News

13 Feb 2019, 16:30 PM

STA, 13 February 2019 - A child of the ironworks that started appearing in the Pohorje hills in north-eastern of Slovenia as far back as the 18th century, forged metals and toolmaker Unior is looking back at its 100 years in 2019. Unior, whose workforce has climbed to 3,700, seems here to stay, having developed into a leading global supplier for the auto industry.

The company, originally named Styria Iron Works Company Ltd., started in 1919 as a forge in Zreče. Before World War II, it had 250 workers, who manufactured hand tools for farming, forestry and different crafts.

While the original facilities were burnt down in the war, they were rebuilt immediately after. The plant was renamed Factory of Forged Tools Zreče and passed into "state" or public ownership in 1950, remaining under indirect state ownership to this very day.

Production soon expanded to drop-forged parts, which asserted themselves in the auto industry, while operations also followed political dictate, meaning the most pressing needs of the joint country of Yugoslavia - forged tools, i.e. sockets, all types of vices, adjustable spanners, pliers, forged parts for cars, bicycles etc.

The company's current name Unior, an amalgamation of the words univerzalno orodje (universal tools), came after a 1968 worker strike that was followed by receivership and a fresh start.

By 1978, Unior asserted itself as an important partner of the automotive industry, becoming a major European manufacturer of light forgings and one of the largest European manufacturers of connecting rods for petrol engines, which positioned it among the major suppliers for companies like VW, BMW, etc.

In the same year, the company started developing and manufacturing special machines for metal processing, while construction notably also began of the Rogla health resort and sports centre and the Terme Zreče spa.

Exports of hand tools were pushed in the mid-1980s though a worldwide distribution network, which would prove crucial after the loss of Yugoslav markets in 1991.

Having braved the bumpy transition, Unior became a joint-stock company in 1997, acquired a stake in Slovenian steel producer Štore Steel a year later, and set up Ningbo Unior Forging in Yuyao, China, in 2005.

A major blow came with the crisis in 2009, which necessitated a number of measures, including a capital increase of tens of millions of euro and the promise to banks to sell the tourism division.

Plans to privatise the company also emerged but have quieted down, and Unior has been going strong after emerging from the crisis.

CEO Darko Hrastnik told the STA that Unior estimates to have generated a record EUR 165m in revenue in 2018 at the level of the core company, which employs 1,800 people.

Hrastnik expects a slight slowdown due to global trends but not a recession, with the company planning to preserve an annual growth rate of 3%-5% also in the coming years.

He highlighted Unior's connecting rods and forgings for car steering mechanisms, saying that order contracts are being signed for five to seven years in advance.

While already present, in particular with its hand tools, in over 100 countries, Hrastnik announced an additional expansion in the coming four years.

"While it was still true 20 years ago that we couldn't sell forgings to other continents, we're now also marketing our products in North and South America. If the financial resources allow, we'll continue to develop production on the American market," he said.

As the global sale of traditional hand tools is stagnating, Unior has taken on new projects, such as bicycle tools and tools for working at high voltage.

Hrastnik said that debt reduction is progressing smoothly and announced that the tourism division, which was spun off into a new company called Unitour in 2017, would likely be sold this year.

The executive said there was little news regarding attempts to privatise Unior - the last one was halted in 2017, and argued that while this created some uncertainty, it did not impact day-to-day operations.

In case a sale occurs, Unior would wish for a strategic owner, which however also allows for several scenarios given the diversity of its divisions.

"Whoever would wish to buy Unior today would buy it with all its metal programmes which do have a lot of synergy, but perhaps still not enough for some," said Hrastnik.

However, even if there is no change to ownership, which involves a number of shareholders with different interests, Hrastnik expects continuing growth or even more.

He spoke of preliminary plans to enter aluminium forging, which would mean a fourth metal division for the company and involve the potential for very fast growth.

13 Feb 2019, 14:36 PM

STA, 13 February 2019 - President Pahor has called elections to the European Parliament for 26 May, initiating formal procedures leading up to the vote.

