News

20 Mar 2019, 12:30 PM

March 21, 1949, is the birthdate of the man who – until the arrival of Melania Trump – was arguably the most famous living Slovene, the “rock star philosopher” and Ljubljana-native Slavoj Žižek, who can still be seen walking the streets of the city when not holed up in his apartment writing or travelling to one of his many lectures, debates, interviews or other public appearances around the world. So in honour of the 70th birthday of man who’s done so much to put his hometown and country on the international intellectual map, we present 70 quotes on various topics and in no particular order to make you think, smile, frown or throw your electronic device across the room in frustration. Vse najboljše, Mr Žižek, and for the rest of you – enjoy your symptoms!

  1. Without the communist oppression, I am absolutely sure I would now be a local stupid professor of philosophy in Ljubljana.
  2. I do all my work to escape myself. I don't believe in looking into yourself. If you do this, you just discover a lot of shit. I think what we should do is throw ourselves out of ourselves. The truth is not deep in ourselves. The truth is outside.
  3. We Slovenians are even better misers than you Scottish. You know how Scotland began? One of us Slovenians was spending too much money, so we put him on a boat and he landed in Scotland.
  4. Here is an old phrase I like: 'The only way to the universal good is that we all become strangers to ourselves.' You imagine looking at yourself with a foreign gaze, through foreign eyes. I think this is something that could be the greatest thing in humanity. You are never really limited just to your own perspective. I don’t like the false identity politics of multiculturalism which says that you are enclosed in your culture. No, we have all this amazing capacity to be surprised, not by others, but by ourselves seeing how what we are doing is strange.
  5. The fact that a cloud from a minor volcanic eruption in Iceland—a small disturbance in the complex mechanism of life on the Earth—can bring to a standstill the aerial traffic over an entire continent is a reminder of how, with all its power to transform nature, humankind remains just another species on the planet Earth. The socioeconomic impact of such a minor outburst is due to our technological development (air travel)—a century ago, such an eruption would have passed unnoticed. Technological development makes us more independent from nature. At the same time, at a different level, it makes us more dependent on nature’s whims.
  6. When we are shown scenes of starving children in Africa, with a call for us to do something to help them, the underlying ideological message is something like: Don't think, don't politicize, forget about the true causes of their poverty, just act, contribute money, so that you will not have to think! 
  7. What characterizes a really great thinker is that they misrecognize the basic dimension of their own breakthrough.
  8. European civilisation finds it easier to tolerate different ways of life precisely on account of what its critics usually denounce as its weakness and failure, namely the alienation of social life. One of the things alienation means is that distance is woven into the very social texture of everyday life. Even if I live side by side with others, in my normal state I ignore them. I am allowed not to get too close to others. I move in a social space where I interact with others obeying certain external ‘mechanical’ rules, without sharing their inner world. Perhaps the lesson to be learned is that sometimes a dose of alienation is indispensable for peaceful coexistence. Sometimes alienation is not a problem but a solution.
  9. The pressure ‘to do something’ here is like the superstitious compulsion to make some gesture when we are observing a process over which we have no real influence. Are not our acts often such gestures? The old saying ‘Don't just talk, do something!’ is one of the most stupid things one can say, even measured by the low standards of common sense. Perhaps, rather, the problem lately has been that we have been doing too much, such as intervening in nature, destroying the environment, and so forth... Perhaps it is time to step back, think and say the right thing. True, we often talk about something instead of doing it; but sometimes we also do things in order to avoid talking and thinking about them. Such as throwing $700 billion at a problem [the 2008 financial crisis] instead of reflecting on how it arose in the first place.
  10. The problem for us is not are our desires satisfied or not. The problem is how do we know what we desire.
  1. For Lacan, language is a gift as dangerous to humanity as the horse was to the Trojans: it offers itself to our use free of charge, but once we accept it, it colonizes us.
  2. I did teach a class here [at the University of Cincinnati] and all of the grading was pure bluff...I even told students at the New School for example… if you don’t give me any of your shitty papers, you get an A. If you give me a paper I may read it and not like it and you can get a lower grade. [He received no papers that semester]
  3. My eternal fear is that if, for a brief moment, I stopped talking... you know, the whole spectacular appearance would disintegrate; people would think there is nobody and nothing there. This is my fear, as if I am nothing who pretends all the time to be somebody and has to be hyperactive all the time... just to fascinate people enough so that they don't notice that there is nothing.
  4. Beyond the fiction of reality, there is the reality of the fiction. 
  5. The experience that we have of our lives from within, the story we tell ourselves about ourselves in order to account for what we are doing, is fundamentally a lie – the truth lies outside, in what we do.
  6. It's not the same thing: coffee without cream or coffee without milk. What you don't get is part of the identity of what you get.
  7. I think that the task of philosophy is not to provide answers, but to show how the way we perceive a problem can be itself part of a problem.
  8. [T]his readiness to assume the guilt for the threats to our environment is deceptively reassuring: We like to be guilty since, if we are guilty, it all depends on us. We pull the strings of the catastrophe, so we can also save ourselves simply by changing our lives. What is really hard for us (at least in the West) to accept is that we are reduced to the role of a passive observer who sits and watches what our fate will be. To avoid this impotence, we engage in frantic, obsessive activities. We recycle old paper, we buy organic food, we install long-lasting light bulbs—whatever—just so we can be sure that we are doing something. We make our individual contribution like the soccer fan who supports his team in front of a TV screen at home, shouting and jumping from his seat, in the belief that this will somehow influence the game's outcome. 
  9. True love is precisely the […] move of forsaking the promise of Eternity itself for an imperfect individual.
