Last Week in Slovenia: 9 - 15 July, 2021

By , 17 Jul 2021, 12:36 PM Politics
Last Week in Slovenia: 9 - 15 July, 2021

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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 July
        LJUBLJANA - The prime ministers of Visegrad Group countries endorsed the priorities of the Slovenian presidency of the Council of the EU as they held talks with Prime Minister Janez Janša, who said the statement the four adopted at their recent summit largely reflected Slovenia's priorities and to a large extent the positions that Slovenia had about several topical issues.
        LJUBLJANA - The Justice Ministry published a new call for applications for two European delegated prosecutors after the previous one was annulled. The State Prosecutor's Council indicated it would not go along with the new call.
        SOFIA, Bulgaria - President Borut Pahor said at a meeting of leaders from the Three Seas Initiative that the initiative could only be successful if it acted in line with the goals, priorities and policies of the EU. He said one strategic goal must always be pursued, and that is sustainable development.
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - EU ministers in charge of employment and social policy concluded a two-day informal meeting with the conclusion that to have resilient and inclusive labour markets, a regular and constructive dialogue with the civil society needs to be boosted.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenians who wish to mix different coronavirus vaccines will be allowed to do that under new guidance issued by the National Institute of Public Health. The general rule is that the same vaccine be used for both shots, but if individuals express the wish to mix vaccines, they can do it.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed changes to the audiovisual media services act under which content providers will have to earmark 6% of their gross annual revenue to a special fund to finance European audiovisual production. It was originally proposed that the levy be set at 2%, but the coalition partners pushed through an amendment raising the share to 6%.
        LJUBLJANA - An investigation into the conduct of the police at the 25 June anti-government rally found no fault in the decision of police officers to remove a far-right group, though several irregularities in the policing of the event had been detected.

        TRIESTE, Italy - President Borut Pahor said during a visit to Trieste that National Hall, which used to be the centre of the Slovenian community in Trieste, should be returned to the Slovenian community there as soon as possible, the symbolic restitution having taken place a year ago. Pahor was also conferred the Tre Sigilli di Trieste, the city's highest honour.

SUNDAY, 11 July
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenian voters overwhelmingly rejected the changes to the waters act in a referendum. More than 86% voted against and the statutory requirement that at least 20% of all voters must be against for a law to be rejected was satisfied as well. Turnout exceeded 46%, the highest in a referendum since 2007.
        TEHRAN, Iran/LJUBLJANA - The Iranian Foreign Ministry summoned Slovenia's Ambassador to Iran Kristina Radej over Prime Minister Janez Janša's call for an inquiry into a 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in Iran at the Free Iran World Summit, an event hosted by the Iranian diaspora.
MONDAY, 12 July
        LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Janez Janša nominated Mark Boris Andrijanič, the chair of the Strategic Council for Digitalisation and head of public policy for Central and Eastern Europe at Uber, to head the forthcoming Digital Transformation Office as a minister without portfolio.
        LJUBLJANA - The Foreign Ministry summoned the Iranian ambassador to Slovenia over Prime Minister Janez Janša's recent statement about a 1988 massacre in Iran, to explain that Slovenia always advocates human rights and fundamental freedoms and that Slovenia's activities are never directed against any particular country.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Council, the upper chamber of parliament, vetoed the amendments to the communicable diseases act that the National Assembly passed the week before in order to replace provisions that had been struck down by the Constitutional Court.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - As part of the Slovenian EU presidency, Culture Minister Vasko Simoniti opened an exhibition of contemporary Slovenian visual arts at the European Parliament, entitled We Live in Exciting Times. The minister opposed the initial concept of the show, but was pleased with the end result.
        LJUBLJANA - Trade unions called on the government to withdraw a legislative proposal that would eliminate employee representatives from management of the Health Insurance Institute (ZSSS), which collects and manages mandatory health insurance contributions.
TUESDAY, 13 July
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly endorsed in a 49:17 vote a resolution on climate strategy until 2050 under which Slovenia commits to become climate neutral in the coming 30 years. Before backing it, coalition MPs added a provision saying that Slovenia will use nuclear energy in the long term.
        PRAGUE, Czechia - President Borut Pahor called for a strong and effective Europe as he appeared as a speaker at the Prague European Summit, recalling the bloc's fundamental values such as rule of law that he said should be understood the same way.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly rejected President Borut Pahor's nominee for Constitutional Court judge, Janez Kranjc. He received 45 votes in a secret ballot, one short of the required majority, as 43 MPs voted against and one ballot was invalid.
        LJUBLJANA - Damjan Kukovec, senior lecturer in law at Middlesex School of Law in London, was endorsed as a candidate for judge at the EU General Court, the National Assembly having voted 74:15 in his favour in a secret ballot.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly reappointed Irena Vodopivec Jean a vice-governor of the central bank. She will assume another six-year term after her current one ends on 6 October.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly endorsed in a 51:11 vote amendments to the service in the Slovenian Armed Forces act which aim to address long-standing labour issues and the specific rights and responsibilities of soldiers during service.
        LJUBLJANA - Jaroš Britovšek was appointed director general of the Defence Ministry's Intelligence and Security Service (OVS) for a full term by the government, having served as acting director since March.
        MURSKA SOBOTA - Mura, Slovenia's football champions, made it to the second round of qualifying for the UEFA Champions League after crushing North Macedonia's Shkendija 5:0 to advance on an aggregate score of 6:0.

