Ljubljana related

24 Oct 2020, 13:11 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, 16 October
        ROME/TRIESTE, Italy - National Assembly Speaker Igor Zorčič held talks with the presidents of both chambers of the Italian parliament, the chairs of several parliamentary commissions and a Foreign Ministry state secretary. The focus of the talks was on reform of Italian electoral legislation. This was also the main topic of what was first official visit of Foreign Minister Anže Logar to the Slovenian community in Italy.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - PM Janez Janša said that fake news in the sense of denial of the danger of the new coronavirus, spreading in Europe mainly through social media and in Slovenia also through mainstream media, was what was forcing Europe and individual countries to take harsher measures than would otherwise be needed.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Putting 38% of Slovenian territory under Natura 2000 protection was "a shot in the knee", PM Janez Janša told the press after an EU summit that had climate goals as one of the items on the agenda. He said that the European average for the area, where it is forbidden to produce energy from natural and sustainable sources, is 18%.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) said "appalled by Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša's latest attack against the Slovene public broadcaster STA". This comes after Janša's Twitter post on Thursday calling the STA a "national disgrace". "This demonising of public service media and journalism must stop," said the EFJ.
        LJUBLJANA - Almost 900 new coronavirus were confirmed, a new daily high. The figures come to a positivity rate of roughly 16%.
        LJUBLJANA - The Infrastructure Ministry defended the national energy and climate plans in the face of a review from the European Commission, saying that in some areas Slovenia's goals were even more ambitious than the bloc's commitments. The ministry also said the Commission highlighted some positive aspects of the plans adopted last February.
        LJUBLJANA - The Fiscal Council warned that the budget expenditure planned for the next two years is too high, while also saying that the divergence from the fiscal rule was understandable and could be allowed, considering the coronavirus pandemic.
        LJUBLJANA - Anti-government protesters returned to bicycle protests yesterday. Police said a few hundred gathered and 33 violations of the ban on gatherings in public were recorded.
        TORONTO, Canada/GRAZ, Austria - Magna International, the Canadian-Austrian automotive multinational, announced it would start producing Fisker Ocean, an electric SUV, in 2022. According to unofficial reports by the Austrian Kleine Zeitung, the car would be assembled in Magna's plants in Graz, Austria, and in Hoče, near Maribor.
        LJUBLJANA - The second Slovenia-wide digital radio network, a technology known by its acronym DAB+, was launched. The new multiplex carries the signals of regional and local radio stations, and stations serving the Italian and Hungarian minorities.
        LJUBLJANA/SLOVENJ GRADEC - The Association of Journalists and Commentators expressed concern over "a renewed abuse of the wheels of the judiciary" after Bojan Požar, author and proprietor of the news portal Požareport, received a suspended three-month prison sentence for defamation and insult due to an article in which he alleged that Maribor Mayor Saša Arsenovič and his former aide Matjaž Štandeker had bribed bankers.

SATURDAY, 17 October
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia has condemned a terrorist attack in a Paris suburb in which an assailant beheaded a teacher. "We need to enforce zero tolerance for terrorism and street violence across #EU," Prime Minister Janez Janša said on Twitter.
        LJUBLJANA - The share of coronavirus tests that came back positive exceeded 19% for the first time on Saturday, as 726 cases were confirmed in 3,765 tests.
        LJUBLJANA - The Association of Journalists and Commentators (ZNP) condemned an incident that occurred during a 16 October protest in Ljubljana and involved the rapper Zlatko grabbing the camera from a Nova24 cameraman. It said this was an "attack on journalistic freedom and consequently on freedom of expression." The Slovenian Journalists' Association condemned all forms of violence, both verbal and physical.
        WROCLAW, Poland - Slovenian writer Goran Vojnović was awarded the Angelus Central European Literary Prize, conferred to works by Central European writers translated into the Polish, for his 2013 novel My Yugoslavia. The annual award is conferred by Wroclaw to writers who take up the most important topics for the present day.

SUNDAY, 18 October
        LJUBLJANA - The government officially declared a coronavirus epidemic for the entire country starting on 19 October. meaning that the national protection and rescue plan was activated. The epidemic was declared for an initial period of 30 days. Prime Minister Janez Janša called for responsibility and solidarity in the face of the pandemic in a video address to Slovenian citizens. He said a challenging period of cold weather was ahead, which required effective measures.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia confirmed 537 new coronavirus cases in 2,637 tests. The positivity rate exceeded 20% for the first time. The 14-day cumulative rate of infection per 100,000 people reached 339 compared to 317 the day before.

MONDAY, 19 October
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor delivered a video address to the people underlining that at the time of crisis, community closes its ranks. "We have to be courageous and determined but also tolerant and patient. This is particularly important for politics. It must make an honest effort for mutual respect and cooperation," he said.
        LJUBLJANA - The number of new coronavirus infections reached 794 in 4,326 tests. Two more people died, brining the death toll to 192. About 1% of Slovenia's population is infected with Sars-CoV-2 based on the test positivity rate, the head of the government task force Bojana Beović said.
        LJUBLJANA - Facing criticism from the opposition in parliament about the government's response to the Covid-19 epidemic, Prime Minister Janez Janša assured MPs that Slovenia had prepared well for the second wave. He said the second wave of the epidemic would eventually pass and that only then it would be possible to make comparisons with other countries.
        LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Janez Janša presented the government's plans regarding the distribution of EU and state recovery funds. He said investments were in the healthcare system and infrastructure, which would include two new infectious disease clinics and nursing hospitals in all regions.
        LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Anže Logar hosted his counterpart from North Macedonia Bujar Osmani for talks that focused on preparations for an intergovernmental conference at which North Macedonia expects to start EU membership talks. Logar expressed the belief that the talks would start during Germany's presidency of the EU.
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor stressed at a virtual summit of the Three Seas Initiative that this platform offers a unique opportunity to change this part of Europe into a modern, sustainable and innovative society. He added that the initiative must not be understood as a grouping of certain EU members countering other members. Foreign Minister Anže Logar took part in a ministerial panel devoted to smart money.
        LJUBLJANA - The Nova Gorica Administrative Court was reported to have annulled the dismissal of former director of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Darko Muženič. The court's decision is final, so there is no possibility of an appeal.
        LJUBLJANA - Ljubljana's city councillors adopted a statement condemning any activities or gatherings of paramilitary or nationalist groups in the capital. The opposition Democrats (SDS) and New Slovenia (NSi) protested, unsuccessfully proposing that the item be removed from the City Council's agenda.
        LJUBLJANA - Chief supervisor of telco Telekom Slovenije Aleš Šabeder and supervisors Barbara Cerovšek Zupančič and Bernarda Babič resigned, citing the current situation in the five-strong supervisory board. Šabeder expects the remaining two supervisory board members to follow suit.
        LJUBLJANA - Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek signed a set of amendments to Slovenia's association agreement with the European Space Agency (ESA), which he said constituted an important step towards full-fledged membership. The minister expects cooperation with ESA to deepen further.
TUESDAY, 20 October
        LJUBLJANA - A temporary 9pm-6am curfew entered into force across Slovenia to limit the spread of coronavirus. The ceiling for gatherings was lowered from ten to six people and a blanket ban on movement among statistical regions put in place, albeit with exceptions related to work, emergency situations and services, family assistance and farm work.
        LJUBLJANA - A record 1,503 Sars-CoV-2 infections were confirmed as the test positivity rate exceeded 25%. Covid-19 hospitalisations rose by 20 to 333.
        TALLINN, Estonia - FM Anže Logar met his Estonian counterpart Urmas Reinsalu as he started a three-day tour of the Baltics, with the pair expressing the wish for closer cooperation on the bilateral and EU levels in digital services.
        LJUBLJANA - The centre-left opposition parties called on the government to mend its ways, which they argue are the reason for what they see as a "fatefully low level" of public trust in measures and recommendations aimed to contain the rapid spread of coronavirus in the country.
        UDINE, Italy/BILBAO/Spain - Slovenian cyclist Jan Tratnik (Team Bahrain McLaren) won the 16th stage of the Giro d'Italia between Udine and San Daniele del Friuli to become only the fifth Slovenian ever to win a stage at the prestigious road race around Italy, while his more celebrated compatriot Primož Roglič (Team Jumbo-Visma) won the first stage of the Vuelta a Espana.

WEDNESDAY, 21 October
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's coronavirus tally soared to another daily record as 1,663 infections were confirmed from a record 6,215 tests, a positivity rate of over 25%. Hospitalisations increased to 357, with 62 patients in intensive care.
        LJUBLJANA - Anže Erbežnik ended up two votes short of appointment as Constitutional Court judge in a 44:35 secret ballot at the National Assembly. The result was the same for the nominee for Banka Slovenije vice-governor Arjana Brezigar Masten, who also needed the absolute majority of all votes. The coalition said this was not an indication of disunity in its ranks.
        LJUBLJANA - MPs passed changes to the integrity and prevention of corruption act which the government argues strengthen the preventive and supervisory role of the anti-graft commission. They also aim at clearly delineating the powers in prosecution of corruption between the commission on the one hand and the police and prosecution on the other.
        RIGA, Latvia - Foreign Minister Anže Logar continued his three-day tour of the Baltics by meeting his Latvian counterpart Edgars Rinkevičs for talks that focused on the importance of coordinating measures to battle the Covid-19 pandemic. They called for a joint EU approach in coordinating these measures but noted that this was largely within the purview of national governments.
        VILNIUS, Lithuania - Foreign Minister Anže Logar met Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya as part of his visit to Lithuania. He said that Slovenia advocated dialogue between all political stakeholders, called for peaceful talks, and expressed support for the efforts made as part of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation (OSCE) and Council of Europe.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly unanimously passed amendments to the environmental protection act designed to tackle the long-running problem of packaging waste and to transpose EU directives in the field. Under the amendments, packaging waste treatment companies will need to accept all waste from waste collection utility companies based on a fee paid by the companies that produce such waste.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly endorsed an amendment to the motorway tolling act that creates the legal basis for the e-tolling of cars. The new system is to become operational by the end of next year and drivers will be able to buy "electronic vignettes" via an app, online or at service stations.

THURSDAY, 22 October
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia will put in place new restrictions to limit the spread of coronavirus. Non-essential shops will be closed, as will hotels, kindergartens and student dormitories, Prime Minister Janez Janša announced. The measures, entering into force on Saturday, will initially be in place for a week and will then be re-evaluated.
        LJUBLJANA - The government asked parliament to activate Article 37a the defence act which gives members of the Slovenian Armed forces certain police powers on the border. The proposal, which the government says is primarily needed because of the additional burdened placed on police by the epidemic, needs a two-thirds majority.
        LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Janez Janša spoke via videoconference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. They discussed the Covid-19 situation in Europe, the EU presidency trio's activities and the situation in the Western Balkans. Janša said that Germany had offered emergency medical equipment should Slovenia require it.
        VILNIUS, Lithuania - Foreign Minister Anže Logar wrapped up a three-day tour of the Baltics by meeting Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Antanas Linkevičius. Cooperation between the countries at bilateral, European and multi-lateral levels being on the agenda, in addition to the situation in Belarus.
        LJUBLJANA - Defence Minister Matej Tonin had an informal videoconference with his German and Portuguese counterparts, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer and Joao Gomes Cravinho. The talks focused on European defence policy.
        LJUBLJANA - Singer-songwriter, musician and poet Vlado Kreslin is the recipient of this year's Ježek Award, an accolade celebrating creative and witty radio and television oeuvres and achievements. Kreslin is instilling a spirit of freedom, solidarity, tolerance and joie de vivre in Slovenia's cultural sphere, the judging panel has said.

17 Oct 2020, 14:00 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 October
        LJUBLJANA - The National Security Council fully endorsed a proposal by the police to activate a provision in the defence act which would give soldiers police powers in patrolling the border to contain illegal migration. PM Janez Janša said the situation on the border with Croatia was becoming critical again and urged the opposition to provide the necessary votes for a two-thirds majority needed to activate the provision.
        LJUBLJANA - Out of a record 4,362 coronavirus tests conducted in Slovenia, a total of 380 came back positive, a 8.7% positivity rate. On what was a fourth day in a row that the daily case count exceeded 300, hospitalisations reached a new peak and continued growing throughout the week.
        LJUBLJANA - Police stepped up the IDing of protesters at the 25th anti-government rally over violations of the decree limiting public assembly during the coronavirus epidemic, and several protesters were removed from the site. The protesters labelled the police action "repression and a disgrace".
        LJUBLJANA - The Constitutional Court struck down provisions of a 2013 law that impose a 70% tax on income that individuals have been found to have failed to report. The court also declared that tax reassessment cannot be made for cases prior to 2009.
        MARIBOR - Peter Boštjančič, a Maribor-based actor known for his memorable roles in the theatre and on film, was declared the winner of this year's Borštnik Ring, Slovenia's top accolade for lifetime achievement in theatre acting. Boštjančič, 68, has been a member of the Drama SNG Maribor theatre ensemble for over 20 years, after spending 17 years with the SLG Celje theatre.
        LJUBLJANA - Whistleblower Ivan Gale, who has been accusing government representatives of meddling in the procurement of medical and personal protective equipment when the coronavirus first reached Slovenia in the spring, said on Facebook he had lost his job at the Agency for Commodity Reserves.

