14 Feb 2021, 12:22 PM

STA, 14 February 2021 - Slovenia logged 329 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, down a third over the week before, as the positive trend, in particular in hospitals, continued. Twelve Covid-19 patients died, the latest government data shows.

The new cases come from over 1,800 PCR tests and over 5,000 rapid antigen tests, whereby all those who test positive with rapid tests are subsequently re-tested with the more reliable PCR tests.

The system has been put in place effective yesterday after there were clusters of cases across the country where rapid tests were positive but follow-up PCR tests negative.

Hospital numbers continued to improve as well. The number of Covid-19 patients declined by 24 to 739, the lowest since late October, while ICU cases dropped by 23 to 149, the lowest since early November.

Slovenia has confirmed 179,482 cases since the start of the pandemic, according to the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ). The death count stands at 3,717, according to data tracker Covid-19 Sledilnik.

The number of active cases is estimated by the NIJZ at just under 13,000, whereas the seven-day average of new daily infections dropped to 823.

14 Feb 2021, 09:24 AM

STA, 13 February 2021 - Two avalanches were triggered in the area of Mt Storžič (2,132 metres) in the western part of the Kamnik-Savinja Alps mountain range on Saturday, burying four climbers. Three died at the scene and one sustained severe injuries, the Administration for Civil Protection and Disatser Relief says on its website. Two rescuers were also injured.

The first avalanche happened at 10:40am and buried two climbers on their way to Mt Storžič. Both sustained injuries so severe that they died on the scene.

Robert Kralj, the head of the police mountain unit, told the press that the avalanche also buried two other climbers up to their waist but the pair was not injured. They called for help.

As soon as they dug themselves out they started rescue procedures themselves, added Sašo Rožič from the Tržič mountain rescue service.

During the rescue operation involving mountain rescuers, police, army and a medical team, another avalanche was triggered about three hours later higher up the mountain, engulfing two other climbers.

One of them died at the scene, while the other sustained serious injuries.

Rescuers were informed of the new avalanche via radio. While trying to escape the second avalanche, two of the rescuers were injured. A rescuer from the medical team sustained severe injuries.

The three victims and the two injured were brought to the valley by an army helicopter.

Rožič said 24 rescuers and three avalanche rescue dogs had been involved in the rescue operation. Two army and police helicopters were also activated. Rožič could not say whether the injured and deceased had been experienced climbers or not, but they were the only climbers in the area today, according to official information.

According to Primorski Dnevnik, a Slovenian skier was also killed today in an avalanche in Sella Nevea, Friuli Venezia Giulia, on the Italian side of Mt Kanin. Two other Slovenians who were with him were not injured.

The Kranj police warned against hiking and climbing in the mountains in the current extreme weather conditions.

The danger of avalanches at altitudes of up to 1,800 metres is level three, considerable, while at higher altitudes it is high, level four. Temperatures in the mountains are at around -20 degrees Celsius with strong northerly and north-easterly winds.

14 Feb 2021, 09:16 AM

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Avalanches claim three lives, rescuer injured

PREDDVOR - Two avalanches were triggered in the area of Mt Storžič (2,132 metres) in the western part of the Kamnik-Savinja Alps mountain range on Saturday, burying four climbers. Three died at the scene and one sustained severe injuries, the Administration for Civil Protection and Disaster Relief says on its website. Two rescuers were also injured, one of them, a rescuer from the medical team, sustained severe injuries.

Another 1,005 coronavirus infections, dozen deaths

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia logged 1,005 new coronavirus infections on Friday, which is a slight decrease compared to Thursday but an increase in weekly comparison. A total of 23,097 rapid and PCR tests were conducted, the government said on Twitter. Another 12 Covid-19 patients died. The 7-day average of confirmed infections increased by five to 846 compared to Thursday but the country still remains in the orange tier under the government exit strategy, especially as the number of people in hospitals continues to drop.

