22 Jun 2021, 10:01 AM

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.

21 Jun 2021, 16:45 PM

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.

Where Can I Get a COVID Test or Vaccine in Slovenia?

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".

21 Jun 2021, 12:34 PM

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.

21 Jun 2021, 10:50 AM

STA, 20 June 2021 - Portorož is hosting the 8th European Congress of Mathematics from 20 to 26 June in a hybrid form. One of the world's major events of its kind will see more than 1,700 mathematicians from across the globe take part.

The majority of participants come from Italy, Slovenia, Germany, Spain and the UK with mathematicians from Russia, the US and China participating as well.

The larger portion of the congress will take place online, but as the coronavirus situation in Slovenia is normalising, part of the programme will be held in Portorož with more than 100 attendees.

The congress will host world-renowned mathematicians, including the winners of the Fields Medal and Abel Prize, two of the most prestigious awards in mathematics.

The programme will feature a series of small-scale symposiums, plenary and guest lectures, more than 100 articles are being presented and there are lectures open to public as well.

The organizer, the University of Primorska, highlighted Wednesday's lecture by the Abel Prize laureate Laszlo Lovasz and an interview with the president of the European Research Council Jean-Pierre Bouguignon, both of which will be available to the public via online streaming.

"It is the biggest science event of the year in Slovenia, which also brings some new features, for example working in small research groups. We have managed to attract a younger expert audience in addition to a higher percentage of women researchers," said Klavdija Kutnar, the chancellor of the university.

Learn more on the website or follow along on Facebook

20 Jun 2021, 19:25 PM

STA, 20 June 2021 - Sunday marks the peak of this year's first heatwave in Slovenia, with several more days with similar temperatures - from 30 and 35 degrees Celsius - to follow before temperatures fall a bit on Thursday, a meteorologist at the Slovenian Environment Agency (ARSO), told the STA on Sunday.

Ljubljana had the first tropical night this year - meaning the mercury did not fall below 20 degrees during the night, while some more are to come, at least in Ljubljana, he said.

The hot spell is posing considerable heat stress during the day, especially in low-laying areas in central and eastern Slovenia.

Some reprieve can be expected from Thursday to Saturday, when the temperatures will slightly drop, said Strajnar.

The likelihood of storms is currently meagre, with some short-lived storms possible in the mountainous areas and in the north-west of the country, he added.

Due to the great heat stress, ARSO issued an orange warning for entire Slovenia until Wednesday midnight, except for the north-west, for which a milder, yellow warning is in place.

Just like yesterday, the concentrations of ozone in the western Goriška area exceeded the set threshold, and can irritate the mucous membrane and respiratory organs.

People with chronic respiratory or blood circulation conditions are advised to stay indoors, while healthy people are not advised to engage in physical activities.

A similar situation in expected tomorrow, ARSO said.

Ljubljana Predicted to Be World’s Fastest-Warming City

20 Jun 2021, 11:10 AM

STA, 20 June 2021 - The LGBTIQ+ community staged the Pride Parade in Ljubljana on Saturday afternoon under the slogan Resist the Oppression as a culmination of a week-long festival, demanding freedom, equality and unconditional respect for human rights of LGBTIQ+ persons. The annual parade was for the first time accompanied by the Balkan Trans Intersex March. 

The rights the LGBTIQ+ community has acquired and perceived as unalienable are today again at stake, the Pride Parade Association, the event's organisers, said in a statement.

"Just like every year, we're fighting for our rights. But since we're witnessing a rise in hate and regression in what we've already achieved, it's now even more important to preserve what we've achieved," activist Katja Štefanec from the association told the STA.

The parade urged resistance against authoritative authorities and against the illiberalism of the incumbent government, which perceives as threat everything that is different, the organisers said.

The focus was also on the consequences the coronavirus epidemic and restrictions had for LGBTIQ+ persons, including rising homelessness and deteriorating mental health.

The Balkan Trans Intersex March meanwhile brought together members of the transgender, intersex and non-normative sexuality communities to march in Ljubljana's streets.

