STA, 23 October 2020 - Slovenia's Foreign Minister Anže Logar tested positive for the novel coronavirus in a routine test on Friday, the Foreign Ministry has announced, adding that he is not displaying any Covid-19 symptoms.
Following recommendations from the public health authorities, Logar and his closest aides who have been in contact with him will self-isolate for the next ten days, the ministry added.
Logar is Slovenia's highest-ranking official to have tested positive for the novel virus after the infection has so far been officially confirmed in two MPs and the Maribor mayor.
The news comes after the foreign ministers of Austria and Belgium, Alexander Schallenberg and Sophie Wilmes, both announced on Saturday to have tested positive.
Schallenberg's spokesperson said the minister might have caught the virus at the 12 October session of EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg, which was also attended by Logar.
The Slovenian foreign minister wrapped up a tour of the Baltic countries in Lithuania on Thursday after he had already visited Latvia and Estonia in the previous two days.
Also today, Tadeja Šuštar, an MP for the coalition party New Slovenia (NSi), announced she had tested positive for coronavirus on Thursday.
In post on her Facebook profile the MP said she had taken a self-pay test as a precaution after receiving an alert from the coronavirus exposure app.
Her deputy faction said other NSi MPs were not self-isolating because they had strictly followed all precautionary measures while in contact with Šuštar, including wearing face masks and social distancing.
Despite the infection, the second after Social Democrat (SD) MP Gregor Židan tested positive while on holiday almost two weeks ago, the National Assembly continued proceedings as per usual today.
More Top Officials Caught Breaking Rules
STA, 23 October 2020 - Public Administration Minister Boštjan Koritnik and the public health chief Milan Krek are the latest officials to have been exposed by the media for apparently flouting coronavirus precautions.
According to a report by the commercial broadcaster POP TV, Koritnik visited a beauty salon while waiting for his coronavirus test result, which later turned out to be negative.
Meanwhile, Krek, the head of the National Institute of Public Health, was spotted filling up at a service station in Ljubljana without wearing a face mask on Thursday, TV Slovenija reported.
Krek confirmed the incident, explaining that he was tired and was not jeopardising anyone.
Koritnik told POP TV that he got himself tested on Thursday as a precaution after infections were confirmed at his ministry in the past week.
Since he did not have any direct contact with infected persons, he was not advised to self-isolate. As a rule those who get tested are advised to behave as if they were infected.
Koritnik's negative test result did not come back until Friday morning. Having a day off the day before, he visited a beauty salon, where POP TV said he also broke the government decree because five people were inside the salon at the same time.
"The premises are large, I was there with my life companion," Koritnik said in response.
The incidents follow after photos emerged of an unmasked National Council President Alojz Kovšca during a visit to the Slovenian minority in Hungary, and an unmasked Education Minister Simona Kustec attending a sports gala event.
All our stories on coronavirus and Slovenia
STA, 23 October 2020 - Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša endorsed US President Donald Trump's reelection on Friday, adding his name to a list of foreign leaders who have come out in support of Trump during the election campaign, including Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
"We respect difficult, tragic personal life of Joe Biden and some of his political achievements years ago. But today, if elected, he would be one of the weakest presidents in history. When a free world desperately needs strong US as never before. Go, win, Donald Trump," wrote Janša in English on Twitter.
Meanwhile, Defence Minister Matej Tonin, the leader of the Christian democratic New Slovenia, tweeted that Slovenia would respect the decision of US voters, while he called for enhancing relations with the US "regardless of who will head the administration". "I believe the upcoming election will be a celebration of democracy again," he added.
The opposition Social Democrats (SD) endorsed Biden on their Twitter profile. They said the world needed leaders who understood cooperation, empathy, kindness as key to progress and prosperity for everyone. "People like Joe Biden and Kamala Harris," they tweeted.
Trump will face his challenger Biden in an election on 3 November as he seeks another four-year term. Biden is currently leading election polls.