This year's elections to the European Parliament will take place across the continent between 23 and 26 May. Since Slovenia holds elections on Sunday, the only possible date is 26 May.

The writ issued on Wednesday means candidates will be able to formally register starting on 25 February, with the election campaign officially starting a month before voting day.

Pahor said he will not intercede in the campaign directly but will "dare to emphasise as president of the republic how important the EU is for our national interest."

This year's election could chart the course of future development of the EU, either in the direction of stronger integration or towards a smaller and weaker EU. This is why it is important that Europeans vote on the fate of the common European home.

"The results of our will need to be understood and respected after the election. This is why these elections ... are particularly important," he said.

Outlining the political landscape months before the vote, Pahor said the EU was experiencing a hiatus that has led to popular discontent and hence given rise to ideas for a loosening of integration and a "return to national frameworks".

But this does not bode well for Slovenia since it marks a "return to the old European geopolitics, which strengthens what divides us rather than what brings us together."

"The nurturing and development of the common European home guarantees peace, security and prosperity, its demise would jeopardise all that," he said.

Confused about the elections? The Wikipedia page is here with the basic facts and figures

13 Feb 2019, 12:30 PM

Slovenia has no shortage of niche events and festivals for those who still enjoy the pleasures of the big screen in public, from Kinodvor’s Film Under the Stars at Ljubljana Castle to the Grossmann Fantastic Film & Wine Festival, which brings horror and honest trash to Ljutomer. However, it’s something that’s occurring next week is that’s perhaps the most Slovenian of all – the Mountain Film Festival (Festival gorniškega filma).

1. Slovenian climbers rock

We’re huge admirers of the past and present of Slovenian climbing here at TSN, be it folks with names like Čop, Kunaver, Zaplotnik, Štremfelj, Prezelj, Karo, or Humar in the Julian Alps, Himalayas, Yosemite and Patagonia, or on the wall in sports climbing with figures such as “the best climber in the world”, the still teenaged Janja Garnbret from Kranj. In short, Slovenia has played and continues to play an outsized role in the world of climbing, with many first ascents and new routes. Learning about it will help draw you closer to the land, and you may even end up on Triglav.

If you want to read more about the history of the scene here, take a look at the book Alpine Warriors.

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2. Big screen adventure

So the festival’s got that Slovenian cultural heritage going for it – it’s organised by the Mountain Culture Association (Društvo za gorsko kulturo) and the legendary Silvo Karo –  but for me the chief appeal is this: these films will be presented on screens far larger than the ones you have at home. They’re thus are better able to convey the full majesty and terror of the scenes on display (as Aleš Kunaver said, “in the mountains magnificence is diametrically opposed to comfort”).

That movie about the guy who climbed that thing without a rope? Imagine seeing this on something much, much bigger:

3. The programme is world class

The programme looks great, with most of the big mountain features and shorts from the last year or so, and there are also movies on topic adjacent to climbing, like the night sky or environment, so we’ll just present the following convenient selection of trailers, with a lot more to be found at the website.

Cerro Kishtwar - Thomas Huber, Stephan Siegrist and Julian Zankar from Rock & Ice on Vimeo.

Everest Green | Trailer VF from Block 8 Production on Vimeo.

IN THE STARLIGHT - Official Movie Trailer from Mathieu Le Lay on Vimeo.

The Undamaged - Official Trailer from Leeway Collective on Vimeo.

4. A chance to meet the stars

What else can you expect at a mountain film festival in Slovenia? Climbers, and great ones – on the screen, on the stage and in the audience, many of whom live a short drive from the event. Sp Andrej Štremfelj will give a lecture about his ascent of Everest in 1979, when he climbed with the legendary Nejc Zaplotnik, while Aleš Česen and Luka Stražar will be there talking about their ground-breaking ascent, done with Tom Livingstone, of Latok 1 in 2018, “the Holy Grail of high altitude climbing”.

Other names set to talk about their lives and climbs include Rado Kočevar, Hansjörg Aeur, Klemen Bečan and Marija Jeglič. Beyond the Slovenian scene, Colin Haley will be talking about sport alpinism, and one event that’s sure to inspire heated opinions is a roundtable discussion: “Drilling – pitons or bolts?”

