Ljubljana related

17 Jul 2021, 12:36 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, 9 July
        LJUBLJANA - The prime ministers of Visegrad Group countries endorsed the priorities of the Slovenian presidency of the Council of the EU as they held talks with Prime Minister Janez Janša, who said the statement the four adopted at their recent summit largely reflected Slovenia's priorities and to a large extent the positions that Slovenia had about several topical issues.
        LJUBLJANA - The Justice Ministry published a new call for applications for two European delegated prosecutors after the previous one was annulled. The State Prosecutor's Council indicated it would not go along with the new call.
        SOFIA, Bulgaria - President Borut Pahor said at a meeting of leaders from the Three Seas Initiative that the initiative could only be successful if it acted in line with the goals, priorities and policies of the EU. He said one strategic goal must always be pursued, and that is sustainable development.
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - EU ministers in charge of employment and social policy concluded a two-day informal meeting with the conclusion that to have resilient and inclusive labour markets, a regular and constructive dialogue with the civil society needs to be boosted.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenians who wish to mix different coronavirus vaccines will be allowed to do that under new guidance issued by the National Institute of Public Health. The general rule is that the same vaccine be used for both shots, but if individuals express the wish to mix vaccines, they can do it.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed changes to the audiovisual media services act under which content providers will have to earmark 6% of their gross annual revenue to a special fund to finance European audiovisual production. It was originally proposed that the levy be set at 2%, but the coalition partners pushed through an amendment raising the share to 6%.
        LJUBLJANA - An investigation into the conduct of the police at the 25 June anti-government rally found no fault in the decision of police officers to remove a far-right group, though several irregularities in the policing of the event had been detected.

        TRIESTE, Italy - President Borut Pahor said during a visit to Trieste that National Hall, which used to be the centre of the Slovenian community in Trieste, should be returned to the Slovenian community there as soon as possible, the symbolic restitution having taken place a year ago. Pahor was also conferred the Tre Sigilli di Trieste, the city's highest honour.

SUNDAY, 11 July
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenian voters overwhelmingly rejected the changes to the waters act in a referendum. More than 86% voted against and the statutory requirement that at least 20% of all voters must be against for a law to be rejected was satisfied as well. Turnout exceeded 46%, the highest in a referendum since 2007.
        TEHRAN, Iran/LJUBLJANA - The Iranian Foreign Ministry summoned Slovenia's Ambassador to Iran Kristina Radej over Prime Minister Janez Janša's call for an inquiry into a 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in Iran at the Free Iran World Summit, an event hosted by the Iranian diaspora.
MONDAY, 12 July
        LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Janez Janša nominated Mark Boris Andrijanič, the chair of the Strategic Council for Digitalisation and head of public policy for Central and Eastern Europe at Uber, to head the forthcoming Digital Transformation Office as a minister without portfolio.
        LJUBLJANA - The Foreign Ministry summoned the Iranian ambassador to Slovenia over Prime Minister Janez Janša's recent statement about a 1988 massacre in Iran, to explain that Slovenia always advocates human rights and fundamental freedoms and that Slovenia's activities are never directed against any particular country.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Council, the upper chamber of parliament, vetoed the amendments to the communicable diseases act that the National Assembly passed the week before in order to replace provisions that had been struck down by the Constitutional Court.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - As part of the Slovenian EU presidency, Culture Minister Vasko Simoniti opened an exhibition of contemporary Slovenian visual arts at the European Parliament, entitled We Live in Exciting Times. The minister opposed the initial concept of the show, but was pleased with the end result.
        LJUBLJANA - Trade unions called on the government to withdraw a legislative proposal that would eliminate employee representatives from management of the Health Insurance Institute (ZSSS), which collects and manages mandatory health insurance contributions.
TUESDAY, 13 July
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly endorsed in a 49:17 vote a resolution on climate strategy until 2050 under which Slovenia commits to become climate neutral in the coming 30 years. Before backing it, coalition MPs added a provision saying that Slovenia will use nuclear energy in the long term.
        PRAGUE, Czechia - President Borut Pahor called for a strong and effective Europe as he appeared as a speaker at the Prague European Summit, recalling the bloc's fundamental values such as rule of law that he said should be understood the same way.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly rejected President Borut Pahor's nominee for Constitutional Court judge, Janez Kranjc. He received 45 votes in a secret ballot, one short of the required majority, as 43 MPs voted against and one ballot was invalid.
        LJUBLJANA - Damjan Kukovec, senior lecturer in law at Middlesex School of Law in London, was endorsed as a candidate for judge at the EU General Court, the National Assembly having voted 74:15 in his favour in a secret ballot.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly reappointed Irena Vodopivec Jean a vice-governor of the central bank. She will assume another six-year term after her current one ends on 6 October.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly endorsed in a 51:11 vote amendments to the service in the Slovenian Armed Forces act which aim to address long-standing labour issues and the specific rights and responsibilities of soldiers during service.
        LJUBLJANA - Jaroš Britovšek was appointed director general of the Defence Ministry's Intelligence and Security Service (OVS) for a full term by the government, having served as acting director since March.
        MURSKA SOBOTA - Mura, Slovenia's football champions, made it to the second round of qualifying for the UEFA Champions League after crushing North Macedonia's Shkendija 5:0 to advance on an aggregate score of 6:0.

        LJUBLJANA - Senior officials issued appeals for personal responsibility to avert a new lockdown. The Covid-19 danger is still present, "but responsibility for your health and the health of your loved ones is entirely in your hands," Prime Minister Janez Janša said.
        LJUBLJANA - WHO Regional Director for Europe Hans Kluge, President Borut Pahor and Health Minister Janez Poklukar stressed the importance of vaccination and warned of the rapid spread of the Delta variant in view of the resurgence of infections, as they visited the Ljubljana vaccination centre.
        LJUBLJANA - The centre-left opposition said they were considering mounting a fresh attempt to oust the Janez Janša government after failing with a vote of no confidence in February and an impeachment in May. This time, they will carry out the plan only if they are certain of their majority, SocDem leader Tanja Fajon said.
        LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Association of Judges expressed concern and indignation after the National Assembly failed to endorse two candidates for supreme judges over their past decisions, a move that they say undermines judges' independence and fundamental principles of the rule of law.
        PAU, France - Slovenia's cycling star and yellow jersey wearer Tadej Pogačar won the 17th stage of the Tour de France to increase his overall lead.

        LJUBLJANA - The ruling coalition voted to postpone the vote on the bill creating a new demographic fund and voted against amendments to the communicable diseases act in a revote after they were vetoed by the upper chamber. Announcing the move, PM Janez Janša said they did not want such an important topic as the demographic fund to be decided on in such a heated political situation, while he said the new communicable diseases act was no longer needed now that all deputy group leaders called for vaccination.
        KOSTANJEVICA NA KRKI - The presidents of Slovenia, Austria and Croatia, Borut Pahor, Alexander Van der Bellen and Zoran Milanović, urged stepping up vaccination against Covid-19 and threw their support behind the EU's enlargement to the Western Balkans, as they met for the 8th trilateral meeting. They also touched on the issue of the Krško Nuclear Power Plant.
        LJUBLJANA - Tighter rules for entering Slovenia took effect. The colour-coded list of countries was replaced with the requirement that passengers who wish to enter the country need to have a Covid certificate regardless of where they come from.
        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša announced that those who have been vaccinated against Covid, have recovered from it or have been tested would be allowed to have as few restrictions in public life as possible, while rapid tests will be no longer be free of charge from mid-August.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed a coalition-sponsored bill to increase funds for private primary schools to implement two Constitutional Court rulings after several previous attempts to do so failed. The bill secures 100% state funding of private primary schools' obligatory curriculum, up from 85% now.
        LJUBLJANA - Environment Minister Andrej Vizjak told an online debate the discussion on the Fit for 55 package should not just be about the goals but also about how to achieve these goals in the best, fairest and most responsible way to protect the competitiveness of the Slovenian and European economy.
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - Interior Minister Aleš Hojs chaired an informal session of EU home affairs ministers, which he said showed that stances between EU members in talks on the EU pact on migration and asylum were still quite diverging but they showed political will for progress.
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - European Commissioner Ylva Johansson expressed her disappointment because the issue of STA financing has still not been resolved, saying she got the impression after meeting Interior Minister Aleš Hojs back in April that the issue would soon be solved.
        DUBLIN, Ireland - Foreign Minister Anže Logar and his Irish counterpart Simon Coveney attended a ceremony to inaugurate the new premises of the Slovenian Embassy in Dublin with Logar calling the reopening of the embassy "an important milestone" in the efforts to further enhance political, economic, cultural and other ties between the two countries.
        KRANJ - The Kranj District Court handed down an eight-month suspended prison sentence with a probation period of five years to a 20-year-old from Kropa who planned a shooting spree in April, after he was found guilty of attempted trafficking in weapons. He said that he regretted his actions and apologized.
        PAU - Tadej Pogačar won a second stage at the Tour de France in as many days to increase his overall lead and secure the polka-dot jersey of best climber. He has all but secured the overall victory on Sunday, having a 5:45 minute lead ahead of the runner up, Dane Jonas Vingegaard.


