STA, 16 January 2020 - Bird Buddy, a project of a smart bird feeder created by a predominately Slovenian team, has raised a total of EUR 4.19 million on Kickstarter, the global crowdfunding platform, thus becoming the most successful Slovenian project by far.
So far the most successful Slovenian campaign on Kickstarter was for electric bike Flykly, which collected around US$700,000 (EUR 570,000).
The goal of the Bird Buddy was to raise EUR 50,000, but the project raised EUR 700,000 in a matter of days.
As the campaign ended, the smart bird feeder became the 35th most successful Kickstarter project overall, according to information on the project's website.
The project that convinced a total of 22,924 supporters envisages a modern design bird feeder with a feed container and a detachable module that includes a small video camera with a microphone and a movement sensor.
Detecting the arrival of a bird, the sensor notifies the user by means of a wireless connection and a mobile app. The app also allows the user to take a photo of the bird.
Equipped with artificial intelligence, the app recognizes over 1,000 bird species. It can also recognise the bird when it hears it sing.
The app also makes it possible to organise and share bird photographs and offers advice on which feed is suitable for which species of birds.
Production of Bird Buddies is planned to start in mid-2021 and they are expected to be supplied to users in September 2021.
The team behind the project said that if they collected more than EUR 750,000, users would be offered the option of a sensor to notify them when the feed container is empty, and at EUR 950,000 a solar cell to charge the camera module battery would be added.
STA, 17 January 2020 - The German police evacuated and closed off sections of Frankfurt Airport on Saturday afternoon due to a security threat posed by a Slovenian citizen. The 38-year-old, who was not wearing a face mask, was arrested, reported the German Federal Police on its website. The Slovenian police have not yet been notified of the incident.
The Slovenian was approached by police officers for failing to wear a protective mask. The man responded aggressively.
"I'll kill you all, Allah is great," he threatened and then attempted to escape, leaving his luggage behind. Parts of the airport were cordoned off due to the security threat presented by the abandoned baggage.
The piece of luggage was later found to be harmless and the man, a familiar face to the police, was arrested and detained. He is being investigated due to making treats and resisting arrest, the police said.
The police spokesperson said later that the Slovenian was deemed the main suspect. His motive has not yet been established.
He has been moved to a psychiatric hospital since it was not possible to question him. He is accompanied by a woman, allegedly his wife, who is considered a witness.
The Slovenian police contacted the German authorities following media reports and were notified of the incident on Sunday, the General Police Administration (GPU) said, adding that the suspect had held a German residence permit for a while.
The investigation is ongoing, including efforts to establish the circumstances of the incident, the GPU said. "The German police have not found the motive so far and have no information on the Slovenian citizen's involvement in plots against the state's security."
Near the time of the incident, airport authorities received a separate report of an armed man being sighted at the same terminal. The police then sealed off additional parts of the airport due to a chance of the two events being related.
The presence of any armed suspects was later ruled out and the closed sections of the airport and its train station were reopened. The investigation in the alleged gun sighting is ongoing.
STA, 16 January 2020 - Slovenia will receive 20-25% less Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine than planned on Monday due to production adjustments at, Health Ministry State Secretary Marija Magajne told the press on Saturday. This means the first-dosage vaccination will be delayed, and the whole vaccination plan will need to be adjusted.
Thus, the vaccination that was planned for next week could stretch to February or March, said Magajne, who visited the Celje general hospital today.
In the face of revelations that Covid-19 vaccination at the Ljubljana Faculty of Medicine was extended to persons who are not staff members, the state secretary reiterated that not a single dose of the vaccine must be wasted and that once ready for use, the vaccine must be used within six hours.
She said all institutions where vaccination had been conducted so far had used the shots in line with recommendations. Health inspectors checked the process and found no major irregularities, she said.
Magajne noted the interest for vaccination among medical workers was rising.
She praised the tackling of the coronavirus situation of the Celje hospital, which had 130 Covid-19 patients this morning, including 18 in intensive care unit.
This summary is provided by the STA:
Slovenia to receive 25% less Pfizer vaccine next week
CELJE - Slovenia will receive 20-25% less Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine than planned on Monday due to production adjustments at Pfizer, Health Ministry State Secretary Marija Magajne told the press. This means the first-dosage vaccination will be delayed, and the whole vaccination plan will need to be adjusted.
