News

22 Jul 2020, 11:16 AM

STA, 21 July 2020 - The newspaper Primorske Novice says that Slovenia's less-known tourist destinations are the winners of the tourism voucher scheme designed to help the sector overcome the coronacrisis. They are being discovered because the well-known destinations are fully booked weeks in advance.

Only 6% of the vouchers, issued to all residents, have been redeemed so far and many people will be redeeming theirs in autumn or winter.

But this moment, many Slovenians are hoping to book a holiday at a destination that was far from the top of their list because the most popular destinations are full, the paper says under the headline We'll Be Back, Voucher or Not.

It also notes that there are two sides to every coin. While tourists want a nice and cheap holiday, service providers in some popular destination have doubled prices.

But the sector has also come to realise that domestic guests are the most reliable in this unpredictable world. They will not be able to save the season single-handedly, but the vouchers will see Slovenians discover their own country and decide whether they want to return.

"Data showing that domestic tourists have spread also across destinations they would not have considered usually ... is undoubtedly a positive outcome of this experiment."

All our stories on Slovenia’s tourist vouchers

22 Jul 2020, 10:15 AM

STA, 21 July 2020 - The Administrative Court has sided with an appeal by a Cameroonian citizen who was deported to Croatia last August and is currently in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Slovenia must allow him to enter the country and file an asylum application, and pay compensation, the court said. The decision will be appealed by the Interior Ministry.

Announcing the decision from last week, the civil initiative InfoKolpa said on Tuesday that the "national police carried out an illegal expulsion of a member of a persecuted English-speaking minority from Cameroon who wanted to apply for asylum in Slovenia."

250px-Location_Cameroon_AU_Africa.svg.png

Cameroon on the map,. Wikipedia

The applicant was held in a Slovenian police station for two days and denied access to asylum, despite making multiple verbal requests. He was subsequently readmitted to Croatia, and from there, he was chain refouled to Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The civil initiative says that the Administrative Court found that Slovenia violated the applicant's right to asylum and the principle of non-refoulement.

"The court ruled that the police had not informed the applicant of his asylum rights, as mandated to do so, in clear breach of domestic and EU law."

The pushback also breached the prohibition of collective expulsion because the applicant was not issued a removal order, nor given translation and legal aid prior to his readmission to Croatia."

InfoKolpa notes that once the ruling becomes final, Slovenia will be obligated to allow the applicant to enter the country and file an application for international protection without delay, as well as provide EUR 5,000 in compensation.

Commenting on the outcome, the applicant said "I believe that the judgement will help those that come after me. It may not have a direct solution for me, but I know that we are creating awareness."

Meanwhile, the Interior Ministry of Internal Affairs said it would examine the decision and appeal it. "The ministry will respect and realise a final and executable decision of the court."

22 Jul 2020, 04:44 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.

This summary is provided by the STA:

Slovenia pleased with outcome of EU budget talks

BRUSSELS, Belgium - Prime Minister Janez Janša said Slovenia was pleased with the outcome of the EU budget talks as EU leaders wrapped up negotiations Tuesday morning on a new multi-annual financial framework and post-coronavirus recovery fund. The deal instils optimism before the autumn and the continuation of the epidemic. "After the outbreak of the pandemic one could almost give up on the EU. We're all glad that bright moments have also come. This agreement is certainly one such moment." Janša stressed that Slovenia was eligible for EUR 10.5 billion over the next seven years, of which EUR 6.6 billion in grants, and had realised its strategic objective of achieving agreement while securing all the key negotiating goals.

Any rule of law discussion beyond Lisbon Treaty scholastic, says Janša

BRUSSELS, Belgium - Prime Minister Janez Janša rejected the perception that the rule of law discussion at the EU summit was about Slovenia siding with Hungary and Poland. Instead, he said it was about clarifying the notion of the rule of law and that looking at how it was defined in the Lisbon Treaty, everyone agreed all debate beyond that was scholastic. Janša said the compromise proposal on the rule of law triggered no reaction at the plenary session, having been agreed beforehand. Unlike the outward impression that this was a major topic, it was a topic at just one of the dinner meetings, he said, describing the discussion as useful.

