Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Tuesday, 19 October 2021

By , 19 Oct 2021, 07:28 AM News
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This summary is provided by the STA

Janša quizzed by MPs about measures against rising energy prices

LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša announced that after the rising energy prices are discussed later this week at the EU level, the government will take all the measures allowed within the single European market. He mentioned the options of regulating margins and providing energy vouchers for vulnerable households during a Q&A session in parliament. He said domestic and European experts assured so far that the current situation was seasonal, a reaction to the pandemic when in Europe and the US a lot of money had been printed, creating an imbalance between supply and demand, which the market then compensated for.

PM says Slovenia not being stripped of EU dossiers

LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša dismissed Sunday's statement by opposition SD leader Tanja Fajon that Slovenia is being stripped of dossiers as part of its current EU presidency. Speaking during the questions' time in parliament, Janša said that passing dossiers onto the next presiding country was usual and that many dossiers had been passed onto Slovenia from the preceding presidencies, as the current presidency was the first fully operational one since the outbreak of Covid-19.

Logar stresses importance of Eastern Partnership meeting

LUXEMBOURG, Luxembourg - Slovenia's FM Anže Logar took part in the Foreign Affairs Council in Luxenbourg, telling public broadcaster RTV Slovenija that the most important topic from the perspective of the Slovenian EU presidency had been the debate on Eastern Partnership. The foreign ministers meeting in Luxembourg today prepared a ministerial meeting with six eastern partners - Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Belarus, which will be held on 15 November. The EU would like to bring the countries closer together in terms of politics and business.

Fiscal Council warns against unrealistic expenditure planning

LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian economy is recovering after the Covid-19 epidemic quite quickly and in 2022 departure from fiscal rules will not be possible in the absence of extraordinary circumstances, the Fiscal Council said as it assessed the budget documents for 2022 and 2023. It warned of unrealistic planning of expenditure, which it said raised concern of inefficient use of budget funds. In its response, the Finance Ministry said it was focussed on gradual lifting of crisis measures and on the economic recovery, so special attention had been given to investment.

Debate hears wage pressure main risks for higher inflation rates

LJUBLJANA - A discussion on inflation in light of the pandemic heard that inflation, which currently exceeds the ECB targets in Slovenia and the eurozone, is expected to start calming down next year. Risks of inflation growth, however, remain significant, in particular due to pressure of higher wages. Central bank Governor Boštjan Vasle believes "we are at a breaking point". If changes in the inflation outlook as well as a shortage of workforce in certain segments and pressure on wages gain momentum and become more lasting, "then we will no longer be able to speak about inflation as a transitional occurrence", he said.

IMF, World Bank praise Slovenia's crisis measures

WASHINGTON, US - Finance Minister Andrej Šircelj held several meetings as part of the annual session of the IMF and World Bank, held between last Monday and today. Bernardin Akitoby, chief of the IMF mission for Slovenia, said the upgraded economic forecast for Slovenia was a result of appropriate measures taken during the pandemic. The IMF projected a 6.3% growth for this year and 4.6% for 2022. Šircelj told Akitoby the recovery would continue to be supported by investment and reforms from the Slovenian recovery and resilience plan.

Constitutional Court annuls portions of regulations on remote schooling

LJUBLJANA - The Constitutional Court issued two decisions finding several provisions of regulations that formed the legal basis for remote schooling in primary schools and schools for special-needs children incompatible with the law. Some, related to special needs programmes, have been annulled outright, whereas for one major provision on remote schooling the court has given the National Assembly two months to change the law, arguing the law gives the Education Ministry too much leeway in determining when remote schooling should be ordered.

Surge in case count, positivity rate

LJUBLJANA - The curve of coronavirus infections in Slovenia is pointing up again after having flatlined in early October. On Sunday, 364 cases were confirmed, almost double the figure of a week ago and the highest Sunday figure since 10 January, with the positivity rate above 25% for the third day in a row. The government said that 418 people are in hospital for Covid-19 today, seven more than yesterday, and 121 of them require intensive care, two fewer than on Sunday. Two Covid-19 patients died.

Igor Kadunc appointed STA acting director

LJUBLJANA - The STA's supervisory board appointed Igor Kadunc the agency's acting director to take over from outgoing Bojan Veselinovič on 31 October, while taking over as full-fledged director on 1 January 2022. Chief supervisor Mladen Terčelj said the majority of supervisors had voted for the appointment of Kadunc, who was the only candidate to apply for the job. Kadunc led public broadcaster RTV Slovenija between April 2017 and April 2021. The STA staff expects him to address the agency's dire financial situation, ensure editorial autonomy, and not lay off any workers.

