STA, 5 July 2019 - The city councils of all four coastal municipalities have urged authorities to present them within a month a timeline of activities to find a new, safe water source for Slovenian Istria.
Koper, Piran, Izola and Ankaran councillors met on Friday after almost 11,000 litres of kerosene spilled as a train derailed in a tunnel on the Koper-bound railway near Hrastovlje, south-west.
The spill is a threat to the Rižana water source, the only source of drinking water for Slovenia's coast. The greatest threat is heavy rain, which could make kerosene penetrate further into the soil and underground water.
The councillors are worried the state cannot guarantee the coast the constitutionally guaranteed right to drinking water if the Rižana source is contaminated.
They thus demand that all the necessary measures are taken and implemented to prevent the pollution of the only water source for Slovenian Istria.
Supervision of the state in which railway and road infrastructure is in water areas, should be enhanced, the councillors decided.
The railway infrastructure in water areas should be maintained and modernised to avoid any problems with the rail tracks.
The authorities should also make sure that trains carrying dangerous cargo in water areas run at adequate speeds.
Finally, the state should take measures to minimise risks for similar incidents.
If these measures cannot be guaranteed, then the option should be studied to ban transport of dangerous substances through water areas until a new water source is found.
The councillors also tasked the mayors to prioritise efforts to find a new water source and expressed support for the state's efforts to build the second rail track between Koper and Divača.
The session, which Koper Mayor Aleš Bržan labelled "Istrian parliament", was also attended by government representatives.
Environment and Spatial Planning Minister Somin Zajc promised serious efforts would be made to find a new water source, announcing a meeting with Istrian mayors at the ministry's water directorate for next week.
Several possible water sources have been proposed in the past, so it is clear which ones could be suitable, but they will have to be studied again, he said.
While he could not give any detailed timeline, he said "we're probably not talking weeks or months, but a year or two".
To further protect the Rižana water source from kerosene pollution, a special protective foil was laid in the Hrastovlje tunnel on Wednesday after much of the contaminated material was removed earlier.
All our stories on water quality in Slovenia are here
A schedule of all the main events involving Slovenia this week can be found here
This summary is provided by the STA:
Slovenian, Italian ministers discuss migrations amidst protests
LJUBLJANA, Slovenia/TRIESTE, Italy - As several protests were held along the Slovenian-Italian border against new border control measures, above all Italy's plan to erect physical barriers with Slovenia, the interior ministers, Boštjan Poklukar and Matteo Salvini, spoke on the phone as Salvini visited Trieste. Media reports also quoted Salvini as saying that Italy, Slovenia and Croatia would launch three-partite mixed border patrols. In response to the latest developments, Slovenian parliamentary parties and MEPs mostly condemned the announcement of physical barriers if Slovenian-Italian border police patrols, introduced on 1 July, do not result in fewer illegal migrants. Meanwhile, the mixed border patrols continued to divide Slovenian politics. Opposition SDS MP Branko Grims said current developments were "a total disaster" and proof "our government is impotent security- and development-wise", while coalition SD leader Dejan Židan said PM Marjan Šarec should call a meeting of EU and Western Balkan leaders to find a common solution to the Balkan migration route.
Illegal migration up 47% in first half of 2019
LJUBLJANA - The police continue to detect a rising trend in the number of illegal crossings of the Slovenian border, with the number standing at 5,345 in the first half of the year,up 47.1% over the same period in 2018. There is an increasing number of illegal migrants from Pakistan, Algeria and Morocco. The biggest number of illegal crossings of the border in the first half of the year was processed by police officers from the Koper, Novo Mesto and Ljubljana police departments. By the end of June, 2,718 illegal migrants expressed the intention to ask for asylum, a drop of 7.5% over the first half of 2018.
Šarec points to EU enlargement as means of boosting W Balkan economies
POZNAN, Poland - Prime Minister Marjan Šarec said there was a link between the EU's political decisions and the Western Balkans' economic development, as he attended the 6th Berlin Process summit on the Western Balkan's EU prospects. He also regretted the recent postponement of a decision to launch EU accession talks with North Macedonia and Albania, but expressed hope that "adequate strategic decisions" would be taken regarding the accession talks in the autumn, to when the EU had recently put off the decision.