5. It’s not just in Ljubljana

While the main events are held in Cankarjev dom, the festival is not confined to the capital. It also has screenings and lectures in Domžale, Celje and Radovljica, while the winning movies will play everywhere (except Celje) at the end of the festival.

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You can get a PDF of the programme here

Bonus - the website is ice cool and clean

With a website that's easy to navigate and comes in Slovene and English varieties, letting you search by day, event and venue, the Slovenian Mountain Film Festival offers a perhaps unique chance to see these films on the big screen, with an audience that knows what it’s watching, in a country in love with its mountains.

Related: see all out posts tagged "mountaineering" here

13 Feb 2019, 11:50 AM

STA, 12 February 2019 - The parliamentary Commission for Oversight of Intelligence and Security Services debated on Tuesday the national security implications of a lengthy dispute with Italy over radio signals travelling across the border, and ways to protect Slovenian radio stations.

The dispute goes back well over a decade and revolves around frequency interference of radio broadcast signals that cross the border.

Some Slovenian stations have been ordered to pay fines by Italian courts, which has led to recurring criticism in Slovenia, most recently in 2016.

Italy insists Slovenian radio stations' signal in the border area is too strong, while Slovenia has accused Italy of failing to honour international agreements which govern such cases.

Commission chair Matej Tonin said the MPs inquired with the government what it was doing to protect Slovenian radio stations from court decisions that he said were "inappropriate considering how these issues are regulated internationally."

He said Slovenian stations may decide to withdraw from the border area for fear of fines, which would mean that "Slovenian language and Slovenian culture would not be heard in this area," which could represent "a significant security threat" in the absence of action.

According to Tonin, some of the measures presented by the government included counter lawsuits against Italian radio stations for frequency interference in Slovenia, assignment of additional frequencies to Slovenian operators, and legal assistance in cases before Italian courts.

The debate came just two days after senior Italian officials caused uproar in Slovenia and Croatia with statements interpreted as attempts at historical revisionism.

Tonin said that the context made the debate "all the more heated and pertinent".

13 Feb 2019, 10:20 AM

STA, 12 February 2019 - Slovenia auctioned off EUR 181m-worth of treasury bills on Tuesday, the biggest single T-bills issue in several years, at interest rates that remain at record low levels.

Three-month bills have an interest rate of -0.38%, six-month bills will yield -0.39% and twelve-month bills -0.40%. The papers will be formally issued on 14 February, the Finance Ministry said.

The interest rates are slightly lower than in the last issue in October, when six-month bills yielded -0.38% and twelve-month bills were sold at -0.39%.

This is the second borrowing round this year after Slovenia issued a new 10-year reference eurobond worth EUR 1.5bn in January.

Total borrowing for this year has been capped at EUR 2.1bn.

13 Feb 2019, 08:39 AM

Below is a review of the headlines in Slovenian dailies for Wednesday, February 13, 2019, as summarised by the STA:

DELO

Skiing
"A year later, Tina Maze reveals FIS conduct": Retired skier Tina Maze reveals in an interview for Delo that the leadership of ski federation FIS had ignored her health problems towards the end of her career. She had a benign tumor on the uterus that required surgery, but FIS officials refused to give her injury status. (front page, 17)

Meat scandal
"Consumer health at risk, but...": The tainted beef scandal has raised many issues about food safety that require a debate and long-term solutions. (front page, 3)

Historical revisionism
"Demands for apology and resignation": Speeches by European Parliament President Antonio Tajani and Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini at Sunday's ceremony in Basovizza continue to make waves, with their reactions - Tajani's apology and Salvini's amazement at Slovenian protests - triggering fresh outrage. (front page, 4, 7) You can read more on this story here

Migrations
"Should Slovenia plan migrations?": Calculations in Germany show they need 260,000 migrants each year even if the retirement age is raised to 70. The Slovenian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS) has called for a targeted migration policy that will attract highly skilled staff. (front page, 9)

