Last Week in Slovenia: 13 - 19 September, 2019

By , 21 Sep 2019, 09:08 AM Politics
Last Week in Slovenia: 13 - 19 September, 2019 ProWritingAid

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

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This summary was prepared by the STA:

FRIDAY, 13 September
        LJUBLJANA - Interior Minister Boštjan Poklukar proposed that Slovenia and Austria form joint police patrols to police the Slovenian-Austrian border, as he hosted his Austrian counterpart Wolfgang Peschorn. Saying it was a good proposal, Peschorn said the Austrian government would examine it to see if it could fully contain the migration pressure.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenian central bank governor Boštjan Vasle urged authorities to employ a diverse set of measures since monetary policy is not enough in the current complex situation. Risks to the global economy are growing, threatening to further curb growth and further reduce inflation, he said, pointing to trade wars, China's cooling and Brexit.
        LJUBLJANA - The Civil Aviation Agency received the annual report for 2018 from Adria Airways, which the struggling German-owned airline had to submit as a condition to keep its operating licence. Civil Aviation Agency director Rok Marolt told the STA that the decision on whether the carrier would keep the licence would probably be taken by the end of October.
        CELJE - Foreign Minister Miro Cerar announced an expansion of the commercial diplomacy service and Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek measures to help reduce businesses' dependence on EU markets, as they addressed Day of Slovenian Diplomacy at the International Trade Fair in Celje.
        SEŽANA - Ivan Šopov of North Macedonia received the Central European Initiative prize as part of the Vilenica International Literary Festival. He impressed the jury with the draft for his debut novel, in which he intends to explore the topics of individual responsibility and collective madness.

SATURDAY, 14 September
        LJUBLJANA - The two-day meeting of the NATO Military Committee concluded with a commitment that the alliance will continue to carry out the Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan in its present form, as confirmed by the Chairman of the Military Committee, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach. He said that NATO remained committed to Afghanistan and that it would continue to carry out the mission, as part of which NATO member states are training soldiers of the Afghan army.
        AJDOVŠČINA - More than 4,000 people gathered to celebrate the day 72 years ago when the Primorska region became part of Slovenia. The ceremony, held on the eve of Primorska Reunification Day, was addressed by PM Marjan Šarec, who said that the people of Primorska were the greatest example of how a "glorious victory, a victory of good over evil eventually gets born out of the biggest sorrow and suffering."
        LJUBLJANA - The opposition New Slovenia (NSi) called for a new national consensus in a bid to digitalise Slovenia. NSi leader Matej Tonin called on President Borut Pahor to assume the role of a coordinator on the path to the consensus, which Pahor later said he was willing to do.

SUNDAY, 15 September
        MADRID, Spain - Cycling sensation Primož Roglič (Team Jumbo-Visma) became the first Slovenian to win a Grand Tour race, as he climbed the podium of the Vuelta. His 20-year-old compatriot, Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates), completed the three-week race in third place to claim the white jersey of the best young rider.

MONDAY, 16 September
        LJUBLJANA - Damir Črnčec, a senior aide to PM Marjan Šarec, became the target of scrutiny after the news portal Požareport revealed he employed the head of Slovenia's Westinghouse office as head of his private institute, raising concern about possible influence in fledging plans to construct a second reactor at the Krško Nuclear Power Plant.
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor and his Indian counterpart Ram Nath Kovind reaffirmed their commitment to boost cooperation and friendship between the countries during the first visit by an Indian president to Slovenia. They stressed the importance of global partnership and multilateralism.
        LJUBLJANA - After several failed attempts to implement the late-2014 Constitutional Court ruling mandating full financing of private primary schools, the Education Ministry said it would try to break the impasse by inviting various stakeholders, including all parliamentary parties, to form a task force to build a broad consensus on the issue. Parties were reserved about the plan.
        ZGORNJE JEZERSKO - Mountaineer and extreme skier Davo Karničar, 56, died in a logging accident in his native Jezersko area. Karničar made history on several occasions while skiing down the world's highest peaks; in 2000, he skied non-stop down Mount Everest as the first person ever.

