News

18 Sep 2019, 10:45 AM

STA, 17 September 2019 - President Borut Pahor will pay an official visit to Switzerland on Wednesday and Thursday. Talks with his counterpart Ueli Maurer are expected to focus on political and economic cooperation between Slovenia and Switzerland, and the country's relations with the EU. A business conference will also be held.

 Pahor will start the visit in Bern by meeting parliamentary Speaker Marina Corabbio Gusceti, who paid an official visit to Slovenia this May.

On Thursday, the president will be received by his host, Swiss President and Finance Minister Maurer, according to Pahor's office.

The topics to be discussed include regional issues, climate change, environment, and science and research.

The presidents will exchange views on topical international political issues, including the situation in the Western Balkans, as Slovenia and Switzerland both advocate for stability in this region.

EU topics will also be discussed. Switzerland is an EU partner country, and has signed more than 20 important agreements with the bloc, and more than a hundred other technical agreements allowing it to cooperate in the EU's internal market.

This will be Pahor's first visit to Switzerland, and the continuation of political dialogue with top-level Swiss politicians. Pahor hosted former Swiss President Simonetta Sommaruga in Ljubljana in September 2015.

According to Pahor's office, the two-day visit confirms the interest of both countries to enhance cooperation and friendly relations. It will also be an opportunity to further strengthen political and economic cooperation.

Trade in goods between Slovenia and Switzerland has been on the rise since 2013. Last year, it reached EUR 1.48 billion, which is almost 50% more than the year before.

In the first half of this year, bilateral trade in goods topped EUR 2 billion.

In 2018, pharmaceuticals represented the bulk of both exports and imports.

On Thursday, Pahor is scheduled to address the participants of a Slovenian-Swiss business conference in Zürich entitled Slovenia, the Country of Niche Business Champions.

Heinz Karrer, executive director of the Switzerland's biggest economic organisation Economiesuisse, executive director of the Slovenian Business Club Goran Novkovič and Economy Ministry State Secretary Eva Štravs Podlogar will also take the stage.

18 Sep 2019, 10:15 AM

STA, 17 September 2019 - Slovenia keeps seeing a surge in illegal migration with the latest police data showing that the number of illegal crossings peaked at 2,352 in August, the highest monthly figure since the 2015-16 refugee crisis.

In the first eight months of the year, police registered 9,801 instances of people trying to cross illegally into the country, which compares to 5,899 in the whole last year.

In most of the cases the migrants were citizens of Pakistan (2,344), followed by Algerians (1,427) and Afghanis (1,064).

The largest number of cases was handled by the Koper, Novo Mesto and Ljubljana police departments (3,310, 2,672 and 1,975, respectively.

The migrants filed 2,577 petitions for asylum between January and the end of August this year, almost 500 more than in the whole of 2018.

Of the 2,475 petitions whose processing has been completed, asylum status was granted to 49 migrants.

Slovenian police returned 6,533 migrants to foreign law enforcement authorities (2,411 in the whole of 2018), while foreign police forces returned 461 migrants to Slovenia (372 in the 12 months of 2018).

18 Sep 2019, 01:20 AM

Check the date at the top of the page, and you can find all the "morning headlines" stories here. You can also follow us on Facebook and get all the news in your feed.

A schedule of all the main events involving Slovenia this week can be found here

This summary is provided by the STA:

Court of Audit points to faults in social security system

LJUBLJANA - A report by the Court of Audit found that the government has been unsuccessful in providing access to social security services to all those who need them. The state has failed to guarantee equal treatment to all and has not come up with solutions in long-term care. Only 9% of the 395,127 claimants received aid in the form of various social security services in 2016. The state had no data on nearly 90% of claimants and does not know how many persons eligible for aid were left without it in the 2007-2018 period. Court of Audit president Tomaž Vesel said that most people in homes had no money left after paying for the service, but even so the system is at the verge of collapse.

Slovenian, Cypriot speakers announce joint small countries initiative

LJUBLJANA - Slovenian parliamentary Speaker Dejan Židan hosted his Cypriot counterpart Demetris Syllouris, with the pair announcing a bilateral initiative for cooperation of small countries. The initiative will aim to support the rule of law in the EU and "the end of dual morals" in Europe, according to Syllouris. "Small countries are more interested in finding friends, nurturing friendships and share information" because this is the only way to gain allies, Židan said in a joint statement. He said the talks discussed the position of small countries in the EU, with both Slovenia and Cyprus demanding equal treatment and the rule of law as the basic principle of the EU.