Pharma Marifarm profitable in 2020

MARIBOR - The Maribor-based pharma company Marifarm was in the black last year for the first time since it went private to avoid bankruptcy in 2016 as its revenue doubled to some EUR 11.5 million, according to preliminary calculations. It notably increased revenue from manufacturing drugs for other pharmas but would still like to launch its own drugs.

Crossing of internal borders simplified

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia scrapped checkpoints on its borders with Austria, Croatia and Hungary starting on Saturday and those who have recovered from Covid-19 or have been vaccinated can now enter the country without having to quarantine or provide a negative coronavirus test. Under the new government decree governing Covid-19 restrictions on borders, it is now possible once again to cross the border with Austria, Hungary and Italy via all crossings rather than just designated checkpoints, a system that had been put in place in the early stages of the pandemic.

Norway's Eckhoff wins women's sprint in Pokljuka

POKLJUKA - Norwegian Tiril Eckhoff won the 7.5-kilometre sprint event at the Biathlon World Championships in Pokljuka on Saturday with flawless shooting and best speed (21:18.7). Second and third places went to French Anais Chevalier-Bouchet and Belarus Hana Sola, respectively. The defending champion Norwegian Marte Olsbu Roeiseland was sixth, while the best ranking Slovenian, Polona Klemenčič (+ 3:34.9/3), was 76th.

If you're learning Slovenian then you can find all our dual texts here


13 Feb 2021, 14:15 PM

The covers and editorials from leading weeklies of the Left and Right for the work-week ending Friday, 12 February 2021. All our stories about coronavirus and Slovenia are here

Mladina: No-confidence vote last chance for opposition

STA, 12 February 2021 - Monday's vote of no confidence in the government of Janez Janša is the last chance to unseat the government, the left-wing weekly Mladina argues in Friday's editorial, noting that the motion is likely to fail but would determine who is on the right side of history.

The paper says this is the only chance for the opposition to risk failure - but it will be the moral winner in the eyes of the public regardless of the outcome.

"Every MP who votes in favour will automatically be on the right side of history. Yes, Monday will bring a tally of those in favour of democracy, and those in favour of Slovenia's Organisation," the leftist weekly says in The Illusion that the Next Attempt Is Possible.

According to Mladina, it will be a bitter moment when deputies of the coalition SMC and opposition DeSUS vote in favour of the government. "It will be bitter for them: the moment the vote is over, they will have taken upon themselves historical responsibility for Janša's past and, even more importantly, future actions."

"The very next day Janša will leverage this 'trust' to strengthen his grip on power and assault society even more brutally. And the votes for all these actions, a blank check, will have come from MPs of two parties which he has manipulated all along."

The opposition, however, cannot lose on Monday because the vote is simple: it is about what kind of country the people want to live in.

"If the motion is unsuccessful, the opposition will have a single goal: getting ready for the election. Just like Janša. DeSUS and SMC, however, will immediately remain without the trump cards that they are currently using in their game with Janša. The very next day, he will not even give the two parties a second thought."

Reporter: Janša wrong to silence experts

STA, 9 February 2021 - The right-wing magazine Reporter writes about the harsh but apparently ineffective coronavirus restrictions in Slovenia in the latest editorial headlined Five Minutes of Truth, saying the truth was delivered last week by the country's chief epidemiologist, Mario Fafangel.

The weekly notes that Croatia has almost defeated the epidemic without the harsh coronavirus restrictions and fines seen in Slovenia, where it took three months before coronavirus began to decline.

Fafangel said epidemiologists had proposed several times the reopening of primary schools up to year 5, they also proposed lifting the ban on movement outside municipality and region of residence. He also opined there was no need for a curfew.

"His comments must have upset Prime Minister Janez Janša, who has emphasised that Dr Fafangel is the acting head of the Centre for Communicable Diseases at the National Institute of Public Health (is this a threat that he won't be much longer?) and added that there are other experts in the advisory group and that opinions differ.

"Which experts have different opinions he did not say, and they have not themselves because the government or its communication office banned them from giving statements to the media," writes the weekly.

