Lifestyle

14 Apr 2020, 13:26 PM

All our stories on coronavirus and Slovenia are here, the photo at the top of this story and the video in the middle are by Saška Grušovnik, and you can see more of her work here

STA, 14 April 2020 One more death related to the coronavirus epidemic was recorded on Monday, bringing the overall death toll to 56. The increase in the number of infected persons appears to be slowing down, as only eight new cases were recorded yesterday for a nationwide total of 1,220.

The government also tweeted that 541 Covid-19 tests had been performed on Monday to bring the total number of tests to 35,946.

The situation in hospitals remains stable, with the number of hospitalised patients increasing by eight compared to Sunday to 103. This is still well below the late-March peak of nearly 120.

The number of intensive care cases was up by one to 35; the peak was 37 on 10 April. No Covid-19 patient was released from hospital yesterday.

Easing of Lockdown Expected Next Week, Details Thursday

STA, 14 April 2020 - There had been indications that Slovenia may start relaxing lockdown measures this week, but the government's chief medical advisor for the coronavirus epidemic said on Tuesday that the easing would not start before next week.

Bojana Beović, who heads the Health Ministry's medical task force for coronavirus, said the easing would depend on when the health authorities determine that the epidemic is tailing off.

While data on new infections over the Easter weekend is encouraging, it is premature to say whether the epidemic is "being gradually extinguished," she said.

Apart from a convincing slow-down in the epidemic, one that has lasted for at least a few days, other conditions that would need to be fulfilled for a relaxation include a sufficient availability of testing to detect as many cases as possible before they could break out into new hot spots.

Beović said that Slovenia lacked infectious disease experts to detect every new case or outbreak, analyse and contain it, so "we're placing much hope in modern technology that will be able to alert us of contacts".

Speaking of a mobile contact tracking app designed to notify individuals that they have been in contact with an infected person, Beović said the app would not collect any other personal data as the authorities were aware of the importance of personal data protection.

Asked which portions of society would open first, Beović said nothing had been decided yet but the first segments to reopen were likely to be activities that involve no or minimal contact between people.

Government coronavirus spokesman Jelko Kacin said the government was considering at least partial lifting of the ban on movement between municipalities and allowing certain sports activities, but only after the conditions allowed that.

"We're also considering outdoor sporting activities that allow a safe distance between those engaged (...) it could be tennis, badminton, golf, cycling," Kacin illustrated.

"However, any larger public events, sporting or other, are not to be expected anytime soon," he said, adding that he was not listing relaxations of any particular restrictions, merely offering a line of thinking what could happen.

The government will decide on concrete relaxation of measures on Thursday.

While the number of officially confirmed coronavirus cases in the country rose to 1,220 as of Monday, Beović said rough estimates put the actual number between 3,000 and 4,000. A study will try to estimate the number of infected who have not seen a doctor based on a population sample.

All our stories on coronavirus and Slovenia are here

12 Apr 2020, 10:40 AM

Slovene businesses are hurting. Local entrepreneurs remain helpless as the coronavirus pandemic decimates countless industries and sectors. Eateries, boutiques, artisans, and others are taking a big hit throughout Slovenia, especially those without robust e-commerce strategies. It’s become clear that not all businesses are prepared to cope in this climate.

Here in Slovenia, I witnessed my consulting work dry up and my own pipeline take a nosedive, while at the same time, an American friend experienced similar revenue challenges at his business. We realised something needed to be done to help sustain local communities, and Z Ljubeznijo (With Love) was born.

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Today’s COVID-19 crisis requires all of us to adapt. Z Ljubeznijo is on a mission to help manage uncertainty for local business owners, their families, and our community. Z Ljubeznijo exists to provide an immediate revenue stream to hundreds of talented artisans creating incredible products here in Slovenia.

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Social distancing doesn’t have to decrease human contact. Launched in April 2020, the idea behind Z Ljubeznijo is simple: we've created unique, giftable boxes filled with hand-picked, Slovenian-made products for your friends, colleagues or a loved one. Inside each box is an assortment of handcrafted goods such as coffee, apparel, chocolate, candles, mugs and even vouchers to local experiences. Pricing starts at just €29 per box. It will also be possible to request customised boxes for healthcare workers and bulk orders for your employees to ensure a sense of togetherness while working from home.

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The response has been overwhelming. Local heroes such as Nina at Cuckoo Cups, Alex at Črno Zrno, Katja at Wowbow, Kate at Pure Glass and Sam at Breg Designs have all joined this project. Other local businesses are getting in touch daily.  We’re in this together, and together we are stronger.

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If you like the concept - and if you want to show your support - go ahead and gift a box at Z Ljubeznijo to someone special you can’t touch right now...except with a thoughtful gift box. You can even put in a personalised note! And if you would like to become a partner, please fill out your details here or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Our list of partners is growing fast, but we want to include as many local Slovenian artisan companies as we can.

If you’d like to share the story of a Slovenian project with our readers, then please get in touch at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

10 Apr 2020, 20:39 PM

Do foreigners in Slovenia feel more or less safe sitting out covid-19 here than in their home country, and what are their experiences? All the stories in this series are here. If you' like to contribute, see here or at the end of the story

Who are you, and how did you come to be here?

