Last Week in Slovenia: 3 - 9 June, 2022

By , 11 Jun 2022, 08:31 AM Politics
Last Week in Slovenia: 3 - 9 June, 2022

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

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 FRIDAY, 3 June
        BRIJUNI, Croatia - The presidents of Slovenia, Croatia and Austria urged accelerating EU accession talks with Western Balkan countries and condemned the war in Ukraine, which they believe cannot be resolved diplomatically at the moment. At their annual meeting in Croatia, they also discussed NATO enlargement and supported Croatia's entry into the eurozone and Schengen Area.
        LJUBLJANA - Dzmitry Hleizer, an opponent of the regime of Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko, is awaiting a decision on his potential extradition to Belarus after being detained in Slovenia on an international arrest warrant in late April. The Belarus diaspora says the warrant is politically-motivated.
        LJUBLJANA - The government replaced the supervisors at three state-owned electricity companies, ELES, Borzen and SODO, as well as at DRI, a consulting and engineering company specialised in infrastructure projects. The day earlier the cabinet named four new non-executive directors the Bank Assets Management Company, who are responsible for appointments of executive directors and the chairman.
        LJUBLJANA - The government appointed Maja Pak director of the Slovenian Tourism Board for a full five-year term. Pak stepped down as director in November 2021 due to disagreements with the then economy minister, Zdravko Počivalšek.
        POSTOJNA - National Assembly Speaker Urška Klakočar Zupančič visited the children from a Luhansk orphanage at their temporary home in the village of Slavina near Postojna. She promised to strive for their integration and for securing additional staff to help their Ukrainian guardians.
        LJUBLJANA - The Statistics Office reported that Slovenia's merchandise exports expanded by 28.2% year-on-year in April but were far outpaced by a 42.6% growth in imports, further widening the trade deficit.
        LJUBLJANA - The Employment Service registered 55,854 people as being out of a job in May, the lowest figure since 1990 and a quarter down from the year before.
        NOVO MESTO - Drug company Krka announced that the Romanian anti-corruption watchdog found no irregularities in connection to allegations from 2020 that Krka had been paying doctors in Romania kickbacks to prescribe its products.
        NOVA GORICA - Kaja Širok stepped down as the head of a public institution in charge of organising Nova Gorica's 2025 European Capital of Culture project to become a state secretary in charge of culture at the prime minister's office.

        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Prime Minister Robert Golob joined a call by French President Emanuel Macron for the formation of a new European centrist alliance that would go beyond the ALDE party, according to Politico.
        KOČEVSKI ROG - Victims of post-WWII summary executions were honoured with a ceremony in an area in south Slovenia dotted with mass graves. Bishop of Novo Mesto Andrej Saje and President Borut Pahor called for efforts towards reconciliation.
        LJUBLJANA - The newspaper Delo reported that the Bank Assets Management Company became the sole owner of Salomon, a company that forms a key part of a sprawling media empire controlled by Martin Odlazek and his family, after successfully suing to expropriate the only other shareholder.
        AALEN, Germany - Boxer Ema Kozin defeated Hungary's Szilvia Szabados to become the world champion in the women's light middleweight category in the WBF organisation. This is third weight category in which the 23-year-old Slovenian holds the world champion title.

MONDAY, 6 June
        LJUBLJANA - Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg visited Slovenia as the first senior foreign official after the new government took office for meetings with his counterpart Tanja Fajon, Prime Minister Robert Golob and President Borut Pahor. Slovenian officials urged Austria to end checks on its internal Schengen border with Slovenia, but Schallenberg said Austria did not see any alternative to the measure for now.
        LJUBLJANA - The Fiscal Council criticised the coalition agreement as being too vague, warning of a potential increase in expenditure that could outstrip that of revenue. It urged the government to specify the fiscal implications of the measures planned in the document.
        LJUBLJANA - The State Attorney's Office announced it had withdrawn suits against individuals to compensate the Interior Ministry for the costs of policing anti-government protests held in the past two years after the ministry under the new government withdrew its consent for the damages claims.
        SLOVENJ GRADEC - Journalist Vladimir Vodušek was acquitted of attempting to extort a business executive in 2012 in a retrial at the Slovenj Gradec District Court. In the original trial Vodušek was given a year and a half in prison in 2018, but the ruling was overturned by a higher court.
        LJUBLJANA - The death toll of the powerful explosion that ripped through the Melamin chemical plant in Kočevje, south Slovenia, on 12 May increased to seven after a second of the two severely injured workers died at UKC Ljubljana hospital.
        KOPER - The shareholders meeting of port operator Luka Koper endorsed a counter-proposal by Slovenian Sovereign Holding to pay out dividends of EUR 1.14 gross per share of EUR 15.96 million in total. The state and state owned-funds hold over 67% in the company.

