Last Week in Slovenia: 9 - 15 October, 2020

By , 17 Oct 2020, 14:00 PM Politics
Last Week in Slovenia: 9 - 15 October, 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, 9 October
        LJUBLJANA - The National Security Council fully endorsed a proposal by the police to activate a provision in the defence act which would give soldiers police powers in patrolling the border to contain illegal migration. PM Janez Janša said the situation on the border with Croatia was becoming critical again and urged the opposition to provide the necessary votes for a two-thirds majority needed to activate the provision.
        LJUBLJANA - Out of a record 4,362 coronavirus tests conducted in Slovenia, a total of 380 came back positive, a 8.7% positivity rate. On what was a fourth day in a row that the daily case count exceeded 300, hospitalisations reached a new peak and continued growing throughout the week.
        LJUBLJANA - Police stepped up the IDing of protesters at the 25th anti-government rally over violations of the decree limiting public assembly during the coronavirus epidemic, and several protesters were removed from the site. The protesters labelled the police action "repression and a disgrace".
        LJUBLJANA - The Constitutional Court struck down provisions of a 2013 law that impose a 70% tax on income that individuals have been found to have failed to report. The court also declared that tax reassessment cannot be made for cases prior to 2009.
        MARIBOR - Peter Boštjančič, a Maribor-based actor known for his memorable roles in the theatre and on film, was declared the winner of this year's Borštnik Ring, Slovenia's top accolade for lifetime achievement in theatre acting. Boštjančič, 68, has been a member of the Drama SNG Maribor theatre ensemble for over 20 years, after spending 17 years with the SLG Celje theatre.
        LJUBLJANA - Whistleblower Ivan Gale, who has been accusing government representatives of meddling in the procurement of medical and personal protective equipment when the coronavirus first reached Slovenia in the spring, said on Facebook he had lost his job at the Agency for Commodity Reserves.

SATURDAY, 10 October
        KLAGENFURT, Austria - Austrian and Slovenian presidents attended a ceremony marking the centenary of the Carinthian plebiscite together for the very first time with Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen apologising to Carinthian Slovenians for the injustices and delays in the implementation of their constitutional rights.
        LJUBLJANA - The opposition Social Democrats (SD) elected Tanja Fajon, an MEP and the party's interim head so far, its new leader at an online congress. A total of 276 delegates of the party voted for Fajon, the first woman to be at the helm of the SD, whereas 107 were in favour of her challenger MP Jani Prednik.
        LJUBLJANA - A total of 2,956 tests for the novel coronavirus were performed, resulting in a record 411 new daily infections. The share of new cases in the number of tests reached 13.9%.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's Ambassador to Croatia Vojislav Šuc told the STA in an interview that the coronavirus crisis effected a turn for the better in Slovenia's relations with Croatia. The past months have also shown there is a synergy between the governments, as they have build mutual trust by focusing on what they have in common, he said.

SUNDAY, 11 October
        LJUBLJANA - The government decided to tighten requirements for arrivals as many countries around Europe continue to post record daily increases in coronavirus numbers. As of 12 October, only four countries will remain on its green list, which means no quarantine is required - Australia, New Zealand, Serbia and Uruguay.
        LJUBLJANA - A total of 169 people tested positive for coronavirus from 1,404 tests and two more Covid-19 patients died. Despite the infections being lower than in the previous days, it was the highest increase for a Sunday and the share of positive tests remained high, at 12%.
        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša condemned the defacing of a monument in the courtyard of the government of the Austrian state of Carinthia in Klagenfurt during Saturday's ceremony to mark the 100th anniversary of the Carinthian plebiscite. Janša said on Twitter that the defacing of the monument to Carinthian unity was detrimental to the Slovenian compatriots in Carinthia and Slovenia's reputation in the world. President Borut Pahor expressed sadness over the incident.
        LJUBLJANA - The 23rd Festival of Slovenian Film closed with an award ceremony, with the award for best feature going to Martin Turk's youth film Don't Forget to Breathe. The main festival prize was not conferred.

MONDAY, 12 October
        LJUBLJANA - A total of 397 people tested positive for the new coronavirus after 3,308 tests were performed, with the positivity rate at 12%. Four persons died of Covid-19.
        LJUBLJANA - The central bank decided it will consult a group of legal experts to find a solution ensuring the legal protection of the holders of subordinated bonds who were wiped out during the 2013 bank bailout. It has also asked for a constitutional review of provisions allowing it to be audited by the Court of Audit.
        LJUBLJANA - Petra Grah Lazar was appointed acting head of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the third new leader of the specialised police unit for white-collar crime since May. The appointment was made by acting Police Commissioner Andrej Jurič a week after her predecessor Uroš Lepoša stepped down citing personal reasons. Grah Lazar most recently served as a financial consulting manager at Deloitte Svetovanje.
        LJUBLJANA - The recently established Slovenian-Chinese business council at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS) expressed concern in a public letter over the government's alleged plans to lable Chinese company Huawei a high-risk supplier in the coming weeks.
TUESDAY, 13 October
        LJUBLJANA - The number of new coronavirus infections almost doubled to 707, a new record by far, which comes on 4,902 tests conducted, a new high as well, as the positivity rate hit a record 14.4%.
        LJUBLJANA - A meeting of top representatives of all three branches of power saw Prime Minster Janez Janša defending criticism of the judiciary by arguing that respect first needed to be earned. President Borut Pahor urged respectful, responsible and dignified communication. The meeting was prompted by Supreme Court president Damijan Florjančič, who expressed the wish a suitable response is secured to inappropriate commentaries and attacks on the judiciary.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia issued EUR 1 billion-worth of 30-year bonds. Unofficially, the interest rate was slightly under 0.5%, while the yield also stands at around 0.5%. According to unofficial sources quoted by Bloomberg the interest rate for the issue is 50 basis points above the 30-year mid-swap rate, which stands at -0.005%.
        ŠENTILJ - The Slovenian and Austrian police conducted a joint border control exercise on the Austrian side of the Šentilj border crossing using unmanned aerial vehicles. Slovenian interior minister Aleš Hojs and his Austrian counterpart Karl Nehammer met on the occasion, underlining effective cooperation and discussing the Covid-19 situation.
        BERLIN, Germany - Transparency International placed Slovenia among countries with limited enforcement of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention, which deals with bribery of foreign public officials. The Exporting Corruption 2020 Report says that "Slovenia continues to have an inadequate legal framework on anti-corruption, and questionable political commitment to implementing and improving it".

