News

10 Aug 2022, 10:20 AM

STA, 10 August 2022 - A fire that broke out during Monday night under Socerb hill in the Koper municipality near the border with Italy has been brought under control, but has not yet been put out, authorities said on Wednesday morning. Given how bad it looked at a certain point yesterday, the situation is relatively good now, they added.

A total of 130 firefighters remain on the ground as the extinguishing effort has been taken over by the day shift, David Hrvatin, the head of the night shift with the Koper Fire Department, told the STA.

The night shift included some 130 firefighters and 40 vehicles, the Defence Ministry said.

Support from the air hit pause during last night after helicopters and water bombers participated in the effort throughout Tuesday, but aerial firefighting will again play a major role today.

Two Slovenian Armed Forces helicopters have returned to the site this morning to help put out the fire, and a Pilatus aircraft is expected too. A police helicopter will be monitoring the area with a thermal imaging camera.

Yesterday evening two hotspots were still active and the main cause for concern was the bora wind, but now the situation looks more promising.

About 15 hectares were on fire yesterday afternoon, shows data from the Civil Protection and Disaster Relief Administration, but Hrvatin estimates the figure increased slightly towards the evening.

Koper Mayor Aleš Bržan said in a press statement on Tuesday that the drinking water supply on the Slovenian coast was not yet at risk. The Civil Protection indeed redirected some water tank trucks to the fire site that were initially meant to bring the much-needed extra supplies to the municipality, but the coastal area was then soon provided with additional trucks, he said.

10 Aug 2022, 06:43 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:

Pahor discusses Ukraine war effects for W Balkans in Turkey

ANKARA, Turkey - President Borut Pahor started a two-day state visit to Turkey by meeting Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Cavusoglu and addressing the annual meeting of Turkish diplomats. The pair discussed the war in Ukraine and its consequences for the Western Balkans, with Pahor praising Turkey for its role as mediator between Russia and Ukraine, especially as regards grain exports. The war in Ukraine was also the main topic of Pahor's address to the Turkish diplomats, which he delivered upon a special invitation by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whom he is scheduled to meet tomorrow.

Fire under Socerb hill getting close to nearby villages

KOPER - A fire broke out last night under Socerb hill in a hard-to-access area near the border with Italy, south-east of Trieste, and has not yet been contained, as a strong bora wind helped it spread downhill towards the villages of Osp in Slovenia and Prebenico in Italy. The firefighters on both sides of the border were helped out by helicopters and water bombers until dusk, while they fear the bora, which is forecast to blow on Wednesday and Thursday. No evacuation was needed on the Slovenian side of the border so far. The cause of the fire is not yet known.

Second coronavirus booster recommended for elderly, chronic patients

LJUBLJANA - The number of Covid-19 infections has not been increasing, but the number of those hospitalised with Covid is not decreasing either, so Bojana Beović, head of the advisory committee on immunisation at the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ), recommended those over 80 and those with chronic diseases to get a second booster immediately. Those over 60 are also advised to get a second booster shot. Immunologist Beović, who also heads the Medical Chamber, expects that vaccination for the entire population will probably be sensible in autumn, alongside flu jabs.

New school year to start with coronavirus self-testing

LJUBLJANA - The new school year is to start with home coronavirus testing for those showing symptoms and those who have been in contact with an infected person. If a new variant creating a high risk of severe illness starts spreading, weekly home testing for all students and teachers would be recommended, according to last week's decision of the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ) coronavirus advisory group. The decision was endorsed today by the sub-group for education. Its member Nives Počkar told the STA the goal was to avoid shutting down schools. NIJZ is to present the two-scenario plan on Wednesday.

Coronavirus infections keep receding

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia reported 2,402 new cases of coronavirus for Monday, 9% fewer than the same day a week ago as cases kept falling week-on-week for the 12th day running. Six patients with Covid-19 died, fresh data from the Health Ministry shows. The number of patients needing hospital care for Covid-19 dropped by nine from Sunday to 104. Data from the National Institute of Public Health shows the 14-day case notification rate per 100,000 people falling by 28 in a day to 993.

