News

20 Jul 2020, 04:33 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:

Six new coronavirus cases confirmed in 480 tests, one Covid-19 death on Saturday

LJUBLJANA - Six out of the 480 tests for Sars-CoV-2 conducted on Saturday came back positive, fresh official statistics showed. One Covid-19 related fatality was recorded in what is the first such death after more than a month and a half, raising the national death toll to 112. A total of 18 persons were hospitalised with Covid-19; two of them were in intensive care.

There’s not much news this Monday morning, so check out @ZivjoLuka on Twitter if you want to learn some basic Slovene

PM labels EU summit negotiations test of perseverance

BRUSSELS, Belgium - Prime Minister Janez Janša described on Saturday the EU summit negotiations over the next EU budget and recovery package as a test of perseverance. As Janša arrived for a third day of talks on Sunday, he pointed out that side issues were preventing focusing on key issues. Slovenia's alleged support for Hungary and Poland in their opposition to tying the budget funds to respecting the rule of law has raised some dust, with the PM saying that Slovenia only wanted the same standards to be used for all member states. The opposition SocDems as well as the coalition partners meanwhile highlighted the role of the rule of law and EU values.

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

19 Jul 2020, 21:15 PM

Etno HistEeria (from Ethno Istria) is an annual ethno, folk and fusion workshop for international musicians, which culminates in a series of concerts that take place in the municipality of Koper and during the Floating Castle Festival in Snežnik. This year’s concert dates and locations are as follows:

July 23 at 20:00, Koper, Ukmarjev trg: Etno HistEria jam session

July 24 at 20:00, Truške village, under the big oak tree: a concert of EH bands

July 25 at 20:00, Kubed village: concert of bands and the big EH orchestra

July 26 at 20:00, Truške village under the big oak tree: puppets and jam session

July 28 at 20:00, Koper Tavern: Etno HistErija Grand Orchestra Concert

July 29 at 20:00, Truške village: an evening with bands and a puppet caravan

August 3 at 19:00, Koper: Floating Castle at the PUF Festival with Ethno HistEria

You can find more about the Floating Castle Festival, which will take place on August 1 and 2 at Snežnik Castle, and will among other events host Etno HistEria, here.

Due to special circumstances this year the organizers have to follow certain coronavirus safety measures which include the limitation of available “seats”. Everyone interested in coming should therefore first make a reservation by SMS to (+386) 041778061.

 

19 Jul 2020, 17:32 PM

STA, 19 July 2020 - The financial position of Slovenian households keeps improving since assets growth continues to exceed debt. At the end of the first quarter in 2020, the surplus of assets over debt increased by EUR 2 billion year-on-year to EUR 41.9 billion, show central bank data.

At the end of the first quarter, Slovenia's households had assets of EUR 56.5 billion, up by EUR 2.5 billion year-on-year. Deposits increased by EUR 1.6 billion to EUR 22.9 billion, 90% of them were made at domestic banks and 72% of them were sight deposits.

In the same period, liabilities grew by EUR 427 million to EUR 14.6 billion. Loans, increasing by EUR 483 million, accounted for the bulk of the liabilities (EUR 12.9 billion) and were mostly arranged at banks (85%).

The finances of companies or non-financial corporations improved as well at the end of the first quarter. The deficit of assets over debt decreased by EUR 775 million year-on-year to EUR 38.9 billion.

Companies had assets of EUR 49 billion, a EUR 683 million increase year-on-year. Liabilities meanwhile stood at EUR 87.9 billion.

More statistics about Slovenia

19 Jul 2020, 12:22 PM

STA, 19 July 2020 - Prime Minister Janez Janša described the EU summit negotiations that are currently underway in Brussels as a test of perseverance on his Twitter on Saturday evening as the second day of EU leaders' talks on the next EU budget and recovery package wrapped up. He also deemed on Sunday the third day of the negotiations a day of truth.

"The EU is once again demonstrating the entire complexities of its differences, its smallness and greatness, selfishness and solidarity," Janša wrote in his Saturday's post, adding that for some the EU was granted by their fathers, whereas the others won it out.

In the early hours of Sunday he also wrote that he missed the 2004-2008 EU Council "when there was less daily politics and more strategic thinking".

