Ljubljana related

18 Jan 2020, 10:25 AM

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

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

FRIDAY, 10 January
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor defended Slovenia's decision to evacuate troops from Iraq following an attack by Iran on the Erbil airbase where the six soldiers were stationed, saying a sovereign country had the right to assess whether its soldiers were safe or not. He said the evacuation was merely an early rotation of the team deployed to Erbil to train the Kurdish fighters. In another statement on 15 January, he said the temporary withdrawal would not tarnish Slovenia's reputation in the international community.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Foreign Minister Miro Cerar called on the EU to play a greater role in the de-escalation of tensions in the Middle East as EU foreign ministers held an emergency session. He also reiterated Slovenia's commitment to remain a partner in the fight against IS and continue training Iraqi security forces.
        LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian central bank initiated a Constitutional Court challenge against a law that would require it to cover all repayments to those who lost their investments during the banking sector bailout in 2013. The law was passed in late-2019 and provides easier access to recourse for roughly 100,000 potential plaintiffs, both shareholders and holders of junior bonds, wiped out on instruction from the EU.
        LJUBLJANA - Public Administration Minister Rudi Medved tried to reassure the public that concerns about health risks related to 5G technology were given due attention. But while he deems the concerns legitimate, he also said Slovenia needed 5G as he addressed the press after a protest against the technology.

SATURDAY, 11 January
        LJUBLJANA - PM Marjan Šarec criticised the way Slovenian military instructors had been pulled out of Iraq earlier in the week. "The last thing we wanted was media hype," he said on Twitter in reference to Defence Minister Karl Erjavec and President Borut Pahor, supreme commander of the Armed Forces, deciding to bring home Slovenia's six instructors stationed in Erbil after Iran's rocket attack of their base.
        ADELBODEN, Switzerland - Skier Žan Kranjec won the giant slalom FIS World Cup Alpine Skiing race in Adelboden, taking the lead in the giant slalom rankings.
        DRESDEN, Germany - Cross-country skier Anamarija Lampič won silver in the sprint event of FIS Cross-Country event in Dresden, taking the lead in the cross country sprint rankings.
        LJUBLJANA - Renault's Clio, one of the best selling cars in Slovenia since its launch in 1990, was declared the Slovenian car of 2020, in a competition organised by the Slovenian automotive media for the 28th time.

SUNDAY, 12 January
        LJUBLJANA - Janez Janša, leader of the opposition Democrats (SDS), told TV Slovenija in a rare interview that the Marjan Šarec government coalition was "clinically dead". Since the current balance of power in parliament makes it impossible to build a strong alternative majority, he thinks an early election is likely. Opposition New Slovenia (NSi) leader Matej Tonin confirmed on 13 January his party was taking part in talks on a potential new coalition, which were ongoing at all times, but all coalition parties later denied being involved in any specific talks.

MONDAY, 13 January
        LJUBLJANA - Environment Minister Simon Zajc responded to calls for Slovenia to declare a state of climate emergency by saying that "concrete measures are more important than declaring a climate crisis". He believes it should be first determined if a majority in parliament supports the measures that would have to be taken if a climate emergency is declared.
        LJUBLJANA - Five hospitals must return a total of EUR 4.9 million in restructuring funds they received from the state in 2017 to get out of the red because the funds were not spent within the deadline, which was however set retroactively, the newspaper Delo reported. While the Ljubljana Institute of Oncology has already returned the money, the other four hospitals intend to use all legal means to keep the money.
        KRŠKO - Power utility group GEN, part of which is Slovenia's only N-plant NEK, reported EUR 2.2 billion in revenue and EUR 48 million in net profit in 2019. Investments totalled EUR 100 million.
        LJUBLJANA - Austria's Human Rights Ombudsman Werner Amon, who is also secretary general of the International Ombudsman Institute, visited Slovenia to meet his counterpart Peter Svetina. The pair discussed ways of strengthening cooperation between ombudsmen in Europe.
        LJUBLJANA - The Environment Ministry gave out its first environmental award, honouring maritime pilot Andrej Gorup, who prevented an environmental disaster in April 2019 by re-routing a Swedish oil tanker heading towards the port of Koper with an alarming speed.
        LJUBLJANA - Some 84,350 new cars and vans were sold in Slovenia in 2019, a 1% drop over 2018. Volkswagen dominated the market, followed by Renault and Škoda, shows data released by the Slovenian Chamber of Commerce.

TUESDAY, 14 January
        JERUSALEM, Israel - The Simon Wiesenthal Center criticised the recent decision by the Slovenian Supreme Court to annul the 1946 conviction of Leon Rupnik, who headed the Provisional Government of the Nazi-occupied Province of Ljubljana. In a letter sent to the Slovenian ambassador to Israel, the centre said the "shameful decision constitutes a shocking distortion of the history of the Holocaust and a horrific insult to Rupnik's many victims and their families".
        LJUBLJANA - The Government Office for Slovenians Abroad confirmed the first Venezuelans of Slovenian descent had already arrived in Slovenia as part of the largest repatriation project in the country, prompted by the Venezuela crisis. The office would not reveal any details, but the government set aside EUR 1.2 million for the project with 53 persons so far applying for resettlement.
        ABU DHABI, UAE - Foreign Minister Miro Cerar attended a ministerial of the Slovenian-sponsored Green Group initiative to discuss preparations for the Expo 2020 Dubai. He also met his Emirati counterpart Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Thani Ahmed Al-Zeyoudi, the minister of climate change and environment.
        LJUBLJANA - A higher court threw out the guilty verdict of radiologist Zoran Milošević over bribery because the case had become statute-barred following an appeal. Milošević had been sentenced to a suspended prison sentence of ten months for accepting a EUR 7,200 bribe in exchange for making sure UKC Ljubljana, the country's largest hospital, chose a specific company as the supplier of a medicinal device. Milošević is also the chief defendant in a separate trial related to the biggest health corruption case in the country's history.
        LJUBLJANA - Acclaimed playwright Simona Semenič won publisher Mladinska Knjiga's 10,000-euro Blue Bird Prize for the best as yet unpublished youth novel. Skrivno Društvo KRVZ (KRVZ Secret Society), to be released in April, tells a story about a group of friends and their adventures including dragons and secret maps.

WEDNESDAY, 15 January
        LJUBLJANA - Photographer Stojan Kerbler, 81, and ballet dancer and choreographer Milko Šparemblek, 91, were declared the winners of this year's Prešeren Prize for lifetime achievements in the arts. This is the first time the Prešeren Prize has been given to a photographer. The awards, togehter with six minor Prešeren Fund Prizes for achievements in the past three years will be conferred on 7 February, the eve of Culture Day.
        LJUBLJANA - PM Marjan Šarec said there was no reason for his government to fall, as he responded to an assessment by opposition Democrat (SDS) leader Janez Janša that the coalition was clinically dead. While he admitted problems did exist, Šarec said "if all of us worked for the same goal, we would be able to solve many of these problems".
        LJUBLJANA - PM Marjan Šarec denied interfering in the coalition Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) pre-congress developments, and rejected the speculation that DeSUS leader Karel Erjavec's ministerial seat was at stake due to his awkward handling of troops' temporary withdrawal from Iraq.
        LJUBLJANA - Dovolj.je, a Catholic civil society group dedicated to fighting against sexual abuse in the Slovenian Roman Catholic Church called for the resignation of Ljubljana Archbishop Stanislav Zore due to the church's persistent failure to tackle sexual abuse allegations. The Slovenian Bishops' Conference rejected the call, saying it was under Zore's chairmanship of the conference that the church had continued taking action against sexual abuse.
        LJUBLJANA - A group of five Eritrean citizens whose asylum applications were rejected in December staged a protest against what they believe is systematic rejection of Eritreans by state authorities, whose decisions suggest that Eritrea is a safe country while it is actually among the most repressive regimes in the world. The Interior Ministry rejected the allegations, saying all applications were treated individually and all personal circumstances of every applicant were considered.
        LJUBLJANA - Several hundred people turned up to protest in front of Government Palace over a provocative Christmas Eve Twitter post by Education Ministry State Secretary Jernej Štromajer that conservatives had interpreted as deriding Christmas and Christians. The protesters repeated their call for Štromajer's resignation.

