Ljubljana related

26 Sep 2020, 12:02 PM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

12 Sep 2020, 11:29 AM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

05 Sep 2020, 13:40 PM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



29 Aug 2020, 10:30 AM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

22 Aug 2020, 09:42 AM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


15 Aug 2020, 13:44 PM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All our posts in this series are here

08 Aug 2020, 12:15 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, 31 July
        LJUBLJANA - Bulgaria, Romania, the Bahamas, India and five Spanish administrative units were added to Slovenia's red list of countries from which arrival entails a mandatory two-week quarantine due to coronavirus. Spain, Belgium, Australia, Morocco, Andorra and Canada were removed from the green list of safe countries, and downgraded to yellow.
        LJUBLJANA - The prime minister's office said a staffer at the office had tested positive for coronavirus. He has been on leave for a week and has not been in direct contact with PM Janez Janša.
        LJUBLJANA - Agriculture Minister Aleksandra Pivec found herself in the spotlight because of media reports that the Izola municipality paid for her hotel accommodation during her official trip to the seaside town in June with a hotel invoice suggesting she was there with her sons, a charge the minister denied.
        LJUBLJANA - Mladina reported a new asylum regime had been implemented since June at some police stations on the border with Croatia, which it said had no basis in legislation. It said the regime restricted the movement of asylum seekers and placed them in the centre for aliens in Postojna, where they lived in inhumane conditions. NGOs expressed concern, while the Interior Ministry and the police rejected the accusations.
        LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian state budget recorded a EUR 1.92 billion deficit in the first six months of the year, mostly on the account of a considerable drop in revenue related to a lower tax yield as the government introduced restrictive anti-epidemic measures, figures from the Finance Ministry showed.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's annual inflation rate ran at 0.3% in July despite a 0.1% dip of consumer prices in a month-on-month comparison. Measured with the harmonised index of consumer prices, an EU-wide gauge, Slovenia posted an annual deflation rate of 0.3% in July and prices fell by 0.2% in a month.

SUNDAY, 2 August
        VELENJE - Social democratic politician Bojan Kontič, who spent nearly a decade as mayor of Velenje and served as member both of the lower and upper chamber of parliament, died aged 59. Kontič served three stints as MP between 1996 and 2008, as served as Velenje mayor since 2010.

MONDAY, 3 August
        LJUBLJANA - The Association of Social Institutions left the government task force for Covid-19 after their demands regarding the treatment of infected residents of care homes off-site were not met. The association has long been warning that most care homes do not have the capacity to set up three separate zones in case of confirmed Covid-19 as envisaged by the current protocols.
        SALZBURG, Austria - Drago Jančar, arguably Slovenia's leading contemporary writer, formally received the Austrian State Prize for European Literature 2020. The jury said one of the big strengths of his literature was that it was "taking an individual to penetratingly render understandable the delusions of our history".
        LJUBLJANA - The treasury has extended an existing three-year bond by EUR 50 million following demand by an investor. The yield to maturity was -0.492%, the lowest on record and just 27 basis points over a comparable German bond. The issue was completed at the end of June.
        MURSKA SOBOTA - The European Roma Holocaust Memorial Day was marked, with keynote speaker Boštjan Žekš, an advisor to President Borut Pahor, saying he felt ashamed over the suffering of the Roma being almost forgotten. He also said that the Roma did not have it easy in modern-day Slovenia.
        KOPER - Fierce storms with winds exceeding 120 km/h hit western Slovenia. The coastal region was hit the hardest, with locals clearing debris, fallen trees and pumping water out of buildings late into the night. Storms raged over Primorska, Notranjska, central Slovenia and the Drava valley.
TUESDAY, 4 August
        LJUBLJANA - Thirteen public health institutions and a private concessionaire have received the much discussed Siriusmed R30 ventilators ordered through Geneplanet that had been supplied to Slovenia before the contract with the company was rescinded in May, an STA investigation showed. Although the Health Ministry said that they could be kept only if additional equipment is supplied to make them suitable for Covid-19 patients, only two hospitals received this equipment.
        LJUBLJANA - In the wake of Slovenia's announcement to sign a Joint Declaration on 5G Security with the US, China's Huawei said it was willing to discuss 5G technology security issues with the Slovenian government as well as sign a non-spying agreement with the country.
        LJUBLJANA - Tatjana Rojc, the ethnic Slovenian senator in Rome, said the Italian government planned to send an additional contingent of soldiers to the Friuli Venezia Giulia region to help monitor the border with Slovenia in the face of an increase in illegal migrations. The Slovenian Interior Ministry said the next day it was familiar with Italy's plans and that every additional measure aimed at preventing illegal migration was welcome.
        LJUBLJANA - New Slovenia - Christian Democrats (NSi) celebrated their 20th anniversary, but a major ceremony, to be attended by the head of the European People's Party, Donald Tusk, is scheduled for 4 September. NSi head Matej Tonin said the party should grow stronger to fortify the healthy and rational political centrum in Slovenia.
        LJUBLJANA - Alcohol consumption among young people in Slovenia declined in 2017/2018 but it remains high by international standards, the National Institute for Public Health (NIJZ) said, as it presented the results of international survey Health Behaviour in School-aged Children for Slovenia which showed that 71% of 15-year-olds and 86% of 17-year-olds have tried alcohol.