Report: SOVA head infected with coronavirus
LJUBLJANA - The head of the SOVA intelligence agency, Janez Stušek, is infected with the new coronavirus, web portal 24ur.com reported. Since he attended a session of the Commission for Oversight of Intelligence and Security Services on Friday, all nine members of the commission will be tested. This means, the secret ballot on the no-confidence motion in the Janez Janša government, which was to be held on Wednesday, will most likely be postponed.
1,523 new coronavirus infections confirmed on Friday, 19 people died
LJUBLJANA - A total of 10,553 PCR and rapid testes were conducted in Slovenia on Friday with 1,523 of them returning positive, a slight increase on the day before but a notable drop in weekly comparison. Another 19 Covid-19 patients died, brining the death toll to 3,140, fresh government data show. 1,224 Covid-19 patients were in hospital, which is 42 fewer than the day before, and four fewer needed intensive care (193). A total of 128 people were discharged from hospital.
Janša congratulates new CDU head
LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Janez Janša congratulated Armin Laschet on his election as the leader of Germany's Christian Democratic Union (CDU). Janša congratulated Laschet on Tiwtter in German, adding he was looking forward to future cooperation between his Democrats (SDS) and the CDU. Laschet, the centrist premier of Germany's most populous state, North Rhine-Westphalia, was elected CDU head at today's digital congress of the party.
Agency DBRS Morningstar confirms Slovenia's credit ratings
LJUBLJANA - The Toronto-based rating agency DBRS Morningstar has confirmed Slovenia's credit rating at A (high), noting that the trend on all ratings was stable. "The confirmation of the A (high) ratings and stable trends reflect DBRS Morningstar's assessment of Slovenia's credible macroeconomic policy framework, even when confronted with the current health and economic crisis," the agency said. The Finance Ministry said this was another proof that Slovenia remained a trustworthy country despite the difficult situation.
Consular service chief says vaccination brings hope for revival of travel
LJUBLJANA - Andrej Šter, the head of the Foreign Ministry's consular service, told the STA in an interview that vaccination brought hope that coronavirus restrictions to travelling could be gradually eased. He believes a unified vaccination certificate will be required to restore travelling within the EU. He is upbeat about the fast process of vaccination, noting that vaccination provided much greater certainty that a person is not infected than tests.
Smart bird feeder becomes most successful Slovenian project on Kickstarter
LJUBLJANA - Bird Buddy, a project of a smart bird feeder created by a predominately Slovenian team, has raised a total of EUR 4.19 million on Kickstarter, the global crowdfunding platform, thus becoming the most successful Slovenian project ever. So far the most successful Slovenian campaign on Kickstarter was for electric bike Flykly, which collected around US$700,000 (EUR 570,000).
Italy's Marta Bassino wins World Cup giant slalom race in Kranjska Gora
KRANJSKA GORA - Italy's Marta Bassino is the winner of the first Women's World Cup giant slalom race of the 57th Golden Fox in Kranjska Gora. France's Tessa Worley was second, and Michelle Gisin from Switzerland third. The best ranking Slovenians were Meta Hrovatin in ninth and Neja Dvornik in 23rd place. Another giant slalom race will take place on Sunday.
Slovenia lose to Russia but advance at handball worlds
ALEXANDRIA, Egypt - Slovenia lost to Russia in their second match in Group H of the preliminary round at the World Men's Handball Championship. They have nevertheless already qualified for the main round as South Korea eliminated themselves from contention with a loss to Belarus. Slovenia will wrap up the preliminary stage on Monday against Belarus.
If you're learning Slovenian then you can find all our dual texts here
The covers and editorials from leading weeklies of the Left and Right for the work-week ending Friday, 15 January 2021. All our stories about coronavirus and Slovenia are here
Mladina: Slovenia's future in hands of SMC MPs
STA, 15 January 2021 - The left-wing magazine Mladina appears to be appealing to the conscience of the Modern Centre Party's (SMC) MPs ahead of a potential vote of confidence in the government in the latest editorial. The weekly also finds the release of police pay data is an act of revenge and anger.
Under the headline Decision Week, Mladina writes that Interior Minister Aleš Hojs released the names and pay data of Interior Ministry employees in revenge for part of the police going on strike. However, it also says that the data released make it obvious why the minister was so angry.
"The salaries are irregularly high indeed. Police officers are indeed getting highs bonuses from this government - not based on collective bargaining but based on the government's or the minister's arbitrary decision.
"To put it bluntly: the government has been buying their loyalty with bonuses. That is why Hojs was so angry, because it was his firm belief he has the police on his side, that he has got them on his side with all the bonuses given to them by the government."
