Last Week in Slovenia: 3 - 9 September, 2021

By , 11 Sep 2021, 09:00 AM Politics
Last Week in Slovenia: 3 - 9 September, 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, 3 September
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - EU foreign ministers agreed on benchmarks to engage in cooperation with the Taliban in Afghanistan. Afghanistan must not serve as "a base for the export of terrorism to other countries", it will have to respect human rights, the rule of law and freedom of the media, and it will have to form an inclusive and representative government and provide free access to EU humanitarian aid.
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - EU foreign ministers called for a pragmatic, realistic and coherent approach to China. They assessed that a pragmatic, realistic and coherent approach and unity and responsibility were needed and that there should be cooperation regarding Afghanistan and trade and economic issues.
        LJUBLJANA - Defence Minister Matej Tonin hosted his Latvian counterpart Artis Pabriks for a meeting which focused on the situation in the Western Balkans, the situation in the Baltic Sea region and cooperation between the two countries. Tonin said the EU must ensure that the Western Balkans does not drift away from the core EU values.
        LJUBLJANA - Defence Minister Matej Tonin received his Portuguese counterpart Joao Gomes Cravinho to talk about enhancing cooperation in defence and military matters and in other fields. Bilateral defence and military relations were assessed as exceptionally good.
        LJUBLJANA - A group of coronavirus deniers and anti-vaccination protesters stormed the headquarters of the Slovenian public broadcaster, managing to get into the newsroom studio before the police intervened to remove them from premises and disband their protest. The action was widely condemned.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's joblessness continued to decrease in August as a total of 69,292 were registered as unemployed at the end of the month as the total fell below 70,000 for the first time since September in the pre-Covid year 2019. The total was down 21.4% year-on-year and 1.9% compared to July, the Employment Service said.
        LJUBLJANA - The national advisory committee on immunisation advised Slovenian authorities introduce a third jab of anti-Covid vaccines for the elderly at care homes, for people older than 70, and for all residents with chronic conditions. All the others can also get a booster shot if they want.

SATURDAY, 4 September
        LJUBLJANA - The government adopted a new regulation under which the recovered-vaccinated-tested rule will be expanded to staff working in a number of activities and customers in some activities. The decision came amidst rising numbers of coronavirus infections and hospitals filling up quickly with Covid-19 patients.
        LJUBLJANA - A group of five Afghans who worked with the EU delegation in the country had arrived in Slovenia along with their family members, the Foreign Ministry confirmed. In all, 19 Afghans have thus arrived in Slovenia after withdrawing from the country in the wake of the Taliban taking over.
        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša hosted EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell for working dinner. The pair discussed the most topical challenges of the EU, with the focus on the situation in Afghanistan and the related migration challenges.
        SZENTGOTTHARD, Hungary - The presidents of Slovenia and Hungary, Borut Pahor and Janos Ader, honoured the 30th anniversary of the the Association of Slovenians in Hungary at a ceremony with Pahor noting the important role of ethnic minorities as a link between nations and praising the association for its efforts.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia beat Malta 1:0 in the qualifying for the 2022 World Cup, a crucial win for the team before round six of qualifying. The sole goal of the broadly equal match came in the 45th minute, when Sandi Lovrić scored a penalty shot.

SUNDAY, 5 September
        SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA, Spain - Slovenian cycling star Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) won the Vuelta a Espana for the third year running after winning the final stage, a 33.8 km time trial. He became only the third rider in history to win three Vueltas back-to-back.

MONDAY, 6 September
        LJUBLJANA - The Supreme Court reversed a decision by the Administrative Court to stay the government regulation on STA public service while saying the state has a duty to provide financing to the STA under the STA law and a provision in the 7th coronavirus relief law regardless of whether the annual agreement between the STA and the Government Communication Office (UKOM) has been signed or not, and irrespective of the regulation.
        HOČE - Magna Steyr's Slovenian plant will relaunch production at the start of 2022, announced Magna Steyr vice president Erwin Fandl and David Adam, director of the Slovenian Magna plant in Hoče.
        LJUBLJANA - The Ljubljana Administrative Unit acted upon a proposal from Ljubljana police to ban rallies of the coronavirus deniers who stormed the public broadcaster RTV Slovenija's headquarters on Friday. RTV Slovenija filed criminal complaints against all those involved in the incident.
        LJUBLJANA - Justice Minister Marjan Dikaučič is suspected of tax evasion at his previous job with prosecutors waiting since August 2020 for the court to decide on its motion to open a formal investigation, the news web portal 24ur reported. Dikaučič denied all allegations.
TUESDAY, 7 September
        LJUBLJANA - Four centre-left opposition parties tabled motions of no confidence in Justice Minister Marjan Dikaučič and Education Minister Simona Kustec. The main charge against Dikaučič is the failure to appoint Slovenia's delegated European prosecutors. Kustec has been accused of failings regarding getting schools ready for the new wave of the pandemic. Prime Minister Janez Janša dismissed the accusations as baseless.
        LJUBLJANA - Health Minister Janez Poklukar rejected speculation about him founding his own party in the run-up to the general election due next year. Talking with the STA in an interview, he said he did not intend to stand in the election, but should a chance arise, he sees himself continuing as health minister after the election.
        LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Press Agency (STA) and Government Communication Office (UKOM) agreed to resume talks aimed at signing the annual agreement to fund the STA public service as the two directors were hosted by President Borut Pahor for a meeting at the Presidential Palace.
        LJUBLJANA - The Finance Committee rejected amendments to the income tax act that would have reduced the tax burden on workers who commute across the border. The proposal, submitted by the Trade Union of Migrant Workers last December, involved a higher general tax allowance and reduced taxation in the top bracket.
        LJUBLJANA - Stefan Bošković, a Montenegrin writer, won the Central European Initiative (CEI) Prize for up-and-coming authors as the Vilenica literary festival got under way. The 38-year-old has been honoured for his latest novel Minister.
        LJUBLJANA - Mako Sajko, a 94-year-old screenwriter and director known mainly for his short documentaries, won the France Štiglic Award for lifetime achievement as the Directors' Guild of Slovenia presented its annual accolades.
        LJUBLJANA - A statue of Austrian Field Marshal Josef Radetzky (1766-1858) was erected in Tivoli Park at the same spot in front of Tivoli Mansion from where it was removed in 1918. The decision sparked controversy among historians.
        SPLIT - Slovenia lost against Croatia 0:3 in the sixth round of the group stage of the World Cup qualifiers, with almost no chances left for qualification now. Coach Matjaž Kek and captain Jan Oblak acknowledged Croatia's superiority after the match.