DNEVNIK

Reactions to Italian historical revisionism
"They demand Tajani's resignation": There are mounting calls for EU Parliament President Antonio Tajani to resign due to revisionist comments, with Slovenian and Croatian European People's Party (EPP) MEPs finally issuing a joint position that Tajani needs to retract his statement. (front page, 2, 14)

Trial of Catalan leaders
"Start of trial of Catalan leaders": The long-awaited trial of rebellious Catalan leaders who sought independence started in Madrid yesterday, triggering numerous protests around Catalonia. (front page, 7)

Sports infrastructure
"Soon a new sports centre at Brdo?": The Slovenian Handball Association is planning a new sports centre at Brdo pri Kranju, where the Football Association already has its main administrative and training centre. (front page, 17)

FINANCE

Health insurance
"200% more for supplementary": Supplementary insurance premiums have risen by 200% in 20 years. The extra money has not improved the quality of service or access. (front page, 6, 7)

Agrifood sector
"This is how agribusiness champions do business": Finance looks back at companies that received its award for fastest-growing businesses in the sector. (front page, 18, 19)

Job market
"The jobs created by industry 4.0": Finance singles out several professions that industry 4.0 will need, including manager of human-machine interactions, structural engineer and developer of virtual reality. (front page, 2, 3)

VEČER

Preservation of artworks
"Shamefully concealed": A 25 m2 mural by Janez Vidic has recently been discovered behind a brick wall in a former bank office in the centre of the city. Maribor stakeholders should join forces to preserve the extraordinary work of art. (front page, 16, 17)

Hungarian investments in Slovenia
"Csanyi penetrating Slovenia": Hungarian billionaire Sandor Csanyi, whose OTP bank has already entered Russia and the Balkans, is said to be eyeing Abanka, having already entered the Emonika project in Ljubljana through affiliated companies. (front page, 6)

Employment of former officials
"Job at Iskra and a million from Iskra": The former director of the Maribor city administration Simon Štrancar, who negotiated a settlement with Iskra over the abandoned speed trap project, now has a job at Iskra and received a million in venture capital from the company for his startup. He insists there is nothing shady about his relationship with the company. (front page, 8. 9)

Meat scandal
"How the kebab scandal affects people": Food inspectors have ordered removal of tainted kebab meat from Poland from seven kebab places in Maribor. It remains unclear, though how much of the tainted meat has already been consumed. (front page, 5)

12 Feb 2019, 18:22 PM

STA, 12 February 2019 - Slovenian MEPs belonging to the European People's Party (EPP) share the concerns over Sunday's WWII aftermath statements by European Parliament President Antonio Tajani, but all except New Slovenia's (NSi) Lojze Peterle accepted the Italian's apology. Foreign Minister Miro Cerar will meanwhile ask Tajani for additional explanations.

Related: Slovenian Officials Criticise Italian "Revisionism" Over Foibe Massacres

Democrats (SDS) MEPs Patricija Šulin, Romana Tomc in Milan Zver wrote they accepted Tajani's explanation that his statements at the ceremony commemorating ethnic Italians killed by Yugoslav Partisans after WWII should definitely not be understood as nationalistic.

Commenting on Tajani's call "Long live Trieste, long live the Italian Istria, long live the Italian Dalmatia", the trio referenced the response of SDS leader Janez Janša, who said that Istria is Italian to the same extent as the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region is Slovenian.

Focusing on the part of Tajani's statement that undermined Slovenia's and Croatia's territorial integrity, Tomc added for the STA that "such reckless statements introduce unnecessary disquiet, especially since this chapter of history between Italy and Slovenia is closed".

While Tajani said in his apology that he had merely wanted to convey a message of peace, Tomc expects additional explanations and an open conversation also at the level of the EPP.

Related: President Pahor & Speaker Židan Express Concern After Neo-Fascist Rally in Trieste (Video)

At the same time she condemned what she labelled "a very populist reaction" to Tajani's speech.