Janša singles out digital tax as biggest potential own EU resource

BRUSSELS, Belgium - Prime Minister Janez Janša described decisions on the EU's own resources as one of the biggest achievements of the latest marathon summit of the bloc's leaders. In his view digital tax will likely make the biggest potential own resource of the EU. "The subsidies will have to be repaid. One of the major shifts is those few words about own EU resources, because in seven years' time when we negotiate the next budget this will be key," he said. Janša also emphasized that no single member state could tackle the digital tax and only the EU was big and strong enough to negotiate a global deal for the benefit of all.

Positive reactions in Slovenia to EU budget deal

LJUBLJANA - Slovenian political leaders welcomed the deal on the new seven-year EU budget and a coronavirus recovery fund. Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek said it inspired "tangible hope for the plans we have in business, knowledge and innovation", while Agriculture Minister Aleksandra Pivec pointed to a major rise in rural development funds Slovenia had managed to achieve and Labour Minister Janez Cigler Kralj described the deal as a good compromise enabling his ministry to carry out some of the planned projects. While welcoming the deal, the opposition was also critical. Economist Mojmir Mrak and foreign policy analyst Marko Lovec also believe the deal is good, with the latter adding it reflected average ambitions.

One Covid-19 death, 24 new infections confirmed on Monday

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia recorded 24 new coronavirus infections from 914 tests on Monday, the highest daily increase since 10 July. One Covid-19 patient died, bringing the death toll to 114. There are currently 22 patients in hospital, up from 19 the day before, as two were discharged from hospital and five new patients were admitted. The number of patients in intensive care remained at three. According to the national Covid-19 tracker site, there are now 238 active cases out of the total of 1,977 cases recorded since the state of the pandemic. The vast majority of infections in the past week were transmitted locally and there are now multiple clusters around the country.

Registered unemployment rate up slightly in May to 9.3%

LJUBLJANA - The registered unemployment rate in Slovenia in May, when some of the lockdown measures related to the coronavirus epidemic were relaxed, stood at 9.3%, which is 0.2 of a percentage point more than in April, the Employment Service said. The registered unemployment rate in May was up by 1.4 percentage points compared to February, the last full month before the restrictive anti-epidemic measures were introduced. In May, the registered rate was at 8.4% for men, and 10.3% for women. The rate for people who have been unemployed for more than a year was 3.9%, and for people who have been unemployed for more than two years was 2.5%.

Court says deportation of a Cameroonian was unlawful

LJUBLJANA - The Administrative Court granted last week an appeal by a Cameroonian citizen who was deported to Croatia last August and is currently in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Slovenia must allow him to enter the country and file an asylum application, and pay a EUR 5,000 compensation, the court said. The decision will be appealed by the Interior Ministry. Announcing the decision, the civil initiative Info Kolpa said that the Administrative Court found that Slovenia violated the applicant's right to asylum and the principle of non-refoulement.

Austria launches honorary consulate in Koper

KOPER - Austria launched an honorary consulate in the city of Koper, its second after Maribor. It will be headed by Honorary Consul Urška Svetlik, a business executive. The opening of the consulate illustrates the importance Austria attributes to Koper and the entire western region of Primorska, Austrian Ambassador to Slovenia Sigrid Berka said.

Over EUR 11 million available to help Slovenia's wine sector

LJUBLJANA - The government has made available over 11 million euro to finance three different measures to help Slovenia's wine sector cope with a crisis resulting from low wine sales amid the coronavirus pandemic. While green harvest is already being implemented after the Agency for Agricultural Markets and Rural Development received 296 applications for 328 hectares of vineyards, the two crisis measures - distillation of wine and wine storage - are yet to be launched.

