Ljubljana related

18 Sep 2021, 08:19 AM

What follows is a weekly review of events involving Slovenia, as prepared by the STA.

If you’d like to keep up on the daily headlines then follow those here, or get all our stories in your feed on Facebook.

 

FRIDAY, 10 September
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - EU finance ministers meeting to discuss the health and economic situation in the EU and eurozone, expressed optimism about the developments, noting the situation was significantly better than expected months ago. However, they also cautioned that the danger was not over yet.
        KARPACZ, Poland - Prime Minister Janez Janša received the award for person of the year in Central and Eastern Europe at the Economic Forum in Karpacz, Poland. In his speech, he underlined the region's key role in the bloc and its Christian heritage.
        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša and IMF executive director Kristalina Georgieva and OECD secretary general Mathias Cormann discussed the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the global economy and recovery plans. The meeting with Cormann also focussed on other challenges of OECD members. Cormann also met Foreign Minister Anže Logar, with the pair expressing optimism about the global economic recovery.
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor hosted a meeting with Health Minister Janez Poklukar and members of the government Covid advisory group over the coronavirus outbreak to call for vaccination, especially for all over 50 years of age.
        LJUBLJANA - The Government Office for Slovenians Abroad announced that a total of 63 ethnic-Slovenian residents of Venezuela had so far been repatriated to Slovenia. All of them are doing well, with many of them already in employment, and students included in the education system.
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor offered his condolences to his Portuguese counterpart Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa on the death of the country's former President Jorge Sampaio. In a post on his Twitter profile Pahor described Sampaio as a great statesman who promoted dialogue, solidarity and freedom.
        LJUBLJANA - The KSJS confederation of public sector trade unions called on the government to meet its obligations towards the public media, chiefly to pay for the public service performed by the STA and provide adequate funding for public broadcaster RTV Slovenija.

SATURDAY, 11 September
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - EU finance ministers spoke in favour of a continuation of the bloc's current investment cycle. Slovenia's Andrej Šircelj said everyone showed a great desire for Europe to continue with this investment cycle and to become stronger after the pandemic.
        LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Anže Logar said Slovenia remained deeply committed to the prevention and terrorism and radicalisation, placing special emphasis on the fight against terrorism in Western Balkans, noting that Slovenia would continue to work closely with the US and other allies as he paid tribute to the victims of the 11 September terrorist attacks.
        IDRIJA - The main ceremony remembering the return of the western Primorska region to the homeland was held in Idrija with Mayor Tomaž Vencelj saying it was important the event was held in Idrija, which had been an important part of Primorska for half a century and made the region richer with its natural beauty, heritage and successful economy.

SUNDAY, 12 September
        BASOVIZZA, Italy - A ceremony for four victims of Fascism executed in September 1930, known among Slovenians as the Basovizza Heroes, was held at the memorial site, with Minister for Slovenians Abroad Helena Jaklitsch saying that it was a reminder of how much misery and pain humans and authorities could cause if they let hatred and exclusion win.
        ŽUŽEMBERK - The coalition New Slovenia (NSi) held its annual informal gathering, with its president Matej Tonin saying that it was not possible to build a stable government without cooperation through the political centre and without the NSi.
        BOLOGNA, Italy - Slovenian President Borut Pahor addressed a meeting of the G20 Interfaith Forum, saying that divisions, in particular political and ideological, were one of the societal wounds that need to be urgently healed. He also proposed a meeting of senior religious representatives in the Western Balkan region.
        PTUJ - The poultry group Perutnina Ptuj, which was taken over by Ukrainian Holding MHP in early 2019, reported EUR 294 million in sales revenue for 2020, a new record and 3% increase on the year before. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization were up 7% to EUR 47.7 million.

MONDAY, 13 September
        GENEVA, Switzerland/LJUBLJANA - FM Anže Logar announced at the international donor conference for Afghanistan that Slovenia will donate EUR 300,000 in aid to help the country amid a deteriorating humanitarian crisis.
        NEW YORK, US - Darja Bavdaž Kuret, a seasoned diplomat who served as Slovenia's former permanent representative to the UN, was appointed special adviser to Abdulla Shahid, the president of the 76th UN General Assembly to take the second highest post ever held by a Slovenian representative to the UN after Danilo Türk served as UN assistant secretary general for political affairs from 2000 to 2005.
        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša addressed a session of the WHO Regional Office for Europe to stress the importance of preparedness and effective responsiveness to future health crises. He also discussed the importance of science and solidarity in battling the Covid-19 pandemic.
        BOLOGNA, Italy - President Borut Pahor was awarded Sigillum Magnum, the highest recognition from the University of Bologna given to influential figures. Pahor said he understood the honour as recognition of his efforts for dialogue, reconciliation and better future.
        LJUBLJANA - A panel held as part of the Future Unlocked online conference agreed the creative and culture sector plays an important role in generating economic growth. The main topics of the two-day online conference hosted by Slovenia as the EU presiding country is the role of the creative sector in the green transition, social innovation and economic growth, and in attaining sustainable goals.
        BLED - The rights and obligations of small shareholders were in the focus of an international investors' conference in Bled, with panellists highlighting access to information, cross-border share holdings and sustainable corporate governance as some of the key issues.
        LJUBLJANA - The government appointed Damjan Žugelj a full-fledged director of the Office for Money Laundering Prevention, after he led it as acting head since 15 March. He will take over on 15 September for a five-year term, with the option of reappointment.
        LJUBLJANA - The ruling Democrats (SDS) continued to top the party rankings at 18.3% in the latest monthly Mediana poll conducted for the newspaper Delo, with their support rising 1.2 percentage points compared to August. The SDS was followed by the opposition Social Democrats (SD), whose support dropped by 2.4 points to 10.3%.
        LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Armed Forces estimated the interest in voluntary service has increased by 40% to 50% this year as a new concept of voluntary service was introduced on 5 July.
        
TUESDAY, 14 September
        STRASBOURG, France - The European Court of Human Rights ruled Slovenia violated Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 to the European Convention on Human Rights in dispossessing holders of shares and subordinated bonds as part of the 2013/14 bank bailout, finding they had no reasonable opportunity to challenge or seek compensation for the Slovenian central bank's measure.
        LJUBLJANA - The opposition demanded answers after POP TV released photos showing Prime Minister Janez Janša spending time with the lobbyist Božo Dimnik on a yacht owned by the businessmen Andrej Marčič in 2016. The POP TV report said this showed Janša and Marčič had not been meeting accidentally, as Marčič claimed back when photos were published of the two playing golf in Mauritius almost two decades ago. Janša said his playing golf with Dimnik and Marčič had nothing to do with lobbying and he denied doing any deals with them. later in the week, Janša failed to attend a session of a parliamentary commission that wanted to debate allegations of his improper lobbying contacts.
        MILAN, Italy - President Borut Pahor met Attilio Fontana, the president of the Italian region of Lombardy, for what his office said were talks about cooperation, in particularly economic ties, and opportunities to develop and enhance bilateral relations.
        CELJE - Interior Minister Aleš Hojs announced Slovenia planned to erect several dozen kilometres of new fencing on the border with Croatia in an effort to crack down on illegal migrations. The construction work should start within two or three weeks.
        LJUBLJANA - Economy Ministry State Secretary Simon Zajc said Slovenia had been recording solid tourism figures this year but the sector was not expected to bounce back before 2023 or, more likely, 2024. Asian guests are unlikely to return before 2023, he said.
        LJUBLJANA - The steel group SIJ generated EUR 451.6 million in sales revenue in the first half of the year, or 24.4% more year-on-year, while bouncing from a loss in the first half of 2020 to more than EUR 10 million in net profit.

WEDNESDAY, 15 September
        LJUBLJANA - As the Covid pass mandate came into effect, a crowd of about 8,000 people gathered for a rally in front of the parliament building to protest against the new rules. The protest turned into a riot and police had to use a water canon and tear gas to disperse the crowd. Seven police officers were injured. In response officials and politicians from both sides of the isle condemned the violence.
        CELJE - Prime Minister Janez Janša and his Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orban were on hand for the launch of the the 53rd Celje International Trade Fair as Hungary is featured as the partner country. They both expressed optimism about the post-Covid economic recovery and the future.
        CELJE - The governments of Slovenia and Hungary held a joint session with officials conducting an overview of existing cooperation and signing a letter of intent on a joint fund for Prekmurje and Porabje, the border regions populated by the Hungarian and Slovenian ethnic minorities, and a memorandum of understanding on development cooperation.
        CELJE - The home affairs ministers of Slovenia and Hungary, Aleš Hojs and Sandor Pinter, agreed at a meeting about the urgent need to prevent mass migration flows in the EU and pressure on the bloc's external borders. Meanwhile, the two defence ministers, Matej Tonin and Tibor Benko, discussed bilateral military and defence cooperation.
        ROME, Italy - President Borut Pahor upheld the key points from the State of the Union address by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen as addressed a meeting in Rome with the heads of state of 15 EU countries as part of the Arraiolos initiative discussing the path to strategic autonomy.
        LJUBLJANA - In assessing the annual address to the European Parliament by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Slovenian MEPs said her speech was realistic but lacked concrete proposals, including on social policy. Some welcomed the announced legislation on media freedom.
        LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary foreign policy and defence committees took note of Slovenia's plans to increase the number of personnel in NATO's mission in Iraq to up to 15 soldiers and civilian experts under a decision adopted by the government in the summer.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia was allotted a diplomatic apartment in Rome as part of the succession process after the break-up of Yugoslavia. The country already uses the apartment as a residence of the ambassador to the Holy See.
        LJUBLJANA - UNESCO, the United Nations educational scientific and cultural organisation, formally declared a biosphere reserve spanning the Mura, Drava and Danube rivers, the first five-country biosphere in the world.
        CELJE - Slovenian maker of ultralight aircraft Pipistrel signed an aircraft manufacturing agreement with Hungary's Genevation Aircraft on the manufacture, marketing and provision of after-sales support for select markets, a deal the company says is worth in excess of EUR 100 million over ten years.
        LJUBLJANA - Spanish company Glovo announced it had finalised the acquisition of the food delivery platform Ehrana, after announcing in May that it would take over one of the largest home delivery providers in Slovenia.
        
