This summary is provided by the STA:
Janša calls on MEP in 't Veld to resign as chair of EP group
BRUSSELS, Belgium - Prime Minister Janez Janša called on Dutch MEP Sophie in 't Veld to resign as chair of the EU Parliament's democracy monitoring group, accusing her of damaging its reputation and credibility. "The Slovenian government takes freedom of speech and media freedom very seriously and therefore we do not accept censorship," reads a letter sent to in 't Veld. The move comes after in 't Veld refused to screen a video Janša had prepared for his appearance before the group, leading to him accusing her of censorship. She rejected the allegation today and said the impression that the Parliament is an opponent of Slovenia's was regrettable and far from the truth.
Proposal to dismiss Zorčič filed, Horvat could be new speaker
LJUBLJANA - The three coalition deputy groups filed a proposal to dismiss parliamentary Speaker Igor Zorčič after he and another two Modern Centre Party (SMC) MPs left the deputy group. The proposal, signed by all 38 MPs from the SDS, NSi and SMC, says that the National Assembly should meet to dismiss Zorčič tomorrow. At least 46 votes are needed to dismiss or appoint a parliamentary speaker in a secret ballot, which could prove a challenge given the current balance of power. New Slovenia (NSi) deputy group leader Jožef Horvat is expected to be nominated to replace Zorčič.
287 new coronavirus cases confirmed on Sunday, six deaths
LJUBLJANA - A total of 287 out of 1,774 tests came back positive in Slovenia on Sunday for a positivity rate of 16.2%, with the figure decreasing both on the day and on the week before. However, hospitalisations rose by 27 to 526, with 112 patients in intensive care. According to government Covid-19 spokesperson, Maja Bratuša, 49 persons were admitted to hospital on Sunday, a notable increase on the days before. Sixteen patients were discharged from hospital and six died.
Border restrictions stiffened, already causing problems
LJUBLJANA/ČRNA NA KOROŠKEM - Toughened restrictions on Slovenia's borders entered into effect in advance of an eleven-day lockdown kicking in on 1 April, while there are fewer exemptions and the testing requirement has been stepped up. Except for a narrow list of exemptions, travel to all red-listed countries - all of Slovenia's neighbours are on the list - is prohibited and the mandatory ten-day quarantine upon entry from such countries cannot be prematurely ended with a test. The closure of some border crossings is already causing problems for daily commuters, foremost making their travel much longer.
Slovenia supports digital green certificate
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia supports efforts to implement the Digital Green Certificate system for cross-border travel, Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek said as he took part in a virtual informal debate at the invitation of Austrian Minister for Sustainability and Tourism Elisabeth Kostinger. Slovenia supports a joint approach by the EU to launch the system as well as the Commission's efforts to come up with the implementing legislation and technical solutions, Počivalšek was quoted as saying by the ministry.
Parliamentary inquiry into political interference in police launched
LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly formally established a new inquiry commission, which will investigate potential interference by holders of public office in the work of the police since March 2020, when the current government was sworn in. The request was signed by the Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ), Social Democrats (SD), Left and Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB). Apart from determining whether the Interior Ministry has been interfering in specific pre-trial and other procedures, the inquiry will aim to disclose whether unacceptable political pressure has been exerted on police officials and staff.
POP TV poll: Support for govt down to 31%, SDS in the lead with 19%
LJUBLJANA - The Janez Janša government enjoys support of 31.1% of those polled in the latest poll Mediana carried out for private broadcaster POP TV. This is the lowest in a POP TV poll since the government took office over a year ago and down from 36% in the previous poll, the only time when its approval rating improved. The ruling Democrats (SDS) remain in the lead with 18.7% support, followed by the opposition Social Democrats (SD) with 10.9%, and the Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) with 9.6%. A total of 16.5% of the respondents were undecided, whereas 11.9% would not vote for any of the parties.