"It is unbelievable indeed, the prime minister disregards the experts' opinion and is silencing them, citizens are under a curfew and shut in their municipalities, while the parents who are protesting with their children against school closures, are getting police knocking on their door to be handed EUR 800 fine notices."

The paper remembers protesters who in 2014 rallied in front of the Ljubljana court house in protest against Janša's imprisonment in the Patria case. "The rallies were equally unlawful but none of the protesters received a fine. Today, under his power, people are punished for protesting against (unlawful) school closures."

All our posts in this series are here

13 Feb 2021, 12:40 PM

What follows is a weekly review of events involving Slovenia, as prepared by the STA.

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FRIDAY, 5 February
        LJUBLJANA - The national advisory committee on immunisation recommended restricting the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine against Covid-19 to people aged 18 to 64, due to a lack of data on the vaccine's efficacy in older people. It nevertheless recommended giving the AstraZeneca vaccine to immobile persons at home regardless of age.
        LJUBLJANA - The government changed the decree on border crossing to make it simpler for daily cross-border commuters and students. They will not be required to submit a negative coronavirus test unless they come from countries whose new caseload is worse than Slovenia's.
        LJUBLJANA - Four opposition parties tabled an ouster motion against Culture Minister Vasko Simoniti quoting a number of arguments, among them ineffective Covid-19 crisis measures in the culture sector.
        LJUBLJANA - The government cleared the plan of enrolment in university programmes for the next academic year after increasing the number of available posts for students of medicine and computer science, and raising the number of posts set aside for non-EU students.
        VALLETTA, Malta - Foreign Minister Anže Logar was on a working visit to Malta meeting Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Evarist Bartolo, President George Vella and Speaker Angelo Farrugia to discuss a number of EU topics ahead of Slovenia's EU presidency in the second half of the year.
        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša and President Borut Pahor highlighted the priorities for 2021 as they addressed diplomats accredited to Slovenia as part of the annual New Year reception. Janša pointed to trust, cooperation and solidarity as the key values and principles of cooperation.
        HOČE - The Environment Agency issued a preliminary environmental approval for an expansion of the factory of the automotive giant Magna near Maribor. The document was sent to the planning authorities.

SATURDAY, 6 February
        NICOSIA, Cyprus - Bilateral ties, EU issues, the Cyprus issue and Slovenia's desire to join the MED7 topped the agenda as Slovenian Foreign Minister Anže Logar held talks with Cypriot counterpart Nikos Christodoulides. Logar said Slovenia wanted to join the MED7 club of Mediterranean EU members.
        LJUBLJANA - A large segment of the retail sector reopened a day after the government gave the go-ahead for the nation-wide reopening of all shops and services businesses under 400 m2 regardless of the goods they are selling or service they are performing.
SUNDAY, 7 February
        LJUBLJANA - Feri Lainšček, a writer, poet, playwright and screenwriter who has immortalised ordinary people from rural eastern flatlands of Slovenia, and Marko Mušič, one of the most distinguished Slovenian architects, were honoured with the Prešeren Prizes for lifetime achievement.
        LJUBLJANA - On Day of Solidarity with Belarus, the Slovenian Foreign Ministry expressed solidarity with, and support for, Belarusian citizens who have been holding peaceful anti-government protests since the presidential elections in August 2020, urging respect for democratic standards and fundamental human rights.
        LJUBLJANA - Nearly a week after actress Mia Skrbinac publicly accused an unnamed actor and drama teacher of sexually harassing her while she was a student, several media named the alleged harasser as Matjaž Tribušon, a 57-year-old award-winning film and theatre actor with the SNG Drama Ljubljana.
        CLERMONT-FERRAND, France - Sisters, a short film by Slovenian director Katarina Rešek - Kukle, won the top prize at the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival, the biggest international film festival dedicated to shorts.
        ULRICEHAMN, Sweden - Slovenian cross-country skiers Eva Urevc and Anamarija Lampič won the women's World Cup team sprint event, in their biggest feat ever.