SATURDAY, 10 October
        KLAGENFURT, Austria - Austrian and Slovenian presidents attended a ceremony marking the centenary of the Carinthian plebiscite together for the very first time with Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen apologising to Carinthian Slovenians for the injustices and delays in the implementation of their constitutional rights.
        LJUBLJANA - The opposition Social Democrats (SD) elected Tanja Fajon, an MEP and the party's interim head so far, its new leader at an online congress. A total of 276 delegates of the party voted for Fajon, the first woman to be at the helm of the SD, whereas 107 were in favour of her challenger MP Jani Prednik.
        LJUBLJANA - A total of 2,956 tests for the novel coronavirus were performed, resulting in a record 411 new daily infections. The share of new cases in the number of tests reached 13.9%.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's Ambassador to Croatia Vojislav Šuc told the STA in an interview that the coronavirus crisis effected a turn for the better in Slovenia's relations with Croatia. The past months have also shown there is a synergy between the governments, as they have build mutual trust by focusing on what they have in common, he said.

SUNDAY, 11 October
        LJUBLJANA - The government decided to tighten requirements for arrivals as many countries around Europe continue to post record daily increases in coronavirus numbers. As of 12 October, only four countries will remain on its green list, which means no quarantine is required - Australia, New Zealand, Serbia and Uruguay.
        LJUBLJANA - A total of 169 people tested positive for coronavirus from 1,404 tests and two more Covid-19 patients died. Despite the infections being lower than in the previous days, it was the highest increase for a Sunday and the share of positive tests remained high, at 12%.
        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša condemned the defacing of a monument in the courtyard of the government of the Austrian state of Carinthia in Klagenfurt during Saturday's ceremony to mark the 100th anniversary of the Carinthian plebiscite. Janša said on Twitter that the defacing of the monument to Carinthian unity was detrimental to the Slovenian compatriots in Carinthia and Slovenia's reputation in the world. President Borut Pahor expressed sadness over the incident.
        LJUBLJANA - The 23rd Festival of Slovenian Film closed with an award ceremony, with the award for best feature going to Martin Turk's youth film Don't Forget to Breathe. The main festival prize was not conferred.

MONDAY, 12 October
        LJUBLJANA - A total of 397 people tested positive for the new coronavirus after 3,308 tests were performed, with the positivity rate at 12%. Four persons died of Covid-19.
        LJUBLJANA - The central bank decided it will consult a group of legal experts to find a solution ensuring the legal protection of the holders of subordinated bonds who were wiped out during the 2013 bank bailout. It has also asked for a constitutional review of provisions allowing it to be audited by the Court of Audit.
        LJUBLJANA - Petra Grah Lazar was appointed acting head of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the third new leader of the specialised police unit for white-collar crime since May. The appointment was made by acting Police Commissioner Andrej Jurič a week after her predecessor Uroš Lepoša stepped down citing personal reasons. Grah Lazar most recently served as a financial consulting manager at Deloitte Svetovanje.
        LJUBLJANA - The recently established Slovenian-Chinese business council at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS) expressed concern in a public letter over the government's alleged plans to lable Chinese company Huawei a high-risk supplier in the coming weeks.
TUESDAY, 13 October
        LJUBLJANA - The number of new coronavirus infections almost doubled to 707, a new record by far, which comes on 4,902 tests conducted, a new high as well, as the positivity rate hit a record 14.4%.
        LJUBLJANA - A meeting of top representatives of all three branches of power saw Prime Minster Janez Janša defending criticism of the judiciary by arguing that respect first needed to be earned. President Borut Pahor urged respectful, responsible and dignified communication. The meeting was prompted by Supreme Court president Damijan Florjančič, who expressed the wish a suitable response is secured to inappropriate commentaries and attacks on the judiciary.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia issued EUR 1 billion-worth of 30-year bonds. Unofficially, the interest rate was slightly under 0.5%, while the yield also stands at around 0.5%. According to unofficial sources quoted by Bloomberg the interest rate for the issue is 50 basis points above the 30-year mid-swap rate, which stands at -0.005%.
        ŠENTILJ - The Slovenian and Austrian police conducted a joint border control exercise on the Austrian side of the Šentilj border crossing using unmanned aerial vehicles. Slovenian interior minister Aleš Hojs and his Austrian counterpart Karl Nehammer met on the occasion, underlining effective cooperation and discussing the Covid-19 situation.
        BERLIN, Germany - Transparency International placed Slovenia among countries with limited enforcement of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention, which deals with bribery of foreign public officials. The Exporting Corruption 2020 Report says that "Slovenia continues to have an inadequate legal framework on anti-corruption, and questionable political commitment to implementing and improving it".

WEDNESDAY, 14 October
        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša announced additional restrictive measures to contain the spread of coronavirus, including remote learning from the sixth grade of primary school up as of next week, as well as an inter-regional movement ban, limited gatherings and mandatory masks outdoors in seven red-listed regions as of 15 October.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia logged yet another coronavirus record with the daily tally hitting 745, bringing the total case count to well over 10,000. A record 5,287 tests were performed, with 14% of the cases returning positive, just slightly below 14.4% the day before.
        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša, his Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orban and Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman addressed a ceremony in the north-east of the country launching construction of a power line that will link the three countries. The EUR 150 million project has been almost two decades in the making, mainly due to lengthy siting procedures.
        PRAGUE, Czech Republic - Coordination of measures to limit the spread of coronavirus topped the agenda as Foreign Minister Anže Logar held talks with his Czech counterpart Tomaš Petriček. The ministers agreed coordination at EU level should be more efficient and endorsed the common EU approach to the development of a vaccine.
        VIENNA, Austria - Austria extended police control on its borders with Slovenia and Hungary by another six months, until 11 May 2021. Austria's Interior Minister Karl Nehammer listed migration pressure, safety concerns and Covid-19 as reasons for the move.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Commission called on Slovenia to invest and make reforms towards promoting renewable sources of energy and in support of energy efficiency and sustainable transport in its state of the energy union report. It said that Slovenia's plans in renewable energy lacked ambition.
        CHISINAU, Moldova - The Slovenian men's football team beat Moldova 4:0 in the fourth round of play in Group 3 of League C of the UEFA Nations League. This was the third win in a row for Slovenia in the competition.

THURSDAY, 15 October
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed the fifth corona legislative package, a fresh set of measures designed to help the country overcome the crisis caused by the pandemic. The principal measure of the EUR 420 million package is the extension of the furlough subsidy scheme until the end of the year.
        LJUBLJANA - Jože Podgoršek was appointed agriculture minister in a 48:7 vote to succeed Aleksandra Pivec, who stepped down as minister and president of the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS).
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Prime Minister Janez Janša called for a united response of the EU in support of Cyprus and Greece following new provocations by Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean as he arrived for an EU summit. Although the topic is not on the agenda, he said he expected the EU to take a unified approach towards the development in the east of the Mediterranean.
        BRATISLAVA, Slovakia - Foreign Minister Anže Logar and his Slovak counterpart Ivan Korčok called for better coordination of measures to contain the coronavirus pandemic at the EU level. They shared the view that coordination was vital not only to successfully contain the pandemic but also to restart the European economy.
        ROME, Italy - Defence Minister Matej Tonin paid an official visit to Italy. Talks with his counterpart Lorenzo Guerini focused on defence cooperation, including in international missions. Joint efforts in preventing illegal migrations were also on the agenda.
        LJUBLJANA - Five members of the parliamentary Intelligence and Security Service Oversight Commission (KNOVS) paid an unannounced visit to the national intelligence and security agency SOVA in relation to possible influence on SOVA in the case of an suspected Iranian money laundering scheme at NLB bank.
        LJUBLJANA - A parliamentary inquiry into the procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE) before and during the coronavirus epidemic got off to a formal start chaired by Alenka Jeraj of the ruling Democrats (SDS). The inquiry was formally initiated by the National Assembly on 14 July at the request of the coalition, which moved faster than the four centre-left opposition parties, which had announced it first.
        VELENJE - Home appliances maker Hisense Gorenje officially announced it would start producing TV sets at one of its former facilities in Velenje in January next year. The Chinese-owned company announced that the Hisense Europe Electronic TV factory will involve around 400 jobs in the first stage, 330 of which will be for production workers.
        LJUBLJANA - After a surge in illegal migration in the summer months, figures have been declining since as the bad weather set in. Police figures show the number of cases until the end of September is down just over half a percent from the same period a year ago. Police handled 11,855 attempts to cross into the country illegally in the first nine months, which compares to 11,931 in the same period a year ago.
        ŠOŠTANJ - Construction works on the first section of a major north-south expressway in eastern Slovenia dubbed the Third Development Axis started. The first portion is an expressway that is 200 metres long and forms part of the northern section of the Third Development Axis, which stretches from Slovenj Gradec in the north to the motorway exit Šentrupert.

10 Oct 2020, 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, 2 October
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - PM Janez Janša highlighted after the EU summit the urgency of serious preparations for the autumn and winter season with the novel coronavirus, especially in light of reports that vaccination will likely still not be available early next year, at least not in sufficient amounts.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - The new EU migration pact in the current form is not entirely acceptable to anyone but everyone finds it a good starting point for further negotiations, PM Janez said after the EU summit.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - PM Janša commented on the European Commission's concerns about the lack of resources in Slovenia for key independent bodies like the corruption watchdog and the networks regulator by saying he was much more worried about the lack of funds for healthcare than he was about NGOs and other organisations.
        LJUBLJANA - Unofficial reports suggested that the Slovenian government would classify the Chinese technological giant Huawei as a high-risk supplier shortly. On 6 Oct Huawei expressed disappointment, saying this was unjustified.
        AJDOVŠČINA - Bia Separations, a biotechnology company, was acquired for EUR 360 million by Sartorius, a leading international pharmaceutical and laboratory equipment supplier. The takeover is still subject to regulatory approval but is expected to be wrapped up by the end of this year.
        LJUBLJANA - The government decided that face masks will no longer be required for kindergarten children, primary and secondary school pupils in their class, and for teachers up to the third grade of primary school.
        KRŠKO - The Environment Agency (ARSO) decided that impact assessment and an environmental permit will be needed for the works needed to extend the life of the country's only nuclear reactor beyond 2023. The N-plant operator indicated on 6 Oct that it would not challenge the decision.
        TRBOVLJE - The government and the state-owned power holding HSE signed a concession contract for hydro power plants on the central part of the Slovenian section of the Sava river. Environment Minister Andrej Vizjak said the first three of the planned power plants would built in ten years.
        KOPER - Port operator Luka Koper hosted the ambassadors of Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and Czechia, with CEO Dimitrij Zadel saying the ambition of the port was to become the main maritime window for the economies of Visegrad Group members.
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor hosted representatives of the Slovenian minority in Austria in the run-up to the centenary of the Carinthian plebiscite on 10 Oct. Pahor said the predominant opinion was the past 100 years should be remembered in a way which would make it easier to build a common future.
        LJUBLJANA - The situation in healthcare and what is seen as its ongoing privatisation was in the centre of what was the 24th consecutive Friday anti-government protest rally in Ljubljana. The protesters demanded the resignation of Health Minister Tomaž Gantar and of National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ) director Milan Krek.

SATURDAY, 3 October
        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša called on the public to act responsibly and abide by precautionary measures to avoid further restrictions as the coronavirus outbreak in the country is spreading, also suggesting that Slovenia was but a step away from declaring epidemic again.
        LJUBLJANA - The government allocated just over EUR 2.5 million for the European Commission Emergency Support Instrument for advance payments to manufacturers of promising vaccines against Covid-19.
        LJUBLJANA - Rating agency Moody's upgraded Slovenia's long-term issuer and senior unsecured bond ratings by one notch to A3 from Baa1, changing the outlook to stable. Announcing the news, the Finance Ministry said the upgrade showed Slovenia as one of the most reliable countries for foreign investors.
        LJUBLJANA - Defence Minister Matej Tonin stressed the importance of unity as he addressed a ceremony marking the 30th anniversary of the Tactical Line, a paramilitary unit formed during independence efforts on 17 May 1990 as Yugoslav authorities wanted official Slovenian army units disarmed.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia climbed one more spot in the IMD World Digital Competitiveness Ranking to 31st among 63 countries.
        LJUBLJANA - Participants in a Hike for Life called for protecting human life from conception to natural death.

