STA, 29 June 2021 - It is exactly 20 years on Tuesday since an agreement was signed by the countries successors to Yugoslavia to divide the obligations and property of the former common state. The office of the high representative for succession has told the STA that Slovenia is constantly striving for active resolution of open issues.
The agreement, mediated by the international community, was signed on 29 June 2001 in Vienna by the foreign ministers of Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (legal successor is Serbia) and Macedonia (now North Macedonia).
Ten years after the break-up of Yugoslavia, it was the first succession agreement, and a peace treaty of sorts, as it was the first agreement to be signed by all five successors. It entered into force three years later, when it was ratified by Croatia as the last country to do so in June 2004.
The agreement regulates division of movable and immovable property of the former Yugoslavia, consular and diplomatic representations, financial issues, archives, social security, pensions, private property and acquired rights.
The shares obtained by Slovenia in various fields reach from 14% to 16.39%, and constant talks and negotiations are taking place in relation to the implementation of the agreement both between the successors and with third countries.
On the occasion of the anniversary, the office of the high representative for succession Miha Pogačnik said that Slovenia and its authorised representatives were constantly striving for active resolution of open succession issues.
These are unresolved issues from the past, whose closure would contribute to reconciliation and improvement of regional cooperation, it said.
Slovenia has already received the bulk of the financial property of the former Yugoslavia it is entitled to in the forms of cash, gold and other precious metals, foreign currency deposits in foreign commercial banks and securities.
This property obtained by Slovenia is estimated at a total of EUR 220 million, and does not include the Triglav patrol boat that was acquired in 2011 as part of a clearing debt from Russia.
Slovenia has also obtained 83% of the former diplomatic and consular offices of the former Yugoslavia it is entitled to - in Washington, Rome, Milan, Klagenfurt, Brasilia, Morocco, Mali, Tanzania and Guyana.
The country got around US$3.5 million from the sale of a residence in New York and the embassies in Tokyo and Bonn that the successor countries have sold together. The procedures to sell the building of the former embassy in Bern and the permanent representation in New York are under way.
Slovenia has so far also taken over around 230 works of art by Slovenian artists that were located in diplomatic and consular representations around the world.
It has also assumed more than 100 original copies of international treaties signed by the former Yugoslavia that relate exclusively to the territory of present-day Slovenia, and documentation related to borders with Italy, Austria and Hungary.
The office of the high representative for succession also noted that Slovenia is the initiator of a project to digitalise the joint archival material of the former Yugoslavia that would enable all successors to access copies.
At the last meeting of the high representatives in November 2019 in Zagreb, all successors endorsed the proposal from Slovenia that funds for the project are obtained also from international financial resources.
The office also emphasised as an important achievement the start of talks with Serbia about the succession to cultural heritage items located in institutions of Serbia and that, in accordance with the agreement, belong to Slovenia.
STA, 28 June 2021 - Slovenia reported 12 new coronavirus infections for Sunday and no Covid-19 deaths, show the latest government figures. The 7-day average of new cases fell from 37 to 32 and the 14-day incidence per 100,000 population dropped by one to 35.
The latest cases come from 648 PCR tests with the positivity rate standing at 1.9%. A total of 6,644 rapid antigen tests were also performed yesterday with all positives there double checked with PCR method.
The number of patients in hospital decreased by one to 74 this morning after six were discharged home, and the number of ICU cases also fell by one to 22.
According to an estimate by the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ), there are now 774 active cases in Slovenia, down from 785 the day before.
See the latest data here
STA, 27 June 2021 - Maribor held its second Pride Parade on Saturday, a week after a similar event was held in Ljubljana, with the city's local authorities and the university joining in for the first time.
The organizers said they had distributed all the 300 promotional bracelets among the participants, as many more people took part.
Featuring rainbow flags and banners, the parade set off from the city's Freedom Square to proceed around the old town, calling for solidarity under the slogan For You, for Me for Us.
