Ljubljana related

15 Oct 2020, 12:16 PM

STA, 14 October 2020 - Prime Minister Janez Janša, his Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orban and Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman addressed a ceremony in the north-east of the country on Wednesday launching construction of a power line that will link the three countries.

The 80-kilometre power line between Cirkovce near Ptuj and Pince on the border with Hungary will establish a link between the Hungarian and Slovenian national grids and consequently Croatia's.

The EUR 150 million project has been almost two decades in the making, mainly due to lengthy zoning procedures.

Janša noted that it took ten times as long to prepare the project as it would to build it; ELES, the national grid operator, expects for the 2x400 kV power line to be linked internationally by the end of 2021 with the project to be fully completed with final details by the end of 2022.

"Unfortunately, we have terrible difficulties in Slovenia when it comes to the speed of development projects and their siteing, not so much with construction as with red tape," Janša said, adding that the project should serve as a further encouragement that procedures should never again take that long.

He said the power line was of exceptional importance not only for Slovenia but for a broader region despite the fact that electricity was being taken for granted, just like health before one got sick.

He thanked those responsible in Hungarian and Croatian institutions for making the project possible, praising excellent cooperation between the three countries during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic in spring.

Orban labelled today's event as historic, not only because of the energy link between the two countries, but also because of a vital moment between the nations.

He said Central Europe was gaining on significance as the centre of development was moving eastward. "The EU is not just a German-French matter, it's also links between the countries that are gaining on value, which is making them a site of geopolitical games and interests of the big ones," said Orban.

He underscored energy policy and cooperation in the field as an important aspect that boosts the region's position. He predicted a further step in that direction as Slovenia and Hungary agree enhancing their gas pipeline and rail links.

The Croatian foreign minister said the power line construction was in the interests of the whole EU as the bloc sought to strengthen infrastructure links in Central Europe.

He said additional steps would be needed in the future to make the energy system reliable in the long term because the role of the sector would be vital for the EU's economic recovery.

ELES boss Aleksander Mervar said the power line would create the first cross-border link with Hungary's grid, thus increasing the system's reliability.

The project is valued at about EUR 150 million, of which EUR 50 million will come in EU funds.

After the ceremony, Janša and Orban met over working lunch for discussion on bilateral matters, topical EU issues and the coronavirus pandemic.

01 Oct 2020, 10:41 AM

STA, 30 September 2020 - Telekom Slovenije's sale of Planet TV to Hungarian media company TV2 Media has been finalised, the national telco said on Wednesday. The purchase price is EUR 5 million, but Telekom also provided a capital injection for its troubled subsidiary, which produces the eponymous TV channel, via debt to equity conversion before finalising the transaction.

Telekom already signed the sales contract with TV2 Media, owned by Jozsef Vida, whom media associate with the business network of the Hungarian ruling party Fidesz, in July. It said now that Planet TV has not been sold at a loss.

From Thursday, Planet TV will be formally part of TV2 group, which will add three to its portfolio of 14 TV channels.

The company said that new executive director of Planet TV will be Pavel Stantchev, already executive director at TV2. Špela Pirnat, who served as financial director between 2013 and 2016, will join Planet TV as financial director.

Stantchev pledged for the team to work hard to meet expectations of the greatest possible number of viewers, while bringing greater competitiveness and choice needed in the Slovenian market.

Telekom launched Planet TV in 2012 under the then Janez Janša government. It was reported that the telecoms incumbent had been looking for a strategic partner which would buy a 49% share in the TV production company already at the beginning of January, only to change its mind later on.

According to the newspaper Delo, Planet TV has cost Telekom Slovenije EUR 80 million in the form of capital injections, advertisements, loans and other services since it was launched in September 2012, and has operated in the red.

The latest blow was the Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce ordering Telekom last year to pay a EUR 23 million buyout to Antenna Group, the Greek partner who wanted out of the joint venture.

The news portal Necenzurirano.si has reported about unofficial plans to merge Planet TV and Nova24TV, the news portal and website associated with Janša's ruling Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS) and also in the ownership of Hungarian individuals reportedly close to Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban.

Meanwhile, Telekom moreover started this month with procedures to sell its subsidiary TS Media, which owns the news portal Siol, as well as the web portals Najdi.si in Bizi.si.

28 Sep 2020, 10:27 AM

STA, 28 September 2020 - Passengers from red or orange-listed countries will be able to avoid quarantine in Slovenia as of Monday if they present a negative coronavirus test no older than 48 hours. Travellers from orange countries in the EU or Schengen will avoid quarantine altogether.