NKBM to pay out EUR 5 million in dividends
MARIBOR - Biser Bidco, the sole owner of Slovenia's second largest bank NKBM, decided to pay out EUR 5 million in dividends, leaving EUR 126,66 million in profit undistributed. The EUR 5 million payout is significantly lower than in 2018, when Bidco Biser decided to pay out EUR 45.8 million in dividends. The AGM also granted a discharge of liability to the bank's management and supervisory boards. The Luxembourg-based company is owned by US fund Apollo, which holds 80% of the company, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
Telekom Slovenije starts sales of Kosovo subsidiary
LJUBLJANA - Telekom Slovenije published the notification on the start of the sales procedures of its Kosovo subsidiary Ipko. The move is in line with the national telco's strategy of further consolidation through expansion or disinvestment. Telekom Slovenije became the sole owner of Ipko last year after acquiring 7% of the company still held by minority shareholders. In mid-March 2018, it provided it with a EUR 15m capital increase.
Debate hears new national security strategy too general
LJUBLJANA - A debate on the new resolution on the national security strategy hosted by the parliamentary Defence Committee heard criticism that the document was not specific enough. But Klemen Grošelj, a former Defence Ministry state secretary, responded that these were just guidelines and that concrete measures would follow. According to Defence Minister Karl Erjavec, the new resolution is needed because of the changed security situation on the global scale.
Coastal communities urge new water source after kerosene spill
KOPER - The city councils of all four coastal municipalities urged the government to present them within a month a timeline of activities to find a new, safe water source for Slovenian Istria. Koper, Piran, Izola and Ankaran councillors met after almost 11,000 litres of kerosene spilled as a train derailed in a tunnel on the Koper-bound railway near Hrastovlje, south-west, on 25 June. The spill is a threat to the Rižana water source, the only source of drinking water for Slovenia's coast. The greatest threat is heavy rain, which could make kerosene penetrate further into the soil and underground water. Environment Minister Somin Zajc promised serious efforts would be made to find a new water source, announcing a meeting with Istrian mayors at the water directorate for next week.
Počivalšek discusses neutral economy challenges in Helsinki
HELSINKI, Finland - Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek said that the journey towards climate-neutral economy in the EU is paved with challenges as well as opportunities as he attended an informal session of the Competitiveness Council. He stressed the importance of international economy competitivenesses for climate action. In his address, Počivalšek said that the industry of the future has to be green, creative, smart and cooperative.
Ljubljana Drama SNG building makeover gets under way
LJUBLJANA - After long-time efforts to renovate Ljubljana's Drama SNG theatre building, the first phase of the EUR 43 million project has kicked off. The documentation is expected to be drafted by the end of 2021 at the latest, while construction work is scheduled to start in 2022, theatre director Igor Samobor said on Thursday. The work is set to start in September 2022 and end by 2024 or 2025. Samobor said renovation funds had been secured thanks to Culture Minister Zoran Poznič.
Slovenia joins You're Right consumer protection campaign
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia has joined the You're Right campaign of the European Commission to promote the rights of consumers. Running until March 2020, it will focus in Slovenia on tourist packages, the right to withdraw from a contract in 14 days in on-line shopping, and repair or replacement of products. Presenting the campaign, European Commission Representation head Zoran Stančić said it was particularly aimed at young people, who were especially vulnerable.
Art Stays festival starts in Ptuj
PTUJ - The Art Stays festival started in Ptuj, bringing contemporary art productions by Slovenian and foreign artists to this medieval town in the north-east. According to the festival head Jernej Forbici, the 17th Art Stays, running under the title Future - a Vision of the World, will feature international artists who explore what the future holds. The list of more than 80 foreign and domestic participants include Asian artists such as Gal Weinstein, Jeongmoon Choi, Zulkifle Mahmod, Toru Hamada, Yu Kato, Snow Yunxue Fu and acclaimed photographers such as Edward Burtynsky, Olivo Barbieri and Andrea Botto.
If you're learning Slovenian then you can find all our dual texts here
Summer nights offer many pleasures, but those in Ljubljana present the opportunity to indulge in one that’s rather special – watching movies in the open air, in the courtyard of a castle, with a bar serving drinks and a great view of the city at the end.
It’s that time when Kinodvor takes over the main attraction after the sun goes down, with screenings of some the best art movies of the past year, plus some never seen before in the country. All films start at 21:30 and are shown in their original language with English subtitles, unless the original language is English, in which Slovenian is used for the subs (although note that movies like The Square, which are predominantly in English but have sections in other languages, are likely to be fully subbed in Slovene.)
In case of bad weather the screenings will be cancelled, as announced at kindovor.org and ljubljanskigrad.si by 19:00 on the day of the scheduled screening, with rescheduled screenings taking place the following evening at 21:30 at Kinodvor.
Tickets are 5 euros for regular screenings, 6 for premieres and “special screenings”. You can buy tickets at the Castle and Kinodvor, or online from the links under the the titles below.