"The slogan is mean to express solidarity with everyone in Slovenia, not just the LGBTQIA+ community, mainly as a response to the current developments," said Doris Špurej, the coordinator of the programme of the Maribor Cultural Centre that organised the parade.
"Pride Parades have been important and are in particular important now, mainly in Maribor, where we are still lagging behind when it comes to visibility, safe spaces and access to information," she added.
Matej Behin, a member of the organising team, referred to Hungary's new anti-LGBTIQ law, stressing that "even the rights that have been gained cannot be taken for granted".
The biggest round of applause went to Urban Bren, the vice-chancellor of the University of Maribor, who described the rainbow flag on the chancellor's office as a sign "that we are an open and welcoming university in an open and welcoming town".
The event was also attended by representatives of the opposition Social Democrats and the Left.
Maribor held its first pride parade in June 2019. The event was not held last year.
STA, 26 June 2021 - The police have estimated that some 9,000 people gathered in Prešeren Square on Friday to join in an alternative celebration of Statehood Day and protest against the government. An inquiry has been launched into the organisers of the unregistered rally, who are also behind Friday anti-government protests, for violating the public assembly act.
The Ljubljana Police Department said on Saturday that both the official Statehood Day ceremony and the protest were policed with 14 violations of the protection of public order act detected at the rally.
A total of 13 people were detained and released after the protest ended. Other procedures are ongoing as inquiries into potential further violations continue, the police added.
The rally started at about 7pm and ended at 9pm. Some 200 participants then proceeded to the crossroad of Slovenska Road and Šubičeva Street, which is close to Republic Square where the formal ceremony was held. They dispersed at around 10pm.
Speakers at the latest anti-government protest criticised political elites, highlighting that Slovenians had had enough of political divides.
STA, 23 June 2021 - A new housing complex with almost 110 apartments for people aged 18-29 was inaugurated on Wednesday in Ljubljana in a bid to assist youths in gaining independence, starting family and securing financial freedom. Monthly rent will be some 150 EUR per person.
The first of its kind in Slovenia, the youth complex in Gerbičeva Street (Skupnost za mlade Gerbičeva), , a student dorm district in the south-western part of the capital, features 109 apartments with either single- or twin-bedrooms.
The facility also includes an intergenerational centre with a multi-purpose room, a common room, a kitchen and cafeteria, an office and an atrium. Residents will have 40 parking spots available along with bike racks and EV charging points.
Housing Fund director Črtomir Remec said at the ceremony that the complex was also available to non-Ljubljana residents, adding that employment or education status was not a condition for getting subsidised rental apartments.
The complex is not intended for young families or students, and a tenant may occupy an apartment for a maximum of three years. First residents are expected to move in at the end of July or beginning of August.
This is the first of the three planned youth housing units, the other two being in western Ljubljana and in western Maribor. All three projects are being co-funded by the Council of Europe Development Bank.
Ljubljana Mayor Zoran Janković is also pleased with such development. "This is true decentralisation. The more housing units outside Ljubljana means less pressure on the capital," he said, adding this was a "beautiful acquisition."
Environment and Spatial Planning Minister Andrej Vizjak pointed out that Slovenia's long term housing strategy is to substantially increase the number of rental apartments as well as build new ones intended for various social groups.
"This pilot project shows how bringing together different generations can help propel young people towards greater independence and enable them to gain ground in their professional and family life," he concluded.
Development and European Cohesion Policy Minister Zvonko Černač, said that his prior experience in managing a housing fund showed how proper living conditions are one of the fundamental prerequisites for youths to gain independence.
STA, 23 June 2021 - Slovenia reported 50 new coronavirus cases for Tuesday as the 7-day average fell by a further ten to 59. One patient with Covid-19 died, government figures show.
Only 2.5% of the 2,038 PCR tests performed yesterday came back positive, as a total of 17,715 people were screened with rapid antigen tests.
The cumulative 14-day incidence per 100,000 residents dropped by ten from the day before to 56, show data from the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ).
