Last Week in Slovenia: 20 - 26 September, 2019

By , 28 Sep 2019, 09:32 AM Politics
Last Week in Slovenia: 20 - 26 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, 20 September
        LJUBLJANA - Iztok Purič stepped down as the head of the Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy, citing personal reasons.
        LJUBLJANA - The Civil Aviation Agency grounded two Adria Airways Bombardier CRJ900 planes, after lessors terminated lease contracts for the two planes due to payment default.
        LJUBLJANA - Media reported that the national motorway company DARS selected for further talks three out of the five bidders vying to build the second tube of the Karavanke tunnel: Turkish builder Cengiz, a consortium of Kolektor CGP, Riko and Turkey's Yapi Merkezi, and Implenia Österreich, a consortium including Implenia Švica and CGP Novo Mesto.
        LJUBLJANA - Culture Minister Zoran Poznič welcomed the government's decision to endorse a "culture euro" bill which envisages additional funds for culture to promote its development through investment. The price tag of the new bill for 2021-2027 is EUR 122.6 million.
        METLIKA/KOSTEL - Thirteen municipalities along the border with Croatia joined forces in urging the government to start renewing local roads that have been damaged from heavy use by the police patrolling the border and to start cleaning the border fence.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's consumer confidence deteriorated for the second month running in September to a level last seen in late 2016. Nevertheless, the index remains eight percentage points above the long-term average.
        BLED - The Pergam confederation of trade unions marked the 150th anniversary of the formation of Slovenia's first trade union at a general assembly in Bled that saw Prime Minister Marjan Šarec stress the importance of social dialogue.

SATURDAY, 21 September
        LJUBLJANA - Modern Centre Party (SMC) members unanimously elected Zdravko Počivalšek the SMC's new leader at a congress. Taking over from party founder Miro Cerar, Počivalšek called for economic stability, a fair welfare state, a liberal approach and sustainability.
        MARIBOR - The SNG Maribor was honoured with the Golden Order of Merit for its outstanding contribution to performing arts and Slovenian cultural identity as the theatre, bringing together drama, opera and ballet, marked its centenary at a high-profile ceremony.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's information and communications technology (ICT) sector generated EUR 4.4 billion in revenue last year, 3.9% more than in 2017. Growth was slower than the year before, when revenue increased by 6.4% year on year, according to data from the Statistics Office.

SUNDAY, 22 September
        LJUBLJANA - Banks will have to adapt to changes in the business environment, Slovenian central bank Governor Boštjan Vasle said as he commented on a recent set of measures taken by the ECB to revive inflation. Without the ECB measures, inflation would have been even lower and the economic cooling even stronger, he told Radio Slovenija.
        LJUBLJANA - Stories from the Chestnut Woods, a debut feature film by up-and-coming Gregor Božič, won eleven of a total of 23 Vesna awards given out at the 22nd Festival of Slovenian Film, plus the audience award.

MONDAY, 23 September
        NEW YORK, US - Prime Minister Marjan Šarec started a five-day visit to New York where he will address the general debate of the 74th session of the UN General Assembly on Friday. He started the trip by attending the UN Climate Summit and a World Economic Forum (WEF) debate on sustainable development.
        NEW YORK, US - Former President Danilo Türk told the STA that US foreign policy was being undermined due to President Donald Trump's unpredictable and poorly thought through decisions.
        LJUBLJANA - Interior Minister Boštjan Poklukar expects Slovenia to see a rise in the number of people crossing the border illegally before the winter, but not to the extent seen in 2015 and 2016, he said during questions time in parliament.
        LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Marjan Šarec, his party and the government all saw their popularity ratings fall in the latest poll commissioned by the private broadcaster POP TV, with voter support for the government falling below 50% for the first time this year.
        LJUBLJANA - Roman Kirn, a seasoned diplomat who until recently served as the foreign policy adviser to PM Marjan Šarec, was critical in an interview for Reporter of Šarec's recent visit to Russia, in particular because it had not included a meeting with President Vladimir Putin.
        KOPER - Logistics company Intereuropa said that Pošta Slovenije, the state-owned postal operator, plans to acquire a 72% stake in Intereuropa at EUR 1.45 per share for a total of EUR 28.75 million.
        LJUBLJANA - Sales of new housing properties have dropped to the lowest level on record in the second quarter of 2019, according to data from the Statistics Office. Meanwhile, more than 1,360 second-hand houses were sold this second quarter, the most since the second quarter of 2017.
        VIENNA, Austria - Klagenfurt-based Slovenian-Austrian author Maja Haderlap is to receive an Austrian Art Prize which comes with EUR 15,000.