  10. [There is an] old joke about the difference between Soviet-style bureaucratic Socialism and Yugoslav self-management Socialism: in Russia, members of the nomenklatura drive themselves in expensive limousines, while in Yugoslavia, ordinary people themselves ride in limousines through their representatives.
  1. We live in weird times in which we are compelled to behave as if we are free, so that the unsayable is not our freedom but the very fact of our servitude.
  2. Populism is ultimately sustained by the frustrated exasperation of ordinary people, by the cry I don't know what's going on, but I've just had enough of it! It cannot go on! It must stop!
  3. The only choice is that between direct or indirect relations of domination and exploitation, with any alternative dismissed as utopian.
  4. We don't really want to get what we think that we want. I am married to a wife and relationship with her are cold and I have a mistress. And all the time I dream oh my god if my wife were to disappear - I'm not a murderer but let us say- that it will open up a new life with the mistress. Then, for some reason, the wife goes away, you lose the mistress. You thought this is all I want, when you have it there, you turn out it was a much more complex situation. It was not to live with the mistress, but to keep her as a distance as on object of desire about which you dream. This is not an excessive example, I claim this is how things function. We don't really want what we think we desire
  5. I have no physical fitness whatsoever. I don’t like sport. In my country skiing is popular. I find it nonsense. You climb a mountain and you slide down. Why not stay at the bottom and read a good book?
  6. What if eternity is a sterile, impotent, lifeless domain of pure potentialities, which, in order fully to actualise itself, has to pass through temporal existence?
  7. Yeah, because I'm extremely romantic here. You know what is my fear? This postmodern, permissive, pragmatic etiquette towards sex. It's horrible. They claim sex is healthy; it's good for the heart, for blood circulation, it relaxes you. They even go into how kissing is also good because it develops the muscles here – this is horrible, my God! It's no longer that absolute passion. I like this idea of sex as part of love, you know: 'I'm ready to sell my mother into slavery just to fuck you for ever.' There is something nice, transcendent, about it. I remain incurably romantic. 
  8. I have become more aggressive over time. Some say I am more right wing, which I am absolutely not. On the refugee crisis, we should drop the patronising “They are warm people.” No, there are murderers among them in the same way there are among us. The liberal left prohibit writing anything bad about refugees, which results in the anti-immigrant right monopolising.
  9. I’m unable to have one-night stands. In my city, Ljubljana, you can tell exactly which women I’ve slept with, because I married them.
  10. We’re not dreamers. We’re awaking from a dream turning into a nightmare. We’re not destroying anything. We’re watching the system destroy itself.
  1. There is an old story about a worker suspected of stealing: every evening, as he leaves the factory, the wheelbarrow he rolls in front of him is carefully inspected. The guards can find nothing. It is always empty. Finally, the penny drops: what the worker is stealing are the wheelbarrows themselves...
  2. I am a good Hegelian. If you have a good theory, forget about the reality. 
  3. Love is what makes sex more than masturbation. If there is no love even if you are really with a partner you masturbate with a partner.
  4. Words are never 'only words'; they matter because they define the contours of what we can do. 
  5. Writing saved my life. Years ago, because of some private love troubles, I was in a suicidal mood for a couple of weeks. I told myself: “I could kill myself, but I have a text to finish. First I will finish it, then I will kill myself.” Then there was another text, and so on and so on, and here I still am.
  6. Liberals always say about totalitarians that they like humanity, as such, but they have no empathy for concrete people, no? OK, that fits me perfectly. Humanity? Yes, it's OK – some great talks, some great arts. Concrete people? No, 99% are boring idiots.
  7. There is an old joke about socialism as the synthesis of the highest achievements of the whole human history to date: from prehistoric societies it took primitivism; from the Ancient world it took slavery; from medieval society brutal domination; from capitalism exploitation; and from socialism the name.
  8. In an old Yugoslav joke mocking police corruption, a policeman returns home unexpectedly and finds his wife naked in their marital bed, obviously hot and excited. Suspecting that he surprised her with a lover, he starts to look around the room for a hidden man. The wife goes pale when he leans down to look under the bed; but after some brief whispering, the husband rises with a satisfied, smug smile and says ‘Sorry, my love, false alarm. There is no one under the bed!’, while his hand is holding tightly a couple of high denomination banknotes.
  9. Liberal democracy - as you know, in the old days, we were saying we want socialism with a human face. Today's left effectively offers global capitalism with a human face, more tolerance, more rights and so on. So the question is, is this enough or not? Here I remain a Marxist: I think not.
  10. I think boredom is the beginning of every authentic act. (...) Boredom opens up the space, for new engagements. Without boredom, no creativity. If you are not bored, you just stupidly enjoy the situation in which you are.
  1. Reality is for those who cannot face their dream.
  2. There is a multitude of forms of this appearing of un-freedom in the guise of its opposite: in being deprived of universal healthcare, we are told that we are being given a new freedom of choice (to choose our healthcare provider); when we can no longer rely on long-term employment and are compelled to search for a new precarious job every couple of years, we are told that we are being given the opportunity to reinvent ourselves and discover our creative potential; when we have to pay for the education of our children, we are told that we are now able to become ‘entrepreneurs of the self’, acting like a capitalist freely choosing how to invest the resources he possesses (or has borrowed). In education, health, travel we are constantly bombarded by imposed ‘free choices’; forced to make decisions for which we are mostly not qualified (or do not possess enough information), we increasingly experience our freedom as a burden that causes unbearable anxiety.
  3. I think that the task of philosophy is not to provide answers, but to show how the way we perceive a problem can be itself part of a problem.
  4. What makes Berlusconi so interesting as a political phenomenon is the fact that he, as the most powerful politician in his country, acts more and more shamelessly: he not only ignores or neutralizes any legal investigation into the criminal activity that has allegedly supported his private business interests, he also systematically undermines the basic dignity associated with being the head of state.