THURSDAY, 16 September
        LJUBLJANA - The Institute of Macroeconomic Analysis and Development, the government's economic forecaster, upgraded Slovenia's growth forecast for the year to 6.1%, 1.5 percentage points up from its spring outlook. It projects for GDP growth to then ease off to 4.7% in 2022 and 3.3% in 2023.
        PORTOROŽ - A two-day meeting of the management board of the European Asylum Support Office started, with one of the topics being reforming the office into a European agency for asylum, with which it would assume new obligations and tasks.
        CLEVELAND, US - Helena Jaklitsch, the minister for Slovenians abroad, started a 10-day visit to Slovenians in the USA, beginning in Cleveland, Ohio and concluding in Lemont, Illinois. The overarching theme is the 30th anniversary of Slovenian independence.
        CELJE - Delegates of the coalition Modern Centre Party (SMC) gave party leader Zdravko Počivalšek the mandate for a merger, a tie-up and cooperation with other related parties and lists at the next general election. The party is to merge with the Economically Active Party (GAS), a pro-business party headed by National Council President Alojz Kovšca, possibly before the end of the year.
        NAZARJE - The Nazarje-based home appliance maker BSH Hišni aparati, a Slovenian subsidiary of BSH Hausgeräte GmbH, was approved a state subsidy worth EUR 7.7 million to support an investment that will create 62 new jobs.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenian Michelin starred chef Ana Roš from Hiša Franko placed seventh in the rankings of the world's top chefs compiled by The Best Chef Awards 2021, climbing 11 spots from last year, according to The Best Chef Awards website.
        LJUBLJANA - The recipient of this year's Badjura Award, given out for lifetime achievements in film since 1995, is the innovator and film sound engineer Emilija Soklič, one of the first Slovenian professional female film industry workers and an innovator in sound design.
        LJUBLJANA - Robert Simonišek, an author and art historian born in Celje in 1977, has won the 2021 Rožanc Prize for best collection of essays for Pejsaži - Sanjati na Soncu (Landscapes - Dreaming in the Sun).

11 Sep 2021, 09:00 AM

What follows is a weekly review of events involving Slovenia, as prepared by the STA.

If you’d like to keep up on the daily headlines then follow those here, or get all our stories in your feed on Facebook.

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.

04 Sep 2021, 09:11 AM

What follows is a weekly review of events involving Slovenia, as prepared by the STA.

If you’d like to keep up on the daily headlines then follow those here, or get all our stories in your feed on Facebook.

FRIDAY, 27 August
        OHRID, North Macedonia - During a working visit to North Macedonia, Defence Minister Matej Tonin said he and his Macedonian counterpart Radmila Šekerinska finalised their agreement on Macedonian troops becoming part of the Slovenian contingent in the NATO Enhanced Forward Presence mission in Latvia in June 2022.
        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša met a delegation of US senators visiting Slovenia on the occasion of Slovenian-American Friendship Day. They discussed current international issues, including the situation in Afghanistan, and US-Slovenia relations.
        BELGRADE, Serbia - Parliamentary Speaker Igor Zorčič wrapped up a two-day official visit to Serbia during which he discussed bilateral issues but also regional and global issues with top officials, including President Aleksandar Vučić and PM Ana Brnabić.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's jobless total decreased by a quarterly 20% to 44,000 in the second quarter of the year according to the labour force survey released by the Statistics Office. The survey unemployment rate was 1.3 percentage points lower at 4.3%. In July, the ILO-compatible survey unemployment rate reached 4%, down 1.3 points year-on-year.
        LJUBLJANA - Energy company Petrol saw group net profit jump by 140% to more than EUR 49 million on sales that increased 20% year-on-year to EUR 1.8 billion, according to the company's interim report.
        KOPER - Port operator Luka Koper reported EUR 114.7 million in net sales revenue for the first half of the year, an increase of 7% from the same period last year. Net profit increased by 2% to EUR 15.4 million.
        ZREČE - Unior, a group specialising in forged metals and tools, reported EUR 122.1 million in net sales revenue for the first half of the year, up 31.8% year-on-year, as it bounced back from a loss to a net profit of EUR 6.4 million.
        NOVO MESTO - Carlos Pascual, a Mexican author who has been living in Slovenia for years, won the Novo Mesto Prize for best collection of short stories of the year for Nezakonita Melanholija (Unlawful Melancholy) in what is the first time the prize went to an author who was not born in Slovenia.

SATURDAY, 28 August
        KRŠKO - Addressing a regional meeting of his Democratic Party (SDS), PM Janez Janša said any party wanting to form a future coalition with the SDS would have to agree not to have any talks on open borders or migration corridors and would have to support the European Parliament's resolution condemning all totalitarian regimes. No party agreed to take up all those conditions.
        LJUBLJANA - Odile Renaud-Basso, the EBRD president, told the STA in an interview the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) had no plans for direct equity investment in the Slovenian financial sector, but it did intend to continue to support it through market investment. It was also ready to support the economy's green transition and digitalisation.
        LJUBLJANA - The newspaper Dnevnik reported that the Supreme Court made a landmark ruling under which Slovenia must allow a Cameroonian asylum seeker who was deported from Slovenia twice in 2019 to enter the country and seek asylum status. The ruling, handed down in April, is final and not appealable.

MONDAY, 30 August
        MADRID, Spain - Foreign Minister Anže Logar met his Spanish counterpart Jose Manuel Albares for an exchange of views on current EU and international issues, with the Slovenian Foreign Ministry saying the countries had similar views on the efforts to prevent illegal migration, and shared concerns over how the developments in Afghanistan might affect illegal migration trends.
        LJUBLJANA - The Defence Ministry said it was continuing with its efforts to evacuate an Afghan who worked for the Slovenian Armed Forces and his family from Kabul with evacuation now possible only through a UN humanitarian convoy or one of Afghanistan's neighbouring countries.
        LJUBLJANA - A Qatari delegation led by Ahmad Hassen Al-Hammadi, secretary-general at the Foreign Ministry, held political consultations at the Slovenian Foreign Ministry and visited the Muslim Cultural Centre in Ljubljana, which was built with substantial financial support from Qatar.
        LJUBLJANA - The Financial Administration (FURS) published a proposal for taxation of cryptocurrencies, proposing individuals pay a 10% tax rate on the amount they turn into cash or spend for goods or services. Facing a strong reaction from the public, FURS changed the proposal so that only sums above EUR 15,000 in a single calendar year would be taxed with the taxpayer being given the choice to pay either a tax of 10% on the sum cashed in or a tax of 25% on the profit they make in trading in virtual currencies. The tax would not apply to legal entities.
        LJUBLJANA - National motorway company DARS reported EUR 218.8 million in revenue for the first half of the year, a rise of 16% on the same period last year. Net profit was up 55% to EUR 43.9 million as DARS sold 2.5 million toll stickers, up slightly year-on-year, but still significantly lower than in 2019, before the Covid-19 epidemic.
        TOKYO, Japan - Shooter Franček Gorazd Tiršek won silver at the Tokyo Paralympics in the men's 10m air rifle standing competition and then went on to win bronze in the prone event on 1 September in what are the first two medals for Slovenia at the games. Tiršek won silver medals in the standing position at two previous Paralymics.
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - The most successful Slovenian football referee Damir Skomina, whose record includes refereeing at the European championships, World Cup, the UEFA Super Cup and the 2019 Champions League final, officially announced the end of his career.
        
TUESDAY, 31 August
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's GDP increased by 16.3% on a year-on-year basis in the second quarter of the year, the Statistics Office reported, with the growth powered by household spending and gross investment, as foreign trade was up significantly as well. GDP is now just below its 2019 peak.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's annual inflation run at at 2.1% in August, mostly due to significantly more expensive petroleum products, which contributed 1.2 percentage points to the headline rate, the Statistics Office reported.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Interior Minister Aleš Hojs presided over an emergency meeting of EU home affairs ministers that adopted a joint statement after a "very heated" debate saying the bloc was determined to prevent uncontrolled large-scale illegal migration movements from Afghanistan and the region.
        LJUBLJANA - The Human Rights Ombudsman issued several warnings in a report on the human rights of migrants, most notably that migrants are often returned to neighbouring countries without receiving a written decision, which makes it impossible for them to appeal against the return.
        LJUBLJANA - Representatives of STA staff sent a letter to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Council President Charles Michel, and Parliament President David Sassoli, noting that despite calls to restore the financing of the STA, the issue has still not been resolved. They urged for "more decisive, perhaps even unprecedented steps, to protect freedom of the press".
        PRAGERSKO - Work started on a project to upgrade the Pragersko railway hub, one of the main rail junctions in the country. The EUR 90 million project is slated for completion in June 2023.
        CELJE - Poet Tina Kozin won the Veronika Prize for best collection of poetry for Nebo pod Vodo (Sky Under the Sea), her third collection.

WEDNESDAY, 1 September
        BLED - The future of Europe and how the EU should respond to a potential new migration wave from Afghanistan dominated debate as the 16th annual Bled Strategic Forum got under way with a record number of senior officials. "Not a single European country wants a repeat of 2015" or the policy of open borders, PM Janez Janša said about the prospect of an influx of migrants from Afghanistan as European Parliament President David Sassoli voiced disappointment that none of the EU member states had expressed willingness to accept Afghan refugees. Janša also called for the EU to return to its roots, to the basic principles laid down by the founding fathers. The Afghan crisis also topped the agenda of bilateral meetings of most senior Slovenian and foreign officials.
        BLED - The stalled process of EU enlargement to the Western Balkans was one of the topics debated at the BSF with the panellists, including the heads of government of all Western Balkan countries as well as European Council President Charles Michel and European Parliament President David Sassoli calling for a continuation of the enlargement process as a matter of strategic importance. Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Anže Logar announced Slovenia's desire to make the EU-Western Balkans summit, which it will host in early October, a regular annual event as a means of accelerating the EU enlargement process.
        BLED - Arriving at the Bled Strategic Forum, Croatian PM Andrej Plenković said Slovenia and Croatia had established excellent relationship during the term of Slovenian PM Janez Janša, and said the bilateral border issue could be tackled this government term.
        BLED - Foreign Minister Anže Logar announced that the Med7, a club of seven Mediterranean EU countries, would invite Slovenia to become a member at a summit scheduled to take place later this month. He said membership would be "particularly important in the light of potential new migration pressure in the future".
        BRUSSELS, Belgium/LJUBLJANA - Justice Minister Marjan Dikaučič said Slovenia was making the effort to appoint its European delegated prosecutors as soon as possible as he presented via video call Slovenia's EU presidency priorities in judiciary to the European Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs.
        LJUBLJANA - The Interior Ministry drew up prepared changes to the public order act that introduce fines of EUR 500-1,000 for indecent behaviour towards state officials, senior representatives of the authorities and their families. The proposal has already been endorsed by the government.
        LJUBLJANA - A new school year started for almost 270,000 Slovenian primary and secondary school children and nearly 30,000 teachers in person but with safety measures in place, including mandatory Covid certificates for staff, masks for all children in communal areas and voluntary self-testing for older children. If schools flout the rules, they may be ordered to switch to remote classes.
        MARIBOR - Media company Časnik Večer transferred the daily newspaper Večer with its 94 employees to Večer Mediji, a new company that is to be sold to six companies which are, according to unofficial information, owned by media mogul Martin Odlazek. Delo reported that a several-owner solution was to bypass the rule to seek a regulatory clearance in case a company owns 20% of a media company or more.
        CELJE - Chemical company Cinkarna Celje saw its half-year sales revenue rise by 12% year-on-year to EUR 99.39 million on the back of good demand, boosting net profit by 60% to EUR 15.8 million.

