Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Thursday, 14 October 2021

By , 14 Oct 2021, 04:40 AM News
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This summary is provided by the STA

EU parliament fact-finding mission starts visit

LJUBLJANA - A fact-finding mission of the European Parliament started its visit to Slovenia with the head of the delegation, Dutch MEP Sophie in 't Veld (Renew), saying their goal was to gather facts not bring down the government. The head of the DRFMG monitoring group for democracy, rule of law and fundamental rights said the idea was to meet as many representatives of various spectres of society and institutions to get as wide as possible insight into developments in the country. She hopes they can meet Prime Minister Janez Janša sometime until Friday although a meeting has not been scheduled.

Janša for more inclusion of local and regional communities

BRUSSELS, Belgium - Prime Minister Janez Janša outlined the priorities of Slovenia's EU presidency to the European Committee of the Regions, highlighting post-Covid recovery, green transition and the EU's strategic autonomy, while also touching on subsidiarity. He argued for a greater degree of inclusion of local and regional communities and called for respecting subsidiarity and the fact that EU countries are representative democracies as a way to bring the EU closer to citizens.

Parliamentary inquiry told about pressure and reassignments in police force

LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary inquiry into alleged political interference in the police force conducted first interviews, hearing from the former leadership of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) about pressures during supervisions over the work of the NBI, as well as abut dismissals and reassignments under the current government. The session also dealt with the police search at the home of Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek in the summer of 2020 and whether he might have been forewarned.

One candidate for Constitutional Court potentially electable

LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor indicated that one of the four candidates for Constitutional Court judge may have a chance to be appointed by the National Assembly, but he plans to undertake "additional inquiries" after completing a round of consultations with all deputy groups. "There are indications of sufficient support" for Rok Svetlič, an associate professor on philosophy of law who teaches at two private Slovenian law schools, the Alma Mater Europaea and the European Law School, Pahor's office said.

350 to lose jobs as Revoz scales down production

NOVO MESTO - Revoz, the Slovenian subsidiary of Renault, announced it would scale down production over the uncertain situation in the car industry, switching from two to one and a half shifts in mid-November. As a result around 350 of the company's more than 2,400 workers will lose their jobs. A daily output of 650 cars will be reduced to 480. The company is "committed" to helping the displaced workers find new jobs together with the Employment Service and partner agencies, pointing to great demand in the labour market.

Tensions run high but weekly protest passes off peacefully

LJUBLJANA - Tensions were running high in Ljubljana as opponents of Covid-19 restrictions took to the stress for the fifth consecutive week, disrupting traffic in the town centre for several hours. A water cannon was at the ready as the police sought to disperse the crowd, but was not used. Unlike the week before the protest passed off peacefully, although police apprehended several protesters and used tear gas against individuals.

Slovenia records 1,227 new coronavirus cases in renewed uptick

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia recorded 1,227 new cases of coronavirus for Tuesday, the second day in a row that the case count increased on a weekly level. Almost 22% of all PCR tests came back positive. Another five Covid-19 patients died. Hospitalisations decreased to 420 as ICU cases were up by six to 122, according to government data. The National Institute of Public Health estimates there are currently some 11,500 active cases in the country. The 14-day incidence per 100,000 residents dropped by ten to 539.

Ruling in STA debt enforcement claim expected by early December

LJUBLJANA - The Ljubljana District Court said that it would hand down a ruling in a debt enforcement case brought by the STA against the Government Communication Office (UKOM) at the end of November or early December. Judge Jelka Rozman said this was a purely legal issue that did not require testimony by witnesses, hence rejecting a proposal by the State Solicitor General to hear as a witness UKOM director Uroš Urbanija. Outgoing STA director Bojan Veselinovič said the matter could end up at the Higher Court, which makes it impossible to say how long it might take for any decision to become final.

