Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Wednesday, 8 September 2021

By , 08 Sep 2021, 04:30 AM News
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This summary is provided by the STA

Opposition tables motion of no confidence in justice and education ministers

LJUBLJANA - Four centre-left opposition parties, the Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ), the Social Democrats (SD), Left and Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB), tabled motions of no confidence in Justice Minister Marjan Dikaučič and Education Minister Simona Kustec. The main charge against Dikaučič is the failure to appoint Slovenia's delegated European prosecutors. Kustec has been accused of failings regarding getting schools ready for the new wave of the pandemic. Dikaučič said he saw the motion as "an integral part of politics" and a chance to "show what the ministry is doing in terms of the commitments in the coalition agreement." Kustec said she would respond to the allegations during the course of the debate at the National Assembly.

Farm ministers urge stronger urban-rural dialogue

BRDO PRI KRANJU - EU agriculture ministers called for a stronger dialogue between urban and rural areas as they held an informal meeting in Brdo pri Kranju. Slovenia's Jože Podgoršek said conflicts needed to be prevented with the help of better infrastructure and technology. He said the near-unanimous view was that "a multifaceted, multi-policy approach to rural development is needed," leveraging not just the EU's Common Agriculture Policy but also the post-pandemic recovery funds and cohesion funds.

Poklukar not founding new party but sees himself as minister after election

LJUBLJANA - Health Minister Janez Poklukar rejected speculation about him founding his own party in the run-up to the general election due next year. Talking with the STA in an interview, he said he did not intend to stand in the election, but should a chance arise, he sees himself continuing as health minister after the election. "It's true though that ministership is a political office. But I don't see myself as a politician, I see myself primarily as a healthcare expert," he said.

877 new coronavirus cases as ICU cases climb

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia reported 877 new coronavirus cases for Monday, the highest daily figure since 4 May. Data released by the government shows there were 229 patients hospitalised with Covid-19 in the morning, including 54 in intensive care, while two patients died yesterday. The National Institute of Public Health estimates that there are now 7,276 active cases in the country, with the 14-day incidence per 100,000 at 342 and the 7-day case count average at 599.

Epidemic cannot be excuse to undermine democracy, says Speaker Zorčič

LJUBLJANA/VIENNA, Austria - The Covid-19 epidemic cannot be an excuse for the undermining of democracy, said parliamentary Speaker Igor Zorčič as he attended the fifth World Conference of Speakers of Parliament in Vienna. Participating in a panel on efforts to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on democracy, he also presented the parliament's efforts to adjust to the new situation brought about by the pandemic, saying the circumstances had strengthened the chances of democratic decision-making.

Hojs points to cooperation in fight against firearms trafficking

LJUBLJANA - Interior Minister Aleš Hojs said cooperation was key to fighting firearms trafficking in SE Europe as he attended, as a representative of the Slovenian EU presidency, an online high-level meeting the European Commission organised on the issue in a bid to strengthen regional cooperation. "Establishing strong partnerships, particularly with our partners in the Western Balkans, has long been a priority of Slovenia's, which is the reason why it has been made one of the priorities of our EU presidency," Hojs said.

STA and UKOM agree to resume talks

LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Press Agency (STA) and Government Communication Office (UKOM) agreed to resume talks aimed at signing the annual agreement to fund the STA public service as the two directors were hosted by President Borut Pahor for a meeting at the Presidential Palace. Addressing reporters after the talks, Pahor said both STA director Bojan Veselinovič and UKOM director Uroš Urbanija were willing to resume dialogue and agreed to make a genuine effort to amend the draft agreement for 2021 "so they can sign it shortly, in a reasonable time, thus seeing to settle the issue of regular STA funding".

Indecent behaviour amendments confirmed after change

LJUBLJANA - The Home Policy Committee confirmed an amendment to the act on public law an order regarding indecent behaviour. The original proposal envisaged fines for insulting senior officials, but the wording has been tweaked at the proposal of the coalition to make indecent behaviour towards anyone punishable by a fine. The power of the police to issue fines when they detect such conduct of their own motion has been preserved. While the particular amendment has been confirmed, the bill that implements all the amendments to the act has not been endorsed yet.