Franc Bogovič of the Slovenian People's Party (SLS) also said phrases like Italian Istria and Dalmatia were completely unacceptable, with the memory still being alive of the horrors of the Fascist regime in occupied territories in Slovenia and Croatia after WWI.

Bogovič, however, also accepted Tajani's apology, leaving Peterle, Slovenia's first prime minister, as the only one to reject it.

"Neither his speech nor his half-hearted apology can be seen as contributing to peace," Peterle wrote, arguing Tajani did not apologise for his words but for their interpretation.

The NSi joined calls for Tajani's resignation.

Cerar is also disappointed

Meanwhile, also unhappy with Tajani's apology is Slovenian Foreign Minister Miro Cerar, who wrote to Tajani to remind him that European institutions and the European Parliament president had the duty to protect European values and not encourage this type of discourse.

Cerar, who is the head of the ALDE-affiliated Modern Centre Party (SMC), said the apology fell short of what he and Slovenia expect and that "it is fair that this matter be clarified fully".

"While every apology is welcome, it needs to be very clear that it involves the recognition of a mistake and the pledge the mistake will not repeat," Cerar said.

In the letter, Cerar said Tajani's statements had not reflected the spirit of the EU or its founding values.

"On the contrary, your statements are taking us back to times when dangerous rhetoric was used in Europe to encourage hatred towards other nations and create tensions."

"Many of us understood your statements as a threat, which is why we expect a sincere apology. The explanation regarding the alleged misinterpretation of you statements unfortunately does not suffice, since the statements run contrary to the basic principles of European order as laid down in the Helsinki Final Act on security and cooperation in Europe," Cerar wrote.

Cerar expects the leaders of European institutions to clearly say no to revisionism, to incitement of intolerance and hatred among nations.

"The tragic events of our shared history should not be the subject of political reinterpretations," the foreign minister added.

Cerar forwarded to Tajani a copy of a 2000 report by a bilateral commission of historians who examined Slovenian-Italian relations in the 1880-1956 period.

No apology from Salvini

While Tajani issued what has been described as a non-apology, Italy's Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has doubled down on statements he made at the ceremony and later on Twitter.

He said he did not understand the reaction of Slovenian Prime Minister Marjan Šarec, who spoke of "unparalleled revisionism" and wrote that "Fascism was a fact and its goal was to destroy the Slovenian nation".

"I don't believe that a child killed by the hands of a Nazi is any different than a child killed by the hands of a communist," Salvini said on Monday evening for an Italian TV report.

12 Feb 2019, 17:10 PM

The Balassi Institute is the Hungarian cultural centre in Ljubljana, where you’ll find art, music, performances, readings, literature, workshops, screenings, lectures, parties, cooking and more, all of which serve to bring a flavour of Slovenia’s eastern neighbour to the capital.

I recently visited to learn more about the place, and sat down to drink coffee and record a conversation with Institute’s director, Bíborka Molnár-Gabor.

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The Institute's director, Bíborka Molnár-Gabor, speaking at an event

How did you come to be in Ljubljana?

I arrived in Slovenia in 2010, and I came here for work. At that time only a few of us were speaking Slovenian in the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and so that was a big advantage for the job of cultural attaché in Ljubljana.

Did your family speak Slovene in Hungary?

No. I learned Slovene at the university in Budapest, but as a hobby, not main subject. Of course, there are minorities on both sides of the border, so there are some people who speak Slovene in Hungary for family reasons, but out of interest, not so much.

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There are regular musical performances, all free...

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...including events for even the youngest audiences.

How did you make the move from the Embassy to the Institute?

By training I’m an economist, , and so after the posting at the embassy, I was also working at Ernst & Young, in tax advisory. Then when the Balassi Institute opened in 2016 I applied for this position, because I wanted to stay in Slovenia and help build connections between the two countries, and I like it here. I think after three years we’ve had some good effects, in terms of creating a more favourable image for Hungary, of helping people to understand the country and its culture, and of course to get more familiar with the language.

Related: Meet the People - Éva Schwetter, a Hungarian teacher in Ljubljana

And does the Institute only focus on culture?

