Ljubljana related

04 Dec 2021, 11:17 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, 26 November
        LJUBLJANA - Travellers arriving in Slovenia from areas with the new coronavirus variant that the WHO has declared to be of concern face mandatory quarantine on arriving in Slovenia under a decision taken by the government. Entry is banned to foreigners without a residence permit in Slovenia arriving from those areas.
        LJUBLJANA - The government made a few changes to Covid restrictions, including detailing rules for open-air Christmas fairs, which will have to be fenced off with separate entrances and exits. Open-air stalls serving food and drinks need to put up notices limiting customer numbers.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - EU ministers in charge of research adopted conclusions on new governance of the European Research Area (ERA) and a three-year action plan, which Slovenian Minister of Education, Science and Sport Simona Kustec hailed as an important milestone for European science and a major achievement of Slovenia's EU presidency.
        LJUBLJANA - EU environment ministers endorsed the further implementation of the EU Urban Agenda by adopting the Ljubljana Agreement. Slovenia's initiative to include small and medium-sized cities in policy-making processes was also successful.
        LJUBLJANA - A police inquiry found that officers acted lawfully when they used various types of force during a 5 October riot by opponents of vaccination and the Covid pass mandate in Ljubljana. The commission, appointed by Police Commissioner Anton Olaj, did however identify certain irregularities in the use of tear gas.
        LJUBLJANA - The Supreme Court annulled the verdict in the Balkan Warrior drug trafficking case and ordered a retrial, and the defendants, including the chief defendant Dragan Tošić, were released. The court of first instance will now have only two years to process the case before it becomes statute barred.
        LJUBLJANA - The government approved a draft agreement on the basis of which 13 Slovenian feature films currently kept at the Yugoslav Cinematheque in Belgrade, Serbia, will return to Slovenia. The classics, including the first Slovenian feature sound film On Our Own Land (1948), had been sent to Belgrade because Slovenia did not have an adequate storage facility.
        TRIESTE, Italy - Slovenian literary historian and academician Boris Paternu died at the age of 95. His expertise was Slovenian literature of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, while he also extensively studied the poetry of Slovenia's greatest poet France Prešeren.
SATURDAY, 27 November
        LJUBLJANA - The Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) of the previous prime minister endorsed its election manifesto and platform at a virtual congress setting out solutions which they say should restore a normality in Slovenia and pave the way for a development breakthrough. Marjan Šarec said the next government would have its work cut out fixing the consequences of the current rule.
        LJUBLJANA - New Slovenia (NSi) met for a virtual congress in preparation for next year's general election where their leader Matej Tonin said the Christian democratic party should get the mandate to form a government in order to avoid the "inefficiency" of the centre-left and the "sharpness" of the SDS, the NSi's partner in the current coalition.
        LJUBLJANA - The national advisory committee on immunization recommended a booster shot of a vaccine against Covid-19 to all adults, after initially recommending boosters for several most vulnerable groups, including everyone over 50.
        NIZHNY TAGIL, Russia - Slovenian women ski jumpers secured their first ever double victory in the individual World Cup event. Ema Klinec won the second event of the season after finishing as the runner-up at the same venue yesterday. Her teammate Urša Bogataj placed second.

SUNDAY, 28 November
        BELGRADE, Serbia - Visiting Belgrade as part of the preparations for the next summit of the Brdo-Brijuni Process, President Borut Pahor met his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vučić. Pahor said that the process of EU enlargement to the Western Balkans was too slow, which led to renewed policies of nationalism and border changes that threaten security.
        RUKA, Finland - A day after fishing second at the men's Ski Jumping World Cup event, Slovenian ski jumper Anže Lanišek won the second such event at Finland's ski resort this season in what is his first World Cup individual event victory.

MONDAY, 29 November
        PRISHTINA, Kosovo - President Borut Pahor called for headway in the Prishtina-Belgrade dialogue as he held talks with Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani and PM Albin Kurti. He endorsed Kosovo's efforts to join Euro-Atlantic organisations and urged the country to continue adopting and implementing reforms, while emphasising the need to implement the Kosovo-Serbia agreements reached so far.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Parliament's Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE) discussed a report on a mission to Slovenia it completed in October. The debate saw a heated exchange between Slovenian MEP Romana Tomc, who said the mission had missed the mark, and chair Sophie in 't Veld, who dismissed the criticism and urged the EPP to cooperate constructively.
        LJUBLJANA - Montenegrin Speaker Aleksa Bečić started a three-day visit to Slovenia by holding talks with his Slovenian counterpart Igor Zorčič. The pair discussed primarily Montenegro's European prospects, with Zorčič saying that as the presiding EU country, Slovenia was committed to accelerating the EU enlargement process in cooperation with Western Balkan countries.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - In response to the coronavirus pandemic, EU education ministers adopted recommendations on blended learning approaches which combine school site and other physical environments away from the school as well as digital and non-digital learning tools.
        LJUBLJANA - The Legal Network for the Protection of Democracy, an NGO, presented amendments to the communicable diseases act after parts of the law were found in breach of the constitution and the National Assembly failed to amend them by the deadline imposed by the Constitutional Court. Efforts were launched to get deputy groups to support the bill.
        LJUBLJANA - The Programming Council of RTV Slovenija confirmed the public broadcaster's production plan for 2022, which had been met with criticism from the broadcaster's news staff because several news shows are being cancelled and some moved to the lower-rated second channel. In a secret ballot, 17 councillors voted in favour, two were against and five abstained.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - The Slovenian Press Agency (STA) is one of the 16 European press agencies to join forces in a common European press centre whose creation was announced by the European Commission. The pan-European Newsroom will be supported with EUR 1.76 million in EU funds and coordinated by the German news agency dpa.
        LJUBLJANA - Telekom Slovenije, the state-owned telecoms operator, announced it will quit the electricity retail business as of New Year's, the second company to leave the retail market in the last few months amidst surging electricity prices. Telekom has a 2% share of the household market.
TUESDAY, 30 November
        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša spoke with his Austrian counterpart Alexander Schallenberg via videoconference about the Covid-19 pandemic, including the new Omicron strain of coronavirus, to note the importance of booster vaccine shots. They assessed the epidemiological situation and exchanged information about measures aimed at managing Covid-19 and their effects.
        LJUBLJANA - A commission appointed to examine the death of a 20-year-old woman after she was given the Janssen vaccine in September announced its unanimous assessment that the death was "definitely linked" to the vaccination. The investigation confirmed the vaccination led to the thrombotic thrombocytopenia.
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor warned against politicisation of police as he addressed a ceremony remembering the 1989 Operation North, a police campaign which prevented a Serbian nationalist rally in Ljubljana. He said depoliticisation of police started at the time of Operation North and was one of the milestones in Slovenia's independence process.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - The EU ministers in charge of sport endorsed the European model of sport that calls for solidarity, open competition and accessibility of sport for all. Slovenian Minister of Education, Science and Sport Simona Kustec said the adoption of the resolution was a "historic day for sport and the European Union".
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's GDP grew at an annual rate of 5% in the third quarter of 2021. Just like in the previous quarter, it was largely fuelled by household consumption, up by 9.3%, and gross capital formation, up 9.6%, the Statistics Office said.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's annual inflation rate accelerated to 4.6% in November from 3% in the month before, the highest it has been since late 2008, on the back of higher prices of oil derivatives. At the monthly level prices were up by 0.7%.

WEDNESDAY, 1 December
        RIGA, Latvia - Following a two-day NATO ministerial, FM Anže Logar said the developments after the withdrawal from Afghanistan had come as a surprise and had brought up numerous risks that needed to be properly addressed. When planning future missions, goals should be laid out in advance according to regional characteristics, he noted.
        LJUBLJANA - Interior Minister Aleš Hojs rejected allegations by NGOs that Slovenian police officers were engaged in pushbacks on the Slovenian border in an interview with the newspaper Delo, while he criticised Croatian police for giving migrants instructions to ask for international protection in Slovenia.
        ROME, Italy - The Italian Chamber of Deputies put into law a government decree on the transfer of National Hall in Trieste thus giving the go ahead for the process to start to return it to the Slovenian community there. The return was agreed during last year's ceremony marking the centennial of the torching of the building by the Fascists.
        LJUBLJANA - The Administration for Civil Protection and Disaster Relief officially set up an RescEU stockpile of protective personal equipment. The first batch of face masks has been already received, and in 2022, the reserve is expected to provide supplies of protective masks, gloves, coats, aprons, goggles and visors.
        LJUBLJANA - The government will allocate an additional EUR 210 million to agriculture in 2023-2027, on top of the EUR 100 million promised in the summer under an agreement reached as agricultural organisations met with PM Janez Janša and Agriculture Minister Jože Podgoršek.
        LJUBLJANA - The State Prosecutorial Council expressed strong opposition to the proposed amendments that would give the government greater say in the appointment of Slovenian prosecutors delegated to the European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO), saying that this allowed for "inadmissible political staffing."
        LJUBLJANA - Electronic tolling for cars was officially rolled out. Annual e-vignettes for cars and semi-annual e-vignettes for motorbikes became available immediately, with weekly and monthly e-vignettes to follow in February 2022.
        PARIS, France - The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) substantially upgraded Slovenia's economic growth forecast. It projects the economy to expand by 5.9% this year, up from its May forecast of 3.5%, whereas the outlook for 2022 was revised by 0.8 percentage points to 5.4%. Growth is projected to slow to 3.2% in 2023.
THURSDAY, 2 December
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - Interior Minister Aleš Hojs said after a meeting of home affairs officials from the EU and the Western Balkans that they had agreed on the need to improve the exchange of information and cooperation on the ground in the combat against organised crime and terrorism and managing of migration.
        LJUBLJANA - The government adopted a new version of the national foreign policy strategy, which takes into account new challenges, particularly hybrid threats and other crises. The document, titled Slovenia: Safe, Successful and Respected in the World - Foreign Policy of the Republic of Slovenia, is a revised and updated version of the country's strategy endorsed in July 2015, said the Government Communication Office.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - EU member states confirmed the common agricultural policy (CAP) for 2023-2027 to make the CAP greener, fairer and more transparent at a session chaired by Slovenian Agriculture Minister Jože Podgoršek, who said the new CAP was a milestone in the EU's agricultural policy.
        STOCKHOLM, Sweden - Attending a session of the OSCE Ministerial Council, Foreign Minister Anže Logar advocated the restoration of mutual trust and strengthening of political will of the organisation's members.
        STRASBOURG, France - President Borut Pahor attended a ceremony remembering Valery Giscard d'Estaing, who served as the president of France from 1974 to 1981 and is remembered for his role in the Convention on the Future of Europe, which concluded its work in 2003 by drafting the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe.
        LJUBLJANA - Lovro Šturm, former minister, Constitutional Court judge in the 1990s and professor emeritus at the Ljubljana Faculty of Law, died aged 83. In 2000 he served as minister of education and sport in the Andrej Bajuk government and in 2004-2008 as justice minister in the first Janez Janša government.
        LJUBLJANA - The government endorsed the decision of the council of UKC Ljubljana, Slovenia's largest medical centre, to appoint acting director Jože Golobič for a full term.

28 Nov 2021, 12:14 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, 19 November
        LJUBLJANA - The government endorsed a bill on additional measures for curbing the consequences of epidemic, envisaging special one-off payments for the most vulnerable such as pensioners, old farmers without pension and people with disabilities, and fresh stimulus measures for business.
        LJUBLJANA - The government proposed a compensation scheme for those who have suffered serious health damage as a result of a Covid-19 vaccine, a step Health Minister Janez Poklukar said was key to maintaining confidence in the vaccines. Compensation of EUR 60,000 would be paid to those who suffer a serious and permanent reduction in their vital functions after vaccination.
        LJUBLJANA - The State Prosecution Council welcomed the government's decision to refer the council's pick of the pair of candidates for delegated prosecutors to the European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO). Both the council and experts said such an act cannot be temporary. The European Commission said the appointment was a step in the right direction.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - The EU's General Affairs Council endorsed conclusions highlighting the strategic importance of water, a move hailed by Slovenia as a landmark in water diplomacy and a major achievement of the Slovenian EU presidency.
        LJUBLJANA - The MPs representing the Italian and Hungarian minority tabled legislation that would raise the language requirement for teachers and other staff working in bilingual schools and kindergartens.
SATURDAY, 20 November
        LJUBLJANA - Simona Kustec stayed on as minister of education after a motion of no confidence in her was voted down following more than 14 hours of debate during which the opposition alleged that her management of the portfolio has been disastrous, especially when it comes to dealing with Covid-19 at school, and Kustec framing the vote as an attempt to silence women in politics.
        LJUBLJANA - Hit the Road, a family road trip movie by Iranian director Panah Panahi, won the Kingfisher Award, the main award handed out at the Ljubljana International Film Festival. Panahi's debut feature is a multi-layered portrait of an Iranian family and Iranian society at large set in a road trip through north-western Iran.

SUNDAY, 21 November
        LJUBLJANA - Interior Minister Aleš Hojs rejected allegations about the police organisation changes being an attempt to politicise the force. Hojs sees the new law as the first step towards a more professional police that would reduce any political interference, whereas the opposition maintains the opposite.

MONDAY, 22 November
        LJUBLJANA - Marjan Dikaučič remained justice minister after 42 MPs voted in favour of a motion of no confidence, four short of the required majority. He was endorsed by 28 MPs as several deputy groups, including the junior coalition NSi, abstained.
        OTOČEC - A plaque commemorating the Slovenian-Croatian bilateral meetings and cooperation, celebrating the 30th anniversary of independence of both countries was unveiled with prime ministers Janez Janša and Andrej Plenković stressing the importance of cooperation and friendly relations.
        LJUBLJANA - The government decided to lend Croatia 40,950 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine against Covid-19 in response to the neighbouring country's request for 40,000 doses.
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor congratulated Bulgarian President Rumen Radev on his re-election. The presidents also discussed the Covid-19 pandemic, efforts by both Slovenia and Bulgaria to raise vaccination rates, and potential further steps in the search for a compromise solution on Bulgaria's blockade of North Macedonia's EU accession talks.
        VIENNA, Austria - Foreign Minister Anže Logar said Belarus should remain high on the agenda of the EU and the international community as he condemned the Belarus regime and expressed support for democratisation of the country at a conference in Vienna.
        LJUBLJANA - The Ljubljana Local Court dismissed a case against author and comedian Andrej Rozman Roza over his involvement in a protest reading of the Constitution in front of Parliament House in June 2020. The court said that this was minor offence that did not endanger anyone.
        LJUBLJANA - Igor Samobor, the director of Ljubljana's SNG Drama theatre, resigned due to what he described as government foot-dragging over the badly needed renovation of the building of Slovenia's largest theatre. Culture Minister Vasko Simoniti denied culpability saying the government wanted the project to be transparent.
        LJUBLJANA - The retrial in the infamous sawn-off hand insurance fraud case saw Julija Adlešič - the woman whose hand was sawn off - her partner Sebastien Abramov, and his parents all pleading guilty and receiving prison sentences. Adlešič and Abramov will spend 19 and 29 months in prison, respectively. Both have already served most of their sentences in custody.
TUESDAY, 23 November
        MURSKA SOBOTA - The government toured the north-easternmost region of Pomurje, discussing various projects, including in agriculture, the leading industry in the area, as well as efforts to convince young people to stay in the region. Apart from visiting companies in the region, PM Janez Janša met representatives of the Hungarian minority in Pomurje and visited the Murska Sobota diocese of the Evangelical Church in Slovenia where he met Bishop Leon Novak.
        LJUBLJANA - Health Minister Janez Poklukar and the head of the Medical Chamber Bojana Beović warned about the possibility of the fifth wave of Covid infections, with Poklukar saying he thought that another wave could emerge in February next year as a result of an insufficient vaccination rate. Beović said that the Covid pass mandate could be amended to make booster doses mandatory.
        LJUBLJANA - Interior Minister Aleš Hojs hosted a meeting of the ATLAS Commanders Forum, attended by representatives of the special police units from the EU member states. Hojs said that terrorism was placed high on the EU priority list and that the role of ATLAS network was important as well.
        STRASBOURG, France - Foreign Minister Anže Logar raised concern about the situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina as he addressed the European Parliament on Tuesday evening. Logar, who took part in the debate on behalf of the Council of the EU, called on the country's political leaders to give up provocative and divisive rhetoric and actions
        LONDON, UK - Slovenian artist Jasmina Cibic won the 2021 Jarman Award handed out by Film London, worth EUR 10,000. The jury highlighted her projects NADA and The Gift, which was recently screened at the London Film Festival.