Moreover, the prime minister has retweeted Budget Commissioner Johannes Hahn's post which warned that the corona crisis was not over and that it was "high time to reach an agreement which allows us to provide the urgently needed support for our citizens and economies".

On Sunday, Janša also dismissed claims that Hungary, Poland and Slovenia are resisting the system that would tie the financial aid to respecting the rule of law and basic human rights, saying that Slovenia wanted the "same standards regarding independent judiciary, media, freedom of speech" to be used for all.

The first in-person summit of EU leaders after the start of the coronavirus pandemic started on Friday and so far a compromise on the 2021-2027 financial framework and the relief package designed to shore up Europe's economies has not yet been reached.

The negotiations will be resumed at noon on Sunday. A new proposal by EU Council President Charles Michel is expected to be presented to broker an agreement.

According to unofficial sources, under the new proposal the EUR 750 billion recovery fund is to provide EUR 450 billion in subsidies and EUR 300 billion in loans. The volume of subsidies would be therefore reduced and the volume of loans increased to cater to the Netherlands, Austria, Denmark and Sweden.

Under the previous proposal, which was opposed by the frugal four and Finland, two thirds of the fund would be available in subsidies and a third in loans.

19 Jul 2020, 04:19 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:

No breakthrough yet at EU summit, PM says

BRUSSELS, Belgium - The EU summit made tactical steps forward on Friday, but no strategic breakthrough, Slovenia's Prime Minister Janez Janša said as he arrived for a second day of talks Saturday morning. According to unofficial sources, talks started on a revised proposal proposal, under which the EUR 750 billion recovery and resilience fund is to provide EUR 450 billion in subsidies and EUR 300 billion in loans.

Fitch affirms Slovenia's A rating with positive outlook

FRANKFURT, Germany - The Fitch agency affirmed Slovenia's credit rating of A with a stable outlook on Friday. It pointed to high public debt, small size, and slow progress in structural reforms to address medium-term fiscal and growth challenges associated with an ageing population, with the stable outlook reflecting a degree of resilience to the Covid-19 pandemic. Fitch forecasts that the country's GDP will shrink by 7.1% this year, growing by 4.9% next year and another 3.3% in 2022, returning to a level slightly above that in 2019 in two years.

24 new Covid-19 cases confirmed in 1,027 tests on Friday

LJUBLJANA - A total of 1,027 people were tested for coronavirus in Slovenia on Friday, with 24 tests coming back positive, according to the most recent government data. 19 people remained in hospital, two in intensive care. No deaths were reported. This brings the total number of cases to 1,940, while the death tally remains at 111, according to the online tracker Covid-19 Sledilnik. The number of active infections in the country was at 261 on Friday.

Slovenia to cooperate with WHO on health care and disease control

LJUBLJANA - Health Minister Tomaž Gantar has signed a two-year cooperation agreement with the regional office of the World Health Organisation (WHO) for Europe, the Health Ministry said on its website. Cooperation is to focus on control of communicable and non-communicable disease and the strengthening of the health care system. Microbe resistance, accessibility, safety and quality of medicines, vaccines and other health technologies are specified as priorities of the cooperation.

TAB still doing well despite coronavirus

MEŽICA - TAB, a maker of starter batteries for cars and industrial batteries, finished 2019 with EUR 278 million in net sales revenue and EUR 21 million in net profit, down on the record profit of EUR 26.4 million in 2018. Although the 2019 results are somewhat worse than in the record 2018 year for the Mežica-based company, director Bogomir Auprih still considers them good. This year's operations have been strongly influenced by the coronavirus situation, with March sales dropping by 15% year-on-year and April sales plunging by 50%.

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

18 Jul 2020, 22:15 PM

Last week saw the return the National Hall (Narodni dom) in Trieste (Trst) to Slovenian hands a century after it was burned down in an act of anti-Slovene violence that’s seen as the start of Fascism. By coincidence, the same day I learned of a new novel about that era, and life in the city that was once home to the largest Slovenian population outside of Ljubljana, His Most Italian City, by Margaret Walker. I sent her some questions, and she was kind of enough to answer…

What’s your connection to Slovenian Trieste?

I was adopted as a baby and my birth mother Silvana (1920 – 2020) was Istrian. It has taken me my whole life to discover her history. She was born in Tar and her father was born in Trieste in 1886. Her grandmother (her mother’s mother) was a Slovenian from a village near the Austrian border. Silvana worked as an interpreter for the Allied Military Government in Trieste after the war. In 1950, she emigrated to Australia.