New case of foreign worker abuse reported

LJUBLJANA - Public broadcaster TV Slovenija reported that 12 Indian workers had been forced to work 60-hour weeks at a Ljubljana car wash for less than the minimum wage after having their passports taken away. The group eventually ran away from the Avtostop car wash and two of them turned for help to an NGO specialising in the rights of migrant workers. The Financial Administration, the Labour Inspectorate and the police conducted separate oversight visits at the firm in July, but the procedures are still ongoing. Amonte, the company operating the car wash, denied the allegations. Its director Semir Hajdarpašić believes this is an attempt at blackmail.

Parts of anti-money laundering act in for constitutional review

LJUBLJANA - The information commissioner has asked for constitutional review of part of the prevention of money laundering and terrorism financing act that is based on two inspection proceedings and related to processing of personal information. "There are serious and objective reasons to suspect that the legal regulation of personal information processing by the Office for Money Laundering Prevention is unconstitutional in a certain part," the newspaper Delo quoted the request to review nine articles of the act by Information Commissioner Mojca Prelesnik.

Region's largest fire lab soon to open in Slovenia

LOGATEC - The Slovenian Building and Civil Engineering Institute (ZAG) will open a new fire laboratory in Logatec in September in what it says will be the only such facility in this part of Europe. The EUR 11 million investment is to allow further advances in the research of fire resistance and flammability of materials and structures. The laboratory, spanning a surface area of 3,500 square metres, will provide facilities to test fire resistance of products made in Slovenia and abroad. The new building will also headquarter ZAG's new Department for Research of Fire-Safe and Sustainable Built Environment.

Fraport Slovenija still in red in Q2 but on upward trajectory

BRNIK - Fraport Slovenija, the operator of Ljubljana's international Jože Pučnik airport, reported a loss of roughly EUR 300,000 for the second quarter of 2022, but the result is a significant improvement on the EUR 2.1 million loss posted in the same period last year. The company more than doubled revenue year-on-year, from EUR 4.2 million to EUR 8.7 million. The net loss for the first six months stands at EUR 2.5 million, coming on EUR 14.7 million in revenue. Compared to the same period last year, revenue rose by 98.6% while the loss decreased by EUR 2 million.

Few owners opt to enter public rental housing scheme

LJUBLJANA - There seems to be little interest among housing owners in renting out their property through a public rental housing service that the national Housing Fund set up this year to increase the number of flats available at not-for-profit rents. As a result, the fund has sub-rented out only six units so far. Apart from owners finding the rent too low, the fund believes that to secure more flats - 200 is the target in the ongoing call, legislative changes would be needed because owners have problems obtaining the documents they need to enter the scheme.

Ljubljana residents promised to be kept warm in winter

LJUBLJANA - Ljubljana Mayor Zoran Janković promised the residents they will be kept warm this winter despite the energy crisis. Coal reserves are sufficient to provide district heating to nearly half of all homes and there will be enough natural gas, but the question is at what price gas will be available, he said at his weekly press conference. He is planning to meet Environment Minister Uroš Brežan later this month to discuss how the financial burden of emission coupons for the use of coal could be alleviated and to determine the energy sources for district heating.

Agriculture minister meets Carinthian Slovenian reps

KLAGENFURT, Austria - Agriculture Minister Irena Šinko met representatives of the Slovenian minority in the Austrian state of Carinthia to discuss the minority's work and development, with an emphasis on agriculture, the ministry said in a press release. The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food noted that it had been cooperating well with the Slovenian agricultural organisations in Carinthia for many years.

Minister talks to reps of Slovenian communities in S America

LJUBLJANA - Minister for Slovenians Abroad Matej Arčon talked with representatives of Slovenian communities in Latin America via video link. They presented to him activities of their communities living in Brazil, Venezuela, Columbia and Bolivia, while the minister underlined the importance of preserving the Slovenian language, which, he believes, should be given special attention, the Government Office for Slovenians Abroad said in a press release.

MyKoroška app guide to bilingual town names in Carinthia

KLAGENFURT, Austria - The Austrian province of Carinthia is home to a sizeable Slovenian ethnic community, something that has been reflected in the names of places for centuries. More than 900 such places can now be found by their Slovenian or German name in an app called MyKoroška. The app, which can be downloaded for free, is an upgraded version of an app developed some ten years ago, Martin Kuchling of the Klagenfurt-based Christian Cultural Association recently told the Slovenian desk of the Austrian public broadcaster ORF.

