STA, 1 December 2020 - The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has slightly upgraded its forecast for Slovenia's GDP in 2020, projecting that it will fall by 7.5% this year, while also downgrading the expected rebound in 2020, to 3.4%.
In the first half of June, the OECD said that Slovenia's economy was expected to shrink by 7.8% this year, and then grow by 4.5% in 2021.
In the latest report, issued on Tuesday, it says that the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic would continue to disturb economic activity until at least mid-2021.
"From then until the end of the projection horizon in 2022, investment and exports will be the main engines of growth thanks to higher demand in trading partner countries, improvements in the epidemiological situation," the report adds.
The OECD notes that economic activity in Slovenia picked up in the third quarter of 2020, after the end of the lockdown in mid-May. However, the new restrictions introduced in the autumn are affecting economic activity, in particular in services sectors.
"Activity is likely to slow again as the virus spreads. Demand is projected to bounce back in 2021 before receding to a more stable path," the report says, adding that government spending and household consumption would maintain the recovery until the end of 2021.
The export-oriented sectors are expected to benefit from stronger EU demand from 2021, but the outlook is highly uncertain, as a further significant deterioration of the health situation could lead to prolonged restrictions that would stall the economic recovery.
The OECD also notes that unemployment is increasing, calling for reinforced active labour market policies targeted on specific groups, such as long-term and older unemployed persons.
"Government support to households and businesses most affected by the crisis, in particular in the tourism and entertainment sectors, should continue."
The Paris-based organisation also issued a 2022 forecast for the first time, saying it expected a 3.5% improvement compared to 2021.
Overview of latest GDP forecasts for Slovenia
STA, 1 December - The latest macroeconomic forecasts are in broad convergence about the contraction of Slovenia's GDP this year, with the economy expected to shrink by about 7%. A rebound in the 3-5% range is expected in 2021.
GDP growth/time of projection 2020 2021 2022 ---------------------------------------------------------------- OECD/December -7.5% 3.4% 3.5% European Commission/November -7.1% 5.1% 3.8% IMF/October -6.7% 5.2% EBRD/October -7.5% 3.5% IMAD/September -6.7% 5.1% 3.7% Banka Slovenije/June -6.5% 4.9% 3.6% ---------------------------------------------------------------- Source: Individual forecasts
Slovenian goalkeeper Jan Oblak reached a historic milestone for club side Atletico Madrid over the weekend after starting his 200th league match for the Spanish side.
The ever-reliable shot-stopper put on yet another impressive display, including a fine save to deny Uroš Račić in the first half, as a late own goal gave Atletico a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Valencia to continue their impressive start to the season.
Los Rojiblancos, as Atletico are affectionately known, are the only unbeaten side in La Liga this season, registering seven wins and two draws from their nine La Liga games played so far as they sit in second place on the table, one point behind leaders Real Sociedad who have however played two matches more.
Instrumental to their current hot streak has been star gloveman Oblak, who has kept seven clean sheets and conceded just two goals across all nine games played.
Following his landmark achievement, Oblak took to social media to celebrate and thank his supporters.
“Three more points and 200 games in La Liga,” he wrote. “Thanks for the support!”
➕3️⃣?? pic.twitter.com/g1sNjEnCK6— Jan Oblak (@oblakjan) November 8, 2020
The 27-year-old, who was La Liga’s most expensive goalkeeper when he arrived at Atletico from Portuguese side Benfica in 2014, is now into his seventh season in the Spanish capital, where he has established himself as one of the best goalkeepers in the world.
In 200 league appearances for Atletico, Oblak has conceded just 123 goals and kept 112 clean sheets, ranking him highest among goalkeepers across Europe’s top five leagues over the same period. Since March 2015, he has kept 36 more clean sheets than any other keeper – second on that list, coincidentally, is compatriot Samir Handanovic of Italy’s Inter Milan who has kept 76 clean sheets in the 204 matches he has played in the same timeframe.