        BEIRUT, Lebanon/LJUBLJANA - Defence Minister Matej Tonin confirmed that all four members of the Slovenian Armed Forces serving in the UNIFIL and UNTSO missions in Lebanon were safe and well following a series of massive explosions in Beirut that claimed at least 100 lives. Tonin offered his "sincere condolences" to the victims' relatives.
        LJUBLJANA - The effects of a weakened economy caused by the Covid-19 pandemic have started to reflect with increasing intensity in Slovenia's banking sector, as the most recent data from the central bank showed the combined half-year profit of banks reaching just a third of the figure in the same period last year. Interest and non-interest revenue has been dropping, while the cost of impairments and provisions has increased.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's registered jobless total stood at 89,397 at the end of July, which is almost unchanged compared to June but due to unemployment growth in April and May the figure is 24.4% above that from July 2019, showed data released by the Employment Service.
        SOLKAN/LJUBLJANA - The drowning of a ten-year-old at a popular bathing spot in the Soča river last week has raised a series of questions, even more so after the parents accused the social services and the police of making the family tragedy even more unbearable. The accident happened on 28 July, when the boy, holidaying with his grandparents and two siblings, was swimming at a bathing spot in the Soča near Solkan, when he was swept downriver by a sudden surge in the water level.
THURSDAY, 6 August
        LJUBLJANA - The US State Department and the Slovenian Foreign Ministry confirmed US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will visit Slovenia on 13 August to sign a Joint Declaration on 5G Security as part of a tour of four European countries. He will also meet top officials.
        LJUBLJANA/KOPER - A criminal complaint against a member of the Slovenian Armed Forces who allegedly stopped an Italian-Slovenian near the countries' border at gunpoint in May has been thrown out by the Koper district prosecution office for lack of evidence that the soldier had committed the alleged criminal act.
        LJUBLJANA - Delivering a video message for the international community as part of the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, President Borut Pahor urged much more cooperation and shared, genuine efforts to strengthen trust.
        LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian subsidiary of the Italian banking group Unicredit saw its consolidated profit plunge to EUR 1 million in the first half of 2020 compared to EUR 16 million in the same period last year.
        LJUBLJANA - The number of new coronavirus infections remained steady throughout the week, dropping during the weekend, when fewer tests are performed. 15 out of 771 tests for Sars-CoV-2 conducted on Wednesday came back positive. One person died, taking the death toll to 125. The number of active cases stood at 190. There have been 2,223 confirmed Covid-19 cases in Slovenia so far.
        MURSKA SOBOTA - Police reported the seizure of 2,650 cannabis plants with an estimated street value of around EUR 2 million on an island on the river Mura, in what is the biggest cannabis bust in Pomurje region in recent years. Three middle-aged men were arrested and face up to ten years in prison.