THURSDAY, 16 January
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor completed a two-day round of consultations with parliamentary parties on the most suitable candidates for two Slovenian judges at the EU's General Court in Luxembourg. Klemen Podobnik and Jure Vidmar seem to enjoy the most support among deputy groups. Pahor will now have to send his nominations to parliament, where the candidates need to secure 46 votes to get appointed.
        LJUBLJANA - Unhappy with the government's slow tackling of waiting times in the public health system, the Medical Chamber drafted a bill to reduce them, which the opposition New Slovenia (NSi) filed to parliament a few days ago. The chamber's president Zdenka Čebašek-Travnik said the bill would enable the ZZZS public health insurer to temporarily commission all medical services providers, including private entities, to carry out additional medical services.
        LJUBLJANA - The opposition Left failed in its attempt to make the parliamentary Foreign Policy Committee condemn the use of US military force in the Middle East and call on the government to express opposition to the US policy on Iran. Several MPs accused the Left at the session of attempting to score political points.
        LJUBLJANA - The opposition Democrats (SDS) tabled a legislative amendment to reinstate compulsory six-month military service to deter military threats, strengthen patriotism and improve the mental and physical fitness of the country's male population. The party says it has cross-partisan support.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia remains an attractive destination for Austrian investors; a survey of the representation of the Austrian economy in Slovenia, Advantage Austria Ljubljana, showed 75% of Austrian entrepreneurs believe the country will also be attractive for new investments this year, which is still much lower than the record-high of 91% from 2019.

All our posts in this series are here

10 Jan 2020, 18:31 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, 3 January
        LJUBLJANA - One year into her term, Slovenian Police Commissioner Tatjana Bobnar was happy to report that crime clearance rate increased to over 50% from 47%, which she says is the success of the system, not just individuals. Bobnar told the STA in an interview that the police now handle many more cases of corruption, and that cracking down on such crime is a priority.
        KLAGENFURT, Austria - The Slovenian ethnic minority in Austria expressed optimism about the coalition agreement between the Austrian People's Party (ÖVP) and the Greens, which aims to make Austria carbon-neutral by 2040 and pledges to increase funding for ethnic minorities. Umbrella minority organisations believe "better times" are on the horizon.

SATURDAY, 4 January
        MARIBOR - Police apprehended Andrej Šiško, the self-styled leader of a militia who should have reported to prison to serve out his sentence for incitement to subversion of the constitutional order. He was apprehended at a commemoration of a major WWII battle in the Pohorje hills as he was about to approach President Borut Pahor.
        VAL DI FIEMME, Italy - Slovenian cross-country skier Anamarija Lampič dominated the World Cup freestyle sprint event in Val di Fiemme, Italy, in what was her third career World Cup win.

SUNDAY, 5 January
        LJUBLJANA - Physician and humanitarian worker Ninna Kozorog, the head of Humanitarček, an NGO which has campaigned for assistance to retirees living in poverty, was declared the Slovenian Woman of the Year 2019 by the women's magazine Jana/Zarja. The association's activities include a project called Vida, which aims at highlighting the difficulties faced by the elderly in remote areas.

MONDAY, 6 January
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor called for a de-escalation of tensions in the Middle East as he made an appeal for a peaceful resolution of disputes following the killing of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani by the US. He acknowledged that the order by US President Donald Trump to kill Soleimani had "caused tensions across the Middle East and in the entire international community".
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor congratulated Croatia's newly elected President Zoran Milanović, who made improving relations with Slovenia a priority. Although Milanović was prime minister when Croatia unilaterally withdrew from the border arbitration procedure, Pahor hopes dialogue will lead to the implementation of the border arbitration decision. Analyst Borut Šuklje said Slovenia should be cautious about Milanović's pronouncement.
        LJUBLJANA - Four former top executives of Hypo Alpe Adria were sentenced to between six and eight years in prison for defrauding the now defunct financial group of several million euro through property transactions. The Ljubljana District Court found former Hypo Alpe Adria CEOs Anton Romih and Božidar Špan, former Hypo Leasing director general Andrej Potočnik and former Hypo Alpe Adria Consultance director Andrej Oblak guilty of abuse of office and money laundering.

TUESDAY, 7 January
        LJUBLJANA - The Ljubljana District Court fully upheld the Competition Protection Agency's decision to temporarily seize Mercator shares from the retailer's owner, Croatian group Agrokor. Agrokor's successor Fortenova announced it would use all legal means available to have the seizure annulled.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia successfully completed a EUR 1.5 billion ten-year eurobond issue, leveraging market appetite for fixed assets to secure a record-low coupon interest rate of 0.275%. The last bond issue a year ago came with a coupon rate of 1.188%.
        LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Miro Cerar voiced support for a de-escalation of tensions in the conflict between Iran and the United States. "It is necessary to calm down the situation, prevent the triggering of any violence or threat," he said.
        LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minster Miro Cerar told a debate on the Western Balkans that with the new European Commission, EU enlargement to the region was increasingly likely. He announced the region's EU prospects would be a priority of Slovenia's EU presidency in the second half of 2021.
        LJUBLJANA - The Constitutional Court announced it had rejected a petition in which Lekarna Ljubljana, the company operating a chain of pharmacies in greater Ljubljana, challenged a law prohibiting pharmacies from owning or controlling drug wholesalers and advertising pharmaceutical products.

WEDNESDAY, 8 January
        LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Defence Ministry announced the withdrawal of six soldiers from Erbil in northern Iraq after the base was attacked by Iran in retaliation for the killing of a senior general. The withdrawal followed the next day following a delay after Germany, which to provide logistical support, decided its troops would remain in Erbil.
        LJUBLJANA - The health insurance institute ZZZS approved the 2020 financial plan. Expenditure is budgeted to increase by EUR 266 million compared to 2019 to EUR 3.32 billion. The institute is expected to operate at a EUR 10.4 million loss this year, which is to be covered by a surplus generated in the past.
        LJUBLJANA - OTP, the Hungarian banking group which acquired SBK Banka from the French group Societe Generale last year, said it planned to grow organically and through takeovers. OTP CEO Sandor Csanyi said the group could attain a market share of between 25% and 30% in Slovenia; SKB was at 8% in 2018.
        LJUBLJANA - The biggest health corruption case in Slovenia's history came to trial, with four defendants out of six who appeared pleading not guilty. One did not enter a plea, and one was allowed to leave the hearing early due to health reasons, and will enter his plea at the next hearing.

THURSDAY, 9 January
        LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Marjan Šarec, Foreign Minister Miro Cerar and Defence Minister Karl Erjavec pledged Slovenia's continued commitment to the global anti-Daesh coalition, and its resolve to deploy a new rotation of troops to northern Iraq despite the decision to relocate the current rotation home early following Iran attacks on Erbil airport. The position was also backed by the parliamentary committees on defence and foreign policy.
        LJUBLJANA - The Supreme Court's annulment of the 1946 death sentencing of WWII general Leon Rupnik for collaboration with the Fascist Italian and Nazi German occupation drew protests from the Association of WWII Veterans, the Jewish Cultural Centre Ljubljana and the Social Democrats. The centre plans to inform the world public of the decision.
        LJUBLJANA - A vetting commission endorsed four candidates for the head of the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption, excluding the incumbent Boris Štefanec. President Borut Pahor will be able to make his pick from Štefanec's deputy Uroš Novak, Tina Brecelj, adviser to the Supreme Court president, Janez Pogorelec from the Government Office for Legislation and Robert Šumi from the Police Academy.
        LJUBLJANA - Jadran Lenarčič, the long-serving director of the Jožef Stefan Institute, Slovenia's top research institution, was declared the Person of 2019 by the newspaper publisher Delo.
        LJUBLJANA - The Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts (ZRC SAZU) announced "podnebje" or climate as the Slovenian word of 2019. Second place went to "Šarecism", alluding to the discourse used by Prime Minister Marjan Šarec, followed by "carbon-neutral".
        MORAVČE - A large-scale wooden effigy of US President Donald Trump, which had recently been relocated to Moravče, some 30 kilometres east of Ljubljana, was torched during the night. The statue had originally been erected in Selo, a small village some 20 kilometres north of Ljubljana, in August, but was relocated to Moravče in late December.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's exports and imports rose by 4% and 0.4% respectively in November 2019 compared to the year before, the Statistics Office said, attributing this to the increased value of trade with EU non-member countries.

All our posts in this series are here

03 Jan 2020, 15:02 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, 27 December
        LJUBLJANA - Bank NLB and Belgian KBC, NLB's former owner, sold their life insurance company NLB Vita to the country's second biggest insurer Sava Re for an undisclosed amount believed to be in the EUR 20-30 million range. The sale means that NLB met the last of several conditions attached to the 2013 bailout.
        ZAGREB, Croatia - Bankrupt Croatian conglomerate Agrokor, the owner of Slovenian retailer Mercator, turned to the EU to complain about the seizure of Mercator stock by Slovenian anti-trust authorities. In a letter to Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, Agrokor chairman Fabris Peruško said the procedures ran contrary to EU and Slovenian law and were motivated by "national political reasons".

SATURDAY, 28 December
        LJUBLJANA - PM Marjan Šarec criticised some of his coalition partners in an interview with Dnevnik. He suggested he would not yield to pressure by DeSUS leader Karl Erjavec to act against Agriculture Minister Aleksandra Pivec, his main challenger for the party presidency, until there is firm evidence of any wrongdoing.