  5. Strange [that] Christianity, whose most pressing anxiety seems to be that God’s grace might prove to be all too free on this side, that hell, instead of being populated with so many people, might some day prove to be empty!
  6. Who dares to strike today, when having the security of a permanent job is itself becoming a privilege?
  7. Wearing a mask can thus be a strange thing: sometimes, more often than we tend to believe, there is more truth in the mask that in what we assume to be our real self.
  8. Memento mori should be read: don't forget to die.
  9. Although the ruling class disagrees with the populists' moral agenda it tolerates the moral wars as a means of keeping the lower classes in check, that is, it enables the latter to articulate their fury without disturbing the economic status quo.
  10. A critical analysis of the present global constellation -- one which offers no clear solution, no ‘practical advice’ on what to do, and provides no light at the end of the tunnel, since one is well aware that this light might belong to a train crashing towards us -- usually meets with reproach: ‘Do you mean we should do nothing? Just sit and wait?’ One should gather the courage to answer: ‘YES! Precisely that!’ There are situations when the only truly ‘practical’ thing to do is to resist the temptation to engage immediately and to ‘wait and see’ by means of a patient, critical analysis.
  1. Every civilisation that disavows its barbarian potential has already capitulated to barbarism.
  2. Think about the strangeness of today's situation. Thirty, forty years ago, we were still debating about what the future will be: communist, fascist, capitalist, whatever. Today, nobody even debates these issues. We all silently accept global capitalism is here to stay. On the other hand, we are obsessed with cosmic catastrophes: the whole life on Earth disintegrating, because of some virus, because of an asteroid hitting the earth, and so on. So the paradox is, that it's much easier to imagine the end of all life on earth than a much more modest radical change in capitalism.
  3. When the Turkish communist writer Panait Istrati visited the Soviet Union in the mid-1930s, the time of the big purges and show trials, a Soviet apologist trying to convince him about the need for violence against the enemies evoked the proverb ‘You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs,’ to which Istrati tersely replied: ‘All right. I can see the broken eggs. Where’s this omelette of yours?’ We should say the same about the austerity measures imposed by IMF: the Greeks would have the full right to say, ‘OK, we are breaking our eggs for all of Europe, but where’s the omelette you are promising us?’
  4. One does not wait for the 'ripe' objective circumstances to make a revolution, circumstances become 'ripe' through the political struggle itself.
  5. It is the ultimate irony of history that radical individualism serves as the ideological justification of the unconstrained power of what the large majority of individuals experience as a vast anonymous power, which, without any democratic public control, regulates their lives.
  6. My instinct as a philosopher is that we are effectively approaching a multicentric world, which means we need to ask new, and for the traditional left, unpleasant questions.
  7. If we only change reality in order to realise our dreams, and do not change these dreams themselves, sooner or later we regress back to the old reality.
  8. I despise the kind of book which tells you how to live, how to make yourself happy! Philosophers have no good news for you at this level! I believe the first duty of philosophy is making you understand what deep shit you are in!
  9. Our biological body itself is a form of hardware that needs re-programming through tantra like a new spiritual software which can release or unblock its potential.
  10. "An enemy is someone whose story you have not heard". Okay, then maybe if we had listened to Hitler's story he would not be an enemy? No, there are such things as real enemies and we need to fight them.
  1. Ideology is strong exactly because it is no longer experienced as ideology… we feel free because we lack the very language to articulate our unfreedom.
  2. So when the ruling ideology enjoins us to enjoy sex, not to feel guilty about it, since we are not bound by any prohibitions whose violations should make us feel guilty, the price we pay for this absence of guilt is anxiety.
  3. What is the Absolute? Something that appears to us in fleeting experiences – say, through the gentle smile of a beautiful woman, or even through the warm caring smile of a person who may otherwise seem ugly and rude. In such miraculous but extremely fragile moments, another dimension transpires through our reality. As such, the Absolute is easily corroded; it slips all too easily through our fingers and must be handled as carefully as a butterfly 
  4. I like to search for class struggle in strange domains. For example it is clear that in classical Hollywood, the couple of vampires and zombies designates class struggle. Vampires are rich, they live among us. Zombies are the poor, living dead, ugly, stupid, attacking from outside. And it's the same with cats and dogs. Cats are lazy, evil, exploitative, dogs are faithful, they work hard, so if I were to be in government, I would tax having a cat, tax it really heavy.
  5. As soon as we renounce fiction and illusion, we lose reality itself; the moment we subtract fictions from reality, reality itself loses its discursive-logical consistency. 
  6. Surprised at seeing a horse-shoe above the door of [Niels] Bohr’s country house, a fellow scientist exclaimed that he did not share the superstitious belief that horse-shoes kept evil spirits away, to which Bohr snapped back, ‘I don’t believe in it either. I have it there because I was told that it works even when one doesn’t believe in it’. This is indeed how ideology functions today: nobody takes democracy or justice seriously, we are all aware of their corrupted nature, but we participate in them, we display our belief in them, because we assume that they work even if we do not believe in them.
  7. When the subject goes behind the curtain of appearance to search for the hidden essence, he thinks he will discover something that was always there; he does not realise that in passing behind the curtain, he is bringing with him the very thing that he will find.
  8. You cannot change people but you can change the system so that people are not pushed into doing evil things.
  9. Happiness was never important. The problem is that we don't know what we really want. What makes us happy is not to get what we want. But to dream about it. Happiness is for opportunists. So I think that the only life of deep satisfaction is a life of eternal struggle, especially struggle with oneself. If you want to remain happy, just remain stupid. Authentic masters are never happy; happiness is a category of slaves.
  10. Come on. I don't have any problem violating my own insights in practice.
20 Mar 2019, 11:55 AM

