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13 Sep 2019, 16:43 PM

In 2018 the Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia (SURS), which keeps an excellent website, carried out a survey to find the self-assessed wellbeing of people living in Slovenia aged 16 and over. Various areas of life were covered, with responses ranging from 0 for not at all satisfied, to 10 for completely satisfied.

Love and money

The results showed that people were most satisfied with their personal relationships, those with family, friends, neighbours and co-workers, which got an overall rating of 8.6. Moreover, the vast majority of respondents (92%) rated their degree of satisfaction with this area of their life as 7 or above, with pupils and students being the group most satisfied in this regard.

Turning to money, the average level of satisfaction was 6.3, with 17% of respondents answering from 0 to 4, 39% 7 or 8, and 13% 9 and 10.

Work and play

Job satisfaction got an average of 7.5, with the results showing no significant differences between those employed and self-employed, or between men and women. The highest job satisfaction was found for occupations in the field of information & communication and education (both at 8.1), while the lowest (7.1) was reported by those working in wholesale and retail trade, and the repair of motor vehicles.

With regard to the mount of free time people had to enjoy, the average satisfaction was 7.2, with a third of respondents giving ratings of 9 or 10. There were no great differences between men and women on this point.

What are the secrets to satisfaction?

The average assessment of overall life satisfaction was 7.3, with a person’s response being heavily dependent on their health, while their position in the labour market, financial situation, leisure, friends, personal relationships, and so on also had predictable impacts.

Those respondents who stated that they were happy all the time rated their overall satisfaction at 8.5, while those who reported never feeling happy in the previous four weeks rated it 4.5

The level of satisfaction is also closely related to feeling happy. Those who were happy all the time assessed their overall life satisfaction with 8.5, while those who in the past four weeks were never happy assessed their overall life satisfaction with 4.5.

Nervous and calm

The survey also asked how nervous people had felt in the previous four weeks, with 12% of respondents saying they were nervous all or nearly all the time, with 14% of women saying this and 10% of men. While young people were happier than old people, they were also more nervous, with this being reported by an incredible 24% of young women, compared to 11% of young men.

Finally, just under two-thirds of people (62%) stated that they felt calm most of the time in the previous four weeks, with slightly more women than men giving this response.

You can see more on this data at SURS

13 Sep 2019, 13:53 PM

STA, 12 September 2019 - Parliamentary Speaker Dejan Židan received on Thursday Yang Chuantang, vice chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, for talks that focused on bilateral parliamentary cooperation.

The officials highlighted good bilateral relations that have grown stronger in recent years with the increased frequency of visits, the National Assembly said in a press release.

Acknowledging that cooperation has been particularly intense in agriculture, Židan and Yang said ties could be deepened in other fields as well, in particular in education and culture.

Yang said deep cooperation with the EU was very important for China, which sees Slovenia as an important partner in Western Balkans markets and in the Chinese-led Belt and Road initiative.

He also highlighted close political ties between the two countries and expressed satisfaction at increased trade, the National Assembly said.

Yang is paying a multi-day visit to Slovenia at the invitation of National Council President Alojz Kovšca and is also scheduled to hold talks with Infrastructure Minister Alenka Bratušek.

All our stories on China and Slovenia are here

13 Sep 2019, 12:15 PM

STA, 12 September 2019 - A sports journalist of the commercial broadcaster POP TV was apprehended last Sunday by the Slovenian police on the border with Croatia under suspicion of smuggling illegal migrants to Slovenia.

Reporting on the incident on its web portal 24ur.com on Thursday, POP TV condemned and distanced itself from the actions by the journalist, who has already been dismissed.

The Ljubljana-based private broadcaster regretted the incident and explained that it had not been acquainted with the acts by the journalist committed outside his job and that it had not been aware of the possible personal circumstances he had found himself in.

POP TV condemned any violations of regulations, adding that, as smuggling and assistance in smuggling migrants across the border with Croatia was on the rise, it would continue to report extensively on the "abuse of the distress of refugees and of the victims of smuggling".

Two Serbians found with 12 migrants in back seat of car

STA, 12 September 2019 - Two Serbians smuggling a dozen illegal migrants were arrested early morning on Thursday following a car chase of at least 10 kilometres. When the car was forced to a stop, the police found ten Pakistanis and two Indians cramped in the back seat.