SUNDAY, 29 December
        LENZERHEIDE, Switzerland - Slovenian cross-country skier Anamarija Lampič dominated the World Cup freestyle sprint in Lenzerheide, the second event of the Tour de Ski series. This was the second World Cup win for the 24-year-old.

MONDAY, 30 December
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor offered to help the government undertake much-needed reforms, even as he acknowledged that structural reforms may lead to the demise of the Marjan Šarec government. He told TV Slovenia the government should pick a handful of projects and try to achieve consensus with his help.
        CELJE - Three companies that form the heavily indebted retail group Tuš entered preventive financial restructuring. The restructuring for the holding company Tuš Holding, its retail arm Engrotuš and its real estate arm Tuš Nepremičnine was initiated at the request of the companies themselves and with the support of creditors.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia recorded an above-average general government surplus in the third quarter of the year, as it reached EUR 193 million or more than triple that in the same period last year, the Statistics Office said. The surplus represented 1.6% of Slovenia's GDP.
        MORAVČE - A giant wooden sculpture resembling US President Donald Trump, which stirred controversy in late summer when it was erected in the village of Sela, was officially unveiled at its new home in Moravče, north-east of Ljubljana. The night before the second unveiling, the effigy was defaced in an effort to add a Hitler-like moustache.

TUESDAY, 31 December
        LJUBLJANA - A Vox Populi public opinion poll commissioned by Dnevnik showed that Slovenians are quite satisfied with their lives, with the respondents assessing the quality of life with an average mark of 3.38 on a one-to-five scale. It shows that persons younger than 30 are the most satisfied with their lives and that satisfaction correlates with the level of education.

WEDNESDAY, 1 January
        LJUBLJANA - Tens of thousands of Slovenians ushered in the new year in the open, with the largest crowd of 55,000 gathering in four squares in Ljubljana. The capital also saw the traditional fireworks, while some major cities this time opted for quieter celebrations without fireworks.
        LJUBLJANA - Uniform cigarette and tobacco packaging rolled out on New Year's Day under new rules, bearing graphic warnings of the adverse health effects of smoking and donning the Pantone 448 C dark brown hue, known as the ugliest colour in the world, to further deter anyone from picking up the harmful habit.

THURSDAY, 2 January
        LJUBLJANA - The Foreign Ministry condemned attacks on coalition forces fighting Islamic State militants in Iraq and an attack on the US Embassy compound in Baghdad in the strongest terms, urging the Iraqi authorities to ensure security of diplomatic missions in the country. In a response echoing the position of the EU, the Foreign Ministry expressed its condolences to the governments of the US and Iraq and to the families of those killed in the attacks.

All our posts in this series are here

29 Dec 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.

FRIDAY, 20 December
        LJUBLJANA - Angelika Mlinar, new cohesion policy minister, took over at the Government Office for Development and European Cohesion. She said the key challenges were speeding up EU funds absorption and opening dialogue with other ministries.
        LJUBLJANA - Lidija Ivanuša, an MP for the opposition National Party (SNS), defected to the opposition Democrats (SDS), a move that could further complicate the operational ability of the minority government.
        LJUBLJANA - The coalition Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) indicated it could part ways with MP Robert Polnar who was the only coalition MP to vote against appointing Angelika Mlinar cohesion policy minister. A decision was expected after New Year's.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenian police processed more than 15,200 illegal crossings of the border by the end of November this year, a 70% increase compared to the same period in 2018, fresh statistics showed.
        LJUBLJANA - The supervisory board of the motorway company DARS endorsed the selection of Turkish bidder Cengiz as the contractor to build the Slovenian section of the second tube of the Karavanke motorway tunnel for EUR 98.5 million, VAT excluded.
        NOVO MESTO - Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek announced that TPV, an automotive industry supplier, will receive EUR 6.5 million in state incentive for a EUR 49 million investment into production expansion after it reached two major deals with car makers Volvo Cars and BMW last year.
        LJUBLJANA - Matej Pirc, the chief executive officer of the Bank Assets Management Company, told the STA that the bad bank could build rental apartments and retirement homes and provide for an additional 5,000 housing units, provided its mandate is extended beyond the currently planned end of operations in 2022.
        LJUBLJANA - Home price growth accelerated in the third quarter of 2019, with average prices rising by 8.5% year on year and 3.1% over the previous quarter on the back of strong growth in prices of used flats, show Statistics Office figures.

SATURDAY, 21 December
        LJUBLJANA - An audit conducted by the Environment Ministry found serious shortcomings in approval procedures for a stretch of an EU-subsidised sewerage project that some say could jeopardise the source of drinking water for 300,000 residents of Ljubljana.
        PLANICA - Swede Jonna Sundling and France's Lucas Chanavat won respective Cross-Country World Cup sprint freestyle events in extremely bad weather conditions in Planica.

SUNDAY, 22 December
        ERBIL, Iraq - Major General Alenka Ermenc, the chief of the general staff, visited Slovenian troops in Iraq.
        ENGELBERG, Switzerland - Ski jumper Peter Prevc finished second at a World Cup event in Engelberg in what was his first podium result this winter.
        ALTA BADIA, Italy - Slovenian alpine skier Žan Kranjec bagged his second podium finish in giant slalom World Cup this season, finishing third in Alta Badia.

MONDAY, 23 December
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor invoked independence-era unity as he called on political stakeholders to engage in dialogue and cooperation as a safeguard against potential threats against society and state in an address to the Independence and Unity Day ceremony.
        LJUBLJANA - Deputy Speaker Jože Tanko of the opposition Democrats (SDS) pinpointed the judiciary as the most problematic area 29 years after Slovenia opted for independence. Addressing the parliament's ceremonial session before Independence and Unity Day, he said equality before law was not guaranteed to all.
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor decorated constitutional jurist Peter Jambrek with the Golden Order of Merit and Austrian politician Erhard Busek with the Silver Order of Merit for their contribution to Slovenia's independence and international recognition.
        CELJE - The Celje District Court sentenced Uroš Rotnik, the former boss of the Šoštanj coal-fired power station (TEŠ), to ten months suspended for stealing an income statement from the Financial Administration in November 2013.
        LJUBLJANA - The owner and editor of the pozareport.si news portal, Bojan Požar, was ordered to pay Viktor Knavs, the father of US first lady Melania Trump, EUR 5,000 in damages and almost EUR 2,000 in litigation costs. He also has to publicly apologise for alleging Knavs was in prison due to tax evasion and illicit trade.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenian researchers working abroad gathered for a symposium designed to establish and strengthen networking opportunities between Slovenian scholars abroad and those researching in Slovenia.
        LJUBLJANA - Alfi, a private equity fund, acquired an 80% stake in Prevent & Deloza, Slovenia's leading maker of protective garments, for an undisclosed sum, a move it said would improve the company's development prospects and strengthen innovation.

TUESDAY, 24 December
        LJUBLJANA - The National Council vetoed changes to the tonnage tax act which extend by ten years a special regulation under which shippers pay an alternative form of corporate tax.
        LJUBLJANA/ZAGREB, Croatia - Agrokor, the owner of retailer Mercator, made good on its plan to challenge the seizure of 70% of Mercator shares by Slovenia's competition watchdog, as it appealed the decision at the Ljubljana Local Court.

WEDNESDAY, 25 December
        LJUBLJANA - News portal 24ur.com reported that a brand new police helicopter, delivered in mid-October, was out of commission because of problems with the main rotor's transmission.

THURSDAY, 26 December
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia observed Independence and Unity Day, a bank holiday, remembering the 1990 independence referendum, in which people voted overwhelmingly for Slovenia to leave Yugoslavia.

All our posts in this series are here

21 Dec 2019, 16:00 PM

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

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

FRIDAY, 13 December
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - PM Marjan Šarec expressed satisfaction that nearly all EU members had reached an agreement on carbon neutrality by 2050, saying Slovenia was happy that each member state determines its own energy mix in sustainable energy transition, indicating it would substitute nuclear energy for thermal. He warned however that carbon neutrality should not come at the expense of cohesion funding.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Commenting on the Conservatives' landslide victory in the UK general election, Prime Minister Marjan Šarec said Brexit by the end of January was probable and that a trade agreement with the UK could be reached next year if talks were conducted quickly.
        LJUBLJANA - The opposition Left made a renewed appeal on the government to push for Palestine's recognition at EU level, saying that in the EU failed to reach a consensus on the matter by the end of March 2020, Slovenia should take steps to recognise Palestine itself.
        SEOUL, South Korea - Slovenia was ranked 13th in the Global Sustainable Competitiveness Index compiled by Solability, a sustainability think-tank based in Switzerland and South Korea, among a total of 180 countries. The country fared best in terms of governance efficiency, and worst in natural capital and resource management.

