Ljubljana related

15 Nov 2019, 19:12 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, 8 November
        BERLIN, Germany - German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier thanked Slovenia for being a committed member of the EU along with Germany after meeting President Borut Pahor amid celebrations of the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Pahor laid a wreath at the Berlin Wall Memorial and addressed a conference, describing the Berlin Wall fall as one of the most inspiring historical milestones of the 20th century.
        LJUBLJANA - The Foreign Ministry expressed regret over the US formally pulling out of the Paris Agreement, highlighting that the climate accord represented a historical agreement which globally opened up a new platform for promoting sustainable development.
        LJUBLJANA - Defence Minister Karl Erjavec denied Slovenia intended to buy more than a dozen Valuk 6x6 armoured personnel carriers (APCs). Speaking at a session of the Defence Committee called by the opposition Left, Erjavec said the ministry Valuk APCs had been discontinued and had not been available for purchase for years.
        LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Home Policy Committee debated illegal migration, with police representatives assuring the MPs that the situation was under control and that there was no need for time being to provide soldiers with additional powers to help the police control the border. A total of 13,832 illegal crossings were recorded by the end of October, up 69% year-on-year, says the report discussed at the session.
        LJUBLJANA - The opposition-dominated parliamentary Public Finance Oversight Commission issued recommendations to the government to prevent political interference in state-owned companies as it debated the controversial resignation of the management of energy company Petrol. It urged the government to prevent any interference of political interests in staffing or decision-making in such companies and to resume privatisation.
        LJUBLJANA - The Telekom Slovenije group said it had posted a net profit of EUR 29.4 million in the first nine months, a 25% increase year-on-year despite a 6% drop in net sales revenue, which stood at EUR 507.4 million. EBITDA rose 9% to EUR 166.2 million and EBIT was up 29% to EUR 35.9 million.
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - Intra Lighting, a family-run business providing architectural luminaires and smart lighting solutions, won the third iteration of the Delo Business Star award. The company from Miren (W) generates 88% of its sales abroad. Between 2015 and 2018, its net profit increased from EUR 140,000 to EUR 3.1 million.

SATURDAY, 9 November
        VELENJE - Around 300 delegates of the junior coalition Social Democrats (SD) gathered for a programme and statute congress to confirm guidelines for future work based on social, green and development packages. SD president Dejan Židan said he wanted to take the SD further, as he had a clear and convincing vision, adding that the party would make a shift to "green and to the left".
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's first President Milan Kučan told Delo that the fall of the Berlin Wall 30 years ago was a historic moment, with Europe being ready to overcome divisions from the Cold War, but that the subsequent processes have not been as reciprocal as some had hoped.
        
SUNDAY, 10 November
        LJUBLJANA - A public opinion survey commissioned by the commercial broadcaster Nova24TV saw the senior coalition Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) topping the party rankings with the support of 25.9% of respondents. The opposition Democrats (SDS) follow with 24.8%, and the opposition Left is in third place with 8.9%.

MONDAY, 11 November
        LJUBLJANA/MARIBOR - Employees at the national postal company went on strike, demanding a 10% rise in wages and some 300 new staff. The first ever strike at Pošta Slovenije ended after two days as it was agreed the wage bill for workers handling mail would increase to EUR 7.5 million, much less than the EUR 12 million initially estimated.
        LJUBLJANA - Simona Drenik, a Foreign Ministry official who represented Slovenia in the Slovenian-Croatian border arbitration procedure, was singled out as the person whose actions allowed Croatia to obtain wiretaps that ultimately led to Croatia rejecting arbitration, showed a classified report compiled by the parliamentary Intelligence Oversight Commission.
        LJUBLJANA - The senior coalition Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) remained the most popular party in the Delo poll (15.4%), but it is now almost neck and neck with the opposition Democrats (SDS), which got 15.2%. The opposition Left has climbed to third place (11.2%), seeing its support rating double.
        LJUBLJANA - Former PM Alenka Bratušek and her FinMin Uroš Čufer, who served from mid-March 2013 to mid-September 2014, defended the decision to bail out banks in December 2013, which cost taxpayers some EUR 5 billion, as they were interviewed by a parliamentary inquiry. Bratušek said the bailout had been key to avoid the European troika and encourage economic growth.
        KOPER - The supervisors of logistics company Intereuropa dismissed director general Ernest Gortan, citing a delay in introducing an adequate system of corporate governance and corruption detection and prevention. The portal Siol meanwhile said the real reason was EUR 1.6 million in suspicious payments by the company's subsidiary in Croatia.
        LJUBLJANA - Figures released by the Employment Service showed that the job market in Slovenia remains tight as the number of job vacancies remains high, with demand being particularly high for skilled workers with technological know-how.
        LJUBLJANA - A study by the EOS international organisation for claims management showed that Slovenian companies wait to get paid by their business clients for an average 81 days, highlighting this period is the longest among 17 participating countries. Nonetheless, companies do not consider this a threat to their business.

TUESDAY, 12 November
        LJUBLJANA - After the latest meeting of parliamentary parties on electoral law changes, it seems that a preferential vote system will be introduced. Public Administration Minister Rudi Medved said that the proposal enjoyed sufficient support to be passed in parliament, with the SocDems coming on board for the change.
        GENEVA, Switzerland - Slovenia presented the progress it made in human rights protection in the past five years at a meeting of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC). The member states praised Slovenia for meeting almost all of suggested targets given to the country during the previous review round - 138 out of 142.
        LJUBLJANA - Five bids came for the bankruptcy estate of Adria Airways, with the media reporting that ultralight aircraft maker Pipistrel was interested in the former flag carrier's flight school, Joc Pečečnik, who owns a gaming products maker, in the entire estate, and produce importer and real estate developer Izet Rastoder in the carrier's air operator's certificate (AOC).
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Defence Minister Karl Erjavec said after a meeting with his EU counterparts that the recent statement by French President Emmanuel Macron about NATO being brain dead was not helpful. He shared the view that cooperation between the EU and NATO had never been as good, and that there was a clear emphasis that NATO needed to be nurtured and strengthened.
        LJUBLJANA - Several civil initiatives turned to the OECD over the plans of the British oil and gas company Ascent Resources for hydraulic fracturing in eastern Slovenia. The move comes after the company announced it would demand massive damages from Slovenia for delays in obtaining a permit for the controversial gas extraction project.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Defence Minister Karl Erjavec announced Slovenia would join one of the 13 additional 13 confirmed as part of the Permanent Structured Cooperation on Security and Defence (PESCO). The project in nuclear, chemical, radiological and biological oversight will be carried out together with Croatia, Hungary and Austria.
        VELENJE - The mayor of Velenje appealed to PM Marjan Šarec to prevent the head office of the household appliances maker Gorenje being moved to Ljubljana as planned by its new Chinese owners. Bojan Kontič sees the plans, announced by Gorenje in late October, as yet another step to centralisation.
        MARIBOR - The Maribor Higher Court said it had overturned the January conviction of two executives of the now defunct bank Probanka, who had been found guilty of fraud, quoting serious violations of procedure. Romana Pajenk, CEO of Probanka until September 2012, and Milana Lah, a member of her board, had received suspended sentences of 23 months with a four-year probation for defrauding two businessmen. The case will now go into retrial.
        LJUBLJANA - The designers of the Planica Nordic Centre received a gold medal for an architectural achievement by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Association for Sports and Leisure Facilities (IAKS).
        
WEDNESDAY, 13 November
        LJUBLJANA/KOPER - Reporers were told that Slovenian customs officers and police had seized 730 kilos of heroin at the port of Koper in October, the largest heroin bust in the history of modern Slovenia. The shipment from Iran, the street value of which is estimated at up to EUR 87 million, was bound for a company in Budapest.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Security Council called on the government to table legislation that would allow law enforcement to prosecute paramilitary militias, which have recently sprung up and started to patrol the border. The appeal comes the leader of the Štajerska Guard, Andrej Šiško, was sentenced to eight months in prison earlier this year for attempting to subvert the constitutional order.
        LUXEMBOURG, Luxembourg - The General Court of the EU will start with oral hearings related to Slovenia's legal action against the European Commission for granting Croatia a derogation enabling it to use Teran, the name of red wine protected by Slovenia, on 3 December, showed the court's calendar.
        LJUBLJANA - The Constitutional Court imposed another temporary injunction on the law and rules governing parliamentary inquiry. This means that, pending final decision, the inquiry into prosecution of former Maribor Mayor Franc Kangler will not be able to interview prosecutors after the same restriction was imposed last month in relation to judges.
        ZAGREB, Croatia - High representatives for succession to former Yugoslavia held their first meeting in four years to review the implementation of the 2001 succession agreement and to broach all open issues. The next meeting is to be held in North Macedonia in June 2020.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenian employers agreed at their annual get-together that the latest changes to the minimum wage called for a new pay model, which should be fair and agreed in social dialogue. They also called on the ministries of labour and economy to help them come up with measures to mitigate the expected consequences of the minimum wage raise, as they fear that many companies will be affected.
        LJUBLJANA - Pošta Slovenije, the state-owned postal operator, completed the acquisition of a 72% stake in logistics company Intereuropa, which cost it EUR 28.75 million. The company will now publish a takeover bid for the outstanding Intereuropa stock and for its subsidiaries in Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
        LJUBLJANA - An OECD report on health indicators showed that life expectancy in Slovenia of 81.1 years is slightly above the OECD countries' average of 81 years. However, the country's cancer mortality and suicide rates are above the average, as 243 persons die from cancer out of 100,000 citizens in Slovenia.

THURSDAY, 14 November
        LJUBLJANA - Matjaž Merkan, the chairman and CEO of the state-owned telecoms incumbent Telekom Slovenije, resigned after less than two months on the job effective immediately. TV Slovenija has quoted anonymous people privy to information that he was not up to the job, while company rejected these reports and said he was resigning for personal reasons.
        LJUBLJANA - The government adopted an action plan that lays the groundwork for accepting persons of Slovenian descent who have asked for repatriation from Venezuela. A total of EUR 1.2 million has been set aside for a project as part of which 17 requests for a total of 53 individuals have been received.
        LJUBLJANA - Zavarovalnica Triglav, Slovenia's largest insurer, said it had posted group net profit of EUR 59.1 million for January-September, a 1% year-on-year increase. Gross written premiums rose by a tenth to EUR 905.5 million.
        LJUBLJANA - 2TDK, the state-owned company managing the construction of the new rail track between the port of Koper and the Divača hub, announced a two-stage tender process for the EUR 1bn-plus project. Bids are scheduled to be opened on 20 December and, absent major issues with appeals, construction could start in the second half of 2020.
        LJUBLJANA - Agriculture Minister Aleksandra Pivec announced she would run for the leader of the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) at the election congress in January, thus challenging DeSUS long-standing leader Karl Erjavec, the defence minister.
        LJUBLJANA - The Fiscal Council repeated its concerns about the risks inherent in the budget documents for the coming two years, even after these have been amended by the government. It said that there were still discrepancies between the projections of some items and the measures valid or proposed.
        LJUBLJANA - The government adopted amendments to the classified information act in a bid to improve security of such data, with the circle of officials with access to such data being narrowed in line with NATO and EU standards. The major aim was to improve the efficiency of the classified information system and enhance the protection of such data.
        LJUBLJANA - The spouses Iza Sia Login and Samo Login, the main founders of Outfit7, the company which has developed globally popular apps, continued to top the list of the richest Slovenians the 6th year running, with their assets estimated at EUR 689 million, the magazine Manager reported.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's showpiece at the 17th International Architecture Exhibition in Venice next year will be Common in Community, a project exploring the 70-year history of co-operative homes as centres of small-town social life, created by architects Blaž Babnik Romaniuk and Rastko Pečar, the Culture Ministry announced.

All our posts in this series are here

09 Nov 2019, 08:12 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, 1 November
        LJUBLJANA - A group of unidentified persons stormed Tiffany Club, a popular venue for LGBT events at the Metelkova Mesto alternative arts centre in Ljubljana, in what circumstances suggest was an attack motivated by hate. No one was injured in the attack and the perpetrators fled the scene when the police arrived.

