STA, 1 November 2021 - Heavy trucks are banned from overtaking on the Slovenian motorways as of today after the ban kicked in on the A1 motorway, that is between Šentilj (NE) and Koper (SW), on 15 January. A violation carries a fine of 300 euro.
The ban for trucks heavier than 7.5 tonnes on the Šentilj-Koper motorway has produced good results, improving traffic flow, Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec said on Twitter as he announced the new measure.
The government and national motorway company DARS thus agreed to expand it to the entire motorway network, the minister explained.
The ban on the A1 motorway was imposed for the period between 6am and 6pm, while heavy trucks were still allowed to overtake at night, as well as at sections with three traffic lanes.
Even before that, trucks were not allowed to overtake during the morning and afternoon rush hours on certain sections of A1.
Overtaking for trucks is meanwhile completely forbidden in tunnels and motorway junctions, and also on some ring roads in urban areas.
STA, 28 October 2021 - Slovenia has ranked 12th in this year's EU gender equality index ranking released by the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) on Thursday. The country scored 67.6 points out of 100, practically level with the EU average, as it dropped by one spot compared to the 2020 ranking.
The EU average is 68 points, a tiny improvement on 2020, but given the institute's estimates, the consequences of the pandemic could bring all this progress to nothing in the future, said the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities.
The list is topped by Sweden with 83.9 points, which had the best score last year as well, whereas Greece has come last with 52.5 points. Slovenia is meanwhile tucked in between Austria (68 points) and Malta (65 points).
"Since 2010, Slovenia's score has increased by 4.9 points but its ranking has dropped by three places. Since 2018, Slovenia's score has remained the same (-0.1 points), but its ranking dropped by two places," the EIGE noted.
The ranking is determined based on six main categories: work, money, knowledge, time, power and health, and a cross-sectional issue of violence.
When it comes to work, Slovenia scored 73 points, down by 0.1 point on 2020 due to increased gender segregation in employment. Since 2010, Slovenia's ranking in this category has dropped from the 10th to the 15th place.
In the money category, which includes average net income and at-risk-of-poverty rate, the country got 83.7 points, up by 0.7 point. This score and ranking are among the highest for the country as it placed 12th among all member states.
The same improvement was recorded in knowledge, where Slovenia bagged 56.6 points. However, Slovenia's gender inequalities remain most pronounced in this category as the country ranked 18th in the knowledge domain, its lowest ranking.
When it comes to the time category or allocation of time spent doing care and domestic work and social activities, the country got 72.9 points, same as last year.
In the power category, where gender representation in government and parliament is taken into account, Slovenia received the least points, 53, down by two points on last year as a result of a lower number of female ministers in the current government.
Since 2010, the share of women on the boards of the largest listed companies has increased from 10% to 24%, while the share of women on the central bank board has remained at 20%.
Taking into account the last decade, Slovenia's score has improved the most in the domain of power as it increased by 11.9 points. However, since other countries have seen faster progress, Slovenia's ranking has still decreased by four spots, taking the 13th place.
Health-wise, Slovenia has fared the best, having scored 87.8 points, up by 0.9 of a point. Female participants in the survey were more likely to consider their health worse than men's even though their life expectancy is higher by six years in general.
Healthy life expectancy after the age of 65 is the same for both women and men in the country, and the level of fitness is much above EU average for both men and women.
On the other hand, one of the largest gender gaps in the EU is Slovenia's situation when it comes to paying for unexpected costs of primary healthcare services, as some 47% of women in the country have difficulties with this, while the same problem is encountered by 40% of men.
This is also one of the largest gender divides across the bloc compared to EU average, which stands at 19% and 17%, respectively.
The violence sub-index did not provide an assessment of progress for 2021 due to the lack of comparable data for all EU countries. Eurostat is currently coordinating a survey on gender-based violence in the EU, the results of which will be included in the 2024 index, the ministry said.
STA, 27 October 2021 - A total of 24,016 people died in Slovenia in 2020, which is 3,428 (16.7%) more than in 2019, with the average age of the deceased being up by one year. The high mortality rate, especially in November and December 2020, resulted in the highest negative natural increase since 1945, the Statistics Office said on Wednesday.
Among the total of 24,016 people that died in Slovenia last year, 11,733 were men and 12,283 women, while the natural population increase has remained in the negative since 2017, the statistical data show.
The Covid-19 epidemic in 2020 and the high mortality rates, especially in November and December, contributed to an even more substantial negative natural increase.
Last year, the population growth rate was -2.5 per 1,000 inhabitants, which is the lowest natural increase in Slovenia since 1945.
The average age of the deceased last year was 79.2 years, which is 1.1 years higher than the average age at the time of death in Slovenia in 2019.
On average, Slovenian men die younger than women. Last year, the average age at death for males was 75.3 years, while the average age at death for females was 82.9 years.