WEDNESDAY, 24 November
        LUXEMBOURG, Luxembourg - The College of the European Public Prosecutor's Office appointed Tanja Frank Eler and Matej Oštir as Slovenia's European delegated prosecutors for five-year terms, same as all the other delegated prosecutors. Meanwhile, the Justice Ministry put forward amendments to the act on the public prosecution that would give the government greater say in the appointment of Slovenian prosecutors, which the opposition labelled as as yet another attempt by the government at undermining the rule of law and subordinating all social subsystems.
        LJUBLJANA - Hosting his Polish counterpart Mateusz Morawiecki, Prime Minister Janez Janša pledged Slovenia's support for Poland in light of the migrant crisis on the Polish-Belarusian border. He said the EU should fund all measures to protect the bloc's external borders, arguing that physical barriers at the borders have proved to be effective in preventing illegal migration and violence.
        STRASBOURG, France - The European Parliament conducted a debate on fundamental rights and the rule of law in Slovenia. MEPs acknowledged there have been positive steps made recently, but they also criticised the government for delays, in particular in the appointment of European delegated prosecutors.
        LJUBLJANA - The parliament passed an opposition amendment to the act on emergency measures in healthcare, introducing financial compensation for the self-employed, partners in companies and farmers in the event of a quarantine order due to Covid-19 or subsequent childcare obligations.
        LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Janez Janša reiterated his call for vaccination against Covid-19 as he indicated in an interview with the Catholic Radio Ognjišče that a tightening of restrictions was not in the cards at present.
        LJUBLJANA - Police dealt with 8,144 instances of illegal crossing of the border in the first ten months of 2021, nearly 39% fewer than in the same period last year. The most frequently processed illegal migrants were from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh, who accounted for almost half of the total number.
THURSDAY, 25 November
        LJUBLJANA - The daily number of new coronavirus cases had been dropping in Slovenia in the past week with the latest figures available showing 2,668 new daily coronavirus infections, about a thousand fewer than a week ago. However, the situation in hospitals remains critical with the number of ICU cases hitting a record 286.
        LJUBLJANA/PHNOM PENH, Cambodia - Prime Minister Janez Janša called for stronger cooperation in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic as he addressed the Asian-European Meeting (ASEM) by videolink. He said this was crucial for an effective response to crises.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - EU ministers in charge of competitiveness clinched a political agreement on two key digital acts - on digital markets and services at a session chaired by Slovenian Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek and Digital Transformation Minister Mark Boris Andrijanič. Počivalšek lauded the agreement an important milestone on the path to create a more open and competitive digital market.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly endorsed the government's proposal to raise the cap on state budget expenditure for this year by EUR 670 million to nearly EUR 15 billion. The government said the rise was to allow the financing of Covid-19 response measures to continue undisrupted, but the centre-left opposition argued the government had lost a grip on public finances.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly unanimously passed an act prohibiting the sale of certain plastic products, including disposable products, with the aim of reducing the quantity of discarded packaging and, consequently, improving public health.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly backed a proposal for a ban on hydraulic fracturing in Slovenia, tabled by three centre-left opposition parties, on first reading in what is the fifth attempt to thwart British company Ascent Resources's fracking plans in the north-eastern Prekmurje region.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly failed to muster the majority needed to pass a declaration to support the European Parliament's 2009 resolution on European conscience and totalitarianism in what was the fifth attempt by the ruling Democratic Party (SDS) to endorse the resolution condemning all totalitarian regimes.
        LJUBLJANA - The government adopted amendments 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 - Mercator, Slovenia's largest retailer, recovered from last year's deep loss as it posted a net profit of EUR 12.6 million for the first nine months of the year. Sales revenue was up by almost a percent to EUR 1.63 billion, shows the group's earnings report.


20 Nov 2021, 08:32 AM

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

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

FRIDAY, 12 November
        NOVO MESTO - Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek warned that a potential new lockdown would cause the state to go bankrupt as the government paid a visit to south-east Slovenia. He said the Covid crisis was not over yet, so everyone should join forces to find solutions as "there will be no more state aid".
        LJUBLJANA - The government decided that primary and secondary school students will start self-testing on school premises on 17 November, as it delayed the start of this by two days. Testing will be carried out three times a week.
        KOPER - The supervisory board of the state-owned port operator Luka Koper appointed only one new member of the management board for a five-year term, unanimously confirming Robert Rožac, who currently serves as state secretary at the Environment Ministry, while failing to appoint one additional member of the board and its chairman.
        MARIBOR - The supervisory board of electricity distributor Elektro Maribor dismissed chairman Boris Sovič, in what is the third major staffing decision in state-owned energy firms in two weeks. Sovič, an ex-Social Democrat (SD) mayor of Maribor who had served as the company's chairman since 2012, rejected all the arguments for his dismissal.
        LJUBLJANA - Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec rejected claims he was involved in the ousting of several directors of state-owned energy firms. He said staffing was in the exclusive domain of supervisory boards and Slovenian Sovereign Holding (SSH), while corporate governance rules precluded direct political influence on staffing.
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - The EU home affairs ministers hosted by Slovenia's Aleš Hojs at a virtual conference expressed in a joint statement their political support for finding appropriate tools for uncovering and investigating sexual abuse of children.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Commission decided to open infringement proceedings against Slovenia to ensure correct transposition of EU rules on combating terrorism. The country has now two months to respond to the formal notice from Brussels, or else faces receiving a reasoned opinion.
        LJUBLJANA - The chair of the parliamentary commission investigating suspicion of political interference in police, Rudi Medved from the opposition Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ), said the commission would send an intermediary report to the National Assembly confirming the suspicion of political pressure on police.
        PARIS, France - President Borut Pahor attended a high-level meeting marking the 75th anniversary of UNESCO and held talks with the organisation's director general Audrey Azoulay. He said in his address that UNESCO had a pioneering role in searching for solutions to the world's most pressing problems and challenges.
        MUNICH, Germany - Slovenian biologist and environmental activist Andreja Slameršek received this year's Wolfgang Staab Prize for Nature Conservation, which is given out by the German Schweisfurth Foundation. She was honoured for helping to stop several planned power stations that would destroy unique ecosystems along the rivers Mura and Sava.
        LJUBLJANA - A network of civil society and non-governmental organisations that is forming the Voice of the People initiative started its election campaign at the anti-government protest, presenting ten out of its hundred demands with which it plans to confront political parties ahead of the general election.
SATURDAY, 13 November
        PARIS, France - President Borut Pahor bestowed the Golden Order of Merit, one of the highest Slovenian state decorations, on Czech-French writer Milan Kundera. Kundera was honoured for having raised his voice for Slovenia's independence and for his outstanding contribution to understanding turbulent times in Europe.
        LJUBLJANA - With hospitals under tremendous pressure from increasing numbers of Covid patients, the Slovenian Armed Forces (SAF) and Red Cross Slovenia announced they would help out with volunteer work and equipment.

SUNDAY, 14 November
        LJUBLJANA - The Environment Ministry said that significant progress had been made at the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, while further efforts would be needed to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Climatologist Lučka Kajfež Bogataj meanwhile said the deal reached at the summit was just another disappointment in terms of reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, while noting the progress in providing financial assistance to the most vulnerable countries and halting deforestation.
        LUXEMBOURG, Luxembourg - President Borut Pahor met Jean-Claude Juncker, former president of the European Commission and long-serving prime minister of Luxembourg, and current Prime Minister Xavier Bettel as he paid a visit to Luxembourg.
        LJUBLJANA - On Slovenian Sign Language Day, calls were made for a more inclusive society and accessibility of all areas of life for the deaf and hard of hearing, as well as for systemic development of the sign language. The human rights ombudsman called on the authorities to draft regulations to put the rights of such persons in practice.
        KRANJ - Škofja Loka Passion Play, staged by the Prešeren Theatre Kranj and directed by Jernej Lorenci, received the Šeligo Prize for the best production at the 51st Week of Slovenian Drama, while also receiving the audience's choice award and the awards for actors.
        LECH, Austria - Andreja Slokar won the Alpine Ski World Cup parallel giant slalom event to take the overall lead in the competition. This is the first career win for Slokar and also the first win ever for Slovenia in parallel giant slalom.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia beat Cyprus 2:1 to wrap up the qualifying campaign for the 2022 World Cup in the fourth spot in Group H. Slovenia finished the qualifiers at 14 points from ten matches, the same as the third-placed Slovakia.
MONDAY, 15 November
        LJUBLJANA - Asked in parliament about corruption and allegations that mafia is running the country, PM Janez Janša told the MPs that Slovenia's main problems today stemmed from "UDBA-mafia or, as is the newly-established term, parallel mechanisms managing large parts of systems and sub-systems without elections and without legitimacy."
        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša assured MPs that the government was not supporting tax avoidance as he commented on controversial statements made by a minister of one of his previous governments in a conversation with a powerful business executive 14 years ago. He said taxes were not at the heart of the matter, and noted that he did not support calls for tax avoidance.
        LUXEMBOURG, Luxembourg - As part of his visit to Luxembourg, President Borut Pahor met President of the Chamber of Deputies Fernand Etgen and Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn. Confirming the excellent relations between the two countries, the officials shared similar views on the EU's core values, including the rule of law and media freedom.
        LJUBLJANA - The centre-left opposition filed for an emergency session of the parliamentary Public Finance Oversight Commission over what they described as unprecedented political staffing in the energy industry. Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec responded by saying that corporate management rules in Slovenia prevented politics from such interference.
        GENEVA, Switzerland - Attending a virtual WHO summit on evidence-based policy making in health, Health Minister Janez Poklukar presented Slovenia's experience in implementing "effective and innovative evidence-based" measures in different phases of the Covid-19 epidemic.
        LJUBLJANA - The Commission for the Prevention of Corruption said it would launch an inquiry after receiving a report that Neffat Law Firm was contracted to draft amendments to the construction act. The report also said that the firm represented Branko Simonovič, a DeSUS MP who would be able to use these amendments to legalise a house he has illegally built on the coast. Simonovič denied the allegations.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - EU agriculture ministers adopted decisions on a new EU strategy for forests until 2030, stressing the importance of forests in combating climate change and biodiversity loss. Slovenia's Jože Podgoršek described the decisions as a great achievement of the Slovenian EU presidency.
        LJUBLJANA - The steel group SIJ said it had increased its sales revenue by 34.2% to EUR 714.6 million in the first nine months of the year, while EBITDA reached EUR 73.5 million. Almost EUR 41.5 million was channelled into investment in the January-September period.
        LJUBLJANA - The latest Vox Populi survey gave the ruling Democrats (SDS) 17% of respondent support, followed by the opposition Social Democrats (SD) at 13.9% and the Left at 8.1%. The share of undecided voters increased to almost a third.
        LJUBLJANA - The Ljubljana city council endorsed a revised budget for this year, under which the municipality will end 2021 with a EUR 5.3 million deficit instead of a EUR 1.2 million surplus. Revenue was set at EUR 390 million and expenditure at EUR 395 million.
        LJUBLJANA - The police said that a 17-year search for a 61-year-old fugitive sentenced for fraud was over as the woman was recently found and arrested in Ghana in cooperation with foreign security authorities. The Slovenian was extradited from the African country to Slovenia on 13 November and taken to the Ig prison.

TUESDAY, 16 November
        LJUBLJANA - Health Minister Boštjan Poklukar announced that hospitals had secured the full planned intensive care capacity for Covid-19 patients, meaning 288 beds, adding that state of extreme emergency would be declared in healthcare if the number of ICU patients exceeded this figure.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Defence Minister Matej Tonin said Slovenia "must be pleased" with the EU's Strategic Compass, a shared vision for EU security and defence, after EU defence ministers debated the draft document. The first responses to the document, prepared by the presiding trio involving Slovenia, are good and confirm that the direction is right, but some details are yet to be hashed out, he said.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - A delegation of the European Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) that visited Slovenia on a fact-finding mission in mid-October expresses deep concern over the climate of hostility and deep polarisation in Slovenia in a draft report.
        LJUBLJANA - Interior Minister Aleš Hojs called for stronger cooperation between the police forces of EU member states and Western Balkan countries as he addressed a meeting of the board of the EU border agency Frontex. "The Western Balkans is undoubtedly a priority partner, but ... cooperation must be mutual and each partner must contribute their fair share."
        LJUBLJANA - A group of Slovenian NGOs called on the government in its capacity as the EU presiding country to launch in-depth discussion on the situation on the Polish-Belarusian border. It pointed to violations of human rights along the EU's eastern border and expressed deep concern over migrants being prevented from accessing asylum and international protection.
        LJUBLJANA - Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec said Slovenia was counting on nuclear in its energy transition since renewable sources alone would not suffice to cover the production shortfall once coal was phased out given that the country had missed many opportunities already.
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - EU ministers in charge of tourism agreed at a virtual informal meeting that the green and digital transition must form the core of the tourism sector's post-pandemic recovery if the sector is to be put on a sustainable footing. Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek noted the ministers had the same general positions on recovery.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - The Slovenian EU presidency said it had achieved progress in some of the key dossiers in negotiations with the European Parliament on legislation in areas such as health and digitalisation. It hopes for further progress by the end of the year, including on the minimum wage.
        LJUBLJANA - Petra Grah Lazar, the acting director of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), has been named full-fledged director on a temporary basis. The appointment is based on recent changes to the act on the organisation of police, which critics say would emaciate the police unit specialised in white-collar crime.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's top officials received booster shots of coronavirus vaccines nearly nine months after they received their first shots in the early stages of the vaccination campaign. A total of 176,740 people in Slovenia have so far received booster shots, just over 8% of the entire population and roughly a third of those aged 70 or more.
        NOVA GORICA - Danijel Bešič Loredan, the head of the Nova Gorica general hospital's orthopaedic ward, saw his contract terminated due to his opposition to moving patients from his ward to expand the hospital's capacities for Covid-19 patients.
        LJUBLJANA - The government relieved Tomi Rumpf of his duties as the director of the Commodity Reserves Agency, as Rumpf recently tendered his resignation, and appointed Andrej Kužner as the acting director. Rumpf had tendered his resignation on 11 November.
        MIRNA - Atlantic Grupa, a Croatian multinational that owns Slovenian food producer Droga Kolinska, sold its production facility in the Slovenian town of Mirna to Austrian baby food company Gittis Naturprodukte as it continues divesting its non-core businesses.
        LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian police force got its first hybrid patrol vehicles which officials said would reduce noise pollution in settled areas and contribute to cleaner environment. A total of 56 new vehicles were formally handed over to the police at a ceremony at the Tacen Police Academy compound.
        LJUBLJANA - The Ljubljana city council extended by five years the contract for the Bežigrad Sport Park project, which includes renovation of the dilapidated landmark stadium designed by Jože Plečnik. The contractors have welcomed the decision, while a civil initiative opposing the project said private interest had outweighed public interest.