All our posts in this series are here

01 Aug 2020, 11:07 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, 24 July
        LJUBLJANA - The Jožef Stefan Institute warned the number of new coronavirus cases in the country was growing exponentially with the effective reproduction number higher than 1, which meant the epidemic might be getting out of hand.
        LJUBLJANA - The number of overnight stays generated by tourists in Slovenia in June dropped by 63.2% to nearly 610,000 compared to the same period last year, the Statistics Office said. As many as 67% of overnight stays were by Slovenians.
        LONDON, UK - Slovenia was added to the UK's list of air bridges, which allows travel to England without needing to self-isolate effective from 28 July after Slovenia had earlier placed the UK as the last on its green list of safe countries.
        LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian capital witnessed anti-government protests for the 14th consecutive Friday, with a new focus this time on women's rights. Protest campaigns were also held in Maribor, Piran and Velenje.

        KRANJSKA GORA - The traditional Russian Chapel commemoration was held below the Vršič Pass, drawing much thinner crowds than usual due to the coronavirus restrictions.
        MARIBOR - Russian Ambassador to Slovenia Timur Eyvazov said in an interview with Večer he disagreed with assessments that Slovenia's former government was pro-Russian.

SUNDAY, 26 July
        LJUBLJANA - Several major retailers opened their stores after being closed on Sunday for four months due to coronavirus restrictions.
        LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Janez Janša endorsed Agriculture Minister Aleksandra Pivec's appearance in a promotional video of a wine maker made during a trip to the Kras region after questions arose of a potential breach of integrity legislation and ethics code. Pivec and the winemaker later denied the allegations of impropriety and said she had paid for private accommodation during her trip.

MONDAY, 27 July
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Prosecutor Jaka Brezigar was appointed the Slovenian member of the European Public Prosecutor's Office by the Council of the EU, along with prosecutors of 21 other participating member countries.
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor received the credentials of newly appointed German Ambassadors Natalie Kauther and Adrian Pollman. Credentials were also presented by Algerian Ambassador Ali Mokrani, the Sultanate of Oman's Ambassador Yousuf Ahmed Hamed Aljabri and the Dominican Republic's Ambassador Lourdes Gisela Antonia Victoria-Kruse.
        LJUBLJANA - The Human Rights Ombudsman assessed that the failure to comply with the government decree on the mandatory use of face masks in public indoor spaces cannot be penalised.
        LJUBLJANA - Retail sales in Slovenia declined by 9.6% year-on-year from January to June as the coronavirus epidemic shut down most stores for several weeks in spring. The figures for June suggest the sector is slowly picking up.
        LJUBLJANA - A survey carried out by the Slovenian Marketing Association and the pollster Valicon showed that the Covid-19 pandemic had impacted Slovenian companies much more unevenly than the recession in 2009; 58% of the surveyed companies have had negative effects, while 17% had positive.
        LJUBLJANA - The Defence Ministry said a member of the Slovenian Armed Forces (SAF) serving at the Allied Joint Force Command Naples had been involved in a car accident in which one person died. Italian media reports said the man had caused the accident in which the wife of an Italian law enforcement officer died.
        DOBROVNIK - Bicycle maker Spiegel Bikes announced that Slovenian ultra cyclist Marko Baloh had set a new 1,000-km time trial world record with 28 hours, 50 minutes and 14 seconds.

TUESDAY, 28 July
        LJUBLJANA - Foreign minister Anže Logar and his Croatian counterpart Gordan Grlić Radman discussed measures to contain the Covid-19 pandemic and the EU Council presidency, agreeing that there was no need for stepping up border restrictions.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Institute of Public Health reported that the majority of coronavirus cases in the past two months had been in care homes (80), followed by schools (54), shops (37), health institutions (32) and restaurants, pubs and cafes (13).
        KLAGENFURT, Austria - 23 villages in Austria near the border with Slovenia will get bilingual signposts, according to decisions of the town councils of Sankt Jakob im Rosental and Sittersdorf. The Slovenian minority welcomed the move and expressed hope that other municipalities would follow suit.
        LJUBLJANA - The newspaper Dnevnik reported that jurist Andraž Teršek, who failed to get elected a Constitutional Court judge by parliament June, had turned to the Constitutional Court asking it to annul the vote and order a new vote on his bid.

