Last Week in Slovenia: 8 - 14 May, 2020

By , 16 May 2020, 12:05 PM Politics
Last Week in Slovenia: 8 - 14 May, 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, 8 May
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's Covid-19 death toll rose to a hundred on what was the second day in a row that only one new infection was detected in more than a thousand tests conducted that day.
        LJUBLJANA - Zvonko Černač, the minister responsible for cohesion policy, announced that EUR 280 million in EU funds would be redistributed to address pressing needs in healthcare, the economy, the labour market, development and education.
        LJUBLJANA/MARIBOR/KOPER - Several thousand protesters riding their bicycles in the centre of Ljubljana protested against measures the government has imposed during the coronavirus epidemic. While the ban on public assembly remains in place, cycling is allowed.
        LJUBLJANA - FM Anže Logar held a video conference with his Spanish counterpart Arancha Gonzalez Laya. They confirmed mutual interest in further strengthening the friendly ties, also in the light of Slovenia's upcoming EU presidency and the coronavirus pandemic.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - The EU Commission said it would soon deliver 30,000 medical face masks to Slovenia as part of a first shipment of such protective gear to help protect healthcare workers fighting Covid-19 on the front lines. On 14. May, PM Janša said the masks did not have the requisite certification.

SATURDAY, 9 May
        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša joined the leaders of other EU countries and the bloc's three key institutions for a joint video message on Europe Day, expressing belief that the EU should emerge more integrated, efficient and united from the Covid-19 crisis.
        LJUBLJANA - FM Anže Logar commented on Slovenian-Croatian relations in an interview with the newspaper Delo, airing the view that too much had been said but too little done about the relations. He indicated the coronavirus epidemic reset bilateral relations and suggested talks could resume after Croatia's elections.
        MARIBOR - Russian Ambassador Timur Rafailovic Eyvazov laid a wreath at the site of a former Nazi prison camp in memory of several thousand Russian prisoners of war who died there.
        LJUBLJANA - All medical and dental services were allowed to relaunch under restrictive conditions, in yet another easing of quarantine restrictions. Most but not all dentists resumed work on 11 May.

SUNDAY, 10 May
        LJUBLJANA, ZAGREB, Croatia - Slovenians with real estate or boats in Croatia were given a go-ahead to enter the country again without having to go into quarantine for two weeks, after about two months of restrictions imposed to stem the spread of coronavirus.

MONDAY, 11 May
        LJUBLJANA - Public transport started running again after nearly two months. Most operators provided limited service initially and only a portion of seats was available to secure observance of physical distancing recommendations.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly raised the ceiling for budget spending by EUR 2 billion due to the coronavirus epidemic. The changes were passed to pave the way for a supplementary budget.
        LJUBLJANA - FM Anže Logar highlighted long procedures, failure to implement Constitutional Court rulings, biased judges and ineffective prosecution of bank crime in a letter supplementing an interministerial report on the rule of law the government sent to the EU Commission. Justice Minister Lilijana Kozlović said she did not deem Logar's comment necessary and the Supreme Court expressed surprise. The opposition demanded a parliamentary debate on the matter.
        LJUBLJANA - FM Anže Logar and his Polish counterpart Jacek Czaputowicz agreed in a videoconference that bilateral as well as regional and panregional cooperation between the two countries should be further strengthened.
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - Discussing current issues, the four coalition parties announced that a third package of measures to mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 crisis would start to be drafted next week. The measures would be aimed at tourism, and would cut red tape.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's industrial output in March, half of which was affected by measures to contain the coronavirus epidemic, was lowest since July 2017. Compared to February, industrial output in Slovenia was down by 10.7%, the largest monthly drop since November 2008.

TUESDAY, 12 May
        LJUBLJANA - The ban on international air passenger transport with Slovenia was lifted after almost two months of restrictions due to Covid-19, but air traffic was not expected to resume before June.
        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša made the case for confrontation with the media in an essay entitled War with the Media, in which he argued that keeping silent while media waged war against individuals was not an option and had damaging effects on society. His comments sparked protests by the opposition and media organisations.
        LJUBLJANA - FM Anže Logar held a videoconference with his Dutch counterpart Stef Blok, discussing coordination of easing of anti-Covid-19 measures, Slovenia's upcoming EU presidency and strengthening economic cooperation.
        LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Environment Committee approved changes to the nature conservation act that significantly limit the ability of NGOs to take part in administrative procedures representing public interest. Several hundred people protested the move.

WEDNESDAY, 13 May
        LJUBLJANA - The government said that Slovenia would see a major easing of quarantine restrictions on 18 May, when all shops and small hotels will reopen, as well as a number of other services. Schools were cleared to open as well and it was announced most sports would be relaunched on 23 May.
        LONDON, UK - The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) said it expected Slovenia's economy to contract by 5.5% this year due to the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, before rebounding to a 5% growth in 2021.
        GRAZ/KLAGENFURT, Austria - Austria reported it intended to open four more checkpoints on the border with Slovenia as it continued to ease measures adopted due to the coronavirus epidemic. The move will be coordinated with Slovenia.
        
THURSDAY, 14 May
        LJUBLJANA - The government formally called an end to the coronavirus epidemic based on the currently favourable epidemiological situation. The majority of public health measures remain in place and testing, contract tracing, isolation, quarantine for high-risk contacts, observance of caught etiquette and physical distancing would remain the key measures to fight the disease.
        LJUBLJANA - The Court of Audit found a series of violations at Banka Slovenije between 2017 in 2018, releasing an adverse opinion. The report showed the central bank flouted regulations on hirings, employments, severance packages and public procurement. Governor Boštjan Vasle responded that the bank had addressed roughly half of the findings in the report.
        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša had separate conversations with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, focussing on responses to the Covid-19 pandemic.
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor talked with his Georgian counterpart Salome Zourabichvili over the phone, discussing the novel coronavirus pandemic. They agreed that a great level of caution will be needed in the future so as to avoid more breakouts.
        LJUBLJANA - NLB generated EUR 18.3 million in net profit at group level in the first quarter, a 68% year-on-year decrease that Slovenia's largest bank said was the result of credit impairments and provisions formed due to the coronavirus epidemic.
        LJUBLJANA - Telecoms group Telekom Slovenije saw its net profit rise by 12% year-on-year to EUR 11.3 million in the first quarter of the year, as sales dropped by 2% to EUR 168.6 million. EBITDA was flat at EUR 56.4 million.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's leading insurance group, Triglav, reported EUR 26.4 million in pre-tax profit for the first quarter, a 12% year-on-year decrease that it primarily ascribes to several disaster events.
        LJUBLJANA/KLAGENFURT, Austria/TRIESTE, Italy - Minister for Slovenians Abroad Helena Jaklitsch and representatives of Slovenian business in Austria and Italy discussed the need to nurture cross-border cooperation and the economy in the border regions.

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