WEDNESDAY, 17 November
        ROME, Italy - Defence Minister Matej Tonin signed an agreement on the purchase of a Spartan C-27J transport aircraft with his Italian counterpart Lorenzo Guerini. The Defence Ministry said the value of the agreement was roughly EUR 72 million, where the basic price of the aircraft was EUR 48 million and the additional modules were valued at EUR 11 million. The aircraft is expected to arrive in Slovenia in about a year and a half.
        LJUBLJANA - Mandatory self-testing of students in primary and secondary schools got off to a largely problem-free start. Reports from schools suggested the vast majority of parents consented to testing and only a small percentage of parents decided to switch to remote schooling in protest.
        LJUBLJANA - Police Commissioner Anton Olaj dismissed allegations of political staffing in the force after a trade union complained that recently adopted legislation had resulted in a "purge" in the top echelons of the police force. Olaj confirmed though that the terms of more than a hundred staff in total had ended in line with the new law.
        LJUBLJANA - Maja Pak, the long-serving director of the Slovenian Tourist Board, stepped down citing differences in views with Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek over the management of the organisation. Počivalšek thanked Pak for her effort but did not specify what the divergence of opinions was.
        LJUBLJANA - The Environment Ministry denied media reports that it had commissioned a law firm to draft amendments to the construction act and that they were tailored to allow an MP from the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) to legalise his house on the coast. The Chamber of Architecture and Spatial Planning meanwhile denied the ministry's claim it had initiated the changes.
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - Speakers at the European Tourism Forum agreed that while there were reasons for the European tourism sector to be optimistic after a good summer season, there was still a long way until full recovery, noting that the sector must become more resilient, sustainable and digitalised.
        LJUBLJANA - Triglav Group, Slovenia's largest insurer, said its net profit in the first three quarters of the year increased by 48% on the same period a year ago to EUR 75.2 million as consolidated gross written premium rose by 10% to EUR 1.06 billion. The group expects to trump the initially planned annual profit target, with the figure to amount to EUR 115-125 million.
        LJUBLJANA - The latest semi-annual report by the Surveying and Mapping Authority (GURS) shows the prices of apartments and houses rising rapidly since the real estate market started recovering in March. In the first half of the year, they rose by around 8% year-on-year, the highest six-month growth since the 2008 real estate crisis.
        LJUBLJANA/MURSKA SOBOTA - The Commission for the Prevention of Corruption said it was looking into the purchase of two biogas plants in eastern Slovenia in the aftermath of media reports suggesting the board chairman of the bad bank may have been in a conflict of interest. The Bank Assets Management Company then denied the allegations, saying that the relevant decision was taken before the chairman's time at the bad bank.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's largest trade union association, ZSSS, announced it had filed a complaint against the state with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) alleging violation of a relevant convention over absence of regulation that would allow notification of most occupational diseases.
        LJUBLJANA - On International Students' Day, the Slovenian Student Organisation pointed to what it sees as an unenviable position of the current generation of students due to the Covid-19 epidemic and consequences of the measures to stem it. Statistics Office data show that 48.6% of Slovenians aged 19 to 24 study, which makes Slovenia an EU leader.
        KOPER - After 26 years of service, Slovenia's oldest police boat made its final sail off the Koper coast before it is consigned to a museum. Built in Italy in 1994, the P-111 boat will be moved to the Park of Military History in Pivka.

THURSDAY, 18 November
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed investment-oriented budget documents for the next two years under which the deficit is to be reduced from EUR 4 billion this year to EUR 2.47 billion or 4.6% of GDP in 2022 and EUR 1.52 billion or 2.6% of GDP in 2023. Centre-left opposition MPs and the Fiscal Council have expressed doubt this is realistic.
        LJUBLJANA - The government decided to put forward Tanja Frank Eler and Matej Oštir for Slovenia's two European delegated prosecutors. However, according to the government's decree, their appointment is temporary, in force until the national appointment procedure is concluded. Boštjan Valenčič, the head of the Association of State Prosecutors, meanwhile told TV Slovenija that the procedure had been wrapped up, adding that "the state prosecution act does not recognise the concept of the interim".
        LJUBLJANA - The breakdown of the talks on the EU-Switzerland cooperation agreement and other possible options for strengthening cooperation topped the agenda in a meeting between FM Anže Logar and his Swiss counterpart Ignazio Cassis. Cassis said the cooperation agreement was too big a step forward for Switzerland, which wanted to focus on smaller steps for the time being. Logar said the Slovenian presidency would do everything in its power to "restore trust".
        LJUBLJANA - The latest official data showed that more than 3,660 people tested positive for coronavirus on Wednesday, slightly up on a weekly basis, as nearly 40% of the PCR tests came back positive. The 7-day average of new cases rose from the day before by 44 to 3,269, while the 14-day cumulative incidence per 100,000 people fell by 40 to 2,153. The number of hospitalised Covid-19 patients increased slightly to 1,104, including 253 in intensive care units. 24 people died of Covid-19, the largest number since late January.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Parliament will discuss at its plenary session next Wednesday the rule of law in Slovenia, and the delay in the appointment of European delegated prosecutors. A resolution is planned that the Parliament will vote on in December, according to the agenda of the session. The situation in Slovenia will also be discussed by the Parliament's LIBE committee based on a fact-finding mission report. The latter session was supposed to take place on 18 November but was then pushed back to 29 November.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed the bill changing the penal code to introduce prosecution of suspects who have threatened the country's senior officials or their relatives ex officio, without the injured party initiating proceedings.
        LJUBLJANA - The Italian Army plans to help Slovenia with up to 30 doctors and nurses as the country battles an increasing number of Covid-19 patients. The Italian Army healthcare workers will be joining the medical teams of the Slovenian Armed Forces, who started helping hospitals at the beginning of the week, the Defence Ministry said.
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor attended a session of the Judicial Council, focussing on the passing of the 2022 budget bill, which cuts funding to some independent state institutions. Pahor said the way in which budget funding had been reduced could be seen as efforts to weaken these institutions. He said he would strive to raise the issue with those in charge and call for a solution, the president's office said.
        NOVO MESTO - The drug maker Krka reported a group net profit of EUR 240.1 million for the first nine months of 2021, a year-on-year increase of 14% and the highest nine-month profit in the company's history, on the back of revenue that increased by 1% to EUR 1.18 billion.
        LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Press Agency (STA) confirmed receiving EUR 676,000 from the Government Communication Office (UKOM) for public services performed between January and April, as part of a broader deal on the restoration of public funding for this year. The amount had been disputed by UKOM for months and the STA sought recourse in court.
        LJUBLJANA - After a brutal attack on judge Daniela Ružič in front of her home near Maribor in June 2019, her partner at the time is now facing charges of attempted murder, according to media reports. Ružič and the man were in the process of splitting up at the time. It had been originally speculated that the judge might have been attacked in relation to her work.

13 Nov 2021, 11:22 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, 5 November
        LJUBLJANA - Amidst surging infections, the government decided to tighten Covid restrictions instead of imposing another lockdown. New restrictions, applicable from 8 November, include an expansion of the Covid pass mandate, restrictions on opening hours of bars and restaurants, closure of night clubs, and a ban on gatherings.
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor announced plans to call the general election for 24 April, the earliest possible date for a scheduled election. Centre-left opposition parties said they would want the election to be held early, but the ruling coalition parties said they were happy with the date.
        LJUBLJANA - The Constitutional Court struck down a provision of the infectious diseases act that formed the legal basis for the closure of businesses during lockdowns. It gave the National Assembly two months to amend the act in line with its decision. In the intervening time, a different provision of the act can be invoked.
        LJUBLJANA - The Constitutional Court ruled in a procedure initiated at the request of the Supreme Court that parts of the Judicial Council act are unconstitutional. The court held that the regulations on disciplinary procedure, when it is initiated by the Judicial Council, do not meet the standards of objective impartiality.
        LJUBLJANA - The supervisory board of Elektro Ljubljana, Slovenia's largest electricity distributor, dismissed on Friday the company's chairman Andrej Ribič. Ribič said he had been offered an early departure at a meeting held in the parliamentary offices of the SDS but declined, which is why he was axed. He will challenge his dismissal in court.
        LJUBLJANA - Mimovrste, Slovenia's largest online retailer, has been acquired by Polish shopping platform Allegro. The latter bought Mall Group, which owns Mimovrste and WE/DO, from PPF, EC Investments and Rockaway Capitaly.
        LJUBLJANA - Ljubljana Mayor Zoran Janković entered a not guilty plea at an arraignment hearing at the Ljubljana District Court in a case of tax evasion concerning the sale of retailer Mercator shares in 2006. His two sons also pleaded not guilty but they did not attend the hearing.

SATURDAY, 6 November
        LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Anže Logar was admitted to University Medical Centre Ljubljana for appendicitis. He had surgery and was released from hospital a few days later.

SUNDAY, 7 November
        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša met with Milorad Dodik, the Serbian member of the Bosnia-Herzegovina presidency, to discuss the political situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina and the region. Janša described the meeting on Twitter as a substantive exchange about the situation in the country.

MONDAY, 8 November
        GLASGOW, UK - The COP26 climate conference is a key step for the future of our planet and younger generations, Environment Minister Andrej Vizjak said at a press conference in Glasgow, speaking alongside European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans. "It's time we act responsibly and move up from good intentions to concrete actions," Vizjak said.
        LJUBLJANA - STA director Igor Kadunc and Uroš Urbanija, the director of the Government Communications Office (UKOM), signed an agreement on the STA's public service valid until the end of the year, ending an impasse that lasted almost a year. Kadunc said this sorted out matters for this year, but everything was still open for 2022.
        LJUBLJANA - Matej Accetto was elected president of the Constitutional Court after his peers voted to give him a three-year term at the helm of Slovenia's top court. He will take over from Rajko Knez on 19 December.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Commission decided to register a European Citizens' Initiative (ECI) called Call to Action - Environmental Protection in All Policies, with Slovenia serving as the leading EU member state in the initiative, which aims at declaring an environmental crisis in the EU.

TUESDAY, 9 November
        LJUBLJANA - The Foreign Policy Committee okayed the government's plan to conclude an agreement with the Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation for the purchase of eight-wheeled Boxer armoured personnel carries (APCs). The government intends to purchase 45 Boxer APCs, produced by Germany, for what is the currently estimated price of EUR 412 million.
        LJUBLJANA - Chaired by Slovenia's Andrej Šircelj, the EU finance ministers relaunched the discussion on reforming the fiscal rule, which had been on hold since the outbreak of the Covid-19 epidemic. The Slovenian presidency said interest had been shown for further talks on how to ensure greater simplicity and transparency of rules and favourable conditions for further recovery.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenian hospitals warned they were filling up fast with Covid patients as the country reported thousands of new cases every day. ICU occupancy rate is projected to peak on 24 November at over 250, significantly higher than at any point during the pandemic.
        LJUBLJANA - The association of Slovenia's urban municipalities called on the National Assembly to pass legal basis to allow the government to adopt scientifically supported measures to contain the Covid outbreak. The mayors suggested considering introducing the reconvalescent-vaccinated rule (PC), arguing the country is a "hostage of a minority of 200,000 people who oppose vaccination".
        LJUBLJANA - The shareholders' meeting of GEN-I, Slovenia's largest power supplier, failed to re-appoint Robert Golob as CEO after the supervisory board of Gen Energija, which owns half the company, did not give its consent for the reappointment. Golob later accused the government of trying to get rid of him because Gen-I had produced a decarbonisation plan that the cabinet did not wish to accept.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's Jewish community has finally got a place of worship as the Ljubljana Synagogue opened in a residential building in Trubarjeva Street in a joint effort by the Austrian Jewish community from Graz and the Slovenian Jewish community.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium/LJUBLJANA - The European Commission said it would keep a close eye on the situation at the STA after the agency signed a public service agreement for November and December with the Government Communication Office. Spokesman Christian Wigand said the Slovenian authorities must ensure that the independence of the agency is fully preserved.
        GLASGOW, Scotland - Slovenia ranked 50th on the Climate Change Performance Index ranking for 2022, an improvement by one spot, however scientists warn that the country's performance in fighting climate change is still quite poor.
        MARIBOR - More than a hundred criminal investigators from across the country conducted a series of house raids as part of a criminal investigation into allegations of bribery and abuse of office. Two doctors were detained on suspicion of taking bribes to issue more than 10,000 illegal medical certificates over several years.

WEDNESDAY, 10 November
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly appointed Rok Svetlič a judge on the Constitutional Court. Svetlič received 46 votes with only 46 MPs picking up their ballots because the centre-left opposition boycotted the vote. The coalition was joined by the SNS, DeSUS and minority MPs in endorsing the candidate.
        LJUBLJANA - Defence Minister Matej Tonin announced that Environment Minister Andrej Vizjak could no longer count on the support of his party New Slovenia (NSi) following the statements he made in a leaked conversation with a spa company boss 14 years ago. He said it would be best if Vizjak resigned.
        LJUBLJANA - Some 35,000 health and social care employees will benefit from a pay rise under an agreement initialled by two trade unions representing the staff and the government valued at nearly EUR 123 million. The deal brings higher wages to more than 80% of the employees in healthcare, 80% of employees in social care and 40% of support employees in those two activities.
        MARIBOR - An employee of the Specialised State Prosecutor's Office was arrested on suspicion of having leaked confidential information to key members of the Slovenian cell of the Kavač Clan, a Montenegrin crime syndicate. The woman, reportedly a secretary, had access to confidential information about orders for house searches and covert surveillance measures.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia will donate 300,000 shots of the Covid-19 vaccine produced by Moderna to Covax, the global initiative aimed at equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines, the government decided. Africa was designated as the priority region.
        LJUBLJANA - The prosecution dismissed a report against former STA director Bojan Veselinovič over alleged abuse of office related to a compensation contract with the newspaper publisher Dnevnik. Veselinovič said he had expected such a decision because the report had no merit.
        LJUBLJANA - Ljubo Žnidar, an MP for the coalition Democrats (SDS), resigned. The party said he stepped down for personal reasons and decided to continue his professional career in the corporate sector.

