Last Week in Slovenia: 1 - 7 July, 2022

By , 09 Jul 2022, 09:58 AM Politics
Last Week in Slovenia: 1 - 7 July, 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, 1 July
        LJUBLJANA - The government announced that the state will purchase through the Agency for Commodity Reserves the entire wheat crop to provide a "clear buyer and stable price" to farmers. It will also provide more than EUR 22 million in aid to farmers to ease the impact of growing prices of inputs.
        LJUBLJANA - The government adopted a bill to reform management and oversight at RTV Slovenija to reduce what is perceived as political meddling with the public broadcaster. The changes to the RTV Slovenija act from 2005 aim to abolish the programme council and the board to introduce a single RTV Slovenija council made up mostly of staff and civil society representatives appointed not just by parliament but by various stakeholders.
        BERLIN, Germany - Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon met her German counterpart Annalena Baerbock, with the pair signing a joint action plan on three-year strategic cooperation and announcing further strengthening of cooperation between Slovenia and Germany, also relating to Ukraine.
        LJUBLJANA - Jana Ahčin, a former director of the Financial Administration (FURS), was appointed Court of Audit president by the National Assembly. She will take over for nine years as the court's first woman president. Milan M. Cvikl, a former Slovenian member of the European Court of Auditors, was named vice-governor of the central bank.
        LJUBLJANA - The Justice Ministry announced it had drafted a bill dedicated to protecting whistleblowers, which would now go into public consultation until 10 August. The bill provides protection to whistleblowers reporting irregularities in their place of work.
        LJUBLJANA - Andrej Matvoz stayed on at the helm of the Competition Protection Agency as the government dismissed Zlatko Ratej as the acting director on the day he was to take over from Matvoz, and appointed the latter as the acting director.
        LJUBLJANA - Some 86% or a combined total of EUR 468.4 million worth of the 2020 and 2021 tourist vouchers was cashed in, shows data by the Financial Administration (FURS), and EUR 75.27 million was left unredeemed by Thursday, the last day of voucher validity.

        SLOVENSKA BISTRICA - President Borut Pahor decorated a former Territorial Defence unit based in Slovenjska Bistrica with the Order of Freedom for having taken over a weapons facility from the Yugoslav National Army during Slovenia's 1991 Independence War.
        KIDRIČEVO - The 2x400 kilovolt Cirkovce-Pince transmission line, the first cross-border link between Slovenia's and Hungary's national grids, became operational after almost two years of construction.
        IG - Marko Balažic was elected the leader of the non-parliamentary People's Party (SLS) at an election congress in what was practically a unanimous vote. He said that the SLS must once again become a strong moderate party and that Slovenia needed a liberal state and conservative politics.
        LAUSANNE, Switzerland - Climber Janja Garnbret continued her winning streak, taking first place in women's lead event in Villars, Switzerland, earning her 50th world cup podium and 34th first place, a new record for the sport.

SUNDAY, 3 July
        STOCKHOLM, Sweden - Slovenia finished the first round of qualifying for the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup second in their group having scraped past Sweden 84:81 after a nail-biting finish. NBA stars Luka Dončić and Goran Dragić scored 51 points between them as Dragić likely bid farewell to the national team as its top overall scorer in history.

MONDAY, 4 July
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor and his Kosovo counterpart Vjosa Osmani-Sadriu said a peaceful and secure future for the Western Balkans lay in the context of European and Euro-Atlantic integration. The pair said Slovenia and Kosovo shared the same views on the Western Balkans.
        LJUBLJANA - Former Foreign Minister Anže Logar announced his intention to run for president in the autumn election. He has the support of his party, the opposition Democrats (SDS), but will formally enter the race with the support of vote signatures.
        LJUBLJANA - Pay talks between the government and public sector trade unions got off to a rocky start as the government backtracked on its promise to raise the value of individual pay brackets, offering instead one-off bonuses. Unions said they were outraged and demanded the negotiators get a fresh mandate from the government.
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - The OECD recommends to Slovenia in its latest report to focus on high inflation in the short term and then accelerate reforms that would increase productivity, make growth more sustainable and address population ageing. Absence of reforms is to put additional pressure on pensions, healthcare and the labour market. The government welcomed the recommendations.
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - Slovenia's central bank Governor Boštjan Vasle said that to fight high inflation, the European Central Bank (ECB) will increase its key interest rate by 0.25 base points in July and by another 0.5 points in September.
        LJUBLJANA - Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani-Sadriu presented the Slovenian Armed Forces with the highest presidential military decoration of Kosovo, Presidential Military Medal.
        LJUBLJANA - In what is the latest verdict in the biggest healthcare corruption case in Slovenia yet, the Ljubljana District Court handed down a three year prison sentence to Nataša Faganeli, the head of the pharmacy at the Valdoltra orthopaedic hospital, who was found guilty of demanding and accepting kickbacks.