Hospitalisations also decreased, by nine to 83, with 29 patients now in intensive care, down by four.
The NIJZ estimates there now 1,199 active cases in the country, out of a total of 257,117 confirmed since the first case was confirmed in March 2020.
Data released on the government website show a total of 4,743 patients with Covid-19 have died.
A total of 804,193 people have received their first shot of a vaccine against Covid-19 and 605,471 have been fully immunised, which represents 38% and 28.8% of the population, respectively, according to NIJZ.
STA, 22 June 2021 - The latest measurements have revealed the Covid epidemic has severely impaired school children's physical efficiency, making 10% addicted to digital devices, and increasing the share of overweight kids by 30%. Experts thus propose several measures to address the issue, such as no more school closures and possibly no homework.
"Zoom-assisted distance learning has increased the time kids sit by 63%, while the share of non-active activities rose by 30% and the share of moderate to intensive activity was at a mere 7%," Gregor Starc, a professor at the Ljubljana Faculty of Sport, told the press on Tuesday.
Kids spent time looking at various screens for more than seven hours a day, he said as he presenting the results after two-thirds of the research into physical efficiency of school children has been completed.
He noted that schools in Slovenia had been closed for more than 100 days whereas the WHO had urged governments to close them as the last institutions in the pandemic.
Starc is also very worried that despite the end of the epidemic, the future holds more distance education than before it.
He stressed that schools provided equal opportunities to children regardless of their social status, meaning inequality increased during the epidemic.
Until 2020, the share of overweight school children in Slovenia was dropping 1% a year over the past 10 years.
But now compared to 2019, the share of overweight children rose by 23% at schools which acted upon similar research results from last year when schools re-opened.
The rise in overweight children at schools which did not have the exact data increased by as much as 34%.
The epidemic took the biggest physical efficiency toll on the most physically successful children, pushing them towards those at the bottom.
"The drop in top physically efficient children in 2020 was as much as 31.4%," said Starc.
This was accompanied by other bad habits, with 10% of the children addicted to video games and 8% to social media, said Martin Korošec, a digital marketing expert.
Too much sitting was moreover coupled with unhealthy diet, a lack of socialising and communication and less time for the family, which all affects the development of brain and increases the risk of digital addiction, he said.
Both Korošeč and Starc urged measures at national level as well as broader to contain the negative effects.
Starc stressed that "foremost, schools must not be closed", and Korošec added that "screen time must be limited, including for schooling".
Sport should not be a "burdening school subject", so the idea is that it should become the first subject without marks where only a child's progress is monitored.
"Taking Finland and Denmark as a role model, homework should be abolished so that schoolwork does not eat into a child's spare time," said Starc.
Another measure to encourage physical activity would be introducing subsidies for sport for children who already have school meals subsidised.
Starc said no new gyms are needed as Slovenia is one of the best in this respect, while children can also spend time outdoors regardless of weather if properly dressed.
However, "in three generations, the radius within which children move outdoors without their parents' supervision has narrowed from five kilometres to one".
STA, 21 June 2021 - The Constitutional Court has taken a position that turning down a foreigner's application for a residence permit in the country of residence of their close relatives could interfere with the person's right to family life even when that person committed a crime.
The court adopted the position in granting an appeal by a woman whose application for her husband to be granted an extension of the residence permit was rejected.
In a judgement announced on Monday, the court said it had deliberated on the applicant's appeal from the aspect of the right to family life and the principle of best interest of the child.
The court took the decision based on case law of the European Court of Human Rights and of Slovenia.
It thus annulled the relevant decisions by the Administrative Court, Interior Ministry and the Administrative Unit, which the petitioner appealed, and returned the application to be handled anew by the Administrative Unit.
The court said that in all decisions affecting children, their best interest should be given a key weight. Even though the best interest of children cannot be decisive as such, it has a major weight in deliberation.