Thursday, 11. 07 - My Last Year as a Loser
Slovene language only / Buy tickets
Friday, 12. 07 - Diego Maradona
English subtitles / Buy tickets
Saturday, 13. 07 - Green Book
Sunday, 14. 07 - Woman at War
English subtitles / Buy tickets
Monday, 15. 07 - Colette
Tuesday, 16. 07 - Rocketman
Wednesday, 17. 07 - Pain and Glory
English subtitles / Buy tickets
Thursday, 18. 07 - Maria by Callas
English subtitles / Buy tickets
Friday, 19. 07 - The Dead Don't Die
Saturday, 20. 07 - A Star Is Born
Sunday, 21. 07 - Stan & Ollie
Monday, 22. 07 - Shoplifters
English subtitles / Buy tickets
Tuesday, 23. 07 - Pavarotti
English subtitles / Buy tickets
Wednesday, 24. 07 - Everybody Knows
English subtitles / Buy tickets
Thursday, 25. 07 - The Favourite
Friday, 26. 07 - Free Solo
Saturday, 27. 07 - The Old Man & the Gun
Sunday, 28. 07 - If Beale Street Could Talk
Monday, 29. 07 - The Children Act
Tuesday, 30. 07 - The White Crow
English subtitles / Buy tickets
Wednesday, 31. 07 - Bohemian Rhapsody
Thursday, 01. 08 - Cold War
English subtitles / Buy tickets
Friday, 02. 08 - BlacKkKlansman
Saturday, 03. 08 - Yesterday
STA, 5 July 2019 - While protests are being held on Friday in the Slovenian-Italian border area against the planned border control measures, Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini spoke on the phone with his Slovenian counterpart Boštjan Poklukar to discuss migration and enhancing cooperation in this field.
Poklukar and Salvini, who visited Trieste today for a port investment contract signing and to discuss border protection with Friuli Venezia Giulia President Massimiliano Fedriga, welcomed the start of Slovenian-Italian police patrols on the border.
According to the press release from the Slovenian Interior Ministry, Poklukar noted that it was not the first time Slovenia responded to Italian proposals for joint operations.
The Slovenian minister pointed to the assistance by the Slovenian Armed Forces in the maritime operation Mare Nostrum with the Triglav patrol boat in 2013 and projects to transfer persons in need of international protection from Italy to Slovenia.
The Slovenian and Italian police forces launched joint border patrols on 1 July as a response to the increase in illegal migration. The measure is expected to be in force until the end of September.
The Slovenian Interior Ministry told the STA today that the initiative for the mixed patrols had come from the Italian police on 29 April. The Slovenian police agreed with the proposal and Poklukar presented it to the government.
Subsequently, Foreign Minister Miro Cerar presented it to his Italian counterpart Enzo Moavero Milanesi and both countries agreed to implement it.
The two countries' police commissioners discussed the planned cooperation in more detail at the sidelines of a conference of police commissioners in Rome, the ministry said.
Salvini reiterated yesterday that if the border patrols failed to serve the purpose, Italy would erect physical barriers on the border with Slovenia. "We will make the border with Slovenia impenetrable with all available means."
Poklukar stressed that Slovenia was protecting its border with Croatia effectively and that the situation was under control. He said that special attention should be paid to the entire Western Balkan migration route and take appropriate measures.
The Italian and Slovenian interior ministers agreed that they would meet in person soon to talk about the possibilities of further bilateral cooperation as well as cooperation with the countries in the region.
According to the Austrian press agency APA, Salvini also talked today about measures to beef up the control of the Balkan route with Croatian Interior Minister Davor Božinović.
The Italian press agency ANSA reported that Salvini said in Trieste today that "joint patrols by Italy, Slovenia and Croatia are something we are establishing, and we will see what the results will be".
The police forces of the three countries are expected to also enhance cooperation in fighting trafficking of illegal migrants.
Asked about the joint Slovenian-Italian-Croatian patrols, the Slovenian Interior Ministry said it could not go into detail at this point.
Several protests are meanwhile being held or are to be held in the area on both sides of the border and on border crossings to express opposition to the idea and to call for open borders.
Some 50 people have gathered in the main square in Trieste to protest against Salvini's policy of closure of Italian sea ports for migrants. People are also protesting in other parts of Trieste as the minister is visiting the city.
STA, 5 July 2019 - Slovenian parliamentary parties and MEPs are critical of Italy's announcement it could set up "physical barriers" on the border with Slovenia if Slovenian-Italian border police patrols, introduced on 1 July, do not result in fewer illegal migrants. The patrols, on the other hand, continue to divide Slovenian politics.