Lenarčič hearing at European Parliament likely on 2 October

STRASBOURG, France - Janez Lenarčič, the EU commissioner-designate for crisis management, will have his confirmation hearing before the European Parliament's Development Committee, the STA has learned from unofficial sources. The date of the hearing has not been confirmed yet but is likely to be 2 October. The Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee is expected to join the hearing and members of both committees would have the right to vote. There is not a single Slovenian MEP on the Development Committee, while Ljudmila Novak (NSi/EPP) is a member of the Environment Committee.

Govt sets municipality funding for 2021 and 2020

LJUBLJANA - The government and representatives of local communities have failed to agree on the amount of local government funding for the coming two years, so the government plans to enforce the initially proposed amount of EUR 589.11 per capita in 2020 and EUR 588.30 in 2021. The news was announced by Finance Minister Andrej Bertoncelj after the talks with representatives of municipality associations, who have been seeking more money, failed to produce an agreement. The Finance Ministry calculated the per-capita amount by following the currently valid methodology, that is on the basis of the average of local government expenses over the past four years.

Social partners fail to agree on tax changes

LJUBLJANA - A meeting of the Economic and Social Council (ESS) did not result in agreement on planned tax changes, putting into question the government's plan to send the changes to parliament on Thursday, and possibly even throwing a wrench in the 2020 and 2021 budgets. In order for these changes to take effect on 1 January 2020, the government would need to submit them to parliament this week. Instead, Bertoncelj is now proposing a new round of talks, which, however, seem unlikely to take place, according to Branko Meh, the president of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS).

Adria Airways signs collective agreement with pilots

LJUBLJANA - Adria Airways signed a new collective bargaining agreement with pilots, a move the airline says that "calms down the labour situation at the company". The new agreement "allows management to remain focused on stability of operations and provision of services," the company said after signing the agreement. The deal was signed a little over a week after a tentative deal was reached with pilots, helping the airline to avert a series of multi-day strikes that the pilots had announced for September and early October. During that time the Trade Union of Pilots put the deal to a vote, which appears to have been successful.

Janković-linked debt write-off to be challenged at higher court

LJUBLJANA - The Ljubljana District Court is challenging a decision by its own judge to endorse simplified debt restructuring that would allow companies owned by Ljubljana Mayor Zoran Janković's sons to get written off EUR 29 million in debt amid a major public controversy, the news web portal Siol reported. The report says that the court appealed against the decision on Friday, a day before the decision would have become final, in its capacity as a claimant over unpaid court tax. Simplified debt restructuring was introduced in 2013 as a means of speeding up lengthy insolvency procedures. A decision was made to amend the relevant law after a debate in parliament last week.

ZZZS worried about 2020 despite higher spending cap

LJUBLJANA - The ZZZS public health insurance fund does not expect smooth sailing next year despite an increase in its spending limit, the ZZZS management board said after going over projections for 2019-2021, identifying a government-imposed delay in payments as the problem. In 2020, the ZZZS's revenue will go up by EUR 225 million over this year, while expenditure is to increase by EUR 266 million. Director general Marjan Sušelj said a third of the additional funds, or EUR 90 million, will be used to pay for the services that will have remained unpaid at the end of the year due to this year's spending cap.

Illegal migrations peak at over 2,000 crossings in August

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia keeps seeing a surge in illegal migration with the latest police data showing that the number of illegal crossings peaked at 2,352 in August, the highest monthly figure since the 2015-16 refugee crisis. In the first eight months of the year, police registered 9,801 instances of people trying to cross illegally into the country, which compares to 5,899 in the whole last year. In most of the cases the migrants were citizens of Pakistan (2,344), followed by Algerians (1,427) and Afghanis (1,064). The migrants filed 2,577 petitions for asylum between January and the end of August this year, almost 500 more than in the whole of 2018.

High-performing hydro station opens on Kneža

PODBRDO - A high-performing small hydro station was inaugurated on the Kneža river in western Slovenia. The EUR 2.3 million installation run by power utility Soške Elektrarne is expected to produce as much 3.3 GWh of renewable energy a year, more than many larger hydro stations produce. The high performance was achieved thanks to a 2,300-metre underground pipeline, which runs along a local road and allows the station to harness the energy of 74-metre drop. The engine room features a generator with installed power of 850 KWh, and a horizontal-axis turbine.