The pandemic that marked 2020 had a significant impact on mortality too. While it was not so pronounced during the first wave in the spring, it became more obvious in the second half of the year, especially in the last quarter.
The excess mortality rate in 2020 was 18.8%, which means that 3,795 (18.8%) more people died than on average in the period between 2015 and 2019, said the Statistics Office.
Last year, 66 people died on average every, 10 more than in 2015-2019. The excess deaths are also reflected in the fact that in all years between 2000 and 2019, there was only one day in which 100 or more people died, compared to 38 such days in 2020.
All of these days were in November or December - 6 December was the day with the highest number of deaths that year (130). The week between 30 November to 6 December 2020 was the week with the highest number of deaths that year (801).
STA, 26 October 2021 - A study carried out by the Peace Institute has shown that Slovenia is facing extensive and active discrimination, mostly on the grounds of gender, ethnicity, nationality, skin colour and religion, while it is the most blatant at work, in access to housing, health and other services.
The analysis showed that a large proportion of the population in Slovenia experiences discrimination, as 84% of respondents have been discriminated against on the basis of at least one personal circumstance, said the Peace Institute.
Gender discrimination is the most common form, with women experiencing it significantly more than men, while virtually all non-binary persons and people of other genders have been discriminated against.
Discrimination is also very often experienced by people who are treated as foreigners under existing legislation and by the majority population. It is strongly present with applicants for international protection and refugees, who also report experiences of ethnic profiling by the police.
"People are stopped on the street while they are simply walking around, solely on the basis of their appearance, their skin colour and the status of a foreigner which they have been attributed as a result," the NGO explained.
Around three-quarters of those belonging to a national or ethnic minority in Slovenia have been discriminated against on the basis of their nationality or citizenship.
Persons of Orthodox or Islamic faith also reported experiencing discrimination on the basis of religion in more than 55% of cases.
Discrimination on grounds of skin colour, language and religion is often strongly linked to discrimination on grounds of nationality or citizenship, meaning that a person experiences at least two types of discrimination at the same time, the report adds.
The Peace Institute also drew attention to the persistent discrimination against the Roma population that is still very much present, especially in the fields of education and employment.
The situation has also worsened for Roma children during the closures of educational institutions, as their access to technology was hindered, and disparities deepened as a result.
This had a negative impact on their educational performance. Children from economically disadvantaged backgrounds and children with special needs were also affected, said the NGO.
"A large proportion of people in the EU experience discrimination, inequality and social exclusion, which makes such data on equality an important tool for monitoring the implementation of legislation, policies to promote equality, and progress on the ground," it added.
The study was carried out between May and September 2021 and consisted of an online survey of 814 participants, 400 situational tests and 16 expert interviews.
STA, 25 October 2021 - A new housing estate called Novo Brdo was inaugurated in Ljubljana on Monday. Located in the south-western part of the city, it is set to become one of Ljubljana's largest neighbourhoods, where 498 vulnerable families and individuals are to be housed.
Črtomir Remec, the director of Slovenia's Housing Fund, said that the Novo Brdo estate is "the second part of a trilogy of investments" made possible by a EUR 50 million loan from the Council of Europe Development Bank.
"The Novo Brdo neighbourhood project, which also marks the Housing Fund's 30th anniversary, was carried out in cooperation with the Ljubljana Municipality and is the largest among the projects that recently provided a total of 1,887 new housing units," he added.
In addition to the new housing units for young people already provided in Ljubljana this spring, Remec announced that another 212-apartment neighbourhood in Maribor is due to be completed next year.
Remec also announced a new cycle of 10 projects with 906 planned housing units that is being lined up, for which the Housing Fund will seek a new loan from the Council of Europe Development Bank.
"A home is a commodity whose value is certainly best understood by those who do not have it," Environment and Spatial Planning Minister Andrej Vizjak said at today's opening ceremony, adding that these are most often young families and individuals dealing with housing issues for the first time.
"It is the responsibility of every government to plan housing policies in such a way that every individual or family is provided with adequate housing within a reasonable time frame," added Vizjak.
He said that he would like to see more such inaugurations, and not only in Ljubljana, but especially in smaller Slovenian municipalities and regions that are experiencing population decline.
The main objective of the housing strategy is therefore to provide additional public rental housing. It is estimated that around 10,000 additional housing units are needed in Slovenia. "The government plans to be able to provide around 5,000 by 2026," added Vizjak.
Today's opening was also attended by Rolf Wenzel, the governor of the Council of Europe Development Bank, who highlighted the Novo Brdo project as a concrete example of one of the bank's main tasks - financing the construction of social or affordable housing.
In the Novo Brdo estate, the Housing Fund expects to provide for a higher living standard, as they want to accommodate several different generations. All the buildings are therefore designed to accommodate young people and families as well as the elderly, they said.