The Škofja Loka-born star has thus kept a clean sheet in 56% of the league games he has played – German superstar Manuel Neuer is a distant second in those rankings with a clean sheet rate of 49%. The former Olimpija Ljubljana goal-minder also tops the charts in terms of minutes per goal conceded – he lets in a goal, on average, every 145 minutes, with Liverpool’s Brazilian goalkeeper Alisson second on that list, conceding a goal every 124 minutes.
Oblak, who often wears the captain’s armband for Slovenia, has taken his incredible form into the national team as well, having kept five clean sheets in all five UEFA Nations League encounters in which he played as Slovenia topped their group, earning promotion to League B for the 2022/23 edition.
Oblak will next be in La Liga action on Saturday evening when Atletico host 17th-placed Real Valladolid.
STA, 30 November 2020 - The Slovenian men's basketball team has qualified for the 2022 Eurobasket with wins against Ukraine and Austria in a mini "bubble" tournament held in Ljubljana's Stožice Arena as part of the qualifying Group F. Slovenia will thus be defending their gold medal from the previous European championship in 2017.
Playing without its NBA and EuroLeague players, Slovenia defeated Ukraine (84:73) on Saturday and Austria (77:64) on Sunday to secure a berth at the European championship, to be hosted by Germany, Italy, Georgia and the Czech Republic.
There are two games to go for Slovenia in Group F, which also features Hungary, but the national team has three wins in four matches in the qualifiers to sit firmly atop of the group. The last two matches are scheduled to be played in February 2021.
Slovenia all but secured a berth at the EuroBasket before Monday's match between Ukraine and Austria, and only needed Ukraine to win to make it. Ukraine did the favour by beating the Austrians 70:67 in the last match of the Ljubljana bubble.
The tournament was supposed to also feature Hungary, but their matches have been postponed due to several positive Covid-19 tests by Hungarian players.
Modelled after the National Basketball Association's (NBA) isolation zone in Orlando, Florida, Ljubljana hosted the mini tournament in Stožice Arena in cooperation with the nearby Austria Trend Hotel.
It was to be one of the eight bubbles in Europe organised under the auspices of the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) to continue the qualifiers for the next EuroBasket, scheduled to take place on 1-18 September 2022.
In the Ljubljana bubble, Slovenia were led by new head coach Aleksander Sekulić, who recently took over from Radovan Trifunović, who parted ways with the KZS at the end of March.
Sekulić was satisfied with his team's play in the bubble. "We showed maximum effort and we were fully dedicated to the goal. We were lucky that the lads know each other well and that they know how to function as a true team."
The team was captained by Edo Murić, the player who has earned the most caps in the national team among all players who took part in the tournament, who said that the two wins had come as a huge relief.
"It was crazy back in February. This time we showed true energy, although it is not easy to play two games in two days, especially against physically strong opponents. We are the best team in our group and we need to prove this next February."
STA, 30 November 2020 - The government has declared the Lebanon-based political party Hezbollah as a criminal and terrorist organisation that represents a threat to peace and security. The work of Hezbollah is intertwined with organised crime and terrorist or paramilitary activity at the global level, the government said on Monday.
The decision was taken after the government was acquainted with a report on the activities and modus operandi of Hezbollah by the government's permanent coordination group for restrictive measures.
The EU placed Hezbollah's paramilitary wing, the Jihad Council, among terrorist organisations in 2013, while several member states, including the Netherlands and Germany, have labelled the entire organisation group as terrorist.
Outside the EU, the Shia Islamist movement has been labelled a terrorist organisation in its entirety by the US and Israel, among others.
Hezbollah was established in 1982 in Lebanon to fight the Israeli invasion of the country. Clashes with the Israeli forces continued after the occupation ended, primarily with acts of terrorism.
Iran is meanwhile one of the main supporters of Hezbollah and its fight against Israel as one of the main adversaries of Iran.