SATURDAY, 14 December
        LJUBLJANA - Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi urged protecting multilateralism against unilateralism as he visited Slovenia for talks with his counterpart Miro Cerar and the country's top officials. Both ministers also welcomed a preliminary trade agreement reached between the US and China. Cerar said China was an indispensable strategic partner of the EU even if the two sides did not always share the same positions.
        LJUBLJANA - Seasoned diplomat Andrej Logar told the weekly Večer that he had been tasked with reviving the Ljubljana-based International Center for Promotion of Enterprises, founded in 1974 at the UN's initiative to promote international cooperation of developing countries. "Since Slovenia does not have intensive contacts with African and Asian countries as potential ICPE members, the centre could be an important instrument of Slovenia's foreign policy," Logar said.
        KOČEVSKA REKA - A ceremony attended by several independence-era figures marked the lining up of a territorial defence unit seen as a precursor to the Slovenian army on 17 December 1990, just a week before the country held its independence referendum. The keynote speaker, Igor Bavčar, the then interior minister who is now serving prison for money laundering liked to shares trading, said that challenges faced by the EU and NATO undermined the foundations of the EU as had been known for 30 years.

SUNDAY, 15 December
        MADRID, Spain/LJUBLJANA - In response to the UN Climate Change Conference COP25 in Madrid, which put off a decision on a rulebook for meeting Paris Agreement targets to 2020, Environment Minister Simon Zajc said the event was "a disappointment, as expected". Climate expert Lučka Kajfež Bogataj called the conference far from noteworthy, except for the fact that negotiators ignored calls for action by millions of young people and other citizens who demand change.
        LJUBLJANA - The December Vox Populi poll showed the coalition Marjan Šarec Party (LMŠ) at the top of the party rankings with the support of 20.2% of respondents. The opposition Democrats (SDS) calme second at 16.6%. Moreover, 50.4% of respondents believe the government is doing a good job.

MONDAY, 16 December
        LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Marjan Šarec told reporters that incorporating a new airline in full or partial state ownership after flag carrier Adria Airways went into receivership was not very likely, because of the highs risks entailed. The Bank Assets Management Company later said it was in talks with several European regional carriers to increase flight frequencies on major routes connecting Ljubljana.
        LJUBLJANA - European Commissioner Janez Lenarčič urged the implementation of the European Green Deal, outlined by the European Commission the week before, as he met Slovenia's senior officials in his first official visit to the country as commissioner. He deems environmental issues one of Slovenia's major challenges for the future.
        MADRID, Spain - Foreign Minister Miro Cerar presented Slovenia's stance on multilateralism and efforts related to climate change, sustainable development and gender equality on the final day of the Asia-Europe Meeting, he also held several bilateral meetings.
        TRIESTE, Italy - Slovenian Consul General in Italy's Trieste Vojko Volk condemned the posters on which an Italian neo-fascist movement labelled five Slovenian victims of fascism as terrorists on 14 December, the eve of an event commemorating the victims, executed in 1941.
        LJUBLJANA - Just over a year after its launch, the Ljubljana-based European Blockchain Hub, a cooperative designed to act as a platform bringing together blockchain stakeholders, declared bankruptcy, the main reason being that some stakeholders had failed to deliver.
        PARIS, France - Slovenian painter Gregor Pratneker won the Eugene Boudin Prize at the Salon de Beaux Arts in Paris, a major international art showcase. He received the honour for his oil painting Spring in Mountains.
        LJUBLJANA - The Youth Committee of the European Trade Union Confederation elected Slovenian Tea Jarc its president, making her the first Slovenian to elected president of a European trade union confederation.
TUESDAY, 17 December
        NOVI SAD, Serbia - Prime Minister Marjan Šarec promised Slovenia's further assistance to Serbia in efforts to join the EU, as he visited the country with five ministers for a joint session of the two governments. Šarec said there was no alternative to Serbia joining the EU. His counterpart Ana Brnabić thanked Slovenia for its political and technical support.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's central bank downgraded its projection for the country's economic growth for the year by 0.6 percentage points to 2.6%, decreasing the forecast for 2020 by 0.4 points to 2.5%, the level it is expected to remain in 2021 and 2022. The rates are above the euro area average.
        PULA, Croatia - The Croatian media reported that Croatia's fisheries inspectors had imposed over 270 fines worth over EUR 490,000 on Slovenia fishermen for fishing in what Croatia claims is its part of the Piran Bay since 15 March 2018. Since Slovenia implemented the arbitration award in December 2017, it issued over EUR 1 million in fines against Croatian fishermen in Slovenian waters.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenian troops serving in international missions and operations discussed security situation in an annual video conference with the Slovenian president, defence minister and the chief of the general staff. They reported being satisfied with their equipment, except for those in Latvia, who complained about the light armoured vehicles.
        LJUBLJANA - The Ljubljana Stock Exchange marked its 30th anniversary with a ceremony at which its current boss Aleš Ipavec said the desire was to make the exchange more appealing to investors. The exchange was launched on 26 December 1989 as the Yugoslav Stock Exchange.
        BELGRADE, Serbia - The Serbian newspaper Blic reported that Slovenia's largest bank, NLB, had submitted a binding bid to take over the Serbian state-owned bank Komercijalna Banka, along with Austria's Raiffeisen Bank International and Serbia's AIK Banka.
        LJUBLJANA - Cyclist Primož Roglič, sport climber Janja Garnbret and the men's national volleyball team were declared athletes of the year by the Association of Sports Journalists.

WEDNESDAY, 18 December
        LJUBLJANA - The Competition Protection Agency confirmed it had temporarily seized 70% of shares of retailer Mercator shares from its owner, Croatia's Agrokor, so that Agrokor pay a EUR 53.9 million fine for failure to notify its 2016 takeover of Slovenian-based bottled water company Costella. The decision is not yet final and Agrokor's successor, Fortenova said it would fight it with all means available. Fortenova described the agency's move as a coordinated effort to secure Slovenian suppliers of Mercator favoured position in Mercator group.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly endorsed a bill securing up to EUR 777 million in state loan guarantees for the construction of a new rail link connecting the Koper port and Divača, and two sections of an expressway connecting the north and south of the country.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly reviewed a report on the 2015 wiretapping scandal during the Slovenia-Croatia border arbitration process behind closed doors. The report, compiled by the parliamentary Intelligence Oversight Commission, finds that the Slovenian government and the intel agency SOVA were not involved in the violation of the arbitration agreement, attributing the blame for the scandal, which Croatia used as an excuse to withdraw from the arbitration, on Simona Drenik, Slovenia's agent in the procedure.
        WOLFSBURG, Germany - Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek and representatives of Slovenian automotive industry suppliers visited the headquarters of the Volkswagen Group in a bid to boost cooperation, especially in e-mobility and innovative solutions for carbon-neutral society.
        WASHINGTON, US - Slovenia placed 35th in the 2019 Human Freedom Index, level with last year. Austria is the only neighbour doing better, ranking 13th.

THURSDAY, 19 December
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly voted 44:43 to appoint Angelika Mlinar, an ethnic Slovenian from Austria, minister without portfolio in charge of cohesion policy, as the government secured a slim minority after several days of uncertainty. Mlinar said the vote showed that "we want to overcome borders".
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Environment Minister Simon Zajc called on the EU to take taking into account specific circumstances of individual EU countries regarding their large-carnivore management, especially in cases like Slovenia's where animal populations are booming. He suggested the EU habitats directive may have to be changed.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Public Health Institute said that the number of confirmed cases of measles infection in Slovenian population this year rose to 40 plus two in foreigners. In one outbreak, unofficially at the Škofja Loka company Knauf Insulation, a person got infected in Belgium before infecting six more people, one of whom infected a further eight.
        LJUBLJANA - Archbishop of Ljubljana Stanislav Zore told the STA he would like the Catholic Church to settle practical matters with the state, so they do not change with every change of government. Some of the things that needs addressing are education, social security contributions for priests and financing of heritage.
        LJUBLJANA - The Commission for the Prevention of Corruption issued an opinion finding Infrastructure Minister Alenka Bratušek was in conflict of interest in 2014, when she nominated herself for EU commissioner. Bratušek said she would challenge the claim, just as she had successfully challenged a previous opinion, which was dismissed by courts on procedural grounds.