Piran on CNN's list of 15 prettiest small towns in Europe

WASHINGTON, US - The Slovenian coastal town of Piran has made it to a list of the 15 prettiest small towns across Europe by the US television network CNN, which described it as a "mini Venice". CNN's Julia Buckley says in her article that although Slovenia has a "sliver of coastline" sandwiched between Italy and Croatia, it is home to several beautiful towns, including Piran, which boasts "a stout belltower, frothy architecture, and fishing boats docked in the tiny harbor".

09 Aug 2022, 19:00 PM

STA, 9 August 2022 - A fire broke out last night under Socerb hill near the border with Italy, south-east of Trieste, and the blaze is not yet under control, with the strong bora wind spreading the fire downhill towards the villages of Osp in Slovenia and Prebenico in Italy.

Jan Brodar, who heads the firefighting effort on the Slovenian side, said that people's lives are not endangered at the moment.

There are around 100 firefighters on the Slovenian side, and the Slovenian Armed Forces have made two of its helicopters available for the effort. A Canadair water bomber and a helicopter are being used on the Italian side.

Note the following map shows the location of Socerb, not the fire

Several Osp residents have left their homes, mostly due to smoke, and several web portals reported that the village is being evacuated, which Brodar denies, saying no evacuation had been ordered by the authorities.

Primorski Dnevnik, the Trieste-based Slovenian newspaper, reported that fires had also broken out on Tuesday afternoon at three locations between Villa Opicina and the border with Slovenia. The fires have been contained.

The Slovenian Civil Protection and Disaster Relief Administration also used for the effort the water from tank trucks destined for the Cepki drinking water treatment facility that supplies the Slovenian coast during the current water shortage amid the drought.

The Rižana water supply utility has thus noted that the system is running out of water and called on users to adhere to strict rationing and all the other restrictions and bans related to the use of water.

09 Aug 2022, 16:21 PM

STA, 9 August 2022 - Ljubljana Mayor Zoran Janković has promised the residents they will be kept warm this winter despite the energy crisis. Coal reserves are sufficient to provide district heating to nearly half of all homes and there will be enough natural gas, but the question is at what price gas will be available.

Speaking at his weekly press conference on Tuesday, Janković said that some 61,000 apartments or 48% of all in the capital city are served by district heating. "We've got sufficient energy sources for the hot water pipeline throughout the heating season, even if it's cold from October to May," he said.

The share of biomass for district heating is to be raised to 20%. There are still over a month's worth of coal reserves with a shipment of 145,000 tonnes of Indonesian coal on its way to Slovenia, plus another such to follow in January, according to the mayor.

He is planning to meet Environment Minister Uroš Brežan later this month to discuss how the financial burden of emission coupons for the use of coal could be alleviated and to determine the energy sources for district heating.

Janković hailed the government's decision to cap prices of energy products, including district heating.

One out of three households in Ljubljana uses natural gas for heating. "We absolutely have the needed quantity of gas secured," Janković said. If necessary, the use of gas will be reduced with industry rather than households. However, he also said it was too early to say how much gas will cost.

The construction of a new gas-steam unit at the Ljubljana CHP Plant is slated for completion in late September. Janković expects it will be ready for a trial start-up in October, by which time it should be clear what happens with gas supplies.

"We need 170 million cubic metres of gas for Ljubljana, which is a negligible amount relative to European consumption." At the moment, the city authorities are negotiating with three suppliers. Another option is heating oil.

The mayor reasserted his case for a waste-to-energy plant, which he said would make Ljubljana 70% self-sufficient if built in five years. "I promise that, if we get the concession, our incinerator will be the most advanced with minimum emissions and a chimney above the temperature inversion zone," he said, adding that heating for end users would be 20% lower than now.

09 Aug 2022, 13:36 PM

STA, 9 August 2022 - The Austrian province of Carinthia is home to a sizeable Slovenian ethnic community, something that has been reflected in the names of places for centuries. More than 900 such places can now be found by their Slovenian or German name in an app called MyKoroška.

The app, which can be downloaded for free from the Apple AppStore or Google PlayStore, is an upgraded version of an app developed some ten years ago, Martin Kuchling of the Klagenfurt-based Christian Cultural Association has recently told the Slovenian desk of the Austrian public broadcaster ORF.