STA, 20 October 2020 - Jurist Andraž Teršek and lawyer Damijan Pavlin have filed a request for a constitutional review of the ban on movement among regions and the 9pm-6am curfew, claiming such measures are only possible if a state of emergency is declared.
"If a state of emergency is not declared and movement in an around the country is banned, this is unconstitutional," the pair argue.
Teršek, who recently ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the Constitutional Court, told the STA that Article 32 of the Constitution secured everybody the right to move freely, choose their residence, leave the country and return at any time.
This right can be limited with an act, including with the aim of containing the spread of a communicable disease, if this is substantiated in a convincing fashion, if the measure is urgent and proportionate, but this still does not give the state the right to ban movement, Teršek and Pavlin argue.
This is only allowed in a state of emergency, with Article 16 saying a temporary lifting or limiting of human rights and basic freedoms is possible in a state of war and a state of emergency, albeit only to the extent required by the situation.
Thus, the communicable diseases act, which is used by the government as the basis for the ban, imparts on the state powers that are not permitted by the Constitution - it introduces a movement ban across the country without a state of emergency being declared, Teršek and Pavlin argue.
They believe that the legitimate goal of preventing and limiting the spread of the virus can be achieved with milder measures.
"The prohibition to drive from point A to point B and back is in itself not vital for preventing the spread of a communicable disease. It is not reasonable, appropriate or proportionate. The same applies for a walk, a bicycle ride, a walk in the woods, visiting a loved one or family member - all of whom are healthy. At the same time, everybody is living in 'the red zone' now," the pair moreover wrote.
"Vital reasons [for a ban] are still not being put forward - because they do not exist," Teršek and Pavlin say.
All our stories on Slovenia and coronavirus
STA, 20 October 2020 - Agriculture Minister Jože Podgoršek, who is attending an EU ministerial in Luxembourg on Tuesday, said that little less problems in the Slovenian agriculture sector were expected than during the first Covid-19 wave in the spring, reiterating that food supply would not be disrupted or threatened.
The ministry said in a press release today that food supply in the second wave would be adequate and called on consumers not to stockpile food and other supplies, as it might happen that retailers would not be able to refill their shelves on time.
It added that excessive shopping created disturbances in the commerce systems, while adding that the declaration of epidemic and subsequent closure of certain segments related with food and purchase from local suppliers could create surpluses.
The sales of certain agricultural and food products in Slovenia could drop, so the ministry called on citizens to "buy local products as much as possible, like in the first wave of the epidemic."
According to the ministry, consumption of locally-produced fresh food ensures long-term independence of the sector, stability of Slovenia's countryside, jobs in agriculture and fisheries and better quality of life of each individual.
Minister Podgoršek meanwhile held a virtual press conference on the sidelines of the ministerial, saying that he and his EU counterparts had not discussed the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic on agriculture yet.
The minister noted that the situation in the Slovenian agriculture sector was being closely monitored and that little less problems were expected than in the spring.
According to him, a "dead season" in agriculture is starting, and there will be less problems in terms of purchase of material and the need for workforce, as well as cultivation of land in border areas.
EU agriculture ministers are meanwhile trying to reach an agreement on the common agricultural policy for 2021-2027, with unofficial sources saying that the key open issues relate to defining eco schemes and exceptions for small framers.
Podgoršek said that the negotiations were expected to extend late into the night.
The ministers also discussed draft strategy for the transformation of the food supply system, with the Slovenian minister saying that Slovenia argued that the different starting points of countries should be taken into account with regard to reducing the use of pesticides, fertilisers and antibiotics.
Slovenia belongs to the EU member states which already apply the highest standards when it comes to animal welfare, and is among the countries which use the least antibiotics, so it would be very difficult to halve what is already a minimal quantity of antibiotics.
Podgoršek argued this already in June in the capacity of state secretary at the ministry, adding that the same was true for pesticides and fertilisers, and that Slovenia was already limited in this regards due to the small size of its market.
