FRIDAY, 22 January
ZAGREB, Croatia - The foreign ministers of Slovenia and Croatia, Anže Logar and Gordan Grlić Radman, assessed after talks, which focused on Croatia's exclusive economic zone in the Adriatic Sea and included the border arbitration, that they had managed to raise the Slovenian-Croatian relations to a higher level in the past ten months. Logar also visited the earthquake-hit Petrinja area to express condolences to the victims' families and convey Slovenia's readiness to help.
LJUBLJANA - Four opposition parties filed a motion to oust Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities Minister Janez Cigler Kralj over his work related to care homes during the epidemic and the ministry's decision to grant funds to an NGO with close links to the minister.
LJUBLJANA - The travel quarantine exceptions list was expanded to allow citizens of Slovenia and other EU and Schengen countries to enter the country without quarantining if they had left to perform maintenance work on private property in another EU or Schengen country, or to provide care or aid or to visit their child, for no longer than 12 hours.
LJUBLJANA - Health Ministry official Vesna Kerstin Petrič announced that, although testing for the coronavirus is not compulsory, teachers who did not want to get tested would not be allowed to teach in person in a classroom.
LJUBLJANA - The Environment and Spatial Planning Ministry welcomed the US's return to the Paris Agreement, praising it as a positive development in global efforts to meet the commitments from the 2015 climate deal. "This will definitely represent a new element in the process aimed at starting the implementation of the Paris Agreement," it added.
LJUBLJANA - Slovenian Ambassador to Italy Tomaž Kunstelj and the foreign and culture ministries expressed their opposition to in any way promote a Slovenian-curated exhibition showcasing the imagery of heroism in the former Yugoslavia and involving the Ljubljana Museum of Modern Art to be put on at the MAXXI museum in Rome, the left-wing magazine Mladina reported.
LJUBLJANA - FM Anže Logar expressed concern about systematic violation of human rights in Belarus as he addressed a meeting of the UN Security Council on media freedom in the country. "Detaining and punishing journalists and media employees for their work is unacceptable," Logar was quoted as saying by his ministry.
LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Covid-19 contact tracing app, launched in summer 2020 as a measure to contain the spread of coronavirus, was upgraded to include many new features, including cross-border exchange of tracing keys.
SATURDAY, 23 January
LJUBLJANA - Dnevnik reported that the Information Commissioner did not establish any irregularities in the police's access to the personal data of 44 politicians, including party and deputy group leaders. The procedure was launched last February after several politicians expressed concern their data might have been accessed by police without authorisation.
LJUBLJANA - Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities Minister Janez Cigler Kralj said in response to the ousting motion filed by the opposition that it was not based on facts, and that care homes had been understaffed and underfunded long before the coronavirus epidemic.
LJUBLJANA - Creditreform Rating, an European credit rating agency, affirmed Slovenia's AA- rating with a stable outlook. It said Slovenia had a strong economic environment, a flexible labour market while its private sector's indebtedness is low, which should contribute to the country's post-Covid recovery.
SUNDAY, 24 January
LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša announced that the first case of the highly transmissible UK coronavirus variant had been officially confirmed in Slovenia in a Kosovo national who arrived from Belgium. The National Institute of Public Health said it planned to retroactively check tests from all regions that have come back positive since 11 January. The subsequent screening of 877 samples of positive PCR tests showed 16 had two genetic changes matching the highly virulent UK strain of the virus.
LJUBLJANA - A public opinion poll commissioned by the commercial broadcaster POP TV showed that almost 60% of the respondents would probably or very probably get vaccinated against Covid-19, which is three times more than last October.
CAIRO, Egypt - Slovenia were knocked out of the World Men's Handball Championship after a 25:25 tie with the hosts Egypt in the last match of the main round. The next campaign for Slovenia are the qualifiers for the Tokyo Summer Olympics, which Slovenia will play in Germany on 12-14 March.
ANTERSELVA, Italy - Slovenia's Jakov Fak finished third in the men's Biathlon World Cup mass start to announce good form ahead of the Biathlon World Championships, which will take place in Slovenia's Pokljuka on 9-21 February.
LJUBNO OB SAVINJI - After Slovenia won the team Ski Jumping World Cup event for women a day earlier, Slovenia's Ema Klinec finished second in the individual event behind Eirin Maria Kvandal of Norway. It was the 12th podium finish for the 22-year-old Slovenian.
MONDAY, 25 January
LJUBLJANA - The Microbiology Institute reported the confirmation of the highly virulent UK variant of coronavirus in three of the 291 samples taken from positive tests performed in Slovenia between 1 and 14 January, evidence that the variant had been in Slovenia before the first official case was confirmed last weekend.
LJUBLJANA - Mass testing of thousands of teachers and other personnel in education was carried out in what was the largest such testing operation yet, as kindergartens and the first three grades of primary school reopened on the next day.