All our posts in this series are here

13 Dec 2019, 17:39 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, 6 December
        LJUBLJANA - Simona Drenik Bavdek, the official at the centre of the arbitration scandal, demanded the withdrawal of an incriminating report by the parliamentary Commission for Oversight of Intelligence and Security Services. She later lodged a claim with the Administrative Court demanding that the report be taken from the website because the parliamentary inquiry violated her human rights.
        ROME, Italy - FM Miro Cerar and his Italian counterpart Luigi Di Maio called for EU-level solutions to tackle migrations, including enhanced protection of the EU's external borders, reform of asylum law and cooperation with third countries.
        LJUBLJANA - A productivity report compiled by IMAD, the government's macroeconomic think tank, showed that increasing productivity would be key to Slovenia's economic and social development, and to achieve the goal, innovation and R&D would have to be enhanced.
        LJUBLJANA - Fortenova, the owner of Croatian conglomerate Agrokor's healthy assets, confirmed the goal of resolving open issues regarding Slovenian retailer Mercator by the end of the year, highlighting the role of local suppliers' interdependency with Mercator and the importance of keeping the headquarters in Ljubljana for the next several years.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Slovenia's European Commissioner Janez Lenarčič appointed Matjaž Malgaj as head of his team, while it was reported that Maja Kocijančič was the only Slovenian in a cabinet of another commissioner.
        NEW YORK, US - Slovenian NBA star Luka Dončić was named Sports Illustrated's 2019 Breakout of the Year. The Dallas Mavericks small forward, who made his NBA debut in 2018, was also awarded NBA player of the month for October and November.

SATURDAY, 7 December
        LONDON, UK - The acclaimed SNG Maribor Ballet company led by choreographer Edward Clug put on two guest performances of Clug's celebrated work Radio and Juliet at the London Coliseum, the West End's largest theatre.

SUNDAY, 8 December
        LJUBLJANA - The latest data released by the Statistics Office showed that international trade in goods and services remained Slovenia's most important cross-border economic activity in 2018. The value of exports and imports of goods and services rose annually by 9.3% and 10.4%, respectively.
        LJUBLJANA - The Jury Grand Prix of the 16th Animateka international animated film festival was bestowed on Acid Rain by Polish director and animator Tomek Popakul. The film also won the audience award.

MONDAY, 9 December
        SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina/PRISHTINA, Kosovo - Visiting Slovenian soldiers deployed in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo, PM Marjan Šarec heard praise of them and stressed Slovenia was not considering diminishing its presence in the region. PM expressed regret over Kosovo transforming KFOR into a professional military force without changing the constitution.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - FM Miro Cerar said Slovenia did not support making decisions by qualified or any other kind of majority in the EU foreign policy. The country had signed an informal document which could be interpreted as paving the way for qualified majority, but FM stressed the document did not endorse this.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - FM Miro Cerar backed the decision by the EU's Foreign Affairs Council on launching preparations for a new EU regime to sanction human rights abusers. Meeting the foreign ministers of North Macedonia and Albania, FM called for starting EU accession talks with both countries by March next year.
        BERLIN, Germany - Speaker Dejan Židan met President of the Bundestag Wolfgang Schäuble for informal talks about the six-month EU presidency spells (July 2020 - December 2021) held successively by Germany, Portugal and Slovenia.
        LJUBLJANA - The coalition Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB) nominated Angelika Mlinar, a former Austrian MEP and a member of the Slovenian minority in Austria, for cohesion policy minister. The govt granted her citizenship request on 12 December, but her dual citizenship request in Austria is pending.
        LJUBLJANA - The permanent consultative climate policy committee, a body attached to President Borut Pahor's office, recommended to the government and both chambers of parliament to consider declaring a climate and environmental emergency.
        KRANJ - A fire broke out at Ekol, a hazardous waste processing plant, causing some EUR 40,000 damage, but the authorities later said it had not polluted the air or water. Nevertheless, it upset the locals, who have been warning for years about the hazard the Laze industrial zone poses to the environment and public health.
        LJUBLJANA/LONDON, UK - British business newspaper Financial Times ranked the University of Ljubljana's School of Economics and Business among the 95 best business schools in Europe for the second consecutive years.
TUESDAY, 10 December
        LJUBLJANA - The supervisory board of telecoms Telekom Slovenije appointed Tomaž Seljak the new chairman for a full, four-year term. Seljak had previously served as interim chairman following the resignation of Matjaž Merkan in mid-November.
        LJUBLJANA - The Statistics Office data showed that Slovenia's external trade in goods continued to grow in October, despite a drop in trade with EU countries. However, imports rose at a faster rate year-on-year than exports, creating a trade deficit.
        MADRID, Spain - Paris Agreement implementation will require the cooperation of everyone, Environment Minister Simon Zajc said at the COP25 climate summit. He later welcomed the European Green Deal, saying the strategy ensures a just transition to facilitate a green shift in the most vulnerable sectors and regions, including Slovenia's mining regions.
        LJUBLJANA - Iskratel, the company that was outbid in a tender to build a motorway e-tolling system for lorries in 2016, brought a EUR 17.7 million damages suit against the motorway company DARS, arguing that the latter as well as the National Review Commission had abused the selection procedure.
        LJUBLJANA - A debate discussing solutions aimed at increasing gender-balanced representation in Slovenia's electoral system heard calls for higher gender quotas and for the adoption of the zipper system. Speaker Dejan Židan expressed support for raising gender quotas from the current 35% to 40%.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia ranked 44th in the 2020 Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI), dropping one place compared to last year. The country scored the lowest in renewable energy and climate policy, while it did better in energy use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - A Ljubljana stadium designed by acclaimed architect Jože Plečnik in the 1920s was shortlisted as one of the 14 pieces of European cultural heritage that could be put on a list of seven most endangered pieces which will be revealed in March 2020.

WEDNESDAY, 11 December
        LUXEMBOURG, Luxembourg - The EU's Court of Justice Advocate General Priit Pikamäe proposed for the court to rule inadmissible Slovenia's case against Croatia over the latter's failure to implement the 2017 border arbitration award. Top officials expressed surprised and hope the court would heed the country's legal arguments rather than follow the non-binding opinion.
        LJUBLJANA - Interior Minister Boštjan Poklukar and his Macedonian counterpart Oliver Spasovski agreed joint policy and cooperation of all Western Balkan countries were needed for the effective management of migration on the Western Balkan route, as well as information exchange and fight against organised crime.
        LJUBLJANA - Election legislation, provinces and climate change ranked prominently as the country's President Borut Pahor, Prime Minister Marjan Šarec, Speaker Dejan Židan and National Council President Alojz Kovšca met for an end-of-year reception.
        ZADAR, Croatia - Defence Minister Karl Erjavec attended the inauguration of an aircraft training centre set up in the framework of NATO's Multinational Special Aviation Programme, saying the centre was very important for strengthening interoperability.
THURSDAY, 12 December
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - At an EU summit, PM Marjan Šarec said that the Finnish presidency's proposal for the EU's next long-term budget was very bad for Slovenia, because it proposed cutting cohesion funds for the country by 28% compared to the current period.
        LJUBLJANA - The Foreign Ministry reported that Slovenia had joined a Green Group call for more ambitious measures in the face of climate change at the climate conference in Madrid, while Prime Minister Marjan Šarec said in Brussels that Slovenia advocated carbon neutrality for EU by 2050.
        LJUBLJANA - The government granted the citizenship request by Angelika Mlinar, a former Austrian MEP who had been nominated to head the government office in charge of cohesion policy, under provisions of the citizenship act typically used to fast-track athletes' applications.
        BLED - Defence Minister Karl Erjavec hosted his Hungarian counterpart Tibor Benko, with the pair discussing the security situation in the region as well as bolstering bilateral and regional defence and military cooperation.
        ČRNOMELJ - Representatives of the European United Left/Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) visited Črnomelj area to assess the migrant situation there, noting good practices as well as a number of issues, including "police violence against refugees".
        LJUBLJANA - The office of President Borut Pahor asked the Interior Ministry to closely examine the case of an Afghan who is facing deportation from Slovenia, as it believes it stands out from usual cases. The man has lived in Slovenia since 2015, has a family here and speaks the language.
        LJUBLJANA - Petrol shareholders decided that major deals concerning the acquisition and disposal of financial investments, other types of investments and sponsorship contracts that the energy firm has concluded since early 2015 be audited.
        LJUBLJANA - The government said it would allocate EUR 10 million in 2021-2026 to support projects hosted by a Slovenian town to be designated a European Capital of Culture for 2025.
        LJUBLJANA - Saop and Mit Informatika, which specialise in enterprise software, signed a business combination agreement creating a new major player on the Slovenian IT market.

