Last Week in Slovenia: 31 July - 6 August, 2020

By , 08 Aug 2020, 12:15 PM Politics
Last Week in Slovenia: 31 July - 6 August, 2020

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

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FRIDAY, 31 July
        LJUBLJANA - Bulgaria, Romania, the Bahamas, India and five Spanish administrative units were added to Slovenia's red list of countries from which arrival entails a mandatory two-week quarantine due to coronavirus. Spain, Belgium, Australia, Morocco, Andorra and Canada were removed from the green list of safe countries, and downgraded to yellow.
        LJUBLJANA - The prime minister's office said a staffer at the office had tested positive for coronavirus. He has been on leave for a week and has not been in direct contact with PM Janez Janša.
        LJUBLJANA - Agriculture Minister Aleksandra Pivec found herself in the spotlight because of media reports that the Izola municipality paid for her hotel accommodation during her official trip to the seaside town in June with a hotel invoice suggesting she was there with her sons, a charge the minister denied.
        LJUBLJANA - Mladina reported a new asylum regime had been implemented since June at some police stations on the border with Croatia, which it said had no basis in legislation. It said the regime restricted the movement of asylum seekers and placed them in the centre for aliens in Postojna, where they lived in inhumane conditions. NGOs expressed concern, while the Interior Ministry and the police rejected the accusations.
        LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian state budget recorded a EUR 1.92 billion deficit in the first six months of the year, mostly on the account of a considerable drop in revenue related to a lower tax yield as the government introduced restrictive anti-epidemic measures, figures from the Finance Ministry showed.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's annual inflation rate ran at 0.3% in July despite a 0.1% dip of consumer prices in a month-on-month comparison. Measured with the harmonised index of consumer prices, an EU-wide gauge, Slovenia posted an annual deflation rate of 0.3% in July and prices fell by 0.2% in a month.

SUNDAY, 2 August
        VELENJE - Social democratic politician Bojan Kontič, who spent nearly a decade as mayor of Velenje and served as member both of the lower and upper chamber of parliament, died aged 59. Kontič served three stints as MP between 1996 and 2008, as served as Velenje mayor since 2010.

MONDAY, 3 August
        LJUBLJANA - The Association of Social Institutions left the government task force for Covid-19 after their demands regarding the treatment of infected residents of care homes off-site were not met. The association has long been warning that most care homes do not have the capacity to set up three separate zones in case of confirmed Covid-19 as envisaged by the current protocols.
        SALZBURG, Austria - Drago Jančar, arguably Slovenia's leading contemporary writer, formally received the Austrian State Prize for European Literature 2020. The jury said one of the big strengths of his literature was that it was "taking an individual to penetratingly render understandable the delusions of our history".
        LJUBLJANA - The treasury has extended an existing three-year bond by EUR 50 million following demand by an investor. The yield to maturity was -0.492%, the lowest on record and just 27 basis points over a comparable German bond. The issue was completed at the end of June.
        MURSKA SOBOTA - The European Roma Holocaust Memorial Day was marked, with keynote speaker Boštjan Žekš, an advisor to President Borut Pahor, saying he felt ashamed over the suffering of the Roma being almost forgotten. He also said that the Roma did not have it easy in modern-day Slovenia.
        KOPER - Fierce storms with winds exceeding 120 km/h hit western Slovenia. The coastal region was hit the hardest, with locals clearing debris, fallen trees and pumping water out of buildings late into the night. Storms raged over Primorska, Notranjska, central Slovenia and the Drava valley.
TUESDAY, 4 August
        LJUBLJANA - Thirteen public health institutions and a private concessionaire have received the much discussed Siriusmed R30 ventilators ordered through Geneplanet that had been supplied to Slovenia before the contract with the company was rescinded in May, an STA investigation showed. Although the Health Ministry said that they could be kept only if additional equipment is supplied to make them suitable for Covid-19 patients, only two hospitals received this equipment.
        LJUBLJANA - In the wake of Slovenia's announcement to sign a Joint Declaration on 5G Security with the US, China's Huawei said it was willing to discuss 5G technology security issues with the Slovenian government as well as sign a non-spying agreement with the country.
        LJUBLJANA - Tatjana Rojc, the ethnic Slovenian senator in Rome, said the Italian government planned to send an additional contingent of soldiers to the Friuli Venezia Giulia region to help monitor the border with Slovenia in the face of an increase in illegal migrations. The Slovenian Interior Ministry said the next day it was familiar with Italy's plans and that every additional measure aimed at preventing illegal migration was welcome.
        LJUBLJANA - New Slovenia - Christian Democrats (NSi) celebrated their 20th anniversary, but a major ceremony, to be attended by the head of the European People's Party, Donald Tusk, is scheduled for 4 September. NSi head Matej Tonin said the party should grow stronger to fortify the healthy and rational political centrum in Slovenia.
        LJUBLJANA - Alcohol consumption among young people in Slovenia declined in 2017/2018 but it remains high by international standards, the National Institute for Public Health (NIJZ) said, as it presented the results of international survey Health Behaviour in School-aged Children for Slovenia which showed that 71% of 15-year-olds and 86% of 17-year-olds have tried alcohol.

