A schedule of all the main events involving Slovenia this week can be found here
This summary is provided by the STA:
Slovenia planning to erect another 40 km of border fence
LJUBLJANA - The Public Administration Ministry has laid the groundwork for the erection of another 40 kilometres of border fence. It would not reveal, however, where the fence will be placed. The new fence will be supplied and set up by the Serbian company Legi-SGS for EUR 4.8 million. The fence alone will cost EUR 4.56 million, and the rest will be spent on the pillars, fittings and installation, shows the result of an open call released on Wednesday.
PM may seek budget approval in confidence vote
LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Marjan Šarec may seek a confidence vote on the budget documents for 2020 and 2021 as a way of checking support for his minority government, suggest statements by coalition partners after today's meeting. "This is a minority government ... it is logical that the prime minister checks support with a confidence vote," said Brane Golubović, deputy group leader for the ruling Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ).
Motion filed for upper chamber veto of bill cutting private schools funding
LJUBLJANA - The National Council is to vote next Monday on a proposal to veto Wednesday's legislative changes that cut state funding for private primary schools. The councillors who filed the veto proposal argue the cut runs contrary to the December 2014 decision of the Constitutional Court that ordered full state funding for publicly approved curricula. Explaining the veto motion - which could spell trouble for the cut's proponents in the National Assembly as they do not have absolute majority - the councillors argue that the changes introduce an unacceptable new conceptualisation of different types of publicly approved curricula.
SDS, NSi challenge health services act at top court
LJUBLJANA - The opposition Democrats (SDS) and New Slovenia (NSi) have decided to ask the Constitutional Court to review the health services act, especially the changes passed in 2017. SDS MP Alenka Jeraj said the entire law was problematic because it undermined private initiative and primary healthcare. A part of the changes has already been abolished after the Court found in December 2018 that private practitioners should not be restricted in how they use their profit.
Srebrenica genocide remembered in Slovenia
LJUBLJANA - The 24th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide was commemorated in Slovenia, with senior officials calling for a Europe of peace so that such horrendous atrocities would never happen again. The National Assembly observed a minute's silence, with Speaker Dejan Židan stressing it was our task not to forget this horrible crime. Foreign Minister Miro Cerar said in a release the Srebrenica genocide showed where militant nationalism, hostile populism and the rhetoric based on inciting harted led. The genocide of over 8,300 Muslims by Bosnian Serbs was also remembered by NGOs Averroes and Burrial Is Not Taboo in Ljubljana's City Square.
Palestinian foreign minister optimistic about Slovenia's recognition of Palestine
LJUBLJANA - Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki told the STA he was optimistic about Slovenia recognising Palestinian independence, expecting Slovenia to make this step along with a number of other EU countries. However, he pointed out there was currently little chance of restarting the peace process with Israel. As long as Israel will have a "fascist, extreme right, radical government" and as long as the US administration will continue supporting this government and illegal settlers and disregarding international law and UN resolutions, there are no chances of restarting the process, said Malki, who would like to see a greater involvement of the EU.
Austrian Supernova acquires Qlandia shopping centres in Slovenia
LJUBLJANA - Austrian shopping centre operator Supernova has acquired all the Qlandia shopping centres in Slovenia, the news portal Siol reported. No figures were disclosed, but Siol says that the 19 shopping centres, of varying sizes, were valued at EUR 267 million by Qlandia operator Centrice in 2017. The deal was reached after years of talks with Centrice owner, Lone Star RealEstate Fund from the US, reported Siol, which labelled the transaction as one of the biggest real estate deals in the history of Slovenia.
GZS: Despite lower profit, energy sector did well in 2018
LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian energy sector posted encouraging business results in 2018, with sales rising by 4.2% to a record EUR 13.9 billion and added value by 1.4% to EUR 1.2 billion, shows a report by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS). However, the sector's net profit dropped by 5.7% to EUR 220.8 million over 2017, with TEŠ, the Šoštanj-based coal-fired power station, affecting the figure the most.