The paper says it all goes to show how this government is operating, that the solutions are political and follow the logic that those who are on our side will be rewarded, and those who are against will be punished, a pattern that can be found elsewhere, including in the case of the STA.
Ahead of a potential vote of no confidence in the government next week, the weekly says the decision of Slovenia's future is in the hands of SMC MPs.
"When the SMC joined the Janez Janša government, they pledged to act as a corrective to prevent Slovenia from straying from its democratic path. They did not succeed in that, on the contrary, all gloomy premonitions have come true.
"The police force is beheaded, culture mangled, media that those in power could not reach are under continuous pressure, criticism is not allowed [...], public institutions are witnessing ideological purges, the battle against the epidemic has failed [...]," writes Mladina.
Demokracija: Upbringing benefited by remote schooling
Ljubljana, 14 January 2021 - The right-wing magazine Demokracija writes about the historical trend of political correctness or a "new normal" in the latest editorial, asserting that the spread of this "ideological poison" in Slovenia has been hampered due to the centre-right government and the "Chinese virus", offering distance learning as an example.
Under the headline New Normal, the weekly quotes Archbishop of Krakow Marek Jedraszewski in warning against the rainbow plague, born in the same spirit as the Bolshevist and Marxist plague, and against a new normal, the historial trend of political correctness.
However, the magazine says that as the flow of transmission of that "ideological virus" in Slovenia has been hampered, those disseminating the 'new normal' are "nervous knowing well things are getting out of hand".
"Remote schooling is one such example. If you listen to them well you will notice they will mention the impact on the transfer of knowledge of natural sciences from teachers to pupils only in passing, they are concerned the most about peer socialising and upbringing that is now left to the children themselves and their parents [...]
"If in school the children were forced to spend half a day in the company they did not choose themselves they are now socialising with the peers they pick themselves. Those are usually the kids their parents favour too. It means they are no longer being raised into sheep where the wolfs of the 'new normal' decide what they serve for dinner."
As the second example the magazine offers the government, saying the 'new normal' "does not foresee anything conservative in power, hence the protests (including violent protests), the search for a new PM-designate among people who in normal circumstances would not get even close to politics".
The magazine also notes the announcement by Luka Mesec, the leader of the Left, that if the vote of no confidence in the government is not successful, they will continue filing ouster motions.
In conclusion, the weekly hopes that post-coronavirus "the 'new normal' painted by political correctness will not continue its devastating march, which it is stepping up now by abolishing free internet platforms and profiles of conservative users".
All our posts in this series are here
What follows is a weekly review of events involving Slovenia, as prepared by the STA.
FRIDAY, 8 January
BRDO PRI KRANJU - The government modified its strategy for fighting the coronavirus epidemic in favour of a relaxation of restrictions on a regional basis instead of a nation-wide approach. It said decisions will be made weekly according to a five-tier plan that has thresholds of new cases and hospital figures.
BRDO PRI KRANJU - PM Janez Janša said he expected his government to continue business as usual after 15 January when the centre-left opposition plans to call a vote of no confidence. Janša noted the likelihood of the vote coinciding with the peak of the coronavirus epidemic. Should this be the case, it would mean the epidemic was being used to serve political goals.
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's exports in November 2020 were up by 0.9% year-on-year, as imports rose by 11.9%, the Statistics Office said. In the January-November period, exports were down by 2.7% and imports dropped by 6.9%.
LJUBLJANA - Slovenian Sovereign Holding said it had filed a suit for the annulment of the sale of a state stake in a venture capital fund shortly before a EUR 360 million worth takeover of the biotech firm Bia Sepparations in which the fund owned a minority interest in excess of 10%. It said it was acting to protect the interests of the state.
LJUBLJANA - Researcher Nejc Hodnik of the National Chemistry Institute received a grant from the European Research Centre (ERC) Proof of Concept programme to test the commercial potential of his work in the field of hydrogen fuel cell catalysts. Hodnik acquired an ERC Starting Grant in 2019.
CELJE - An explosion at the main bus station in Celje at around midday was caused by a gas leakage and injured three people. While they were all taken to the local hospital, none of them sustained serious injuries.
SATURDAY, 9 January
LJUBLJANA - A number of additional activities deemed essential were permitted to reopen, including surveying services, cleaning services, medical pedicure and construction works with zero contact with clients. Museums and galleries were closed again and sports activities restricted.
