Ljubljana related

05 Mar 2022, 08:06 AM

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

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

FRIDAY, 25 February
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor offered a formal apology to the 25,671 people who were erased from Slovenia's register of permanent residents 30 years ago. While accepting the apology on behalf of the Civil Initiative of Erased Activists, Irfan Beširović warned that not all injustices had been eliminated yet and some erased still lived without a proper status.
        LJUBLJANA - The government decided to impose limits on Slovenian airspace as it met over the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The decision will simplify the use of airspace for overflights by military aircraft of allied countries for the purpose of troop deployments on NATO's eastern flank.
        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša met new US Ambassador to Slovenia Jamie L. Harpootlian to discuss the situation in Ukraine. The pair condemned Russia's attack on Ukraine in the strongest terms and welcomed the introduction of severe sanctions against Russia.
        LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary foreign policy and defence committees condemned Russia's aggression and discussed a proposal for Slovenia to initiate a session of the UN General Assembly to do the same.
        LJUBLJANA - Anja Kopač, a vice president of the opposition SocDems and former labour minister, returned a Russian state decoration in protest against Russia's attack on Ukraine, which she described as "an act of aggression and a grave violation of international law".
        CELJE - A panel of judges of the Celje District Court found PM Janez Janša guilty of defaming two TV Slovenija journalists, Eugenija Carl and Mojca Šetinc Pašek, whom he called "washed up prostitutes" in a 2016 tweet. The ruling is not final yet.
SATURDAY, 26 February
        LJUBLJANA - Due to Russia's attack on Ukraine the government decided to ban Russian aircraft from Slovenia's airspace after a number of European countries made the same move. Russia retaliated the next day by closing its airspace to Slovenian aircraft.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Security Council debated the situation in Ukraine. The prime minister's office said it was in Slovenia's national security interest that Ukraine defend itself against the aggression and that the threat against the EU and NATO's eastern flank be reduced.

SUNDAY, 27 February
        LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Janez Janša warned of a domino effect if Ukraine falls, noting in an interview for three media outlets that the country's fate was instrumental not just for Europe but the world as a whole. He said Moldova and Georgia would be next if Ukraine falls, with Baltic countries probably next in line and "things being cooked up" in the Western Balkans.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Slovenia has the capacity to accommodate between 180,000 and 200,000 refugees from Ukraine, Interior Minister Aleš Hojs said after an informal session of the EU's interior ministers. He later clarified that the actual number would probably be a fraction of that.
        LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Anže Logar signed decrees revoking the credentials of all Russian honorary consuls in Slovenia. "Russia no longer has honorary consuls in Slovenia," he announced on Twitter.

MONDAY, 28 February
        LJUBLJANA - Driven by stimulus-fuelled domestic spending, Slovenia's economy expanded by 8.1% in real terms in 2021 after a 4.2% contraction the year before. In nominal terms it was up 10.9%, show preliminary estimates released by the Statistics Office. In the fourth quarter GDP grew by a seasonally adjusted 5.4% year-on-year.
        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša discussed Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the West's response to it in a televised interview, assessing that President Vladimir Putin "can no longer win this war". He said Europa had cast away utopian ideas and had woken up to the real world.
        LJUBLJANA - Defence Minister Matej Tonin revealed that Slovenia had sent rifles, ammunition and helmets to Ukraine. He would not talk about quantities beyond saying that the aid has already been dispatched with "several aircraft".
        BERLIN, Germany - Russia's invasion of Ukraine topped the agenda as Foreign Minister Anže Logar was hosted by his German counterpart Annalena Baerbock in Berlin. The pair agreed that EU values are being defended in Ukraine.
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor pledged full support to Moldova in its efforts to help Ukrainian refugees as he spoke to President Maia Sandu on the phone. Slovenia will examine ways to help Moldova, he said, expressing Slovenia's support for Moldova's European perspective.
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor and Polish President Andrzej Duda exchanged views in a telephone conversation on the situation in Ukraine. They expressed concern over the clear violation of international order by Russian political leadership and called for the end of the Russian attack.
        NEW YORK, US - Slovenia expressed its staunch support for Ukraine's people and government in their fight against the Russian invasion at an emergency session of the UN General Assembly. It joined a statement made by the EU and urged all UN members to support the resolution condemning Russia's aggression.
        LJUBLJANA - The Foreign Ministry urged Slovenian citizens who are currently in Russia and Belarus to leave the countries due to limited flight connections and increased safety risks. It said they should choose safe travel options.
        LJUBLJANA - The government decided that a centre for refugees from Ukraine will be set up in the Logatec facilities of the Administration for Civil Protection and Disaster Relief. During the course of the week the first groups of refugees were accommodated there, including a large group of youth soccer players.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec underscored the need to diversify the EU's gas supplies and to synchronise Ukraine's power grid with Europe's as he addressed reporters after an emergency EU ministerial.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed a bill to encourage digital inclusion which is designed to enhance digital development of the economy and the entire society. The centrepiece is a scheme of "digital vouchers" for students and adults over 55 to buy digital devices and attend digital literacy courses.
        LJUBLJANA - The Liberal Democrats (LIDE), a party formed in January by Speaker Igor Zorčič, decided against contesting the 24 April general election after failing to agree a joint ticket with the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS). The DeSUS executive council subsequently decided that the party will contest the general election independently.

TUESDAY, 1 March
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's largest bank, NLB, acquired the Slovenian subsidiary of Russia's Sberbank in a move that the central bank said would preserve the financial stability in the country after Russian-owned banks suffered a loss of trust due to sanctions against Russia. NLB paid just over EUR 5 million to take an outright stake plus all assets, liabilities and clients.
        KHARKIV, Ukraine - The Foreign Ministry said that the building housing the Slovenian consulate in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv had been destroyed in an attack by the Russian army, condemning the act as well as Russia's aggression on Ukraine as such.
        LJUBLJANA - A large group of people gathered in the centre of Ljubljana for a rally in support of Ukraine organised by over thirty civil society organisations. Speakers called for an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine and the start of talks for a diplomatic solution, and a joint statement read by the organisers condemned Russia's attack on Ukraine.
        LJUBLJANA - FM Anže Logar announced that Slovenia will provide EUR 1.1 million in humanitarian aid to residents of Ukraine through the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Caritas Internationalis, and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
        LJUBLJANA - Robert Golob called for changes to Slovenia's energy, defence and foreign policies in view of the current geopolitical situation as he addressed the public to announce the election convention of his Freedom Movement for 19 March, saying he favoured increasing defence budget and removing fence from the border.
        LJUBLJANA - The District Court in Krško has appointed an interim four-member management board of energy trader GEN-I with Igor Koprivnikar, now in charge of sales, as chairman. The company has been led by plenipotentiaries since 17 November, when long-serving Robert Golob failed to win another term in what some described as political staffing.

        LJUBLJANA - The Foreign Ministry summoned Russian Ambassador to Slovenia Timur Eyvazov to lodge a formal protest and demand an apology and compensation after the Slovenian consulate in Kharkiv, Ukraine's second largest city, was destroyed by a Russian missile.
        LJUBLJANA - The second rally in support of Ukraine in two days was held in Ljubljana with senior government officials condemning Russia's aggression and highlighting that Ukraine was fighting not just for itself but for freedom and democracy throughout Europe.
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor received Ukrainian Ambassador to Slovenia Mikhaylo Brodovych. The pair expressed concern over the war in Ukraine, and the ambassador outlined to Pahor the current situation in Ukraine in the wake of Russia's invasion.
        LJUBLJANA - Supreme Court President Damijan Florjančič talked of attempts to weaken the judiciary at a high-profile ceremony where he warned of hidden dangers such as the wage policy and budgetary measures. He spoke of the importance of the judiciary being independent to perform its mission.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenian courts continued to reduce backlogs last year, even compared to the pre Covid-19 time. The number of unsolved cases rose above 5% in 2020 but the trend was reversed in 2021, a new report showed.
        LJUBLJANA - Universities decided to join the general strike in the education system scheduled for 9 March after a list of their demands had been ignored by the Education Ministry for over a month. Much like school and kindergarten teacher, professors at universities are unhappy with the public sector pay system.
        GENEVA, Switzerland - Foreign Minister Anže Logar called on the international community to respond with resolve and unity to Russia's increasingly brutal aggression on Ukraine as he addressed an emergency session of the UN Human Rights Council on the state of human rights in Ukraine.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - EU interior ministers, including Slovenia's Aleš Hojs, agreed to trigger for the first time ever the legislation providing Ukrainian refugees with immediate temporary protection. Hojs welcomed a compromise solution that detailed more clearly who would be eligible for the rights under temporary protection status.
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor and US Ambassador to Slovenia Jamie L. Harpootlian met to exchange views on topical developments in Ukraine. They stressed the role of the international community's great unity on, and unambiguous response to, Russia's military attack on Ukraine.
        LJUBLJANA - Health Minister Janez Poklukar announced that preparations started in healthcare for a possible crisis due to the Russian attack on Ukraine, including for emergencies that may occur due to cyber attacks or electricity shortages.
        LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Janez Janša appeared before the parliamentary inquiry looking into allegations of unlawful financing of his SDS party ahead of the 2018 election. Janša told the MPs that the SDS had not influenced in any way in the past the operation of broadcaster NTV24 or of Nova Hiša, which runs the web portal.
        LJUBLJANA - The government approved the latest Covid-19 relaxation under which face masks will no longer be obligatory in schools and other educational institutions from 7 March. The mask mandate for other indoor public spaces remains in force.
        LUXEMBOURG, Luxembourg - The Council of the EU appointed Jorg Kristijan Petrovič as Slovenia's new member of the European Court of Auditors. His six-year term will start on 7 May as he succeeds Samo Jereb.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's public debt as percentage of GDP dropped by 4.9 percentage points last year to 74.9%, the first estimate by the Finance Ministry shows.
        LJUBLJANA - After two months of seasonal growth, Slovenia's registered unemployment total decreased in February. The Employment Service registered 64,783 people put of a job, 4.5% fewer than in January and 26.4% fewer than in February 2021.

26 Feb 2022, 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, 18 February

        MUNICH, Germany - President Borut Pahor called for dialogue and a peaceful solution to the Ukraine crisis as he arrived at the Munich Security Conference.
        LJUBLJANA - The teachers' trade union SVIZ said its members overwhelmingly endorsed the decision for school and kindergarten teachers to start a general strike on 9 March to demand for higher pay for teaching and non-teaching staff plus bonuses for extra work connected with the Covid-19 pandemic.
        LJUBLJANA - The government decided to waive the quarantine requirement for those in high-risk contact with an infected person and end contact tracing. It also abolished the requirement that passengers entering Slovenia have to produce a Covid pass.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Slovenia's eight MEPs addressed a letter to the European Commission alerting it to a seizure of church bells in Dolina, a village near the Italian city of Trieste populated by the Slovenian minority. The MEPs would like to see the Commission act on this incident that they say encroaches on religious freedom and local cultural tradition.
        MARIBOR - Chipmaker NVIDIA signed a partnership with Digital Transformation Minister Mark Boris Andrijanič that will support the development of an artificial intelligence ecosystem in Slovenia and stimulate new ICT talents in creative AI environments.
        LJUBLJANA - The supervisory board of Petrol approved the plan of the energy company's management to build three large solar power plants in Croatia, worth a total of EUR 17 million. Planned to start producing electricity at the beginning of 2023, the expected output the three facilities will be 29 gigawatt hours (GWh).
        KOPER - The port operator Luka Koper said its net profit had contracted by 1% to EUR 31.8 million last year despite a 9% increase in revenue, which amounted to EUR 228.4 million. Total throughput hit 20.8 million tonnes, up 7% on the year before.
        SLOVENJ GRADEC - The 16th annual auction of prime timber in Slovenia brought new records, as a quilted sycamore maple from state-owned forests fetched a record price of EUR 23,800 per cubic metre or EUR 47,838 for the whole log.
        LJUBLJANA - The Ljubljana criminal police said they had busted a drug trafficking ring with over 80 members and seized almost 600 kilos of cannabis and several kilos of heroine as part of an international investigation that started in 2018.
SATURDAY, 19 February
        MUNICH, Germany - President Borut Pahor held several bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference, focussing on the Ukraine crisis, including with his Finish and Montenegrin counterparts Sauli Niinistö and Milo Đukanović.
        LJUBLJANA - The latest public opinion poll conducted by Parsifal saw the ruling Democrats (SDS) in the lead, with party's support rising by 3 percentage points to 22.9% in the past month. The Freedom Movement headed by Robert Golob comes second, on 13.2% support, up by 2.8 percentage points.
        ROME, Italy - Prime Minister Janez Janša and Cardinal Franc Rode featured as witnesses in a documentary on summary executions in the wake of Second World War that was aired on Rai 2, the second channel of the Italian public broadcaster.
        LJUBLJANA - LPS or Last Pizza Slice, a band of five teenagers, won the contest to represent Slovenia at the 66th Eurovision song contest in Turin with the song 'Disko' (Disco).
        NEW YORK, US - The first space exhibition at the International Space Station (ISS) will feature two miniature artworks by Slovenian artist Eva Petrič as part of the miniature works contributed by 65 artists from around the world.

