FRIDAY, 26 April
LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary commission in charge of overseeing intelligence and security services accused Defence Minister Karl Erjavec of abusing the military intelligence service to dismiss Brigadier Miha Škerbinc as the force commander of the Slovenian Armed Forces. Erjavec, who denies the charge, appointed Brigadier Milan Žurman Škerbinc's successor effective on 30 April.
LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Miro Cerar and his visiting Norwegian counterpart Ine Marie Eriksen Soreide noted the good relationship between the two countries. Norway and Slovenia "are in many ways two similar-minded countries", Cerar said.
LJUBLJANA/BRUSSELS, Belgium - Perceived independence of judges remains a sore spot for Slovenia's judiciary, according to the 2019 EU Justice Scoreboard. The country placed 22nd, based on 2017 data, a two-spot improvement over the year before. The country has considerably reduced court backlogs.
LJUBLJANA - A poll released by POP TV on the first day of the election campaign gave the joint list of the opposition Democrats (SDS) and the non-parliamentary People's Party (SLS) 12.3% of the vote, followed by the coalition SocDems with 12.2%. PM Marjan Šarec's LMŠ polled at 10.1% and the opposition National Party (SNS) at 7.2%.
BRUSSELS, Belgium - Some 75% of Slovenians who took part in the most recent Eurobarometer survey feel that being a member of the EU has benefited their country. Some 37% feel the EU is no longer on the right track, while 38% feel that way about Slovenia.
LJUBLJANA - Retail group Mercator posted EUR 1.6m in net profit for last year, an improvement over its EUR 184m loss in the year before. Sales revenue was up by 1.2% year-on-year, reaching EUR 2.18bn. Revenue from retail, the group's core business, increased by 3.2% to EUR 1.63bn.
KRANJ - The recently sold Gorenjska Banka doubled its pre-tax profit to EUR 20.68m in 2018. Net profit nearly tripled compared to the year before, amounting to EUR 17.1m, showed the annual report.
MARIBOR - The newspaper publisher Večer offloaded its entire magazine portfolio to focus on general interest media as it prepares to merge with rival newspaper publisher Dnevnik. The magazines have been sold to three companies that are part of a sprawling media empire controlled by Martin Odlazek, seen by many as one of the most influential people in Slovenia.
SATURDAY, 27 April
JELŠANE - Some 400 locals living along the border near the Jelšane crossing staged a rally demanding better border protection and rejecting the idea of their community hosting a processing centre for migrants.
LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor described Resistance Day as a "glorious day" that celebrates rebellion against attempts to destroy the Slovenian nation. Rebellious people risked their lives and resisted are patriots who deserve respect and admiration notwithstanding what accompanied the national liberation struggle, he said.
LJUBLJANA - Ratings agency Moody's upgraded Slovenia's outlook to stable from positive as it kept its country rating at Baa1. The outlook was changed due to the government effective response to issues exposed by the debt crisis, the Finance Ministry said.
LJUBLJANA - A total of 103 candidates running on 14 lists will vie for eight seats allotted to Slovenia in the European Parliament, showed the final tally by the National Electoral Commission. There will be 51 women on the ballot and 52 men and six lists, including by five parliamentary parties, have made women their top candidates.
SUNDAY, 28 April
LJUBLJANA - The government's approval rating improved by 3.6 p.p. in Aril compared to March to stand at 56%, showed a poll commissioned by POP TV. Support for the senior coalition Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) grew as well, to 17% from 16.5%. The LMŠ is followed by the opposition Democrats (SDS), which lost more than one point to 14.3%, showed the poll by Mediana.
BRUSSELS, Belgium - Slovenia is seen as a stable, constructive and pro-European country which however does not fully use the potential to play the role a small country can play in the EU, Slovenia's former European Commissioner Janez Potočnik told the STA ahead of the 15th anniversary of Slovenia's EU accession.
LJUBLJANA - Data from the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ) showed 47 people died in Slovenia in 2017 of causes related to drug abuse, seven more than in 2016. Drug-related deaths have been rising since 2013.