MONDAY, 8 February
        PRISHTINA, Kosovo - Defence Minister Matej Tonin announced during a visit to Slovenian troops in Kosovo that Slovenia will slightly reduce the number of troops in the mission since a part of them will be moved to Bosnia-Herzegovina, where troop presence will be doubled, and to other EU missions.
        LJUBLJANA - On Culture Day, President Borut Pahor called for a culture of dialogue, in particular from politicians due to their influence in public discourse. Prime Minister Janez Janša said he expected a more constructive attitude from the cultural sphere as the current situation is too grave to respond to it with "street activism and threats".
        LJUBLJANA - Several dozen riot police entered the AKC Metelkova alternative culture centre, ostensibly to check whether clubs were closed, a move that prompted protests by the proprietors of Metelkova clubs and the artists and craftsmen who have studios there.
        LJUBLJANA - Interior Minister Aleš Hojs, accompanied by his mother, was denied entry to Croatia. Neither he nor his mother had a negative coronavirus test and given the choice between mandatory quarantine or turning around, he decided to return. The police later said the minister broke no coronavirus restrictions to movement.

TUESDAY, 9 February
        LJUBLJANA - Pupils in the first three years of primary school throughout the country - that is including in the last three regions - returned to in-class instruction in line with last week's government decree. Both parents and teachers welcomed the move as long overdue. Thousands of secondary school students boycotted online lessons and demanded they return to classrooms as well.
        LJUBLJANA - Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek expressed Slovenia's willingness to work together with China and the other 16 Central and East European countries involved in the 17+1 initiative in tackling the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic, as he addressed a virtual summit of the initiative.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia saw its goods exports fall by 2% to EUR 32.9 billion last year as imports declined by 6% to EUR 32 billion. As a result, the country recorded a surplus of EUR 900 million, the second highest in a decade.
        LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Rules of Procedure Commission voted down the opposition-sponsored legislative changes to the parliamentary rules of procedure that would allow MPs to take part in secret ballots when they cannot be present at the National Assembly in person.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Slovenian MEP Milan Zver (EPP/SDS) was among more than 70 MEPs who signed a letter urging the EU's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell to resign after what the critics see as his "humiliating" visit to Russia.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Commission approved Slovenia's EUR 20 million scheme to help public transportation companies overcome the coronavirus pandemic, during which public transport has been either suspended completely or significantly limited.
        LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Writers' Association announced it would not take part in the celebration of Slovenia's 30th independence anniversary following revelations that PM Janez Janša has banned some government officials from speaking to the press.

WEDNESDAY, 10 February
        LJUBLJANA - The five left-leaning opposition parties submitted again a motion for a vote of no confidence in the government of Janez Janša, with Karl Erjavec, the head of the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS), as candidate for prime-minister designate.
        LJUBLJANA - The Constitutional Court announced that the parliamentary inquiry act and rules of procedure on parliamentary inquiry are in violation of the constitution. The National Assembly was instructed to remedy the situation in a year.
        LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Finance Committee adopted a series of amendments to the National Demographic Fund bill, mostly based on remarks from the parliamentary legal service. Among other things, the STA would become a part of the fund.
        LJUBLJANA - A month-long strike by one of the two trade unions representing police officers was suspended for the duration of negotiations after the government agreed to continue paying a bonus for the protection of the Schengen border.
        LJUBLJANA - It was revealed that the Slovenian Writers' Association, the Slovenian PEN centre and the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts nominated Drago Jančar, arguably Slovenia's leading contemporary writer, for this year's Nobel Prize in Literature.
        LJUBLJANA - Industrial output in Slovenia contracted by 6.2% in 2020 after six successive years of growth. Turnover in industry was down by 7.8%, the Statistics Office reported.
        BRNIK - The brand of the bankrupt Slovenian air carrier Adria Airways was sold to a bidder from abroad for just over EUR 33,000 net in the third attempt to sell the brand. The bidder was not disclosed.

