KPK finds no lobbying irregularities in PM Janša
LJUBLJANA - The Commission for the Prevention of Corruption (KPK) has analysed lobbying contacts between PM Janez Janša and his Democrats (SDS), and the largest suppliers of medical equipment over the past ten years, but found no irregularities, the commission's head Robert Šumi told news portal N1. KPK checked the records of Janša's lobbying contacts and of the SDS deputy group in the period between 2011 until August 2021 after the parliamentary Public Finance Oversight Commission asked it to do so in August. This was after a news portal reported Janša had been holidaying in Mauritius with representatives of the largest healthcare suppliers in Slovenia for years, since 2003.
Common foreign and security policy in focus of conference
LJUBLJANA - An inter-parliamentary conference on the EU's common foreign and security policy organised as part of the Slovenian EU presidency heard calls for a united and active approach by the bloc to global challenges. Josep Borrell, the EU's high representative for foreign and security policy, said the Afghanistan crisis could be a catalyst that makes the bloc's foreign policy stronger. National Assembly Speaker Igor Zorčič said the EU had to leverage heft as an economic superpower and the largest donor of development aid. The importance of the EU reacting fast and effectively was highlighted by President Borut Pahor, who said this was possible only if integration deepens and the EU's autonomy is strengthened.
Janša attending Polish Economic Forum
LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Janez Janša attended the 30th Economic Forum in Karpacz, Poland this evening to participate in a panel on post-Covid recovery along with the Polish and Ukrainian prime ministers, Mateusz Morawiecki and Denys Shmyhal, with both of whom was also scheduled to hold separate talks. Janša's office also said that the prime minister would receive an award for person of the year 2020 in Central and Eastern Europe.
Home Policy Committee endorses indecent behaviour amendments
LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Home Policy Committee confirmed in a 10:8 vote an amendment to the act on public law and order under which the police can issue fines for indecent behaviour in the event they detect such behaviour of their own motion, without the injured party having to initiate proceedings. The original government proposal envisaged fines for insulting senior officials, but was tweaked at the proposal of the coalition two days ago. The fines range from EUR 500 to EUR 1,000.
Govt changes penal code on threats to senior officials
LJUBLJANA - The government adopted a bill changing the penal code to introduce prosecution of suspects who have threatened the country's senior officials or their relatives ex officio, without the injured party initiating proceedings. The bill comes after such a solution was proposed in February as the parliamentary justice and home affairs committees discussed mounting hostility in society. The session was called by all three coalition parties, both minority MPs and the opposition National Party (SNS), with the coalition mentioning among others the slogan "death to Janšism", which it perceives as a threat to PM Janez Janša.
Bankers discuss relations between commercial banks and ECB
PORTOROŽ - Bankers discussed relations between commercial banks and the European Central Bank (ECB) as they gathered for an annual Financial Conference in Portorož, with NLB chairman Blaž Brodnjak warning about attempts by the ECB to push out commercial banks, which he labelled an "exceptionally dangerous moral hazard". He said the ECB was taking over an increasingly larger role, noting that if that continued, "politics will supervise itself" eventually. The debate at the conference, hosted by the business daily Finance, also touched on the digital euro.
Case count tops 1,000 second day in a row
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia reported 1,016 new coronavirus infections for Wednesday in what is the second day in a row when the daily case count exceeded 1,000, show fresh NIJZ data. Hospitalisations increased by 26 to 269 and the number of ICU cases by two to 63, according to government data. One person with Covid died. The 14-day incidence per 100,000 population was up by 24 to 394 and the seven-day average of new daily cases by 50 to 695. The NIJZ estimates there are currently 8,361 active cases in the country.
Minister announces stricter Covid rules for civil servants
PORTOROŽ - Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek announced stricter Covid-19 rules for civil servants at the annual Financial Conference in Portorož, saying the civil servants who work directly with other people would need to be either Covid-19 reconvalescent or vaccinated. "I'm not talking about testing any more." He also said there will be no more lockdown due to the epidemic because there is enough vaccine and because one cannot expect the state "will help the economy as generously as in the past".