The app is very simple to use with a list of names and sound pronunciations in both languages along with information about the municipality and district that the place is located in. A chosen name can be typed in the search to find its counterpart in the other language.

The authors of the app note that the bilingual place names reflect the cultural diversity of Carinthia, one of Austria's nine federal states.

The app was developed as part of the language project Experience Slovenian (Slovenščino doživeti). It is based on Pavel Zdovc's 2008 collection Slovenian Place Names in Austrian Carinthia. Kuchling says the app is open to expansion and corrections.

09 Aug 2022, 10:41 AM

STA, 9 August 2022 - There seems to be little interest among housing owners in renting out their property through a public rental housing service that the national Housing Fund set up this year to increase the number of flats available at not-for-profit rents. As a result, the fund has sub-rented out only six units so far.

The fund published a call for owners to join the scheme in February, after the housing act changes were passed in May 2021, and is open until the end of the year.

A total of 29 providers of housing from across the country responded until last Thursday - 27 individuals, and one municipality with two flats, the fund told the STA.

Until that day, the fund accepted six offers, but failed to find common ground with the other owners, mostly because they find the rent to be "too low".

The rent is set on the basis of parameters such as the size, age, state of repair, and fixtures and fittings, and capped at 1.3 of the non-profit rent for that apartment.

The flats, measuring 36-80 square metres, for which the contracts have been signed are located in various parts of the country, and were rented out at EUR 148-344 a month.

A 130-square-metre house near Ljubljana will meanwhile be rented out at EUR 396, the fund said.

Apart from owners finding the rent too low, the fund believes that to secure more flats - 200 is the target in the ongoing call, legislative changes would be needed because owners have problems obtaining the documents they need to enter the scheme.

What is also needed is "a change in mentality among owners to opt for a form of public rental that may not be as profitable as commercial rents, but offers security of tenure, proper management and predictable business relationships".

The Environment and Spatial Planning Ministry agrees the documentation (especially the occupancy permit, which older buildings often do not have) and a big gap between the expected and offered rent are a problem.

While admitting the number of units entering the scheme will be lower than the 100 planned for the first year, the ministry said that "a more detailed analysis and assessment will be carried out on the basis of the Housing Fund's annual report for 2022".

The ministry considers the response from interested parties "satisfactory" although the share of those who opt to sign the rent-out contract is "relatively low".

It will draft legislative changes "if the need for them becomes apparent", but will first meet the fund's representatives in the autumn to finds ways to encourage owners to enter the scheme.

Zoran Đukić, director of the real estate agency Stoja Trade, sees the state's decision to set up a public rental service as an excellent idea, it is just that the state did not approach it in the most appropriate manner. He believes the low interest is a result of too low a rent for housing owners and its too high taxation.

Đukić says that owners entering the public rental service scheme should have the rents obtained taxed at a lower rate than is the standard rate.

Another issue is who takes care that housing units do not get damaged when there is an intermediary between the owner and the tenant, while he also believes that owners should be better informed of the possibility of renting out through the public scheme.

09 Aug 2022, 07:06 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:

Triple murderer Drevenšek sentenced to 30 years in prison in retrial

PTUJ - A retrial in the case of a man who murdered his estranged spouse and her parents in front of his four-year-old son on Christmas Day 2020 ended with a sentence of 30 years behind bars, as Silvo Drevenšek was found guilty of all counts. He was handed 29 years each for the three murders and four more for the neglect and cruel treatment of a minor. However, the penal code allows for a maximum of 30 years bar a life sentence. In the original trial at the Ptuj District Court, quashed because six instead of just five judges ruled on the case, Drevenšek had been the first to be sentenced to life imprisonment since the sentence was reintroduced in 2008. Until 1998, the highest possible punishment in Slovenia was 20 years in prison.

Delo poll: Freedom Movement's rating stable, SDS's at 4-year high

LJUBLJANA - Voters are a bit less critical of the government, but despite this, more than half of them see its performance as negative, shows Delo newspaper's August public opinion poll. A total of 25.9% of those polled have rated the government's performance as positive or very positive (up 4.6 points from July) and 53.3% as negative or very negative (down 2.7 points). If an election was held tomorrow, 30.6% of the respondents would vote for the ruling Freedom Movement, which is practically on a par with July (30.2%) and June (31%). The largest opposition party, the Democrats (SDS), meanwhile polled best since September 2018.