        LJUBLJANA - The Supreme Court ordered the Competition Protection Agency to release 70% of shares of retailer Mercator it seized from Croatian Agrokor in December 2019. It said that the AVK did not have legal grounds to seize the shares.
        LJUBLJANA - Uroš Lepoša was appointed new acting director of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to replace Igor Lamberger after less than three months on the job.
        LJUBLJANA - The newspaper Delo reported that Alfi, a Slovenian equity fund, had acquired over 80% of the debt owed by Tuš, one of the largest grocers in Slovenia, saying that a framework restructuring agreement to deleverage the grocer would be signed soon.
        LJUBLJANA - Newsmapper, an advanced article-tracking tool developed by the Slovenian Press Agency (STA) made the European Commission's list of the best European innovations as part of the Innovation Radar platform.
        LJUBLJANA - The Administrative Court stayed the government decision to dismiss early three members of the supervisory board of public broadcaster RTV Slovenija until adopting a final ruling in the matter.
        LJUBLJANA - The Competition Protection Agency (AVK) warned about the drawbacks of changes to the media act regarding concentration monitoring. The agency advocates a strict separation of monitoring the public interest in media, which should not be in the domain of the AVK, and assessing concentration in line with the competition law.
        LJUBLJANA - Violent storms with strong winds, downpours and hail caused substantial damage and disruption across central, eastern, northeastern and southeastern Slovenia. The hardest hit was the Domžale area in central Slovenia, where hail the size of an egg caused around EUR 2.5 million in damage.

        LJUBLJANA - The Ljubljana University Medical Centre (UKC), the country's largest hospital, said it was preparing for an expected surge in coronavirus infections with the arrival of autumn and winter. This was after 24 persons tested positive for the day before, taking the national case count to 2,139, including 242 active cases. The death toll rose to 118.
        NOVO MESTO - The pharma group Krka reported EUR 803.8 million in sales revenue for the first half of the year, a 6% increase year-on-year, as net profit rose by 15% year-on-year to EUR 160.3 million. The management said the results were record-breaking.
        LJUBLJANA - The telecoms group Telekom Slovenije reported EUR 335.4 million in operating revenue for the first half of the year, a decline of 2% year-on-year, while net profit was down 24% to EUR 14.8 million, which was blamed on the pandemic and the effects of the agreement on the sale of Planet TV.
        IDRIJA - The industrial conglomerate Hidria, a major car industry supplier, announced it had signed a EUR 15 million deal with Germany's Audi and Porsche and Italy's Lamborghini under which it will develop and supply them with key aluminium engine parts.
        LJUBLJANA - A poll conducted by Mediana and run by the newspaper Delo showed that more than half of respondents do not believe a potential attempt by the opposition to vote out the Janez Janša government would succeed.
        LJUBLJANA - The Constitutional Court ruled that the 2019 supplementary budget documents were not in conflict with the Constitution. This was after the then opposition Democrats (SDS) and New Slovenia (NSi) petitioned the court in April 2019, claiming the budget expenditure planned was so high it violated the fiscal rule.