10 Jul 2021, 08:15 AM

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

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

FRIDAY, 2 July
        OHRID, North Macedonia - President Borut Pahor made a case for the EU's rapid enlargement to the Western Balkans as he addressed the Prespa Forum Dialogue, arguing that this was in the interest of the EU and would strengthen the bloc as well as the region. The president said continued enlargement was instrumental to the stability and prosperity of the Western Balkans.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - European Parliament President David Sassoli said Slovenia's EU presidency had a great responsibility to defend EU values and the rule of law, noting on Twitter that the appointment of Slovenia's prosecutors to the European Public Prosecutor's Office was a way to guarantee transparency and protect legal rights.
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - Interior Minister Aleš Hojs raised eyebrows at a briefing for Brussels correspondents, as they interpreted one of his replies as taking aim at European Commission First Vice President Frans Timmermans with a pearls-to-swine metaphor. It later transpired that the comment was referring to Slovenia's member of the European Commission, Janez Lenarčič, over claims that he opposed the confirmation of the national recovery plan. The Commission denied the claim saying the plan had been approved unanimously.
        LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary inquiry commission investigating the government's handling of the Covid-19 crisis held its first interviews, hearing that two epidemiologists had quit the government advisory group as they had too little say in the decisions.
        ZAGREB, Croatia - The Croatian Competition Agency (CCA) gave Slovenia's energy company Petrol a green light on the takeover of Croatian petroleum products seller Crodux. It also cleared the acquisition of electric cable manufacturer Elka by Slovenia's Iskra electronics group.
        LJUBLJANA - The Commission for Corruption Prevention (KPK) has found no conflict of interest in the case of Environment Minister Andrej Vizjak in connection to the construction of the Mokrice hydro plant on the Sava river. The matter was investigated after the KPK received several reports of suspected conflict of interest.
        LJUBLJANA - The European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) will be chaired for the next two years by Jana Kolar, the Slovenian representative to ESFRI and a member of its executive board. Kolar will take up her two-year term in 2022 as the first Slovenian and the first woman in this post, the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport said.
        LJUBLJANA - The director of the Slovenian Press Agency (STA), Bojan Veselinovič, proposed to the government an agreement that would temporarily sort out the relations between the STA and the Government Communication Office (UKOM) since the agency has been without public funding of its service for over 180 days.
        CHALON SUR SAONE, France - Slovenia's Matej Mohorič (Bahrain Victorious) won stage 7 of the Tour de France from La Vierzon to Le Creusot and took the polka dot jersey for the best climber.

        ČRNA NA KOROŠKEM - President Borut Pahor spoke at a traditional get-together at the Najevnik Linden Tree to emphasise the importance of respectful dialogue and people listening to each other. He urged people to try to talk to those who think differently and look for compromises for the common good.
        ANNECY, France - Slovenian rider Tadej Pogačar has taken the overall lead at the Tour de France after an individual attack that secured him the fourth place in the 150.8-km eight stage of the prestigious race from Oyonnax to Le Grand-Bornand.

SUNDAY, 4 July
        KAUNAS, Lithuania - The Slovenian national basketball qualified for the Olympic Games for the first time after NBA star Luka Dončič led the team to a 96:85 win against Lithuania in the final of one of the four qualifying tournaments.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenian cycling star Primož Roglič decided to leave the Tour de France early due to injuries he sustained in the early stages of the race.
MONDAY, 5 July
        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša highlighted the EU's post-pandemic recovery and resilience as a clear response to crises as he presented the priorities of Slovenia's EU presidency to the National Assembly. He said successive crises since 2008 had shown that the bloc had been poorly prepared for the majority of these crises.
        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša called for joint efforts to convince people to get vaccinated against coronavirus as he warned that a vaccination rate of 70% would have to be achieved until the end of the summer if Slovenia is to avoid new lockdowns. He said this was the only way to prevent having to make vaccination mandatory for certain professional groups.
        LJUBLJANA - Labour Minister Janez Cigler Kralj said he was doing everything in his power to get trade unions back to the negotiating table after they quit the Economic and Social Council (ESS) in May, yet under the condition that they refrain from taking part in anti-government protests.
        LJUBLJANA - More restrictions on the services sector were lifted. Casinos fully reopened and restrictions on the number of customers in shops were lifted. The rule of reconvalescence, testing or vaccination remains in place indoors.
        STRASBOURG, France - PM Janez Janša told the European Parliament the time had come for the EU to start acting more strategically, including in the Western Balkans. Presenting the Slovenian EU presidency's priorities, he said the first short-term priority was to do everything to prevent the fourth wave of the pandemic.
        STRASBOURG, France - MEPs from the majority of political groups in the European Parliament sent PM Janez Janša some stark messages about the rule of law after he presented Slovenia's EU presidency priorities in the Parliament. Most of the criticism centred on the non-appointment of European delegated prosecutors, media freedom and independent judiciary.
        STRASBOURG, France - PM Janez Janša did not wish to comment on the European political future of his Democrats (SDS) as he visited Strasbourg to address the European Parliament. Asked about the SDS's membership in the European People's Party (EPP), he said that his party was not dealing with such issues but was focused on current challenges.
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec hosted ministers in charge of transport from Slovenia's neighbouring countries and the Western Balkans to discuss efforts to improve cross-border connectivity between the EU and the region. He said a proposal to adopt appropriate measures to boost connectivity would be presented at an EU-Western Balkans summit in October.
        LJUBLJANA - Proponents of the referendum on the waters act have sharply criticised the organisation of the voting, alleging voter suppression regarding information on how and where people can vote early and polling station staffing. There were reports of long waiting lines in Ljubljana, where there was just one polling station for early voting, and confusion in Maribor, where there were seven instead of one.

        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed an emergency bill worth EUR 243.5 million to help tourism and other sectors most affected by the Covid-19 epidemic. The legislation also brings a series of measures to help companies in tourism, convention industry, restaurants, sports and culture.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed amendments to the communicable diseases act after the Constitutional Court declared parts of the act and by extension the measures introduced during the epidemic unconstitutional. The amended act determines that expert assessments are required for some measures, and that certain indicators must be taken into account when restrictions are adopted.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed a bill on emergency measures in healthcare which the government had fast-tracked through parliament. The bill, worth EUR 66.6 million, introduces some temporary measures to deal with the consequences of the coronavirus epidemic while also seeking to cut long waiting times.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Commission projects that Slovenia's economy will expand by 5.7% this year, a 0.8-point increase on its May forecast. The outlook for 2020 was slightly downgraded to 5%. It said Slovenia's recovery was buoyed by growing private spending, investments and exports, with merchandise exports already at pre-crisis levels.
        LJUBLJANA - The Interior Ministry's oversight of police tasks and powers at the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has revealed several shortcomings, including too long investigations and mistakes related to house searchers. Based on the report, Minister Aleš Hojs believes that "certain staff changes" should be made at the NBI.
        RIGA, Latvia - Slovenian Defence Minister Matej Tonin visited the Slovenian soldiers serving in NATO's mission Enhanced Forward Presence in Latvia. Together with his Montenegrin and Macedonian counterparts, Olivera Injac and Radmila Šekerinska, he met the mission's senior officers at the Adazi base.

        SOFIA, Bulgaria - President Borut Pahor met his Bulgarian counterpart Rumen Radev to discuss Bulgaria's veto on North Macedonia's bid to join the EU. The presidents are personally committed to see a compromise solution that would pave the way for the start of North Macedonia's EU accession talks, Pahor's office said.
        LJUBLJANA - The government abolished the quarantine requirement for people who come to Slovenia from countries and areas listed as red and dark red and show proof that they have been vaccinated against Covid-19 or have recently recovered from the disease as of this Saturday.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Slovenia should improve the use of digital tools and new technologies in the judiciary and continue training justice professionals to use them, European Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders said as he presented a report on the judiciary in the EU, ninth so far. He urged Slovenia to appoint its European delegated prosecutors.
        LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Anže Logar presented via videolink the priorities of Slovenia's EU presidency to the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), highlighting the EU's resilience, economic recovery and the Conference on the Future of Europe.
        NOVO MESTO - Pharmaceutical group Krka posted a net profit of EUR 177.4 million for the first half of the year, up 11% on the back of sales that reached EUR 808.6 million, a 1% increase over the same period last year, CEO Jože Colarič said

03 Jul 2021, 06:39 AM

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

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

FRIDAY, 25 June
        LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Janez Janša symbolically took over the presidency of the EU from Portuguese Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva at the Statehood Day ceremony. He warned against using double standards and said that as the presiding country, Slovenia would fight for equal standards for everyone.
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor made an appeal for a new national consensus in his address to the Statehood Day ceremony, highlighting the importance of shared goals and cooperation. He also called for a respect of differences and diversity. The prime ministers of Austria, Croatia and Hungary, the foreign minister of Italy, and the president of the European Council also congratulated Slovenia on the 30th anniversary of its independence as they addressed the ceremony.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - PM Janez Janša told reporters as part of the EU summit that there would be enough Covid-19 vaccine and that now the key problem would be how to utilise all resources so that as many people as possible got vaccinated. As for the new Hungarian law on the LGBTIQ community, he said Slovenia did not want to be part of any new divisions in Europe.
        LJUBLJANA - Organisers of weekly anti-government protests staged an alternative celebration of Statehood Day, with the crowd filling Prešeren Square as speakers criticised political elites. In inviting people to the protest, the organisers said the event was open to all people who recognise that this is a holiday of the people, not a holiday of political elites.
        LJUBLJANA - Several international NGOs promoting freedom of the press called on the Slovenian government to refrain during the presidency of the EU Council from attempts to undermine initiatives that aim to improve the conditions for freedom of the press in EU member states and in EU candidate countries
        LJUBLJANA - The Romanian Orthodox Church announced it had established a parish in Ljubljana in order to provide spiritual care for the Romanian diaspora. "It is a moral obligation to take care of all Romanians, wherever they are," said Patriarch Daniel.
        LJUBLJANA - The pandemic severely affected population statistics in Slovenia in 2020, as a high death rate was coupled with fewer births. Life expectancy declined by almost a year, Statistics Office said.

        LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Anže Logar and his German and Portuguese counterparts, Heiko Maas and Augusto Santos Silva called for EU enlargement to the Western Balkans in an op-ed published on the BalkanInsight web portal, describing such efforts as a strategic and shared interest.
        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša discussed the values of independence as well as what he called high treason in an interview with the commercial broadcaster Nova24TV, saying that while independence never divided the nation it did divide politics, owning to those for whom an independent Slovenia was not an "intimate option".
        ŠMARJEŠKE TOPLICE/ŠENTJERNEJ - A meeting discussing Slovenia's green future was held under the auspices of President Borut Pahor, who stressed the need for a consensus on the green future of the country. Robert Golob, chairman of Gen-I, which organised the conference, highlighted the importance of joint efforts to fight climate change.
        MARIBOR - Maribor held its second Pride Parade, a week after a similar event was held in Ljubljana, with the city's local authorities and the university joining. The organisers said they had distributed all the 300 promotional bracelets among the participants.

SUNDAY, 27 June
        BERLIN, Germany - Slovenia as a whole was removed from the list of Covid risk areas by Germany, which means those who arrive in Germany from Slovenia by land can enter without restrictions. The change in Slovenia's status comes after parts of the country were already removed from the list of risk areas in mid-June.
        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša and the first prime minister of the independent Slovenia, Lojze Peterle, noted the vital role that the Slovenian diaspora played in the independence efforts, as they addressed the 27th annual get-together of Slovenians living abroad.
        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša attended a ceremony marking the 30th anniversary of the first session of the Slovenian World Congress where a commemorative plaque was unveiled. He was presented with a distinction awarded to individuals and institutions whose activities strengthen the national consciousness of their compatriots.
        TOMAJ - Josip Osti, a Sarajevo-born poet, writer and translator who earned international acclaim for his literary work as well as praise for his efforts in linking different cultures, died in his home town of Tomaj at the age of 76.
MONDAY, 28 June
        LJUBLJANA - Defence Minister Matej Tonin informed his German counterpart Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer as she visited Slovenia that the government would purchase German eight-wheeled armoured fighting vehicles Boxer for the Slovenian Armed Forces. The ministers called for greater cooperation and announced a joint task force.
        ROME, Italy - Foreign Minister Anže Logar took part in the ministerial session of the Global Coalition to Defeat Daesh, pledging Slovenia's commitment to enhanced cooperation against the militant group. Logar also met US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - National Assembly Speaker Igor Zorčič said Slovenia would seek to accelerate the enlargement process during its presidency of the Council of the EU as he took part in the summit between the European Parliament and parliamentary speakers from the Western Balkans.
        LJUBLJANA - The Constitutional Court ruled that the interpretation by the National Assembly of the provisions of the criminal procedure act that instruct destruction of evidence obtained by means of covert surveillance if no criminal prosecution is initiated in two years after evidence is obtained is unconstitutional.
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor nominated law professor Janez Kranjc, an associate member of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts (SAZU), for a vacancy on the Constitutional Court. Pahor's office described Kranjc as a highly esteemed law expert both at home and abroad.
        LJUBLJANA - Police Commissioner Anton Olaj ordered supervision of the work of the Ljubljana Police Administration in policing the 25 June alternative celebration of Statehood Day by anti-government protesters in Prešeren Square. He said there were doubts as to whether all protesters were treated the same.
        LJUBLJANA - The government as the STA's sole shareholder asked its communication office to transfer EUR 845,000 advance to the Slovenian Press Agency (STA) for the expenses related to the performance of public service once the STA provides UKOM with access to business documentation for the last ten years and if a contract on public service is signed.
        BRESTANICA - The Brestanica Thermal Plant (TEB) inaugurated its seventh gas unit in an investment valued at EUR 26.4 million. The 56-megawatt Unit 7 and the 53-megawatt Unit 6, which has been in operation since 2018, will replace three lower capacity units that are nearing the end of their lifespan.
TUESDAY, 29 June
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Slovenia presented to Brusssels correspondents the priorities of its presidency of the Council of the EU with the Fit for 55 legislative package attracting the most interest. Slovenia's Permanent Representative to the EU Iztok Jarc said Slovenia hoped for a breakthrough in accession negotiations with Northern Macedonia and Albania by September to provide for a better atmosphere ahead of the EU-Western Balkans summit in Slovenia on 6 October.
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - PM Janez Janša met the ambassadors of the EU member states for a working lunch, to note that the key challenges of the Slovenian presidency of the Council of the EU are the Covid-19 situation, economic recovery, improving resilience, the Conference on the Future of Europe and EU enlargement, the government said.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Five MEPs and a German MP called on the European Commission and the European Council to take measures regarding the situation in Slovenia. They think that the Commission should trigger the mechanism under which funds are conditional upon the respect of the rule of law due to pressures on the media and judiciary.
        LJUBLJANA - The government decided to call in reserve police to make up for absences as active police force members take on additional tasks to protect the events during Slovenia's EU presidency, secure the border and to provide the security at sporting events. About 2,000 reserve police deployments are estimated to be required.
        LONDON, UK - The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) upgraded by 1.5 percentage points its GDP growth forecast for Slovenia in 2021 to 5%. The institution expects that Slovenia's economy will expand by a further 4% next year.
        AJDOVŠČINA - Slovenian military pilots are to train on and test aircraft produced by the light aircraft maker Pipistrel under an agreement signed by Defence Minister Matej Tonin and Pipistrel director Ivo Boscarol. The sides also agreed a special partnership that includes efforts to obtain EU and NATO funds for development projects.

        MARIBOR - Podravje, Slovenia's second largest region, was offered the prospect of EU-subsidised investment for a development breakthrough as the government toured the region. Prime Minister Janez Janša said the goal was to keep young people, in particularly the highly-educated, at home.
        PODLEHNIK - Interior Minister Aleš Hojs visited the Gruškovje border crossing to meet with mayors of municipalities located along the southern Schengen border as part of the government's visit to the Podravje region. He announced the deployment of reserve police officers to help guard the border.
        LJUBLJANA - National Assembly President Igor Zorčič symbolically took over from Portugal the parliamentary dimension of the presidency of the Council of the EU today alongside National Council President Alojz Kovšca. Slovenia's presidency will mainly focus on the EU's post-pandemic recovery and efforts to strengthen the bloc's resilience, Zorčič he said.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, urged the Slovenian EU presidency to provide better protection to refugees in Europe and around the world. It also called for an agreement on the EU pact on migrations and asylum.
        LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian government is overseeing an increasingly systematic effort to undermine critical media, the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR), a coalition of press freedom organisations and journalism groups warned in a report released after conducting a virtual fact-finding mission to Slovenia in late May and early June.
        LJUBLJANA - Pope Francis appointed Andrej Saje the new bishop of Novo Mesto. The priest of the Ljubljana Archdiocese and native of the town in south-eastern Slovenia has previously worked as a judicial vicar of the Metropolitan Ecclesiastical Court in Ljubljana and teacher at the Ljubljana Faculty of Theology.
        LJUBLJANA - Unhappy with collective bargaining with the government, professional firefighters went on a token strike. The trade union of professional firefighters said the strike was not directed at the people and they would not feel it as firefighters would still protect lives and property.
        LJUBLJANA - Measures to mitigate the consequences of the Covid-19 epidemic affected Slovenia's public finances also in the first quarter of the year, with the general government deficit amounting to EUR 969 million or 8.3% of the country's GDP, the Statistics Office said. This is somewhat less than in the last quarter of 2020.
        LJUBLJANA - Foreign direct investment (FDI) in Slovenia increased by 2.4% to EUR 16.6 billion last year despite there being no major takeovers like the year before, according to a report from the central bank. Austria ranks as the biggest investor with a 25.6% share in the total value of incoming FDI.
        RENNES, France - Slovenian cycling star Tadej Pogačar won stage five of the Tour de France race. Last year's winner of the Tour was 19 seconds faster than Stefan Küng from Switzerland in the 27.2-kilometre individual time trial between Changé and Laval Espace Mayenne.