This was decided by the government at the weekend, when it also renamed the yellow list of countries the orange list and green-listed Serbia and Poland. These changes will come into effect on Tuesday.

Apart from Serbia and Poland, Slovenia's green list from Tuesday also includes Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania and Finland among EU member states, as well as Australia, South Korea, New Zealand and Uruguay.

Italy was moved from green list to orange. Parts of Croatia along the border with Slovenia were moved to orange from red, while the rest of the country remains red-listed.

Three states in Austria (Vienna, Vorarlberg and Tirol) and two regions in Hungary (Budapest and Gyor-Moson-Sopron), as well as parts of several other EU countries and Switzerland, were red-listed. From Tuesday, the red list will include 16 members of the EU and the Schengen zone, and 114 third countries.

Residents of green countries do not have to go into quarantine when entering Slovenia and under the latest changes, the same applies to anybody who had spent at least a fortnight in the green country from which they are entering Slovenia.

Many of the exemptions to travel restrictions remain in place, allowing several groups of people to avoid quarantine even when entering Slovenia from an orange or red-listed country without a negative test.

This remains the case for workers commuting across the border, hauliers, diplomats, foreign delegations, foreign security services employees, members of the Slovenian armed and police forces, as well as people travelling for urgent personal or business matters, and people who own property in a neighbouring country.

Moreover, persons who test negative after having been ordered to quarantine will be allowed to cut short their quarantine.

The changes will be explained in more detail at a press conference on Monday.

The latest statistics on coronavirus and Slovenia, and the latest police news on red, green and yellow list countries. All our stories on coronavirus and SloveniaCan I transit Slovenia? Find out from the police...

24 Sep 2020, 16:45 PM

STA, 24 September 2020 - Slovenia recorded 122 new coronavirus infections in 2,848 tests on Wednesday. While two patients died, the number of Covid-19 patients in hospital remained stable, fresh government data show.

The number of patients in hospital dropped by two to 63, but 13 were in intensive care, three more than the day before.

Two persons with Covid-19 died, increasing the death toll since the start of the epidemic to 145.

Slovenia now has 1,427 active cases out of a total of 4,816 cases confirmed since the start of the pandemic.

New infections were confirmed in 53 municipalities yesterday. Ljubljana recorded 24 new infections, followed by Maribor, Domžale and Črna na Koroškem with eight, and Kranj, Kamnik, Slovenska Bistrica, Pivka and Litija with four cases each.

In the last two weeks, Slovenia recorded 68.4 infections per 100,000 people. 2,526 people are currently quarantined.

Nuška Čakš Jager from the National Institute of Public Heath said most of the infections were community transmissions, while the share of imported cases has been decreasing. Recent imported cases came from Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo and Austria.

Since the virus is spreading throughout Europe, government Covid-19 spokesperson Jelko Kacin said today that in the absence of an EU agreement regarding the crossing of the border, the Slovenian government would have to decide on potential changes to its list of epidemiologically safe countries.

He said he expected Austria and Hungary, which have seen a surge in new infections, could be removed from the list of safe countries.

In Slovenia, the number of infections has been rising among medical staff and in care homes. Currently more women than men are infected and most of the cases are aged between 45 and 54.

Two members of primary school staff and three kindergarten teachers tested positive along with five primary school students, three high school students and two kindergarten children.

One care home resident and one employee tested positive on Wednesday. Infections were also confirmed in three employees and one resident of a centre for persons with disabilities. On Tuesday, the CUDV centre for persons with disabilities in Črna na Koroškem was mentioned as a new hotspot.

A care home in Rogaška Slatina had one resident test positive on Wednesday and one patient receiving palliative care died during the night, the head of the home, Kristina Kampuš, told the STA.

The head of the Danica Vogrinec care home in Maribor, Marko Slavič, told the press today that the institution still had 40 infected residents, 33 of whom have only mild symptoms. Three have been transferred to the hospital, while four of the infected residents have died.

But Slavič said that in the last five years, 50.4 people died on average at the home between January and September. This year 48 people died. "So Covid did not make this situation worse," he said.

No additional infections were confirmed after yesterday's testing, so Slavič thinks the situation is under control.

Currently, 22 members of the home's staff are quarantined. None of them have any health problems and some of the infected have had no symptoms.

The latest statistics on coronavirus and Slovenia, and the latest police news on red, green and yellow list countries. All our stories on coronavirus and SloveniaCan I transit Slovenia? Find out from the police...