STA, 19 March 2019 - A bomb disposal squad responding to an alert in the Ljubljana borough of Zalog established that there was indeed an explosive device under a car. They disarmed it by applying a water cannon, police said.

The police reported earlier that they had been alerted of a suspicious-looking object underneath a car on a private property in Zalog at around 8:30 AM.

The police and members of the anti-bomb protection unit dispatched to the site cordoned off the area and evacuated five people, suspending railway services via Zalog station, which have been resumed after the bomb was disposed of.

Meanwhile, news portal Siol reported that the property where the incident took place belongs to Boris Vukosavljević, the owner of several security companies that went bankrupt. In January, somebody set fire to a car parked in front of the house.

Siol says that Vukosavljević has been a close associate of Danijel Praštalo whose security company Vip Varovanje made headlines after two of its guards beat a young man to death at a Ljubljana night club in 2007.

20 Mar 2019, 10:20 AM

STA, 19 March 2019 - Slovenian's Primož Roglič has underlined his status as one of the world's best cyclists, having won on Tuesday his second race of the 2019 UCI World Tour. Roglič is the new winner of the Tirreno-Adriatico race between the Tyrrhenian and Adriatic coasts.

 

The 29-year-old member of the Jumbo-Visma professional racing team clinched the fourth UCI World Tour win of his career in the final stage of this year's Tirreno-Adriatico race, which began on 13 March.

He had been 25 seconds behind Adam Yates ahead of today's time-trial, but mastered the 10-km stage roughly 26 second faster than the British cyclist. Roglič grabbed the overall win after seven stages by a margin of 0.31 seconds.

"This was incredibly close. I don't know where I made up the time. I was lucky in the end ... I was confident but I can only control myself and I just wanted to give 110% and then we would see what it would be at the end," Roglič said after the last stage.

At the start of the month, Roglič, a former ski-jumper, won the premiere United Arab Emirates Tour, the third race of the 2019 UCI World Tour. He had won in Basque and Romandy last year. He finished fourth overall in the 2018 Tour de France.

