Ljubljana related

28 Feb 2019, 16:56 PM

STA, 28 February 2019 - President Borut Pahor was received by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace on Thursday in what is considered the highlight of his official visit to the UK. The conversation with the queen was longer than had been expected, according to Pahor's office.

Pahor said the queen had been extremely friendly and very much focussed on the talks, telling TV Slovenija that he was surprised by how well informed she was. "Substantively the talks were much richer than I would have expected."

Even though the monarch does not take sides on political issues, Pahor said she did this time, and she induced him to share his views on issues that concern her.

Pahor started the second day of his official visit to the UK by laying a wreath to the memorial to innocent victims of war and oppression in front of Westminster Abbey. He then went on a tour of the 11th century abbey, which is one of the best known religious buildings in Europe.

He also met several British MPs and lords, including Labour MP Paul Farrelly, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary British-Slovenia Group, and Lord Speaker Norman Fowler.

The talks focussed on Britain's exit from the EU, which is planned for 29 March, although the divorce process may be extended.

Pahor told TV Slovenija he had been acquainted with a variety of views on Brexit, noting that his wish was to express support for those who are looking for solutions that benefit London as well as Brussels and Ljubljana.

"It is probably not possible to find a solution that will be good just for one side, such a solution would not be sustainable," he said.

Pahor said it was in Slovenia's interest to find a solution that will enjoy the support of the British Parliament and Ireland, whereby it may not divide the EU. "Chaotic exit from the EU is a danger for both sides, for Great Britain and EU countries."

A no-deal Brexit could prove problematic for an estimated 5,000 Slovenians living in the UK. Pahor will meet some of them at a reception hosted by Slovenia's Ambassador Tadej Rupel in the evening.

On the final day of his visit, on Friday, Pahor will visit the City to ring the bell of the London Stock Exchange and meet financiers at Goldman Sachs. He will also meet Lord Mayor of the City of London Peter Estlin and expectedly also British Prime Minister Theresa May.

Pahor started the visit on Wednesday by meeting Prince Edward and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt. Pahor and Hunt praised the relations between Slovenia and the UK as very good, with Pahor saying that Slovenia had "genuine interest" for the bilateral relations to strengthen also after Brexit.

The talks with Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, focussed on the the Duke of Edinburgh's award for young people as part of the MEPI programme. The awards are annually conferred in Slovenia as well.

According to Pahor's office, Prince Edward, who visited Slovenia in 2013 with his wife Sophie, accepted Pahor's invitation to visit Slovenia again soon.

 All our stories on Slovenia and the UK can be found here

28 Feb 2019, 10:00 AM

STA, 27 February 2019 - President Borut Pahor started his official three-day visit to the UK on Wednesday by meeting Prince Edward and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt. Pahor and Hunt praised the relations between Slovenia and the UK as very good, with Pahor saying that Slovenia had "genuine interest" for the bilateral relations to strengthen also after Brexit.

The pair assessed that the two countries would be bound by many joint values and tradition also after the UK leaves the EU.

The UK will remain Slovenia's important business partner and an alley within NATO. The two countries share the awareness of the importance of multilateralism, security and stability, and progress in the world in general, especially in Europe, Pahor's office said in a press release.

Slovenia and the UK are enhancing their cooperation in business, tourism, investment, science, education and culture. Trade between the countries has been rising and has exceeded EUR 1bn for the first time last year.

Hunt presented to Pahor the parliamentary procedure for the passage of the Brexit agreement and the UK's possible scenarios for the future.

Pahor stressed the importance of finding appropriate solutions both for the EU and the UK and the responsibility in the efforts for the passage of the Brexit agreement as the best possible compromise solution that would enable an orderly Brexit and mitigate the potential negative consequences for the people and the economies.

Apology accepted over “vassal state” remark, Pahor will meet the Queen

Hunt raised some dust during his visit to Slovenia last week for referring to Slovenia as a former "Soviet vassal state". He and Pahor discussed the issue today with Pahor saying on Twitter that Hunt had started the conversation by offering an explanation, which Pahor accepted as an apology.

The Slovenian Foreign Ministry told the STA today that the British side had turned to the ministry about the matter after Hunt's visit. The ministry explained it to the British ambassador that Hunt's statement had been inappropriate and had caused unease.

