Last Week in Slovenia: 1 - 7 October, 2021

By , 09 Oct 2021, 08:57 AM Politics
Last Week in Slovenia: 1 - 7 October, 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, 1 October
        CHISINAU, Moldova - President Borut Pahor met his Moldovan counterpart Maia Sandu and PM Natalia Gavrilita as part of his official visit to Moldova. He expressed support for the president's and the government's reform efforts.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - European Chief Prosecutor Laura Codruta Kövesi again raised the issue of non-appointment of European delegated prosecutors from Slovenia. She told the European Parliament's Committee on Budgetary Control that after four months of operation this was one of the main challenges the European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO).
        LJUBLJANA/BRESTANICA - European Commission Vice-President for Democracy and Demography Dubravka Šuica visited Slovenia to attend an international conference on smart villages. She also met Prime Minister Janez Janša in Ljubljana to discuss the Conference on the Future of Europe and demographic issues.
        LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Janez Janša met senior representatives of the Identity and Democracy (ID) Group in the European Parliament to discuss topics related to the EU and the post-Covid situation in Europe. Janša's office said the meeting focussed on the Conference on the Future of Europe as well as the EU-Western Balkans summit.
        LJUBLJANA - Police Commissioner Anton Olaj appointed Janez Rupnik interim head of the Ljubljana Police Department, according to the website of police. He will replace Boštjan Glavič, who will become an assistant of the Police Academy.

SATURDAY, 2 October
        MILAN, Italy - Environment Minister Andrej Vizjak attended a Pre-COP meeting whose participants tried to bring their positions closer together ahead of the COP26 summit in Glasgow. He noted the importance of agreement being reached at the summit as the only way to limit heating of the atmosphere and negative impact of climate change.
        LJUBLJANA - A Walk for Life march by opponents of abortion brought together a few hundred people, including Archbishop of Ljubljana Stanislav Zore, who said the fundamental right to life must not be forgotten. A counter-rally was also held.
        KAS, Turkey - Slovenian freediver Alenka Artnik set a new world record in the double-fin discipline. The 39-year-old said on Facebook that she had improved her own mark in the discipline to 106 metres.

SUNDAY, 3 October
        LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Janez Janša said the government would "not cave in to pressure" after Zoran Stevanović, the leader of the protests against the Covid pass mandate, called on the government to resign or face new protests. He called on the competent authorities to take action.
        LJUBLJANA - Interior Minister Aleš Hojs told commercial broadcaster POP TV that the possibility of an early election was completely justified. The ruling Democrats (SDS) are discussing this, he said, adding that going to the polls a few months earlier would make no difference as this government was practically at the end of its term.
        TEHARJE - An estimated 5,000 victims of war and post-war summary executions were commemorated at a memorial mass in Teharje. More than 600 unmarked killing or burial sites across Slovenia bear witness to these atrocities, retired Celje Bishop Stanislav Lipovšek said at the annual event.

MONDAY, 4 October
        LJUBLJANA - The government decided to restrict movement in Ljubljana, the lakeside resort of Bled and around the Brdo pri Kranju conference centre on 5 and 6 October citing a high probability of severe violations of public law and order during the EU-Western Balkans summit. This is the first time that the legislative provision was invoked.
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor held talks with Zoran Stevanović, the initiator of recent protests against the Covid pass mandate who demands that the government step down. Stevanović wanted Pahor to endorse the calls but Pahor turned down the request.
        LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary interior affairs and justice committees urged the police and prosecution to immediately act against the organisers of unregistered rallies and against violent protesters. The session was requested by the ruling Democrats (SDS).
        LJUBLJANA - In its latest Financial Stability Review, the Slovenian central bank finds that general gravity of systemic risks to financial stability has been reduced as the economy has rebounded, but there are elevated risks stemming from the housing market and the long-term profitability of banks.
        LJUBLJANA - The Court of Audit found the Health Ministry and the Medical Chamber failed to set up a system in 12 years to establish how many doctors were needed in Slovenia and identify reasons for shortages of consultants, so they could not deal with shortages and work overload. The report covers the period from 2008 to September 2019.