All our stories on COVID and Slovenia
STA, 19 October 2020- Ljubljana's city councillors adopted on Monday a statement condemning any activities or gatherings of paramilitary or nationalist groups in the capital. The opposition Democrats (SDS) and New Slovenia (NSi) protested, unsuccessfully proposing that the item be removed from the City Council's agenda.
The statement, proposed by the councillors of the Left, caused a clash of opinions, with SDS and NSi councillors arguing the Left was out to provoke a harsh politics-fuelled debate.
While they argued that the statement was unnecessary because the field was already regulated in detail by the protection of public order act, the head of the Left's group of councillors Milan Jakopovič said this act did not prevent activities by paramilitary and nationalist groups on private property and gatherings, which is why hospitality needed to be denied to them in no uncertain terms.
The Left's argument that a symbolic gesture is necessary was echoed by Maša Kociper of the Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB), who spoke of a "group of individuals who think they can execute powers that are reserved for the army and police in any normal and democratic country".
Martina Vuk of the SocDems agreed, arguing the City Council is the body that can say on behalf of the city that such groups have no place in Ljubljana.
Zvone Čadež of the SDS protested, saying that an honest list of this sort would also need to include members of antifa groups "who sliced car tires around Ljubljana on the eve of Statehood Day".
"Add to the list the people yelling that PM Janez Janša needs to be killed, which was documented, add the artists exposing their asses in the middle of Prešeren Square, add the people pulling cameras from TV cameramen's hands, add people with a poor command of Slovenian who are yelling at police officers that they should return to their villages," Čadež said.
Mayor Zoran Janković tried to calm down the debate and urged the councillors to adopt the statement together with the message that everybody in Ljubljana lives together and respects differences.
He welcomed the recent legislative changes adopted by parliament in a bid to limit the activities of self-styled militias. "But the fact that they went to the presidential palace and that they tried to get into parliament is an offence against both institutions," Janković added.
While the two NSi councillors decided for obstruction, the statement was adopted without official debate in a 31:0 vote.
STA, 19 October 2020 - The Nova Gorica Administrative Court has annulled the dismissal of former director of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI; Nacionalnega preiskovalnega urada – NPU) Darko Muženič, web portal 24ur.com reported on Monday. The case was remanded to police for re-examination. The court's decision is final, so there is no possibility of an appeal.
Muženič decided to challenge his 6 May dismissal at the Administrative Court, claiming the no-fault dismissal procedure used to dismiss him in line with the act on public servants only applied to political office holders.
Following a change in power, the then acting Police Commissioner Anton Travner replaced Muženič with Igor Lamberger, invoking provisions from the act governing the operations of the police and the act on civil servants.
The police said these provisions allowed the police commissioner to replace the NBI boss within a year since the police commissioner was appointed or within a year since the NBI director was appointed without providing any of the reasons the law stipulated for dismissal.
Muženič's lawyer Uroš Leben, however, claimed the NBI was only one of the police force's internal organisational units, meaning its director did not fall under the provisions of the public servants act, which refer to the termination of terms of public office holders, and the court upheld this view.
Leben told Večer today that the court's decision meant that Muženič's employment contract was still valid. He thinks the Interior Ministry or the police should call Muženič back to work in a few days.
"In case the ministry or police do not do that, we will have to wait for a decision of the Labour and Social Court, where Darku Muženič has filed a suit against the ministry and police over wrongful dismissal," the lawyer said.
Interior Minister Aleš Hojs commented on the court's decision at today's parliamentary session responding to a question from MP Nik Prebil from the opposition Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ). "Up to this moment, I have not been informed that there was something wrong with this procedure," he said.
"If the court issued a decision or ruling, which as you say returned Muženič to his old job, then we must first see what the court said in this ruling," he said, adding the court's decision must be studied before any "relevant responses" could be given.
"It's difficult for me to comment on what this or that web portal wrote, of course one of those that have a great interest that nothing happens at the NBI or that everything stays the way it was. Meaning that after 10 years ... the most demanding criminal acts are not being investigated," he said.