Jews remembered with Stolpersteine in Lendava, Murska Sobota

LENDAVA/MURSKA SOBOTA - Lendava and Murska Sobota remembered local Jewish families that perished in the Holocaust, as Stolpersteine, granite cubes bearing the names of the victims, are installed in various locations around the two north-eastern cities in high-profile commemorations. In Lendava, the "stumbling stones" will be installed in Glavna Ulica street in front of the former homes of the families Blau, Balkanyi and Schwarz. The ceremony in Murska Sobota remembered the families Berger, Hahn and Frim apart from many other Jewish victims of the Holocaust from the region of Prekmurje.

Maribor hosts exhibition on Poland during and after WWII

MARIBOR - The Museum of National Liberation in Maribor launched a pop-up exhibition on Poland and its citizens during and after WWII, marking the 80th anniversary of the invasion of Poland and the start of the war. Fighting and Suffering: Polish Citizens during World War II was curated by the Museum of the Second World War from Gdansk in collaboration with the Polish Foreign Ministry, and will be opened by Polish Ambassador Pawel Czerwinski. It presents Nazi Germany's attack on Poland, developments during the war and the country's post-war history.

Socially critical features in focus of annual film festival

PORTOROŽ - The 22nd Festival of Slovenian Film opened with Metod Pevec's latest feature Jaz Sem Frenk (None), which brings a confrontation of socialist and capitalist values. The festival will feature a total of 106 films, of which more than half in the competition section. Eleven new features, of which four are documentaries, are among the 57 films competing for over 20 Vesna awards. The festival brings a shift from social drama to political thriller, which however remains socially charged, its director Jelka Stergel said as she presented the event.

Something for everyone at Slovenian Jazz Festival

RAVNE NA KOROŠKEM - Slovenian jazz musicians, both internationally-acclaimed acts and up-and-coming talents, will be showcased at the 15th annual festival in Ravne na Koroškem in the north of the country this week. Along with the pre-festival events, the Slovenian Jazz Festival is featuring 23 events at nine venues, including 12 concerts, three exhibitions, two film screenings and two days of workshops. The festival starts in tonight with the launch of an exhibition of jazz-themed photographs by Iztok Zupan, followed by a concert by percussionist Gal Furlan.

Slovenia's 2017 EuroBasket win to be enshrined on film

LJUBLJANA - The historic success of Slovenia's basketball team from 2017 when it was crowned European basketball champions will be made into a documentary slated for release in 2020. The feature-length film will be directed by award-winning director, writer and basketball fan Goran Vojnović, the Slovenian Basketball Association announced. In addition to interviews with players, extensive archive material will be used, including videos made by fans, whom the association invited to share them so that Vojnović could pick some of them for the documentary.

Visiting Ljubljana? Check out what's on this week, while all our stories on Slovenia, from newest to oldest, are here

If you're learning Slovenian then you can find all our dual texts here

17 Sep 2019, 21:06 PM

STA, 17 September 2019 - Adria Airways has signed a new collective bargaining agreement with pilots, a move the airline says that "calms down the labour situation at the company".

The new agreement "allows management to remain focused on stability of operations and provision of services," the company said after signing the agreement on Tuesday.

The deal, valid through 2023, was signed a little over a week after a tentative deal was reached with pilots, helping the airline to avert a series of multi-day strikes that the pilots had announced for September and early October.

During that time the Trade Union of Pilots put the deal to a vote, which appears to have been successful.

Adria did not disclose the details of the deal, while Marko Kastelic, a member of the pilot union, told the STA the pilots were very satisfied with what had been achieved since work conditions would substantially improve.

Pilots had been complaining about the bad working conditions before and after the sale of this state-owned company to the German fund 4K Invest was completed in early 2016.

Since months beset by delays, flight cancellations and unannounced mergers of flights, the airline has had financial trouble for a while and is currently looking for a strategic partner.

Adding to its woes, it risks losing its operating licence due to what media reports suggest is a dismal financial state.

The Slovenian Civil Aviation Agency is expected to take a decision by the end of October. It can either decide to let things stands as they are, it may permanently or temporarily revoke its licence, or it may issue a temporary licence.