THURSDAY, 11 February
        LJUBLJANA - After the 7-day average of new daily coronavirus infections and hospitalisations fell well below 1,000, Slovenia formally moved to orange tier of the government colour-coded coronavirus exit strategy. The government thus approved a sweeping easing, allowing movement throughout the country, gatherings of up to ten people, reopening of all stores and schools for all primary pupils and final year secondary school students from 15 February.
        LJUBLJANA - The government decided to scrap ten designated checkpoints on internal Schengen borders from 13 February, which means it will be possible to enter or exit the country via all border crossings with Austria, Hungary and Italy. In addition, those who have recovered from Covid-19 or have been vaccinated against it with two jabs will be able to enter the country without having to quarantine or provide a negative coronavirus test.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - In its winter economic forecast, the European Commission downgraded Slovenia's GDP forecast for this year from 5.1% to 4.7%, while a rebound of 5.2% is expected in 2022, an upgrade from the 3.8% in its previous outlook.
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor and his Estonian counterpart Kersti Kaljulaid discussed a number of topics in a video call. They said the EU should close ranks to become more effective in relation to its partners, especially Russia and China, while also strengthening transatlantic relations.
        LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Home Affairs Committee endorsed a bill redrawing electoral districts in line with a 2018 Constitutional Court decision with the backing of coalition MPs and those from the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS).
        LJUBLJANA - Božo Predalič, until now the government's secretary general, was appointed a new state secretary at the Interior Ministry effective from 12 February. He succeeds Anton Olaj, who was appointed police commissioner at the end of January.

13 Feb 2021, 09:11 AM

STA, 13 February 2021 - Slovenia scrapped checkpoints on its borders with Austria, Croatia and Hungary starting on Saturday and those who have recovered from Covid-19 or have been vaccinated can now enter the country without having to quarantine or provide a negative coronavirus test.

Under the new government decree governing Covid-19 restrictions on borders, it is now possible once again to cross the border with Austria, Hungary and Italy via all crossings rather than just designated checkpoints, a system that had been put in place in the early stages of the pandemic.

In practice, however, that may not be so simple since neighbouring countries each have their own requirements.

Slovenia also added a new list of high risk countries to the red list to comprise countries in the EU and Schengen area whose epidemiological status is poorer than Slovenia's. Only Spain, Portugal and the Czech Republic are currently on the list

Arrivals from those countries will have to produce a negative coronavirus test, but from Saturday it will also be possible to cross the border with a positive PCR test dating at least 21 days but no more than six months back, or with a doctor's note proving the person has recovered from Covid-19 that should be no older than six months.

Also valid will be negative tests issued by labs in third countries approved by the National Institute of Public Health, while only doctor's notes are required for arrivals from EU and Schengen countries.

Those immunised against the virus who produce proof they have received a second jab will also be allowed to cross without restrictions.

All other conditions for entering the country continue to apply

13 Feb 2021, 08:57 AM

STA, 12 February 2021 - Remote schooling has taken a toll on parents, particularly mothers, and primary school children who have been struggling due to stress, exhaustion and lack of motivation, shows a study by the March 8 Institute. The NGO has urged a strategy to address the repercussions of remote learning.

The study was conducted among more than 2,600 Slovenian households with primary school children, according to Jasna Mažgon, professor of educational sciences at the Ljubljana Faculty of Arts.

Children lack motivation, whereas parents are tired and worried with mothers being most frequently overworked due to helping children with virtual learning, she summed up the results.

The survey goes into detail by indicating that almost a quarter of the participants do not have a quiet space where children could do their schoolwork. Almost half of the children share a computer or laptop with their parents or siblings.

Children spend from four to six hours online per day attending virtual classes. Almost half of the parents spend an additional one to two hours helping children with their school tasks and a third up to four hours, said Mark J. Užmah, who led the survey.

Moreover, remote schooling has been held against a backdrop of deepening social inequalities, warned Mojca Lukan of the NGO. Slightly above 40% of the participating households have seen their income decrease since the start of the Covid crisis.