SATURDAY, 2 November
        LJUBLJANA - Veronika Stabej, former ambassador to France, has been charged with abuse of office and forgery and is expected in court next month, Delo reported. Stabej was recalled as ambassador to France in July 2015 on suspicion she misappropriated embassy funds.

SUNDAY, 3 November
        KUČIBREG, Croatia - Milan Kučan, Slovenia's first president, criticised political elites in Slovenia and Croatia for their lack of initiative to resolve issues troubling bilateral relations, as he addressed a ceremony commemorating WWII battles in which Croatian, Italian and Slovenian Partisan resistance members fought German forces together.
        MARIBOR - A 500kg World War Two bomb was safely defused in Maribor after hundreds of people were evacuated from their homes in the vicinity, the largest such operation in Slovenia's second largest city since 1945.

MONDAY, 4 November
        LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian and Italian police forces will further enhance cooperation in fighting illegal migrations, as the number of joint police patrols, launched on 1 July, will be doubled from four to eight, the General Police Department said. This was agreed in Trieste on 24 October.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenian Sovereign Holding (SSH) sent a response to the government regarding the 24 October resignation of the Petrol management. The report, requested by the government, brings no new insight into the reasons for the move. Shareholders now expect to get more information at a shareholder meeting.
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor hosted parliamentary parties for a debate after a new initiative for devolution of government was launched by the National Council. The meeting showed differing opinions regarding the territorial division as well as the question of provinces' powers and financing.
        LJUBLJANA - PM Marjan Šarec met the mayors of border municipalities to discuss ways to reduce the impact of illegal migration on the lives of people living in border areas. They agreed to set up a task force that will prepare systemic solutions.
        LJUBLJANA - The ruling Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) declared that the time had come to ease up on the fiscal rule which was introduced to put constraints on public spending in mid-2015. It announced an amendment to relax the fiscal rule, which would need a two-thirds majority in parliament to pass.
        LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary inquiry into suspected abuse of office at the bad bank interviewed the former chairmen of NLB and NKBM, Janko Medja and Aleš Hauc, who said that the banks had no power in determining which assets were going to be transferred to the bad bank and which not as part of the 2013 bailout.
        LJUBLJANA - Telekom Slovenije, the telecoms incumbent, confirmed it had been ordered to pay EUR 17.6 million plus default interest to its Greek partner Antenna Group for its remaining 34% stake in a media joint venture that the Greeks have long sought to exit. The decision was handed down by the Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce on 31 October.

TUESDAY, 5 November
        PRAGUE, Czechia - A summit of the Friends of Cohesion, an informal group of EU members opposing cuts to cohesion funds, urged the EU to adopt a 2021-2027 budget with a sufficient amount of cohesion funds. Slovenian PM Marjan Šarec said that a strong EU needed a sufficient and future-oriented budget.
        PRAGUE, Czechia - PM Marjan Šarec strongly criticised the central bank's curbs on consumer loans out of fear that it might impact economic growth. He voiced the hope that Banka Slovenije and its governor, Boštjan Vasle, would take a step back.
        LJUBLJANA - The Russian-owned steel maker Sij dismissed speculation it was interested in taking over energy trader Petrol. It said it did not and that it does not have such an interest and also does not plan to enter Petrol's ownership structure in the future.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's first prime minister Lojze Peterle and Olympic medallist Jure Franko received Japanese state decorations for their work in promoting relations between Slovenia and Japan. Peterle received the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun and Franko the Order of the Rising Sun, Silver Rays.

WEDNESDAY, 6 November
        LJUBLJANA - The opposition Left declared its partnership with the minority government over after the coalition made its support for a key health insurance bill tabled by the Left conditional on adoption of amendments that would significantly change the Left's intention. PM Marjan Šarec said the government would complete its term in office, but acknowledged this would not be possible without compromise.
        OSLO, Norway - President Borut Pahor met King Harald V and Norway's senior officials as he started his two-day state visit to Norway. King Harald V decorated Pahor with the Grand Cross of the Royal Norwegian Order of Saint Olav, while Pahor presented Haakon with the Golden Order of Merit for his efforts in the diplomatic and international fields. Pahor and Prime Minister Erna Solberg highlighted the excellent bilateral relations and shared views on a number of global challenges.
        OSLO, Norway - Foreign Minister Miro Cerar met his Norwegian counterpart Ine Marie Eriksen Soreide discussing cooperation, the Western Balkans, topical EU issues, the rule of law and migrations. Cerar and Soreide expressed satisfaction with what they labelled as excellent relations between the countries in various fields of cooperation, in particular in multilateral cooperation.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's central bank rejected criticism of lending curbs on households that took effect on 1 November, with its leadership arguing that lending trends simply had become too risky and threatened to undermine financial stability. The aim of the measure is to "prevent excessive crediting activity in the consumer loan segment," Banka Slovenije vice-governor Primož Dolenc said.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's top court annulled provisions of the media act under which commercial radio stations were required to dedicate 20% of their airtime to Slovenian music, reasoning the provisions were too vague and incompatible with the rule of law. Radio stations and media experts alike welcomed the decision as a fitting end of a poorly conceived system.
        LJUBLJANA - The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) downgraded its forecast for Slovenia's GDP growth for this year by 0.3 a percentage points to 3%, while keeping the projection for 2020 at 2.8%. The bank said that the main risk was weaker demand by the main trading partners.
        LJUBLJANA - Medex, Slovenia's biggest honey producer, said it had found traces of antibiotics in 2.5 tonnes of honey it bought from three Slovenian beekeepers last summer. The contaminated honey was destroyed before it could enter production.

THURSDAY, 7 November
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Commission forecast that Slovenia's economy will grow by 2.6% GDP in 2019 and 2.7% in 2020 and 2021, a downgrade of 0.6 and 0.1 percentage points respectively compared to its spring forecast. "Growth is cooling down but remaining robust," the Commission said.
        AMMAN, Jordan - Foreign Minister Miro Cerar met his Jordanian counterpart Ayman Safadi and several other high-ranking officials as he started the first official visit by a Slovenian foreign minister in almost two decades. Cerar and Safadi talked about the combat against terrorism, development aid, the countries' cooperation in the Union for the Mediterranean and the situation in Syria.
        HANOI, Vietnam - A Slovenian government and business delegation led by Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek started a two-day visit to Vietnam. The second session of the intergovernmental commission for economic cooperation and a Slovenia-Vietnam business forum were held.
        LJUBLJANA - Telekom Slovenije reported a group net profit of EUR 29.4 million for the first nine months of the year, a 25% increase year-on-year despite a 6% drop in net sales revenue to EUR 507.4 million.

All our posts in this series are here

01 Nov 2019, 11:34 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, 25 October
        LJUBLJANA - The Tomaž Berločnik-led management of energy group Petrol resigned "by mutual agreement" late on 24 October, capping a day of speculation about its fate amidst what media labelled a politically-motivated struggle to control one of Slovenia's largest companies.
        LJUBLJANA - The Constitutional Court imposed a temporary injunction on the legislation governing parliamentary inquiry, which means the National Assembly's inquiry into prosecution of former Maribor Mayor Franc Kangler, a member of the upper chamber of parliament, will not be able to investigate judges for now.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium/LJUBLJANA - Defence Minister Karl Erjavec stressed the government would continue investing in the Slovenian Armed Forces, rejecting calls by the Left to withdraw soldiers from Afghanistan and cancel the planned purchase of Valuk six-wheeled armoured personnel carriers. He also signed a memorandum to set up regional command for special operations with his counterparts from Croatia, Hungary and Slovakia.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's likely new European Commissioner Janez Lenarčič, who has worked for the Foreign Ministry since 1992, handed in his resignation last week out of protest against a legal requirement which he believes deters Slovenian diplomats from taking jobs in international institutions.
        LJUBLJANA - Rudi Pavšič and Marjan Sturm, the long-serving retired leaders of umbrella minority organisations representing ethnic Slovenians in Italy and Austria, were honoured with the Medal of Merit for their decades-long efforts to promote minority rights and inter-cultural dialogue.
        LJUBLJANA - A code of conduct advising members of supervisory boards on how to act in case of political pressure was formed to tackle the issue in wake of a recent staffing pressure scandal at the Official Gazette.
        OSLO, Norway - The Slovenian Supreme Court received this year's Crystal Scales of Justice Prize, an award given out by the EU Council and the European Commission for innovative and effective judicial practices in the EU.

SATURDAY, 26 October
        KOPER - Primorske Novice reported that the Koper Higher Court ordered a retrial in a case involving plot purchases for a logistics hub in the town of Beltinci planned by port operator Luka Koper.
        CERKNO/VRHNIKA - A memorial plaque was unveiled at the site of a secret weapons depot of the Slovenian Territorial Defence force in 1990 and 1991 as part of celebrations of Sovereignty Day, a public holiday observed on 25 October to remember the day in 1991 when the last Yugoslav People's Army soldiers left Slovenia.

SUNDAY, 27 October
        LJUBLJANA - Ethiopian runner Kelkile Gezahegn Woldaregay won the men's marathon race in Ljubljana, clocking in at 2:07:29, the second fastest time in the history of the Ljubljana course. The women's race was won by Bornes Chepkirui Kitur from Kenya, who set a new women's record with a finish time of 2:21:26.
        MARIBOR - No Title Yet (Še ni naslova), directed by Tomi Janežič and produced by the Slovensko mladinsko gledališče theatre, won the award for best play as the curtain fell on the 54th Maribor Theatre Festival.
        SÖLDEN, Austria - Slovenian alpine skier Žan Kranjec picked up where he left off at the end of last season, finishing third in the season opening giant slalom World Cup race in Austria's Sölden.

MONDAY, 28 October
        BUDAPEST, Hungary - PM Marjan Šarec and his Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orban called for stronger economic cooperation in what was their first official meeting. Also commenting on the Koper rail track project, Orban said Hungary was still willing to consider participating "if the situation in Slovenia changes".
        LJUBLJANA - The National Council unanimously vetoed the government-sponsored bill designed to provide legal recourse for holders of subordinated bank liabilities wiped out on instruction of the EU in the 2013 bank bailout. It also vetoed the raise of minimum net hourly rate for student work.
        PRAGUE, Czech Republic - The Czech investment group PPF, owned by Czech billionaire Petr Kellner, signed an agreement on the takeover of the US-owned CME fund, which also owns Slovenia's leading television network group Pro Plus.
        DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - Foreign Minister Miro Cerar paid a two-day working visit to the United Arab Emirates. He visited the site of the Expo 2020, meeting the Expo Director General Reem Al Hashimiand, and met the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar bin Mohammed Gargash.
        LJUBLJANA - The Constitutional Court said it suspended, pending a final decision, the implementation of a criminal procedure act provision allowing house searches without the presence of the resident or their representative.
        LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Bank Association said that the pending new consumer lending restrictions would have wide ramifications if the state failed to provide alternative financing sources after Banka Slovenije imposes effective on 1 November restrictions to consumer and housing loans. PM Šarec also criticised the planned measure on 29 October.
        LJUBLJANA - The ZSSS trade union confederation said it reported about labour exploitation occurring within Slovenia's system of temporarily posting workers to other EU countries and to the European Labour Authority (ELA).
        MARIBOR - A couple of unexploded aerial bombs, relics from the Second World War, were unearthed in two locations in Maribor over the weekend and were expected to be defused later in the week. This will prompt the evacuation of thousands of people in the vicinity of the defusing sites.
        NEW YORK, US - Slovenian mission to the UN co-hosted with the Council of Europe (CoE) and UNESCO an event discussing the challenges of artificial intelligence (AI) at the UN headquarters.