Held under the slogan With Love, the march addressed transphobia, interphobia, violence, lack of legal protection, violations of private rights and shortcomings in healthcare for the transgender, intersex and non-normative sexuality communities.

"Due to their sex change, transgender and intersex persons are faced with even more discrimination," the march's representative Edi Klobučar told the STA.

"There is an additional stigma in our country because of pathologisation, that is medicalisation. So the message of this year's parade is the need for access to healthcare, which has been additionally hindered due to the epidemic over the past year."

The march also called on the media to report on this community without additional stigmatisation.

Mayor Zoran Janković, addressing the parade as it arrived in Congress Square, said Ljubljana is a city that has always been and will remain open.

Simona Muršec, the association's president, said the past year had been hard, frustrating and hopeless for the entire LGBTIQ+ community, stressing that "the political measures to fight the epidemic pushed the bulk of our community into more poverty and more precariousness, back into the closet or even into homelessness."

She believes that after the epidemic, the LGBTIQ+ community will have to once again fight for its physical presence in society.

"In a society which does not have freedom, solidarity and dignity for all, there will soon be no freedom for anyone," stressed Matjaž Gruden, the head of the Council of Europe directorate for democratic participation, via video call.

The head of the European Commission Representation in Slovenia, Jerneja Jug Jerše, said the EU was striving to be a union of equality, pointing to its adoption of a strategy on LGBTIQ+ equality last year.

Since 12 June, the Pride Parade Festival has featured a number of events, such as exhibitions, workshops, discussions, and literary events.

The first Pride Parade in Ljubljana was organised in 2001.

19 Jun 2021, 11:40 AM

STA, 19 June 2021 - More than 75 museums and galleries will open their doors free of charge to visitors as part of the 19th Museum Summer Night (Poletna muzejska noč) bringing almost 300 events at around 160 locations around the country on Saturday evening until midnight. With the epidemiological situation improving, many more events than last year will be held live.

Slovenia's biggest museum campaign is designed to promote museums and galleries as well as Slovenian cultural heritage.

It is organised by the Association of Slovenian Museum, for the last four years in collaboration with the Museum of National Liberation in Maribor as the coordinator.

Despite losing the Culture Ministry's financial support for the first time, the organisers went ahead with their well-established and well-received project, continuing to educate the public and promote various institutions promoting cultural heritage, the association's president Aleksandra Berberih Slana told the press earlier this week.

"And despite the inconsistent information regarding the Covid pandemic, a plethora of museums and galleries have decided to participate and have adapted well to the situation," she added at Thursday's press conference in Maribor.

The project's coordinator Simona Tripkovič said that several new organisations had joined this year either for the first time or after withdrawing from the project.

"This shows the vital importance of the Museum Summer Night for the promotion of Slovenian cultural heritage," said Berberih Slana.

Starting at 6pm, the Museum Summer Night will offer guided tours, exhibition openings, workshops for children or families, and concerts, while visitors will also be able to just explore history and art on their own.

Visitors are advised to check the entry conditions beforehand, as they vary from site to site.

18 Jun 2021, 12:32 PM

Saturday, 18 July, sees the main event of Pride Month take to the streets in Ljubljana – the annual parade and associated events. This year there’s a focus on Balkan Trans Inter solidarity, but as usual it’s open and welcoming to all, a fun day out to celebrate some of the freedoms Slovenians enjoy, in this the 30th year since the country gained independence.

You can start the day with the LGBTIQ+ Bazaar in Kongresni trg / Park Zvezda, which runs from 10:00 to 15:00 and should see various stalls presenting the work and goods of related organisations.

The parade itself gathers in Metelkova at 17:00, and at 18:00 will set out for an hour’s march around the streets of the city, taking in Masarykova, Dunajska cesta, Slovenska cesta and ending up in Kongresni Trg / Park Zvezda, the same as the afternoon bazaar. There you can expect speeches, music and more until 23:00, when attendees will break out into different groups to enjoy various parties and events around town. While the organisers are following the covid rules with regard to being tested, recovered or vaccinated, these are not required for attendees – but do bring a mask, and if have any paperwork, like a vaccination certificate or recent test, it’s probably a good idea to carry that too.

