News

13 May 2020, 13:44 PM

STA, 13 May 2020 - Several Slovenian media outlets have reported on two separate recent incidents involving Slovenian citizens being caught smuggling large amounts of drugs in Great Britain and Italy, respectively.

A 50-year-old man from Koper was reportedly arrested in Dover in England on 26 April after 82 kilos of cocaine and three kilos of heroin were found his truck, while 40 kilos of cocaine were discovered by Italian police near Gorizia in a truck driven by a 46-year-old Slovenian late on Saturday.

Related, from 2019: UK Finds Slovenian Truck With Kilos of Cocaine in Dover

The Dover arrest has been confirmed by Slovenia's General Police Administration, which said Slovenian police are cooperating with the British authorities.

The value of the contraband seized in England is estimated by the British police at EUR 8 million, while the cocaine seized by carabinieri near the former Vrtojba border crossing would have had an estimated black market value of EUR 10 million.

Both men remain in detention abroad and are awaiting future proceedings.

13 May 2020, 12:00 PM

STA, 12 May 2020 - The Chamber of Small Business (Obrtno-podjetniška zbornica Slovenije - OZS) has drafted a set of proposals it wants included in the third coronavirus package of measures the government will start working on more intensively next week.

The OZS would like more liquidity aid for small companies and sole proprietors, and a lower VAT for services in tourism and some other lines of small business.

It would also like a solution to rent payment when a private business rents a place from a private owner after the government has recently helped those renting from the state.

The OZS would moreover like the government to ease layoff conditions, and introduce measures to kick-start the construction sector.

The third package of measures is to focus on tourism as the most severely affected industry. But the OZS believes some other industries should also be helped, such as coach transport, hospitality, tourist guides, event management, spas and wellness centres, as they have also been severely affected.

OZS president Branko Meh believes small and medium-sized companies are the backbone of the Slovenian economy, which is why it is so important to help them in time with the right measures.

"It is now time to include in the third anti-coronavirus package what we missed in the first two packages," he was quoted in Tuesday's press release.

13 May 2020, 11:38 AM

STA, 12 May 2020 - The parliamentary Environment Committee approved on Tuesday an amendment to the nature conservation act significantly limiting the ability of NGOs to take part in administrative procedures representing public interest. Despite poor weather and a ban on public gathering, several hundred protesters rallied against the amendment.

The amendment was filed by the opposition National Party (SNS) as the committee was getting ready to debate government-sponsored changes to the nature conservation act which focused above all on tweaks needed to incorporate EU law.

The amendment, which is criticised by the opposition as an open attack on NGOs, is nearly identical to government-proposed changes recently passed to construction legislation, under which only a handful of NGOs are still able to represent public interest in construction permit procedures.

Under the changes, associations would have to have at least 50 active members, institutes would need at least three full-time employees with university degrees and institutions would need to have assets exceeding EUR 10,000.

Moreover, to represent the public, NGOs would have to meet these conditions retroactively for two years.

Also, they would have to prove their compliance by revealing annual assembly minutes, the names of those present and show bank accounts to prove membership fees are being paid.

Amid warnings that the amendment in this form would slash the number of NGOs recognised as representing public interest in conservation of natural environment from 47 to 5 and also affect key stakeholder associations, the coalition Modern Centre Party (SMC) filed an amendment to the amendment to "protect" certain environmental groups, among them the associations representing fishermen and beekeepers.

The changes were also questioned by the parliament's legal service, which took issue with they way they entered the session's agenda while also it also argued they could be at odds with the constitution.

Environment Minister Andrej Vizjak begged to differ, saying individuals would continue to be able to express their opinion and associations would be able to continue operating under the act governing associations.

He argued there were as many opinions as there were jurists and that similar arrangements were in place in other countries as well.

In the debate, the head of the Centre of NGOs, Goran Forbici, said that the amendment filed by the SMC only barely reduced the magnitude the blow. "It's like suffering a blow by a hammer instead of an axe."

He admitted there were anomalies among NGOs but called on addressing these in dialogue.

Luka Mesec of the Left said the amendment may be submitted for constitutional review, while the Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) and the Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB) also rejected the amendment.