SUNDAY, 20 February
        MUNICH, Germany - President Borut Pahor urged stepping up EU enlargement to the Western Balkans as he appeared in a panel debate at the Munich Security Conference, saying the EU was the only answer to the issues troubling the region. FM Anže Logar said the key was to resolve issues in the region stemming from the past.
        BEIJING, China - Slovenian athletes won seven medals at the Beijing Winter Olympic Games, which puts the country second only to Norway in medals per capita. Overall, Slovenia ranked 15th among all countries on the Olympic medal table.

MONDAY, 21 February
        LJUBLJANA - Virtually all Covid-19 restrictions were lifted in Slovenia except for the wearing of masks and hand sanitising indoors. Proof of recovery, vaccination or negative test (PCT) is only be required in hospitals, care homes and prisons. There are no more caps on gatherings or numbers allowed inside shops, hospitality or other services establishments, and no restrictions to opening hours.
        LJUBLJANA - The government decided to increase the capital of Slovenia's custodian of state assets, Slovenian Sovereign Holding, by a sum that will allow it to exercise its pre-emptive right to purchase private fund York's share in Slovenian tourism company Sava.
        LENDAVA - Slovenian and Hungarian PMs Janez Janša and Viktor Orban stressed as they signed an agreement on cooperation to develop the border areas populated by the countries' respective minorities in Lendava that the minorities were a "bridge for cooperation between two friendly countries" and economic ties between them brought double benefit.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly endorsed the government's proposal not to allow a referendum on a law ratifying the agreement with the Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation. The opposition Left, which initiated the referendum bid, is now planning to appeal to the Constitutional Court.
        LJUBLJANA - The government approved material aid for Ukraine and Madagascar as well as a donation of Covid-19 vaccines to Namibia and COVAX. Through the EU civil protection mechanism Slovenia will send EUR 163,000 worth of sleeping bags, rubber boots, diesel generators, gloves and face masks to Ukraine in response to the country's appeal for aid.
        LJUBLJANA - The Commission for the Prevention of Corruption cleared PM Janez Janša over his socialising with a well-known lobbyist and a businessman while holidaying on the island of Mauritius when he was still an opposition leader. The commission closed the case after it had found no breach of anti-graft legislation.
        MARIBOR - The supervisory board of the electricity distributor Elektro Maribor appointed acting chairman Jože Hebar for a full-fledged term. He was appointed acting chairman in November after the dismissal of Boris Sovič, who had led the company for nine years.

TUESDAY, 22 February
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's officials unanimously condemned Russia's recognition of the separatist regions of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine as blatant violation of international law. PM Janez Janša called for the EU to offer Ukraine the prospect of full membership and Defence Minister Matej Tonin announced the government's top officials agreed Slovenia was ready to support the country's membership of the EU and enhance its troops' presence in eastern NATO member states.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly approved the government package to mitigate the impact of high energy prices, whose primary focus is on aid for households and citizens, as it provides for a one-off payment for some 710,000 Slovenians.
        LJUBLJANA - Defence Minister Matej Tonin discussed Russia's actions in Ukraine in an interview with the CNN, underscoring that unity was the Western allies' strongest tool and warning that something bad could happen in the Western Balkans, in particular Bosnia-Herzegovina.
        PARIS - FM Anže Logar attended the first ministerial forum on cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region organised by the French EU presidency, noting the importance of good and sustainable integration between Europe and the region.
        LJUBLJANA - MPs endorsed a government-sponsored act that temporarily increases the scope of temporary or casual work available for pensioners to help the labour market recover in the wake of Covid-19 in what the government says will help mitigate labour shortages.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly endorsed changes to the act on state border control that bring border municipalities EUR 2.5 million in assistance to cover the costs they incur as a result of enhanced border patrolling by police and soldiers to prevent illegal migration.
        LJUBLJANA - Ferenc Horvath, the MP for the Hungarian minority, will have to pay a EUR 1,000 fine after a district and a higher court upheld the anti-graft watchdog's view that he is in breach of the incompatibility of dual offices as he also serves as the head of a minority organisation.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed changes to the investment promotion act that aim to raise the productivity of the Slovenian economy and the standard of living by facilitating companies' adjustment to the demands of the digital and green transition.
        NOVO MESTO - Revoz, the Slovenian subsidiary of Renault that cut production to one and a half shifts last November and then announced further cuts in January for April, will move to the announced single shift a month early.

WEDNESDAY, 23 February
        LONDON, UK - FM Anže Logar met his British counterpart Elizabeth Truss to sign a declaration of intent to strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries. They agreed that Slovenia and the UK are partners and allies, sharing common values and similar interests on many issues and policies. Logar also met the president of the 26th UN Climate Change Conference, Alok Sharma.
        LJUBLJANA - The Foreign Ministry summoned Russian Ambassador Timur Eyvazov over Russia's recognition of independence of the eastern Ukrainian regions Donetsk and Luhansk. The ambassador was informed of Slovenia's resolute opposition to Russia's actions along the Ukrainian border and unilateral recognition of the two regions.
        BOLOGNA, Italy - Education Minister Simona Kustec and her Italian counterpart Patrizio Bianchi urged the formation of a task force for cooperation in minority eduction that would address open issues.
        MARIBOR - The newspaper Večer reported that Maribor-based radio station Radio City had been acquired by companies Media Moment and Radio Factory, owned by Hungarian Gabor Deak. It said Deak is linked to the circles of Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
        LJUBLJANA - The anti-graft watchdog said it had found breach of integrity by Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek, noting he interfered in the work of the Commodity Reserves Agency in relation to a purchase of ventilators from the supplier Geneplanet.
        LJUBLJANA - The police dealt with 693 cases of illegal migration in the first month of 2022, more than double the figure recorded in January last year. By far the largest number of illegal migrants intercepted last month were Afghans, which is to be expected given the situation in the country, the police said.
        LJUBLJANA - The newspaper Delo reported that the Kranj Local Court had issued convictions for five men involved in a Covid-19 vaccination fraud where one of them got vaccinated on behalf of the other four. One was given a sentence of ten months in prison, while the other four were fined.
THURSDAY, 24 February
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Arriving for an emergency EU summit in Brussels, Prime Minister Janez Janša urged the severest possible sanctions against Russia for invading Ukraine as well as providing humanitarian, economic and military help to Ukraine. Together with his Polish counterpart Mateusz Morawiecki it called on the European Council to grant Ukraine's accession to the EU by 2030.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's top officials and parties condemned in the strongest terms the Russian attack on Ukraine, with Prime Minister Janez Janša saying it was unprecedented military aggression against the country. President Borut Pahor called the attack a grave violation of international law and UN principles of peaceful resolution of disputes. In solidarity with Ukraine, the country's flag was hoisted on the Government Palace and the Presidential Palace.
        LJUBLJANA - Natalia Markevich, charge d'affaires at the Ukrainian embassy in Ljubljana, thanked Slovenia for its support and assistance to Ukraine following Russia's invasion.
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor presented state decorations to Tatjana Rojc, the Slovenian serving as a senator in Rome, and minority officials Walter Bandelj and Ksenija Dobrila as well as Trieste Mayor Roberto Dipiazza.
        LJUBLJANA - The Slovenia-based banking group NLB said it had posted a record profit of EUR 236.4 million in 2021, a substantial growth compared to the previous year, excluding effects from the acquisition of Komercijalna Banka in Serbia.
        LJUBLJANA - The Environment and Spatial Planning Inspectorate said that Slovenia had exported almost 150,000 tonnes of waste to third countries in 2021, some 25% less than in 2020. The amount of plastic waste was reduced by just over 40%.
        KRŠKO - Gen Energija, the company managing the Slovenian half of the NEK nuclear power station, got an interim head, as the company's long-serving director general Martin Novšak was dismissed. Until a new head is appointed financial director Gordana Radanovič will serve as interim head.

19 Feb 2022, 09:46 AM

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

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

FRIDAY, 11 February
        LJUBLJANA - The Constitutional Court stayed, pending its final decision, the implementation of a provision in the latest Covid relief law that raises the pay ceiling in the single public sector wage system only for the benefit of doctors and dentists and had angered other groups of public sector trade employees.
        LJUBLJANA - Economist Jože P. Damijan, the author of the idea for the Constitutional Arch Coalition (KUL), was joined by more than two dozen former officials as well as businessmen, scientists and other professionals in launching a centre-left development agenda that they plan to implement in collaboration with existing political players.
        LJUBLJANA - The International Press Institute released a report on Hungarian investments in foreign media that suggests the Hungarian model of government control of the media is being transposed to Slovenia. It says this is important in light of Slovenia's upcoming general election.
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - The Slovenian women's ski jumping team, men's basketball team, cross-country skier Anamarija Lampič and former para athlete and sports official Peter Ozmec were declared the winners of the 2021 Bloudek Prizes, the highest national awards for current and lifetime achievements in sports.
SATURDAY, 12 February
        LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Janez Janša said that Slovenia was monitoring with concern the concentration of the Russian troops on the border with Ukraine as he spoke on the phone with Ukrainian counterpart Denis Shmygal to express support for Ukraine's territorial integrity and the right of every country to choose its alliance.
        FRANKOLOVO - President Borut Pahor called for a peaceful solution to the crisis in north-eastern Europe, saying that peace should be protected and everything should be done for dialogue to continue, as the addressed a memorial ceremony after laying a wreath at the monument to the Frankolovo victims.

SUNDAY, 13 February
        BEIJING, China - Žan Kranjec won silver in the men's giant slalom in what was his first Olympic medal and the sixth for Slovenia at the Beijing Olympics. After placing 8th in the first run, he put on a dream-like second run as conditions were tough due to snowing, to improve on his 4th place from the 2018 Games.
        LJUBLJANA - Nika Kovač, the founder and head of NGO the 8 March Institute, was named the Slovenian Woman of the Year 2021 by the women's magazine Jana and its readers. The NGO has been very vocal for several years now, warning of inequalities and the problems of the most vulnerable.

MONDAY, 14 February
        LISBON, Portugal - President Borut Pahor and his Portuguese counterpart Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa called for a peaceful and diplomatic solution to the Ukraine crisis and urged for a faster EU enlargement to the Western Balkans, as they met at the outset of Pahor's two-day official visit to Portugal.
        VIENNA, Austria - Slovenia, a new member of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), submitted a draft resolution calling on the international community to step up efforts to prevent the use of illicit drugs in particular among children and youth. The CND will debate the resolution at its 65th session in mid-March.
        LJUBLJANA - The opposition Social Democrats (SD) proposed scrapping the recovered, vaccinated, tested rule in all activities except health and social care, as well as abolishing mandatory quarantine for contacts of infected people. They believe people should be free to decide whether to wear masks and self-test or not.
        LJUBLJANA - The opposition Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB) set out its platform for the 24 April general election with solidarity and green transition as one of the cornerstones with priorities such as stabilisation of public finances, restoration of the rule of law and improving the status of pensioners.
        LJUBLJANA - The steel group SIJ signed an agreement with a consortium of banks headed by NLB on a EUR 230 million syndicated loan with seven-year maturity to refinance existing loans, secure additional liquidity reserves for its long-term development, and finance investments into environmental efficiency.
        BEIJING, China - The Slovenian men's ski-jumping team, made up of Lovro Kos, Cene Prevc, Timi Zajc and Peter Prevc, won silver at the Olympics for Slovenia's seventh medal at the Beijing Games.

TUESDAY, 15 February
        LJUBLJANA - Health experts outlined a gradual easing of measures against the Covid-19 epidemic at a consultation with the government, proposing the abolition of the Covid pass for shops, banks, post offices and administrative units, and the abolition of quarantines in case of high-risk contacts.
        DUBAI, UAE - Slovenia and the United Arab Emirates signed a memorandum of understanding on sustainable development and food systems as Agriculture Minister Jože Podgoršek held talks with Emirati Environment and Climate Change Minister Mariam Bint Mohammed Saeed Hareb Almheiri.
        LISBON, Portugal - President Borut Pahor was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Lisbon at a special ceremony, being honoured for his efforts to promote dialogue and his continued commitment to fundamental European values.
        LJUBLJANA - Aleksandra Pivec, the president of Our Land, announced that the party had collected more than 1,500 signatures of voters, so it officially entered the election race. She said the party's platform would mainly address vulnerable groups, adding that it was too early to speak about post-election alliances.
        LJUBLJANA - Cultural institutions and association addressed a letter to decision-makers to fully reopen cultural venues in Slovenia, and lift all coronavirus restrictions which govern organising and visiting cultural events by 21 February at the latest. The appeal was signed by 70 organisations.
        LJUBLJANA - The average gross pay in Slovenia rose by 6.1% in nominal terms in 2021 to EUR 1,970, the fastest pace in five years. The increase was almost equally driven by the public and private sectors, showed the latest Statistics Office figures.

WEDNESDAY, 16 February
        LJUBLJANA - Nurses, staff at social care institutions and pharmacies staged a one-day strike after failing to make meaningful progress at talks with the government either on a rise to tackle pay disparities or work standards. Some 50,000 staff were on strike and many non-urgent health services were suspended for the day.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia extended two bonds in the total amount of EUR 750 million, adding EUR 350 million to the bond due in March 2032 and EUR 400 million to the bond due in October 2050. The treasury also earmarked US$582.7 million and EUR 15 million for repurchase of dollar- and euro-denominated bonds due in 2023 and 2024.
        LJUBLJANA - The Left withdrew its motion for a consultative referendum on changes to the income tax act, as the government had indicated the referendum could be held on the same day as the general election. Left coordinator Luka Mesec said the party did not want to enable the government to build its election campaign on "promises of higher wages."
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's banking system generated an after-tax profit of EUR 527.3 million last year, an increase of 17.1% compared to the previous year. Pre-tax profit rose by about a fifth to stand at EUR 564.7 million, shows a report releases by the central bank.
        LJUBLJANA) - Pensioners will get 4.4% higher pensions at the end of the month in line with regular annual adjustment with wages and consumer prices. Back rise for January will be paid out as well. The adjustment will cost the Pension and Disability Insurance Institute EUR 268 million at the annual level.