Government expands list of exceptions from quarantine
LJUBLJANA - The government expanded the list of exceptions from quarantine of persons who have been in high-risk contact with a person infected with the novel coronavirus to include persons who have been confirmed with an infection less than six months ago and persons who received a second AstraZeneca shot more than 21 days ago. The changes will enter into force tomorrow.
Exports in July up 17.3% year-on-year, imports up 26%
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia exported goods in the value of EUR 3.5 billion in July, or 17.3% more than in the same month last year, while imports, also totalling EUR 3.5 billion, were up by 26%. The imports-to-exports coverage was 98.9%, as a EUR 40 million trade deficit was recorded in July, the Statistics Office reported. Slovenia's exports and imports in July were also higher than exports and imports in the same month in the pre-coronavirus year 2019, up by 14.2% and 13.7%, respectively.
MEPs to visit Slovenia in October to meet govt, media reps
BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Parliament's democracy monitoring group plans to go on a fact-finding mission to Slovenia between 13 and 15 October, shows a document obtained by the STA. They would like to meet representatives of the media, NGOs as well as state institutions and the government, including PM Janez Janša. The head of the group, MEP Sophie in 't Veld (Renew), announced the mission at a plenary in July. The group has so far held two debates dedicated to the situation in Slovenia.
SAB membership soars, as DeSUS members defect
LJUBLJANA - 250 members of several local committees of the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) have defected to join the opposition Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB), SAB leader Alenka Bratušek told the press, saying this was a recognition that her party was doing a good job. She said the new members only demand was for SAB not to forget about pensioners and the elderly. "Our plan and goal is to get among top five political parties with the strongest network on the ground and a clear social and liberal programme," Bratušek said.
Opposition again moves to ban fracking
LJUBLJANA - The opposition Left, Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ), and the Social Democrats (SD) filed a bill to ban hydraulic fracking in Slovenia in what is the fourth attempt at trying to prevent drilling plans of the British company Ascent Resources in Petišovci (NE). The move comes as the government was expected to adopt today its set of changes to the mining act, which the opposition sees as disguised support for fracking.
Foreign medical students succeed in appeals against non-enrolment
LJUBLJANA - Candidates from the countries of former Yugoslavia who have been denied enrolment in the medical schools in Ljubljana and Maribor have successfully appealed against the decision, with the University of Ljubljana admitting they have been discriminated against, the newspaper Večer reported. The news comes after youth trade union Mladi Plus accused the Ljubljana and Maribor faculties of medicine of turning down 123 third-country students without an explanation, while admitting ethnic Slovenians without Slovenian citizenship.
Slovenia sends condolences after deadly hospital fire in N Macedonia
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia expressed condolences to North Macedonia following a fire in a Covid-19 hospital in Tetovo on Wednesday evening, in which at least 14 people have died. On Twitter, the Foreign Ministry expressed condolences to the people of Tetovo, in particular to those who lost their dearest ones in "this tragic event". President Borut Pahor meanwhile rang up his Macedonian counterpart Stevo Pendarovski to express his condolences. Defence Minister Matej Tonin said on Twitter he was "shaken by the tragic event in Tetovo", adding that "our thoughts and prayers go to the Macedonian people and our friends in North Macedonia".
Ljubljana gets more stumbling stones for Holocaust victims
LJUBLJANA - Another seven stumbling stones or Stolpersteine were laid in Ljubljana to honour the memory of the city's Jewish citizens who were torn from their homes during WWII and taken to concentration camps in Europe. The opening of an exhibition on the story of a Ljubljana Jewish family followed the stone-laying ceremony, which was also attended by President Borut Pahor. The latest Stolpersteine commemorative plaques bring the total of stumbling stones in Ljubljana to 68.
Suicide in decline but experts warn of knock-on effect of Covid
LJUBLJANA - Death by suicide has been declining in Slovenia for two decades and the number of suicides fell again last year when 369 people took their life, 295 men and 74 women, which compares to 394 in 2019. Experts say this may be attributed to the Covid-19 pandemic, but they also warn the consequences may yet reflect on mental health and suicide statistics.