The police tried to pull the car over just outside the town of Ljutomer in northeast Slovenia, but the driver continued driving at high speed in the direction of the motorway, the Murska Sobota Police Administration said.

This started a car chase that ended when the car driven by one of the Serbians crashed into the police car and then hit the safety rail on the motorway, according to the police.

The press release does not specify how long the chase lasted, but the nearest motorway entrance is some 10 kilometres away from the location where the police spotted the suspicious car.

The man in the passenger seat escaped the car but was tracked down by the police. The Serbian citizens were both detained and will be charged with smuggling illegal migrants, which carries a sentence of up to five years and a fine.

All our stories on illegal migration can be found here

13 Sep 2019, 10:54 AM

STA, 12 September 2019 - The Institute of Macroeconomic Analysis and Development (IMAD) has downgraded its projection of Slovenia's gross domestic product (GDP) growth for this year to 2.8%, down 0.6 percentage points compared to its spring forecast, which will seriously affect government budget planning.

 The government's macroeconomic think tank has also downgraded by 0.1 points its GDP growth forecasts for 2020 and 2021, to 3% and 2.7%, respectively.

IMAD said the downgrade was the result of a slowdown in Slovenia's major trading partners, in particular Germany, which will affect exports and capital spending; consumer spending is expected to remain robust.

"Confidence indicators in the international environment have been deteriorating since the start of last year, which has had a negative impact on export orders and demand. The prospects until the end of the year are worse than we expected in spring," IMAD director Maja Bednaš said.

Finance Minister Andrej Bertoncelj noted at a press conference after the government session that the government had prepared the supplementary budget for 2019 based on the spring forecast, which had projected the economy growing at 3.4%.

The minister added that the new projection had been downgraded based on the second quarter of the year, when there had been major changes in inventories. The situation is expected to improve somewhat in the third and fourth quarters.

"Let me be clear and say that growth of either 2.8% or 3% is very solid economic growth, which is still more than double of the eurozone average," Bertoncelj said.

The minister stressed that the downgrade should be followed by appropriate measures. The government has already frozen the budget, with all major expenditures by ministries needing to get the stamp of approval from the Finance Ministry.

"I have called on the ministers to save money and cancel non-essential measures," said the minister, who believes that a part of the drop in the expected revenue could be compensated by austerity measures.

He added that the ministries had been saving money since last September. "I'm not talking about obligations under the law, but about non-essential measures. One needs to act responsibly these days and limit expenditure in this segment."

For 2020, the minister will reduce the amount of planned expenditure by EUR 100 million to EUR 10.35 billion. "The 2020 and 2021 budgets will be drafted in accordance with the fiscal rule," Bertoncelj added.

"I don't want to sound pessimistic. We have solid economic growth, we follow IMAD forecasts, but I expect that a correction might take place, and if necessary, we will adjust immediately."

The minister explained that the expected EUR 100 million cut would be made in a linear fashion, with each department losing around 1% of the funds.

Bertoncelj noted that the state budget returned to the black in August to record a surplus. A surplus of 0.8% of GDP is planned for next year, and a 1.2% surplus in 2021.

"It's important that we maintain the trend of budget surplus, further reduce general government debt and go for structural balance in these three years," he said, adding that this was also important for credit ratings.

Prime Minister Marjan Šarec said the IMAD downgrade had been expected and would require reducing budget expenditure, which the government will do to comply with the constitutional balanced-budget rule.

And although he said each department would have to sacrifice one percent of its budget, he indicated that generous social benefits would have to be restructured to make the budget more sustainable.

"Denmark has a high standard of welfare but our social transfers are 25% higher. We're absolutely going to have to change some things to survive in the long term," he told Radio Slovenija in an interview.

In his first reaction to the announcement, Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek stressed that growth remained robust and was above the eurozone average.

He said he remained an optimist, since Slovenian companies are less indebted than they had been before the previous crisis, they are also more innovative and export-oriented.

13 Sep 2019, 09:49 AM

STA, 12 September 2019 - Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, chairman of the NATO Military Committee, started an official visit to Slovenia on Thursday, commending the country and its armed forces on their 15 years of contribution in support of the alliance's values and mission.