Strabag selected to overhaul Karavanke railway tunnel

LJUBLJANA - An upgrade of the Karavanke railway tunnel to bring it in line with latest safety standards in the north-west of Slovenia will be carried out by Strabag. The Austrian construction company bid to carry out the construction work, to be launched in August and financed by Slovenia and Austria, for EUR 68.4 million, VAT excluded. The work to be done on the Slovenian side of the railway tunnel is estimated at EUR 33.7 million, the Slovenian Infrastructure Agency said in a press release. The tunnel will be closed completely between October 2020 and July 2021. It is to reopen in September 2021 when speeds will be increased as a result of the upgrade from the current 50km/h to 120km/h.

Portal presenting outdoor experiences in Slovenia launched

LJUBLJANA - A new web portal has been launched to present outdoor experiences as one of the leading tourism products in Slovenia, including opportunities to enjoy hiking, cycling, mountaineering, winter sports and many other activities all around the country. Outdoor Slovenia brings products including trekking and cycling, services provided by mountain resorts, winter sports, water sports, golf, fly fishing and extreme sports.

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

21 Jul 2020, 16:08 PM

STA, 21 July 2020 - Slovenia recorded 24 new coronavirus infections from 914 tests on Monday, the highest daily increase since 10 July. One Covid-19 patient died, bringing the death toll to 114, fresh government data show.

There are currently 22 patients in hospital, up from 19 the day before, as two were discharged from hospital and five new patients were admitted. The number of patients in intensive care remained at three.

According to the national Covid-19 tracker site, there are now 238 active cases out of the total of 1,977 cases recorded since the state of the pandemic.

Most of the latest cases, six, were recorded in Hrastnik in central Slovenia, where an outbreak has been reported at a care home.

Monday was the third day in a row that a fatality was recorded. Before that there had been no confirmed Covid-19-related deaths for over a month and a half.

The National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ) warned today the bulk of the infections in recent days were locally transmitted, after an initial surge in imported cases that triggered the renewed rise in infections in late June and early July.

STA, 22 July - Slovenia's Covid-19 death toll has increased to 115 after another fatality was reported for Tuesday, along with 29 new coronavirus infections, an 11-day high, fresh data from the government show.

The latest cases come from 1,150 tests for Sars-CoV-2 conducted yesterday. They bring the national total of cases so far confirmed to 2,006, of which 243 are active cases.

A total of 22 Covid-19 patients are hospitalised, two of them in intensive care, after one patient was discharged yesterday and one intensive care patient died, a fatality for the fourth day running.

Tuesday's cases include three at the Hrastnik care home in central Slovenia, two among the residents and another staff member, the facility's director, Drago Kopušar, has told the STA.

There are now 20 of the 128 elderly residents and eight of the 75 staff infected at the care home. Nine of the infected residents have been moved to the Šempeter hospital in the west of the country.

Another hotspot in the Hrastnik municipality, which has a population of 9,000, is a housing estate Log nad Hrastnikom, where disinfection measures are being reimposed. Inspectors are also checking whether quarantine orders are being complied with. Hrastnik had 34 active cases as of Monday.

Of the 104 confirmed cases last week, only two were imported.

Epidemiologist Nuška Čakš Jager told the press several hotspots were currently active, the virus having spread not only at retirement homes but also at parties, weddings and in several companies.

She said epidemiologists were still able to trace contacts of the newly infected persons but were close to reaching their limits.

Infections are now increasing among the older population yet again, making it more likely that the newly infected will require hospital treatment.

Infections disease specialist Mateja Logar of the UKC Ljubljana hospital said Slovenia was "far from having everything under control" given that the virus keeps spreading in municipalities that had been coronavirus-free in the first wave.