Current developments in relations with Italy are "a total disaster" and proof that "our government is impotent security- and development-wise", opposition Democrat (SDS) MP Branko Grims told the press on Friday.
He believes the Bosnian-Croatian border should be properly protected, while Slovenia should properly protect its part of the Schengen border - its southern border with Croatia.
If that border was sealed, then Austria's and Italy's moves would be superfluous, said Grims, who believes the Slovenian police and the army, if it was given adequate powers, would have no problem protecting Slovenia's southern border.
The SDS's MEP Romana Tomc (EPP) meanwhile believes the announced fence on the border with Italy "presents a threat that Slovenia could become a migration pocket, which would undoubtedly worsen our security and seriously affect our economy".
The coalition Modern Centre Party (SMC) believes a fence on the border inside the Schengen zone would be "unacceptable and un-European", and statistics do not corroborate it. What the EU needs is an effective supervision of its external borders.
The SMC believes the joint patrols are meant to build trust, with Prime Minister Marjan Šarec's LMŠ noting they were about preventing the smuggling of illegal migrants and fighting against smugglers.
Meanwhile, both MEPs from the ruling LMŠ believe Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini's announcement of a fence was meant foremost to appease Italian voters.
"Physical barriers in the Schengen area are unacceptable, they would be a major step backwards and a major attack on the EU's basic values," wrote MEPs Irena Joveva and Klemen Grošelj (Renew Europe).
If the Italian government keeps insisting on the fence, Joveva and Grošelj intend to bring the issue up in the European Parliament, but certainly at their political grouping's meeting with Ursula von der Leyen, the candidate for the nee European Parliament president.
The same would be done by MEPs Ljudmila Novak (EPP/New Slovenia (NSi)) and Tanja Fajon (S&D/Social Democrats (SD)).
Fajon urged Slovenia's authorities to do all in their power for solidarity to re-emerge in Europe and for a common migration and asylum policy be formed.
Novak expects the Slovenian government to "immediately condemn such announcements" and do all in its power to stop illegal migrations on the border with Croatia.
She said the mixed patrols on the Slovenian-Italian border would be no problem had they not been fuelled by a rise in illegal migrations on the Croatian border.
The NSi, convinced the patrols are a mistake, demanded yesterday a session of the parliamentary foreign policy and interior policy committees to discuss them.
Its MP Jernej Vrtovec said never again wanted the Slovenians living on both sides of the border, which is a single economic and cultural area, to be divided with a wall or even a wire.
The trend of erecting barriers should worry the entire EU, said MP Matjaž Nemec of the coalition SD, as a fence on the Slovenian-Italian border would be a measure disproportionate with illegal crossings of the border.
Nemec also believes the dialogue between the Slovenian and Italian interior ministers, who spoke on the phone today, was no longer constructive.
He thus called on Prime Minister Marjan Šarec to start dialogue with the Italian prime minister.
Just like the SDS, Nemec believes the focus should be on the Croatian-Bosnian border as the outer EU border.
Saying the fence was no answer to the migrant issue, opposition Left MP Primož Siter said the rhetoric of Slovenia and Italy's right-wingers was the same.
"The only difference is that the Slovenian right has already got its wire [on the border with Croatia], while the Italian right is now calling for it."
Noting the EU lacked a common approach to illegal migrations, which forced each country to deal with them on its own, the coalition Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) said Italy was dealing with them in line with its nationalist policy.
However, DeSUS also said the Slovenian Interior Ministry and the Slovenian police were trying to relativise the issue of illegal migrations.
The coalition Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB) would rather boost the control of Slovenia's border with Croatia, where Italy and Austria could help in.
"The mixed police patrols on our western border are an un-European move, just as is Austria's border control on the northern border," the SAB told the STA.
The opposition National Party (SNS) believes the mixed patrols are nonsense.
Its leader Zmago Jelinčič criticised Foreign Minister Mira Cerar for having come up with the idea, wondering whether he tried to Italy's support for his bid to become a European commissioner.
Just like the SAB, Jelinčič believes Slovenia should have "double patrols" on the border with Croatia, which could also be mixed.
While MEP Fajon believes "there is absolutely no serious need for patrols on the border between Slovenia and Italy", MEP France Bogovič (EPP/SLS) welcomed them, but noted Slovenia should do more to protect its Schengen border with Croatia.
STA, 5 July 2019 - The police continues to detect a rising trend in the number of illegal crossings of the Slovenian border, with the number standing at 5,345 in the first half of the year or 47.1% more than in the same period in 2018. There is an increasing number of illegal migrants from Pakistan, Algeria and Morocco.