 The British air chief marshal will chair a conference of the chiefs of defence from NATO member countries as part of the NATO Military Committee, held in Slovenia on Friday and Saturday.

Sir Stuart was formally received by the chief of the general staff of the Slovenian Armed Forces (SAF), Major General Alenka Ermenc, with a guard of honour, after which he delivered a lecture to senior SAF staff.

According to a press release from the Defence Ministry, he described NATO as a flexible organisation, one continuously adapting to modern security challenges in order to be able to jointly make decisions, command and act, which he said made the alliance unique, effective and exceptional.

The alliance is strengthened and enriched by every joint task, "which is why Slovenia's experience makes us all richer", the officer was quoted as saying.

He noted the work of Slovenian Lieutenant Colonel Matjaž Bizjak, whom he decorated with a medal for his exceptional contribution in his work at the NATO Military Liaison Office in Belgrade.

The NATO official was also received by President Borut Pahor and Prime Minister Marjan Šarec today.

According to the president's office, Pahor and Peach talked about NATO's role in maintaining security and stability in the future, as well as about NATO's 70th anniversary and 15th anniversary of Slovenia's membership.

On the occasion, the senior most NATO military officer again acknowledged Slovenia's contribution to the alliance and praised Slovenian troops' engagement in missions abroad.

Peach thanked Pahor for Slovenia's hosting the NATO Military Committee's annual conference. In his capacity as the SAF supreme commander Pahor will address the chiefs of defence at Friday's dinner.

Pahor and Peach also talked about Slovenia's role in providing peace and security in the Western Balkans and the chief marshal inquired about the president's view of the situation in the region.

The conference of NATO's top military authority in Ljubljana on Friday and Saturday is expected to be attended by some 400 participants.

The Military Committee forms consensus-based advice to the North Atlantic Council and the Nuclear Planning Group on military policy and strategy, and provides guidance to the two strategic commanders - supreme allied commander Europe and supreme allied commander transformation.

As such, it is an essential link between the political decision-making process and the military structure of NATO.

NATO chiefs of defence meet three times a year. Two of these conferences take place in Brussels, while one each year is hosted by a member state.

The SAF takes it as a great honour to host the meeting in the year when NATO is observing its 70th anniversary, as well as 15 years since Slovenia joined the alliance.

13 Sep 2019, 01:15 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:

Slovenia's GDP forecast for 2019 downgraded from 3.4% to 2.8%

LJUBLJANA - The Institute of Macroeconomic Analysis and Development has downgraded Slovenia's GDP growth for 2019 and 2020 by 0.6 points to 2.8% and by 0.1 points to 3%, respectively, compared to its spring forecast. Since the 2019 supplementary budget was based on the spring forecast, Finance Minister Andrej Bertoncelj already announced some austerity measures. "I have called on the ministers to save money and abolish non-essential measures," said Bertoncelj. He will also reduce the amount of the planned expenditure in the 2020 budget by EUR 100 million to EUR 10.35 billion.

NATO's top military officer starts visit to Slovenia

LJUBLJANA - Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, chairman of the NATO Military Committee, started an official visit to Slovenia, commending the country and its armed forces on their 15 years of contribution in support of the alliance's values and mission. He was formally received by the chief of the general staff of the Slovenian Armed Forces (SAF), Major General Alenka Ermenc, after which he delivered a lecture to senior SAF staff. He was also received by President Borut Pahor and Prime Minister Marjan Šarec. On Friday and Saturday, the British air chief marshal will chair a conference of the NATO Military Committee hosted by Slovenia.

NSi shadow cabinet bets on digitalisation

LJUBLJANA - The shadow cabinet formed by the conservative New Slovenia (NSi) released a document termed A Year of Missed Opportunities criticising the government record in its first year in office, and calling for a new national consensus centred around digitalisation. Party and shadow cabinet leader Matej Tonin argues Slovenia needs a new national consensus to make a breakthrough after the country gained independence and joined the EU and NATO. The party will discuss its new agenda as it seeks to move towards the centre of the political spectrum at Saturday's conference #smartSlovenia - Partnership for Breakthrough.