French company Treves leaving Slovenia
BIČ - The Slovenian subsidiary of the French car interior components maker Treves is to be shut down in September, which means 102 people will be left jobless, with the announcement coming after the plant was hit by a massive fire in January. The parent company Treves SA told the STA that the plant in Slovenia would be shut down because of poor business prospects, while it has also decided not to renovate the factory after the fire. The employees were informed of the plant closure last Thursday, Treves said.
GZS suggests Slovenia phase out coal in 2036-2038
LJUBLJANA - The strategic council for energy transition, a body established in 2019 by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS), said the Šoštanj thermal power plant should close between 2036 and 2038, which is the middle of the three scenarios in the national strategy for phasing out coal. The Infrastructure Ministry has proposed the earliest possible date for closure, 2033 when it launched a public consultation on the strategy.
Intesa Sanpaolo's net profit down 46% last year
LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Intesa Sanpaolo Bank, formerly Banka Koper, last year generated EUR 12.8 million in net profit, which is 46% less than the year before. Revenue was down by 14.7% to EUR 64.6 million, the bank, owned by the Italian Intesa San Paolo group, said. The bank attributed the drop in net profit to a rise in provisions for loan-related losses due to the Covid-19 epidemic in the amount of EUR 4.3 million. Profit before taxes was down 46.3% to EUR 15.5 million. The bank's capital adequacy ratio was up almost three points to 18.82%, and total assets increased up by 9.5% to EUR 2.945 billion.
Bisol ups revenue and profit in 2020
PREBOLD - The solar panel developer and maker Bisol generated over EUR 42 million in revenue last year, some EUR 6 million more than the year before. Net profit reached EUR 3 million, a significant increase over EUR 27,804 in 2019, the Prebold-based company said. Production increased by some 20% over 2019, which was already a record year. In terms of value, the growth was 10% due to a small drop in the price of modules. Employing some 200 people, the company expects growth to continue this year. "Hoping for a stabilisation of the health situation, we expect growth to be at least at last year's level."
NATO flag raised to mark 17th anniversary of accession
LJUBLJANA - A NATO flag was raised in front of the Foreign Ministry building to mark the 17th anniversary of Slovenian's membership in the alliance, in what the ministry said was a long overdue event. The flag was raised by Foreign Minister Anže Logar, who was accompanied by Ambassador Matjaž Šinkovec, Slovenia's first permanent representative at NATO. The ministry said in a press release on the occasion that, by raising the flag, Slovenia was expressing the "affiliation to the Euro-Atlantic space and the awareness that we are part of the strongest alliance".
UNESCO AI centre formally launched in Ljubljana
LJUBLJANA - The UNESCO-sponsored International Research Centre On Artificial Intelligence (IRCAI), which was established in Ljubljana in October 2020, was formally launched at a virtual event. The opening ceremony presented the centre's work so far as well as opportunities for cooperation and use of AI tools. The centre has set up programme committees dedicated to sustainable development targets, including in education, support technologies, waste management, climate change, the circular economy and assessment of UN indicators.
Slovenia resubmits Lipizzaner bid for UNESCO intangible heritage list
LJUBLJANA- Slovenia renewed its nomination of Lipizzaner horse breeding for the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List, which it filed last year on behalf of eight countries with this tradition. The resubmission was needed because the original nomination will not be up for review this December due to a high number of nominations submitted last year. For it to be considered in the 2022 cycle, the nomination had to be filed again.
Abundant harvest for most of crops in 2020
LJUBLJANA - Harvest of principal crops in Slovenia was abundant last year, with farmers reporting increases of 17% in cereals for grain, 35% in potatoes and 19% in dry fodder compared to 2019, data from the Statistics Office (SURS) show. Last year's harvest was slightly better for almost all cereals, with the total output of Slovenia's main bread cereals - wheat and spelt - up 13% to over 158,000 tonnes. The harvest of fruits in orchards and grapes in vineyards was also excellent.
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