SUNDAY, 4 October
        TEHARJE - Celje diocese administrator Rok Metličar gave mass remembering an estimated 5,000 victims of war and post-war summary executions connected to the post-World War Two camp in Teharje.
        LJUBLJANA - Nepremicnine.net, the leading real estate website in Slovenia, was reported being taken over by Real Web, a company owning several leading internet real estate platforms in Europe.
        LIEGE, Belgium - Slovenia's cycling star Primož Roglič added victory at the Belgian one-day classic Liege-Bastogne-Liege to his portfolio of prestigious achievements.

MONDAY, 5 October
        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša presented a draft bill on the National Demographic Fund, a new state fund designed to pool all state assets, around EUR 8.6 billion, to shore up the pension system, to the Economic Social Council (ESS) before the government adopted it later in the day.
        LJUBLJANA - Aleksandra Pivec stepped down as agriculture, forestry and food minister just a few hours before the National Assembly was to vote on her dismissal. State secretary Jože Podgoršek was formally nominated for the job on 6 Oct.
        PORTOROŽ - Central banks do not expect the Covid-19-induced crisis to be as deep as initially feared, but if the situation were to deteriorate, they are ready to step in and react, Boštjan Vasle, the governor of Slovenia's central bank, told the 37th Financial Conference.
        LJUBLJANA - Telecoms incumbent Telekom Slovenije made 5G technology available to its users, having set up the country's first commercial 5G network in late July. Built on existing infrastructure, the network does not yet cover the entire country, with the company expecting to provide coverage to 33% of the population by year's end.
        LJUBLJANA - The registered jobless total in Slovenia stood at 83,766 at the end of September, a 5% drop on August but a 20% increase compared to the registered unemployment figure in September 2019.
        LJUBLJANA - Czech MEP Alexandr Vondra apologised to his Slovenian counterparts for a tweet in which he labelled Slovenians "opportunistic pigs". Franc Bogovič (EPP/SLS) accepted the apology but warned that Vondra had not erased the tweet he posted after a defeat of Slavia Prague in a football match featuring Slovenian referee Damir Skomina.
        LJUBLJANA - Ljubljana's tourism sector suffered a significant blow this year, as the coronavirus pandemic suspended air travel. This summer, the capital saw 160,341 overnight stays, 75% less than a year ago.
        RADEČE - The Covid-19 pandemic has prompted the development of an innovative solution at the Radeče paper mill. The company has started producing antibacterial paper which apart from inhibiting the growth of bacteria also reduces the spread of viruses and is thus ideal for people with weak immune systems.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenian cyclist Stanko Verstovšek set a new record in the 24-hour time trial by covering a total of 914.02 kilometres in that span on a route in the north-eastern region of Prekmurje. He beat the previous record-holder, Christoph Strasser of Austria, by more than 15 kilometres.

TUESDAY, 6 October
        LJUBLJANA - The government adopted guidelines for further anti-coronavirus restrictions, introducing a sliding scale of measures to be adopted based on the incidence of cases and the strain the virus puts on healthcare.
        LJUBLJANA - Risks to financial stability have increased sharply as a result of the coronacrisis and the accompanying deep economic slump. Income and credit risk have increased as well, showed the Financial Stability Report by Banka Slovenije.
        LJUBLJANA - Uroš Lepoša, the acting director of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), tendered his resignation after only some two months on the job, citing personal circumstances. News portal 24ur.com, Lepoša stepped down due to political pressure.
        LJUBLJANA - The two-member board of 2TDK featuring Dušan Zorko as director general and Marko Brezigar resigned in agreement with the company's supervisory board, which appointed Pavle Hevka and Iztok Černoša in their place.
        LJUBLJANA - Anže Erbežnik has been formally nominated for the vacant post on the Constitutional Court and Arjana Brezigar Masten for the vice-governor post at the central bank, the office of President Borut Pahor announced.
        LJUBLJANA - Rating agency Moody's upgraded the credit ratings for the NLB and NKBM banks, for both from Baa2 and Baa1, preserving a stable outlook.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Slovenia promotes the launching of the EU recovery and resilience facility as soon as possible and expects no red tape, Finance Minister Andrej Šircelj said after an informal virtual meeting of EU finance ministers.
        LJUBLJANA/MEŽICA - Addressing a symposium entitled Carinthia as Diplomatic Issue 1918-1920, held online ahead of the centenary of the Carinthian plebiscite, Foreign Minister Anže Logar stressed the historic ties between Slovenia and Austria and the importance of dialogue between the countries.
        LJUBLJANA - Every fifth Slovenian was a victim of sexual abuse as a child, shows a recent survey commissioned by the Justice Ministry. Minister Lilijana Kozlovič announced that a bill enabling the country's first Barnahus for child victims of sexual abuse would be likely passed in 2021.
        LJUBLJANA - The 23rd Festival of Slovenian Film (FSF) kicked off. This year, the festival is marked by a drop in film production due to the coronavirus pandemic and a suspension of state funds. Film makers called on the government to release overdue funds and boost and streamline film funding.

WEDNESDAY, 7 October
        LJUBLJANA - Economist Jože P. Damijan, supported by a group of acclaimed scholars and artists, offered to spearhead a centre-left Constitutional Arch Coalition meant to become an alternative to the Janez Janša government that is, they believe, turning Slovenia into "an illiberal democracy". The leaders of the four centre-left opposition parties confirmed talks were under way.
        LJUBLJANA - The Foreign Ministry responded on the enlargement package for the Western Balkan and Turkey, stressing the importance of a credible enlargement policy for peace, stability, security and economic growth of Europe. The package was also welcomed by Slovenian MEPs on 6 Oct.
        SLOVENJ GRADEC - The government formally declared Črna na Koroškem, site of a major coronavirus outbreak at a residential facility for people with mental disabilities, Slovenia's first Covid-19 danger zone.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Slovenia's eight MEPs expressed differing views on the European Parliament's somewhat surprising support for cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 by 60% compared to 1990.
        LENDAVA - The city council of Lendava, a bilingual municipality on the border with Hungary, honoured Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto by making him an honorary resident.
        LJUBLJANA - The international comics festival Tinta kicked off in Ljubljana and three other cities.

THURSDAY, 8 October
        LJUBLJANA - The government imposed new restrictions following a sharp rise in Slovenia's coronavirus curve, which saw a record 387 new cases discovered on Wednesday as the rate of positive tests surpassed 10% for the first time. A total of 1,640 new cases were reported in the past week and the death toll rose by 8 to 160. The measures include a ban on gatherings of more than ten people, except for organised events sanctioned by the National Institute of Public Health. Slovenian epidemiologists said they have readjusted their contact tracing strategy to focus on contacts of infected persons in care homes, education, healthcare and shared households.
        LJUBLJANA/VIENNA, Austria - The Slovenian and Austrian presidents, Borut Pahor and Alexander Van der Bellen, called for the protection of minorities as an element that enriches as they spoke with the STA and APA ahead of the 100th anniversary of the Carinthian plebiscite.
        LJUBLJANA - The government started debating legislative changes merging eight key regulators into two super-agencies. The regulators were reportedly allowed only 24 hours to give their remarks. The proposal has been strongly criticised by the opposition, the regulators and a public sector unions as an attempt to assert political power, while the government said its goal is streamlining.
        LJUBLJANA - Interior Minister Aleš Hojs told his EU counterparts, who discussed the new migration and asylum pact for the first time, that more focus should be given to an effective EU return policy. He said the European Commisison-proposed new migration pact contained compulsory relocation and that "this can be quite a problem in the talks in the coming months."
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor received the credentials of the UK's new ambassador to Slovenia Tiffany Sadler and of her Slovak counterpart Peter Zelenak.
        LONDON, UK - Slovenia placed 14th among 128 countries in the World Energy Council's 2020 Energy Trilemma Index, which ranks countries by their ability to provide sustainable energy. The country lost two spots compared with the year before, but the methodology has changed.
        LJUBLJANA - Fuel retailers have only slightly adjusted prices of diesel and regular petrol at service stations outside motorways the first week after full deregulation.
        LJUBLJANA - Lonely Planet selected Bled among the top 10 destinations which offer unique and memorable experiences. The second edition of the list of recommended destinations puts Bled sixth alongside the world's most famous sights such as Petra, Uluru or Yellowstone.

03 Oct 2020, 13:14 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, 25 September

        SKOPJE, North Macedonia - President Borut Pahor urged for the EU to launch accession talks with North Macedonia without delay, as he met his counterpart Stevo Pendarovski at the outset of a two-day official visit. He reiterated Slovenia's support for North Macedonia's bid to join the EU and said Slovenia was in favour of bringing all countries in the region into the EU.
        LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Anže Logar affirmed Slovenia's commitment to "enhanced and reformed multilateralism" as he delivered a virtual address to the Alliance for Multilateralism on the sidelines of the 75th session of the UN General Assembly. He said multilateralism needed to be based on trust, respect and international law.
        LJUBLJANA - MPs of the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) formally requested that Prime Minister Janez Janša dismiss Agriculture Minister Aleksandra Pivec, the former leader of their party. Jože Podgoršek, state secretary at the ministry, was proposed as her successor. Under agreement reached with other coalition partners on 29 September, Janša asked the National Assembly to dismiss Pivec. The vote will be taken next week.
        LJUBLJANA - Ivan Gale, who came forward with accusations of flawed procurement of medical supplies during the first wave of coronavirus, was reported to be facing losing his job at the Agency for Commodity Reserves. TV Slovenija reported that Gale was summoned by the agency's director Tomi Rumpf for an interview before he is handed a dismissal notice on suspicion that he closed detrimental contracts for PPE supply.
        LJUBLJANA - The recently unveiled deregulation plan was the main target of the 23rd protests against the government. A "Ministry of the Rich" banner was unveiled in front of the Ministry of Finance as Tea Jarc, the head of the trade union Mladi Plus, spoke about a tax reform that would mean lower taxes for the rich and public service cuts for everyone else.
        KOPER - Media reported that the Koper Higher Court had quashed a prison sentence against Igor Bavčar, the former CEO of Istrabenz, in a case related to a 2007 transaction involving shares of logistics company Intereuropa, and ordered a retrial.
        MURSKA SOBOTA - Author, actor and street theatre producer Andrej Rozman - Roza won the Večernica Prize for the best youth and children's book written in the past year. The jury said the collection marked Roza's "return to linguistic nonsense."

SATURDAY, 26 September
        LJUBLJANA - The 20th Ljubljana Pride Parade remained focused on the rights of LGBT+ persons, but the rally highlighted broader social rights that are seen as being at risk. Due to coronavirus restrictions, the event was held in the form of ten smaller rallies that then converged in front of Parliament House.

MONDAY, 28 September
        MADRID, Spain - FM Anže Logar met his Spanish counterpart Arancha Gonzalez Lay with the pair agreeing that the key to true and strong partnership was solidarity, connectivity and unity.
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor discussed with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres via a video call the latest escalation in Nagorno-Karabakh, the situation in the Western Balkans and the Covid-19 pandemic. He pledged full support for the secretary general's efforts for the tensions in Nagorno-Karabakh to calm down.
        POZNAN, Poland - Attending an extended meeting of Visegrad Group agriculture ministers through Minister Aleksandra Pivec, Slovenia did not join a call reflecting the group's stance in favour of equalising common agriculture policy subsidies across the bloc. The meeting featured ministers from the Visegrad Group as well as Slovenia, Estonia, Croatia, Latvia, Bulgaria and Romania.
        LJUBLJANA - The 30th anniversary of constitutional amendments that severed key constitutional ties with Yugoslavia and were crucial on Slovenia's path to independence were marked with a ceremony at the Presidential Palace. President Borut Pahor urged a return to the bipartisan efforts seen in that period.
        LJUBLJANA - A Slovenian-Chinese business council was set up at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry. More than 30 founding members decided for the move to create better conditions for strengthening ties between Slovenia and China, and help companies access the Chinese market.