Battery maker TAB gives up search for strategic partner
MEŽICA - Battery maker TAB has terminated the search for a strategic partner. The Mežica-based company "decided to continue its current independent path of development," the NLB bank, advisor to the consortium of sellers, said. The news comes just over a year after TAB announced a tie-up with South African battery maker Metair. The prospective partner pulled out in August 2018 quoting unfavourable exchange rate conditions, but the company continued to look for strategic partners.
Jesenice hospital director Poklukar picked for new head of UKC Ljubljana
Ljubljana - The governing board of UKC Ljubljana picked on Thursday Janez Poklukar, presently the director of the Jesenice hospital, for the new general director of Slovenia's largest hospital. Poklukar's four-year term, pending approval by the health minister, is to start on 1 August. If appointed, the forty-year-old internal medicine specialist will succeed Teodor Žepič, who took over as acting director in March after Aleš Šabeder left the post to take over as health minister.
Summer schools increasingly popular among domestic, foreign students
LJUBLJANA - Although there are no courses and exams at Slovenian universities during the summer break, several faculties organise a number of activities, with summer schools for students from around the globe becoming increasingly popular. It is the summer schools organised by the University of Ljubljana's Faculty of Economics and Faculty of Arts that have the longest tradition and attract many students. The Faculty of Economics launched the 20th Ljubljana Summer School this week, termed Take the Best from East and West. Over 400 students from more than 90 higher education establishments from almost 40 countries are attending.
Film Under the Stars kicks off in Ljubljana
LJUBLJANA - Film Under the Stars, the Ljubljana open-air cinema summer event, began this evening at Ljubljana Castle with a screening of the Slovenian film Ne Bom Več Luzerka (My Last Year As a Loser). The midsummer nights cinema will last until 3 August, bringing recent hits as well as six new films to the capital.
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STA, 11 July 2019 - The 24th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide was commemorated in Slovenia on Thursday, with senior officials calling for a Europe of peace so that such horrendous atrocities would never happen again.
The National Assembly observed a minute's silence, with Speaker Dejan Židan stressing it was our task not to forget this horrible crime.
Bosnian Serb forces killed more than 8,300 Muslims on 11 July, a few days after taking over Srebrenica, a town under UN protection.
"It is our task to reject any attempt at diminishing the crime, denying the indisputable fact that it was a genocide and rationalising the motives for it."
He stressed the promise "never again" was all too easily made and all too often broken, also consciously.
Today the international community remembers with horror the broken promise it made at the end of WWII as one of its worst mistakes, which will remain a black stain on the soul of the entire Western civilisation, Židan said at the commemoration in parliament.A news report from 1996
He warned that today's unjust inequalities and pressing social challenges posed a threat to freedom again.
But it is our moral duty to stand up to it and remember that Europe's years of peace cannot be taken for granted, said the parliamentary speaker.
Foreign Minister Miro Cerar said in a release that since 1995, 11 July had been a day of a painful memory of the Srebrenica genocide victims.
He believes commemorating them is a moral duty and a means of never forgetting the Srebrenica tragedy. "Forgiving does not mean forgetting."
Stressing the perpetrators must be punished, he said Srebreica was a reminder of where militant nationalism, hostile populism and the rhetoric based on inciting harted against other nations led.
The anniversary is also a reminder to act in a preventive manner so that Europe remains a place of peace where human rights and the rule of law are respected, he said.
"It is this kind of Europe and region that Slovenia advocates. It advocates Bosnia and Herzegovina which is part of a Europe of peace and which is a country of progress and prosperity," Cerar pointed out.
The genocide was also remembered by NGOs Averroes and Burrial Is Not Taboo in Ljubljana's City Square under the auspices of Mufti Nedžad Grabus and Mayor Zoran Janković, where a minute of silence was observed and an excerpt read from The Story of Srebrenica: A Novel about the War in Bosnia by Bosnian Isnam Taljić (1954-2017).
STA, 10 July 2019 - The suspended president of the Maribor Labour Court Stanko Omerzu was handed a suspended two-month prison sentence with one year probation by the Maribor Local Court on Wednesday for a death threat issued in a store to his former intimate friend. A separate trial against Omerzu over stalking the same woman is expected to continue on Thursday.
Omerzu, who was suspended by Supreme Court President Damijan Florijančič last September as he refused to step down, has already appealed the ruling.