Govt reintroduces energy efficiency contribution

LJUBLJANA - Petrol and diesel will be slightly more expensive as of 17 August, as the government decided on Monday to reintroduce energy efficiency contributions, which had been abolished temporarily to reduce energy prices. Diesel will thus be 0.8 cents more expensive per litre and petrol will be 0.736 cents dearer per litre. The government said after a correspondence session that the contribution had to be reintroduced because it provided funds for Eko Sklad, the country's sustainable energy development scheme fund. "These funds support investments that increase energy independence, efficiency and increase the share of renewables," the government said.

Pahor paying state visit to Turkey this week

LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor will start a two-day state visit to Turkey on Tuesday at the invitation of his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Bilateral relations and the situation in Ukraine will top the agenda. The situation in the Western Balkans and the Middle East will also be discussed. In addition to Erdogan, Pahor will also meet Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Cavusoglu. He will kick off the visit by addressing the participants of an annual get-together of Turkish diplomats.

Novo Mesto Bishop Saje reportedly suspected of tax evasion

LJUBLJANA - Delo has reported that Bishop of Novo Mesto Andrej Saje is suspected of tax evasion and that a criminal complaint against Saje was sent to the Slovenian tax authorities and the prosecution service three months ago. It alleges he had received pay for helping out with mass on Sundays and holidays at two parishes in the Diocese of Gurk-Klagenfurt in Carinthia, Austria, between 2014 and the period when he was appointed bishop in June 2021. On the other hand, Saje has told the STA that he has no knowledge of the criminal complaint that is said to have been filed against him this year, and could not comment on it in detail.

No major drop in property prices expected yet

LJUBLJANA - Judging by the available statistical data, Slovenia's housing market is not showing signs of cooling just yet although real estate agents say prices have stopped going up mid-year. Still, pundits do not think any major drop in prices is likely over the next six months. After a record surge last year, prices of residential properties rose by a further 4.1% in this year's first quarter on the quarter before, going up by as much as 19.6% year-on-year, the latest data from the Statistics Office shows.

Summer film season starts at Museum Plaza

LJUBLJANA - Tonight's screening of Charlie Chaplin's The Great Dictator will lift the curtain on a series of events organised by the Slovenian Cinematheque at the Museum Plaza on Metelkova Street. The events include the three-day festival Summer on the Silver Screen and between the Covers, mini festivals of short film and videos, and debates about the present and future of print media in a digital-first world.

08 Aug 2022, 17:11 PM

STA, 8 August 2022 - A retrial in the case of a man who murdered his estranged spouse and her parents in front of his four-year-old son on Christmas Eve 2020 has ended with a sentence of 30 years behind bars.

In the original trial at the Ptuj District Court, quashed because six instead of just five judges ruled on the case, Silvo Drevenšek had been the first to be sentenced to life imprisonment since the sentence was reintroduced in 2008.

While the 37-year-old, found guilty of three counts of murder, had pleaded guilty in the first trial, he claimed during the retrial that he did not remember the crimes and that they had been the result of his alcohol abuse.

The panel of judges, led by Katja Kolarič, found Drevenšek guilty of all counts, handing him 29 years each for the three murders and four more for the neglect and cruel treatment of a minor. However, the penal code allows for a maximum of 30 years bar a life sentence.

Kolarič said there was no doubt the extremely cruel criminal acts had been premeditated and planned, that "no actual remorse was felt in the trial" and that the son, wider family and community had experienced a major trauma.

The mitigating circumstances listed by Kolarič included the divorce, alcohol and the absence of a previous record, while the judges also said that a sentence to life in prison would have been a "departure from long-standing efforts to humanise criminal sanctions".

The prosecution had again demanded life imprisonment, arguing the defendant had been driven by strong hatred, revenge and material interest - the spouse demanded a division of common assets -, while the defence argued that manslaughter as opposed to murder had occurred and that revenge as a motive and cruel treatment of the victims had not been proven.

A representative of the victims' family has already announced an appeal over the length of the prison sentence. The prosecution has not yet taken a decision, while the defence would not comment.

Drevenšek, whose mental faculties were somewhat but not significantly impairment during the murders, according to expert witnesses, committed the crimes in the Gerečja Vas village in eastern Slovenia.