TUESDAY, 5 October
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - The EU must strengthen its capacity to act autonomously in order to become more effective and assertive on the international stage, EU leaders agreed at an informal dinner according to European Council President Charles Michel. The office of the Slovenian prime minister said the leaders conducted a "strategic debate" on the EU's role in the international arena.
        LJUBLJANA - The Administrative Court sided with the two prosecutors picked to represent Slovenia on the European Public Prosecutor's Office as it overturned a government decision to annul the selection procedure. The decision means that the government must now re-examine the appointment of the two prosecutors, Tanja Frank Eler and Matej Oštir, who initiated the court proceeding.
        LJUBLJANA - Opponents of the government anti-coronavirus measures gathered in thousands in Republic Square in front of the parliament building, which the police protected and cordoned off after a similar protest turned violent last week. The police used a water cannon and tear gas. Several people were arrested, including the protest organiser Zoran Stevanović and the rapper Zlatko, one of the mainstays of anti-government rallies.
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - President Borut Pahor presented German Chancellor Angela Merkel with the Order of Merit for Distinguished Service, Slovenia's highest honour, for her personal contribution to deepening the relationship between the two countries and for her credible and trust-inspiring European leadership.
        BUDAPEST, Hungary - Interior Minister Aleš Hojs called for better control over who enters the EU as he took part in a meeting of the home affairs ministers of the Visegrad Group plus Austria and Slovenia. He said securing EU borders should remain top priority.
        STRASBOURG, France - Slovenia has failed to satisfactorily implement or address any of the 15 recommendations the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) made in its 2018 evaluation report. The country has partly implemented only one recommendation, the Council of Europe's (CoE) body said in its latest compliance report on Slovenia.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's budget deficit in the first nine months of the year reached EUR 2.453 billion, mostly as a result of financing a variety of coronavirus measures. The figure represents 89% of the deficit planned for the entire year.
        LJUBLJANA - The Medical Chamber and GP Nada Hiti of the Domžale Community Health Centre have reached a settlement on the doctor's video in which she discussed a problematic heavy metal content in anti-coronavirus and flu vaccines. Hiti disowned her statements.
        VIENNA, Austria - Slovenian minority poet and writer Maja Haderlap from Carinthia, Austria, won the Christine Lavant Prize for her work, including a novel about the battle of Slovenians living in Carinthia against National Socialism in Austria.

WEDNESDAY, 6 October
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - The leaders of EU and Western Balkan countries confirmed the Western Balkans' EU perspective and their commitment to enlargement as they met for a summit in Brdo pri Kranju. However, the summit brought no major progress for Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Kosovo.
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - PM Janez Janša disagreed with the claim that Slovenia is setting a poor example to EU candidates by suspending the funding of the STA, but European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen was clear that current STA funding is a must, as she spoke to the press after the EU-Western Balkans summit alongside Janša.
        LUXEMBOURG - EU environment ministers adopted a joint EU position for the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, which includes an agreement on a five-year time frame. Slovenia's Andrej Vizjak said this was the first time in many years the European delegation was going to the climate conference with a clear position on time frames.
        LJUBLJANA - President of the European Federation of Journalists (IFJ) Mogens Blicher Bjerregaard warned that media freedom was deteriorating in several European countries, including Slovenia. He called on the European Commission and EU leaders to take a stand and call on their counterparts to support media and journalist freedom.
        LJUBLJANA - The police and Interior Minister Aleš Hojs rejected the allegation that excessive force was used to disperse 5 October riots against coronavirus measures, as NGO The Legal Network for the Protection of Democracy urged MPs to open a parliamentary inquiry to look into the matter.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenian energy group Petrol completed the acquisition of an outright stake in Croatian fuel retailer Crodux after having fulfilled all suspensive conditions. The purchase consideration was EUR 191.7 million and Petrol will also assume net financial liabilities to banks in the amount of EUR 19.2 million.
        LJUBLJANA - The European Investment Bank (EIB) will provide the Slovenian Regional Development Fund with a EUR 30 million loan to help secure a new line of credit intended for facilitating the recovery of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), mid-caps and municipalities post-Covid-19.

THURSDAY, 7 October
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - PM Janez Janša accused the European Commission of exceeding its powers and of political abuse of the rule of law in an interview with Euronews, saying in its efforts to get member states to comply with the EU's fundamental values the Commission was "close to breaking the rule of law" itself.
        LJUBLJANA - After a court reversed its decision to annul the original procedure to appoint Slovenia's two European delegated prosecutors, the government asked the Justice Ministry to publish yet another call for applications arguing that the court's decision could not be implemented as the procedure the government was supposed to re-examine had been concluded with the publication of a new call for applications on 9 July.
        LJUBLJANA - The SPS police trade union called on the human rights ombudsman to open an inquiry into the clampdown during the 5 October protest in Ljubljana. Police Commissioner Anton Olaj defended the action, denying allegations of political interference in the force's decisions.
        LJUBLJANA/KRANJ - The home of Zoran Stevanović, one of the principal initiators of protests against the Covid pass mandate, and the headquarters of his party (Truth) were searched after Stevanović was detained by police after the 5 October riots. Stevanović was released from custody.
        LJUBLJANA - The government adopted an integrated border management (IBM) strategy to better manage illegal migrations. The strategy is binding for all EU member states under the EU law. The document aims to contain illegal migration on Slovenia's EU external and internal borders and to effectively implement bilateral agreement on return of migrants.

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