Hi, my name is Mark Evans and I'm an Australian immigrant to Slovenia, originally from our capital city of Canberra. My husband is a Slovene living and working in Ljubljana, and I moved here to live with him back in April, 2018 after completing my BA in European politics and public policy. I'm currently working part time while searching for full-time work in my field (difficult to find without citizenship, sadly!). I'm also mulling over applying for an MA.

Tell us a little about your situation and sanity levels.

Well, we're alive, healthy and mostly sane, which is luckier than many. We live in a multistory apartment building and this last month has left me extremely envious of anyone with a proper balcony or a garden. With the incredible weather I'd love to be out cycling far more than I am, and I'm envious of my family back home in Canberra, who have far more space and easy access to wilderness areas which they can enjoy safely. My husband and I share our apartment building with many retirees, so we're worried about the risk of bringing the virus back home with us and endangering the health of our older neighbours.

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What do you think about the economic measures the government is taking, are they helping your business?

My husband was right in the middle of changing jobs as this crisis struck, and we're incredibly fortunate that his work life hasn't been too severely disrupted by the pandemic because he can work remotely - many don't have this privilege. While the government's measures are rock solid in supporting formal employees, they fall short for the people who need support the most - already marginalised members of society working in low paying, informal jobs, like migrant workers.

When did you realise that coronavirus was going to be a big issue?

I didn't pay much attention to the crisis in China, and only started to follow it after the outbreak in South Korea. With a background in public policy I was paying more attention to the news than many, but even then I under-estimated the severity of the threat. I was well aware of the enormous amount of work which governments and non-governmental organisations had poured into pandemic preparedness since SARS in 2002-3. I hadn't realised how far these measures had eroded since 2016, or how little attention our governments would pay to experts until it was too late.

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What is your impression of the way Slovenia is dealing with the crisis?

My feelings on the Slovene handling of the crisis are mixed. In the short-term, the current administration has been successful in controlling the epidemic, and taken the difficult decision to lock the country down in a timely manner. However, this is coming hand-in-hand with naked power-grabbing by Janez Janša and his allies, as they use the crisis as an excuse to replace qualified public servants with yes-men, to threaten dissenters and to stifle the media. While I do not feel endangered by Covid19 here in Slovenia, I am extremely worried about the path this administration will take in the aftermath of the pandemic. If it follows in the footsteps of Janša's allies in Hungary, I suspect these power-grabs will only intensify. And if Hungary's recent attacks on democracy and the rights of LGBT+ citizens are any evidence, I am deeply worried that SDS will soon be turning its sights on the rights of couples like me and my husband. I am, after all, the kind of gay immigrant "degenerate leftist" Demokracija magazine warns its readers about.

How does that compare to the situation in Australia?

Australia's approach to the pandemic has contrasted strongly to Slovenia's - where I am comfortable in the short term in Slovenia but worried about the long term, I feel the opposite for Australia. Our government was far slower than Slovenia to act - we had weeks of extra time before the outbreak really started, but were very slow to take it seriously. As a result, an epidemic arose and thousands of Australians have now been infected, while dozens are already dead. However, once the federal government finally did act, it brought together a coordinated cabinet of state and territory governments from both sides of politics to organise a unified and de-politicised response. Its handling has definitely not been perfect, but the government has shown remarkable cooperation with opposition parties, and has made hard decisions for the public good which I never would have expected it would step up to make.

What about official communications from the authorities, compared to your home country?

Communications in Australia followed the same trajectory as its policy response - slow, confused and conflicted at first, and wasting many weeks. As the epidemic picked up speed our Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, infamously declared he'd still be going to watch the rugby in a packed stadium. However, once the scale of the impending catastrophe became undeniable, the government got its act together and put together a responsible and effective communication campaign which has finally convinced the public of the danger.

Here in Slovenia I've observed very different communications from the civil service versus the government itself, and the disconnect worries me. Civil services and businesses largely seem to have responded quickly and capably, and the messaging I see coming from the public sector is encouraging. Much of what I see from the government itself is, however, appalling. It is extremely alarming to see the Prime Minister falsely blaming the WHO for the pandemic on Twitter while his administration abuses the crisis to slander and harass its opponents in the media. A government using its emergency powers to scapegoat "global elites" in the face of all evidence and defame its critics as "escaped mental patients" is something you'd expect from a tinpot dictatorship, not a democratic EU member state. If this behaviour continues - and I expect it will, given SDS' long history of promoting falsehoods and slandering critics - then I am extremely worried about the damage it will do to public trust in government institutions and communications.

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What's the one thing you wish you had taken with you into self-isolation?

A working exercise machine! We have an elliptical here at home, but it's broken. I'm an avid cyclist and I'd kill for a good bike machine to have at home, since I can't really get out for rides right now. I'm getting by on at-home workouts but it would be wonderful to have the feeling of motion again.

One thing you have learned about yourself, and one thing you have learned about others during this crisis.

If I didn't know for sure that I was an extrovert before this crisis began, I certainly do now. I miss being able to get out and about in crowds, and I miss being able to see my friends face to face. I think many other people are learning this about themselves too - even if you don't consider yourself a very social person, there are all those little day to day human interactions we rely upon and take for granted. The world can feel like a very lonely place now that they're gone.

If you’d like to contribute to this series please answer the following questions and include a paragraph about yourself and where you’re from, and a link to your website if you would like. Please also send 3-4 photos minimum (including at least one of yourself) to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Subject: Corona Foreigner.