Nika Kovač, the head of the NGO, warned that months-long distance learning had left its mark on parents and children's mental health as two thirds reported enhanced exhaustion and 58% said they were struggling. She also noted that there was no data on so-called lost students, children who had not been attending online classes.

The actual impact of remote education on children will be clear after all of them return to in-classroom learning, said Užmah. He agreed with Kovač that something should be done to tackle the situation since "long-term remote schooling is not as effective as the Education Ministry says it is".

The NGO believes that a clear national strategy should be prepared for future school reopenings.

Some of the current prevention measures in schools set down by the government could not be heeded, Užmah said, pointing to small classrooms and a shortage of teachers.

Mažgon said that the ministry should determine the extent of learning gaps in individual subjects that emerged or were widened during remote education and come up with measures to mitigate this as much as possible.

Contact tracing and issuing quarantine orders due to risky contacts should be resumed as soon as possible, Užmah noted, adding that if ordered to self-isolate due to a risky contact, parents should then get compensation for loss of income during that time.

13 Feb 2021, 04:29 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

UKC Ljubljana director Poklukar nominated for health minister

LJUBLJANA - Janez Poklukar, the director of Slovenia's largest hospital UKC Ljubljana, has been nominated for health minister, Prime Minister Janez Janša announced on Twitter after formally submitting the nomination to the National Assembly. He described Poklukar as a good candidate with a "guaranteed comfortable majority to be elected." Poklukar said on Twitter the decision was not easy but he accepted Janša's invitation "due to all the opportunities for the Slovenian health system and UKC Ljubljana that I see in the future".

1,055 coronavirus infections confirmed in Slovenia on Thursday

LJUBLJANA - Another 1,055 coronavirus infections were confirmed on Thursday, which is up slightly from a week ago. The seven-day average of confirmed cases was up by lightly to 841. The number of hospitalisations dropped below 800 after a very long time, the government's Covid-19 spokesperson Maja Bratuša told the press. A total of 789 Covid-19 patients were in hospital, 39 fewer than the day before, including 154 in intensive care, which is 3 fewer than on Wednesday. The number of deaths was up by five compared to the day before to 15.

All positive antigen tests to be double checked with PCR tests

LJUBLJANA - Starting from Saturday all those who test positive for coronavirus in rapid antigen tests will be swabbed again for their infection to be confirmed with a more reliable PCR test, Health Ministry State Secretary Marija Magajne announced. The decision comes after clusters of positive rapid antigen test results emerged amid weekly swabbing of school and kindergarten staff at several locations across the country only to be later overturned by PCR tests.

Lenarčič urges Slovenia to make best use of recovery finds

LJUBLJANA - European Crisis Management Commissioner Janez Lenarčič urged Slovenia to make the best use of the funds available as part of the EU mechanism for recovery and resilience. Slovenia should prepare its plan for drawing these funds the best it can and use the assistance of European Commission's experts services, the commissioner told a videoconference presenting his priorities in 2021 to the parliamentary EU Affairs Committee.

STA staff concerned about planned transfer to demographic fund

LJUBLJANA - The STA staff made a public appeal to lawmakers and party leaders, expressing concern after an amendment was passed yesterday under which the agency would be folded into the emerging National Demographic Fund. "Such far-reaching changes to the agency's ownership and management call for expertise-based arguments and dialogue," reads a joint statement issued on Friday by the editorial board, works council and in-house trade union.

Four parties demand debate on hate speech

LJUBLJANA - Deputy groups of the coalition NSi, SDS and SMC, the opposition SNS and both minority MPs requested a session of the parliamentary interior and justice committees regarding what they see as stepping up of ideology-based hostility, ostracising and attacks. The move was initiated by the NSi, which said it would not point fingers at anyone but called on everyone to "push the reset button, because we have reached a point where Slovenian society has never been before".

Restrictions on bank dividend payments extended but relaxed

LJUBLJANA - The central bank extended until the end of September a requirement that banks may not pay out dividends. It said limits on dividends, purchase of own stock or use of profit for other purposes would remain binding. However, if a bank posts profit in the first quarter of 2021, it will be able to pay out up to 15% of profit generated in 2019 and 2020, or 0.2% of common equity tier 1 capital, whichever is lower.