Foreign Minister Miro Cerar is expected to discuss this with Hunt at the next meeting of EU foreign ministers, the ministry added.

Pahor's talks with Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, earlier in the day focussed on the the Duke of Edinburgh's award for young people as part of the MEPI programme. The awards are annually conferred in Slovenia as well.

According to Pahor's office, Prince Edward shared his memories of his visit to Slovenia in 2013, during which he and his wife Sophie had been received by Pahor.

The prince also accepted Pahor's invitation to visit Slovenia again soon.

Later in the afternoon, Pahor gave a lecture on the global positioning of Europe at Chatham House, the Royal Institute of International Affairs.

He will continue his official visit on Thursday by meeting Queen Elizabeth II, the representatives of both houses of the UK Parliament and expectedly also PM Theresa May.

He will address Slovenians living in Britain at a reception in the evening.

All our stories on Slovenia and Brexit are here

25 Feb 2019, 10:18 AM

STA, 24 February 2019 - Slovenia's Foreign Minister Miro Cerar has expressed regret after UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt described Slovenia as a former "Soviet vassal state" during his visit to Ljubljana last Thursday.

Hunt made the comment as he commended on Slovenia's progress over the past 30 years during a joint press conference with Cerar.

"I'm really happy to be here, because as a fellow European country the UK is very proud of the transformation there has been in Slovenia over the last 30 years.

"A really remarkable transformation from a Soviet vassal state to a modern European democracy, a member of the EU, a member of NATO, a country with a flourishing economy, growing its tourism year in, year out, and this is really an example of Europe at its best," Hunt said.

Before declaring independence in 1991, Slovenia had been one of the six republics of the former Yugoslavia, a socialist country that was not part of the Soviet bloc but formed part of the Non-Aligned Movement.

It was Cerar's former party colleague and former speaker of the National Assembly, Milan Brglez, who spoke out to criticise both Cerar and Hunt for what he called an "arrogant insult".

In a post on his Facebook profile, Brglez, an MP for the coalition Social Democrats (SD) after defecting from Cerar's Modern Centre Party (SMC), said the minimum he expected of the country's representatives was a prompt and adequate reaction to insults directed at the country and its citizens.

In a press release issued by his party on Sunday, Cerar said that Hunt came to Slovenia to discuss the UK's future relations with Slovenia and other EU countries after Brexit and the rights of Slovenian citizens living in Britain and British citizens living in Slovenia.

Cerar noted that Hunt complimented Slovenia on its transformation and that he also talked about Slovenia as a partner country from the perspective of the UK as an architect of peace after Second World War.

"This is why during his public address at the press conference I didn't want to respond and interrupt him as a guest.

"Unfortunately, the Soviet vassal assessment was an inappropriate and inaccurate one ... at the first opportunity with my British counterpart, on the sidelines of the EU ministerial meeting, I will talk with him about the matter and instruct him about our past. I believe there will be no similar rhetorical awkwardness in the future," Cerar said.

This was not the first embarrassing error for Hunt. During his debut visit to Beijing as the UK foreign secretary last year, he referred to his Chinese wife as Japanese.

TSN seems to have broken this story in the English-language media, which soon ended up in The Guardian, Independent, Daily Mail and other sources. Read our original article here

23 Feb 2019, 11:43 AM

Jeremy Hunt – the British Foreign Secretary who replaced the gaffe-prone Brexit-booster and serial adulterer Boris Johnson in mid-2018, the latter resigning to spend more time with his latest mistress and snipe at the government from the side-lines for being unable to enact the have cake, eat cake policy he promoted for nakedly careerist reasons – visited Slovenia on Thursday for bilateral talks on Citizens’ Rights. The headline result was a pleasing one, with assurances from both sides that as much continuity as possible would be provided in the event of a deal or no-deal Brexit.

However, Mr Hunt, a man who by now is surely well aware of the dangers of a slip of the tongue, perhaps failed to make the best impression while on the Sunny Side of the Alps. Indeed, it seems that while travelling from Berlin he and his team did little to prepare for the trip, making at least two unforced and undiplomatic errors in public, and who knows how many more in private.

First the tweet marking his landing in Slovenia referred to the country’s Foreign Minister as Karl Erjavec, the man who left this position after last year’s election to be replaced by the former Prime Minister, and Mr Hunt’s supposed focus for the day, Miro Cerar.