04 Sep 2020, 13:21 PM

The latest statistics on coronavirus and Slovenia, and the latest police news on red, green and yellow list countries. All our stories on coronavirus and SloveniaCan I transit Slovenia? Find out from the police...

Contents

Cases - Masks - Graves Hungary

47 new coronavirus cases in 1,733 tests in Slovenia on Thursday

STA, 4 September 2020 - A record 1,733 tests conducted on Thursday confirmed 47 new Sars-CoV-2 infections in Slovenia, a slight drop on the 53 and 55 cases discovered on Wednesday and Tuesday. No new fatalities occurred, meaning the death toll remains at 134. The number of hospitalised patients decreased by two to 24, with three in intensive care.

The new cases put the total number of confirmed infections thus far at 3,079, 505 of which are active. The total number of quarantine orders currently in force exceeds 9,000.

Meanwhile, providing some cause for concern are reports of infections in staff from three kindergartens and pupils from several schools after the new school year started on Monday in-class for almost 191,000 primary and secondary pupils and almost 18,000 teachers.

Classes where cases were established are being quarantined and are mostly switching to remote learning. Schools with cases have remained open, an exception being a primary school in Braslovče where both the kindergarten and school were closed after four positive cases.

Government spokesman Jelko Kacin said today that the situation was no cause for alarm, as there are many schools and classes in Slovenia, meaning there will be cases. He explained that local epidemiologists have the final word about measures taken in individual cases.

Meanwhile, the new cases remain dispersed around the country. They were confirmed in 29 municipalities on Thursday, with Ljubljana again topping the chart with ten cases.

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Govt creates basis to fine those who flout face mask rules

STA, 3 September 2020 - The government has changed the legal basis for the mandatory wearing of face masks or other face coverings in public indoor spaces and for mandatory hand sanitising to make it possible to actually fine those who flout the rules.

The adoption of a new decree at today's government session was announced by government spokesman Jelko Kacin after Slovenia recorded a five-month spike in new coronavirus cases.

It comes after the human rights ombudsman, responding to a complaint by a member of the public, exposed a loophole that made it impossible to impose any sanctions on those violating the mandatory wearing of masks.

Kacin said the new rule on the mandatory of wearing masks will not apply to schools or sports and recreational activities where they will remain recommended. Unless schools were excluded, masks would also be mandatory in class, not just in common indoor areas.

However, masks will continue to be mandatory on public transport.

The new decree comes into effect from Friday when inspectors will start overseeing its implementation and will be able to issue penalty notices to violators.

Kacin said that masks would not be mandatory when sufficient distance between people can be kept. "If an office in a public space is big enough masks are not compulsory, especially when ventilation is possible."

Restrictions on gatherings in public places remain in place with the government Covid-19 advisory group warning that the restrictions must also apply to all private gatherings.

Slovenia recorded 53 new coronavirus infections for Wednesday after a five-month high of 55 the day before, which was on a record number of tests. Kacin noted that almost 50 more tests were performed on Wednesday than Tuesday.

The lab capacities are overstretched. "We fear there will be delays, that we'll be waiting for the results for the next day and that we won't have the real picture any longer," said Kacin.

Kacin said that many infected individuals would not tell the epidemiologists where they had caught the virus, so it was necessary to follow self-protective measures.

Turning to the deteriorating situation in other countries, he announced Slovenia would be forced to amend its quarantine list of countries.

The Covid-19 advisory group are currently discussing the possibility to let Croatian citizens living along the border visit their graves in Slovenia without mandatory quarantine ahead of All Saints Day, observed on 1 November.

However, Kacin noted that Croatia's coronavirus status was getting worse and would soon near 100 infections per 100,000 residents. This was after a public health official said yesterday that Slovenia's 14 day incidence was nearing 23 per 100,000.

Tatjana Lejko Zupanc, the head of the Infectious Disease Department of the Ljubljana UKC hospital, said that Covid-19 hospitalisations were on the rise and that an increasing number of patients required intensive care.

She reported that experience had shown the use of face masks as effective, including among health professions who avoided catching the virus from a family member because they were wearing a mask.

She urged everyone to follow the precautionary measures and act responsibly for the sake of themselves, their relatives and everyone else, in particular with the approach of autumn and winter when it will be no longer possible to see whether a person has a cold, flu or Covid-19.

Those hospitalised with Covid-19 are 63 years old on average, which is similar to the first wave of the epidemic. Patients with chronic conditions are hospitalised again, but this time around they do not have so grave chronic issues.

