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This summary is provided by the STA:
PM Janša congratulates US President Biden
LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša announced late on Wednesday he had sent congratulations to the newly sworn-in US President Joseph Biden. "For those curious: Prime Minister Janez Janša congratulated today the new US President Joe Biden on taking the oath," wrote Janša, noting he did it the same way as in 2005 when as prime minister he congratulated the then US President George W. Bush. "Slovenia and the US were NATO allies then and are today," added Janša, who was one of the few world leaders who had not congratulated Biden on his election victory before the inauguration.
Pahor welcomes US rejoining Paris climate deal and WHO
LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor welcomed the US's rejoining the Paris climate agreement and the World Health Organisation under President Joe Biden. "Multilateralism has regained encouragement and value. This is important for Slovenia, the EU and the whole word," Pahor said on Twitter. Meanwhile, climatologist Lučka Kajfež Bogataj, commenting for the STA, assessed the US's return to the climate deal brought hope the agreement would actually start to be implemented.
1,445 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia reported 1,445 new cases of coronavirus on Wednesday, a marked decrease over a week ago in what is a continuation of a declining trend. Government data show that out of 4,813 PCR tests, just over 24% came back positive, as did about 4% of 6,786 rapid antigen tests. Hospitalisations dropped by 19 to 1,159, 183 of whom were in intensive care. Another 27 patients with Covid-19 died to bring the death toll to 3,284, according to tracker site Covid-19 Sledilnik.
Some cultural institutions, shops to reopen in nine regions
LJUBLJANA - A new decree banning non-essential services will take effect on Saturday, expanding the list of exceptions to the ban in nine out of Slovenia's 12 regions that have lower infection rates to stalls selling farmers' produce, repair shops and shops offering children's goods. The government also allowed galleries, museums and libraries to reopen on Saturday in Gorenjska, Koroška, Obalno-Kraška, Osrednjeslovenska, Podravska, Pomurska, Primorsko-notranjska, Savinjska and Zasavska.
Ski resorts allowed to open in nine regions on Saturday
LJUBLJANA - Ski resorts in nine regions that have been moved to the red tier of coronavirus restrictions will be allowed to reopen on Saturday. All skiers except children under 12 and professional athletes, their coaches and their staff will have to produce negative coronavirus test results no older than 24 hours to hit the slopes and strict public health rules will have to be observed. Some of the resorts, such as Pohorje and Rogla, will have testing available on-site.
EUR 47m in budgetary funds to go for minimum wage rise
LJUBLJANA - Labour Minister Janez Cigler Kralj said the government would provide some EUR 47 million to help employers cover part of the minimum wage rise. The proposal to that effect will be included in the eighth economic stimulus bill, the draft of which the government reviewed today and could be in parliament in the middle of next week. The minister said the latest stimulus package was worth EUR 320 million. It will extend subsidies for furloughed workers and those on reduced hours.
Cabinet approves financial plans of pension and health funds
LJUBLJANA - The government endorsed the 2021 financial plans of the ZPIZ public pension insurance fund and the ZZZS public health insurance fund, valued at EUR 6.2 billion and EUR 3.4 billion, respectively, with balanced revenue and expenditure. The pension fund's revenue and expenditure are by 4.4% higher than the estimate for 2020. Meanwhile, the health fund's revenue is 6.9% above the 2020 performance estimate, and expenditure is 3.1% higher than the 2020 performance estimate.
Brkan gets unanimous endorsement for EU Court judge prior to final vote
LJUBLJANA - Maja Brkan, the candidate for Slovenian judge on the General Court of the EU, was unanimously endorsed by the parliamentary Privileges and Credentials Commission, the final step before the National Assembly vote, where she needs 46 votes in the 90-member legislature. Brkan, an associate professor of EU law at Maastricht University's Faculty of Law, was put forward by President Borut Pahor following consultations with deputy groups.
Govt adopts bill to protect children in criminal procedure
LJUBLJANA - The government adopted a bill to provide protection to children in criminal procedures either as victims, witnesses or perpetrators. It establishes a safe house where children will be interviewed in a neutral environment. The bill aims to create a comprehensive approach to interviews of victims and witness, and, under certain conditions, perpetrators as well. The bill also entails psychological support during interviews and physical exams, and long-term therapy for children.
Medicines agency finds rapid tests not risk to public health
LJUBLJANA - The Agency for Medicinal Products and Medical Devices told the STA its inspections had so far not detected any risks to public health from the rapid antigen tests used for mass screening. The agency opted for the inspections after the reliability of the Chinese-made tests, purchased by the Health Ministry and supplied by Majbert Pharm, was questioned in the media. The agency carried out over a dozen checks at various community health centres. In some cases swabs had to be replaced.
Six institutions found breaching vaccination strategy
LJUBLJANA - A report by the health inspectorate about compliance with the national vaccination strategy shows that the strategy was not fully complied with in the vaccination of 297 persons at six health institutions between 27 December and 16 January. In most cases, individuals who were not on the priority list received the sixth dosage obtained from the multidose vial of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, initially registered for only five. The institutions, including the Ljubljana Oncology Institute, said they did not receive detailed instructions on how to administer the sixth jab.
Four new supervisors appointed at Telekom Slovenije
LJUBLJANA - The shareholders of state-owned telecoms operator Telekom Slovenije appointed four new members of the supervisory board and changed the articles of association. These are Iztok Čenoša, a director at the state-owned 2TDK, Marko Kerin, a director at rail operator Slovenske Železnice, Ljubljana School of Business and Economics lecturer Aleksander Igličar and lawyer Radovan Cerjak. All four will formally start their terms on 22 January. The appointments come after three Telekom supervisors resigned in October, whereupon the vacancies were filled by the Ljubljana District Court.
Pipistrel looks back on best business year yet
AJDOVŠČINA - The Ajdovščina-based ultralight aircraft maker Pipistrel did great last year despite the Covid-19 pandemic. Director and co-owner Ivo Boscarol told the STA the company posted a record high net profit of EUR 4.5 million on EUR 32 million in total revenue. The profit will be used for numerous new investments this year, including in China, where Pipistrel will launch a new subsidiary, with Boscarol expecting a major business deal in China starting at the end of the year.
Benčina Henigman takes over as new CEO of Sberbank
LJUBLJANA - Jana Benčina Henigman took over on 18 January as the new CEO of the Slovenian subsidiary of the Russian bank Sberbank, succeeding Gašpar Ogrisa-Martič, who concluded his term in November 2020 to assume new duties at the headquarters of Sberbank Europe in Vienna. Benčina Henigman will be in charge of corporate and investment banking, financial markets, legal affairs and human resources. The new CEO has more than 20 years of experience in banking as part of various groups.
Consumer confidence continues to improve
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's consumer confidence continued to improve at the monthly level in January, adding one percentage point on December 2020, mostly owing to an improvement in the outlook for household finances. However, the index is still 18 points below that in January 2020 and eight points lower than the long-term average. The biggest decline year-on-year was in the expectations about the state of the national economy.
Pahor receives charity workers to thank them
LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor received representatives of the humanitarian organisations associated in the National Forum of Humanitarian Organisations, thanking them and their volunteers for the important work in addressing people's distress, which has only increased during the epidemic. The epidemic has not spared anyone, all generations have been met with distress, each in its own way, the president told the press after the meeting at Presidential Palace.
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