This summary is provided by the STA:
Economy expands by 12.4% in Q3 on the quarter before
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's economy contracted by 2.6% year-on-year in real terms in the third quarter, as seasonally-adjusted GDP increased by 12.4% from the quarter before, declining by 2.9% year-on-year, the Statistics Office reported. Domestic consumption in the third quarter contracted by 5% y/y and gross investment by 19.6% as exports fell by 9.5%. The central bank said the quarterly rebound was expectedly strong following the easing of coronavirus measures, while the government think-tank IMAD said it was better then expected. They both projected a decline in activity in the final quarter.
Coronavirus epidemic not easing yet
LJUBLJANA - The coronavirus situation in the country is not easing as hospital admissions in particular remain cause for concern. Government data show the country recorded 428 new cases from 1,880 tests on Sunday as the positivity rate dropped to 22.77% from over 30% the day before. A further 51 patients with Covid-19 died, taking the death toll to 1,435. Hospitalisations rose to 1,298, including 205 in intensive care units. Matjaž Jereb, the head of the ICU at Ljubljana UKC, described the situation as critical, expressing concern the peak had not been reached yet.
PETA approved cork bags, wallets and purses at CORK.SI
Hojs reiterates discontent with Croatia as Schengen zone is discussed
LJUBLJANA - Interior Minister Aleš Hojs reiterated dissatisfaction with Croatia's protection of the border as he took part in a debate on the future of the Schengen zone, hosted by the European Commission. Commenting on the debate, which looked at the problems of the passport-free zone in the face of migration, terrorism and the pandemic, Hojs said Schengen's collapse did not start with the novel coronavirus but due to ineffective control over migration. Slovenian MEP Tanja Fajon meanwhile said Schengen was seriously in peril, in particular because of lack of trust among member states, which was leading to ever more controls on internal borders. If Schengen is not solved quickly, there is a danger of the start of a collapse of EU integration, she said.
Govt declares Hezbollah terrorist organisation as a whole
LJUBLJANA - The government declared the Lebanon-based political party Hezbollah as a criminal and terrorist organisation that represents a threat to peace and security. The work of Hezbollah is intertwined with organised crime and terrorist or paramilitary activity at the global level, the government said. The decision was taken after the government was acquainted with a report on the activities and modus operandi of Hezbollah by the government's permanent coordination group for restrictive measures.
SSH supervisors approve asset management plan
LJUBLJANA - The supervisory board of state assets custodian, Slovenia Sovereign Holding (SSH), confirmed the annual asset management plan for 2021, which now needs the approval of the government. According to commercial broadcaster POP TV, the annual plan includes the acquisition of the Luxembourg-based York fund's 43% stake in Sava company in what is seen as a key step towards the planned state tourism holding, a project driven by Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek. While the price is said not to be in the annual plan, POP TV reported that York's stake in Sava is estimated at between EUR 40-50 million.
Slovenia improves equal opportunities in diplomatic service
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia has significantly improved the equality of opportunity in its diplomatic service since 2009, with the share of women holding top positions increasing from 16% to 40% between 2009 and 2020, the study, conducted by the Slovenian Foreign Ministry in collaboration with Iceland's Foreign Ministry, shows. However, the ministry also warned that almost a quarter of women were found to have been victims of sexual harassment in the workplace in the past decade.
Annual deflation rate at 0.9%
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's consumer price growth remained negative for the fourth month running in November as the annual deflation rate accelerated by 0.8 percentage points on October to 0.9%, chiefly as a result of lower fuel prices as well as cheaper clothing and footwear, according to the Statistics Office. Prices dropped by 0.8% on the monthly level. Measured with the harmonised index of consumer prices, an EU-wide gauge, the annual deflation rate ran at 1.1% and the monthly deflation rate at 0.6%.