THURSDAY, 2 September
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - The creation of a European rapid reaction force was one of the topics as EU defence ministers held an informal meeting at Brdo. Speaking after the event, the EU's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the EU must strengthen its strategic autonomy to act independently when and where necessary, as Defence Minister Matej Tonin said political will would be needed to address the issue. Borrell then went on to chair an informal meeting of EU foreign ministers, which he said would discuss how to engage with the Taliban, in particular on humanitarian aid and assistance to people in Afghanistan who want to leave.
        BLED - The need to draw lucid lessons from Afghanistan was emphasised at a Bled Strategic Forum panel on European defence, but the panellists, which included Mircea Geoana, deputy secretary general of NATO, said these lessons should draw not just on the last few weeks in Afghanistan, they should be informed by the broader geopolitical situation.
        BLED - Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar met his counterpart Anže Logar and President Borut Pahor during the first such official visit to Slovenia since its independence, with a meeting with PM Janez Janša planned for 3 September. Jaishankar and Logar expressed their commitment to strengthening cooperation between their countries in various fields, while Jaishankar also highlighted Slovenia's support for India's agreements with the EU.
        BLED - Belarusian opposition politician Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya addressed the Bled Strategic Forum to note that the Eastern Partnership should be supported as a crucial instrument for helping the Belarusian people. She also called for visa liberalisation and inclusion of democratic forces in meetings of the European Partnership.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Presenting the priorities of the Slovenian EU presidency in home affairs to the relevant European Parliament committee, Interior Minister Aleš Hojs heard criticism over the recent joint statement of the EU home affairs ministers on Afghanistan. Hojs said the MEPs' criticism was a reflection of their pain at not being in charge of certain issues.
        BLED - Slovenian priest and missionary Pedro Opeka won this year's Distinguished Partner Award, an accolade bestowed at the Bled Strategic Forum, for his humanitarian work and fight against poverty in Madagascar.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia turned red as the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control updated its Covid-19 colour-coded map of Europe. There are now more than 6,000 estimated active infections in the country, with the 7-day average of new cases at 491 and the 14-day incidence per 100,000 residents at 283. Covid-19 hospitalisations passed 160, including 40 ICU cases. The total death toll from Covid-19 reached 4,781.
        LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian central bank said it would not extended a requirement that banks, savings banks and leasing companies may not distribute profit beyond the end of September, however the financial institutions are expected to apply a conservative approach.
        LJUBLJANA - The government adopted a set of changes to the gaming act which lift most restrictions concerning casino ownership and under which concessions would be granted on the basis of newly introduced public tenders.
        VELENJE - The Hisense Europe Group reported a loss of EUR 12.8 million for 2020 on EUR 2 billion in sales, the bulk of which were generated from the household appliances at Gorenje. Nevertheless, Gorenje said the group had been operating at a profit for the past 14 months.

28 Aug 2021, 10:17 AM

What follows is a weekly review of events involving Slovenia, as prepared by the STA.

If you’d like to keep up on the daily headlines then follow those here, or get all our stories in your feed on Facebook.

FRIDAY, 20 August
        LJUBLJANA - FM Anže Logar and his Austrian counterpart Alexander Schallenberg said that Afghans fleeing the Taliban should be helped in Afghanistan's neighbourhood, as they warned against a rerun of the 2015 migration crisis.
        LJUBLJANA - FM Anže Logar assured his Austrian counterpart Alexander Schallenberg Slovenia would be completely transparent about its plans to build a second unit at the Krško nuclear power station. Schallenberg said Austria respected decisions by other countries on what kind of an energy mix they would have.
        LJUBLJANA - Booster shots of coronavirus vaccines became available for persons with transplanted organs, patients awaiting transplantation and those with severely weakened immune systems, under the latest revision of the national vaccination strategy adopted by the government.
        LJUBLJANA - The government changed course on testing policy, deciding employees in healthcare, education, retail and the events industry will continue to have access to free tests after 23 August when free mass testing was discontinued. Transit passengers need to produce Covid certificate after 29 August.
        LJUBLJANA - The director general of public broadcaster RTV Slovenija Andrej Grah Whatmough dismissed Natalija Gorščak, the director of TV programmes, after accusing her of violating bylaws and allowing ratings to plummet. Gorščak said to use legal means to proved that she had worked well and in line with the law.
        LJUBLJANA - An Afghan interpreter who worked for the Slovenian Armed Forces was evacuated from Afghanistan and arrived in Slovenia together with his family. The government has already sorted out their legal status.
        KREDARICA - A confrontation took place between anti-government protesters and PM Janez Janša and Interior Minister Aleš Hojs at the Kredarica mountain hut below Mt Triglav with some harsh words exchanged.
        LJUBLJANA - British Airways relaunched flights between Ljubljana and London's largest airport Heathrow, the operation of Ljubljana airport said. Passengers can fly to Heathrow on Fridays and Sunday, with another two weekly flights to be added at the end of August.

SATURDAY, 21 August
        GORNJA RADGONA - The Agra agriculture fair opened in an in-person format as the first large in-person fair in Slovenia since the epidemic was declared in March 2020, featuring some 1,100 exhibitors from 29 countries. President Borut Pahor warned in his keynote farmers would have to be helped by the state to cope with the impact of climate change.

SUNDAY, 22 August
        LJUBLJANA/BRUSSELS, Belgium - PM Janez Janša said the EU would "not open any 'humanitarian' or migration corridors to Afghanistan". European Parliament President David Sassoli countered his statement by saying it was "not up to the current presidency of the Council to say what the EU will do". The Union and the countries which have taken part in the NATO mission in Afghanistan have a duty to take care of the Afghans at risk following the Taliban seizure of the country, the European Commission later said.
        
MONDAY, 23 August
        JERUSALEM, Israel - FM Anže Logar pledged regular bilateral dialogue and cooperation as he met his Israeli counterpart Yair Lapid and other senior officials. As part of the visit, a cyber security cooperation memorandum was signed.
        KYIV, Ukraine - President Borut Pahor reaffirmed Slovenia's support for Ukraine's territorial integrity as he attended an international conference on Russia's illegal annexation of the Crimea in 2014.
        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša and Speaker Igor Zorčič marked Europe-wide Day of Remembrance for the victims of all totalitarian and authoritarian regimes, warning against glorification of Nazi and other totalitarian regimes' symbols. Zorčič called for the prosecution of such acts.
        LJUBLJANA - More than 50% of Slovenians aged over 18 have been fully vaccinated and 55% have received the first shot of a coronavirus vaccine, the latest official figures showed.
        CELJE/GOLNIK - The Golnik University Clinic and the Celje General Hospital joined the country's largest hospitals, UKC Ljubljana and UKC Maribor, in opening designated Covid-19 wards.
        LJUBLJANA - Just over a quarter of respondents in the latest public opinion poll conducted by Mediana for commercial broadcaster POP TV said they supported the work of the Janez Janša government, which is the lowest support in this term. The ruling Democrats (SDS) continued to top party rankings, followed by the opposition SocDems.

TUESDAY, 24 August
        RAMALLAH, Palestine - FM Anže Logar met his Palestinian counterpart Riyad al-Maliki as he visited Ramallah. Bilateral and EU-Palestine cooperation, the situation in Palestine, current developments in the region, and Slovenia's EU presidency topped the agenda.
        LJUBLJANA - Interior Minister Aleš Hojs held talks with Johanna Mikl-Leitner, the governor of the Austrian state of Lower Austria. Migrations and the Western Balkans topped the agenda along with the work of the Slovenian EU presidency.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia started using monoclonal antibody treatment for some patients with Covid-19, having received a shipment of 1,000 doses of a drug as part of an EU contract, the Health Ministry said.
        SLOVENJ GRADEC - Construction work began near Slovenj Gradec on a vital expressway to link the Koroška region in the north with the national motorway network. The section is valued at EUR 37.4 million and should be completed in 30 months.
        
WEDNESDAY, 25 August
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia is likely to get a new Covid traffic light system next week with tiers of restrictions defined based on the number of cases in hospitals rather than the number of new positive cases, senior health officials said.
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor hosted a delegation of the US Senate for the Slovenian-American Friendship Day, an annual celebration of bilateral ties. He stressed that the two countries shared the same values.
        LJUBLJANA - FM Anže Logar and his Maltese counterpart Evarist Bartolo said that reforms in the EU's migration policy were necessary, highlighting migration issues should be tackled primarily in countries of origin.
        LJUBLJANA - Interior Minister Aleš Hojs met via videolink Roland Sebastian Schilling, representative of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for Central Europe. The pair discussed the situation in Afghanistan, including potential migration and security threats.
        LJUBLJANA - Schools and kindergartens received instructions on how to act if staff does not adhere to the recovered-vaccinated-tested rule. A refusal to get tested for coronavirus will be sufficient ground for a lay-off, showed an Education Ministry circular obtained by the STA.
        GORNJA RADGONA - Several organisations of farmers staged a protest against solutions contained in the draft national strategic plan for the EU's common agricultural policy, which involves a shift from direct payments to farmers towards the financing of rural development policy.
        LJUBLJANA - Russian airline Aeroflot will apparently not operate flights between Slovenia and the Russian capital in the winter season, the Ex-Yu Aviation web portal reported. Aeroflot currently flies from Ljubljana Airport to Moscow three times a week.