TUESDAY, 29 September
        LJUBLJANA - The government endorsed the fifth stimulus package designed to help alleviate the consequences of the coronavirus crisis. There were no major changes compared to the previous version of the bill, which entails measures for healthcare, labour, social security, economy, education, justice, criminal sanctions, agriculture and infrastructure.
        LJUBLJANA - Travel restrictions for passengers arriving from countries which are not on its green list were loosened under a government decree. Passengers with a negative test no older than 48 hours and performed by a credible lab either in Slovenia, the EU or the Schengen zone, not longer have to quarantine. Passengers arriving from orange countries within the EU or the Schengen zone will not have to present a negative test to avoid quarantine.
        LJUBLJANA - The government ordered the Public Administration Ministry and the telecommunications market regulator to put in place rules on enhanced security of fifth-generation (5G) telecommunications networks. The regulator and the body in charge of information security will get additional powers to demand from operators that they ensure their networks are secure.
        LJUBLJANA - Addressing an AmCham event, PM Janez Janša said Slovenia had the potential to become one of the 15 most competitive countries in the world, which could be achieved by improving the support system for business, de-bureaucratisation and a more efficient public sector.
        LISBON, Portugal - Foreign minister Anže Logar and his Portuguese counterpart Augusto Santos Silva discussed their countries' upcoming stints at the presidency of the Council of the EU. The ministers agreed that both countries shared views on many European and international issues.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed changes to the defence act allowing some soldiers to stay on duty even after turning 45. Others will be employed by other state bodies without a pay cut.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed legislation that will close stores on Sundays and public holidays with the exception of small shops at places such as service stations, airports, train and bus stations and in hospitals, and small shops where the customers will be served by proprietors themselves with the assistance of students and pensioners.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly endorsed amendments to the state prosecution act under which a prosecutor's decision to dismiss charges for offences carrying more than three years in prison will have to be signed off by the head of the prosecution service. For offences carrying prison sentences of eight or more years, the head of the prosecution will need to consult two other prosecutors.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly confirmed a 2% rise in pensions that will go ahead in December, capping months of debates. The government provided assurances that the move was fiscally feasible.
        LJUBLJANA - Zvonko Černač, the minister for development and European cohesion policy, called for a flexible, simplified and goal-oriented approach to cohesion policy in the EU's next multi-annual financial framework, as he addressed a high-level debate hosted by the German EU presidency. He said national authorities knew best where the money is needed.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed a set of changes to the communicable diseases act which aim to increase vaccination rate by making vaccination mandatory for kindergarten children to at least 95% from 93% at present.

WEDNESDAY, 30 September
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Commission raised several issues in its Rule of Law Report for Slovenia, expressing concern about a lack of resources for key independent bodies like the corruption watchdog and networks regulator, and pressure exerted on journalists through lawsuits and online harassment. The Foreign Ministry said the report was relatively favourable, while the opposition said it was worrying Slovenia was nearing the countries which did not respect the rule of law.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia reached a new record in daily coronavirus cases, as 203 tested positive in a total of 3,391 tests. The share of positive tests was 5.99%, lower than in earlier days but still at a level deemed worryingly high.
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - The government adopted budget proposals for the next two years under which the pandemic-driven deficit is projected to decrease from 9.2% of GDP this year to 5.6% in 2021 and 3.1% in 2022. Finance Minister Andrej Šircelj said the budgets were "development-oriented" with investment funding increasing significantly.
        LJUBLJANA - The government adopted amendments to the foreigners act to tighten provisions on residence permits and reintroduce solutions that would provide for the triggering of a special regime in the event of a massive influx of illegal migrants seeking asylum. The proposal includes similar solutions to those planned under controversial amendments passed in 2017 that were quashed by the Constitutional Court.
        VIENNA, Austria - Foreign Minister Anže Logar and his Austrian counterpart Alexander Schallenberg discussed preparations for the upcoming centenary of the Carinthia plebiscite and the position of the Slovenian ethnic minority in Austria. EU topics, including the new migration pact, were also on the agenda.
        NEW YORK, US - President Borut Pahor said the high rate of decline in biodiversity was a serious threat to life on Earth and undermined human progress, as he addressed the UN Biodiversity Summit via videolink. He reaffirmed Slovenia's commitment to mitigation efforts.
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor wrapped up the first round of consultations with deputy groups as he prepares to nominate a candidate for a Constitutional Court judge. He announced that Anže Erbežnik, a professor at the Nova Gorica-based European Faculty of Law, had the best chances of getting the required support in parliament. Arjana Brezigar Masten is the likely candidate for a vice-governor post at the central bank.
        LJUBLJANA - Public Administration Minister Boštjan Koritnik and representatives of municipalities signed an agreement that raises the lump sum which municipalities receive per resident from the state. The budget transfer, which was raised from EUR 589 to EUR 624 in April under the new government, will be EUR 628 in 2021 and 2022.
        LJUBLJANA - Janez Žlak, currently serving as executive director for energy and environment at the energy company Petrol, was appointed new chairman of Slovenian Sovereign Holding, which manages over EUR 10 billion worth of state equity stakes. Žlak will succeed Gabrijel Škof, who resigned in July.
        LJUBLJANA - Telecommunications company Telekom Slovenije announced that the sale of Planet TV to Hungarian media company TV2 Media had been finalised. The purchase consideration is EUR 5 million, but Telekom also provided a capital injection via a debt to equity conversion before finalising the transaction.
        LJUBLJANA - Germany added the northern Koroška region to its list of Covid-19 high-risk areas after doing the same a week ago for the western region of Primorsko-Notranjska. Switzerland put the entire country on its quarantine list effective on 29 September.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Gallery launched an exhibition of the Prague Castle Picture Gallery masterpieces. The rare European art collection features paintings from Titian, Rubens and Holbein the Younger and is a result of Emperor Rudolf II's zeal for collecting.

THURSDAY, 1 October
        LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Janez Janša was formally indicted of abuse of office over a property sale carried out in 2005. Janša is one of the three persons indicted in a case that case revolves around a plot of land in the Trenta Valley that he sold in 2005 and which was subsequently resold several times, in what the prosecution believes was a chain of related transactions that ended up unlawfully benefiting him.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Prime Minister Janez Janša arrived at the EU summit hopeful that the EU would be able to mount a united show of solidarity with Greece and Cyprus in their dispute with Turkey. As for Belarus, he was hopeful that EU leaders would be capable of supporting the democratic desires of the people of Belarus.
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor pointed to the need to accelerate attaining women's rights as he addressed an online UN summit marking the 25th anniversary of the historic Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. He acknowledged there was still much room for improvement,
        LJUBLJANA - An initiative for Slovenia to notify its legal succession to the Austrian State Treaty was filed to parliament, just days before the centenary of the Carinthian plebiscite, which left a portion of Slovenians in Austria after WWI. The initiative is spearheaded by legal expert Ivan Kristan and sociologist Niko Toš.
        LJUBLJANA - The Ljubljana District Court stopped legal proceedings in the case of Leon Rupnik, a Nazi collaborationist general, Dnevnik reported. The court made the decision based on the criminal procedure act, which says legal procedures stop if the defendant dies.
        LJUBLJANA - Fuel prices in Slovenia became fully deregulated as the decree on administered prices for regular petrol and diesel at service stations outside motorways and expressways expired and was been extended by the government.
        LONDON, UK - The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development forecast a 7.5% contraction of Slovenia's GDP in 2020, a downgrade of two percentage points from May. Partial recovery is expected in 2021 when the economy is projected to grow by 3.5%, which compares to 5% in the May forecast.
        LJUBLJANA - Delo reported that the prosecution dismissed in late August charges over the sale of a plot by the state-owned bad bank to Japanese-owned Swiss company Lonstroff for an elastomer plant in Logatec. The complaints targeted Janez Škrubej, a former executive director of the bad bank, Peter Weber, Lonstroff Slovenia director, and Vlado Petek, director of the real estate firm Svet Re.

26 Sep 2020, 12:02 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, 18 September
        LJUBLJANA - The increased level of new coronavirus infections persisted and the latest daily all-time high in Slovenia was reported for 17 September when 137 out of 3,557 swabs came back positive. The figure did not escalate in the following days, with 122 new cases reported for 23 September when the country had 1,427 active cases. The number of those in hospital remained stable, at 63 on 24 September, with 13 patients in intensive care. There were nine deaths between 17 and 23 September, raising the total toll to 145.
        LJUBLJANA - FM Anže Logar expressed solidarity with Greece concerning migrations and relations with Turkey as he hosted his Greek counterpart Nikos Dendias. Dendias thanked him for the support and welcomed Slovenia's desire to join the MED7 group. During what was the first visit by a Greek foreign minister in ten years, Logar and Dendias agreed to enhance their communication in the future.
        LJUBLJANA/NEW YORK, US - President Borut Pahor addressed via videoconference the UN's global summit on the sustainable development goals until 2030, saying that the "2030 Agenda offers a better future for billions of people around the world and for our planet as a whole". The virtual summit is a slimmed-down event due to Covid-19. Slovenia was selected due to its regular and transparent reporting on the implementation of the objectives of the 2030 Agenda.
        LJUBLJANA/BRUSSELS, Belgium - The Foreign Ministry sent to the OSCE the nomination of ex-Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel for the post of OSCE media rep after endorsing it earlier. However, Ricardo Gutierrez, European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) general secretary, expressed concern over it, pointing to a contentious letter Rupel and former constitutional judge Peter Jambrek addressed to The Guardian after the UK paper published a critical article about Slovenian PM Janez Janša.
        LJUBLJANA - Environment Minister Andrej Vizjak said that for Slovenia's climate strategy until 2050 to be implemented, a series of action plans coordinated between various sectors would be needed. He said it was very important that Slovenia was setting zero net emissions or climate neutrality as an objective for the mid-century.
        LJUBLJANA - The 22nd consecutive Friday protests against government policies took aim at Interior Minister Aleš Hojs as he was facing the ouster motion in parliament and highlighted several environmental issues that protesters said were indicative of current government policy.

SATURDAY, 19 September
        LJUBLJANA - Aleš Hojs remained interior minister after a motion of no-confidence tabled by four centre-left opposition parties was defeated in a 38-43 vote. After a meeting Hojs held with PM Janez Janša two days later, it was also clear Hojs would remain interior minister. He told the STA that Janša had returned him the envelope with his resignation, which he tendered in late June.
        LJUBLJANA - The Finance Committee adopted the revised national budget for 2020 as the last parliamentary body before the plenary with the opposition voicing concern over the rising expenditure that will have to be paid eventually.
        GLOBASNITZ, Austria - Parliamentary Speaker Igor Zorčič joined his Austrian counterpart Wolfgang Sobotka for a memorial ceremony in Austria's Globasnitz honouring the victims of a Nazi attack on a Slovenian farm in 1945.
        LJUBLJANA - Face masks became mandatory outdoors in cases when it is not possible to maintain a physical distance of at least two metres.

SUNDAY, 20 September
        PARIS, France - Slovenia's rider Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates), 21, crossed the finish line of the Tour de France as the winner, a historic feat for Slovenian sport. His compatriot Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma), throughout the race an undisputed favourite, had to conceded overall victory to Pogačar after a surprise twist in the only time trial of the race.
        PRAGUE, Czech Republic - Slovenia's slalom canoeist Benjamin Savšek defended his European champion title having beaten his rivals in the C1 final of the European Canoe Slalom Championships, and so did the men's C1 team.

MONDAY, 21 September
        PARIS, France - President Borut Pahor held a working meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron focussing on the future of the EU, its neighbourhood, and bilateral relations. Closer cooperation was agreed, both personally and at the level of the two countries, Pahor said, announcing that "circumstances permitting", he could host Macron in Slovenia before the end of the year.
        NEW YORK, US - President Borut Pahor reiterated Slovenia's commitment to multilateral cooperation in the framework of the United Nations and other international and regional organisations, as he delivered a video address to a ceremony marking the 75th anniversary of the organisation.
        LJUBLJANA - International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach praised Slovenia as a true giant in sports, as he met some of Slovenia's athletes aspiring to attend the Tokyo Olympics. He met PM Janez Janša and Sports Minister Simona Kustec, saying the prime minister and his government were aware of the important role sport plays in society, especially during the health crisis.
        LJUBLJANA - The opposition, led by the Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ), filed a motion of no-confidence in Agriculture Minister Aleksandra Pivec, a member of the coalition Pensioners' Party (DeSUS). The motion alleges risk of corruption, violation of integrity rules and concealment of public interest facts. DeSUS deputy group head Franc Jurša meanwhile announced the coalition would lose DeSUS's support if Pivec, who stepped down recently as DeSUS leader, remained minister.
        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša announced more oversight over the system of social transfers as he was quizzed in parliament. Many of the loopholes in the current legislation will be fixed with changes to the foreigners act, he said.
        LJUBLJANA/MARIBOR - Most parties lost ground in September's Vox Populi poll, conducted by Ninamedia for the newspapers Večer and Dnevnik, but the senior coalition Democrats (SDS) remain on top, followed somewhat closer than before by the opposition Social Democrats (SD) and Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ).
        LJUBLJANA - The SPS trade union, one of the two representing Slovenian police officers, called on parliament to provide a clear interpretation of an act determining the relations between the Interior Ministry and the police force. The move comes in the wake of escalating tensions between Interior Minister Aleš Hojs and police.
TUESDAY, 22 September
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Labour Minister Janez Cigler Kralj and Public Administration Minister Boštjan Koritnik held talks with EU commissioners and Slovenian MEPs as part of preparations for Slovenia's presidency of the EU Council in the second half of 2021. Cigler Kralj announced efforts to ensure a responsive labour market and quality elderly care would be the presidency's social affairs priorities, while Koritnik noted a focus on AI and digitalisation.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Foreign Ministry State Secretary Gašper Dovžan stressed the importance of member states remaining united in conducting Brexit negotiations with the UK as he attended a meeting of EU affairs ministers in Brussels. He warned that the internal market bill was a grave violation of the UK's requirements stemming from the Brexit agreement.
        LJUBLJANA - Education Minister Simona Kustec came under fire for appearing at a sports gala at which the guests were not wearing masks. The charity event was organised by the Slovenian Olympic Committee, featuring top Slovenian sports officials and business executives. Opposition parties as well the teachers' trade union called on the minister to step down. Kustec apologised and said she would get tested for Covid-19 out of precaution.
        LJUBLJANA - Health Minister Tomaž Gantar said that about 60% of Slovenia's population or about 1.2 million people were expected to get vaccinated against Covid-19 when a vaccine becomes available. Gantar cited an internal survey showing that about 55% of employees and 69% of residents of care homes expressed the desire to be vaccinated.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium/LJUBLJANA - The European Commission gave Croatia's Fortenova a concentration approval to transfer the Slovenian retailer Mercator from insolvent Agrokor, which still needs an approval from Mercator bank creditors and the Serbian anti-trust watchdog. Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek suggested the state would not oppose the transfer, provided agreement is reached with Slovenian suppliers of Mercator.