MONDAY, 29 April
BERLIN, Germany - PM Marjan Šarec stressed as one of the participants the informal summit on the Western Balkans that the much needed agreement between Kosovo and Serbia would have to be in line with international law, well coordinated and comprehensive. Šarec highlighted Slovenia's support to the region on its Euroatlantic path.
LJUBLJANA - The recently privatised NLB announced it will issue EUR 45m in subordinated notes with a ten-year maturity on 6 May. The bonds will have a fixed coupon rate of 4.2% in the first five years.
KRANJ - The AGM of Gorenjska Banka, which is in 98.27% ownership of Serbian AIK Banka, squeezed out small shareholders. It will pay EUR 298 a share to owners of a total of 6,166 shares, the price per share offered in the recent takeover.
LJUBLJANA - It was confirmed that the Competition Protection Agency's (AVK) approved on 25 April the sale of Slovenia-based sports equipment maker Elan to the Finnish-owned KJK fund.
CELJE - Cetis, one of the top printing companies in Europe specialising in secure documents, posted a group net profit of EUR 2.4m, down 67.6% over the year before. The group's revenue dropped by 2.2% to EUR 59.7m.
SAMOBOR, Croatia - Representatives of the largest trade union confederations of Slovenia and Croatia had their annual Labour Day get-together to adopt a joint statement which calls for prudent reflection and a broad social consensus when it comes to plans to increase the retirement age. The statement is titled 67 is Too Much.
TUESDAY, 30 April
LJUBLJANA - The Ljubljana Local Court drastically reduced the fine originally issued to the opposition Democrats (SDS) in connection to the first of its two violations of the political parties act, while only issuing a reprimand as opposed to a fine in connection to the second. The court maintains the SDS broke rules on party funding with two illegal loans taken out in 2017.
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's annual inflation rate in April was at 1.7%, up 0.1 percentage points compared to March, while 0.8% inflation was recorded on the monthly level. Annual inflation was mostly driven by higher prices of energy, and monthly inflation by dearer holidays and footwear, the Statistics Office said.
LJUBLJANA - The Swedish news portal Nordic Monitor claimed it had obtained secret documents revealing that diplomats working at the Turkish Embassy in Ljubljana spied on a number of critics of Turkey's government and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The Foreign Ministry said it was not familiar with the report and did not want to comment.
LJUBLJANA - Tourism and media group DZS posted EUR 2.5m in net profit last year, an improvement over the EUR 91,000 in profit generated the year before. Sales revenue was at EUR 87m, slightly higher than in 2017.
WEDNESDAY, 1 May
RAVNE NA KOROŠKEM - Addressing a Labour Day ceremony in Ravne na Koroškem, Prime Minister Marjan Šarec said that Labour Day was not an ideological holiday but a "holiday of good people, who like to spend time together, who work hard every day and who love their country."
LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor urged Slovenians to cast their votes in the upcoming European elections in an interview with the STA ahead the 15th anniversary of Slovenia's joining the EU, observed on 1 May. "All of us, who see the EU as brining a future of peace, security, prosperity and the future for our children have the obligation to do something ... It is our responsibility to encourage people to vote," he said.
WARSAW, Poland - Foreign Minister Miro Cerar attended a ceremony in Warsaw marking the 15th anniversary of the accession of ten countries to the EU. He said that "the EU is strong because it is united by its diversity and differences, big and small".
THURSDAY, 2 May
LJUBLJANA - Both Slovenian journalist associations, the DNS and ZNP, took the opportunity of World Press Freedom Day, 3 May, to urge a comprehensive overhaul of media legislation. The DNS highlighted the increasing concentration of power in the hands of ever fewer media players who care strictly about business as opposed to quality journalism.
A review of major events in the week between 19 and 25 April, 2019, as prepared by the STA:
FRIDAY, 19 April
LJUBLJANA - The newspaper Dnevnik reported the government had appointed career diplomat Vojislav Šuc Slovenia's new ambassador to Croatia. Before he replaces Smiljana Knez, he must be quizzed by the parliamentary Foreign Policy Committee and receive Croatia's approval.
LJUBLJANA - Social partners on the Economic and Social Council agreed the Labour Ministry would draft a new social pact by the end of May, based on three proposals by employers and one by trade unions. They would like to reach a consensus by the end of the year so that a new social pact could take effect in 2020.