Ljubljana Pride has an English language website and a Facebook group

18 Jun 2021, 11:33 AM

STA, 18 June 2021 - The 33rd edition of the Imago Sloveniae and Summer in Old Ljubljana festivals starts today in Congress Square with opera excerpts by the SNG Maribor theatre ensemble. The gala concert led by conductor Simon Dvoršak will be held in celebration of last year's 100th anniversary of the SNG Maribor opera and ballet house.

The excerpts, taken from the traditional Italian opera's legacy, will be performed by the SNG Maribor Symphonic Orchestra, opera ensemble and soloists. The opening concert's programme also marks 100 years since the passing of composer Josip Ipavec and will include an excerpt from his Princess Dizzyhead (Princesa Vrtoglavka) operetta.

The Imago Sloveniae festival coincides with the Summer in Old Ljubljana festival, offering around 30 classical music and jazz concerts that will take place at various sites over the next two months. The three-day Nights in Old Ljubljana Town festival that will be held from 26 to 28 August will conclude the festivities.

This year's Imago Sloveniae programme marks other anniversaries as well: 100 years since the birth of tango master Astor Piazzolla will be marked with a concert by Switzerland-based musicians Maja Lisac Barroso and Marcelo Nisinman, and the Italian Chagall Quartet will hold a multi-media concert marking 700 years since the death of Dante Alighieri, said the programme coordinator Jan Kern at a recent press conference.

The programme will also feature three concerts co-organised by the Austrian Culture Forum in Ljubljana, including a performance by the Berlin Brass Band, which will also play in Piran. Jazz lovers will enjoy music by saxophonist Jure Pukl, pianist Milan Stanisavljević and his quartet, jazz vocalist Ana Čop and the ZZ Quartet group led by Croatian guitarist Ratko Zjaca.

Visitors will also get a chance to enjoy performances by the Ljubljana Academy of Music's Camerata Academica Ensemble and the Croatian-Slovenian quartet 4Syrinx. Joining them will be flute player Katarina Šantl Zupan. Slovenian musical prodigies will take centre stage as well.

Most of the concerts will take place at the Ljubljana City Museum. All events are admission-free.

Learn more at the website or follow on Facebook

17 Jun 2021, 19:58 PM

STA, 17 June 2021 - The government has introduced a new restriction for public rallies and events featuring more than 100 participants. In line with the decision adopted on Thursday, participants of such events will need to be vaccinated, tested or reconvalescent [ed. having recovered from COVID] as of next Monday.

The new rule will be in force until 27 June, the Government Communication Office said after today's government session.

Proof of vaccination, negative test result or reconvalescence issued in EU countries, the Schengen zone, Australia, Israel, Canada, New Zealand, Russia, the UK and the US will be accepted.

Persons under 18 years old who attend the event with close family members, caretakers, school or any other institution will be exempt from the rule.

The general restrictions for outdoor events remain one person (or more from the same household) per 10 square metres, and at least 1.5-metre distance between participants if they are not from the same household. For indoor events, face masks are obligatory.

Private gatherings of more than 50 people are still not allowed, except for close family members and if safety measures are adhered to.

Meanwhile, the government increased the number of persons allowed to gather for religious purposes to up to 100 with adherence to all safety measures.

17 Jun 2021, 18:10 PM

STA, 17 June 2021 - The government has decided to lift many existing restrictions in the retail and services sector as of 21 June as the epidemiological situation continues to improve.

The relaxation affects shop, bar and restaurant opening hours, which will no longer be restricted, even as rules on minimum space per customer remain in place.

The only restriction regarding opening hours will be for night clubs, which will be allowed to operate from 5am to midnight after they had been closed throughout the pandemic.

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.

Mandatory testing for employees in many services activities remains in place as well.

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