Labour minister admitted to hospital
LJUBLJANA - Janez Cigler Kralj, the minister of labour, family, social affairs and equal opportunities, was admitted to hospital with a condition not related to Covid-19. Announcing the news, his ministry said last night that doctors expected him to return to work within ten to 14 days. The minister was admitted to the urology department of the Ljubljana UKC hospital yesterday after feeling unwell for a week.
Police under scrutiny over conduct in Friday's car protest
LJUBLJANA - The police are facing criticism for their intervention during last Friday's anti-government protest, which was held in cars. One of the protesters, Jaša Jenull, has even pressed criminal charges. The police have said that the event had all the features of an unorganised rally and that the protesting drivers were violating traffic rules.
Tenth of Slovenians visiting other households amid epidemic
LJUBLJANA - Around 10% of Slovenian residents visited two households in a week in November despite anti-coronavirus restrictions. Moreover, a similar share of Slovenians do not seem to have significantly changed their social habits, having visited from three to five or more households during that time, a survey by pollster Valicon shows. More than half of the respondents said they were not visiting other households at all and over 25% made one social visit. Another Valicon survey indicates that the public places the greatest trust in experts when it comes to the Covid-19 situation, while trust is politicians is not that encouraging.
Innovation Day calls for cooperation between economy, creative sector
LJUBLJANA - Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek said during an on-line debate held as part of Innovation Day that there is a lot of untapped potential for cooperation between the Slovenian economy and the culture and creative sectors, as opening addresses highlighted the importance of creativity and innovation in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. Today's Innovation Day and the Symptoms of Creativity conference featured over 800 representatives of the economy, creative sector and politics from over 50 countries. Eleven innovations meanwhile received top awards from the GZS as part of Innovation Day.
Govt dismisses Tina Bregant, appoints Marija Magajna new state secretary
LJUBLJANA - The government dismissed Tina Bregant from the post of state secretary at the Health Ministry upon proposal by Minister Tomaž Ganrat over loss of trust. It appointed Marija Magajna to replace her on 1 December. The new state secretary is an epidemiologist with wast managerial experiences and is currently the acting head of the ministry's health directorate. Bregant is meanwhile the third state secretary leaving the Health Ministry since Gantar came to office in mid-March.
Drug wholesaler Salus reports 56% profit growth
LJUBLJANA - Salus, a wholesaler of medicines, reported a net profit of EUR 6.8 million for the first nine months of the year, up 56.5% year-on-year, as revenue rose by 14.7% to EUR 292 million. Salus benefited from a surge in demand for medicines in March, after the coronavirus pandemic was first declared, whereupon demand eased off. The group expects end-year sales to reach EUR 350 million and net profit EUR 5.7 million, slightly less than in 2019.
EU co-funding revival of Pohorje habitats
LJUBLJANA - Environment Minister Andrej Vizjak signed a contract on the EU funding of a project that aims to revive the grassland, water and forest habitats of the Pohorje hills area in the north-east. The EU will contribute EUR 1.74 million to the EUR 2.18 million project, while the rest will be chipped in by the state. According to Vizjak, the project will improve the state of highly important natural areas and habitats in Pohorje and find solutions for sustainable development of the area.
Slovenia qualify for 2022 EuroBasket in Ljubljana "bubble"
LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian men's basketball team qualified for the 2022 Eurobasket with wins against Ukraine and Austria in a mini "bubble" tournament held in Ljubljana's Stožice Arena as part of the qualifying Group F. Slovenia will thus be defending their gold medal from the previous European championship in 2017. Slovenia defeated Ukraine (84:73) on Saturday and Austria (77:64) on Sunday. Slovenia all but secured a berth at the EuroBasket before today's match between Ukraine and Austria, and only needed Ukraine to win to make it; Ukraine did the favour by beating the Austrians in the last match of the Ljubljana bubble.