The minister assessed that the NBI had not been very successful under different heads so far, which is why the ministry plans its reorganisation.
"Given that there has been quite a few proposals that the function and status of this NBI should be defined more clearly within the organisation and work of the police act, we will approach this in the sense of amendments to this law, which we plan sometime by the end of the year," he said.
The police force told the STA today it had not received the ruling yet so it could not comment. But it noted that it honoured courts' decisions.
The NBI is currently headed by acting director Petra Grah Lazar as the third new leader of the specialised police unit for white-collar crime since May. She was appointed last week after her predecessor Uroš Lepoša stepped down less than three months on the job citing personal reasons.
Lepoša was appointed on 29 July to replace Lamberger after a similarly brief stint.
STA, 19 October 2020 - Updated 14:20 Slovenia confirmed 537 new coronavirus cases in 2,637 tests on Sunday. The positivity rate exceeded 20% for the first time, the government's coronavirus spokesman Jelko Kacin told the press on Monday.
The number of cases confirmed since the start of the epidemic reached 13,678, of which 7,103 are active, according to data by the tracker Covid-19.Sledilnik.
The 14-day cumulative rate of infection per 100,000 people reached 339 compared to 317 the day before.
There are currently 289 people in hospital, 55 of them in intensive care, respectively up by 24 and 6 over the day before, according to the data tracker.
STA, 19 October 2020 - A 9pm-6am curfew will be put in place across Slovenia on Tuesday to limit the spread of coronavirus, Interior Minister Aleš Hojs announced on Monday. The ceiling for gatherings will be lowered from ten to six people and a blanket ban on movement among statistical regions will be in place, although there are some exceptions.
Hojs told the press that the curfew follows the example of some other EU countries, for instance France, and is the result of the finding that a major share of transmissions has been occurring at private gatherings in the evening.
While the coastal Obalno-Kraška region is presently the only among Slovenia's 12 statistical regions still designated as orange as opposed to red, its inhabitants are no longer allowed into other regions.
Obalno-Kraška region, located in the far south-west, has remained the only orange region after Goriška in the west and Primorsko-Notranjska in the south-west, have also joined the regions more than 140 coronavirus cases per 100,000 people in the last 14 days.
This means there will be no more movement among statistical regions and while a number of exceptions remain in place - notably those related to work, emergency situations and services, family assistance and farm work - some exemptions have been scrapped, including for tourist bookings already made.
While the emergency exemptions also apply to the curfew, Hojs stressed that all gatherings and events, including religious services and "semi-private ones like weddings" are banned. Only members of the same household are exempt from the gatherings ban.
The government defined in greater details the possibilities for crossing the border. These do not apply to transit, which will not be stopped.
"If you have property or land abroad that needs urgent maintenance, household members have the possibility to cross the border," he said, while stressing this does not mean it is permitted to go on holiday. "Lying in the sun is not an urgent chore," the minister said.
Public transport will not be shut down, libraries, museums and galleries also remain open, "but it needs to be stressed that decrees are already ready in case museums and galleries will also have to be closed".
Hojs said fines would range between EUR 400 and EUR 4,000 and explained that the fines are issued in line with the act on communicable diseases.
The minister said that fines can for now only be issued by the Health Inspectorate, but that the police will also have this power after the fifth coronavirus stimulus package, adopted by parliament three days ago, enters into force.
"Until then, the police officer will identify you, pass all of your data to the health inspector and the fine itself will be issued by the Health Inspector," Hojs said, while indicating warnings would primarily be used in the initial stage of the ban.
The latest statistics on coronavirus and Slovenia, and the latest police news on red, green and yellow list countries. All our stories on coronavirus and Slovenia. Can I transit Slovenia? Find out from the police...
STA, 18 October 2020- Prime Minister Janez Janša said on Twitter that a 30-day epidemic would be declared for the entire Slovenia, starting on Monday. He added a government correspondence session was currently under way.
The announcement comes as the government is discussing the coronavirus situation with the Health Ministry task force in Brdo pri Kranju.