Foreign Policy Committee goes through 2022-2023 budgets

LJUBLJANA - The Foreign Policy Committee discussed the draft budgets for the Foreign Ministry for 2022 and 2023, which stand at EUR 131.96 million and EUR 109.15 million, respectively, down from EUR 148.93 million for this year. FM Anže Logar announced some of the funds in 2022 would be invested in improving the security of communication systems between diplomatic and consular offices. He also announced that Slovenia intended to open a new diplomatic and consular representation office, with the location yet to be selected.

Vrtovec discusses sustainable air transport post-pandemic

BRUSSELS, Belgium - Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec is attending in Brussels a conference of the International Civil Aviation Organisation on sustainable air transport post-Covid pandemic. He is discussing pandemic-related challenges with the aim of ensuring greater commitment of the contracting states to post-pandemic recovery. While air transport in Europe is not far from pre-pandemic level, recovery of inter-continental travel is expected to take longer, which is why a lot of effort will need to be invested at ICAO level to revive global air travel, he said.

DeSUS MPs are not planning to change course

LJUBLJANA - After the council of the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) adopted a resolution yesterday denying the government any further support, the party's MPs said they were planning to continue with the same course of action as so far where they agree what their vote will be on each legislative proposal on a case-by-case basis. Speaking to reporters, both MP Branko Simonovič and Ivan Hršak said they would continue to support proposals that they thought were good for the party and its voters.

Top innovators honoured

LJUBLJANA - Products developed by nine Slovenian companies, including foldable skis, a special steel, and cutting-edge valves, were honoured as top innovations as the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS) honoured the country's best innovators on Tuesday evening. The Occupational Activity Centre Zasavje won a special commendation for a project called Building an Inclusive, Innovative and Connected Zasavje, which was also the innovation of the year as selected by the public. Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek said the innovators were the flag-bearers in the transition from the "commercialisation of brawn to commercialisation of brain".

Tourism to shift focus from numbers to quality

POSTOJNA - Tourism is in for a challenging period of recovery and transformation after the pandemic, agreed participants of Days of Slovenian Tourism in Postojna. "If we merely wanted to return to pre-pandemic times, we would have missed a valuable lesson. Now is the time for improvement and upgrades," said Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek. The event called for new indicators of success, focusing on the satisfaction of tourists and local population. Climate expert Lučka kajfež Bogataj urged applying indicators of green tourism such as the use of energy per night and the carbon footprint of visitors.

European audiovisual and media content discussed in Ljubljana

LJUBLJANA - A two-day international conference held as part of the Slovenian EU presidency in Ljubljana discussed the accessibility and competitiveness of European audiovisual and media content. Culture Minister Vasko Simoniti said only a strong European audiovisual sector could be competitive on the global market. Giuseppe Abbamonte, who is in charge of media policy at the Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology at the Commission, said the Commission was monitoring the trends in audiovisual and media industries to make sure that European contents were not excluded.

Indigo Festival brings Varoufakis-Žižek talk, Mouse on Mars concert

LJUBLJANA - The 6th Indigo Festival, running at Cukrarna in Ljubljana until Friday, brings a series of events to offer a reflection on some of the most pressing issues of today's world under the slogan Mass Hypnosis. A talk between Slovenian philosopher of world renown Slavoj Žižek and Greek economist and left-wing movement DiEM leader Yanis Varoufakis is scheduled for 21 October. The organisers say the talk will be "far from a polite exchange of opinions by two like-minded colleagues".

Photo portraits by Nadar on show at National Gallery

LJUBLJANA - Masterpieces of Portraiture, an exhibition showcasing 41 portraits by the French 19th century photographer known as Nadar, opened at the National Gallery. Gaspard-Félix Tournachon, known from his 20s as Nadar, is credited with having significantly contributed to the development of photography as art. Some of his subjects include the writers Victor Hugo, George Sand, Charles Baudelaire, Emile Zola and Ivan Sergeyevich Turgenev, and the painters Eugene Delacroix, Gustave Courbet and Edouard Manet.

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