Slovenian Cinematheque gets new director in Ženja Leiler
LJUBLJANA - Journalist and editor Ženja Leiler was appointed the new director of the Slovenian Cinematheque for a full, five-year term, starting on 1 December. Leiler told the STA her priorities are enhancing the role of the institution in the public cultural space and raising the awareness of the importance of film heritage. The new director, who succeeds Ivan Nedoh, said Slovenska Kinoteka had a special place in Slovenian culture - it is exclusive as a national film museum and a very specific exhibition space.
Sebastjan Eržen at the helm of Book Agency
LJUBLJANA - The government appointed Sebastjan Eržen acting director of the Slovenian Book Agency as of 2 December, the Government Communication Office said after a correspondence session. Eržen, who was first relieved of his duties as a member of the agency's council, will run the agency until a full-fledged director is appointed, but no longer than 1 June 2021. His appointment comes after the government dismissed on 12 November Renata Zamida, who started her five-year term on 1 January 2018.
Animateka open to a global audience
LJUBLJANA - Animateka, the annual festival of animated film, got under way as an online-only event. While film buffs will be deprived of the big-screen experience, the silver lining is that most of the films will be available for viewing around the world. The festival has partnered with the online platform Eventive to create a dedicated website https://online.animateka.si, on which it is possible to buy festival passes or tickets for individual films, watch films and view live events.
Meteorological winter to bring snow to Slovenia
LJUBLJANA - Right after the start of meteorological winter, Slovenia will see a couple of snowy days. Snowfall is expected to start on Wednesday morning and get heavier by Thursday. In central Slovenia, 5-15 centimetres of snow is expected, while in some parts of the country the snow blanket could be up to 20 centimetres thick. The snow on low ground is to be washed away by rain on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
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STA, 30 November 2020 - Some 10% of Slovenian residents visited two households in a week in November despite anti-coronavirus restrictions. Moreover, a certain share of Slovenians do not seem to have significantly changed their social habits when it comes to visiting other homes, a survey by pollster Valicon shows.
Slovenia recorded 428 new coronavirus cases from 1,880 tests on Sunday as the positivity rate dropped to 22.77% from over 30% the day before. Government data show 51 more patients with Covid-19 have died, taking the overall death toll to 1,435.
More than half of the respondents of the survey, conducted in the second week of November among 527 adults, said they were not visiting other households at all and over 25% made one social visit in the previous week.
Some 6% visited from three to four households, and 4% paid a visit to five or even more households.
Given that the average size of Slovenian households is 2.5 members, some 10% were thus in contact with more than an average 10 persons in a week.
The survey examined behavioural patterns amid the epidemic, however it did not look into the reasons for specific conduct.
Experts presume that those who visited one household called on their family members living in other households or went to see them to help.
What is alarming is that a group of those who reported about two or more visits a week, about 100 respondents, also included the highest number of people with Covid-19 symptoms. A total of 23% from this group mentioned two or more such symptoms.
This category also had the most responses, some 14%, revealing high-risk contacts in the previous two weeks.
The survey was part of a joint project run by national tracker Covid-19 Sledilnik, the Young Doctors association, and Valicon, which also yielded results regarding behavioural patterns at work some 10 days ago.
The project's partners note that the share of those who have not significantly reduced the number of visits may not seem high, but 10% in the study translates to some 200,000 of the population. Moreover, a similar share merely restricted their social life to visits to two households.
Summing up findings of both surveys, the project indicates that some 36% neither go to work nor visit other households while their conduct has been proven to be the safest.
This group features pensioners, hence a larger share of those aged above 60, as well as the biggest share of those quite worried due to the epidemic (almost 25%) compared to other groups, and the biggest share of those concerned for their health (38%). Most are dealing with the situation quite well, only a tenth find it critical or even hopeless.
Some 17% go to work, but do not pay visits. Most of them are men aged between 30 and 59. The group features the smallest number of those concerned due to the epidemic, 13%, and a third of those who are anxious about their health. In this group, people are also mostly coping with the situation.
