STA, 8 July 2019 - Slovenian President Borut Pahor and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan discussed a rise in illegal migrations on the Balkan route as they held a bilateral meeting in Sarajevo on Monday on the sidelines of a SE Europe cooperation event.
Predsednik Pahor se bo nocoj udeležil delovne večerje ob zaključku predsedovanja BiH Procesu sodelovanja v Jugovzhodni Evropi (SEECP), ki poteka v Sarajevu. Ob robu obiska se je PRS Pahor sestal s predsednikom Republike Turčije Recepom Tayyipom Erdoğanom. pic.twitter.com/jKUOyEX4dR— Borut Pahor (@BorutPahor) July 8, 2019
Pahor told Erdogan about the recent rise in the number of migrants entering Slovenia illegally from Croatia, Pahor's office said in a release.
Erdogan in turn outlined Turkey's plans about the four million refugees in Turkey, complaining the EU was not fully meeting its financial commitments related to them.
The two presidents are worried that the situation in the Middle East could worsen, and hope that a diplomatic solution will be found to the Iran nuclear deal issue.
Bilateral relations were another topic on the agenda, with Pahor and Erdogan sharing a view there were many opportunities to further develop and deepen political dialogue and economic cooperation.
Pahor met Erdogan before a working dinner of the South-East European Cooperation Process (SEECP) summit, which brings Bosnia-Herzegovina's SEECP presidency to an end.
The Slovenian president had decided to attend the summit due to enhanced dialogue with all Western Balkan leaders and as a sign of support for Bosnia.
The summit will draw to a close on Tuesday with a plenary session and the adoption of a closing declaration.
However, Bosnia will not formally hand its presidency over as planned since Kosovo has sent any representative to the summit in protest of Bosnia's treatment of its representatives.h
A schedule of all the main events involving Slovenia this week can be found here
This summary is provided by the STA:
Slovenia to enhance controls on border with Croatia
ILIRSKA BISTRICA - Prime Minister Marjan Šarec said that security on Slovenia's southern border would be beefed up, including with new equipment such as drones and an expansion of the border fence, after meeting with Ilirska Bistrica officials and civil society representatives to discuss the situation on the border with Croatia. Šarec, visiting the south-western town along with Interior Minister Boštjan Poklukar and Police Commissioner Tatjana Bobnar, said that he understood locals' feelings of unease about the situation.
Pahor and Erdogan discuss illegal migrations
SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina - Slovenian President Borut Pahor and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan discussed a rise in illegal migrations on the Balkan route as they held a bilateral meeting in Sarajevo on the sidelines of a SE Europe cooperation event. Pahor told Erdogan about the recent rise in the number of migrants entering Slovenia illegally from Croatia, Pahor's office said in a release. Erdogan in turn outlined Turkey's plans about the four million refugees in Turkey, complaining the EU was not fully meeting its financial commitments related to them. The two presidents are worried that the situation in the Middle East could worsen, and hope that a diplomatic solution will be found to the Iran nuclear deal issue.
Slovenia, Croatia present views on border arbitration in court
LUXEMBOURG, Luxembourg - Slovenia reiterated its stance that by not implementing the 2017 border arbitration award, Croatia is violating EU law, as it presented its view in an oral hearing of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) about the admissibility of Slovenia's lawsuit against Croatia. While Croatia argues arbitration does not fall under the ECJ's jurisdiction, because borders are a matter of international rather than EU law, Slovenia stressed the lawsuit was not about the border, because the border had been set in the 2017 award. The EJC advocate general will present his legal opinion on the case on 6 November, while the Slovenia side expects the decision on admissibility at the start of 2020.
SOVA did its job to provide for security of arbitration task force
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's intelligence agency SOVA had adequately instructed Slovenia's staff about security risks, so it cannot be blamed for the 2015 wire-tapping scandal related to the Slovenia-Croatia border arbitration process. However, its advice had not been fully heeded. Several commission members visited SOVA today to talk to the staff who had coached the task force working on Slovenia's arbitration case, the chair of the parliamentary Intelligence Oversight Commission, Matej Tonin told the press. Tonin added he could "credibly confirm" that Simona Drenik, the agent in the arbitration case who was recorded talking over the land-line phone with Jernej Sekolec, Slovenia's member of the international tribunal, had not worked for Croatia's intelligence service.