Firstly, how are you? Are you alone/with someone? Tell us a little about your situation and sanity levels.

What do you think about the economic measures the government is taking, are they helping your business? (PLEASE IGNORE IF THIS DOES NOT AFFECT YOU)

When did you realise that coronavirus was going to be a big issue?

What is your impression of the way Slovenia is dealing with the crisis? How safe do you feel?

Now compare that to your home country and how they are handling it. What is Slovenia doing better/worse?

What about official communications from the authorities, compared to your home country?

What's the one thing you wish you had taken with you into self-isolation?

What's one thing you have learned about yourself, and one thing you have learned about others during this crisis?

09 Apr 2020, 16:21 PM

STA, 9 April 2020 - A survey has found that slightly less than a third of Slovenians continue to go to work as they used to before the measures to contain the coronavirus epidemic were introduced, and a similar proportion work from home. More than half of the respondents think that the epidemic poses a great risk for their jobs and companies they are employed in.

In the survey carried out by Aragon, 29% of the respondents said they continued to go to work as usual, 28% said they worked from home, while 16% have been temporarily laid-off.

Some 9% of the people polled are on annual leave, 5% work short time, and the same percentage are on sick leave. Only a fraction of the respondents are on leave because they have to take care of small children as schools and kindergartens are closed.

Men are in the majority among those who continue to go to work as usual, and women are in the majority of those who have stayed at home to take care of small children. The share of women who are on temporary lay-off is slightly higher than that of men.

"All this implies that the coronavirus crisis, if it persists for a long time, could result in economic inequality between genders," the pollster said.

The survey also shows that Slovenians think that the number of persons who are actually infected with Covid-19 is four times higher than the number of officially confirmed cases.

It has been projected based on the survey that on 10 April, the number of officially confirmed cases is to stand at 1,470, which would put the number of perceived cases at around 6,600.

More than half of the respondents (56%) would take a vaccine against the coronavirus if it existed, with men being more inclined to vaccination than women (62% to 50%).

The survey was carried out between 28 March and 2 April on what Aragon said is a representative sample of 1,031 members of the online panel Plusplet.

08 Apr 2020, 15:48 PM

Do foreigners in Slovenia feel more or less safe sitting out covid-19 here than in their home country, and what are their experiences? All the stories in this series are here. If you' like to contribute, see here or at the end of the story

Who are you, and what are you doing in Slovenia?

Hi, my name is Anya Piatkowska. I am Polish and moved to Slovenia two and a half years ago after living for two years in Ireland and 12 in London. I live in Medvode with my husband and two children.

I am an International Life Strategy and Transformational Coach and Founder of 'Art of Life' model. The title might sound a little bit abstract but is actually very simple. My work is all about guiding people to their potential, supporting them through life changes and reminding them how to shift energy and enjoy life even more, from inside out! This kind of work with people is the absolutely best thing, I believe, you can give to people to help them have an exceptional life. You can contact me or read about it on www.anyapiatkowska.com . Or you can find me on Facebook at my fan page, or the group Grow International Slovenia for people interested in self-development and networking with other open-minded international and local people. Mum of 2 and Explorer, Nature and Conscious Living passionate. 

Tell us a little about your situation and sanity levels.

I am doing well. Just a little bit insane about home-schooling (especially when still not so fluent in Slovene). Despite teaching skills for a living, home-schooling seems to be a real challenge for me. I want to say a huge thank you and show my respect for all teachers, who take care and teach our children every day. Especially in Medvode, we have really great one! Being a transformational coach - a person who guides people through life changes and growth – I am not only taking care of myself and my family’s sanity but also that of other people who turn to me for support, boith on social media and in 1-on-1 sessions

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What do you think about the economic measures the government is taking, are they helping your business?

Apart from being a transformational coach, I also work for a company. And I was just informed about the government help which will support people in full-time employment like me. Which is not the same as full salary, but very helpful in times like we have now. My main concern is people who are without any income at all. 

When did you realize that coronavirus was going to be a big issue?

This pandemic has been a big issue for me since last week. As a coach who works on holistic life wellbeing and transformation, I am getting more and more messages about people’s mental states. About real daily life situations and the difficulty of managing one’s feelings. People are waiting for things to going back to normal and not feeling good about such a huge change in their lifestyle. In my opinion, we should start to learn how to adapt instead of thinking about when will things be like before coronavirus. As they never will be. Plus what we resist, persists. 

I am writing a book called Art of Life-Human Mini-Guide, which hopefully will help people after the pandemic calms down. Help to build a new reality in the new circumstances we are all in. In my opinion, this guide will be the essence of what I wish my children and everyone should know for an exceptional life. Which might be hard to imagine right now. And what I think is worth mentioning is that my target group are other expats, as a group who often uses guidebooks to know, plan and enjoy their next move and journey. I want to do the same thing in Art of Life-Human Mini-Guide,but guiding how to strive as a full human, instead of just surviving as a lone sailor. And also to give people some practical tools for daily life, and beautiful art to help them to connect with their heart and soul. I hope they at least wish to consider things from a different perspective. And open themselves to take the responsibility to adapt to new circumstances in a more conscious way.

What is your impression of the way Slovenia is dealing with the crisis?

