growth of Slovenian investments in Serbia and vice versa," Matić was quoted as saying by the Tanjug press agency. Počivalšek said that the potential for economic cooperation was expected to be boosted across the board.
Central 5 to discuss Slovenia's EU presidency Monday
BRDO PRI KRANJU - Foreign Minister Anže Logar will host a meeting of the Central 5 group of countries at Brdo estate on 1 March to set out the priorities of Slovenia's presidency of the Council of the EU to his counterparts from Austria, Czechia, Hungary and Slovakia. The meeting is designed to present the Slovenian presidency priorities for the second half of the year. The ministers will also exchange views on other topical EU and international issues such as trans-Atlantic relations, the EU's relations with third countries and its future relationship with the UK.
Logar debates epidemic restrictions with EU ambassadors
LJUBLJANA - Coronavirus restrictions were in the focus as Foreign Minister Anže Logar spoke to ambassadors of EU countries accredited to Slovenia at a virtual meeting. Logar stressed the need for close coordination of measures at EU level with the aim of ensuring the smoothest possible flow of people, goods, capital and services despite some necessary restrictions. He said the pandemic had shown how important it was to cooperate at the EU level. It also demonstrated the need to improve the bloc's capacity to deal with crises of such a scale, which would be one of the priorities of Slovenia's EU presidency.
Slovenia working to end UK work visa discrimination
BRUSSELS, Belgium - Slovenia is working with member states whose nationals must pay higher fees for UK work visas to end this discrimination, Foreign Ministry State Secretary Gašper Dovžan said. Member states which are discriminated against raised this issue at Tuesday's meeting of Europe ministers. "There is of course solidarity between member states to go ahead with the ambition to end this discrimination," he said.
Plans for new Slovenian airline afoot
LJUBLJANA - A new airline named SouthEast Airlines is emerging in Slovenia, web aviation portal Sierra5 reported, adding that the airline will initially provide mainly charter flights using a fleet of Airbus A320s. Experienced pilots, instructors, aircraft engineers and mechanics are among the founders and managers of the new airline, which is headquartered in Trbovlje, according to Sierra5. Pending regulatory approval, SouthEast Airlines plans to initially focus on EU markets with the first licensed commercial flight planned for early June.
Age limit on IVF treatment in insurance rules quashed by top court
LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Constitutional Court has annulled a mandatory health insurance rule that restricts the right to artificial insemination procedures to women up to the age of 43. The court established that the legislation governing infertility treatment, which the provision was to detail, sets down only that the woman needs to be of child-bearing age. It thus ascertained that the health insurance rules limited access to the right to couples where the woman has turned 43 without there being an explicit legal authorisation to do so.
Water tower in eastern Slovenia to become tourist spot
BREŽICE - A hundred-years-old water tower in Brežice, a prominent landmark , will be renovated and turned into a sightseeing venue. The interior as well as the exterior of the second-oldest water tower in Slovenia will be renovated, and the upgrade is expected to be finished by October next year. The adjacent area, a pavilion housing a cafe, will be revamped as well. The investment is estimated at EUR 1.9 million and the municipality will seek to get EU or state co-funding for the project, said Brežice Mayor Ivan Molan.