Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Wednesday, 24 March 2021

By , 24 Mar 2021, 04:08 AM News
Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Wednesday, 24 March 2021 Flickr - Julian Stallabrass CC by 2.0

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This summary is provided by the STA

Coronavirus transmissions keep rising

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's curve of coronavirus transmissions keeps rising with another 981 people testing positive on Monday to drive the 7-day average up to 829. The growing trend is also reflected in Covid-19 hospitalisations, which rose above 500 again, to 507, of whom 96 are in intensive care. Nine patients with Covid-19 died, government data show. The government is expected to revise coronavirus restrictions on Wednesday.

Parliament confirms five-year declaration on EU activities

LJUBLJANA - The declaration on Slovenia's activities in EU institutions in 2021-2024 was confirmed in the National Assembly. Prime Minister Janez Janša said that improving the resilience of the EU to crises, green transition and the rule of law were the main topics. These are also one of the priorities of Slovenia's presidency of the Council of the EU in the second half of the year. The debate saw the opposition criticise the document for being too generalised and long-term. Janša argued that the government extended the period covered by the document so that it was tied to the terms of the Commission and Parliament.

SMC head expects Janša to show more discipline, self-control

LJUBLJANA - Coalition SMC leader Zdravko Počivalšek plans to have a word with Prime Minister Janez Janša to discuss what he considers Janša's offensive remark about the Modern Centre Party (SMC) he made while responding to a question from SMC MP Janja Sluga in parliament. "I will talk to the prime minister about his statement, which was offensive and also damaging for future relations in the coalition," Počivalšek said in a written statement after Janša rebuked Sluga for questioning his communication strategy.

EP to continue debate on media in Slovenia on Friday

LJUBLJANA - The European Parliament's democracy monitoring group is expected to resume debate on the media situation in Slovenia on Friday even though PM Janez Janša and Culture Minister Vasko Simoniti have excused themselves. Janša and Simoniti said they would not be in Brussels in person after the coming EU summit will be held online. The idea was for Janša to come to the European Parliament for the debate after the summit.

Pahor stresses importance of EU perspective at meeting with ambassadors

LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor stressed at a meeting with the ambassadors of EU countries that the EU perspective had been the engine of Slovenia's efforts for democratisation and independence and was thus woven into its history. Today, the EU should be more united, efficient and closer to people, he said. He believes the current health crisis should be used for a transition to a more sustainable development that will take into account climate change and the need for new technologies and a green economy.

Slovenia does not wish to be constrained in CAP strategic plans

LJUBLJANA - EU agriculture ministers debated the preparation of Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) strategic plans. Slovenia welcomed the EU Commission's recommendations but warned that countries may not be restricted in the selection of measures, Minister Jože Podgoršek said. "Not all recommendations can be addressed with CAP interventions, and in the selection of interventions it is necessary to ensure a suitable balance between economic, social and environmental aspects," Podgoršek said.

MPs back faster increase in pensions

LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly unanimously passed changes to the pension legislation allowing for faster increase in pensions. In line with the changes, the transitional period for equalising the pension rate for men and women will end two years sooner than originally planned, on 1 January 2023. The pension rate for persons with 40 years of pensionable service will be increased to 63.5% of the long-term average wage for both men and women.

Ascent Resources to initiate arbitration with Slovenia

LONDON, UK - The British company Ascent Resources announced it would initiate arbitration proceedings against Slovenia in a dispute over permits for the extraction of gas by means of hydraulic fracturing in Petišovci, after the state had failed to put forward a damages proposal. The company estimates the damage to be in excess of EUR 100 million. The State Attorney's Office said last week that Slovenia had rejected an amicable settlement with the company.

Strabag challenges pick of Koper-Divača track contractor

LJUBLJANA - The Austrian builder Strabag has appealed against the decision by the state-owned company 2TDK to pick a Slovenian-headed consortium as the contractor to build the new railway between Koper and Divača. Kolektor CPG, partnering with the Turkish companies Yapi Merkezi and Özaltin, was initially picked to build the section between Divača and Črni Kal as the cheapest bidder, in a decision challenged by Strabag. As the only bidder left, Kolektor CPG was also picked to build the section between Črni Kal and Koper.

Hopes for new investor after Adient shutdown

SLOVENJ GRADEC - The government is hoping to find a new investor for a location in Slovenj Gradec that the US company Adient plans to shut down at the end of the year at a loss of 430 jobs. "I'm optimistic, we have several interested parties for the continuation of production," Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek said. The plan is to leverage the act on investment promotion and the act on regional development in order to find new investors interested in the location. "The reason I'm particularly confident that this is feasible is that we're talking about skilled workers here."

Anniversary of major military exercise marked

LJUBLJANA - Senior officials marked the 30th anniversary of Premik'91, a major military exercise that displayed a high level of organisation of the Slovenian Territorial Defence ahead of the declaration of independence. President Borut Pahor said the exercise had marked the true transformation of the Territorial Defence into the SAF, which had defended Slovenia's independence. Defence Minister Matej Tonin added that the exercise had been a signal that "we are serious, that we have matured as a nation".

Study shows Slovenia should further reduce urban air pollution

LJUBLJANA - A study conducted by the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA) has shown that the majority of Slovenian cities should restrict traffic in order to reduce air pollution, an issue that comes at an immense social cost to residents. The Institute for Health and Environment said polluted air cost residents of Ljubljana and Maribor an average of EUR 1,233 in social costs a year per capita, or EUR 434 million every year for Ljubljana alone.

Italian allegedly linked to Becciu faces money laundering charges

LJUBLJANA - Ljubljana crime investigators have filed preliminary charges against an Italian citizen for laundering more than half a million euro in Slovenia in a case that the newspaper Večer says is linked to a financial scandal involving former Cardinal Angelo Becciu. The Ljubljana police said yesterday they had filed a criminal complaint against two individuals and two legal entities on suspicion of money laundering, including an Italian whom Večer identified as Cecilia Marogna, whom Becciu allegedly transferred money from the Vatican that she then laundered in Slovenia.

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