Income tax act tweak benefiting cross-border migrants rejected

LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Finance Committee rejected amendments to the income tax act that would have reduced the tax burden on workers who commute across the border and pay higher taxes in Slovenia than they would in the countries where they work. The proposal, submitted by the Trade Union of Migrant Workers last December with the backing of 12,000 signatures, involved a higher general tax allowance and reduced taxation in the top bracket.

Trade union accuses medical schools of discrimination against non-EU students

LJUBLJANA/MARIBOR - Mladi Plus, a union representing students and young jobless, accused the Ljubljana and Maribor medical schools of turning down all non-EU citizens who wanted to get enrolled with a vague explanation, alleging "discrimination based on nationality". While the schools are yet to respond, the union alleges the candidates were told at the end of August, when they could no longer enrol at other colleges, that all the places had been reserved for Slovenians without Slovenian citizenship.

Slovenia, Germany and Portugal adopt schemes for patient inclusion in cancer research

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia, as part of the EU Trio Presidency together with Germany and Portugal, adopted a document on approaches to actively involve patients in cancer research. The aim is to coordinate national and European studies and to urge European countries to work together, the Slovenian Ministry of Education, Science and Sport said. "We have received a clear signal that patient involvement needs to become a more widespread protocol across Europe," Simona Kustec, Anja Karliczek and Manuel Heitor, the relevant ministers of Slovenia, Germany and Portugal, said.

Vilenica literary festival gets under way

LJUBLJANA - The 36th international literary festival Vilenica opened in Ljubljana with a conference examining the complex relationship between literature and war. Offering a mix of online and in-person events, the festival explores the broader theme of fear and courage. The Vilenica Prize will be conferred on Austrian writer Josef Winkler on Saturday. While the Slovenian author in focus is Milan Dekleva, this year's Vilenica anthology will feature contemporary Portuguese literature.

Montenegrin author Stefan Bošković wins CEI Prize at Vilenica

LJUBLJANA - Stefan Bošković, a Montenegrin writer, won the Central European Initiative (CEI) Prize for up-and-coming authors, conferred at the Vilenica literary festival. The 38-year-old has been honoured for his latest novel Minister. The political satire, which has already earned him the 2020 EU Prize for Literature, raises issues including the role of national culture in contemporary society and the chasm between the political elite and the people.

Jančar demands call for TV series based on his novel withdrawn

LJUBLJANA - As Slovenia is gearing up for its guest appearance at the 2023 Frankfurt Book Fair, the Culture Ministry wanted to have a mini series made based on Drago Jančar's award-winning novel I Saw Her That Night to promote the author at the fair. But the ministry had to withdraw the EUR 2 million call after being asked to do so by Jančar, who told Delo "the time is not right for such a call and any discussion on a film series".

Almost EUR 6bn in public contracts awarded last year

LJUBLJANA - A total of EUR 5.84 billion in public procurement contracts were awarded in Slovenia in 2020, contributing 12.62% to the country's GDP, 1.07 percentage points more than in 2019, according to a report by the Public Administration Ministry. The contracts were awarded by 2,133 contracting authorities. 752 of the public procurement EU-subsidised contracts were awarded, worth around EUR 573 million, which is an increase compared to 2019.

Paloma sales down, profit up

SLADKI VRH - Paloma, a maker of hygienic paper products, posted sales of EUR 73.5 million for 2020, down nine percent over the year before. Net profit was just shy of EUR 10 million, compared to EUR 1.6 million in the year before, according to the company's annual report. The company, owned by the Czech-Slovak group Eco Investment, posted earnings before income tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of nearly EUR 7 million, 16% above plans.

Fugitive businessman released on EUR 800,000 bail

LJUBLJANA - Businessman Sergej Racman was released on an EUR 800,000 bail half a year after appearing in court on charges that he masterminded a massive prostitution operation in a club in western Slovenia. This comes after the Higher Court turned down an appeal by the defence, which argued that Racman should not be released from custody, Večer newspaper reported.

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