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.
A schedule of all the main events involving Slovenia this week can be found here
This summary is provided by the STA:
Parties keeping their options open
LJUBLJANA - Mid-sized parties are keeping their options open a week after the resignation of Prime Minister Marjan Šarec. Talks with President Borut Pahor today showed the Modern Centre Party (SMC) prefers a new coalition to a snap election, and will enter talks with Janez Janša's Democrats (SDS), while it did not say whether it was interested in a potential partnership with the Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB). The SocDems remain in favour of a snap election, but will sit down for talks only with the SAB. The Left does not plan to participate in any possible coalition, while New Slovenia (NSi) plans to talk to both SAB and SDS, even as it steps up preparations for a snap election.
Delo poll shows 62% favouring snap election
LJUBLJANA - A poll run by Delo has 62% picking a snap election among the options following the disbanding of the coalition. The forming of a new coalition is, on the other hand, favoured by 26.4%, while 10.8% are undecided. According to the survey, conducted by Mediana in the week after the 27 January resignation of PM Marjan Šarec, left-leaning voters in particular favour a snap election. Eight out of ten respondents believe a new government should first tackle healthcare.
Slovenia welcomes new proposal on enlargement policy
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia welcomed a European Commission proposal for a reform of the EU membership process that provides stronger sanctioning of aspiring EU members if they backslide on their reform efforts. "Slovenia is confident that a more dynamic, credible and political process will accelerate EU enlargement to the Western Balkans, which is crucial for stability, development and reform processes in the region," the Foreign Ministry said.
Foreign Ministry advises against non-urgent travel to China
LJUBLJANA - The Foreign Ministry advised against any non-urgent travel to China. The ministry said that people should not travel to any areas that are under quarantine due to the new coronavirus which has claimed some 500 lives since breaking out in the city of Wuhan in late December. The ministry advised Slovenians in the most at-risk areas that the safest option is to leave.
MPs critical of white paper on defence
LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Defence Committee discussed the white paper on defence recently presented by the Defence Ministry. The opposition Democrats (SDS) and the Left voiced the harshest criticism, albeit listing different arguments. While the SDS claims the document is not ambitious enough, the Left labelled it "a propaganda leaflet". The document plans for Slovenia's armed forces to increase to 8,000 members and 2,000 reserves by 2035, while defence spending is to rise to 2% of GDP.
Catalonia support committee says EU losing credibility
LJUBLJANA - The committee set up in Slovenia in support of Catalan political prisoners sent out another protest letter, calling on governments in Europe and on European institutions not to divert attention from violations of basic European values in Spain. The committee founders, including former Slovenian President Milan Kučan and former MEP Ivo Vajgl, said the EU was losing credibility due to violations of European values in Catalonia and the process to waive immunity of Catalan MEPs.
NKBM completes Abanka takeover
LJUBLJANA - NKBM, Slovenia's second largest bank, formally completed its takeover of Abanka by transferring the EUR 444 million purchase consideration to the state. The two banks will be merged into a single legal entity this year, creating a strong rival to market leader NLB. The merger, which Abanka chairman Jože Lenič described as a momentous event in Slovenian banking, will create a bank with total assets of EUR 8.8 billion, just shy of NLB's. Its market share by assets will be 23.6%.
Despite monthly spike, jobless total still down y/y
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's jobless total hit 79,841 at the end of January, an increase of 6% from December that is mainly due to the expiry of fixed-term job contracts. The figure is still 3.6% lower than in January 2019, data from the Employment Service show. The number of freshly made unemployed who registered with the service in January surged by 41.9% from December to 11,288. Out of the 6,739 who were removed from the unemployment register, 4,700 found a job or got self-employed.
NLB completes EUR 120m bond issue
LJUBLJANA - NLB, Slovenia's largest bank, completed the issue of EUR 120 million worth of subordinate bonds in a second such issue since November last year. With a maturity date on 5 February 2030, the bonds are callable after five years. The bonds have an annual yield of 3.40%, and have been given a BB credit rating by the rating agency S&P. The issue attracted significant demand, with the book of orders exceeding EUR 300 million.