TUESDAY, 29 October
        LJUBLJANA - MPs voted 34:18 to confirm amendments scraping a bonus for social benefit recipients who work. The majority of MPs agreed that the bonus, introduced in 2012 as a corrective welfare measure and work incentive, in many cases discouraged people from taking a full-time job.
        VELENJE/LJUBLJANA - The household appliances maker Gorenje will be split into two companies as part of group integration a year after it was taken over by Chinese conglomerate Hisense, with the management moving to Ljubljana as a separate company and providing corporate support services for all Hisense companies in Europe.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly unanimously endorsed legislative changes making most public transportation free of charge for pensioners and persons with disabilities, among others, as of 1 July 2020.
        LJUBLJANA - Nine Slovenian meat processing companies recalled their products after the Food Safety Administration warned on 25 October that meat from an Austrian abattoir that failed to meet the required standards might have entered food supply chain.
        LJUBLJANA - Men outnumbered women in Slovenia in the first half of 2019 for the first time in the 160-year long history of population statistics recording in the present-day territory of Slovenia. In the total number of residents of Slovenia, which includes foreigners, recorded on 1 July there were 1,045,835 men and 1,043,475 women.
        LJUBLJANA - The number of road and urban public transport passengers dropped in 2018 on the previous year, while the rail passenger figure stayed mostly level. Passenger traffic in the Slovenian port and air passenger transport saw an increase last year, with the number of ship passengers going up the most - by as much as 23%.

WEDNESDAY, 30 October
        LJUBLJANA - Consumer prices in Slovenia grew at an annual rate of 1.4% in October, down from 1.7% in September, while monthly inflation was 0.1%. Annual inflation is driven by higher prices of services, which were up 3.2% to contribute 1 p. p. to the rise. Pushing annual inflation up by 0.4 p. p. were higher prices of housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels, also as a result of prices of refuse collection increasing by 18.2%, the Statistics Office said.
        LJUBLJANA - A total of 5.2 million tourists were recorded in Slovenia in the first nine months, generating 13.2 million overnight stays, with the numbers going up 5.7% and 1.9%, respectively.
        LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Commission for the Oversight of Intelligence and Security Services (KNOVS) visited the SOVA national intelligence and security agency in the morning in connection to a current development in Slovenia's economy. The inquiry was allegedly prompted by the management board overhaul at energy company Petrol.
        LJUBLJANA - A potential partner of a new flag carrier which might be set up to fill the void left by Adria Airways's bankruptcy is a regional airline, Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek told the weekly Mladina in an interview. Pressed, he would not reveal who the potential partner was.
        LJUBLJANA - Geza Filo, the outgoing head of Slovenia's Evangelical Lutheran Church, told the STA that the spirit and teachings of the Reformation are still topical 500 years after the movement to reform the Roman Catholic Church shook Europe. At the national ceremony marking the holiday, Speaker Dejan Židan stressed in his keynote the importance of love for one's native tongue.

THURSDAY, 31 October
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia observed reformation Day, a bank holiday. Luther Bishop Geza Filo delivered a mass that was attended by top representatives of the state and other religious communities.
        MARIBOR - The first of two WWII-era bombs discovered at construction sites in Maribor was successfully diffused in a two-hour operation. Some 80 people in the 300-metre radius had to be evacuated.

All our posts in this series are here

25 Oct 2019, 16:52 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 October
        BRUSSELS, Belgium/LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Marjan Šarec, speaking at the conclusion of the EU summit, said Slovenia opposed for the outgoing EU Commission to take a decision on Croatia's meeting the requirements to join the Schengen zone. This was after six of the eight Slovenian MEPs addressed an appeal calling for the new Commission to make that decision to Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen, outgoing Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, and current and next president of the European Council.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Commenting on the EU summit's failure to greenlight the launch of accession talks with North Macedonia and Albania, Prime Minister Marjan Šarec said that an opportunity had been missed, that the damage was done now and that the EU's credibility in the region was shaken.
        NICOSIA, Cyprus - Foreign Minister Miro Cerar met his Cypriot counterpart Nikos Christodoulides and Parliament Speaker Demetris Syllouris as part of an official visit for an exchange of views on topical developments in the EU, Mediterranean and the Middle East, and bilateral relations. Cerar was accompanied on the two-day visit by a business delegation.
        LJUBLJANA - A committee in support of Catalan leaders, set up at the initiative of former President Milan Kučan, philosopher and sociologist Spomenka Hribar, Ljubljana Faculty of Arts professor Rudi Rizman and former Foreign Minister Ivo Vajgl, held its maiden session to protest against the "draconian" prison sentences handed out to the nine independence leaders, as well as against the EU institutions' silence on the issue. The committee later sent a protest statement to Slovenian and European leaders.
        LJUBLJANA - The Defence Ministry announced that the chief of staff of the Slovenian Armed Forces, Major General Alenka Ermenc, withdrew her proposal to prosecute Brigadier General Miha Škerbinc, whom she had sacked as force commander in April, for commenting on her health. However, Ermenc will push ahead with legal action against the online tabloid Požareport, which was the first to report about her health.
        LJUBLJANA - The Ljubljana Academy of Music launched a facsimile of a copy of Ludwig van Beethoven's manuscript of Symphony No. 6 containing the composer's handwritten corrections, allegedly Beethoven's present to the Philharmonic Society in Ljubljana in gratitude for being admitted as its honorary member in 1819. Kept by the National and University Library, the Ljubljana copy of the Pastoral Symphony is one of the two preserved copies of Beethoven's autograph score.
        LJUBLJANA - The Ljubljana District Court held pre-trial hearings in an insurance fraud case that shocked Slovenia earlier this year involving a young woman who cut off her hand to claim insurance. The 21-year-old, Julija Adlešič, and her 29-year-old partner Sebastien Abramov, who allegedly persuaded her to saw off her hand, pleaded not guilty. They are both in custody.

SATURDAY, 19 October
        WASHINGTON, US - Central bank Governor Boštjan Vasle and Finance Ministry State Secretary Metod Dragonja, attending the annual meetings of the World Bank Group and the IMF, told reporters that Slovenia's economic condition was sound despite risks to the global economy. They did note the issue of high public debt, though.
        TRBOVLJE - Delo reported that Lafarge Cement, the Slovenian subsidiary of the Switzerland-headquartered multinational LafargeHolcim, asked for an environmental permit to resume cement grinding, storage and dispatch in Trbovlje at the beginning of next year. Lafarge Cement suspended operations in February 2015, having lost an environmental permit.

SUNDAY, 20 October
        LJUBLJANA - Voter approval rating for the Marjan Šarec government fell by 11.4 percentage points in the October Vox Populi poll commissioned by TV Slovenija and newspapers Dnevnik and Večer. The proportion of supporters and opponents is all but tied at 49.2% against 48.2%. Šarec's LMŠ party slid 3.2 points to 20.1% ahead of the opposition Democrats (SDS), who lost 0.8 points to 14.7%.

MONDAY, 21 October
        LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Marjan Šarec said Slovenia's position on the British parliament's request for another postponement of Brexit was that "another delay would make sense" as long as it would justifiably contribute to an orderly Brexit.
        LJUBLJANA - Addressing parliament in questions time, PM Marjan Šarec said he was convinced a draft proposal amending Slovenia's electoral law by adopting the relative preferential vote would get enough support in parliament, also because voters had shown they were in support of such a vote.
        LJUBLJANA - Ex-Maribor Mayor Franc Kangler appeared as the first witness in the contentious parliamentary inquiry into the allegation that criminal prosecution against him was politically motivated. Kangler described the prosecution against him as a plot unthinkable in a law-ruled country, while the inquiry proposed parliamentary oversight of the Maribor police force. While the inquiry is being examined by the Constitutional Court, concern has also been raised by the OECD.
        BELGRADE, Serbia - Interior Minister Boštjan Poklukar met his Serbian counterpart Nebojša Stefanović at the outset of a two-day visit to Serbia for talks focused on bilateral relations, a spike in illegal migration and Serbia's EU integration. The next day the pair visited Slovenian-Serbian border police patrols at the Preševo crossing with North Macedonia aimed at stopping illegal migrants.
        KOPER - The police forces of Slovenia, Croatia, Italy, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Europol dismantled a criminal ring smuggling illegal migrants to the EU through the Balkan countries. Ten persons, including four Slovenians, are charged for having smuggled at least 150 migrants across the border.
        
TUESDAY, 22 October
        LJUBLJANA - As the European Commission gave Croatia its go-ahead to enter the Schengen zone, PM Marjan Šarec labelled the decision political and regretted it was made right before the end of the Commission's term. He indicated Slovenia would act politically on the matter too. Slovenian diplomatic sources expressed belief that the country should veto Croatia's joining the passport-free zone. Meanwhile, the leader of the opposition Democratic Party (SDS) Janez Janša argued that Croatia's joining the Schengen zone was in Slovenia's strategic interest.
        TOKYO, Japan - President Borut Pahor started a two-day visit to Japan by attending Emperor Naruhito's enthronement ceremony. The next day he met Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and visited the High Energy Accelerator Research Organisation in Tsukuba, decorating director-general Masanori Yamauchi with the Order of Merit for his contribution to international promotion of Slovenian science.
        ZAGREB, Croatia - Defence Minister Karl Erjavec met his Croatian counterpart Damir Krstičević with the pair lauding the countries' defence cooperation. Erjavec did not want to comment on whether Croatia was prepared for joining the Schengen area, saying this was not in his purview.
        LJUBLJANA - The government-sponsored bill designed to provide legal recourse for up to 100,000 potential plaintiffs - holders of subordinated bank liabilities wiped out in the 2013 bank bailout - was passed in a 46:34 vote. The central bank had announced a constitutional review.
        LJUBLJANA - The Fiscal Council found the draft budgets for 2020 and 2021 in compliance with fiscal rules, but warned of risks because the financial impact of bills that are being adopted, including those pushed by the minority government's opposition partner, the Left, was not factored in. Finance Minister Andrej Bertoncelj said not all the risks could be fully included in the budget documents.
        LJUBLJANA - Parliament backed legislative changes that raise the minimum net hourly rate for student work from EUR 4.13 to EUR 4.56. The opposition Left, which initiated the raise, had been pushing for more, but failed to get the coalition's support because of concerns about the impact on businesses.
        LJUBLJANA - The foundation stone was laid for the construction of nearly 500 public rental flats in the Ljubljana Brdo borough. The EUR 57 million project is part of the national Housing Fund's project to build 1,500 rental flats to expanding its portfolio by 10,000 new flats by 2025.
        LJUBLJANA - Virs, the Lendava-based supplier of welding and cutting solutions, won the Golden Gazelle Award for the fastest-growing company in Slovenia, conferred by the newspaper publisher Dnevnik. It increased revenue almost fourfold in five years to EUR 8.2 million in 2018.

WEDNESDAY, 23 October
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed a package of tax bills that reduce personal income tax while increasing taxes on capital gains and rental income and introducing a minimum corporate income tax rate of 7%. The government's aim was to reduce the tax burden of highly skilled workers, in order to attract such staff to Slovenia, while the Left insisted the reform would primary benefit the rich.
        LJUBLJANA - Chile Eboe-Osuji, the president of the International Criminal Court (ICC), held meetings with Foreign Minister Miro Cerar and Justice Minister Andreja Katič as part of a visit to Slovenia. They discussed the challenges of international criminal justice. Cerar pledged for Slovenia to remain a firm ally of the ICC and to promote its values in bilateral and international activities.
        LJUBLJANA - The newspaper Delo reported that the government had put forward to Brussels three candidates for the post of Slovenia's prosecutor at the emerging European Public Prosecutor's Office; Jaka Brezigar, Tanja Frank Eler and Marjana Grašič.
        LJUBLJANA - The Trade Union of Pensioners and a civil initiative presented a petition, calling for a 7.2% extra indexation of pensions to compensate for the austerity measures that have affected pensioners since 2010. Signed by almost 14,000 people, the petition was handed to PM Marjan Šarec and parliamentary Speaker Dejan Židan.
        LJUBLJANA - Data from the central bank showed that Slovenia's inbound FDI stock increased by 8.6% in 2018 to EUR 15.2 billion, as outbound FDI stock rose by 1.6% to EUR 6.1 billion.
        LJUBLJANA - The Ljubljana Music Academy marked its 80th anniversary and the centenary of higher music education with a ceremony at Cankarjev Dom. Dean Marko Vatovec told the STA in an interview that the academy had made great progress with its graduates a feature of Europe's leading orchestras.
        