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Covid-19 makes it hard to visit relatives' graves across the border

STA, 3 September 2020 - The lives of some locals in border areas seem to be getting harder since Slovenia recently red-listed Croatia due to a rising number of Covid-19 cases. This prevents Croats from visiting the graves of their relatives across the border in Slovenia. Croatia would like the strict measures to be somewhat softened.

Croatia's Nova TV reported last evening that two Croatian citizens were not allowed to enter Slovenia to visit their relatives' graves in Jelšane, a Slovenian town just two kilometres from the Croatian town of Rupa.

There are some exceptions allowing Croatian citizens to enter Slovenia for a funeral of a relative or for business or some other urgent matters.

Slovenian and Croatian authorities have been notified of the difficulties by Croatian Mayor of Klana Željka Šarčević Grgić.

Although a meeting has been held in Slovenia's Ilirska Bistrica to discuss softer measures, she said the measures had in fact become stricter.

Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman told Nova TV that all open issues were being addressed, adding Croatia would appreciate if Croatians were allowed to visit their graves in Slovenia.

The locals would like to see a solution before 1 November, All Saints' Day, when Slovenians and Croats visit graves en masse.

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Hungary grants border opening appeals from Slovenian minority

STA, 4 September 2020 - The Hungarian authorities have granted an appeal from the Slovenian ethnic minority to open another border crossing for the locals, re-opening the Ketvolgy/Verica-Čepinci crossing as of Saturday between 6am and 6pm. A border crossing with Austria, important for Slovenian daily migrant workers, will also be reopened.

On Tuesday, Hungary closed its border for foreign citizens to contain the coronavirus, leaving only three border crossings with Slovenia operable - Pince (Tornyiszentmiklós on the Hungarian side), Dolga Vas (Hosszufalu) and Hodoš (Bajansenye).

The Slovenian minority on the other side of the border has been virtually cut off from Slovenia, and their representatives, as well as the Slovenian Foreign Ministry, have called on the Hungarian authorities to open one more small border crossing.

The Ketvolgy/Verica-Čepinci border crossing is very important for the minority, as travelling through other border crossings may prolong the journey by 100 kilometres or two hours.

Granting the appeal, Hungary also allowed parents who take their children to a bilingual school in Slovenia's Prosenjakovci to cross the local border crossing two times a day.

The restrictions on border travel have posed a problem for the primary school, which has 100 pupils, of whom 42 come from Hungary.

Erika Köleš Kiss, the minority's representative in Hungarian parliament, said that the representatives had strived for the border crossing to open even earlier, but were nevertheless happy with the outcome.

The Hungarian authorities also granted an appeal to reopen the border crossing with Austria at Alsószölnök, which is used by Slovenian daily migrant workers. It is expected to be opened on Saturday and stay opened between 7am and 7pm.

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01 Sep 2020, 16:58 PM

STA, 1 September 2020 - Prime Minister Janez Janša held talks on Tuesday with his Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orban. They discussed "close all-around cooperation" between the two countries.

 The prime ministers expressed strong support for the respective minorities on both sides of the border and called for stronger cooperation in a variety of bilateral projects.

They also "highlighted the importance of strategic cooperation in the Central European area," Janša's office said.

Janša gave Orban a special commendation and medal for his efforts in fighting Covid-19, and thanked him for Hungary's selfless help and solidarity during the coronacrisis.

Speaking to Hungarian press agency MRI, Orban said that he and Janša agreed the two countries would strive for good neighbourly relations but that it would take a few more months before a concrete plan emerged.

The basis for such a plan will be each country's support for their respective minorities, he said, adding that the bedrock of ties was also the aid Hungary provided to Slovenia during the coronavirus epidemic.

Orban said the tone of Hungarian-Slovenian relations was much more positive than ever before, according to MTI.

The meeting was held a day after Orban attended the Bled Strategic Forum, at which he participated in the leaders' panel along with Janša and several other Central and Eastern European leaders

All our stories about Orban and Slovenia

18 Jul 2020, 13:28 PM

The covers and editorials from leading weeklies of the Left and Right for the work-week ending Friday, 16 July 2020. All our stories about coronavirus and Slovenia are here

Mladina: Way to early election

STA, 17 July 2020 - The MPs of the coalition DeSUS and SMC are hostages of the ruling Democrats (SDS), the left-wing weekly Mladina says on Friday. They insist in the coalition because they fear losing their seats, which could be easily solved by empowering them by making them financially independent, the left-leaning weekly say in MPs Must Not Be Hostages.

