Last Week in Slovenia: 25 - 31 October, 2019

By , 01 Nov 2019, 11:34 AM Politics

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

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FRIDAY, 25 October
        LJUBLJANA - The Tomaž Berločnik-led management of energy group Petrol resigned "by mutual agreement" late on 24 October, capping a day of speculation about its fate amidst what media labelled a politically-motivated struggle to control one of Slovenia's largest companies.
        LJUBLJANA - The Constitutional Court imposed a temporary injunction on the legislation governing parliamentary inquiry, which means the National Assembly's inquiry into prosecution of former Maribor Mayor Franc Kangler, a member of the upper chamber of parliament, will not be able to investigate judges for now.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium/LJUBLJANA - Defence Minister Karl Erjavec stressed the government would continue investing in the Slovenian Armed Forces, rejecting calls by the Left to withdraw soldiers from Afghanistan and cancel the planned purchase of Valuk six-wheeled armoured personnel carriers. He also signed a memorandum to set up regional command for special operations with his counterparts from Croatia, Hungary and Slovakia.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's likely new European Commissioner Janez Lenarčič, who has worked for the Foreign Ministry since 1992, handed in his resignation last week out of protest against a legal requirement which he believes deters Slovenian diplomats from taking jobs in international institutions.
        LJUBLJANA - Rudi Pavšič and Marjan Sturm, the long-serving retired leaders of umbrella minority organisations representing ethnic Slovenians in Italy and Austria, were honoured with the Medal of Merit for their decades-long efforts to promote minority rights and inter-cultural dialogue.
        LJUBLJANA - A code of conduct advising members of supervisory boards on how to act in case of political pressure was formed to tackle the issue in wake of a recent staffing pressure scandal at the Official Gazette.
        OSLO, Norway - The Slovenian Supreme Court received this year's Crystal Scales of Justice Prize, an award given out by the EU Council and the European Commission for innovative and effective judicial practices in the EU.

SATURDAY, 26 October
        KOPER - Primorske Novice reported that the Koper Higher Court ordered a retrial in a case involving plot purchases for a logistics hub in the town of Beltinci planned by port operator Luka Koper.
        CERKNO/VRHNIKA - A memorial plaque was unveiled at the site of a secret weapons depot of the Slovenian Territorial Defence force in 1990 and 1991 as part of celebrations of Sovereignty Day, a public holiday observed on 25 October to remember the day in 1991 when the last Yugoslav People's Army soldiers left Slovenia.

SUNDAY, 27 October
        LJUBLJANA - Ethiopian runner Kelkile Gezahegn Woldaregay won the men's marathon race in Ljubljana, clocking in at 2:07:29, the second fastest time in the history of the Ljubljana course. The women's race was won by Bornes Chepkirui Kitur from Kenya, who set a new women's record with a finish time of 2:21:26.
        MARIBOR - No Title Yet (Še ni naslova), directed by Tomi Janežič and produced by the Slovensko mladinsko gledališče theatre, won the award for best play as the curtain fell on the 54th Maribor Theatre Festival.
        SÖLDEN, Austria - Slovenian alpine skier Žan Kranjec picked up where he left off at the end of last season, finishing third in the season opening giant slalom World Cup race in Austria's Sölden.

MONDAY, 28 October
        BUDAPEST, Hungary - PM Marjan Šarec and his Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orban called for stronger economic cooperation in what was their first official meeting. Also commenting on the Koper rail track project, Orban said Hungary was still willing to consider participating "if the situation in Slovenia changes".
        LJUBLJANA - The National Council unanimously vetoed the government-sponsored bill designed to provide legal recourse for holders of subordinated bank liabilities wiped out on instruction of the EU in the 2013 bank bailout. It also vetoed the raise of minimum net hourly rate for student work.
        PRAGUE, Czech Republic - The Czech investment group PPF, owned by Czech billionaire Petr Kellner, signed an agreement on the takeover of the US-owned CME fund, which also owns Slovenia's leading television network group Pro Plus.
        DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - Foreign Minister Miro Cerar paid a two-day working visit to the United Arab Emirates. He visited the site of the Expo 2020, meeting the Expo Director General Reem Al Hashimiand, and met the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar bin Mohammed Gargash.
        LJUBLJANA - The Constitutional Court said it suspended, pending a final decision, the implementation of a criminal procedure act provision allowing house searches without the presence of the resident or their representative.
        LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Bank Association said that the pending new consumer lending restrictions would have wide ramifications if the state failed to provide alternative financing sources after Banka Slovenije imposes effective on 1 November restrictions to consumer and housing loans. PM Šarec also criticised the planned measure on 29 October.
        LJUBLJANA - The ZSSS trade union confederation said it reported about labour exploitation occurring within Slovenia's system of temporarily posting workers to other EU countries and to the European Labour Authority (ELA).
        MARIBOR - A couple of unexploded aerial bombs, relics from the Second World War, were unearthed in two locations in Maribor over the weekend and were expected to be defused later in the week. This will prompt the evacuation of thousands of people in the vicinity of the defusing sites.
        NEW YORK, US - Slovenian mission to the UN co-hosted with the Council of Europe (CoE) and UNESCO an event discussing the challenges of artificial intelligence (AI) at the UN headquarters.