The judge's case has also been making headlines over delays caused by the long-standing Labour Court president avoiding picking up official letters from the court and having hearings postponed due to ill health.
Before suspending him, Florijančič expressed concern about the developments in Maribor, saying it was especially hard to understand how official letters could not be delivered to a judge who was a suspect in criminal proceedings, especially given that the person was on sick leave.
All our stories on domestic violence in Slovenia are here
STA, 10 July 2019 - The National Assembly passed on Wednesday the controversial government-sponsored changes to the law on the financing and organisation of education which alter the way in which the state funds private primary schools.
The bill was backed in a 42:36 vote despite criticism, also among some coalition parties, that it falls short of implementing a constitutional court decision on 100% state funding of publicly approved curricula at private primary schools.
It sets down the state fully financing publicly approved curricula at private primary schools, but any publicly approved curricular content considered above-standard (pre- and after-school classes etc) will be exempted from state funding.
Since both programmes are now funded 85%, the new legislation means the amount of public funds received by private primary schools will drop.
The bill has been strongly criticised by two centre-right opposition parties and by parents of the children going to half a dozen private primaries for not providing 100% funding as ordered by the court in December 2014.
It has also been criticised by the government and parliament's legal services, which warned it could be unconstitutional, noting it would worsen the legal position of private primary schools with parents paying more for their children's education.
But the new financing regime will not apply to those who are already in primary school. It will only start applying to those who start primary school in the 2020/2021 school year.
The changes were backed by four of the five coalition parties with the help of the opposition Left and both minority MPs.
The coalition Modern Centre Party (SMC) abstained, while the opposition Democrats (SDS), New Slovenia (NSi) and National Party (SNS) voted against.
Defending his bill after the vote, Education Minister Jernej Pikalo of the Social Democrats (SD) said parliament "draw a clear line between private and public education".
He said this concept had already been set down in the 1995 White Paper on Education, and had now only been confirmed in parliament.
"It is not about whether I'm happy or not. My key task is to try to improve the education system," he said, adding he was not worried about a constitutional review.
Stressing many laws are sent to the Constitutional Court, Pikalo said "this is a normal process in a democracy ... Every branch of power has its own tasks and does its part of the job".
As reflected by the vote, today's parliamentary debate brought no convergence of stances on the legislation.
The Left's Miha Kordiš, however, explained the party had decided to support the bill "because it does not improve the status of private schools".
The party believes that public money should be spent on public schools, and that the Constitution should be changed to draw a clear line between private and public.
Tomaž Lisec of the SDS accused the supporters of the bill of cutting the funds for private primary schools, thus causing discrimination "because of leftist ideology".
Gregor Perič of the SMC said "the bill is far from what we should do".
His party colleague Igor Zorčič added that "if the court said the 85% funding is too low for private schools, we cannot pass a bill which further cuts the funds".
Jožef Horvat of the NSi believes the rule of law is at stake in this case. "If the legislator was not able to change a simple article in four and a half years to implement the court decision, then we have a problem with the rule of law."
He noted that only 0.84% of primary school children go to private schools, so another EUR 300,000 spent on them would be no problem for the national budget.
Aljaž Kovačič of the Marjan Šarec Party (LMŠ) assessed the court decision was not that straightforward as some would like to think, but said the LMŠ trusted Pikalo that the bill implemented it.
Supporting the bill, Maša Kociper of the Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB) wondered whether it was reasonable that a mere "nine Constitutional Court judges decide on the most vital social issues".
Matej Tonin (NSi), on the other hand, reiterated his view that the court should first annul the new law and then implement its decision from 2014 itself.
Disappointment was also expressed by the parents of the children going to private schools.
They hope the bill will be vetoed by the upper chamber and then voted down when it is put to a revote in the lower chamber, where it will need at least 46 votes.
Marko Balažic of the United Parents civil initiative warned the bill would introduce elitism, as many parents could not afford to pay the school fee any more.
The school fee for the publicly approved curriculum will more than double, with the cost of the above-standard curriculum also rising, he said.
Balažic said that Prime Minister Marjan Šarec had sacrificed the rule of law for the survival of the ruling coalition.