The MPs of the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) and Modern Centre Party (SMC) fooled their voters when they joined a far-right government, while they had promised them they would never do it.

Mladina's editor-in-chief Grega Repovž says the anti-government protests, which started more than 10 weeks ago, are actually directed against them.

It admits the MPs are in a dead end - they joined the Janez Janša government hoping it would be bearable, while realising after four months in government it is not.

Janša is offering them two more years in office, that is until the next regular general election.

Mladina says DeSUS and SMC MPs are largely victims of Slovenia's constitutional arrangement

Under the constitution, the Slovenian president is the one to decide that parliament is not able to form a stable government and can call an election, but it is actually MPs who have the decision on an early election in their hands.

Mladina says the MPs are always in a dilemma when faced with such a political decision, because this is also a decision on the end of their terms.

The SMC and DeSUS MPs are criticised for having supported the Janša government so that they would not lose their jobs less than half way through their term, which Mladina says this is probably true but also understandable from a human point of view.

Yet MPs can only be truly independent if they are not forced to consider losing their job, if they are financially independent.

There is a simple solution to this - a new article should be added to the deputies act saying MPs are entitled to a compensation for the loss of income until the end of a regular term if an early election is called.

Although this could be a lot of money, it is little considering the harm they can prevent by opting for an early election.

"This is the price of functioning democracy," says Mladina, adding that 30 years of democracy has shown how important it is that MPs are independent.

Reporter: Hungarian scenario may not be effective in Slovenia

STA, 13 July 2020 - Commenting on the current political developments in Slovenia, the right-wing weekly Reporter argues on Monday that the potential formation of an alternative leftist government could have the reverse effect and end up hurting the left-aisle parties, whereas the right cannot count on gaining the upper hand overnight either.

"If a vote of no confidence in the entire government succeeds and the current prime minister is replaced by an interim prime minister in autumn, this political manoeuvring would not prevent [PM Janez] Janša from winning another snap election."

Indeed, it could backfire, says the right-leaning weekly, adding that Janša's party might even secure a landslide victory or its best election result ever due to such tactics, in particular if there is no new political leader on the left.

The future political developments are hard to predict, but it is also difficult to believe that "the relation between the left and the right would turn upside down overnight to the benefit of the latter".

"Janez Janša is not [Croatian Prime Minister] Andrej Plenković, who moved HDZ from the right to the centre and was triumphant in the Croatian general election a week ago."

Whereas Plenković does not need coalition partners due to his landslide victory, Janša probably would, which is an issue for him.

"It is possible to copy political recipes from Hungary, but they will not necessarily have the same impact in Slovenia. [Hungarian Prime Minister] Viktor Orban succeeded in subjugating the dominant media, he turned them into propaganda machinery so that they have helped him stay in power for more than a decade, whereas Janez Janša has always drawn the short straw in the war with the media so far."

Reporter editor-in-chief Silvester Šurla says that Janša's "latest battlefield which he has created using 'blitzkrieg' targeted at Slovenian media" might fail if he does not get support from coalition partners SMC and DeSUS.

All our posts in this series are here

14 Jul 2020, 16:35 PM

STA, 14 July 2020 - Foreign ministers from Austria, Czechia, Hungary, Slovenia and Slovakia, known as the Central5, held talks in Budapest on Tuesday focusing on the opening of borders with third countries in the light of the coronavirus epidemic.

The EU's recovery instrument, multi-annual budgetary framework and the role of state subsidies in investments and regional economic cooperation was also on the agenda, the Slovenian Foreign Ministry said.

Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg said it made sense for Central European countries to coordinate their policies and help each other, noting that this was a region with strong historical, economic and human ties.

He stressed that strong cooperation was necessary to overcome the current health crisis, Austrian press agency APA reported.

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said Central European countries had successfully worked together to introduce protective measures against the virus, and they have decided to maintain their cooperation amid upsurges in several neighbouring countries, Hungarian press agency MTI reported.

The group of five countries decided to establish the Central5 format in the midst of the coronavirus crisis. The first meeting was held in Vienna on 16 June.

Slovenian Foreign Minister Anže Logar invited his counterparts to a meeting in Slovenia. The tentative date is 15 September, the Foreign Ministry said.