All our posts in this series are here

06 Dec 2019, 15:30 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, 29 November
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's economy expanded by 2.3% at the annual level in the third quarter of the year or a seasonally adjusted 2%, the slowest rate in three years, as growth continued to decelerate in line with predictions, the Statistics Office said.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed a mini pension reform, amendments to the pension and disability insurance act that will raise the pension base for men to equate it with women's and offer incentives to those who continue working after meeting retirement requirements.
        LJUBLJANA - Inspectors reported irregularities in the hiring practices at the Slovenian Intelligence and Security Agency (SOVA), in a case connected with the employment of a friend of Prime Minister Marjan Šarec. But Lidija Apohal Vučkovič, the chief inspector, said they were not of the kind that had been mentioned in the public and did not warrant action beyond guidance for the future.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed amendments to the labour market regulation act that significantly increase the minimum monthly unemployment benefit while stiffening eligibility conditions across the board. The minimum benefit will be raised from EUR 350 to EUR 530 gross.
        LJUBLJANA - NLB, Slovenia's largest bank, posted a group net profit of EUR 162.2 million for the first nine months of 2019, up 2% over the same period last year. All banks within the group generated profit, with the parent company's profit rising by 21% to almost EUR 163 million.
        KOPER - Luka Koper, the operator of Slovenia's sole maritime port, reported its nine-month net profit drop by 29% year-on-year to EUR 34.5 million. Net sales revenue rose by 3% in the period to EUR 173.8 million.
        LJUBLJANA - Consumer prices in Slovenia grew at an annual rate of 1.4% in November, which is level with the month before. On the monthly level, prices grew by 0.1%. The annual inflation was driven by higher prices of services and goods, the Statistics Office said.

SATURDAY, 30 November
        MARIBOR - PM Marjan Šarec dismissed criticism about border security and said police were doing a fine job protecting the EU's external border, as he addressed a ceremony marking the 30th anniversary of Operation North, a police campaign which prevented a disputed rally that Serbian nationalists wanted to stage in Ljubljana.
        LJUBLJANA/KOPER - The police officer who was injured in the 2016 shooting at the Izola general hospital is suing the state for damages, media reported. He is still on a sick leave, while the damages he received from insurers did not cover his costs. He also wants compensation for physical and emotional pain.

SUNDAY, 1 December
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor commented on the latest row over the parliamentary report on the arbitration intelligence scandal in a televised interview, finding that while the report was useful for the country, its publication at the moment was not.
        MURSKA SOBOTA - The new religious leadership of the Slovenian protestant community formally took over as Leon Novak was installed bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church succeeding Geza Filo and Geza Erniša before him. Novak likened himself to the captain of a ship using the Bible as a navigational aid.
        LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian police recorded 14,066 illegal crossings of the border in the first ten months of the year, up 72% year-on-year, the latest statistics showed. The number of people who expressed the wish to stay in Slovenia was also up, from 3,952 to 4,441, but the figures show most people treat Slovenia as a transit country.
        LJUBLJANA - An idiosyncratic graphic novel that was originally released in instalments on Facebook won the Grand Prix for book of the year at the Slovenian Book Fair. "Vinjete Straholjubca" (The Bête Noire Vignettes) is a joint project by writer Eva Mahkovic and illustrator Eva Mlinar.

MONDAY, 2 December
        BELGRADE, Serbia - Foreign Minister Miro Cerar met his Serbian counterpart Ivica Dačić as he started an official two-day visit to Serbia dedicated to preparations for a joint 17 December government session. Cerar said Slovenia would make an effort for EU enlargement to the Western Balkans to be given a fresh impetus with the new European Commission.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Interior Minister Boštjan Poklukar told a session of the EU's Justice and Home Affairs Council that Slovenia advocated a comprehensive approach to migrations in the future EU migration and asylum policy. The underlying goal must be to reduce illegal migrations, he said.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly overturned both vetoes the upper chamber imposed last week to block the state budget for 2020 and 2021, meaning the 2020 budget will start to be implemented on 1 January as planned. Prime Minister Marjan Šarec said common sense had prevailed.
        LJUBLJANA - Opposition Democrat (SDS) leader Janez Janša said he expected "an early election sooner or later" because the government coalition is running out of "candy" to distribute among voters, "which will cause big trouble". If fragmented, minority governments do not last long, Janša said.
TUESDAY, 3 December
        BELGRADE, Serbia - Foreign Minister Miro Cerar continued his official visit to Serbia by meeting President Aleksandar Vučić, who hailed Slovenia's active engagement in the Western Balkan Region. The pair discussed bilateral economic cooperation, succession to the former Yugoslavia and Slovenia's support for EU enlargement.
        LUXEMBOURG, Luxembourg - Slovenia, the European Commission and Croatia presented to the General Court of the European Union their arguments in a case related to a derogation enabling Croatia to use Teran as the name of a red wine protected by Slovenia. A ruling is expected by the end of next year.
        LJUBLJANA - A parliamentary commission inquiring into the prosecution of former Maribor Mayor Franc Kangler, which had been thwarted by the Constitutional Court, said it planned to file a criminal complaint against two judges at the court, Rajko Knez and judge Matej Accetto, arguing they had acted unlawfully and arbitrarily in decisions connected with the commission's work.
        LJUBLJANA - The results of Slovenian 15-year-olds in reading, scientific and mathematical literacy tests are above the OECD average, shows the recent PISA study. Compared to the previous such study, the students have come off as less accomplished in reading and science literacy though.
        LJUBLJANA - Turkish builder Cengiz announced it had won the contract to build the Slovenian section of the second tube of the Karavanke motorway tunnel, as the motorway company concluded talks with three bidders. The decision is yet to be confirmed by the DARS management.
        LJUBLJANA - The central bank warned that there were "substantial downside risks" in budgetary plans for 2020 and 2021 that the National Assembly confirmed in a revote. The risks "stem from a possible acceleration of the slowing of economic growth," it said.

WEDNESDAY, 4 December
        LONDON, UK - After attending a NATO summit in London, PM Marjan Šarec said he was happy that NATO leaders had again shown unity, solidarity and effort for democracy. While there were disagreements between some members states ahead of the meeting, he said everything had been settled during the discussion, which he described as constructive.
        LJUBLJANA - The migration crisis, security issues, EU enlargement, and nuclear waste management were discussed as President Borut Pahor met the presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina at the outset of an official two-day visit. Pahor said that Slovenia supported Bosnia and respected its results despite the numerous challenges it faced.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - In the wake of last week's earthquake, Slovenia's European Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarčič left for Albania for his first official visit after taking over as EU commissioner. The visit was designed to assess the extent of aid the country needs after the quake.
        LJUBLJANA - Parliamentary Speaker Dejan Židan urged the government to declare a climate crisis in Slovenia to ensure the necessary resources for drawing up a comprehensive strategy to fight climate change. He based his appeal on conclusions reached at a climate change debate at the National Assembly last month.
        NAPLES, Italy - Environment Minister Simon Zajc called for cooperation among all countries in the Mediterranean at a Barcelona Convention ministerial. He urged joint efforts for sustainable development and preservation of natural resources.
THURSDAY, 5 December
        LJUBLJANA - Mercator's bankrupt Croatian owner Agrokor and the newly established Fortenova group, which has taken over Agrokor's assets, reported the Slovenian Economy Ministry led by Zdravko Počivalšek to the European Commission over his interference in the transfer of Slovenian retailer Mercator to Fortenova. Počivalšek said he had been merely striving to protect Slovenian suppliers under existing competition rules and had always been open about his intentions.
        LJUBLJANA - The government adopted a national strategy on the prevention of terrorism and violent extremism which lays the groundwork for a systemic approach to reducing Slovenia's vulnerability to terrorism and violent extremism. The strategy aims to prevent radicalisation, and protect residents against acts of terrorism and violent extremism.
        BRATISLAVA, Slovakia - Foreign Minister Miro Cerar reiterated his call for effective multilateralism at the 26th OSCE ministerial. He stressed the importance of OSCE for improving democratic processes.
        LJUBLJANA - The government revealed plans to invest EUR 5.6 billion in transport and transport infrastructure in 2020-2025. Under the plan, the funds will be spent on air and maritime transport, investments in and reconstruction of state roads and toll roads, modernisation of railways, sustainable measures and traffic control.
        LJUBLJANA - The Administrative Court decided that several documents pertaining to treatment of migrants and asylum seekers on the state border are public information, ordering the Interior Ministry and the police to disclose the documents.
        LJUBLJANA - The District Court of Koper initiated bankruptcy proceedings for Istrabenz, a once mighty financial holding, as the request of the Bank Assets Management Company (BAMC), its biggest creditor. The move is designed to give BAMC control of Istrabenz's remaining assets.