The SNS and the coalition, on the other hand, defended it. Tadeja Šuštar of New Slovenia (NSi) said that a balance must be found between nature conservation and other projects, adding that some NGOs had no other purpose but to extort.

Mateja Udovč of the SMC meanwhile denied claims that her party filed the amendment to the SNS's amendment merely to establish "peace in the house".

Several hundred protesters gathered in front of the parliament during today's session in a rally organised by the Balkan River Defence movement. "I oppose that NGOs representing us, the people, are being excluded, first from construction and now from all court and administrative procedures," one of the protesters said.

Gaja Brecelj of Umanotera NGO told the STA that the amendment was unacceptable. "Just consider what having low food self-sufficiency meant for us in the coronavirus crisis - at the same time we are now thinking about building on these surfaces."

Blowing whistles, protesters carried banners saying "Hands off of nature" and "NGOs = Nature's Voice", among others. On social media, protesters were urged to wear protective facial masks, observe social distancing rules and ignore any provocations. The peaceful protest was monitored by police.

13 May 2020, 04:14 AM

Check the date at the top of the page, and you can find all the "morning headlines" stories here. You can also follow us on Facebook and get all the news in your feed.

This summary is provided by the STA:

If positive trends continue, return to normal life to accelerate

LJUBLJANA - Bojana Beović, the head of the Health Ministry's advisory task force for the coronavirus, indicated Slovenia may take bolder steps in easing restrictions if the the favourable trends regarding the Covid-19 epidemic in Slovenia continue until the end of the week. She said the epidemic was slowing down, as no more than ten new infections on a daily basis had been recorded since 30 April and the reproduction rate was below one. Government spokesman Jelko Kacin said that the cabinet would discuss an exit strategy and possibilities to relax certain measures later today.

Limited air service to Ljubljana expected in June

BRNIK - Although the ban on international air passenger transport with Slovenia was lifted as of today, passenger flights from Slovenia's airports are not expected before June. Lufthansa, Swiss and Brussels Airlines have already opened bookings on June flights. Air Serbia, EasyJet and Turkish Airlines are expected to launch flight in June as well, according to reports by several media. The Jože Pučnik Ljubljana Airport expects more action in July, but everything will depend on the epidemic-related developments in Europe and the economic recovery.

Only one person tests positive on Monday, no new deaths

LJUBLJANA - A total of 1,182 tests for Covid-19 were performed on Monday resulting in only one positive test to bring the total number of infections to 1,461. No deaths were recorded, with the death toll remaining at 102. A total of 40 patients diagnosed with Covid-19 were in hospital, nine of whom were in intensive care, show the figures released by the government.

Logar's judiciary comments spark reactions among MEPs, at home

LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Anže Logar's critical comments attached to a report filed by Slovenia for the European Commission's first annual rule of law report sparked strong reactions at home and among Slovenian MEPs, most of whom see it as inappropriate Europe should be notified about domestic political issues in such a way. Criticism also came from junior coalition parties, in particular the Modern Centre Party (SMC), which said the report was based on credible and concrete data that showed the situation in the judiciary was in fact improving. Distancing herself from "letters written or signed by individuals", Pensioners' Party head Aleksandra Pivec said that if the coalition is distracted by ideological discord instead of focusing on concrete commitments, time would come for DeSUS to reflect whether it made sense continuing to cooperate in the coalition any further.

PM makes the case for confrontation with the media

LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša made the case for confrontation with the media in an essay entitled War with the Media, in which he argues that keeping silent while media wage war is not an option and has damaging effects on society. Arguing Slovenia needs more media plurality, he particularly took issue with public broadcaster RTV Slovenija as well as POP TV, writing that "the atmosphere of intolerance and hatred is created by a narrow circle of [female] editors with familial and capital ties to the pillars of the deep state and a handful of average and below-average journalists on demand who would not even make it as reporters from the produce market in a normal media outlet." For Janša, these are signs of totalitarianism. The letter drew strong criticism from several parties, including the fellow coalition SMC, which said it believes in the professionalism and independence of the media.