THURSDAY, 17 February
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Prime Minister Janez Janša expressed "full support for EU efforts for de-escalation" after EU leaders discussed the situation in Ukraine. He lauded the EU's unity on the issue, which he said would make it harder for Russian President Vladimir Putin to play his game. Defence Minister Matej Tonin announced Slovenia would help Ukraine with equipment such as mobile kitchens, heated tents and dual-use equipment, but no weapons.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Slovenia is still among the NATO countries with the lowest defence spending. It ranks 25th in terms of efforts to have 2% of GDP allocated for defence and 26th when it comes to defence investments, Defence Minister Matej Tonin said after a NATO ministerial. This year, Slovenia will allocate 1.3% of GDP for defence and in 2023 and 2024 this will rise to 1.4% and 1.5%, respectively.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Defence Minister Matej Tonin said that Slovenian soldiers remained in Mali for now and continued training Mali troops, after France announced its troops would withdraw from the country. Tonin noted that a formal decision on the EU mission there had not yet been adopted yet.
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor turned down a call by the Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) not to sign a decree appointing new ambassadors ahead of the general election. He said a postponement would be unjustified and harm the country's foreign policy interests in the international community.
        LJUBLJANA - The new US Ambassador to Slovenia Jamie L. Harpootlian presented her credentials to President Borut Pahor. She said her goal was to open avenues for working together and strengthening the countries' partnership.
        KOMENDA - Slovenian company PharmaHemp started building an EUR 11 million facility to produce and process hemp products in Komenda, north of Ljubljana, in what it said would bring together the broadest range of services in the field of hemp in Europe.

12 Feb 2022, 08:22 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 February
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly rejected the appointment of Marjan Divjak as vice-governor of the central bank. The Democrats (SDS) proposed that the vote be postponed, but their motion was rejected and the vote went ahead with 44 voting in favour and 40 against in a secret ballot, short of the required super majority.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly voted a bill on electronic communications, put forward by the government to transpose EU law, unfit for further reading. The bill would bar high-risk vendors from the market in a provision directed against Chinese Huawei. While not mentioning the vendor specifically, the bill would ban providers from using the equipment of high-risk suppliers if they are labelled by such by the government based on the opinion of the National Security Council.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly failed to overturn the upper chamber's veto on a bill raising the required level of Italian language proficiency for staff at Italian-language schools and kindergartens. While the coalition voted in favour, the centre-left opposition voted against.
        LJUBLJANA - The opposition Left announced it will withdraw its motion for a referendum on the income tax act after the government indicated the referendum could be held on the same day as the general election. The amendments will probably be passed during this government's term and the Left will strive to win the election and then "correct the law," Left leader Luka Mesec said.
        LJUBLJANA - The Finance Ministry unveiled a new draft law on cryptocurrency taxation. It proposes a 10% taxation rate and a general tax exemption on up to EUR 10,000 of redeemed cryptocurrency per year. The proposed solutions would apply to all natural persons who pay taxes in Slovenia, but not to legal persons and individuals that hold cryptocurrencies as a business asset.
        DOBROVO - Agriculture Minister Jože Podgoršek held talks with his Italian counterpart Stefano Patuanelli. They discussed plans for the joint promotion of Slovenian and Italian wines from the border-spanning region, especially the Rebula white wine, known in Italy as Ribolla.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's exports rose by 19.8% year-on-year to EUR 39.4 billion in 2021 and imports increased by 30.8% to EUR 42 billion, the Statistics Office reported. A trade deficit of EUR 2.6 billion was recorded, the highest in the last ten years.
SATURDAY, 5 February
        BEIJING - Slovenian ski jumpers Urša Bogataj and Nika Križnar made history at the Winter Olympics. Bogataj won gold and Križnar won bronze in the women's normal hill individual event, the first time that more than one Slovenian athlete made the Olympic podium in the same event.
        CARDIFF, UK - Ema Kozin, the best Slovenian female boxer, lost to American Claressa Shields in Cardiff, UK in a fight for the world champion title in a number of categories in the female middleweight class. This is Kozin's first defeat of her professional fighting career.

SUNDAY, 6 February
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia reiterated its support for the inclusion of nuclear energy in the EU's taxonomy of sustainable energy sources. The Finance Ministry said nuclear energy will be needed to maintain low-carbon energy production in the long run, not only during the transition period.
        BEIJING, China - Slovenian ski jumper Peter Prevc finished fourth in the men's normal hill individual event at the Beijing Winter Olympics. He was half a point short to clinch what could have been his third Olympic medal after the two he won at Sochi 2014.

MONDAY, 7 February
        VATICAN CITY, Vatican - President Borut Pahor met Pope Francis during an official visit to the Vatican to mark the 30th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Slovenia and the Holy See. The pair noted the importance of dialogue and discussed the situation in the Western Balkans, the Ukraine crisis, as well as bilateral cooperation.
        ROME - President Borut Pahor held talks with his Italian counterpart Sergio Mattarella. EU issues topped the agenda. The talks focused on peace and stability in the EU's eastern neighbourhood, the need to coordinate post-pandemic economic recovery policies, and the need for debates on the common European future to be more ambitious.
        LJUBLJANA - Freedom Movement, the party of Robert Golob, led the field in a poll commissioned by RTV Slovenija, ahead of the ruling Democrats (SDS). One out of five respondents said they would vote for Freedom Movement, an increase of 6.8 percentage points from January. The SDS gained three points to 15%.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's annual inflation ran at 5.8% in January, the highest since August 2008, picking up pace from 4.9% reported at the end of last year mostly due to costlier fuels and energy. Consumer prices rose by 0.4% from December.
        BEIJING, China - Slovenian ski jumpers Nika Križnar, Urša Bogataj, Timi Zajc and Peter Prevc won the gold medal in the mixed team normal hill event at the Winter Olympics to make history as the first nation to win the event in its Olympic premiere in Beijing.
        CLERMONT FERRAND, France - Animation filmmaker Špela Čadež received a Special Mention at this year's Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival for her animated short Steakhouse in what is the tenth international award for the film.

TUESDAY, 8 February
        DUBAI, UAE - Foreign Minister Anže Logar held talks with his Emirati counterpart Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan as he started a tour of Gulf countries. The ministers confirmed excellent bilateral ties, which have been deepened since Slovenia opened its embassy in Abu Dhabi in 2018, and discussed opportunities for stronger cooperation.
        STRASBOURG, France - Agriculture Minister Jože Podgoršek welcomed an initiative for a new business model for low-carbon farming that is based on the actual sequestration of carbon and involves the option of evaluating that on the market. Podgoršek told his counterparts at an informal meeting that the initiative was an opportunity for extra income for farmers and foresters.
        BEIJING - Slovenian snowboarders won two medals at the Olympic parallel giant slalom. Tim Mastnak got silver in the men's category as one of the medal favourites, while Gloria Kotnik won bronze in the women's competition, a feat few had expected prior to the Olympic Games.

WEDNESDAY, 9 February
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor formally called the general election in Slovenia for 24 April, announcing that he would give the mandate to form the government to the person with sufficient support in the new parliament after the election.
        LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Janez Janša self-tested positive for coronavirus. He posted a photo of a positive test result on Twitter, saying he had all the symptoms typical of Covid-19, although mild.
        DOHA, Qatar - Foreign Minister Anže Logar met his Qatari counterpart Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani to speak about economic cooperation and regional and global issues, including energy. Logar also took the opportunity to talk about Slovenia's candidacy for a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council.
        ZAGORJE OB SAVI - The new green party Vesna held its founding congress, at which environmentalists Urša Zgojznik and Uroš Macerl were elected its co-presidents. The former said the goal was to enter the parliament and demand that programmes in the fields of environment, economy, agriculture, youth policy and democracy be implemented.
        LJUBLJANA - The current robust economic growth is blurring a worsening of Slovenia's public finances, the Fiscal Council said in its latest assessment of the country's public finances. It estimated that the structural measures taken during the Covid epidemic which are unrelated to it will affect the public finances by reducing GDP by 2.2% a year.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's competition watchdog found Renault Nissan Slovenija and four car dealerships had engaged in anti-competitive behaviour for over ten years in the repair and maintenance of Renault vehicles. One of the companies admitted its involvement and provided further evidence in exchange for a milder sentence.

THURSDAY, 10 February
        LJUBLJANA - The government adopted a bill to encourage digital inclusion. The centrepiece of the EUR 31 million project is a scheme of EUR 150 digital vouchers that secondary school kids, students and adults over 55 will be able to use to attend various digital literacy courses or buy digital devices.
        LJUBLJANA - The European Commission downgraded Slovenia's growth forecast for this year by 0.4 percentage points from its autumn forecast to 3.8%, projecting a more moderate growth rate of 3.6% in 2023. This compares to the 4% growth forecast for the euro area this year and 2.7% in 2023.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's industrial output expanded by 10.2% in 2021 on the back of strong performance in manufacturing, the latest Statistics Office data shows. Industrial revenue increased by over 15% and the value of stocks by almost 5%.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's job market saw a record 22,900 vacancies in the final quarter of 2021 as the number of occupied posts hit 792,100, another all-time high, shows fresh data from the Statistics Office. The job vacancy rate in the fourth quarter was 2.8%.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Six out of the eight Slovenian MEPs addressed a letter to European Parliament President Roberta Metsola to express regret over a statement of hers that they say conveys an "untrue and repeatedly criticised position of the former Italian President Giorgio Napolitano" regarding the foibe massacres during and after WWII.
        RIYADH, Saudi Arabia - Foreign Minister Anže Logar held talks with his Saudi counterpart Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud and several other cabinet members as he wrapped up his tour of the Gulf. Economic cooperation was in the focus, as was Slovenia's bid to become a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council.

05 Feb 2022, 08:28 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, 28 January
        LJUBLJANA - FM Anže Logar said that Slovenia and Taipei intended to open mutual economic and cultural representative offices, noting Slovenia had not changed its position in relations with China. This came after PM Janez Janša's statements on Taiwan.
        LJUBLJANA - N1 news portal obtained a draft document of Slovenia's report on rule of law that it says contains value judgements reflecting the views of the ruling SDS as it problematises some judges' appointments. The document is part of preparations for the next EU's Rule of Law Report.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Janez Lenarčič, Slovenia's European commissioner, expressed the hope that forces which are sincerely in favour of fundamental EU values such as the rule of law win the Slovenian general election in April, as he warned against a return to one-party rule of the kind Slovenia had experienced in the past.
        LJUBLJANA - Trade unions representing staff in health and social care announced a strike starting on 16 February citing the government's failure to resume talks to resolve the remaining pay disparities as agreed.
        MARIBOR/CELJE/LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian police and the Financial Administration announced they had dismantled in cooperation with French security authorities and Europol an international criminal ring that illegally manufactured tobacco products in Slovenia and smuggled them across the EU.
        VELENJE - The Hisense Europe Group, which includes the Velenje-based maker of household appliances and TV sets Gorenje, said it was looking for new employees to respond to new orders. Hisense wants to hire between 250 and 400 new staff.
        LJUBLJANA - A new supervisory board of RTV Slovenija held its maiden session, electing as chief supervisor Borut Rončević, a board member appointed by the government. The new team will supervise the broadcaster's business operations until 2026.
        WILLINGEN, Germany - Slovenia won the mixed team event at the ski jumping World Cup in Willingen, Germany in what was the last try-out before the Olympic debut of this format. Two days later, Nika Križnar won the last women's event before the Beijing Olympics, setting a world record at 151 metres.

SATURDAY, 29 January
        LJUBLJANA - The government confirmed a EUR 200 million package of aid for households and companies to mitigate energy price hikes - a 106 million energy voucher scheme for households, aid for companies and farmers worth EUR 70 million, lower network fees for electricity and lower excise duties on heating oil and petrol. The GZS chamber welcomed aid for energy-intensive businesses, although it suggested it should have come sooner, the OZS chamber said it should be extended to include small businesses as well. Meanwhile, environmental NGOs were critical of subsidies for some large industrial energy consumers.
        LJUBLJANA - The government appointed Mitja Lainščak acting director of the Slovenian Research Agency, which is in charge of disbursing funding for science, after it replaced four members of the agency's board, a move criticised by universities. The previous board had twice proposed a candidate that the government rejected.
        LJUBLJANA - A poll commissioned by Dnevnik and Večer showed the ruling Democrats (SDS) would win 18.5% of the vote in the April general election, ahead of Robert Golob's Freedom Movement, at 16.2%, and the opposition Social Democrats (SD), at 9.9%.
        MARIBOR - Philosopher Lev Kreft's remark about people being the target of politicians rather than vice versa won the Spade of the Year title, given out by the newspaper Večer for the most apt statement capturing the spirit of 2021.
        ŠKOFLJICA - A 53-year woman sustained light injures after being attacked by a brown bear in the woods in the Pijava Gorica area, south of Ljubljana, in what was the second such incident in a week after two such attacks in 2021.