WEDNESDAY, 23 September
        LJUBLJANA - The Foreign Ministry singled out the mandatory solidarity mechanism as the main area of concern after the European Commission unveiled the draft of a new migration and asylum pact. Slovenia expected the plan "would involve more balanced proposals," Foreign Ministry spokesman Aleksander Geržina said. FM Anže Logar said earlier in the week that Slovenia would continue to oppose mandatory distribution of migrants. PM Janez Janša tweeted on Thursday that those "in Slovenia or the EU" who think they can force others into accepting migrants should first accommodate "at least two" in their own house.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly adopted the supplementary budget for 2020, which raises expenditure by EUR 3 billion or 29% in the face of the coronacrisis while slashing revenue by almost 15%. With a deficit of 9.3% of GDP, the budget earmarks EUR 2.6 billion, 19% of all expenditure, for measures meant to mitigate the crisis. PM Janez Janša acknowledged the deficit, at roughly EUR 4.2 billion, was high, but he added the spending was prudent and positioned the Slovenian economy for a recovery.
        LJUBLJANA - The government decided to fully deregulate fuel prices in Slovenia. It said prices were unlikely to increase since new discount providers may enter the market. Some other stakeholders however voiced reservations, describing the move as a handout to oil firms at the expense of consumers. Coming in the wake of the decision was the news that Environment Minister Andrej Vizjak is being investigated by the securities market regulator for potential insider trading, having bought EUR 120,000 worth of shares of fuel company Petrol in the spring.
        LJUBLJANA - IMAD, the government's macroeconomic forecaster, upgraded its GDP projections for this year. Instead of a 7.6% contraction at the annual level predicted in summer, it now expects the economy to shrink by 6.7%. However, its autumn forecast warns that uncertainty remains high. The economy is forecast to grow by 5.1% next year and by 3.7% in 2022 when it could reach pre-pandemic levels.
        LJUBLJANA - Trade union representatives walked out of a meeting of the Economic and Social Council (ESS) amidst a debate on new anti-coronavirus legislation. The unions' proposal that the government adopt only the measures which have been coordinated with social partners at the coming session was turned down, said Jakob Počivavšek of the Pergam association.
        LJUBLJANA - The opposition Left tabled a bill in a bid to levy a 7% digital services tax on multinational tech companies, which generate EUR 100 million in turnover in Slovenia per year but pay almost zero tax. Given that their turnover is expected to continue to rise, the Left's leader Luka Mesec said that the tax could raise some EUR 10 million for the budget next year.
        STRASBOURG, France - The Croatian, German and Serbian languages should be recognised as minority languages traditionally spoken in Slovenia, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe said in its latest recommendations. It also called for sufficient funding for television programmes in the Hungarian and Italian languages and for fostering the Roma language.
        LJUBLJANA - The government decided to relax the recently imposed 10:30pm curfew on bars and restaurants. The guests of establishments that serve "simple food, drinks and beverages", such as bars or patisseries, will have 30 minutes to leave the establishment and the guests of establishments serving "more complex dishes" will have an hour to clear out.
        LJUBLJANA - Day of Slovenian Sports was marked for the first time in memory of the first Olympic gold medals won for the independent country in Sydney in 2000. Addressing the main ceremony in Ljubljana's Congress Square, President Borut Pahor noted the importance of sports for health, the country's promotion and for national unity.
THURSDAY, 24 September
        LJUBLJANA - The government endorsed the fifth stimulus package. Chief among the measures is an extension of the furlough scheme until year's end for all industries. The eligibility criteria will however be stricter, Labour Minister Janez Cigler Kralj said. The package also includes universal basic income for sole traders, and extra funding for health services. Moreover the power to issue fines for violations of protective measures is meant to be extended from the Health Inspectorate to the police and municipal wardens.
        LJUBLJANA/NEW YORK, US - Addressing the first ever virtual gathering of world leaders for the UN General Assembly session, President Borut Pahor argued for effective multilateralism, concluding his speech by quoting novelist Boris Pahor, who says humanity has enough wisdom and power to lead the world out of crisis.
        LJUBLJANA - Addressing an online ministerial of the Central European Initiative (CEI), Foreign Minister Anže Logar said Slovenia deemed important solidarity in the EU and the integrity of the internal market, and supported further EU enlargement as well as a coordinated approach to relaxing coronavirus restrictions and restarting the European economy.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium/BERLIN, Germany - Slovenia is among the worst offenders in the EU to have disproportionately restricted freedoms during the Covid-19 pandemic, said a report by Greenpeace and Civil Liberties Union for Europe. It noted that the Slovenian government was among several to have used the fight against the pandemic as an excuse to limit criticism of the administration.
        LJUBLJANA - In a 48:1 vote, the National Assembly backed opposition-sponsored changes to two laws in a bid to limit the activities of self-styled militias which first upset the public two years ago. 35 MPs abstained from voting on what is a second attempt to criminalise uniformed groups parading with what are believed to be replica guns.
        PORTOROŽ - President Borut Pahor called for necessary structural reforms, addressing the opening of the Manager Congress. Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek meanwhile highlighted the role of the Managers' Association's action plan to increase productivity, warning that such efforts would necessitate a wider social agreement.
        LJUBLJANA - Mercator Group sales revenue increased by 4.4% in the first half of 2020 compared to the same period last year, to reach EUR 1.06 billion. Due to the revaluation of property and impairments of other assets, and the effects of Covid-19, the retail group posted a loss of EUR 69.2 million in the January-June period. These factors excluded, the group would record a profit of EUR 86,000 on EBITDA that was up by 1.7% year-on-year to EUR 83.4 million.
        LJUBLJANA - The Administrative Court announced it had recently suspended the culling of 115 brown bears until its final decision. The relevant permit was issued in June by the Environment Agency (ARSO) for the period until the end of September for several areas in Slovenia where human-bear conflicts are very frequent.

12 Sep 2020, 11:29 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, 4 September
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - PM Janez Janša dismissed at the annual meeting of Slovenian diplomats concerns Slovenia is drifting away from the EU's core countries, saying the "saga about a core Europe" was a false dilemma that testified lack of confidence. However, Slovenia does not have an inferiority complex, he added.
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - Slovenian and French FMs Anže Logar and Jean-Yves Le Drian coordinated the preparations of their respective countries for their upcoming EU presidencies in the second half of 2021 and first half of 2022, respectively, as Le Drian presented a vision for a more confident EU as a guest at the annual meeting of Slovenian diplomats. He also met with President Borut Pahor.
        LJUBLJANA - European People's Party (EPP) president Donald Tusk visited Slovenia to honour the 20th anniversary of the New Slovenia (NSi) party, underscoring that even though EU countries and EPP parties might pursue different interests, the EU's fundamental values such as freedom of speech, tolerance and the rule of law, were non-negotiable.
        LJUBLJANA - The New Slovenia (NSi) marked its 20th anniversary, with its head Matej Tonin labelling the party a bridge between the left and right. "I believe we can create a wave of cooperation together, which is to unite Slovenian politics," he said.
        RIJEKA, Croatia - The builder Kolektor Koling signed the latest in a series of high-value construction contracts in Croatia, this time for a EUR 35 million reconstruction of transport surfaces and rails at the port of Rijeka.
        LJUBLJANA - The telecoms incumbent Telekom Slovenije announced the sale of TS Media, a subsidiary running several online businesses, including the popular siol.net news portal.

SATURDAY, 5 September
        RAB, Croatia - The presidents of Slovenia and Croatia, Borut Pahor and Zoran Milanović, attended a ceremony honouring the victims of the Fascist concentration camp on the island of Rab. Pahor said the joint gesture "symbolised the importance of friendship and a shared awareness of the need to preserve memory, which should also serve as a warning".
        BLED - Matt Boyse, deputy assistant secretary at US Department of State's Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, told the STA that relations between the US and Slovenia were becoming markedly stronger. He praised Slovenia's efforts in the Three Seas Initiative, expressing his belief its October summit would bring notable headway.

SUNDAY, 6 September
        PAU, France - Slovenian riders made history at the Tour de France as Tadej Pogačar won the 9th stage and Primož Roglič came in second to take the yellow jersey. The Jumbo-Visma rider has become the first Slovenian ever to claim the leader's jersey at the world's most prestigious cycling race, and is still holding the first place overall.
        BASOVIZZA, Italy - Four victims of Fascism, known among Slovenians as the Basovizza Heroes, were remembered with a ceremony at the site they were executed 90 years ago following a short trial before a Fascist court in Trieste. Parliamentary Speaker Igor Zorčič told the ceremony the four had become a symbol of resistance to a murdering and oppressive regime and ideology that incited hatred and violence among people.
        STIČNA - PM Janez Janša remembered the spirit of cooperation and mutual trust between people of different political persuasions as he addressed a ceremony marking the 30th anniversary of a secret meeting that set out plans for Slovenia's defence on breaking independent from Yugoslavia.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia defeated Moldova to secure first win in this year's UEFA Nations League after drawing with Greece two days earlier. Slovenia now rank second behind Greece in Group C3. The next games will be played in October against Kosovo and Moldova.

MONDAY, 7 September
        LJUBLJANA - The newspaper Dnevnik reported that the Information Commissioner had launched oversight of the police over "lack of clarity in expansion of police powers" related to measures to contain coronavirus. The privacy watchdog is looking whether police measures are warranted by law.
        LJUBLJANA - As the second week of school started with a number of groups of children in quarantine due to coronavirus cases detected among their classmates, the Education Ministry said it was developing an application which would contain all relevant information in one place. It is planning to start publishing data on a weekly basis soon.
        KLAGENFURT, Austria - A political group of the Slovenian minority in Austria urged the mayors of municipalities in the bilingual parts of the state of Carinthia to set up bilingual place names in 37 villages. SKUP called on the mayors to follow the example of another two municipalities, which decided in July to set up bilingual place names in 23 villages.
        LJUBLJANA - A landmark ruling by the Administrative Court was announced in which the right of NGOs to participate already in the preliminary stage of permit proceedings is asserted if they are able to prove an investment would have significant environmental impact.
        LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Business Club (SBC) presented a set of proposals to fight the consequences of Covid-19. It wants the freezing of the minimum wage act provisions which will increase the minimum wage as of 1 January 2021, and the criteria for additional liquidity funds with state guarantee to be changed and the measure extended until next June.
        LJUBLJANA - The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) dismissed an appeal lodged by two Roma families in June who alleged violations of basic human rights because of inadequate access to drinking water and sanitation.

