Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Wednesday, 27 October 2021

By , 27 Oct 2021, 03:57 AM News
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This summary is provided by the STA

Vote on Constitutional Court judge nominee postponed

LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly postponed a vote on the nominee for Constitutional Court judge, Rok Svetlič, to a future session on the proposal of the senior coalition Democrats (SDS). This was as two MPs from the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) were absent and the centre-left opposition boycotted voting today in a bid to show whether the government had a majority in parliament or not. Svetlič is President Borut Pahor's fourth candidate for the vacancy on the top court that has been available for over a year.

Special police task force investigating threats to officials

LJUBLJANA - Police Commissioner Anton Olaj ordered for the investigation of death threats to Slovenia's top officials and MPs to be taken over by a task force headed by the Criminal Police Directorate at the General Police Directorate. A press release from the police said the task force also included investigators from the Ljubljana Police Department and Criminal Police Directorate. A total of eight cases of death threats are being investigated, including against PM Janez Janša and Defence Minister Matej Tonin.

Monday brings near ten-month high in new Covid cases

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia logged 2,292 new coronavirus infections on Monday, the highest daily tally since early January, as 37.8% of the PCR tests came back positive. Covid-19 hospitalisations passed 500, at 510, including 131 in intensive care, which are the highest numbers since early May. Another ten people with Covid died. The National Institute of Public Health estimates there are now more than 20,000 actve cases in the country. The seven-day average of new cases rose by 88 to 1,810 and the 14-day incidence per 100,000 population was up by 61 to 959.

Commissioner Mariya Gabriel visits Slovenia

LJUBLJANA/BRDO PRI KRANJU - Mariya Gabriel, the European commissioner for innovation, called for supporting innovation in Europe to help bring about a transition to a digital, inclusive and green society as she addressed the opening of the EU Next Generation Innovators Summit & Investment Conference during a working visit to Slovenia. She said national recovery and resilience plans would lay the foundations for a pan-European innovation ecosystem, where the challenge was a lack of local links between innovation ecosystems within the EU and insufficient transfer of new technologies to the market. Gabriel also addressed a conference on the new European Research Area at Brdo along with Education Minister Simona Kustec.

Logar visits Rwanda, pledges EU support to African Union

KIGALI, Rwanda - Foreign Minister Anže Logar attended a EU-AU ministerial meeting in Kigali, pledging support by Slovenia and the EU in the efforts to forge a stronger partnership between both unions based on frequent cooperation and a long-term shared vision. Logar advocated an ambitious vision for the partnership between the EU and the African Union. He proposed establishing regular and structured dialogue on multilateral issues between the two unions.

EU ministers reach no consensus on joint energy market measures

LUXEMBOURG, Luxembourg - Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec chaired an emergency session on EU energy ministers to discuss response to rising energy prices, but he told reporters after there was no unity over whether it would be sensible to take specific intervention measures at the EU level. The meeting agreed that national measures are the most appropriate solution for immediate action and that short-term measures for fighting energy poverty are needed.

Hojs describes Europol as key partner in internal security

BRUSSELS, Belgium - Interior Minister Aleš Hojs addressed a virtual session of the Joint Parliamentary Scrutiny Group on Europol, describing Europol as a key partner in providing internal security, while identifying a revision of its mandate as one of the key priorities of Slovenian presidency of the Council of the EU. The two-day meeting organised in Brussels by the Slovenian National Assembly and the European Parliament, reviewed Europol's activities this year and heard a presentation of Europol Draft Multiannual Programming Document for 2022-2024.

Podgoršek attends meeting of agriculture ministers in Poland

WARSAW, Poland - Agriculture Minister Jože Podgoršek attended on Monday a meeting of agriculture ministers within the Three Seas Initiative at the invitation by his Polish counterpart Grzegorz Puda. The ministers discussed securing feed protein production in the EU and the transition to a green and digital agricultural economy. Poland organised the meeting with the aim of strengthening dialogue and cooperation among the 12 participating countries and establishing common positions on Common Agricultural Policy issues after 2023.

Poklukar calls for stronger role of EU in global health

BERLIN, Germany - Health Minister Janez Poklukar took part in the EU Health Summit in Berlin to note the importance of a stronger role of the EU in the field of global health. "This would bring geopolitical advantages, and would also be useful for member states and contributed to global health," he said. A virtual round table debate on the role of the EU in global health also featured European Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides, WHO Regional Director for Europe Hans P. Kluge and ambassador for global health at the French Foreign Ministry Stephanie Seydoux.