The decision by the first instance body was annulled mainly because it failed to give due weight to the best interest of underage children. Since the shortcoming was not tackled by the body of second instance and the Administrative Court, they too violated the applicant's human rights to family life and children's rights.
STA, 21 June 2021 - As Covid-19 vaccine supply in Slovenia has outstripped demand, it is now possible to choose between different jabs while the government is also planning to set up mobile vaccination units to make vaccination even more accessible.
Data from the Covid-19 tracker site shows Slovenia currently has about half a million unused doses of various vaccines, which is more than the number of those who have booked but are still waiting to get the jab.
Jelko Kacin, the national coordinator for vaccination logistics, told the STA another 120,000 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccination arrived in Slovenia today with an additional 120,000 due in a week.
The government is also planning to organise mobile vaccination units, with details to be available after today's correspondence session.
See here for the list of testing sites, with links to your local health centre (ZD - zdravstveni dom), where you should also be able to register for a vaccination
From today, those who have not yet received a shot, can choose between one of the four vaccines available in Slovenia - Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech, AstraZeneca and Johnson&Johnson when they apply for inoculation via the e-health portal zVem.
Moreover, some of the vaccination centres across the country already offer a choice of vaccines, and most have made it possible to get the jab without a prior appointment.
The largest vaccination centre, at the Ljubljana fairgrounds, will launch open mass vaccination on Tuesday, offering the Pfizer jab on Tuesday between 3pm and 7:30pm and Wednesday 9am-1pm, Moderna on Thursday at 3pm-5pm and Janssen on Thursday at 5pm-8pm.
No prior appointment is needed, while those interested are asked to book their time slot on the website of the Ljubljana Community Health Centre.
A choice of vaccines is this week also being made available in Maribor, Koper and Murska Sobota, among others.
The offer of a choice of jabs was announced by Prime Minister Janez Janša at the congress of his Democratic Party (SDS) on Saturday as he said the goal was to attain a vaccination rate that would allow a return to normal not just during the summer but also in the autumn.
Data from the National Institute of Public Health shows 799,226 people have received their first dose, and 594,862 have been fully inoculated, the later representing 28.3% of the population.
Apart from Janša, Health Minister Janez Poklukar too asked the population on Sunday to help the country reach herd immunity by getting vaccinated, appealing to everyone "to stand together to defeat not only the virus, but mainly our personal prejudice, misgivings and fears".
STA, 21 June 2021 - As the coronavirus situation in Slovenia is improving, some new rules are kicking in on Monday for the retail and services sectors, for public assembly and religious services.
The latest relaxation affects shop, bar and restaurant opening hours, which are no longer restricted, even as rules on 10 square metres per customer remain in place.
Hospitality is no longer limited to seating or to four persons per table, but tables must be at least three metres apart.
The only restriction regarding opening hours is for night clubs, which are allowed to operate from 5am to midnight after they have been closed throughout the epidemic.
Night club guests will, however, need a Covid certificate that shows they have been vaccinated, tested or have recovered from Covid-19 in the past six months.
The same rule applies to visitors of casinos, hotel guests, visitors to indoor conventions and conferences, and restaurant patrons who wish to eat indoors.
The rule does not apply to persons under the age of 18 if accompanied by parents or legal guardians.
Mandatory testing for employees in many services activities remains in place, while casions can offer only 75% of their gaming facilities.
Masks remain obligatory indoors, all the other sanitation and disinfection rules are also still in place.
A new restriction was meanwhile introduced for public rallies and events featuring more than 100 participants, who need to be vaccinated, tested or reconvalescent.
Persons under 18 years old who attend the event with close family members, caretakers, school or any other institution are exempt from the rule.
Private gatherings of more than 50 people are still not allowed, except for close family members and if safety measures are adhered to.
The government meanwhile increased the number of persons allowed to gather for religious purposes to up to 100 with adherence to all safety measures, including a 1.5-metre distancing.
The latest changes were adopted on Thursday and will be in place until 27 June.