Slovenia remains 67th in economic freedom rankings

LJUBLJANA - Despite slightly improving its economic freedom, Slovenia has remained 67th among 162 countries in the latest Economic Freedom of the World report, compiled by the Canadian libertarian Fraser Institute. "We have taken a few steps forward and a few steps back. The positive change relates to the shrinking of the scope of para(state) mainly through decreasing state ownership in companies," said the head of the Ljubljana-based Visio Institute, Tanja Porčnik. The report again placed Hong Kong at the top of the rankings, at 8.91 points, followed by Singapore, New Zealand, and Switzerland as the best ranked European country.

Speaker Židan receives senior Chinese official

LJUBLJANA - Parliamentary Speaker Dejan Židan received Yang Chuantang, vice chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, for talks that focused on bilateral parliamentary cooperation. The officials highlighted good bilateral relations that have grown stronger in recent years with the increased frequency of visits, the National Assembly said in a press release. Acknowledging that cooperation has been particularly intense in agriculture, Židan and Yang said ties could be deepened in other fields as well, in particular in education and culture.

Prosecution appealing to top court over Kangler inquiry

LJUBLJANA - The Supreme State Prosecution is reported by the newspaper Dnevnik to have asked the Constitutional Court to examine whether the parliamentary inquiry into prosecution of former Maribor Mayor Franc Kangler may be in breach of the constitutional provision of division of power. The prosecution argues it is unacceptable for the legislative branch of power to interfere in the judiciary. The lower chamber of parliament launched the inquiry in July upon request of the upper chamber, a member of which Kangler is now. The National Council would like the matter to be examined since Kangler has been acquitted in most of the many cases brought against him. The Judicial Council also announced its plan to petition the court to examine the matter.

Govt tables draft climate policy bill

LJUBLJANA - The Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning unveiled a draft climate policy bill whose principal aim is to make Slovenia carbon neutral by 2050. The legislation provides a framework for climate policy action, with more specific actions to be defined in the climate strategy and operational documents. Overall, the bill pursues the goals set forth in the Paris Agreement, which Slovenia has ratified and which will enter into effect in 2021. The unveiling of the bill marks the start of a one-month period of public consultation.

Cohesion minister relieved after IT system fixed

LJUBLJANA - Minister of Development and Cohesion Policy Iztok Purič was relieved as he talked to the press nearly a week after the IT system used by Slovenia to distribute EU cohesion funds was deemed adequate following more than a year of serious problems. Purič believes Slovenia will be able to draw all of the funds at its disposal during the 2014-2020 financial perspective. In this budgetary period, EUR 2.52 billion, or more than 80% of available funds, have already been assigned to individual ministries, contracts have been signed for more than EUR 2 billion and more than EUR 800 million have been paid out by the state budget.

Calls for insolvency law changes in aftermath of Janković case

LJUBLJANA - The opposition-controlled parliamentary Commission for the Oversight of Public Finances urged the government to reform insolvency law after the debt restructuring of a company owned by the family of Ljubljana Mayor Zoran Janković caused uproar. The debate was prompted by news that Electa Holding had secured a restructuring deal under which EUR 29 million was written off whereas creditors will only get 5% of their claims repaid, despite suspicion that one of the companies voting for the deal was a fictitious creditor helping the Janković family business. Justice Minister Andreja Katič said insolvency law reform was in the works notwithstanding this particular case because of a Constitutional Court decision.

Katarina Štrukelj full-fledged boss of office for migrants

LJUBLJANA - The government appointed Katarina Štrukelj a full-fledged director of the government Office for the Support and Integration of Migrants. Štrukelj's appointment comes after she has served as acting director since late June, while she has worked for the office since its inception in 2017. She is an expert on migrations, especially international protection, and holds a master's degree in sociology. She was appointed for five years, with the option of a five-year extension.

Environment Inspectorate head dismissed, interim successor appointed

LJUBLJANA - The government dismissed the chief inspector at the Inspectorate for the Environment and Spatial Planning, Dragica Hržica, replacing her with Dragan Matić, a former MP of the coalition Modern Centre Party (SMC), as acting boss. He will assume the office on 16 September to head the Environment and Spatial Planning Ministry's inspection service until Hržica's successor is found, but no longer than 15 March 2020. Hržica's dismissal had been proposed by Minister Simon Zajc, who was not pleased with the work of the inspectorate.