All our stories on education in Slovenia are here
A schedule of all the main events involving Slovenia this week can be found here
This summary is provided by the STA:
EU Commission slightly improves forecast for Slovenia
BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Commission has slightly improved its economic growth forecast for Slovenia. It projects that Slovenia's economy will expand by 3.2% this year, up from its earlier forecast of 3.1%, while retaining the growth rate for 2020 at 2.8%. Slovenia's growth will thus continue to significantly outpace average growth in the eurozone, where it is projected to stand at 1.2% and 1.4%, and the EU27, which as a whole is forecast to grow at rates of 1.4% and 1.6%, respectively.
Controversial bill changing financing of private primary schools passed
LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed the controversial government-sponsored changes to the law on financing and organisation of education which alter the way in which the state funds private primary schools. The bill was backed in a 42:36 vote despite criticism, also among some coalition parties, that it falls short of implementing a constitutional court decision on 100% state funding of publicly approved curricula at private primary schools. The changes could potentially get vetoed by the upper chamber, in which case they would need 46 votes to get passed again.
Šarec tight-lipped about commissioner candidates
HOČE - PM Marjan Šarec told reporters that he had taken note of the wish of Ursula von der Leyen, the candidate for European Commission president, for member states to put forward two candidates for commissioner. He said though that he could not say yet whether Slovenia would send one or two candidates to Brussels. The government is to make the decision on this by the end of the month, according to the prime minister.
Slovenia's exports, imports continue to grow
LJUBLJANA, - Slovenia's trade in goods continues to grow, with exports in the January-May period amounting to EUR 14 billion, up 10.3% over the same period last year. Imports reached EUR 14.06 billion, a rise of 12.6%, which puts the country's export-import ratio at 99.6%. Slovenia generated a surplus in foreign exchange of goods in four of the first five months in 2019, all months except in April.
Slovenia's policy on Palestine recognition unchanged
LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Miro Cerar reiterated that Slovenia would recognize Palestine as part of a smaller group of EU countries after a meeting with his Palestinian counterpart Riad Malki, confirming the continuation of existing efforts aimed at recognizing Palestinian independence. "We will continue with activities designed to form as soon as possible a smaller group of EU member states which would along with Slovenia recognize Palestine as an independent country," said Cerar.
Slovenia joins European centre for countering hybrid threats
BLED - Slovenia joined the European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats as NATO centres of excellence held a conference in Bled. Defence Minister Karl Erjavec said common action was needed to tackle hybrid threats. "We know that these threats are not just happening during wars but also in peacetime, and they can severely disrupt our lives," Erjavec said in his address, noting that a cyberattack could theoretically cause more damage than a conventional military strike.
Archbishop Zore praises civil initiative's work, objects to name revealing
LJUBLJANA, 10 July - Archbishop of Ljubljana Stanislav Zore commented on the activities of the recently founded civil initiative fighting sexual abuse in the Catholic Church for the Catholic weekly Družina, saying he welcomed the fact that victims seem to be more ready to open up to them. But he is bothered by the fact that the initiative publicly reveals the names of alleged molesters, who have not been found guilty either in church or civil proceedings.
MPs back oversight of student organisations, restore parental authority in high schools
LJUBLJANA - MPs backed legislative changes that allow the Court of Audit to oversee the operations of student organisations and limit the pay of their officials to double the average gross wage in the country. Parliament moreover restored the "oversight rights" of parents of secondary school students older than 18.
Merkur shopping centres sold to US fund
NAKLO/LJUBLJANA - US investment fund HPS Investment Partners has sold the shopping centres of Merkur, the hardware retailer it purchased in 2017, to another US fund, LCN Capital Partners, news portal Siol.net reported. The 15 of the 23 Merkur shopping centres were reportedly sold for EUR 100 million. The deal between the two New York-based funds, which is one of the largest real estate transactions in Slovenia's history, was officially closed a few weeks ago.
Luka Koper net revenue up 6% in H1
KOPER - The port operator Luka Koper recorded EUR 118 million in net sales revenue in the first half of the year, a 6% rise year-on-year. Transshipment of goods was down by 1% to 11.9 million tonnes. The revenue was up due to better structure of goods and additional manipulations on the market, the company said.