All our posts in this series are here

25 Jul 2020, 12:00 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, 17 July
        FRANKFURT, Germany - Fitch affirmed Slovenia's credit rating of A with a stable outlook. The rating agency forecast that the country's GDP would shrink by 7.1% this year, growing by 4.9% next year and another 3.3% in 2022.
        LJUBLJANA - Montenegro and Luxembourg were placed on Slovenia's red list of Covid-19 highly risky countries given their epidemiologic status. Croatia remained on the yellow list, which indicates a higher level of caution is advised.
        LJUBLJANA - Early findings of the Information Commissioner inquiry into potentially problematic access to 45 politicians' personal data have not revealed systemic abuse. Only one police officer has so far been identified as having accessed such data without authorisation, the office said.
        LJUBLJANA - Anti-government protests were held in several Slovenian cities for the 13th week running. In the capital some 3,000 protesters packed Prešeren Square and later stopped at RTV Slovenija to express their support for the public broadcaster in the light of the planned media reform. The protest culminated in a "people's assembly" in a bid to formulate clear demands.
        LJUBLJANA - A group of human rights NGOs urged the government to treat Eritrean asylum seekers more fairly, pointing out that only three of 15 applications lodged by Eritreans who recently arrived in Slovenia had been granted. The Interior Ministry rejected the notion that its policy is unprofessional or politically motivated in any way.

        LJUBLJANA - Health Minister Tomaž Gantar signed a two-year cooperation agreement with the regional office of the World Health Organisation (WHO) for Europe. Cooperation is to focus on control of communicable and non-communicable disease and the strengthening of healthcare.

MONDAY, 20 July
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - An event marked the 10th anniversary of Slovenia's membership of the OECD with Foreign Minister Anže Logar saying that joining the organisation offered the country an opportunity for new development achievements. OECD Secretary-General Jose Angel Gurria, addressing the event by video call, said he was confident Slovenia would exit the current crisis stronger.
        PARIS, France - The OECD's latest economic survey praised Slovenia's response to the Covid-19 pandemic and urged the state to continue providing support measures for the economy until growth is fully restored. But as stimulus measures are gradually being wound down, the economy may need a fiscal stimulus to prevent a possible spike in bankruptcies and unemployment, it said.
        LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Anže Logar discussed the rule of law and the EU's new rule of law mechanism with European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders in a videoconference, focussing on the anticipated first rule of law report by the EU Commission. The pair talked about approaching Slovenia's EU Council presidency as well.
        LJUBLJANA - RTV Slovenija's programming council did not back the public broadcaster's changed financial and production plans for 2020, which the leadership had prepared in response to the coronavirus. The no-vote could put RTV Slovenija in a dire financial situation amid concerns that the government is trying to undermine it with a controversial media reform.
        LJUBLJANA - The latest Vox Populi public opinion poll, carried by Večer and Dnevnik, showed little change at the top of the party rankings. The ruling SDS polled at 22.7%, the same as the month before, with the opposition SocDems down half a point to 14.7%, having jumped by seven points in the previous month. The government's approval rating was at 48.5%, up slightly from June.
TUESDAY, 21 July
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Prime Minister Janez Janša said Slovenia was pleased with the outcome of the EU budget talks since Slovenia is eligible for EUR 10.5 billion over the next seven years, of which EUR 6.6 billion in grants. He also rejected the perception that the rule of law discussion at the EU summit was about Slovenia siding with Hungary and Poland. Instead, he said, it was about clarifying the concept.
        LJUBLJANA - The registered unemployment rate in Slovenia in May, when some of the lockdown measures related to the coronavirus epidemic were relaxed, stood at 9.3%, which is 0.2 of a percentage point more than in April, the Employment Service said. The registered unemployment rate in May was up by 1.4 percentage points compared to February, the last full month before the restrictive anti-epidemic measures were introduced.
        KOPER - Austria launched an honorary consulate in the city of Koper, its second after Maribor. It will be headed by Honorary Consul Urška Svetlik, a business executive. The opening of the consulate illustrates the importance Austria attributes to Koper and the entire western region of Primorska, Austrian Ambassador to Slovenia Sigrid Berka said on the occasion.