Former NFD head pleads not guilty in abuse of office case

LJUBLJANA - Stanislav Valant, the former CEO of the asset management firm NFD Holding, pleaded not guilty of abuse of office charges, reportedly related to two loans worth EUR 4.3 million taken from the hotel operator Hoteli Bernardin for NFD, at a pre-trial hearing at the Ljubljana District Court. Prosecutor Marjana Grašič, who will present the charges to the public at the next hearing, said Valant was charged with abuse of office in a case from 2010. This is not the first trial for Valant. In July 2018, he and another three defendants were acquitted in a high-profile trial concerning dodgy share purchases of publisher Mladinska Knjiga in 2004.

Cargo-Partner opens new logistics centre at Brnik airport

BRNIK - Austrian logistics company Cargo-Partner inaugurated a new, EUR 28 million logistics centre near the Jože Pučnik Airport Ljubljana. Boasting 25,000 square metres of storage space, the facility is one of the largest logistics centres in the region and will service Cargo-Partner's clients in Central and SE Europe. However, the company believes it will have to expand it in a few years' time. Cargo-Partner owner Stefan Krauter said the company had decided to build in Slovenia due to its geostrategic position between Asia and Central Europe and because of trust in the country's political and social environment. The company says its market share in Slovenia is 21% in air cargo transport and 15% in naval transport.

Ptuj poultry group reports higher 2018 profit and sales

PTUJ - Perutnina Ptuj, the poultry group that was taken over by Ukrainian Holding MHP earlier this year, saw its net profit rise by 43% to EUR 16.1 million last year, as sales increased by 5% to EUR 271 million. Its EBITDA for 2018 was at EUR 29.2 million, and net debt at just over EUR 35 million. Slovenia's largest meat-processing group employed 3,677 people at the end of last year, of whom 1,833 in Slovenia. In his observations in the annual report, CEO Enver Šišič labelled the company's performance as enviable, calling Perutnina a financially sound and successful company.

Sašo Berger new AmCham Slovenia president

LJUBLJANA - Sašo Berger, the CEO of S&T Slovenija, has been appointed AmCham Slovenia president for two years, replacing Nevenka Kržan from KPMG, as the chamber of commerce promoting US companies' interest in Slovenia met for its annual general meeting. Berger is looking forward to entering dialogue with companies, the government and the civil society to improve the business environment in Slovenia, AmCham Slovenia said in a release.

POP TV journalist arrested over migrant smuggling

LJUBLJANA - A sports journalist of the commercial broadcaster POP TV was arrested last Sunday by police on the border with Croatia under suspicion of smuggling illegal migrants to Slovenia. Reporting on the incident today, POP TV condemned and distanced itself from the actions by the journalist, who has already been sacked. The broadcaster regretted the incident, reiterating its determination to continue to report extensively on the "abuse of the distress of refugees and of the victims of smuggling" as smuggling and assistance in smuggling migrants across the border with Croatia was on the rise.

Room at Presidential Palace named after Ivan Oman

LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor named one of the rooms at the Presidential Palace after the recently diseased Ivan Oman, one of the key players of Slovenia's independence. Previously, he has also named halls after Oman's late contemporaries Jože Pučnik and France Bučar, and the late president and prime minister Janez Drnovšek. The Ivan Oman Hall was inaugurated nearly a month after his death in a ceremony attended by Oman's family and political contemporaries.

Skubic wins award for best youth and children's book

MARIBOR - Andrej E. Skubic has won this year's Večernica Prize for the best youth and children's book written in the past year, convincing the jury with his book Grandma Does's Have Phone Any More from his book series Trio Golaznikus. The second book from the four-part series Trio Golaznikus, published by Mladinska Knjiga, was illustrated by Tanja Komadina. Skubic will receive the award, given out by the Maribor-based newspaper Večer, at a ceremony in Murska Sobota on 19 September.

Slovenia confident as co-host of European Volleyball Championship

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia are one of the three host nations of the Men's European Volleyball Championship, which began in Slovenia with a match between Turkey and defending champions Russia. The remaining four countries in group C are Slovenia and Belarus, which will play their opening match tonight, and Finland and North Macedonia. Slovenia hope to win the tournament, which would be an improvement on the country's best result at European championships, the silver in 2015.