THURSDAY, 26 August
        COPENHAGEN, Denmark - Foreign Minister Anže Logar paid a visit to Denmark to meet his counterpart Jeppe Kofod. The talks focused on strengthening bilateral relations, reviewing the implementation of the priorities of the Slovenian EU presidency, and on topical international issues, including Afghanistan.
        BELGRADE, Serbia - Parliamentary Speaker Igor Zorčič started a two-day official visit to Serbia by meeting his counterpart Ivica Dačić. The two said they were happy with the traditionally friendly relations between the countries that are connected both by a shared history and a joint European future.
        LJUBLJANA - The opposition-controlled Commission for Oversight of Public Finances asked the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption to check the records of Prime Minister Janez Janša's contacts with lobbyists after a media reported that he had played golf on several occasions with a major lobbyist and the owner of an IT firm.
        LJUBLJANA - The tested-vaccinated-recovered requirement, known in Slovenia by the acronym PCT, will be expanded to university students and those participating in indoor sports activities under a decision adopted by the government. Testing for students will be free.
        LJUBLJANA - The latest official figures showed Slovenia reported 509 coronavirus infections for Wednesday as the test positivity rate stood at 17.4%. The 14-day incidence per 100,000 population rose from 187 to 199, meaning Slovenia is on the brink of entering the red phase. Hospitalisations topped 100 for the first time since mid-June.
        LJUBLJANA - Boris Pahor, the acclaimed Slovenian writer from Trieste, celebrated his 108th birthday. On the occasion, 26 colleagues paid tribute to him with a publication featuring interviews and testimonies.

21 Aug 2021, 09:30 AM

What follows is a weekly review of events involving Slovenia, as prepared by the STA.

If you’d like to keep up on the daily headlines then follow those here, or get all our stories in your feed on Facebook.

FRIDAY, 13 August
        LJUBLJANA - The government decided that passengers transiting through Slovenia will not be required to produce a Covid certificate only until 22 August, but from 23 August they will have to produce a certificate proving that they have either recovered from Covid-19, or been tested or vaccinated.
        LJUBLJANA - The government decided that people attending public cultural events will have to wear face masks as of 16 August, with the exception of performers. There are no changes regarding restrictions of public gatherings.
        LJUBLJANA - The Ljubljana Administrative Court said it had rejected a request from prosecutors Tanja Frank Eler and Matej Oštir to stay the government's May decision not to get formally acquainted with their appointment as Slovenia's European delegated prosecutors (EDPs). However, it effectively acknowledged that the government made a formal decision about which it may now decide on the merits.
        LJUBLJANA - The four centre-left opposition parties filed for an emergency session of parliament's Environment Committee to debate the alarming findings of the IPPC report for Slovenia and measures to cut greenhouse gas emissions, after the report showed Slovenia was warming at twice the rate of the global average.
        LJUBLJANA - A chamber representing small businesses called on the government to scrap the requirement of frequent testing of staff who have not been vaccinated or have not recovered from Covid-19, saying in any event the cost of testing should be covered by the state.
        BRNIK - Fraport Slovenija, the operator of Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport, said that 70,011 passengers and almost 6,800 aircraft movements were recorded in the first half of 2021, with the first figure being almost three times fewer than in the same period last year. An increased number of passengers was recorded in the last two months though.

SATURDAY, 14 August
        VALLADOLID, Spain - Slovenian Olympic champion in time trial Primož Roglič won the first stage of the 2021 Vuelta a Espana, another time trial, to take the red jersey already at the start of his bid to defend the 2020 Vuelta title. His compatriot Jan Tratnik finished third.

SUNDAY, 15 August
        BREZJE - Marking Assumption of Mary, Archbishop of Ljubljana Stanislav Zore called for open-mindedness, acceptance and mutual respect as he said mass at Brezje, Slovenia's biggest pilgrimage site. Zore urged people to get vaccinated and pilgrims to Brezje indeed had a chance to get a jab on the spot.
        
MONDAY, 16 August
        LJUBLJANA - The Foreign Ministry expressed concern over the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan saying that violence should be ended, the civilian population, in particular women and children, be protected, and basic human rights standards upheld. PM Janez Janša described the chaos in Afghanistan and the handover of modern weapons to the Taliban as "the greatest defeat for NATO in history".
        LJUBLJANA - A group of Slovenian environmental NGOs called on Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec as a representative of the Slovenian EU presidency to propose a political discussion on the EU exiting the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) at the September informal meeting of ministers in charge of energy. They said the Energy Charter Treaty was an obstacle in the transition to clean energy.
        LJUBLJANA - Education Minister Simona Kustec announced she had tested positive for coronavirus, saying on Twitter she had been isolating since Saturday. All activities for the safe start of the school year continue, she added. Kustec is fully vaccinated.

TUESDAY, 17 August
        LJUBLJANA - Four centre-left parties said they were planning to file a motion to vote Education Minister Simona Kustec out of office, arguing that two weeks before the start of the new school year, it was still not clear how primary and secondary schools will organise the education process while the epidemiological situation in the country is deteriorating.
        ISTANBUL, Turkey - Defence Minister Matej Tonin attended the opening of the IDEF International Defence Industry Fair, where he also met his counterparts from Turkey and Kosovo, Hulusi Akar and Armend Mehaj.
        LJUBLJANA - Police have filed a criminal complaint against actor and drama teacher Matjaž Tribušon, 58, after young actress Mia Skrbinac publicly accused him of sexually harassing her while she was a student in 2014-2016 and filed a sexual harassment complaint at the University of Ljubljana last spring, Delo reported.
        LJUBLJANA - Insurer Zavarovalnica Triglav saw group net profit rise by 40% to EUR 47 million in the first half of the year as premium revenue rose across all segments and all markets. The company expects to hit end-year profit targets.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Commission has approved state aid worth EUR 1.3 million for the operator of the Postojna Cave, a global tourist attraction, to help it cope with the damage resulting from the closure due to the coronavirus. The aid covers the period between 26 October 2020 and 1 June 2021, when the Postojna Cave and the cave under Predjama Castle were closed.
        
WEDNESDAY, 18 August
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - EU home affair ministers agreed to send additional help in the form of experts and technical support to EU member states bordering Belarus, which have been facing a wave of illegal migrants. They also urged the EU to provide additional financial aid, calling for better control on the bloc's external border.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia is ready to accept up to five members of the Afghan staff that worked with the EU, to show solidarity with other EU member states, FM Anže Logar said, adding that, for the time being, Slovenia will not offer to take in additional refugees from Afghanistan.
        LJUBLJANA - The opposition Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) announced motions of no confidence in the environment and justice ministers, Andrej Vizjak and Marjan Dikaučič. The motions will be formally tabled once the remaining opposition parties have had their say.
        LJUBLJANA - The government adopted a regulation banning the sale of single-use plastic products including plastic cutlery, plates and straws, ear swabs, stir sticks and balloon sticks. There are exemptions for industrial and medical use.
        LJUBLJANA - The government adopted a watered-down version of amendments to the act on value added tax (VAT) after its first proposal was defeated in parliament in July. The new version preserves some of the key solutions but is narrower.

THURSDAY, 19 August
        LJUBLJANA - The latest reported daily figure of new confirmed coronavirus cases in Slovenia reached 381, down slightly from the almost three-month high registered on the day before. The positivity rate remained high, at 17%. The situation in hospitals remained broadly stable with 56 patients in hospital, of whom 10 were in intensive care.
        PORTOROŽ - Interior Minister Aleš Hojs met his Slovak counterpart Roman Mikulec to talk, among other things, about the issue of illegal migration from Belarus. Hojs said that Slovenia had already donated 10 kilometres of "technical obstacles" to Lithuania, and that two Slovenian police officers would be deployed there soon.
        MARIBOR - Andrej Rihter and Vinko Filipič quit the three-member management board of national postal operator Pošta Slovenije, and so did supervisors Franci Mihelič and Aleš Buležan. The former two are on the board together with Tomaž Kokot, who took over as interim director general on 1 April after long-serving Boris Novak resigned on 30 March.
        LJUBLJANA - Insurer Sava Re said it had generated a net profit of EUR 43.5 million in the first six months of 2021, an increase of 35.3% compared to the same period last year. The group collected gross premiums of EUR 414.5 million, a growth of 10.9%, show unaudited interim results.
        LJUBLJANA - Answering an appeal from the Trade Union of Hospitality and Tourism Workers, Slovenia's equal opportunities ombudsman assessed that the requirement for people to meet the recovered-vaccinated-tested (PCT) rule to access services, goods or venues is not discriminatory against the unvaccinated who could get vaccinated but have not.
        KOČEVJE - The state-owned forestry company SiDG, which has been managing state forests since July 2016, reported revenue of EUR 56 million and a net profit of EUR 7.5 million for 2020, a drop of 15% and 34%, respectively, compared to the previous year.

 

15 Aug 2021, 10:13 AM

What follows is a weekly review of events involving Slovenia, as prepared by the STA.

If you’d like to keep up on the daily headlines then follow those here, or get all our stories in your feed on Facebook.

Number of new infections on Friday highest since 3 June

LJUBLJANA - A total of 264 new coronavirus infections were confirmed in Slovenia on Friday in 1,869 PCR tests, for a positivity rate of 14.1%, up 3.3 percentage points compared to the day before. The number of new infections confirmed yesterday is by 65 higher than on Thursday, and is the highest daily number since 3 June. The rolling seven-day average of new cases rose was up by 19 to 180, and the cumulative 14-day incidence per 100,000 residents also continued to steadily increase, going up by six to stand at 92. The number of hospitalised Covid-19 patients remained at 42, with seven of requiring intensive care, one more than yesterday. There were no Covid-19 deaths yesterday.