I am quite impressed with the people I know. They really care and listen to what's advised in the current situation. I am also very impressed with the precautions and disinfecting customers hands and trolleys before entering the supermarket. And the small number of people who can enter it at the same time. 

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How it compared to Poland?

My home country Poland has similar but even more strict rules. Poland is a big country, which means more people. This means the population is not so easy to organize (I do not like the word to control) in such serious circumstances. As my mother said, "young people who do not have studies now, they decide to socialize and party even more because they have time", so the rules got even stricter recently. I believe that here in Slovenia we reach and inform each other more effectively because there are not so many people. 

What about official communications from the authorities, compared to your home country?

My husband is working with well-informed people, while I am not watching any news, just for some mental hygiene. But of course I know and support all restrictions and precautions we are advised now. I read Total Slovenia News updates though, and often share them in my Facebook group Grow. International. Slovenia. So people can understand how important it is to focus on positive things and mental hygiene – which might be challenging for people who were not interested in self-development before – along with the greater hygiene we need with our behaviours and daily routines. 

What's the one thing you wish you had taken with you into self-isolation?

I’m always eager to learn and grow more every day, so I’d probably take more books. I still prefer to feel a paper book over a Kindle or other reading app, though I appreciate them a lot, too.

What’s one thing you have learned about yourself, and one thing you have learned about others during this crisis?

I actually talk about this on my website, but definitely I’ve learned to trust the process and that everything is happening for the reason. Even if it sounds brutal thinking of all the people who are dying now. But with a much bigger perspective this is a huge lesson for humanity. Which we might or might not learn from. We are all equal and connected, and we can see it right now perfectly as we all face the same situation, no matter who and where we are.

We can also focus only on the problem or, like I always say, we can start to focus more on the solution and on what we need to do now to protect ourselves as a species. So we can not only survive but also thrive from this life challenge. Hopefully we will focus more on a healthier, less stressed and more cooperative society. More connected to each other, nature and our hearts. Instead of chasing things which are not so important anymore. 

If you’d like to contribute to this series please answer the following questions and include a paragraph about yourself and where you’re from, and a link to your website if you would like. Please also send 3-4 photos minimum (including at least one of yourself) to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Subject: Corona Foreigner.

Firstly, how are you? Are you alone/with someone? Tell us a little about your situation and sanity levels.

What do you think about the economic measures the government is taking, are they helping your business? (PLEASE IGNORE IF THIS DOES NOT AFFECT YOU)

When did you realise that coronavirus was going to be a big issue?

What is your impression of the way Slovenia is dealing with the crisis? How safe do you feel?

Now compare that to your home country and how they are handling it. What is Slovenia doing better/worse?

What about official communications from the authorities, compared to your home country?

What's the one thing you wish you had taken with you into self-isolation?

One thing you have learned about yourself, and one thing you have learned about others during this crisis.

 

08 Apr 2020, 15:18 PM

STA, 8 April 202 - The coronavirus pandemic has profoundly changed life in Slovenia and the rest of the world, a change perhaps best reflected in language, which has reacted fast to put the new reality into words. Slovenian has thus made room for social distancing, coronahumour and coronaidiots.

More than three weeks into the lockdown, Slovenian has a plethora of new words to deal with the epidemic and its fallout, some borrowed from foreign languages, some given a new meaning, some brought back from oblivion and some brand new.

The novel words are so many that the www.fran.si platform of web dictionaries, run by the Fran Ramovš Institute of Slovenian Language affiliated with the Slovenian Academy of Science and Arts, released a special version called Fran, Covid-19.

The words admitted range from alpha coronavirus (alfakoronavirus) to helicopter money (helikopterski denar), corona package, corona law and corona bond (koronapaket, koronazakon, koronaobveznica) to corona crisis (koronakriza) and corona time (koronačas).

Slovenians have embraced the corona greeting (koronapozdrav) and even various types of isolation (samoizolacija, samokarantena, samoosamitev), while they look down on corona idiots (koronaidiot) and corona panic (koronapanika).

Interestingly enough, the Slovenian word for infectious (kužen) derives from plague (kuga), which is perhaps why most have been so good at keeping their distance from each other.

08 Apr 2020, 14:22 PM

STA, 8 April 2020 - The coronavirus crisis has raised fears about a spike in domestic violence, which has been detected in many countries during the pandemic. The latest data from Slovenian police do not show a significant increase in such cases since lockdown was put in place, but activists as well as authorities warn that could be misleading.

Mounting evidence shows that the Covid-19 pandemic has been fuelling domestic abuse across the world in the wake of lockdown restrictions and heightened stress, exacerbating cases where such incidents were already common before and prompting new instances of violence against women and children in particular.

The current situation may hence cause a spike in domestic violence in Slovenia as well, an issue that may be considered a pandemic in itself due to its systemic and widespread nature, according to experts.

One in three women worldwide experience physical or sexual violence, mostly from their intimate partner, show the World Health Organization's (WHO) global estimates. "This makes it the most widespread, but among the least reported human rights abuses," the organisation has said.

Concerns have been raised by activists that measures put in place to contain the spread of the virus are leaving victims of domestic violence essentially trapped at home with abusive partners. Perpetrators of domestic violence are likely to strike more during times of crisis, said the WHO, with lockdowns cutting off escape routes and making it easier for the abusers to isolate and exert control over their victims.