LJUBLJANA - The government adopted a new stimulus bill, with the extension of the furlough scheme until 30 April and minimum wage subsidies from January to June as the key measures. In the second half of the year, employers will be exempt from paying a part of social security contributions.
BRUSSELS, Belgium - The priorities of Slovenia's EU presidency in the second half of 2021 and bilateral cooperation were in the focus as FM Anže Logar held talks with his Belgian counterpart Sophie Wilmes. Logar stressed that Slovenia would place special emphasis on strengthening the EU's capacity to address health and other crises.
ABU DHABI, UAE - Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek met Emirati Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber as he started an official visit to the United Arab Emirates. The pair agreed that bilateral cooperation could improve and expressed support for such efforts, as Slovenia is interested in strengthening ties in high-tech, green economy, pharmaceutical industry, artificial intelligence, logistic, health services and space technologies.
BRUSSELS, Belgium - Agriculture Minister Jože Podgoršek said after an EU ministerial that Slovenia would like to allocate EUR 150 million of the EU recovery funds for agriculture. The main problem is a lack of projects that could draw funds fast enough, which is why the focus will be on investment and "soft" projects", he added.
BRUSSELS, Belgium - Slovenia urged the European Commission to help EU pork producers, as Slovenian pork producers have suffered at least a 30% drop in revenue due extremely low prices, additional costs incurred because of African swine fever, and coronavirus-fuelled delays in some abattoirs.
LJUBLJANA - Interior Minister Aleš Hojs urged enhanced efforts to protect children from online sexual abuse, as he attended a ministerial of the EU Internet Forum. "It is especially worrying that globally, the largest amount of footage of child abuse on the internet is exchanged in the EU," he said.
KLAGENFURT, Austria - After another spray-painting of the Slovenian names on bilingual city limit signs in Austria's Carinthia, Slovenian minority organisations condemned the incidents once again. The National Council of Carinthian Slovenians (NSKS) said that these systemic and well-organised acts were attempts to erase the Slovenian language in the public.
LJUBLJANA - The programming council of public broadcaster RTV Slovenija appointed Andrej Grah Whatmough the new director general. Currently the chair of the public broadcaster's supervisory board, he will succeed Igor Kadunc at the end of April.
LJUBLJANA - The ruling Democratic Party (SDS) increased its lead to just shy of eight points in the latest poll commissioned by the commercial broadcaster POP TV. The SDS polled at 16.9%, down 0.3 percentage points from December, as the opposition SocDems lost 1.2 points to 7.9 to 9% in second.
TUESDAY, 26 January
LJUBLJANA - After three months of remote learning, kindergartens and primary schools up to year three reopened in nine of Slovenia's twelve regions, with no major disruption was reported. Education Minister Simona Kustec announced that 53,306 children returned to school and 74,630 to kindergartens. Only a fraction of the teachers had tested positive.
LJUBLJANA - The five deputies of the Pensioners Party (DeSUS) decided they will continue to work as a single parliamentary faction, but they have not yet decided whether to be a part of the opposition or cooperate with the coalition.
LJUBLJANA - A new political movement called Povežimo Slovenijo (Unite Slovenia) has emerged with an initiative to bring together smaller parties, local initiatives and individuals to form a joint slate for the next general elections. The initiator, Nada Pavšer of the Greens, believes the list could get at least 20% in the next election.
DUBAI, UAE - Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek symbolically took over on behalf of Slovenia the management of the country's pavilion at the Expo 2020 in Dubai. The minister said "Slovenia will show know-how, innovation and energy" at the the largest such exposition yet that will take place between 1 October 2021 and 31 March 2022.
LJUBLJANA - The Constitutional Court stayed the implementation of a provision from one of the coronavirus stimulus packages that extends accreditations to higher education institutions until it comes up with its final ruling on the matter.
ZAGREB, Croatia - Barbara Antolić Vupora, the first ethnic Slovenian to be elected to the Croatian parliament, announced she would run for the head of the Varaždin county in the local election in May on the list of the biggest opposition party, the Social Democrats (SDP).
LJUBLJANA - The Swiss pharma giant Novartis said it had invested EUR 204 million last year in its R&D and production capacities in Slovenia through its subsidiaries Lek, Sandoz and Novartis Pharma Services, in line with its plan to transform from a generics to an innovative pharmaceutical company.
LJUBLJANA - The Health Insurance Institute (ZZZS) finished last year with a EUR 87 million deficit, with revenue totalling EUR 3.25 billion or 4.9% more than in 2019, and expenditure amounting to EUR 3.34 billion, up 9.5%. Wage subsidies for sick leave represented the largest share in expenditure (16.4%).
