Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Friday, 19 November 2021

By , 19 Nov 2021, 04:47 AM News
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This summary is provided by the STA

Parliament endorses investment-boosting budget documents for 2022-23

LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed investment-oriented budget documents for the next two years under which the deficit is to be reduced from EUR 4 billion this year to EUR 2.47 billion or 4.6% of GDP in 2022 and EUR 1.52 billion or 2.6% of GDP in 2023. Centre-left opposition MPs and the Fiscal Council have expressed doubt this is realistic. The overall expenditure for 2022 is budgeted at EUR 13.94 billion, which is to be reduced to EUR 13.36 billion in 2023. This compares to just under EUR 15 billion estimated by the Finance Ministry for this year. Growth is planned on the revenue side, with EUR 11.47 billion in receipts planned in 2022 and EUR 11.84 billion the year later. Over EUR 2.2 billion is earmarked for investments over the next two years, compared to a little over EUR 900 million in each of 2019 and 2020.

Govt appoints Tanja Frank Eler and Matej Oštir as interim European delegated prosecutors

LJUBLJANA - The government decided to put forward Tanja Frank Eler and Matej Oštir, the two candidates who have applied, for Slovenia's two European delegated prosecutors. However, according to the government's decree, their appointment is temporary, in force until the national appointment procedure is concluded. The decision was made as Slovenia is late in putting forward candidates for delegated prosecutors to the European Public Prosecutor's Office, a situation which could cause substantial damage to the country, the government said.

Swiss and Slovenian FMs meet, calling for enhancement of trust between the EU and Switzerland

LJUBLJANA - The breakdown of the talks on the EU-Switzerland cooperation agreement and other possible options for strengthening cooperation topped the agenda in a meeting between Foreign Minister Anže Logar and his Swiss counterpart Ignazio Cassis. Cassis said that the cooperation agreement was too big a step forward for Switzerland, which wanted to focus on smaller steps forward for the time being. Logar said the Slovenian presidency would do everything in its power to "restore trust".

Slight weekly increase in new coronavirus cases, 24 deaths

LJUBLJANA - Another 3,662 people tested positive for coronavirus in Slovenia on Wednesday, slightly up from the same day a week ago. Nearly 40% of the PCR tests came back positive. The rolling 7-day average of new cases thus rose from the day before by 44 to 3,269 whereas the 14-day cumulative incidence per 100,000 people fell by 40 to 2,153. The number of hospitalised Covid-19 patients increased slightly to 1,104, including 253 in intensive care units, according to government data. Another 24 people died of Covid-19, the largest number since late January.

Penal code changes on threats to senior officials passed

LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed the 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, adopted by the government in early September, comes after such a solution was proposed in February as the justice and home affairs committees discussed mounting hostility in society.

EU Parliament to discuss rule of law in Slovenia next week

BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Parliament will discuss at its plenary session next Wednesday the rule of law in Slovenia, and the delay in the appointment of European delegated prosecutors. A resolution is planned that the Parliament will vote on in December, according to the agenda of the session. The situation in Slovenia will also be discussed by the Parliament's LIBE committee based on a fact-finding mission report. The latter session was supposed to take place today but was then pushed back to 29 November.

Italy to help Slovenia tackle Covid with army medical teams

LJUBLJANA - The Italian Army plans to help Slovenia with up to 30 doctors and nurses as the country battles an increasing number of Covid-19 patients. The Italian Army healthcare workers will be joining the medical teams of the Slovenian Armed Forces, who started helping hospitals at the beginning of the week, after Slovenian Defence Minister Matej Tonin asked his Italian counterpart Lorenzo Guerini for assistance with medical staff. According to the ministry, Guerini said he understood the situation in Slovenia, as Italy had had a similar experience. Tonin later told the press that he was hopeful the Italian health workers would arrive in Slovenia soon. The aid agreement covers the period until the end of the year, he added.

MPs pass bill on erasing of legal persons

LJUBLJANA - MPs passed in a 52:30 vote a bill to remedy the injustice caused by erasing legal persons from the court register in 1999-2008. The bill was drawn up by the National Council, the upper chamber of parliament, but heavily amended by the parliamentary Economy Committee. National Council member Mitja Gorenšček said at the committee session that both the initial proposal and the amended version allowed for remedy of the injustice caused to shareholders.

Parliament secures money for source of clean water for Anhovo

LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed amendments to the budget bills for the next two years to ringfence funds for a source of clean water for Anhovo, a community in the Soča Valley that relies on supply from a water treatment plant operated by a cement factory. The cost of a new water distribution system is estimated at EUR 1.2 million in a project that the proponents say can be completed in two years. The MPs secured a further EUR 1.6 million for water supply in the Kanal ob Soči municipality, which also includes Anhovo.

Parliament passes scientific research and innovation activities act

LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed in an 80:0 vote the scientific research and innovation activities act. The government-sponsored legislation is to promote the development of quality and globally comparable scientific research. It is also intended to facilitate better integration into the European and global research area. The law is to set up stable funding of public research organisations, create opportunities for rewarding excellent researchers and enable open access to scientific publications.

MPs endorse changes to pharmacy legislation

LJUBLJANA - The parliament green-lit the amendments to the pharmacy act that would lift the ban on vertical integration of pharmacies and drug wholesalers under a certain condition, as 55 MPs voted in favour of the changes. Since the bill was vetoed by the upper chamber of parliament, the proposal needed at least 46 votes of support to get the go-ahead. The bill had been proposed by the coalition Modern Centre Party (SMC), but was then considerably amended.