        BRATISLAVA, Slovakia - The presidents of Slovenia and Slovakia, Borut Pahor and Zuzana Čaputova, welcomed the EU budget deal as they held talks in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic. The presidents discussed bilateral cooperation and later opened a business forum focusing on green technologies that featured 34 companies and institutions from both countries.
        BUDAPEST, Hungary - Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec visited Budapest for talks with Hungarian ministers of foreign affairs and innovation and technology, Peter Szijjarto and Laszlo Palkovics. Vrtovec said economic cooperation could be further upgraded with energy and road infrastructure projects, such as the Cirkovce-Pince electric power line.
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - Following the EU summit deal, the government set up two task forces to make sure the country phases all the funds available to it. It was announced that mayors and regional development agencies would be involved in the drafting of the national recovery plan, which the government intends to adopt by the end of August.
        LJUBLJANA - After a year and a half of calls for redefining rape in the penal code, the Justice Ministry said that legislative changes had been drafted. Their aim is to embed the consent standard in criminal law, making every non-consensual sexual act a punishable offence.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Commission expressed concerned about the media legislation planned by the Slovenian government. Presenting the most recent Media Pluralism Monitor report, Values and Transparency Commissioner Vera Jourova said Slovenia should not follow in Hungary's footsteps when it came to media ownership.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia announced it planned to sign a Joint Declaration on 5G Security with the United States, which could curb the involvement of China's Huawei in the deployment of the fifth generation wireless communication networks in the country. The government submitted the declaration to the National Assembly.
        LJUBLJANA - A total of 935 tests for Covid-19 were performed in Slovenia on Wednesday, which confirmed 27 new infections, making for a total of 136 cases in the past seven days. There were 24 patients hospitalised with Covid-19, including two in intensive care. The death increased by four in a week to 115.
        LJUBLJANA/VIENNA, Austria - Slovenia and Austria agreed to try out joint surveillance of the shared border using technology such as cameras and drones, as Interior Minister Aleš Hojs held talks with his Austrian counterpart Karl Nehammer at a conference on migrations along the Balkan route.
        LJUBLJANA - The government extended the subsidised furlough scheme by another month until the end of August with Labour Minister Janez Cigler Kralj saying the measure was still deemed needed despite an improvement in the labour market.
        WARSAW, Poland - Visiting Poland, Foreign Minister Anže Logar met his Polish counterpart Jacek Czaputowicz and EU Affairs Minister Konrad Szymanski. The officials reaffirmed good relations between Poland and Slovenia, with Logar expressing interest in continuing and strengthening cooperation between the Visegrad Four and Slovenia. Czaputowicz said that Slovenia and the Visegrad countries achieved success together at the recent EU summit.
        LJUBLJANA - Telekom Slovenije said it had started setting up the country's first commercial 5G networks using its existing base stations and within the existing 2600MHz frequency spectrum used in 4G. Coverage will initially be provided in about 25% of the country but is expected to exceed to 33% by the end of the year.

All our posts in this series are here

18 Jul 2020, 11:15 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 July
        OTOČEC - In a meeting focusing exclusively on the countries' efforts to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus, the prime ministers of Slovenia and Croatia, Janez Janša and Andrej Plenković, agreed epidemiologists would be in contact about the situation on a daily basis. Plenković assured Slovenian tourists they were safe in Croatia, while Janša commended Croatia on its efforts to contain the virus.
        OTOČEC - PM Janez Janša told TV Slovenija he was a realist about the border dispute with Croatia and that the two countries would be able to take a step forward here once Croatia had an approximate plan for solving its border issue with other neighbours.
        LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Janez Janša said he had asked Aleš Hojs to reconsider his decision to step down as interior minister. He told a TV interview Slovenia needed an interior minister who is operational 24 hours a day. Hojs later said he would rethink his decision and definitely stay on until he faces a no-confidence vote in parliament, presumably in September.
        LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Anže Logar and his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian agreed in a phone call to boost political dialogue in anticipation of the countries' successive spells at the presidency of the Council of the EU. Logar also expressed Slovenia's interest in enhancing the existing strategic partnership with France.
        LJUBLJANA - New Slovenia (NSi) MP Jožef Horvat revealed that his personal data kept by the police had been accessed on several occasions between November 2019 and May 2020. While he alleges he was under a kind of police surveillance under the Marjan Šarec government, police officials explained that police officers could access such files only for the purpose of doing their job. Several other MPs came forward with the same accusation, as did Foreign Minister Anže Logar.
        LJUBLJANA - After the management of the state-run motorway company DARS resigned, the supervisory board appointed a new management board, with vice-president of the coalition New Slovenia (NSi) Valentin Hajdinjak becoming the new CEO. DARS said the management stepped down by mutual agreement.