        LJUBLJANA - Senior officials issued appeals for personal responsibility to avert a new lockdown. The Covid-19 danger is still present, "but responsibility for your health and the health of your loved ones is entirely in your hands," Prime Minister Janez Janša said.
        LJUBLJANA - WHO Regional Director for Europe Hans Kluge, President Borut Pahor and Health Minister Janez Poklukar stressed the importance of vaccination and warned of the rapid spread of the Delta variant in view of the resurgence of infections, as they visited the Ljubljana vaccination centre.
        LJUBLJANA - The centre-left opposition said they were considering mounting a fresh attempt to oust the Janez Janša government after failing with a vote of no confidence in February and an impeachment in May. This time, they will carry out the plan only if they are certain of their majority, SocDem leader Tanja Fajon said.
        LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Association of Judges expressed concern and indignation after the National Assembly failed to endorse two candidates for supreme judges over their past decisions, a move that they say undermines judges' independence and fundamental principles of the rule of law.
        PAU, France - Slovenia's cycling star and yellow jersey wearer Tadej Pogačar won the 17th stage of the Tour de France to increase his overall lead.

        LJUBLJANA - The ruling coalition voted to postpone the vote on the bill creating a new demographic fund and voted against amendments to the communicable diseases act in a revote after they were vetoed by the upper chamber. Announcing the move, PM Janez Janša said they did not want such an important topic as the demographic fund to be decided on in such a heated political situation, while he said the new communicable diseases act was no longer needed now that all deputy group leaders called for vaccination.
        KOSTANJEVICA NA KRKI - The presidents of Slovenia, Austria and Croatia, Borut Pahor, Alexander Van der Bellen and Zoran Milanović, urged stepping up vaccination against Covid-19 and threw their support behind the EU's enlargement to the Western Balkans, as they met for the 8th trilateral meeting. They also touched on the issue of the Krško Nuclear Power Plant.
        LJUBLJANA - Tighter rules for entering Slovenia took effect. The colour-coded list of countries was replaced with the requirement that passengers who wish to enter the country need to have a Covid certificate regardless of where they come from.
        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša announced that those who have been vaccinated against Covid, have recovered from it or have been tested would be allowed to have as few restrictions in public life as possible, while rapid tests will be no longer be free of charge from mid-August.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed a coalition-sponsored bill to increase funds for private primary schools to implement two Constitutional Court rulings after several previous attempts to do so failed. The bill secures 100% state funding of private primary schools' obligatory curriculum, up from 85% now.
        LJUBLJANA - Environment Minister Andrej Vizjak told an online debate the discussion on the Fit for 55 package should not just be about the goals but also about how to achieve these goals in the best, fairest and most responsible way to protect the competitiveness of the Slovenian and European economy.
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - Interior Minister Aleš Hojs chaired an informal session of EU home affairs ministers, which he said showed that stances between EU members in talks on the EU pact on migration and asylum were still quite diverging but they showed political will for progress.
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - European Commissioner Ylva Johansson expressed her disappointment because the issue of STA financing has still not been resolved, saying she got the impression after meeting Interior Minister Aleš Hojs back in April that the issue would soon be solved.
        DUBLIN, Ireland - Foreign Minister Anže Logar and his Irish counterpart Simon Coveney attended a ceremony to inaugurate the new premises of the Slovenian Embassy in Dublin with Logar calling the reopening of the embassy "an important milestone" in the efforts to further enhance political, economic, cultural and other ties between the two countries.
        KRANJ - The Kranj District Court handed down an eight-month suspended prison sentence with a probation period of five years to a 20-year-old from Kropa who planned a shooting spree in April, after he was found guilty of attempted trafficking in weapons. He said that he regretted his actions and apologized.
        PAU - Tadej Pogačar won a second stage at the Tour de France in as many days to increase his overall lead and secure the polka-dot jersey of best climber. He has all but secured the overall victory on Sunday, having a 5:45 minute lead ahead of the runner up, Dane Jonas Vingegaard.


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