Such extreme situations may also lead to never-before-seen outbursts of domestic violence, with families and couples being isolated in a time of worries and fears amid the epidemic. Emotions running high, tensions can escalate quickly.

More time would have to pass for experts to gauge the actual impact of the crisis, however domestic violence hotlines and NGOs have already detected that things have taken a turn for the worse.

The Association for Non-violent Communication has reported an increase in helpline calls since the start of the epidemic, pointing out that most of those calls are coming from abuse victims who have already sought help with the NGO before.

Numerous callers report that they are experiencing issues concerning special care arrangements in shared child custody cases.

There have been women calling in for the first time, but not as many as the association would expect during such a time. This relatively low number is a cause for concern, the NGO has said, highlighting that coexisting at close quarters often leads to a spike in conflicts, but it also makes it harder for the victims to make an emergency phone call.

"In times when there is more cohabitation, the victim is left with rare or zero moments when they could call," Tjaša Hrovat, a counsellor at the NGO, told the STA.

Some victims have confided in her that they cannot dare or even imagine to plan ahead for a safer life during such precarious and anxious times.

In 2018, Hrovat told the STA that one in four to five women in Slovenia had suffered domestic violence, a much higher figure than one would have expected.

Meanwhile, the SOS Phone for Women and Children Association is hearing from an increased number of neighbours or closed ones who are trying to help because they have noticed "something was not right". The victims would even send their neighbours a text calling for help and the latter would then seek support at relevant helplines.

Epidemic-related distress must not justify violence against loved ones, Maja Plaz of the SOS helpline highlighted for the STA, urging neighbours and relatives to be extra vigilant and report any possible cases of domestic abuse.

She also warned about violence against children and the disabled, who may also more than ever experience rapid escalations of violence due to extreme circumstances.

The police have called on persons facing abuse at home to report such incidents, regardless of the lockdown, and called for a zero-tolerance policy regarding violence.

In the first three months of 2020, the police recorded a nearly 25% surge in domestic violence reports - an increase from 333 cases in the same period last year to 415 offences against partners, family members and children; the growth rate slowed down during the last two weeks in March after anti-coronavirus restrictions were introduced.

This could imply that domestic violence has not been swelling, but the police have warned that based on their experience, it could well be that the circumstances themselves are thwarting reporting of such emergencies, with victims being less able to phone and report or even to contact a friend or relative.

Whereas domestic abuse services are mainly providing support online and via telephone, safe houses have been faced with the dire need to keep operating as they did before the crisis amid ramped up health and safety concerns.

A domestic abuse shelter for women drug users is keeping its doors open during the epidemic, with almost all of its available spots occupied.

Being a survivor or victim of any kind of abuse may correlate with using illicit drugs, Neva Faninger, a social worker working at the safe house has said, adding that women who seek help at the shelter are often stranded in a state of semi-homelessness, which only further marginalises them, particularly during the lockdown.

Since the start of the coronavirus crisis, the shelter has also seen the situation aggravated by tensions running high and such women finding it even harder to get help due to movement restrictions and the stigma revolving around addiction.

Due to the safe house's high hygienic standards and rules required in such an environment to reduce the impact of drug use, there has been little need to additionally ramp up disinfection efforts during the epidemic, added Faninger, finding a silver lining in the situation.

The shelter, a safe space for women caught in a vicious circle of drug use and violence, is the only such facility in Slovenia and one of the few in general that does not expect its residents to be completely drug-free upon entering it, said Faninger.

Instead it aims to help them without judging and mitigate damage caused by drugs gradually - a policy that got some recognition in March when Sabina Zorec, the initiative's manager, received a Women on Women award for feminist heroines.

08 Apr 2020, 10:37 AM

STA, 7 April 2020 - More than five years after deciding the state must provide equal funding for public and private primary schools, the Constitutional Court has specified that this applies only to the mandatory part of school curricula at private schools but not to non-mandatory curricula, such as morning and afternoon care, or remedial tutoring.

Announcing its decision on Tuesday, the court said that legislation stipulating that non-mandatory curricula at private schools get 85% of the funds provided for public schools was not unconstitutional.

The right to free primary education only applies to the mandatory curricula, which pupils in all primary schools must complete in order to finish school, the court said in the decision adopted on 12 March.

The state is obligated to allow a choice of different types of education, but it is not obligated to fund all the different types of education, the judges said.

They moreover said that private schools were not in the same legal position as public schools, because public schools must accept all pupils applying, while private schools do not.

The decision was the product of deliberations of several requests filed by parents of children attending private primary schools.

The decision was passed in a 6:1 vote, while two judges were recused. Judge Marijan Pavčnik meanwhile issued a dissenting opinion.

The nine-member court also criticised the National Assembly for failing to enact the court's late-2014 decision on the funding of private primary schools in a one-year period.

However, this has proven impossible, because the left-leaning parties opted to interpret the 2014 ruling in a way that could lead to a full scrapping of state funding of non-mandatory curricula, while the right-leaning ones want full state funding for private primary schools.

Although it believes parliament has violated the principles of the rule of law by failing to enact the court's decision, the court rejected the parents' request to define the manner in which the 2014 decision be implemented, meaning setting down the share of state funding for private school curricula.

Under the legislation still in place, the state provides 85% of funds for private primary school curricula, both mandatory and non-mandatory, as opposed to 100% for public schools.