        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša rejected claims by the State Prosecutors' Council that he was undermining state prosecutors' independence by protesting with the state prosecutor general about the absence of prosecution targeting anti-government protesters who use the slogan "Death to Janšism". Janša said prosecutors needed to observe the general instructions on criminal prosecution policy drawn up by the body in charge of this.
        NOVO MESTO - Cavers exploring the karst caves in the Kočevski Rog woods in south-eastern Slovenia have found what appears to be another mass grave in what is an area containing the remains of several thousand people killed in summary executions after the end of World War II. The chair of the government commission for mass graves, Jože Dežman, said that the chasm contains the remains of at least 35 people, while dozens more are expected to be exhumed.
        LJUBLJANA - The CEO of railways operator Slovenske Železnice told the STA the company planned to lay off 1,000 people this year, reducing total headcount to 6,000. He also said Slovenia needed a long-term infrastructure fund.

SUNDAY, 12 July
        LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Janez Janša became the target of criticism after implying on Twitter that the Srebrenica massacre would not have occurred had post-WWII summary executions been adequately condemned. Oslobođenje, a leading Bosnian newspaper, wondered whether the statement was "an attempt to amnesty criminals who perpetrated one of the biggest genocides in this region", while Slobodna Bosna said it was a "morbid provocation not becoming of a statesman". Janša later defended his statements saying that as long as it is possible to kill with impunity in the name of one ideology and be condemned when doing it in the name of another ideology, genocides will happen in the world.

MONDAY, 13 July
        TRIESTE/BASOVIZZA, Italy - National Hall, a Slovenian centre in the heart of Trieste, was formally handed over to the Slovenian minority in Italy. A document on its ownership transfer was signed at an event attended by the Slovenian and Italian presidents, Borut Pahor and Sergio Mattarella, exactly 100 years after it was torched by Fascists. Before the ceremony the presidents laid wreaths at two memorials in Basovizza, one to the 1930 Slovenian victims of Fascism and the other to the Italian victims of post-WWII killings.
        LJUBLJANA - The coronavirus contact tracing app, which Slovenia will develop using the German open source solution, will be voluntary for everyone, Public Administration Minister Boštjan Koritnik announced. The government previously sought to make installing the app mandatory for those with confirmed infections and those sent into quarantine.
        LJUBLJANA - During questions time in parliament, PM Janez Janša said it was necessary to depoliticise the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), saying that the NBI "was set up as a political project carrying a great burden of corruption from the get-go". He also suggested the NBI investigator cherry-picked their cases and were "outside the system".
        LJUBLJANA - The Infrastructure Ministry is drawing up changes that will allow ride hailing services through a digital platform in the manner provided by US giant Uber. Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec expects the government to discuss the proposal in the autumn.

TUESDAY, 14 July
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly formally initiated a parliamentary inquiry into the procurement of medical and personal protective equipment before and during the coronavirus epidemic in Slovenia. The move comes at the request of the coalition, which wants to determine political responsibility of public office holders as of 1 February, a period which includes the last month and a half of the previous government's term.
        LJUBLJANA - Wrapping up a discussion on the situation in Slovenian care homes during the Covid-19 epidemic, the parliamentary committees on health and social affairs urged the government to provide nursing hospitals and improve conditions at care homes. The committees dismissed all the proposals tabled by the opposition Left which would proclaim that Slovenia did not successfully protect care home residents during the epidemic and that the ministries should amend the strategy on fighting the coronavirus in these facilities.
        ZAGREB, Croatia - Slovenia and Croatia confirmed revised programmes for the decommissioning of the Krško nuclear power station and the storage of radwaste, as the ministers in charge of energy chaired a session of the intergovernmental commission on the management of the jointly-owned power station. The revised programmes reflect the decision to extend the plant's operation by 20 years beyond its originally planned shutdown in 2023, and the decision that each country will build its own radwaste repository.
        LJUBLJANA - Parliament appointed tax expert Ivan Simič and former long-serving chairman of insurer Grawe Božo Emeršič as supervisors of Slovenian Sovereign Holding (SSH), the custodian of state assets. The pair will join the other three supervisors for five years after the terms of Duško Kos and Damjan Belič expires on 17 July.
        VELENJE - Home appliances maker Hisense Gorenje decided not to lay off several hundred production workers as originally planned. It will instead employ soft methods to reduce the workforce, since orders have grown in recent weeks and June was the first profitable month this year. The in-house trade union welcomed the latest development.
        LJUBLJANA - Human Rights Ombudsman Peter Svetina handed his office's annual report for 2019 to PM Janez Janša and Speaker Igor Zorčič, urging politicians to take action so that the ombudsman's recommendations are implemented. The report makes nearly 160 concrete recommendations to a variety of state bodies and expresses concern that as many as 200 recommendations made by Svetina's predecessors are yet to be implemented.