All our posts in this series are here

30 Nov 2019, 09:26 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, 22 November
        LJUBLJANA - MPs passed the budget acts for 2020 and 2021 in a 49:41 vote in was the first major test for the minority government after it lost the support of the Left. The populist National Party (SNS) and both minority MPs provided the missing votes. The budget implementation bill was vetoed on 28 November, requiring a parliamentary revote.
        LJUBLJANA - A special social benefit for those on welfare who are low-income earners or do voluntary work will continue to be paid out, as the National Assembly failed to override the upper chamber veto of a government proposal scraping the bonus.
        LJUBLJANA - MPs unanimously confirmed the minimum hourly rate for student work from EUR 4.13 to EUR 4.56 net, overturning a veto imposed by the National Council last month.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed changes to the VAT act lowering the VAT rate for books and other publications from 9.5% to 5% as of 2020.
        LJUBLJANA - MPs passed amendments to provide effective legal remedy against infringements in public contracting procedures, speed up procedures and improve the independence of the National Review Commission.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly overrode the upper chamber's veto against a bill that will allow the holders of subordinated bank liabilities wiped out in the 2013 bank bailout to sue for damages. However, the law will not be implemented just yet as the central bank is planning to challenge it at the Constitutional Court.
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - The Slovenian-Turkish intergovernmental commission urged closer economic cooperation to further increase bilateral trade as it met in Slovenia. The two countries expect their merchandise trade to top one billion euro if the current positive trends continue.
        LJUBLJANA - Insurance group Sava reported a net profit of EUR 37.7 million for the first nine months of the year, a 29.3% year-on-year increase driven by high premium growth and improved cost-efficiency.

SATURDAY, 23 November
        NOVO MESTO - Slovenian police confiscated seven pieces of what were possible replicas of weapons from 41 members of a self-styled militia known as the Štajerska Guard on the border with Croatia near the town of Krško. Its members said they were protecting the border against illegal migrants.
        NOVI SAD, Serbia - Slovenian President Borut Pahor attended a youth forum of the Western Balkans with his Serbian and North Macedonian counterparts, Aleksandar Vučić and Stevo Pendarovski, expressing support in his address to enlargement of the EU to the Western Balkans.
        LJUBLJANA - Dnevnik reported that Ivo Vajgl, a former MEP and foreign minister, had left the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS), where tensions continue to increase ahead of the party's election congress in January. "There is no room in DeSUS for me any longer," he said.
        LJUBLJANA - Beanpole, a Russian historical drama directed by Kantemir Balagov, was declared the best film of the 30th Ljubljana International Film Festival (LIFFe).

SUNDAY, 24 November
        LJUBLJANA - The opposition Democrats (SDS) returned to the top of party rankings for the first time since January in a poll aired by POP TV. The SDS polled at 15.4%, down from 15.7% in October, whereas the ruling Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) lost two points to 13.8%. The coalition SocDems returned to third place with a four-point gain to 9.5%, and the opposition Left added over a point and a half to 8.8%.
        BLEIBURG, Austria - The National Council of Carinthian Slovenians (NSKS), an umbrella organisation of the Slovenian minority in Austria, marked its 70th anniversary, with Slovenian PM Marjan Šarec saying that although divided by borders in the past, "we are all part of one nation" now symbolically and de facto united in the EU.
        WISLA, Poland - Slovenia's Anže Lanišek placed second at the first individual event of the new, 41st Ski Jumping World Cup season in Poland's Wisla, only a day after the Slovenian team placed fourth in the team event.

MONDAY, 25 November
        PARIS, France - The UNESCO conference general unanimously decided that the first UNESCO-sponsored international centre for artificial intelligence will be seated in Slovenia's capital Ljubljana. Slovenia plans to formally establish the International Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence (IRCAI) early next year.
        LJUBLJANA - The SOVA intelligence agency reported opposition New Slovenia (NSi) leader Matej Tonin to law enforcement for having disclosed intelligence as the chair of the parliamentary commission overseeing intelligence services in a report on the border arbitration with Croatia. Tonin accused PM Marjan Šarec's camp of trying to discredit him and the commission, while Šarec argued it was the commission that was being abused.
        LJUBLJANA - Former central bank governor Boštjan Jazbec told the parliamentary inquiry examining potential wrongdoing at the Bank Assets Management Company that banks should have been bailed out before 2012 rather than in 2013. In this way, the erasure of junior bondholders, which he believes was in line with constitution, may not have have happened.

TUESDAY, 26 November
        LJUBLJANA - The government adopted legislative amendments designed to crack-down on the activity of self-styled village guards and militias patrolling the border with the intention of stopping illegal migrants. The amendments will be fast-tracked
        LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Marjan Šarec visited the Government Office for the Support and Integration of Migrants and the appertaining asylum centre in the Ljubljana Vič borough, praising their efforts.
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - The SPIRIT investment promotion agency honoured top foreign investors in the country. Electricity meter maker Iskraemeco was named the best among big companies, ventilation company Systemair won the award in the long-term presence category, and maker of LED traffic displays Swarco Lea got the smart products and services development award.
        STRASBOURG, France - The European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) elected Slovenian MEP Tanja Fajon (S&D/SD) the chair of a special task force for the Schengen Area. She announced she would strive to restore importance and reputation to the idea, and restore full life to the area without borders.
        LJUBLJANA - Environment Minister Simon Zajc said new legislation in the making would prioritise the environment over creditors in case a company goes into receivership. The damage it has caused needs to be cleaned up, which is usually a long and expensive effort, he said.
        LJUBLJANA - Parliament passed a bill providing more funds for arts and culture to facilitate its development. The field will get an additional EUR 122.6 million for investments in 2021-2027, or an average EUR 17.5 million a year, in addition from what its gets in annual state budgets.

WEDNESDAY, 27 November
        STRASBOURG, France - Janez Lenarčič, the European commissioner for crisis management, said he was a European commissioner but he would not forget he was from Slovenia, as he spoke to the press after Ursula von der Leyen's Commission was endorsed by the European Parliament. Slovenia's eight MEPs, all of whom voted for the new Commission, said it was time the new team got down to work.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenian Speaker Dejan Židan announced after a meeting with the president of the regional parliament of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Piero Mauro Zanin, that the Slovenian minority would get back Narodni Dom, a Trieste cultural centre of huge historical importance, in July 2020, 100 years after the building was burnt down by Fascists.
        LJUBLJANA - The most senior bodies of the coalition Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) cleared two contenders to challenge Karl Erjavec for the presidency of the party at the January congress, Agriculture Minister Aleksandra Pivec and jurist Borut Stražišar, ending speculations that their bids would be thwarted to ensure Erjavec is re-elected.
        LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Health Committee surprisingly endorsed legislation that would effectively end the current system of compulsory and supplementary health insurance as of 2021 in favour of a fully-fledged single-payer system. The bill folds the current lump sum, roughly EUR 29 per month, into the existing compulsory payments.
        LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Finance Committee urged the central bank to reconsider the recently imposed curbs on consumer lending, an appeal that came at a session called by all five coalition parties after the central bank said consumer loans would pose a risk to the banking system if left unchecked.
        LJUBLJANA - Peter Jenko took over as the new director general of the Financial Administration (FURS) for a five-year term. He announced one of his goals would be to change the tax procedure act so that the names of major tax evaders could be made public.
        LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian retail group Mercator said it posted EUR 6.21 million in net profit in the first nine months of the year, down 30.3% year on year. Mercator said the results were not fully comparable because of a change in accounting standards and last year's sale of a shopping centre and land in Serbia.
        LJUBLJANA - Abanka, Slovenia's third largest bank which was privatised in June, said it generated a net profit of EUR 42.5 million in the first nine months of 2019, a 20% year-on-year drop.
        STRASBOURG, France - God Exists, Her Name Is Petrunya, a film by Macedonia's Teona Strugar Mitevska that involves Slovenian co-producer Vertigo, won the 2019 LUX Film Prize, given out by the European Parliament.
        LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Handball Association sacked the head coach of the men's national handball team, Veselin Vujović, who was appointed in 2015 and led Slovenia to bronze at the 2017 Worlds. The team's recent period was marked by unconvincing performances and tensions, also because Vujović verbally abused a Slovenian player during a club game.

THURSDAY, 28 November
        LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Marjan Šarec turned down a request by President Borut Pahor to convene a session of the National Security Council due to ongoing disputes between SOVA and the parliamentary body which conducts oversight of the intelligence and security agency. Šarec said he did not want to politicise the situation and said Pahor's request came "too late".
        LJUBLJANA - Simona Leskovar was relieved of her duties as a Foreign Ministry state secretary, unofficially in order to become Slovenia's ambassador in London. Her successor is Matej Marn, the ministry's director general for the common foreign and security policy.
        LJUBLJANA - The government allocated EUR 40,000 for emergency humanitarian aid for migrants on the Western Balkan route, and EUR 50,000 for the Sahel region in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Foreign Ministry said that the number of migrants on the East-Mediterranean route travelling to Europe via the Western Balkans doubled since 2017 and kept rising.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia will send disaster relief aid to Albania in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake. Under the decision taken by the government today, the aid is valued at EUR 126,000, including transport. Responding to Albania's request for help, Slovenia will send material aid, including tents, beds, blankets, sleeping bags and generators.
        ŠKOFJA LOKA - Germany's multinational Freudenberg signed a contract to take over Filc, a Škofja Loka-based manufacturer of needlepunch nonwoven textiles and laminated materials for the car and construction industries, the Slovenian firm said, but did not disclose the value of the deal.
        VRHNIKA - Two illegal Syrian migrants died as a car carrying eight Syrians crashed into the motorway railing on the Ljubljana-Koper motorway near the town of Vrhnika. The accident happened as the car started to skid while overtaking a lorry, with three Syrian citizens falling out of the boot. Two died immediately while the third was rushed to the hospital.
        DORTMUND, Germany - Slovenian Damir Skomina was declared the world's best football referee in 2019 by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS). Skomina was the first Slovenian referee to officiate a UEFA Champions League final, the game between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool in Madrid in June.