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Silvana in 1927...

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...and in 1947

Of Istria, my mother said, ‘We were Austrian, then Austria lost the war. Then we were Italian and Italy lost the war.’ I believe that she just thought of herself as Istrian. She became Yugoslavian after the war and her parents became Italian. Am I confused? Yes.

What can you tell us about the novel?

It’s a work of historical fiction, and I chose that genre so that the history might be more easily accessible to a wide audience.

The story begins in 1928, because that was when Mussolini’s government changed my birth mother’s family name from Micatovich [Micatovič, Micatovik] to Di Micheli. My original intention was to record what she had told us about her childhood in Istria. Because I love sea stories and submarines, I also wanted to incorporate elements of the Austro-Hungarian navy into the narrative, and I began to read about the modern history of Italy and Trieste. My website contains a selected bibliography.

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TIGR logo - Wikipedia

The more I researched, the more evident it became that any story about Trieste in the 1920’s had to include the conflict between Fascist Italy and the Slovenians. I read about the anti-Fascist group TIGR (Trst, Istria, Gorica, Rijeka) and the Fascist attack on the Narodni dom in 1920 and I wondered how I could incorporate these into the novel. This was when I came up with the idea of a group of men working for TIGR led by Stefan Pirjevec, a former submarine captain in the Austro-Hungarian navy whose wife had died in the fire in the Narodni dom.  The character is based on my neighbour who was a captain in the Australian Merchant Navy. Sydney Harbour, where I live, is a busy passenger port so, whenever I wrote about the port of Trieste in the 1920’s when it was much busier than it was during my recent visits, I had to imagine that it was Sydney.

What other research did you do?

As well as history textbooks and websites, I read several rare books written in the 1800’s about boat journeys from Trieste. The best was Rambles in Istria (RHR, London 1875). I read Necropolis by Boris Pahor in English and Piazza Oberdan in German. Unfortunately, my German’s not very good, but I did my best.

And what else did you learn in writing the book?

I originally trained in mathematics and science and, as my research continued, I noticed that Italy had a huge population compared to the population of Slovenia: 40 million to 1.3 million. I asked myself why such a large country should have felt so threatened by a Slovenian minority in Trieste.

The answer came from the historian Gianfranco Cresciani. Dr Cresciani was born in Trieste and lives in Sydney. He explained the perils that nationalism could hold for some individuals. I am Australian and Australians are not nationalistic. I found the Italian ultra-nationalism (or Fascism) of one hundred years ago very hard to comprehend, particularly its racism and violence, and its vitriolic anti-Slav propaganda. However, both Boris Pahor and Jan Morris (Trieste and the Meaning of Nowhere) noted that the majority of Trieste’s population were conservative, and didn’t want such radical politics.

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Trst je naš (Trieste is ours) remains popular in Slovenian memes

Finally, what’s the blurb for His Most Italian City, and where can people find it?

First, you can get a copy from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, or direct from the publisher, Penmore Press. You can also see a review from the American Historical Novel Society, and if you’re curious about me I have a website, too, plus a blog that mainly focuses on submarines.

Now the blurb:

Fascist Italy 1928. Trieste, once the port of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, has become Italian. As fascism strives violently to create a pure Italy along its streets, Matteo Brazzi is forced to choose his loyalties with care. When his office is bombed, the police are baffled, but Brazzi knows who committed the crime, and he knows why. Though he is no seaman, he can easily identify the dark shape that disappeared into the Gulf of Trieste that dramatic night and, as he escapes to Cittanova in Istria, the mysterious vessel follows him down the coast. Brazzi has successfully exploited fascism to protect himself - many people would call him a traitor - but he’s only ever had one real love. Now Nataša is dead and Brazzi owes his share of the blame. Too soon he discovers that not even Mussolini can save him from an enemy who is bent on revenge. 

18 Jul 2020, 13:28 PM

The covers and editorials from leading weeklies of the Left and Right for the work-week ending Friday, 16 July 2020. All our stories about coronavirus and Slovenia are here

Mladina: Way to early election

STA, 17 July 2020 - The MPs of the coalition DeSUS and SMC are hostages of the ruling Democrats (SDS), the left-wing weekly Mladina says on Friday. They insist in the coalition because they fear losing their seats, which could be easily solved by empowering them by making them financially independent, the left-leaning weekly say in MPs Must Not Be Hostages.