THURSDAY, 11 November
        LJUBLJANA - Students who refuse to wear masks or self-test will study from home under new rules that will enter into force on 15 November, Education Ministry State Secretary Damir Orehovec said after schools expressed concern over the lack of a legal basis for action against those who violate rules.
        LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Janez Janša dismissed the opposition's allegations about government misconduct during the course of the coronavirus pandemic, telling a parliamentary inquiry that its decisions were based on opinions by experts.
        LJUBLJANA - NLB bank reported net profit almost doubling to EUR 205.5 million in the first nine months of 2021 compared to the year before. CEO Blaž Brodnjak said the results enabled the bank to "to search for new growth opportunities" in the bank's home region in SE Europe, including potential mergers and acquisitions.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Commission projected in its autumn economic forecast that Slovenia's GDP would expand by 6.4% in 2021, a 0.7-point upgrade from its July forecast. In 2022, the country's GDP is to grow at 4.2%, a downgrade of 0.8 points.
        LJUBLJANA - XLAB, a company providing remote desktop access and solutions for IT-automation and digital transformation, won the Delo Business Star award. The jury praised it for its good reputation in the IT industry and its ability to market products on foreign markets.

06 Nov 2021, 10:44 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, 29 October
        LJUBLJANA - DuluxGroup, an Australian paints group, confirmed entering into a binding agreement to acquire Slovenian paints company Jub for EUR 194.5 million. It plans to turn Jub into a hub for Central and Eastern Europe, preserve its existing brands, and make it part of Nippon Paint's R&D community.
        LJUBLJANA - Higher fuel prices pushed Slovenia's annual inflation to 3% in October from 2.4% in September, as the monthly rise in consumer prices hit 0.9%, the Statistics Office said.
        LJUBLJANA - The national budget recorded EUR 7.97 billion in revenue in the first nine months, 19.6% more than in the same period last year, while expenditure increased by 15.3% to EUR 10.42 billion. The deficit amounted to EUR 2.45 billion and was slightly higher than at the same point last year.
        LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Health Committee continued its debate on the matter of doctors working in private clinics while being employed within the public health system. The opposition Left proposed several resolutions for limiting such practices, but the committee did not endorse them.
        LJUBLJANA - Bicycle protesters, protesting against the government every Friday for 80 weeks, gathered for another rally, this time to address the issues of green infrastructure, green mobility, public transport and housing. The protest organisers announced a "mass, pan-Slovenian protest" for 12 November.

SATURDAY, 30 October
        SEVNICA - Milan Kučan, Slovenia's former president, accused the Janez Janša government of being undemocratic as he told a ceremony the next election will "decide about the return of democracy". He said the government was undermining the constitution and the rule of law.
SUNDAY, 31 October
        LJUBLJANA - Igor Kadunc, former director general of the public broadcaster RTV Slovenija, took over as the acting STA director, stressing that ensuring financial stability of the STA would be his priority as a prerequisite for the normal functioning and existence of the agency.

MONDAY, 1 November
        GLASGOW, UK - PM Janez Janša highlighted the need to create a realistic path to implement the goals from the Paris climate agreement as he addressed the World Leaders Summit, a high-level political event held in Glasgow as part of the ongoing COP26 climate conference. Moving away from coal and oil is a key element in reaching the set goals, and nuclear energy could replace fossil fuels as a transition source of energy, he said, urging world leaders to make the COP26 conference a success.
        LJUBLJANA - Regular coronavirus testing was introduced in all hospitals and social care institutions while employees in all sectors who are not vaccinated or reconvalescent need to be tested more frequently, every 48 hours. Self-testing for primary and secondary school students and university students was intensified from once to twice a week. Self-testing remains voluntary for the former, but it is now also recommended for all school children, including those in the first six years.
        LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Journalist Association (DNS) relaunched a fundraising campaign to secure funds for the STA, which has not received any budget funding for its public service since the start of the year. The DNS first launched such a campaign on 3 May, World Press Freedom Day, raising EUR 275,000 in a month.
        LJUBLJANA - A ban was introduced preventing trucks heavier than 7.5 tonnes from overtaking on the Slovenian motorways after the ban kicked in on the A1 motorway, that is between Šentilj (NE) and Koper (SW), on 15 January. A violation carries a fine of 300 euro.

TUESDAY, 2 November
        GLASGOW, UK - PM Janez Janša took part in the launch of an initiative to reduce methane emissions by 30% by 2030, proposed by the US and EU and supported by Slovenia. Janša said that a lot of coordination had taken place between the EU and global partners on the sidelines of the climate conference, and that various open issues had been discussed.
        LJUBLJANA - A meeting featuring hospital directors and the Health Ministry agreed the majority of hospitals will suspend all elective procedures in a bid to increase the capacity of overflowing Covid-19 wards. The number of beds for Covid patients at intensive care units will rise to 182 and the number of non-ICU beds to 590. Robert Carotta, national coordinator for Covid hospital wards, said the number of patients had been growing at the fastest pace since the start of the pandemic.
        LJUBLJANA - The national advisory committee on immunisation proposed that, given the current epidemiological situation, those who have been vaccinated with viral vector vaccines receive a booster shot after at least two months since being fully immunised. The list of other groups recommended to get a booster was expanded.
        LJUBLJANA/NOVA GORICA - Defence Minister Matej Tonin and his Hungarian counterpart Tibor Benko exchanged views on topical security issues, defence reforms and other topics of common interest, including the Western Balkans as part of Benko's official visit. They also took part in a ceremony unveiling a monument to Hungarian soldiers killed in the Battles of the Isonzo in WWI at a site above Nova Gorica.
        DUBAI, UAE - Agriculture Minister Jože Podgoršek met Saif Mohammed Rashid Saeed al Shara from the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment of the UAE, to discuss cooperation in agricultural and food products and the transfer of knowledge, especially in terms of cooperation of expert institutions. A day earlier, Podgoršek took part in a debate discussing efforts to tackle global challenges related to smart villages at the Expo 2020.
        LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Justice Committee okayed a bill changing the penal code to introduce prosecution of suspects who have threatened the country's senior officials or their relatives ex officio, without the injured party initiating proceedings. If passed, it could be sent into constitutional review.
        LJUBLJANA - Igor Kadunc, the new acting director of the STA, and Uroš Urbanija, the director of the Government Communication Office, held their first meeting, with the talks designed to discuss ways to resolve the stand-off regarding financing. They exchanged views on the key dilemmas regarding the public service agreement and steps needed for public financing to resume, the STA management said in a press release.
        LJUBLJANA - The ruling Democratic Party (SDS) announced that its former MEP Patricija Šulin had died aged 55 after a severe illness. Šulin served as MEP (EPP) between 2014 and 2019 when she was a vice chair of the Committee on Budgets, and as a substitute MP in the Slovenian parliament in 2012-2013.

WEDNESDAY, 3 November
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - Government ministers and energy sector representatives discussed key frameworks and guidelines on climate change, decarbonisation, and the importance of energy in different sectors at a working meeting convened by PM Janez Janša. "Slovenia's energy independence must be strengthened through renewable energy sources, including the second reactor of the Krško N-plant, and new technologies as well," Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec said after the closed-door talks.
        ATHENS, Greece - Foreign Minister Anže Logar and his Greek counterpart Nikos Dendias exchanged views on bilateral, regional, European and other topical global issues, focusing on the achievements of the Slovenian EU presidency, as Logar visited Athens.
        KRANJ - Gorenjska Banka, the Slovenian bank owned by the Serbian AIK Banka, signed a deal to acquire the Slovenian subsidiary of the Russian Sberbank. Pending approval by regulators, the merger will create the third largest banking group in the country.
        LJUBLJANA - Several members of the Human Rights Commission of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts (SAZU) expressed concern in an open letter to MPs that Slovenia is moving towards a totalitarian form of government under the Janez Janša government, urging them to stand up against demolition of the constitutional order.
        LJUBLJANA - The Administrative Court annulled a December 2020 government decision which says that the public interest of renewables prevails over the interest to protect nature as part of a procedure to obtain a building permit for the Mokrice power station on the river Sava. The court held the entire environmental impact assessment procedure must be carried out before starting the public-interest procedure.
        CELJE - The upgrade of a 26-km railway section between Zidani Most and Celje in eastern Slovenia was declared completed at a ceremony which heard the project cost EUR 230 million, or about EUR 50 million less that initially estimated.
        LJUBLJANA - Summit Leasing Slovenija, a leasing firm owned by NKBM bank, announced it would enter the Croatian market after signing an agreement to acquire Mercedes-Benz Leasing Hrvatska. The details of the deal have not been disclosed.
        LJUBLJANA - The women's section of Slovenian PEN conferred this year's Mira Prize for outstanding women authors on younger-generation writer Luna Jurančič Šribar, whose work focuses on rebellious and strong heroines who have their destiny in their hands despite hardships and life on the margin of society.
        VIŠNJA GORA - The House of the Carniolan Honey Bee was launched in a converted school to present the heritage of the Carniolan bee and innovative beekeeping solutions, the latter as part of the Apilab centre of innovative beekeeping technologies.

THURSDAY, 4 November
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's coronavirus case count hit a record 4,511 on Wednesday since the epidemic broke out in March 2020, up by more than 1,000 on the day before as the epidemic appears to be slipping out of control. The number of Covid patients rose to 735, with 169 of them were in intensive care, and nine patients died. The estimated number of active cases has passed 32,000.
        LJUBLJANA - Environment Minister Andrej Vizjak stepped up his defence of a 2007 conversation with businessman Bojan Petan after new recordings were published by POP TV on Wednesday. He told the press his goal was to protect the interests of the state in a takeover of spa company Terme Čatež and he had a clear conscience. In the latest recording, which Vizjak acknowledged was authentic, the then economy minister is heard proposing to Petan a "gentleman's agreement" on how to move forward with the privatisation of Terme Čatež. The Directors' Association rejected Vizjak's claim that the deal making had been in line with the rules and the laws of the time. The prosecution and police are looking into the leaked tapes, while the centre-left opposition called on the government to resign.
        LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Anže Logar hosted his Qatari counterpart Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani on the latter's first official visit to Slovenia. The ministers expressed the desire to strengthen cooperation and increase trade between the countries, and discussed the situation in the Middle East and Afghanistan.
        LJUBLJANA - The newspaper Dnevnik reported Justice Minister Marjan Dikaučič had dismissed renewed applications by Tanja Frank Eler and Matej Oštir in a repeat call for Slovenia's two European delegated prosecutors after the first one in which they were picked was annulled by the government in May. The minister's argument now is that a new call cannot be carried out as the first appointment procedure is still open until the Administrative Court's ruling becomes final on Friday.
        GLASGOW, UK - Slovenia joined the Powering Past Coal Alliance as part of the Energy Day at the COP26 climate conference. "Slovenia supports the strengthening of the global climate ambition as the only way to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, in accordance with the report of the IPCC on limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius," the government said when endorsing a bid on Tuesday.
        WASHINGTON, US - Jamie Linder Harpootlian, the candidate for US ambassador to Slovenia, pledged to strengthen bilateral ties and work to ensure Slovenia's commitment to stability and security remains steadfast, as she appeared before the Foreign Relations Committee of the US Senate in advance of a vote on her nomination.
        LONDON, UK - The EBRD improved its outlook for the Slovenian economy, projecting it to grow by 6% this year, up a full point from its June forecast, while the forecast for 2022 was raised by half a point to 4.5%.
        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša met in Ljubljana the representatives of the European Muslim and Jewish Leadership Council. They discussed the key priorities of the Slovenian EU presidency, the rights of religious minorities and the dignity of people of all faiths in European society, Janša's office said.
        LJUBLJANA - The government appointed Ivan Simič, the acting director of the Financial Administration (FURS), for a full term, effective on 18 November. His term will expire in November 2026 with the possibility of reappointment, the Government Communication Office (UKOM) said.
        LJUBLJANA - Telecoms group Telekom Slovenije reported EUR 486.8 million in net sales revenue for the first three quarters of the year, up by 1% on the same period a year ago. Net profit was up by 31% to EUR 35.9 million.
        LJUBLJANA - Half a year after a police sting that busted the Slovenian cell of the notorious Montenegrin crime syndicate known as the Kavač Clan, the prosecution has filed an indictment against 24 out of 64 suspects. Newspaper Večer reported the indictment, filed on 29 October, did not include two repentants, who have greatly contributed to the arrests of the suspects by providing useful information. One of them will appear as the crown witness.
        KATHMANDU, Nepal - The Slovenian Mountaineering Association (PZS) reported that Slovenian mountaineers Luka Stražar and Nejc Marčič succeeded between 28 and 30 October in making the first ascent on a new 1,700m route on the north-west face of Mount Chobutse (6,680 m) in Nepal, which they named Slovenian Direct.

30 Oct 2021, 08:00 AM

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

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

FRIDAY, 22 October
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Coming out of a two-day EU summit, PM Janez Janša said an important conclusion on the discussion on the primacy of EU law was that a solution needed to be sought in cooperation with Poland not against Poland. Speaking about the discussion on rising energy crisis, he said green transition should be seen as a solution, not a problem, repeating that the transition to a fossil-free future would not be possible without nuclear energy.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - After a two-day NATO ministerial, the first in-person session in over a year, Defence Minister Matej Tonin said the meeting confirmed Slovenia's reduced NATO capability goal of one instead of two battalion-size groups. As EU Council chair he said he made it clear to the allies that the EU's strategic autonomy was not meant to compete with NATO or the US.
        VIENNA, Austria - Foreign Minister Anže Logar took part in the Central 5 meeting with his counterparts from Austria, Czechia, Hungary and Slovakia, which called for further cooperation between their countries in particular in the economic recovery. They also discussed Eastern Partnership, calling for greater engagement by the EU.
        KOPER - The management board of port operator Luka Koper agreed with the supervisory board to resign effective from 16 November. Chief supervisor Franci Matoz, known as PM Janez Janša's lawyer, said the management, led by CEO Dimitrij Zadel, had performed well, but they concluded a new management team was needed for the company's strategic development.
        LJUBLJANA - Bojan Petan, the CEO of spa Terme Čatež and publisher DZS, expressed doubt about the authenticity of the leaked recording of his alleged conversation 14 years ago with Andrej Vizjak, the economy minister of the time, saying he did not remember having such a conversation. Like Vizjak, now serving as environment minister, he called for the authorities to investigate the origin of the tape in which Vizjak is heard telling Petan how he should avoid paying tax in the battle for control of Terme Čatež.
        LJUBLJANA - Some doctors voiced concern about the ethical aspect of a scheme adopted by the government the day before to incentivise GPs and their teams to actively promote vaccination in a bid to boost Covid-19 inoculation.
        LJUBLJANA - The government decided on 21 October to donate 612,064 doses of the Janssen Covid-19 vaccine to the COVAX initiative. The vaccine doses, which Slovenia ordered under a joint European public procurement contract, are to be shipped to Africa. The cabinet also revoked the 28 September decision to purchase an additional 100,000 doses of the Janssen vaccine from Hungary.
        LJUBLJANA - Dejan Židan, an MP for the opposition SocDems, called on Health Minister Janez Poklukar to appoint a competent group of experts to look into the verification of rapid antigen coronavirus tests bought by the ministry from Majbert Pharm in December 2020. This was after a former senior microbiologist at the National Laboratory for Health, Environment and Food told a parliamentary inquiry the tests and verification were inadequate, alleging she lost her job for pointing that out.
        ATHENS, Greece - Parliamentary Speaker Igor Zorčič underlined the importance of multilateralism in responding to present-day challenges and the EU's enlargement to the Western Balkans as he addressed the plenary session of the European Conference of Presidents of Parliament from Council of Europe countries.
        LJUBLJANA - The US multinational food processing corporation ADM (Archer Daniels Midland) acquired a minority stake in Acies Bio, a Ljubljana-based biotech company whose main activity is biotechnology R&D and consulting. The value of the deal was not disclosed.