Government spokesman Jelko Kacin told public broadcaster RTV Slovenija that the epidemic would be officially declared on Monday but that the same measures would apply as so far.
After Slovenia has already passed the 14-day average of 140 cases per 100,000 residents and 250 hospitalisations, two of three indicators beyond which the government said it would declare an epidemic, the last one - 50 patients needing intensive care - was probably passed during the day, as the last available figures put the number of patients needing intensive care at 49.blockquote class="twitter-tweet">October 18, 2020
Nagovor državljankam in državljanom pic.twitter.com/jA8bFTMCXN— Janez Janša (@JJansaSDS) October 18, 2020
A total of 265 Covid-19 patients were said to be in hospital and the 14-day cumulative rate of infection per 100,000 people reached 328.
The share of coronavirus tests that came back positive yesterday exceeded 19% for the first time, as 726 cases were confirmed in 3,765 tests.
The prime minister urged the citizens to be responsible and thus help the medical staff in the battle against Covid-19 in a video address earlier this evening.
In the first wave of coronavirus infections, the epidemic in Slovenia lasted from 12 March until the end of May. When the epidemic was declared, 17 people were in hospital, including two in intensive care.
The number of people in hospitals increased to over 100 at the end of March, while the number of patients in ICU peaked at 37 on 10 April. On the last day of the epidemic, five Covid-19 patients were in hospital, with one person needing intensive care.
Slovenia started recording two-digit figures again in July, and a significant surge happened in mid-September. On 3 October, the number of patients topped 100.
All our stories on covid and Slovenia
STA, 18 October 2020 - The Slovenian Journalists' Association (DNS) said on Sunday it was not familiar with the details of an incident that occurred during Friday's protests in Ljubljana involving rapper Zlatko. However, it stressed it condemned all forms of violence, both verbal and physical. The DNS also called on media to act in line with professional standards.
The association said that the society must not accept the atmosphere where verbal and physical attacks become a normal risk for journalists during their work.
The situation is overheating because of the general social atmosphere and an increasingly hostile environment, created by verbal attacks and discreditations by many who should be role models. "This is cause for concern and we will not agree to this," the DNS said in a press release.
Objavljam ekskluzivni posnetek našega snemalca. S posnetka je razvidno, da je raper Zlatko, ki ni upošteval ukrepa nošnje maske na prostem in prepovedi zbiranja nad 10 oseb, udaril po kameri in jo iztrgal iz rok našega snemalca, ki je samo opravljal svoje delo. pic.twitter.com/vAm3zZXbhw— Luka Svetina (@LukaSvetina) October 16, 2020
It called on everyone, including media, not to take part in creating such an environment. "Media should act in line with professional standards, the code of ethics of Slovenian journalists and the Munich declaration, and not make inciting or insulting reports.
"We promote a professional role of the media in the society, and see them as independent supervisors of those who are on power, not as a part of party propaganda mechanisms."
The Association of Journalists and Commentators (ZNP) strongly condemned on Saturday the incident that occurred during Friday's protests in Ljubljana and involved rapper Zlatko grabbing the camera from a Nova24 cameraman. It said this was an "attack on journalistic freedom and consequently on freedom of expression".
The reaction came after Zlatko approached the Nova24 cameraman and grabbed his camera, demanding that he erase the recording. After police intervened, the camera was returned. Several videos of the incident have been published on social media.
The ZNP said that the attack on the cameraman "just became he does not come from the 'right' media according to [Zlatan] Čordić" was an "attack on journalistic freedom and consequently on freedom of expression. It is inadmissible that violence determines who can do journalism and who risks being attacked."
STA, 18 October 2020 - The share of coronavirus tests that came back positive exceeded 19% for the first time on Saturday, as 726 cases were confirmed in 3,765 tests, the government's coronavirus spokesman Jelko Kacin said on Twitter.