        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor hosted a working lunch for Albania's outgoing President Ilir Meta, with the pair underlining the importance of EU enlargement to the Western Balkans and Pahor warning against an idea of a more vague political community which would not see the region integrated in the EU.
        LJUBLJANA - The People's Coalition, an ad-hoc group opposing strict coronavirus measures, including vaccination, filed to parliament a petition supported with more than the required 2,500 signatures for a referendum on the changes to the infectious diseases act, which were passed on 29 June.
        LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Labour Committee called on the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities to hire more labour inspectors by the end of next year as it met upon coalition MPs' request in the wake of reports revealing grave labour and hygiene conditions in fish-processing companies Marinblu and Selea.
        LJUBLJANA - The number of registered jobless continued to decline in June reaching a new post-1990 low. At the end of the month, 53,860 unemployed persons were registered at the Employment Service, down 3.6% on May and 24.2% fewer year-on-year.
        LJUBLJANA - State budget revenue in the first half of the year totalled EUR 6.4 billion and expenditure EUR 6.5 billion for a deficit of EUR 128 million, preliminary data from the Finance Ministry showed. The figure compares to a deficit of EUR 1.965 billion in the same period last year.
        LJUBLJANA - The Bank Assets Management Company (BAMC) halted the procedure to sell an almost 13% share in chemical company Cinkarna Celje although it received two binding bids. It said the sale would not be appropriate under the current conditions and circumstances.

        ZAGREB - Slovenian FM Tanja Fajon and her Croatian counterpart Gordan Grlić Radman confirmed their countries' readiness to address open issues through mutual dialogue. Fajon said that the border issue will be addressed in the same spirit, starting at an informal level and with easier matters.
        LITIJA - The National Council formally tabled devolution legislation under which Slovenia would be divided into 15 provinces with a special status for the capital Ljubljana. It is unclear whether there is a two-thirds majority in the National Assembly to secure passage of the bills.
        LJUBLJANA - State Prosecutor General Drago Šketa highlighted a severe shortage of prosecutors in Slovenia as the Justice Committee discussed the reports of the state prosecutors' work in 2021. The prosecution is almost 70 prosecutors short at the moment.
        LJUBLJANA - The news portal Necenzurirano reported that three Hungarian owners had sold their stake in, the company running TV channel NovaTV24, in a move that has already been cleared by the Ministry of Culture. The trio sold their 45% stake to Boris Tomašič, director of NovaTV24 and a long-term member of the Democrats (SDS).
        LJUBLJANA - Health Minister Danijel Bešič Loredan announced that he had appointed a national task force to coordinate hospital beds and hospital admission of Covid patients. The group will produce clear guidance on how to approach patients infected with coronavirus and patients with Covid symptoms.
        LJUBLJANA - The Ljubljana District Court has stopped minor offence proceedings over mask-wearing rule violations at a charity event organized by the Slovenian Olympic Committee in September 2020. The court ruled there was no grounds for the mask mandate.

        LJUBLJANA - Uroš Urbanija, the former director of the Government Communication Office, was endorsed by the RTV Slovenija programme council for appointment as TV Slovenija director, the TV arm of the Slovenian public broadcaster. RTV Slovenija director general Andrej Grah Whatmough is expected to appoint him next week. TV Slovenija journalists' unions see him as the most unsuitable candidate.
        LJUBLJANA - A special new advisory body of the Interior Ministry for migration policy held its first meeting with Interior Minister Tatjana Bobnar telling the attendees that the body had been tasked with drafting a new policy, based on solidarity, integration and the respect for human rights.
        MEDVODE - Kočevje Mayor Vladimir Prebilič confirmed he will run for president in the autumn election as an independent with the support of 45 mayors. He disagrees with the solely ceremonial role of the president and believes the president must help shape political life in the country.
        LJUBLJANA - The Fiscal Council said the state of public finances was steadily improving due to fast revenue growth, but warned that public spending was increasing despite the discontinuation of Covid stimulus, mostly due to measures to mitigate rising costs of living.
        NOVO MESTO - Drug maker Krka posted sales of EUR 857.4 million in the first half of the year, an increase of 6% on the year before and a new six-month record, according to preliminary estimates. Net profit was up by a third to EUR 236.2 million. Krka AGM endorsed a record dividend of EUR 5.63 gross per share, up 12.6% from last year. The shareholders will thus get a total of EUR 175 million.
        METZ, France - Tadej Pogačar won the sixth stage of the Tour de France to claim the yellow jersey of the overall leader in what is the 7th stage win at the world's most prestigious road cycling race for the 23-year-old defending champion.


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