Industrial output continues to rise
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's industrial production dropped by 0.8% in May compared to the previous month, while it continued to grow year-on-year, by 3.1%, show data by the Statistics Office. Output has been growing on a year-on-year basis since December, although the pace has been decelerating. Industrial revenue grew by 0.3% in May compared to the previous month. The minimal growth was due to foreign market turnover, which increased by 0.7%. Meanwhile, turnover in the domestic market declined by 4.4% on a monthly basis.
AmCham Slovenija head calls for more investment-friendly environment
LJUBLJANA, 10 July - AmCham Slovenija president Nevenka Kržan, who is finishing her second term at the helm of the chamber, believes there should be more awareness about the benefits of new investments in Slovenia, although the country has made some progress in that respect lately. The country has opened up to foreign investors to a certain extent during the last four years, says the head of the American business chamber in Slovenia, listing the privatisations of Abanka and NLB as examples.
Iraqi assailant charged with two counts of attempted murder
NOVA GORICA - An Iraqi man who was shot by a police officer he attempted to attack after knifing a taxi driver has been charged with two counts of attempted murder and will remain in custody pending trial, an investigating magistrate in Nova Gorica has decided. The 26-year-old underwent surgery after the police officer shot him in the leg, but he was deemed fit to see the investigative magistrate and was transported to the Koper prison after the hearing late on Tuesday.
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STA, 10 July 2019 - An Iraqi man who was shot by a police officer he attempted to attack after knifing a taxi driver has been charged with two counts of attempted murder and will remain in custody pending trial, an investigating magistrate in Nova Gorica has decided.
The 26-year-old underwent surgery after the police officer shot him in the leg, but he was deemed fit to see the investigative magistrate and was transported to the Koper prison after the hearing late on Tuesday.
The Iraqi entered a taxi in Vrtojba on the border with Italy, but only a few kilometres later, it became clear that he did not have enough money to pay for the ride to Ljubljana.
The taxi driver pulled over on the expressway and wanted the man to leave the car, but he resisted and attacked the driver, who sustained injuries on his neck.
When two police officers arrived at the scene just minutes later, the man charged at them with the knife and was disabled with a shot in the leg.
STA, 10 July 2019 - Foreign Minister Miro Cerar reiterated that Slovenia would recognize Palestine as part of a smaller group of EU countries after a meeting with his Palestinian counterpart Riad Malki in Ljubljana on Wednesday, confirming the continuation of existing efforts aimed at recognizing Palestinian independence.
"We will continue with activities designed to form a smaller group of EU member states as soon as possible which would along with Slovenia recognize Palestine as an independent country," said Cerar.
"We haven't abandoned this plan of ours; it's still the main aim of our foreign policy," the minister pointed out.
According to Malki, Palestinians are looking forward to Slovenia's recognition. "We know there is the will to do that, but they are probably waiting for the right moment. We hope this moment will arrive soon," said the head of Palestinian diplomacy.
#Slovenija?? ostaja aktivna podpornica palestinskih prizadevanj v medn. org. in prebivalcem Palestine?? pomaga s konkretnimi projekti. Februarja je @ITFsi začel s projektom Psihosocialna pomoč žrtvam konfliktov in pomoč na področju rehabilitacije v #Gaza in Zahodnem bregu. @MZZRS pic.twitter.com/jJoXFCS5oa— dr. Miro Cerar (@MiroCerar) July 10, 2019
Cerar told Malki that Slovenia would continue to support Palestine within international organisations and assist it with financial and humanitarian aid.
The pair discussed the Palestinian-Israeli relations and the regional situation as well.
According to Cerar, Slovenia supports all initiatives aimed at dissolving tensions between Israel and the Gaza strip, which is under the protection of the UN and Egypt, as well as the continuation of the intra-Palestinian reconciliation process.
The Slovenian minister also called for restarting the peace process in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
"Slovenia, as an active EU member, advocates that the only solution (for this conflict) is a solution of two states - within the borders set in 1967 and with Jerusalem as the capital if the two sides do not agree on something else," highlighted Cerar.
According to him, Slovenia wishes that the suffering of the Palestinian nation would cease as soon as possible.