Včeraj pozitivnih več kot 19 % testov. 726 novih potrjenih okužb s #COVID19 ob opravljenih 3765 testiranjih.— Jelko Kacin – govorec Vlade RS za Covid19 (@GovorecCOVID19) October 18, 2020
This means Slovenia now has 6,651 active cases out of a total of 13,151 confirmed since the start of the pandemic, according to data from the tracker Covid-19.Sledilnik.
The 14-day cumulative rate of infection per 100,000 people reached 317 compared to 290 the day before.
Four people with Covid-19 died bringing the death toll to 188, according to the government.
A total of 265 Covid-19 patients are currently in hospital, including 49 in intensive care. A dozen people were discharged from hospital.
The government's Covid-19 spokesman Jelko Kacin said yesterday the government would meet the Health Ministry task force today to discuss potential future steps.
Director-general of the UKC Ljubljana hospital Janez Poklukar warned of the deteriorating situation in a letter addressed to the UKC medical staff and the public. He said Slovenia would be faced with an unprecedented situation in the coming weeks, and that medical staff could only be efficient if backed by community.
The latest statistics on coronavirus and Slovenia, and the latest police news on red, green and yellow list countries. All our stories on coronavirus and Slovenia. Can I transit Slovenia? Find out from the police...
What follows is a weekly review of events involving Slovenia, as prepared by the STA.
FRIDAY, 9 October
LJUBLJANA - The National Security Council fully endorsed a proposal by the police to activate a provision in the defence act which would give soldiers police powers in patrolling the border to contain illegal migration. PM Janez Janša said the situation on the border with Croatia was becoming critical again and urged the opposition to provide the necessary votes for a two-thirds majority needed to activate the provision.
LJUBLJANA - Out of a record 4,362 coronavirus tests conducted in Slovenia, a total of 380 came back positive, a 8.7% positivity rate. On what was a fourth day in a row that the daily case count exceeded 300, hospitalisations reached a new peak and continued growing throughout the week.
LJUBLJANA - Police stepped up the IDing of protesters at the 25th anti-government rally over violations of the decree limiting public assembly during the coronavirus epidemic, and several protesters were removed from the site. The protesters labelled the police action "repression and a disgrace".
LJUBLJANA - The Constitutional Court struck down provisions of a 2013 law that impose a 70% tax on income that individuals have been found to have failed to report. The court also declared that tax reassessment cannot be made for cases prior to 2009.
MARIBOR - Peter Boštjančič, a Maribor-based actor known for his memorable roles in the theatre and on film, was declared the winner of this year's Borštnik Ring, Slovenia's top accolade for lifetime achievement in theatre acting. Boštjančič, 68, has been a member of the Drama SNG Maribor theatre ensemble for over 20 years, after spending 17 years with the SLG Celje theatre.
LJUBLJANA - Whistleblower Ivan Gale, who has been accusing government representatives of meddling in the procurement of medical and personal protective equipment when the coronavirus first reached Slovenia in the spring, said on Facebook he had lost his job at the Agency for Commodity Reserves.
SATURDAY, 10 October
KLAGENFURT, Austria - Austrian and Slovenian presidents attended a ceremony marking the centenary of the Carinthian plebiscite together for the very first time with Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen apologising to Carinthian Slovenians for the injustices and delays in the implementation of their constitutional rights.
LJUBLJANA - The opposition Social Democrats (SD) elected Tanja Fajon, an MEP and the party's interim head so far, its new leader at an online congress. A total of 276 delegates of the party voted for Fajon, the first woman to be at the helm of the SD, whereas 107 were in favour of her challenger MP Jani Prednik.
LJUBLJANA - A total of 2,956 tests for the novel coronavirus were performed, resulting in a record 411 new daily infections. The share of new cases in the number of tests reached 13.9%.
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's Ambassador to Croatia Vojislav Šuc told the STA in an interview that the coronavirus crisis effected a turn for the better in Slovenia's relations with Croatia. The past months have also shown there is a synergy between the governments, as they have build mutual trust by focusing on what they have in common, he said.