TUESDAY, 8 September
        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša and Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz called for a joint approach to coronavirus and to illegal migration as they held a meeting, at which they agreed a full lockdown should be avoided this autumn. Turning to illegal migration, Janša called for a strengthening of border protection, a joint EU approach and assistance to the countries that could be hit the hardest.
        LJUBLJANA - Several MPs of the LMŠ party of the former PM Marjan Šarec self-isolated after coming into a contact with a person who had tested positive for the new coronavirus. Šarec said four LMŠ MPs had been issued quarantine orders, with two more self-isolating as a precaution.
        TRIESTE, Italy - The Trieste-based Slovenian newspaper Primorski Dnevnik reported that Italian Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese had announced Italy would not close small border crossings with Slovenia to fight to increased migration, but would instead bolster the presence of the military and police in the border area.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Commission gave its go-ahead for an EUR 80 million investment out of the cohesion fund to co-finance the new rail section from Divača to Koper, which is valued at EUR 1.194 billion. The funds will be spent on building a tunnel and two viaducts supporting the track.
        LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Finance Committee backed a proposal for a 2% rise in pensions in December regardless of the amount of GDP growth in the past year, which would come at the cost of EUR 94 million. The government has not yet taken a position on the proposal, however it appears to have been agreed within the ruling coalition.
        LJUBLJANA - The Gorenje Group said it generated a net loss of EUR 55.2 million last year, down from 2018's EUR 111.2 million, while revenue rose by 4% to EUR 1.23 billion. The group said the loss was largely a result of poor performance in the first quarter when the volume of sales was rather low. The group expects to post a profit this year.
WEDNESDAY, 9 September
        LUXEMBOURG, Luxembourg - The General Court of the EU dismissed Slovenia's appeal to annul the European Commission delegated regulation of May 2017 to allow Croatian wine producers to use Teran, the name of a red wine protected by Slovenia, on their wine labels. Slovenia, which had the wine grown in the region of Kras recognised as a protected designation of origin, challenged the delegated regulation in September 2017. The decision was met with frustration and blame game at home.
        LJUBLJANA - Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) leader Aleksandra Pivec resigned despite previously vowing to fight efforts by the party's council to unseat her over mixing official and private business on two trips to western Slovenia. She announced, however, that she would run for chairmanship again when the party holds an election congress, until which the party will be led by Tomaž Gantar, the health minister.
        LJUBLJANA - The government announced that 78 new coronavirus cases had been detected from 2,560 tests carried out a day earlier, an absolute daily record for the numbers of new cases and daily tests since the first case was recorded in the country on 4 March. As many as 590 cases were active.
        LJUBLJANA - FM Anže Logar said he wanted to overhaul Slovenia's foreign policy within a year "given the geostrategic changes and the new dynamic of relations in the global arena". Slovenia's foreign policy should become more confident and active, and stronger transatlantic relations are also a priority, said Logar.
        LONDON, UK - The UK-based company Ascent Resources was revealed to have formally begun procedures to start an investor dispute against Slovenia at international arbitration for taking measures to protect its groundwater from fracking, the NGO Friends of the Earth announced.
        LJUBLJANA - The Environment Ministry unveiled the long-awaited draft climate strategy until 2050. The centrepiece of the document is zero net emissions or climate neutrality by the target year. The use of coal is planned to be reduced by 60% by 2030 compared to 2005, and a decision on a new generator at the NEK power plant is to be made by 2027.
        LJUBLJANA - The Statistics Office said that Slovenia's exports amounted to EUR 2.94 billion in July, a 2.9% year-on-year decrease, while imports were down by 10.9% to EUR 2.74 billion, which made for the second highest external trade surplus in a decade.
        POSTOJNA - The operator of the Postojna Cave said it was forced to lay off a number of employees as it grapples with a 83% drop in visit due to the corona crisis and looks to secure long-term sustainability of operation. The newspaper Primorske Novice reported that up to 60 out of the 174 employees are to be sacked.
        IG - Slovenia's Equality Rights Ombudsman found that prisoners in the country's sole incarceration facility for women were discriminated against compared to their male counterparts in Slovenia's largest prison when it comes to visitors, private and intimate contacts, phone calls and electronic communication.

THURSDAY, 10 September
        LJUBLJANA - The government decided that Slovenia would cut mandatory quarantine imposed on arrivals from Covid-19 risky countries from 14 to 10 days starting from Sunday, a decision that was taken on the proposal of the expert government advisory group. Some exemptions for family visits or funerals in Slovenia were also loosened.
        LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Health Committee unanimously endorsed amendments to the act on communicable diseases under which unvaccinated children would be barred from public or publicly financed kindergartens.
        LJUBLJANA - Responding to a growing number of illegal migrants entering Slovenia from Croatia, six police departments along the border said they would enhance border surveillance. Officers will be preventing, detecting and processing instances of illegal crossing of the border until 18 September.
        BREŽICE - The government commission for concealed mass graves began work on a site of summary execution at Mostec near Brežice, so far discovering the remains of at least 139 victims believed to have been executed between May and October 1945.
        LJUBLJANA - The Fiscal Council expressed reservations about the proposed supplementary budget for this year and the revised budget framework for 2020-2022. Even though Slovenia is allowed to depart from mid-term budgetary objectives, it said some expenditure was either not sufficiently transparent or projected to grow at an excessive pace.
        LJUBLJANA - The government decided to open an honorary consulate in Brno, the Czech Republic, and appointed businesswoman Andrea Ungerova the honorary consul. The consulate is to help Slovenian companies enhance business ties with Czech partners.
        LJUBLJANA - Croatian poet Sibila Petlevska won this year's Vilenica Crystal, an award the Vilenica International Literary Festival gives to one of the authors featured in the festival's anthology. The jury described the work of the 56-year-old Petlevska as combining a rich imagination, distinct voice and subdued yet vivacious playfulness.
        LJUBLJANA - The Statistics Office said Slovenia recorded the third consecutive monthly rise in industrial output in July. Up 8%, the output is however still below pre-Covid-19 levels and was 4.6% lower than in July 2019. The last time output was up year-on-year was February.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia advanced five places to 62nd among 162 countries in an economic freedom report published by the libertarian institutes Visio from Slovenia and Fraser from Canada. Slovenia remains one spot behind Croatia.

05 Sep 2020, 13:40 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, 28 August
        LJUBLJANA - Petrol, Slovenia's largest energy group, saw its net profit halved to EUR 20.6 million in the first six months of the year, as sales plunged by 28%, to EUR 1.53 billion, due to the lockdown and subsequent coronavirus-related restrictions.
        BERLIN, Germany - EU foreign ministers, including Slovenian Foreign Minister Anže Logar, urged Turkey at an informal meeting in Berlin to end unilateral actions in the eastern Mediterranean, which are fuelling tensions in the country's relations with Greece and Cyprus, and hence with the EU. The ministers called for safeguarding the EU's interests and expressed solidarity with Cyprus and Greece.
        LJUBLJANA - The Commission for the Prevention of Corruption (KPK) said it had launched an investigation after preliminary findings indicated the risk of corruption in alleged wrongdoing of Agriculture Minister and embattled Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) head Aleksandra Pivec.
        JESENICE - After months of delays, first because of complaints in the contracting procedure and then due to the coronavirus pandemic, the workers of Turkish contractor Cengiz finally started boring the second tube of the Karavanke Tunnel with Austria on the Slovenian side.
        LJUBLJANA - The long-planned project of linking Koroško in the north and Bela Krajina in the south with the motorway network, known as the Third Development Axis, got a fresh impetus, as motorway company DARS picked a consortium of three contractors - Kolektor, CGP and VOC Celje - to carry out EUR 8.47 million worth of initial works on the northern part of the planned expressway.
        LJUBLJANA - The merger of Dnevnik and Večer, the publishers of the third and fourth largest daily newspapers in Slovenia, has come to a halt, Dnevnik's owner Bojan Petan of publisher DZS and Večer's co-owner Uroš Hakl confirmed. While Petan implied there were disagreements over ownership, Hakl said the reasons were a matter of business.
        LJUBLJANA - The 19th Friday anti-government protests was peaceful with police detecting only one violation of the public assembly act. According to the police, some 4,000 people gathered for the rally, which focussed on environmental issues.

SATURDAY, 29 August
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - A publication released by the EU Commission assessed that high labour taxation in Slovenia has a highly probable negative impact on the labour market and hence the country's GDP. The Slovenian government has been advised to introduce a more growth-friendly tax system.
        LJUBLJANA - The latest poll commissioned by the private broadcaster Nova24TV showed the senior coalition Democrats (SDS) top the party ratings on 20.9% support, followed by the opposition Social Democrats (11.9%) and the Marjan Šarec List (10.2%). The opposition Left polled at 6.8%, followed by the coalition New Slovenia (NSi) at 3.1%, Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) at 2.6% and the opposition National Party (SNS) at 2.1%.
        LJUBLJANA - Insurance companies operating in Slovenia last year collected a record EUR 2.3 billion in gross premiums, which is 7.2% more than in 2019, while damage payouts were up 3.2% to EUR 1.6 billion.

SUNDAY, 30 August
        LJUBLJANA - The government adopted a revised budget for 2020. With revenue down and expenditure soaring due to the coronavirus epidemic, the budget deficit is projected to stand at EUR 4.2 billion or 9.3% of GDP. Revenue is planned at EUR 9.2 billion, almost 15% lower than in the currently valid budget, and expenditure at EUR 13.4 billion, nearly 30% higher. A major portion of the extra funding is to go to the Finance Ministry, its budget increasing by EUR 2.1 billion to EUR 4.6 billion.
        LJUBLJANA - Serbia was moved from the red list of high-risk countries to the yellow list. There is a quarantine requirement for travellers from countries on the yellow list, but there are many exemptions. Croatia remains on the red list, so quarantine is still required for most travellers returning from the country.
        BLED - Prime Minister Janez Janša held talks with Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić. The agenda included bilateral relations, the situation in Western Balkans and the situation regarding the coronavirus pandemic.

MONDAY, 31 August
        BLED - The Bled Strategic Forum boasted the most high-profile turnout in its 15-year history despite the coronavirus pandemic. FM Anže Logar said the debates, which focused on the EU's future and the region's role, were a prelude to talks at the EU level, but the event also marked a "return to the diplomatic map" for Slovenia. The line-up, which included Hungarian PM Victor Orban, Poland's Mateusz Morawiecki, and Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić, was meanwhile criticised by opposition parties, which expressed concern with Slovenia's shift in foreign policy towards eastern EU members.
        LJUBLJANA - Statistics Office data showed Slovenia's output contracted by 13% in real terms in the second quarter year-on-year. The second straight quarter of negative growth places the country in a technical recession with the annual rate of contraction in the first half of the year at 7.9%. On the up side, available data suggest a rebound in the second half of the year.
        LJUBLJANA - The Fiscal Council, a government advisory body, updated its estimate of the actual public budget expenditure directed thus far toward mitigating the impact of the coronacrisis, putting it at EUR 1.5 billion. While this compares to a government-planned EUR 2.8 billion, the measures could reduce the GDP contraction by about 1.5 percentage points.
        LJUBLJANA - The government dismissed Peter Jenko from the post of director general of the Financial Administration (FURS) after he led the national revenue service for nine months. Irena Nunčič, until now one of the state secretaries at the Finance Ministry, became acting director general for up to six months.
        LJUBLJANA - Consumer prices in Slovenia fell by 0.1% in August year-on-year as well as on July with the Statistics Office attributing annual deflation mainly to cheaper petroleum products and the monthly fall in prices to clearance sales. Goods prices went down by 1.2% in a year, while prices of services rose by 1.6%.
        LJUBLJANA - National motorway company DARS said it posted EUR 187.9 million in operating revenue in the first half of 2020, a 25% drop compared to the same period in 2019 due to the corona crisis. Net profit plunged by almost two thirds year-on-year, totalling EUR 28.4 million.
        LJUBLJANA - The business newspaper Finance reported that Comtrade CDS, the largest Slovenian IT company in terms of workforce size, had been acquired by the British IT company Endava in a deal worth EUR 60 million.

TUESDAY, 1 September
        BLED - PM Janez Janša held talks with his Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orban. They discussed "close all-around cooperation" between the two countries. The pair expressed strong support for the respective minorities on both sides of the border and called for stronger cooperation in a variety of bilateral projects. They also "highlighted the importance of strategic cooperation in the Central European area".
        BLED - Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman told the STA that open issues between Croatia and Slovenia, including the border issue, should be resolved bilaterally. He said the EU Court of Justice advised Slovenia and Croatia to seek a bilateral solution. "There is no arbitration if there is no other side," he said.
        LJUBLJANA - After a split on whether its head Aleksandra Pivec should step down over suspicion of corruption, the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) remained divided over the issue of which party body can dismiss the her even though the commission for statute matters said that the party council and not only the congress, as claimed by Pivec, has that power.
        VIENNA, Austria - Having analysed the state of mass media in Slovenia since the Janez Janša government took over in mid-March, the International Press Institute (IPI) said in a report that "few countries in Europe have experienced such a swift downturn in press and media freedom after a new government came to power". The IPI urged the OSCE, the EU and the Council of Europe to follow the developments.
        LJUBLJANA - The new school year started in-class for almost 191,000 primary and secondary pupils and almost 18,000 teachers. However, many precautions are in place to prevent the spread of coronavirus, including the wearing of face masks in common areas, which the public health authorities recommended for pupils of all ages.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenian police officers who will find themselves in danger received the green light to use electroshock weapons against their attackers. The police say the use of the new weapon will be very restricted and all procedures involving them will be recorded.
        BRIANCON, France - Slovenia's cycling star Primož Roglič won the fourth stage of the Tour de France, while Tadej Pogačar in second place helped secure a historic double win for Slovenia. After Thursday's sixth stage, the pair were placed second and third respectively in the overall standings.