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The tweet was deleted, and this screenshot comes from the excellent Pengovsky, who you really should be reading, with his take on the incident here.

But these things happen – after all, Mr Hunt once referred to his Chinese wife as Japanese – and the tweet was soon corrected. More serious, in terms of being indicative of the lack of preparation or historical and geopolitical understanding that seem to surround the entire Brexit project, was what came in the public statement that Mr Hunt made while standing next to Mr Cerar:

This is my first visit to Slovenia as Foreign Secretary, not the first in my life but my first in a professional capacity. And I’m really happy to be here, because as a fellow European country the UK is very proud of the transformation there has been in Slovenia over the last 30 years. A really remarkable transformation from a Soviet vassal state to a modern European democracy, a member of the EU, a member of NATO, a country with a flourishing economy, growing its tourism year in, year out, and this is really an example of Europe at its best.

Now leaving aside the general patronising tone here – why is the UK proud of Slovenia? – or that while being a leading Brexiteer Mr Hunt seems to suggest that being a member of the EU is a good thing, there’s the simple factual error that Slovenia, even when part of Yugoslavia, was never a Soviet vassal state.

Thursday was not the first time Mr Hunt made use of the USSR to insult his negotiating partners

During the Second World War Yugoslavia was occupied by the Germans and Italians, but the partisans, led by Tito, managed to liberate the country with little help from the Russians, and thus the land was never part of the of the Soviet empire. And while in the immediate post-war period there was seen to be an uneasy alliance between Stalin and Tito, this broke in 1948. From then on Yugoslavia took a famously independent approach, receiving aid from the Marshall Plan as well as founding the Non-Aligned Movement. In short, Yugoslavia was never a Soviet vassal state, while Slovenia was always the most open of the socialist republics that made up the federation, a matter not only of historical fact but also considerable pride.

Of course, Mr Hunt’s statement did not go unnoticed in the country, once again proving that just because British politicians can’t understand what foreigners are saying, this doesn’t mean that foreigners can’t understand what they’re saying. For example, Milan Brglez, former Speaker of the National Assembly, made the following comment on Facebook that was then widely reported in the media:

Loosely translated:

Dear citizens,

Take a look at the footage below (somewhere around 14:30). A guest (the British Foreign Minister) comes to us with a request (to discuss with our Foreign Minister how to avoid a hard Brexit if the UK doesn’t sign the Withdrawal Agreement with the EU) and arrogantly insult. We have never been "the vassal state of the Soviet Union".

At a minimum what I expect and demand in international relations from my representatives (diplomats and those who have general powers to represent and bind the state under international law – i.e. the president, prime minister and foreign minister) is that they will react immediately when someone insults the state and its citizens. And not that they are meekly silent, perhaps not even noticing the insult.

With President Borut Pahor due in the UK next week, and Britain in desperate need of friends and allies as the March 29 Brexit deadline looms, one can only hope that his hosts in London are a little better informed, and a little better prepared for his visit.

All our stories on Brexit and Slovenia can be found here.

21 Feb 2019, 17:23 PM

STA, 21 February 2019 - Foreign Minister Miro Cerar and his British counterpart Jeremy Hunt said after a meeting in Ljubljana on Thursday that their respective countries would do everything possible so that the rights of Slovenian and British citizens did not suffer in the case of a no-deal Brexit.


Cerar said that Slovenia wanted a Brexit scenario with an agreement, adding that both sides had agreed that Slovenia and the UK must make sure that the status of their respective citizens did not deteriorate after Brexit.

"They need to enjoy the same rights and they need to preserve their status," the Slovenian foreign minister said, adding that reciprocity would be secured with legislative changes which were already being prepared in Slovenia.

The British foreign secretary added he agreed with Cerar about proceeding on the basis of reciprocity and that Slovenian and British citizens would enjoy all rights, including in the event of a no-deal scenario.

Slovenia has "confirmed that the rights of British citizens will be preserved", Hunt said, adding that one of the most important things was that individual citizens' rights did not suffer and that they could continue with their daily lives.

Cerar added that Slovenia did not want a no-deal Brexit because both sides would suffer damage in other fields as well. "There would be negative consequences in the economy," he said, estimating that Slovenia's GDP would drop by 0.25%.