Kastelic was hopeful the airline would be able to resolve its operational and financial problems.

All our stories about the ups and downs of Adria are here

17 Sep 2019, 18:01 PM

Numerous outlets are carrying a report from the Associated Press about armed individuals – carrying knives – now patrolling Slovenia’s border with Croatia. These are part of Andrej Šiško’s Štajerska varda (“Home Guard”), the anti-migrant movement led by the former football hooligan, presidential candidate and recent prison inmate. Šiško is quoted as saying his goal is “to train people to defend their country and help the military and police at a time of massive migrations from the African and Asian states, mostly Muslims.”

One member of the group is Blaž Židar, a “47-year-old former Slovenian army soldier, dressed in camouflage trousers with a long knife hanging from his belt” who  goes on daily patrols near his village of Radovica. The story quotes him as saying “I would prefer to enjoy my retirement peacefully, but security reasons are preventing this.” He goes on to say that his six children often join him on patrol, along with his wife, “because they have to learn how to protect their nation from intruders.”

Related: 1 in 8 Slovenians is an immigrant

The reporter, Dušan Stojanović, goes on to interview Miha Kovač, a Slovenian political analyst and professor at the University of Ljubljana, who describes such anti-migrant groups as made up of “guys with big beer bellies who don’t have much of an education, who didn’t have much of a career, who don’t know what to do with themselves in the contemporary world. They find their meaning in this kind of movement and this kind of hatred toward migrants.”

While Kovač doesn’t see the movement as an immediate danger, he says the problem would get worse if Slovenia had significant numbers of immigrants, from 20-50,000.

Meanwhile, the story claims the authorities are happy to turn a blind eye to the patrols, as long as they stay within the law. As France Bozicnik, the head of criminal police at a police station near the border, states: “People call us on the phone every day and give us information about suspicious vehicles and suspicious persons, and we sincerely thank them for this information.”

You can see the full story here, while all our stories on Andrej Šiško are here

 

17 Sep 2019, 14:04 PM

STA, 16 September 2019 - Internet users reported more cases of hate speech and of videos of sexual abuse of children to the online complaint website Spletno Oko (Web Eye) in 2018 than in 2017.

A total of 350 websites were reported for allegedly featuring videos of sexual abuse, of which Spletno Oko found 45% to indeed feature such images.

The hotline website believes the cases fall under Article 176 of the penal code, which penalises presenting or publicly exhibiting pornographic material featuring minors.

Spletno Oko says that compared to 2017, the number of reports and potential criminal acts related to the sexual abuse of children increased manifold.

It partly attributes the rise to an intensive awareness campaign about child abuse and about the possibility of anonymously reporting it.

The cases were forwarded to the police, and the countries in which the contentious content had appeared, most often the US and Netherlands, were notified of it.

The majority of the cases forwarded to the police featured children aged 11 to 15.

A rise in the share of material with much younger victims, aged up to six years, was also recorded, increasing by 6 percentage points to 14%.

The share of videos showing "severe sexual abuse" content rose by 9 points to 55%, which Spletno Oko says is worrying. The majority of these victims were girls.

Hate speeches mostly related to Muslims and migrants

Internet users moreover reported 591 cases of alleged criminal acts of hate speech, slightly more than the previous year.

Spletno Oko found 35 of these cases to be potentially prosecutable, up 10 from 2017, but the police filed criminal complaints in only 21 cases.

The majority of the cases forwarded to the police (28%) were related to ethnic background, foremost to migrants and Muslims. The majority were found on news portals.

Spletno Oko is part of the Safer Internet Centre and has been receiving reports of sexual abuse videos and hate speech cases on the internet since 2007.

17 Sep 2019, 12:00 PM

September 18, 2019

The Slovenian media reports that Davo Karničar died on Monday in a tree cutting accident near his home in Jezersko.

Davo Karničar was an alpine climber and extreme alpine skier. In 2000 he became the first man ever to ski from the top of Mount Everest.

In his 7 Summits project, he skied from the highest peaks on all seven continents, and in Europe he successfully skied down the northern wall of the Eiger and eastern wall of the Matterhorn.

In the last few years he has focused on becoming the first man to ski down from the top of K2. He was unsuccessful in his 2017 attempt due to bad weather conditions and a back injury.