SUNDAY, 30 January
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor congratulated his Italian counterpart Sergio Mattarella on being re-elected for another term in office, saying he was looking forward to their continued constructive cooperation for the benefit of the two countries. Mattarella's re-election was also hailed by Tatjana Rojc, the Italian senator who is a member of the Slovenian minority.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's consolidated general government deficit, including those of the state budget, the health and pension funds and local government budgets, amounted to EUR 2.92 billion or 5.8% of GDP last year, 1.8 percentage points less than a year before, according to the Finance Ministry.

MONDAY, 31 January
        LJUBLJANA - The much criticised amendments to the penal code that could result in white-collar crimes becoming statute-barred relatively quickly were removed from the agenda of the January plenary session of the National Assembly at the request of the centre-left opposition.
        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša told the National Assembly that State Prosecutor General Drago Šketa had allegedly sent a letter to Brussels demanding that Slovenia should be asked to meet certain conditions in order to be paid out EU funds, which he labelled as bordering on a coup. Šketa denied the claim.
        LJUBLJANA - Companies report that access to most sources of finance improved last year, showed the latest survey by Banka Slovenije, conducted among 1,182 companies. Around 45% of them cited limited access to qualified staff or experienced managers as the biggest constraint on business operations.
        LJUBLJANA - The Blue Bird Prize for best novel for adults that has not yet been published went to Tina Vrščaj for Na Klancu, which will be published by Cankarjeva Založba this year. Vrščaj's novel, a story about family and love, was picked as the best among 60 texts. The award comes with EUR 10,000.

TUESDAY, 1 February
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia further restricted the use of PCR tests as a new testing protocol kicked in under which rapid antigen tests are already proof of infection. The certificate of recovery obtained in this way will only be valid in Slovenia for now. Over 23,400 new cases of coronavirus were confirmed, by far an all-time high, but this was to a large extent the result of the new testing protocol.
        LJUBLJANA - Validity of Covid-19 vaccination certificates for adults was limited to 270 days since the last prescribed full vaccination, which in most cases means from the second shot, a move in line with EU recommendations. On getting an mRNA booster, the certificate's validity is unlimited.
        LJUBLJANA - The Constitutional Court announced it had annulled rulings by two courts that rejected borrowers' request for annulment of contracts on loans in Swiss francs and for a refund of overpayments, in what is the first decision of Slovenia's top court related to issue of Swiss franc loans. The Bank Association said the decision was due to procedural reasons and thus refers to courts and not to banks.
        LJUBLJANA - Prestige Tourism, a company backed by a Hungarian fund, confirmed buying a 43% stake in Slovenian tourism company Sava from the private equity fund York pending suspensive conditions. Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek said he would strive for the state to exercise the pre-emptive right to the stake.
        MARIBOR - The supervisory board of postal operator Pošta Slovenije appointed Tomaž Kokot the new director general of the state-owned company. Kokot, who stepped in as Pošta Slovenije's interim director in late March 2021, was given a full term of five years after months-long efforts to appoint him. Tomaž Kostanjevec, director of the SPIRIT agency, later stepped down as a supervisor, citing personal reasons.
        LJUBLJANA - The leaders of the four centre-left opposition parties held their first formal meeting with Robert Golob, agreeing they were aspiring to the same goal, which is a change of government and the situation in the country.
        LJUBLJANA - Igor Kadunc, the director of the Slovenian Press Agency, and Uroš Urbanija, the head of the Government Communication Office (UKOM), signed a contract on financing the STA's public service in 2022. UKOM said that the total annual amount planned remained the same as in the previous two years, in the region of EUR 2 million.
        LJUBLJANA - E-vignettes were fully phased in, replacing toll stickers, which are thus no longer valid on Slovenian motorways. The former are linked to an individual vehicle's registration number and their validity is no longer tied to the duration of a calendar year.

WEDNESDAY, 2 February
        LJUBLJANA - British Secretary of State for Defence Ben Wallace met his Slovenian counterpart Matej Tonin. The pair discussed mainly the developments in Ukraine and the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. "A bad peace is better than a good war," said Tonin, as Wallace again called on Russia to maintain dialogue and seek a way to de-escalate the situation.
        LJUBLJANA - MPs passed an act that distributes the cost of the surge in the value of the Swiss franc in 2015 between banks and some 32,000 borrowers who saw the cost of their debt in euros increase as a result. The act had been opposed by the government and by banks, which announced a constitutional appeal.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly ratified an agreement with the Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation enabling the purchase of 45 Boxer APCs for the Slovenian military. The opposition Left then started collecting signatures for a referendum on the act, but the government is planning to challenge the initiative at the Constitutional Court.
        LJUBLJANA - Parliament passed the resolution on the general long-term programme for the development and equipping of the Slovenian Armed Forces until 2035. The procedure had been stalled due to a request from the Left for a consultative referendum, which was rejected.
        LJUBLJANA - MPs approved at second reading the amendments to the gaming act, which aim to liberalise the gaming market in Slovenia by scrapping most curbs on casino ownership and employee licensing and allow five instead of just two lottery organisers. The final vote on the changes will be held in March.
        LJUBLJANA - MPs rejected the bill on the prevention of money laundering and terrorism financing. The government argued the proposal was to improve the current system, while a major part of the opposition said it infringed the protection of personal data and included overly broad powers in relevant investigating.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly rejected a report compiled by a parliamentary inquiry into alleged abuse in the prosecution of former Maribor Mayor Franc Kangler, who now serves as a state secretary at the Interior Ministry.
        LJUBLJANA - Five parties signed an agreement to jointly contest the 24 April election on the Connecting Slovenia ticket. The alliance comprises Concretely, the party of Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek, and the non-parliamentary People's Party, Greens, New People's Party and New Social Democrats.
        LJUBLJANA - Aleksander Zupančič, the chief-of-staff to Environment Minister Andrej Vizjak, was appointed chairman of power grid operator Elektro Ljubljana. Zupančič, who is already a supervisor at the partially state-owned energy group Petrol, will start his four-year term on 6 February.
        KLAGENFURT, Austria - Education Minister Simona Kustec and Carinthia's Governor Peter Kaiser signed a letter of intent on cooperation between the Slovenian government and the regional government of Carinthia in higher education, science and research.

THURSDAY, 3 February
        LJUBLJANA - FM Anže Logar and his Latvian counterpart Edgars Rinkevičs called for diplomatic solution to the Ukraine crisis and for the EU's unity on the issue as they addressed reporters after talks.
        LILLE, France - Interior Minister Aleš Hojs expressed opposition to France's proposal under which EU countries which do not wish to accept migrants would need to contribute financially but backed France's idea to create a Schengen Council to manage the passport-free zone as he attended a session of the EU's Justice and Home Affairs Council.
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor and his Portuguese counterpart Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa issued a joint statement, noting the good bilateral relations, on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Slovenia and Portugal.
        LJUBLJANA - Voters quarantining on election day will be able to vote during regular hours when polling stations are open, but the final decision on those in self-isolation will be made 25 days before polling day at the latest, said the National Electoral Commission after considering after-hours voting for the infected.
        LJUBLJANA - Staff employed in critical infrastructure, police force and defence will not be required to quarantine after a high-risk contact with a person infected with coronavirus, but will have to test daily at work for seven days and wear a FFP2 face mask, under a decision taken by the government.
        LJUBLJANA - The government issued a regulation to subsidise bilinguality and the exercise of constitutional rights of the Hungarian and Italian minorities in Slovenia in 2022, under which areas populated by the two communities will get almost EUR 2 million this year.
        LJUBLJANA - Police appear to have identified the person believed to have sent death threats to several politicians in mid-January, as media reports say the suspect is a man from Celje who is a member of the National Party (SNS), whose president was among those who received the threats. The suspect's party membership was revoked.
        LJUBLJANA - The government endorsed a EUR 6.6 million subsidy for the expansion of production that pharmaceutical company Lek is planning at its main site in Ljubljana. The entire project is valued at EUR 82.6 million. The facility is to manufacture liquid vials and pre-filled syringes.
        LJUBLJANA - News broke that Telekom Slovenije, the state-owned telecoms operator, had filed a lawsuit against the country's largest commercial TV channels, POP TV and Kanal A, in a bid to nullify an agreement under which it pays the broadcasters to include the programmes in its TV package.
        LJUBLJANA - A report by multiple European and Slovenian environmental organisations shows that Slovenia's recovery plan is among those marred by underinvestment in renewable energy and sustainable mobility, and by projects that could potentially damage the environment, the environmental NGOs Focus said.

29 Jan 2022, 13:29 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, 21 January
        LJUBLJANA - Parliamentary Speaker Igor Zorčič and Defence Minister Matej Tonin announced testing positive for coronavirus.
        LJUBLJANA - Ana Bojinović Fenko, a professor of international relations, and Marta Kos, Slovenia's ex-ambassador to Germany and Switzerland, criticised PM Janez Janša's statements on China and Taiwan, as they spoke to the STA about the country's new foreign policy strategy before it hit parliamentary benches.
        VILNIUS, Lithuania - Interior Minister Aleš Hojs concluded his participation in a two-day conference on migrations where he argued modern surveillance systems and physical barriers should be used where necessary to improve border protection.
        LJUBLJANA - Interior Ministry State Secretary Franc Kangler denied allegations about his unwarranted interfering in the police work and staffing as he was interviewed by the parliamentary inquiry into suspected political interference in the police.
        GORSKI KOTAR, Croatia - Agriculture Minister Jože Podgoršek and Minister for Slovenians Abroad Helena Jaklitsch met the members of the Slovenian community living in Croatia's Gorski Kotar area, discussing positive developments.
        LJUBLJANA - The Economy Ministry and the Slovenian Enterprise Fund awarded EUR 30 million to 311 micro, small and medium-sized enterprises for digital transformation of their business and production processes. The money will come from ReactEU mechanism.
        LJUBLJANA - The Environment Agency released an atlas of climate projections for Slovenia until the end of the 21st century to help stakeholders adapt to climate change. It features 2,250 graphic simulations for various meteorological, hydrological and agrometeorological variables.

SATURDAY, 22 January
        LJUBLJANA - One Slovenian and three Belgian citizens were injured in a hot air balloon accident, as they fell out of the basket when it hit the ground on the Ljubljana Marshes. The injured were taken to hospital, three of them with severe yet not life-threatening injuries. The cause of the accident is yet to be determined.
        LJUBLJANA - As many as 69 children suffering from multisystem inflammatory syndrome have been treated at Slovenia's only children's hospital since the start of the Covid-19 epidemic in March 2020 in what Ljubljana Paediatric Clinic doctor Tadej Avčin told N1 news portal made the two-million nation a world leader per capita.
        LJUBLJANA - Law entered into force under which retail businesses are no longer required to issue a paper receipt to the customers unless the latter ask for it.

SUNDAY, 23 January
        TRIESTE, Italy - SKGZ, an umbrella organisation of the Slovenian minority in Italy, expressed its gratitude to Italian President Sergio Mattarella for his role in national politics and relations with Slovenia as his term came to a close.
        LJUBLJANA - A poll released by commercial POP TV showed the ruling Democrats (SDS) five percentage points ahead of the opposition Social Democrats (SD) despite losing about a percentage point in a month to 16.3%. The Left trails in third at 7.6%.
        POSTOJNA - A bear attacked a 63-year-old man in the Postojna area during a hunting drive. He was left with a broken arm, rib injuries and several wounds on his back. As the bear attacked in defence of her two cubs, the Hunters' Association decided against proposing she be put down, but said Slovenia's 1,000-plus bear population was too large.
        TITISEE-NEUSTADT, Germany - Anže Lanišek placed second for the second consecutive day in the Ski Jumping World Cup event in the third podium finish for the 25-year-old in a row this season to climb to the 5th in the overall World Cup rankings.