Selection of e-tolling contractor challenged by two bidders

LJUBLJANA - The selection of Slovakia's Skytoll for an e-tolling system for cars in Slovenia is being challenged by both bidders who were rejected, motorway company DARS told the STA. The complaints were received by DARS. If they are rejected, the National Review Commission, where public tender disputes are ultimately resolved, will weigh in.

Pandemic drives down business revenue and expenditure in 2020

LJUBLJANA - Data for 2020 show a drop in revenue and expenditure for business entities in Slovenia, according to a report by the AJPES agency for legal records. For legal entities, revenue dropped by 10.6% over the year before to EUR 299.8 billion and data for sole proprietors show a drop of nearly 20% to EUR 8.3 billion. The Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS) said that the drop comes as no surprise, as the coronavirus pandemic hit small companies the hardest.

Call for measures to address remote schooling ramifications

LJUBLJANA - Remote schooling has taken a toll on parents, particularly mothers, and primary school children who have been struggling due to stress, exhaustion and lack of motivation, shows a study by the March 8 Institute. The NGO has urged a strategy to address the repercussions of remote learning. The study was conducted among more than 2,600 Slovenian households with primary school children.

Slovenians still optimistic about EU, survey shows

BRUSSELS, Belgium - Slovenians' positive attitude towards the EU remains above the EU average in a survey presented by the European Parliament. The share of such respondents has increased by 10 percentage points to 50%, while in Slovenia the figure was at 58% in autumn, when the survey was conducted. Moreover, 60% of respondents from Slovenia said things were going in the right direction following the coronavirus outbreak in Europe, whereas the EU average was at 39%.

Merger to create Slovenia's largest co-op cleared

NOVO MESTO/TREBNJE - The Competition Protection Agency cleared the merger of the farmers' co-operatives Trebnje and Krka to create Slovenia's largest co-operative, brining together about 1,000 farmers to generate EUR 65 million in annual revenue. The deal to create the Trebnje-Krka Co-operative was signed in December last year.

Exhibition offers insight into modern Slovenian architecture

LJUBLJANA - An exhibition set up by the Architects' Society of Ljubljana opened at the Cankarjev Dom to present architectural innovations and buildings constructed in Slovenia over the past two years as well as the attitude of political and economic sectors to architecture. Architecture - Stocktaking offers a comprehensive two-year overview of Slovenia's architecture with architects from other Slovenian associations taking part along with ten guests from Serbia.

Cyclist Pogačar and 2004 handball team honoured for sporting achievements

LJUBLJANA - Tour de France winner Tadej Pogačar and the team that won silver at the 2004 European Men's Handball Championships were honoured for their international achievements as the Bloudek Prizes, Slovenia's top sports awards, were handed out in a virtual ceremony.

Sweden's Ponsiluoma wins men's sprint event in Pokljuka

POKLJUKA - Sweden's Martin Ponsiluoma won the men's sprint at the Biathlon World Championships in Pokljuka in what was a surprising finish at the first individual event. Second and third places went to France's Simon Desthieux and Emilen Jacquelin. Miha Dovžan achieved the best result among Slovenians, ranking 25th, his second best ranking so far in his career.

If you're learning Slovenian then you can find all our dual texts here


12 Feb 2021, 14:18 PM

STA, 12 February 2021 - The second wave of the pandemic in Slovenia has not had an impact on the country's export companies and its construction sector, IMAD, the government's macroeconomic think tank, said on Friday. It has, however, hit retail and some other services quite severely.

Revenue has dropped significantly since the second half of October, with the hospitality sector suffering the most, seeing its revenue drop by more than a half, IMAD said in the most recent issue of its regular publication.

The households' spending on personal services, entertainment, sports and other services has also decreased, owing to their inaccessibility.