Asked about the no-deal scenario, he said that ministries were preparing legislative changes in the fields of social rights and insurance, and potential changes to the citizenship act as British nationals would become third-country citizens.

Hunt expressed the hope that a Brexit deal to mutual satisfaction would be reached, also because of what are some 5,000 Slovenian citizens living in the UK, who are "contributing to the UK economy and social life".

Cerar stressed that Hunt's visit confirmed the excellent relations between Slovenia and the UK in politics and economy, as they were friendly countries which were also allies within NATO.

"The things are developing well in the field of economy," he said, adding that Slovenia remained open to and invited British investors to continue making "healthy investments with a good business model" in Slovenia.

Slovenia and the UK need to continue to cooperate also because of the security challenges and illegal migrations, Cerar said, adding that he had also discussed with Hunt other EU topics and the Western Balkans.

He said that they agreed that the EU must remain open to enlargement to the region provided that the Western Balkan countries meet the conditions, while the EU must provide economic and security assistance.

Hunt praised the transformation of Slovenia in the last 30 years into a modern democracy and a growing economy, noting that the UK had excellent bilateral relations with Slovenia.

"We will continue to provide strong support to Slovenia's efforts to preserve peace in the Balkan region," Hunt said, while also welcoming Slovenian President Borut Pahor, who is to pay a visit to London for bilateral talks next week.

All our stories on Brexit and Slovenia can be found here

20 Feb 2019, 12:30 PM

I’m a UK national in Slovenia, so trust me when I say I’m doing my best to follow the implications of Brexit for folk like me, and also that this article might no longer be your best source of information. Today is February 20, 2019, and with March 29 – “Brexit Day” – just 37 days away, things are likely to get very dynamic in the next few weeks.

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So whenever you’re reading this your most reliable source of information is the UK government’s official webpage for Living in Slovenia. This is clean, well organised and contains links to further information and how to apply for any documents you might need. I recommend you visit this site, bookmark it, and use it as your primary source of information for the UK side of things. You should also follow the Embassy on Facebook and / or Twitter. If you know any British people in Slovenia who aren't on Facebook, or who don't read Total Slovenia News, then telling them about these resources would be a kind thing to do.

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With regard to the Slovenian side, where the laws covering your life here are made, the government is still preparing a website to answer your questions. This is expected to be online by the end of February, when – as everyone hopes – there’ll be a more clarity with regard to deal or no deal, and thus what the situation will be. One benefit regardless of what happens, and regardless of whether you’re a UK national or not, is that this site will aim to remove the confusion and discrepancies that now exist at the various Upravna enota around the country, such as whether or not you need to change your UK driving licence to a Slovenian one (you do, and you can find out how to do that here).

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Please use these official sources of information, and do not rely on heresay, what was true two years ago, or even what your local Upravna enota says if it contradicts the messages from on high. What follows is a copy of the text being handed out at the various outreach meetings the UK Embassy is having around Slovenia at the moment, dated 18 February 2019


Under the terms of the draft Withdrawal Agreement, there will be broad continuity for your rights in Slovenia. The below is relevant only in a scenario in which the UK leaves the EU without a deal. [JL Flanner: But note that deal / no deal might not be clear until 23:59 March 29, so plan for no deal now]

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia (www.mzz.si) will shortly be launching a page on their website dedicated to UK nationals resident in Slovenia. providing instructions and advice on what to do before 291h March 2019. Please also follow the Embassy's digital channels and our Living in Slovenia guide for updates: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/living-in-slovenia.In advance of this more definitive guidance, on the basis of our current understanding of the Slovene Government's position, the British Embassy suggests UK nationals in Slovenia consider the steps below to safeguard their rights should the UK leave the EU without a deal.