MONDAY, 24 January
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Foreign Minister Anže Logar came out of the meeting of EU foreign ministers by calling for an all-out effort for a diplomatic solution to the Russia-Ukraine dispute. The Foreign Ministry said Slovenia was not planning to reduce its diplomatic staff numbers in Kyiv for the time being and was coordinating all activities with other EU countries.
        LJUBLJANA - The self-isolation period for most persons infected with Covid-19 was cut from at least ten to seven days provided they test negative on the 7th day and have not had fever or any other symptoms for 24 hours.
        LJUBLJANA - Energy trader GEN-I generated a record net profit of EUR 71 million last year on EUR 3.4 billion in revenue, according to figures presented by Robert Golob, the former CEO. The profit was up more than fourfold and revenue rose by 50%.
        MARIBOR - Marles Hiše Maribor announced Invera Equity Partners, a Dutch private equity fund manager, acquiring 58.2% stake in the company to consolidate its position as the leading manufacturer of prefabricated wooden buildings in Slovenia and make it a major player in Central Europe.
        LJUBLJANA - The Ministry of Public Administration picked Telemach as the provider of mobile telephony services, cell phones, and data transfer for the Slovenian public administration in 2022-2025 in a deal worth around EUR 6.6 million. Telekom Slovenije and A1 Slovenija reportedly submitted too costly bids.
TUESDAY, 25 January
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - President Borut Pahor and Prime Minister Janez Janša highlighted Slovenia's good relations with all of its neighbours as they hosted the annual reception for the diplomatic corps, which was attended by some 85 diplomats. Pahor also put in his word for sincere ties with Russia and China.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia placed 41st among 180 countries in Transparency International's 2021 Corruption Perception Index, its poorest showing since 2013, having slipped six spots and losing three points. The Justice Ministry said the ranking did not necessarily reflect the actual situation in the country.
        ZAGREB, Croatia - Interior Minister Aleš Hojs met his Croatian counterpart Davor Božinović for talks focusing on Croatia's accession to the Schengen passport-free zone, which Slovenia supports, and bilateral cooperation, mainly in preventing illegal migration.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia confirmed a record of 17,491 new coronavirus cases as the daily tally increased by 40% on the same day a week before amid climbing hospitalisations but decline in ICU cases. With 14 more deaths, the death toll rose to 6,268.
        LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary inquiry into the government's response to Covid-19 interviewed former Health Minister Tomaž Gantar, who said in some cases the government could have acted better in dealing with the first two waves of the epidemic. He was critical of communication with the public, and of closure of schools while the economy kept running.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenian tourism saw visitor numbers rise by 31% to over 4 million as visitor nights increased by 22% to 11.3 million in 2021. Both figures are still far behind the records of 2019. Domestic visitors accounted for 2.2 million of arrivals, which was largely attributed to tourism vouchers.
        LJUBLJANA - The Economy Ministry announced it will provide a total of EUR 640.7 million in development incentives this year to raise productivity through green and digital transition and even regional development. EUR 479.2 million will be in grants.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's Employment Service recorded a significant rise in applications for the employment of foreigners in 2021. It received a total of 52,281 applications, the most since the current system was put in place in 2015.
        STRASBOURG, France - The European Court of Human Rights' annual report showed the number of applications brought against Slovenia rising by 30% in 2021 to 234. Violations of the human rights convention were found in two judgments against the country.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's Civil Aviation Agency recorded 17 infringements related to flying unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly known as drones, in 2021 with fines worth a combined EUR 10,900 issued in nine cases. This was the first year that new European legislation regulating drones was fully effective.

WEDNESDAY, 26 January
        LJUBLJANA - Robert Golob, the former CEO of energy trader Gen-I, was elected the leader of the non-parliamentary green party formerly known as Z.Dej but renamed Movement Freedom to challenge PM Janez Janša in the April election. Janša dismissed his bid as an "exam resit by Zoran Janković", a reference to the Ljubljana mayor's failure to form the government after his party, which also included Golob, won the 2011 election.
        LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Foreign Policy Committee got acquainted with the country's new foreign policy strategy, with Foreign Ministry State Secretary Gašper Dovžan saying most of the changes were made because the international environment had changed. The opposition expressed some reservations, in particular about Slovenia no longer being referred to as a core EU member state.
        LJUBLJANA - Foreign Ministry State Secretary Gašper Dovžan dismissed fears that the prime minister's recent statements on Taiwan may adversely affect the country's bid to become a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council in 2024-2025, telling the Foreign Policy Committee the bid would be a good opportunity for Slovenia to show its advocacy of respect for human rights, international law and borders, for peace and stability.
        LJUBLJANA - Supreme Court judge Branko Masleša showed his diploma and bar exam certificate after being called on to do so by the Judicial Council amid allegations by some media questioning his qualification. In a detailed explanation he criticised the body for falling for politically-motivated imputation in some media, thus doing the harm to the judiciary as a whole.
        BREŽICE - The government visited the eastern Posavje region, home to Slovenia's sole nuclear power plant, with PM Janez Janša noting challenges in the energy sector as the top priority, but also the role of other efforts, including tourism development.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed amendments sponsored by the opposition Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB) to reduce the cost of sick pay on the employer and self-employed at the expense of the public healthcare fund as fellow centre-left opposition parties voted against.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly voted down the opposition Left's motion to call a referendum on the government's purchase of Boxer armoured personnel vehicles from the Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation, which means the National Assembly can now ratify an agreement for Slovenia to purchase 45 such vehicles.
        CELJE - Maksimilijan Matjaž, the Bishop of Celje, founded an office to admit complaints by the victims of sexual abuse committed by the clergy and other members of religious life in line with instructions made by Pope Francis in an apostolic letter in May 2019. The news came a day after Dovolj.je (It's Enough), a Catholic advocacy for abuse victims, urged appointing an independent commission of individuals of high moral integrity to investigate and crack down on this type of crime as soon as possible.
        LJUBLJANA - Marjan Divjak, the nominee for vice-governor at Slovenia's central bank, held a presentation at the Presidential Palace saying the regulator should actively participate in monetary policy-making in the eurozone, highlighting elevated inflation and climate change as the biggest future challenges.
        LJUBLJANA - The Manager Association picked Igor Mervič the Manager of the Year for transforming retailer Spar Slovenija from a company with four stores into the country's second largest retailer during his 28 years as director general. Mervič led Spar Slovenija between 1992 and the end of 2020. He is now a member of its supervisory board, and an adviser at the Spar multinational.

THURSDAY, 27 January
        LJUBLJANA - The OECD has urged Slovenia to encourage people to work longer and to reform its pensions system to make it financially sustainable while preserving pensioners' living standards, as it issued a new report based on a a two-year analysis of the country's pension system which ran in 2020-2021.
        LUXEMBOURG - The European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO) expressed concern about proposed changes of the penal code which it said could affect the effectiveness of the EPPO. The changes, disavowed by the majority of the parties since they were confirmed by the Justice Committee, would give prosecutors less time to investigate before cases became statute-barred.
        NOVO MESTO - Drug maker Krka saw a record EUR 1.57 billion in sales revenue in 2021 as net profit rose by 5% to EUR 304.7 million. This year Krka plans sales at EUR 1.61 billion and net profit at EUR 300 million, with EUR 130 million to go for investment.
        LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Credentials and Privileges Commission backed Marjan Divjak to be appointed a vice-governor at Slovenia's central bank. The single issue raised against him was his role in the NKBM bank IPO and sale.
        LJUBLJANA - The government once again decided against appointing Lidija Tičar Padar as acting director of the Public Research Agency (ARRS). Instead, it replaced at four members of the agency's management board.
        LJUBLJANA - The investment promotion agency SPIRIT Slovenija presented the FDI Awards to the dairy Ljubljanske Mlekarne, the ICT company Comtrade and the paper mill Papirnica Vevče. Foreign investment in Slovenia rose by 2.4% last year.
        LJUBLJANA/LENDAVA - Slovenia joined observation of International Holocaust Remembrance Day with a number of events, including with the National Assembly being illuminated as part of the #WeRemember campaign. The main ceremony was the evening before in Lendava with President Borut Pahor calling for the preservation of peace, security, tolerance and coexistence.

22 Jan 2022, 08:04 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 January
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - Amendments to the income tax act and energy vouchers, along with measures to contain the coronavirus epidemic, will be the coalition's main priorities until the end of its term, coalition leaders said after a meeting. On income tax, PM Janez Janša said that the coalition might accept the opposition's referendum challenge after it sees whether it is possible to hold the vote on the day of the general election.
        LJUBLJANA - Appearing before the opposition-led parliamentary inquiry examining the government's response to the Covid-19 pandemic, PM Janez Janša discussed the verification of rapid antigen tests, payout of bonuses and legal basis for coronavirus measures, as well as the low vaccination rate, which he said was similar in all post-Communist countries.
        LJUBLJANA - The priorities of France's EU presidency were presented to the parliamentary committees for EU affairs and foreign policy, with Florence Ferrari, the French ambassador to Slovenia, thanking Slovenia for the work carried out during the last six months and praising the cooperation between the two countries during Slovenia's EU presidency.

SATURDAY, 15 January
        MUMBAI, India - Prime Minister Janez Janša told The Economic Times, an Indian newspaper, that Slovenia saw India as an "important global, indeed, strategic partner of Slovenia and the EU as a whole." He said the informal EU-India summit in May 2021 had "reinforced the EU-India strategic partnership, which is underpinned by the shared values of democracy, freedom, rule of law and respect for human rights."
        LJUBLJANA - Robert Golob, the former chairman of electricity trader Gen-I, told Večer it would be clear by the end of January if he would enter the election race and whether he would form a new party or have a go with one of the existing parties. He said he was in talks almost on a daily basis with representatives of various parties and movements.
        LJUBLJANA/BERLIN, Germany - Marking the 30th anniversary of Germany's recognition of Slovenian independence, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said that this jubilee in German-Slovenian relations was an incentive "to continue to advocate European interests and values consistently and to shape our future in the EU together and in a positive way".

SUNDAY, 16 January
        LJUBLJANA/ZAGREB, Croatia - Croatian media reported that Slovenia and Croatia reached an agreement under which Slovenian fishers would be allowed to fish in the Gulf of Piran in the Croatian territorial waters as far south as Umag, and Croatian fishers in Slovenian waters as far north as Koper. Slovenia neither confirmed nor denied these reports.
        MARIBOR - Authorities successfully neutralised an unexploded WWII aerial bomb that was found in Maribor earlier this week. A part of Slovenia's second largest city had to be evacuated until roughly 1:30pm when sirens marked the end of danger.

MONDAY, 17 January
        LJUBLJANA - The ruling Democrats (SDS) and a new party that would be led by Robert Golob, the former CEO of energy company GEN-I, were neck-and-neck at 15.5% and 15.4%, respectively, in a Vox Populi survey Mediana carried out in the format of an exit poll for the newspapers Dnevnik and Večer.
        LJUBLJANA - Justice Minister Marjan Dikaučič highlighted the progress in the digitalisation of the justice system as he presented the achievements of Slovenia's EU presidency, while rating the presidency as a whole as "excellent" despite the delays in nominating Slovenia's European delegated prosecutors.
        LJUBLJANA - The challenges faced by Slovenian ethnic communities in neighbouring countries were discussed as the parliamentary Commission for Slovenians Abroad met at the behest of the opposition Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ), which urged the government to draw up a new strategy of relations with Slovenians living outside of Slovenia.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenian police recorded 10,067 attempts at illegal crossing of the border last year, down 31% on 2020, while asylum applications rose substantially, official police statistics show.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia spent almost EUR 31.5 million on setting up fences and on other costs related to the increased surveillance of its border with Croatia between November 2015 and the end of 2020, as 85.5 kilometres of razor wire fences were installed along the border, and are now gradually being replaced by hard fencing.
        VELENJE - The Velenje municipality, home to the country's only functioning coal mine, rejected the coal exit year 2033 as "unrealistic" and called for a more ambitious jobs strategy. The trade union of coal miners expressed disappointment, describing the decision as "political, unprofessional and ill-conceived".
        BRNIK - Jože Pučnik Airport Ljubljana saw a total of around 422,000 passengers last year, up 46.4% compared to 2020, according to data released by the airport's German operator Fraport, which operates the Slovenian airport through its subsidiary Fraport Slovenija.
        LJUBLJANA - The Financial Administration last year collected EUR 19.2 billion in taxes and other levies, 18% more than in 2020, and 9.3% more than in 2019.
TUESDAY, 18 January
        LJUBLJANA - The number of new coronavirus cases reached an absolute record with as many as 12,286 coronavirus infections recorded since the start of the epidemic last year. Over 63% of PCR tests came back positive, as labs in the country became overwhelmed. Hospitalisations remain stable.
        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša revealed in an interview with the Indian broadcaster Doordarshan that Slovenia and Taiwan are working on "exchanging representatives" at the "same level that many EU countries already have". The Chinese Foreign Ministry described his statements as "dangerous", whereas the Taiwanese Foreign Ministry expressed "gratitude" for his "staunch support". Only a few days later, the Slovenian-Chinese Business Council reported that Slovenian companies in the Chinese market were already affected. The statement also triggered some strong reactions from the opposition while President Borut Pahor said Slovenia had consistently advocated a One-China principle, a principle the EU is also bound to.
        LJUBLJANA - Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec reiterated his promise that the state would help the coal-mining regions through transition as he responded to misgivings aired by those dependent on the industry over the strategy to exit coal in 2033. Vrtovec said 2033 when Slovenia was to exit coal to generate power was an ambitious but also very realistic goal.
        LJUBLJANA - Marjan Divjak, who has served as director general of the Finance Ministry's treasury directorate since 2013, was forward by President Borut Pahor to succeed Primož Dolenc as one of four vice-governors of the Slovenian central bank.
        STRASBOURG, France - Roberta Metsola's election as European Parliament president was hailed by Slovenian MEPs from the ranks of her European family, the EPP, but also others as the Renew and S&D members expressed the expectation for her to represent the Parliament's common position on issues such as the right to abortion.
        LJUBLJANA - Agriculture Minister Jože Podgoršek announced he would run in the general election on the slate of the coalition New Slovenia (NSi), saying that the party provided political stability. NSi president Matej Tonin said the NSi was open to experts and people who want to implement its platform.
        LJUBLJANA - The opposition Left opposes the idea floated by PM Janez Janša to hold a referendum on amendments to the income tax act along with the general election in April and is considering withdrawing its petition for such a referendum.
        LJUBLJANA - The Labour Committee rejected a proposal by the opposition Social Democrats (SD) and Left for an increase in the minimum wage beyond the 4.9% rise set by the labour minister for 2022.
        LJUBLJANA - The Ljubljana District Court sentenced orthopaedic surgeon Gregor Kavčič of the Novo Mesto hospital to three years in prison for accepting bribes from medical supplier Emporio Medical in exchange for having the company supply knee replacement products by Biomet to the Novo Mesto hospital. Kavčič plans to appeal.
        LJUBLJANA - The Ministry of Education, Science and Sport introduced a separate quota for the enrolment of Slovenians without Slovenian citizenship in universities in Slovenia. The separate quota had been advocated by Minister for Slovenians Abroad Helena Jaklitsch, who welcomed the change.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia will be fielding a total of 41 athletes at the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympics. Based on the season so far, the women's and men's ski jumping teams are seen as having the best chance of winning an Olympic medal.