About 30% do not go to work but go on visits. Women aged between 18 and 29 are a prominent category in the group, as well as those on sick leave and those who have lost their job due to the epidemic.
The group has the largest share, 30%, of those who are not or only slightly worried about the virus, but also the biggest share, 20%, of those who regard the current circumstances as critical or hopeless.
The remaining group poses the highest risk for contracting or spreading the coronavirus, comprising those who both go to work and have a social life (17%).
Most of them visited at least one household and performed at least half of their workload in the workplace.
A fifth of the group are parents of pre-school children, a somewhat bigger share than in other groups, meaning the reason for some visits could be daycare. The group features prominently middle-aged men. The share of those who are worried due to the epidemic is the same as in the group of people going to work but not on visits.
Valicon also recently conducted another survey which looked into whom Slovenians trusted the most regarding Covid-19 developments and information.
The public still places the greatest trust in experts, with Aleš Rozman, director of the Golnik University Clinic of Respiratory and Allergic Diseases, and infectious diseases specialist Mateja Logar deemed most trust-worthy among them, both having gained 61 points of 100.
Mario Fafangel, the chair of the Centre for Communicable Diseases at the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ), is meanwhile the most recognisable expert.
Health Minister Tomaž Gantar, NIJZ head Milan Krek and government Covid-19 spokesman Jelko Kacin remain in the below-zero category when it comes to trust levels.
Interior Minister Aleš Hojs enjoys least trust, -59, preceded by Prime Minister Janez Janša (-50) and Education Minister Simona Kustec (-41).
Some 12% do not trust anyone of the 19 listed public figures, down by 3 percentage points compared to the first assessment in spring.
The survey, titled #NewNormal, was conducted between 27 and 29 November among 539 adults.
STA, 30 November - Slovenia is in for a couple of snowy days, beginning on Wednesday, right after the start of meteorological winter. Snowfall is expected to start on Wednesday morning and get heavier by Thursday. In central Slovenia, 5-15 centimetres of snow is expected, while in some parts of the country the snow blanket could be up to 20 centimetres thick.
Snow will first start to fall in southern and western Slovenia the day after tomorrow. The coastal Primorska region will see rain and the bora wind instead, weather forecaster Brane Gregorčič of the Environment Agency told the STA, adding that the least snow or rain was expected in the east.
Most of the country will be transformed into winter wonderland on Thursday and likely also on Friday. Snow will not be falling on Friday, however temperatures will remain below zero Celsius in the morning, Gregorčič added.
Saturday, Sunday and Monday will likely be rainy, washing away the snow, particularly on low ground.
STA, 30 November 2020 - Slovenia's gross domestic product (GDP) was down 2.6% year-on-year in real terms in the third quarter, the Statistics Office reported on Monday. In seasonally-adjusted terms, GDP was up 12.4% compared to the quarter before while dropping 2.9% year-on-year.
In the first nine months of the year, Slovenia's economy shrunk by 6% compared to the same period in 2019.
Domestic consumption in the third quarter of 2020 was down by 5% year-on-year, with final consumption dropping by 0.3%, and gross investments by almost a fifth (-19.6%).
The main reason for the significant drop in gross investments was the reduction of inventories, the Statistics Office said.
Exports in the third quarter decreased by 9.5% compared to the same period in 2019, with exports of goods dropping by 4.6% and exports of services by 25.8%.
Imports on the other hand were down by 13.1%, as imports of goods decreased by 11.2% and imports of services by 22.4%.
The decreased volume of travel contributed the most both to the contraction of exports and imports.
The Statistics Office noted that within final consumption in the third quarter, a drop was recorded only in final consumption by households (-0.9%).
"This reduction was less pronounced than in the first two quarters of the year," it said, adding that in the first it was 6.3% and in the second it was 17.4%.