The MPs of the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) and Modern Centre Party (SMC) fooled their voters when they joined a far-right government, while they had promised them they would never do it.

Mladina's editor-in-chief Grega Repovž says the anti-government protests, which started more than 10 weeks ago, are actually directed against them.

It admits the MPs are in a dead end - they joined the Janez Janša government hoping it would be bearable, while realising after four months in government it is not.

Janša is offering them two more years in office, that is until the next regular general election.

Mladina says DeSUS and SMC MPs are largely victims of Slovenia's constitutional arrangement

Under the constitution, the Slovenian president is the one to decide that parliament is not able to form a stable government and can call an election, but it is actually MPs who have the decision on an early election in their hands.

Mladina says the MPs are always in a dilemma when faced with such a political decision, because this is also a decision on the end of their terms.

The SMC and DeSUS MPs are criticised for having supported the Janša government so that they would not lose their jobs less than half way through their term, which Mladina says this is probably true but also understandable from a human point of view.

Yet MPs can only be truly independent if they are not forced to consider losing their job, if they are financially independent.

There is a simple solution to this - a new article should be added to the deputies act saying MPs are entitled to a compensation for the loss of income until the end of a regular term if an early election is called.

Although this could be a lot of money, it is little considering the harm they can prevent by opting for an early election.

"This is the price of functioning democracy," says Mladina, adding that 30 years of democracy has shown how important it is that MPs are independent.

Reporter: Hungarian scenario may not be effective in Slovenia

STA, 13 July 2020 - Commenting on the current political developments in Slovenia, the right-wing weekly Reporter argues on Monday that the potential formation of an alternative leftist government could have the reverse effect and end up hurting the left-aisle parties, whereas the right cannot count on gaining the upper hand overnight either.

"If a vote of no confidence in the entire government succeeds and the current prime minister is replaced by an interim prime minister in autumn, this political manoeuvring would not prevent [PM Janez] Janša from winning another snap election."

Indeed, it could backfire, says the right-leaning weekly, adding that Janša's party might even secure a landslide victory or its best election result ever due to such tactics, in particular if there is no new political leader on the left.

The future political developments are hard to predict, but it is also difficult to believe that "the relation between the left and the right would turn upside down overnight to the benefit of the latter".

"Janez Janša is not [Croatian Prime Minister] Andrej Plenković, who moved HDZ from the right to the centre and was triumphant in the Croatian general election a week ago."

Whereas Plenković does not need coalition partners due to his landslide victory, Janša probably would, which is an issue for him.

"It is possible to copy political recipes from Hungary, but they will not necessarily have the same impact in Slovenia. [Hungarian Prime Minister] Viktor Orban succeeded in subjugating the dominant media, he turned them into propaganda machinery so that they have helped him stay in power for more than a decade, whereas Janez Janša has always drawn the short straw in the war with the media so far."

Reporter editor-in-chief Silvester Šurla says that Janša's "latest battlefield which he has created using 'blitzkrieg' targeted at Slovenian media" might fail if he does not get support from coalition partners SMC and DeSUS.

All our posts in this series are here

18 Jul 2020, 11:15 AM

What follows is a weekly review of events involving Slovenia, as prepared by the STA.

If you’d like to keep up on the daily headlines then follow those here, or get all our stories in your feed on Facebook.