  • Sign up to Living in Slovenia on gov.uk and follow the Embassy's social media channels (Facebook, Twitter)
  • If you're staying in Slovenia for more than 3 months, you need to apply for a residence registration certificate at your local town hall (Upravna enota). Please see entering Slovenia.
  • Exchange your UK driver's licence for a local one. The process takes up to 2 weeks at your local Upravna enota and costs €22. This will enable you to drive in all EU countries and will also be recognised by the UK.
  • If you meet the requirements of the Health Care and Health Insurance Act (ZZVZZ) to be included in compulsory health insurance in Slovenia you will receive a Slovenian health insurance card for the provision of services in Slovenia. You can therefore apply for this health card yourselves or for your family members by the Health Insurance Institute of Slovenia (ZZZS). We suggest all UK nationals resident in Slovenia obtain this health insurance.
  • If you are a pensioner and currently access healthcare in Slovenia via an S1 form, you will need to obtain compulsory health insurance as other residents are required to (monthly cost of approx. 30 — 50 euros)
  • If you own a 2nd property in Slovenia but are currently resident in the UK you will need to decide whether to consider Slovenia as your official place of residence to enjoy the rights of UK nationals resident here. If you continue to hold your residency in the UK, you may be limited as to the amount of time you are able to spend visa-free in Slovenia (90 days in a 180 day period).
  • If you are visiting Slovenia for 3 months or less or have family or friends travelling to Slovenia for short-term visits, we recommend obtaining private travel insurance to cover healthcare costs for the period you are visiting.
  • Dual nationality will not be permitted after 29 March 2019 for most people (exceptions include being of Slovene descent). The Slovene government have confirmed that all applications for dual nationality before 29 March 2019 will be treated on the same basis as now (i.e. you will be able to hold dual nationality).
  • If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, passport validity requirements will change. You should ensure that you have at least 6 months validity on your British passport before the date of entry to the Schengen area, including entering Slovenia.

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22 Jan 2019, 19:41 PM

A reminder that your best source of information on Brexit and what it means for you in Slovenia – in terms what’s happening right now and what you should be doing, if not what will happen next, in which case ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ – remains the UK Embassy in Ljubljana, with the latest update from the British Ambassador Sophie Honey below (as of Friday January 18).

So while we’ll make sure to post updates when we have them, if you want the latest official news be sure to follow the Embassy on Facebook, here. To keep things covered from more angles, the British Chamber of Commerce can be found here, and the Slovenian Embassy in London is here. Finally, the lobby / support group British in Europe, billed as “the coalition of UK citizens in Europe”, can be found here.

21 Jan 2019, 08:28 AM

Britanski poslanci so zavrnili sporazum o brexitu

British MPs have rejected a Brexit agreement

Written by Sonja Merljak Zdovc, translated by JL Flanner

V Veliki Britaniji je bil včeraj pomemben dan.

In the UK, yesterday was an important day.

Poslanci so zvečer glasovali o tem, ali podpirajo sporazum med Veliko Britanijo in Evropsko unijo. Ta določa, na kakšen način naj Velika Britanija zapusti Evropsko unijo.

MPs voted in the evening whether they supported an agreement between the United Kingdom and the European Union. It sets out how the UK should leave the European Union.

Britanska premierka Theresa May se je o sporazumu dolgo dogovarjala s predstavniki Evropske unije v Bruslju.

British Prime Minister Theresa May agreed on a long-standing deal with representatives of the European Union in Brussels.

Toda poslanci so zavrnili ta dogovor. Premierka ima sedaj na voljo tri dneve, da pripravi tako imenovani plan B.

But the MPs rejected this agreement. The Premier now has three days now to prepare the so-called Plan B.

  1. marca se namreč izteče rok za brexit. Lahko se celo zgodi, da Velika Britanija zapusti Evropsko unijo brez dogovora.

On March 29, the deadline for Brexit expires. It may even happen that Britain leaves the European Union without an agreement.

Brexit oziroma odločitev o izstopu Velike Britanije iz Evropske unije so britanski volivci izglasovali na posebnih volitvah, ki se jim reče referendum. Leta 2016 je dobra polovica odločila, naj njihova država po 43 letih zapusti Evropsko unijo.

British voters voted in favuor of Brexit or the decision for the UK to leave the European Union in a special elections called a referendum. In 2016, more than half decided that their country should leave the European Union after 43 years.

Mnogi so že kmalu obžalovali svojo odločitev. Želeli so, naj jim omogočijo ponovno glasovanje.

Many soon regretted their decision. They wanted to vote again.

Tudi njih so zastopali poslanci, ki so glasovali proti sporazumu o ločitvi med Veliko Britanijo in EU.

They were also represented by MPs who voted against the Withdrawal Agreement between Great Britain and the EU.

A proti sporazumu niso bili samo tisti, ki so se premislili, in tisti, ki že od samega začetka niso bili za razhod. Premierke niso podprli niti tisti, ki želijo, da Velika Britanija zapusti Evropsko unijo.