        BRDO PRI KRANJU - Rule of law was one of the main topics discussed during the visit by the College of Commissioners. Prime Minister Janez Janša said that in a rule of law, final decisions are in the hands of courts. Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said it was important to always respect the rule of law and European values.
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - Prime Minister Janez Janša said the procedure to appoint European delegated prosecutors (EDPs) from Slovenia could be wrapped up by the autumn. "How fast the procedure will be depends on those who participate in it ... in my assessment it could be concluded by the autumn if everybody does their job."
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - EU enlargement is one of Slovenian EU presidency priorities and a response to strategic challenges, Prime Minister Janez Janša said after a meeting between the government and the EU Commission delegation marking the start of the presidency stint. In the next six months there will be a return to addressing enlargement as a strategic response to open issues.
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - Prime Minister Janez Janša and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen highlighted the EU's post-covid recovery as a major issue that Slovenia's EU presidency will deal with. The past 15 months had shown that "the EU has been part of the solution during this time," according to Janša, who said resilience, recovery and the EU's strategic autonomy were among the Slovenian presidency's priorities.
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - Media freedom was one of the topics that the College of Commissioners discussed as they met the government at the outset of Slovenia's presidency of the EU. Commission President Ursula von der Leyen expects that Slovenia will swiftly sort out the financing of the Slovenian Press Agency (STA) and ensure its independence.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Commission endorsed on Slovenia's EUR 2.5 billion national recovery and resilience plan. Pending confirmation by member states, Slovenia will be able to draw EUR 1.8 billion in grants and EUR 705 million in loans under the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF).
        LJUBLJANA - The Administrative Court struck down an application by the pair of prosecutors who have been approved for Slovenia's European delegated prosecutors before the government annulled the appointment procedure on procedural grounds. It said it had set aside the lawsuit and the request for a temporary stay on the government's decision.
        BRNIK - The new passenger terminal at the Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport received its first passengers in what the airport operator labelled as a landmark in Slovenian aviation history. "It is a great event ... as Slovenia has gotten infrastructure that it had long desired," Fraport Slovenija director Zmago Skobir said.
        LJUBLJANA - The centre-left opposition rejected the coalition's call for a political truce during Slovenia's EU presidency. They are determined to continue to use all the available means at their disposal and are not ruling out a new attempt at a vote of no confidence.
        STOCKHOLM, Sweden - Slovenia turned fully green on the map of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), as the western part of the country joined the eastern part, which made it to the green list last week.
        KOPER - An honorary consulate of Hungary was inaugurated in Koper, with Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto highlighting the strategic position of Koper for Hungarian companies and good relations between Slovenia and Hungary.

26 Jun 2021, 14:07 PM

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

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

FRIDAY, 18 June
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor said in an interview with the STA that he believed Slovenians could be proud of what the country had achieved in the last 30 years. He acknowledged there is a rift in society now but not as deep as some made it out to be. He warned that an election as such will not necessarily result in change, even if there is a change in government.
        PARIS, France - Slovenia's EU presidency priorities and the shared interests of both countries in the EU topped the agenda as Foreign Minister Anže Logar held talks with his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian. Logar highlighted the Conference on the Future of Europe as a shared interest of the successive EU presidencies.
        LJUBLJANA - The Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS) sees Slovenia's losing five spots in the IMD World Digital Competitiveness Ranking as a serious warning, pointing to a shortage of IT apprentices or qualified foreign experts at companies.
        LJUBLJANA - The government adopted changes to the communicable diseases act after the Constitutional Court declared unconstitutional parts of it and thus measures introduced during the epidemic.
        MARIBOR - Police said four suspects had been remanded in custody following a series of police raids earlier this week in connection to illegal dumping of nearly 200 tonnes of sewage sludge in a village south of Maribor, as new dumpsites were discovered around Slovenia. Six suspects and two legal entities face criminal charges.
        LJUBLJANA - Bankarium, a museum of Slovenian banking managed by the NLB Group, opened in Ljubljana to give visitors an insight into the history of Slovenian banking, experience banking practice and broaden their financial knowledge.

        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša told the Indian news channel Wion the EU had not done enough to limit the growing threat from China, arguing it had put its economic interests before its values. He welcomed the conclusions on China adopted at the recent G7 summit and the recent NATO summit, saying "the freedom loving countries have started taking China seriously for the first time in all of its dimensions". He also said China was a bigger challenge than Russia.
        SLOVENSKE KONJICE - Janez Janša won his ninth term at the helm of the Democratic Party (SDS) at a party congress to lead the party uninterruptedly since 1993. He was endorsed by 650 of the 656 delegates as the only candidate for the post. Addressing the delegates, he said the SDS is the only party founded before Slovenia's independence that is still in one piece, still in parliament and still a political force with the largest voter support.
        LJUBLJANA - The Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) elected Ljubo Jasnič, a former secretary general of the party, the new party leader at a congress. He received 54 out of 117 votes. Addressing the delegates, he said everything would be done for DeSUS to enter parliament again at the next election.
        STRASBOURG, France - Foreign Ministry State Secretary Gašper Dovžan took part in the first plenary of the Conference on the Future of Europe. In his video address he called for continuation of EU integration and boosting the bloc's resilience.
        LJUBLJANA - Rating agency Fitch affirmed Slovenia's credit rating at A with a stable outlook, the Finance Ministry said, adding that this showed the agency acknowledged Slovenia's strong institutional structure, focus on human development and a credible policy framework supported by EU membership.
        LJUBLJANA - The Pride Parade was held under the slogan Resist the Oppression as a culmination of a week-long festival, the first time accompanied by the Balkan Trans Intersex March, which pointed to issues faced by members of the transgender, intersex and non-normative sexuality communities.

SUNDAY, 20 June
        LJUBLJANA - The STA celebrated its 30th anniversary with a ceremony in front of its headquarters in Ljubljana amid a rather uncertain financial situation to mark 20 June in 1991, when it published its first news article, just a few days before the declaration of Slovenia's independence.
        PORTOROŽ - Organised by the University of Primorska, the 8th European Congress of Mathematics started to bring together more than 1,700 mathematicians from across the globe in a hybrid format. One of the world's major events of its kind id due to close on 26 June.

MONDAY, 21 June
        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša described arguments about political unity over Slovenia's independence 30 years ago as a "bad myth" in an interview with public broadcaster TV Slovenija ahead of the 30th anniversary of independence, but acknowledged the people's unity as the key factor to the step. Listing Slovenia's key achievements over the past 30 years, he noted Slovenia's being recognised as the world's 5th safest country, as well as becoming part of the EU, NATO, Schengen etc.
        LJUBLJANA - The leaders of the opposition Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ), Social Democrats (SD), Left and Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB) were critical of the current government in an interview with TV Slovenija, regretting that Slovenia is so divided as the 30th anniversary of independence approaches.
        LJUBLJANA - The Defence Ministry presented a long-term programme for the Slovenian Armed Forces that envisages a different structure, organisation and equipping, an overhaul of the system of military education and training and a financial framework for realising these plans. The number of soldiers is to gradually rise to 10,000 by 2035.
        NEW YORK, US - Boštjan Malovrh, until now Slovenia's deputy ambassador to China, succeeded Darja Bavdaž Kuret as Slovenia's Ambassador at the UN.
        LISBON, Portugal - Janez Cigler Kralj, Slovenia's minister of social affairs and equal opportunities, signed the Lisbon declaration on the European platform on combatting homelessness, as he attended a high-level conference on homelessness organised by Portugal's EU presidency and the European Commission.
        LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary EU Affairs Committee hosted a debate on the future of governance in the EU as part of the Conference on the Future of Europe, with jurists floating an idea to found a European institute of constitutional democracy. Jurist Peter Jambrek said it would focus on fundamental freedoms and the rule of law.
        LJUBLJANA - The Constitutional Court said it ruled that turning down a foreigner's application for a residence permit in the country of residence of their close relatives could interfere with the person's right to family life even when that person committed a crime. The court adopted the position in granting an appeal by a woman whose application for her husband to be granted an extension of the residence permit was rejected.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia introduced an option for residents to choose with which vaccine they would like to be vaccinated against Covid, while the government adopted a set of measures to scale up vaccination by making it more accessible. It tasked the Health Ministry with organising a large number of mobile vaccination units, which were launched in Ljubljana on 23 June.
        STRASBOURG, France - The Slovenian women's basketball team was knocked out of the 2021 EuroBasket Women with a defeat against Russia (93:75) in the quarter-finals qualification.