21 Jul 2020, 14:17 PM

STA, 20 July 2020 - A total of 72 illegal migrants and three persons helping them enter or cross Slovenia without the required documents were caught at the weekend in the area patrolled by the Koper Police Department in the south-west.

A group of illegal migrants was apprehended on Friday near the town of Podgorje together with their guide, a 21-year-old Kosovo citizen, who was taken to an investigating magistrate, who placed him in detention.

On Saturday evening, a 44-year-old citizen of Ukraine was pulled over in the same area transporting 18 Pakistani citizens. He is also in detention.

Early on Sunday morning, the police stopped a van near the town of Koseze in which a 23-year-old Ukrainian citizen was driving 12 Pakistani citizens.

Of the 72 illegal migrants caught in the area patrolled by the Koper Police Department, the majority, or 52, were from Afghanistan, followed by Pakistan.

Seven foreigners who entered Italy from Slovenia were meanwhile returned to Slovenia at the weekend, of whom five were Pakistanis and two Afghans.

21 Jul 2020, 12:33 PM

STA, 21 July 2020 - Prime Minister Janez Janša has described decisions on the EU's own resources as one of the biggest achievements of the latest marathon summit of the bloc's leaders. In his view digital tax will likely make the biggest potential own resource of the EU.

Janša made the comments after the summit agreed a pandemic recovery package comprising the bloc's next seven-year budget to the tune of EUR 1.074 trillion and a EUR 750 billion recovery fund, of which EUR 390 billion will be in grants and the rest in loans.

Related: Janša Pleased With Results of EU Budget Talks

To allow the European Commission to borrow in the markets to finance the recovery, the headroom - the difference between the own resources ceiling of the long-term budget and the actual spending - has been temporarily increased by 0.6 percentage points.

This pandemic debt, and grants, will have to be repaid, with EU leaders committing to do so by the end of 2058. The increase in the own resources ceiling will now need to be ratified by the national parliaments.

To make the repayment of that debt easier, EU leaders also committed today to work toward reforming the system of own resources in the coming years by introducing new own resources such as a non-recycled plastic tax, to be introduced next year.

The European Commission will also propose a mechanism to tax carbon-intensive industrial imports from third countries, and a digital levy, plus an overhaul of the emissions trading system to expand it to the aviation and maritime industries.

"The subsidies will have to be repaid. One of the major shifts is those few words about own EU resources, because in seven years' time when we negotiate the next budget this will be the key," Janša said, singling out digital tax as likely the biggest potential own resource.

The coronavirus crisis has substantially increased the profits of digital giants, having accelerated a change in lifestyle, the profits that will at least double over the next five years, Janša said, adding that while profits are being generated everywhere, levies are not collected in the EU. "It's as if cars were being refuelled without any excise duty charged."

Janša also emphasized that no single member state could tackle the digital tax and only the EU was big and strong enough to negotiate a global deal for the benefit of all. "When it comes to big giants even the countries they come from have no serious oversight of the profits that are up to trebling in record time."

The Slovenian prime minister noted that he had talked with OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria, pointing to the efforts for a deal on digital tax within the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Janša said taking such decisions was not problematic for the Slovenian parliament. Tax on emissions and plastic would be a problem for the countries that have included the resources in their national tax policies.

Although out of the spotlights, the headway on own EU resources is in Janša's view key from the aspect of agreements on all future financial instruments of the EU.

21 Jul 2020, 09:04 AM

STA, 21 July 2020 - Prime Minister Janez Janša said Slovenia was pleased with the outcome of the EU budget talks as EU leaders wrapped up negotiations Tuesday morning on a new multi-annual financial framework and post-coronavirus recovery fund. He stressed that its share of the funding, EUR 10.5 billion, is the highest it has ever got.

Coming out of marathon talks on Tuesday morning, Janša said the deal, which puts the EU's budget for the next seven-year period at EUR 1.07 trillion and puts in place a post-coronavirus recovery facility of EUR 750 billion, was a great achievement and a "robust response" to the crisis.