TUESDAY, 29 October
        LJUBLJANA - MPs voted 34:18 to confirm amendments scraping a bonus for social benefit recipients who work. The majority of MPs agreed that the bonus, introduced in 2012 as a corrective welfare measure and work incentive, in many cases discouraged people from taking a full-time job.
        VELENJE/LJUBLJANA - The household appliances maker Gorenje will be split into two companies as part of group integration a year after it was taken over by Chinese conglomerate Hisense, with the management moving to Ljubljana as a separate company and providing corporate support services for all Hisense companies in Europe.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly unanimously endorsed legislative changes making most public transportation free of charge for pensioners and persons with disabilities, among others, as of 1 July 2020.
        LJUBLJANA - Nine Slovenian meat processing companies recalled their products after the Food Safety Administration warned on 25 October that meat from an Austrian abattoir that failed to meet the required standards might have entered food supply chain.
        LJUBLJANA - Men outnumbered women in Slovenia in the first half of 2019 for the first time in the 160-year long history of population statistics recording in the present-day territory of Slovenia. In the total number of residents of Slovenia, which includes foreigners, recorded on 1 July there were 1,045,835 men and 1,043,475 women.
        LJUBLJANA - The number of road and urban public transport passengers dropped in 2018 on the previous year, while the rail passenger figure stayed mostly level. Passenger traffic in the Slovenian port and air passenger transport saw an increase last year, with the number of ship passengers going up the most - by as much as 23%.

WEDNESDAY, 30 October
        LJUBLJANA - Consumer prices in Slovenia grew at an annual rate of 1.4% in October, down from 1.7% in September, while monthly inflation was 0.1%. Annual inflation is driven by higher prices of services, which were up 3.2% to contribute 1 p. p. to the rise. Pushing annual inflation up by 0.4 p. p. were higher prices of housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels, also as a result of prices of refuse collection increasing by 18.2%, the Statistics Office said.
        LJUBLJANA - A total of 5.2 million tourists were recorded in Slovenia in the first nine months, generating 13.2 million overnight stays, with the numbers going up 5.7% and 1.9%, respectively.
        LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Commission for the Oversight of Intelligence and Security Services (KNOVS) visited the SOVA national intelligence and security agency in the morning in connection to a current development in Slovenia's economy. The inquiry was allegedly prompted by the management board overhaul at energy company Petrol.
        LJUBLJANA - A potential partner of a new flag carrier which might be set up to fill the void left by Adria Airways's bankruptcy is a regional airline, Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek told the weekly Mladina in an interview. Pressed, he would not reveal who the potential partner was.
        LJUBLJANA - Geza Filo, the outgoing head of Slovenia's Evangelical Lutheran Church, told the STA that the spirit and teachings of the Reformation are still topical 500 years after the movement to reform the Roman Catholic Church shook Europe. At the national ceremony marking the holiday, Speaker Dejan Židan stressed in his keynote the importance of love for one's native tongue.

THURSDAY, 31 October
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia observed reformation Day, a bank holiday. Luther Bishop Geza Filo delivered a mass that was attended by top representatives of the state and other religious communities.
        MARIBOR - The first of two WWII-era bombs discovered at construction sites in Maribor was successfully diffused in a two-hour operation. Some 80 people in the 300-metre radius had to be evacuated.

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