LJUBLJANA - Anti-government protestors who were rallying Friday evenings for months filed complaints against the work of police officers during protests, including criminal charges against ten of them. They said they were a target of intentional discreditation.
BERLIN, Germany - Saša Šavel Burkat took over as the new head of the Slovenian Berlin Culture Centre. The Culture Ministry described the new culture attache as an exceptional connoisseur of contemporary Slovenian and German production.
SUNDAY, 10 January
DRAŽGOŠE - President Borut Pahor honoured the 79th anniversary of a defining World War II battle as he laid a wreath at the Dražgoše memorial in the north-west of the country. Addressing the media, he was hopeful the nation would be able to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Slovenia's independence in June united and en masse.
MONDAY, 11 January
LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Anže Logar presented to the parliamentary Foreign Policy Committee the background of and Slovenia's planned activities regarding plans by Italy and Croatia to proclaim exclusive economic zones in the Adriatic. The strategy was endorsed unanimously by the committee behind closed doors.
LJUBLJANA - One of the two police trade unions went on strike to demand higher pay in line with a 2018 agreement that ended a previous strike. PSS trade union head Rok Cvetko said the strike would continue until a deal was clinched with the government, which deems the trade union's demands unjustified.
LJUBLJANA - The Constitutional Court stayed the implementation of a law on EUR 780 million in investments in the Slovenian Armed Forces in 2021-2026 pending its final decision on the law's constitutionality. If it turned out the act is unconstitutional, the consequences of its implementation would be more severe than if it is stayed for a relatively short time until it has reached its decision, it said.
LJUBLJANA - The Economy Ministry unveiled a programme for development incentives for 2021, worth a total of EUR 660 million, including EUR 248 million in grants. The priorities of the programme include providing liquidity to companies and assistance in green and digital transition for higher added value.
BRUSSELS, Belgium - European Commission spokesperson for competition Arianna Podesta said state aid rules enable EU member states to grant state aid to press agencies as compensation for services of general economic interest, as she commented on the Slovenian government's decision to solicit a state aid opinion from the Commission following legislative changes adopted to secure financing for the STA.
LJUBLJANA - The number of deaths in Slovenia in 2020 is expected to be the highest since WWII based on data collected so far by the National Institute of Public Health. The number of excess deaths in 2020 compared to 2019 was 3,153, 262 were not related to Covid-19. Compared to the last five years, excess deaths reached 3,821, of which 930 were deaths not related to Covid-19.
BRUSSELS, Belgium - Slovenia along with Belgium and the Netherlands became the new host country of the rescEU mechanism, providing storage of medical equipment for fighting cross-border medical threats. The countries involved in the project receive funding from the EU Commission to create strategic supplies of the equipment to be distributed around Europe.
TUESDAY, 12 January
BRDO PRI KRANJU - PM Janez Janša and NIJZ director Milan Krek presented Slovenia's vaccination plan until the end of June, as vaccination was launched around the country. The country expects to get some 17,000 doses of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine a week until the end of March, or a total of 245,500 doses. People older than 80 will thus be vaccinated first, to be followed by those older than 70 in the last week of January.
LJUBLJANA - The highly virulent variants of the SARS-Cov-2 virus known as the UK and South African strains have not been detected in Slovenia so far, said Miroslav Petrovec, the head of the Institute of Microbiology. The institute processes roughly half of all PCR tests done in the country.
LJUBLJANA - Concern was raised after the Interior Ministry released a document with pay data for nearly 9,000 members of the police force and ministry employees, including criminal investigators and members of special forces. While this information is public knowledge according to the law governing freedom of information, the General Police Directorate believes the list's publication "may affect internal security in the police". Prime Minister Janez Janša announced that the "operative part" of the police force would be extracted from the single public sector pay system.
LJUBLJANA - Labour Minister Janez Cigler Kralj announced that 9,500 elderly in Slovenia's care homes had already received the first of the two Covid-19 vaccine jabs, which means almost all of those who had not yet recovered from the disease, and just over 3,000 or a quarter of the staff.
LJUBLJANA - The Fiscal Council made a renewed call for transparent and temporary coronavirus relief measures, finding the actual realisation of the measures last year was below government projections but had a significant impact on the worsening state of public finances. Preliminary data put the budget deficit for 2020 at EUR 3.5 billion.