THURSDAY, 24 October
        LJUBLJANA - The government as the founder and only shareholder of 2TDK approved a EUR 56 million recapitalisation for the company managing the Koper-Divača rail project in accordance with the relevant law. This will increase the company's share capital to EUR 77 million.
        LJUBLJANA - The government decided to recall Iztok Jarc as ambassador to Serbia and appoint him permanent representative to the EU, to succeed Janez Lenarčič, a European commissioner-designate.
        LJUBLJANA - The management of energy company Petrol headed by CEO Tomaž Berločnik agreed with the supervisory board to step down over differences in the company's strategy.
        LJUBLJANA - The state-run Farmland and Forest Fund confirmed that it had been ordered by the Ljubljana Higher Court to pay just over EUR 21 million in damages to the Ljubljana Archdiocese due to delays in denationalisation of forests, EUR 17 million of which it paid already.
        LJUBLJANA - David Tasić, a former journalist of the weekly Mladina who was one of the four political convicts in the 1988 JBTZ trial, a key event leading to Slovenia's independence, died aged 57. The quartet tried by a military court included Janez Janša, the long-serving leader of the Democrats (SDS).
        LJUBLJANA - The government adopted an annex to the agreement governing the scope of public healthcare services and their financing to allow an extra EUR 10 million worth of services to cut waiting times. The money will be secured by the Health Insurance Institute.
        LJUBLJANA - A report by the Mapping and Surveying Authority showed signs of stagnation in property prices in the first half of 2019, following three years of steep growth. Prices of flats are very close to the record levels in 2008, while prices of houses are lagging behind significantly.
        LJUBLJANA - A report from the Statistics Office showed that Slovenian households stepped up saving in 2018, recording a gross household saving rate of 12.6%, up 0.2 percentage points on 2017 and one of the highest in Europe.
        MARIBOR - Police revealed that they had dismantled a criminal ring that made an estimated EUR 1.3 million in illegal gains by smuggling at least 143 Chinese from China to Italy through Slovenia over the past year and a half. Of the four Slovenians and eight Chinese operating the ring, three are in detention and two in house arrest.
        LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Writers' Association presented the EUR 1,000 Jenko Prize for best poetry collection from the past two years to Kaja Teržan for her second collection, Krog (The Circle).

All our posts in this series are here

19 Oct 2019, 10:20 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, 11 October
        ATHENS, Greece - Attending the Arraiolos meeting of presidents from 13 EU countries, President Borut Pahor said the EU had been much more successful in addressing the economic crisis than it was now in addressing the migration crisis. In a meeting with Italian President Sergio Mattarella, they agreed to attend a ceremony marking 100 years since the Fascists burnt down the Slovenian National Home in Trieste next year.
        KOPER - Yusen Logistics, a Japanese supply chain logistics company, opened its subsidiary in the port city, thus becoming the first Japanese freight forwarder in Slovenia. The launch was an important step for the Slovenian port operator Luka Koper as well since it promotes the transport route via Koper.
        BARCELONA, Spain - Foreign Minister Miro Cerar called for empowering youth through education and intercultural dialogue at the Regional Forum of the Union for the Mediterranean in Barcelona, which was attended by foreign ministers of northern and southern Mediterranean countries.
        LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Defence Committee discussed the state budgets for 2020 and 2021, when funds for the national defence system will nominally rise. In 2020, the Defence Ministry will get EUR 545.85 million and in 2021 EUR 561 million. The latter figure is nominally higher but not if measured as a share in GDP, Defence Minister Karl Erjavec told the MPs.
        LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Finance Committee decided to ask the Court of Audit to review the 2016 sale of now bankrupt carrier Adria Airways to the German turnaround fund 4K, and to present its findings to parliament as soon as possible. The Court of Audit said it might do so next year.

SATURDAY, 12 October
        GORNJA RADGONA - The border communities of Gornja Radgona in Slovenia and Bad Radkersburg in Austria marked the 50th anniversary of the bridge linking them with a high-profile ceremony that sent out a message that the countries would like to make their cooperation even better. The ceremony was addressed by Foreign Minister Miro Cerar and the Governor of Austrian Styria, Hermann Schützenhöfer.
        LJUBLJANA - Zmago Skobir, the CEO of Fraport Slovenija, told Dnevnik in an interview that Adria Airways's collapse would have consequences for Ljubljana airport stemming from Adria's debt as well as from a loss of income, but he said he was not in favour of incorporating a new state-owned airline.
        LJUBLJANA - The Hungarian low-cost carrier Wizzair announced it would fly between Ljubljana and Brussels in winter despite its initial decision to suspend flights. Flights are scheduled for Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 19 December on. On 16 October, SWISS launched scheduled flights between Zurich and Ljubljana.
        IDRIJA - Hidria Holding, the company controlling a group that mostly manufactures hi-tech products for the car industry, posted a net profit of EUR 12.3 million for 2018, down 21% over 2017 despite net sales revenue rising by 6.6% to EUR 266.1 million.

SUNDAY, 13 October
        VELENJE - Premogovnik Velenje, the mine operator supplying coal to the TEŠ thermal power plant, slipped back into the red last year after it managed to stay in the black for three years. It posted a loss of EUR 3.8 million, after generating a net profit of EUR 3.4 million the year before. Net sales revenue was down by 5.2% to EUR 108.6 million.
        TRIESTE, Italy - Sailor Gašper Vinčec and his crew won the Barcolana, the biggest mass start sailing regatta in the world. The crew also included Slovenia's best professional cyclist Primož Roglič.

MONDAY, 14 October
        LJUBLJANA - PM Marjan Šarec made a case for the EU enlargement to the Western Balkans in a letter to the European Council president and EU leaders. He argued that yet another postponement of the decision to start accession talks with North Macedonia and Albania should not be an option.
        LJUBLJANA - The Constitutional Court annulled part of the controversial amendments passed in January 2017 that define a special temporary regime on the border in the event of mass migration. The court believes that the provision violates the constitutionally-guaranteed principle of non-refoulement.
        LUXEMBOURG, Luxembourg/LJUBLJANA - Responding to the prison sentences handed in Spain to Catalan leaders, Foreign Minister Miro Cerar said after an EU ministerial that Spain was a sovereign country and that Slovenia should not interfere in its internal legal order. Ex-Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel on the other hand spoke of an "enormous scandal" and analyst Luka Lisjak Gabrijelčič of "distinctively political" judicial arguments. Cerar later called the sentences harsh and long.
        LUXEMBOURG - The European Court of Justice postponed by more than a month Advocate General Priit Pikamäe's independent legal opinion on the admissibility of Slovenia's lawsuit against Croatia over its refusal to respect the 2017 border arbitration award. Pikamäe's opinion will be released on 11 December.
        LJUBLJANA - The Environment and Spatial Planning Ministry presented a draft housing bill that aims to make housing more accessible to those in precarious jobs, young families and the poor, as well secure more effective management of apartment blocks. It also makes it harder for owners to rent out their apartment through Airbnb.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenian and Croatian health minsters Aleš Šabeder and Milan Kujundžić agreed that their departments would relaunch cooperation in treating children with congenital heart disease. This comes after Slovenia gave up the plan to establish a regional treatment centre with the help of a US-based surgeon.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's intelligence and security agency SOVA denounced "known and unknown perpetrators" to the State Prosecutor's Office and police on suspicion of unauthorized disclosure of classified information. The move comes after information about staffing at SOVA was leaked to the media following a visit by the parliamentary Intelligence Oversight Commission.
        
TUESDAY, 15 October
        LJUBLJANA - The International Monetary Fund downgraded its projection of growth of the Slovenian gross domestic product for this year from 3.4% to 2.9%, with the correction following the recent downgrade by the government macroeconomic think tank IMAD to 2.8%.
        LUXEMBOURG, Luxembourg - Foreign Minister Miro Cerar expressed regret over France's opposition to North Macedonia and Albania joining the bloc, which prevented EU affairs ministers from initiating accession talks for the two countries.
        LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Intelligence Oversight Commission, which is examining allegations that PM Marjan Šarec intervened to secure a job at the SOVA intelligence agency for a friend, expressed expectation that the government would allow it to conduct an inquiry into the matter. However, Šarec insisted the next day that the public employees inspectorate and not the commission was responsible for investigating the allegations. The inspectorate is looking into the matter.
        LJUBLJANA - Constitutional Court President Rajko Knez denied the allegation by court judge Klemen Jaklič, who in his dissenting opinion to the court's decision on the amendments to the foreigners act accused fellow judge Matej Accetto of political bias and lying. Knez denied that Accetto mislead the court about his ties with the Modern Centre Party (SMC) when the court deliberated on whether he should exclude himself from decision-making about a 2017 referendum on the Koper-Divača rail project.
        FRANKFURT, Germany - Economy Ministry State Secretary Eva Štravs Podlogar, accompanied by the top executives of Slovenia's bad bank, met representatives of Lufthansa to analyse the aviation market in the wake of the receivership of the German-owned Slovenian flag carrier Adria Airways.

WEDNESDAY, 16 October
        LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Foreign Policy Committee discussed the draft state budgets for 2020 and 2021, hearing that the Foreign Ministry's budget will increase from EUR 94 million this year to EUR 100.4 million in 2020 and EUR 112.6 million in 2021 mostly due to Slovenia's EU presidency in the second half of 2021, which is to cost the country EUR 80 million.
        LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Finance Committee finalised a package of tax bills that slightly reduce the taxation of labour in favour of higher taxes on capital, after adopting last-minute amendments to counter criticism that the legislation amounted to a generous handout to the rich. The legislative package is slated for passage at the National Assembly plenary next week.
        LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian police recorded a drop in illegal migration in September, however the number of illegal border crossings in the first nine months of the year is still 70.5% above last year's figure, at 11,786.
        LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian PEN Centre joined the protest by PEN International against the prison sentences imposed on the Catalan writers and civil society leaders Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart by the Spanish Supreme Court.
        LJUBLJANA - Agriculture Minister Aleksandra Pivec ordered an internal probe at the Administration for Food Safety, Veterinary Sector and Plant Protection, over its belated reporting about the discovery of a banned additive in minced meat sold in five supermarkets.

THURSDAY, 17 October
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Arriving for a two-day EU summit, Prime Minister Marjan Šarec welcomed the deal on an orderly Brexit reached by EU and British negotiators, expressing the hope that the deal would get support in the UK. He urged fellow EU leaders to give North Macedonia the go-ahead to start EU accession talks, or else the situation would get unpredictable.
        LJUBLJANA - The government got acquainted with two draft proposals for electoral reform after the current system was declared unconstitutional a year ago. Under the first proposal, electoral units would remain roughly the same, while electoral districts would be scrapped, and a non-obligatory preferential vote would be introduced. The other solution envisages changing the borders of electoral districts.
        LJUBLJANA - The Justice Committee discussed a report on courts' efficiency in 2018, mostly agreeing with the assessment by the Supreme Court president that courts were successful. MPs were meanwhile critical of lengthy court proceedings and the number of pending cases.
        LJUBLJANA - With the population of the jackal in Slovenia stabilising, the government struck the species from the decree on protected wild animal species, setting a transitional period until 1 May 2020 for the relevant rules to be adjusted.
        LJUBLJANA - A foundation stone-laying ceremony launched the construction of the long-awaited Ikea store in Ljubljana, the first in Slovenia. The store is to be completed in a year.

All our posts in this series are here

11 Oct 2019, 18:02 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, 4 October
        LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Labour Committee nodded to a government proposal abolishing a special bonus for working welfare recipients. While the Left, also upset by the proposed tax reform, threatened to withdraw its support to the minority government, PM Marjan Šarec insisted the government remained welfare-oriented. He said the allowance plus bonus had come too close to the minimum wage.
        LJUBLJANA - The ZSSS trade union confederation stressed it did not support the government-proposed package of changes to tax legislation that are meant to reduce taxes on labour. The changes are supported by employers, with the Slovenian Business Club arguing that "wages in Slovenia are among the most taxed in the EU".
        ZAGREB, Croatia - Reports confirmed that career diplomat Vojislav Šuc had taken over as the new Slovenian ambassador to Croatia on Thursday.
        MARIBOR - Večer reported that the Maribor Higher Court had upheld a guilty verdict against Andrej Šiško, the leader of Štajerska Guard militia. In March, he was found guilty of trying to subvert the constitutional order through armed resistance and sentenced to eight months in prison, but has since been released after having served much of the sentence in detention.
        LJUBLJANA - A Slovenia-Japan business forum heard that economic cooperation between the countries is good, but there is still ample room to deepen it, for instance in the industrial sector, in energy and in ICT.
        KOPER - An officer of the Koper Police Department who was, according to unofficial media reports, the head of the district's narcotics task force, was arrested on charges of drug trafficking.

