Last Week in Slovenia: 3 - 9 April, 2020

By , 10 Apr 2020, 13:32 PM Politics
Last Week in Slovenia: 3 - 9 April, 2020 wordcloud.com

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

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FRIDAY, 3 April
        LJUBLJANA - The government started discussing guidelines for a second fiscal stimulus package. It will focus on correcting any flaws in the first package, worth EUR 3 billion, and measures to boost the economy's liquidity.
        LJUBLJANA - The Defence Ministry announced that the rotations of contingents of the Slovenian Armed Forces in international operations and missions planned in the next three months would not be carried out due to the coronavirus pandemic. The contingents which are currently abroad will need to extend their service for three months.
        LJUBLJANA - The government restricted the usage of drugs containing chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine or azithromycin to make sure enough of those substances are available to patients who need them.
        LJUBLJANA - Florist shops and nurseries reopened, with the government explaining that spring is a peak selling time for these businesses.
        DOBROVNIK - Agriculture Minister Aleksandra Pivec hailed a decision by orchids grower Ocean Orchids to also start growing vegetables as a case of rapid adaptation. She announced government measures to facilitate this.
        LJUBLJANA - The chair of the parliamentary Foreign Policy Committee, Matjaž Nemec, expressed surprise because Slovenia failed to join a group of EU countries that have expressed concern about the risk of violations of the rule of law by measures to curb the spread of coronavirus. On Monday, Justice Minister Lilijana Kozlovič expressed support for the statement.
        SKOPJE, Macedonia - Slovenia donated to North Macedonia protective equipment worth EUR 110,000 to help the country fight the novel coronavirus.
        LJUBLJANA - Individuals and businesses donated over EUR 58,800 as they responded to the Finance Ministry's call to raise funds for Covid-19 relief. The donations went into the "budgetary reserve" and the government will report to parliament on the use on a monthly basis.
        LJUBLJANA - The coronavirus crisis started to take a toll on the unemployment situation in Slovenia and what had been a favourable trend until recently was reversed. The number of people registered as unemployed grew by 0.5% to 77,855 in March compared to February.
        LJUBLJANA - Thirty members of the Slovenian chapter of PEN International called on the Slovenian authorities to respect all citizens' rights guaranteed by law and constitution as measures to contain the coronavirus epidemic are being introduced.

SATURDAY, 4 April
        LJUBLJANA - All persons arriving in Slovenia from abroad now face a 14-day quarantine. They will be quarantined at home if possible and if not, they will be placed at facilities.
        LJUBLJANA - The bonuses for vital public sector staff envisaged by the government mega stimulus bill will be fully covered by the state, Public Administration Minister Boštjan Koritnik said.
        LJUBLJANA - Police were checking compliance with movement restrictions imposed due to the coronavirus across the country, detecting no major violations.
        LJUBLJANA/KOPER - Due to the coronavirus epidemic, Ljubljana airport recorded a 20% drop in the amount of cargo transported in March. This was mostly the cargo transported in passenger planes, the airport operator Fraport Slovenija said.

SUNDAY, 5 April
        LJUBLJANA - Coronavirus death toll in Slovenia rose to 30 as infections topped 1,000.
        LJUBLJANA - Government spokesman Jelko Kacin announced that stringent lockdown restrictions introduced to fight the coronavirus epidemic would remain in place at least two to four more weeks.
        LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Janez Janša rebuffed critics who have accused the government of sidelining public health professionals. He said the government had listened to a broader circle of experts beyond the domestic National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ).

MONDAY, 6 April
        LJUBLJANA - The government said it was preparing measures to enable some industries to relaunch operations immediately after the Easter holidays if the current trend in the number of persons diagnosed with Covid-19 continues.
        LJUBLJANA - The Agency for Commodity Reserves delivered 66 mechanical ventilators to hospitals, as well as 1.83 million three-layer face masks and over 401,000 FFP2 masks the week before.
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor and US Ambassador to Slovenia Lynda Blanchard met to mark the Slovenian-American Friendship and Alliance Day.
        LJUBLJANA - The Commission for Justice and Peace of the Slovenian Bishops' Conference recalled the first free multi-party elections in Slovenia 30 years ago likening the situation at the time to the coronavirus crisis in which the bishops see "our civic duty, responsibility" put to test again.
        NOVO MESTO/BEGUNJE/ŽIRI - Several Slovenian companies, including Adria Mobil, Alpina and Elan, announced they would shortly relaunch production after suspending or scaling it down amid the coronavirus epidemic.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenian agriculture organisations raised concern about "huge" damage to business due to the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic, urging the government to take a series of measures, including curbs on meat imports and increased purchase of produce for national commodity reserves.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenian lawyer and UEFA president Aleksander Čeferin told sport newspaper EkipaSN in an interview he believed Slovenian authorities should express a bit more optimistic view of the situation as the country is fighting the coronavirus epidemic.
        LJUBLJANA - An OECD report found Slovenia to be one of the most transparent OECD countries in the field of public procurement, yet it recommended it to open up its public procurement procedures to more experimentation and innovative methods.
        KRANJ - A dystopian play by Tjaša Mislej about four workers working and living in a giant warehouse won this year's Slavko Grum Prize for best new Slovenian play.
        HOLMEC - The Holmec border crossing was partly reopened after Austria closed it as part of restrictions to contain the spread of coronavirus.