WEDNESDAY, 2 September
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia recorded a spike in coronavirus infections with the daily tally hitting 55 in Tuesday's testing, a five month high, as 1,608 tests were performed, the highest daily number so far. The number of new cases has been rising steadily in recent weeks, but there have been few new deaths, the total figure by Tuesday standing at 134. The estimated total number of active cases is around 500. The number of hospitalised cases remained stable, standing at 26 on Wednesday. The government's chief Covid-19 advisor, Bojana Beović, is concerned about the spike coinciding with the start of the new school year.
        LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Foreign Ministry condemned the confirmed poisoning of Alexei Navalny. "The use of the nerve agent to silence an opposition leader is unacceptable. We expect clarifications from the Russian Federation and its cooperation with the international community," the ministry said.
        LJUBLJANA - Delo reported that Polish Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro had invited Slovenia to join Poland in withdrawing from the Istanbul Convention, a European treaty aimed at preventing violence against women. While Ziobro has labelled the convention a feminist invention that wants to justify homosexual ideology, the Slovenian Justice Ministry said it saw no reason to withdraw from the convention or to amend it.
        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša expressed support for the Czech Republic after a visit by a senior Czech official to Taiwan has upset China. "EU-China relations are based on dialogue and mutual respect. Threats directed at one of the EU members and its representatives contradict the very essence of our partnership and as such are unacceptable," Janša tweeted.
        LJUBLJANA - Acting upon complaints by two Slovenian builders, the National Review Commission has shortened the list of suitable bidders for the principal construction works on the new rail section from Divača to Koper. While some bidders will reportedly be asked to supplement their bids, one bidder each from Slovenia, Turkey, China and Austria definitely remain in play for what are an estimated EUR 700 million worth of works.
        LJUBLJANA - The Finance Ministry proposed a hike in excise duties that entails a 4.8% increase in the average price of a pack of cigarettes in October. The prices of other tobacco products will also go up, while heat-not-burn products and electronic cigarettes will not be affected.

THURSDAY, 3 September
        LUXEMBOURG - By seizing European Central Bank (ECB) documents from the Slovenian central bank in an investigation of the 2013 bank bailout in 2016, Slovenia breached provisions of EU law that grant the ECB special immunity, an advocate general at the Court of Justice of the EU said in her opinion in a case brought against Slovenia by the EU Commission. The opinion is not binding on the court, which is expected to deliver a ruling before the end of the year unless the Commission withdraws the suit before then, a possibility raised in July by PM Janez Janša in a letter to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - Foreign Minister Anže Logar announced a more ambitious foreign policy of Slovenia, with the EU and NATO memberships as the fundamental framework, as he addressed the annual meeting of Slovenian diplomats. An overhaul of the main strategic foreign policy documents was also announced. President Borut Pahor on the other hand said he was concerned that an east-west divide could eventually emerge in the EU. He added Slovenia had always built its national interest on strengthening the EU's unity, and that he hoped this would remain the case in the future.
        LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Anže Logar met his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian as part of an official two-day visit to Slovenia which the Foreign Ministry said reaffirmed the countries' shared interest in further strengthening of their strategic partnership.
        KOUROU, French Guiana - Following a number of cancellations due to poor weather, the launch of Slovenia's first satellites, the nanosatellite Trisat and the microsatellite Nemo HD, as part of a project by the European space company Arianespace, was executed successfully. Minister of Economic Development and Technology Zdravko Počivalšek said "Slovenia has joined the group of countries with operative satellites in space, a top achievement that should make us extremely proud".
        LJUBLJANA - The registered jobless total in Slovenia stood at 88,172 at the end of August, which is a 1.4% decrease on July but 23.2% above the August 2019 figure due to unemployment growth in April and May.
        LJUBLJANA - Lot Polish Airlines will temporarily suspend its Ljubljana-Warsaw flights this month, with the last flight scheduled for 16 September, while low-cost carrier Wizz Air has cancelled its plans to fly between Ljubljana and Belgium's Charleroi over the coming winter.



29 Aug 2020, 10:30 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, 21 August
        LJUBLJANA - The Health Ministry unveiled a long-awaited draft bill on long-term care, envisaging a full coverage of rights from mandatory insurance for long-term care, with the contribution rate proposed at 1.47%, while the employer and employee contributions for mandatory health insurance to be reduced.
        LJUBLJANA - The Health Ministry presented a draft bill under which unvaccinated children will not be allowed to go to public kindergartens and private kindergartens co-funded by the state. This is to prevent unwarranted avoidance of vaccination.
        LJUBLJANA - Nine countries, including neighbouring Croatia, were put on Slovenia's red list of countries where risk of coronavirus is high and quarantine required for most returns. To prevent waiting times at the border, holidaymakers were given until Monday midnight to return from Croatia without quarantine.
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor received Supreme Court president Damijan Florjančič, with the pair agreeing that it would be useful to hold a round-table debate on the rule of law. The meeting was held after Florjančič took issue with the communication between the three branches of power, most notably PM Janez Janša's controversial tweets.
        IDRIJA - The long-running battle for control of industrial conglomerate Hidria was won by the group of managers around Iztok Seljak and Dušan Lapajne. Following the takeover bid published in July by the pair together with partners, the Seljak-Lapajne camp managed to acquire enough shares for definitive majority ownership.
        LJUBLJANA - Between 1,500 and 3,000 protesters gathered in Prešeren Square for the 18th Friday evening protest, this time criticising the government's oversight of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), and letting it know they intended to insist on protests "as long as necessary".
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's registered unemployment rate was down 0.1 of a percentage point in June over May to 9.2%, Employment Service data showed. In February, before the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the rate was 7.9%.

SATURDAY, 22 August
        LJUBLJANA - The new German ambassadors to Slovenia, who will take turns in their duties in what is the first such ambassador duo appointed by Germany, told the STA they saw a solution to the coronavirus crisis in a united EU. Natalie Kauther and Adrian Pollmann said this would be one of the main priorities as their country took over the EU presidency on 1 July.
        LJUBLJANA - 300 persons infected with Sars-CoV-2 came to Slovenia from abroad, of whom 55% from Croatia, showed data obtained by National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ) epidemiologists and labs for the period between 1 June and 21 August. The majority of a total of 165 persons who brought the virus from Croatia, or 120, were aged 15 to 34, almost all of them men.
        SEŽANA - The 30th season of the Slovenian football league got under way with a ten-day delay due to Covid-19 infections in some clubs. Celje, crowned champions for the first time in history last season, will be defending the title as the ten participating clubs are closer than ever in terms of quality.

SUNDAY, 23 August
        LJUBLJANA - The 15th Bled Strategic Forum (BSF) will be very different from previous years due to the coronavirus, but the line-up will nevertheless be exceptional, Peter Grk, the secretary general of Slovenia's highest-profile international political event, told the STA in an interview. Restrictions will be in place and some panels will be held online. There will be fewer guests, the forum will be just a one-day event, and there will be no youth and business sections.

MONDAY, 24 August
        LJUBLJANA - Jelko Kacin, the government's spokesperson for Covid-19, described Croatia as a "serious threat to all other EU countries" due to the coronavirus situation there. He told Reporter magazine that Croatia successfully tackling coronavirus was in Slovenia's strategic interest.
        LJUBLJANA - The Janez Janša government's rating dropped for the fourth month in the latest POP TV poll for August, from 50.4% to 53%, but the senior coalition Democrats (SDS) continued to top party rankings with 18.2%, double the support mustered by the two opposition parties sharing second spot, the LMŠ and SD.
        LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Anže Logar and his Georgian counterpart David Zalkaliani discussed over the phone bilateral relations, and agreed the economic and political cooperation as well as cooperation as part of multilateral forums should be further enhanced. Logar presented Slovenia's preparations for its upcoming EU presidency in the second half of 2021, which will also highlight Eastern Partnership.
        LJUBLJANA - The opposition Left proposed to parliament to call a consultative referendum on a bill envisaging EUR 780 million in defence expenditure in 2021-2026, arguing the money that could be spent wiser would go for an imaginary enemy.
        LJUBLJANA - Archaeologists presented details of the remains of about 250 victims exhumed in July from a mass grave uncovered in May in Kočevski Rog, a forest area riddled with chasms in the south-east. Most of the victims were young men, mainly civilians, killed in the autumn of 1945. Jože Dežman, the chair of the government commission for mass graves, believes the cave could provide some clues as to what happened to the Novo Mesto Homeguard, a group of several thousand who failed to flee after WWII.
        LJUBLJANA - The opposition Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) said its MEP Irena Joveva (Renew) had recently become a target of insults on social media and web portals linked to the ruling Democrats (SDS), including web portal Nova24TV, because of her Macedonian descent. The party called on PM Janez Janša who is a co-owner of Nova24TV, to make sure "his portal stops publishing insulting, nationalist and racist articles". The prime ministers's office would not comment.
        BRNIK - The flight school of the bankrupt former air carrier Adria Airways was recently acquired by an institute led by former Constitutional Court chief justice Peter Jambrek, who entered the venture with Chinese partner Kai Dai in a bid to "become the biggest flight school in the world". The Institute for Constitutional System and Human Rights bought the school for EUR 7,500, the asking price at the first public auction.

TUESDAY, 25 August
        LJUBLJANA - Coalition Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) leader Aleksandra Pivec lost a vote of confidence at a session of the party's governing council. However, she remains the leader for now as the council did not take a vote on her dismissal, having suspended the session for differing interpretations as to whether it can dismiss the party president given that she was elected by a congress.
        STRASBOURG, France - The CoE's platform on journalism posted a piece entitled War on the Media in which PM Janez Janša presents his take on the Slovenian media landscape. It also posted an accompanying letter, in which the government argues the piece should be read in its entirety to fully understand Janša's views about the media with a leftist bias. The government sent it there after the platform posted in May a statement by the Slovenian Journalist Association saying Janša's piece was yet another instance of discreditation of journalists.
        LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Anže Logar and his Argentinian counterpart Felipe Carlos Sola affirmed the good cooperation between Slovenia and Argentina and expressed interest in further strengthening ties as they spoke over videolink. They also called for an increase in trade. Logar also held a telephone talk with his Swiss counterpart Ignazio Cassis.
        LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian tourism industry, which has been severely affected by the Covid-19 epidemic, saw an upbeat trend in Slovenian tourist arrivals and nights in July, partly offsetting the low numbers from the first half of the year, the Statistics Office said. Over 653,000 arrivals were recorded at accommodation facilities in July, down 27.5% compared to July 2019, with the number of nights down by 18.5% to 2.07 million.
        KOPER - Net profit at port operator Luka Koper dropped by 40% year on year to EUR 15 million in the first six months of 2020, as net revenue was down 11% to EUR 107 million. EBIT, at EUR 17 million, was down 42% compared to the same period last year and EBITDA dropped by 29% to EUR 31 million.
        LJUBLJANA - The Defence Ministry, organisations involved in civil protection and disaster relief, and municipalities signed an agreement on cooperation in the phasing of EU funds; they expect EUR 120 million in EU funds by 2027 and another EUR 30 million in own funds to modernise infrastructure, equipment and training.
        POSTOJNA - A migrants rights advocacy group staged a rally in front of the Centre for Aliens, claiming that conditions at the centre were reminiscent of a concentration camp and that the rights of foreigners kept there were violated. The police strongly rejected all the accusations.
        CELJE - Borut Gombač, 58, was honoured with the Veronika Prize for best collection of poetry, while the Golden Coin of Poetry for lifetime achievements went to Iztok Geister Plamen, 74.

WEDNESDAY, 26 August
        BERLIN, Germany - President Borut Pahor and his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier called for a strong and united EU as Pahor paid a working visit to Berlin. He said Slovenia wanted to remain part of the core EU countries while Steinmeier pointed to the union's common future.
        LJUBLJANA - The defence and interior ministries intend to boost cooperation in guarding the state border, so the Defence Ministry said it would tweak the rules and prepare four levels of deployment in line with the defence act provisions which enable soldiers to help the police patrol the border without having police powers.
        LJUBLJANA - ZSSS, the largest confederation of trade unions in Slovenia, criticised several parts of a draft bill on long-term care. It is primarily concerned that it "opens the door wide to pure private practice" and that the standard package of services is not defined.
        LJUBLJANA - A new task force for Roma issues, set under the Janez Janša government, held its first meeting. Its chair, Interior Ministry State Secretary Anton Olaj said Novo Mesto police had recently intensified their presence and preventive activity in areas populated by the Roma community in the south-east in a bid to prevent high rates of violence and crime. More short-term measures were proposed, and the task force will also start drafting legislative changes.
        CELJE - Chemical company Cinkarna Celje saw its net profit plummet by 21% in the first half of the year to EUR 9.9 million while revenue was down 4% to EUR 88.7 million, showed the company's unaudited results.
        LJUBLJANA - Since tourism vouchers became valid on 19 June, the majority has been redeemed at hotels, followed by rooms, self-catering apartments and camps, showed data from the Financial Administration. A total of 511,554 Slovenian permanent residents have used their vouchers, which is 25% of all beneficiaries.