FRIDAY, 10 July
        OTOČEC - In a meeting focusing exclusively on the countries' efforts to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus, the prime ministers of Slovenia and Croatia, Janez Janša and Andrej Plenković, agreed epidemiologists would be in contact about the situation on a daily basis. Plenković assured Slovenian tourists they were safe in Croatia, while Janša commended Croatia on its efforts to contain the virus.
        OTOČEC - PM Janez Janša told TV Slovenija he was a realist about the border dispute with Croatia and that the two countries would be able to take a step forward here once Croatia had an approximate plan for solving its border issue with other neighbours.
        LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Janez Janša said he had asked Aleš Hojs to reconsider his decision to step down as interior minister. He told a TV interview Slovenia needed an interior minister who is operational 24 hours a day. Hojs later said he would rethink his decision and definitely stay on until he faces a no-confidence vote in parliament, presumably in September.
        LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Anže Logar and his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian agreed in a phone call to boost political dialogue in anticipation of the countries' successive spells at the presidency of the Council of the EU. Logar also expressed Slovenia's interest in enhancing the existing strategic partnership with France.
        LJUBLJANA - New Slovenia (NSi) MP Jožef Horvat revealed that his personal data kept by the police had been accessed on several occasions between November 2019 and May 2020. While he alleges he was under a kind of police surveillance under the Marjan Šarec government, police officials explained that police officers could access such files only for the purpose of doing their job. Several other MPs came forward with the same accusation, as did Foreign Minister Anže Logar.
        LJUBLJANA - After the management of the state-run motorway company DARS resigned, the supervisory board appointed a new management board, with vice-president of the coalition New Slovenia (NSi) Valentin Hajdinjak becoming the new CEO. DARS said the management stepped down by mutual agreement.

SATURDAY, 11 July
        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša rejected claims by the State Prosecutors' Council that he was undermining state prosecutors' independence by protesting with the state prosecutor general about the absence of prosecution targeting anti-government protesters who use the slogan "Death to Janšism". Janša said prosecutors needed to observe the general instructions on criminal prosecution policy drawn up by the body in charge of this.
        NOVO MESTO - Cavers exploring the karst caves in the Kočevski Rog woods in south-eastern Slovenia have found what appears to be another mass grave in what is an area containing the remains of several thousand people killed in summary executions after the end of World War II. The chair of the government commission for mass graves, Jože Dežman, said that the chasm contains the remains of at least 35 people, while dozens more are expected to be exhumed.
        LJUBLJANA - The CEO of railways operator Slovenske Železnice told the STA the company planned to lay off 1,000 people this year, reducing total headcount to 6,000. He also said Slovenia needed a long-term infrastructure fund.

SUNDAY, 12 July
        LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Janez Janša became the target of criticism after implying on Twitter that the Srebrenica massacre would not have occurred had post-WWII summary executions been adequately condemned. Oslobođenje, a leading Bosnian newspaper, wondered whether the statement was "an attempt to amnesty criminals who perpetrated one of the biggest genocides in this region", while Slobodna Bosna said it was a "morbid provocation not becoming of a statesman". Janša later defended his statements saying that as long as it is possible to kill with impunity in the name of one ideology and be condemned when doing it in the name of another ideology, genocides will happen in the world.

MONDAY, 13 July
        TRIESTE/BASOVIZZA, Italy - National Hall, a Slovenian centre in the heart of Trieste, was formally handed over to the Slovenian minority in Italy. A document on its ownership transfer was signed at an event attended by the Slovenian and Italian presidents, Borut Pahor and Sergio Mattarella, exactly 100 years after it was torched by Fascists. Before the ceremony the presidents laid wreaths at two memorials in Basovizza, one to the 1930 Slovenian victims of Fascism and the other to the Italian victims of post-WWII killings.
        LJUBLJANA - The coronavirus contact tracing app, which Slovenia will develop using the German open source solution, will be voluntary for everyone, Public Administration Minister Boštjan Koritnik announced. The government previously sought to make installing the app mandatory for those with confirmed infections and those sent into quarantine.
        LJUBLJANA - During questions time in parliament, PM Janez Janša said it was necessary to depoliticise the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), saying that the NBI "was set up as a political project carrying a great burden of corruption from the get-go". He also suggested the NBI investigator cherry-picked their cases and were "outside the system".
        LJUBLJANA - The Infrastructure Ministry is drawing up changes that will allow ride hailing services through a digital platform in the manner provided by US giant Uber. Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec expects the government to discuss the proposal in the autumn.