TUESDAY, 22 June
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Slovenian FM Anže Logar told the Euractiv news portal in an interview that the EU should move "as soon as possible" from a wait-and-see approach to a problem-solving strategy in dealing with the EU enlargement to the Western Balkans.
        LJUBLJANA - Wolfgang Sobotka, the speaker of the Austrian parliament, paid an official visit to Slovenia to meet his counterpart Igor Zorčič, PM Janez Janša and President Borut Pahor. The focus of the talks was on the EU and its enlargement to the Western Balkans, and bilateral relations, including minority issues.
        LJUBLJANA - First Vice-President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola met representatives of both houses of Slovenia's parliament to discuss the parliamentary aspect of Slovenia's EU presidency. She said the priorities of the Slovenian presidency were similar to the priorities of the European Parliament.
        MUNICH, Germany - Foreign Minister Anže Logar met Bavarian State Minister for European and International Affairs Melanie Huml in Munich for discussions that focused on the efforts to deepen political and trade relations between Bavaria and Slovenia and the challenges of the Slovenian EU presidency. The ministers also attended the closing part of the 32nd session of the standing bilateral Bavaria-Slovenia commission, which agreed a number of cooperation projects.
        LISBON, Portugal - Interior Minister Aleš Hojs took part in a meeting of EU and US ministers in charge of justice and home affairs which discussed cooperation in the combat against terrorism and cybercrime, as well as migration, among other issues.
        LJUBLJANA - Ljubljana Archbishop Stanislav Zore looked back upon the path walked since Slovenia declared independence 30 years ago, finding the nation had largely attained its goals, as he celebrated Mass for the Homeland, which was also attended by Slovenia's senior officials.
        LJUBLJANA - The Strategic Council for Digitalisation presented the first package of measures promoting digitalisation, which the government endorsed at its last week's session. The council, set up in April, included solutions for the digitalisation of public administration, healthcare, education and business.
        LJUBLJANA - State-owned power group HSE posted a net loss of EUR 184.1 million in 2020 after reporting EUR 29.7 million in net profit in 2019. The Šoštanj coal-fired power plant (TEŠ) alone generated EUR 280.4 million in net loss. Meanwhile, the group's sales revenue was record high, at EUR 1.8 billion.
        LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Journalist Association (DNS) launched a platform for reporting attacks on journalists that will keep track and monitor such attacks as well as raise awareness about the issue.
        LJUBLJANA - The latest measurements of school children's fitness show the Covid epidemic has severely impaired their physical efficiency, making 10% addicted to digital devices, and increasing the share of overweight kids by 30%. Revealing the results, experts from the Ljubljana Faculty of Sport proposed several measures to address the issues, such as no more school closures, no homework, and subsidies for sport activity for low-income children.

        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia issued its first sustainability bond to finance exclusively sustainable projects. Demand for the EUR 1 billion bond with a 10-year maturity date outstripped supply by far. Since Slovenia issued the green bond as the first Central or East European country and as the second EU member state, the Finance Ministry labelled the transaction a milestone.
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor decorated the STA with the Order of Merit in recognition of its "irreplaceable mission" in the media space for the past 30 years and its vital role in the period when Slovenia was gaining independence. He also decorated the Koper bureau of public broadcaster RTV Slovenija and the Slovenian bureau of Italian public broadcaster RAI.
        ROME, Italy - Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek signed a letter of intent on cooperation in spacial activities for peaceful purposes with the Italian Space Agency as part of a two-day visit to Italy. He also met Italian Economy Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti with the pair calling for boosting economic cooperation.
        NOVA GORICA/GORIZIA, Italy - Senior officials from Slovenia and Italy marked the 30th anniversary of Slovenia's independence in Europe Square, which links the city of Nova Gorica with its Italian counterpart Gorizia in what President Borut Pahor hailed as an "unprecedented" occasion.
        LJUBLJANA - Susan K. Falatko, the chargé d'affaires at the US Embassy in Slovenia, told the STA that the embassy is closely monitoring the debate about the financing of the STA, whose importance should not be underestimated. She said the US is looking forward to cooperating with the Slovenian EU presidency, as many of the priorities of the presidency corresponded to those of the US, one of the being the Western Balkans.
        LJUBLJANA - The Kresnik Prize for best novel of the year went to Borut Kraševec for his debut novel Agni, which the jury praised as challenging the reader's fixed perceptions about the novel as the genre as well as about life in general as it fuses various voices.
        LJUBLJANA - The CIVICUS international alliance of NGOs placed Slovenia on its list of countries to be monitored for a decline in fundamental civil liberties, which draws attention to countries where there is a serious and rapid decline in respect for civic space.
        KOPER - A 100-metre extension to Quay I of the container terminal at the Koper port was inaugurated in what the port operator's CEO Dimitrij Zadel said was a key strategic project that would allow Slovenia's sole maritime port to preserve its leadership in container transshipment in the North Adriatic.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's insurance industry saw a decline in combined profit last year despite an increase in gross written premium. Business was affected by low interest rates and the financial crisis triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic, Gorazd Čibej, director of the Agency for Insurance Supervision, said.
        SOLKAN - A 13-year-old boy drowned in the river Soča on the kayak route near Solkan, in what is the second teenage death in this area in less than a year. A tree branch apparently caught his life jacker, pushing him into the water and under a rock.
        LJUBLJANA - An exhibition entitled Impressions 30 opened at the Slovenian Ethnographic Museum, presenting personal memories of Slovenians around the world from 30 years ago when Slovenia became independent, along with additional material published by Slovenians abroad.

        LJUBLJANA - Portugal will hand to Slovenia as the next EU presiding country many dossiers, including the endorsement of national recovery and resilience plans and EU enlargement to the Western Balkans, Portuguese FM Augusto Santos Silva said after meeting his counterpart Anže Logar. He said he was confident that Slovenia's presidency could make a breakthrough in relation to accession talks with North Macedonia and Albania. "I believe this will be a major achievement of the Slovenian presidency."
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Slovenian PM Janez Janša is among the EU leaders attending a summit in Brussels dedicated to tackling the Covid-19 pandemic, post-pandemic economic recovery, migrations, and relations with Russia and Turkey. Janša did not make a doorstep statement or take questions from reporters on arrival.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia test-introduced the European digital Covid certificate, while the system will be fully up and running next week, Health Minister Janez Poklukar told the press. For registered uses with digital identity, the certificate became available on the zVem portal this evening.
        LJUBLJANA - The government adopted a spending ceiling for the coming two years, capping expenditure at EUR 13.30 billion in 2022 and at EUR 13.05 billion in 2023. The cap on outlays for 2022 was raised by EUR 701.5 million, while for 2023, the outlays are planned to drop by EUR 255.2 million compared to 2022.
        LJUBLJANA - The government adopted the annual investment plan for the Slovenian Armed Forces (SAF) worth around EUR 73,4 million, which will enable the Defence Ministry to conclude contracts on investments to build an infantry battalion group and a special operations unit, as well as buy a transport plane and light 4X4 armoured vehicles.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - European Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders reiterated his concerns over the fact that Slovenia has still not appointed its European delegated prosecutors. He contacted Slovenian Justice Minister Marjan Dikaučič today to voice his concerns and request explanations for the situation.
        LJUBLJANA - The centre-left opposition called for Slovenia's top officials to protest against Hungary's controversial new anti-LGBTQ law, voicing disappointment over Slovenia's failure to join the 16 EU countries that expressed their concern over the law in a joint statement.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's business sentiment improved for the 7th straight month in June. The indicator is now at 8 percentage points, up 2.2 points from May and up 31.2 points year-on-year, the Statistics Office reported.


19 Jun 2021, 13:30 PM

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

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

FRIDAY, 11 June
        LJUBLJANA - Former Slovenian President Milan Kučan said that the government declassifying a 2011 document compiled by him on possible further paths in the process of Bosnia-Herzegovina's constitutional reform was a move to divert attention from the allegations that PM Janez Janša was spreading a non-paper on re-drawing of Western Balkans borders in the Western Balkans.
        LJUBLJANA - The heads of four independent oversight state bodies signed a joint statement calling for appropriate communication in the country and respect for independent state bodies. Signed by the Information Commissioner, Commission for Corruption Prevention, Court of Audit and Human Rights Ombudsman, the statement expressed concern about the relentless pressure of politics on institutions.
        LJUBLJANA - The Prosecution Council announced it had proposed that the State Attorney's Office file a lawsuit against the government for breach of law to the detriment of public interest after the government annulled the procedure to appoint Slovenia's two European delegated prosecutors.
        LJUBLJANA - The government decided on 10 June that Slovenia will donate 10,530 doses of the Pfizer vaccine to the Czech Republic in an expression of solidarity. The donation will be made from one of the future supplies of the vaccine destined for Slovenia and will be delivered directly by Pfizer.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - It was announced that Slovenia had asked for a extension of the two-month term for the assessment of its national recovery and resilience plan along with Poland, Sweden, Croatia and Romania. The European Commission granted the request and the deadline was extended by two weeks.
        LJUBLJANA - A building in the centre of Ljubljana where the coalition New Slovenia (NSi) has its headquarters was defaced with paint the night before, an act that the party said reflected the growing intolerance in society.
        LJUBLJANA - The executive committee of FIBA Europe decided Slovenia will host the 2023 European Women Basketball Championship, with two groups of the preliminary round to be played in Celje and Koper, and the elimination round in the capital of Ljubljana.

        LJUBELJ - A ceremony marking the 76th anniversary of the liberation of the Ljubelj labour camp, a Mauthausen sub-camp, heard warnings of the dangers of the spread of hatred. "There are too many politicians who sow hatred and politicians who allow and calmly observe this or pretend there is no danger," said keynote speaker Dragan Petrovec.
        LJUBLJANA - National Council President Alojz Kovšca argued in an interview with the STA that Slovenia would not be successful until politics was capable of compromise and the government featured individuals of leftist and rightist political proclivity. He also called for a stronger stance on sovereignty.