THURSDAY, 27 August
        LJUBLJANA - The government extended the subsidised furlough scheme, one of the main ways in which Slovenia has propped up the economy during the coronacrisis, by a month until the end of September.
        LJUBLJANA - The government confirmed Slovenian primary and secondary school students will start the new school year in classrooms on 1 September, but will have to observe strict anti-Covid-19 guidelines.
        LJUBLJANA - Investors in the Ljubljana Passenger Terminal, a project valued at EUR 370 million, will shortly sign a special memorandum to signal the formal start of the project, Infrastructure Ministry State Secretary Blaž Košorok and Sandor Csanyi, the owner of the Hungarian OTP bank, agreed. The public segment features a new railway station and a new bus station with a parking garage, to by founded by Slovenia, as well as a commercial segment, for which the money should come from OTP.
        LJUBLJANA - Representatives of Slovenian farmers made an urgent appeal to the government to intervene in the market since some purchase prices are so low they do no even cover the cost of production.
        ŠTORE - News portal Necenzurirano reported that the Štore-based manufacturer of rolls and castings Valji, one of the main employers in the Celje area, had been taken over by Austrian company Rudolf Weinberger Holding, which includes Valji's Austrian rival Eisenwerk Sulzau-Werfen.

22 Aug 2020, 09:42 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, 14 August
        LJUBLJANA - Infrastructure Ministry State Secretary Blaž Košorok told the STA that Slovenia is and will remain a nuclear country. The government recently placed a new nuclear reactor in Krško on the list of strategic projects and while this does not mean a final decision has been made, he said Slovenia will continue relying on nuclear energy.
        LJUBLJANA - Chinese tech company Huawei said it was surprised by the joint declaration on security of 5G networks which Slovenia has signed with the US, stressing that any kind of discrimination and restrictions to the free market always have a negative impact. Huawei Slovenia representatives reiterated that the company respected all standards in cyber security and posed no threat to Slovenia.
        LJUBLJANA - The Environment Ministry for the first time ever launched a procedure to allow other public interests to prevail over nature conservation. The unprecedented procedure was launched for the Mokrice hydro plant on the Sava river on 5 July and is soon to be launched for a series of hydro plants on the central Sava, Dnevnik newspaper reported.

SATURDAY, 15 August
        BREZJE - Cardinal Franc Rode, often vocal in his criticism of the Slovenian state in the past, praised President Borut Pahor and Prime Minister Janez Janša for their efforts towards national reconciliation to overcome divisions stemming from WWI. "We waited a long time for a statesman with the courage and understanding," he said, adding that the state leadership was the only stakeholder in reconciliation, being the successor of the leadership of the former Yugoslavia.

MONDAY, 17 August
        LJUBLJANA - The council of the coalition Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) postponed to 25 August the vote on whether party leader Aleksandra Pivec should further enjoy the party's confidence. DeSUS council head Tomaž Gantar, the health minister, said the reason for the postponement was the weekly government session.
        LJUBLJANA - The Supreme Court reacted to PM Janez Janša's criticism of the temporary suspension of Ljubljana District Court judge Zvjezdan Radonjić. It said the persistent encroachment of one branch of power upon the powers of another branch could undermine the principle of division of power and lead to "political supremacy over the rule of law".
        LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian contact tracing app #OstaniZdrav became available for Android devices. The app was localised on the basis of the German Corona-Warn-App under the contract the government signed with developer RSteam. In the first day roughly 5,000 people downloaded it.

TUESDAY, 18 August
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - Education Minister Simona Kustec announced that all primary and secondary school children would return to school as the new year begins in September. If the epidemiological situation worsens considerably, the plan could still change.
        LJUBLJANA - Public Administration Minister Boštjan Koritnik indicated that after deploying a voluntary contact tracing app, Slovenia would start work on an app that would be mandatory for people with confirmed coronavirus infections and those ordered to quarantine. The app would be separate from the voluntary app and deployed only in the event the situation deteriorates.
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor and his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier held a telephone conversation to stress the importance of European unity in facing the Covid-19 pandemic and in relation with other strategic challenges in the EU. The EU should also be united in tackling challenges in its immediate neighbourhood, they said.
        LJUBLJANA - Jurist Andraž Teršek, who failed to get elected a Constitutional Court judge by parliament in mid-June, withdrew a constitutional appeal that sought to annul the vote and order a new vote on his bid. He said there was not enough time for the court to decide on the appeal over invalid ballots before the deadline for new bids.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's leading insurance group, Triglav, reported EUR 33.5 million in net profit for the first half of 2020, a 3% decrease year-on-year. The group posted EUR 673.4 million in consolidated gross written premium, up 7% compared to the same period in 2019.

WEDNESDAY, 19 August
        LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Janez Janša told a virtual EU summit the EU's primary concern is that the fundamental rights and freedoms of Belarusians, including the right to free and fair election and self-determination about their international connections, are respected. He said Russia should recognise these rights as well.
        BELGRADE, Serbia - Slovenia's new Ambassador to Serbia Damjan Bergant presented his credentials to Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić, who expressed the wish that the new ambassador contribute to better relations between the two countries.
        BUDAPEST, Hungary - Slovenia's football champions Celje defeated Ireland's Dundalk with a clean 3:0 in the first round of the first qualifying round for the UEFA Champions League and will face Norway's Molde in the second round.
        LJUBLJANA - Police caught 257 foreign citizens who entered Slovenia illegally and seven people smugglers, as part of enhanced border control carried out overnight. The purpose of enhanced control was to prevent and detect illegal crossings of the border in areas of the country most at risk of illegal migrations.
THURSDAY, 20 August
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia put Croatia on the red list of countries from which travellers must undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine as of 21 August. The government also put in place a number of exemptions for frequent cross-border commuters to make sure trade, commerce and cross-border ties run smoothly.
        LJUBLJANA - The government formally established a Demographic Office, a body that will monitor and analyse demographic trends, and draft strategic documents and policies for the field. It will be formally set up in Maribor within 15 days and be led by a minister without portfolio from the ranks of the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS).
        LJUBLJANA - The government decided Slovenia will switch to electronic tolling system for cars as of 1 December 2021. The Infrastructure Ministry said that e-tolling would be a fairer version of the current toll sticker system.
        LJUBLJANA - In a landmark ruling for the rights of migrants entering Slovenia, the Supreme Court has overturned an Administrative Court ruling that allowed for no return of migrants to Croatia without a formal decision, the newspaper Dnevnik reported. The Supreme Court argued this is allowed under an agreement on fast-track returns signed by Slovenia and Croatia in 2006.
        TREBNJE - Polish private equity fund Innova Capital has sold the outright stake in Trimo, the Trebnje-based maker of prefabricated building components, to Irish concern Kingspan. Details of the deal were not disclosed.
        LJUBLJANA - The Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS) unveiled a document proposing projects which it believes would give Slovenia's economy a fresh impetus. It said Slovenia should promote domestic consumption and infrastructure projects, and invest in digitalisation, R&D and smart specialisation.


15 Aug 2020, 13:44 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, 7 August
        LJUBLJANA - Interior Minister Aleš Hojs was reported to have requested a revision of certain already closed cases handled by the National Bureau of Investigation, at least three of which refer to high-profile cases with political implications. Jurists as well as police unions warned about the potential for abuse, but the minister insisted the move was within his powers. The police leadership said the reviews will be carried out as requested.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia added Belgium and several other countries to its red list of countries, which signals high risk in terms of coronavirus contagion. The Czech Republic, Malta, Switzerland and three Spanish administrative units were meanwhile from the green list of safe countries and demoted to yellow.
        IZOLA/LJUBLJANA - Anti-government protests continued for the 16th straight Friday in Ljubljana, this time targeting the handling of coronavirus outbreaks at care homes. Meanwhile, dozens took to the streets in Izola following the reports that the coastal town had paid for two hotel rooms for Agriculture Minister Aleksandra Pivec.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's exports were down 4.2% year-on-year in June, while imports decreased by 5.1%. The decreases for the first half of the year were 5.6% and 10.3% respectively, the Statistics Office said.
        LJUBLJANA - Preliminary data by the Surveying and Mapping Authority indicated a 40% drop in the number of property transactions in the first half of 2020. Prices of used flats meanwhile continued to grow, increasing by 3% since the end of 2019.

SATURDAY, 8 August
        LJUBLJANA - The government allocated EUR 200,000 in emergency humanitarian aid to Lebanon, while the Defence Ministry sent a humanitarian aid coordinator to the country as part of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.
        LJUBLJANA - Mitja Leskovar, the titular archbishop of Beneventum and apostolic nuncio to Iraq, received his episcopal consecration at the Ljubljana Cathedral. Leskovar, a Slovenian priest who has been with the Vatican's diplomatic service for nearly two decades, was appointed the apostolic nuncio to Iraq two months ago.

SUNDAY, 9 August
        PARIS, France - Slovenian cyclist Primož Roglič of the Dutch team Team Jumbo-Visma won the three-stage Tour de l'Ain race in what was seen as a dress rehearsal for the Tour de France. Roglič finished second in the first stage and won the remaining two stages.

MONDAY, 10 August
        LJUBLJANA - In an unprecedented rebellion against a party leader, the deputy group of the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) urged Aleksandra Pivec to resign as DeSUS leader after she failed to provide adequate explanations about a series of media revelations that suggested she mixed official business with private affairs. Pivec, who was subsequently disavowed by the leader of the party's council, said she would take some time to think about her next moves.
        LJUBLJANA - The Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) expressed opposition to the planned changes to media legislation, especially if the Culture Ministry does not provide sound arguments for its solutions based on expert analysis. The most problematic aspect of the package is the change to the media law which tasks RTV Slovenija to transfer a share of licence fee funds to other media outlets.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's industrial output grew for the second straight month in June, expanding by 4.3% from May. However, it was still 12.1% lower year-on-year, data from the Statistics Office show. The index for the first half of the year was 10.1% down year-on-year.
        LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian railways operator generated a net profit of EUR 35 million on EUR 601 million in revenue for 2019, with EBITDA at EUR 87 million and EBIT at EUR 42 million, according to a revised business report for 2019.
TUESDAY, 11 August
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia formally submitted its application for financial support as part of the European instrument for temporary support to mitigate unemployment risks in an emergency (SURE). Slovenia would like to spent the money to provide support to furloughed workers, enable short-time work, basic income, state-covered social contributions for the self-employed and other groups.
        ILIRSKA BISTRICA - Interior Ministry State Secretary Franc Kangler met his Croatian counterpart Terezija Gras for talks focussed on cooperation in efforts to prevent illegal crossings of the border. He said that Slovenia supported Croatia's accession to the Schengen zone because this would help prevent illegal migration at the EU's external border.
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor received Austrian MP Olga Voglauer, a member of the Slovenian ethnic minority in Carinthia, ahead of the centenary of the plebiscite in Carinthia. The pair shared the view that the upcoming anniversary was an opportunity to improve the position of the minority.
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - The Slovenian Football Association (NZS) decided to postpone the start of the new premier league season from 12 to 22 August as three more players tested positive for Sars-CoV-2 after part of obligatory testing. All three positive players come from Ljubljana's Olimpija, which became the third premiere league club with positive cases.

WEDNESDAY, 12 August
        LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Anže Logar called for a strong and united EU response to the situation in Belarus in the wake of violence against protesters who refuse to recognise Alexander Lukashenko's re-election. Logar made the appeal in a letter to his German and Portuguese counterparts, Heiko Mass and Augusto Santos Silva, whose countries form the EU trio presidency with Slovenia.
        LJUBLJANA - Supreme Court vice-president Miodrag Đorđević temporary suspended district court judge Zvjezdan Radonjić over several grave disciplinary breaches. Radonjić, who has accused other judges of accepting bribes and claimed pressure had been exerted on him in a high-profile case, has been a vocal critic of the Slovenian judiciary. He made headlines as the presiding judge in the case of the 2014 murder of Chemistry Institute boss Janko Jamnik.
        LJUBLJANA - Slavko Koroš was reassigned to another "appropriate" senior post in the police force after he served as the deputy director of the Criminal Police Department. The police said the planned reassignment was not related to the opinions Koroš had expressed as the head of the Association of Criminal Police Officers.
THURSDAY, 13 August
        BLED - Slovenia and the US signed a joint declaration on safety of 5G networks as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo paid a visit. Pompeo said the tide was turning against the Chinese Communist Party, which is trying to control people and other economies. The declaration excludes "untrusted vendors" from 5G networks, which will "benefit the people of this country and all of us who share information across complex network systems".
        BLED - Prime Minister Janez Janša called for a new election in Belarus under the presence of international observers as the only solution to the situation in Belarus, an approach also supported by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as he visited Slovenia. "The only peaceful solution to the current crisis in Belarus is to repeat elections under the strong presence of international observation missions," Janša said.
        LJUBLJANA - The NLB Group generated EUR 73.7 million in net profit in the first half of the year, a decrease of EUR 20.7 million or 22% year-on-year. The group's operations were affected by the Covid-19 epidemic, but the supervisory board said that despite impairments and provisions the group's operations were stable and profitable.
        LJUBLJANA - After remaining stable at a fairly low level, coronavirus infections in Slovenia spiked with 31 cases reported for Tuesday and 29 for Wednesday, for a total of 109 in a week. Many of the new cases were in holidaymakers returning from Croatian, promoting health authorities to suggest stricter measures may have to be introduced on the border, including potentially mandatory quarantine for arrivals from Croatia.

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