Face masks at public cultural events mandatory as next Monday

LJUBLJANA - The government has decided that people attending public cultural events will have to wear face masks as of next Monday, with the exception of performers. There are no changes regarding restrictions of public gatherings, while stricter requirements for testing of employees in certain activities are to be introduced on 23 August. Under the decree that will be in force until 22 August, the recovered-vaccinated-tested (PCT) rule remains in force for public events and gatherings in enclosed spaces and for outdoor events for more than 100 people.

Transit passengers need to produce Covid certificate after 22 August

LJUBLJANA - The government decided on Friday that passengers transiting through Slovenia will not be required to produce a Covid certificate only until 22 August. "As of 23 August, transit will no longer be possible without meeting the recovered-vaccinated-tested rule (PCT) rule," the government said. If they want to avoid being ordered to quarantine for ten days in Slovenia, transit passengers will have to produce a certificate proving that the have either recovered from Covid-19, tested or vaccinated.

Pharma wholesaler Salus sees H1 revenue and net profit go up

LJUBLJANA - Salus, the Ljubljana-based pharmaceutical wholesaler, has reported a 13% rise in sales revenue for the first half of 2021 year-on-year to EUR 217.5 million. Its net profit stood at EUR 7.4 million, which compares to EUR 4.2 million in the same period last year. Earnings before income tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) totalled EUR 10.5 million and operating profit amounted to EUR 8.4 million, the group said in a press release.

Youth Strategic Forum debates development of Slovenia and EU

MARIBOR - A debate on future development of Slovenia and the EU as part of the Youth Strategic Forum heard Defence Minister and coalition New Slovenia (NSi) president Matej Tonin noting that it was right that young people were interested in the future, as it depended on them. Events such as this are an opportunity for them to exchange views, Tonin said at the conference organised by the youth wings of the NSi and the ruling Democrats (SDS) and in conjunction with the Young Entrepreneurs Organisation EU JEUNE and Konrad Adenauer Stiftung.

Flower show in Volčji Potok marking 30 years of Slovenia

VOLČJI POTOK - An exhibition of flowers opened in Arboretum Volčji Potok to mark the 30th anniversary of Slovenia's independence. It will be on display until 29 August in ten different spots around the botanical gardens, with visitors being able to admire some 50,000 different flowers that present the natural and cultural heritage of the country. The Flowers and Peace exhibition in the venue located some 15 kilometres north of Ljubljana pays homage to the first exhibition of flowers staged there 30 years ago, after the Slovenian war for independence.

Slovenian literature translation seminar ahead of Frankfurt Book Fair

LJUBLJANA/MARIBOR - A week-long international seminar on translation of Slovenian literature got under way in Ljubljana and Maribor. Commenting on the event, former Slovenian Book Agency (JAK) head Renata Zamida told the STA that Slovenia's appearance as guest of honour at the 2023 Frankfurt Book Fair has proved a fresh impetus to translation in recent years. The goal of the seminar is to increase the number of translations of top quality books abroad and to better inform translators about Slovenian books and writers.

07 Aug 2021, 08:44 AM

What follows is a weekly review of events involving Slovenia, as prepared by the STA.

If you’d like to keep up on the daily headlines then follow those here, or get all our stories in your feed on Facebook.

FRIDAY, 30 July
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenian and Italian police resumed the joint patrolling of the border in a bid to prevent illegal migrations on the Balkan route after they were suspended more than a year ago due to Covid-19.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Institute of Public Health launched a new mobile app enabling event organisers and service providers to check the validity of EU digital Covid certificates. The app scans QR codes on the certificates to check whether the person has been tested for, recovered from or vaccinated against Covid-19 without getting access to personal or health information of the person.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's national budget recorded a EUR 1.946 billion deficit in the first six months of the year, slightly more than in the same period in 2020, when it reached EUR 1.917 billion. Contributing the most to the deficit was an 18% growth in expenditure, which was mitigated by a 25.3% growth in revenue.
        LJUBLJANA - Annual inflation in Slovenia in July ran at 2%, mostly on the account of more expensive petroleum products. Petroleum products accounted for 1.2 percentage points of the annual inflation rate in July, as the prices of liquid fuels were up by 25.2%, diesel by 29.2% and petrol by 24.4%.
        LJUBLJANA - The Medical Chamber is investigating two doctors due to their contentious statements about Covid-19 vaccination and vaccines. Unofficially, one of them is a member of a prominent anti-vaccine doctors' movement and another is Nada Hiti, a GP who published a recording on social media after diluting an mRNA Covid-19 vaccine with water and urine and sending the sample to the laboratory for analysis.

SATURDAY, 31 July
        KRANJSKA GORA - Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek offered up Slovenia as a broker in geopolitical issues as he addressed an annual ceremony dedicated to Russian prisoners of WWI. "Our country has enough knowledge and even more economic results to get actively involved in the game of big players," he said at the Russian Chapel under the Vršič mountain pass.
        TOKYO, Japan - Slovenian discuss thrower Kristjan Čeh crowned his maiden appearance at the Olympics with fifth place after he was considered one of the top contenders for a medal. "This is my first Olympic appearance, I was fifth, this is awesome," he said.
        TOKYO, Japan - Slovenian shooter Živa Dvoršak achieved her best ever result at Olympic Games after finishing seventh in the rifle three position, the most prestigious shooting discipline.

SUNDAY, 1 August
        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša and Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda called on EU member states to provide aid to Lithuania in the face of "ongoing critical security situation" on the Lithuania-Belarus border due to illegal migration. Protection of the EU's external border is our common responsibility, Janša tweeted.
        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša tweeted "Krystsina is welcome in Slovenia" as he offered refuge to Belarusian athlete Krystsina Tsimanouskaya amid reports that she was planning to seek asylum after the Belarusian Olympic Committee removed her from the national team for publicly criticising the coaches.
        MARIBOR - The 32nd Summer Puppet Pier festival dedicated to puppetry got under way in Maribor, putting Slovenian independent puppeteers in spotlight in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

MONDAY, 2 August
        LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian central bank announced that stress tests conducted by the European Central Bank (ECB) and Banka Slovenije confirmed the stability of the Slovenian banking system. It pointed out that Slovenian banks would fare well even under unfavourable economic scenarios.
        LJUBLJANA - Telecommunications provider Telemach is suing telecoms incumbent Telekom Slovenije over alleged violations of regulatory decisions, demanding the payment of EUR 28.8 million in damages with default interest from 1 June until payment, according to a posting on the Ljubljana Stock Exchange.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Commission approved a EUR 22.8 million Slovenian scheme to support companies in various sectors affected by the coronavirus outbreak and the restrictions implemented to limit the spread of the virus. The measure was approved under the State Aid Temporary Framework.
        BRNIK - Spanish flag carrier Iberia launched scheduled flights between Madrid and Ljubljana, with two weekly flights planned until the end of August. Madrid is the 12th destination available from Ljubljana airport, with at least three more expected by the end of September.
        PIVKA - Center Dina opened in Pivka to present three species of large carnivores living in Slovenia - the brown bear, wolf and lynx. It is a continuation of a European project Carnivora Dinarica, which is aimed at protecting the carnivores and promoting co-existence.

TUESDAY, 3 August
        TOKYO, Japan - Slovenia advanced to the semi-finals of the Olympic basketball tournament in a historic feat by defeating Germany 94:70, going unbeaten since the start of the Olympics in what is their Olympic debut.
        LJUBLJANA - The latest coronavirus figures showed that Slovenia's daily coronavirus count hit 181, the highest daily increase since 9 June, as the test positivity rate exceeded 10%. Commenting, Health Ministry State Secretary Franc Vinidšar said Slovenia is in the fourth wave of the epidemic, urging people to get vaccinated to stop the wave as soon as possible.
        LJUBLJANA - A tweet in which a member of the pro-Nazi Yellow Jackets who is also editor-in-chief of the recently established National Press Agency (NTA) labelled Adolf Hitler a hero caused an outcry, with opposition parties demanding a response from the government and law enforcement. The tweet by Urban Purgar, who is also the head of the recently-established Association for the Promotion of Traditional Values, will be investigated by the prosecution.

WEDNESDAY, 4 August
        LJUBLJANA - The Culture Ministry condemned the tweet labelling Adolf Hitler a hero by Urban Purgar, the president of the Association for the Promotion of Traditional Values, to which the ministry awarded the status of an NGO in public interest in June. It also said the status had been awarded in line with relevant rules.
        LJUBLJANA - The General Police Department confirmed three officers of the Ljubljana Police Department had been given written warnings before termination of employment due to legislation violation in relation to two separate protests - an alternative celebration of Statehood Day in Ljubljana on 25 June by anti-government protesters and a rally by anti-maskers in front of parliament from 5 to 7 July. Reportedly, all three officers hold senior positions.
        LJUBLJANA - Prosecutors Tanja Frank Eler and Matej Oštir filed another suit against the government over its May decision not to appoint them Slovenia's European delegated prosecutors as proposed by the Justice Ministry after they were vetted by the Prosecution Council.
        LJUBLJANA - The government adopted a decree setting down the method of checking compliance with the recovered-vaccinated-tested rule. To prevent personal data abuse, the user scanning the Covid certificate QR code using a relevant app will have access only to the certificate holder's name and year of birth. The Information Commissioner said personal data processing required a law, so she will ask the Constitutional Court to review the decree.
        LJUBLJANA - A total of 70,655 people were registered as unemployed in July, down 0.6% from June and as much as 21% from July 2020. The total kept falling despite the number of the newly registered rising by 54% from June to 5,443. The latter figure was still nearly 34% below last year's.
        TOKYO, Japan - Slovenian sailors Tina Mrak and Veronika Macarol finished fifth in the 470 class at the Tokyo Olympics, and Maruša Mišmaš Zrimšek placed sixth in the women's 3,000-metre steeplechase, improving her personal best and Slovenia's national record.

