New deputy group established by four former SMC, DeSUS deputies
LJUBLJANA - Four MPs, including Speaker Igor Zorčič, formed a new deputy faction in parliament Friday after three of them parted ways with the coalition Modern Centre Party (SMC) and one left the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) deputy group. Zorčič has been joined by Janja Sluga and Branislav Rajić in leaving the SMC, whereas Jurij Lep has left DeSUS, both moves being expected considering the latest developments at the National Assembly. Zorčič indicated in a statement for the press that he would not step down as speaker. The group is led by Sluga, who was today replaced as the chair of the SMC deputy group.
Coronavirus count tops 1,000 for third straight day
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia recorded over 1,000 new coronavirus cases for the third day running. With 1,032 people testing positive on Thursday, the rolling 7-day average rose to 895, government data showed. Another ten patients with Covid-19 died. Marking a rise of almost 10% from the same day a week ago, the latest cases were confirmed from 6,637 PCR tests, for a positivity rate of 15.5%. In addition 27,189 rapid antigen tests were performed. Hospitalisations dropped by one to 500, whereas the number of patients in intensive care rose by two to 108.
Media freedom broached in von der Leyen-Janša virtual meeting
BRUSSELS, Belgium - The issue of media freedom was brought up in Thursday's virtual meeting between European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Prime Minister Janez Janša, with von der Leyen calling on Janša to be in close contact with Commission Vice-President Vera Jourova, who is responsible for those issues, said Eric Mamer, the Commission's chief spokesperson. "You know the importance that we give to media freedom," he added.
Slovenian, Romanian FMs confirm good relations
LJUBLJANA - A meeting between Slovenian and Romanian FMs Anže Logar and Bogdan Lucian Aurescu confirmed good bilateral relations, with the ministers agreeing that there was still much room for improvement. The meeting also focused on Slovenia's upcoming EU presidency, with Logar presenting its priorities, placed special attention on crisis management in healthcare and cyber security. Aurescu promised the support of his country, also highlighting the countries' joint interest for an EU future for the Western Balkans. This is the only true chance at peace and stability in the region, he added.
Parliament tightens intl protection legislation
LJUBLJANA - MPs passed the government-sponsored changes to the international protection act to prevent asylum law abuse and enable international protection only to those who really need it. The bill envisages faster asylum procedures, sanctions for obstructing them and violations of or failure to comply with relevant rules, including public order rules. Those with international protection would also be encouraged to integrate through education, while movement restrictions would be made more effective. The changes also shorten the period for an appeal to be filed from eight to three days.
Janša's appearance at EU Parliament subcommittee overshadowed by row
BRUSSELS, Belgium - PM Janez Janša's appearance in front of the European Parliament's democracy monitoring group was overshadowed by a row with chair Sophie in 't Veld over a video alleging journalists are biased. After In 't Veld refused to play the video during the time allotted for his statement, Janša disconnected from the videoconference. Appearing in front of a background with a number of images depicting expressions of criticism of the government and himself, Janša also said that the debate was staged for the purpose of internal political affairs. This was followed by an exchange with In 't Veld, who did not allow the video to be shown. Janša accused her of refusing to play the video because of its content.
Changes allowing military investments to proceed passed
LJUBLJANA - Parliament passed changes to the budget implementation act under which funding restrictions would not apply to military investments. Currently, the budget implementation act states that defence investments are exempt from restrictions based on a special law, which, however, was stayed by the Constitutional Court. The centre-left opposition believe this is an attempt by the government to bypass the court. The Left said that that, as the legal basis for such purchases has been stayed, it will start collecting signatures for a referendum on the legislation on EUR 780 million defence investments.
Adjusted restrictions enter into force
LJUBLJANA - The country-wide curfew is imposed from 10pm to 5am from today after the government decided to shorten it in light of the coming Daylight Saving Time change. Entering into force are also inter-regional travel restrictions in red-coded regions. A negative rapid test result is no longer valid to enter Slovenia, only a negative PCR test result will suffice to avoid quarantine. Members of the Slovenian ethnic minority in Croatia meanwhile complained they can no longer enter Slovenia without a negative PCR test from today, which means hassle and expenses in particular for regulars.