However, the deal was opposed not only by those who changed their minds, but also those who had been “Remainers” from the very beginning. The Premiere was not even supported by those who want Britain to leave the European Union.

Prepričani so namreč, da je sporazum v takšni obliki slab za Veliko Britanijo.

They are convinced that the agreement in this form is bad for Great Britain.

Otroci tedaj niso mogli voliti. Lahko pa so povedali, kaj si o brexitu mislijo.

Children could not vote. They could have said what they thoughr about Brexit.

»Morali bi ostati,« je v britanskem časopisu First News dejala tedaj devetletna Madeleine. »Da smo del Evropske unije, ni še nikomur škodovalo. Pomaga tudi preprečevati vojne, ker smo prijatelji z mnogimi državami.«

"We should stay," said nine-year-old Madeleine in the First News newspaper in Britain. "Being part of the European Union has not hurt anyone. It also helps to prevent wars because we are friends with many countries. "

 Read more stories and improve your Slovene at Časoris, while all our dual texts can be found here.

18 Jan 2019, 12:50 PM

Today’s Dnevnik has a report by Aleš Gaube examining what a no deal Brexit could mean for Slovenia. The story notes that if the UK leaves the EU without an agreement, as it’s currently set to do at midnight on March 29, then the status of Britons in Slovenia will need to covered by new legislation. The text continues on a comforting note, suggesting that not much will change for the around 720 UK nationals who currently live in the country, although it then claims they would no longer be able to buy real estate in the country (“Prav tako v naši državi ne bi več mogli kupovati nepremičnin.”). There would also be changes to how professional qualifications gained in the UK are recognised in Slovenia.

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However, readers should note that no details are given with regard to these changes in status, and no official sources are cited, and also that the author of the original story seems to occasionally confuse a hard Brexit (with a Withdrawal Agreement) with a no deal Brexit (without an agreement). We also got in touch with a Ljubljana-based real estate agent, who said "citizens from OECD members can buy freely in Slovenia", so perhaps UK nationals do not need to worry on this point.

For the around 5,000 Slovenes in the UK, Dnevnik says that these should continue to enjoy the same rights set out in the Withdrawal Agreement, even in the case of a no deal Brexit. For Slovenians intending to visit the UK in the future, visa free travel to the UK should still be possible.

As the title of the article indicates – “Koliko nas bo stal trdi brexit?” (“How much will hard Brexit cost us?”) – the main focus is the issue of EU funds, a matter of particular interest in this context, since the UK is the third largest contributor to such funds. In the case of a no deal Brexit, which will see the UK not pay €16.5 billion into the current EU budget (which runs until 2020), Slovenia is expected to contribute between €42 and 57 million more to fill the hole, while Denmark would pay an extra €360 million.

David Brozina, Director-General of the EU Affairs Directorate at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told the newspaper that while the government is planning for all eventualities, detailed legislation will only be announced when the UK’s position, and the kind of Brexit it wants to pursue, is known. He is also quoted as saying "The Ministry of Labour is investigating the possibility that, in the event of a hard Brexit, an agreement that regulates the transfer of insurance rights and reimbursement of medical treatment costs between the countries, as was the case prior to Slovenia joining the EU”.

Finally, the paper notes that the UK Embassy in Ljubljana is not commenting as to any ongoing talks with the Slovenian government on citizen’s rights. The full story, in Sovene and behind a paywall, can be found here.

All our Brexit coverage can be found here

16 Jan 2019, 12:51 PM

STA, 16 January 2019 - Slovenia regrets that the UK parliament failed to confirm the Brexit divorce deal last night. Prime Minister Marjan Šarec said that the UK should rethink whether Brexit is really worth pursuing or whether this is a dead end and staying in the EU is the better solution.

A statement from the prime minister's office on Wednesday said that the divorce deal was a fair compromise, a balanced document, that allowed a regulated and controlled exit for the UK.

Slovenia will continue to support the approval of the deal in the EU, as the document is the best solution for the future and a necessary foundation on which to build relations after 2021.

Similar to the rest of the EU, Slovenia expects the UK government to present a plan on future steps as soon as possible. The statement also expresses hope that "the coming weeks and months will see enough political wisdom to avoid the worst outcome".