SUNDAY, 13 June
        LJUBLJANA - Igor Kršinar, a journalist for the magazine Reporter, initiated a private prosecution against PM Janez Janša over two Twitter posts in 2019 that implied he was a drug user. Kršinar said the claim that he was a drug user "exceeds the boundaries of appropriate and permitted communication".
        NOVO MESTO - Slovenia's Tadej Pogačar won the Tour of Slovenia, the country's biggest cycling road race, after defending the leading position in the final stage from Ljubljana to Novo Mesto. This marked the 25th career victory for the 22-year-old UAE Team Emirates rider, who won last year's Tour de France.

MONDAY, 14 June
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Arriving at a NATO summit, PM Janez Janša said Slovenia would not be able to reach the NATO target of 2% of GDP in defence spending by 2024, but it must do its homework. He noted that under the current government the spending trend had been reversed.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - China is NATO's key challenge, PM Janez Janša said ahead of a NATO summit. "The world has changed in the last three decades and threats have changed as well," Janša said, adding that China was definitely a topic that would dominate not only this but future summits as well.
        ROME, Italy - FM Anže Logar and his Italian counterpart Luigi di Maio chaired the 7th session of the Coordinating Committee of Ministers between Slovenia and Italy. They voiced the desire for stronger cooperation in security and migrations, infrastructure, sustainable mobility, industry, the green transition and science.
        LJUBLJANA - Police Commissioner Anton Olaj filed a criminal complaint against the opposition Left on suspicion of making false accusations against him in response to the party filing a complaint against him on suspicion of abuse of office. Olaj highlighted that the police were unbiased and professional.
        MEŽICA - TAB, the maker of starter batteries for cars and industrial batteries, announced it would launch production of lithium-ion cells in Prevalje in the first such facility in Slovenia in spring 2022 in a joint venture with the Chinese company Haidi Energy Technology.
        LJUBLJANA - Four former and current police officers who organised a police patrol in 2015 to pull over and breathalyze the then Public Administration Minister Boris Koprivnikar received suspended sentences at the Ljubljana District Court.
        LJUBLJANA - The average mark for the government's performance slightly increased for the second month in a row in the latest poll run by the newspaper Delo, however more than half of respondents remained unsatisfied with the government. The ruling SDS remained in the lead. The share of undecided voters rose to almost 20%.
TUESDAY, 15 June
        LJUBLJANA - Marjan Dikaučič, an official receiver, became Slovenia's new justice minister after a 44:41 vote in parliament. Dikaučič would not comment on the setback in the appointment of European delegated prosecutors from Slovenia, the reason for his predecessor's resignation.
        LJUBLJANA - The Covid-19 epidemic, which was declared in Slovenia in October, officially ended, but all existing restrictions remained in place. Proof of either Covid recovery or vaccination or a negative test result will still be required in many cases.
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor attended a ceremony at the Linden Tree of Reconciliation at Ljubljana's Žale cemetery, marking Day of Guilt, Forgiveness and Reconciliation. Recalling long-standing efforts to right wrongs, Pahor endorsed a declaration adopted by the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts (SAZU).
        CELJE - GE STEAM Power Systems, the legal successor to Alstom, struck a plea bargain with the prosecution in a case involving an alleged bribery scheme in the construction of TEŠ6. GE STEAM Power Systems agreed to pay EUR 23 million in damages plus EUR 50,000 in legal costs, subject to approval by the judge.
        LJUBLJANA - The SD leader Tanja Fajon proposed that four opposition parties forge a closer partnership, starting with a "partnership discussion" that would chart the way forward. Fajon wants the opposition to convince people of its capabilities.
        LJUBLJANA - With new coronavirus infections steadily declining, the NIJZ relaunched the active tracing of contacts of those who have tested positive, which had been suspended in autumn due to an unmanageable inflow of daily cases. Between 70 and 100 contact tracers will be available each day.
        LJUBLJANA - More than half of Slovenian respondents (51%) believe that corruption increased last year, showed the Global Corruption Barometer for the EU 2021, a survey by Transparency International. Responses by Slovenian participants suggested the second worst deterioration of the situation in the EU.
        LJUBLJANA - The Supreme Court upheld a guilty verdict against Andrej Šiško, the leader of Štajerska Guard, a self-proclaimed militia, who was found guilty in March 2019 of trying to subvert the constitutional order. He had already served out his eight-month sentence.

        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's central bank markedly upgraded its economic growth forecast for the country, projecting the economy to expand by 5.2% this year, up 2.1 percentage points on the December forecast, followed by a 4.8% growth in 2022, up from 4.5%.
        BRNIK - A new passenger terminal was inaugurated at the Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport. The expansion brings 10,000 square metres of new surfaces. The new terminal will open on 1 July, just in time for the start of Slovenia's EU presidency.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia recorded no daily Covid-19 deaths for the first time since 10 October as 83 new cases were logged, pushing the 7-day average case count and 14-day incidence per 100,000 residents below 100. Government data show 250,288 people had recovered from Covid-19 and 4,724 died had died.
        LJUBLJANA - US President Joe Biden sent his congratulations ahead of Statehood Day to President Borut Pahor. Biden sees the coming Slovenian EU presidency as a great opportunity for the country to contribute to the EU's resilience to health crises and cyber attacks.
        BRATISLAVA, Slovakia - FM Anže Logar argued for a credible continuation of the process to expand the EU to the Western Balkans as he took part in the Global Security Forum. Logar argued the EU should think geo-strategically and preserve and enhance a high level of trust for the Western Balkans.
        LJUBLJANA - It was announced that the government will host the College of European Commissioners, including EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, as Slovenia takes over the rotating EU presidency on 1 July.
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor nominated Damjan Kukovec, senior lecturer in law at Middlesex School of Law in London, for one of Slovenia's two judicial posts on the EU's General Court. Kukovec was endorsed as the most suitable out of eight candidates by the Judicial Council.
        LJUBLJANA - Finance reported that the Serbian AIK Banka was close to signing a deal to buy all of Russian Sberbank's operations in SE Europe, including those in Slovenia. A potential merger of Sberbank in Slovenia and Gorenjska Banka, which is owned by AIK, would create the third largest banking group in the country.

        LJUBLJANA - The government passed an emergency law to help the embattled tourism sector. The package is worth EUR 243.5 million, with new tourist vouchers accounting for the bulk of new spending. Businesses think the aid falls short.
        LJUBLJANA - The government adopted legislation that involves EUR 1.9 billion in spending on health investments over the next ten years for hospitals and educational institutions to beef up the capacity of the national health system. The money will be secured in regular annual budgets from 2021 to 2031.
        LJUBLJANA - The government decided to lift many existing restrictions in retail and services sectors as of 21 June, including the 10pm cap. A new restriction was introduced for public rallies and events with more than 100 persons. Participants of such events will need to be vaccinated, tested or reconvalescent from 21 June. The new rule will be in force until 27 June.
        LJUBLJANA - The government adopted a long-awaited bill on long-term care. A gradual approach is planned and a special mandatory contribution for long-term care, a key component of the system, will be put in place later, by mid-2024 at the latest.
        ANTALYA, Turkey - FM Anže Logar attended a ministerial of the South-East European Cooperation Process, discussing the possibilities for regional cooperation. In his address, Logar highlighted the importance of strengthening regional cooperation in the period following the Covid-19 pandemic.
        PODGORICA, Montenegro - Speaker Igor Zorčič started a two-day official visit to Montenegro by meeting his counterpart Aleksa Bečić. Zorčič said Slovenia would do everything in its power during its six-month stint at the helm of the Council of the EU to speed up Montenegro's EU accession talks.
        LJUBLJANA - The Court of Audit assessed that Slovenia was partly successful in achieving the objectives of reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the 2013-2019 period. It noted that 2030 targets were very ambitious and would be difficult to reach with the current structure and pace of measures.
        LJUBLJANA - Two members of the European Parliament from the Greens-European Free Alliance group concluded their three-day mission to Slovenia, assessing that, politically-speaking, the situation was very complex, and that they were leaving the country feeling concerned.
        LJUBLJANA - Foreign Ministry State Secretary Stanislav Raščan announced at a virtual donors' conference in solidarity with Venezuela's migrants and refugees in Latin America that Slovenia will donate EUR 60,000.