KNOVS inquiry shows politicians present in police centres during 5 Oct protest

LJUBLJANA - Supervision at the General Police Administration carried out by the parliamentary Intelligence Oversight Commission (KNOVS) confirmed the leadership of the Interior Ministry was present in two operational centres of the police during the 5 October protest, KNOVS chair Matjaž Nemec told the press, labelling it "rather unusual". KNOVS established Minister Aleš Hojs, State Secretary Franc Kangler, national security state secretary in the prime minister's office Žan Mahnič and Police Commissioner Anton Olaj visited the two centres during the protest. Nemec said KNOVS did not get answers as to who had given orders to use all means available against the protesters "at the moment when protests had not turned violent yet". Hojs said he had arrived at the centre around 7:15pm when the protest had been largely over and had not been giving any instructions.

Janša thinks belated response to Covid partially due to parliaments

LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša said the response to the Covid-19 pandemic had been belated in particular in countries where governments needed to get parliamentary approval to take measures, as he addressed an international online conference on governments and public sector post-recovery. The first wave of the pandemic had shown that the response had been more successful in countries with "more flexible systems", he added.

MPs urge ministry to strip far-right movement of public interest status

LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Culture Committee called on the Culture Ministry to strip the Association for the Promotion of Traditional Values, an association that has been linked to the Identitarian movement Yellow Jackets, of the status of an association in the public interest. The ministry was also urged to reveal the association's role and explain the decision to grant it this status.

Opposition wants health minister to resign over vaccination death

LJUBLJANA - Four centre-left opposition parties called on Health Minister Janez Poklukar to resign over the vaccination death of a young woman after the newspaper Dnevnik reported Poklukar and his team were the authors of the 27 August government decree granting a Covid pass as soon as a person receives the Johnson & Johnson jab. The minister sees no reason to step down. Slovenia suspended the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine on 29 September, a day after a 20-year-old girl died within a fortnight after receiving the single-shot Janssen vaccine.

Poll shows majority not in favour of alignment with Visegrad

LJUBLJANA - Around 60% of Slovenians do not approve of Slovenia's foreign policy pivoting towards the Visegrad Group under the current government. Most would prefer to see closer alignment with Germany, Austria, France and Italy, shows the latest Vox Populi poll carried out for the newspapers Dnevnik and Večer.

Vox Populi poll: Gap between SDS and SD narrows

LJUBLJANA - The latest Vox Populi poll carried out for the newspapers Dnevnik and Večer shows that support for the government remains low, having dropped to 27%. The ruling Democratic Party (SDS) continues to top the rankings, but the gap between the SDS and the opposition Social Democrats (SD) has narrowed. The SDS polled at 16.8%, down a percentage point and a half on September and the lowest rating since December 2019, with the SD polling at 14%.

Slovenian, Croatian presidents unveil busts in Ljubljana, Zagreb

LJUBLJANA, Slovenia/ZAGREB, Croatia - Slovenian and Croatia presidents Borut Pahor and Zoran Milanović unveiled a bust to Croatian writer Ljudevit Gaj (1809-1872) in Ljubljana this morning and one to Slovenian poet France Prešeren (1800-1849) in Zagreb this afternoon, highlighting the neighbourly relations between the two countries. The idea for the monument to Gaj came from the Alliance of Croatian Associations in Slovenia. The initiative for the Prešeren bust came from the Slovenian Embassy in 2016 and the city administration immediately backed the proposal.

Diaspora minister completes Latin America visit

SAO PAULO, Brazil - Minister for Slovenians Abroad Helena Jaklitsch visited the community of around 5,000 Slovenians in Sao Paulo in Brazil on Sunday, thus completing her ten-day visit to Latin America, the Government Office for Slovenians Abroad said on Monday. Jaklitsch attended a reception organised by the Union of Slovenians in Brazil, thanking the union's members for their contribution to the international recognition of Slovenia 30 years ago.

Bitch, a Derogatory Term for a Woman big winner of Festival of Slovenian Film

PORTOROŽ - This year's Vesna Award for best feature film went to Prasica, Slabšalni Izraz za Žensko (Bitch, a Derogatory Term for a Woman), a debut by Tijana Zinajić, as the Festival of Slovenian Film wrapped up on Sunday evening. The film also received the Vesnas for best screenplay, best actress, best supporting actress, production design, and costume design.

Sovre Prize for best literary translation goes to Marjanca Mihelič

LJUBLJANA - Marjanca Mihelič won this year's Sovre Prize for her translation of the collection of short stories Megy a Világ (The World Goes On) by Hungarian writer Laszlo Krasznahorkai. She has demonstrated a precise and uncompromising understanding of the text's many layers, said the Association of Slovenian Literary Translators.


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