Slovenians happiest with personal relations

LJUBLJANA - Slovenians are very happy with their relations with family members, friends and neighbours, while they are also quite happy with their jobs. The financial standing of their household is on the other hand something they are not so thrilled about, the Statistics Office said Personal relations received an average 8.6 mark on a 1-10 scale, followed by jobs (7.5), life in general (7.3), spare time (7.2) and finances (6.3). All five indicators have increased compared to 2013, shows the survey which the statisticians introduced in 2012.

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

12 Sep 2019, 19:10 PM

Planica is mainly known as the location for the climax of the world ski flying season, when lightweight, daring athletes hurtle down the Gorišek Brothers Flying Hill and then speed through the air for up to a quarter of kilometre before touching down. The current record, set here in 2019 by Ryoyu Kobayashi, is 252 metres – equivalent to the frankly unbelievable length of 2.27 football (soccer) pitches.

But it’s also the site of another event, one that’s to open all to participate in and sees competitors run or stagger up the fearsome slope. This is when Planica is known as the most demanding part of the whole Red Bull 400 circuit, one that takes in 17 locations around the world. The athletes will cover just 400 metres in their ascent, but with a height gain of 202 metres – a real challenge for the legs, heart and lungs, as seen below.

The event takes place on Saturday, 14 September (2019), with the races starting at 11:45 and continuing until the very precisely scheduled Men’s Final 16:18. The challenge is open to anyone aged 16 and over on the day of the event, with full 400m races being run separately for men and women, as well 4x100m relays for men, mixed and “professional” groups. The official site is here.

It’s now too late to register, but if this kind of thing is your idea of fun then keep an eye to the as yet to be announced date of next year’s Red Bull Goni Pony challenge, riding one of Rog’s iconic little cycles up the road to the Vršič Pass. In terms of the brute facts this means pedalling 13.5 kilometres to the top of a mountain, a route that includes 24 hairpins turns and rises 801 vertical metres, with an average incline of 10.8%. This year it was in June, so you have plenty of time to get training.

12 Sep 2019, 12:07 PM

Few things go together as well as grilled meat and beer, and fans of this choice combination will have much to enjoy this weekend in Ljubljana, with the 13th edition of the Pivo & Burger Fest coming to town on 14 and 15 September (2019). Run by the team behind Open Kitchen (Odprta kuhna) and happening in the same place, Pogačarjev trg, visitors will be able to enjoy more than 230 craft beers and dozens of stalls offering a great variety burgers and more, from some of the best known names on the scene and with vegetarian and vegan options available.

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If you haven’t been following Slovenia’s flourishing craft beer market then you’re in for many surprises. While IPAs are still important, local brewers – from small scale operations like Omnivar, through to established favourites like Pelicon and relative giants like (the semi-Austrian) Bevog – are now exploring a wide range of techniques and flavours, with my own obsession being sours and personal favourite anything from Bevog’s fruity Lolita range. Pivo & Burger Fest is thus a great chance to catch up with such developments, as well as with friends, and a good start, middle or end point for a visit to Ljubljana.

Related: All our stories on craft beer are here

In addition to burgers – which will give the square a thrilling aroma – there will be a variety of foods that go well with beer, as well as desserts and various other delights, including the usual lively music that gives all Open Kitchen events an added party vibe.

Foreigners Speak Slovene enjoy a Pivo & Burger Fest in 2016 - read out interview with them here

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On Saturday the event runs from 11:00 to 23:00, while on Sunday it’s 11:00 to 21:00, giving you the opportunity to enjoy brunch, lunch, dinner and supper, with perhaps a quick drink and a snack in between. While I wouldn’t recommend my lifestyle to anyone, as usual when Pivo & Burger Fest comes to town I aim to visit twice on both days, as much for the atmosphere as for the food and drink, with the diet and detox beginning Monday.

12 Sep 2019, 12:01 PM

September 12, 2019

An Italian man has been missing in the woods of Vojsko, Idrija municipality, since early afternoon Wednesday.

According to the Nova Gorica Police administration, the 74 year-old and his two friends parked a car near Vojsko and then headed into the woods in separate directions to search for mushrooms. Later the missing Italian called his friends and told them on the phone that he fell and couldn't walk. He also told them that he had lost orientation and couldn't tell them where he was.

A search party gathered at about 18:00 Wednesday under the leadership of Idrija police station, which includes several local firefighting groups, Tolmin mountain rescue service and a drone. Meanwhile the man's phone went silent.