TUESDAY, 24 September
        LJUBLJANA - Carrier Adria Airways suspended virtually all its flights due to a shortage of cash, in what is the biggest upset in Slovenian civil aviation in decades. On 25 September it was given a week to submit to the Civil Aviation Agency a credible financial restructuring plan or lose its operational licence. Meanwhile, a bill was drafted that would allow the government to subsidise selected routes to and from Ljubljana Airport.
        NEW YORK, US - PM Marjan Šarec addressed the first summit dedicated to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at the UN General Assembly, highlighting Slovenia's ambitions pursuit of the agenda's goals. Šarec also attended the opening of the general debate of the 74th General Assembly session.
        NEW YORK, US - Foreign Minister Miro Cerar took part in a EU-hosted high level meeting on Syria, held on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session, condemning attacks on civilians. In his address, Cerar said that the solution to the Syria conflict could only be a political one.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's business sentiment deteriorated in September to 4.8 percentage points, down 1.2 percentage point on the month before and down 3.4% year-on-year, data from the Statistics Office showed.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Infrastructure Ministry State Secretary Bojan Kumer rejected the recent allegation by several NGOs that Slovenia is planning new subsidies for fossil fuels, arguing that such subsidies will be phased out.

WEDNESDAY, 25 September
        NEW YORK, US/LJUBLJANA - Commenting on reports about Croatia getting a go-ahead to enter the Schengen area in October, Foreign Minister Miro Cerar said it was in Slovenia's interest to see Croatia joining, but only if the neighbour showed respect for all EU democratic and legal standards. Indicating a potential veto over Croatia's ignoring of the border arbitration decision, PM Marjan Šarec added on Thursday that should the EU Commission act politically, so would Slovenia.
        LJUBLJANA - The Left tabled a legislative motion that would in effect abolish supplementary health insurance and replace it with a progressive levy, having failed to find common ground with the coalition parties despite weeks of talks.
        LJUBLJANA - The newspaper Dnevnik reported that Justice Minister Andreja Katič had reported Maribor Labour Court president Stanko Omerzu to the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption for having employed at the court a daughter of a witness who testified in his favour in a case in which he stands accused of stalking his ex-lover.
        MARIBOR - The teachers' trade union SVIZ told University of Maribor Chancellor Zdravko Kačič to consider resigning over contentious payments at the university. The union blames Kačič for failing to immediately present all the facts to the public and notify the police of potential irregularities related to EUR 50 million being paid through works contracts.
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - The Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS) conferred awards for breakthrough innovations at the 17th Innovation Day. Pharma company Lek won two top awards, for a new procedure for the purification of biopharmaceuticals and a new generation of probiotics, while its rival, Krka, was honoured for an innovative generic drug.
        LJUBLJANA - General government receipts from taxes and social contributions increased for the fifth year running last year, by 7.2% to EUR 17.3 billion, according to the Statistics Office. Tax revenue rose by 7.4% to EUR 10.1 billion and the take from social contributions increased by 6.8% to EUR 7.2 billion in 2018.

THURSDAY, 26 September
        NEW YORK, US - PM Marjan Šarec has expressed regret about the developments at Adria Airways, sympathising with the passengers and the employees' families, but also noted that the air carrier is no longer state-owned and that the outlook for its rescue is not good. Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek on the other hand said potential solutions were still being examined to rescue the company and preserve Slovenia's air links with the rest of the world.
        NEW YORK, US - PM Marjan Šarec underlined Slovenia's support for multilateralism and the need to honour human rights and agreements as he met UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres in New York.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed the Resolution on National Security Strategy with 46 votes in favour and 29 against after the opposition SDS and the Left succeeded in throwing out an expansion of powers of the intelligence service to fight home-grown terrorism.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia defeated Poland 3:1 in the semifinal of the European Volleyball Championship to qualify for the final in Paris.
        LJUBLJANA - Retailer Mercator saw group sales revenue increase by 0.4% to EUR 1.06 billion in the first half of the year. Group net profit rose by 58.4% to EUR 2.4 million. EBITDA increased by almost 73% to EUR 83 million and operating profit by over 76% to EUR 29.9 million.
        LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Foreign Ministry paid its tribute to late French President Jacques Chirac by describing him as an important ally of Slovenia in its accession to the EU and NATO.
        PODGORICA, Montenegro - Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec and his Montenegrin counterpart Predrag Bošković sought ways to further deepened already close defence cooperation. The Slovenian Defence Ministry announced defence attaches would be sent by both countries to Podgorica and Ljubljana respectively.
        LJUBLJANA - Bank Asset Management Company (BAMC) generated EUR 17.9 million in net profit in the first half of the year, which was 12% less than in the first half of 2018. The company attributed the decrease to a shrunken portfolio.
        LJUBLJANA - The parliament passed a legislative proposal dealing with the indexation of transfers to individuals and households under which such transfers worth around EUR 1.25 billion will be indexed to inflation once a year. The opposition Democrats (SDS) and the Left were the only parties to oppose the amendment.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia gained two spots on the IMD World Digital Competitiveness ranking over 2018, placing 32nd this year.

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