THURSDAY, 5 August
        TOKYO, Japan - The Slovenian men's basketball team lost 89:90 to France in the semi-finals of the Olympic basketball tournament and will play for the bronze medal against Australia on Saturday. This is Slovenia's first loss at what is the debut Olympics for the team.
        WARSAW, Poland - PM Janez Janša discussed the judiciary and the issue of primacy of EU law in an interview with the Polish news agency PAP, saying that EU law is above national laws, but not above member states' constitutions. He talked of the importance of understanding the countries' historical circumstances and starting positions.
        KLAGENFURT, Austria - The National Council of Carinthian Slovenians (NSKS) is critical of Austria's report to the Council of Europe on the implementation of the CoE Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. The report suggests that everything is fine with ethnic minorities, which is not the case, said lawyer Rudi Vouk, the author of the NSKS response to the report.
        LJUBLJANA - SID Banka, Slovenia's development and export bank, announced it will get a new management in January 2022 as the term of the management board led by Sibil Svilan expires at the end of 2021. The fully state-owned bank will be led by Damijan Dolinar, with Gašpar Ogris Martič and Stanka Šarc Majdič serving as board members.
        TOKYO, Japan - Tina Šutej placed fifth in the women's pole vault at the Summer Olympics. The 32-year-old national record holder cleared 4.50 metres in the final but then failed to clear 4.70 metres to join the top four.
        LJUBLJANA - Property prices kept rising in Slovenia in 2020 while transactions on the property market decreased. Transactions rose in early 2021 to reach approximately the pre-pandemic 2019 levels in April, as prices keep rising, the Mapping and Surveying Authority said.
        TRIESTE, Italy - The first ever public demonstration of fully encrypted quantum communication between Italy, Slovenia and Croatia took place during a meeting of G20 digital economy ministers. It was the first time in history that fully quantum encrypted communication was made possible by means of optical fibres connecting three nodes.

 

31 Jul 2021, 07:32 AM

What follows is a weekly review of events involving Slovenia, as prepared by the STA.

If you’d like to keep up on the daily headlines then follow those here, or get all our stories in your feed on Facebook.

FRIDAY, 23 July
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - European Commissioner Janez Lenarčič rejected the accusation by Prime Minister Janez Janša that he was acting against Slovenia's interests, as he arrived for an EU ministerial, saying "Slovenia is being harmed by those who undermine the rule of law and media freedom, rather than those of us who warn of such conduct being problematic".
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - After an informal meeting of EU ministers for European affairs, Slovenian Foreign Ministry State Secretary Gašper Dovžan and European Crisis Management Commissioner Janez Lenarčič noted that it had been agreed that the EU must be integrated and coordinated in the time of crises. The pair also stressed the importance of cooperation with the Western Balkan countries.
        LJUBLJANA - Franci Matoz, a prominent lawyer best known as a long-time legal representative of PM Janez Janša and his Democratic Party (SDS), was named chairman of the board of directors of the Bank Assets Management Company (BAMC), Slovenia's bad bank, just a day after the government appointed him a non-executive director to replace a director who stepped down last week.
        LJUBLJANA - Organisers of public events and gatherings became obligated to check visitors' Covid certificates. A mobile app was released and not long after deleted due to privacy concerns and a new one is in the works. Hospitality providers in Slovenia have been required to check guests' Covid certificates from Monday.
        LJUBLJANA - Web portal Necenzurirano reported that PM Janez Janša had been holidaying in Mauritius for almost 20 years, playing golf and socialising with lobbyist Božo Dimnik and entrepreneur Andrej Marčič, representatives of the largest healthcare suppliers in Slovenia. Part of the opposition demanded a debate in parliament.
        LJUBLJANA - The Health Ministry made EUR 65 million available for the reduction in waiting times for health services. More than 20,000 patients are expected to benefit, according to Health Minister Janez Poklukar.
        LJUBLJANA - Fresh statistics showed Slovenia's tourism is picking up with visitor numbers and nights spent at accommodation facilities rising substantially year-on-year in June. Arrivals were up by 54.7% to over 375,000 and nights spent rose by 66.7% to over a million, data from the Statistics Office showed.
        NOVO MESTO - Revoz, Renault's Novo Mesto-based assembly plant, said it would have two sets of collective leave this summer due to a shortage of chips that has plagued the automotive industry worldwide. The company said it would be difficult to meet production targets.

SATURDAY, 24 July
        TOKYO, Japan - Reigning Tour de France champion Tadej Pogačar won the bronze medal in the men's cycling road race at the Tokyo Olympics in what was the first Olympic medal in cycling for Slovenia and the first medal for Slovenia at the 2020 Summer Olympics.
        BOVEC - Addressing the annual gathering of the ruling Democrats (SDS), the party leader, Janez Janša, called on the party members to step up in the 2022 election campaign. The PM said the party had been successfully steering Slovenia through the Covid-19 epidemic for almost a year and a half.
        LJUBLJANA - A EUR 15 million contract on the purchase of a multi-purpose helicopter for the police was signed by Interior Minister Aleš Hojs and representatives of Italy's Leonardo Helicopters. The contract also includes delivery and maintenance of the AgustaWestland AW169, a twin-engine, 10-seat multi-purpose transport helicopter.
        ORMOŽ - Yummy, a 2019 Belgian comedy horror by Dutch director Lars Damoiseaux, won the Vicious Cat award as the 17th Grossmann Fantastic Film and Wine Festival came to a close.

MONDAY, 26 July
        TOKYO, Japan - Canoeist Benjamin Savšek convincingly won the men's C-1 slalom to earn the first gold medal for Slovenia at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo and the second overall medal for the country.
        TOKYO, Japan - Slovenian superstar Luka Dončić scored 48 points as the basketball team cruised past Argentina to open their campaign at the Olympics with a 118:100 win. The first Olympics win for Slovenia came against the runners-up from the last World Cup.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - EU finance ministers endorsed another four national recovery and resilience plans, including Slovenia's, which the European Commission approved at the beginning of the month. Finance Minister Andrej Šircelj said Slovenia would get the first funds, EUR 231 million of the EUR 2.5 billion plan, in September at the latest.
        LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian state-owned development bank SID, its Croatian counterpart HBOR and the European Investment Fund (EIF) signed an agreement to establish a regional technology transfer platform under which universities and public research institutions will be able to tap on EUR 40 million to start up and commercialise their development projects.
        LJUBLJANA - An inquiry into police handling of an incident in front of the Parliament House in which several MPs were harassed by a group of anti-maskers in early July has found several flaws, including a lack of coordination and a plan of response and subsequent failure to protect the site.
        
TUESDAY, 27 July
        TOKYO, Japan - Slovenian judoka Tina Trstenjak won the silver medal in the 63kg category at the Tokyo Olympics. The second-best-ranked in the category had to concede to the top-ranked Clarisse Agbegnenou of France in what was a replay of the gold medal match from the previous Olympics where Trstenjak won.
        LJUBLJANA - Matej Oštir and Tanja Frank Eler, the candidates picked by the State Prosecution Council for Slovenia's two European delegated prosecutors before the nomination process was annulled by the government, also applied in a repeat call for the posts. The Justice Ministry later confirmed it had received two applications for the posts.
        LJUBLJANA - The Foreign Ministry shared on Twitter a statement by the EU condemning Turkey's unilateral steps regarding the town of Varosha in Cyprus. Slovenia supports all endeavours towards a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus issue in line with UN resolutions and European Union values, the ministry wrote.

WEDNESDAY, 28 July
        TOKYO, Japan - Bouncing back from difficulties in the Olympic road race, cycling star Primož Roglič outclassed the competition by more than a minute in the men's Olympic time trial to win the second gold for Slovenia in Tokyo and the second medal for Slovenian cycling at the ongoing Games.
        LJUBLJANA - Ljubljana's landmarks designed by architect Jože Plečnik (1872-1957), including the Triple Bridge, Congress Square and Žale Cemetery, have been included in UNESCO's World Heritage List in line with a decision adopted by the World Heritage Committee.
        LJUBLJANA - The annual ceremony in memory of Russian POWs who died building the Vršič pass during WWI that will be held on Saturday will mark a number of anniversaries, including 30 years of Slovenia's independence. Slovenian president Borut Pahor and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin agreed to declare the day of the annual ceremony Slovenia-Russia Friendship Day.
        LJUBLJANA - The list of countries whose PCR and rapid antigen tests for coronavirus are recognised by Slovenia was expanded to include Bosnia-Herzegovina. Tests from countries not on the list will be also accepted if they are of the standard compatible with tests in EU and Schengen countries.
        LJUBLJANA - The government appointed Finance Ministry official Janez Mravljak to head the newly founded Recovery and Resilience Office as acting director starting from 2 August. The office was founded on 3 June under the Finance Ministry to coordinate and manage the implementation of the national recovery and resilience plan.
        LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian PEN centre expressed support to the Montenegrin PEN centre and called on the international community, the EU and Slovenia's EU presidency to condemn what it sees as the violence inflicted on the Montenegrin nation and culture by the current Montenegrin government in cooperation with the Serbian Orthodox Church and pro-Serbian players.
        
THURSDAY, 29 July
        NOVO MESTO - Pharma group Krka Group saw its net profit rise by 11% to EUR 177.4 million in the first six months on record sales revenue of EUR 808.6 million, according to unaudited data. Sales revenue was up by 1% compared with the same period last year and up 6% from the first half of 2019.
        LJUBLJANA - The group Telekom Slovenije generated EUR 317.6 million in sales revenue in the first half of the year, down 1% from the same period in 2020. Net profit was up by 44% to EUR 21.3 million.
        JESENICE - Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec and his Austrian counterpart Leonore Gewessler took part in a ceremony marking the reopening of the Karavanke railway tunnel following a safety and technical upgrade. Vrtovec noted the upgrade would improve Slovenia's link with Austria. The ministers said that railways represented the backbone of the future of mobility.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's ILO-compatible survey unemployment rate fell to 4.8% in June, down 0.2 percentage points from May and half a point down from June a year ago, showed data released by the Statistics Office.
        TOKYO, Japan - Slovenia made it to the quarter-finals of the basketball tournament at the Tokyo Olympics after defeating the hosts Japan 116:81 for what is their second win in as many matches. Led by the NBA All-Star Luka Dončić, Slovenia were in the lead throughout the game.

24 Jul 2021, 09:40 AM

What follows is a weekly review of events involving Slovenia, as prepared by the STA.

If you’d like to keep up on the daily headlines then follow those here, or get all our stories in your feed on Facebook.