12 Jun 2021, 10:33 AM

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

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

FRIDAY, 4 June
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - President Borut Pahor reiterated his call for joint efforts by all stakeholders in Slovenia to make EU presidency a success after holding talks with top EU officials. He said Slovenia could preserve and enhance its image as a reliable country capable of leading demanding dossiers, despite the current political uncertainty in the country.
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - Slovenia and Italy will soon start policing the shared border with joint police patrols, the interior ministers, Aleš Hojs and Luciana Lamorgese, said after a meeting. Hojs said the patrols would be relaunched as soon as possible equipped with modern technology and devices such as drones.
        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša formally nominated Marjan Dikaučič, an official receiver, Slovenia's new justice minister after the candidate was put forward by the Modern Centre Party (SMC). Dikaučič is slated to replace Lilijana Kozlovič, who resigned when the government annulled the call for applications for the country's European delegated prosecutors.
        STRASBOURG, France - The Council of Europe's Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatović urged the Slovenian authorities in a memorandum to put a stop to the deterioration of the situation regarding media freedom and freedom of expression in the country. In the context of media freedom, she pointed to harassment, intimidation and criminal lawsuits against journalists. Prime Minister Janez Janša retorted by describing Mijatović as part of as "fake news network", which earned him a rebuke from several international organisations of journalists.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - European Chief Prosecutor Laura Codruta Kövesi expressed concern about the deadlock in the appointment of European delegated prosecutors (EDP) from Slovenia, saying it would affect the efficiency of the office and trust in oversight of EU funds. But she said her hands over the situation were tied.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed in a unanimous vote amendments to the penal code that redefine sexual consent in line with the concept that only yes means yes. The vote was hailed as historic by MPs, who said the credit should go to the NGOs which mobilised the public to create a genuine social movement.
        LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Armed Forces (SAF) officially took over 38 Oshkosh four-wheeled light tactical vehicles purchased from the US under a government-to-government deal. Another 37 vehicles are to be ordered this year.
        KOČEVSKI ROG - Retired Ljubljana Archbishop Anton Stres addressed the annual memorial and mass for victims of post-WWII reprisal killings in the Kočevski Rog woods, noting that that reconciliation was yet to be reached in Slovenia. He said the conditions for that include revealing truth about the post-war executions and condemning those who have committed the acts and forgiveness by those from the other side.
        VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis appointed Slovenian Archbishop Ivan Jurkovič, the Holy See's permanent observer to the United Nations and the World Trade Organisation in Geneva, as the new apostolic nuncio in Canada. Jurkovič has been the Holy See's permanent observer in several organisations in Geneva in the last five years.
        ANNECY, France - Golfer Pia Babnik scored the first Slovenian win at the Ladies European Tour as she won the EUR 200,000 Jabra Ladies Open tournament in the Evian Resort Golf Club in France, earning a ticket for the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

SUNDAY, 6 June
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor said he does not support a potential early election, arguing in an interview for TV Slovenija that a vote during Slovenia's EU presidency would mean the country misses a rare opportunity to strengthen its reputation on the international stage.
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor announced he will award presidential decorations to the Slovenian Press Agency (STA), the Koper bureau of public broadcaster RTV Slovenija and to the Slovenian bureau of Italian public broadcaster RAI.
        POZNAN, Poland - Slovenia's pair Špela Ponomarenko Janić and Anja Osterman won today's 200-metre race at the Canoe Sprint European Championships. This is their first gold from European or world championships.
        LJUBLJANA - The German youth football team won the UEFA U-21 European Championship by beating Portugal 1:0. Lukas Nmecha scored the only goal in the 49th minute to secure the third title for Germany since the competition began in 1978.

MONDAY, 7 June
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - European Commissioner for Promoting the European Way of Life Margaritis Schinas visited Slovenia before it assumes EU presidency on 1 July, discussing with Interior Minister Aleš Hojs the priorities of the presidency. Hojs said the new pact on migration and asylum was a priority in the field of internal affairs.
        SEOUL, South Korea - Foreign Minister Anže Logar started a two-day visit to South Korea by officially opening the first Slovenian embassy in Seoul. Janez Premože, a former Slovenian ambassador to India and China, has been named ambassador.
        LUXEMBOURG, Luxembourg - European Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders reiterated his call for Slovenia to appoint European delegated prosecutors for the European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO) as soon as possible. He hopes that he could soon discuss the issue with the new Slovenian justice minister.
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor hosted members of the Slovenian Bishops' Conference for lunch as Slovenia marks the 30th anniversary of independence. Pahor and Ljubljana Archbishop Stanislav Zore made a joint statement on the occasion saying all Slovenians should stand together, just like they did during the independence efforts.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia and China signed a protocol on the export of Slovenian poultry, a key precondition for the export of food products to the Asian country. Agriculture Minister Jože Podgoršek said a protocol on pork would follow soon.
        IZOLA - Slovenia assumed the two-year chairmanship of the Mediterranean Commission on Sustainable Development, a multi-stakeholder advisory body set up under the Barcelona convention, as the commission opened its 19th session.
        LJUBLJANA - Writer, publisher and editor Tanja Tuma was elected the new president of Slovenian PEN. She said she would like to open up Slovenian PEN to new members, foremost young writers.
        LUXEMBOURG - There was progress in the debate on the migration pact, Interior Minister Aleš Hojs said as he attended an EU ministerial. The debate on strengthening the European Asylum Support Office's (EASO) mandate could be advanced already during Portugal's presidency, but if not, the Slovenian EU presidency should make it happen in the second half of the year.
        SEOUL, South Korea - Foreign Minister Anže Logar met his South Korean counterpart Chung Eui-Yong as he continued his two-day visit. The pair urged strengthening political and economic ties between Slovenia and South Korea.
        LJUBLJANA - Hungarian energy group MOL acquired a network of 120 service stations operated by Austrian energy group OMV in Slovenia, subject to regulatory approval. The purchase consideration for the outright stake in the company OMV Slovenija is EUR 301 million. MOL's subsidiary INA already holds a 7.75% stake.
        SLADKI VRH - A new production line at the Paloma hygienic paper factory has been launched. Worth EUR 41 million, this is the largest investment in the Slovenian paper industry in the last 40 years and will make Paloma a competence centre for high-quality tissue products within the Slovak SHP Group.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenian Agriculture Minister Jože Podgoršek and his Italian counterpart Stefano Patuanelli talked via video call to conclude that the countries cooperate well in agriculture. They agreed that Slovenia and Italy shared the same views on the common agricultural and fisheries policy.
        LJUBLJANA - Speaker Igor Zorčič decided not to call a plenary session to debate the opposition Left's party programme after the coalition Democrats (SDS) and New Slovenia (NSi) requested this last week, arguing the programme contained elements suggesting the Left could act against the country's constitutional order.
        NEW YORK, US - Slovenia and Kiribati established diplomatic relations. A joint statement to that effect was signed at the Slovenian Mission in New York by the Slovenian and Kiribati ambassadors at the UN, Darja Bavdaž Kuret and Teburoro Tito.

        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor hosted his Swiss counterpart Guy Parmelin for official talks to confirm the friendly relations between the two countries. The presidents agreed that relations could be further strengthened at both international and bilateral levels, in particular in business, research and science.
        PORTOROŽ - Interior Minister Aleš Hojs and his Croatian counterpart Davor Božinović discussed strategies to facilitate border crossing between Slovenia and Croatia, for hauliers, tourists and daily commuters. While it was agreed a new checkpoint will open near Brežice for daily commuters, police were tasked with coming up with a solution at Obrežje and Gruškovje to enable a faster flow of lorries.
        LJUBLJANA - Jette Ostan Vejrup, a Danish-Slovenian actress born in 1962 who is member of the Ljubljana City Theatre, was declared the winner of this year's Borštnik Ring, Slovenia's top accolade for lifetime achievement in theatre acting. The jury said that Ostan Vejrup's breakthrough into Slovenian theatre has expanded its boundaries.
        LJUBLJANA - The coalition proposed amendments to the act on public contracting in healthcare under which prices of medical equipment would be regulated with a system of reference prices. A new government office would set the reference prices.
        LJUBLJANA - The opposition Left filed criminal complaints against the ruling Democrats (SDS) and "its media network" for suspicion of a systemic spread of non-truths about the party's platform. The party also pressed charges against Police Commissioner Anton Olaj for suspicion of abuse of office.
        LJUBLJANA - The government declassified a 2011 document about possible further paths in the process of constitutional reform of Bosnia-Herzegovina, compiled by former Slovenian President Milan Kučan. The move comes after an alleged non-paper on border changes in the Western Balkans attributed to Slovenia had been circulated in the public. It was not immediately clear if this is document that had been subject to public scrutiny.
        PORTOROŽ - Brdo-Brijuni Process interior ministers discussed on the final day of their informal meeting illegal migration, highlighting the need for better cooperation. Interior Minister Aleš Hojs named data exchange with Western Balkan countries and the use of EU databases as possible solutions.
        LJUBLJANA - The government adopted a regulation that details how the STA should perform its public service, and defines the scope of public service and its financing. STA staff said regulation did not address the underlying issues relevant to the agency's survival and development
        LJUBLJANA - Uroš Urbanija, the head of the Government Communication Office (UKOM), filed a criminal complaint against Katarina Bervar Sternad of the Legal Network for the Protection of Democracy and lawyer Nataša Pirc Musar. He accused them of making false accusations against him over the suspension of STA funding.
        LJUBLJANA - Austrian author Josef Winkler was declared the winner of this year's International Vilenica Prize. Winkler said he knew quite a few previous Vilenica winners and was proud to be among them.
        LJUBLJANA - The government decided to extend the majority of existing coronavirus restrictions while slightly easing them in the cultural sector, where serving food and drinks will once again be permitted during cultural events.
        LJUBLJANA - Chinese company Huawei announced it planned to set up a regional logistic hub in Slovenia for some 19 markets of central and south-eastern Europe. As a result, the flow of its goods through the port of Koper will increase and new storage facilities will need to be built near Ljubljana airport.
        PARIS, France - Tamara Zidanšek lost in the semi-finals of the French Open in Paris to Russia's Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in what was only the second semi-final appearance for a Slovenian woman tennis player in the singles competition at a Grand Slam tournament in almost four decades and a half.