The deal instils optimism before the autumn and the continuation of the epidemic. "After the outbreak of the pandemic one could almost give up on the EU. We're all glad that bright moments have also come. This agreement is certainly one such moment."

Janša stressed that Slovenia was eligible for EUR 10.5 billion over the next seven years, of which EUR 6.6 billion in grants, and had realised its strategic objective of achieving agreement while securing all the key negotiating goals.

Slovenia is estimated to receive EUR 2.9 billion in cohesion policy funds in its national envelope.

Janša stressed that in the final stages of the talks, it had also secured an additional EUR 350 million for the western cohesion region, the more developed of the two cohesion regions, which had potentially faced a significant decline in funding due to its level of development.

That way, Slovenia has managed to secure cohesion policy funding that is comparable with the funds available in 2014-2020.

The eastern cohesion region will be eligible for 13% more funds than it is currently receiving.

Slovenia will have EUR 1.6 billion in Common Agriculture Policy funding available, an amount that is comparable in nominal terms with the existing financial framework and marks a significant improvement over the EU Commission's initial proposal. This includes a special allocation worth EUR 50 million.

Slovenia will also be eligible for an additional EUR 2.1 billion in grants from the EUR 750 billion recovery fund plus EUR 3.6 billion in loans under this facility.

As Janša pointed out, Slovenia thus remained a net recipient of EU funds, both in the framework of the seven-year budget and the recovery fund.

Speaking after his third EU budget talks after 2005 and 2013, Janša said these negotiations were different than in the past in that the EU is different post-Brexit.

The balance of power is different and new balances are emerging, which has contributed towards the talks lasting so long. This is not necessarily bad since it creates room for manoeuvre for smaller countries, he said.

All in all, Janša said this was probably the best outcome Slovenia has ever achieved in budget talks considering its position and relative level of development.

He noted that it had been expected in the 2013 budget talks that Slovenia would become a net contributor to the EU budget by now, but it still remains a net recipient of funds.

Slovenia has always had problems drawing the funds, which is why the government is now trying to better prepare. It will hold a working meeting on Wednesday to talk about securing additional capacities so the funds are spent as soon and as best as possible.

The summit agreement also requires a national recovery plan, which he said would be "the hard part of the job". "Being aware of this challenge, we'll tackle it immediately, as early as tomorrow."

Janša also commented on rebates for net contributors, noting that this was the price to pay for the recovery facility since the four countries that have these rebates had initially been opposed to non-refundable funds.

21 Jul 2020, 04:14 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.

This summary is provided by the STA:

Slovenia marks 10th anniversary of OECD membership

BRDO PRI KRANJU - An event at Brdo estate marked the 10th anniversary of Slovenia's membership of the OECD with Foreign Minister Anže Logar saying that joining the organisation offered the country an opportunity for new development achievements. Just like it managed to overcome the global financial crisis by way of structural reform, following the OECD's guidance, Logar said the government was aware that wise measures would be needed again to exit the current crisis. OECD Secretary-General Jose Angel Gurria, addressing the event by video call, said he was confident Slovenia would exit the current crisis stronger as well. Gurria also had a video call with PM Janez Janša, who is in Brussels for the EU summit. The pair discussed Slovenia's demographic challenge as highlighted in the OECD's latest Slovenia survey, preparations for Slovenia's EU presidency as well as digital economy and proposals for how to tax it. They also exchanged views on other topical European issues.

OECD urges Slovenia to aid economy until growth is restored

PARIS, France - The OECD's latest economic survey praises Slovenia's response to the Covid-19 pandemic and urges the state to continue providing support measures for the economy until growth is fully restored. "Slovenia acted quickly to halt the spread of Covid-19 and its healthcare system managed the outbreak well," the OECD said in a press release. But as measures to support jobs, income and businesses are gradually being wound down, the economy may need a fiscal stimulus to prevent a possible spike in bankruptcies and unemployment. The OECD estimates Slovenia's economy will grow 4.5% in 2021 after contracting by 7.8% this year, if there is no significant second wave of Covid-19.