20 Mar 2019, 09:05 AM

Below is a review of the headlines in Slovenian dailies for Wednesday, 20 March 2019, as summarised by the STA:

DELO

Private sector pay
"Ten problems with wages, and their solutions": The Chamber of Commerce (GZS) has proposed a pay increase pact while six trade union confederations are pushing for a new social pact. The pay talks will be conducted against the backdrop of cooling economic growth. (front page, 3)

PM's EU parliament snub
"Šarec's 'no' a reflection of poor coordination": The prime minister has triggered a wave of criticism after declining to address the European Parliament. If and when he concedes to deliver the address eventually, his words will be more closely scrutinised. (front page, 2)

Talks on exclusion of Fidesz
"Expulsion of Fidesz or freeze for Orban in EPP?": The European People's Party (EPP) will decide today whether to expel Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban's Fidesz or at least temporarily suspend its membership. (front page, 4)

Cycling
"Roglič king of two seas after game of hundredths": Slovenian cyclist Primož Roglič has won the Tirreno-Adriatico race after one of the most dramatic duels in cycling history. In the end, he finished just 0.31 seconds ahead of the Brit Adam Yates. (front page, 19)

DNEVNIK

Private sector pay talks
"Lowest pay 940 euro gross plus bonuses": Trade unions are proposing a new collective agreement for the private sector stipulating that the lowest pay rise to the level of minimum pay, with the top pay bracket starting at 2,921 euro gross. (front page, 2)

Milko Novič trial
"With bicycle from the couch to the Janko Jamnik murder scene": The Ljubljana District Court yesterday staged a mock reconstruction of the path believed to have been taken by murder suspect Milko Novič from his home to the place where Janko Jamnik was murdered. The defence claims the test showed Novič could not have made it to the crime scene as fast as the prosecution claims. (front page, 12)

FINANCE

Older employees
"How to leverage the potential of older employees": Petrol, Mercator and Domel are examples of companies that know how to exploit the potential of older employees and may serve as role models. With new pension legislation, companies have the opportunity to create work environments more suited to older workers. (front page, 14, 15)

Public sector pay
"Result of union negotiations: average gross wage of state employees over two thousand": As a result of last year's negotiations with trade unions, public sector wages were up 6.3% year-on-year in January, with the average public sector pay, at over 2,000 euro gross, 28% higher than in the private sector. (front page, 2, 3)

Property development
"Outlines of Rop-Zemljarič-Rekar property project emerging": Former prime minister Tone Rop, and Janez Zemljarič, who used to be boss of Communist secret police UDBA, have joined forces to kick-start a huge property development in Ljubljana called Korotansko Naselje that had been conceived in 2008 but then abandoned during the crisis. (front page, 16)

VEČER

Picking of wild plants
"Dandelion and common sense": Everyone used to be able to pick dandelion and wild garlic to sell on the produce markets. Now, sellers face thousands of euros in fines unless they take care of a mountain of paperwork first. (front page, 9)

Šarec's Strasbourg speech
"Šarec would do it after the election": Prime Minister Marjan Šarec is facing a barrage of criticism for turning down an offer to address the European Parliament. A former MEP has described the decision as "scandalous". (front page, 2, 3)

Work conditions in public healthcare
"Doctors threaten to quit": Sixteen general practitioners at the Celje Community Health Centre have threatened to quit their jobs on 1 May due to new rules mandating that they have to accept more patients. (front page, 12)

Milko Novič trial
"Thirteen minutes to the murder scene": The Ljubljana District Court yesterday staged a reconstruction of the path believed to have been taken by murder suspect Milko Novič from his home to the place where Janko Jamnik was murdered. (front page, 20, 21)

19 Mar 2019, 16:15 PM

STA, 18 March 2019 - The group around postal operator Pošta Slovenije generated EUR 250.7m in net sales revenue last year, according to unaudited report, which is 5% more than in 2017. Expenditure was also up due to the expansion of business, but the group still posted a net profit of EUR 10.4m, up EUR 1.5m from 2017.

In recent years, the postal and monetary services divisions have been decreasing. Last year, they were down by 4% and 10%, respectively, CEO Boris Novak told the STA on Monday. Meanwhile, other services offered at post offices saw a 5% rise, he added.

Since the market is expanding, especially in on-line sales, there is more packages and priority mail. Growth was also recorded last year in logistics services and the supply chain.

Despite its legal obligation of also providing conventional postal services, Pošta Slovenije has been adapting to the changes on the market by developing its network for package delivery, supply and logistics, Novak said.

Last year, postal services accounted for 86% of all net revenue, 8% was generated from money transactions and 6% from other services.

The biggest revenue growth was recorded in the segments packages and logistics services, which accounts for almost a fifth of all services.

Pošta Slovenije allocated EUR 25m for investment last year. One of its major projects is the multi-year project of modernisation of its logistic centre in Ljubljana, which last year cost EUR 11m.

It is not clear yet how much of last year's profit will got to the state budget. Last year the owner took EUR 4m and just as much the year before.