Slovenia's key wish is to preserve constructive and comprehensive cooperation even after Brexit, which must in no way infringe on the rights of citizens of Slovenia and other EU countries living in the UK. On the other hand, Slovenia will guarantee "an appropriate level of rights for UK citizens" living in the country.

Foreign Minister Miro Cerar also expressed regret over the vote. He tweeted last night that the EU had negotiated in good faith and with the wish to preserve constructive cooperation in the future.

Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee chair Matjaž Nemec commented on the situation for the press, saying that the process was "a good lesson for us" and that he hoped that "this will sober up the global political arena".

"When politicians become politicasters, when personal and party interests are put before those of the state and its citizens, there is populism that diverts attention from the real picture."

"All those who caused this in the UK have remained well hidden and no longer expose themselves, while regular people will start feeling immediately what it's like to be a third country citizen in relation to the EU," said Nemec.

He added it was hard to predict what would happen next. It is also hard to say whether the country will hold another referendum.

The House of Commons turned down the divorce deal with 432 votes against and 202 in favour last night. Subsequently, the opposition Labour Party requested a no-confidence vote against Prime Minister Theresa May.

The motion will be put to a vote this evening and if May is ousted and a government coalition cannot be formed within a fortnight, the UK will face an early election.

However, this is not a very likely scenario, according to Jure Vidmar, a professor of public international law at the University of Maastricht.

While the divorce deal was voted down due to infighting in the Conservative party, "bringing down the deal is one thing and bringing down one's own party is a different matter altogether," he told the STA.

If she survives the vote, May has said she will present an alternative plan by Monday. But at least in the short term the EU will not be able to offer anything but some sort of a political declaration, said Vidmar.

These have already been offered and did not convince the sceptics. This could only be done by abolishing the Irish safeguard, which is impossible for the EU, he believes.

"Northern Ireland is the main issue of Brexit and it is practically impossible to resolve. The reintroduction of border controls in Ireland would undermine the peace treaty," said Vidmar.

A no-deal Brexit or an extension of the deadline are the two possible scenarios. The extension could lead to a new deal under which the UK would remain a part of the single market and the customs union, he believes.

The other possibility is a new referendum in which voters would decide between May's divorce deal and remaining in the EU, said Vidmar. An early election is not very likely but cannot be excluded.

All our stories about Brexit can be found here

Chamber of Commerce worried about impact of no-deal Brexit on exports

STA, 15 January 2019- The Slovenian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS) assessed ahead of today's Brexit deal vote in London that there is a 20% chance of a no-deal scenario and that this could reduce Slovenian exports by a fifth.

The GZS's analytics department estimates that Slovenian exports of goods to the UK rose by 11% to EUR 615m in 2018, while exported services were up 9% to EUR 210m. In case of a no-deal Brexit, goods exports could fall by up to 20% in a year, although they would later probably rise again.

A similar reduction would also be experienced by Slovenian exports to other EU member states with close trade ties to the UK, the chamber wrote in a press release.

A no-deal Brexit would present a strong blow in particular to the movement of people, goods, services and capital, with cooperation already being affected by the current uncertainty.

A direct impact has been felt above all by multinationals and regional companies with a two-way value chain and in particular involving Germany, France, the Netherlands and Belgium. Indirectly affected are the supplier companies, meaning also a number of Slovenian companies.

A no-deal Brexit would also mean the reintroduction of border checks and thereby a fourfold increase in the time needed to cross the border. Slovenian hauliers conduct EUR 40m worth of transport for British clients a year, the GZS said, while also highlighting additional costs related to the diverging of standards for products and services.

UK Ambassador Sophie Honey July 2018.jpg

HMA Honey in July 2018. Photo: JL Flanner

UK Ambassador: Britain Remains Open for Business, Despite Brexit

STA, 16 January 2019 - British Ambassador to Slovenia Sophie Honey assured Slovenian businesses on Wednesday that they would receive ample support, regardless of how the UK leaves the EU, with or without a divorce deal.

The UK will provide businesses the maximum scope of information and clarity so they can prepare for future relations, she told an event on the future of economic cooperation post-Brexit a day after the British Parliament voted against Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal.

She said the British government has prepared advice for British businesses while the Slovenian authorities were doing everything they can to prepare companies for any changes.

The ambassador also stressed that the UK would remain an ideal destination for Slovenian exports and start-ups.

All our stories about Brexit can be found here


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