SATURDAY, 23 October
        LJUBLJANA - Commenting on the tensions in the country, President Borut Pahor told the news portal N1 the president did not have the power to decide on the government's fate, while he said both political blocs should restore trust in dialogue and cooperation.
        LJUBLJANA - Delo reported that the Defence Ministry asked the anti-graft watchdog for permission not to include an anti-corruption clause in contracts for a purchase of Oshkosh armoured personnel carriers from the US and a purchase of a transport aircraft from Italy. The paper said the ministry paid for the APCs before receiving a written reply from the watchdog, while in the aircraft case, the request was denied. The ministry said it had been told by the watchdog the clause was optional in the Oshkosh case prior to signing the deal.

SUNDAY, 24 October
        LJUBLJANA/SLOVENJ GRADEC - On United Nations Day, Slovenia called for strengthening of effective and rule-based multilateralism, with the UN playing the primary role based on inseparable connection and mutual complementation of peace, security and development, and on human rights with respect of international law and goals and principles of the UN Charter. UN Day was also marked on 22 October in Slovenj Gradec, a United Nations Peace Messenger City, which heard President Borut Pahor express Slovenia's strong commitment to multilateralism and the role of the UN in the global architecture.
        LJUBLJANA - The commercial broadcaster POP TV released its latest poll, which showed the ruling Democratic Party (SDS) enhancing its position as the leading party by gaining almost four percentage points from September to 18.6%, as President Borut Pahor was unseated by NSi MEP Ljudmila Novak at the top of popularity ranking of politicians to fall to fifth, his poorest showing yet.
        INNSBRUCK, Austria - Žan Kranjec finished 3rd in the Alpine Ski World Cup season opening men's giant slalom on the Rettenbach glacier above Sölden.
        LJUBLJANA - The 25th Ljubljana Marathon was dominated by Kenyan runners, with Ernest Kibet Tarus winning the men's race in 2 hours 22 minutes and 39 seconds, and Kwamboka Momanyi Grace winning the women's competition (2:38:10). Last year the event was cancelled due to Covid-19.

MONDAY, 25 October
        LJUBLJANA - Police confirmed they were investigating death threats mailed to several top politicians on 22 October, including PM Janez Janša and Defence Minister Matej Tonin. The mail contained letters with death threats and live ammunition. Similar threats were also sent to Interior Minister Aleš Hojs, the deputy groups of the opposition National Party (SNS) and Pensioners' Party (DeSUS), the SNS leader and a DeSUS deputy, and unofficially Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek. The threats drew condemnation from across the political aisle amid calls for de-escalation of political rhetoric, while the ruling party suggested inaction by prosecution on past threats was in part to blame, a claim rejected by the Supreme State Prosecution.
        KOPER - Slovenia marked Sovereignty Day in memory of the last Yugoslav army soldiers leaving Slovenian soil 30 years from Koper ago. Addressing the state ceremony in Koper, Defence Minister Matej Tonin warned of "toxic" political debate in the country and called for easing of tensions. In other messages, Prime Minister Janez Janša called for efforts to boost Slovenia's security resilience, while Speaker Igor Zorčič called for responsible and efficient policies and President Borut Pahor emphasized dialogue and cooperation.
        LJUBLJANA - Novo Brdo, a new housing estate that is to be one of the largest in Ljubljana, was inaugurated to provide homes to 498 vulnerable families and individuals. It was made possible with the help of a loan of the Council of Europe Development Bank.

TUESDAY, 26 October
        LJUBLJANA - The five centre-left opposition deputy groups boycotted the National Assembly's session in a bid to make it inquorate ahead of key votes, but failed because one of them, Speaker Igor Zorčič, remained present to chair the session. Coalition-sponsored proposals were passed, while a vote on the nominee for Constitutional Court judge, Rok Svetlič, was postponed to a future session on the proposal of the ruling Democrats (SDS).
        KIGALI, Rwanda - Foreign Minister Anže Logar attended an EU-AU ministerial meeting, pledging support by Slovenia and the EU in the efforts to forge a stronger partnership between both unions based on frequent cooperation and a long-term shared vision.
        NEW YORK, US - President Borut Pahor addressed a UN high-level remote debate on climate change ahead of the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, stressing the importance of trust in science and the need to increase funding for climate change mitigation.
        LJUBLJANA/BRDO PRI KRANJU - Mariya Gabriel, the European commissioner for innovation, visited Slovenia to take part in the EU Next Generation Innovators Summit & Investment Conference and a conference on the new European Research Area. She called for supporting innovation in Europe to help bring about a transition to a digital, inclusive and green society.
        LUXEMBOURG, Luxembourg - Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec chaired an emergency session on EU energy ministers to discuss response to rising energy prices, but he told reporters after there was no unity over whether it would be sensible to take specific intervention measures at the EU level.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly voted to call on all government agencies and officials to take into account the recommendations for improvements in human rights after it discussed the Human Rights Ombudsman's 2020 the week before. The report identified 473 violations of human rights and other irregularities, and put forward 128 recommendations.
        LJUBLJANA - The Peace Institute presented the results of a study which found extensive and active discrimination in Slovenia, mostly on the grounds of gender, ethnicity, nationality, skin colour and religion. The analysis showed 84% of respondents reported being discriminated against.
        LJUBLJANA - Brewer Pivovarna Laško Union, part of the Heineken Group, announced it would stop brewing beer in Ljubljana due to an outdated cooling system and move production to its other location in Laško. While the company said the change would not affect the product portfolio or the Union trade mark, it could not say yet how the staff would be affected.
        LJUBLJANA - EKWB, a Komenda-based company developing and producing components for water cooling systems for custom-made high-performance computers, won the Golden Gazelle Award for best fast-growing company, presented by the publisher Dnevnik.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia ranked 26th among 134 countries in the Global Talent Competitiveness Index for 2021, after placing 31st among 132 countries in 2020 in the report compiled by French business school INSEAD, Swiss staffing company Adecco and tech giant Google.

WEDNESDAY, 27 October
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Prime Minister Janez Janša met European Council President Charles Michel to discuss key dossiers of the Slovenian presidency of the Council of the EU, as well as energy prices, migration, the Western Balkans and Eastern Partnership.
        LJUBLJANA - After Slovenia recorded more than 3,000 new coronavirus cases in a single day with hospital and ICU facilities filling fast, Health Minister Janez Poklukar warned the country was headed toward a disaster similar to that seen in Bergamo unless the trend is reversed. He announced at least a partial lockdown if number of ICU cases rose from current 130 to 160-180. Regular testing is being introduced in all hospitals and care homes and the self-testing frequency for non vaccinated or reconvalescent employees is being shortened to 48 hours, and for students twice a week.
        LJUBLJANA - The five centre-left deputy groups in parliament tabled a motion of no confidence in Environment Minister Andrej Vizjak as a direct consequence of the release of a leaked recording in which he is heard in his capacity as economy minister in 2007 promising favours in exchange for cooperation to Bojan Petan, the CEO of the spa company Terme Čatež, at a time the latter sought to privatise the company. Vizjak described the charges as constructs, but said he was looking forward to the opportunity to put the record straight over what he repeated was a montage tape.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - As chair of the EU's Home Affairs Council, Interior Minister Aleš Hojs hosted the first session as part of the inter-institutional negotiations on Europol mandate's review, the so called trialogue that also features the European Parliament. The day before Hojs told the Joint Parliamentary Scrutiny Group on Europol the mandate's review was a key priority of the presidency.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - On conclusion of a three-day visit to Brussels, Minister for Digital Transformation Mark Boris Andrijanič said he presented to the European Commission Slovenia's digitalisation plans, particularly the digital voucher project, and proposals regarding the new EU chips act.
        LJUBLJANA - The opposition Social Democrats (SD) announced that the Velenje Local Court had upheld their EUR 10,000 damages claim against Prime Minister Janez Janša for claiming the party was headquartered in a "stolen Jewish villa". In a default judgement issued because Janša failed to pick up court mail and respond to the lawsuit, the court also ordered to Janša to apologise for the claim. Indicating an appeal, Janša said the court was made up of SD members or supporters, which met with protest from the Association of Judges.
        STRASBOURG, France/LJUBLJANA - Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatović called on the Slovenian government to reinstate public funding for the Slovenian Press Agency (STA) in line with national laws. This was as the head of the Government Communication Office (UKOM) Uroš Urbanija invited Igor Kadunc, the new STA director, for a working meeting next week.
        LJUBLJANA - The upper chamber of parliament imposed a suspensive veto on a bill amending the pharmacy practice act that would lift the ban on vertical integration of pharmacies and drug wholesalers in cases when the wholesaler is incorporated by a public pharmacy or municipality. To override the veto, an absolute majority of 46 votes would be required at the National Assembly.
        KLAGENFURT, Austria - German-Slovenian town names were put up in the villages of Mače (Matschach) and Sveče (Suetschach), thus increasing the number of towns and villages with bilingual signs in the Austrian Carinthia province to 171.
        LJUBLJANA - The Statistics Office reported that Slovenia had the highest negative natural increase since WWII last year at -2.5 per 1,000 inhabitants after 24,016 people died, 16.7% more than in 2019.
        LJUBLJANA/MARIBOR - Protests against the Covid pass mandate were held in several Slovenian towns, including in Ljubljana where a few hundred people gathered, much fewer than in the previous weeks.
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor awarded the Golden Order of Merit to the National Museum of Slovenia on its 200th anniversary for its outstanding contribution to the formation and preservation of Slovenian cultural, scientific and national identity.
        LJUBLJANA - Jorg Kristijan Petrovič, first deputy president of the Slovenian Court of Audit, was put forward as Slovenia's candidate for European Court of Auditors by the government once again, after the relevant parliamentary committee turned down his nomination without debate in mid-October.
        KRANJ - The Jenko Prize for best poetry collection in the past two years was awarded to Nina Dragičević for To Telo, Pokončno (This Body, Upright), which focuses on the body and its multifaceted nature, including experiences and future possibilities.

THURSDAY, 28 October
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - PM Janez Janša held talks with European Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders, with the government not revealing details beyond that the discussion revolved around the key dossiers of Slovenia's EU presidency. A Commission official said the discussion touched on Slovenia's failure to appoint its members of the European Public Prosecutors' Office (EPPO).
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Replying to EU Commission Vice President Vera Jourova's letter about the STA situation, Culture Minister Vasko Simoniti said the government agreed the state is required to finance the STA under the law, but the funding must be transparent and public service done in accordance with the law. "But mainly it should be free of charge as defined by the law," he said.
        LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Association of Judges expressed protest after PM Janez Janša accused the court that ordered him to pay damages in a defamation suit brought by the opposition Social Democrats (SD) of political bias. The Supreme Court called for more decent communication between the branches of government.
        VILNIUS, Lithuania - Slovenia slid one spot to 12th in the latest EU gender equality index released by the European Institute for Gender Equality, scoring 67.6 points out of 100, practically level with the EU average.
        LJUBLJANA - Unofficial media reports said Slovenia's oldest paint manufacturer Jub is to be taken over by Dulux Australia in a deal worth around EUR 191 million. Under the deal, the new owners pledged to keep Jub's headquarters and production in Slovenia, the newspaper Finance said.
        LJUBLJANA - Parliamentary Speaker Igor Zorčič said in an interview with the N1 news portal that the parliament was operational for now, however he believes that the government is not doing its job well and that elections are needed. He revealed he was involved in talks on potentially forming a new party, along with the other unaffiliated MPs.
        LJUBLJANA - The Competition Protection Agency (AVK) approved United Group's acquisition of the Sport Klub TV channels. After long and painstaking procedures, it has now found the concentration compatible with the rules of competition, as the market situation changed significantly with the entry of Arena Sport as new competitor.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia placed fifth on Lonely Planet's list of top 10 countries to visit in 2022 as the travel brand highlights the country's diverse gastronomy and numerous possibilities of active experiences. Slovenia is described as a green destination as its sustainable policy and natural riches are put front and centre.

24 Oct 2021, 09:47 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, 15 October
        LJUBLJANA - A delegation of the EU Parliament's LIBE committee visiting Slovenia on a fact-finding mission expressed concern mainly at the tone of public debate, calling for the issues of STA funding and European delegated prosecutor appointments to be addressed urgently. The delegation found that "public institutions in Slovenia work well". Slovenian MEP Romana Tomc (EPP/SDS), who had been a member of the delegation, said the latter was the mission's main finding. She also complained about the mission's secrecy and non-transparency.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - The EU Commission said there was no room for anti-Semitism in the EU and social networks were no place for personal attacks as it responded to a tweet by PM Janez Janša about "Soros's puppets" which sparked an avalanche of criticism. The centre-left opposition condemned the tweet, urging the junior coalition partners to distance themselves from this or exit the government. The NSi urged Janša to apologise, whereas the SMC said it did not support such statements by the PM. The Ljubljana Jewish Cultural Centre and the European Jewish Congress condemned the tweet too.
        PORTOROŽ - Speaker Igor Zorčič accused the government of destroying the legal system and subjugating it to its political goals. He pointed to rule by decree, disregard of media legislation, and dismissive attitude to members of a fact-finding mission of the EU Parliament as examples of this.
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor nominated philosophy of law professor Rok Svetlič for a post on the Constitutional Court, in what is the fourth attempt in over a year to find a candidate who has cross-partisan support in parliament. During his subsequent presentation, Svetlič denied the allegation that he talked of shooting migrants at a debate in the summer of 2020.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia and Georgia expressed a commitment to boost ties, in particular in trade, as FM Anže Logar hosted his counterpart David Zalkaliani. Logar said he was confident Georgia's new consulate in the seaside town of Portorož would contribute to that, and Zalkaliani expressed Georgia's full commitment to the EU.
        PODGORICA, Montenegro - Defence Minister Matej Tonin was on a working visit to Montenegro to meet his counterpart Olivera Injac in Podgorica and attend the To Be Secure international security forum in Budva. The ministers were happy the activities they had agreed at their recent meetings were being implemented at military level and in other fields.
        LJUBLJANA - The country's major trade unions called on the National Assembly to vote down legislative proposals that have not been talked through on the tripartite forum featuring the government, employers and unions as they accused the government of ignoring social dialogue. Minister Janez Cigler Kralj responded by saying the door had always been open to the social partners.
        LJUBLJANA - The government decided that police officers who provided security during the EU-Western Balkans summit on 5 and 6 October will receive performance bonuses, as will civil servants who participated in the security arrangements for the event. A total of 2,380 staff will receive bonus pay.
        LJUBLJANA - The government appointed Danilo Lončarič acting director of the Government Office for Demographic Affairs, effective immediately. The appointment comes after the government decided a month ago to postpone the launch of the new office until Friday, 15 October.
        LJUBLJANA - Manica Janežič Ambrožič, the TV news programme editor at public broadcaster RTV Slovenija, stepped down, saying she had decided to do so because she disagreed with changes to the programme and production plan for the news programme for 2022. The management labelled her move as a "complete surprise", while TV Slovenija's news programmes staff and the Slovenian Journalist Trade Union (SNS) regretted the resignation and expressed concern.