FM discusses pandemic, EU presidency with Dutch counterpart

LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Andraž Logar held a videoconference with his Dutch counterpart Stef Blok, discussing coordination of easing of restrictive measures designed to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. They discussed responses to the pandemic and Slovenia's upcoming EU presidency, the Foreign Ministry said. Logar said the Netherlands was an important economic and political ally to Slovenia, adding that the countries shared similar views on a number of EU-related issues. The ministers expressed the wish for the continuation of positive economic trends which have made the Netherlands the sixth largest investor in Slovenia, the ministry also said.

Committee backs amendment restricting environmental NGOs

LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Environment Committee approved changes to the nature conservation act that significantly limit the ability of NGOs to take part in administrative procedures representing public interest. The original proposal, filed by the opposition National Party (SNS) and coming after a similar change was adopted as part of construction legislation, ended up being softened a little amid warnings it would slash the number of NGOs recognised as representing public interest in conservation of natural environment from 47 to 5 and could potentially be unconstitutional. While some opposition parties spoke of an open attack on NGOs, the coalition argued investment was needed and was too often blocked by NGOs for selfish reasons. Several hundred protesters rallied against the amendment in front of parliament.

Complaint against Pahor, ministers over anti-epidemic rules rejected

LJUBLJANA - The prosecution has reportedly rejected a lawyer's criminal complaint against the president, the defence minister and the interior minister over them not wearing protective equipment and ignoring social distancing rules during a visit to the border river Kolpa, arguing that it could not be alleged that this had facilitated the spread of the coronavirus epidemic. Boštjan Verstovšek, who filed the complaint after Interior Minister Aleš Hojs urged the prosecution of street protesters during the epidemic, responded to the decision by saying it was also good news for "all others who were afraid of exercising their constitutional right to the freedom of assembly and expression because of the threats of criminal prosecution."

Chamber with several proposals for third coronavirus package

LJUBLJANA - The Chamber of Small Business (OZS) has drafted a set of proposals it wants included in the third coronavirus package of measures the government will start working on more intensively next week. The OZS would like more liquidity aid for small companies and sole proprietors, and a lower VAT for services in tourism and some other lines of small business. It would also like a solution to rent payment when a private business rents a place from a private owner after the government has recently helped those renting from the state. The OZS would moreover like the government to ease layoff conditions, and introduce measures to kick-start the construction sector.

Left expects broad support for ban on Sunday shopping

LJUBLJANA - The opposition Left has drawn up a legislative motion in a bid to keep stores closed on Sundays even after the end of the coronavirus epidemic. Considering support expressed from both sides of the political isle and part of the public, the party hopes the bill can be passed by summer. The Left drafted amendments to the trade act in response to a call by the Trade Union of Shop Assistants in its Labour Day message to keep stores closed on Sundays and public holidays beyond the epidemic. Appearing at today's press conference of the Left, the union's secretary general Ladi Rožič said that hundreds of union members wanted Sundays to be a day off for retail workers as well.

Instead of expansion, Brdo Hotel to get a facelift

BRDO PRI KRANJU - Brdo Hotel at the Brdo pri Kranju estate, where most EU presidency activities are due to take place, will not undergo a thorough renovation and expansion as initially planned, it will only get a facelift. After several rounds of bidding, the cost of renovation was declared as too high. The Government Secretariat-General told the STA on Tuesday that the hotel would only get a facelift, which is expected to be completed before Slovenia starts its presidency of the EU in the second half of 2021.

Nika Ham wins OHO Group Award

LJUBLJANA - Nika Ham, a painter who has shifted her focus to video, digital art and performance, has won the 2020 OHO Group Award for up-and-coming Slovenian artists. Ham has taken part in several group and solo exhibitions as a student, and has been the head of the graphic section of the LET'S CEE Film Festival in Vienna since 2016. She also collaborates with the band Laibach and works at Moderna Galerija, the national museum of modern and contemporary art.

Real-world exhibition explores alienation at time of isolation

LJUBLJANA - In one of the first real-world exhibitions to go on show following the reopening of Slovenian galleries, the Ravnikar Gallery Space in Ljubljana launched a solo exhibition by Nevena Aleksovski which explores alienation during coronavirus isolation and lockdown. Featuring drawings and paintings that have mostly been produced during the confinement within the four walls, the exhibition And then So Clear grapples with the questions of how human alienation is heightened by isolation.