Iraqi man shot by officer after stabbing taxi driver
NOVA GORICA - An Iraqi man injured a taxi driver with a knife and attacked a police officer in the Nova Gorica area on Sunday afternoon. News portal 24ur.com says police are investigating whether the incident was a clash between migrant traffickers. Two police officers responding to a distress call found a taxi driver bleeding from his neck and saying he had been attacked by a man sitting in a near-by taxi. As the police officers approached the alleged attacker, he started running towards one of them with a knife. The officer fired a warning shot and shot the man in the leg.
Slovenia ready to sue Italian radio stations, prefers other solutions
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia is getting ready to sue several Italian radio stations for FM frequency interference in the border area, but while the suits will be ready by autumn, it would still prefer to resolve the long dispute in a more constructive way, government officials said. "We don't harbour the illusion that lawsuits will simply resolve this issue. But they will definitely have an impact, including a financial impact," Public Administration Minister Rudi Medved told the press, hopeful that the lawsuits will "prompt Italian politics into action".
Fiscal Council urges more budgetary restraint amid macroeconomic uncertainty
LJUBLJANA - The Fiscal Council, Slovenia's fiscal watchdog, reiterated in the face of the government's latest budget plans that increasing macroeconomic uncertainties require a more cautions fiscal policy approach. The council wrote that the fiscal goals Slovenia had committed to at the European level were attainable given the current figures. However, it added that the primary structural surplus would also decrease this year even if the fiscal targets are met. "This indicates a continuation of a pro-cyclical expansionary fiscal policy, which we feel is not appropriate in the current macroeconomic circumstances," the watchdog said.
Slovenia completes EUR 350 million bond issue
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia secured EUR 350 million with an additional issue of a 10-year benchmark bond originally issued in January to obtain EUR 1.5 billion. The bond, due on 14 March 2029, has an annual coupon interest rate of 1.1875% and was sold at a price of 109.875%. The issue, which was well oversubscribed, was lead managed by Goldman Sachs International Bank, Jefferies and JP Morgan.
DeSUS to hold election congress in January
LJUBLJANA - The coalition Pensioners Party (DeSUS) decided to a hold an election congress on 17 January. Karl Erjavec, the party's head since 2005, said it was too early to say whether he would run for another term. DeSUS has been on a downward trajectory for some time, winning only five seats in the National Assembly in 2018 and recently failing to secure an MEP post. Asked to comment on speculation that Igor Šoltes, the former Court of Audit head who failed to get reelected MEP standing on DeSUS's slate in this year's EU vote, could succeed him, Erjavec said this was up to the congress to decide and would also depend on his decision to potentially stand again.
Sunday storms caused havoc in central, eastern Slovenia
ROGATEC/PTUJ - Heavy rain, winds and hailstorms that hit the central and eastern parts of Slovenia on Sunday afternoon caused havoc in 63 municipalities and damaged hundreds of buildings as well as crops and forests. The hardest hit municipalities were Zagorje ob Savi, Rogatec and Rogaška Slatina. Ptuj also suffered severe damage. The hardest hit municipalities were severely affected in particular by the swollen Medija and Sotla rivers, according to the Civil Protection and Disaster Relief Administration.
Third incarnation of apparel giant Mura goes bust
MURSKA SOBOTA - The last remaining bit of Mura, once a huge apparel company, went into receivership. Arum, which was founded by an executive and has been leasing the premises of Aha Mura, has thus become the third failed attempt at salvaging Mura's legacy. Arum was founded in 2015 by Dušan Gomboc, Aha Mura's technical director who saved the company in the last minute before it would have to cease operations a year after it formally entered bankruptcy. Arum leased the premises, machinery and brand, and hired 347 of the remaining 380 Aha Mura employees.
HIT shareholders to get EUR 1.15m in dividends
NOVA GORICA - HIT, Slovenia's leading gaming company, will pay out EUR 1.15 million in dividends in 2019, with the rest of last year's distributable profit, which stood at EUR 4.42 million, remaining undistributed, the company's shareholders decided at their annual meeting. They also gave discharge of liability for 2018 to board member Marjan Zahar and to the supervisory board.