Responses from political parties have been mixed. The senior coalition Democrats (SDS) believe the decision opens new questions. The party wonders why the court left out other curriculum activities, such as optional courses and activities, while expressly mentioning only morning and afternoon care, and remedial tutoring.

The Modern Centre Party (SMC) is happy with the decision, saying it reflected its position on funding, while the conservative New Slovenia (NSi) welcomed the decision for being a step closer to equal funding for all schools.

The opposition parties meanwhile welcomed the decision because they understand it as drawing a divide between public and private education. Former education minister and vice president of the Social Democrats (SD) Jernej Pikalo said the decision addressed existing unclarities and that it confirmed what the SD had been striving for all along.

The Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB) is also happy with the decision, while the Left said that the court only highlighted the decision it had already made in 2014. It believes that a solution would be to amend the Constitution so as to say that the state takes care of the public service, while private initiative is a matter of one's own responsibility.

While the Education Ministry told the STA it is yet to look into the decision, the Montessori private primary school in Ljubljana and a parents' civil initiative want the decision about 100% funding for mandatory curricula to be implemented as soon as possible.

Pavel Demšar, the headmaster of the Montessori school, said the decision announced today only confirmed the 2014 decision. He hopes the school's mandatory curricula will be fully funded as soon as possible, while saying that he needs more time to look into what the court said about non-mandatory curricula.

07 Apr 2020, 10:23 AM

STA, 7 April 2020 - The real estate market has slowed down as measures to restrict the spread of the coronavirus epidemic have been introduced, with deals concluded only retroactively and property inspected only on-line. Real estate agencies have seen a significant drop in turnover, which they hope will be compensated after the epidemic ends.

Agencies say that clients have not abandoned their intentions to buy or lease real estate, and that the true impact of the crisis would depend on the duration of the epidemic and the purchasing power after it.

Boštjan Udovič, the head of the Real Estate Association at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS), has told the STA that real estate agencies are currently only providing services which could be provided without physical contact with clients.

Some real estate agencies have completely suspended their work, and "turnover has dropped significantly", he said. It will be possible to compensate for this after the epidemic ends, but this will depend on the general economic situation and purchasing power.

The real estate agency Stoja Trade is concluding contracts retroactively for deals agreed on before the measures were introduced. "Instead of inspections in person, we send interactive video clips of real estate to our clients," director Zoran Đukić has told the STA.

Zoran Veleski of Mreža Nepremičnin added that the number of calls from potential clients and demand in general had dropped in comparison with recent months, "which is understandable, as people are dealing with other priorities".

While the number of transactions is dropping, prices remain stable. "Everybody is waiting for quarantine to end, and prices will depend on the duration of quarantine," he assessed.

The short-term lease market is practically dead, as tourist visits have ground to a halt. "Many real estate units, which had been intended for temporary lease to tourists, are now empty. Some of them have already been placed on the market," Udovič said.

He believes that this, if the state fails to take quick measures, will not result in growth of the long-term lease market, as owners still almost exclusively decide to rent their real estate for less than 12 months for one reason or another.

Đukić expects a slight market correction when it comes to rental real estate because of the apartments which used to be leased via Airbnb. "There will be no major changes in the prices of rents, but the crunch will ease."

According to Udovič, the key will be the developments in the first months after the end of the epidemic, as turnover on the real estate market largely depends on the economic and financial state of the country and consumer confidence.

"If they reduce their consumption out of caution, the real estate market will suffer a huge blow," he said, adding that the state had taken measures aimed at preventing such consequences relatively quickly.

Stoja Trade has established that clients have only postponed the planned transactions, as a majority of clients are waiting for quarantine to end, and "if this does not take too long, major changes are not expected due to the specifics and small size of the market".

Đukić also expects that, considering the situation on stock markets and financial markets, people will continue to opt for safer investments, including real estate, which keeps its value in the long run.

Veleski agreed that real estate is one of the safest investments, but he also assessed that the situation on the market will depend on the duration of the lockdown measures and the drop in GDP.

"We can only hope that the government will support the economy with measures similar to those in other EU member states and that it would not leave the construction sector high and dry again," he added.

The experts have assessed that the measures from the EUR 3 billion legislative package to aid the economy and individuals will be useful, adding that it is understandable that it was not able to tackle all issues.

Udovič expects additional measures in the coming weeks, which would be focused on keeping the economic activity running. "From the aspect of real estate, care for an investment momentum after the end of the epidemic will be of particular importance."

He also expects that if the situation permits, the government will start easing up on the restrictions related to certain services, including real estate agencies.

Veleski noted that in addition to wages and social security contributions, companies have many other costs which they are not able to cover for months if their turnover is zero.

"The passed legislation is certainly beneficial also for our activity. I have concluded based on talks with agents and many others who are not part of our team, that they will be able to survive these few months," he added.

06 Apr 2020, 19:05 PM

Do foreigners in Slovenia feel more or less safe sitting out covid-19 here than in their home country, and what are their experiences? All the stories in this series are here. If you' like to contribute, see here or at the end of the story

Who are you, and how did you come to be here?

