After some years of plans that remained unrealised, Ex-Yu Aviation reports that the Ukrainian carrier Windrose Airlines is to start flights between Kiev and Ljubljana this summer. The service starts on 30 April and will operate twice weekly, on Tuesday and Sunday, with the schedule set to end in October, unless demand is greater than expected in the low season. The flights are scheduled to leave Kiev at 11:10 and arrive in Ljubljana 12:10, while they’ll take off from Slovenia at 12:50 and touchdown in Ukraine at 16:10.
STA, 31 January - A two-month-old baby has died in a Roma village which lacks basic infrastructure such as electricity and water near Ribnica, southern Slovenia, triggering finger-pointing between institutions and severe criticism by Amnesty International (AI) Slovenia.
The baby died of pneumonia a month ago in Goriča Vas, where the family with three children had lived in great poverty in a shack, sleeping on blankets on the floor.
Two days after the baby's death, the other children were placed in a crisis centre, with social workers citing the poor living conditions, lack of water and poor care for the children, the newspaper Dnevnik reported yesterday.
Ordered to improve the living conditions, the parents moved to a relative's house in a nearby village, but have not yet been reunited with the children.
There are several illegal Roma villages with inhumane living conditions in the Dolenjska region, two villages with 150 inhabitants in the Ribnica municipality alone.
The local Kočevje social work centre is in the process of taking seven children from their families, according to Dnevnik.
Amnesty International Slovenia has called for decent living conditions, saying inaction by local and national authorities leaves many Roma families without water and electricity.
It says on its website that several Roma people have complained to the European Court of Human Rights for having their universal right to water violated.
The NGO also says that Roma infant death rate is four times higher than in the rest of the country's population.
Its director Nataša Posel blames the situation on inaction by those who have power to change it, pointing a finger at several ministers in the outgoing government, mayors of municipalities with Roma villages, Office for Nationalities boss Stane Baluh and two directors of local social work centres.
AI Slovenia has thus urged the state to immediately provide housing units for families from illegal Roma villages as well as access to water, electricity and toilet facilities.
The state should also overhaul inefficient mechanisms to include Roma children in education and provide assistance to the entire community at all levels.
Ribnica, on the other hand, denies being inactive, but says funds for Roma housing and other basic infrastructure should be managed at national rather than local level.
Its official Tina Peček told the STA on Friday the Office for Nationalities had been notified of the situation in Goriča Vas last year, and several mayors had jointly urged the government to take action.
Although the Human Rights Ombudsman asked the municipality to provide the basic infrastructure in the village back in 2015, Peček said there was no legal basis for it.
The ombudsman then turned to the Office for Nationalities, saying the government should provide for human rights of the Roma when they are violated at local level.
The office, however, said today it had made great efforts to encourage Ribnica to be proactive.
It noted the good cooperation with one of its representatives, but regretted that despite encouraging prospects last year, no major progress had been made.
A schedule of all the main events involving Slovenia this week can be found here
This summary is provided by the STA:
Instead of cooperating, Slovenia and Croatia are flexing their muscles, Kučan says
ZAGREB, Croatia - Former Slovenian President Milan Kučan told the Croatian newspaper Večernji List that Slovenia and Croatia had many common interests but rather than cooperating they were flexing their muscles. He finds it inexplicable that two countries "which are in the same boat" have no ideas for joint projects that they could offer in the world of contradictions and to the insecure European Union. "There are many common interests there, but instead we are flexing our muscles," he said.
Carinthian Slovenian installed as bishop of Gurk-Klagenfurt
KLAGENFURT, Austria - Jože Marketz, a member of the Slovenian minority in Austria, was installed as the new bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Gurk-Klagenfurt in Klagenfurt. His appointment by Pope Francis at the beginning of last December is seen as very important for the Slovenian community in Austria. A number of church dignitaries took part in the ceremony and over a thousand people attended. A part of the ceremony was held in Slovenian, and Markets gave his replies to the questions about his readiness to assume the post in both German and Slovenian.