Merger of Ljubljana and Zagreb basketball clubs completed
LJUBLJANA - The shareholders of Ljubljana's Olimpija and Zagreb's Cedevita confirmed what is the first merger of professional basketball clubs from two countries. While Cedevita Olimpija will be seated in Ljubljana, its first head coach will be Croatian expert Slaven Rimac, who coached the Zagreb team in the past season. On the players' front it has been confirmed that the team will also feature 27-year-old small forward Edo Murić, who was among those who won the European Champions title for Slovenia in 2017.
If you're learning Slovenian then you can find all our dual texts here
STA, 8 July 2019 - Prime Minister Marjan Šarec said on Monday that security on Slovenia's southern border would be beefed up, including with new equipment such as drones, after meeting with Ilirska Bistrica officials and civil society representatives to discuss the situation on the border with Croatia.
Šarec, visiting the south-western town along with Interior Minister Boštjan Poklukar and Police Commissioner Tatjana Bobnar, said that he understood locals' feelings of unease about the situation.
Ilirska Bistrica Mayor Emil Rojc pointed out that the number of illegal border crossings had doubled since Poklukar's first visit to the area.
"We've never said there was no migration issue," said the prime minister, adding that the need for strengthening border controls had been acknowledged.
Šarec announced the expected arrival of additional soldiers to the area as well as the deployment of new police equipment, including border patrol drones, and expansion of the border fence.
However, Šarec also said that Slovenia's border patrol had been effective in meeting set expectations and that "we cannot settle for various forms of fear-mongering, which are sometimes politically-motivated as well".
Šarec will also visit the Kostel and Črnomlje municipalities later today.
STA, 6 July 219 - The average speed recorded on Slovenian roads lowered in 2017 and 2018 compared to 2014 and 2015. The strictness of speed limits correlates to the number of violations, with the latter being more common at night. Drivers do not usually exceed the limit by more than 10 km/h, shows a study by the Traffic Safety Agency.
Recorded speeds on highways and expressways do not vary depending on the day or night, while drivers on other roads are on average faster during the night.
The study included 135.87 million of measurements of 37 speed traps between the start of 2017 and the end of May this year.
The lower the speed limit, the higher the share of drivers exceeding it - at the 50 km/h speed limit, over 35% drivers violate the limit, while at the 30 km/h limit, over 70% of them are too fast but they mostly do not exceed the limit by more than 10 km/h in general.
The 50 km/h limit area stood out because the agency recorded very high violations of driving 180 km/h at two locations within the limit.
Mora than 130 automatic traffic counters also provided data on traffic in March and October in 2017 and 2018. On highways, where the speed limit is set at 130 km/h, the average speed was 110.6 km/h. Between 2008 and 2018, this figure decreased by almost 5 km/h or 4.3%.
Some 13% drivers exceed the highway limit, while around 1% exceed the limit by more than 10 km/h during the day and some 5% during the night.
Drivers on expressways drive on average 99 km/h, with the limit being 110 km/h. During the 2008-2018 period, the average speed there decreased by 5.5%.
The average speed on main roads outside cities, towns and villages increased by some 4% between 2008 and 2015, but started declining after 2015. Some 15% of people driving on such roads exceed the limit during the day (2% exceed the limit by more than 10 km/h), while around 23% do that at night (11% outside the 10 km/h tolerance zone).
The average speed on state main roads and regional roads within urban areas decreased as well - by almost 8%, but as many as 57% of drivers on those roads exceed the limit during the day (some 10% outside the tolerance zone) and 67% of them during the night (some 25% outside the tolerance zone).
The study was conducted at the beginning of June by the Maribor Civil Engineering, Transportation Engineering and Architecture Faculty.
STA, 8 July 2019 - Updated 17:00
An Iraqi man injured a taxi driver and attacked a police officer in the Nova Gorica area on Sunday afternoon. According to Nova Gorica police, the man attacked the taxi driver after the driver determined that he does not have money to pay for the ride.