TUESDAY, 14 July
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly formally initiated a parliamentary inquiry into the procurement of medical and personal protective equipment before and during the coronavirus epidemic in Slovenia. The move comes at the request of the coalition, which wants to determine political responsibility of public office holders as of 1 February, a period which includes the last month and a half of the previous government's term.
        LJUBLJANA - Wrapping up a discussion on the situation in Slovenian care homes during the Covid-19 epidemic, the parliamentary committees on health and social affairs urged the government to provide nursing hospitals and improve conditions at care homes. The committees dismissed all the proposals tabled by the opposition Left which would proclaim that Slovenia did not successfully protect care home residents during the epidemic and that the ministries should amend the strategy on fighting the coronavirus in these facilities.
        ZAGREB, Croatia - Slovenia and Croatia confirmed revised programmes for the decommissioning of the Krško nuclear power station and the storage of radwaste, as the ministers in charge of energy chaired a session of the intergovernmental commission on the management of the jointly-owned power station. The revised programmes reflect the decision to extend the plant's operation by 20 years beyond its originally planned shutdown in 2023, and the decision that each country will build its own radwaste repository.
        LJUBLJANA - Parliament appointed tax expert Ivan Simič and former long-serving chairman of insurer Grawe Božo Emeršič as supervisors of Slovenian Sovereign Holding (SSH), the custodian of state assets. The pair will join the other three supervisors for five years after the terms of Duško Kos and Damjan Belič expires on 17 July.
        VELENJE - Home appliances maker Hisense Gorenje decided not to lay off several hundred production workers as originally planned. It will instead employ soft methods to reduce the workforce, since orders have grown in recent weeks and June was the first profitable month this year. The in-house trade union welcomed the latest development.
        LJUBLJANA - Human Rights Ombudsman Peter Svetina handed his office's annual report for 2019 to PM Janez Janša and Speaker Igor Zorčič, urging politicians to take action so that the ombudsman's recommendations are implemented. The report makes nearly 160 concrete recommendations to a variety of state bodies and expresses concern that as many as 200 recommendations made by Svetina's predecessors are yet to be implemented.

WEDNESDAY, 15 July
        LJUBLJANA - Several hundred journalists and media workers gathered to protest against a media reform planned by the government in front of the National Assembly, where the parliamentary Culture Committee discussed changes to three media laws that were broadly condemned by key domestic and international groups. Following outcry from the likes of the European Broadcasting Union, CoE human rights commissioner and the European Federation of Journalists, the government decided to extent the public debate until 5 September, even as government officials suggested at the committee debate they were not willing to change the main tenets of the plan.
        LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Intelligence Oversight Commission discussed a report which shows that the 7 May incident in which two Slovenian soldiers stopped a civilian in the woods near the border with Italy had happened and had not been orchestrated. The incident was not orchestrated and the two hikers were not members of the Antifa terrorist organisation as alleged by Prime Minister Janez Janša, commission chair Matjaž Nemec of the opposition SocDems said.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia voiced disappointment with the latest proposal to cut the EU's 2021-2017 budget to EUR 1.074 trillion and would like more money to be allocated for cohesion funds, according to Foreign Ministry State Secretary Gašper Dovžan, who took part in a video meeting of ministers in charge of EU affairs. He urged a prompt deal on the recovery funding.
        LJUBLJANA - The Constitutional Court decided to stay legislation allowing construction projects to be sped up in part also by restricting the powers of environmental NGOs in the process of environmental permit procedures. The court was petitioned by several NGOs.

THURSDAY, 16 July
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly endorsed at first reading a bill that would provide EUR 780 million for investment in the Slovenian Armed Forces (SAF) between 2021 in 2026, the bulk for the acquisition of armoured personnel vehicles to set up a battalion battlegroup, plus an aircraft and two helicopters. The coalition was in favour, while the left opposition was against or abstained.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly was expected to pass legislation that would close all but the smallest shops on Sunday but ended up merely sending the bill into third reading. This defers the final decision to September at the earliest. The government does not support the bill.
        LJUBLJANA - Four hospitals will receive coronavirus patients from nursing homes in order to make it easier for nursing homes to organise, the Health Ministry announced, in what marks a change from how such patients were treated during the first wave of the epidemic. A total of 50 beds will be available at special nursing departments at both university medical centres in Ljubljana and Maribor and the general hospitals in Novo Mesto and Nova Gorica.
        LJUBLJANA - The number of new infections remained steady throughout the week with 19 reported for Wednesday for a total of 121 in the last seven days. The number of people in hospital rose by two to 18, with one patient in intensive care. No new deaths due to Covid-1' have been reported since 31 May.
        LJUBLJANA - Minister for Slovenians Abroad Helena Jaklitsch urged the Austrian minister in charge of ethnic minorities, Susanna Raab, to take action after Grafenstein, a municipality in Carinthia, recently decided to effectively abolish bilingual education. The decision is being examined by Carinthia's regional office for constitutional affairs.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenian museums and galleries recorded a financial shortfall of around EUR 650,000 due to coronavirus restrictions. The revenue loss will be impossible to offset, said the Slovenian Museum Association

All our posts in this series are here

18 Jul 2020, 09:30 AM

STA, 17 July 2020 - Anti-government protests were held in several Slovenian cities for the 13th week running on Friday. The messages remained broadly the same.