Davo Karničar was born in 1962 and grew up surrounded by mountains in Zgornje Jezersko.

17 Sep 2019, 11:50 AM

STA, 13 September 2019 - Six astronauts from five space agencies are training in Slovenia these days for space missions as part of the CAVES programme by the European Space Agency (ESA). Training in caves presents the astronauts with environments and situations very similar to spaceflight, to help them transfer the learning from their caving expedition to space.

Astronauts are exploring underground systems, delve deep underground to perform scientific experiments as well as chart and document their activities.

According to ESA, the training of the astronauts, who come from ESA, Russia's Roscomos, Canadian and Japanese space agencies, and NASA (two astronauts), started on Wednesday.

On 20 September, they will start their six-day stay at Lepa Jama, a cave in the Kočevje area in the south, where they will explore underground water flows.

The cave leads into a labyrinth of passages, which astronauts will have to explore on their own, as their communication with the team on the surface will be very restricted.

The ESA official who conceived the programme, Loredana Bessone, believes such a simulation is the closest possible environment that can be found on Earth to the "environmental, psychological and logistic restraints of a space mission".

Apart from training for their work in space, astronauts will also do some actual cave research, as the development of caves, underground water flows and underground life still contain many riddles for scientists, said Franci Gabrovšek from the Karst Research Institute of the Research Centre of the Academy of Sciences and Arts (ZRC SAZU).

The astronauts will conduct research and mainly track the air and water flows so as to learn how to find water. They will also be on lookout for any unknown species that may have adapted themselves to the extreme conditions in the cave, and micro plastics, which have become a risk for the environment.

17 Sep 2019, 09:40 AM

STA, 16 September 2019 - President Borut Pahor and Indian President Ram Nath Kovind reaffirmed their commitment to boost cooperation and friendship between their countries, as they met in Ljubljana on Monday. They also stressed the importance of global partnership and multilateralism. Pahor accepted an invitation to India.

Pahor said during the talks with Kovind, the first Indian president to visit the country, that India is the largest country in the world and one of the biggest democracies, where the implementation of the rule of law and human rights could be an example to other countries.

The pair reviewed bilateral and multilateral cooperation, reaffirming their commitment to multilateralism. While agreeing that it needed some changes, they stressed that it represented a safe environment for humanity to tackle the most sensitive and important challenges, from climate change to terrorism.

Discussing terrorism, the presidents exchanged views on the situation in Kashmir. Kovinda said terrorism was one of the biggest challenges of humanity and the presidents agreed that the whole world would have to join forces to defeat it.

Kovinda stressed that the fight against cross-border terrorism was very important for India.

The Indian president also pointed to the historical ties between Slovenia and India, saying they were based on shared cultural and democratic values.

He added that he and Pahor had agreed to strengthen bilateral ties and global partnership.

The presidents signed a statement after the meeting, calling for the strengthening of economic ties. Pahor noted that the two countries posted half a billion euro in goods trade a year and that trade was rising at a 30% rate.

Kovind is accompanied by a business delegation, featuring representatives of 20 Indian companies who will attend a Slovenian-Indian business forum in the afternoon. The two presidents will address the forum.

Kovind said he was pleasantly surprised by Slovenia's technological progress and its achievements in the international arena. It has become a pioneer in environment and forests conservation, he said.

According to the president, India will have more than five billion inhabitants by 2025. The country would like to cooperate with Slovenia in science, know-how and innovation to support this growth.

On the sidelines of the presidential visit, several agreements were signed between the two countries' governments and companies.

Government representatives signed a programme of cooperation in culture, arts, education, sports and media for the 2019-2014 period, and a programme of cooperation in science and technology in 2020-2022.

The Slovenian Institute for Standardization and the Bureau of Indian Standards signed an agreement on technical cooperation in standardisation.

The Indian president believes the agreements signed today will enhance the cultural and economic ties between the two countries.

Kovind will conclude the two-day official visit on Tuesday, when he and his spouse visit the lakeside resort of Bled.

Pahor noted that he had hosted two Indian prime ministers, Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi, and that the ties between India and Slovenia go back to the period before Slovenia's independence.

He also stressed the importance of Mahatma Gandhi for humanity, as India celebrates the 150th anniversary of his birth this year.