        BEIRUT, Lebanon/LJUBLJANA - Defence Minister Matej Tonin confirmed that all four members of the Slovenian Armed Forces serving in the UNIFIL and UNTSO missions in Lebanon were safe and well following a series of massive explosions in Beirut that claimed at least 100 lives. Tonin offered his "sincere condolences" to the victims' relatives.
        LJUBLJANA - The effects of a weakened economy caused by the Covid-19 pandemic have started to reflect with increasing intensity in Slovenia's banking sector, as the most recent data from the central bank showed the combined half-year profit of banks reaching just a third of the figure in the same period last year. Interest and non-interest revenue has been dropping, while the cost of impairments and provisions has increased.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's registered jobless total stood at 89,397 at the end of July, which is almost unchanged compared to June but due to unemployment growth in April and May the figure is 24.4% above that from July 2019, showed data released by the Employment Service.
        SOLKAN/LJUBLJANA - The drowning of a ten-year-old at a popular bathing spot in the Soča river last week has raised a series of questions, even more so after the parents accused the social services and the police of making the family tragedy even more unbearable. The accident happened on 28 July, when the boy, holidaying with his grandparents and two siblings, was swimming at a bathing spot in the Soča near Solkan, when he was swept downriver by a sudden surge in the water level.
THURSDAY, 6 August
        LJUBLJANA - The US State Department and the Slovenian Foreign Ministry confirmed US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will visit Slovenia on 13 August to sign a Joint Declaration on 5G Security as part of a tour of four European countries. He will also meet top officials.
        LJUBLJANA/KOPER - A criminal complaint against a member of the Slovenian Armed Forces who allegedly stopped an Italian-Slovenian near the countries' border at gunpoint in May has been thrown out by the Koper district prosecution office for lack of evidence that the soldier had committed the alleged criminal act.
        LJUBLJANA - Delivering a video message for the international community as part of the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, President Borut Pahor urged much more cooperation and shared, genuine efforts to strengthen trust.
        LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian subsidiary of the Italian banking group Unicredit saw its consolidated profit plunge to EUR 1 million in the first half of 2020 compared to EUR 16 million in the same period last year.
        LJUBLJANA - The number of new coronavirus infections remained steady throughout the week, dropping during the weekend, when fewer tests are performed. 15 out of 771 tests for Sars-CoV-2 conducted on Wednesday came back positive. One person died, taking the death toll to 125. The number of active cases stood at 190. There have been 2,223 confirmed Covid-19 cases in Slovenia so far.
        MURSKA SOBOTA - Police reported the seizure of 2,650 cannabis plants with an estimated street value of around EUR 2 million on an island on the river Mura, in what is the biggest cannabis bust in Pomurje region in recent years. Three middle-aged men were arrested and face up to ten years in prison.

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