LJUBLJANA - Karl Erjavec announced that four MPs of his Pensioners's Party (DeSUS), which left the government coalition in December, would contribute their signatures in support of a motion of no-confidence in the Janez Janša government. This would mean the informal Constitutional Arch Coalition (KUL), which brings together five left-leaning parties in a bid to oust the government, has 43 votes secured, three short of the required majority.
MARIBOR - An underage girl was killed after she was hit by a passenger train with preliminary police inquiries indicating she and her friend had been taking photos on the tracks. While the investigation is ongoing, the police ruled out foul play and suicide.
WEDNESDAY, 13 January
BRDO PRI KRANJU - The government decided to extend a vast majority of existing coronavirus restrictions until 22 January. It also extended the formal state of the epidemic by 60 days.
LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Janez Janša called for speeding up vaccination as he attended an informal video conference of EU health ministers on Covid-19 vaccination in his capacity as health minister. He also proposed increasing capacities for vaccine production within the EU.
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's total of coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic rose to 145,478 with 23,167 infections still estimated to be active and an average of 1,535 daily cases confirmed over the past 7 days, data from the National Institute of Public Health show. The Covid-19 death toll climbed to 3,093. Hospitalisations rose to 1,266 with 199 patients in intensive care.
LJUBLJANA - The KSJS association of public sector trade unions, acting through a police union, brought a collective labour dispute to demand all public employees who have worked in their workplace during the coronavirus epidemic get a bonus amounting to 65% of hourly pay for risk working conditions for all the hours put in during the formal duration of the epidemic.
LJUBLJANA - The EU Court of Justice ordered Slovenia to pay a EUR 750,000 fine for failing to timely transpose into national legislation the 2016 changes to the EU directive on markets in financial instruments or failing to notify the European Commission about this.
THURSDAY, 14 January
LJUBLJANA - The government set up a task force for trilateral talks with Croatia and Italy on cooperation in the northern part of Adriatic Sea after the three countries' foreign ministers agreed to enhance cooperation in Trieste last December amid plans by Croatia and Italy to declare exclusive economic zones.
HELSINKI, Finland - Foreign Minister Anže Logar set out the priorities of Slovenia's EU presidency in the second half of the year as he met his Finnish counterpart Pekka Haavisto and Europe Minister Tytti Tuppurainen during a working visit to Helsinki. He was also received by President Sauli Niinisto.
LJUBLJANA - The government provisionally approved the release of overdue budget payments to the Slovenian Press Agency (STA) as required by the 7th economic stimulus package. The funds were cleared based on a message by EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager which "indicates the possibility of a positive European Commission decision regarding the transfer of state aid for the STA" as the government awaits a final decision, the Government Communication Office said.
CELJE - President Borut Pahor joined appeals to the public to get vaccinated against Covid-19 when their turn to get a jab comes. He believes immunisation will make it possible to end the health crisis this year.
LJUBLJANA - Jelko Kacin, the government's Covid-19 spokesman, was named state secretary at the prime minister's office tasked with coordinating the logistics of mass vaccination, effective on 18 January.
STA, 15 January 2020 - Prime Minister Janez Janša has described the motion of no confidence in his government as "mischievous", a "pathetic outpour of ideological hatred" to those who think differently.
Writing on Twitter, he said this would be comical were Slovenia not in the middle of a bad wave of the epidemic, adding that the initiators' principle seems to be "the more of the virus, the better for KUL," a reference to the informal coalition seeking to oust him.
Komentar obtožb nekonstruktivne nezaupnice z 42 #KUL podpisi:— Janez Janša (@JJansaSDS) January 15, 2021
“Patetični izliv ideološkega sovraštva do drugače mislečih.” Ki bi bil komičen, če ne bi bili sredi hudega vala epidemije. Tako pa je to pobalinsko nagajanje po načelu: kolikor več virusa, toliko bolje za #KUL. pic.twitter.com/QCTSw0UlD1
The response comes after a motion of no confidence was submitted on Friday with 42 MP signatures and Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) candidate Karl Erjavec as candidate for prime minister. To succeed, the initiators would need 46 votes.
Janša also responded to a post by the Social Democrats (SD) listing 46 reasons why the government must be replaced. He said that what they need most of all is "a mirror, common sense, and a president who is not being eaten away by ideological hatred and can count to 46 and is thus capable of running for prime minister."