TUESDAY, 17 September
        LJUBLJANA - A report by the Court of Audit found that the government had been unsuccessful in providing access to long-term care services to all those who need them. Only 9% of the 395,127 eligible received care in 2016 and the state had no data on nearly 90% of potential claimants. The government said it was working on long-term care legislation to address these issues.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenian parliamentary Speaker Dejan Židan hosted his Cypriot counterpart Demetris Syllouris, with the pair announcing a bilateral initiative for cooperation of small countries. The initiative would aim to support the rule of law in the EU and "the end of double morals" in Europe, according to Syllouris.
        BELGRADE, Serbia - The Serbian newspaper Danas reported that NLB, Slovenia's leading bank, submitted a non-binding bid for a 83.2% stake in Komercijalna Banka, the second largest bank in Serbia, offering EUR 450 million, the highest of three bids.
        LJUBLJANA - The government and municipalities failed to agree on the amount of local government funding for the coming two years, so Finance Minister Andrej Bertoncelj set the initially proposed amount of EUR 589.11 per capita in 2020 and EUR 588.30 in 2021, an average of local government expenses over the past four years. The municipalities had wanted a higher amount.
        LJUBLJANA - Adria Airways signed a new collective bargaining agreement with pilots, a move the airline says that "calms down the labour situation at the company" and "allows management to remain focused on stability of operations and provision of services". The Trade Union of Commercial Pilots said they were happy with the terms of the deal.
        LENDAVA/MURSKA SOBOTA - Lendava and Murska Sobota remembered local Jewish families that perished in the Holocaust, as Stolpersteine, granite cubes bearing the names of the victims, were installed in various locations around the two north-eastern cities in high-profile commemorations.

WEDNESDAY, 18 September
        LJUBLJANA - Almost 200 organisations and more than 8,000 individuals, including environmental NGOs, trade unions, associations representing pensioners, youth and municipalities, made an urgent appeal to the government to recognise climate change as a national crisis and start dealing with it in a comprehensive fashion now. Trade unions called for a new economic model focusing on green jobs.
        LJUBLJANA - Jorge Domecq, chief executive of the European Defence Agency (EDA), paid a visit for talks with foreign and defence ministry officials. He praised Slovenia's cooperation with the EDA but called for increased participation of Slovenian industry in EDA programmes.
        LJUBLJANA - In a bid to end a conundrum about the financing of private primary schools, the coalition Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB) announced it would start collecting signatures to call a referendum as the issue remains unresolved almost five years after the top court decided the state must fund them 100%, not just 85% as is the case now.
        BERLIN, Germany - Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek met his German and Portuguese counterparts to discuss preparations for the EU presidency that the three countries will consecutively hold starting in the second half of 2020. Among the possible priorities, Počivalšek, Portugal's Pedro Siza Vieira and Germany's Peter Altmaier highlighted strengthening the EU's internal market.
        KOPER - The Amber Rail Freight Corridor, which connects industrial centres and inter-modal terminals in Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Slovenia, was formally launched. It connects the Adriatic Sea with the Poland-Belarus border, and represents an alternative to the transport routes between the north and south of Europe.
        LJUBLJANA - Police confirmed they were looking into three cases of simplified debt restructuring that would allow companies owned by Ljubljana Mayor Zoran Janković's sons to write off about EUR 29 million in debt. The Notary Chamber is checking the work of notary Miro Košak in the cases of debt restructuring of Electa Inženiring, Electa Naložbe and Electa Holding.

THURSDAY, 19 September
        LJUBLJANA - The government adopted the draft budgets for 2020 and 2021 after ministries reduced the planned expenditure for next year by a combined EUR 100 million following a downgrade of Slovenia's GDP growth forecast to 2.8% for 2019 and 3% for 2020. Budget users will still have a record EUR 10.35 billion at their disposal in 2020, and almost all of them will get more money than this year.
        BERN, Switzerland - President Borut Pahor met his Swiss counterpart Ueli Maurer on second day of his official visit to Switzerland with the pair calling for deepening what they said to be already good cooperation between the two countries. Maurer offered digitalisation and new technologies as two areas where cooperation could be enhanced. They also discussed topical EU matters.
        LJUBLJANA - The Court of Audit issued a rebuke of consecutive Slovenian governments after determining that strategic planning regarding the exploitation of nuclear energy at the Krško Nuclear Power Plant (NEK) had left the NEK owner in limbo about whether a new reactor at NEK would be built or not. Despite the shortcomings, the court only issued a set of recommendations to several stakeholders.
        LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Privileges and Credentials Commission decided that a parliamentary inquiry into prosecutions of former Maribor Mayor Franc Kangler would not be initiated until after the Constitutional Court weighed in on the matter at the behest of the prosecution and judiciary.
        LJUBLJANA - The Ljubljana mosque got an operating permit. It is expected to open for prayers after the New Year; however, the official inauguration ceremony is planned for the end of May 2020.
        MUNICH, Germany - The Slovenian men's national basketball team received a special invitation to play in one of the four qualifying tournaments for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, to be played next June.


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