        LJUBLJANA - Several hundred journalists and media workers gathered to protest against a media reform planned by the government in front of the National Assembly, where the parliamentary Culture Committee discussed changes to three media laws that were broadly condemned by key domestic and international groups. Following outcry from the likes of the European Broadcasting Union, CoE human rights commissioner and the European Federation of Journalists, the government decided to extent the public debate until 5 September, even as government officials suggested at the committee debate they were not willing to change the main tenets of the plan.
        LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Intelligence Oversight Commission discussed a report which shows that the 7 May incident in which two Slovenian soldiers stopped a civilian in the woods near the border with Italy had happened and had not been orchestrated. The incident was not orchestrated and the two hikers were not members of the Antifa terrorist organisation as alleged by Prime Minister Janez Janša, commission chair Matjaž Nemec of the opposition SocDems said.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia voiced disappointment with the latest proposal to cut the EU's 2021-2017 budget to EUR 1.074 trillion and would like more money to be allocated for cohesion funds, according to Foreign Ministry State Secretary Gašper Dovžan, who took part in a video meeting of ministers in charge of EU affairs. He urged a prompt deal on the recovery funding.
        LJUBLJANA - The Constitutional Court decided to stay legislation allowing construction projects to be sped up in part also by restricting the powers of environmental NGOs in the process of environmental permit procedures. The court was petitioned by several NGOs.

        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly endorsed at first reading a bill that would provide EUR 780 million for investment in the Slovenian Armed Forces (SAF) between 2021 in 2026, the bulk for the acquisition of armoured personnel vehicles to set up a battalion battlegroup, plus an aircraft and two helicopters. The coalition was in favour, while the left opposition was against or abstained.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly was expected to pass legislation that would close all but the smallest shops on Sunday but ended up merely sending the bill into third reading. This defers the final decision to September at the earliest. The government does not support the bill.
        LJUBLJANA - Four hospitals will receive coronavirus patients from nursing homes in order to make it easier for nursing homes to organise, the Health Ministry announced, in what marks a change from how such patients were treated during the first wave of the epidemic. A total of 50 beds will be available at special nursing departments at both university medical centres in Ljubljana and Maribor and the general hospitals in Novo Mesto and Nova Gorica.
        LJUBLJANA - The number of new infections remained steady throughout the week with 19 reported for Wednesday for a total of 121 in the last seven days. The number of people in hospital rose by two to 18, with one patient in intensive care. No new deaths due to Covid-1' have been reported since 31 May.
        LJUBLJANA - Minister for Slovenians Abroad Helena Jaklitsch urged the Austrian minister in charge of ethnic minorities, Susanna Raab, to take action after Grafenstein, a municipality in Carinthia, recently decided to effectively abolish bilingual education. The decision is being examined by Carinthia's regional office for constitutional affairs.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenian museums and galleries recorded a financial shortfall of around EUR 650,000 due to coronavirus restrictions. The revenue loss will be impossible to offset, said the Slovenian Museum Association

All our posts in this series are here

Page 10 of 16

This websie uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.