WEDNESDAY, 8 September
        IDRIJA - Prime Minister Janez Janša said the government was determined not to shut down the economy or public life despite surging cases. Vaccination is the only way to avoid disruption to normal life, he said.
        LJUBLJANA - Health Minister Janez Poklukar has told the STA that there would be no talk about restrictive measures, but about Slovenia opening up, if a 70% rate of vaccination against Covid-19 was achieved. He sees many reasons for a low vaccination rate, including the lack of vaccination culture and solidarity.
        VIENNA, Austria - Nineteen international journalism and media freedom organisations released a joint statement urging the Slovenian government and the Government Communication Office "to immediately end the economic suffocation of the STA and take steps to ensure sustainable funding before its collapse".
        LJUBLJANA - Aljoša Rehar was named the new editor-in-chief of the Slovenian Press Agency (STA) effective in December. Rehar was backed by a 98.5% majority of newsroom staff in a secret ballot with a turnout of 80.7%.
        IDRIJA - Industrial conglomerate Hidria broke ground for a EUR 40 million high-tech centre for the development and production of key components for electric motors for hybrid and electric vehicles. The new centre is slated to open in the middle of 2023.

THURSDAY, 9 September
        LJUBLJANA - An inter-parliamentary conference on the EU's common foreign and security policy organised as part of the Slovenian EU presidency heard calls for a united and active approach by the bloc. Josep Borrell, the EU's high representative for foreign and security policy, said the Afghanistan crisis could be a catalyst that makes the bloc's foreign policy stronger.
        LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Janez Janša attended the 30th Economic Forum in Karpacz. He participated in a panel on post-Covid recovery and received an award for person of the year 2020 in Central and Eastern Europe.
        LJUBLJANA - The Commission for the Prevention of Corruption (KPK) analysed lobbying contacts between PM Janez Janša and his Democrats (SDS), and the largest suppliers of medical equipment over the past ten years, but found no irregularities. KPK checked the contacts after a report said in July Janša had been holidaying in Mauritius with representatives of the largest healthcare suppliers in Slovenia for years.
        LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Home Policy Committee confirmed in a 10:8 vote an amendment to the act on public law and order under which the police can issue fines of EUR 500-1,000 for indecent behaviour in the event they detect such behaviour of their own motion, without the injured party having to initiate proceedings. The original government proposal envisaged fines for insulting only senior officials, but was eventually tweaked.
        LJUBLJANA - The government adopted a bill changing the penal code to introduce prosecution of suspects who threaten the country's senior officials or their relatives ex officio, without the injured party initiating proceedings. The bill comes after the coalition said on several occasions the slogan "death to Janšism" from anti-government protests was a threat to PM Janez Janša.
        LJUBLJANA/PORTOROŽ - Slovenia reported 1,016 new coronavirus infections for Wednesday in what was the second day in a row when the daily case count exceeded 1,000 while hospitalisations rose by 26 to 269 and the number of ICU cases by two to 63. Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek meanwhile announced stricter Covid-19 rules for civil servants, saying those working directly with other people will need to be either Covid-19 reconvalescent or vaccinated.
        LJUBLJANA - Another seven stumbling stones or Stolpersteine were laid in Ljubljana to honour the memory of the city's Jewish citizens who were torn from their homes during WWII and taken to concentration camps in Europe.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's goods exports rose by 17.3% year-on-year in July, as imports rose by 26%. The value of both exports and imports was also significantly higher than in July in the pre-pandemic year of 2019.

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