This summary is provided by the STA:
Motion filed to oust Janša government
LJUBLJANA - An informal coalition of centre-left opposition parties filed a motion of no confidence in the Janez Janša government with the backing of 42 of the 90 deputies of the National Assembly. The crux of their argument is the government's failure to cope with the coronavirus epidemic. The motion, which puts forward Karl Erjavec as candidate for prime minister, who regretted they had only 42 signatures, but added: "I'm convinced we can succeed. The country's de-normalisation needs to be stopped. Prime Minister Janez Janša has described the motion as "mischievous", a "pathetic out-pour of ideological hatred" to those who think differently. He said this would be comical were Slovenia not in the middle of a bad wave of the epidemic.
Daily coronavirus count keeps falling
LJUBLJANA - A total of 1,478 people tested positive for coronavirus in Slovenia on Thursday as the daily increase in infections dropped on the week before for the sixth day running. Another 28 Covid-19 patients lost their lives, fresh government data showed. Out of the 4,897 PCR tests a total of 1,144 or 23.4% came back positive. According to the NIJZ institute, the 7-day average of new daily cases fell to 1,455 from 1,540 the day before, nearing the set limit of 1,350 below which easing of restrictions can begin. The number of Covid-19 patients in hospitals remained level with the day before, at 1,266 with 197 patients in intensive care units, two fewer than on Wednesday.
Police trade union files criminal charges against minister
LJUBLJANA - PSS, one of the two trade unions in the Slovenian police force, which started a police strike to demand higher pay this week, has filed criminal charges against Interior Minister Aleš Hojs over his publishing of a document with pay data for nearly 9,000 members of the police force and ministry employees. The PSS argues the publishing of the document on the first day of the strike was in breach of law. Hojs dismissed the allegations, saying that the released data were public information under the law and not labelled classified information. A parliamentary commission debated the issue to vote against an opposition-proposed resolution that Hojs's act was inappropriate and affected the security in the police force.
Petrol takes over Croatia's Crodux
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's energy company Petrol has taken over an outright stake in Croatian petroleum products seller Crodux as a result of which Petrol will acquire 91 service stations in Croatia once the deal has been cleared by regulators. Petrol said the deal was signed on 12 January with Ivan Čermak, the owner of Crodux. The takeover will increase Petrol's market share in Croatia from 13% to 23%, as the company will operate more than 200 points of sale there. The newspaper Finance has reported that the company was priced at EUR 200 million in the past, but Crodux at the time said the figure was undervalued.
Vaccination at medical school extended to non-staff
LJUBLJANA - The Covid-19 vaccination at the Ljubljana Faculty of Medicine seems to have been extended to persons who are not staff. Allegedly the shots that were left after staff inoculation were administered to doctors' relatives to use all the prepared jabs. The Ljubljana Oncology Institute said it was considering vaccinating the oldest relatives of their staff if any doses were left after staff immunisation. It added that the authorities had given no instructions yet on how to proceed in such a situation, except for a health inspector who said the institute should then adhere to the priority group guidelines.
Anti-graft watchdog determines breach of integrity in ex-minister case
LJUBLJANA - The Commission for the Prevention of Corruption has determined a breach of integrity and provisions banning the accepting of gifts in a case concerning Aleksandra Pivec, the former minister of agriculture. The watchdog's conclusion comes after an investigation of two visits to the coastal region in 2019 and 2020 in which she reportedly mixed business with family matters and which ultimately led to her resignation first as Pensioners' Party leader in September and then as agriculture minister in October. Pivec disagrees with such an interpretation of the decision.
Strike under way at US-owned sewing threads company in Maribor
MARIBOR - Almost all workers on the morning shift at A&E Europe, the American-owned Maribor sewing threads manufacturer, went on strike to demand better pay after talks with the management failed to make progress since a token strike in December. David Ažnoh, the vice-head of the KSS association of trade unions, said that unless there was any major progress, an open-ended strike would go ahead on 26 January. The union also turned to President Borut Pahor for help as the only politician who has responded to their recent appeals.
Adria Mobil's sales down slightly in last business year
LJUBLJANA - Adria Mobil, a leading European caravan maker, was on its way to achieve one of the best results in history at the beginning of the 2019/2020 business year but this did not materialise due to the coronavirus epidemic. Nevertheless, the company still sold 14,454 products in Europe to generate EUR 401 million in revenue, down slightly compared to the previous business year. While most sale outlets for the European market were closed for weeks, the caravanning market was revived quickly, the Novo Mesto-based company said. The company expanded its production facilities by 3,800 square metres.