MPs pass changes to state prosecution act
LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly endorsed vote amendments to the state prosecution act setting the conditions for hiring European delegated prosecutors and the required level of their proficiency in English. The changes aim to create the conditions for hiring and social security of European and European delegated prosecutors who will be monitoring the spending of EU funds in Slovenia as part of the European Public Prosecutor's Office.
Amended act on employment of foreigners passed
LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed amendments to the act on employment, self-employment and work of foreigners which transpose a major 2016 EU directive. The directive sets down the conditions of entry and residence of third-country citizens for the purposes of research, studies, pupil exchange, remunerated and unremunerated training, voluntary service and au pairing. A new combined residency and work permit and a new temporary residence permit will be available under the changes.
NKBM net profit exceeds EUR 210 million
MARIBOR - NKBM, Slovenia's second largest bank, posted a group net profit of EUR 210.8 million for 2020. "Despite demanding circumstances, the group ended the year successfully," the bank said. The figures are not comparable year-on-year since NKBM last year completed the takeover of Abanka, a transaction that NKBM says "affirmed NKBM's position as the most profitable bank in the country". The group's total assets stood at EUR 9.177 billion at the end of last year, and post-tax return on equity exceeded 21%.
Court of Audit head calls for protection of independent institutions
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia must protect independent institutions which are pillars of democracy, Court of Audit President Tomaž Vesel told the latest edition of the weekly Mladina. He said the court had been receiving initiatives to audit political parties, which will happen if risks are identified. He also dismissed allegations about the recently presented audit of the PPE procurement in the first Covid-19 wave being politically motivated.
Cleanshelf CEO says partnership with LeanIX will allow growth
LJUBLJANA - The recent acquisition by German software company LeanIX will allow the US-Slovenian Cleanshelf, a leading software-as-a-service (SaaS) management provider, access to 400 top clients and provide new growth opportunities, the CEO and founder of Cleanshelf Dušan Omerčević told the STA. The acquisition will also allow LeanIX to become the first to offer comprehensive SaaS solutions in the industry.
Slovenia to get children's house
LJUBLJANA - MPs unanimously passed a bill on the protection of children in criminal procedures, setting up the country's first Barnahus for children. According to Justice Minister Lilijana Kozlovič, the house will provide full treatment to children involved in criminal procedures as victims, witnesses or perpetrators. The bill introduces the internationally established Barnahus model that was first set up in Iceland and has been recognised as good practice by the Council of Europe. According to the government, this will mitigate the child's struggles or victimisation in relevant procedures.
Koroška upset for being excluded from Just Transition Fund
ČRNA NA KOROŠKEM - Koroška mayors expressed frustration after they have learned that the northern region has not been included among the beneficiaries of the Just Transition Fund despite a study showing the region, home to an abandoned lead and zinc mine, to be eligible. Explaining the decision, the the Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy said the eligibility had been determined in 2019 when the two coal mining regions had been recognised as eligible based on an initiative from the Infrastructure Ministry.
City Museum paying tribute to independence era
LJUBLJANA - The City Museum in Ljubljana will mark the 30th anniversary of Slovenia's independence with an exhibition of events following the declaration of independence in 1991. On display until 27 June will be photographs, newspaper sections and footages of the events that happened in the summer of 1991. According to the author of the exhibition, Blaž Vurnik, the images represent "our collective memory of the days of the war when the strength and determination of the people of Slovenia was put to the test".
Ski jumper Križnar finishes on podium but loses overall lead
CHAYKOVSKY, Russia - Slovenian ski jumper Nika Križnar finished third in the penultimate event of the women's World Cup event, but this was not enough for her to retain the overall lead. Križnar is now trailing Sara Takanashi of Japan. The 21-year-old Slovenian scored 223.4 points to finish behind the winner, Marita Kramer of Austria (258.1) and the second-placed Takanashi (234.8). Ahead of the last event of the season, also be held at the Snezhinka hill in Chaykovsky on Sunday, the Japanese is 15 points ahead of Križnar in the overall standings.
Germany's Geiger wins second individual event at Planica
PLANICA - Karl Geiger of Germany is the winner of the second individual event of the Ski Jumping World Cup finale at Slovenia's Planica after only one series was held due to strong wind. The host nation saw a podium finish as Bor Pavlovčič was third. Geiger, who won the title of world ski flying champion at the same venue back in December, scored 237.3 points, taking the win ahead of Ryoyu Kobayashi (227.7), the winner of yesterday's first individual event.