In Ljubljana people flocked to Prešeren Square to protest "reign of terror and dictatorship", as an invitation posted in one of the largest protest groups on Facebook said.

The protest culminated with a "people's assembly" in a bid to formulate clearer demands.

In previous weeks anti-government protesters were disrupted by counter-protests staged by a pro-government group that calls itself "Yellow Vests" whose members wear high visibility vests.

This time the group, some of whose members were outed by leftist media as supporters of Neonazi causes, decided to eschew protesting.

Instead they announced they would mix in with the crowd and covertly snap pictures and films of as many anti-government protesters as possible in order to identify and out them.

There was however a sort of anti-protest prompted by the actions of an individual who last week heckled an accordion player who is a famous permanent presence at Prešeren Square.

Several dozen accordion players gathered there today in support playing Slovenian tunes.

18 Jul 2020, 04:31 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:

PM says Slovenia would modernise health care with EU recovery funds

BRUSSELS, Belgium - It is important for Slovenia to secure enough funds from the EU coronavirus recovery fund for the modernisation of its health care system, Prime Minister Janez Janša said as he arrived in Brussels for the first in-person EU summit in months. "For Slovenia, as well as all other member states, this is an especially sensitive time because we are not completely sure that the coronavirus epidemic danger has passed."

Montenegro deemed highly risky, Croatia remains on Covid-19 yellow list

LJUBLJANA - As of Friday Montenegro and Luxembourg were placed on Slovenia's red list of Covid-19 highly risky countries given their epidemiologic status. Croatia meanwhile remained on the yellow list, which indicates a higher level of caution is advised, said the government on Thursday after a correspondence session. Poland and the UK have been placed on Slovenia's green list of Covid-19 safe countries after the government was acquainted Thursday evening with a National Public Health Institute (NIJZ) report on the epidemiologic situations in member states, most notably Italian regions, Schengen area countries and Western Balkans countries.

19 new coronavirus cases confirmed in 1,012 tests on Thursday

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia saw 19 new coronavirus infections confirmed on Thursday after performing 1,012 tests, showed the latest official data. A total of 19 coronavirus patients were in hospital, one more that the day before, whereas the number of those in intensive care stayed level at one. One person was discharged from hospital and there were no Covid-19 related fatalities, which means the national death toll remains unchanged since the end of May at 111.

Info commissioner finds no systemic abuse in personal data access

LJUBLJANA - The Information Commissioner is still inspecting potentially problematic access to 45 politicians's personal data, but early findings have not revealed systemic abuse. Only one police officer has so far been identified as having accessed such data without authorisation, the Information Commission said. Personal data of the 45 politicians have been accessed by 700 police staff, but the majority of the police officers accessed the data of no more than one politician.

Anti-government protests continue

LJUBLJANA - Anti-government protests were held in several Slovenian cities for the 13th week running. The messages remained broadly the same. In Ljubljana people flocked to Prešeren Square to protest "reign of terror and dictatorship", as an invitation posted in one of the largest protest groups on Facebook said. The protest culminated in a "people's assembly" in a bid to formulate clearer demands.

NGOs urge fairer treatment of Eritrean asylum seekers

LJUBLJANA - A group of human rights NGOs urged the government to treat Eritrean asylum seekers more fairly. The civil initiative InfoKolpa, joined by eight other organisations including Amnesty International Slovenije, said on Friday only three of 15 applications lodged by Eritreans who recently arrived in Slovenia via the Balkan migration route had been granted. The Interior Ministry rejected the notion that its policy is unprofessional or politically motivated in any way.

Slovenia has room to borrow if needed

LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian treasury has taken on fresh debt of EUR 2.17 billion so far this year and it can still borrow EUR 1.4 billion before it reaches the debt ceiling. Whether new bond issues are carried out will depend on how the coronacrisis unfolds, the Finance Ministry said. The yield on Slovenia's benchmark 10-year bond is currently at roughly 0.1%, which the ministry says reflects investor confidence in measures to preserve jobs and promote investments.