SUNDAY, 11 October
LJUBLJANA - The government decided to tighten requirements for arrivals as many countries around Europe continue to post record daily increases in coronavirus numbers. As of 12 October, only four countries will remain on its green list, which means no quarantine is required - Australia, New Zealand, Serbia and Uruguay.
LJUBLJANA - A total of 169 people tested positive for coronavirus from 1,404 tests and two more Covid-19 patients died. Despite the infections being lower than in the previous days, it was the highest increase for a Sunday and the share of positive tests remained high, at 12%.
LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša condemned the defacing of a monument in the courtyard of the government of the Austrian state of Carinthia in Klagenfurt during Saturday's ceremony to mark the 100th anniversary of the Carinthian plebiscite. Janša said on Twitter that the defacing of the monument to Carinthian unity was detrimental to the Slovenian compatriots in Carinthia and Slovenia's reputation in the world. President Borut Pahor expressed sadness over the incident.
LJUBLJANA - The 23rd Festival of Slovenian Film closed with an award ceremony, with the award for best feature going to Martin Turk's youth film Don't Forget to Breathe. The main festival prize was not conferred.
MONDAY, 12 October
LJUBLJANA - A total of 397 people tested positive for the new coronavirus after 3,308 tests were performed, with the positivity rate at 12%. Four persons died of Covid-19.
LJUBLJANA - The central bank decided it will consult a group of legal experts to find a solution ensuring the legal protection of the holders of subordinated bonds who were wiped out during the 2013 bank bailout. It has also asked for a constitutional review of provisions allowing it to be audited by the Court of Audit.
LJUBLJANA - Petra Grah Lazar was appointed acting head of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the third new leader of the specialised police unit for white-collar crime since May. The appointment was made by acting Police Commissioner Andrej Jurič a week after her predecessor Uroš Lepoša stepped down citing personal reasons. Grah Lazar most recently served as a financial consulting manager at Deloitte Svetovanje.
LJUBLJANA - The recently established Slovenian-Chinese business council at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS) expressed concern in a public letter over the government's alleged plans to lable Chinese company Huawei a high-risk supplier in the coming weeks.
TUESDAY, 13 October
LJUBLJANA - The number of new coronavirus infections almost doubled to 707, a new record by far, which comes on 4,902 tests conducted, a new high as well, as the positivity rate hit a record 14.4%.
LJUBLJANA - A meeting of top representatives of all three branches of power saw Prime Minster Janez Janša defending criticism of the judiciary by arguing that respect first needed to be earned. President Borut Pahor urged respectful, responsible and dignified communication. The meeting was prompted by Supreme Court president Damijan Florjančič, who expressed the wish a suitable response is secured to inappropriate commentaries and attacks on the judiciary.
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia issued EUR 1 billion-worth of 30-year bonds. Unofficially, the interest rate was slightly under 0.5%, while the yield also stands at around 0.5%. According to unofficial sources quoted by Bloomberg the interest rate for the issue is 50 basis points above the 30-year mid-swap rate, which stands at -0.005%.
ŠENTILJ - The Slovenian and Austrian police conducted a joint border control exercise on the Austrian side of the Šentilj border crossing using unmanned aerial vehicles. Slovenian interior minister Aleš Hojs and his Austrian counterpart Karl Nehammer met on the occasion, underlining effective cooperation and discussing the Covid-19 situation.
BERLIN, Germany - Transparency International placed Slovenia among countries with limited enforcement of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention, which deals with bribery of foreign public officials. The Exporting Corruption 2020 Report says that "Slovenia continues to have an inadequate legal framework on anti-corruption, and questionable political commitment to implementing and improving it".
WEDNESDAY, 14 October
LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša announced additional restrictive measures to contain the spread of coronavirus, including remote learning from the sixth grade of primary school up as of next week, as well as an inter-regional movement ban, limited gatherings and mandatory masks outdoors in seven red-listed regions as of 15 October.