But one thing is certain, future business results of the national postal operator will be affected by the agreement which was recently signed with trade unions. The measures introduced this year and the next have been estimated at EUR 17.7m.

This year, the postal operator expects net sales revenue of EUR 251.5m and a profit of EUR 12.3m.

Pošta Slovenije has been mentioned as one of the bidders for the logistics company Intereuropa now held by banks. Novak would not comment on this, but he did confirm that packages and logistics were the two main pillars of Pošta Slovenije's operations.

Through PS Logistika and Feniksšped, the group is already conducting logistic services in the markets of SE Europe and wants to increase its activities in these markets, he said.

19 Mar 2019, 14:20 PM

STA, 18 March 2019 - Slovenia reiterated its long-standing support for a peaceful resolution of the Middle East peace process and a two-state solution as Foreign Ministry State Secretary Simona Leskovar held talks Monday with Susanna Terstal, the EU's special representative for the Middle East peace process.

Leskovar described a two-state solution with Palestine within the 1967 borders and Jerusalem as the capital of both countries as "the only option," unless a different solution is found in negotiations, noting that Slovenia supported UN-backed initiatives to calm tensions and the need to communicate with all players.

She said the EU had a key role to play, in particular through the special representative. "Slovenia is ready to actively engage with the Office of the Special Representative in strengthening the EU's role in the peace process," Leskovar was quoted as saying by the Foreign Ministry.

Leskovar also highlighted Slovenia's humanitarian contributions, including a EUR 500,000 donation for a desalination plant in Gaza, Slovenia's biggest single humanitarian donation so far, and the psychosocial rehabilitation of Palestinian children by the Slovenian-run fund ITF - Enhancing Human Security.

All our stories on Slovenia and Palestine are here

19 Mar 2019, 12:50 PM

STA, 18 March 2019 - Police apprehended 102 foreigners who entered Slovenia from Croatia unlawfully at the weekend. Five of them have already asked for international protection, with the rest of them are still being processed. At the same time, two vehicles transporting illegal migrants were intercepted.

 

Metlika police apprehended 10 Afghani citizens and one Iranian crossing into Slovenia illegally in the night to Saturday in the south-east of the country.

The group was brought to the border by a 22-year-old Croatian driver from Velika Kladuša, one of the Bosnian towns closest to Slovenia.

The driver was handled by Croatian police.

Another group in the south-east was apprehended around the town of Semič on Saturday morning when a car with Italian licence places, driven by two Pakistani citizens, was stopped carrying three Indians, three Pakistani citizens and one citizen of Myanmar.

The drivers had tried to take the group to Italy, where the two reside legally. Slovenian police seized their car and filed a criminal complaint against them.

A total of 57 citizens, the majority from Pakistan (27) and Iran (12), were also caught by Novo Mesto police between Friday and Monday.

The Ljubljana Police Department apprehended twelve illegal migrants over the past 24 hours; three Algerians and a Tunisian citizen asked for asylum, while processing is still ongoing for the others.

The Koper Police Department, which covers south-western Slovenia, apprehended 15 illegal migrants from Friday to Monday morning.

One Afghani citizen asked for international protection, and the rest are being still processed.

Illegal migrations slowed down during the winter months, with 325 crossings registered in January and 334 in December compared to 1,000-plus in the summer months, according to police data.

In March last year, a total of 206 illegal crossings of the border were recorded, a figure that is likely to be exceeded this year.

All our stories on immigration can be found here

19 Mar 2019, 11:44 AM

STA, 18 March 2019 - A new far-right party is emerging on the Slovenian political scene two months before the EU election, modelled on the Italian League and Fidesz in Hungary, and drawing on former and current supporters of the opposition Democrats (SDS). It is seen as complementary with, or a competition to, the SDS.

Called the Homeland League (Domovinska liga) and using the acronym DOM (home), the party has a Twitter account and has so far sent out broad outlines of its policies, centred around opposition to migrations, to LGBT-friendly policies and to EU federalism.

One tweet reads that the party sees French President Emanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the European People's Party (EPP) top candidate Manfred Weber as "destroyers of the EU".

"The European spring is coming, the spring of European nations... The European spring is symbolised by the sovereignist bloc under the leadership of Matteo Salvini. The Homeland League wishes to be a part of that undertaking," another tweet reads.

The party was officially registered on 26 February, which means that it had to satisfy the statutory requirement of having at least 200 members, and is provisionally headed by Žiga Jereb, a former mid-ranking member of the SDS who is largely unknown among the general public.

Quizzed by Dnevnik newspaper, Jereb did not specify what his current relationship with the SDS is, but the paper said in a report published on Saturday that individuals who parted ways with the SDS form the core of the Homeland League.

While remaining somewhat secretive until it formally presents its programme on 6 April, the party already has some visible supporters.