Malki said that Palestinians were striving for a peace agreement with Israel through direct political negotiations. He also expressed hope that the agreement would be reached soon.
The minister urged Israel to recognize the right of the Palestinian nation to self-determination and independence and enter into political negotiations, based on the two-state solution, with Palestine.
Malki highlighted that for Palestinians the continuation of Israeli occupation was unacceptable, which is why they were willing to respond to all Israeli security concerns.
"If a single Israeli soldier remains on the Palestinian territory, that would indicate the continuation of the Israeli occupation and would be unacceptable," said Malki.
Palestinian President Mahmud Abas even suggested the presence of a third party, mentioning NATO. Thus Israeli concerns would be addressed and Palestine protected against possible Israeli army invasions, said the Palestinian minister.
Malki also condemned Israel's efforts to annex individual parts of the West Bank, attempts which had been encouraged by the recent actions of the US administration such as the recognizing of the illegal annexation of Syrian Golan Heights.
Cerar highlighted that Slovenia allocated its biggest humanitarian donation so far to Palestine - half a million euro for installing a water desalination plant in Gaza. The rest of the financial aid (EUR 70 million) will be earmarked by the EU Commission.
Slovenia's aid includes providing rehabilitation and psychosocial support to victims of the Gaza-Israel conflict.
The Ljubljana URI Soča rehabilitation centre has treated more than 100 children from the conflict region in the past decade, while some 300 of them have been treated in Gaza as part of a joint project of the centre and ITF Enhancing Human Security (ITF) organisation, said the Foreign Ministry.
Slovenia is also setting up a rehabilitation centre for the West Bank and Gaza victims at the Bethlehem hospital Harmalah in cooperation with the ITF organisation and the URI centre. The country has contributed EUR 165,000 for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) for the 2018-2020 period as well.
The Palestinian minister thanked Slovenia for its political and victim rehabilitation support. "Slovenia has a very special place in our hearts," he said.
Along with Cerar he called for strengthening Palestinian-Slovenian cooperation including in economy, tourism, education and culture. "All of these forms of cooperation strengthen the good friendly relations are are a form of aid and support to the Palestinian nation," said Cerar.
Malki, who had visited Slovenia twice before, was also scheduled to meet Speaker Dejan Židan, the Foreign Policy Committee chair Matjaž Nemec and the head of the Palestinian-Slovenian friendship group Matej T. Vatovec.
Židan highlighted Slovenia's strong affection towards Palestine, especially in terms of understating the meaning of the right to self-determination.
He expressed support and advised persistence in Palestine's efforts for independence, saying its recognition can speed up the peace process, the parliament's press service wrote.
The pair moreover expressed the importance of multilateral cooperation, which Malki noted was particularly important for giving small countries security and a sense of being protected by the global system and its agreed rules.
STA, 9 July 2019 - Slovenia was placed 12th in this year's report on meeting the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development targets among 162 countries. The country is particularly successful at eliminating extreme forms of poverty and providing access to greener energy sources.
The report was published at the end of June by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network association, under the auspices of the UN, and Bertelsmann Stiftung foundation. The organisations pointed out that this year's results were not comparable to the ones from last year due to a different methodology, with Slovenia ranking 8th in 2018.
According to the government's Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy, Slovenia's biggest challenges are implementing measures aimed at eliminating undernourishment, providing for sustainable production and consumerism, mitigating climate change and preserving sea and marine resources.
The results show that four years after setting the targets and three years after signing the Paris Agreement, no country has yet fulfilled all the goals and many areas among 17 global targets have seen a regress.
The report highlights that some countries are inconsistent at implementing relevant measures, particularly the richest ones, which were found to have a negative impact on the progress of less developed ones.
It also warns about a surge in corruption and downward spiral of reducing media freedom, which have been present in some middle-income and high-income countries as well.
The best site around for all that’s in air in the former Yugoslavia, Ex-Yu Aviation, reports that Wizz Air, the budget carrier, is set to raise capacity on its flights from London’s Luton Airport to Ljubljana this winter, with the new schedule starting on October 27.
The change will see the Hungarian airline shift from the current 180-seat Airbus A320 to a 230-seat A321. The Ljubljana service is set to run three times a week for the 2019/20 season, rising to four times in December.