Body of missing Polish student found in Soča

BOVEC - The body of a Polish exchange student who slipped into the Soča river on Sunday and was missing since has been recovered 100 metres downstream from the site of the accident, Nova Gorica police said. Police said the body had been found in a net near the village of Soča, where the 23-year-old went missing. The Polish national and four friends, all exchange students, had been staying at a camp site in the village of Soča, near the Great Soča Gorge, a popular destination for tourists.

If you're learning Slovenian then you can find all our dual texts here

12 May 2020, 20:53 PM

All our stories on coronavirus are here, while those covering covid-19 and Croatia are here. We'll have an update at the end of the day, and if you want newsflashes then we'll post those on Facebook

We can’t have pictures of COVID-19 every day. So instead we’ll try and show the works of Slovenian artists. Today it’s Aleksander Sandi. You can see more of his work here.

Contents

Only one person tests positive on Monday, no new deaths

If positive trends continue, return to normal life to accelerate

LINK

Only one person tests positive on Monday, no new deaths

STA, 12 May 2020 - A total of 1,182 tests for Covid-19 were performed in Slovenia on Monday, resulting in only one positive test to bring the total number of infections to 1,461. No deaths were recorded, with the death toll remaining at 102.

A total of 40 patients diagnosed with Covid-19 were in Slovenian hospitals yesterday, nine of whom were in intensive care, show the figures released by the government on Tuesday.

A total of 64,547 tests for Covid-19 have so far been carried out in Slovenia.

Back to the contents

If positive trends continue, return to normal life to accelerate

STA, 12 May 2020 - Should the favourable trends regarding the Covid-19 epidemic in Slovenia continue until the end of the week after some measures were relaxed after the May Day holidays, the authorities believe it will be possible to make even bolder decisions to further normalise life in the country.

Bojana Beović, the head of the Health Ministry's advisory task force for the coronavirus, told the press on Tuesday she was optimistic about the prospects of life in Slovenia getting back to normal in almost all fields.

She noted that the epidemic was slowing down, as no more than ten new infections on a daily basis had been recorded since 30 April. This is a growth of less than 1%, and every infected person infects less than one new patient on average.

According to Beović, this relatively small share of infected persons in the entire population is a result of timely and effective measures to stem the epidemic and the very diligent work of epidemiologists on the ground, who had studied every case and contained them with quarantine measures.

She nevertheless warned about some unresolved issues related to what is expected to be an inevitable increase in the number of infections in the future, saying that the capacity of the healthcare system remained a problem, not so much in terms of equipment, but space and staff.

Beović noted that a coordinated action with other countries was needed to contain the pandemic, as the opening of national borders within the EU must be decided by consensus and initially limited to countries with a comparable level of risk.

"The risk for getting infected with the new coronavirus does not only show in the number of the infected, but also in how an individual country manages the epidemic," added the infectious disease expert.

Government spokesman Jelko Kacin said that the cabinet would discuss an exit strategy and possibilities to relax certain measures in Brdo pri Kranju later today.

He noted that the number of hospitalised Covid-19 patients, including in intensive care, was gradually decreasing, and "I expect that not later than on Thursday we will have clear enough trends about to what side the scales are tipping."

Kacin added that Slovenians were interested the most in travelling to the neighbouring Croatia, but talks about how and when to open the border were still under way, including between the countries' national public health institutes.

Beović noted that people who enter Slovenia must still submit to a week-long quarantine, after which possible infection or lack thereof was confirmed with a test.

Back to the contents

12 May 2020, 20:33 PM

STA, 12 May 2020 - The opposition Left has drawn up a legislative motion in a bid to keep stores closed on Sundays even after the end of the coronavirus epidemic. Considering support expressed from both sides of the political isle and part of the public, the party hopes the bill can be passed by summer.

The Left drafted amendments to the trade act in response to a call by the Trade Union of Shop Assistants in its Labour Day message to keep stores closed on Sundays and public holidays beyond the epidemic.