SATURDAY, 16 October
        LJUBLJANA - The opposition Social Democrats (SD) set out their election manifesto with the promise of major changes over the next decade, unveiling proposals to boost public healthcare and economic value added, raise the minimum wage and pensions and gradually reduce work week to 32 hours, as well as measures to move to climate neutrality. The manifesto will be adopted early next year after a broad public debate.
        LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian International Ladies' Association held its annual charity bazaar. Organised with the help of 35 embassies, the event featured culinary delights and unique products from various countries. The proceeds have been allocated to charities and institutions helping children.

SUNDAY, 17 October
        LJUBLJANA - It was announced PM Janez Janša will lead a seizable delegation to the upcoming COP26 climate conference in Glasgow. Numbering more than 50 people, the delegation will include Environment Minister Andrej Vizjak, Finance Minister Andrej Šircelj and Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec. The costs of the participation are estimated at EUR 1.2 million.

MONDAY, 18 October
        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša announced that after the rising energy prices are discussed later this week at EU level, the government will take all the measures allowed within the single European market. He mentioned the options of regulating margins and providing energy vouchers for vulnerable households. He said domestic and European experts assured so far that the current situation was seasonal.
        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša dismissed the statement by opposition SD leader Tanja Fajon that Slovenia was being stripped of dossiers as part of its current EU presidency. Janša said that passing dossiers onto the next presiding country was usual and that many dossiers had been passed onto Slovenia from the preceding presidencies, as the current presidency was the first fully operational one since the outbreak of Covid-19.
        LUXEMBOURG, Luxembourg - FM Anže Logar took part in the Foreign Affairs Council, telling RTV Slovenija that the most important topic from the perspective of the Slovenian EU presidency had been the debate on Eastern Partnership. The FMs prepared a ministerial meeting with six eastern partners, which will be held on 15 November. The EU would like to bring the countries closer together in terms of politics and business.
        LJUBLJANA - The Fiscal Council said that the Slovenian economy is recovering after the epidemic quite quickly and in 2022, departure from fiscal rules will not be possible in the absence of extraordinary circumstances, as it assessed the budget documents for 2022 and 2023. It warned of unrealistic planning of expenditure. The Finance Ministry said it was focused on gradual lifting of crisis measures and recovery, so special attention had been given to investment.
        WASHINGTON, US - Finance Minister Andrej Šircelj held several meetings as part of the annual session of the IMF and World Bank between 11 and 18 October. Bernardin Akitoby, chief of the IMF mission for Slovenia, said the upgraded economic forecast for Slovenia was a result of appropriate measures taken during the pandemic. The IMF projected a 6.3% growth for this year and 4.6% for 2022.
        LJUBLJANA - The Constitutional Court issued two decisions finding several provisions of regulations that formed the legal basis for remote schooling in primary schools and schools for special-needs children incompatible with the law. In one case the court argued the law gave the Education Ministry too much leeway in determining when remote schooling should be ordered.
        LJUBLJANA - The STA's supervisory board appointed Igor Kadunc the agency's acting director to take over from outgoing Bojan Veselinovič on 31 October, while taking over as full-fledged director on 1 January 2022. The chief supervisor said the majority of supervisors had voted for the appointment of Kadunc, the only candidate to have applied for the job.
        LJUBLJANA - Supervision at the General Police Administration carried out by the parliamentary Intelligence Oversight Commission (KNOVS) confirmed the leadership of the Interior Ministry, including Minister Aleš Hojs, was present in two operational centres of the police during the 5 October protest, KNOVS chair Matjaž Nemec said, labelling it "rather unusual". Hojs said he had not been giving any instructions.
        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša said the response to the Covid-19 pandemic had been belated in particular in countries where governments needed to get parliamentary approval to take measures, as he addressed an international online conference on governments and public sector post-recovery.
        LJUBLJANA, Slovenia/ZAGREB, Croatia - Slovenian and Croatian presidents Borut Pahor and Zoran Milanović unveiled a bust to Croatian writer Ljudevit Gaj (1809-1872) in Ljubljana and one to Slovenian poet France Prešeren (1800-1849) in Zagreb, highlighting the neighbourly relations between the two countries.
        TRIESTE - The SKGZ minority organisation in Italy expressed concern over a substantial shift to the right in the local elections in Trieste as centre-right Mayor Roberto Dipiazza was re-elected and the far-right Brothers of Italy became the second strongest party. SKGZ head Ksenija Dobrila told the STA that Trieste had confirmed its extremely conservative essence.
        SAO PAOLO, Brazil - Minister for Slovenians Abroad Helena Jaklitsch completed her ten-day visit to Latin America, during which she visited the Slovenian communities in Argentina and Brazil, the Government Office for Slovenians Abroad said. Among other things, Jaklitsch discussed economic cooperation and challenges of Slovenian education.

TUESDAY, 19 October
        LJUBLJANA - After commercial broadcaster POP TV released a recording of Environment Minister Andrej Vizjak, the then economy minister, urging businessman Bojan Petan in 2007 to avoid paying taxes in relation to spa Terme Čatež, Vizjak denied saying those things, calling the recording "a collage" and manipulation, which he attributed to "garbage mafia". Junior coalition partners called on him to provide explanations, while the centre-left opposition demanded his resignation. In the recording, Vizjak also offered Petan cooperation by the state and the supervisory board if he agreed to his terms.
        LJUBLJANA - The web portal of the commercial broadcaster POP TV reported that the Murska Sobota District Court had opened a formal investigation against Justice Minister Marjan Dikaučič over suspicion of tax evasion and document falsification in his previous job. Dikaučič has been denying any wrongdoing.
        LUXEMBOURG, Luxembourg - Foreign Ministry State Secretary Gašper Dovžan chaired a session of the General Affairs Council which discussed the rule of law, including the primacy of the EU law, after the recent decision of the Polish constitutional court. Dovžan said Slovenia hoped for "constructive dialogue" between the EU Commission and Poland to bridge the differences.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia logged 2,145 new coronavirus cases, the highest daily number of confirmed infections since 12 January. The share of positive tests stood at 29.1% after it was at nearly 32% the day before, the highest since early January. The death toll since the start of the epidemic exceeded 5,000, according to government data.
        LJUBLJANA - The Court of Audit found that Slovenia was partly successful in drawing EU cohesion funds in the 2014-2020 period. The actual revenue of the state budget from EU cohesion policy was much lower than planned. All the key documents for drawing the funds had been adopted but a plan of relevant activities had not been prepared.
        LJUBLJANA/BLED - The Judicial Council warned in its 2020 report that the system under which Supreme Court judges are elected by parliament was not appropriate. It also pointed to the undermining of the judiciary's reputation. Supreme Court president Damijan Florjančič said a day earlier that the judiciary was a key and ultimate defender of the rule of law.
        LJUBLJANA - The centre-left opposition Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB) acted on its announcement that it would propose that the coalition Modern Centre Party (SMC) be expelled from the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) in the wake of PM Janez Janša's tweet about "Soros puppets". The SAB sent a letter to ALDE proposing to initiate proceedings to expel the SMC.
        LJUBLJANA - Kolektiv 99, an NGO protecting consumer and workers' rights, announced it had filed a class-action lawsuit with the Ljubljana District Court to claim EUR 27.5 million from US multinational corporation Apple for damages it allegedly caused to Slovenian consumers by deliberately slowing down and reducing the functionality of certain iPhone models.

WEDNESDAY, 20 October
        LJUBLJANA - Acting on growing energy prices, the government reintroduced administered pricing of heating oil by issuing a regulation on the pricing of petroleum products. Distributors will have to limit their margin to a maximum of six cents per litre of heating oil as of 9 November. Pricing will be based on the prescribed methodology as the average 14-day price.
        LJUBLJANA - Four centre-left opposition parties and the deputy group of unaffiliated MPs tabled a motion of no-confidence in Interior Minister Aleš Hojs. The parties hold him responsible for the state of emergency in the country, police violence at protests, and for a demeaning attitude towards the public and experts who disagree with the government.
        LJUBLJANA - The passage in parliament of a long-term programme for the development of the Slovenian Armed Forces (SAF) until 2035 has been put on hold as the Left has submitted a proposal for a consultative referendum, saying the document pursues wrong goals policy- and priority-wise.
        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša discussed the significance of social dialogue, cooperation, green and digital transition, lifelong learning and sustainable work as he addressed a virtual Tripartite Social Summit ahead of the EU summit. On behalf of the Slovenian presidency he highlighted the importance of the European Pillar of Social Rights.
        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša had a video call with Apple CEO Tim Cook with a release from the Government Communication Office saying they talked about legislative acts that are being coordinated in the EU in the field of digital transformation, and about the importance of cybersecurity in digitalisation services.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed amendments to the act on the implementation of the 2021 and 2022 budgets that set up a special budget fund, where the money from the recovery and resilient mechanism will be collected. The fund will be managed by the Office for Recovery and Resilience, which will be led by Janet Mravljak as acting head.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed the energy supply act, a piece of legislation that defines relationships between energy companies and end consumers, introduces the right to conclude a contract with dynamic prices, provides the legal basis for energy communities, and defines the concept of energy poverty.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed amendments to the act governing the organisation and work of the police force. The changes pertain to the status and autonomy of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), placing it under the Criminal Police Directorate. The centre-left opposition argued the amendments would lead to politicisation of police.
        LJUBLJANA - An omnibus de-bureaucratisation bill passed first reading in a 45:40 vote. While coalition MPs welcomed it as a good start towards less red tape in the public administration, opposition MPs were more reserved, with the centre-left MPs voting against, arguing the bill has practically nothing to do with de-bureaucratisation.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed amendments to the corporate income tax act which upgrade existing reliefs and add some new. The bill was put forward by the government as part of a package designed to stimulate the post-pandemic recovery. The loss of budget revenue as a result of the changes is estimated at around EUR 27 million.
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor hosted a reception for equality ombudsmen from SE Europe to mark the start of their fifth regional conference, which is held in Slovenia this year. The president highlighted the importance of public dialogue during the Covid-19 pandemic.

THURSDAY, 21 October
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia and four other EU countries have drawn up a proposal to transform the EU's existing battle groups into a rapid reaction force in an initiative prompted by the experience of troop withdrawal from Afghanistan where the EU had to rely on the US, the Germany press agency dpa reported. The Defence Ministry confirmed that Slovenia had participated in drawing up the proposal from the field of crisis management.
        NOVA GORICA/GORIZIA, Italy - President Borut Pahor presented his Italian counterpart Sergio Mattarella with the Order of Merit for Distinguished Service, Slovenia's highest honour. The two were also the bordering cities of Nova Gorica and Gorizia to hail their title as the 2025 European Capital of Culture.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - The NATO defence ministers, including Slovenia's Matej Tonin, confirmed the alliance's capability goals, with the most demanding capability goals for Slovenia as of new including only one battalion-size battlegroup instead of two. The country has also been tasked with establishing a medium-sized reconnaissance battalion, the Defence Ministry said.
        RAVNE NA KOROŠKEM - Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek confirmed the government is considering introducing energy vouchers to help the most vulnerable groups of population cope with rising prices, but also said they hoped such measures would not be necessary. He noted that the issue of rising energy prices is a complex one and thus not easy to tackle.
        LJUBLJANA - Novartis has signed an initial agreement to use its manufacturing facility in Ljubljana to fill the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against Covid-19. The Novartis Technical Operations site will fill at least 24 million doses in its sterile manufacturing facilities in 2022, the Swiss pharma company announced.
        LJUBLJANA - United Media, the media division of United Group, reported a takeover of Slovenian publishing company Adria Media at the country's Competition Protection Agency (AVK). United Media and Adria Media signed a cooperation agreement last year.
        LJUBLJANA - Energy companies Petrol and OMV Slovenija, leading providers of petroleum products in Slovenia, said they would abide by a new government regulation re-introducing administered heating oil prices which will kick in on 9 November. Petrol and OMV Slovenija will thus have to limit the distributors' margin to a maximum of six cents per litre of heating oil.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenian Agriculture Minister Jože Podgoršek and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Patrushev discussed possible forms of cooperation in the field of agriculture and rural development at a bilateral meeting and signed an action plan to strengthen cooperation between the two countries.
        LJUBLJANA - Svetlana Makarovič, a leading Slovenian poet and children's author, won this year's Ježek Award, an accolade celebrating creative and witty radio and television works. Makarovič was described as the most representative contemporary author of fairy tales who has also made her mark on theatre and chanson.
        WARSAW, Poland - Alexander Gadjiev, representing Slovenia and Italy, won second place at the 18th International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition, sharing it with Kyohei Sorita from Japan. Gadjiev also won the Krystian Zimerman Prize for the best performance of a Chopin sonata.

16 Oct 2021, 08:00 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, 8 October
        LJUBLJANA - The coalition New Slovenia (NSi) said it was willing to talk an early election with its coalition partners under the condition that the government completes the EU presidency and adopts the national budgets for 2022-2023. NSi leader Matej Tonin said an early election would be a reasonable price to pay to calm the passions in the country.
        LJUBLJANA - Three environmental NGOs filed a suit against the infrastructure and environment ministries over an energy permit issued for the second unit of the Krško Nuclear Power Plant (NEK). The organisations consider the energy permit issued in July to the state-owned investor Gen Energija illegal.
        LJUBLJANA - The Supreme State Prosecution expressed concern over the government's decision not to honour the ruling by the Administrative Court on the appointment procedure of Slovenia's delegated prosecutors and instead issue a new call for applications. It said the government was clearly in violation of the articles the Constitution which deal with the rule of law and the right to judicial protection.
        TUHELJ, Croatia - The prime ministers of Slovenia and Croatia, Janez Janša and Andrej Plenković, agreed bilateral relations are good as they took part in an international conference on tourism. Janša pointed to opportunities for cooperation in joint investments, and welcomed Croatia's imminent entry into the eurozone.
        LJUBLJANA - The Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS) called on the government to take urgent action in the face of the sharp rise in energy prices. It asked for short-term measures such as reduction of certain levies on electricity and gas, and long-term measures, including immediate implementation of planned and ongoing projects.
        LJUBLJANA - The Supreme Court announced its decision that issuing penalties for the failure to wear a face mask in enclosed public spaces during the Covid-19 epidemic as a minor offence has no legal basis.

