Last Week in Slovenia: 15 - 21 November, 2019

By , 22 Nov 2019, 18:07 PM Politics
Last Week in Slovenia: 15 - 21 November, 2019

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

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FRIDAY, 15 November
        LJUBLJANA - Supreme State Prosecutor Zvonko Fišer reported opposition SDS MP Žan Mahnič for defamation over the MP's statement that likened the Constitutional Court to mafia after the court imposed another temporary injunction on the Mahnič-chaired parliamentary probe into potentially politically-motivated prosecution of former Maribor Mayor Franc Kangler.
        LJUBLJANA - The Economic and Social Council (ESS) signed an agreement changing the rules of operations so as to allow Slovenia's main industrial relations forum to discuss not only government-sponsored bills but any draft legislation. The move comes after a recent protest of employers against parliament passing opposition-sponsored labour-related bills without prior consultation with the ESS.
        LJUBLJANA - Energy group Petrol posted a net profit of EUR 80.1 million in the first three quarters of the year, up 16% from the same period in 2018, as sales rose by 10% to EUR 4.19 billion. The interim management said business was running smoothly and in line with the strategy despite the recent change of management.

SATURDAY, 16 November
        LJUBLJANA - Catalan Foreign Minister Alfred Bosch called on Slovenian officials to support dialogue between Barcelona and Madrid as he took part in a debate organised by the youth wing of the coalition Social Democrats. The youth wing's leadership resigned just days before, one of the reasons reportedly being the invitation extended to Bosch.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia failed to qualify for the UEFA Euro 2020 despite defeating Latvia 1:0 at Stožice Arena, as Austria defeated North Macedonia to claim the second place in Group G.

SUNDAY, 17 November
        MARIBOR - The opposition New Slovenia - Christian Democrats (NSi) met for a congress to confirm its move to the centre-ground by endorsing the party's overhauled platform after it announced the shift in August. Leader Matej Tonin argued the NSi was a centrist party in terms of values and principles.

MONDAY, 18 November
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia and Taiwan do not have diplomatic ties, but this does not mean they cannot strengthen cooperation, Vanessa Shih of the Taipei Economic and Culture Office in Austria, told the STA. But she expressed regret at having only limited access to Slovenian authorities, convinced the Chinese Embassy was the likely reason for the situation.
        LJUBLJANA - PM Marjan Šarec said Slovenia was no exception when it came to immigrants from third countries, with some other parts of the EU faced with the same situation. Šarec answered an opposition MP's question about an alleged major rise in third-country immigrants in Slovenia and a consequent rise in welfare claimed by them. He said the majority of third-country immigrants came to Slovenia from Bosnia to work.
        LJUBLJANA - The Higher Court in Ljubljana annulled the simplified debt restructuring of Electa Holding, the parent company of the Electa group owned by the sons of Ljubljana Mayor Zoran Janković. The procedure had caused a public stir, seen as a way for the Janković family to have the majority of its debt written off. The District Court will now have to decide on the matter again.
        DOL PRI LJUBLJANI - National grid operator ELES launched a high-tech diagnostics and analytics centre designed to provide a systematic approach to energy infrastructure management. The primary goals include the planing, construction, expansion, modification and maintenance of energy infrastructure.
        LJUBLJANA - The Ljubljana city council endorsed a zoning decree allowing the government to build a much-anticipated men's prison on the outskirts of Ljubljana. The new facility will accommodate almost 390 inmates and replace the one in Povšetova Street. It is estimated at some EUR 68 million and its construction could start in 2021.