 My name is Melinda Hajdin.  I am an artist from San Jose, California. I now live in Hrastik in Zasavje.  I came to Slovenia to do plein-air painting.  I have a BFA in Spatial Arts from San Jose State University,  and I am considering doing my master's degree in art here in Slovenia as well, at either ALUO or AVA.  My website is www.melindahajdin.com and I also have a Facebook artist page, melindahajdinart.  My degree is in sculpture but I am currently focused on the pictorial side of the arts, on drawing and painting.  I love the Slovenian countryside and small towns.  The peace and beauty here inspires me.

Tell us a little about your situation and sanity.

I am naturally something of a hermit, so you'd think the lockdown wouldn't get me down too much, but it's been more stressful than I bargained for.  I live alone in a country where everyone is very social and likes to do everything in groups.  I am used to feeling different from everyone else, so it's pretty weird to find the whole world unwillingly living the same kind of life as I do every day.  My sanity levels are okay, though like everyone else I am nervous about getting the virus and I don't want to die.  I would love to be able to say that I'm churning out masterpieces every day here in lockdown, but I am often finding myself creatively blocked and lacking in energy.  Nevertheless, as much as I can, I am practicing my skills and learning new techniques.  I'm not able to paint plein-air right now, but I am compensating for this by developing other projects.  Luckily, there are a couple of art supply stores in Slovenia who deliver by post, so at least I can get materials.

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When did you realise that coronavirus was going to be a big issue?

I live in my own little world, so I realized it a bit late, only after a lot of people in Italy started to die and the Slovenian government started shutting things down, stopping public transport and other restrictive measures.  I had not been much in the habit of keeping up with the news.  That's changed; I read the headlines every day now.  

What is your impression of the way Slovenia is dealing with the crisis?

I’m disabled and technically a vulnerable person, so I would be worried about getting sick wherever I lived, but I think Slovenia has done an excellent job in shutting everything down to slow down the spread of the virus.   The low death rate we have compared to other European countries is a testament to the success of those measures.  I would rather be in Slovenia than any other place on earth right now.

What about how your home country is handling it?

Santa Clara County, California, in which my hometown San Jose is located, is particularly hard hit by the virus.  The governor of California is doing his best, but there is a critical lack of good leadership at the federal level in the United States.  I am very worried about my friends and former classmates there.  I definitely think the U.S. situation will get a lot worse before it gets any better.  By contrast, Slovenia acted swiftly and comprehensively, and with compassion for the most vulnerable in society.  During the initial wave of panic buying, I was really afraid of running out of food, but luckily, I only had to endure that for a few days. I have benefited from the special shopping hours set aside for the elderly and disabled, and am grateful those measures are in place. 

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One of Melinda Hajdin's sculptures

What about official communications from the authorities, compared to your home country?

I only understand a little bit of Slovene - I had been about to enrol in a government-sponsored language course when the coronavirus hit - so I can’t really speak directly to that.  The English language versions are keeping me reasonably up to date, though one always wonders if there's anything left out, or lost in translation.   From the U.S., there's a never-ending barrage of official communications, but it only demonstrates how chaotic the situation is over there.

What’s the one thing you wish you had taken with you into self-isolation?

CHEDDAR CHEESE.  I will happily accept donations.

One thing you have learned about yourself, and one thing you have learned about others during this crisis.

I moved into my building in Hrastnik only a few months ago, and I don't really know many people except to say “dober dan” in passing.  As an American one is raised to be an individualist, first and foremost.  Gradually I am getting used to living in more of a collectivist society, and learning to appreciate the closer social bonds that people have here.  I have learned that people here can really be very kind. 

I'd like to give a few shout-outs, if I may:  Thanks to the manager of my building, Mrs. Haberl, for giving us all free masks and for doing a good job in general managing our building.  I'd also like to thank the Upravna Enota in Hrastnik for giving me the opportunity to live and develop my art in Hrastnik.  I had planned to stage an exhibition of paintings at the Delavski Dom gallery in Hrastnik this fall, with the public warmly invited, but the gallery had to close due to the virus.  Hopefully the show will happen before next year.

hrastniktrainstation.jpg

If you’d like to contribute to this series please answer the following questions and include a paragraph about yourself and where you’re from, and a link to your website if you would like. Please also send 3-4 photos minimum (including at least one of yourself) to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Subject: Corona Foreigner.

Firstly, how are you? Are you alone/with someone? Tell us a little about your situation and sanity levels.

What do you think about the economic measures the government is taking, are they helping your business? (PLEASE IGNORE IF THIS DOES NOT AFFECT YOU)

When did you realise that coronavirus was going to be a big issue?

What is your impression of the way Slovenia is dealing with the crisis? How safe do you feel?

Now compare that to your home country and how they are handling it. What is Slovenia doing better/worse?

What about official communications from the authorities, compared to your home country?

What's the one thing you wish you had taken with you into self-isolation.

One thing you have learned about yourself, and one thing you have learned about others during this crisis.

 

06 Apr 2020, 13:29 PM

Do foreigners in Slovenia feel more or less safe sitting out covid-19 here than in their home country, and what are their experiences? All the stories in this series are here. If you' like to contribute, see here or at the end of the story

Who are you, and how did you come to be here?

I’m Andy B and I’m originally from New York City.  I’ve been living in Slovenia for the past 12 years with my Slovene wife (who I met in the US) and our two boys who are 8 and 12.  Our oldest was born in the US and the youngest was born in Ptuj (a place I still have a problem pronouncing).  I met my wife when she was living in Detroit, MI and attending school.  After finding out where Slovenia was and visiting this lovely country two times, we were married and soon decided to move to Slovenia since she has a larger family here than I do back in the US. Currently I am working as an English teacher with a large language school and teaching both adults and children… now in a virtual environment.