Gen-I to build first major solar power plant in North Macedonia
SKOPJE, North Macedonia - Energy company Gen-I will build the first major solar power plant in North Macedonia. The plant will be built and managed by Gen-I's subsidiary Sonce DOOEL Skopje. Construction is expected to start in early 2021 and the power plant should start operating in early 2023. It is to produce 25,000 Megawatt hours of electricity a year.
If you're learning Slovenian then you can find all our dual texts here
As a child growing up in Logatec, I cannot remember a winter in which snow wouldn’t present a major element in the organisation of everyone's lives. Adults hated it, children loved it. It presented numerous possibilities for free outdoor play, another disappearing element of our societies today.
1952 was a record year for snowfall in Slovenia. A 146cm snow cover was measured in Ljubljana, while reports from other parts of Slovenia were hindered due to damaged communication lines.
Slovenia is one of the three EU countries that is forbidden by their own constitutions to extradite their own citizens to non-EU countries, which the UK became last Friday, at 23:00 UK time, midnight on the Continent.
Although the European Arrest Warrant continues to apply during the Brexit Implementation Period that lasts until 31 December 2020, the three countries have notified the European Commission that complying with the treaty would be unconstitutional for them. This however only applies to each country's own citizens. UK citizens, or other EU nationals, could still be extradited under the European Arrest Warrant during the transition period.
This means that if a Slovenian national committed a crime in the UK before fleeing back to Slovenia, they would escape criminal prosecution in the UK. Slovenian law, however, allows for Slovenian citizens who have committed a crime abroad to be prosecuted in Slovenia.
STA, 2 February 2020 - Energy company Gen-I will build the first major solar power plant in North Macedonia. The plant will be built and managed by Gen-I's subsidiary Sonce DOOEL Skopje. Construction is expected to start in early 2021.
North Macedonia will build the 35 Megawatt plant in Amzabegovo and Gen-I will set up panels for 17 Megawatts after winning a public tender.
The Slovenian company has also won the right to use the land for the production of solar power for 50 years, while the state of North Macedonia will provide all the necessary permits, Gen-I said in a press release.
GEN-I Sonce DOOEL Skopje is expected to launch construction at the beginning of 2021 and the power plant should start operating in early 2023. It is to produce 25,000 Megawatt hours of electricity a year.
According to Gen-I management member and CEO of GEN-I Sonce DOOEL Skopje, Igor Koprivnikar, the project is expected to open new opportunities in renewable energy sources production, sustainable energy services and create synergies in financial markets as well as long-term partnerships with investors.
The power plant in Amzabegovo is expected to supply clean electricity to North Macedonia as well as other markets in the region.
SURS just released the full tourist figures for 2019, and although we already published a summary we thought we’d dig a little deeper into the data, to find some other trends and points of interest, with the top 10 nations for the year shown below (and the full list at the end of the story).
*Other Asian countries includes all Asian nations other than China, Japan and South Korea
When looking at the monthly data for all foreign tourists, the first thing to note is the extreme seasonality of such visits. The lowest figure, 167,689, was for February, while the highest, 879,291, was in August, with June to September all months with more than a half a million arrivals.
Of course, given the habit of summer vacations, and the fact that most visitors are from Europe, this isn’t surprising. But what about places with other traditions? The data for North East Asia – China, S Korea and Japan – shows a different picture, as does that for Other Asian countries (such as India, which isn’t yet pulled out of the data on its own) .
Looking at China alone and there are two peaks, either side of the August one for tourism in general, with a very off-trend spike in October. It’s much the same story elsewhere in Asia, as seen below in a chart for China, South Korea, Japan and “Other Asia”. All have peaks outside the high summer, in late spring and – with the exception of Japan – in autumn, too.
Combining all the numbers in the chart above gives the following for the whole of Asia.
This line can then be overlaid on the one for the whole world, producing the following image.