TUESDAY, 19 November
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - The foreign ministers of Slovenia, Austrian, Czechia, Italy, Poland and Slovakia urged the European Commission to define by January 2020 concrete proposals on how to "enhance the effectiveness of the accession process as an instrument to support reform and integration efforts" in the Western Balkans. They would like the EU to endorse accession talks with North Macedonia and Albania in March.
        MOSCOW, Russia - Timur Rafailovic Eyvazov was appointed Russia's new ambassador to Slovenia, the press agency Tass reported. It is not yet clear when Eyvazov will take over from Ambassador Doku Zavgayev, who has served in Ljubljana since 2009.
        LJUBLJANA - The Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB) announced plans to nominate Angelika Mlinar, an ethnic Slovenian politician from Austria, as minister for cohesion policy after Iztok Purič has recently resigned. However, her bid may be jeopardised if Austria does not allow her to hold dual citizenship.
        MARIBOR - The Slovenian and Hungarian automotive clusters signed an agreement to develop cutting-edge technologies which could make them leaders in the transition to e-mobility. The University of Maribor is already involved in the development of Hungary's test track for conventional and autonomous cars.
        LJUBLJANA - NLB bank announced it had completed the issue of EUR 120 million worth of subordinate bonds, with demand far surpassing. The papers from the first bond issue after the bank was privatised a year ago were listed on the Luxembourg stock market on the day of the issue.
        LJUBLJANA - The business newspaper Finance reported the Ljubljana-based energy equipment maker Kolektor Etra had acquired the Polish company Weltech, a manufacturer of power tanks and traction tanks, for EUR 7 million.
        NOVA GORICA - Denis Koršič, 41, was given a six-month suspended sentence by the Nova Gorica District Court for an attack by car on a TV crew in Nova Gorica in August 2018. The Slovenian Journalists' Association was shocked at what it said was a rather mild sentence.
        LJUBLJANA - A study conducted by Deloitte into the audiovisual industry in Slovenia shows the sector has positive effects on the economy and creates new jobs, while incentives from the state are far from sufficient. The sector's multiplication effect is 1.8, meaning 80 jobs in various sectors for every 100 people working in AV.

WEDNESDAY, 20 November
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Foreign Minister Miro Cerar endorsed Germany's proposal to form a group of experts to work out proposals to reform NATO, while he called French President Emmanuel Macron's recent statement that NATO is "brain death" unproductive.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium/LJUBLJANA - The European Commission said Slovenia's draft budgetary plans for 2020 were at risk of non-compliance with EU budget rules. The Finance Ministry responded by saying the view was a result of the Commission having based its calculations on different projections of GDP growth and the output gap than Slovenia.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Review Commission annulled a public tender to procure EUR 1.1 billion worth of medicines for Slovenian public pharmacies in four years because it did not allow bidding based on the lowest price. The Chamber of Pharmacies, which published the tender in July, now fears a shortage of medicines.
        LJUBLJANA - Tourism holding Sava boss Gregor Rovanšek told the STA the company sold off its non-strategic assets, consolidated strategic investments and reduced debt as part of a court-mandated financial restructuring to become Slovenia's largest tourism group and expecting to post record results this year.
        LJUBLJANA - Jurist Alenka Šelih and mathematician Josip Globevnik were honoured for their contributions to science as the national Zois Prizes for lifetime achievements in science and research were handed out.

THURSDAY, 21 November
        PARIS, France - The OECD downgraded Slovenia's GDP growth forecast for 2019 from 3.4% to 3.1% after already downgrading it slightly in May. Forecast for 2020 and 2021 indicate similar growth of 3.0% and 3.1%, respectively.
        LJUBLJANA - The government postponed the adoption of legislative changes meant to simplify the prosecution of paramilitary militias, but a senior aide to the prime minister indicated that all actions through which such groups manifest themselves as a type of a military structure trying to imitate the execution of police or army powers and tasks would be penalised.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly endorsed legislation that curtails pay rises in the public sector but also brings an unscheduled increase in pensions in December 2020 assuming GDP growth exceeds 2.5%. The increase will be a flat 6.5 euro for all pensioners, rather than a percentage increase.
        ZAGREB, Croatia - The leader of the opposition Democrats (SDS), Janez Janša, urged the EU to start accession talks with North Macedonia and to admit Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia to the Schengen zone, as he addressed a congress of the European People's Party. He warned against double standards and called for promises to be met.
        NOVO MESTO - Pharmaceutical group Krka generated EUR 1.09 billion in sales revenue in the first nine months of the year, up 12% from the same period last year, while net profit increased by 42% to EUR 171.9 million. Sales went up in all regions and for all groups of products and services.

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