FRIDAY, 16 July
        LJUBLJANA - Mark Boris Andrijanič, a 38-year-old law graduate who has worked for Uber, was appointed minister without portfolio for digital transformation in a 45:44 vote in parliament, pledging to work for digitalisation to become a national priority and a project uniting Slovenia's society and politics. A new Digital Transformation Office he will head was founded on 22 July.
        LJUBLJANA - The upper chamber of parliament vetoed amendments to the audiovisual services act whose core provision is a 6% levy on content providers to finance a new fund for the production of domestic content. This was the second veto against a government-sponsored act in less than a week.
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - EU justice ministers held an informal meeting discussing the use of AI in judicial proceedings, with Slovenia's Marjan Dikaučič saying the debate centred around the need to put in place safety mechanisms to protect fundamental rights and freedoms. Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders said the Commission's goal was to protect fundamental rights of European citizens, including in law enforcement and judiciary. Reynders also made a renewed appeal for Slovenia to appoint European delegated prosecutors, indicating action unless the government acted very soon.
        LJUBLJANA - Wrapping up a high-level online conference on innovative solutions for a resilient healthcare system, which featured the health ministers of Slovenia, Portugal and Germany, Slovenia's Janez Poklukar said the EU's trio presidency were working to finalise negotiations on three draft regulations that form the basis of the EU Health Union in a bid to coordinate the regulations in trialogue with other EU institutions as soon as possible.
        LJUBLJANA - A new batch of government-sponsored vouchers became available to all Slovenian residents. Unlike the holiday-at-home vouchers issued last year, they can be used to pay for a variety of services and goods in tourism, hospitality, sports and culture. At EUR 100 for adults and EUR 50 for those under 18, the vouchers are valued at a combined EUR 192.2 million.
        BORDEAUX, France - Matej Mohorič (Bahrain Victorious) won stage 19 of the Tour de France from Mourenx to Libourne after attacking 25km from the finish in his second win and the fifth for Slovenian riders at this year's Tour.

SATURDAY, 17 July
        LJUBLJANA - Europa Cantat, a major international festival dedicated to choral music, got under way in with a concert featuring Slovenian and foreign vocalists at Cankarjev Dom arts centre, bringing a blend of various music genres.
        LJUBLJANA - The Statistics Office reported Slovenia recording the highest positive net migration since 2008 last year as almost 18,400 people more moved in than out. Part of the reason for the increase is administrative changes in the population register.

SUNDAY, 18 July
        PARIS, France - Tadej Pogačar, the 22-old Slovenian UAE Team Emirates rider, won the 108th Tour de France to become the youngest double winner of the world's most prestigious cycling race and only the ninth rider with back-to-back wins. He also won the white jersey for the best young rider and the polka dot jersey for the top mountain climber.
        LAUSANNE, Switzerland - Top seed Tamara Zidanšek, the French Open semi-finalist, won the WTA Lousanne Open beating France's Clara Burel in the finals after a good two hours 4:6, 7:6 (5) and 6:1 for what is her first-ever WTA tournament victory.
        LJUBLJANA - The Environment Ministry put forward for adoption by the government a regulation banning the sale of several single-use plastic items such as plastic cutlery, straws and plates in line with the EU regulation that was supposed to be transposed by 3 July.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia earmarked EUR 10.72 billion (22.2% of GDP) for various social security programmes in 2019, up 6.2% over 2018, with the bulk spent on the elderly, where pensions are also included, and on diseases and healthcare, according to the Statistics Office.

MONDAY, 19 July
        LJUBLJANA - The Infrastructure Ministry issued an energy permit for the construction of the second unit of the Krško nuclear power station in what Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec said was a "kick-start of the broadest possible public debate". Details such as the estimated price, time frame and choice of technology are not known yet. The Chamber of Commerce and Industry backed the plans.
        CERKLJE OB KRKI - A ceremony at the Prilozje air strip near the town of Metlika in south-east marked the first Slovenia-Israel Friendship Day in memory of the joint struggle against Nazism and Fascism in WWII. The event, addressed by President Borut Pahor and Israeli Ambassador Eyal Sela, marked the centenary of the birth of Israeli hero and poet Hannah Szenes, who parachuted into the Bela Krajina region on a mission during WWII in a heroic story that Pahor said linked the two nations.
        LJUBLJANA - Responding to revelations by foreign media that governments had used hacking spyware sold by the Israeli NSO Group to target journalists, activists and political opponents, Matjaž Nemec, the chair of the parliamentary Intelligence Oversight Commission, confirmed the commission had received first hints of potential abuse of spyware in Slovenia as early as last year, but said it was not clear what type of software was involved. He said the commission became even more attentive when PM Janez Janša visited Israel last December. He reportedly met NSO officials.
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - EU ministers in charge of research agreed that Europe needed a common research area as they met for an informal meeting under Slovenia's EU presidency to discuss revitalising the European Research Area, and the role of international cooperation to promote research and innovation.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - EU agriculture ministers meeting under Slovenia's presidency for the first time unanimously endorsed an action plan aiming for at least 25% of agricultural land to be under organic farming by 2030 in a decision hailed by Minister Jože Podgoršek as being one of the priorities of Slovenia's presidency.
        LJUBLJANA - The government decided that rapid antigen tests will no longer be available free of charge to everyone from 23 August but only to those who cannot get vaccinated for health reasons and for groups such as users of health services, care home residents, prisoners or asylum and safe home residents.
        LJUBLJANA - The State Prosecution Council urged the government to take a decision on the appointment of 12 candidates for state prosecutors put forward by the previous justice minister between last September and June as soon as possible, pointing to staff shortages created by the government's "unprompt and selective decision-making".
        LJUBLJANA - The Constitutional Court rejected an opposition-sponsored motion challenging the inadmissibility of a referendum on EUR 780 million investments in the Slovenian Armed Forces in 2021-2026 as declared by parliament in November 2020.
        LJUBLJANA - The latest Vox Populi poll, commissioned by the dailies Dnevnik and Večer, showed the voter approval rating for the Janez Janša government hitting a record low, with nearly 72% disapproving of its work. The ruling Democrats (SDS) nevertheless remain in the lead, on 18.2%, ahead of the opposition Social Democrats (SD) on 12.7%.

TUESDAY, 20 July
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - In its second Rule of Law Report, the European Commission raised concerns over delays in Slovenia in the appointment of state prosecutors and the country's two European delegated prosecutors, as well as about deteriorating media freedom and pluralism in the country. Presenting the report, Commission Vice President Vera Jourova and Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders called on the Slovenian authorities to ensure a stable financing of the STA. Reynders pointed to potential measures over non-appointment of European delegated prosecutors come autumn.
        LJUBLJANA - Anže Erbežnik stepped down as a state secretary at the Justice Ministry after less than a month on the job. He later said the reason was that he could not perform his duties with due respect for EU law, rule of law and human rights. He accused Minister Marjan Dikaučič of lacking a basic knowledge of EU law. Dikaučič denied the claims as fabrications, implying Erbežnik was more interested in self-promotion than the ministry's reputation.
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - EU environment ministers conducted a preliminary exchange of opinions on Fit for 55, the EU's new energy and climate package, at an informal ministerial with Slovenia's Minister Andrej Vizjak saying the package was seen as a good basis for talks. The ministers also discussed preparations for the UN climate conference COP26 in Glasgow in November with Vizjak pledging Slovenia would work for the conference to achieve concrete results.
        PRAGUE, Czechia - The coronavirus pandemic topped the agenda as foreign ministers of the Central 5 group - Slovenia, Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary - met. They also discussed the Western Balkans, Eastern Partnership and Belarus. Anže Logar lauded vaccine solidarity and said Slovenia's EU presidency was focused on developing the European Health Union and boosting the EU's strategic autonomy.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia logged 111 coronavirus cases, the first time after 15 June that the daily rise in infections passed 100. This was after sequencing showed the Delta variant had become the prevailing strain of the virus in the country. The National Institute of Public Health estimates there are now 838 active cases in the country. The 14-day incidence per 100,000 residents is at 40.
        LJUBLJANA - Uroš Novak, one of the two deputy heads of the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption, sent a letter of resignation to President Borut Pahor in which he cited new professional challenges as the reason for the step. His five-year term would have ended in less than two years.
        LJUBLJANA - The Jewish Cultural Centre Ljubljana and the German Embassy signed an agreement under which the German government will provide EUR 25,000 as part of a EUR 1.2 million renovation project that will see the centre's synagogue reopen for worship in late autumn.
        LJUBLJANA - The Muslim community celebrated Eid al-Adha with a ceremony at the Muslim Cultural Centre in Ljubljana. Leading the prayer, Mufti Nevzet Porić stressed the importance of vaccination and personal responsibility.

WEDNESDAY, 21 July
        WASHINGTON, US - US President Joe Biden nominated prominent Columbia lawyer Jamie L. Harpootlian to be ambassador to Slovenia. She is the wife of South Carolina senator, Democrat Dick Harpootlian, who is not planning to give up his seat to accompany his wife to Slovenia. The new ambassador will succeed Lynda Blanchard, who tendered her resignation after Donald Trump lost the election to Biden.
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - A new proposal for a global framework for biodiversity after 2020 was in the focus of the closing day of the informal meeting of EU environment ministers. Minister Andrej Vizjak said "the time is to stop the trend of declining biodiversity," adding: "ambitious global objectives should be set to contribute to preserving nature, protecting 30% of global land and oceans by 2030 and restoring degraded ecosystems."
        LJUBLJANA - The Administrative Court granted the STA's request to stay the implementation of a regulation adopted by the government in June that introduces detailed rules governing the public service provided by the STA. This was a day after the Government Communication Office sent a final draft of the agreement based on that regulation to the STA with the expectation the agency sign it, having taken into account none of the agency's main remarks.
        NASSAU, the Bahamas - Slovenian freediver Alenka Artnik further improved the constant weight world record she set three days earlier by plunging as far as 122 metres deep at the Vertical Blue competition in the Bahamas.