SATURDAY, 5 October
        LJUBLJANA - Coalition SocDems head Dejan Židan said the clash between the minority coalition and the opposition partner Left over social security issues was harmful and called for a meeting to iron out the differences. The SocDems sided with the Left in opposing the scraping of a bonus for working welfare recipients.
        BOLOGNA, Italy - Slovenian cyclist Primož Roglič of the Dutch team Team Jumbo-Visma won the single-stage Giro d'Emillia race to add to his numerous feats this year, which include the overall win at the prestigious Vuelta a Espana.

SUNDAY, 6 October
        TEHARJE - Retired Celje Bishop Stanislav Lipovšek stressed at the annual Teharje ceremony remembering an estimated 5,000 victims of war and post-war summary executions the need "for true reconciliation with the past" if Slovenia wants to build a safe and happy future. He expressed gratitude to all who made sure the execution sites around the country are finally being tended to.
        EDINBURGH, UK - Lučka Rakovec became the European lead champion in Edinburgh, adding another highlight to what has been a spectacular season for Slovenian sports climbing.
        LJUBLJANA- Slovenian boxer Ema Kozin won five world titles, having out-boxed Swedish Maria Lindberg at Stožice Arena in Ljubljana and defended her World Boxing Federation (WBF) Women's World Champion title of the Super Middleweight class.

MONDAY, 7 October
        LJUBLJANA - PM Marjan Šarec and Finance Minister Andrej Bertoncelj presented the 2020 and 2021 draft budgets in parliament, noting that, despite the expected slowdown of economic growth, the budgets would see a surplus, and that more money would be available than earlier. The National Assembly is expected to vote on both budgets at the end of November.
        BRNIK - The official receiver of Adria Airways started serving notices of job termination to the airline's employees, while pilots and cabin staff are reported to be interviewed with potential new employers. Adria's audited financial statement, released on 8 October, showed the German-owned Slovenian airline ended 2018 with a net loss of EUR 18.6 million, up from EUR 5.4 million in 2017.
        LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary inquiry into the operations of the Bank Asset Management Company (BAMC) began its work by quizzing several individuals in charge of critical developments in 2013, when the country's bad bank was incorporated. The first hearings focused on the contentious selection of Deloitte as the auditor and on the criteria for the transfer of bad claims.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenian trade unions urged employers to provide for decent work and reflect on the workers' contribution to economic growth and prosperity as World Day for Decent Work was observed. The Movement for Decent Work and Welfare State moreover highlighted young workers in precarious jobs, who earn less than half of their colleagues working on permanent contracts.
        LJUBLJANA - Former Health Minister Tomaž Gantar confirmed he had stepped down as vice-president of the coalition Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) in September. Gantar, who is returning to medical profession and remains a DeSUS member, was critical of the way Karl Erjavec is leading the party, saying his style was increasingly less democratic.
        LJUBLJANA - The women's section of Slovenian PEN honoured Neda Rusjan Bric with this year's Mira Prize, an award it introduced in 2013 to honour outstanding women authors. An actress by profession, Rusjan Bric, 57, is an author who has directed a number of multimedia productions based on her own texts.

TUESDAY, 8 October
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Slovenia earned a new reproof for the slow uptake of EU funds as the country's member of the European Court of Auditors Samo Jereb reported that by the end of 2018 the country had only used 24.2% of funding available for 2014-2020. The Government Development and Cohesion Policy Office said Jereb had considered only the final phase of EU funds uptake and that Slovenia was on track to securing all of the funds available.
        LJUBLJANA - PM Marjan Šarec helped end the boycott of social dialogue by employers and trade unions - caused by bills being filed into parliamentary procedure without having been discussed by the industrial relations forum - with a deal that will allow the Economic and Social Council (ESS) to also debate bills filed by the opposition.
        LJUBLJANA - It was confirmed that a consortium of Slovenian construction companies Pomgrad, Kolektor, SŽ-ŽGP, GH-Holding and Gorenjska Gradbena Družba has been chosen to build a new section of the rail line between Maribor and the Šentilj border crossing with Austria, a project valued at EUR 101 million.
        LJUBLJANA - The financial fund Alfi, the biggest creditor of the Tuš group with about a third of the claims, was reported being in talks for acquiring about 27% more of the claims to the struggling group around grocer Engrotuš.
        LJUBLJANA - The news web portal Siol reported that Fortenova, the successor of the bankrupt Croatian food conglomerate Agrokor, is devising a secret plan to slash up the Slovenian retail group Mercator into parts and take control of the cash flows between the core company and its subsidiaries in Croatia, Serbia and Bosnia.
        LJUBLJANA - The Month of Design event, bringing together around 300 participants from 19 countries in Southeast Europe, got under way in Ljubljana with the Design Expo fair.
        
WEDNESDAY, 9 October
        LJUBLJANA - PM Marjan Šarec and his Belgian counterpart Charles Michel, the next president of the European Council, were optimistic the UK and the EU could still reach an agreement on Brexit as Michel visited Slovenia as he prepares to assume the new EU top job. Šarec expressed confidence the new president of the EU Council would respect the rule of law, including in Schengen zone enlargement.
        LJUBLJANA - Bilateral ties and Schengen zone expansion topped the agenda as Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok met his counterpart Miro Cerar, with the pair urging respect for international law and dedication to multilateralism. As for Schengen zone expansion, with Croatia tipped as the next country to enter, the ministers stressed new members needed to meet all conditions.
        LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary foreign policy and EU affairs committees met for a joint session behind closed doors to discuss Slovenia's position on the expansion of the Schengen area. No formal decisions were expected to be taken, with the idea being to notify the committees and invite them to help form a position.
        LJUBLJANA - After issuing a set of recommendations last November to warn against imprudent consumer lending practices, Banka Slovenije said it will introduce binding restrictions in November which also stiffen conditions for consumer as well as housing loans.
        LJUBLJANA - The national intelligence agency SOVA, declined to give the parliamentary Intelligence Oversight Commission information on the agency's staffing, requested in the wake of allegations PM Marjan Šarec had intervened to secure a job to a female friend. While SOVA referred the investigation to the public employees inspectorate, the opposition-controlled commission insisted SOVA staffing also fell under its purview. SDS head Janez Janša demanded that SOVA head Rajko Kozmelj resign.
        LJUBLJANA - Representatives of the Slovenian minority in Italy expressed concern over the law that will drastically reduce the number of seats in the Italian parliament as of next election, and believe that the urgent next move should be to secure parliamentary representation of the minority with a relevant law.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia remained 35th in the 2019 World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Report, scoring 70.2 points on a scale from 0 to 100, up from 69.6 points in 2018.
        
THURSDAY, 10 October
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia called on Turkey to end its military operation in north-eastern Syria, protect civilians and respect international humanitarian law.
        LJUBLJANA - The government endorsed a bill on state guarantee for the loans taken out to fund the planned Koper-Divača rail expansion, and an expressway connecting the north and south of the country, two major infrastructure projects in Slovenia. The guarantee for the rail project was restricted to EUR 417m, and for the Third Development Axis at EUR 360m.
        LJUBLJANA - According to unofficial information obtained by the weekly Mladina, constitutional judges have annulled a controversial clause of the aliens act that would allow the country to take steps to suspend asylum law in the event of mass migration. The court told the STA the review was still ongoing.
        LJUBLJANA - A bill that would allow the government to subsidise air links vital to Slovenia after flag carrier Adria Airways was sent into receivership was defeated by the parliamentary Infrastructure Committee. On the same day, Adria's receiver published an invitation for bids for all remaining assets of the insolvent airline.
        SKOPJE, Macedonia - Relations between Slovenia and North Macedonia were in focus as PM Marjan Šarec visited Skopje. He reiterated Slovenia's support that North Macedonia be allowed to launch EU accession talks.
        LJUBLJANA - Right-wing parties organised a rally, headlined Save Slovenia. Protestors called against corruption and expressed their dissatisfaction with PM Marjan Šarec.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia exported EUR 2.32 billion worth of goods in August, which is 4.9% more year-on-year, while imports were up by 4.3% to EUR 2.3 billion. Trade surplus thus stood at EUR 20 million in August, for an exports-to-imports coverage of 100.88%.
        LJUBLJANA - The value of industrial output in Slovenia in August was 2% down compared to July and 0.8% higher year-on-year.
        MARIBOR - Marinka Štern was announced as the recipient of this year's Borštnik Ring for lifetime achievement, the highest accolade conferred in theatre acting. The 72-year-old stage and screen actor worked at the Mladinsko Theatre (SMG) and as also performed in television and radio productions and cooperated with other national and independent theatres.

All our posts in this series are here

05 Oct 2019, 09:08 AM

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

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

FRIDAY, 27 September
        NEW YORK, US - PM Marjan Šarec made a strong plea for efficient multilateralism in his address to the 74th session of the UN General Assembly. He stressed the importance of fundamental principles such as the rule of law and respect for human rights. He also called on delegates to back at November's UNESCO general conference Europe's first international AI research centre that would be set in Slovenia's capital Ljubljana.
        NEW YORK, US - FM Miro Cerar hosted ministers and high representatives of the Slovenian-sponsored Green Group initiative, an informal forum of foreign ministers from Slovenia, Iceland, Costa Rica, Cape Verde, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates, which promotes green policies and encourages the transition to a green economy and the use of renewable energy sources.
        GENEVA, Switzerland - Slovenia presented its resolution on human rights education at the 42nd session of the UN Human Rights Council. The proposal envisages a multi-annual strategy for educating the young about human rights. The council's members addressed a wide spectrum of issues during the three-week session, including the human rights situation in Venezuela, Yemen, Myanmar, Sudan and Ukraine.
        LJUBLJANA - Employers withdrew from the Economic and Social Council (ESS) in protest of bills being filed in parliament past the ESS, whereas the head of the ZSSS trade union confederation Lidija Jerkič followed suit by resigning as ESS chair. PM Marjan Šarec later announced that he would attend a session of the ESS in person on 8 October in an attempt to restore social dialogue. He noted that the Left, which had filed the bills bothering employers, was an opposition party.
        LJUBLJANA - Hundreds of young people took to the streets as part of the Global Climate Strike and #FridaysForFuture movement, urging politicians to declare a climate crisis and come up with practical measures. The young decided not to meet state representatives given that nothing had improved since they held talks during the March strike, but Environment Minister Simon Zajc expressed his support for the protests across Slovenia, held by the Youth for Climate Justice.
        LJUBLJANA - Denis Stroligo, a law graduate, was appointed director-general of the Official Gazette publisher. This was after the ruling LMŠ party official Brane Kralj had been swept out of office for trying to secure the job for former MEP Igor Šoltes.

SATURDAY, 28 September
        LJUBLJANA - CEO of Mercator Tomislav Čizmić said in an interview with Delo that Slovenia's leading retailer would become the biggest company and biggest retailer of the newly-established Fortenova Group once it is transferred to the group. Mercator is currently a part of the debt-ridden Agrokor, whose healthy assets are in the process of being transferred to Fortenova Group.
        MURSKA SOBOTA - Murska Sobota Protestant priest Leon Novak was elected the new head of the Slovenian Evangelical Lutheran Church in a secret ballot. He will take over from Geza Filo in December. The head of the Slovenian Evangelical Lutheran Church is elected for a six-year term with the possibility of another six-year term.

SUNDAY, 29 September
        PARIS, France - The Slovenian men's national volleyball team won another silver at the European Championship after losing the final match to Serbia 1:3. After making an improbable run in Ljubljana, beating the European champions Russia and world champions Poland in the process, Slovenia had to concede to Serbia even though they won the first set.