WEDNESDAY, 27 January
BRDO PRI KRANJU - The government decided to close shops and cultural institutions that reopened a few days ago in Obalno-Kraška and Zasavska, after the two regions no longer meet the criteria for the red tier under the exit strategy. The government also decided that stores selling food around the country will be able to sell socks and underwear again.
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia issued a 60-year bond worth EUR 500 million, the second highest bond issue this year and one with longest maturity the country has ever issued. "The 60-year euro-denominated bonds were issued with 0.7% yield to maturity and a coupon rate of 0.6875% to the tune of EUR 0.5 billion," the Finance Ministry said.
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia logged a total of 163,235 of coronavirus infections and 3,448 deaths since the start of the pandemic, with an estimated 17,572 active infections and a 7-day average of daily cases at 1,258, show data from the National Institute of Public Health as of 27 January. Covid-19 hospitalisations fell to 1,106 with 171 in intensive care. More than 51,650 people had been vaccinated, over 13,300 of whom had received a second jab already.
LJUBLJANA - Maja Brkan was endorsed as nominee for a Slovenian judge on the General Court of the European Union in a near unanimous vote at the National Assembly. The associate professor of EU law at the Maastricht University's Faculty of Law will now need to pass an assessment by the court's vetting body to get the post.
LJUBLJANA - The lower chamber of parliament failed to overturn the veto the upper chamber imposed on changes to the tonnage tax act, with only 17 MPs voting in favour, and 41 against the changes. The legislative motion was aimed at extending by another ten years a special regulation under which shipping companies pay an alternative, lower form of corporate income tax.
LJUBLJANA - The European Commission appointed Jerneja Jug Jerše as the new head of its Representation in Slovenia. Jug Jerše, who will assume her duties in Ljubljana on 16 April, succeeds Zoran Stančič, who completed his five-year term as head of the European Commission Representation in Slovenia at the end of last year.
LJUBLJANA - United Media, the media division of United Group, plans to expand to the Slovenian market this year by setting up a news portal under the N1 brand, which is already active in the region. The Luxembourg-based United Media has already opened the Adria News subsidiary in Ljubljana under which the N1 Slovenija web portal will operate.
LJUBLJANA - Revenue in retail in Slovenia was down last year by 9.7% compared to 2019, the Statistics Office reported. The largest drop, by 23.6%, was recorded by shops specialised in sale of motor fuels.
ŠOŠTANJ - The city council of Šoštanj voted against coincineration of waste at the TEŠ thermal power plant. While TEŠ parent company boss said before the vote that the project would not go forward if all local communities opposed it, the Environmental Agency is yet to decide whether it will issue an environmental approval.
LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Bishops' Conference condemned all forms of violence and intolerance against the Church after two attacks in the past week. A can with flammable substance was blasted in the vicinity of a Catholic pastoral centre, while a balloon filled with paint was thrown at a fresco on the exterior of St Nicholas's Cathedral in Ljubljana.
THURSDAY, 28 January
LJUBLJANA - The government decided that schools and kindergartens in Zasavje and Obalno-Kraška regions will have to close once again next Monday. In the seven red-tiered regions, children will remain at home on Monday, as staff will get tested for coronavirus again, Education Minister Simona Kustec said.
LJUBLJANA - Interior Ministry State Secretary Anton Olaj was relieved of his duties and appointed the new police commissioner for a five-year term. Olaj served in the police force between 1981 and 2012, when he finished his police career as Novo Mesto Police Department director.
LJUBLJANA - The Government Communication Office said that the government had ratified the EU Own Resources Decision, the legal basis to allow drawing post-Covid recovery funds. In 2021-2027, Slovenia should be able to draw EUR 5.2 billion.
BRUSSELS, Belgium - Taking part in a virtual EU ministerial, Interior Minister Aleš Hojs allowed for the possibility to reach an agreement at the EU level on mandatory redistribution of migrants in crisis situations, but only if a threshold for the number of migrants to be accepted by an individual member state is determined in advance.
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia made no headway in the 2020 Corruption Perception Index compiled annually by Transparency International. Like in 2019, it ranked 39th among 180 countries surveyed, and with a score of 60 points, it once again fell short of the EU average of 64 points and the OECD average of 67 points.
NOVO MESTO - The pharmaceutical group Krka reported unaudited preliminary results for last year which say it generated a record EUR 1.53 billion in revenue, up 3% compared to 2019, and a record net profit, estimated at EUR 286.6 million, up 17% year-on-year.
LJUBLJANA - Director of the Krško Nuclear Power Station (NEK) Stane Rožman is this year's recipient of the Manager Association award for lifetime achievement in management. Under his watch, NEK became one of the top ten best rated power stations in Europe, the association said. In his address to the virtual annual meeting of the Manager Association, PM Janez Janša appealed for managers to support the government in its bid to fight red tape.