WEDNESDAY, 19 January
        LJUBLJANA - The EU integration of Western Balkan countries is important for the bloc's strategic position in the world. It is also an opportunity for Slovenian businesses, Foreign Minister Anže Logar told an event on the Balkans, noting Slovenian companies had a chance to take part in projects for which the European Commission set aside EUR 9 billion.
        LJUBLJANA - Due to a rising number of coronavirus infections in the country, Slovenia switched to a new quarantine regime, where employees in health, social affairs and education who were in contact with an infected person do not need to quarantine provided they test for coronavirus daily for a week and use a FFP2 face mask in the workplace. Similar rules apply for kindergarten children and students.
        LJUBLJANA - Overwhelmed with PCR test samples, the National Laboratory of Health, Environment and Food started sending part of them to Germany for analysis. From 3,000 to 4,000 samples are currently sent to the lab Eurofins, which processes them in 48 hours.
        STRASBOURG, France - The European Parliament endorsed Jorg Kristijan Petrovič, Slovenia's candidate for the European Court of Auditors in an non-binding vote.
        LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Justice Committed endorsed in a 7:6 vote a bill sponsored by the National Party (SNS) that seeks to shorten or limit "unreasonably long pre-trial and criminal proceedings in white-collar crime cases" and could result in ongoing cases becoming statute-barred. The amendments were confirmed by coalition MPs despite criticism from the parliament's legal service, upper chamber of parliament and even the Justice Ministry.
        LJUBLJANA - MP Violeta Tomić resigned from the opposition Left. The party's executive committee said it decided not to field Tomić in the Ljubljana-Center district, the Left's heartland, whereupon she declined an offer to run in another district. It also quoted a "partial loss of trust".
        LJUBLJANA - The Voice of the People, an initiative of over 1,800 individuals and 100 civil society organisations, presented a list of 138 demands that they wish political parties take a position on in the run-up to the election day. They see this as a contribution to political discourse and voter turnout.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Council vetoed amendments to the act on special rights for minorities in education which would set a higher Italian language standard for staff working in Slovenian-Italian bilingual kindergartens and schools. The near-unanimous vote came after councillors said it was wrong for administrative staff to be subjected to the same strict requirements regarding Italian language skills as teachers.
        LJUBLJANA - The non-executive directors of the Bank Assets Management Company (BAMC) appointed Finance Ministry State Secretary Kristina Šteblaj an executive director of the bad bank. She will join Matej Pirc and Andrej Lazar on 1 February, and will serve as a BAMC executive director until the end of the year.

THURSDAY, 20 January
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor formally informed the National Electoral Commission (DVK) that he will sign a presidential decree for a general election on 9 February, setting Sunday, 24 April, as the election date.
        LJUBLJANA - The supervisory board of the NLB bank appointed Hedvika Usenik, Antonio Argir and Andrej Lasič to the management board to expand it from three to six members. Their five-year terms will start after clearance from the banking regulator.
        LJUBLJANA - Ivan Simič, director general of Slovenia's Financial Administration, was appointed the chief of the supervisory board at Slovenian Sovereign Holding (SSH), taking over on Friday.
        LJUBLJANA - The government decided to extend the administered pricing of heating oil through the regulation on the pricing of petroleum products that was introduced last year, under which the distributors' margin has been limited to a maximum of six cents per litre of heating oil.
        LJUBLJANA - The government's macroeconomic think thank IMAD presented its report on productivity in Slovenia which shows that there is progress, but it is not significant enough. Slovenia is lagging behind the top EU countries and is being caught up with by its rivals from Central and Eastern Europe.
        LJUBLJANA - The government adopted its negotiating position for pay talks with medical doctors, estimated at EUR 111.57 million annually. The negotiating position says that the top pay bracket for doctors could rise by six brackets to the 63rd under the public sector pay system.
        NOVA GORICA - Former CEO of brewer Pivovarna Laško, Boško Šrot, and his family business Atka-Prima were ordered to pay EUR 13 million in damages to fruit drinks producer Fructal over several deals dating back to 2008 and 2009/

08 Jan 2022, 13:35 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 December
        LJUBLJANA, Slovenia/BRUSSELS, Belgium - PM Janez Janša assessed Slovenia's six-month stint at the helm of the EU as a success, saying it had been both a great challenge and tremendous opportunity. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel congratulated the country on its EU presidency job.
        LJUBNO OB SAVINJI - Women ski jumpers gathered at Slovenia's Ljubno ob Savinji for two World Cup events as part of the newly introduced New Year's series modelled on a similar one for men. On the occasion, it was announced that the new tournament will be expanded to be co-hosted by Austria's Villach in the 2022/23 season.

SATURDAY, 1 January
        LJUBLJANA - Damijan Dolinar, a banker with almost 20 years of experience, took over as chairman at SID Bank, Slovenia's development and export bank.
        LJUBLJANA - The first newborn in Slovenia in the new year was a baby girl named Lila, who was delivered a minute after midnight at the Ljubljana maternity ward.

SUNDAY, 2 January
        KRANJ - Zoran Stevanović, head of the non-parliamentary Resni.ca party, was cleared of suspicion of incitement to resistance for having urged people to go to protests against coronavirus measures in Ljubljana last year. The party said the prosecution dismissed in late December a criminal complaint police filed against Stevanović, who was detained during the 5 October protest which turned violent.

MONDAY, 3 January
        LJUBLJANA - Health Minister Janez Poklukar took stock of the achievements of the Slovenian EU presidency in his brief, identifying the political agreement on the new European Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA) as one of the biggest achievements.
        LJUBLJANA - The state budget recorded revenue of EUR 1.1 billion in December 2021, the highest since general government revenue started to be recorded, show preliminary estimates by the Finance Ministry. Expenditure amounted to EUR 1.67 billion, with deficit standing at EUR 572 million.
        LJUBLJANA - Four prominent long-serving employees of RTV Slovenija drew up a bill in which they propose transforming the public broadcaster into a fully independent public broadcasting service overseen by a board of trustees.
        LJUBLJANA - Vanja Lombar, ex-director of fuel retailer OMV Slovenija, took over as general manager of Geoplin, Slovenia's No.1 natural gas trader.

TUESDAY, 4 January
        LJUBLJANA - The National Medical Ethics Committee joined a growing chorus of medical associations calling for Slovenia to consider introducing mandatory vaccination for vulnerable and high-risk groups of population, and, given new strains of the virus, possibly a general vaccination mandate.
        LJUBLJANA - The PSS, the bigger of Slovenia's two police trade unions, announced its plan to take Police Commissioner Anton Olaj to court over alleged violations of trade union rights and the right to participation in management. It accuses Olaj of attempts to censor internal documents of the trade union, which he denies.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia exported EUR 3.7 billion worth of goods last November, while imports reached EUR 4.2 billion, up 24.1% and 25.6%, respectively, in a year, the Statistics Office said. In the first eleven months of 2021, exports rose by 19.3% to EUR 36.3 billion and imports 30% to EUR 38.1 billion.
        LJUBLJANA - A total of 63,675 new cars and vans were registered in Slovenia in 2021, a 3% rise over 2020, when car sales plummeted by 27% as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, show the figures released by the Slovenian Chamber of Commerce (TZS).
        LJUBLJANA - Kočevje Mayor Vladimir Prebilič launched an initiative to form a club of independent mayors in a bid to increase their influence on local government policy. He sent the initiative to all mayors who were elected as independents at the last local elections in 2018, which is 64% of the country's 212 mayors.
        BRNIK - The Slovenian capital Ljubljana will have no air route to Brussels as Brussels Airlines is suspending flights at the end of Slovenia's six-month EU presidency between 10 January and 28 February, and Wizz Air suspends the route between 7 January and 11 March, according to web portal Ex-Yu Aviation.
        KRANJ - Plays written by Ivan Cankar, considered to be Slovenia's greatest playwright, have been translated into English for the first time to allow a broad population to discover a literary genius from the turn of the 20th century. The project Cankar Goes West is a collaboration of the Prešeren Theatre of Kranj and the Crane Creations Theatre Company from Canada.

WEDNESDAY, 5 January
        LJUBLJANA - Doctor Mateja Logar, the government's chief Covid-19 adviser, told Planet TV that once 230-250 Covid patients are in intensive care, her group would start talking about a potential lockdown. The number of ICU patients this week was around 160. Health Minister Janez Poklukar urged those in charge of critical infrastructure, companies and the rest of society to organise work and other processes so as to minimise contacts to prevent certain activities from grounding to a halt due to Omicron infections and quarantines. He announced the quarantine to be cut from 10 to 7 days on epidemiologists' guidance, while Education Minister Simona Kustec said that no general lockdown for schools was planned.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia issued EUR 1.25 billion in four-year bonds and half a billion euro worth of 40-year bonds. The yield on the 4-year bond is negative at -0.241%, which the Finance Ministry said would bring EUR 12.3 million to the budget. The yield on the 40-year bond is 1.183%.
        LJUBLJANA - Labour Minister Janez Cigler Kralj decided the statutory minimum wage in Slovenia will increase by 4.9% to EUR 1,074 gross as of 2022, matching last year's inflation. Trade unions deemed the rise too low and employers said it was too high.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia had 65,969 unemployed persons in December, down nearly 25% year-on-year and the lowest since before the 2008 economic crisis, the Employment Service said.
        LJUBLJANA - Education Minister Simona Kustec and Culture Minister Vasko Simoniti presented the key achievements of the Slovenian EU presidency in their fields; Kustec praised decisions regarding the European Research Area and the European model of sport as milestones, and Simoniti emphasised support for the European audiovisual sector and New European Bauhaus.
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor said he would not attend the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympic Games in Beijing next month due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

THURSDAY, 6 January
        LJUBLJANA - The latest daily number of coronavirus infections reached 3,829, an increase of 124% on the week ago, while hospital data remained broadly stable. The National Institute of Public Health estimated 25,752 people are actively infected, a daily increase of more than 2,700.
        LJUBLJANA - Defence Ministry State Secretary Uroš Lampret said the government saw the first draft of the Strategic Compass, a new concept of EU security and defence, as the largest achievement of the Slovenian EU presidency in defence policy alongside efforts to bolster cooperation between the EU and NATO.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Institute of Public Health issued new quarantine guidance to allow the healthcare system cope with staff shortages amid the Omicron-driven spread of infections. Given shortages, the personnel who have been in contact with an infected person are not required to self-isolate if they do not show symptoms.
        LJUBLJANA - The government added new exceptions to the quarantine rules after a high-risk contact with a person infected with Covid-19 to persons who have gotten a booster shot, who got Covid fewer than 45 days ago or who have recovered from Covid and have been fully vaccinated. Quarantine has meanwhile been shortened from ten to seven days as of next Monday.
        LJUBLJANA - GEN, the energy group which also owns Slovenia's half of the Krško Nuclear Plant (NEK), is estimated to have generated a record net profit of EUR 80 million last year, up around 25% on 2020, with turnover up 36% to EUR 3 billion.
        LJUBLJANA - The Justice Ministry prepared at the end of last year a working draft of a courts bill to abolish local courts and establish two district courts in Ljubljana by 2024. The proposal also envisages a specialised criminal court and a different method of appointing the president of the Supreme Court.
        LJUBLJANA - The government adopted a strategy for digital transformation of the economy for the 2021-2030 period, which is one of the reform measures under the recovery and resilience plan. The basic goal is to be among the top three countries in the use of advanced digital technologies according to the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) of the European Commission.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenian scientist and engineer Marija Strojnik has been elected president of the Scientific Research Honor Society, Sigma Xi. She will start her three-year term on 1 July, says the website of Sigma Xi.
        LJUBLJANA - UEFA president Aleksander Čeferin was declared the newspaper Delo's Person of the Year for 2021 for "suppressing in a swift action the plan of the richest clubs to establish a super-league and thus destroy the European model of sport".