Minister urges retail unions, employers to engage in talks

LJUBLJANA - Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek called on retail trade unions and employers to sit down and start talking after a bill on Sunday shop closure was sent into third parliamentary reading yesterday. He believes the opposition-sponsored bill is not an answer to the difficult economic situation post-coronavirus. "We do not deny anyone the right to rest, but understanding the business environment and the current economic climate and knowing the forthcoming economic trends, I cannot agree with a populist presentation of only one side of the coin," Počivalšek wrote on Facebook.

Minister urges EU framework for safety and health at work

LJUBLJANA - Labour Minister Janez Cigler Kralj called for an EU strategic framework for safety and health at work along with his EU colleagues as he participated in an informal videoconference of EU ministers for employment and social affairs. He said that the need for such a framework was highlighted during the Covid-19 pandemic since it enabled a better response to the crisis.

President Pahor to visit Slovakia on 22 July

LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor will pay an official visit to Slovakia on 22 July. Talks with his counterpart Zuzana Čaputova will focus on how the EU is coping with the coronavirus pandemic, the president's office said. Meetings with Prime Minister Ugor Matovič and Speaker of the National Council Boris Kollar are also scheduled.

Mediana poll shows growing pessimism over coronavirus

LJUBLJANA - As signs of a second wave of coronavirus contagion have begun to show in Slovenia, the country's residents have become increasingly pessimistic about outlooks for the future and are once again increasingly worried about their health, the most recent Mediana poll showed. The share of people who believe everyday life will change due to the Covid-19 pandemic has been growing steadily since the disease reached Slovenia in March, growing to 55% in July, 6 percentage points higher than in April.

MP turns to corruption watchdog over NovaTV24 ownership

LJUBLJANA - MP Marko Koprivc of the opposition Social Democrats (SD) addressed a letter to the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption (KPK) asking it to look into potential conflicts of interest and risk of corruption involving several government ministers and MPs due to their alleged holding shares of the NovaTV24 media company.

Net migration in 2019 highest since 2008

LJUBLJANA - Almost 3,800 Slovenian citizens and 27,600 foreign citizens moved to Slovenia in 2019, whereas almost 6,600 Slovenians and 8,500 foreigners moved out. Net migration - the number of those who immigrated compared to those who emigrated - hit 16,213, the highest since 2008, Statistics Office figures show. The number of immigrants was by 10% higher than in 2018 and the number of emigrants by 12%.

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17 Jul 2020, 14:23 PM

STA, 15 July 2020 - New infrastructure for hikers, mountain cyclists and winter sports lovers has been set up at more than 40 locations in the western Karavanke mountain range on both sides of the Slovenian-Austrian border, as part of the Alps Adriatic Karavanke/Karawanken project, worth almost 2.5 million euro.

Mountain cyclists are also able to enjoy along Trans Karavanke/Karawanken, a new 132-km route leading from Jezersko to the Korensko Sedlo pass.

The three-year project has brought together 12 partners from Austria's Carinthia and Slovenia's Gorenjska, and has been led by Gorenjska's regional development agency.

It has also resulted in common promotional activities at fairs abroad and a strategy on further development and cross-border cooperation.

Apart from the Trans Karavanke cycling route, an adrenaline route for mountain cyclists was launched and a hiking trail expanded with four new routes.

Walking routes in valleys, a new centre for mountain cyclists, a children's winter park, and a winter centre in Jezersko featuring areas for skiing, cross-country skiing and sledding have also been launched.

Several mountain huts have acquired new equipment for outdoor activities and accommodation, and info boards for powder skiing have been set up.

"All partners agree that Karavanke is an opportunity for further cross-border cooperation, which will enhance further tourism and economic development in this area," project manager Barbara Špehar told the STA on Wednesday, as the partners in the project met in Jezersko.

The Alps Adriatic Karavanke/Karawanken project has been financed from the EU's Interreg Slovenia-Austria programme with European regional development funds.

Its partners would also like to pair up with the partners of Geopark Karavanke/Karawanken, a similar project on the eastern side of the Karavanke mountain range.

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