THURSDAY, 22 July
        LJUBLJANA - The government added cross-border workers to the list of exceptions for quarantine-free entry to Slovenia if they do not have a Covid certificate. The exception, effective as of 23 July, will apply to workers who live up to ten kilometres from the national border.
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - EU ministers in charge of competitiveness debated the future of Europe's textile and energy-intensive industries at an informal meeting focusing on how these industries can transition to a circular economy.
        LJUBLJANA - The government decided Slovenia will donate equipment to Lithuania to help it stem the flow of illegal migrations from Belarus. Lithuania will get ten kilometres of fence, plus power generators, blankets and ready-made meals.
        LJUBLJANA - The Court of Audit established that remedial measures that were taken by the government and the Agency for Commodity Reserves on the basis of the court's audit of the efficiency of purchases of personal protective and medical equipment had been satisfactory.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Electoral Commission dismissed allegations about voter suppression during the new waters act referendum campaign. Claims that the commission is responsible for issues with informing care home residents, mail voting and early voting stems from false understanding of referendum rules, it said.
        LJUBLJANA - The government appointed two non-executive directors at the Bank Assets Management Company, lawyer Franci Matoz and businessman Gregor Planteu. They will replace Franc Dover, who stepped down effective from 21 July, and Marko Tišma, who started out as non-executive director in 2018 and was dismissed.

17 Jul 2021, 12:36 PM

What follows is a weekly review of events involving Slovenia, as prepared by the STA.

If you’d like to keep up on the daily headlines then follow those here, or get all our stories in your feed on Facebook.

FRIDAY, 9 July
        LJUBLJANA - The prime ministers of Visegrad Group countries endorsed the priorities of the Slovenian presidency of the Council of the EU as they held talks with Prime Minister Janez Janša, who said the statement the four adopted at their recent summit largely reflected Slovenia's priorities and to a large extent the positions that Slovenia had about several topical issues.
        LJUBLJANA - The Justice Ministry published a new call for applications for two European delegated prosecutors after the previous one was annulled. The State Prosecutor's Council indicated it would not go along with the new call.
        SOFIA, Bulgaria - President Borut Pahor said at a meeting of leaders from the Three Seas Initiative that the initiative could only be successful if it acted in line with the goals, priorities and policies of the EU. He said one strategic goal must always be pursued, and that is sustainable development.
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - EU ministers in charge of employment and social policy concluded a two-day informal meeting with the conclusion that to have resilient and inclusive labour markets, a regular and constructive dialogue with the civil society needs to be boosted.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenians who wish to mix different coronavirus vaccines will be allowed to do that under new guidance issued by the National Institute of Public Health. The general rule is that the same vaccine be used for both shots, but if individuals express the wish to mix vaccines, they can do it.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed changes to the audiovisual media services act under which content providers will have to earmark 6% of their gross annual revenue to a special fund to finance European audiovisual production. It was originally proposed that the levy be set at 2%, but the coalition partners pushed through an amendment raising the share to 6%.
        LJUBLJANA - An investigation into the conduct of the police at the 25 June anti-government rally found no fault in the decision of police officers to remove a far-right group, though several irregularities in the policing of the event had been detected.

SATURDAY, 10 July
        TRIESTE, Italy - President Borut Pahor said during a visit to Trieste that National Hall, which used to be the centre of the Slovenian community in Trieste, should be returned to the Slovenian community there as soon as possible, the symbolic restitution having taken place a year ago. Pahor was also conferred the Tre Sigilli di Trieste, the city's highest honour.

SUNDAY, 11 July
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenian voters overwhelmingly rejected the changes to the waters act in a referendum. More than 86% voted against and the statutory requirement that at least 20% of all voters must be against for a law to be rejected was satisfied as well. Turnout exceeded 46%, the highest in a referendum since 2007.
        TEHRAN, Iran/LJUBLJANA - The Iranian Foreign Ministry summoned Slovenia's Ambassador to Iran Kristina Radej over Prime Minister Janez Janša's call for an inquiry into a 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in Iran at the Free Iran World Summit, an event hosted by the Iranian diaspora.
        
MONDAY, 12 July
        LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Janez Janša nominated Mark Boris Andrijanič, the chair of the Strategic Council for Digitalisation and head of public policy for Central and Eastern Europe at Uber, to head the forthcoming Digital Transformation Office as a minister without portfolio.
        LJUBLJANA - The Foreign Ministry summoned the Iranian ambassador to Slovenia over Prime Minister Janez Janša's recent statement about a 1988 massacre in Iran, to explain that Slovenia always advocates human rights and fundamental freedoms and that Slovenia's activities are never directed against any particular country.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Council, the upper chamber of parliament, vetoed the amendments to the communicable diseases act that the National Assembly passed the week before in order to replace provisions that had been struck down by the Constitutional Court.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - As part of the Slovenian EU presidency, Culture Minister Vasko Simoniti opened an exhibition of contemporary Slovenian visual arts at the European Parliament, entitled We Live in Exciting Times. The minister opposed the initial concept of the show, but was pleased with the end result.
        LJUBLJANA - Trade unions called on the government to withdraw a legislative proposal that would eliminate employee representatives from management of the Health Insurance Institute (ZSSS), which collects and manages mandatory health insurance contributions.
        
TUESDAY, 13 July
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly endorsed in a 49:17 vote a resolution on climate strategy until 2050 under which Slovenia commits to become climate neutral in the coming 30 years. Before backing it, coalition MPs added a provision saying that Slovenia will use nuclear energy in the long term.
        PRAGUE, Czechia - President Borut Pahor called for a strong and effective Europe as he appeared as a speaker at the Prague European Summit, recalling the bloc's fundamental values such as rule of law that he said should be understood the same way.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly rejected President Borut Pahor's nominee for Constitutional Court judge, Janez Kranjc. He received 45 votes in a secret ballot, one short of the required majority, as 43 MPs voted against and one ballot was invalid.
        LJUBLJANA - Damjan Kukovec, senior lecturer in law at Middlesex School of Law in London, was endorsed as a candidate for judge at the EU General Court, the National Assembly having voted 74:15 in his favour in a secret ballot.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly reappointed Irena Vodopivec Jean a vice-governor of the central bank. She will assume another six-year term after her current one ends on 6 October.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly endorsed in a 51:11 vote amendments to the service in the Slovenian Armed Forces act which aim to address long-standing labour issues and the specific rights and responsibilities of soldiers during service.
        LJUBLJANA - Jaroš Britovšek was appointed director general of the Defence Ministry's Intelligence and Security Service (OVS) for a full term by the government, having served as acting director since March.
        MURSKA SOBOTA - Mura, Slovenia's football champions, made it to the second round of qualifying for the UEFA Champions League after crushing North Macedonia's Shkendija 5:0 to advance on an aggregate score of 6:0.

WEDNESDAY, 14 July
        LJUBLJANA - Senior officials issued appeals for personal responsibility to avert a new lockdown. The Covid-19 danger is still present, "but responsibility for your health and the health of your loved ones is entirely in your hands," Prime Minister Janez Janša said.
        LJUBLJANA - WHO Regional Director for Europe Hans Kluge, President Borut Pahor and Health Minister Janez Poklukar stressed the importance of vaccination and warned of the rapid spread of the Delta variant in view of the resurgence of infections, as they visited the Ljubljana vaccination centre.
        LJUBLJANA - The centre-left opposition said they were considering mounting a fresh attempt to oust the Janez Janša government after failing with a vote of no confidence in February and an impeachment in May. This time, they will carry out the plan only if they are certain of their majority, SocDem leader Tanja Fajon said.
        LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Association of Judges expressed concern and indignation after the National Assembly failed to endorse two candidates for supreme judges over their past decisions, a move that they say undermines judges' independence and fundamental principles of the rule of law.
        PAU, France - Slovenia's cycling star and yellow jersey wearer Tadej Pogačar won the 17th stage of the Tour de France to increase his overall lead.

THURSDAY, 15 July
        LJUBLJANA - The ruling coalition voted to postpone the vote on the bill creating a new demographic fund and voted against amendments to the communicable diseases act in a revote after they were vetoed by the upper chamber. Announcing the move, PM Janez Janša said they did not want such an important topic as the demographic fund to be decided on in such a heated political situation, while he said the new communicable diseases act was no longer needed now that all deputy group leaders called for vaccination.
        KOSTANJEVICA NA KRKI - The presidents of Slovenia, Austria and Croatia, Borut Pahor, Alexander Van der Bellen and Zoran Milanović, urged stepping up vaccination against Covid-19 and threw their support behind the EU's enlargement to the Western Balkans, as they met for the 8th trilateral meeting. They also touched on the issue of the Krško Nuclear Power Plant.
        LJUBLJANA - Tighter rules for entering Slovenia took effect. The colour-coded list of countries was replaced with the requirement that passengers who wish to enter the country need to have a Covid certificate regardless of where they come from.
        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša announced that those who have been vaccinated against Covid, have recovered from it or have been tested would be allowed to have as few restrictions in public life as possible, while rapid tests will be no longer be free of charge from mid-August.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed a coalition-sponsored bill to increase funds for private primary schools to implement two Constitutional Court rulings after several previous attempts to do so failed. The bill secures 100% state funding of private primary schools' obligatory curriculum, up from 85% now.
        LJUBLJANA - Environment Minister Andrej Vizjak told an online debate the discussion on the Fit for 55 package should not just be about the goals but also about how to achieve these goals in the best, fairest and most responsible way to protect the competitiveness of the Slovenian and European economy.
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - Interior Minister Aleš Hojs chaired an informal session of EU home affairs ministers, which he said showed that stances between EU members in talks on the EU pact on migration and asylum were still quite diverging but they showed political will for progress.
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - European Commissioner Ylva Johansson expressed her disappointment because the issue of STA financing has still not been resolved, saying she got the impression after meeting Interior Minister Aleš Hojs back in April that the issue would soon be solved.
        DUBLIN, Ireland - Foreign Minister Anže Logar and his Irish counterpart Simon Coveney attended a ceremony to inaugurate the new premises of the Slovenian Embassy in Dublin with Logar calling the reopening of the embassy "an important milestone" in the efforts to further enhance political, economic, cultural and other ties between the two countries.
        KRANJ - The Kranj District Court handed down an eight-month suspended prison sentence with a probation period of five years to a 20-year-old from Kropa who planned a shooting spree in April, after he was found guilty of attempted trafficking in weapons. He said that he regretted his actions and apologized.
        PAU - Tadej Pogačar won a second stage at the Tour de France in as many days to increase his overall lead and secure the polka-dot jersey of best climber. He has all but secured the overall victory on Sunday, having a 5:45 minute lead ahead of the runner up, Dane Jonas Vingegaard.

 

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