Kovinda expressed gratitude that Slovenia was nurturing this heritage, including by issuing a special stamp next month.

He also congratulated Slovenia on initiating World Bee Day, which New Delhi has also backed.

Kovinda met Prime Minister Marjan Šarec at Ljubljana Caste this afternoon and is also scheduled to meet parliamentary Speaker Dejan Židan.

All out stories about India are here

17 Sep 2019, 02:07 AM

Check the date at the top of the page, and you can find all the "morning headlines" stories here. You can also follow us on Facebook and get all the news in your feed.

A schedule of all the main events involving Slovenia this week can be found here

This summary is provided by the STA:

Pahor, Kovind call for cooperation and multilateralism

LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor and his Indian counterpart Ram Nath Kovind reaffirmed their commitment to boost cooperation and friendship between the countries during the first visit by an Indian president to Slovenia. They stressed the importance of global partnership and multilateralism. Pahor, who accepted the invitation to visit India, said the country could serve as an example for its rule of law and human rights record. Together with Pahor, Kovind addressed a business forum at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which identified logistics, infrastructure, automotive industry and tourism as the areas with a great potential for boosting trade. He also met PM Marjan Šarec.

Cross-party consensus sought on private schools financing

LJUBLJANA - After several failed attempts to implement the late-2014 Constitutional Court ruling mandating full financing of private primary schools, the Education Ministry will now try to break the impasse by inviting various stakeholders to form a task force to build a broad consensus on the issue. Minister Jernej Pikalo said an invitation to participate would be sent to various stakeholders, experts and representatives of private and public education, and to all parliamentary parties.

Pahor inclined to coordinating debate on digitalisation

LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor responded to the initiative by the opposition New Slovenia (NSi) to act as a coordinator on the path to a new national consensus on digitalising Slovenia. His office said Pahor was willing to host a meeting on the topic with representatives of the government, parliament and parties. Pahor, whom the NSi urged to act as an "ambassador" in the digitalisation process, also agrees with the assessment that a political impetus would be helpful for Slovenia's digitalisation.

PM's aide under media scrutiny over alleged links with Westinghouse

LJUBLJANA - A decision by a state secretary in the prime minister's office to employ the head of Slovenia's Westinghouse office as head of his private institute has come under media scrutiny; news portal Požareport indicated Damir Črnčec might thus influence PM Marjan Šarec into picking Westinghouse to supply equipment for a possible second reactor at the Krško Nuclear Power Plant (NEK). The portal said Črnčec, Šarec's national security advisor, appointed Zvonka Truden to head the Institute for Global Management in January, only a few months before Šarec visited NEK to endorse a second reactor plan. In response to the story, the prime minister's office said Črnčec had fulfilled all his obligations related to integrity and prevention of corruption.

Štajerska Guard undeterred by leader's conviction

LJUBLJANA - The Štajerska Guard does not appear to have been deterred from its training activities even though its leader Andrej Šiško was sentenced to prison in March for trying to subvert the constitutional order. Several media reported about training camps organised by the paramilitary group this summer, and the Croatian broadcaster RTL recently aired a reportage from one of them. Šiško insists the Štajerska Guard is only a civil initiative, while the police say they are keeping a close eye on them.

Extreme skier, mountaineer Karničar dies

ZGORNJE JEZERSKO - Mountaineer and extreme skier Davo Karničar, 56, died in an accident while cutting down a tree in the area of Jezersko in the region of Gorenjska, where he lived, public broadcaster TV Slovenija reported. Karničar made history on several occasions while skiing down the world's highest peaks; in 2000, he skied non-stop down Mount Everest as the first person ever, in 1995 he and his brother skied down Annapurna, and in 2006, he became the first person to ski down the highest mountains on each of the seven continents, a project known as the 7 Summits.

European Mobility Week under way

LJUBLJANA - The European Mobility Week got under way under the slogan Walk with Us!, focusing on walking as an alternative to motor road transport as well as a form of physical exercise, the lack of which has become a problem in modern society due to excessive use of cars. In Slovenia 78 municipalities are participating with events aimed at reducing road traffic, including group walks. The week will culminate with Car-Free Days in several municipalities.