MONDAY, 30 September
        LJUBLJANA - The management of struggling air carrier Adria Airways filed for receivership after the government said it was not ready to invest in the carrier under the current owner and in its current financial state. On news of the receivership proposal, the Civil Aviation Agency stripped the airline of its operating licence and all flights have been cancelled.
        LJUBLJANA - The newspaper Dnevnik reported that FM Miro Cerar had ordered an internal investigation at the ministry over the leaking of classified information, in particular the names of ambassadorial candidates. The final straw is said to have been Dnevnik's reporting that Ambassador to Serbia Iztok Jarc would replace Slovenia's future EU Commissioner Janez Lenarčič as the country's ambassador to the EU.
        LJUBLJANA - The coalition agreed that the abolition of top-up health insurance be made in two steps, with the first being the transfer of its collection onto the public health insurance fund ZZZS. The second step would be making what Health Minister Aleš Šabeder termed a solidarity scale for the collection of health insurance contributions. This is an alternative idea prepared by the health and finance ministries after the opposition Left had filed into parliament a bill of its own, which the coalition rejected.
        BLED - Slovenia and Croatia failed to agree to build a common repository for nuclear waste from their jointly-owned N-plant, as the inter-governmental commission in charge of overseeing the bilateral agreement on the Krško Nuclear Power Plant met for a session in Slovenia.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia posted a general government surplus of EUR 124 million, or 1% of GDP, in the second quarter of the year but revenue growth was outpaced by growth in expenditure in a first sign of economic slowdown. Consolidated general government gross debt at the end of the second quarter amounted to EUR 31.803 billion, or 67.7% of GDP.
        LJUBLJANA - The government confirmed a bill which limits certain expenditure on wages of civil servants and introduces an extraordinary 1% indexation of pensions in 2020 under the condition of 3% GDP growth for this year. The bill will be filed together with the remaining budget documents to be fast-tracked in parliament.

TUESDAY, 1 October
        LJUBLJANA - Adria Airways having filed for receivership, Ljubljana airport operator Fraport Slovenija announced that a network of flights comparable to Adria's could be set up within a year and a half. The Belgian air carrier Brussels Airlines, part of Lufthansa Group, announced it would restore its Brussels-Ljubljana link on 4 November.
        LJUBLJANA - FM Miro Cerar and his Luxembourgian counterpart Jean Asselborn noted the importance of multilateralism and respect for international law during Asselborn's official visit to Slovenia. The pair announced a new Slovenia-Benelux summit for later this year or early 2020. Asselborn also met Slovenia's other top officials.
        NOVO MESTO - Pharma company Krka inaugurated a EUR 55.6 million research and development centre that nearly doubles its R&D, and control and analysis capacities.
        PREVALJE - Lek, the Slovenian subsidiary of Swiss multinational Novartis, announced it would phase out antibiotics production in Slovenia's Prevalje in two years, moving it to Austria, while Prevalje would become part of Novartis's emerging global operative centre.
        LJUBLJANA - A group of 32 MPs led by the opposition New Slovenia (NSi) asked the Constitutional Court to review the property appraisal act on the grounds that the issues found unconstitutional by the court in 2013 still remain after the act was changed in May 2019. This was as the Surveying and Mapping Authority released the results of a preliminary property appraisal. PM Marjan Šarec told MPs the government in its current form was not in a position to push through a real estate tax.
        LJUBLJANA - Calls to improve the economic and housing situation of the elderly marked the start of the three-day Festival for the Third Age on International Day of Older Persons. The Pensioners' Association issued a list of demands to the government, including for an annual allowance and an immediate indexation of pensions.
        LJUBLJANA - A new academic year started for close to 76,000 Slovenian students. In total, more than 48,300 new places are available this year at nearly 820 graduate, MA and doctoral programmes.

WEDNESDAY, 2 October
        LJUBLJANA - The Kranj District Court launched receivership for Adria Ariways. The creditors will have three months to file their claims. Unofficially, the company has run up EUR 90 million in debt. The receivership will put 558 people out of their jobs.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Slovenia's European commissioner-designate Janez Lenarčič was heard by the EU Parliament's Development Committee in a session that revolved around migration and climate crisis, as well as the role of the private sector and NGOs in humanitarian activities, education of child refugees and nuclear incident preparedness. According to sources in the European Parliament, he passed the test with all political groups backing him bar the far-right Identity and Democracy.
        LJUBLJANA - PM Marjan Šarec denied the allegation by the Požareport news website that he intervened to have the SOVA intelligence agency hire a former female employee of the Kamnik municipality where he served as mayor before becoming PM. Šarec said she got the job in line with standard procedure. The allegation had been discussed by the parliamentary intelligence oversight commission, with findings yet to be presented.
        RIMSKE TOPLICE - President Borut Pahor met mayors as part of a congress of Slovenian municipalities to see whether it was worth proceeding with establishing provinces. Mayors told him there was no doubt Slovenia needed them to decentralise and get a fresh development impetus. Pahor will host a meeting discussing the issue in November, while a decision could then be made as he meets the prime minister and the presidents of both chambers of parliament in December.
        LJUBLJANA - The Constitutional Court ruled in a 5:4 vote that the retirement and disability pension act is not unconstitutional in the part that prevents sole proprietors from receiving full pension if they continue working after reaching retirement age, stating intergenerational fairness, equality and financial sustainability took precedence over sole proprietors' interests.
        LJUBLJANA - Even though the agreement on joint patrols policing the Slovenian-Italian border ended, cooperation between the two police forces remains in place in certain areas, in particular in the Koper Police Department district, but not in the Nova Gorica Police Department district.
        LJUBLJANA - The two-day Slovenia Business Bridge investment and development conference, hosted by AmCham Slovenia at its 20th anniversary, started with a business breakfast discussing challenges in the management of family companies, and continued with a panel discussing strategies by investors.
        LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian car dealerships Autocommerce, Avto Triglav and AC-Mobil, which are part of the holding company ACH 2, will be acquired by Swiss Emil Frey Group for an undisclosed amount, pending the approval of the EU Commission.

THURSDAY, 3 October
        LANY, Czech Republic - President Borut Pahor participated in a Visegrad Group summit plus Slovenia and Serbia which backed the EU's enlargement to the Western Balkans. Pahor warned that the EU not expanding into the region "could have major bad consequences".
        LJUBLJANA - The government endorsed changes to the aviation act that create a legal basis for the state to subsidise crucial air links with the country if this proves necessary in the wake of Adria Airways collapse.
        LJUBLJANA - The government confirmed a package of tax tweaks that are meant to reduce taxation of labour to increase competitiveness, while slightly increasing the taxation of capital gains and rental income to offset for the loss of revenue.
        LJUBLJANA - The government adopted a set of changes to the pension insurance act to equalise the pension base for men and women at 63.5% of the salary as of 2025 and regulating the status of pensioners who continue to work. Working pensioners will initially get 40% of the pension they are entitled to, along with the salary, but after three years their pension will drop to 20%.
        LJUBLJANA - The government proposed amendments to the labour market regulation act that increase the minimum monthly unemployment benefit while stiffening entitlement conditions. The amendments also introduce compulsory Slovenian language classes for non-Slovenian EU citizens registered as unemployed and a basic language skill requirement for the rest.
        LJUBLJANA - Infrastructure Minister Alenka Bratušek is taking over as a stand-in head of the Government Office for Development and EU Cohesion Policy after Iztok Purič stepped down on 20 Sep. Her SAB party said it would propose a minister candidate after the 2020 and 2021 budgets are passed in parliament.
        LJUBLJANA - The government appointed Peter Jenko as the new director general of the Financial Administration for a five-year term. Jenko, current deputy director general, will take over on 27 November, succeeding outgoing FURS director general Jana Ahčin.
        LJUBLJANA - The news portal Siol.net reported that the Czech EPH group will enter the cargo arm of the Slovenian railway operator as a strategic partner under a deal worth roughly EUR 80 million. The entry is to be discussed in the coming weeks by the supervisory board of Slovenske Železnice, while the final say will rest with state asset custodian Slovenian Sovereign Holding.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's registered jobless total fell to 69,834 in September, down 2.4% from August and down 5.3% from September 2018. It is close to the all-time low recorded in September 2008 when 59,303 were registered as being out of a job.

All our posts in this series are here

28 Sep 2019, 09:32 AM

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

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

This summary was prepared by the STA:

FRIDAY, 20 September
        LJUBLJANA - Iztok Purič stepped down as the head of the Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy, citing personal reasons.
        LJUBLJANA - The Civil Aviation Agency grounded two Adria Airways Bombardier CRJ900 planes, after lessors terminated lease contracts for the two planes due to payment default.
        LJUBLJANA - Media reported that the national motorway company DARS selected for further talks three out of the five bidders vying to build the second tube of the Karavanke tunnel: Turkish builder Cengiz, a consortium of Kolektor CGP, Riko and Turkey's Yapi Merkezi, and Implenia Österreich, a consortium including Implenia Švica and CGP Novo Mesto.
        LJUBLJANA - Culture Minister Zoran Poznič welcomed the government's decision to endorse a "culture euro" bill which envisages additional funds for culture to promote its development through investment. The price tag of the new bill for 2021-2027 is EUR 122.6 million.
        METLIKA/KOSTEL - Thirteen municipalities along the border with Croatia joined forces in urging the government to start renewing local roads that have been damaged from heavy use by the police patrolling the border and to start cleaning the border fence.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's consumer confidence deteriorated for the second month running in September to a level last seen in late 2016. Nevertheless, the index remains eight percentage points above the long-term average.
        BLED - The Pergam confederation of trade unions marked the 150th anniversary of the formation of Slovenia's first trade union at a general assembly in Bled that saw Prime Minister Marjan Šarec stress the importance of social dialogue.

SATURDAY, 21 September
        LJUBLJANA - Modern Centre Party (SMC) members unanimously elected Zdravko Počivalšek the SMC's new leader at a congress. Taking over from party founder Miro Cerar, Počivalšek called for economic stability, a fair welfare state, a liberal approach and sustainability.
        MARIBOR - The SNG Maribor was honoured with the Golden Order of Merit for its outstanding contribution to performing arts and Slovenian cultural identity as the theatre, bringing together drama, opera and ballet, marked its centenary at a high-profile ceremony.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's information and communications technology (ICT) sector generated EUR 4.4 billion in revenue last year, 3.9% more than in 2017. Growth was slower than the year before, when revenue increased by 6.4% year on year, according to data from the Statistics Office.

SUNDAY, 22 September
        LJUBLJANA - Banks will have to adapt to changes in the business environment, Slovenian central bank Governor Boštjan Vasle said as he commented on a recent set of measures taken by the ECB to revive inflation. Without the ECB measures, inflation would have been even lower and the economic cooling even stronger, he told Radio Slovenija.
        LJUBLJANA - Stories from the Chestnut Woods, a debut feature film by up-and-coming Gregor Božič, won eleven of a total of 23 Vesna awards given out at the 22nd Festival of Slovenian Film, plus the audience award.

MONDAY, 23 September
        NEW YORK, US - Prime Minister Marjan Šarec started a five-day visit to New York where he will address the general debate of the 74th session of the UN General Assembly on Friday. He started the trip by attending the UN Climate Summit and a World Economic Forum (WEF) debate on sustainable development.
        NEW YORK, US - Former President Danilo Türk told the STA that US foreign policy was being undermined due to President Donald Trump's unpredictable and poorly thought through decisions.
        LJUBLJANA - Interior Minister Boštjan Poklukar expects Slovenia to see a rise in the number of people crossing the border illegally before the winter, but not to the extent seen in 2015 and 2016, he said during questions time in parliament.
        LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Marjan Šarec, his party and the government all saw their popularity ratings fall in the latest poll commissioned by the private broadcaster POP TV, with voter support for the government falling below 50% for the first time this year.
        LJUBLJANA - Roman Kirn, a seasoned diplomat who until recently served as the foreign policy adviser to PM Marjan Šarec, was critical in an interview for Reporter of Šarec's recent visit to Russia, in particular because it had not included a meeting with President Vladimir Putin.
        KOPER - Logistics company Intereuropa said that Pošta Slovenije, the state-owned postal operator, plans to acquire a 72% stake in Intereuropa at EUR 1.45 per share for a total of EUR 28.75 million.
        LJUBLJANA - Sales of new housing properties have dropped to the lowest level on record in the second quarter of 2019, according to data from the Statistics Office. Meanwhile, more than 1,360 second-hand houses were sold this second quarter, the most since the second quarter of 2017.
        VIENNA, Austria - Klagenfurt-based Slovenian-Austrian author Maja Haderlap is to receive an Austrian Art Prize which comes with EUR 15,000.