18 Dec 2021, 09:54 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 December
        LJUBLJANA - After European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson announced that 15 EU member states pledged to provide for the resettlement and protection of nearly 40,000 Afghans, the Interior Ministry told the STA Slovenia did not made a commitment in the scheme.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - EU justice ministers discussed the work of the European Public Prosecutor's Office, with Slovenia's Marjan Dikaučič, who chaired the session as representative of the EU presiding country, noting the body "has already opened hundreds of lawsuits for damages estimated at billions of euros".
        LYON, France - Interior Minister Aleš Hojs visited the Interpol headquarters to stress the international police organisation's importance in the fight against international crime and to call with Interpol Secretary General Jürgen Stock for coordinated action between Interpol, EU member states and various EU agencies.
        LJUBLJANA - On Human Rights Day, Human Rights Ombudsman Peter Svetina pointed to the inequalities and distrust reinforced by the Covid pandemic, appealing to everyone to do their bit for society to find a way out of what is a health as well as social crisis. He urged top politicians to lead by example.
        KRANJ - The government visited the northern Gorenjska region with talks focusing on plans for a new regional hospital, flood defences, environment issues and protection of architectural heritage.
        LJUBLJANA - Urša Zgojznik and Uroš Macerl, two prominent environmental activists, announced plans for a yet another green party to be launched in Slovenia in January to contest the April general election under the name Vesna.
        LJUBLJANA - Statistician Anuška Ferligoj of the Faculty of Social Sciences and nanotechnology researcher Julijana Kristi of the Faculty of Pharmacy were honoured with the Zois Prizes for lifetime achievement in science and research.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenian Sovereign Holding confirmed having received a complaint against Miha Rebolj, the secretary of the coalition Modern Centre Party, now named Concretely, for pressuring a member of the supervisory board of postal operator Pošta Slovenije to agree for Tomaž Kokot to be appointed for full term as CEO even though he lacks the required experience for the job.
        LJUBLJANA - Statistics Office data put Slovenia's foreign trade in goods in October at a ten-year high for that month. Exports were up by 14.2% year-on-year to EUR 3.6 billion and imports soared by almost 35.7% to EUR 4 billion. The country thus recorded a trade gap for the 7th month running. Both exports and imports were also up on October 2019, by 16.9% and 26%, respectively.
        SLOVENJ GRADEC - A Slovenian folk music ensemble called Štirje Kovači (Four Blacksmiths) from the northern Koroška region made it into the Guinness Book of Records as the longest active polka music band in the world. The band was formed in 1954.
        KLIGENTHAL, Germany - Ski jumper Urša Bogataj finished third at a World Cup event in Klingenthal for her third podium finish this season.

SATURDAY, 11 December
        KOPER - A 10-year-old Kurdish girl from Turkey who went missing after she fell into the river Dragonja two days earlier as her mother carried her on her shoulders across the swollen border river from Croatia to Slovenia was found dead on the Croatian side in what was a second fatality among migrants in the border area in less than a week.
        ROME, Italy - The council of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) decided that by merging with the Economically Active Party into Concretely, the coalition Modern Centre Party (SMC) ceased to be ALDE member. Under internal rules, the new party can apply for membership.
        LJUBLJANA - A poll by Ninamedia showed the ruling Democrats (SDS) leading the field at 15.2% ahead of the opposition Social Democrats (SD) at 13.3%, while a potential party of former GEN-I CEO Robert Golob polled at 9%. If the PM was elected directly,20.6% of those questioned would back Golob and 19.5% incumbent Janez Janša.
        LJUBLJANA - The credit rating agencies S&P Global and DBRS Morningstar confirmed Slovenia's credit rating at AA- and A, respectively, both with a stable outlook.
        DAVOS, Switzerland - Cross-country skier Anamarija Lampič finished third in the women's World Cup freestyle sprint event to earn her first podium finish in the current season.

MONDAY, 13 December
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Attending a meeting with his EU counterparts, Foreign Minister Anže Logar expressed concern about the Republic of Srpska's parliament triggering a process to withdraw the entity from Bosnia-Herzegovina's institutions. He called for concerted action by the entire EU in cooperation with the US to prevent an escalation in the country. He declined to comment on the possibility sanctions against Milorad Dodik, the Serb member of the country's presidency.
        GENEVA, Switzerland - Slovenia, in its capacity as the presiding EU country, requested a special session of the UN Human Rights Council on the situation in Ethiopia, with more than 50 countries supporting the call.
        DUBAI, UAE - Public Administration Minister Boštjan Koritnik started a visit to Dubai along with a business delegation focussing on digital transformation and AI as part of a business forum and a conference on blockchain technology and AI at the Slovenian Expo pavilion. The events underscored the contribution of advanced technologies to progress and sustainability.
        LJUBLJANA - The newspaper Delo run a poll showing the ruling Democrats (SDS) gaining three points to 18.9% from November to widen their lead on the opposition Social Democrats (SD), which lost a point to 11.8%.
        LJUBLJANA - The Statistics Office released a report showing that immigration to Slovenia is accelerating with the number of residents born abroad rising to 13.9% at the start of 2021 from 8.5% ten years ago. In 2020 a record 23,383 immigrants were recorded. Former Yugoslav republics are by far the biggest source of immigration.
        LJUBLJANA - After examining drug procurement practices in three public pharmacy chains, the Court of Audit found the medicine procurement in the country was still in disarray as public pharmacies kept flouting public procurement rules.

TUESDAY, 14 December
        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša and the health authorities announced that the highly infectious Omicron variant of Sars-CoV-2 had been confirmed in Slovenia in a total of four people in two clusters who were tested in Ljubljana between 29 November and 6 December. One of them had already had Covid last year. The confirmed cases jumped to 10 by 13 December and involved both infections imported from Sweden and the UAE and secondary infections within those two clusters. On the whole, coronavirus cases, hospitalisations and deaths kept falling.
        LJUBLJANA - Vaccination of children aged 5 to 11 got formally under way as the vaccine for them became available and after the national advisory committee on immunization gave the go-ahead based on a recommendation by paediatricians.
        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša told MPs the government would decide on whether to introduce energy vouchers for the poorest households in January, when it had more data about energy price increases. Before that, the main measure to combat rising prices would be the special allowance for pensioners included in the latest Covid relief package.
        LJUBLJANA - Centre-left opposition MPs clashed with PM Janez Janša during the questions time in parliament over what they claim is mafia-style governance of the country by Janša, his SDS party and the government. Janša dismissed the allegations, while saying mafia-style governance indeed existed, had very deep roots, yet came from the transition left.
        LJUBLJANA - MP Mateja Udovč left the deputy group of the coalition Modern Centre Party (SMC) to join the Our Land party of former Agriculture Minister Aleksandra Pivec, which reduces the SMC group to four from the original ten. Udovč plans to act as independent MP, while the SMC said the departure would change nothing for the party or the ruling coalition.
        VIENNA, Austria - The interior ministers of the Salzburg Forum, a Central European security partnership, discussed illegal migration at an online conference, with Slovenia's Interior Ministry State Secretary Božo Predalič stressing the importance of cooperation on the Balkan migration route.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Meeting under the chairmanship of Slovenia's Agriculture Minister Jože Podgoršek, EU ministers in charge of fisheries reached agreement on fishing opportunities in the Atlantic, the North Sea, the Mediterranean and the Black Sea for 2022 based on a proposal drawn up by the European Commission.
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor received the credentials of three new ambassadors to Slovenia, Kosovo's Valdet Sadiku, the Dominican Republic's Laura V. Faxas and New Zealand's Brian Joseph Hewson. Only the Kosovo ambassador is based in Ljubljana.
        LJUBLJANA - Crime investigators conducted a series of house searches at 12 locations around the country on suspicion of abuse of office or rights, including at the National Laboratory of Health, Environment and Food, unofficially over the December 2020 procurement of EUR 1.2 million worth of rapid antigen tests from Majbert Pharm. The tests were verified by the national lab.
        LJUBLJANA - The Interior Ministry reported that 9,158 illegal migrants were intercepted in the first eleven months of the year, a 35% decrease on the same period in 2020. During the period a record 4,568 asylum requests were filed but only 15 were granted asylum status as 98% left Slovenia before the procedure was completed.
        LJUBLJANA - The French Institute in Slovenia presented its Charles Nodier Award to Ana Barič Moder for her translation of the novel Handbook For Exiles (Priročnik za izgnance, 2020), written in French by Velibor Čolić, a writer from Bosnia and Herzegovina.
        LJUBLJANA - Janja Garnbret, the Tokyo Olympic gold medallist in sport climbing, Tadej Pogačar, the double Tour de France winner and Olympic bronze medallist, and the national men's basketball team, which ranked 4th at the Olympics, took the main accolades at the 2021 Athlete of the Year ceremony.

WEDNESDAY, 15 December
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Attending the Eastern Partnership summit in Brussels, Prime Minister Janez Janša said as the EU presiding country Slovenia had been striving for EU accession of Eastern partners and for the enlargement timeline to be set down. "In the next ten years both sides should take concrete steps towards enlargement," he told foreign media. Janša met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Vovayi Pashinyan and Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya.
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor described Slovenia's EU presidency as a success in an interview with Radio Slovenija, including with respect to the Western Balkans where he regretted Bulgaria's blocking North Macedonia's accession talks. Pahor also proposed a group of friends of Bosnia-Herzegovina should help the three nations create a more functional country.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly failed to take a vote on a government-sponsored bill designed to reduce taxation of salaries across the board and cut capital gains tax as a majority endorsed a proposal by an MP for the ruling Democrats (SDS) to move the vote to a next session, unofficially because the coalition could not secure a majority. Meanwhile, the opposition Left submitted a bid for a consultative referendum on the bill.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed amendments to the act on deployment in civilian missions and international organisations, legislation designed to make it easier to nominate and deploy Slovenian experts.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed changes to the audiovisual services act which were drafted by unaffiliated MPs to transpose a relevant EU directive after the government bill failed to be passed in a re-vote in September to override the upper chamber's veto. The act no longer contains a controversial 6% levy providers would pay from their gross annual revenue to finance a special fund for European audiovisual production.
        LJUBLJANA - The government's macroeconomic forecaster IMAD projected that Slovenia's end-year GDP growth will have exceeded its latest projection, driven by buoyant private spending and a robust labour market. It estimates the growth rate will be between half a percentage point and a full percentage point above its September forecast of 6.1%.
        LJUBLJANA - A high-profile conference on the future industry and the Slovenian economy's internationalisation, which was also addressed by PM Janez Janša and Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek, heard the pandemic should be an opportunity to change patterns of thinking and focus on strengths and abilities while the country's future was in the green transition and digitalisation.
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor presented the Order of Merit on the Slovenian Emigrant Association for its invaluable contribution to efforts to preserve the Slovenian identity and culture among Slovenian expatriates. He awarded the Medal of Merit on the SDGZ business association of the Slovenian minority in Italy, and on Saša Verbič, the head of the Slovenian community's umbrella organisation in Serbia.
        NOVI SAD, Serbia - Slovenian writer Drago Jančar won the Milovan Vidaković International Literary Prize, awarded at the 15th iteration of the Prosefest international prose festival in Serbia's Novi Sad.

THURSDAY, 16 December
        STRASBOURG, France - The European Parliament adopted a resolution on fundamental rights and rule of law in Slovenia which expresses concern over deep polarisation in the country and calls on prominent public figures to engage in a respectful and civilised public debate. The resolution was carried by 356 votes in favour ans 284 against with 40 abstentions. 33 of the latter were MEPs of the European People's Party, the political family of PM Janez Janša. Earlier in the week Foreign Minister Anže Logar said the resolution did not merit special attention, while President Borut Pahor regretted Slovenia squandered its reputation by not tackling delegated prosecutor appointments and STA financing earlier.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - PM Janez Janša hinted at possible new talks with Russia within the Normandy Format, which also brings together Ukraine, Germany and France, as he arrived at the EU summit but would not speak about specific sanctions that might be discussed against Russia.
        PARIS, France - Foreign Minister Anže Logar met his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian to discuss key EU dossiers as Frances takes over as EU Council president from Slovenia on 1 January. The pair also discussed bilateral relations.
        WASHINGTON, US - The combat against terrorism, migrant smuggling, instrumentalisation of migrations and cyber crime ranked prominently on the agenda of the EU-US ministerial meeting on justice and home affairs which was also attended by Interior Aleš Hojs and Justice Minister Marjan Dikaučič on behalf of the Slovenian presidency of the Council of the EU.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly adopted amendments to the investment promotion act where the focus for incentives shifts from creation of jobs to capital- and productivity-intensive and green investments. The law will allow to tap on EUR 88.5 million in grants from the EU recovery and resilience fund.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly endorsed the first line-up of the Fiscal Council for another five-year term. Davorin Kračun serves as president and Alenka Jerkič and Tomaž Perše as members. The trio's current terms expire on 21 March 2021.
        LJUBLJANA - The Commission for the Prevention of Corruption launched an investigation against Prime Minister Janez Janša on suspicion of a conflict of interest in management reshuffle at the Bank Assets Management Company, unofficially due to appointment of Franci Matoz, who has served as Janša's lawyer, to the board by the government. Janša in turn accused the watchdog of double standards.
        LJUBLJANA - The NeP deputy group comprising four unaffiliated MPs and the opposition Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB) announced MP Branislav Rajić was moving from the NeP to the SAB. The SAB faction is thus expanding to six MPs.
        LJUBLJANA - The council of the ZPIZ public pension and disability fund endorsed the fund's financial plan for 2022, which puts revenue and expenditure at EUR 6.4 billion each. EUR 5.1 billion will be collected from social security contributions, with the rest covered from the national budget and the KAD fund. The document still needs government approval.
        LJUBLJANA - NLB shareholders approved the management's proposal that the bank pay a further dividend of almost EUR 67.4 million. This will give shareholders an additional EUR 3.37 gross per share on 24 December, while NLB has thus earmarked EUR 92.2 million for dividends this year.
        LJUBLJANA - A feature-length documentary Beli Bojevnik v Črni Obleki (White Warrior in Black Suit), in which auteur Maja Weiss tells the story of Ivan Kramberger (1936-1992), an eccentric populist who ran for president in 1990 in the first multi-party election in Slovenia before he was killed in 1992, premiered in Ljubljana.