WEDNESDAY, 14 October
        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša announced additional restrictive measures to contain the spread of coronavirus, including remote learning from the sixth grade of primary school up as of next week, as well as an inter-regional movement ban, limited gatherings and mandatory masks outdoors in seven red-listed regions as of 15 October.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia logged yet another coronavirus record with the daily tally hitting 745, bringing the total case count to well over 10,000. A record 5,287 tests were performed, with 14% of the cases returning positive, just slightly below 14.4% the day before.
        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša, his Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orban and Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman addressed a ceremony in the north-east of the country launching construction of a power line that will link the three countries. The EUR 150 million project has been almost two decades in the making, mainly due to lengthy siting procedures.
        PRAGUE, Czech Republic - Coordination of measures to limit the spread of coronavirus topped the agenda as Foreign Minister Anže Logar held talks with his Czech counterpart Tomaš Petriček. The ministers agreed coordination at EU level should be more efficient and endorsed the common EU approach to the development of a vaccine.
        VIENNA, Austria - Austria extended police control on its borders with Slovenia and Hungary by another six months, until 11 May 2021. Austria's Interior Minister Karl Nehammer listed migration pressure, safety concerns and Covid-19 as reasons for the move.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Commission called on Slovenia to invest and make reforms towards promoting renewable sources of energy and in support of energy efficiency and sustainable transport in its state of the energy union report. It said that Slovenia's plans in renewable energy lacked ambition.
        CHISINAU, Moldova - The Slovenian men's football team beat Moldova 4:0 in the fourth round of play in Group 3 of League C of the UEFA Nations League. This was the third win in a row for Slovenia in the competition.

THURSDAY, 15 October
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed the fifth corona legislative package, a fresh set of measures designed to help the country overcome the crisis caused by the pandemic. The principal measure of the EUR 420 million package is the extension of the furlough subsidy scheme until the end of the year.
        LJUBLJANA - Jože Podgoršek was appointed agriculture minister in a 48:7 vote to succeed Aleksandra Pivec, who stepped down as minister and president of the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS).
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Prime Minister Janez Janša called for a united response of the EU in support of Cyprus and Greece following new provocations by Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean as he arrived for an EU summit. Although the topic is not on the agenda, he said he expected the EU to take a unified approach towards the development in the east of the Mediterranean.
        BRATISLAVA, Slovakia - Foreign Minister Anže Logar and his Slovak counterpart Ivan Korčok called for better coordination of measures to contain the coronavirus pandemic at the EU level. They shared the view that coordination was vital not only to successfully contain the pandemic but also to restart the European economy.
        ROME, Italy - Defence Minister Matej Tonin paid an official visit to Italy. Talks with his counterpart Lorenzo Guerini focused on defence cooperation, including in international missions. Joint efforts in preventing illegal migrations were also on the agenda.
        LJUBLJANA - Five members of the parliamentary Intelligence and Security Service Oversight Commission (KNOVS) paid an unannounced visit to the national intelligence and security agency SOVA in relation to possible influence on SOVA in the case of an suspected Iranian money laundering scheme at NLB bank.
        LJUBLJANA - A parliamentary inquiry into the procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE) before and during the coronavirus epidemic got off to a formal start chaired by Alenka Jeraj of the ruling Democrats (SDS). The inquiry was formally initiated by the National Assembly on 14 July at the request of the coalition, which moved faster than the four centre-left opposition parties, which had announced it first.
        VELENJE - Home appliances maker Hisense Gorenje officially announced it would start producing TV sets at one of its former facilities in Velenje in January next year. The Chinese-owned company announced that the Hisense Europe Electronic TV factory will involve around 400 jobs in the first stage, 330 of which will be for production workers.
        LJUBLJANA - After a surge in illegal migration in the summer months, figures have been declining since as the bad weather set in. Police figures show the number of cases until the end of September is down just over half a percent from the same period a year ago. Police handled 11,855 attempts to cross into the country illegally in the first nine months, which compares to 11,931 in the same period a year ago.
        ŠOŠTANJ - Construction works on the first section of a major north-south expressway in eastern Slovenia dubbed the Third Development Axis started. The first portion is an expressway that is 200 metres long and forms part of the northern section of the Third Development Axis, which stretches from Slovenj Gradec in the north to the motorway exit Šentrupert.

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