The estate will also host various public services, such as a library and shops, as well as an open outdoor space with plenty of green areas, children's playgrounds and a pond.
Learn more about the project on the official site (Slovene)
STA, 21 October 2021 - The 32nd Ljubljana International Film Festival (LIFFe) returns to cinemas after being held in the virtual realm last year. According to the festival's director, Simon Popek, around 80 feature and 16 short films will be screened between 10 and 21 November, with ten in the running for the Kingfisher Award for the best film.
The Perspectives section, featuring films by up-an-coming directors in the running for the Kingfisher, will include Inventory by Darko Sinko, a drama with elements of a thriller and black comedy.
Set in contemporary middle-class surroundings in Slovenia, the film won the best directing award at this year's Slovenian Film Festival Portorož.
Also competing will be the award-winning Slovenian minority co-productions Morena by Croatian director Antoneta Alamat Kusijanović, a psychological family drama about patriarchate, and Small Body by Laura Samani, a mythopoetic odyssey of grief, faith, and feminine determination.
Popek described Azor by Andreas Fontana, "an abstract symphony of the Venetian Lagoon", while Kala Azar by Janis Rafa will offer a dystopic view of the different relations between humans and animals.
Looking for Venera, directed by Norika Sefa, is a story about a girl growing up in the Kosovo countryside.
The list also includes black-and-white film by Zheng Lu Xinyuan, The Cloud in Her Room, the winner of the Rotterdam film festival, and Hit the Road by Panah Panahi, "a spiritual story set in the Iranian countryside".
Servants by Ivan Ostrochovsky is a story about two students of theology in Czechoslovakia in 1980.
Slovenian film production will be represented by Tijana Zinajić's Bitch, a Derogatory Term for a Woman, which won multiple awards at the Portorož festival, a minority production Heavens Above by Serbian director Srđan Dragojević, and Bird Atlas by the Czech Republic-based Slovenian director Olmo Omerzu in the Avantpremieres section.
A minority co-production Beanie by Slobodan Maksimović will be screened in the Kinobalon section targeting young audiences and The Last Day of Patriarchy, also by Omerzu, in the short films section.
The competing section Europe in Short will showcase 16 short films. Next to Omerzu, Rok Bičko and Špela Čadež will be represented with Penalty Shot and Steakhouse, respectively.
The opening film on 10 November will be I'm Your Man by Marie Schrader, presenting an experience of a female scientist who must live with a humanoid robot for three weeks.
Several big names will be presented as well as films taking the main prizes at top international film festivals or standing out for some other reason, Popek said.
In the Avantpremiere section, Aurey Diwan's Happening, which won the top award at the Venice International Film, and a film about a relationship between two Italian nuns in the 17th century Benedetta by Paul Verhoeven will be screened alongside Radu Jude's Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn.
Perhaps the most commercial film of the festival, according to Popek, is Spencer, an interpretation of four days in the life of Princess Diana, directed by Pablo Larrain.
Pedro Almodovar is returning to the festival with another example of his film poetics Parallel Mothers, a story exploring the complicated nature of a women and mother.
The only animated feature film of the festival is Belle: The Dragon and the Freckled Princes, a re-imagining of Beauty and the Beast, signed by Mamoru Hosoda.
The country in focus will be Georgia, while the festival's retrospective will present films that have been censored.
LIFFe will also pay tribute to French actor Jean-Paul Belmondo, who died in September, with four films, including The Man from Acapulco, which will close the festival on 20 November.
Despite the hope that the festival will be held live in cinemas, the organisers will also offer at least 16 films through a video on demand platforms.
Ticket sale started today. Some screenings will also be held in Maribor, Celje and Novo Mesto.
STA, 20 October 2021 - Two nurses at the Želec Community Health Centre have been caught issuing fake vaccination certificates in exchange for money. According to unofficial information obtained by the newspaper Delo, the certificates cost up to 400 euros.
The practice was discovered after irregularities were detected in the entry of data on vaccination into the electronic registry of vaccinated persons
This prompted the director of the community health centre, Hana Šuster Erjavec, to launch an internal inquiry, which confirmed violations by two members of the nursing staff.
The pair were removed from their posts and face termination proceedings. The Celje police are also investigating the case, the Celje police station told the STA.
The Health Ministry and the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ) have been informed of the inquiry.
The NIJZ told Delo that it had informed the police and the health inspectorate of suspected illegal practices by health institutions in relation to vaccination this summer based on social media posts about such practices.
The NJIZ added that while it was the manager of the electronic registry of vaccinated persons could not enter, change or correct data on vaccinated persons that had been entered into the registry by vaccination providers.
STA, 16 October 2021 - Slovenia is among the European countries with the highest levels of stress at work. This is also one of the main reasons for missing work and short-time working, accounting for 50-60% of all lost working days, according to the career and employment portal MojeDelo.com.