11 Dec 2021, 09:30 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, 3 December
        LJUBLJANA - Kajetan Gantar, a translator of classical literature and philosophy, and Mirko Cuderman, a choir conductor, were declared the winners of the 2022 Prešeren Prizes, the highest national accolade for lifetime achievement in culture and arts.
        LJUBLJANA - The government adopted a rule under which all those who have had a high-risk contact with a person highly suspected to be infected with the Omicron variant have to quarantine at home. The rule, which entered into force on 4 December, also applies to those who have been vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19.
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - An EU-Western Balkans ministerial focussing on judiciary urged cooperation of Western Balkan countries with the EPPO, EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders and Slovenian Justice Minister Marjan Dikaučič said. The region has expressed readiness for cooperation with the EPPO, said Dikaučič.
        KOPER - The supervisory board of Luka Koper appointed Boštjan Napast the president of the management board of the state-owned port operator for a five-year term. Napast had been until recently the head of the board of the gas distributor Geoplin.
        LJUBLJANA - The Foreign Policy Committee approved a new bill on deployment in civilian missions and international organisations in second reading. The proposal is intended to enable the timely nomination and deployment of Slovenian experts, said Foreign Ministry State Secretary Gašper Dovžan.
        LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Education Committee endorsed amendments to the organisation and financing of education act, which would change the composition of school and kindergarten councils to increase the influence of the founder - government or municipality, as members of the opposition obstructed the vote.
        BUDVA, Montenegro - PM Janez Janša discussed the need to bring the Western Balkans into the EU as he addressed by video link the summit of the Central European Initiative (CEI).
        ROME, Italy - Attending the Rome MED 2021 - Mediterranean Dialogues conference, FM Anže Logar said that economic development in Africa was key to reducing the migration pressure.
        LJUBLJANA - The government adopted on 2 December a revised 2021 business and financial plan for the Eco Fund under which an additional EUR 71.8 million will be allocated to the fund. The extra amount will go for environmental investment loans, energy efficiency grants and sustainable construction.
        FRANKFURT, Germany - Rating agency Fitch affirmed Slovenia's credit rating at A with a stable outlook, Fitch said, adding that this reflected the agency's expectations of a permanent recovery of the Slovenian economy thanks to the expected increase in investment and continued exports.
        LJUBLJANA - The government decided to ban as of 4 December the serving of food and drinks at outdoor stalls, with the exception of roasted chestnut. As for outdoor fairs, organisers are required to observe Covid-19 rules.
        LJUBLJANA - A collection of Slovenian cultural and natural heritage, folk tales, stories and traditions was presented as part of the Google Arts & Culture portal to promote the country. Google Arts and Culture Director Amit Sood said that Google's new service was available free of charge, online or as a smartphone app.

SATURDAY, 4 December
        LJUBLJANA - A group of protesters against government Covid-19 measures and the new bill on additional measures to curb the epidemic and mitigate its impact gathered in the Ljubljana city centre. There were some clashes with police and a few protesters were detained.
        CELJE - The coalition Modern Centre Party (SMC) and the non-parliamentary Economically Active Party (GAS) merged at a congress into a new party called Concretely that will focus on the social and economic development of Slovenia.
        LJUBLJANA - Dnevnik reported that Police Commissioner Anton Olaj had allegedly signed dismissal warnings for the heads of the two police trade unions. The main trade unions in the country later said that this constituted an abuse of the dismissal warning institute.
        BRNIK - Fraport Slovenija's managing director Babett Stapel, who took over at the helm of the company operating Ljubljana's international airport in October, told the STA she was optimistic about the airline industry and airport's future despite the pandemic, but she expected a full recovery only in 2025.

SUNDAY, 5 December
        KRANJ - Six Italian military doctors and nurses arrived in Slovenia to help the medical teams of the Slovenian Armed Force assisting at Covid-19 hospitals. Another nine joined them a day later. Under the current agreement, the Italian medical staff will help in Slovenia until the end of the year.
        LJUBLJANA - The 37th Slovenian Book Fair ended with an awards ceremony, which saw art editor Pavle Učakar receiving the Schwenter Award for his contribution to publishing and Erica Johnson Debeljak winning the Book of the Year Award for her book about widowhood Devica, Kraljica, Vdova, Prasica (Virgo, Queen, Widow, Bitch).
        LJUBLJANA - The Jury Grand Prix of the 18th Animateka international animated film festival was conferred on Impossible Figures and Other Stories I by Polish director Marta Pajek as the festival ended. The award is given to a film competing in the Eastern and Central European section.

MONDAY, 6 December
        LJUBLJANA - The EU's chief prosecutor Laura Kovesi said, as she visited Ljubljana, no one could dismiss European delegated prosecutors without her consent. The Slovenian pair have been appointed for fully-fledged five-year terms, she added. She told the STA that given the statistics so far, she has no doubts that the pair will be kept "very busy".
        LJUBLJANA - The Constitutional Court found the government's regulation imposing Covid-19 recovery or vaccination mandate (PC) on state administration employees at work place in disagreement with the constitution for not being aligned with the relevant law.
        PTUJ - Silvo Drevenšek, who had pleaded guilty to murdering his former spouse and her parents in front of his four-year-old son on Christmas Eve 2020, was sentenced to life in prison, the first time a Slovenian court has handed down this sentence since it was reintroduced to the criminal code in 2008.
        LJUBLJANA - As a representative of the Slovenian EU presidency, FM Anže Logar expressed strong support for the International Criminal Court (ICC) on behalf of the EU and its member states as he addressed via video call the 20th session of the assembly of states parties to the Rome Statute of the ICC.
        LJUBLJANA - Some estimates suggest Slovenia could be losing up to EUR 3.5 billion a year due to corruption, which amounts to 13.5% of its GDP, Robert Šumi, the head of the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption, said ahead of International Anti-Corruption Day.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - The EU's Employment and Social Policy Council reached an agreement on a minimum wage directive which is aimed at securing fair pay. Labour Minister Janez Cigler Kralj said he was happy such an important agreement had been reached after intensive talks.
        KLAGENFURT, Austria - An umbrella organisation of the Slovenian minority in the Austrian state of Carinthia urged new Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer and his government to immediately initiate reform legislation on ethnic minorities.
        LJUBLJANA - The economy is held hostage by higher energy costs, which makes development and investment funds the victims, said the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS) as it presented its proposals for a state aid scheme to help companies, especially energy-intensive ones.
        LJUBLJANA - Marica Uršič Zupan, a journalist for the regional newspaper Primorske Novice, was appointed ombudsman at public broadcaster RTV Slovenija. She will start her five-year term on 18 January pending approval by the public broadcaster's general manager.
        LJUBLJANA - The government approved a EUR 9.8 million subsidy for a Li-ion battery plant that TAB, the Slovenian maker of starter and industrial batteries, plans to set up with its Chinese partner Haidi Energy Technology.
        KOPER - A 31-year-old citizen of Bangladesh was found dead in the Dragonja valley in the border area between Slovenia and Croatia with initial information indicating hypothermia as the cause of death, the Koper Police Department reported.
        LJUBLJANA - Aljoša Rehar took over as the new editor-in-chief of the Slovenian Press Agency (STA) after serving as the head of the agency's digital strategy group for the last seven years. He succeeded Barbara Štrukelj, who was the content chief for 12 years and decided not to seek another term.

TUESDAY, 7 December
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - EU finance ministers reached political consensus to upgrade the EU rules on reduced VAT rates. The meeting failed to clinch agreement on review of the 1997 Code of Conduct on Business Taxation, with Slovenia's Andrej Šircelj saying a new proposal would now have to be drawn up.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - EU health ministers called for fast and coordinated action to tackle the surge in coronavirus and the spread of the Omicron variant. Slovenia's Janez Poklukar said the ministers did not discuss mandatory vaccination, which he believes should be a last resort measure.
        LJUBLJANA/BRUSSELS, Belgium - Defence Minister Matej Tonin and Slovenia's EU Crisis Management Commissioner Janez Lenarčič hosted a virtual event on knowledge exchange and dialogue in civil protection and disaster management at EU level.
        LJUBLJANA - Defence Minister Matej Tonin took part in the 2021 annual conference of the European Defence Agency (EDA), which focused on innovation in the field of defence. He highlighted the role of defence innovation for the development of strategic and technological sovereignty, said the ministry.
        BERN, Switzerland - Slovenia sold to Serbia its stake in a property in the Swiss capital of Bern which used to house the embassy of the former Yugoslavia and is currently home to the Serbian embassy in Switzerland, for 1.089 million Swiss francs (EUR 1.046 million), the Foreign Ministry announced.
        LJUBLJANA - A parliamentary inquiry looking into allegedly unlawful financing of the ruling Democrats (SDS) heard allegations about shady financing deals involving Nova24TV being dismissed by several persons with links to the media outlet, including Interior Minister Aleš Hojs, a former director of Nova24TV.
        LJUBLJANA - Prosecutor Blanka Žgajnar said she did not know why the Supreme Court had annulled the verdict in the Balkan Warrior drug trafficking case and released the defendants, as she was yet to get the ruling. She doubts a retrial could be completed in two years before the case becomes statute barred.

WEDNESDAY, 8 December
        LJUBLJANA - FM Anže Logar told the parliamentary Foreign Policy Committee that he would visit the US on 20 December to meet Secretary of State Antony Blinken to discuss Slovenian-US cooperation.
        LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Foreign Policy Committee confirmed a bill ratifying the agreement between Slovenia and the Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation for the purchase of 45 eight-wheeled Boxer armoured personnel carries.
        STRASBOURG, France - The EU Parliament will take a vote on a resolution on the rule of law and fundamental rights in Slovenia at the plenary session in Strasbourg on 16 December, followed from the agenda endorsed by the Conference of Presidents.
        LJUBLJANA - Tatjana Bobnar, who was replaced as police commissioner as the Janez Janša government took over, told a parliamentary inquiry into alleged political interference in police that she was being bullied for the past year and a half. Commissioner Anton Olaj rejected the allegations about the political interference.
        LJUBLJANA - Agriculture Minister Jože Podgoršek noted at a virtual conference that the main file of the Slovenian EU presidency in agriculture, environment and climate change had been the reform of the common agricultural policy to make it fairer and greener.
        LJUBLJANA - The anti-viral drug molnupiravir will be available for treatment of Covid-19 in Slovenia expectedly from 13 December after doses for over 5,700 treatments have already arrived in the country. Slovenia's national medical ethics committee said earlier it had no reservations towards the drug.
        LJUBLJANA - Equal Opportunities Ombudsman Miha Lobnik found the permanent ban on blood donations for men who have sexual relations with men discriminatory, noting this exclusion was in place despite the fact that the safety of blood donations is ensured by additional testing for viruses.

THURSDAY, 9 December
        LJUBLJANA - Government officials met with representatives of the US tech giant Google to discuss the achievements of the Slovenian EU presidency in digital transformation and sign a cooperation agreement under which Google will invest EUR 2.5 million over the next two years to support Slovenia's digital transformation.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed in a narrow vote the act on long-term care that brings a number of measures for adults who depend on other people's assistance to perform basic activities. This field is now being systemically regulated after some 20 years of efforts.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Following a meeting of EU home affairs ministers, Slovenia's Aleš Hojs said it had been agreed that Croatia meets the conditions for entering the Schengen Area. Hojs believes other steps towards a final decision on the expansion of the no-passport zone will follow relatively soon.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium- Interior Minister Aleš Hojs expressed the hope that progress could still be made by the end of 2021 on changes to the European Asylum Dactyloscopy Database (EURODAC), a part of the new Migration Pact. He noted that there would not be a major breakthrough regarding the pact during the Slovenian EU presidency and it had not been expected either.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - The Council of the EU, currently chaired by Slovenia, reached a provisional agreement to extend the EU's "roam-like-at-home scheme", which allows for roaming without extra costs, until 2032.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - The Slovenian EU presidency and the EU Parliament reached a provisional agreement on a proposal for a regulation on the e-CODEX system. The system aims to enable digitalisation of cross-border judicial communication and provide better access to judicial protection.
        NEW YORK, US/LJUBLJANA - Slovenia formally announced its candidacy for a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for the 2024-2025 period. Elections in the General Assembly will be held in June 2023.
        LJUBLJANA - The government decided to increase the monthly wages of employees of the police force and the Interior Ministry by EUR 100-130 gross due to the increased volume of work and special workload related to support tasks of the police.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed changes to the medical services act that facilitate licensing of doctors, transfer the jurisdiction of professional exams to the Medical Chamber and simplify hiring of foreign doctors with regard to Slovenian language skills.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed an amendment to the identity cards act under which new biometric ID cards will start to be issued on 28 March 2022, instead of 3 January 2022, as initially planned. In line with the change, it will be possible to use expired ID cards until the end of March.
        WASHINGTON, US/LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor called for a respectful dialogue at US President Joe Biden's virtual summit for democracy. Pahor said Slovenia and other countries could and must do more for liberal democracy, which was based on the rule of law and full respect for human rights.
        LJUBLJANA - The latest government figures showed that Slovenia logged 1,687 new coronavirus infections for Wednesday as a week-on-week drop in cases continued. Hospitalisations decreased to 948, of which 248 were ICU cases. This week saw the former figure drop below 1,000 for the first time since mid-November.
        LJUBLJANA - After failing to get another term as CEO of the energy trader GEN-I, Robert Golob announced he was entering politics through a non-partisan movement. He is not ruling out a bid in the April general election.
        LJUBLJANA - The anti-graft watchdog has not established any breach of integrity in 12 procedures targetting five employees of the Commodity Reserves Agency over suspicion of irregularities in the purchases of protective equipment last year.

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