Helios sales revenue up last year

DOMŽALE - Coatings group Helios generated EUR 401.5 million in sales revenue last year, up 3% from 2017. Net profit topped EUR 16 million despite a challenging market situation. Some of its markets in the EU and the region of the former Soviet Union were affected by international trade sanctions and currency devaluation. "In the future we expect economic growth to continue slowing down, and a drop in sales growth, especially in the segment of industrial coatings," Helios said.

GMT group's revenue to top EUR 100m this year

MURSKA SOBOTA - The Murska Sobota-based company GMT has been reaffirming its leading role in lubricants and spare car parts dealership in the region, recording an average annual growth of 10%. The group has recently taken over the Ljubljana-based company I.S.T. Avtodeli after acquiring Austria's AR Regnemer last year, and now employs 450 people. The group is planning to expand its logistic centre in Murska Sobota, and expects to post more than EUR 100 million in revenue this year.

Salaries in Slovenia up in July

LJUBLJANA - Monthly earnings paid out in Slovenia in July increased. At EUR 1,119, average take home pay rose by 1% over the month before and by 4.4% year-on-year in nominal terms, data from the Statistics Office shows. In real terms net monthly earnings increased by 1.7% from June and by 2.4% from a year ago. In the private sector net pay was 1.7% up from June, while public sector pay dropped by 0.2%. Year on year, pay was up 4.4% in the private sector and 4.7% in the public one.

Web Eye portal records rise in online sexual abuse, hate speech

LJUBLJANA - The online complaint website Spletno Oko (Web Eye) recorded a strong annual rise in reported cases of hate speech and videos showing sexual abuse of children in 2018. A total of 350 websites were reported for allegedly featuring videos of sexual abuse, of which Spletno Oko found 45% to feature such images. Part of the rise in the number of reports and potential criminal acts is attributed to an intensive awareness rising campaign about the issue and ways to report it.

Slovenia still undefeated at European Volleyball Championship

LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian men's volleyball team is still undefeated in Group C of the European Championship in Ljubljana, having defeated Turkey 3:0 on Sunday for its third win in as many matches. Slovenia are tied with the defending champions Russia on top of the group with nine points each. Slovenia had earlier defeated Belarus and Finland. After a day off, they will play North Macedonia on Tuesday before wrapping up group play against Russia on Wednesday.

Visiting Ljubljana? Check out what's on this week, while all our stories on Slovenia, from newest to oldest, are here

If you're learning Slovenian then you can find all our dual texts here

16 Sep 2019, 15:53 PM

STA, 13 September 2019 - Ljubljana and a total of 25 surrounding municipalities have signed an agreement to cooperate in the bid of the Slovenian capital to be awarded the title of the European Capital of Culture (ECC) in 2025. They are joining Lendava, Nova Gorica, Ptuj, Kranj and Piran as the candidate cities.

The agreement was signed in Ljubljana on Friday by mayors and representatives of the 26 municipalities, which comprise the Ljubljana Urban Region, followed by the opening of the ECC information office in Stritarjeva Street.

Nina Peče Grilc, who heads the team preparing the bid, announced an ambitious programme with which Ljubljana and the partner municipalities "will respond to challenges of the future and increase the quality of live in the region."

According to her, the bid is an opportunity for all potential hosts to strengthen the role of culture in their development plans, and create a new regional cultural identity by connecting artists and building a new audience.

Peče Grilc said that a successful ECC project would have a positive effect on the entire region, both in culture and in related fields, such as tourism, education, healthcare, social cohesiveness, creative industries and environmental protection.

A public call for the submission of programme concepts will be published next week, she said, adding that the agreement contained a number of commitments, including that at least a third of events take place outside the Ljubljana municipality.

Lilijana Madjar, the director of the regional development agency, said that the ECC was a "flattering title, an excellent brand and a great commitment".

Mateja Demšič of the culture department at the Ljubljana municipality added she was happy that culture had become another binding agent among the participating municipalities, noting that the region was already connected through many projects.

Ljubljana Mayor Zoran Janković expressed the wish that culture projects reach beyond the region, and announced that in Ljubljana, which annually hosts 14,000 cultural events, their number would increase further with the ECC title.

Slovenia has been selected to get the ECC title in 2025 along with Germany, with the other potential candidate cities being Kranj, Ptuj, Lendava, Piran and Nova Gorica, some of them with partner cities.

Slovenia's second largest city Maribor held the title in 2012 together with Portugal's Guimaräes.

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