Personal income tax changes continue passage through parliament

LJUBLJANA - MPs decided that the draft amendments to the income tax law, due to enter into force on 1 January 2022, were fit for further procedure. They will now first be discussed by the Finance Committee and then approved or rejected by the MPs in plenary. The changes include reducing tax on capital and increasing the general income tax allowance. The centre-left opposition parties boycotted the vote as 43 MPs voted in favour and three against.

MPs agree long-term care bill fit for further procedure

LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly decided that the long-term care bill was fit for further procedure. The bill brings a number of measures for persons who are dependant on other people's assistance and need help with basic activities. The new legislation would allow them to choose which rights and services they want to use and in which environment. The alliance of Slovenian social institutions does not support the bill, saying it does not bring the much needed solutions that would address the needs of users and providers of long-term care services.

Changes to the gaming act pass first hurdle in parliament

LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly gave the green light for changes to the gaming act to continue through the parliamentary process. The amendments would introduce partial liberalisation of the field and allow for multiple organisers of classic games of chance. The centre-left opposition boycotted the session. Employees from the gaming sector and charities strongly oppose the changes with the former saying that they put them in a very subordinated position and the latter warning that the enhanced marketing activities the changes entail would lead to more addictions.

MPs urge govt to take ombudsman's recommendations into account

LJUBLJANA - Parliament urged all government agencies and officials to take into account the recommendations for improvements in human rights after it discussed the Human Rights Ombudsman's 2020 report last week. The Ombudsman's Office received 6,852 initiatives to examine last year, up a third over 2019, with as many as 1,414 related to the coronavirus pandemic. The report identifies 473 violations of human rights and other irregularities, and puts forward 128 recommendations.

Peace Institute study shows discrimination rampant in Slovenia

LJUBLJANA - The Peace Institute presented the results of a study which found extensive and active discrimination in Slovenia, mostly on the grounds of gender, ethnicity, nationality, skin colour and religion. Discrimination is most blatant at work, in access to housing, health and other services. The analysis showed that 84% of respondents have been discriminated against on the basis of at least one personal circumstance. Gender discrimination is the most common form.

Computer cooling system maker EKWB wins Golden Gazelle Award

LJUBLJANA - EKWB, a Komenda-based company developing and producing components for water cooling systems for custom-made high-performance computers, is this year's winner of the Golden Gazelle Award for the best fast-growing company presented by the publisher Dnevnik. The 2021 Golden Gazelle statue was handed to EKWB director Edvard König by President Borut Pahor at a ceremony in the National Gallery. Last year, EKWB generated EUR 38.5 million in revenue and EUR 82,364 in added value per employee, almost double the national average. Employing over 200 people, the company generates 99% of its revenue internationally.

Ljubljana's Union beer to be brewed in Laško

LJUBLJANA - The country's largest beer maker Pivovarna Laško Union announced it had decided to end beer production in Ljubljana and move it to its other location in Laško due to an outdated cooling system at the Ljubljana facility. It is not clear yet how this will affect staff. The packaging and logistics activities will continue at the Pivovarna Union facility in Ljubljana and the change will not affect the product portfolio or the Union trade mark. Production in Laško is to be launched by January 2022.

Proposal on cryptocurrency tax put forward

LJUBLJANA - The Finance Ministry submitted a draft law on cryptocurrency taxation to public consultation on Tuesday. It provides for a 10% tax on individuals exchanging cryptocurrency for fiat currency and on purchases made with cryptocurrencies. The threshold for tax liability would be EUR 15,000 in a calendar year. The law would apply only to individuals but not those who hold cryptocurrencies as an asset of the business they are carrying on. The ministry estimates the tax could net between EUR 100,000 and EUR 500,000 per year in the first few years.

Slovenia ranks 26th in global race for talent

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia ranks 26th among 134 countries in the latest Global Talent Competitiveness Index for 2021, after ranking 31st among 132 countries last year in this extensive annual report compiled by French business school INSEAD, Swiss staffing company Adecco and tech giant Google. Slovenia's best result was in the Vocational and Technical Skills pillar, where it climbed to 16th from 27th. It fared poorest in attracting talent, where it fell to 54th from 49th last year.

Worker dies in accident at second track construction site

KOZINA - A worker was killed in an accident at the construction site of the Koper-Divača rail track after falling from scaffolding, the Civil Protection and Disaster Relief Administration announced. On falling to the ground, the man was unresponsive. His colleagues and then first responders tried to resuscitate him, but to no avail.

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