Appearing at today's press conference of the Left, the union's secretary general Ladi Rožič said that hundreds of union members wanted Sundays to be a day off for retail workers as well.

He said it was sad that after almost 17 years since a referendum in which 58% of those who turned out backed a ban on Sunday store opening hours, the voters' will has still not been put into practice.

Several initiatives, legislative motions and changes to collective bargaining agreements followed to appease the workers, however, most recently the trade act was amended in 2008 to the effect that store opening hours are not restricted at all, aside from the general prescription that statutory worker rights and collective agreements be respected.

Echoing Rožič's arguments, Luka Mesec, the leader of the Left, said thousands of retail workers worked Sundays, losing out on quality of life because they could not spend their time with their families.

He urged all parties to endorse the bill, welcoming broad support signalled by PM Janez Janša on Twitter, Labour Minister Janez Cigler Kralj, and most recently by the Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ), the largest opposition faction, which warned though that the ban should not serve as an excuse for layoffs.

Mesec also noted support from Christian religious communities and many trade unions and other organisations, arguing that the coronavirus epidemic showed that work and shopping habits were but a social agreement that could be changed and that having stores closed on Sundays did not dent the quality of life in any way.

Under the party's proposal retailers would no longer be allowed to set working time on Sundays and work-free days. An exception would be stores of up to 200 square metres located at service stations, airports, railway and bus stations or hospitals.

The Chamber of Commerce has warned that a ban on Sunday shopping would result in a loss of jobs, but Rožič said the retailers were severely understaffed, having to rely on agency, student and immigrant work forces, so he was not concerned the measure would lead to regular staff being made redundant.

Still, the chamber questioned the timing of the legislative proposal, which it said came "at extremely difficult times" when "all forces, skills and activities should be directed at forming measures to exit the crisis as a priority".

The chamber insists that changes to the opening hours will affect the size of the workforce in a sector that employs more than 110,000 people, almost 60,000 of them in retail alone.

12 May 2020, 19:25 PM

STA, 12 May 2020 - Prime Minister Janez Janša makes the case for confrontation with the media in an essay entitled War with the Media, in which he argues that keeping silent while media wage war is not an option and has damaging effects on society.

Janša starts out by saying he used to subscribe to the notion that you cannot win the war with the media, until seven years ago, when he had a conversation with an old friend of Helmut Kohl, the former German chancellor.

The man told him that in Ancient Rome fear of the Roman legions had been a stronger weapon than the legionnaires' spears and swords.

In the ensuing debate by intellectuals from several countries three main conclusions were drawn.

Firstly, a media outlet deserving of its name will never declare criticism against it as an attack on freedom of the press or even a war on media.

Secondly, those denigrated by the media have lost if they consent to the notion that there is no point in arguing with the media.

And thirdly, the media declare criticism of their fake or manipulative reports as war, and then they accuse the targets of media hit jobs of waging war against them.

"And the lukewarm portion of 'public' opinion boiled in lukewarm water widely nods, acknowledging that 'war with the media cannot be won'," Janša says.

"The professional group in western civilisation that first declared itself the seventh power, then the fourth (unelected) branch of power and finally the moral judge of political correctness, is increasingly difficult to recognise today as a force for good, for they are neither."

This is becoming increasingly clear with better education and internet access, which "drastically shatter the emerging idolators of Orwellian society and raise the hope that western civilisation will not suffer the fate of the (W) Roman Empire," according to Janša.

The prime minister goes on to make the case for media plurality, noting that individuals cannot wage war with the media, but media themselves can and should be engaged in a "media war" in the sense of presenting competing views.

"In a democratic society different values must have opportunities for expression and advocacy of their ideas that are as equal as possible."

"Media competition is more important than any other [competition], indeed, it is the precondition for a democratic social system and a free society in general," Janša says.

Turning specifically to Slovenian media, Janša singles out RTV Slovenija as he takes issue with the public broadcaster's statement that a public radio and television service is a bedrock of a free society and attacks on it are attacks on democracy.

He then flips the situation by wondering how the broadcaster would react if the government made the same declaration in the midst of the coronavirus epidemic.

