Last Week in Slovenia: 31 Dec to 6 Jan, 2022

By , 08 Jan 2022, 13:35 PM Politics
Last Week in Slovenia: 31 Dec to 6 Jan, 2022

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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 December
        LJUBLJANA, Slovenia/BRUSSELS, Belgium - PM Janez Janša assessed Slovenia's six-month stint at the helm of the EU as a success, saying it had been both a great challenge and tremendous opportunity. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel congratulated the country on its EU presidency job.
        LJUBNO OB SAVINJI - Women ski jumpers gathered at Slovenia's Ljubno ob Savinji for two World Cup events as part of the newly introduced New Year's series modelled on a similar one for men. On the occasion, it was announced that the new tournament will be expanded to be co-hosted by Austria's Villach in the 2022/23 season.

SATURDAY, 1 January
        LJUBLJANA - Damijan Dolinar, a banker with almost 20 years of experience, took over as chairman at SID Bank, Slovenia's development and export bank.
        LJUBLJANA - The first newborn in Slovenia in the new year was a baby girl named Lila, who was delivered a minute after midnight at the Ljubljana maternity ward.

SUNDAY, 2 January
        KRANJ - Zoran Stevanović, head of the non-parliamentary party, was cleared of suspicion of incitement to resistance for having urged people to go to protests against coronavirus measures in Ljubljana last year. The party said the prosecution dismissed in late December a criminal complaint police filed against Stevanović, who was detained during the 5 October protest which turned violent.

MONDAY, 3 January
        LJUBLJANA - Health Minister Janez Poklukar took stock of the achievements of the Slovenian EU presidency in his brief, identifying the political agreement on the new European Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA) as one of the biggest achievements.
        LJUBLJANA - The state budget recorded revenue of EUR 1.1 billion in December 2021, the highest since general government revenue started to be recorded, show preliminary estimates by the Finance Ministry. Expenditure amounted to EUR 1.67 billion, with deficit standing at EUR 572 million.
        LJUBLJANA - Four prominent long-serving employees of RTV Slovenija drew up a bill in which they propose transforming the public broadcaster into a fully independent public broadcasting service overseen by a board of trustees.
        LJUBLJANA - Vanja Lombar, ex-director of fuel retailer OMV Slovenija, took over as general manager of Geoplin, Slovenia's No.1 natural gas trader.

TUESDAY, 4 January
        LJUBLJANA - The National Medical Ethics Committee joined a growing chorus of medical associations calling for Slovenia to consider introducing mandatory vaccination for vulnerable and high-risk groups of population, and, given new strains of the virus, possibly a general vaccination mandate.
        LJUBLJANA - The PSS, the bigger of Slovenia's two police trade unions, announced its plan to take Police Commissioner Anton Olaj to court over alleged violations of trade union rights and the right to participation in management. It accuses Olaj of attempts to censor internal documents of the trade union, which he denies.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia exported EUR 3.7 billion worth of goods last November, while imports reached EUR 4.2 billion, up 24.1% and 25.6%, respectively, in a year, the Statistics Office said. In the first eleven months of 2021, exports rose by 19.3% to EUR 36.3 billion and imports 30% to EUR 38.1 billion.
        LJUBLJANA - A total of 63,675 new cars and vans were registered in Slovenia in 2021, a 3% rise over 2020, when car sales plummeted by 27% as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, show the figures released by the Slovenian Chamber of Commerce (TZS).
        LJUBLJANA - Kočevje Mayor Vladimir Prebilič launched an initiative to form a club of independent mayors in a bid to increase their influence on local government policy. He sent the initiative to all mayors who were elected as independents at the last local elections in 2018, which is 64% of the country's 212 mayors.
        BRNIK - The Slovenian capital Ljubljana will have no air route to Brussels as Brussels Airlines is suspending flights at the end of Slovenia's six-month EU presidency between 10 January and 28 February, and Wizz Air suspends the route between 7 January and 11 March, according to web portal Ex-Yu Aviation.
        KRANJ - Plays written by Ivan Cankar, considered to be Slovenia's greatest playwright, have been translated into English for the first time to allow a broad population to discover a literary genius from the turn of the 20th century. The project Cankar Goes West is a collaboration of the Prešeren Theatre of Kranj and the Crane Creations Theatre Company from Canada.