The sales of motor vehicles and in retail dropped considerably, with the latter being dragged down above all by poor sales of clothing and footwear, furniture and household equipment.

But on the other hand, export-oriented companies and the construction sector have not been impacted significantly by the second wave.

Exports to EU countries, which account for about three fourths of Slovenia's total exports, as well as manufacturing, recovered to pre-crisis levels in the course of the final quarter of 2020, IMAD said.

The construction sector also saw a significant improvement, owing to an increase in the construction of residential buildings.

Moreover, confidence indicators suggest the continuation of advantageous trends in the beginning of this year. This is also supported by data on energy use and road traffic, both of which are only slightly lower than in January 2020.

12 Feb 2021, 13:07 PM

STA, 11 February 2021 - Labour Minister Janez Cigler Kralj said on Thursday the minimum hourly pay for student work would be raised to EUR 5.89 gross this week. Thus he responded to criticism from the opposition Left and the Student Organisation that student pay had not been adjusted to the minimum wage raise.

Cigler Kralj said on Twitter that as soon as the minimum wage was raised (to EUR 1,024 gross) efforts had started to set the new minimum hourly pay for student work as well.

The Left noted today that the minimum hourly pay for student work had risen from EUR 4.89 to EUR 5.40 gross at the beginning of last year. Under the law, the minister is to change the minimum pay if the minimum wage changes, it said.

Based on the minimum wage raise, the minimum hourly pay for students should rise to EUR 5.89, the party noted.

The same call was made by the Student Organisation.

12 Feb 2021, 13:00 PM

STA, 12 February 2021 - Slovenians' positive attitude towards the EU remains above the EU average in a survey presented by the European Parliament on Friday. The share of respondents in all members with a positive opinion about the bloc has increased by 10 percentage points to 50%, while in Slovenia the figure was at 58% in autumn, when the survey was conducted.

The survey suggests that 76% of Slovenians believe the EU's recovery plan will allow the country to recover more quickly, with the EU average at 72%.

Moreover, 60% of respondents from Slovenia said things in general were going in the right direction following the coronavirus outbreak in Europe, whereas the EU average was at 39%.

But on the other hand, Slovenians are also above-average pessimistic about the pandemic. 65% of Slovenian respondents said they were pessimistic, while the EU average was at 53%.

However, it seems that all Europeans are not too pleased with the situation in their own country, as only 33% on average believe things are going good. In Slovenia, only 21% of respondents believe that things are going in the right direction, while 79% believe the opposite.

More than a half of respondents from all member states believe their living conditions will still be the same in a year's time, a quarter believe things will get worse and 20% believe it will be better.

In Slovenia, 35% expressed belief that their living conditions will grow poorer, 44% believe they will remain the same and 21% believe they will get better.

Moreover, Slovenia, alongside Malta, came second only to Ireland in its optimism about the future of the EU, as 78% of the Slovenian respondents expressed this notion. The EU average was 66%.

The survey also touched on the work of the European Parliament, with 48% of respondents across the EU saying it should focus on fighting poverty and inequality. Terrorism and crime came second, followed by education and environmental protection.

In Slovenia, 63% said the European Parliament should focus on poverty and inequality, followed by terrorism and crime and environment in place three.

Slovenians also seem to be significantly less happy than the rest of the EU when it comes to democracy. Only 32% of Slovenian respondents, the lowest share in the bloc, are happy with democracy in the EU, significantly fewer than the 88% in Denmark, The EU average is 55%, while dissatisfaction was expressed by an average of 40% of respondents.

Asked about basic values the European Parliament should protect, 61% of respondents from Slovenia said solidarity among member states, whereas the survey at EU level placed human rights around the world first, followed by gender equality, while member states solidarity came third.

Slovenia had one of the highest shares of respondents, 78%, saying the European Parliament should play a more important role, the EU average being 63%, which was five percentage points more than a year earlier.

The survey was commissioned by the European Parliament and carried out by Kantar between 20 November and 21 December 2020. It included more than 27,200 respondents over the age of 15 from the 27 member states.

More details can be found here

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