Finally, I took a look at the percentage of tourist arrivals from all of Asia by month, with it being 9.5% for the whole. There are two months where such tourists account for more than 15% of the total, in May (15.9%) and October (17.4%).
The data thus suggest that one way to reduce the seasonal nature of tourism in Slovenia, and the trade in related goods and services, would be to continue and extend efforts promote the country as a destination in Asia, as tourists from this region tend to avoid the peak summer months and arrive out of season. You can learn more and play around with the SURS data here.
The full list of nations and regions for which data on tourist arrivals in 2019 is available is shown below.
|Other Asian countries||176,454|
|Korea (Republic of)||139,451|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||72,112|
|Other countries of South and Middle America||26,248|
|Other European countries||25,732|
|Other African countries||8,927|
|Other countries of Oceania||396|
STA, 31 January - Slovenian WWII veterans intend to ask the Constitutional Court to review the recently annulled 1946 guilty verdict of Leon Rupnik, a Nazi collaborationist general. The Association of WWII Veterans is also considering appealing at the European Court of Human Rights.
It said "several people have turned to us who were direct victims of the Domobranci militia's cruel terror dictated by Leon Rupnik in collaboration with the occupying forces of Slovenian lands".
The association said in a press release on Thursday that it had also urged Human Rights Ombudsman Peter Svetina to take action to protect the victims' dignity.
Its president Marijan Križman called on Svetina last week "to not let the collaboration with the occupying forces be honoured in Slovenia".
Križman wrote to Svetina that due to the Supreme Court's unreasonable annulment of the verdict, the association members "feel hurt and expect action".
Pro-Nazi General Rupnik (1880-1946) was sentenced to death by court martial and executed in September 1946 for treason and collaboration with the occupying forces.
The Supreme Court, petitioned in 2014 by Rupnik's relatives, annulled the verdict for being insufficiently explained, and sent the case into retrial.
Rupnik's relatives could petition the Supreme Court on a point of law on the basis of changes to the penal code passed in the 1990s, after Slovenia gained independence.
The changes introduced an extraordinary legal remedy to rehabilitate those who were unlawfully or unjustly sentenced under the former communist regime before 1990.
However, the deadline for direct petitions by relatives has already expired. They can now send a request for legal remedy to the prosecution, which then decides if a petition is justified.
While Rupnik's is probably one of the last annulled verdicts from the communist regime, the state has received almost 700 claims for damages related to the annulments.
The State Attorney's Office has told the STA that the great majority of the claims were filed in 1995-2005 and have already been closed.
The majority have been settled out of court; a settlement has been reached in almost 460 cases and almost 165 claims have been rejected.
Of a total of 126 cases that went to court, 19 lawsuits ended to the benefit of the plaintiffs, while the plaintiffs were not successful in 37 cases, 16 cases ended in a settlement, seven lawsuits have been withdrawn and one rejected.
While the damages claims ranged from EUR 1,200 to EUR 2.5 million, the State Attorney's Office has not provided the figures about the actual damages awarded.
It has explained "the claims ended more than ten years ago" and gathering the data about them would entail time-consuming studying of archived documents.
But it has said the suits and claims for damages were related to a number of different situations, such as imprisonment on the Goli Otok island and at Stara Gradiška prison, both in present-day Croatia, or death sentences.
However, the amount of the damages awarded depended significantly on whether the claim had been made by the victim or their heirs, whether a prison or death sentence had been involved, in which prison the victim had served time and for how long, and to what extent the victim had managed to recover from the experience.
The following schedule was prepared by the STA:
MONDAY, 3 February
LJUBLJANA - A police trade union will stage a 4-hour token strike.
LJUBLJANA - Robert Šumi, a teacher at the police academy, is expected to hold a public presentation after having been picked the next head of the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption.
BRDO PRI KRANJU - A forum of the Slovenian Business Club, to be addressed by President Borut Pahor.
LJUBLJANA - A press conference will be held ahead of the launch of the new Muslim cultural centre in Ljubljana.