        LJUBLJANA - Deputy Speaker of the Ukrainian Parliament Olena Kondratiuk thanked Slovenia for its support for her country as she addressed the press with Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon, who also promised support for Ukraine's EU accession efforts. Kondratiuk also met President Borut Pahor and Speaker Urška Klakočar Zupančič.
        LJUBLJANA - The Constitutional Court stayed parts of the new environment protection act dealing with extended producer responsibility pending its final decision on an application by Interseroh, the German-owned waste management company, and its associates who are worried about the damage the new system would do to their business.
        LJUBLJANA - Having conducted a mission to the country between 22 and 30 May, a team of international experts under the auspices of the International Atomic Energy Agency found Slovenia had a comprehensive and well-functioning radioactive waste and spent fuel management system, but there was still room for improvement.
        LJUBLJANA - The Commission for Human Rights at the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts (SAZU) submitted a proposal to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for the UN to establish an international court dealing with war crimes against children between 2000 and 2022.
        LJUBLJANA - Žiga Debeljak, a former CEO of retailer Mercator, was appointed chairman of the board of directors of the Bank Assets Management Company as the new board appointed by the government the week before held its inaugural session. He replaces Franci Matoz, the lawyer of former PM Janez Janša, who had stepped down.
        TRIESTE, Italy - Several hundred people gathered at St Ana's Cemetery for the funeral of Boris Pahor, the internationally-acclaimed Slovenian writer who died at his home in Trieste aged 108 on 30 May.
        LJUBLJANA - Latvian poet Amanda Aizpuriete was declared the winner of this year's International Vilenica Prize for Central European literature, to be presented at the conclusion of the 37th Vilenica International Literary Festival in September.
        LJUBLJANA - Ghanaian visual artist Ibrahim Mahama was appointed artistic director of the 35th Ljubljana Biennale of Graphic Arts, to take place between 15 September and 14 January, 2023.
        GORNJA RADGONA - A bust dedicated to Ivan Kramberger (1936-1992), a humanitarian, inventor and a candidate in the 1990 presidential election, was unveiled to mark the 30th anniversary of his assassination during his pre-election speech. A book and a documentary on him also marked the occasion.
        CLEVELAND, US - Joe Valencic, a well known promoter of Slovenian and polka events in the US, became the sixth American of Slovenian descent to be inducted to the Cleveland International Hall of Fame to join the ranks of Senator George Voinovich, journalist Dick Russ, jurists Vladimir Rus and Avgust Pust and Bishop Edvard Pevec.

        LJUBLJANA - The Court of Audit found major flaws in the way the Koper-Divača rail project had been prepared and run from 2015 until the end of June 2020, finding the government and the ministry in charge had been inefficient in preparing the basis for the construction and management of the project and only partly efficient in their oversight of the project.
        LJUBLJANA - A group of prominent academics and politicians, including former presidents Milan Kučan and Danilo Türk, urged the new government to "take a sensible stance on the war in Ukraine" that would lead to Ukraine and Russia engaging in "serious peace talks". They said "a new security architecture" would have to be built in Europe.
        LJUBLJANA - National Assembly Speaker Urška Klakočar Zupančič and her Polish counterpart Elzbieta Witek discussed Ukraine, relations between Slovenia and Poland, and future cooperation by video call. Klakočar Zupančič accepted Witek's invitation to join a group of women parliamentary speakers from EU members to focus on humanitarian aid and other mechanisms to help refugees.
        LJUBLJANA - Members of the Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) endorsed a merger with the Freedom Movement, the party of Prime Minister Robert Golob, in a near unanimous vote after the party failed to make the 4% threshold to enter parliament.
        LJUBLJANA - The Government Communication Office (UKOM), which has a new leadership following the change of government, announced it would no longer compile reports scrutinising the work of RTV Slovenija journalists and would finance the STA in line with the contract signed in early 2022 by the STA's director and UKOM's former head.
        PARIS, France - The OECD downgraded its economic forecast for Slovenia by 0.8 percentage points to 4.6% for this year and by 0.7 points to 2.5% for next year, partly due to the negative impact of the war in Ukraine.
        CELJE - Mirko Tuš, once one of Slovenia's wealthiest businessmen, and his wife Tanja Tuš pleaded guilty to abuse of office and money laundering charges in exchange for milder sentences over the transfer between 2011 and 2016 of the Tušmobil mobile telephony brand. The pair face suspended sentences plus fines of EUR 450,000 and EUR 90,000 respectively.

        LJUBLJANA - The government appointed Peter Grum acting director general of the Financial Administration (FURS). He succeeds Ivan Simič, who stepped down right after the Robert Golob government was sworn in. Grum served as FURS deputy director in 2014-20.
        LJUBLJANA - Pavel Car resigned as director of the National Museum a day after he had to cancel an exhibition of 160 works of art from a Slovenian private collection amid concerns that works by artists such as Picasso, Cezanne and Miro were forgeries.
        LJUBLJANA - After the new government made a promise to remove the fence from the border with Croatia, the Interior Ministry told the STA this was one of the priorities, with the removal expected by the end of the year.
        LJUBLJANA - The government tasked the ministries of justice and home affairs to draw up an analysis of the legal bases used in procedures against individuals for breaking Covid-19 containment measures by the end of August to see whether fines might have been unfair or unlawful. The former government's decision to sue protesters for the costs of policing their rallies were annulled.
        LJUBLJANA - The Infrastructure Ministry unveiled the draft of a bill that would require gas suppliers to secure storage in other EU countries equalling at least 15% of average annual gas volumes they sell in line with a recently agreed EU regulation.
        LJUBLJANA - The authorities announced they were looking into suspicions of forced labour and human trafficking following reports alleging modern-day slavery conditions at a fishpacking plant owned by the family of Boris Šuštar, a former state secretary who was convicted in the early 2000s for taking bribes. The companies concerned were banned from working with foreign workers.
        LJUBLJANA - Acting Police Commissioner Boštjan Lindav ordered an internal inquiry at the National Bureau of Investigation to clarify claims of alleged stalling of certain investigations, including into procurement of medical supplies during the epidemic.
        NEW YORK, US - It transpired Slovenia had formally nominated international law expert Vasilka Sancin for a new term on the UN Human Rights Committee past the deadline after the new government unblocked her bid. 17 candidates are vying for nine vacancies.
        OSLO, Norway - Slovenia pulled off a goalless draw with Norway in the third round of League B of the UEFA Nations League to earn their first point just days after being defeated by Serbia 1:4 in Belgrade and losing to Sweden at home 0:2.

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