All our posts in this series are here

22 Nov 2019, 18:07 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, 15 November
        LJUBLJANA - Supreme State Prosecutor Zvonko Fišer reported opposition SDS MP Žan Mahnič for defamation over the MP's statement that likened the Constitutional Court to mafia after the court imposed another temporary injunction on the Mahnič-chaired parliamentary probe into potentially politically-motivated prosecution of former Maribor Mayor Franc Kangler.
        LJUBLJANA - The Economic and Social Council (ESS) signed an agreement changing the rules of operations so as to allow Slovenia's main industrial relations forum to discuss not only government-sponsored bills but any draft legislation. The move comes after a recent protest of employers against parliament passing opposition-sponsored labour-related bills without prior consultation with the ESS.
        LJUBLJANA - Energy group Petrol posted a net profit of EUR 80.1 million in the first three quarters of the year, up 16% from the same period in 2018, as sales rose by 10% to EUR 4.19 billion. The interim management said business was running smoothly and in line with the strategy despite the recent change of management.

SATURDAY, 16 November
        LJUBLJANA - Catalan Foreign Minister Alfred Bosch called on Slovenian officials to support dialogue between Barcelona and Madrid as he took part in a debate organised by the youth wing of the coalition Social Democrats. The youth wing's leadership resigned just days before, one of the reasons reportedly being the invitation extended to Bosch.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia failed to qualify for the UEFA Euro 2020 despite defeating Latvia 1:0 at Stožice Arena, as Austria defeated North Macedonia to claim the second place in Group G.

SUNDAY, 17 November
        MARIBOR - The opposition New Slovenia - Christian Democrats (NSi) met for a congress to confirm its move to the centre-ground by endorsing the party's overhauled platform after it announced the shift in August. Leader Matej Tonin argued the NSi was a centrist party in terms of values and principles.

MONDAY, 18 November
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia and Taiwan do not have diplomatic ties, but this does not mean they cannot strengthen cooperation, Vanessa Shih of the Taipei Economic and Culture Office in Austria, told the STA. But she expressed regret at having only limited access to Slovenian authorities, convinced the Chinese Embassy was the likely reason for the situation.
        LJUBLJANA - PM Marjan Šarec said Slovenia was no exception when it came to immigrants from third countries, with some other parts of the EU faced with the same situation. Šarec answered an opposition MP's question about an alleged major rise in third-country immigrants in Slovenia and a consequent rise in welfare claimed by them. He said the majority of third-country immigrants came to Slovenia from Bosnia to work.
        LJUBLJANA - The Higher Court in Ljubljana annulled the simplified debt restructuring of Electa Holding, the parent company of the Electa group owned by the sons of Ljubljana Mayor Zoran Janković. The procedure had caused a public stir, seen as a way for the Janković family to have the majority of its debt written off. The District Court will now have to decide on the matter again.
        DOL PRI LJUBLJANI - National grid operator ELES launched a high-tech diagnostics and analytics centre designed to provide a systematic approach to energy infrastructure management. The primary goals include the planing, construction, expansion, modification and maintenance of energy infrastructure.
        LJUBLJANA - The Ljubljana city council endorsed a zoning decree allowing the government to build a much-anticipated men's prison on the outskirts of Ljubljana. The new facility will accommodate almost 390 inmates and replace the one in Povšetova Street. It is estimated at some EUR 68 million and its construction could start in 2021.

TUESDAY, 19 November
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - The foreign ministers of Slovenia, Austrian, Czechia, Italy, Poland and Slovakia urged the European Commission to define by January 2020 concrete proposals on how to "enhance the effectiveness of the accession process as an instrument to support reform and integration efforts" in the Western Balkans. They would like the EU to endorse accession talks with North Macedonia and Albania in March.
        MOSCOW, Russia - Timur Rafailovic Eyvazov was appointed Russia's new ambassador to Slovenia, the press agency Tass reported. It is not yet clear when Eyvazov will take over from Ambassador Doku Zavgayev, who has served in Ljubljana since 2009.
        LJUBLJANA - The Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB) announced plans to nominate Angelika Mlinar, an ethnic Slovenian politician from Austria, as minister for cohesion policy after Iztok Purič has recently resigned. However, her bid may be jeopardised if Austria does not allow her to hold dual citizenship.
        MARIBOR - The Slovenian and Hungarian automotive clusters signed an agreement to develop cutting-edge technologies which could make them leaders in the transition to e-mobility. The University of Maribor is already involved in the development of Hungary's test track for conventional and autonomous cars.
        LJUBLJANA - NLB bank announced it had completed the issue of EUR 120 million worth of subordinate bonds, with demand far surpassing. The papers from the first bond issue after the bank was privatised a year ago were listed on the Luxembourg stock market on the day of the issue.
        LJUBLJANA - The business newspaper Finance reported the Ljubljana-based energy equipment maker Kolektor Etra had acquired the Polish company Weltech, a manufacturer of power tanks and traction tanks, for EUR 7 million.
        NOVA GORICA - Denis Koršič, 41, was given a six-month suspended sentence by the Nova Gorica District Court for an attack by car on a TV crew in Nova Gorica in August 2018. The Slovenian Journalists' Association was shocked at what it said was a rather mild sentence.
        LJUBLJANA - A study conducted by Deloitte into the audiovisual industry in Slovenia shows the sector has positive effects on the economy and creates new jobs, while incentives from the state are far from sufficient. The sector's multiplication effect is 1.8, meaning 80 jobs in various sectors for every 100 people working in AV.

WEDNESDAY, 20 November
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Foreign Minister Miro Cerar endorsed Germany's proposal to form a group of experts to work out proposals to reform NATO, while he called French President Emmanuel Macron's recent statement that NATO is "brain death" unproductive.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium/LJUBLJANA - The European Commission said Slovenia's draft budgetary plans for 2020 were at risk of non-compliance with EU budget rules. The Finance Ministry responded by saying the view was a result of the Commission having based its calculations on different projections of GDP growth and the output gap than Slovenia.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Review Commission annulled a public tender to procure EUR 1.1 billion worth of medicines for Slovenian public pharmacies in four years because it did not allow bidding based on the lowest price. The Chamber of Pharmacies, which published the tender in July, now fears a shortage of medicines.
        LJUBLJANA - Tourism holding Sava boss Gregor Rovanšek told the STA the company sold off its non-strategic assets, consolidated strategic investments and reduced debt as part of a court-mandated financial restructuring to become Slovenia's largest tourism group and expecting to post record results this year.
        LJUBLJANA - Jurist Alenka Šelih and mathematician Josip Globevnik were honoured for their contributions to science as the national Zois Prizes for lifetime achievements in science and research were handed out.

THURSDAY, 21 November
        PARIS, France - The OECD downgraded Slovenia's GDP growth forecast for 2019 from 3.4% to 3.1% after already downgrading it slightly in May. Forecast for 2020 and 2021 indicate similar growth of 3.0% and 3.1%, respectively.
        LJUBLJANA - The government postponed the adoption of legislative changes meant to simplify the prosecution of paramilitary militias, but a senior aide to the prime minister indicated that all actions through which such groups manifest themselves as a type of a military structure trying to imitate the execution of police or army powers and tasks would be penalised.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly endorsed legislation that curtails pay rises in the public sector but also brings an unscheduled increase in pensions in December 2020 assuming GDP growth exceeds 2.5%. The increase will be a flat 6.5 euro for all pensioners, rather than a percentage increase.
        ZAGREB, Croatia - The leader of the opposition Democrats (SDS), Janez Janša, urged the EU to start accession talks with North Macedonia and to admit Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia to the Schengen zone, as he addressed a congress of the European People's Party. He warned against double standards and called for promises to be met.
        NOVO MESTO - Pharmaceutical group Krka generated EUR 1.09 billion in sales revenue in the first nine months of the year, up 12% from the same period last year, while net profit increased by 42% to EUR 171.9 million. Sales went up in all regions and for all groups of products and services.

All our posts in this series are here

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.

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