That’s a lot of our work, but not all of it. For example, we also cover travel and tourism, and so people can come here and ask any questions they have about that. And there’s education, too, so if people would like to study in Hungary they can also come here for advice. But for business issues, and political ones, that’s the Embassy’s work.

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There's also dancing...

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...and drinks.

You organise a lot of events – musical, culinary, literary, and so on. Are these open to everyone?

Yes, and most of them are also free to enter as part of the promotion of Hungary. However, sometimes when we work with Slovenian partners outside of the premises of the institute there’s a small entrance fee, which goes directly to our local partners. The events are also unticketed, with no reservations needed, so if people see something the like they can just come along. (The schedule is here)

How much freedom do you have with the programme?

We have quite a free hand here, because the theory is that the head of each Institute knows the country they’re based in well, and understands the points of contact and connection with Hungary. Of course, we have to hand in yearly plans that need to be confirmed by the Ministry, but these are usually approved, with very small changes. The Culture Board at the Ministry also prepares a package of proposals each year, and the Institutes can choose from those.

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Visual art...

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...and debate.

What are some events you’d like to highlight?

We have a lot of variety – art, music, literature, film, and a lot of activities for children. For example, we have regular music workshops for children, suitable for babies too, and every second Tuesday, 18:00, we have folk dancing with a teacher. Personally, I most enjoy the literary series. In 2019 we’re working with more Slovenian publishing houses to promote some translations of Hungarian literature, with some of the authors coming here for talks, and that should be very interesting.

Will they be in Slovene?

Hungarian and Slovene, I think, because we’re in Ljubljana. We do have some materials in English, and some events. For example, we often show films, and if a film has already been shown in Slovenia, on TV or in cinemas, then it has Slovenian subtitles. Sometimes there are also English ones, so we try and engage as many people as possible here. People can also use English or Slovene with any of the staff here. Two of us are Hungarian.. Then we have two local staff, one of whom is from Prekmurje, so she grew up speaking Hungarian.

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Performances...

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...and competitions.

Finally, what's something from Slovenian culture that you’d like to introduce to Hungary?

I think contemporary art in Slovenia, especially film and video installations, is very good, and at least as strong as in Hungary, so I’d like to show that in Budapest.

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Workshops...

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...and other things of interest

You can visit the Balassi Institute at Vila Urbana, Barvarska steza 8, which is just a short walk from Dragon Bridge going out of town on the Castle side of the river, next to a Spar. It’s open 11:00 to 19:00 Monday to Friday, unless an even runs longer, and you can see the current schedule here.

12 Feb 2019, 15:38 PM

February 12, 2019

Delo reports that European  Court of Human Rights (ECHR) is only weeks away from deciding on Slovenia’s suit against Croatia, who according to the plaintiff unlawfully prevented repayment of the loans that Ljubljanska Banka (LB) made to Croatian companies. According to Delo, this will also be the first state-to-state property rights violation case in front of the EHRC, and only the fifth overall, as most cases at the ECHR are lodged by private persons.

In a dispute that began as both countries gained their independence, Slovenia had already been ordered to repay the LB foreign currency saving accounts that went missing following the dissolution of Yugoslavia and the consequent transformation of Ljubljanska banka into Nova ljubljanska banka.

Slovenia, who has been taken to court by Croatian savers and has already settled its €163 million debt according to the court’s decision, is arguing that if the Slovenian state had to repay LB debts to Croatian savers, then the unpaid loans taken by Croatian companies have to be repaid to LB as well.

Slovenia decided to lodge its application at the ECHR after exhausting all legal remedies in Croatia. According to its assessment the Croatian courts, Constitutional Court included, continue to prevent collecting claims from the Croatian companies for Ljubljanska banka, the plaintiff, with politics being one way to achieve this. As an example of the latter Delo cites the example of then finance minister Slavko Linić, who in 2007 prevented the execution of the final decision in favour of LB, claiming that until LB repays its Croatian clients’ saving accounts, there will be no ruling in favour of LB either. LB then took the case to theECHR, which eight years later ruled that it did not have jurisdiction over the matter since LB was a state-owned bank.