SATURDAY, 9 October
        LJUBLJANA - The opposition Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB) adopted a new programme at a party congress. The 15-point platform revolves around the welfare state supported by a strong economy, democracy and respect for the rule of law.
        ZAGREB, Croatia - The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) expressed solidarity with journalists working at the STA and public broadcaster RTV Slovenija as it urged the government to stop contributing to an environment in which verbal and physical harassment of journalists has become par for the course.
        BERGAMO, Italy - Slovenian star cyclist Tadej Pogačar wrapped up the season in style by winning the last big race, Il Lombardia. The UAE Team Emirates rider claimed victory after winning his second straight Tour de France and the Liege-Bastogne-Liege this season.

SUNDAY, 10 October
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia called on the countries that still have the death penality to fully abolish it on World Day Against the Death Penalty. The death penalty, which Slovenia firmly opposes is inhumane, cruel, demining and final form of punishment, the Foreign Ministry said.
        LJUBLJANA - Ljubo Bavcon, professor emeritus of penal law at the Ljubljana Faculty of Law, died aged 97. Bavcon is considered one of the most prominent legal experts of the second half of the 20th century.

MONDAY, 11 October
        LJUBLJANA - Health Minister Janez Poklukar announced the government would follow the recommendation of the national advisory committee on immunisation to use the Pfizer vaccine for under 30-year-olds. In general, the use of mRNA vaccines are recommended over viral vector vaccines.
        LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Culture Committee debated media ownership and concentration in Slovenia, urging the Financial Administration to examine deals in the media conglomerate controlled by businessman Martin Odlazek from the past five years. It urged the Culture Ministry to draft legislation to prevent media concentration.
        LJUBLJANA - Holding Slovenske Elektrarne (HSE), the country's largest electricity producer, announced it would enter the retail electricity market by signing after it signed an agreement to acquire a 51% stake in ECE, a company created in a merger of Elektro Celje and Elektro Gorenjska.

TUESDAY, 12 October
        LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Anže Logar assured his Bosnian counterpart Bisera Turković of Slovenia's support for Bosnia-Herzegovina's EU accession process, including when it comes to reforms the country needs to adopt to join the bloc. Turković said her country was ready for EU candidate status.
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - The informal meeting of the EU health ministers called for as unified as possible criteria for the implementation of the recovered-vaccinated-tested rule. European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides endorsed the call.
        LUXEMBOURG, Luxembourg -EU agriculture ministers chaired by Slovenia's Jože Podgoršek reached a political agreement on the total allowable catch in the Baltic Sea next year, which would cut the catch for some fish stocks. Podgoršek said the agreement was balancing the interests and socio-economic needs of the Baltic fishing communities with the long-term sustainability of fish stocks in the region.
        LJUBLJANA - Centre-left opposition parties announced a motion to oust Interior Minister Aleš Hojs over violent crackdown on protests, and politicisation of the police force. Hojs said he had not been acquainted with the content so he would not comment at this stage.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Ten EU countries, Slovenia included, asked the EU Commission to recognise nuclear power as a low-carbon energy source that should be part of the Union's transition towards climate neutrality. PM Janez Janša said increasing production at nuclear power plants in Europe was essential to securing sufficient supply and achieving carbon-free society by 2050.
        LJUBLJANA - The council of the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) adopted a document in which it it denies any further support to the government. The party's MPs, which have been at loggerheads with the government for nearly a year, said they would continue to vote as they wish.
        IDRIJA - The government expressed support for an initiative by ten automotive suppliers to form a partnership with the government and scientists in the field of green mobility whose ultimate goal is to increase total annual sales of the automotive industry in Slovenia from EUR 3 billion today to EUR 5 billion by 2030.
        LJUBLJANA - Petrol, Slovenia's largest energy company, announced it would significantly increase the prices of electricity and natural gas on 1 December due to higher energy prices in international markets. Power is to go up by 30% and of natural gas by 12%.

WEDNESDAY, 13 October
        LJUBLJANA - A fact-finding mission of the European Parliament started its visit to Slovenia with the head of the delegation, Dutch MEP Sophie in 't Veld (Renew), saying their goal was to gather facts not bring down the government. The mission's focus is the rule of law and media freedom.
        LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary inquiry into alleged political interference in the police force conducted first interviews, hearing from the former leadership of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) about pressures during supervisions over the work of the NBI, as well as abut dismissals and reassignments under the current government.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Prime Minister Janez Janša outlined the priorities of Slovenia's EU presidency to the European Committee of the Regions, highlighting post-Covid recovery, green transition and the EU's strategic autonomy, while also touching on subsidiarity. He argued for a greater degree of inclusion of local and regional communities.
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor indicated that one of the four candidates for Constitutional Court judge may have a chance to be appointed by the National Assembly. "There are indications of sufficient support," he said of Rok Svetlič, an professor on philosophy of law.
        NOVO MESTO - Revoz, the Slovenian subsidiary of Renault, announced it would scale down production over the uncertain situation in the car industry, switching from two to one and a half shifts in mid-November. As a result around 350 of the company's more than 2,400 workers will lose their jobs.
        LJUBLJANA - Tensions ran high as opponents of Covid-19 restrictions took to the stress for the fifth consecutive week, disrupting traffic for several hours. A water cannon was at the ready as the police sought to disperse the crowd but was not used. Unlike the week before the protest passed off peacefully.

THURSDAY, 14 October
        LJUBLJANA/BRUSSELS, Belgium - Prime Minister Janez Janša faced criticism after publishing a tweet implying that many members of the EU Parliament were "Soros puppets". European Parliament President David Sassoli called on Janša to cease the provocations. Janša tweeted, and then deleted, an image with the heading "13 of the 226 known Soros puppets in the EU parliament". Several MEPs accused him of anti-Semitism.
        LJUBLJANA - The government got acquainted with the current price trends in energy markets and decided not to take any action for now. Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec said Slovenia was on the safe side for now and action would be taken if necessary.
        LJUBLJANA - The Prosecution Council again rejected the government's stance that the first procedure for the appointment of European delegated prosecutors was not lawful and cannot be revisited. It said it did not intend to come up with new candidates for Slovenia's two posts in the European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO), which means it is effectively blocking a new call.
        LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian and Slovakian presidents, Borut Pahor and Zuzana Čaputova, praised bilateral relations as excellent as Čaputova paid an official visit. They stressed the role of cooperation at bilateral and EU levels to address social, political and economic challenges, and welcomed the EU-Western Balkans summit.
        LJUBLJANA - Srebrna Nit, an association campaigning for dignified old age, presented a bill to legalise assisted death in Slovenia. The NGO said their proposal would only permit assisted suicide, while euthanasia would only be possible as an exception. They plan to start collecting voter signatures after a period of public consultation.

09 Oct 2021, 08:57 AM

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

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

FRIDAY, 1 October
        CHISINAU, Moldova - President Borut Pahor met his Moldovan counterpart Maia Sandu and PM Natalia Gavrilita as part of his official visit to Moldova. He expressed support for the president's and the government's reform efforts.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - European Chief Prosecutor Laura Codruta Kövesi again raised the issue of non-appointment of European delegated prosecutors from Slovenia. She told the European Parliament's Committee on Budgetary Control that after four months of operation this was one of the main challenges the European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO).
        LJUBLJANA/BRESTANICA - European Commission Vice-President for Democracy and Demography Dubravka Šuica visited Slovenia to attend an international conference on smart villages. She also met Prime Minister Janez Janša in Ljubljana to discuss the Conference on the Future of Europe and demographic issues.
        LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Janez Janša met senior representatives of the Identity and Democracy (ID) Group in the European Parliament to discuss topics related to the EU and the post-Covid situation in Europe. Janša's office said the meeting focussed on the Conference on the Future of Europe as well as the EU-Western Balkans summit.
        LJUBLJANA - Police Commissioner Anton Olaj appointed Janez Rupnik interim head of the Ljubljana Police Department, according to the website of police. He will replace Boštjan Glavič, who will become an assistant of the Police Academy.

SATURDAY, 2 October
        MILAN, Italy - Environment Minister Andrej Vizjak attended a Pre-COP meeting whose participants tried to bring their positions closer together ahead of the COP26 summit in Glasgow. He noted the importance of agreement being reached at the summit as the only way to limit heating of the atmosphere and negative impact of climate change.
        LJUBLJANA - A Walk for Life march by opponents of abortion brought together a few hundred people, including Archbishop of Ljubljana Stanislav Zore, who said the fundamental right to life must not be forgotten. A counter-rally was also held.
        KAS, Turkey - Slovenian freediver Alenka Artnik set a new world record in the double-fin discipline. The 39-year-old said on Facebook that she had improved her own mark in the discipline to 106 metres.

SUNDAY, 3 October
        LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Janez Janša said the government would "not cave in to pressure" after Zoran Stevanović, the leader of the protests against the Covid pass mandate, called on the government to resign or face new protests. He called on the competent authorities to take action.
        LJUBLJANA - Interior Minister Aleš Hojs told commercial broadcaster POP TV that the possibility of an early election was completely justified. The ruling Democrats (SDS) are discussing this, he said, adding that going to the polls a few months earlier would make no difference as this government was practically at the end of its term.
        TEHARJE - An estimated 5,000 victims of war and post-war summary executions were commemorated at a memorial mass in Teharje. More than 600 unmarked killing or burial sites across Slovenia bear witness to these atrocities, retired Celje Bishop Stanislav Lipovšek said at the annual event.

MONDAY, 4 October
        LJUBLJANA - The government decided to restrict movement in Ljubljana, the lakeside resort of Bled and around the Brdo pri Kranju conference centre on 5 and 6 October citing a high probability of severe violations of public law and order during the EU-Western Balkans summit. This is the first time that the legislative provision was invoked.
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor held talks with Zoran Stevanović, the initiator of recent protests against the Covid pass mandate who demands that the government step down. Stevanović wanted Pahor to endorse the calls but Pahor turned down the request.
        LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary interior affairs and justice committees urged the police and prosecution to immediately act against the organisers of unregistered rallies and against violent protesters. The session was requested by the ruling Democrats (SDS).
        LJUBLJANA - In its latest Financial Stability Review, the Slovenian central bank finds that general gravity of systemic risks to financial stability has been reduced as the economy has rebounded, but there are elevated risks stemming from the housing market and the long-term profitability of banks.
        LJUBLJANA - The Court of Audit found the Health Ministry and the Medical Chamber failed to set up a system in 12 years to establish how many doctors were needed in Slovenia and identify reasons for shortages of consultants, so they could not deal with shortages and work overload. The report covers the period from 2008 to September 2019.

TUESDAY, 5 October
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - The EU must strengthen its capacity to act autonomously in order to become more effective and assertive on the international stage, EU leaders agreed at an informal dinner according to European Council President Charles Michel. The office of the Slovenian prime minister said the leaders conducted a "strategic debate" on the EU's role in the international arena.
        LJUBLJANA - The Administrative Court sided with the two prosecutors picked to represent Slovenia on the European Public Prosecutor's Office as it overturned a government decision to annul the selection procedure. The decision means that the government must now re-examine the appointment of the two prosecutors, Tanja Frank Eler and Matej Oštir, who initiated the court proceeding.
        LJUBLJANA - Opponents of the government anti-coronavirus measures gathered in thousands in Republic Square in front of the parliament building, which the police protected and cordoned off after a similar protest turned violent last week. The police used a water cannon and tear gas. Several people were arrested, including the protest organiser Zoran Stevanović and the rapper Zlatko, one of the mainstays of anti-government rallies.
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - President Borut Pahor presented German Chancellor Angela Merkel with the Order of Merit for Distinguished Service, Slovenia's highest honour, for her personal contribution to deepening the relationship between the two countries and for her credible and trust-inspiring European leadership.
        BUDAPEST, Hungary - Interior Minister Aleš Hojs called for better control over who enters the EU as he took part in a meeting of the home affairs ministers of the Visegrad Group plus Austria and Slovenia. He said securing EU borders should remain top priority.
        STRASBOURG, France - Slovenia has failed to satisfactorily implement or address any of the 15 recommendations the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) made in its 2018 evaluation report. The country has partly implemented only one recommendation, the Council of Europe's (CoE) body said in its latest compliance report on Slovenia.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's budget deficit in the first nine months of the year reached EUR 2.453 billion, mostly as a result of financing a variety of coronavirus measures. The figure represents 89% of the deficit planned for the entire year.
        LJUBLJANA - The Medical Chamber and GP Nada Hiti of the Domžale Community Health Centre have reached a settlement on the doctor's video in which she discussed a problematic heavy metal content in anti-coronavirus and flu vaccines. Hiti disowned her statements.
        VIENNA, Austria - Slovenian minority poet and writer Maja Haderlap from Carinthia, Austria, won the Christine Lavant Prize for her work, including a novel about the battle of Slovenians living in Carinthia against National Socialism in Austria.

WEDNESDAY, 6 October
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - The leaders of EU and Western Balkan countries confirmed the Western Balkans' EU perspective and their commitment to enlargement as they met for a summit in Brdo pri Kranju. However, the summit brought no major progress for Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Kosovo.
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - PM Janez Janša disagreed with the claim that Slovenia is setting a poor example to EU candidates by suspending the funding of the STA, but European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen was clear that current STA funding is a must, as she spoke to the press after the EU-Western Balkans summit alongside Janša.
        LUXEMBOURG - EU environment ministers adopted a joint EU position for the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, which includes an agreement on a five-year time frame. Slovenia's Andrej Vizjak said this was the first time in many years the European delegation was going to the climate conference with a clear position on time frames.
        LJUBLJANA - President of the European Federation of Journalists (IFJ) Mogens Blicher Bjerregaard warned that media freedom was deteriorating in several European countries, including Slovenia. He called on the European Commission and EU leaders to take a stand and call on their counterparts to support media and journalist freedom.
        LJUBLJANA - The police and Interior Minister Aleš Hojs rejected the allegation that excessive force was used to disperse 5 October riots against coronavirus measures, as NGO The Legal Network for the Protection of Democracy urged MPs to open a parliamentary inquiry to look into the matter.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenian energy group Petrol completed the acquisition of an outright stake in Croatian fuel retailer Crodux after having fulfilled all suspensive conditions. The purchase consideration was EUR 191.7 million and Petrol will also assume net financial liabilities to banks in the amount of EUR 19.2 million.
        LJUBLJANA - The European Investment Bank (EIB) will provide the Slovenian Regional Development Fund with a EUR 30 million loan to help secure a new line of credit intended for facilitating the recovery of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), mid-caps and municipalities post-Covid-19.