Pahor warns against cutting funding to some institutions

LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor attended a session of the Judicial Council, focussing on the passing of the 2022 budget bill, which cuts funding to some independent state institutions. Pahor said the way in which budget funding had been reduced could be seen as efforts to weaken these institutions. He said he would strive to raise the issue with those in charge and call for a solution, the president's office said.

Spartan C-27J to arrive in Slovenia in a year and a half

LJUBLJANA - The Spartan C-27J tactical transport aircraft that Slovenia will buy from Italy under an agreement signed by the two defence ministers on Wednesday is expected to arrive in Slovenia in about a year and a half, Defence Ministry officials told reporters. The aircraft, which will cost the country roughly EUR 72 million, will be used both for military and civilian purposes.

EU ministers stress importance of cohesion policy in recovery

BRUSSELS, Belgium - EU cohesion ministers highlighted the role of cohesion policy in the post-pandemic recovery and realisation of the bloc's key strategic goals. The ministers agreed that cohesion policy instruments and recovery mechanisms should be used together to achieve a green, digital and more resilient EU, highlighting that such efforts should also strive to reduce or eliminate development gaps. Slovenian Minister of Development and European Cohesion Policy Zvonko Černač noted the importance of region-specific use of cohesion instruments.

Hojs advocates unity in migration response in Sarajevo

SARAJEVO, Bosnia and Herzegovina - Interior Minister Aleš Hojs took part in a regional ministerial conference in Sarajevo, advocating the strengthening of cooperation and partnership in the Western Balkans region regarding migration management and maintaining security, said the Interior Ministry. As migration is a global phenomenon, Hojs believes that migration management should be seen as a collective responsibility.

Govt adopts supervision of space activities bill

LJUBLJANA - The government adopted at a correspondence session the supervision of space activities bill, which is to regulate space activities in the country and set up a register of space objects. According to the Government Communication Office (UKOM), this is the first piece of legislation to deal with space activities in Slovenia. In line with international rules, all objects launched into space must be entered into a space objects registry. Since Slovenia has no such registry, the bill sets it up and defines which objects should be entered into it.

Slovenia's first children's house gets acting head

LJUBLJANA - The government appointed psychoanalytic therapist Igor Okorn acting head of Slovenia's first Barnahus for children involved in criminal proceedings as victims, witnesses or perpetrators. As of Friday Okorn will lead the new public institute until it gets a full-fledged head but not longer than a year. The government also appointed four representatives of the founder on the institute's council for a four-year term with the possibility of reappointment.

Slovenia donates EUR 10,000 to Strasbourg Court

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia will give another donation to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) under a decision made at the government's session. The Justice Ministry will donate EUR 10,000 to the court in what will be Slovenia's fourth such donation to date, the Government Communication Office (UKOM) said. In the light of efforts to speed up the court's work and support the court in general, it is sensible for Slovenia to keep up the financial support, reads a press release by UKOM.

Drug maker Krka's nine-month profit up 14% to EUR 240 million

NOVO MESTO - Drug maker Krka reported a group net profit of EUR 240.1 million for the first nine months of 2021, a year-on-year increase of 14% and the highest nine-month profit in the company's history, on the back of revenue that increased by 1% to EUR 1.18 billion. Chief executive Jože Colarič said the company's priorities remained to ensure sales growth and place itself among the leading branded generic pharmaceutical companies on individual markets and in selected therapeutic classes.

STA gets overdue funds for public service for 2021

LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Press Agency (STA) confirmed receiving EUR 676,000 from the Government Communication Office (UKOM) for public services performed between January and April, as part of a broader deal on the restoration of public funding for this year. The amount had been disputed by UKOM for months and the STA sought recourse in court. Just before a court decision was expected, the new STA director Igor Kadunc and UKOM director Uroš Urbanija hammered out a far-reaching agreement on financing for 2021.

Bad bank denies allegations of impropriety in biogas plant sale

LJUBLJANA - The Bank Assets Management Company (BAMC) has denied allegations that its current board chairman Franci Matoz has been involved in a conflict of interest in the sale of a biogas plant in eastern Slovenia to a Hungarian company. They said that the decision to sell was taken before his time at the bad bank and that a profit was made in the process, unlike what was suggested in media reports by the news portal Necenzurirano and a local paper.

Indictment filed against suspected attacker on Maribor judge

LJUBLJANA - After a brutal attack on judge Daniela Ružič in front of her home near Maribor in June 2019, her partner at the time is now facing charges of attempted murder, according to media reports. Ružič and the man were in the process of splitting up at the time, and although it was speculated that the judge might have been attacked in relation to her work, the police also looked for the perpetrator in Ružič's private circle. A week after the attack, the judge's former partner was put in custody, and after an extensive investigation, the prosecution filed an indictment against the man last week.

La Doctora and Eco triennial win ICOM Slovenia awards

LJUBLJANA - An exhibition on a Slovenian anthropologist in Paraguay by the Ljubljana-based Ethnographic Museum (SEM) and an environmentally-oriented international arts triennial held by the Maribor Art Gallery won the Slovenian Ethnographic Museum and the Maribor Art Gallery accolades from the International Council of Museums (ICOM) Slovenia.

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