TUESDAY, 24 September
        LJUBLJANA - Carrier Adria Airways suspended virtually all its flights due to a shortage of cash, in what is the biggest upset in Slovenian civil aviation in decades. On 25 September it was given a week to submit to the Civil Aviation Agency a credible financial restructuring plan or lose its operational licence. Meanwhile, a bill was drafted that would allow the government to subsidise selected routes to and from Ljubljana Airport.
        NEW YORK, US - PM Marjan Šarec addressed the first summit dedicated to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at the UN General Assembly, highlighting Slovenia's ambitions pursuit of the agenda's goals. Šarec also attended the opening of the general debate of the 74th General Assembly session.
        NEW YORK, US - Foreign Minister Miro Cerar took part in a EU-hosted high level meeting on Syria, held on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session, condemning attacks on civilians. In his address, Cerar said that the solution to the Syria conflict could only be a political one.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's business sentiment deteriorated in September to 4.8 percentage points, down 1.2 percentage point on the month before and down 3.4% year-on-year, data from the Statistics Office showed.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Infrastructure Ministry State Secretary Bojan Kumer rejected the recent allegation by several NGOs that Slovenia is planning new subsidies for fossil fuels, arguing that such subsidies will be phased out.

WEDNESDAY, 25 September
        NEW YORK, US/LJUBLJANA - Commenting on reports about Croatia getting a go-ahead to enter the Schengen area in October, Foreign Minister Miro Cerar said it was in Slovenia's interest to see Croatia joining, but only if the neighbour showed respect for all EU democratic and legal standards. Indicating a potential veto over Croatia's ignoring of the border arbitration decision, PM Marjan Šarec added on Thursday that should the EU Commission act politically, so would Slovenia.
        LJUBLJANA - The Left tabled a legislative motion that would in effect abolish supplementary health insurance and replace it with a progressive levy, having failed to find common ground with the coalition parties despite weeks of talks.
        LJUBLJANA - The newspaper Dnevnik reported that Justice Minister Andreja Katič had reported Maribor Labour Court president Stanko Omerzu to the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption for having employed at the court a daughter of a witness who testified in his favour in a case in which he stands accused of stalking his ex-lover.
        MARIBOR - The teachers' trade union SVIZ told University of Maribor Chancellor Zdravko Kačič to consider resigning over contentious payments at the university. The union blames Kačič for failing to immediately present all the facts to the public and notify the police of potential irregularities related to EUR 50 million being paid through works contracts.
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - The Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS) conferred awards for breakthrough innovations at the 17th Innovation Day. Pharma company Lek won two top awards, for a new procedure for the purification of biopharmaceuticals and a new generation of probiotics, while its rival, Krka, was honoured for an innovative generic drug.
        LJUBLJANA - General government receipts from taxes and social contributions increased for the fifth year running last year, by 7.2% to EUR 17.3 billion, according to the Statistics Office. Tax revenue rose by 7.4% to EUR 10.1 billion and the take from social contributions increased by 6.8% to EUR 7.2 billion in 2018.

THURSDAY, 26 September
        NEW YORK, US - PM Marjan Šarec has expressed regret about the developments at Adria Airways, sympathising with the passengers and the employees' families, but also noted that the air carrier is no longer state-owned and that the outlook for its rescue is not good. Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek on the other hand said potential solutions were still being examined to rescue the company and preserve Slovenia's air links with the rest of the world.
        NEW YORK, US - PM Marjan Šarec underlined Slovenia's support for multilateralism and the need to honour human rights and agreements as he met UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres in New York.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed the Resolution on National Security Strategy with 46 votes in favour and 29 against after the opposition SDS and the Left succeeded in throwing out an expansion of powers of the intelligence service to fight home-grown terrorism.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia defeated Poland 3:1 in the semifinal of the European Volleyball Championship to qualify for the final in Paris.
        LJUBLJANA - Retailer Mercator saw group sales revenue increase by 0.4% to EUR 1.06 billion in the first half of the year. Group net profit rose by 58.4% to EUR 2.4 million. EBITDA increased by almost 73% to EUR 83 million and operating profit by over 76% to EUR 29.9 million.
        LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Foreign Ministry paid its tribute to late French President Jacques Chirac by describing him as an important ally of Slovenia in its accession to the EU and NATO.
        PODGORICA, Montenegro - Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec and his Montenegrin counterpart Predrag Bošković sought ways to further deepened already close defence cooperation. The Slovenian Defence Ministry announced defence attaches would be sent by both countries to Podgorica and Ljubljana respectively.
        LJUBLJANA - Bank Asset Management Company (BAMC) generated EUR 17.9 million in net profit in the first half of the year, which was 12% less than in the first half of 2018. The company attributed the decrease to a shrunken portfolio.
        LJUBLJANA - The parliament passed a legislative proposal dealing with the indexation of transfers to individuals and households under which such transfers worth around EUR 1.25 billion will be indexed to inflation once a year. The opposition Democrats (SDS) and the Left were the only parties to oppose the amendment.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia gained two spots on the IMD World Digital Competitiveness ranking over 2018, placing 32nd this year.

All our posts in this series are here

21 Sep 2019, 09:08 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.

This summary was prepared by the STA:

FRIDAY, 13 September
        LJUBLJANA - Interior Minister Boštjan Poklukar proposed that Slovenia and Austria form joint police patrols to police the Slovenian-Austrian border, as he hosted his Austrian counterpart Wolfgang Peschorn. Saying it was a good proposal, Peschorn said the Austrian government would examine it to see if it could fully contain the migration pressure.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenian central bank governor Boštjan Vasle urged authorities to employ a diverse set of measures since monetary policy is not enough in the current complex situation. Risks to the global economy are growing, threatening to further curb growth and further reduce inflation, he said, pointing to trade wars, China's cooling and Brexit.
        LJUBLJANA - The Civil Aviation Agency received the annual report for 2018 from Adria Airways, which the struggling German-owned airline had to submit as a condition to keep its operating licence. Civil Aviation Agency director Rok Marolt told the STA that the decision on whether the carrier would keep the licence would probably be taken by the end of October.
        CELJE - Foreign Minister Miro Cerar announced an expansion of the commercial diplomacy service and Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek measures to help reduce businesses' dependence on EU markets, as they addressed Day of Slovenian Diplomacy at the International Trade Fair in Celje.
        SEŽANA - Ivan Šopov of North Macedonia received the Central European Initiative prize as part of the Vilenica International Literary Festival. He impressed the jury with the draft for his debut novel, in which he intends to explore the topics of individual responsibility and collective madness.

SATURDAY, 14 September
        LJUBLJANA - The two-day meeting of the NATO Military Committee concluded with a commitment that the alliance will continue to carry out the Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan in its present form, as confirmed by the Chairman of the Military Committee, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach. He said that NATO remained committed to Afghanistan and that it would continue to carry out the mission, as part of which NATO member states are training soldiers of the Afghan army.
        AJDOVŠČINA - More than 4,000 people gathered to celebrate the day 72 years ago when the Primorska region became part of Slovenia. The ceremony, held on the eve of Primorska Reunification Day, was addressed by PM Marjan Šarec, who said that the people of Primorska were the greatest example of how a "glorious victory, a victory of good over evil eventually gets born out of the biggest sorrow and suffering."
        LJUBLJANA - The opposition New Slovenia (NSi) called for a new national consensus in a bid to digitalise Slovenia. NSi leader Matej Tonin called on President Borut Pahor to assume the role of a coordinator on the path to the consensus, which Pahor later said he was willing to do.

SUNDAY, 15 September
        MADRID, Spain - Cycling sensation Primož Roglič (Team Jumbo-Visma) became the first Slovenian to win a Grand Tour race, as he climbed the podium of the Vuelta. His 20-year-old compatriot, Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates), completed the three-week race in third place to claim the white jersey of the best young rider.

MONDAY, 16 September
        LJUBLJANA - Damir Črnčec, a senior aide to PM Marjan Šarec, became the target of scrutiny after the news portal Požareport revealed he employed the head of Slovenia's Westinghouse office as head of his private institute, raising concern about possible influence in fledging plans to construct a second reactor at the Krško Nuclear Power Plant.
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor and his Indian counterpart Ram Nath Kovind reaffirmed their commitment to boost cooperation and friendship between the countries during the first visit by an Indian president to Slovenia. They stressed the importance of global partnership and multilateralism.
        LJUBLJANA - After several failed attempts to implement the late-2014 Constitutional Court ruling mandating full financing of private primary schools, the Education Ministry said it would try to break the impasse by inviting various stakeholders, including all parliamentary parties, to form a task force to build a broad consensus on the issue. Parties were reserved about the plan.
        ZGORNJE JEZERSKO - Mountaineer and extreme skier Davo Karničar, 56, died in a logging accident in his native Jezersko area. Karničar made history on several occasions while skiing down the world's highest peaks; in 2000, he skied non-stop down Mount Everest as the first person ever.

TUESDAY, 17 September
        LJUBLJANA - A report by the Court of Audit found that the government had been unsuccessful in providing access to long-term care services to all those who need them. Only 9% of the 395,127 eligible received care in 2016 and the state had no data on nearly 90% of potential claimants. The government said it was working on long-term care legislation to address these issues.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenian parliamentary Speaker Dejan Židan hosted his Cypriot counterpart Demetris Syllouris, with the pair announcing a bilateral initiative for cooperation of small countries. The initiative would aim to support the rule of law in the EU and "the end of double morals" in Europe, according to Syllouris.
        BELGRADE, Serbia - The Serbian newspaper Danas reported that NLB, Slovenia's leading bank, submitted a non-binding bid for a 83.2% stake in Komercijalna Banka, the second largest bank in Serbia, offering EUR 450 million, the highest of three bids.
        LJUBLJANA - The government and municipalities failed to agree on the amount of local government funding for the coming two years, so Finance Minister Andrej Bertoncelj set the initially proposed amount of EUR 589.11 per capita in 2020 and EUR 588.30 in 2021, an average of local government expenses over the past four years. The municipalities had wanted a higher amount.
        LJUBLJANA - Adria Airways signed a new collective bargaining agreement with pilots, a move the airline says that "calms down the labour situation at the company" and "allows management to remain focused on stability of operations and provision of services". The Trade Union of Commercial Pilots said they were happy with the terms of the deal.
        LENDAVA/MURSKA SOBOTA - Lendava and Murska Sobota remembered local Jewish families that perished in the Holocaust, as Stolpersteine, granite cubes bearing the names of the victims, were installed in various locations around the two north-eastern cities in high-profile commemorations.

WEDNESDAY, 18 September
        LJUBLJANA - Almost 200 organisations and more than 8,000 individuals, including environmental NGOs, trade unions, associations representing pensioners, youth and municipalities, made an urgent appeal to the government to recognise climate change as a national crisis and start dealing with it in a comprehensive fashion now. Trade unions called for a new economic model focusing on green jobs.
        LJUBLJANA - Jorge Domecq, chief executive of the European Defence Agency (EDA), paid a visit for talks with foreign and defence ministry officials. He praised Slovenia's cooperation with the EDA but called for increased participation of Slovenian industry in EDA programmes.
        LJUBLJANA - In a bid to end a conundrum about the financing of private primary schools, the coalition Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB) announced it would start collecting signatures to call a referendum as the issue remains unresolved almost five years after the top court decided the state must fund them 100%, not just 85% as is the case now.
        BERLIN, Germany - Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek met his German and Portuguese counterparts to discuss preparations for the EU presidency that the three countries will consecutively hold starting in the second half of 2020. Among the possible priorities, Počivalšek, Portugal's Pedro Siza Vieira and Germany's Peter Altmaier highlighted strengthening the EU's internal market.
        KOPER - The Amber Rail Freight Corridor, which connects industrial centres and inter-modal terminals in Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Slovenia, was formally launched. It connects the Adriatic Sea with the Poland-Belarus border, and represents an alternative to the transport routes between the north and south of Europe.
        LJUBLJANA - Police confirmed they were looking into three cases of simplified debt restructuring that would allow companies owned by Ljubljana Mayor Zoran Janković's sons to write off about EUR 29 million in debt. The Notary Chamber is checking the work of notary Miro Košak in the cases of debt restructuring of Electa Inženiring, Electa Naložbe and Electa Holding.