THURSDAY, 7 October
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - PM Janez Janša accused the European Commission of exceeding its powers and of political abuse of the rule of law in an interview with Euronews, saying in its efforts to get member states to comply with the EU's fundamental values the Commission was "close to breaking the rule of law" itself.
        LJUBLJANA - After a court reversed its decision to annul the original procedure to appoint Slovenia's two European delegated prosecutors, the government asked the Justice Ministry to publish yet another call for applications arguing that the court's decision could not be implemented as the procedure the government was supposed to re-examine had been concluded with the publication of a new call for applications on 9 July.
        LJUBLJANA - The SPS police trade union called on the human rights ombudsman to open an inquiry into the clampdown during the 5 October protest in Ljubljana. Police Commissioner Anton Olaj defended the action, denying allegations of political interference in the force's decisions.
        LJUBLJANA/KRANJ - The home of Zoran Stevanović, one of the principal initiators of protests against the Covid pass mandate, and the headquarters of his party Resni.ca (Truth) were searched after Stevanović was detained by police after the 5 October riots. Stevanović was released from custody.
        LJUBLJANA - The government adopted an integrated border management (IBM) strategy to better manage illegal migrations. The strategy is binding for all EU member states under the EU law. The document aims to contain illegal migration on Slovenia's EU external and internal borders and to effectively implement bilateral agreement on return of migrants.

02 Oct 2021, 12:00 PM

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

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

FRIDAY, 24 September
        NEW YORK, US - President Borut Pahor addressed the general debate at the 76th UN General Assembly session, saying that "all challenges we face, are global" and that solutions to them could be found only in working together. He welcomed the intention of the UN Secretary General to hold a wide debate about common future, saying people needed to "engage in meaningful discussion and dialogue".
        NEW YORK, US - President Borut Pahor met UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Pahor and Guterres discussed climate change and security challenges, while the meeting with Lavrov discussed Afghanistan, and EU-Russia relations, with Pahor saying there was a lack of trust on both sides.
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - EU ministers in charge of consumer protection agreed at an informal session that the EU legislation on package holidays needs to be reviewed, as Covid-19 has shown that it is not suitable for extreme situations such as the pandemic, said the host, Slovenia's Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek.
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - European Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders said that before taking action regarding Slovenia's non-appointment of its two EU delegated prosecutors, the European Commission was awaiting a decision of a Slovenian administrative court on the suit filed by the two rejected prosecutors.
        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša appeared before the parliamentary inquiry commission dealing with the government's response to the Covid-19 epidemic. He was critical in his testimony of the preparedness of the public health authorities and noted the systemic problems in elderly care inherited by his government.
        LJUBLJANA - The migration situation topped the agenda as Czech Interior Minister Jan Hamaček visited Slovenia, as part of which he and Slovenian counterpart Aleš Hojs toured the Slovenian Schengen border and met with Slovenian and Czech police officers who conduct joint patrols.
        LJUBLJANA - The Defence Ministry said it had signed a EUR 33 million deal with the US government on the purchase of another 37 Oshkosh four-wheeled vehicles to be delivered in 2023-2024. The deal also envisages the purchase of 36 weapon stations M153, special tools, maintenance devices and spare parts, technical support and other equipment.
        LJUBLJANA - The Covid pass mandate was relaxed with the requirement waived for those working from home and those filling up their cars as long as they do not enter the interior of petrol stations. The mandate remains in place for the vast majority of services and all other workplace settings.
        LJUBLJANA - Health Minister Janez Poklular said the recovered-vaccinated rule would be expanded to all citizens if the epidemiological situation continued to deteriorate. In line with the proposal, the recovered-vaccinated (PC) rule, meaning omission of testing, would be introduced when two-thirds of ICU beds are occupied by Covid-19 patients.
        BRNIK - Budget carrier FlyDubai launched scheduled flights between Ljubljana and Dubai in what is a culmination of ten-year efforts by the Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport to get a direct link with Dubai. FlyDubai will operate three flights a week to offer the first direct flight connection between Slovenia and the UAE.
        LJUBLJANA - The Statistics Office corrected the assessment of Slovenia's general government deficit for last year, downgrading it by EUR 250 million compared to the previous assessment to EUR 3.618 billion or 7.7% of GDP.

SATURDAY, 25 September
        LJUBLJANA - Police Commissioner Anton Olaj rejected allegations that the police is politicised. The situation is considerably better than one can gather from media reports, he said in an interview with the the newspaper Večer. He got the impression that police commissioners used to be led by the police.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenian Book Agency (JAK) acting director Dimitrij Rupel told the newspaper Delo that the JAK had signed a EUR 4.5 million contract in August to finance Slovenia's participation in the 2023 Frankfurt Book Fair from cohesion funds. JAK is currently working on a selection of books and writers that will be put forward to German publishers.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia announced it would become the world's first country to issue its own non-fungible tokens to promote the achievements of its businesses and its tourism destinations. The tokens will be gifted to visitors to Slovenia's pavilion at the Expo show in Dubai, which opens on 1 October.
        LJUBLJANA - Environmental taxes paid into the national budget amounted to EUR 1.309 billion in 2020, 18.4% less than in the year before. Energy taxes represented more than four-fifths of the overall tax take, the Statistics Office said.
        BRATISLAVA, Slovakia - Slovenian kayaker Nejc Žnidaršič won the sprint event at the ICF's whitewater canoeing world championships to make history as the first whitewater competitor to win five world champion titles.

SUNDAY, 26 September
        LJUBLJANA - The government adopted a decree raising the lump sum which municipalities receive per resident from the state and which represents one of the main sources of local government funding. In 2022 the sum will rise from EUR 628 to EUR 645 and to EUR 647 in 2023.
        MIRNA PEČ - The new bishop of Novo Mesto, Andrej Saje was ordained at a ceremony at the parish church of Mirna Peč before he formally took over from Andrej Glavan three days later. After the consecration ceremony, Saje addressed the congregation with an appal for fruitful cooperation and dialogue with everyone to create a society of peace and justice.
        BUDAPEST, Hungary - Agriculture Minister Jože Podgoršek discussed the need to preserve and increase biodiversity as a task of present and future generations as he addressed an international hunting and nature fair. He also held several bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the event.
        LJUBLJANA - The total debt of Slovenia's 212 municipalities and their utilities increased by a further EUR 47.5 million last year to EUR 971.2 million, or 2.1% of GDP. Average total debt per capita thus increased to EUR 473 in 2020 from EUR 449 in 2019, a report from the Finance Ministry showed.

MONDAY, 27 September
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - Speaker Igor Zorčič hosted a meeting of parliamentary speakers from the Western Balkans, saying that the EU must give the region a clear signal on when it could expect EU accession." The speakers of the Serbian and Montenegrin parliaments also called for more clarity regarding the EU enlargement.
        LJUBLJANA - The Commission for the Prevention of Corruption said it had established a breach of integrity by former Economy Ministry State Secretary Aleš Cantarutti as part of an investigation into the procurement of personal protective equipment.
        LJUBLJANA - The Health Ministry said the government had so far earmarked EUR 56.97 million for vaccination against Covid-19, of which EUR 39.79 million for the purchase of vaccines and EUR 17.17 million to organise and carry out the vaccination.
        TRIESTE, Italy - Primorski Dnevnik reported that Senator Tatjana Rojc, a member of the Slovenian ethnic community in Italy, had proposed an amendment to the Italian Constitution as a way of guaranteeing that the Slovenian minority is represented in the Italian parliament.
        MARIBOR - Some 200 representatives of young policy-makers and youth experts from all EU countries gathered for a four-day virtual EU Youth Conference to discuss the post-Covid future of Europe. It was the largest youth event of Slovenia's EU presidency.
        LJUBLJANA - The OECD said it its latest digital government review for Slovenia that the country should reinforce leadership and coordination of digital governance in the public sector and enhance cooperation of various stakeholders. The report adds that "more is needed to govern the digital transformation across the public sector".
        LJUBLJANA - The council of UKC Ljubljana, Slovenia's largest hospital, endorsed acting director Jože Golobič, who took over in February after Janez Poklukar left to become health minister, for a full term. Government approval is required before he can formally start his four-year term.
        LEMONT, US - Minister for Slovenians Abroad Helena Jaklitsch wrapped up her 11-day tour of the US as part of which she visited Slovenian communities in Cleveland, Pittsburgh, New York, Bethlehem, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Joliet and Lemont.

TUESDAY, 28 September
        LJUBLJANA - The heads of the opposition Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ), Social Democrats (SD), Left and Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB) signed an agreement on post-election cooperation in which they commit to forming a government together after the election. Each party will run individually in the election with its own candidates and platforms.
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor received his Latvian counterpart Egils Levits, with the pair highlighting the similarity of their views, excellent bilateral relations, and the importance of Europe. They both believe that the situation in the Western Balkans calls for accelerating EU enlargement to the region.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - The EU ministers responsible for research adopted resolutions on a global approach to research and innovation. Their aim is greater resilience and competitiveness of the EU, said Minister of Education Simona Kustec.
        ZAGORJE OB SAVI/HRASTNIK/TRBOVLJE - Government officials were briefed on challenges that Zasavje faces as a region that used to be a mining and energy heavyweight but which is now lagging behind despite a strong high-tech cluster, as they visited the region. In Trbovlje, government officials were picketed by several hundred protesters.
        LJUBLJANA - The government decided to purchase an additional 100,000 doses of the Janssen Covid-19 vaccine from Hungary, whose stock of the Janssen vaccine currently exceeds the actual demand.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Slovenia will get EUR 4.8 million under an EUR 5 billion adjustment instrument for member states hit by Brexit approved by the Council. Slovenia's allocation is the lowest among all member states.
        LJUBLJANA - The prosecution confirmed having pressed charges against two individuals at the Ljubljana Local Court for publicly inciting hatred, violence or intolerance in an article published in the weekly Demokracija in December 2020 that was widely condemned as racist.

WEDNESDAY, 29 September
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia suspended the use of the single-shot coronavirus vaccine produced by Johnson & Johnson after a twenty-year-old woman died within a fortnight after receiving the shot. Bojana Beović, the head of the vaccination advisory group, said it would take at least a week to investigate the death.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly endorsed a government-sponsored bill that will secure about EUR 2 billion in investment in Slovenia's health system over the next ten years. Investment is planned at all three levels of healthcare; a total of EUR 763 million is earmarked for the country's two medical centres.
        LJUBLJANA - Finance Minister Andrej Šircelj highlighted a substantial increase in investments, in particular in healthcare, as he presented the budget documents for the coming two years after the government session. The government proposes the general government spending ceiling increases to EUR 26.1 billion in 2022 and to EUR 25.98 billion in 2023.
        LJUBLJANA - A group of several thousand protesters again gathered in Ljubljana to protest against the Covid pass mandate in what was the third such protest. Starting in Republic Square, the rally moved to the ring road, which was closed for a while, as the police tried to break up the crowd, including by using a water canon.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed changes to pension legislation to remedy injustices done to persons who voluntarily continued to pay mandatory pension and disability insurance contributions despite being for instance unemployed after 1 January 2013, not being aware that this would not count towards their pensionable years.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's ILO-compatible survey unemployment rate fell further in August, to 3.9%, down 0.1 percentage points from July and 1.4 points down from August a year ago, the Statistics Office said.
        LJUBLJANA - The government somewhat relaxed the mask wearing rule. The masks will thus no longer be needed in indoor public places where food and drinks are being served under adherence to the recovered-vaccinated-tested rule.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek said after a session of EU ministers in charge of competitiveness that decarbonisation of the economy must be evenly spread across sectors and EU countries.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia hosted an informal meeting of EU non-proliferation and disarmament directors as part of its EU presidency, the Foreign Ministry said. It focussed on strategic issues and the challenges of the global regime of oversight over weapons of mass destruction.
        KLAGENFURT, Austria - FM Anže Logar and Carinthia Governor Peter Kaiser chaired a session of the Slovenia-Carinthia Committee, which set out the course for future cooperation between Slovenia and the Austrian state of Carinthia in several areas of joint interest.
        LJUBLJANA - The government decided to donate 40 km of border fence to Lithuania, which started erecting a 508-kilometre fence on its border with Belarus as it has faced illegal migration from there since the beginning of the year.
        LJUBLJANA - The government appointed acting head of the Environment Agency, Joško Knez, for a full term, with his five-year term starting on 1 October. Knez was already at the helm of the agency between March 2013 and November 2018.
        LJUBLJANA - Record rains that pummelled Ljubljana caused extensive flooding, with basements flooded in hundreds of residential, industrial and educational buildings. In just one hour one weather station in Ljubljana recorded 94 mm of rain, the highest ever recorded in the capital, overwhelming the sewage systems.

THURSDAY, 30 September
        LJUBLJANA - STA director Bojan Veselinovič resigned after turning down a draft public service agreement proposed by the Government Communication Office that he described as damaging for the agency. The bodies representing staff at the STA urged those responsible to reinstate public funding in full compliance with law while preserving the agency's autonomy. The Trade Union of Journalists said it will start preparing for a strike should funding not be restored.
        LJUBLJANA - The Constitutional Court stayed the government's regulation under which state administration employees would have to be either Covid-19 reconvalescent or vaccinated to come to work starting from Friday. PM Janez Janša and Interior Minister Aleš Hojs said the decision meant the majority on the court assumed responsibility for the spread of Covid-19 and deaths.
        LONDON, UK - PM Janez Janša paid a working visit to the UK for talks his British counterpart Boris Johnson. Bilateral political ties, fighting the Covid-19 pandemic and the EU-UK relations topped the agenda.
        LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Health Committee confirmed changes to the pharmacy practice act, albeit in a significantly changed format than originally envisaged. Many of the articles were deleted from the wording, while the proposal to lift the ban on vertical integration of pharmacies and drug wholesalers was retained.
        KLAGENFURT, Austria - Speaker Igor Zorčič attended a conference on development of ethnic minority rights to stress that Slovenia supported efforts by the Slovenian minority to have its minority rights regulated systemically.
        THE HAGUE, Netherlands - Interior Minister Aleš Hojs noted good cooperation between Slovenia and Europol as he addressed a convention of European police commissioners. He said the Slovenian EU presidency was seeking to reach an agreement with the European Parliament on a regulation that would give Europol additional powers.
        PORTOROŽ - The Managers' Association presented the Manager of the Year award to Adrian Ježina, the president of the management board of Telemach, the fastest-growing mobile operator in Slovenia. The association credits him with an "exceptional transformation" of the company that improved its business results and increased market share.
        LJUBLJANA - The Statistics Office said that Slovenia's public finances improved significantly in the second quarter of 2021 due to faster economic growth and higher revenue. The general government deficit narrowed to 5.8% of GDP from 8.3% in the first quarter, whereas consolidated debt was down by six percentage points to 80% of GDP.
        LJUBLJANA - The Statistics Office reported that annual inflation rate in Slovenia in September reached 2.4% as the prices of petroleum products continued to rise. On the monthly level a deflation of 0.1% was recorded, largely due to lower prices of package holidays.
        MARIBOR - A renovated 1941 railway wagon was inaugurated to mark 80 years since first prisoners from Nazi camps were brought to Slovenia aboard such trains. The Train of Memory opened in front of the WWII International Research Centre, located at a former Nazi camp for prisoners of war.
        BREŽICE - Brežice became the first Slovenian municipality to win the title of European City of Sport in the category of communities with fewer than 25,000 residents, awarded by the European Capitals and Cities of Sport Federation.

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