PM says EU summit agreement possible today or tomorrow

BRUSSELS, Belgium - PM Janez Janša believes EU leaders could reach agreement on the 2021-2017 budget and the coronavirus recovery fund today or tomorrow. Arriving for the fourth day of talks at the EU summit, he said a few open issues remained but "I can say that many positions have been brought closer together". He said Slovenia insisted on sufficient funds at EU level but also on an advantageous ratio between grants and loans and on an appropriate national envelope. The talks are meanwhile continuing on the latest compromise unveiled today: the recovery fund would stay at EUR 750 billion, whereas the amount of grants would be lowered compared to the original proposal. EUR 390 billion or 52% is now envisaged for grants and EUR 360 billion for loans, while the original idea was to have two-thirds of grants.

Opposition concerned Janša changing Slovenia's EU course

LJUBLJANA - The opposition raised concern Slovenia's foreign policy might be changing course following unofficial information that PM Janez Janša sided with his Hungary and Poland over the rule of law in the ongoing talks on the EU budget and the recovery fund. Janša's predecessor in office, Marjan Šarec, came out strongly against Janša today, asserting the government "is leading Slovenia in the direction of Visegrad where the desire is obviously not to respect the rule of law". Janša already dismissed on Sunday the Financial Times report that Hungary, Poland and Slovenia were resisting the system that would tie EU budget funds to respecting fundamental human rights. He said Slovenia wanted the same standards apply to all members. Arriving for day four of the talks in Brussels today, he said that discussions about the rule of law clarified a lot and that there was agreement the rule of law must not be tied exclusively to EU funds and investments.

Slovenia's Covid-19 death toll rises to 113, seven new infections

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's Covid-19 death toll rose to 113 after another patient died on Sunday, the latest government data shows. Seven new coronavirus cases were confirmed on Sunday as 371 tests were carried out. 19 patients are in hospital, including three in intensive care. The country now has 237 active cases. One recent outbreak has been in a kindergarten in Odranci, north-east, where five teachers tested positive on Saturday and Friday but none on Sunday. A total of 71 persons had been ordered to self-isolate. The infection had been transmitted from a teacher who does not come from Odranci and the kindergarten is closed until further notice.

FM Logar discusses rule of law with EU justice commissioner

LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Anže Logar discussed the rule of law and the EU's new rule of law mechanism with European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders in a videoconference, focussing on the first rule of law report being compiled by the European Commission, which will expectedly be completed in September. The pair also talked about cooperation and tasks awaiting Slovenia during its EU presidency in the second half of 2021.

Bilateral cooperation in focus of Logar-Ashkenazi phone call

LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Anže Logar told his Israeli counterpart Gabriel Ashkenazi the Slovenian government was interested in deepening Slovenian-Israeli relations, the Slovenian Foreign Ministry said in a press release. The pair agreed the countries should enhance cooperation in several fields, including in economy, science and IT. Foreign affairs were also on the agenda, foremost the Middle East peace process, with Logar highlighting the role of dialogue that would lead to a two-state solution.

RTV Slovenija in deadlock as changed 2020 plans rejected

LJUBLJANA - RTV Slovenija's programming council did not back the public broadcaster's changed financial and production plans for 2020, which the leadership had prepared in response to the coronavirus. The media outlet's revenue was EUR 1.7 million lower than expected in the first six months, mostly on account of lower advertising revenue, whereas the cost of wages was EUR 1.9 million higher. Today's no-vote could put RTV Slovenija in a dire financial situation amid concerns that the government is trying to undermine it with a controversial media reform. Kadunc said "I don't know how to proceed" given that the broadcaster "has a production plan which is not covered by the financial plan". He said he had not expected such an outcome and was particularly bothered by the abstained votes; almost half of the members of the 29-strong council present at the session abstained from voting, which could be seen as a vote of no-confidence in him. Kadunc, however, does not intend to resign.