LJUBLJANA - Youths for Climate Justice will organise a panel on how to decarbonise Slovenia.
TUESDAY, 4 February
LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor is expected to launch official consultations with parliamentary parties following the resignation of Prime Minister Marjan Šarec.
BRDO PRI KRANJU - The intergovernmental Slovenian-Belarus commission for cooperation in trade and economy, and science and technology will hold a session.
ŠOŠTANJ - A Šalek Valley environmental movement will host a round table about the effects of potential waste co-incineration at the TEŠ thermal power plant.
BRDO PRI KRANJU - The Bloudek Awards for achievements in sports will be conferred.
WEDNESDAY, 5 February
LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Defence Committee will debate the recently unveiled white paper on defence.
LJUBLJANA - PricewaterhouseCoopers will present a survey it conducted among Slovenian managers and host a debate about business challenges in 2020.
LJUBLJANA - The publication Koroški Politični Zbornik 2019 will be presented at the Austrian Embassy in Ljubljana.
LJUBLJANA - The Employment Agency will release data on unemployment in January.
LJUBLJANA - The Nutrition Institute will declare the most innovative foods of 2020.
LJUBLJANA - The MENT Festival of contemporary alternative music will start.
THURSDAY, 6 February
LJUBLJANA - The caretaker government will convene for its weekly session.
LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Economy Committee will debate government amendments to the industrial property act.
FRIDAY, 7 February
BRUSSELS, Belgium - Outgoing Prime Minister Marjan Šarec will meet European Council President Charles Michel.
LJUBLJANA - Top artists will be honoured with the Prešeren Prizes on the eve of Culture Day.
LJUBLJANA - An international two-day Women Economic Forum Conference will start.
LJUBLJANA - The Statistics Office will release data on trade for 2019 and January inflation.
SATURDAY, 8 February
LJUBLJANA - A number of events will be held to observe Culture Day, celebrated on the anniversary of the death of Romantic poet France Prešeren.
SUNDAY, 9 February
No major events are scheduled.
STA, 31 January 2020 - Some 6.2 million tourists visited Slovenia last year, a 5% increase compared to 2018. The number of overnight stays grew 0.6% to roughly 15.8 million, shows Statistics Office data released on Friday.
The number of Slovenian tourists increased by 1.3% to 1.5 million, while the number of foreign tourists grew by 6.3% to 4.7 million.
The bulk of the foreign tourists came from Italy, Germany and Austria, but while Austrians opted more often for holidays in Slovenia (up 10.7%), Italians were less likely to visit the country (down 8.5%).
Meanwhile, the number of tourists in December 2019 was on par with the year before. On the other hand, the number of overnight stays decreased by almost 9%.
The Christmas holiday season attracted foreign tourists mostly from Italy (26% of the foreign tourists), Austria (11%), Croatia (10%), Germany (6%) and Serbia (5%). Spas, the Slovenian Alps, the capital and the seaside were top destinations at the end of 2019.
A schedule of all the main events involving Slovenia this week can be found here
This summary is provided by the STA:
President concerned support for electoral reform insufficient
LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor expressed concern about insufficient support for electoral reform after 59 MPs submitted a legislative motion to scrap electoral districts in line with a landmark Constitutional Court decision, just shy of the requisite two-thirds majority. "In the event this proposal does not muster sufficient support, the question that will arise is how to proceed. It may well happen that we will witness the submission of new proposals that will not be adopted and time will run out for the implementation of the Constitutional Court decision," he said.
Friends of Cohesion oppose cohesion funding cuts
BEJA, Portugal - Friends of Cohesion, an informal group of EU members of which Slovenia is a part, called for a fair EU budget in the next seven-year period in which funding for cohesion should not be cut. "We need more Europe, not less, which is why we should stick to the proposal presented in the spring of 2018 by the European Commission," said Igor Mally, state secretary at the prime minister's office, who attended the summit on behalf of Prime Minister Marjan Šarec.
If you're learning Slovenian then you can find all our dual texts here