A survey carried out as part of the 2018-2021 PSDT programme found that one in four Slovenians experienced anxiety to the point where this began to interfere with their work at least once in the previous month.
Some 10% of the respondents experienced symptoms of depression or anxiety and 25% said they faced burnout in the past year.
The most common factors related to workplace stress are lack of job control, inappropriate demands, lack of support from colleagues and management, conflicts between employees, poor interpersonal relations, workplace violence and job insecurity, the portal quotes the study's findings.
Mental health issues not only have a profound impact on the lives of individuals, but also have a range of detrimental effects on businesses and organisations, such as absenteeism, reduced employee performance and productivity, lower employee motivation and higher costs.
The PSDT programme, running between March 2018 and April 2021, provided support to businesses to manage and prevent psychosocial risk factors.
STA, 14 October 2021 - Srebrna Nit, an association campaigning for dignified old age, has drawn up a bill to legalise assisted death in Slovenia. The proposal will first be subject to a six-month public consultation, after which it will be amended and submitted to parliament, backed by 5,000 signatures.
"Most of us would like to have a peaceful death. But death can also involve suffering, associated with slow dying and a loss of personal dignity," Biserka Marolt Meden, the head of the NGO, told reporters on Thursday.
Referring to the practice of assisted death being increasingly established world-wide in a bid to protect the individual's dignity, the NGO said their proposal would only permit assisted suicide, while euthanasia would only be possible as an exception.
The proposal would enable adults to pick the time and place of their death themselves, on the condition that they experience unbearable suffering that cannot be eased in a way they find acceptable.
It also contains safeguards to prevent abuse and no one's life could be ended against their will. The whole procedure would be overseen by a special commission at the Health Ministry, explained Andrej Pleterski, one of the founding members of Srebrna Nit.
Pleterski said a survey conducted by the Medical Association a while ago showed enough doctors would be willing to take part in such a procedure if assisted death was legalised.
Adults with permanent residence in Slovenia and mandatory health insurance would be entitled to assisted death. The service would be provided by providers in the public healthcare network, either public or private practices with concession.
The proposal would not make it possible to resort to assisted death in case of life weariness and the patient would be able to change their mind about being helped to die at any time.
STA, 13 October 2021 - The 6th Indigo Festival, starting at Cukrarna in Ljubljana today and running until Friday, brings a series of events to offer a reflection on some of the most pressing issues of today's world under the slogan Mass Hypnosis. A talk between contemporary thinkers Slavoj Žižek and Yanis Varoufakis is scheduled for next week.
Slovenian philosopher of world renown Žižek and Greek economist and left-wing movement DiEM leader Varoufakis will discuss "the issues faced by today's Left" on Thursday, 21 October.
The festival's organisers have announced that the talk with Varoufakis moderated by Žižek will be "far from a polite exchange of opinions by two like-minded colleagues".
While the tickets for the talk have already sold out, it is still possible to buy them to watch the live stream.
Cukrarna says the pandemic has shaken up the world and changed it completely, while the world's antagonisms and problems have remained with their destructive power having increased.
"Neoliberal constructs, populisms and ideologies that we thought had disappeared are on the rise. Climate change determines our daily lives. Lies and untruths have conquered the digital media. In short, an accumulation of 'unbalanced' events and people is changing the world we were used to."
The organisers say that without realising it, the world has slipped into a "mass hypnosis of a state of numbness", which is the reason why the festival will try to uncover "the causal connections that have led to this state".
The festival brings several talks, including with Slovenian artist Marjetica Potrč, Cukrarna artistic director Alenka Gregorič, and talks with and concerts by Mouse on Mars, Stephen O'Malley and Kali Malone, among others. An art book fair Caffeine Hours 2021 will bring together designers, illustrators, photographers and publishers.
A Friday highlight will be a talk accompanying the Slovenian translation of Mark Fisher's Capitalist Realism: Is There no Alternative featuring philosophers Mladen Dolar, Nina Power and Gregor Moder.
Learn more at the Indigo Festival website
STA, 7 October 2021 - Slovenia logged 968 new coronavirus infections on Wednesday in what continues to be a slight week-on-week decline, show fresh figures by the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ). Three Covid-19 patients died.
Hospitalisations increased from 400 to 413 this morning compared to the day before, whereas the number of patients requiring intensive care stayed level at 114, show the latest government figures.
The 14-day incidence per 100,000 residents dropped by two to 564, and the rolling seven-day average of new daily cases was down by eight to 836.
There are currently 11,943 active cases in the country, according to the NIJZ.
The test positivity rate stood at 18.1% yesterday.
A total of 1,132,152 or 54% of the population have received the first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine and 1,023,080 or 49% have been fully immunised, NIJZ data show.