The murders took place on Christmas Day when Drevenšek entered the house he used to share with his estranged spouse after having agreed to give his son a Christmas gift.

Once he entered the house, he stabbed her with a kitchen knife several times until she bled to death.

After killing his former partner, he entered the neighbouring house, where his son, at the time aged four, was minded by his former partner's parents. He used the same kitchen knife to kill the boy's grandparents.

In the quashed trial, which ended in December 2021, Drevenšek was the first person to be sentenced to life in prison in independent Slovenia.

Until 1998, the highest possible punishment in Slovenia was 20 years in prison. The death penalty was abolished only in 1989 although it was last executed in 1959.

In 1998, the National Assembly amended the penal code to introduce a 30-year prison sentence and life imprisonment was introduced 2008 under a Democrats (SDS)-led government.

Subsequent attempts at abolishing life imprisonment failed, one of the alleged reasons being that they came at a time when terrorism was increasingly becoming a threat.

Slovenian courts have handed down about 20 30-year sentences since 1998 and the prosecution has proposed life in prison in three more cases since 2008, but the courts always opted for milder sentences.

The most notorious case in Slovenian history has been that of serial killer Metod Trobec, who murdered at least five women and was sentenced to death in November 1980 as the last Slovenian defendant to receive the death penalty before it was removed from the criminal code.

The Supreme Court later annulled Trobec's verdict and sentenced him to 20 years in prison. He committed suicide in prison in 2006 while serving an additional 14 years over an attack on a fellow-inmate and an attempted murder.

08 Aug 2022, 12:14 PM

STA, 8 August 2022 - Judging by the available statistical data, Slovenia's housing market is not showing signs of cooling just yet although real estate agents say prices have stopped going up mid-year. Still, pundits do not think any major drop in prices is likely over the next six months.

After a record surge last year, prices of residential properties rose by a further 4.1% in this year's first quarter on the quarter before, going up by as much as 19.6% year-on-year, the latest data from the Statistics Office shows.

Prices of existing flats went up by 5.5% quarter-on-quarter and by 19.9% year-on-year as prices of new flats dropped by 8.9% on the quarter before but were still 4.5% up compared with the first quarter of 2021.

Official data for the second quarter are not available yet but Zoran Đukić, CEO of real estate agency Stoja Trade, says selling prices are still high, in particular for well-located newish apartments with an indoor car park. The volume of transactions is level or even a bit above last year's, he has told the STA.

"The growth in residential property prices has slowed down considerably since the beginning of 2022, and has all but stopped rising starting from the second half of the year, that is we are no longer seeing prices going up at the moment," says realtor Alen Komić of ABC Nepremičnine.

In its latest property market report, released in May for 2021, the Surveying and Mapping Authority (GURS) cites preliminary data for 2022 to project a continued growth in the housing market, but also points to signs of a slow-down in the capital Ljubljana, which is seen as the trend setter for the rest of the country.

GURS attributed the record growth in 2021 to excess demand which "continues to be driven largely by low interest rates and the availability of loans and, more recently, increasingly by fears of rising inflation".

Investment in real estate as a rule provides protection against inflation, says Bojan Ivanc, chief analyst with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS). However, he also says the economic uncertainty and rising interest rates are suppressing demand for high-end properties, in particular those bought as an investment to be rented out.

Additional pressure on the prices comes from a potential change in property taxation that would reduce the return for property owners, Ivanc notes. The new government has announced it will raise tax on rental income from 15% to 25%, the rate in force prior to 2020.

Similarly, Đukić says that inflation is what in principle drives property purchases, "because that's how people protect their assets so that they don't lose value in cash".

Meanwhile, Komić believes that the tightening of credit conditions with higher interest rates and the end of fixed interest rates will have a greater impact on demand than inflation itself, although he agrees that in an inflationary environment it is preferable to invest liquidity somewhere.

Both realtors agree though that the changed conditions have not reflected on the demand in the market yet.

Ivanc believes the key factor that will affect changes in the property market will be conditions on the labour market, that is jobs and wages, and to an extent changes in interest rates. "Considering the volume of property transactions, speculative investments have not been many recently. It is thus not likely that property prices will drop significantly over the next six months," the economist says.

Rents have been going up as well, in particular on the back of a revival of holiday rentals through platforms such as Airbnb and Booking following restrictions on travel during the Covid-19 pandemic.