WEDNESDAY, 5 January
        LJUBLJANA - Doctor Mateja Logar, the government's chief Covid-19 adviser, told Planet TV that once 230-250 Covid patients are in intensive care, her group would start talking about a potential lockdown. The number of ICU patients this week was around 160. Health Minister Janez Poklukar urged those in charge of critical infrastructure, companies and the rest of society to organise work and other processes so as to minimise contacts to prevent certain activities from grounding to a halt due to Omicron infections and quarantines. He announced the quarantine to be cut from 10 to 7 days on epidemiologists' guidance, while Education Minister Simona Kustec said that no general lockdown for schools was planned.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia issued EUR 1.25 billion in four-year bonds and half a billion euro worth of 40-year bonds. The yield on the 4-year bond is negative at -0.241%, which the Finance Ministry said would bring EUR 12.3 million to the budget. The yield on the 40-year bond is 1.183%.
        LJUBLJANA - Labour Minister Janez Cigler Kralj decided the statutory minimum wage in Slovenia will increase by 4.9% to EUR 1,074 gross as of 2022, matching last year's inflation. Trade unions deemed the rise too low and employers said it was too high.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia had 65,969 unemployed persons in December, down nearly 25% year-on-year and the lowest since before the 2008 economic crisis, the Employment Service said.
        LJUBLJANA - Education Minister Simona Kustec and Culture Minister Vasko Simoniti presented the key achievements of the Slovenian EU presidency in their fields; Kustec praised decisions regarding the European Research Area and the European model of sport as milestones, and Simoniti emphasised support for the European audiovisual sector and New European Bauhaus.
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor said he would not attend the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympic Games in Beijing next month due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

THURSDAY, 6 January
        LJUBLJANA - The latest daily number of coronavirus infections reached 3,829, an increase of 124% on the week ago, while hospital data remained broadly stable. The National Institute of Public Health estimated 25,752 people are actively infected, a daily increase of more than 2,700.
        LJUBLJANA - Defence Ministry State Secretary Uroš Lampret said the government saw the first draft of the Strategic Compass, a new concept of EU security and defence, as the largest achievement of the Slovenian EU presidency in defence policy alongside efforts to bolster cooperation between the EU and NATO.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Institute of Public Health issued new quarantine guidance to allow the healthcare system cope with staff shortages amid the Omicron-driven spread of infections. Given shortages, the personnel who have been in contact with an infected person are not required to self-isolate if they do not show symptoms.
        LJUBLJANA - The government added new exceptions to the quarantine rules after a high-risk contact with a person infected with Covid-19 to persons who have gotten a booster shot, who got Covid fewer than 45 days ago or who have recovered from Covid and have been fully vaccinated. Quarantine has meanwhile been shortened from ten to seven days as of next Monday.
        LJUBLJANA - GEN, the energy group which also owns Slovenia's half of the Krško Nuclear Plant (NEK), is estimated to have generated a record net profit of EUR 80 million last year, up around 25% on 2020, with turnover up 36% to EUR 3 billion.
        LJUBLJANA - The Justice Ministry prepared at the end of last year a working draft of a courts bill to abolish local courts and establish two district courts in Ljubljana by 2024. The proposal also envisages a specialised criminal court and a different method of appointing the president of the Supreme Court.
        LJUBLJANA - The government adopted a strategy for digital transformation of the economy for the 2021-2030 period, which is one of the reform measures under the recovery and resilience plan. The basic goal is to be among the top three countries in the use of advanced digital technologies according to the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) of the European Commission.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenian scientist and engineer Marija Strojnik has been elected president of the Scientific Research Honor Society, Sigma Xi. She will start her three-year term on 1 July, says the website of Sigma Xi.
        LJUBLJANA - UEFA president Aleksander Čeferin was declared the newspaper Delo's Person of the Year for 2021 for "suppressing in a swift action the plan of the richest clubs to establish a super-league and thus destroy the European model of sport".

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