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's general government surplus in 2018 was 34 million euro higher than initially calculated by the Statistics Office in March. It reached 337 million euro, equivalent to 0.7% of GDP. The country's debt amounted to 32.23 billion euro, or 70.1% of GDP.
LJUBLJANA - Tourism contributed 5.7 billion euro or 12.3% to Slovenia's GDP in 2018 and provided jobs for 110,700 people or 12.8% of all jobs, showed a report by the World Travel and Tourism Council.
TORONTO, Canada - Slavoj Žižek, the internationally acclaimed Slovenian philosopher, and Canadian bestselling author and psychologist Jordan Peterson, faced off their views on capitalism and Marxism. The long-awaited debate at the packed Sony Centre for the Performing Arts saw Peterson defend capitalism, arguing it also created wealth for the poor, while Žižek pointed to climate change as one instance of what is eating capitalism inside out.
SATURDAY, 20 April
LJUBLJANA - The newspaper Dnevnik reported that the Higher Court had reduced the fine imposed by the Ljubljana Local Court on the opposition Democrats (SDS) over an illegal loan of 60,000 euro from 20,000 to 4,200 euro. It also reduced the fine imposed on party leader Janez Janša from 2,000 to 500 euro.
SLOVENSKA BISTRICA - Impol, a Slovenian maker of aluminium products, obtained the EN 9100 standard certificate proving its compliance with the international quality standard for the aerospace industry which should enable it to get into the demanding market of top-quality products.
LENART - Local authorities in Lenart urged suspension of the Salomon waste sorting operation in the north-east town after waste deposited there went up in flames twice in a week, on 13 and 19 April. Unofficial information suggests the fires were caused by a spontaneous combustion.
SUNDAY, 21 April
LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor and Foreign Minister Miro Cerar condemned bomb attacks in churches and hotels in Sri Lanka, which killed more than 300 people, and expressed condolences to the families of the victims.
GLASGOW, UK - Pia Babnik, a 15-year-old Slovenian golf player, won the Helen Holm Scottish Women's Open Championship with a seven-shot win over France's Charlotte Bunel, affirming her status as one of the best up-and-coming female players in Europe.
TUESDAY, 23 April
BRDO PRI KRANJU - President Borut Pahor and Foreign Minister Miro Cerar pledged Slovenia's commitment to multilateralism and the rule of law as they addressed the annual consultation of Slovenian diplomats.
BEIJING, China - Minister of Economic Development and Technology Zdravko Počivalšek began a multi-day visit to China designed to strengthen economic relations between the two countries as well as Slovenia's role in the Belt and Road Initiative. He also visited the headquarters of Hisense, the owner of Slovenian household appliances maker Gorenje.
LJUBLJANA - Political analysts told the STA that with turnout at European Parliament elections very low - under 25% in 2014, the path to success hinged on mobilising core constituents in the weeks leading up to polling day. Alem Maksuti and Rok Čakš believe this will also crucially inform the substance of the debate, which they fear will not feature substantive discussions on the EU's future.
LJUBLJANA - A year after the state provided emergency funding for 15 public hospitals, three hospitals fell short of their 2018 financial goals. The first year of the four-year restructuring process has however produced better-than-expected results at twelve hospitals, showed a report debated by two parliamentary bodies.
NOVO MESTO/KOPER - A total of 111 migrants were apprehended illegally crossing the Croatian-Slovenian at the past weekend, the police said. The number of illegal crossings of the border in the first three months was up by nearly 150% compared to the same period in 2018, to 1,639. Most foreigners came from Algeria.
WEDNESDAY, 24 April
BRDO PRI KRANJU - PM Marjan Šarec made the case for a proactive and balanced foreign policy as he addressed the annual consultation of Slovenian diplomats. He stressed Slovenia's continued commitment to a strong and effective EU and a firm transatlantic alliance.
LJUBLJANA - PM Marjan Šarec warned of the danger of populism in an interview with the Associated Press, arguing the EU needed more efficient leadership to successfully counter the populist surge. He cited prolonged Brexit talks as an example of the EU's slow decision-making, even though he said delaying Britain's departure from the bloc was nevertheless positive.
LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary foreign policy and culture committees condemned Hungary's interference in freedom of the press in Slovenia, meeting almost three weeks after the Hungarian ambassador to Slovenia protested with the Foreign Ministry because of a Mladina cover portraying Hungarian PM Viktor Orban with his hand raised in a Nazi salute.
LJUBLJANA - The supervisory board of Slovenian Sovereign Holding endorsed hiring a legal adviser to sell a further 10% minus one share in NLB after the state already sold 65% in Slovenia's largest bank last year. The state's stake needs to be reduced to 25% plus one share under commitments given to the European Commission.
ILIRSKA BISTRICA - Interior Minister Boštjan Poklukar and Police Commissioner Tatjana Bobnar visited Ilirska Bistrica to assure city officials and local residents the police were doing their job in protecting the border with Croatia. Nevertheless, the locals urged more police officers on the border, to better prevent illegal migrations, and in towns in the municipality so that they would feel safer.
LJUBLJANA - The Finance Ministry announced the NLB bank and its defunct predecessor LB had lost another case linked to Yugoslav-era bank deposits in Croatia as a Zagreb court upheld the ruling ordering them to repay more than 8 million euro in principal plus interest and litigation costs. Slovenia says the ruling runs afoul of Croatia's commitments under international agreements.
LJUBLJANA - The fund management branch of insurer Zavarovalnica Triglav completed the acquisition of fund manager Alta Skladi to become the leading provider of mutual funds in the Slovenian market with a 34% market share.
LJUBLJANA - Researchers and scientists held a March for Science and a public debate urging the state to provide more and steadier funds. They noted the current short-term project financing system was misguided, fuelling fierce rivalry between researchers and institutions.
THURSDAY, 25 April
LJUBLJANA - Despite criticism by the opposition, parliament endorsed a government decree setting the outlines of public finances for 2020-2022, when revenue and expenditure are to grow at an average 3.9% and 3.7%, respectively. A surplus of 1% of GDP is planned for the entire general government sector in 2020 compared to the 0.8% target for 2019, rising to 1.1% and 1.2% in 2021 and 2022, respectively.
LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly abolished taxes on holiday allowance amounting up to the average gross salary in Slovenia, which stands at just over EUR 1,700.
LJUBLJANA - Slovenian Sovereign Holding (SSH) estimated in the 2018 annual report to have posted a 6.3% return on equity last year, which was 0.2 of a percentage point below the peak figure posted the year before, but above the target of 6.1%.
LJUBLJANA - Interior Minister Boštjan Poklukar talked to his Austrian counterpart Herbert Kickl over the phone, reiterating Slovenia's position that there is no need for border controls on the Austrian-Slovenian border, a measure Austria extended earlier this month.
LJUBLJANA - Matej Pirc, the former chairman of Slovenian Sovereign Holding, was appointed chief executive officer of the Bank Assets Management Company (BAMC), having served as acting CEO since the end of January, as part of BAMC's overhaul following an audit which exposed a contentious sale of a piece of land.
LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed changes to the social assistance act to enact free-of-charge counselling and other forms of assistance for victims of crimes and their family members.
VELENJE - Household appliances maker Gorenje said it expected to lay off 270 people after the newspaper Večer learnt from unionists that 1,720 people would be sacked, of which 1,450 would be offered new contracts.
LJUBLJANA - The opposition Democrats (SDS) sent to parliament a bill to set up a demographic fund to prop up the pension system. The bill envisages all state assets being transferred to the fund.
LJUBLJANA - German MEP Gabrielle Zimmer, the leader of the left-wing GUE/NGL political group in the European Parliament, visited Ljubljana ahead of May's EU elections. She said the European Parliament needed more people who fought for change in the EU without destroying the bloc.
LJUBLJANA - Sergej Racman, the former owner of the cinema chain operator Kolosej, pleaded not guilty as he appeared in court charged with cutting off creditors, chiefly the NLB bank, by selling the Kolosej cinema centre in Ljubljana, which had been pledged as collateral for almost EUR 13m in loans.
LJUBLJANA - A comprehensive exhibition of visual arts from the Kingdom of Yugoslavia (1929-1941) opened at Moderna Galerija, as the museum of modern art's main exhibition this year.