TUESDAY, 7 April
        LJUBLJANA - More than five years after deciding the state must provide equal funding for public and private primary schools, the Constitutional Court specified that this applies only to the mandatory part of school curricula at private schools but not to non-mandatory curricula, such as morning and afternoon care, or remedial tutoring.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly voted with the needed two-thirds majority in favour of changes to the rules of procedure that allow it to hold sessions and vote remotely in exceptional circumstances such as the coronavirus epidemic or natural disaster.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed legislative changes that will shorten the period for laws, which cannot be challenged in referenda, to take effect. The changes are expected to speed up the implementation of laws designed to alleviate consequences of the Covid-19 epidemic by 8 days.
        LJUBLJANA - The business newspaper Finance reported, referring to Bloomberg, that the Slovenian state had borrowed another EUR 2.25 billion by carrying out a new 10-year bond issue and expanding the amounts of the previous two bond issues.
        LJUBLJANA - The Fiscal Council endorsed the measures taken by the government to contain the coronavirus epidemic and mitigate its consequences. For the most part the measures are in agreement with recommendations by international organisations and comparable in scope to measures taken by other countries. However, in the future the measures must be more targeted, simple and limited in duration.
        LJUBLJANA - Administered fuel prices in Slovenia dropped to eleven-year lows despite the government increasing excise duties the day before. Regular and diesel sold at service stations outside the motorway network dropped to euro per litre. The last time regular cost less than a euro was in April 2009 and diesel in May 2009.
        MARIBOR - Pošta Slovenije generated EUR 262.7 million in revenue last year, EUR 12 million more than the year before. While failing to disclose the profit figure, the company said it was substantially below projections. The main reason for the lower-than-expected profitability is a pay deal the company had struck with trade unions.

WEDNESDAY, 8 April
        LJUBLJANA - Hospital data indicated the novel coronavirus epidemic is stabilising, with hospitalisations and intensive care cases flat. A total of 108 persons were in hospital, of whom 34 in intensive care. So far 128 persons have been discharged from hospital.
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor discussed efforts to overcome the coronavirus pandemic with his Italian counterpart Sergio Mattarella. The presidents underlined the importance of solidarity and cooperation among nations, and expressed regret at the EU's inability to respond earlier and more effectively. They expressed support for the measures adopted by the governments of their respective countries.
        LJUBLJANA - Medical Chamber head Zdenka Čebašek-Travnik urged the government to use all medical staff, including private doctors and dentists, to restart the country's healthcare when it begins to gradually exit the coronavirus crisis.
        LJUBLJANA - The central bank suspended for a year the payout of dividends by banks and savings banks. The measure is aimed at securing sufficient capital so that the system could better sustain potential losses and be able to supply the economy and individuals with loans.
        LJUBLJANA/STRASBOURG, France - Responding to criticism coming from the Council of Europe over pressure on the media in Slovenia, the government argued the situation was a result of media having "their origin in the former communist regime". The dispatch was criticised the next day by the Journalists' Association and the opposition, while coalition partners distanced themselves from it.
        LJUBLJANA - Vojko Urbas was appointed acting director of the Criminal Police Department and took over from his predecessor Boštjan Lindav. He was appointed by acting Police Commissioner Anton Travner, who has led the force since the Janez Janša government was appointed in mid-March.
        LJUBLJANA - The top leaders of major religious groups in Slovenia called on believers to stay home, pray and peruse religious texts as they addressed the daily government coronavirus press briefing.
        LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Roma warned about tenacious discrimination and their communities struggling in the face of the coronavirus crisis as they observed International Roma Day.

THURSDAY, 9 April
        LJUBLJANA - The government's coronavirus spokesperson Jelko Kacin rejected interpretations Slovenia had decided to freeze membership payments to the World Health Organisation given that PM Janez Janša said everybody would need to follow the example of the US in taking this step.
        LJUBLJANA - Unofficial data from the Employment Service showed the registered unemployment total rising by 4,922 in the first eight days of April, jumping by 1,030 on 8 April alone.
        LJUBLJANA - The Defence Ministry said that Slovenia will ask for international assistance via NATO's Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre in securing transport for protective gear and other supplies to ensure there is enough equipment to battle the coronavirus epidemic.
        LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Janez Janša exchanged information on the current coronavirus situation with Friuli Venezia Giulia President Massimiliano Fedriga via videoconference.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's trade in goods continued to grow in February, the month before Slovenia introduced strict lockdown measures amid the coronavirus epidemic. Exports grew by 11.7% and imports by 5.9% over February 2019, data by the Statistics Office showed.
        NOVO MESTO - The supervisory and management boards of Krka proposed the shareholders of the drug maker be paid dividends of EUR 4.25 gross per share. Not only is the proposed payout almost a third higher than in 2019, Krka is actually one of few listed companies whose shareholders may get dividends this year.
        LJUBLJANA - A group of five Slovenian MEPs led by Tanja Fajon (S&D/SD) called on the government to join EU countries helping and taking in unaccompanied refugee children stranded on Greek islands.
        LJUBLJANA - The government decided to allow non-urgent health services to resume under certain conditions after these have been suspended in the efforts to contain the coronavirus epidemic in the country.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenians are increasingly optimistic regarding the situation around the coronavirus epidemic, showed the latest survey by Valicon, as a vast majority of respondents believes that things are turning for the better.

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