The biggest number of illegal crossings of the borders in the first half of the year was processed by police officers from the Koper, Novo Mesto and Ljubljana police departments.
By the end of June, 2,718 of illegal migrants expressed the intention to ask for international protection, which is 7.5% less than in the first half of 2018 (2,355).
According to the latest report, migrants who express the intention to ask for international protection frequently continue on their way to their actual target countries after being accommodated in asylum centres.
In the first half of the year, police officers recorded 355 cases in which foreigners crossed an internal Schengen border to Slovenia without valid documents or permits, which is 13.2% less than in the same period in 2018.
Pakistanis accounted for the most of such illegal entries, while they also dominate the statistics of illegal crossings of the external Schengen border.
A majority of such cases were recorded on the Slovenian border with Italy (226). The police notes that this is a relatively small number of cases, with the number of illegal entries on the border with Italy having dropped.
A total of 2,178 third country nationals were denied entry at border crossings for failing to meet the conditions to enter Slovenia or other EU countries, which is 10.8% more than in the first half of 2018.
Most of them were rejected on the border crossings with Croatia, and the biggest number of them were citizens of Afghanistan, followed by citizens of the Balkan countries.
The number of foreigners who were processed because they were not permitted to reside in Slovenia or other EU countries increased by almost a third to 2,728.
A majority of the cases related to expired residency permits, mostly involving citizens of the Western Balkan countries. An increasing number of Moldovan citizens are also being processed for this reason, as a consequence of visa liberalisation.
Slovenian police officers returned a total of 3,534 foreigners to the authorities of neighbouring countries in the first half of the year (up from 1,174), most of them to the Croatian authorities.
Foreign authorities meanwhile returned 333 persons to Slovenia in this period, including 23 Slovenian citizens, the report says.
The Slovenian National Theatre (Slovensko narodno gledališče – SNG) Drama Ljubljana recently posted an advertisement for a job that’s attracting attention for the broad range of duties the successful candidate for the position of associate in graphic design, public relations and marketing is expected to have.
While no details on the salary have been released, we present the following job and task description, along with a details of how to apply at the end, if, along with Slovenian language skills, you’re capable of the following:
We are looking for an associate in the 2019/20 season for the period from 19 August 2019 to 19 July 2020, with the possibility of extension.
The covers and editorials from leading weeklies of the Left and Right for the work-week ending Friday, 05 June 2019
Mladina: Eastern Europe did not deserve any key EU posts
STA, 5 July 2019 - The left-wing weekly Mladina says in its latest commentary that the countries from Eastern Europe have no business lamenting the fact that none of its representatives have been tipped to get one of the top four jobs in the EU, as they do not deserve any respect.
"In the days following the selection of the leading staff of the European Union for the next five years, it could also be heard in Slovenia how bad it is that there are no candidates from Eastern Europe for any of the posts.
"That it would be symbolic and good as a gesture of respect to the new members. Respect? Why? The Eastern European countries have been a great disappointment of Europe, turning out to be fascistic, nationalistic, introvert, narrow-minded and democratically immature fifteen or twenty years after the enlargement."
In the commentary headlined On the Right Side of History, editor-in-chief Grega Repovž wonders whether Poland, Hungary, Slovakia or Croatia deserve any respect, adding that "this Eastern Europe is nothing but a disappointment."
Last year, Slovenia escaped by a hair becoming a part of this part of Eastern Europe owing to the maturity of a majority of political parties and the clearly expressed will of the civil society, he adds.
Referring to Marjan Šarec being appointed prime minister in a minority government, the commentator says that with Janez Janša of the opposition Democrats (SDS) in power, "today we would be a part of the problem and one of the countries which were pushed out from the so-called core Europe this week."
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron played out a game which exposed the Eastern European nationalists, including Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, whose mouths are otherwise full of Europe.
"What is being formed is not automatically a Europe which we would like. We will perhaps get some headaches. But nevertheless, we are watching an attempt at stemming the growth of populism. This is good. Slovenia has fortunately found itself on the right side."
This is so because Slovenia has a normal, democratic government, and partly because it has the euro, and because Šarec, like Macron, became a liberal on the European scale at the right moment. "We have no serious influence on the developments, but we are on the right side of history. It could have been completely different."
Demokracija: New media legislation introduces censorship
STA, 4 July 2019 – Left-leaning politicians in Slovenia have no sense of responsibility and show no respect for the rule of law, the right-wing weekly Demokracija says in its latest editorial. They set the boundaries for what is allowed and now, with the new media bill, they will also decide on what constitutes hate speech, says editor-in-chief Jože Biščak.