"Can you imagine the reaction by the 'public radio and TV'? If yes, it is perfectly clear where we are and just how profound the depravity is of those who declare themselves a 'bedrock of a free society' without an election or constitutional procedure or any kind of shame."

Janša goes on to say that both largest TV stations have many capable, professional and ethical journalists but these cannot make their mark because of "incendiary editorial policy and management".

"The atmosphere of intolerance and hatred is created by a narrow circle of [female] editors with familial and capital ties to the pillars of the deep state and a handful of average and below-average journalists on demand who would not even make it as reporters from the produce market in a normal media outlet."

For Janša, these are signs of totalitarianism. "Totalitarians typically disarmed their opponents before they shot them. First in the media and then physically. First discrediting, then liquidating. Physically if necessary."

The prime minister argues that "well-meaning and god-fearing individuals" are making this possible.

"Perhaps in the lukewarm water you did not even notice that death threats and appeal to murder at leftist rallies are treated by RTV Slovenija, POP TV and other 'media' from the same flock as something 'normal', self-evident even."

"In fact they are boiling you, not the government," he says in reference to the slow boiling of a live frog.

Noting the difficult situation Slovenia is facing as it battles the coronavirus epidemic and the coming economic crisis, Janša says that the destructive consequences can only be overcome if the nation stands together, whereby irresponsible conduct by a few can put everyone else at risk.

"Slovenia can do it, but it cannot do it divided. This requires active effort for the common good and a strong voice, a voice without fake 'political correctness', the voice of each individual against incitement, the creation of additional emergencies and irresponsible actions."

The essay, which was released on the government website on Monday evening, has been criticised by the opposition Social Democrats (SD) and Left.

The SD's MEP Tanja Fajon labelled it inadmissible, low-minded and shameful, and an abuse of the institution of prime minister against freedom of the press by means of a rhetoric used by US President Donald Trump.

Fajon added that her colleagues in Brussels were frequently asking her about what was going on in Slovenia and followed the developments with concern.

The Left's leader Luka Mesec told the press that Janša had used a populist rhetoric of undermining the media and other authorities in society, but by doing so, he was only expressing his "authoritarian tendencies".

The coalition partners of Janša's Democrats (SDS) in the government are also reserved about the prime minister's views, with the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) announcing it could reconsider its further cooperation if ideological topics should prevail over projects the party had committed to in the coalition agreement.

Although she has not yet read Janša's piece, DeSUS leader Aleksandra Pivec said it was extremely disturbing that one's personal ideological views interfered with real work.

"We're interested in implementing the projects to which we have committed within the coalition. We would like to distance ourselves from various personal views and writings ...," she told the press.

Unhappy with Janša's way of communication, the Modern Centre Party (SMC) said it believes in the professionalism and independence of the media. "This manner of communication between politics and the media certainly does not enhance the credibility of either side, the media and politicians," said deputy group leader Janja Sluga.

New Slovenia (NSi) leader Matej Tonin took to Twitter saying that both the media and politicians carry a lot of responsibility and that truth is the value that every politician and every media outlet must pursue. "Objective reporting is what builds democracy, bias disables it," he tweeted.

12 May 2020, 15:15 PM

STA, 12 May 2020 - The body of Kacper Zieliński, a Polish exchange student who slipped into the Soča river on Saturday and was missing since, has been recovered 100 metres downstream from the site of the accident, Nova Gorica police said on Tuesday.

Police said the body had been found in a net near the village of Soča, where the 23-year-old went missing. Police and firefighters were dispatched to recover the body and subsequently verified the deceased man's identity.

The Polish national and four friends, all exchange students, had been staying at a camp site in the village of Soča, near the Great Soča Gorge, a popular destination for tourists.

The 750-metre stretch of the river is very narrow, with the river flowing from one pool to the next some 15 metres below the top of the gorge.

The group went to explore the gorge on a footpath that leads along its top. The 23-year-old Pole left the footpath, walking to the edge of an overhang. He lost his balance and fell into the river. He managed to swim for about ten more metres but then the group lost sight of him.