"Rents have increased by roughly 15 to 20 percent in 2022, especially now in the short-term rental period in and around Ljubljana city centre. There has also been an increase in Airbnb and Booking rentals, which can be seen in the smaller supply of apartments in Ljubljana city centre," says Đukić.

Komić too finds that the scope of short-time rentals has increased and that "quite a few mainly fine properties in good locations (close to the city centre) have been transferred to the short-term rental market (Airbnb, Booking, etc.), making the supply of properties even worse in terms of quantity and quality, while demand has remained virtually the same [...] All of this has, of course, led to a constant rise in rents."

The demand for residential properties had been driven by cheap loans but the cost of those has been going up since late spring and the European Central Bank has now also raised its key interest rates.

After being in the negative territory since 2015, the six-month Euribor rate went positive in early June, standing at 0.667% last Friday. In July, the newspaper Delo calculated, based on usual terms of a variable-rate mortgage loan, that those who took out a 20-year loan in early May would by now see their monthly instalment going up by around 6%.

It is not clear yet if and how the increase in the cost of mortgage loans will reflect on demand. The most recent available data from the central bank shows the volume of new mortgage loans rose substantially for the fourth straight month in May. At 11.7%, the year-on-year growth rate was one of the highest in the euro zone.

08 Aug 2022, 11:55 AM

STA, 5 August 2022 - Kostja Gatnik, a versatile visual artist, has died at the age of 76, his family told the STA. He was best known as an illustrator and comic book author. He received a number of awards, including the Prešeren Prize for lifetime achievement, the country's top accolade in the arts world.

Gatnik also won the Levstik and the Hinko Smrekar prizes for his children's literature and illustration work, respectively.

Born in 1945 in Ljubljana, Gatnik graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts. He was also known as a graphic designer, set designer in film and theatre, photographer and painter, although he was very private about his painting, having told the STA once that he painted for himself alone.

Gatnik's oeuvre is marked by an exploration of visual concepts and communication in the last quarter of the 20th century. His painting, graphic design, illustration and photography share an extraordinary intelligence and rarely seen high standards of quality, read the justification for his Prešeren Prize in 2010.

He entered the Slovenian art scene through pop art and hyperrealism, and in the late 1980s, he made waves with his heightened confessional and self-reflection poetics.

Gatnik illustrated many famous children's books and drew characters that are familiar to almost everyone, including Gal the Dwarf and characters in the frog-inspired book Jure Kvak Kvak (Jure Croak Croak). When it comes to comic books, Magna Purga is likely his most famous work, being a classic of Slovenian comics.

He was laid to rest at a small family funeral on Friday.

08 Aug 2022, 04:21 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:

Golob, Pahor send condolences after Polish bus crash

LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Robert Golob and President Borut Pahor have sent condolences to their Polish counterparts after the fatal crash of a Polish bus in Croatia. Golob wrote to Mateusz Morawiecki to express sincere condolences, extending his sympathy to the families of all those killed in the crash. Pahor expressed his condolences to President Andrzej Duda and wished a speedy recovery to all passengers injured in the accident.

President Pahor at Sinjska Alka as a guest of honour

SINJ, Croatia - President Borut Pahor was the guest of honour at the traditional Sinjska Alka equestrian competition in the at the invitation of his Croatian counterpart Zoran Milanović. He was the first foreign statesman in this capacity at the tournament. The traditional annual knightly competition is held on every first Sunday in August to commemorate the Croatian-Venetian victory in the Ottoman-Venetian war in 1715.

Weiler Abrasives profitable in 2021

MARIBOR - Weiler Abrasives, the US-owned maker of abrasives, brushes and diamond tools, saw sales revenue rise by 16% last year to EUR 77.5 million. After barely ending in the black in 2020, it posted a profit of just over EUR 4 million. Among the company's major challenges last year was securing an adequate number o employees amidst the health crisis, which it did not manage to entirely realise due to labour shortages in the country.

Silver for Osterman at Canoe Sprint World Championships

HALIFAX, Canada - Slovenia's Anja Osterman has won silver at the Canoe Sprint World Championships, finishing a second behind Lisa Carrington of New Zealand in the 200-metre event. This is the fourth medal at a World Championship for the 29-year-old but the first in an individual event.

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