All our stories on air travel are here
STA, 9 July 2019 - Prime Minister Marjan Šarec has dismissed ideas by senior Italian officials that a fence should be erected on the Slovenian-Italian border, telling the National Assembly that such proposals had to be interpreted "in the domestic policy context".
"In talks with the Italian government we will state that there are no reasons for the border, this is clear from the numbers ... Italy is not threatened by Slovenia's inactivity, and we will substantiate that," he said.
Šarec made the comment when he was quizzed by opposition MPs in parliament on Tuesday about the recent launch of mixed police patrols on the border, their implication being that the beefed up controls are the result of Slovenia's failure to properly protect the Schengen border.
Stressing that the number of persons Italy returned to Slovenia had dropped by 17% in the first half of 2019 compared to the same period last year, Šarec said Slovenian police were doing all they could to protect the Schengen border and curb illegal migrations.
Border patrols are "not a measure that would squeeze Slovenia out of the Schengen zone," as Democrat (SDS) MP Branko Grims claimed, as Italy has such cooperation with all of its neighbours and Slovenia also had such mixed patrols on its other borders, according to Šarec.
New Slovenia (NSi) deputy Jernej Vrtovec wondered why Slovenia had proposed mixed patrols, labelling it an admission of its inability to control the Schengen border. But Šarec stressed that it was not the government that had proposed joint patrols, this was the result of an agreement at the level of both police forces.
For Šarec, the key thing to dam migrations is for Frontex, the EU's border agency, to be deployed on Croatia's borders with Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia.
Overall, border control is "a serious issue that the new EU Commission will have to tackle with all seriousness... Migrations will be with us for years to come ... the EU is not active in tackling these issues," he said, adding: "Schengen is de facto not working anymore."
Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini recently suggested Italy might erect a fence on its border with Slovenia if joint police patrols do not suffice to stop migrations, raising fears of a return to border checks that would severely disrupt life along the border.
While the right has taken the announcement as evidence of Slovenia's failings, politicians on the left have started urging the government to take action to prevent such a scenario from unfolding.
Social Democrat (SD) deputy Matjaž Nemec thus urged Šarec today to take the initiative and invite the prime ministers of all countries on the Western Balkan migration route, including Italy and Austria, to jointly tackle the issue.
But others think Italy will do as it likes regardless of what Slovenia does.
Robert Polnar, an MP for the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS), said Italy's measures would probably be harsher than the measures Slovenia is adopting.
And Luka Mesec, the leader of the Left, said Salvini was "playing his game" in order to win the election in Italy.
"What the Slovenian right is doing, and partially the government by starting to announce drones and fencing ... is acquiescing to this game... Our politicians are dancing to Sallvini's tune, Mesec said on the margins of the plenary today.
STA, 9 July 2019 - Pivovarna Laško Union, a Slovenian brewery owned by the Dutch company Heineken, ended 2018 with a net profit of EUR 20.3 million, up roughly a third form 2017, on net sales revenues of EUR 153.1 million, a rise of 6.5%.
Net sales revenues rose mostly on account of heftier sales in foreign markets, which accounted for 26% of all sales revenue, up 4 percentage points, the Ljubljana-based company said in Tuesday's press release.
Its operating profit (EBIT) rose by 29% to EUR 27.6 million, whereas normalised EBIT - the operating profit adjusted to remove one-off events - reached EUR 28.6 million.
Director general Zooullis Mina, who has been at the helm of the Slovenian brewer since the spring 2018, labelled the last business year successful.
He noted that 45 investments had been made in the brewery's two production facilities - Pivovarna Union and Pivovarna Laško - and in the logistics segment.
Sustainable development being an integral part of the group's business strategy, Pivovarna Laško Union used 5% less drinking water and 10% less energy to produce a litre of beer in 2018 compared to 2016. What is more, Laško uses only Slovenian-grown hops.
At the end of 2018, Pivovarna Laško Union had a workforce of 596, roughly on a par with 2017.
The group was established in 2016 with the merger of Pivovarna Laško and Pivovarna Union after the two were acquired by Heineken a year earlier.