According to the draft media bill, a state official called the media inspector will decide on what constitutes media-sponsored inciting of hatred and intolerance.
This person will be able to order a media outlet to remove certain content and even slap it with a fine.
"This is not only an inadmissible interference with the autonomous editorial policy but an interference with the freedom of speech from the position of political power," says Biščak.
It is not surprising that the Slovenian Journalists' Association (DNS) welcomed this form of censorship.
First, it welcomed it because it will directly decide on what is appropriate and what is inappropriate content and second, because the DNS has shown many times it could not care less about media freedom.
Most recently it illustrated this by supporting Prime Minister Marjan Šarec's call to state-owned companies not to advertise in certain media outlets.
"It is more than obvious that Slovenia is again or (still) deeply in the Communist totalitarian system that tramples on human rights, of which the freedom of speech is the most important," Biščak says, adding that the deep state does not even bother to hide this anymore.
"The question is whether liberation from these chains is even possible in a peaceful way," concludes the commentary headlined In the Beginning Was the Word.
STA, 4 July 2019 - The Ministry of Labour has come up with a calculation of the effect of the planned rise in the minimum wage in 2020 on the entire economy, establishing that, coupled with the elimination of bonuses from the minimum wage, it would cost the private sector EUR 197.1 million or 1.77% of the wage bill.
The calculation comes as a response from the government to the criticism from employer representatives about it having failed to make proper projections before adopting legislative changes raising the minimum wage.
In a recently published document, the ministry says that the effect of the raise of the gross minimum wage could be estimated relatively precisely based on data from previous years, while it is much harder to estimate the effect of the elimination of bonuses, as there are no relevant databases.
The ministry has established that the financial effect of the expected raise of the minimum wage in 2020 would be EUR 63.6 million or 0.57% of the wage bill, and the elimination of bonuses an additional EUR 133.5 million or 1.2% of the wage bill.
In commerce, where the number of employees on minimum wage is the highest, the added cost is expected to be EUR 37.3 million or 1.81% of the wage bill.
The ministry has assessed that the cumulative financial effects at the level of the entire economy will not be significant, while it is aware that they could be higher in industries with lower wages and a higher number of permanent bonuses.
It does not expect that a large number of companies will get into trouble considering that the total net profit posted by Slovenian companies last year increased by 16% and that the economic situation and the situation on the labour market are favourable.
Employer representatives are disappointed with the calculation, with Jože Smole, the secretary general of the Employers' Association, telling the STA that the analysis was very modest, featuring only three pages of text.
Smole is convinced that it does not take into account the complexity of the matter and is critical of the ministry for relying too much on the general data about profit and disregarding the possibility that companies which do not make profit would get into further trouble.
The Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS) reiterated in its response that it was against the changes to the minimum wage act, which it believes will hurt vulnerable individuals and companies the most.
The changes, which were passed last year without the approval of all social partners, raised the minimum wage this year from EUR 638 net to EUR 667 net, and next year it is expected to increase to EUR 700 net.
All our stories on pay in Slovenia are here
A schedule of all the main events involving Slovenia this week can be found here
This summary is provided by the STA:
Govt adopts guidelines on division of 2020, 2021 budget funds
LJUBLJANA - The government divided among its departments budget funds for the next two years. The 2020 budget has previously been capped at EUR 10.450 billion, while the 2021 budget is capped at EUR 10.455 billion. The cabinet set the upper limits for individual departments, which now have a few weeks to draft their financial plans for the two periods. Despite what are to be record high budgets, coalition partners are not happy with the funds allocated to the ministries. "Even if there were additional EUR 100 million available, there would still be dissatisfaction," said Igor Zorčič, deputy group head of the Modern Centre Party (SMC) as he was coming out of a coalition meeting this morning.
Krka's net profit up 37% to EUR 140m in H1, dividends up 10% from last year
NOVO MESTO - The drug maker Krka generated EUR 761.8 million in sales revenue in the first half of the year, which is 12% more than in the same period last year. Net profit rose by 37% to EUR 139.9m, the Novo Mesto-based company said. Estimated operating profit grew by 14% to EUR 154.9 million and estimated gross operating profit rose by 10% to EUR 210.3 million. The shareholders also decided that EUR 101.66 million out of last year's distributable profit of EUR 189.47 million will be allocated for dividends at EUR 3.20 gross per share. This is a 10.3% increase compared to last year's dividend.