The search is still ongoing as of writing. If you have any information about this, please contact the police on (05) 372 48 00, or 113.

12 Sep 2019, 11:30 AM

STA, 11 September 2019 - The EU's statistics office Eurostat has projected that Slovenia will have a population of below 1.8 million in 2100, which is a 13% drop compared to 2018. Almost a third of the population in Slovenia is projected to be aged 65 or older at the end of the century.

The projection is part of the Eurostat's EUROPOP 2018 survey involving all EU member states, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland, the national Statistics Office reported on Wednesday.

For Slovenia, it shows that the country's population is to increase until 2023, where it is projected to stand at 2,088 million, and then to start declining gradually.

On 1 January 2100, Slovenia is projected to have a population of 1,796,000, or 13% less than it had in 2018, which is the baseline year for the projection.

Related: Non-Slovenes Now Represent 6.9% of Slovenia's Population

Slovenia's fertility rate is expected to gradually increase in the future, to stand in 2100 at 1.77, compared to today's rate of 1.61, meaning the total number of children born or likely to be born to a woman in her lifetime.

At the same time, life expectancy at birth is expected to increase, standing at 89 for boys and at 93 for girls born in Slovenia in 2100.

Despite the expected higher fertility rate, Slovenia's population is projected to grow older further. While persons aged 65 or older in Slovenia represented a 19.4% share of the entire population in 2018, this share is expected to stand at 32% in 2055, and at 31% in 2100.

Related: Slovenia’s Aging Population, in Graphic Form

The share of children (persons under 15) is expected to grow for a few years, and then to start to drop, reaching the lowest point in 2037, at 12.9%. Slow growth from that point on is projected, with the share expected to stand at 13.9% in 2100.

The full dataset from Eurostat can be found here, while all our stories on demographics in Slovenia are here

12 Sep 2019, 10:08 AM

STA, 11 September 2019 - Foreign Minister Miro Cerar does not believe PM Marjan Šarec's official visit to Russia could worsen Slovenia's relations with allies, either the US or the EU. The visit is very important, especially from the economic aspect, Cerar told the STA on the margins of the prime minister's first visit to Moscow.

The visit, during which Šarec has already met his counterpart Dimity Medvedev, is a follow-up to the story which began at July's session of the Slovenia-Russia commission, which plans joint business projects, said Cerar.

"We can see these projects already bringing concrete results," Cerar said, noting Slovenian energy company Petrol signed two contracts with Russian partners on Tuesday.

"In this way we preserve geopolitical relations and create room for our businesspeople. Slovenia is a responsible and trustworthy EU member and joined the sanctions [against Russia], but our business, cultural and political ties must live on."

In this context Cerar highlighted the role of a memorial to all Slovenians who died in the territory of Russia in WWI and WWII which Šarec and Medvedev inaugurated yesterday. "This is a very important element which brings us closer together in a historical, cultural and human manner."

The minister rejected second thoughts voiced by some that the high-profile Russia visit, featuring three ministers in Šarec's entourage, could in any way deteriorate relations with Slovenia's allies.

He stressed that as foreign minister in the Šarec government, he set himself a goal of balancing relations with the US, after Slovenia's foreign policy had been criticised for favouring Russia under his predecessor Karl Erjavec. "I've made an effort to intensify relations with the US."

Cerar also stressed the US was still the third largest investor in Slovenia, the two countries cooperated in many fields, and were allies in NATO.

He believes the visit does not worsen Slovenia's relations with either the US or other allies in any way. "On the contrary, I think that with a successful foreign policy in business diplomacy and through many contacts, we have opened Slovenia to all parts of the world."

As for Russia's annexation of the Crimea, Cerar said that "despite the amicable relations with Russia, we are critical towards it whenever it comes to the respect for international law".

Cerar notes other EU states also had very intense political and economic relations with Russia. "We are no exception here. And we do it with a feel for our EU allies. Slovenia is doing absolutely nothing wrong."

He said he was pursuing the policy he had started as prime minister in 2014-2018 to be in close contact not only with Germany, France and Italy, but also with the Benelux countries as some of the core EU members, so he sees the Russia visit could not jeopardise Slovenia's position in the EU in any way.

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