THURSDAY, 19 September
        LJUBLJANA - The government adopted the draft budgets for 2020 and 2021 after ministries reduced the planned expenditure for next year by a combined EUR 100 million following a downgrade of Slovenia's GDP growth forecast to 2.8% for 2019 and 3% for 2020. Budget users will still have a record EUR 10.35 billion at their disposal in 2020, and almost all of them will get more money than this year.
        BERN, Switzerland - President Borut Pahor met his Swiss counterpart Ueli Maurer on second day of his official visit to Switzerland with the pair calling for deepening what they said to be already good cooperation between the two countries. Maurer offered digitalisation and new technologies as two areas where cooperation could be enhanced. They also discussed topical EU matters.
        LJUBLJANA - The Court of Audit issued a rebuke of consecutive Slovenian governments after determining that strategic planning regarding the exploitation of nuclear energy at the Krško Nuclear Power Plant (NEK) had left the NEK owner in limbo about whether a new reactor at NEK would be built or not. Despite the shortcomings, the court only issued a set of recommendations to several stakeholders.
        LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Privileges and Credentials Commission decided that a parliamentary inquiry into prosecutions of former Maribor Mayor Franc Kangler would not be initiated until after the Constitutional Court weighed in on the matter at the behest of the prosecution and judiciary.
        LJUBLJANA - The Ljubljana mosque got an operating permit. It is expected to open for prayers after the New Year; however, the official inauguration ceremony is planned for the end of May 2020.
        MUNICH, Germany - The Slovenian men's national basketball team received a special invitation to play in one of the four qualifying tournaments for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, to be played next June.

 

14 Sep 2019, 10:40 AM

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

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

This summary was prepared by the STA:

FRIDAY, 6 September
        LJUBLJANA - Representatives of all three branches of government taking part in a debate on the state of the rule of law in Slovenia agreed that the separation of powers was key for the implementation of the rule of law. Judges were critical of interference in the judiciary and failure to implement Constitutional Court rulings.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's largest banking group, NLB saw its half-year-net profit fall by 10% year-on-year to EUR 94.3 million despite higher interest and non-interest income. Profit before impairments and provisions was up 13% to EUR 116 million.
        LJUBLJANA - The German-owned Slovenian carrier Adria Airways reached a deal with pilots to prevent a series of strikes that were due to begin in two days, agreeing a draft of a new collective bargaining agreement, which now needs to be endorsed by members of the pilots' trade union.
        LJUBLJANA - Infrastructure Minister Alenka Bratušek denied the allegation that she personally interfered in a procedure to appoint the CEO of SODO, the state-owned electricity distribution system operator, while defending the government's decision on 14 August to change the SODO articles of association so that the supervisory board needs the government's consent to appoint or dismiss the CEO.
        BILBAO, Spain - Slovenia proved a cycling tour superpower as Tadej Pogačar (UAE Emirates) won the 13th stage of the Vuelta ahead of Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma), who increased the overall lead. In the all-Slovenian finish on the hellishly steep final climb, Pogačar won his second stage victory to advance to the 3rd spot overall and put on the best young rider's white jersey.

SATURDAY, 7 September
        LJUBLJANA - Foreign companies accounted for 5.6% of all companies in Slovenia in 2017 but created over 27% of value added, roughly on a par with 2016. These companies employed almost 26% of all workers, and allocated 39% of their expenses in Slovenia for R&D, the Statistics Office's data show.

SUNDAY, 8 September
        ANTANANARIVO, Madagascar - Pope Francis visited Akamasoa, a village founded by the Slovenian missionary Pedro Opeka in Madagascar as part of his south African tour, meeting Opeka and several other Church dignitaries along with several thousand people.
        METLIKA - Several thousand firefighters and other visitors gathered to celebrate the 150th anniversary of organised firefighting in Slovenia. In his keynote, Prime Minister Marjan Šarec, himself a volunteer firefighter, stressed that the umbrella Firefighters' Union was the biggest humanitarian organisation in the country.
        PODLESJE - A mass and commemoration were held on the site of a short-lived forced-labour camp near Kočevje at which post-war Communist authorities interned women. It was in operation from July 1949 and October the same year and held 800 women and girls, either suspected of having been associated with the anti-Communist Home Guards or deemed politically dangerous.

MONDAY, 9 September
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - Coalition party officials and government members conducted the last joint debate on the budget for 2020 and 2021 before the government submits budget documents to parliament. Finance Minister Andrej Bertoncelj said the government would wait until a fresh economic outlook is released on 19 September. Public spending in 2020 is capped at EUR 10.45 billion.
        LJUBLJANA - National Assembly Speaker Dejan Židan hosted his Latvian counterpart Inara Murniece for talks, after which the pair called for a strong and effective EU where the voice of each member counts. The Latvian speaker, who also met President Borut Pahor and Prime Minister Marjan Šarec, thanked Slovenia for taking part in NATO's Enhanced Forward Presence mission in Latvia.
        LJUBLJANA - A poll by Delo gave the government an average rating of 2.96 on a 1-5 scale in September, up from 2.91 in August and 2.16 when it took office a year ago. The improvement in the government rating was also reflected in higher ratings for PM Marjan Šarec's LMŠ party, which gained more than two points to 18.9%, over 5 points ahead of the opposition Democrats (SDS).
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia exported EUR 3.962 billion worth of goods in July, the highest monthly value on record as the trade surplus hit a record level of EUR 937 million. Merchandise exports were 46.3% higher than in July 2018 and imports rose by 16.4% to EUR 3.025 billion, the Statistics Office reported.
        LJUBLJANA - Lek, a subsidiary of the Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis, inaugurated new development laboratories at the Slovenia development centre in Ljubljana. Valued at EUR 7.5 million, the investment will allow development sterile solid dosage forms to treat cancer patients.
        VRHNIKA - The Environment Ministry annulled the August decision by the building inspectorate which forced hazardous waste treatment company Kemis to suspend its operations. Kemis can resume business, while the inspectorate need to decide on the matter again.
        LJUBLJANA - History of Love (Zgodovina Ljubezni), a meditative drama by Sonja Prosenc, was picked as Slovenia's candidate for the nomination for the 2020 Academy Award for Best International Feature Film by a judging panel of the Association of Slovenian Filmmakers.
        LJUBLJANA - The national football team scored a third consecutive win in the qualifiers for the 2020 Euro by defeating Israel at home 3:2 to advance to second place in Group G behind the leading Poland, whom they beat 2:0 in Ljubljana on 6 September.

TUESDAY, 10 September
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - President-elect of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen announced the distribution of posts in the new commission, assigning the crisis management portfolio to Slovenia's commissioner-designate Janez Lenarčič. First political reactions indicate the portfolio is perceived as lightweight, although the opposition Democrats (SDS) leader Janez Janša said it was one of the hardest and most thankless because it involved dealing with the controversial issue of migration.
        MOSCOW, Russia - Prime Minister Marjan Šarec paid an official visit to Russia with a sizeable government and business delegation. After talks, Russian PM Dmitry Medvedev suggested Slovenia should help in the restructuring of now mostly Russian-owned Croatian conglomerate Agrokor and its Slovenian subsidiary, the retailer Mercator. Šarec also attended the unveiling of a monument to Slovenian soldiers who perished on Russian soil in both world wars. Accompanying Šarec, Foreign Minister Miro Cerar commented that the visit was important from the economic aspect, but he did not think it would affect Slovenia's relations with the US or the EU.
        MOSCOW, Russia - The energy company Petrol signed cooperation contracts with Russia's T Plus Grupa and Schneider Electric on the sidelines of Prime Minister Marjan Šarec's visit. The projects will focus on optimisation of district heating.
        CELJE - The 52nd International Trade Fair got under way, hosting more than 1,500 exhibitors from over 30 countries and almost all continents until 15 September. A sizeable delegation came from Montenegro, this year's partner country, headed by Economy Minister Dragica Sekulić.
        LJUBLJANA - The latest survey by temping agency Manpower put Slovenia's seasonally-adjusted net employment outlook for the final quarter of the years at 17%, one of the most upbeat forecasts in the region and level with a year ago.
        KOPER - The 34th Vilenica International Literary Festival got under way with an event featuring the Vilenica Prize winner Dragan Velikić, one of the most esteemed Serbian authors, and the Slovenian author in focus, rebel poet Esad Babačić. The festival brought together more than 20 authors from 15 countries.

WEDNESDAY, 11 September
        LJUBLJANA - A group of 28 scholars urged President Borut Pahor to resign or be impeached over his comments at the Bled Strategic Forum which suggested that Turkey and Ukraine should not count on full-fledged EU membership. Pahor's office said the stance on a special status of Turkey and Ukraine within the EU had been known at home and abroad for several years, while Foreign Minister Miro Cerar reiterated that Slovenia supported Turkey's accession to the EU.
        LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Defence Committee green-lighted the national security strategy resolution for the plenary discussion, but passed an amendment of the opposition Democrats (SDS) to throw out a provision granting additional powers to the SOVA intelligence service.
        LJUBLJANA - The government and public sector trade unions launched a fresh round of talks aimed at reforming the public sector pay system toward a more performance-based remuneration system. One of the government's proposals is that employees could get up to 30% higher pay based on performance, but it would also slow down their promotion to higher pay brackets, which is now all but automatic.
        LJUBLJANA - The EU's statistics office Eurostat projected that Slovenia's population will decrease by 13% to below 1.8 million in 2100. Almost a third of the population is projected to be aged 65 or older at the end of the century.

THURSDAY, 12 September
        LJUBLJANA - The government's economic think-tank, IMAD, downgraded Slovenia's GDP growth forecast for 2019 by 0.6 points to 2.8% for 2019 and by 0.1 points to 3% for 2020. In response, Finance Minister Andrej Bertoncelj announced cuts in planned budget expenditure in 2019 and 2020.
        LJUBLJANA - Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, chairman of the NATO Military Committee, started an official visit to Slovenia ahead of a two-day conference of the chiefs of defence from NATO member countries. Meeting Chief of the General Staff, Major General Alenka Ermenc, President Borut Pahor and PM Marjan Šarec, the officer commended Slovenia and its armed forces on their 15 years of contribution in support of the alliance's values and mission.
        LJUBLJANA - On the back of the news that the Supreme State Prosecution had asked the Constitutional Court to examine whether the parliamentary inquiry into prosecution of former Maribor Mayor Franc Kangler may be in breach of the constitutional provision of division of power, the Judicial Council said it would do the same, arguing that the legislative branch overstepped its powers.
        LJUBLJANA - The government dismissed Dragica Hržica as chief environment ans spatial planning inspector, replacing her with Dragan Matić, a former MP of the coalition Modern Centre Party (SMC). Hržica's office had been criticised over its allegedly faulty oversight of waste processing facilities.
        LJUBLJANA - The commercial broadcaster POP TV said it had sacked a sports journalist after he was arrested by police on the border with Croatia on suspicion of smuggling illegal migrants to Slovenia.
        LJUBLJANA - Despite slightly improving its economic freedom, Slovenia remained 67th among 162 countries in the latest Economic Freedom of the World report, compiled by the Canadian libertarian Fraser Institute.
        MARIBOR - Andrej E. Skubic won the Večernica Prize for best youth and children's book, conferred by the newspaper publisher Večer, for Grandma Does's Have Phone Any More, the second part of his book series Trio Golaznikus.
        LJUBLJANA - The Men's European Volleyball Championship got under way in Slovenia, one of four host countries. Slovenia hope to win the tournament, an improvement on the 2015 silver medal.

 

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