08 Jul 2020, 09:56 AM

STA, 7 July 2020 - National telco Telekom Slovenije signed a contract on Tuesday with Hungarian media company TV2 Media selling Planet TV, its subsidiary which produces the eponymous TV channel. TV2 Media will pay EUR 5 million for the 100% share, Telekom said in a press release. The deal is expected to be finalised by autumn.

Today's development confirms the previous media reports on the sale and the value of the deal.

Telekom's supervisors have already given the green light while all the other approvals are expected by the end of September.

TV2 Media is owned by Jozsef Vida, whom media associate with the business network of the Hungarian ruling party Fidesz. Speculation that TV2 is eyeing Planet TV started in early June, when reports also mentioned Croatian entrepreneur Ivan Ćaleta as a second candidate.

The news portal Necenzurirano.si also reported about unofficial plans to merge Planet TV and Nova24TV, the news portal and website associated with the ruling Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS) and also in the ownership of Hungarian individuals reportedly close to Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban.

Telekom launched Planet TV in 2012 under the then SDS-led Janez Janša government. It was reported that the telecoms incumbent had been looking for a strategic partner which would buy a 49% share in the TV production company already at the beginning of January, only to change its mind later on.

According to the newspaper Delo, Planet TV has cost Telekom Slovenije EUR 80 million in the form of capital injections, advertisements, loans and other services since it was launched in September 2012, and has operated in the red.

The latest blow was the Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce ordering Telekom last year to pay a EUR 23 million buyout to Antenna Group, the Greek partner who wanted out of the joint venture.

Telekom, which thus became the sole owner of Planet TV, saw the buyout significantly reduce its profit last year, which reached a mere EUR 1.2 million.

After initially announcing the search for a strategic partner, Telekom said in mid-March that selling the outright stake in Planet TV was also an option.

According to Necenzurirano.si, some supervisors expressed great reservations about the sale at today's session. They argued they had been presented only the Hungarian bid, which was picked as the best by the Telekom management and a financial consultant.

Several bids had reportedly arrived, with the second and third best bidders allegedly offering only one euro for the company.

Unlike the other bidders, the Hungarians reportedly received an assurance from Telekom that it would continue to advertise on Planet TV. Telekom reportedly also pledged to turn EUR 30 million in loans into Planet TV's capital before the sale is completed.

Telekom also allegedly plans to write off some EUR 3 million in business claims and contribute another million to help keep Planet TV afloat.

The portal also says that Hungarians could extend the sales procedure until the end of the year, but in that case Telekom would have to transfer another EUR 2 million to cover Planet TV's loss.

All our stories on Slovenia and Hungary are here

30 Jun 2020, 13:15 PM

STA, 30 June 2020 - The state-owned telecoms company Telekom Slovenije has reportedly sold its troubled subsidiary Planet TV to the Hungarian free-to-air channel TV2, owned by Jozsef Vida, whom media associate with the business network of the Hungarian ruling party Fidesz.

The unofficial news was broken on Tuesday by the editor of the news portal Požareport, Bojan Požar, who wrote that Planet TV, which produces the eponymous TV channel, has been sold for EUR 5 million, with the transaction still outstanding.

Telekom Slovenije, which launched Planet TV in 2012 under the then Janez Janša government, has not confirmed or denied the report.

Speculation that Hungary's TV2 was eyeing Planet TV started in early June, when reports also mentioned Croatian entrepreneur Ivan Ćaleta as a second candidate.

It was reported that the telecoms incumbent had been looking for a strategic partner which would buy a 49% share in the TV production company already at the beginning of January, only to change its mind later on.

According to the newspaper Delo, Planet TV has cost Telekom Slovenije EUR 80 million in the form of capital injections, advertisements, loans and other services since it was launched in September 2012, and has operated in the red all the time.

The latest blow was the Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce ordering Telekom last year to pay a EUR 23 million buyout to Antenna Group, the Greek partner who wanted out of the joint venture.

The telco, which thus became the sole owner of Planet TV, saw the buyout significantly reduce its profit last year, which reached a mere EUR 1.2 million.

After initially announcing the search for a strategic partner, Telekom Slovenije said in mid-March that selling the outright stake in Planet TV was also an option.

Planet TV was established by Telekom Slovenije at the time of Janša's 2012-13 government. Telekom also owns news web portal Siol.net, which got a new editor-in-chief after Janša became PM again in March.

Hungarian ownership is meanwhile presently involved in two Slovenian media outlets associated with Janša's Democrats (SDS) - the weekly paper Demokracija and the NovaTV web portal and TV channel.

Al our stories on Slovenia and Hungary

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