In a current lawsuit Croatia disputes ECHR's jurisdiction over the case, arguing that Slovenia filled an application out of dissatisfaction with the rulings of the Croatian courts.

The Grand Chamber of the ECHR will first decide on the admissibility of the Slovenian suit, only then will the content assessment follow.

12 Feb 2019, 14:41 PM

STA, 11 February 2019 - Magna Steyr, the Austrian car industry supplier, might delay the launch of its new paint shop in Slovenia due to uncertainty over an environmental permit that has been bogged down due to appeals by a green NGO.

 

The EUR 160m plant in Hoče, south of Maribor, is ready for launch. A test run was scheduled to begin this month and the plant was expected to fulfil orders that Magna Styer's main production facility in Graz can no longer handle.

But the company told the STA Monday it had started organisational preparations to carry out the contracts in Graz, although it was also hopeful a solution could be found to launch the Hoče plant quickly.

The news comes just days after the Environment and Spatial Planning Ministry rejected an appeal against the environmental permit for the paint shop filed by the Regional Environmental Association of Environmentalists (ROVO), a local NGO.

The organisation has said it will press ahead and challenge the rejection in court, which means it could theoretically take months or even years before the courts have had their say.

ROVO objects to the plant having been built in a water protection area and has said the government could deal with the matter simply by changing the special law it adopted for the investment to specify that it is permitted to build such facilities in water protection areas.

The government has not responded to the idea yet beyond the Economy Ministry saying that a meeting with ROVO was planned in the coming days, after Environment Minister Jure Leben returns from a visit to Finland.

University, unions and others support the plant

The environmental NGO has come under heavy fire from multiple stakeholders in the region, including the local authorities, regional chamber of commerce, the University of Maribor and the 200 workers already hired to operate the plant.

The latest appeal came Monday, when SKEI, a large trade union, said it was concerned about a situation that poses a grave risk to the project and employees.

SKEI's regional head for Podravje Martin Dular said the NGO may be "overdoing it with its demand."

Gorazd Marinček of ROVO meanwhile noted for the STA that Magna representatives had delayed the equipping of the plant in Hoče, as a test run had been originally planned to be launched already in October 2018.

Magna submitted the documentation for environmental permit four months after the deadline, he said, adding that "after all that, attributing a 14-day or one-month delay to environmentalists is mere cynicism or excuse."

Marinček also pointed to the indications from "the sources from Magna itself" that the paint shop has only 200 orders so far for this year. "It is therefore logical that they will abolish outsourcing and concentrate the things in the core plant."

12 Feb 2019, 12:50 PM

As the STA reported yesterday, so far this year there has been a sharp rise in road deaths compared to 2018, with 15 lives lost in the first month and a half of 2019, in contrast to just five the year before. However, these fatalities are just the tip of the iceberg with regard to poor driving, representing the worst outcome, with police reporting a total of 1,165 traffic accidents for the year to date. The same story also notes that the most common traffic violations are speeding, using a phone while driving, not wearing a seat belt, violations committed by pedestrians, and drink driving, with the latter accounting over 10% of accidents.

Related: What's on in Ljubljana this week

So while this article will show you where to find the speed traps in Ljubljana, it should in no way be taken as an endorsement of speeding, but more an informative text that gives you something to look out for as you motor safely around the town and country, sober and with your phone out of your hands.

Ljubljana has seven roadside cabinets that are able to contain a radar to catch speeding drivers, although the city only owns two such radars, which are thus moved around town. The newspaper Dnevnik reports that in 2018 these were in operation for around 10,000 hours and caught 17,900 drivers moving in excess of the speed limit, while the city’s two mobile radars were able to catch a further 12,502, producing a total of 30,402 speeding tickets for the year.

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The road with the most offenders was Roška cesta, with a total of 5,723 who were caught in just 66 days of radar use. In contrast, Dolenjska cesta, in the #2 spot with 5,196 tickets issued, required 121 days to reach this figure. The full report, in Slovene, can be read at Dnevnik.

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