Slovenia seeks to buy Italian C-27J Spartan transport aircraft
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia wants to buy an Alenia C-27J Spartan military transport aircraft made by Leonardo under a government-to-government contract with Italy, the Slovenian Defence Ministry said. A task force picked the aircraft late last year and an expert council for key investments has completed the investment procedure. Based on that, the ministry's Logistics Directorate commenced government-to-government procurement procedures, which have been halted now that the Constitutional Court has stayed the implementation of a law on EUR 780 million in defence investments pending its final decision.
Pahor's climate advisors urge decisive action against climate change
LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor's permanent advisory committee on climate policy called on the government to take all necessary measures for efficient and timely action against climate change. The committee proposes the government make a plan for post-epidemic economic recovery with a focus on investment in sustainable development. "The government should declare an environmental and climate crisis or act as if the crisis was declared," the committee said.
Illegal migration down by 10% last year
LJUBLJANA - Slovenian police handled 14,592 attempts by migrants to cross illegally into the country last year, which compares to 16,252 the year before, a decline of roughly 10%. Two-thirds of the migrants were from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Morocco. The police noted the slowdown in migration was due to coronavirus restrictions and weather conditions. A new surge is expected once it gets warmer in spring.
Ban on overtaking for lorries on A1 motorway enters into force
LJUBLJANA - A 6am-6pm ban on overtaking for lorries on the A1 motorway between Šentilj and Koper entered into force. Police controls are beefed up. The new regime applies to lorries weighing more than 7.5 tonnes. Overtaking is still allowed for these vehicles during the day in three-lane sections, and on the entire motorway in night time.
If you're learning Slovenian then you can find all our dual texts here
STA, 15 January 2021 - An informal coalition of centre-left opposition parties has filed a motion of no confidence in the Janez Janša government with the backing of 42 of the 90 deputies of the National Assembly. The crux of their argument is the government's failure to cope with the coronavirus epidemic.
The motion, which puts forward Karl Erjavec as candidate for prime minister, was submitted after one of the four deputies of his Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) declined to contribute his signature in support.
Apart from the three DeSUS MPs, the signatures have been supplied by MPs from the ranks of the Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ), Social Democrats (SD), the Left and the Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB), joined in the Constitutional Arch Coalition (KUL).
Announcing that the long-awaited motion had been tabled at last, Erjavec said he regretted they had only 42 signatures, but added: "I'm convinced we can succeed. The country's de-normalisation needs to be stopped.
"Violation of fundamental constitutional principles needs to be prevented such as interference in the judiciary, prevention of media freedom, interference in the police, state prosecution [...] I'm not going to go into details that you can all follow."
Erjavec went on to say that Slovenia's international status today was quite different from the one 30 years ago. "Our partners are countries that have problems with the rule of law and we've moved away from the core Europe."
Him as well as the leaders of the four other parties also took the government to task over its management of the coronavirus crisis, asserting that Slovenia was a global leader in terms of coronavirus infections and deaths.
"The government has caused great confusion and people's distrust of the measures, which means they don't trust this government," said Erjavec as he argued the government should step down itself for mismanaging the epidemic alone.
If they manage to form a government, Erjavec said it would not be his government but a government of people who wanted Slovenia return on track.
Should they fail, he believes the opposition parties must tie up closer together because the centre-left bloc is dispersed. "Unless we end this dark story next week, I trust we will in the next election," he said.
Earlier, DeSUS MP Branko Simonovič said he could not sign on to a motion that was tantamount to a motion of no confidence in the party considering that DeSUS member Tomaž Gantar had served as health minister until the party quitted the government in late December.
In a written statement, Simonovič added that in the secret ballot on the motion at the National Assembly next week he "will vote for the benefit of the citizens".
Meanwhile, the head of the DeSUS deputy faction, Franc Jurša, addressing reporters after the morning meeting with Erjavec, said that while three DeSUS MPs would sign on to the motion, they planned not to join KUL, but would continue as an independent deputy faction.
"I believe the heads must cool down a bit, in particular in DeSUS," Erjavec commented, adding that he believed the outcome of the secret ballot could be quite different. "If we fail, it means MPs support politics that even Europe no longer understands," he said.
The secret ballot on the no-confidence motion is expected to be held on Wednesday when Erjavec will need to get an outright majority of 46 votes to replace Janša as prime minister.
Marjan Šarec, the previous PM and LMŠ leader, noted that his minority government too had 42 MPs in parliament until he resigned in late January, thus paving the way for the Janša centre-right government.