12 May 2020, 14:25 PM

STA, 12 May 2020 - Although the ban on international air passenger transport with Slovenia was lifted today, passenger flights from Slovenia's airports are not expected before June as most air carriers have cancelled their flights until the end of May. However, Lufthansa, Swiss and Brussels Airlines have already opened bookings on June flights.

Currently, it is possible to book flights connecting Ljubljana with Frankfurt, Munich, Brussels and Zurich by the three carriers, all part of the Lufthansa group, which plans to restart at 20% of capacity as of 1 June, according to the European Union Aviation Safety Agency.

The business newspaper Finance says that the three airlines will probably offer one flight per day.

Serbian flag carrier Air Serbia, which will restore flights on 18 May, is also expected to start flying to Ljubljana in June, but in a limited scope at first, writes the web portal Ex-Yu Aviation.

Easyjet is also expected to gradually start flying again in June but its plan to launch a new route between Ljubljana and the Luton airport this summer has been abandoned.

Turkish Airlines, which was one of the most active foreign carriers at Ljubljana airport, will also start flying again in June and then gradually increase operations until October.

Finish Finnair and British Airways have suspended their plans for summer flights to Helsinki and Heathrow for the time being.

Ljubljana airport expects more action in July, but everything will depend on the epidemic-related developments in Europe and the economic recovery.

The airport stresses that it will take a long time before it returns to last year's passenger numbers.

The government decided last night not to extend restrictions for air travel again, allowing resumption of passenger flights from the EU and third countries to Slovenia's international airports.

In a press release, the Government Communication Office said the ban, which was imposed on 17 March, was no longer necessary or sensible because following strict safety measures in individual countries air carriers were not providing flights anyway due to a lack of demand.

Slovenia does not have an air carrier since Adria Airways went into receivership last year.

Fraport Slovenija, which operates Ljubljana airport, welcomed the decision, saying that the lifting of the ban would help airlines plan flights.

Before the epidemic, 17 carriers were expected to operate 22 routes to 15 countries in the summer.

12 May 2020, 13:08 PM

Ljubljana Castle reopened 4 May, and another of Slovenia’s most visited sites, Bled Castle, will be welcoming visitors again from 14 May on. However, note that you’ll not be able to visit the island until 18 May.

In other news, Postojna Cave, by some counts the most popular tourist attraction in the country – since Ljubljana Castle gets multiple visits from locals each year – will not be opening until at least 1 June, although this date remains to be confirmed.

12 May 2020, 12:10 PM

STA, 11 May 2022 - Tone Škarja, a professional climber considered one of the pillars of Slovenian mountaineering, has died. The 83-year-old, famous for numerous challenging expeditions, was also a mountain guide, author and photographer.

His death was confirmed on Monday by Matjaž Šerkezi of the Slovenian Alpine Association (PZS).

Škarja, who had been a member of the organisation since 1951, started pursuing mountaineering professionally in 1956. He completed more than 1,000 alpine ascents, including participating in more than 30 trailblazing expeditions.

The 83-year-old was also part of the Yugoslavian Mount Everest expedition in 1979. The mostly Slovenian team scaled the world's highest peak by climbing the western ridge, still unexplored by then.

Later that year, Škarja received the Bloudek Award, Slovenia's most prestigious sports accolade, for the achievement. Together with another legendary climber, Aleš Kunaver, who passed away in the 1980s, he led the successful expedition, the PZS organisation said.

Škarja was also the head of the Kamnik mountain rescue team as well as the chairman of the PZS commission of foreign expeditions. Moreover, he was vice-president of the association between 1998 and 2011.

The Slovenian segment of the Nepal International Mountain Museum was set up and managed by Škarja.

Viki Grošelj, a climber who has scaled the most eight-thousanders among the Slovenian mountaineering elite and the first Slovenian to have climbed the highest summits of all the continents, has responded to today's sad news by highlighting the important role Škarja played in promoting Slovenia's mountaineering and raising it to the highest level.

"I was deeply hurt and shaken by the news of his death, but not completely unprepared since Škarja had been ill for quite some time," Grošelj said, adding that the departed was a mentor and a role model to numerous generations of climbers.

All our stories on mountaineering in Slovenia are here

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