The suspect entered the taxi in Vrtojba but only a few kilometres later, it became clear to the taxi driver that the man does not have enough money to pay for the ride to Ljubljana, so he pulled over on the expressway and wanted the man to leave the car.
But the 26-year-old resisted and attacked the taxi driver with a hobby knife.
The Nova Gorica police department said it had been informed of a man injured and bleeding along a road at 5:30pm yesterday.
Two police officers rushed to the scene to find a man bleeding from his neck and saying he had been attacked by a man in the near-by taxi.
The taxi driver had escaped from the vehicle and took the keys with him. The police found the Iraqi man attempting to hotwire the car to get to Ljubljana on his own, the head of the Nova Gorica police, Evgen Govekar, told the press.
As the police officers approached him, he responded with threats and started running towards one of them with the knife shouting, police said.
The officer fired a warning shot, but that did not stop the man so he shot him in the leg.
The man, believed to be a citizen of Iraq, was transported to the Šempeter general hospital.
According to Govekar, the taxi driver sustained only mild injuries and has already been released from hospital, while the Iraqi man underwent surgery during the night.
Police are still checking the attacker's identity and status in the EU, as he had no documents on him. He had no mobile phone or cash.
The police believe he is a 26-year-old citizen of Iraq who stayed in Germany in 2018 and 2019 and filed for asylum there, only to have his request denied.
In 2017, he stayed in France. He came to Slovenia through Italy and wanted to go to Ljubljana. It is not yet clear where he entered the Schengen zone.
While the circumstances of yesterday's incident are yet to be fully investigated, Prime Minister Marjan Šarec and Police Commissioner Tanja Bobnar, who were touring the towns along the southern border today, assessed that the police officer had acted professionally.
According to Bobnar, he and his partner prevented an even worse scenario. She said that both the police officer and the attacker had received psychological and medical assistance.
The police are actively investigating the case and have so far established that the suspect came from Italy, Bobnar told reporters.
Slovenian police officers rarely use their guns. Police statistics show the entire force records less than one shot at suspect per year.
STA, 5 July 2019 - Biser Bidco, the sole owner of Slovenia's second largest bank NKBM, decided on Friday to pay out EUR 5 million in dividends, leaving EUR 126,66 million in profit undistributed.
The EUR 5 million payout is significantly lower than the year before, when Bidco Biser decided to pay out EUR 45.8 million in dividends. The AGM also granted a discharge of liability to the bank's management and supervisory boards.
The Luxembourg-based company is owned by US fund Apollo, which holds 80% of the company, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
The two companies signed a contract to buy the Maribor-based state-owned bank for EUR 250m in mid-2015, meeting all the requirements in April 2016.
The AGM comes only a few weeks after NKBM was selected as the best bidder in the privatisation of Abanka. A EUR 444 million sales contract has already been signed, with the transaction pending regulatory approval.
The sale is expected to go through by the end of the year. The NKBM-Abanka merger, which is expected to be wrapped up in the first quarter of 2020, will create the second largest bank group in Slovenia.
A schedule of all the main events involving Slovenia this week can be found here
This summary is provided by the STA:
Organic farming growing steadily in Slovenia
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's organic farming sector continues to grow slowly but steadily. There were 3,320 agricultural holdings registered as organic farms last year, a 4% increase over 2017, according to the Statistics Office. Farms holding the status of organic producers represented 4.8% of all farms in Slovenia. The country's total organic produce grew by 27% last year compared to 2017, amounting to over 29,000 tonnes, while the amount of produced vegetables (over 1,800 tonnes) increased by 21% compared to 2017.
Storms bring winds and hail
LJUBLJANA - Storms swept across Slovenia on Sunday afternoon, bringing strong winds, torrential rain and hail. The Štajerska and Pomurska regions in the east seem to have been hit the most, with the storm leaving some 12,000 buildings without power. In the medieval town of Ptuj, wind exceeded 100 km/h. In this part of the country, winds only rarely exceed 70km/h.
If you're learning Slovenian then you can find all our dual texts here
July 7, 2019
You might not have heard of the Trans-Universal Zombie Church of Blissful Ringing yet, but this growing religion is currently the fifth biggest belief system in Slovenia.