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia logged yet another coronavirus record with the daily tally hitting 745, bringing the total case count to well over 10,000. A record 5,287 tests were performed, with 14% of the cases returning positive, just slightly below 14.4% the day before.
LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša, his Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orban and Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman addressed a ceremony in the north-east of the country launching construction of a power line that will link the three countries. The EUR 150 million project has been almost two decades in the making, mainly due to lengthy siting procedures.
PRAGUE, Czech Republic - Coordination of measures to limit the spread of coronavirus topped the agenda as Foreign Minister Anže Logar held talks with his Czech counterpart Tomaš Petriček. The ministers agreed coordination at EU level should be more efficient and endorsed the common EU approach to the development of a vaccine.
VIENNA, Austria - Austria extended police control on its borders with Slovenia and Hungary by another six months, until 11 May 2021. Austria's Interior Minister Karl Nehammer listed migration pressure, safety concerns and Covid-19 as reasons for the move.
BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Commission called on Slovenia to invest and make reforms towards promoting renewable sources of energy and in support of energy efficiency and sustainable transport in its state of the energy union report. It said that Slovenia's plans in renewable energy lacked ambition.
CHISINAU, Moldova - The Slovenian men's football team beat Moldova 4:0 in the fourth round of play in Group 3 of League C of the UEFA Nations League. This was the third win in a row for Slovenia in the competition.
THURSDAY, 15 October
LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed the fifth corona legislative package, a fresh set of measures designed to help the country overcome the crisis caused by the pandemic. The principal measure of the EUR 420 million package is the extension of the furlough subsidy scheme until the end of the year.
LJUBLJANA - Jože Podgoršek was appointed agriculture minister in a 48:7 vote to succeed Aleksandra Pivec, who stepped down as minister and president of the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS).
BRUSSELS, Belgium - Prime Minister Janez Janša called for a united response of the EU in support of Cyprus and Greece following new provocations by Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean as he arrived for an EU summit. Although the topic is not on the agenda, he said he expected the EU to take a unified approach towards the development in the east of the Mediterranean.
BRATISLAVA, Slovakia - Foreign Minister Anže Logar and his Slovak counterpart Ivan Korčok called for better coordination of measures to contain the coronavirus pandemic at the EU level. They shared the view that coordination was vital not only to successfully contain the pandemic but also to restart the European economy.
ROME, Italy - Defence Minister Matej Tonin paid an official visit to Italy. Talks with his counterpart Lorenzo Guerini focused on defence cooperation, including in international missions. Joint efforts in preventing illegal migrations were also on the agenda.
LJUBLJANA - Five members of the parliamentary Intelligence and Security Service Oversight Commission (KNOVS) paid an unannounced visit to the national intelligence and security agency SOVA in relation to possible influence on SOVA in the case of an suspected Iranian money laundering scheme at NLB bank.
LJUBLJANA - A parliamentary inquiry into the procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE) before and during the coronavirus epidemic got off to a formal start chaired by Alenka Jeraj of the ruling Democrats (SDS). The inquiry was formally initiated by the National Assembly on 14 July at the request of the coalition, which moved faster than the four centre-left opposition parties, which had announced it first.
VELENJE - Home appliances maker Hisense Gorenje officially announced it would start producing TV sets at one of its former facilities in Velenje in January next year. The Chinese-owned company announced that the Hisense Europe Electronic TV factory will involve around 400 jobs in the first stage, 330 of which will be for production workers.
LJUBLJANA - After a surge in illegal migration in the summer months, figures have been declining since as the bad weather set in. Police figures show the number of cases until the end of September is down just over half a percent from the same period a year ago. Police handled 11,855 attempts to cross into the country illegally in the first nine months, which compares to 11,931 in the same period a year ago.
ŠOŠTANJ - Construction works on the first section of a major north-south expressway in eastern Slovenia dubbed the Third Development Axis started. The first portion is an expressway that is 200 metres long and forms part of the northern section of the Third Development Axis, which stretches from Slovenj Gradec in the north to the motorway exit Šentrupert.