Final consumption by households on the domestic market was down by 6% year-on-year, with a reduction in expenditure for services and fuel contributing the most. Expenditure for durable goods was meanwhile up by 4.3%.
Final consumption by the state was up by 1.4% in the third quarter year-on-year, while gross investments in fixed assets were down by 1.8%.
Investments in machinery and equipment was down, while investments in buildings and civil engineering structures was up by 2.7%.
The number of persons in employment was down by 1.8% or 19,237 year-on-year to 1,034,564.
Year-on-year, Slovenia's GDP in the first quarter of 2020 was down by 2.4%, and in the second quarter it was down by 13%. In seasonally-adjusted terms, it was down by 3.5% and 12.9%, respectively.
In seasonally-adjusted terms at the quarterly level, it was down by 4.7% in the first quarter, and by 9.8% in the second quarter.
Statistics Office analysts expect that at the end of the year, GDP drop will not be as pronounced as in the second quarter. First assessments for the whole year are expected to be published at the end of February.
STA, 27 November 2020 - The unemployment rate in Slovenia in the third quarter stood at 5.1%, which is on par with the second quarter and 0.4 percentage points more than in the same period last year. The employment rate was 54.9%, a 0.5 percentage points increase on the second quarter and 0.4 percentage points down year-on-year, the Statistics Office said on Friday.
The number of unemployed persons, 53,000, in the third quarter was about the same as in the previous quarter, while compared to the previous year it was higher by 7.7%. The unemployment rate was 4.4% among men and 5.9% among women.
Among the 53,000 unemployed persons, 56% had also been unemployed in the second quarter of 2020, 20% were employed and 24% were inactive.
The number of persons in employment, 979,000, in the third quarter increased by 1% compared to the previous quarter. Among employed persons, the number of student workers increased the most, by 107% (or 13,000 more compared to the previous quarter), followed by the number of employees with employment contracts, by 1% (or 9,000 more).
On the other hand, the number of self-employed persons decreased by more than 8% or by roughly 10,000. Compared to the same period of 2019, the number of self-employed persons decreased by 12%.
Slightly under 20% of what were a total of 859,000 employed persons were absent from work in the third quarter of 2020. 70% were on annual leave, 14% were on sick leave and only 4% were furloughed. In the second quarter, 47% of absent workers, 80,000 in total, were furloughed, while 10% were not working due to paid annual leave.
STA, 25 November 2020 - Parliament adopted in a 51:11 vote on Wednesday the sixth stimulus package designed to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus on the economy. The legislation extends several existing measures, while a major novelty is help with fixed expenses. The opposition was mainly critical of what it sees as "cuckoos" inserted in the package.
The latest package, valued at around EUR 1 billion, extends once again the furlough scheme, measures to improve liquidity and introduces help with fixed expenses among other things.
Prime Minister Janez Janša and Finance Minister Andrej Šircelj hailed the measures as helping preserve society, the state and the economy in good shape also for the period after the epidemic.
In what is a key novelty that will apply for the last three months of 2020 for the time being, companies with a revenue decline of over 70% will be eligible for compensation equalling 1.2% of their annual income per month; those whose revenue declined by between 30% and 70% will get 0.6% per month.
Šircelj said the criteria were set down in a manner that will allow the reimbursement of fixed expenses in the majority of sectors, while Janša highlighted the increase of the 80% state subsidy for furloughed workers to 100% for smaller companies.
Beyond the immediate aid to businesses, which also includes the extension of the possibility to defer the payment of taxes and loans, the new package brings a waiver of VAT on personal protective and medical equipment, simplified registration of remote work, and bonuses for staff working with Covid-19 patients.
Coalition MP also highlighted other measures, with Suzana Lep Šimenko of the Democrats (SDS) for instance listing the waving of rents for state-owned premises, a warm meal for underprivileged school children, and simplified application for welfare transfers.