One of them is Bernard Brščič, a former senior aide to SDS leader Janez Janša who works as economist for power grid operator Eles and has become a leading ideologue of the Slovenian alt-right.

A leading proponent of the White Genocide theory, which holds that brown Muslims are bent on displacing whites with high fertility and terrorism, he uses Twitter to disseminate anti-Muslim and anti-immigration messages.

He has often warned against proponents of a "multiculti" society and "negroids" invading what he says is becoming "EUrabia".

Brščič is also a staunch supporter of the Generation of Identity, the Slovenian version of the identitarian movement. He wrote the foreword to a book the group published with Nova Obzorja, a book and magazine publisher co-owned by the SDS.

Brščič has confirmed he is in talks with the Homeland League to become their top candidate for the EU election and participated in drawing up the party's platform, though he is not a member.

Quizzed by the STA, he described himself as having "unparalleled experience and knowledge of the political situation in Europe" and said he doubted the party "will have a better candidate than me."

Some of DOM's positions

Another prominent supporter is Lucija Šikovec Ušaj, a lawyer who ran on the SDS ticket in the general election but later left the SDS because she thought the party was too soft on migrations.

Šikovec Ušaj is currently the legal counsel of Andrej Šiško, who is on trial for inciting to subvert the constitutional order with a local militia he formed in Maribor called the Štajerska Guard.

She is also a regular columnist for nova24tv.si, the web portal of the TV station co-owned by senior SDS members and businessmen with close ties to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

She rose to prominence on social media with staunch anti-immigrant rhetoric and is currently being processed by the disciplinary body of the Bar Association for hate speech against migrants.

The emergence of the party is seen by some as an attempt to brandish the image of the SDS, which has veered far to the right in recent years, and move it back towards the centre.

Reporter, a right-leaning magazine, says in Monday's commentary that the Homeland League is "a satellite of the SDS, which appears to want to move back to the centre ahead of the election and leave the space on the right to its loudest and most controversial extremists."

The paper says this tactic could help the SDS effectively secure an extra MEP, but it argues the move could also potentially backfire.

News portal Siol similarly says in a report released on Monday that the move helps the SDS in that the new party is conceived as a "special purpose vehicle onto which the SDS will shift the most radical portion of the party."

It says this would help SDS leader Janez Janša keep a part of his base while still coming across as "more moderate and less radical and Orbanite."

According to Siol, such a move is the latest in Janša's long history of founding or subjugating rightist parties, which function as "planets that circle around a single sun following predictable orbits."

But there are also reports suggesting the party is a project not controlled by the SDS.

Commercial broadcaster Kanal A said in a report last week it had unofficial information indicating that SDS leader Janša is "very angry" at Brščič and Ušaj.

Political analyst Andraž Zorko described the new party for the news portal Zurnal24 as an attempt to consolidate the far-right base so that it could support the SDS from the fringe.

But while the move is designed to consolidate votes previously picked up by multiple parties, "it could also invariably chip off some votes from the SDS and the People's Party (SLS), if the latter plays the anti-migration card as it did in the general election," he said.

Keep up with Slovenian politics here

19 Mar 2019, 10:17 AM

STA, 17 March 2019 - Opposition Democrats (SDS) president Janez Janša has told the Croatian newspaper Jutarnji list that the Slovenia-Croatia border arbitration decision is legally binding but that it still allows for a bilateral agreement on a section of the border or its entirety. He also argued Hungary's Victor Orban "has a historically correct stance on migration".

 

Janša, whose SDS won the 2018 general election but was not able to form a government, said that the border dispute between Slovenia and Croatia, two newly created states, is "one of the most specific situations in history".

He argued that "according to all realistic assessments", the international arbitration tribunal's June 2017 decision on the border "is in Croatia's favour and to the detriment of Slovenia".

"Still, Croatia is rejecting it and Slovenia is insisting on it," Janša said.

He said the SDS and "almost half of Slovenian voters" had rejected the arbitration agreement, "because we predicted things would evolve the way they did".

"I believe two wise governments could find a relatively elegant way out of this situation in the future," the former prime minister added.

Janša feels that some manoeuvring space exists that would allow Croatia to get a bilateral agreement and Slovenia a border that would make more sense than the one determined in arbitration.

On Slovenian politics and Europe

Commenting on the political situation in Slovenia, he said the minority government was fully dependent on "the extremist Left" and labelled the revised 2019 budget too wasteful.

As for the EU, he urged stabilisation and a greater voice for small member states like Croatia and Slovenia.

Janša expressed support to European People's Party (EPP) Manfred Weber as the EPP's spitzenkandidat, while arguing he preferred the EU development vision of Germany's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) head Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer to that of "socialist and liberal" French President Emmanuel Macron.

Janša is convinced that the label of populism is being abused due to large coalitions at the German and European level that are looking "for some kind of third enemies", while adding nationalism can also present a problem.