Execs bearish about growth prospects
LJUBLJANA - Slovenian executives are quite pessimistic about the prospects for global economic growth this year with more than half of those surveyed by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) thinking that growth will slow down. "The sentiment of this year's survey of Slovenian directors is best summarised with the word uncertainty," head of legal services at PWC Slovenia, Sanja Savič, said. This year 53% of directors think that global growth will deteriorate over the next 12 months, up from 47% last year.
Lek announces more focus on innovative drugs
LJUBLJANA - Addressing the press amid continuing speculation about Novartis's plans, representatives of the Swiss multinational's Slovenian subsidiary Lek said Novartis would continue a reform in Slovenia that included the transformation of production locations and more focus on innovative drugs along with generics. Lek started producing 10 innovative drugs last year, making for a total of 26. It also filed applications for 21 new generic pharmaceuticals last year.
Banks unlikely to charge households for deposits
LJUBLJANA - A survey conducted by the Slovenian central bank shows that Slovenian banks are unlikely to follow suit of some banks abroad that have started charging fees for household sight deposits to compensate for the loss of earnings due to negative interest rates. Just one in ten banks involved in the survey said they were considering negative interest and two in ten said they were considering deposit fees. It suggests at least sight deposits up to EUR 100,000 should be safe from such charges.
Slovenia's retail slowdown among most substantial in EU
BRUSSELS, Belgium - Slovenia saw the biggest slump in the volume of retail trade among EU members in December compared to the same month a year earlier, and one of the biggest month-on-month drops, show data from Eurostat. The seasonally adjusted volume of retail trade in Slovenia declined by 6.6% year-on-year and dropped by 2.8% compared to November 2019. This compares to the annual growth of 1.3% in the euro area and 1.9% in the EU27, and the monthly decline of 1.6% and 1.3%, respectively.
Petition against pollution of Soča Valley gaining traction
LJUBLJANA - A petition to protect the central Soča Valley from further pollution by the local cement plant is gaining traction, having been signed by almost 600 doctors and dentists from around the country. They urge environmental protection from the Salonit Anhovo cement plant in Kanal ob Soči, in particular the plans to expand the volume of co-incineration of waste. Environment Minister Simon Zajc said that medical professionals would be a factor as decisions were made on further measures.
Carinthian Political Almanac presented in Ljubljana
LJUBLJANA - The latest issue of the Carinthian Political Almanac was presented in Slovenia's capital for the first time, with Austrian Ambassador to Slovenia Sigrid Berka saying on the occasion that Carinthian Slovenians were an important part of the public and political life in Carinthia and that the publication treated them accordingly. The 2019 issue features annual analyses of political events in the southern Austrian state since 1994.
Health insurance to start covering cancer genetic testing
LJUBLJANA - The Health Insurance Institute will start covering genetic testing for cancer this year, helping to create individualised treatments. For instance, some breast cancer patients may avoid chemotherapy if the test shows a low risk of recurrence. Cost will not go up, as the tests will reduce the number of chemotherapy treatments and sick leave costs. The Health Insurance Institute (ZZZS) believes that between 1,500 and 1,600 genetic tests will be performed annually.
Alternative music festival kicks off in Ljubljana
LJUBLJANA - The MENT Festival of contemporary alternative music got under way at Ljubljana's Kino Šiška with a concert by Kamaal Williams, a project by South Londoner Henry Wu, one of the key artists responsible for the revival of the British jazz scene. The opening night also saw the Ukrainian female group Dakh Daughters and the Slovenian band Pantaloons. The three-day festival is featuring a total of some 80 performers on 14 stages as well as a conference.
Visiting Ljubljana? Check out what's on this week, while all our stories on Slovenia, from newest to oldest, are here
If you're learning Slovenian then you can find all our dual texts here