Govt adopts changes to law on integrity and corruption prevention
LJUBLJANA - The government adopted at its weekly session changes to the law on integrity and the prevention of corruption which change the appointment of corruption watchdog officials and reorganise the work of the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption. The changes bring new standards governing the appointment of officials on the commission. A new condition that a vetting commission will have to take into account is "personal suitability". Some changes will also be made to the commission selecting the candidates for the three posts, but the final selection remains in the hand of Slovenian president.
Ministry says minimum wage increase in 2020 will cost EUR 200m
LJUBLJANA - The Ministry of Labour has come up with a calculation of the effect of the planned rise in the minimum wage in 2020 on the entire economy, establishing that, coupled with the elimination of bonuses from the minimum wage, it would cost the private sector EUR 197.1 million or 1.77% of the wage bill. The calculation comes as a response from the government to the criticism from employer representatives about it having failed to make proper projections before adopting legislative changes raising the minimum wage.
Govt orders adoption of overdue national zoning plan for Poček
LJUBLJANA - The government decided that a new national zoning plan be adopted for Poček, the main training area of the Slovenian Armed Forces. A new zoning plan is needed after the Constitutional Court, petitioned by the Postojna municipality, which hosts Poček, annulled the old one in December 2017. The court argued the zoning plan had not been adopted by considering all environmental risks, giving the government a year to amend the situation.
NSi requests another debate on Slovenian-Italian police patrols
LJUBLJANA - The deputy group of the opposition New Slovenia (NSi) has requested a session of the parliamentary foreign policy and interior policy committees to discuss the newly introduced mixed police patrols on the Slovenian-Italian border. The party believes the joint patrols were a mistake that could have long-term consequences. The NSi argues that the mixed police patrols on Slovenia's border with Italy undermine Interior Minister Boštjan Poklukar's claims that Slovenia is protecting the border with Croatia well.
Cerar says preserving W Balkan's EU accession prospects a must
POZNAN, Poland - Foreign Minister Miro Cerar attended a conference on the Western Balkans as part of a Berlin Process summit, saying that preserving the region's EU accession prospects was a must, and that young people in the region must be enabled to develop their potential. In the discussion on the Berlin Process and the EU accession prospects of the Western Balkans, Cerar expressed Slovenia's support for the enlargement process and the expectation that the EU will take strategic decisions regarding the accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania this year.
Pahor receives credentials of four new ambassadors
LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor was presented with the credentials of Peruvian Ambassador Eric Anderson Machado, Colombian Ambassador Miguel Camilo Ruiz Blanco, Malaysian Ambassador Cheong Loon Lai and Afghan Ambassador Khojesta Fana Ebrahimkhel today. All of them are concurrent ambassadors based outside Slovenia.
Slovenia gets fmr Yugoslav embassy in Guyana
BELGRADE, Serbia - Nearly three decades after the start of the breakup of the former Yugoslavia, the countries that emerged from it continue to settle their succession issues. As part of the process, Slovenia got the building of the former Yugoslavia's embassy in Georgetown, Guyana, at the most recent succession meeting in Belgrade. The Foreign Ministry said in a press release that the meeting also assigned to Slovenia several artworks that used to adorn the former Yugoslavia's diplomatic and consular properties.
Insurance market stable in 2018, regulator says
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's insurance companies generated a cumulative net profit of EUR 132.7 million in 2018, up 6.5% annually, with re-insurers posting a 17% rise to EUR 46.4 million. The director of the Insurance Supervision Agency, Gorazd Čibej, said the industry had operated in a stable manner last year, meeting all capital adequacy standards. Collected gross premiums reached EUR 2.1 billion, up 5.7% over 2017, rising by 6.3% in property insurance and 3.9% in life insurance. Loss ratio improved by 2.1 percentage points because 2018 was more favourable than 2017 for the industry. For reinsurers, 2017 was the fourth worst year in 40 years, Čibej said.
Rail operator firm wins EUR 21.5m project in Croatia
RIJEKA, Croatia - The rail construction firm SŽ-ŽGP of the national railways operator Slovenske Železnice has been picked for a project of reconstructing the railway network in the Croatian Rijeka port. The subsidiary signed the EUR 21.5 million contract today. Apart from reconstructing the network, the firm will also perform demolition work, modernise a logistics platform as well as reconstruct a link to a passenger train station. The project is expected to be completed in two years' time.
Court of Audit honoured with state decoration
LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor has honoured the Court of Audit with the Order of Merit as the institution watching over the use of public funds celebrates its 25th anniversary. The president's office praised the court for its independent, efficient and responsible supervision of taxpayers' money. Court of Audit president Tomaž Vesel said the decoration was a great honour and encouragement, which also brought responsibility to keep up the good work.