If the vote of no confidence succeeded, Šarec said it would be a victory of the rule of law, if not, it would be a win of dark forces. "The vote will show who's for the situation as it is, and who's for putting the country back on track, so it can preside the EU without having to feel ashamed," he said.
Likewise, SD leader Tanja Fajon said they would do everything in their power to replace what she said was a harmful government. They had no intention of repeating the mistakes of past left-leaning governments, and planned to work until the end of the term.
SAB leader Alenka Bratušek, who served as prime minister during the previous financial crisis when Slovenia was on the verge of an international bailout, lambasted the government's coronavirus strategy and communication.
Luka Mesec, the leader of the Left, accused Janez Janša of copying the politics of outgoing US President Donald Trump, a continuation of which would lead to the state falling apart. The vote would be a test of whether the MPs followed their conscience or political career.
STA, 15 January 2020 - Slovenian police handled 14,592 attempts by migrants to cross illegally into the country last year, which compares to 16,252 the year before, a decline of roughly 10%. Two-thirds of the migrants were from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Morocco.
In releasing the statistics for 2020, the police noted the slowdown in migration was due to coronavirus restrictions and weather conditions. A new surge is expected once it gets warmer in spring.
Most of the migrants intercepted last year were nationals of Pakistan (3,519), Afghanistan (3,038) and Morocco (2,414), as the number of Algerian migrants was reduced to less than a third of the figure recorded the year before (627 from 1,910).
The police also noted a fall in the number of migrants who express the intention to apply for asylum in Slovenia but then, after being accommodated in asylum centres, often continue on their journey to what are the destination countries of their choice.
Slovenia returned 10,025 illegal migrants to foreign law enforcement authorities last year, most of them (9,950) to Croatia, which compares to 11,164 in 2019.
Foreign authorities returned 1,440 migrants to Slovenia, which compares to just 643 the year before, as Italian authorities returned 1,116 migrants, more than four times as many as the year before, and Austria returned 176, more than twice as many as in 2019.
There are at the moment 153 asylum applicants accommodated in Slovenia and 788 persons who have had international protection status recognised, of whom 163 are currently abroad.
A total of 3,548 applications were filed in 2020, including claims for renewed procedure, which compares to 3,821 applications in 2019, show data from the police, Interior Ministry and Government Office for the Support and Integration of Migrants.
STA, 15 January 2020 - The PSS trade union, one of the two trade unions in the Slovenian police force, which started a police strike to demand higher pay this week, has filed criminal charges against Interior Minister Aleš Hojs over his publishing of a document with pay data for nearly 9,000 members of the police force and ministry employees.
The PSS argues the publishing of the document on the first day of the strike was in breach of law. Hojs is suspected of abuse of personal data in relation to other criminal offences that would harm police officers.
The trade union claims that the minister had organised, planned and carried out the publishing of personal data, titles, police units and gross wages of police officers and investigators as a counter measure to the strike with which the union demands higher pay in accordance with a 2018 agreement that ended a previous strike.
The minister thus jeopardised the safety of certain police officers and investigators and caused irreparable damage to those police employees whose identity has been changed because of their undercover work, and those who are exposed to certain additional risks, the PSS says.
As unauthorised persons were given access to personal data of police officers and investigators, a major disturbance was created in internal safety of the state and the Schengen area, the unionists believe.
Not only the safety of police employees but the safety of their family members, children and other citizens they are in contact with has been put in danger, they add.
The minister acted irrationally, irresponsibly, disproportionally and spitefully, and caused irreparable damage, so no apology would do, the trade union says.
The PSS is also bothered by the fact that Hojs does not seem to regret the move but announced he would continue revealing data.
"This manoeuvre did not crush the strike of police employees, but achieved the exact opposite effect," said the trade union, which filed the criminal complaint through law firm Čeferin, Pogačnik, Novak, Koščak and partners.
The minister dismissed the allegations today, saying that police and ministry pay data were public information under the public sector salary system act. The released data are not labelled classified information, he told the STA.
According to him, the publishing of pay data is thus completely in line with the law. Special internal acts that would be in accordance with the law could be adopted to ensure confidentiality if needed, he said, adding that the police had so far not proposed that.
The ministry's disclosure of police pay information will also be discussed today by the parliamentary Commission for Oversight of Intelligence and Security Services, as questions were raised about potential violation of personal data protection and safety protocols. The Office of the Information Commissioner has said it sees nothing wrong with the document, as public sector pay is public information according to law.