Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Saturday, 17 April 2021

By , 17 Apr 2021, 04:37 AM News
Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Saturday, 17 April 2021 CC-by-0

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This summary is provided by the STA

Pahor rejects "naive and dangerous" ideas of redrawing W Balkan borders

LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor rejected "naive and dangerous" ideas of redrawing borders in the Western Balkans as he addressed reporters in response to a non-paper floating the idea, arguing the EU's accelerated enlargement to the region would best silence such ideas. Pahor said that "wherever and whenever" he got the opportunity he expressed his resolute support for the EU's enlargement to the Western Balkans, arguing it would be best if the EU decided "to include, in a sensibly short time, all Western Balkan countries in the EU and adapt its enlargement strategy accordingly".

Janša tells Džaferović there is no Slovenian non-paper

LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša rang up Šefik Džaferović, the Bosniak member of the Bosnia-Herzegovina presidency, to explain there is no non-paper containing border changes or efforts to undermine Bosnia's territorial integrity that could be linked with the Slovenian government. The Bosnian presidency says on its website Janša said Slovenia supported Bosnia's sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as its Euro-Atlantic integration. Janša's office confirmed the talk for the STA, but as for its content, it only said that the pair "discussed preparations for an informal EU summit on the Western Balkans during Slovenia's EU presidency".

Four bidders buy wireless frequency bands for EUR 164m

LJUBLJANA - The Agency for Communication Networks and Services (AKOS) concluded a wireless spectrum auction as part of which it also offered frequency bands for 5G mobile networks. It has fetched EUR 164.2 million as all four bidders - A1 Slovenija, Telekom Slovenije, Telemach and T-2 - have been awarded frequency bands. All bands are intended for providing mobile services to end users and are technologically neutral. They have been awarded for 15 years, with the possibility of extension for another five years in case of legislative changes.

Gatherings of up to 100 people allowed from Monday

LJUBLJANA - Gatherings of up to 100 people indoor or outdoor will be permitted under a government decree adopted today in response to a Constitutional Court decision staying the blanket ban on public assembly. Physical distancing will be mandatory, with masks mandatory only indoors, Interior Minister Aleš Hojs announced. The decree was expected to be published in the Official Gazette tonight and will enter into force on 19 April. Hojs however stressed that any gatherings must be registered with the authorities under the law, but special permission from the National Institute of Public Health would not be necessary.

Sustainable financing of Slovenia's media endangered, says Jourova

BRUSSELS, Belgium - PM Janez Janša does not take Slovenia's international reputation seriously enough, European Commission Vice President for Values and Transparency Vera Jourova told news portal Euractiv. Sustainable media financing in Slovenia is endangered, particularly when it comes to the STA, she said, pointing out that she had raised concerns over the developments in recent discussions with Slovenian ministers.

Coronavirus curve keeps falling

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia recorded 860 coronavirus cases for Thursday, as the daily case count dropped significantly for the second straight day compared with the same day a week ago. As a result, the rolling 7-day average of new cases fell to 871 from 931 the day before, fresh data from the government show. Five Covid-19 fatalities were reported, and hospitalisations rose by 15 to 639 despite 50 patients being discharged. The number of intensive care unit cases rose by two to 152. A total of 4,253 PCR tests were performed, of which 20.2% returned positive results.

Advisors recommend pre-emptive purchase of unapproved vaccines

LJUBLJANA - The vaccination advisory commission at the National Institute for Public Health recommended Slovenia also purchase all Covid-19 vaccines that are still waiting for approval of the European Medicines Agency (EMA), including Russia's Sputnik. Its head Bojana Beović said the vaccines would be kept in quarantine warehouses, so that they can be used immediately after clearance. Final-year secondary school pupils will meanwhile have a chance to get vaccinated against Covid-19 as early as next Friday ahead of the school-leaving matura examinations due to begin in May under an upgraded national vaccination strategy adopted on Thursday.

Central bank finds credit and income risks increasing

LJUBLJANA - The liquidity of the Slovenian banking system is currently favourable, but the trends are not, the central bank said in its latest report. With macro-economic risks, high credit and income risks are coming into the forefront, Banka Slovenije deputy governor Primož Dolenc said at an online presentation of the Report on Financial Stability. Fresh data show that all groups of activities that are not affected by coronavirus measures are recovering and that companies have significantly adjusted to the challenging situation. However, the uncertainty of economic prospects is being increased by the third wave of the epidemic.