Debate warns about youth exodus from Slovenia
LJUBLJANA - A debate which was part of an annual get-together of Slovenians living abroad, hosted by the parliamentary Commission for Relations with Slovenians Abroad, discussed youth brain drain, with participants being critical of the state and sharing their views on homeland and personal experience. The vice-president of the commission Karla Urh pointed out that economic growth and higher recruitment rate did not curb the emigration. She thus called for determining causes for that and developing mitigation strategies.
Ministries urge sacking medicinal products agency members
LJUBLJANA - The newspaper Dnevnik reported that health and agriculture ministries had recently launched the procedure of dismissing four members of the board of the Agency for Medicinal Products and Devices on the grounds of negligence and lack of expertise. The members deny the accusations, deeming them absurd, and are appealing the dismissals.
UKC Ljubljana ordered to rehire main defendant in line-skipping trial
LJUBLJANA - UKC Ljubljana hospital has been ordered by the Ljubljana Labour and Social Court to rehire Uroš Smiljić, who is standing trial for allegedly taking kickbacks from patients wanting to skip waiting lines for exams and procedures at the country's biggest hospital. The court said that the reasons for dismissal stated by the hospital were fabricated. The hospital said that the stocktaker was being fired because his post was being abolished, with the court now establishing that the need for services he provided did not cease to exist after he was fired.
If you're learning Slovenian then you can find all our dual texts here
STA, 4 July 2019 - A debate which was part of an annual get-together of Slovenians living abroad, hosted by the parliamentary Commission for Relations with Slovenians Abroad, discussed youth brain drain, with participants being critical of the state and sharing their views on homeland and personal experience.
At the debate focusing on the issue of the young emigrating from Slovenia and returning to their native country, the vice-president of the Commission Karla Urh pointed out that economic growth and higher recruitment rate did not curb the emigration. She thus called for determining causes for that and developing mitigation strategies.
The slogan of this year's get-together reflects the issue, posing a question of why the young are still leaving despite the improvements.
Speaker Dejan Židan said that the nation is not defined by genetics, but mostly by the "memory, language, culture and awareness of being part of the community". According to him, globalisation and internationalisation pose a threat to national identities.
Minister for Slovenians Abroad Peter J. Česnik said that he himself was an expatriate, having lived in Australia for a long time, and highlighted that living abroad was not easy. He pointed out that Slovenian national awareness at home was not as strong as that found in Slovenian communities outside the country, where the culture was maintained voluntarily.
The event was addressed by keynote speakers, including constitutional judge Klemen Jaklič, Jure Leskovec, an IT associate professor at Stanford University and co-founder of the American-Slovenian Education Foundation, an EU Parliament assistant Nežka Figelj and secretary at the Ministry for Slovenians Abroad Dejan Valentinčič.
Leskovec said that a lot of people emigrated from Slovenia to transcend the system of wage levelling, which forced them not to stand out or achieve exceptional results, adding that some also left to open a company abroad due to excessive red tape and high taxes at home.
Around half a million Slovenians or people of Slovenian descent identifying as such live outside Slovenia, representing some 20% of the Slovenian nation.
STA, 4 July 2019 - Police have apprehended 97 illegal migrants trying to cross the state border in different parts of the country in the past couple of days. The Koper police department have dealt with most of them. The majority were Pakistani citizens.
The Koper police department apprehended 73 between Wednesday and Thursday morning - 62 of them were Pakistani citizens, with the rest coming from Bangladesh, Iran, India, Morocco, Syria and Tunisia.
Two of them have asked for international protection, while the rest are expected to be handed over to the Croatian authorities.
Tuesday was particularly busy for the coastal region. According to the newspaper Primorske Novice, locals in the south-western village Hrušica spotted a large group of illegal migrants, at least 100, late in the afternoon.
Furthermore, a police car involved in the pursuit that followed crashed into a tree and flipped onto its side. Four police officers suffered minor injuries in the collision.
The Novo Mesto police department apprehended on Wednesday 14 illegal migrants from Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan. The processing has not yet been completed.
Meanwhile, the Maribor police department processed 7 foreigners in the past 24 hours, including citizens from Algeria, Iraq and Iran. All of them will be handed over to the Croatian authorities. Some of them have already been apprehended in April this year or September last year.
The Ljubljana police department apprehended three illegal migrants in the south-eastern Kočevje and central Grosuplje area in the past 24 hours, with the processing still ongoing.