SDS MEP sends media legislation letter to EP culture committee

BRUSSELS, Belgium - Slovenian MEP Milan Zver of the ruling SDS, an EPP member, defended a government proposal to change Slovenia's media legislation in a letter to the European Parliament's culture committee, saying he saw it as the first small step towards the media becoming plural and balanced. He also assessed a recent letter another two Slovenian MEPs, althought from the Renew political grouping, sent to European Commission Vice-President Vera Jourova was misleading. Klemen Grošelj and Irena Joveva argued the changes would have far-reaching consequences for the media industry and the country's democracy. Zver meanwhile said they were just smaller corrections of the media legislation. He also rejected the notion they were designed to subjugate the media to government control or to destroy independent reporting.

Vox Populi poll shows little change at the top

LJUBLJANA - The latest Vox Populi public opinion poll shows little change at the top of the party rankings. The ruling SDS polled at 22.7%, the same as the month before, with the opposition SocDems down half a point to 14.7%, having jumped by seven points in the previous month after MEP Tanja Fajon took over as interim leader. The opposition Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) is broadly flat at 10.8%, whereas the opposition Left lost a point and a half to 6.7%, shows the poll, carried by Večer and Dnevnik. The government's approval rating was at 48.5%, up slightly from June.

Tourism vouchers worth EUR 20 million redeemed in a month

LJUBLJANA - Roughly 130,000 Slovenian residents have redeemed state-sponsored tourism vouchers worth EUR 20 million in the first month since the launch of a scheme designed to help the Slovenian tourism industry recover from the coronavirus epidemic, Financial Administration director Peter Jenko said. The bulk of the vouchers were redeemed at the most popular tourism destinations: coastal resorts, the north-western Gorenjska region and spas. Some 44% were spent at hotels, 20% on self-catering apartments and roughly a tenth in campsites.

Drop in collected taxes less sharp in June

LJUBLJANA - The downward trend in tax collection slowed down in June, when the majority of stimulus measures took effect. The Financial Administration (FURS) collected EUR 1.15 billion in taxes and other levies last month, which is 19.8%, or EUR 285.2 million, less than in the same month in 2019. A 4% drop in collected taxes and other levies was already recorded in March, mostly on the back of the anti-epidemic measures, followed by a 25% drop in April as virtually the entire retail and hospitality sectors shut down. The downward trend continued in May, when the receipts dropped by almost 40% year on year. In the first six months, a total of EUR 7.5 billion was collected, or 13.4% less than in the same period in 2019.

Wind farm to be built near border with Croatia

LJUBLJANA - A wind farm with a rated capacity of 21.6 megawatts is to be built on a mountain ridge near the border with Croatia, under plans recently endorsed by the government. The government took the decision on 8 July on the implementation of a national zoning plan for six wind turbines on the Maceljska Gora ridge in the area of Rogatec, east. The six wind turbines, each with a rated capacity of up to 3.6 megawatts, or a combined 21.6 megawatts, could produce 55 gigawatt hours of power annually.

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

20 Jul 2020, 13:43 PM

STA, 20 July 2020 - A wind farm with a rated capacity of 21.6 megawatts is to be built on a mountain ridge near the border with Croatia, under plans recently endorsed by the Slovenian government.

The government took the decision on 8 July on the implementation of a national zoning plan for six wind turbines on the Maceljska Gora ridge in the area of Rogatec.

The farm is to be built by Dravske Elektrarne Maribor, a subsidiary of the state-owned power group HSE. The type of the production units is yet to be determined but the investor plans technologically advanced units both environment- and efficiency-wise.

The government says the project will contribute to increasing the output from renewables, self-sufficiency of electricity supply and greater diversification and dispersal of energy production sources, all of which is in line with the country's energy policy principles.