Pahor and Duda talk climate

LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor endorsed Polish counterpart Andrzej Duda's desire to speak on behalf of all Central European presidents at next week's online climate summit hosted by US President Joe Biden, as the pair had a telephone conversation. Pahor's office said the Slovenian president saw the idea as logical given that two years ago, Duda hosted a COP24 summit in Katowice, which Pahor also attended. The presidents also discussed efforts to fight the Covid-19 pandemic, while Duda invited Pahor to visit Poland as soon as possible once the epidemic is over.

400 kilos of drugs seized as four dark web traffickers busted

MURSKA SOBOTA - Criminal police officers from Murska Sobota, north-east, concluded on Tuesday an investigation resulting in the arrest of four persons aged 28 to 43 suspected of drug trafficking on the dark web and seizure of 400 kilos of illicit substances in what is one of the largest drug busts in Slovenia ever. The suspects, who are believed to have gained at least EUR 3 million with the scheme, were brought before an investigating judge on Thursday and then detented. The four have no previous criminal record related to drug trafficking.

Interim chief executive director of bad bank appointed

LJUBLJANA - Non-executive directors of the Bank Assets Management Company (BAMC) appointed Robert Rožič interim chief executive director for a period of six months, effective on 21 April. Matej Pirc in Dimitrij Piciga remain executive directors, while Andraž Grum will end his term on 20 April, the bad bank said. In the next six months, procedures will be carried out for the selection of a full-fledged chief executive director.

Transfer to Fortenova close as loan deal signed to restructure Mercator's debt

ZAGREB, Croatia - Croatian group Fortenova and Slovenian retailer Mercator signed a contract under which the latter will get a EUR 385 million loan to restructure its debt to creditor banks, in a move that further enables the transfer of the Slovenian retailer from the bankrupt former owner Agrokor to Fortenova. Fortenova said Mercator's debt to a total of 55 banks would be replaced by the group's bonds, based on which the US fund HPS Partners and the Russian bank VTB Europe will secure EUR 385 million for restructuring. "After the bond-issuing procedure is finalised, Mercator shares will be transferred to the Fortenova group," added the group that will become the owner of a 88% stake of Mercator.

NBI visits STA's chief supervisor

LJUBLJANA - The head of the STA supervisory board, Mladen Terčelj, confirmed for the STA he had been visited by investigators of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Thursday. He said he had not yet talked to the investigators and stressed he had great confidence in the rule of law and the NBI. The police told the newspaper Dnevnik the NBI was leading a pretrial procedure based on a reported criminal offence but would not reveal any more details. The General Police Department confirmed for the paper that the investigation was thus not based merely on a government decree adopted in March.

European Jewish Association calls for return of SocDem villa to Jewish community

LJUBLJANA - The European Jewish Association has called on Social Democrat (SD) leader Tanja Fajon to right a historic injustice and return the villa in Ljubljana where the party has its headquarters to the Slovenian Jewish community. The SD is headquartered in a villa that used to be owned by Jewish merchant Felix Moskovic, who was killed during WWII. Responding to the letter, first published by, Fajon invited Rabbi Menachem Margolin for a "talk and a review of facts", but rejected the notion the ownership of the villa was disputable. She sent a similar invitation to the European Jewish Congress and and the Slovenian Jewish Community.

Mediana poll shows more dissatisfaction with Slovenia's course

LJUBLJANA - An increasing number of people in Slovenia believe that things are not going in the right direction, a public opinion survey by pollster Mediana shows. The number of those unhappy the way things are going has nearly doubled from the same period last year, reaching 67%. The share of those believing things in Slovenia are going in the right direction has meanwhile dropped from 32% a year ago to 13%.

Kajzer wins European judo silver for best career result

LISBON, Portugal - Slovenian judoka Kaja Kajzer won the silver medal in the women's 57kg category at the European Judo Championships in Portugal's Lisbon, having to concede to Telma Monteiro from the host nation in an extra session in the finals. In what is the greatest career achievement so far for the 21-year-old Ljubljana native, Kajzer was on the verge of sensation as she put up a good fight against the bronze-medallist from the last Summer Olympic Games almost to the very end.

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