The church was formed in 2013 in close relation to the 2012-13 anti-government protests. Originally the Church of Blissful Ringing added “zombie” to its name after the then ruling SDS of Janez Janša labelled the protesters as zombies in its Tweets.
In 2014 this indigenous Slovenian church was registered with the Office for Religious Communities of the Ministry of Culture under the number of order 46.
It currently has around 12,000 members, which makes it the fifth most popular religion in Slovenia, after the Roman Catholic Church, Islam, Christian Orthodox and Lutheran Church. It’s worth mentioning, however, that the current numbers of the other four religions date from the year 2002. After that the Government Statistics Office switched to a much cheaper register-based census (2011), which no longer provides data on citizens’ religious affiliation or ethnicity.
Since its inception the Church mostly operates democratically via its Facebook page. Its holy book was published in October 2014.
A compendium of articles, dogmas, gospels, revelations and other truths explains what the Church is all about and also forms the basis for theological contemplation of its followers.
Translation: Article 20; Every Trans-universal Zombie Church of the Blissful Ringing believer’s duty is ringing bells and creating blissful sounds with pans and holy pots. (Archpriest Rok, June 20, Zombie Year 1, 7 hours and 17 minutes after the resurrection)
But is there an afterlife? The church believes there is.
It was later explained that going to “Heaven in their own image” means that Heaven is what each of the undead considers it to be. If for someone Heaven is a Rammstein concert, that’s where they will end up after they die. Also, there is no Hell.
As it turns out, the Temple of Corruption and Original Sin actually means the National Assembly Building (i.e. Parliament). In the early years of its conception, the church held its holy mass in front of the Parliament building every Wednesday, while at the same time collecting donations in clothes and food for the Red Cross and Slovenian Association of Friends of Youth.
The new Church was met with a mixed response from the public.
A sociologist of religion Marjan Smrke, for example, stated for Delo, that the church is more of a parody of religion than a religion, but that such parodies are as old as religion itself, citing Roman Catholicism as a parody of original Christianity as an example. According to Smrke, the Zombie Church belongs to a new generation of parody religions, such as Pastafarianism and Jediism.
The Ministry also received a protest letter from the Catholic Institute for Family and Culture of Life (KUL), who expressed offence at the Ministry’s decision to register the Church, claiming that the Zombie Church was in fact a “nonreligious” community. KUL saw the recognition given to the Church as part of the Minister Uroš Grilc’ broader “Christianophobic” plot: “In accordance with the secular doctrine of a hateful attitude towards religious communities, with the aforementioned registration the Minister encourages public mockery of religious communities and the spread of prejudices against religion and religiousness in general.”
Gregor Lesjak, the director of the Office for Religious Communities, also replied to KUL’s complains that a joke religion was added to the list of the true religious communities. In an article by Delo, Lesjak was quoted emphasizing that the Zombie Church met all of the required criteria and explained that the law does not call for verifications of “religiousness”.
The problematisation of religiousness with the emerging new religious communities rests, according to Lesjak, on three misconceptions. The first misconception is a belief that the State is a guardian of the sacred: “The State is not the guardian of the sacred, religious communities are.” Secondly, the registration does not mean that the state issues a certificate indicating that the group’s religious teachings are genuine, appropriate or true. Gaining and keeping the trust of their followers is something that rests with the religious institutions themselves. And thirdly, it is not State’s task to tell its citizens what kind of things are good or bad to do, like a mother would tell their child. The State offers its citizens various legal forms of organisation under equal terms. If it turns out that a group of citizens has chosen a form of organisation that hindered the development of their own plans, the responsibility for that rests entirely with the group, not the State.
In an interview for MMC, Rok Gros, Archpriest of the Zombie Church and the Keeper of the Pot and Pan, didn’t deny the similarity with the Pastafarianism, being quoted as saying “we don’t discriminate against anyone. Members of any other religion are welcome in our church, Pastafarians included.” However, he strongly denied that the Church was making fun of anyone, or that the Church was not a real one.
For Sobota info, Gros stated that “Calling us a parody is one of most serious insults to us. We are a very serious church.”