The six wind turbines, each with a rated capacity of up to 3.6 megawatts, or a combined 21.6 MW, are to be built in a sparsely populated north-eastern corner of the Rogatec municipality, at least half a kilometre from the nearest settlement.

The wind farm could produce 55 gigawatt hours of power. The units will be connected via a 20 kilovolt cable conduit to the planned Rogatec wind farm substation, and from there by two further cables to the Rogaška Slatina transformer and distribution station.

Each unit is to comprise a tower measuring between 110 and 140 metres in height, and a rotor with a diameter of between 125 and 145 metres. The base with have a diameter of about 25 metres.

Under the national energy and climate plan Slovenia should derive at least 27% of its final energy consumption from renewable sources by 2030. The proportion was at 21.1% in 2018.

Slovenia has 12 locations of various sizes that measurements have shown are suitable for wind farms, but only two wind turbines are in fact in operation - a 2.3-megawatt one and a 0.9-megawatt unit, both located in the south-west.

In 2018 the output of the two wind turbines was equivalent to just 0.04% of Slovenia's energy consumption. They generated six gigawatt hours of electricity.

Despite public support for green energy in principle, opposition to wind farms by environmentalists and NIMBY [ed. not in my backyard] initiatives has been considerable.

20 Jul 2020, 12:27 PM

STA, 20 July 2020 - Roughly 130,000 Slovenian residents have redeemed state-sponsored tourism vouchers worth EUR 20 million in the first month since the launch of a scheme designed to help the Slovenian tourism industry recover from the coronavirus epidemic.

The rate at which the vouchers are redeemed has been growing and more than 20,000 bookings have already been made for the coming days, Financial Administration director Peter Jenko told the press on Monday.

The bulk of the vouchers were redeemed at the most popular tourism destinations: coastal resorts, Gorenjska region and spas. Some 44% were spent on hotels, 20% for self-service apartments and roughly a tenth in campsites, he said.

Most people redeem just a portion of the voucher at one time, which means that many of the 130,000 who redeemed theirs still have credit.

Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek said the figures showed the scheme was a success and people see the stimulus money as sensible.

Počivalšek being the author of the scheme, some have taken to calling the vouchers "Počivoucher", which the minister says showed "people have a positive attitude to this measure".

Vouchers worth a total of EUR 345 million, EUR 200 per adult and EUR 50 per underage resident, were introduced as part of measures to help the tourism industry, which has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

The vouchers are seen as a much needed boost for local tourism, although they will not be able to fully offset the shortfall of revenue generated by foreign guests.

Learn more about Slovenia’s tourism vouchers

20 Jul 2020, 11:12 AM

STA, 20 July 2020 - Slovenia will mark the 10th anniversary of its membership of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) on Monday with a ceremony featuring OECD Secretary General Jose Angel Gurria as keynote speaker via videoconference. The latest OECD economic survey of Slovenia will be presented on the occasion.

The ceremony, taking place at Brdo pri Kranju, will be addressed by several cabinet members, including Foreign Minister Anže Logar, Finance Minister Andrej Šircelj, Health Minister Tomaž Gantar and Labour Minister Janez Cigler Kralj, according to the Government Communication Office.

The 2020 OECD economic survey of Slovenia focuses on population ageing and its impact on healthcare and the labour market, said the Finance Ministry. Šircelj, Gantar and Cigler Kralj will comment on the OECD review.

The June OECD forecast for Slovenia says that the country's gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to shrink this year by 7.8%, or as much as 9.1% in the event of a second wave of coronavirus infections.

For 2021, the organisation expects that Slovenia's economy will grow by 4.5%, or by 1.5% in case of another Covid-19 wave.

The OECD is an intergovernmental economic organisation featuring 37 member countries. It promotes policies conducive of economic and social prosperity, said the Foreign Ministry.

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