Moreover, Janša believes that European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, who he feels should not be interfering in party politics, has started a conflict with Hungarian PM Viktor Orban within the EPP.

He highlighted the strong support for Fidesz in Hungary and argued that Orban "has a historically correct stance on migration".

As for a potential Fidesz exclusion from the EPP, Janša compared the gay rights efforts of EPP members from the north of Europe to Fidesz's policies. While the SDS is opposing LGBT adoption, it is not demanding that parties supporting it should be excluded from the EPP.

The EPP needs both the Christian socialists from Luxembourg and Hungary's Fidesz, since this is the only way for it to be strong and influential, Janša added, saying most serious EPP members expected a compromise solution and a fully preserved EPP.

All our stories on Slovenian politics can be found here

19 Mar 2019, 08:11 AM

Below is a review of the headlines in Slovenian dailies for Tuesday, 19 March 2019, as summarised by the STA:

DELO

Football
"Kek and Oblak together for Slovenia's rise": The Slovenian national football team are travelling today to Israel, where they will play their first qualifying match for UEFA Euro 2020 on Thursday. (front page, 19)

European Parliament
"Šarec does not want to go to Strasbourg": Prime Minister Marjan Šarec has decided not to address MEPs at a plenary session of the European Parliament next week, as Slovenia wants to participate in the possible continuation of the series of debates on the future of the EU after the May elections. (front page, 2)

Labour market
"Growth of employment slowing down": As the economy is slowly cooling down, the demand for new employees is also to slow down, according to projections by the Employers' Association of Slovenia. (front page, 3)

Shooting attack in Netherlands
"Netherlands no (longer) exception": The Netherlands is shocked by yesterday's shooting attack in Utrecht, in which three persons were killed and five wounded. Turkish-born Gokmen Tanis (37) has been labelled as the suspect. (front page, 4)

DNEVNIK

Protests in Serbia
"Vučić following footsteps of the notorious vožd": The Serbian authorities have not released the 18 persons apprehended and charged after they broke into the headquarters of the national broadcaster, as demanded by the protesters against President Aleksandar Vučić. (front page, 6, 14)

Education
"E-textbooks competing with Facebook, Instagram and YouTube": Experts believe that the introduction of e-content in schools should be well thought-through, as not all children have equal opportunities for e-learning, and some of them do not even have computers at home. (front page, 2)

FINANCE

Bank ownership
"Who is marching in Slovenian banks?": It sounds unbelievable, but it is Slovenian banks where the biggest changes in ownership are taking place in recent months, the paper says ahead of Wednesday's deadline for binding bids for Abanka, the country's third largest bank. (front page, 2-3)

Taxes
"Companies as flat-raters: what are pluses and minuses": The rules for companies who want to pay a flat tax are similar as for sole proprietors, but profit is taxed higher if the owner wants to pay it out. (front page, 4-5)

VEČER

Maribor airport
"It has everything but passengers": Večer journalists have spent a day at the Maribor Edvard Rusjan Airport on a day without charter flights. The refurbished airport with the annual capacity of 600,000 passengers has everything but passengers. (front page, 10-11)

Football
"Dreams can come true with Oblak": head coach Matjaž Kek is taking the Slovenian national football team to Israel, where they will play their first qualifying match for UEFA Euro 2020 on Thursday. (front page, 23)

Banking crime
"Bankers must pay": The Maribor Higher Court has ruled that the former management of the defunct Probanka bank needs to pay EUR 1.5m in compensation to the bad bank in 15 days over a dodgy loan. (front page, 6)

18 Mar 2019, 19:24 PM

STA, 18 March 2019 - Foreign Minister Miro Cerar, speaking to the press on the margin of the EU Council for Foreign Affairs session on Monday, believes a Brexit postponement until 23 May would be an option.

 

He is in favour of a Brexit postponement until 23 May at the latest, that is until the EU elections, provided that the British parliament backs the exit deal.

Cerar feels this could be the right way if the EU-27 is united on it and if it is very clear what both sides want to achieve, he told the press in Brussels.

"If extending the deadline brings more clarity without endangering the EU's unity and European institutions, then it would make sense and I'll support it."

Making sure EU institutions function normally means it is clear who takes part in them; in case of Brexit, UK representatives cannot be MEPs and cannot become commissioners, the minister explained.

He reiterated it was very important to make sure EU citizens, including Slovenian ones, enjoyed the same rights as now after Brexit, stressing he had been reassured today this would be the case.

However, as things stand now, the British parliament is hardly likely to back the exit deal it has rejected twice already.

It is also not very likely the next vote will take place on Tuesday as planned at the moment, since a rejected accord cannot be put to another vote without any changes.

An EU source meanwhile said today the EU-27 could decide on a UK postponement request as late as "an hour before midnight", or just before the scheduled exit date of 29 March.

All out stories on Brexit are here

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