We too had some questions for the Church, specifically how many members does it currently have, whether it gets any public funding and whether it is true that the Church has managed to spread to Croatia. The Church replied with the following explanations.
Our church has 12,000 members.
We do not receive any public funding, despite the fact that even the court decided that the Ministry of Health violated legislation by religious discrimination for not granting our pro bono clinic in Nova Gorica a status of humanitarian institution, the legal basis for bids on tenders.
In Croatia we have Archpriest Domagoj I the Lionheart, who takes care of spiritual needs of our believers in Croatia (marriages, holy masses…)
Best regards and Bell be with you.
Archpriest Rok, founder, Keeper of the Pot and Pan, July 1, 7 Zombie Year, 3 hours and 4 minutes after resurrection
For more on Trans-universal Zombie Church of Blissful Ringing, click here for its webpage, where you can also join.
This collection of old photos and postcards shows some of the ways Slovenska cesta (also, for some years, Titova cesta) changed and stayed the same in the century, with each image showing buildings you can still see today as you walk along the newly, and mostly, pedestrianised street, with the only traffic now allowed being bicycles and buses.
Another view of hte Cafe Europa, early 20th century.
And another view, with Figovec restaurant just outside the picture on the left. 1911
1950s. You can see Šestica restaurant on the left - open in 1776 and still running today
1950s, and showing the edge of Kongresni trg / Congress Square
Hotel Slon on the right, 1950s
The edge of the Tavčer Palace on the left, 1959
Old buildings being pulled down in front of Nama department store, 1961
Another view of the Tavčer Palace, with Figovec again just out of sight on the left, 1965
Other stories in this series can be found here
Surprising no one who’s been following her dominance of the sport throughout her short, but storied career – with the 20-year-old already having won more World Cup Events than anyone else – Janja Garnbret took another first place in Villars, Switzerland. She was joined on the Lead podium by South Korea’s Chaehyun Seo in second place, and Japan’s Ai Mori in third. Two other Slovenian women made the top ten, with Mia Krampl in fifth place and Lučka Rakovec sixth. Garnbret comes on stage at the two hour 17 minute mark in the following video.
Turning to the men’s event, this was won by Switzerland’s Sascha Lehmann, followed by YuFei Pan (China) and Alexander Megos (Germany), with Slovenia’s Domen Škofic having to make do with a fourth placed finish.
STA, 7 July 2019 - Slovenia's organic farming sector continues to grow slowly but steadily. There were 3,320 agricultural holdings registered as organic farms last year, a 4% increase over 2017. The farms produced more organic vegetable and fruit in 2018 than the previous year, which was a bad year for farmers due to extreme weather conditions.
Farms holding the status of organic producers represented 4.8% of all farms in Slovenia.
The country's total organic produce grew by 27% last year compared to 2017, amounting to over 29,000 tonnes, while the amount of produced vegetables (over 1,800 tonnes) increased by 21% compared to 2017, shows the Statistics Office data released on Friday.
The production of grapes (over 1,500 tonnes) and olives (over 550 tonnes) increased as well, by 15% and 31%, respectively.
The 2018 organic production of fruit was almost six times bigger than in 2017, weighing more than 5,000 tonnes.
The number of animals in organic farming was mostly lower in 2018 than in the previous year - on average by 9% - with the exception of honey bee colonies (up by 31% to 2,863), other animals, such as game reared in pens (up by almost 9%) and cattle (up by almost 2%).
The total amount of organically produced meat grew by 26% in 2018 compared to 2017.
The production of organic milk in 2018 mostly increased compared to 2017 - organic cow's milk was up 20% to 6,900 tonnes, sheep milk was up by almost 2% to 181 tonnes, while goat milk was down 13% to 139 tonnes.
The organic production of honey and eggs grew in 2018 as well - by 41% and 26%, respectively.
Agricultural areas intended for organic farming increased in 2018 - by 1,320 hectares or 7% compared to 2017. The organic vineyard area grew by 37%, organic orchards by 14% and olive grooves by 13%, while the area for organic production of vegetables increased by 11%.
The share of permanent pastures and meadows in organic farming is decreasing though, but at a slow pace - the share was at 82.8% in 2017 and 81.7% in 2018.