Tell us a little about your situation and sanity levels.

I am with my family, my wife, our 2 boys and our cat, in a relatively large apartment with a balcony in the lovely border town of Rogatec.  Although we are mostly at home, we are able to take walks and we have 2 supermarkets within walking distance.  During the week our boys get school work and are occupied with it for a good part of the day. My wife and I are both working from home, but we have enough computers for everyone. We’ve got conversation, books, board games, PlayStation, phones and other things to keep ourselves entertained.  Am I going to tell you our kids are angels who are playing well together and making creative project together without parental influence? Nope, I’m not. 

My and my wife’s sanity levels are very good. We are calm and managing to approach each day to get what needs to be done. We are not freaking out nor are with putting that kind of stress on our kids. We have the opportunity to go outside and there isn’t a lack of food in the supermarkets.  Quite honestly, I’m looking forward to sitting on the balcony with a nice cold beer as the weather gets warmer. I know my kids are bored and they miss playing football with their friends, but luckily their friends are just a phone call away and they can play video games with them online.

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When did you realise that coronavirus was going to be a big issue?

I realized it was going to be a big issue when the media started making it a big issue.  Soon after that, the governments around the world started closing schools, restaurants, restricting public gatherings and all the news was focused on death counts in various countries.  Now most of the conversation is about the novel coronavirus and COVID-19 because there is not much else to talk about when you see an acquaintance at the supermarket or on a walk.

What is your impression of the way Slovenia is dealing with the crisis?

I feel very safe. Living in the countryside, there is more space (even though one of the outbreak’s hotspots is two big towns away, in Šmarje Pri Jelšah) and in the town of Rogatec, where I live, the supermarkets were very quick to provide hand sanitizer and gloves to its customers.  I think Slovenia is dealing with the crisis relatively well, but I think that has more to do with the character of its citizens than the government.  People here seem to be very resourceful and they seem to be able to easily adapt to a situation like this.  I found it funny that in the US there was a lack of toilet paper and here is Slovenia, there was a lack of yeast.  It just goes to show that Slovenes were thinking of how provide food for their families during this crisis. I mean, without food, there really is no need for toilet paper…right?

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How are things compared to your home country?

That is a really hard question to answer.  The US is a country of 330 million people vs Slovenia, a country of 2 million. Each state in the US has its own government and the concentration of people is much higher in the major cities.  Slovenia has a relatively homogenous population with the general attitude of helping each other out, or at least following instructions. I would imagine that it is much harder to make sure that the varied population in the US is following the guidelines to help stop the spread of the virus.

What about official communications from the authorities, compared to your home country?

 I believe that because of its size, it is easier for the communication to be quickly passed on to the population. In the evening, my wife watches the news for the latest information and I can rely on publications like this one to provide me with the information that lets me know what is going on.  Again, it’s hard to compare the US and Slovenia. In the US there is 24 hour news channels that are recycling the same stories over and over and probably stressing out people that are constantly watching it.  The communication from the US government is constantly questioned and argued over which just adds another level of stress and confusion to the situation. 

What's the one thing you wish you had taken with you into self-isolation.

I suppose since I’m in a village and not a city, I don’t feel like I’m in self-isolation.  So it’s not so dramatic for me and my family.  We can go and get food when we want, we can go for a walk/bike ride, we’ve got TV/internet/video games/books… I’ve got my guitars, etc. We’ve got everything we need. What we miss is the ability to go to a restaurant or travel somewhere nice for a day trip as the weather gets warmer. Oh, I know… I wish we had bought and installed a dishwashing machine.

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One thing you have learned about yourself, and one thing you have learned about others during this crisis.

I haven’t learned anything new about myself because of this crisis. This is just another situation that is part of life that we need to figure out a solution for or to manage how to deal with it.  I approach this problem as I would any other… rationally and trying to figure out what needs to be done to keep life for my family as relatively normal as possible.

My high opinion of the population of Rogatec was reinforced by the way that everyone is working together to make sure that we make our day to day interactions limited and safe for everyone.  I’m impressed with the stores, and especially with the people who work in them, that they are still doing business as usual, albeit from behind a Plexiglas partition and everyone wearing gloves and masks.  This small town solidarity is something that I’ve never really experienced before moving to Slovenia, and I appreciate it.

If you’d like to contribute to this series please answer the following questions and include a paragraph about yourself and where you’re from, and a link to your website if you would like. Please also send 3-4 photos minimum (including at least one of yourself) to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Subject: Corona Foreigner.

Firstly, how are you? Are you alone/with someone? Tell us a little about your situation and sanity levels.

What do you think about the economic measures the government is taking, are they helping your business? (PLEASE IGNORE IF THIS DOES NOT AFFECT YOU)

When did you realise that coronavirus was going to be a big issue?

What is your impression of the way Slovenia is dealing with the crisis? How safe do you feel?

Now compare that to your home country and how they are handling it. What is Slovenia doing better/worse?

What about official communications from the authorities, compared to your home country?

What's the one thing you wish you had taken with you into self-isolation.

One thing you have learned about yourself, and one thing you have learned about others during this crisis.

 

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