Janja Sluga of the Modern Centre Party (SMC) also feels the new package is a fast response to the problems arising in the second wave of the epidemic. "The measures are good, our citizens need them and expect them."
The package was also backed by the opposition National Party (SNS), while the remaining opposition parties reiterated their criticism of legislative changes in the package they feel to be out of place.
"The government has once more drawn up a corona crisis package with cuckoos, which are exclusively about the pursuit of the interests of the largest coalition party," Marko Bandelli of the Alenka Pratušek Party (SAB) said.
While some provisions have been removed from the package - for instance basic income for religious workers and a provision that would have equalised the value of the vocational secondary school-leaving exam with the general secondary-school leaving exam - the opposition highlighted some that is still finds unacceptable.
One of them extends licences for subsidies for private universities even if they do not meet conditions for this at the moment, which the opposition says is geared towards helping one specific university, which is owned by a person with close ties to the SDS.
Another one scraps a three-month transitional period during which a person newly registered as unemployed is not yet obliged to accept a job deemed as appropriate for them by the Employment Service.
Also criticised strongly was the raising of the fine for those violating restrictions to public gatherings. The current fines, which range between 400 and 4,000 euros now, have been raised to EUR 1,200-12,000. The government initially wanted to penalise those inciting to such protest, but the provision was crossed out at committee.
"This is intimidation, terror and presages the end of democracy," Left MP Nataša Sukič said. SD deputy Dejan Židan added that the measure "will not help the epidemic, it will only make people angrier".
Some opposition MPs were also critical of the economic measures, with Brane Golubović of the Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) saying effective answers have not been found for everybody affected by the crisis. Jani Prednik of the SocDems said the package lacked speed and simplicity and that the partial covering of fixed expanses would not suffice.
This summary is provided by the STA:
1,106 new coronavirus cases confirmed on Saturday, 48 persons die
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia recorded 1,106 new coronavirus cases in 3,644 tests on Saturday, which is on par with the figures seen a week ago. 48 persons died, showed the latest data government. The number of Covid-19 patients in hospital increased by 20 to 1,278. Saturday's test positivity rate was 30%, seven percentage points up on Friday. Bojana Beović, the head of the government's coronavirus task force, said a kind of ceiling had been reached but the situation was still not improving. The data do not bode well for the chances of relaxing the measures, she added.
Minister announces full allowance for healthcare staff infected with Sars-CoV-2
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STA, 29 November 2020 - Slovenia recorded 1,106 new coronavirus cases in 3,644 tests on Saturday, which is on par with the figures seen a week ago. Forty-eight people died, data released by the government on Sunday shows.
The number of Covid-19 patients in hospital increased by 20 to 1,278, of which 195 were in intensive care, one more than the day before. 59 people were released from hospital.
Saturday's test positivity rate was 30%, seven percentage points up on Friday.
Five more deaths were recorded than the day before for a total toll of 1,384 so far. The number of positive tests since the start of the epidemic currently stands at 75,379.
There are presently 20,299 active cases in the country, a 192 increase on the figure reported on Saturday. The 14-day incidence per 100,000 is at 969, an increase of ten, according to tracker covid-19.sledilnik.
Bojana Beović, the head of the government's coronavirus task force, told the STA the results showed that a kind of ceiling had been reached in Slovenia but that the situation was still not improving.
"This also means that lifting the measures would mean 40% of Slovenian hospital beds would be occupied with Covid-19 patients in 14 days, not to speak of the number of deaths. But if we introduce even stricter measure, the question is how much they would be observed, given that even now the impression is that people find it hard to understand and respect the measures. This is showing very clearly in the results that we have," Beović said.
She assessed that after the drop in the test positivity rate on Friday indicated an improvement, the data for Saturday did not bode well for the chances of relaxing the measures.
Beović feels a social agreement is needed about what is important, which is "a decision that medicine actually has little to do with". She urged everybody to do what they can to enable at least "somewhat appropriate Christmas and New Year's holidays".
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