05 Jun 2021, 06:25 AM

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

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

FRIDAY, 28 May
        LJUBLJANA - Igor Zorčič remained parliamentary speaker as only 45 MPs voted to dismiss him in a secret ballot, one short of the needed majority, just like in the first attempt on 30 March after he quit the coalition Modern Centre Party (SMC).
        MOSCOW, Russia - As EU presiding country, Slovenia will make efforts to reduce tensions in relations with Russia, Slovenian Foreign Minister Anže Logar announced after meeting his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov. Lavrov said he would like EU-Russia relations to be normalised.
        LJUBLJANA - More than one million Covid-19 vaccine doses had been administered in Slovenia as 653,310 people received a first shot and 381,619 were fully inoculated, data from the National Institute of Public Health showed. The figures mean that just over 31% of Slovenia's entire population has received at least one dose, and just over 18% has been fully vaccinated.
        LJUBLJANA - Thousands of protesters took to the streets of the capital protesting against the government's actions and calling for an early election. The rally included various groups and movements and was supported by trade unions and the centre-left opposition.
        LJUBLJANA - The government and ten out of over 40 public sector trade unions signed a deal which abolishes some of the remaining austerity measures introduced during the financial crisis, delays the payday and raises the holiday allowance. It is estimated at EUR 65 million. The majority of the unions signed the deal, but some have refused.
        LJUBLJANA - Montenegrin Prime Minister Zdravko Krivokapić was on an working visit to Slovenia meeting Prime Minister Janez Janša to discuss the Covid-19 pandemic, bilateral relations and Montenegro's EU prospects. Krivokapić also met Speaker Igor Zorčič and President Borut Pahor.
        AJDOVŠČINA - Biotech company BIA Separations - Sartorius launched a new production facility, which increases the company's production capacities fivefold. The new production facility of 3,200 square metres will be used to produce chromatographic columns for cleaning new generations of medicines.

        SEŽANA - Luka Mesec pledged for the Left to do all in its power to make the future free, democratic and green, as the party met for a congress to set out its green manifesto and launch elections to the party council. The results of the vote were not immediately announced.
        LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Janez Janša and his wife Urška Bačovnik Janša were in Zagreb to attend a ceremony marking Croatia's Statehood Day. Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković invited Janša and his spouse to attend a concert in front of the Croatian National Theatre.

SUNDAY, 30 May
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - Slovenian President Borut Pahor and his German and Portuguese counterparts, Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, highlighted the importance of Europe's unity and the European idea as they held a meeting in Brdo pri Kranju.
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - President Borut Pahor said Slovenia was not in a political crisis, it was just in the midst of "heightened political uncertainty". There is enough maturity and experience in Slovenian politics that the country may preside the Council of the EU at a level that fulfils the high expectations of all 27 member states, he said.
        GORNJI GRAD - Maksimilijan Matjaž was installed as the new Bishop of Celje, almost three months after his appointment was announced by the Vatican. The ceremony was held at the Cathedral of St. Hermagoras and Fortunatus in Gornji Grad, the biggest church in the Celje diocese.

MONDAY, 31 May
        LJUBLJANA - After contracting by an estimated 5.5% in real terms last year, Slovenia's economy returned to growth in the first quarter of the year as GDP expanded at an annual rate of 1.6% in real terms or by as much as 2.3% when adjusted for season. It rose by 1.4% from the final quarter of 2020, the Statistics Office said.
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor and his Portuguese counterpart Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, visiting as Slovenia is soon to take over the rotating EU presidency from Portugal agreed that presidents played an important role in the process despite the EU presidency being managed by governments.
        LJUBLJANA - The Hungarian OTP Bank Group announced it had signed a contract to acquire the outright stake in NKBM, Slovenia's second largest bank, making OTP the biggest player on the Slovenian banking market. The deal is to be finalised in the second quarter of next year.
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - Addressing the annual consultation of Slovenian diplomats dedicated to Slovenia's upcoming EU presidency, Foreign Minister Anže Logar said Slovenia was well prepared for the presidency, listing the Conference on the Future of the EU and the progress of Western Balkan countries on their path towards the EU as the key topics.
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - President Borut Pahor vowed to make an effort for Slovenia to accomplish its job as the president of the Council of the EU with "maturity, cooperation and responsibility", as he urged a strengthening of pro-European policies in his address to diplomats.
        LJUBLJANA - The head of the national advisory group for Covid-19 vaccination, Bojana Beović, said the group would recommend vaccinating children, especially children suffering from chronic diseases, after the European Medicines Agency's approval of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for children aged 12 or more.
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - PM Janez Janša said in his address to Slovenian diplomats that the key challenges for the EU in the coming period were getting back on its feet after the Covid-19 pandemic and setting itself strategic goals, including expansion to the Western Balkans.
        LUXEMBOURG, Luxembourg - European Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders told reporters at the launch of the European Public Prosecutor's Office that the European Commission was in contact with the Slovenian authorities for Slovenia to fulfil its obligations regarding the appointment of its European delegated prosecutors as soon as possible but had so far not received a positive answer.
        LJUBLJANA - The Prosecution Council announced it would propose that the State Attorneys Office file a lawsuit against the government for breach of law to the detriment of public interest after the government annulled the procedure to appoint Slovenia's two European delegated prosecutors.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly rejected a proposal from the centre-left opposition for a consultative referendum on the government-sponsored bill on the national Demographic Fund.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed amendments to the act on road transport that create the legal basis for transportation platforms such as Uber or Lyft, changes that the government argues will facilitate the digitalisation of the transport sector.
        LJUBLJANA - A month-long fundraising campaign by the Association of Slovenian Journalists (DNS), which has raised EUR 264,500 for the Slovenian Press Agency (STA), ended. Donations via SMS are no longer possible, but those via bank transfer are possible until the end of June.

        LJUBLJANA - The Constitutional Court declared provisions of the communicable diseases act allowing the government to restrict movement and public assembly unconstitutional, and annulled the government decrees that were based on this law, including those relating to the night curfew, ban on assembly, and confining citizens to their regions or municipalities.
        LJUBLJANA - The government adopted the programme of Slovenia's presidency of the EU covering four priority areas - resilience and recovery, the rule of law, a credible and safe EU, and the Conference on the Future of Europe.
        LJUBLJANA - The government changed the decree on the conditions for entering Slovenia to recognise a negative rapid antigen test in addition to a negative PCR test as of 5 June until 13 June. Some restrictions in the services sector were also relaxed, including those concerning swimming pools, consuming food and drink at the takeaway points and the number of customers at shopping centres.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia received 300,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine against Covid-19 on loan from Hungary in what Prime Minister Janez Janša said would allow Slovenia to stop the epidemic and enjoy a relaxed summer. Health Minister Janez Poklukar said Slovenia would return vaccines to Hungary expectedly in the autumn or by the end of the year.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Commission urged Slovenia to pay special attention to the structure of public finances and quality of budget measures as it released the European semester spring package. It recommends that the country strive for medium-term fiscal sustainability when the economic situation allows it.
        PRAGUE, Czechia/ BRATISLAVA, Slovakia - Interior Minister Aleš Hojs told his Czech counterpart Jan Hamáček and his Slovak counterpart Roman Mikulec in Bratislava Slovenia would focus during its EU presidency on negotiations on legislative acts as part of the new Pact on Migration and Asylum and on strengthening the Schengen zone.
        LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Anže Logar talked on the phone with Liechtenstein's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Education, and Sport Dominique Hasler. Bilateral cooperation, the upcoming Slovenian presidency of the EU and the Covid-19 pandemic topped the agenda.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Finance Minister Andrej Šircelj concluded a two-day working visit to Brussels dominated by talks with senior officials in preparation for the EU presidency. Meeting European Commissioner for Trade Valdis Dombrovskis, he emphasised the importance of fast and successful post-pandemic recovery.
        LJUBLJANA - The government established the Recovery and Resilience Office. The new department will operate under the Finance Ministry to coordinate and manage the implementation of the national recovery and resilience plan. The office will be inaugurated on 1 August at the latest.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - President Borut Pahor started his two-day visit to Brussels by appearing in a debate with Brussels think-tanks, saying he would like Slovenia to use its presidency of the Council of the EU to enhance the union and its role in it.
        LUXEMBOURG, Luxembourg - Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec told EU transport ministers that the priorities of Slovenia's upcoming EU presidency in transport would be sustainability and resilience.
        LJUBLJANA - National Assembly Speaker Igor Zorčič took part in the first Three Seas Parliamentary Forum, which was held in a virtual format to discuss the role of parliaments in the initiative and how they could contribute to making it more recognisable.
        LJUBLJANA - The government expanded the number of points where residents will be able to get their digital identity to expand the use of digital Covid certificates once they enter into force. In addition to administrative units, those points will include vaccination centres, social work centres, the Financial Administration and other points.
        LJUBLJANA - The government changed the decrees limiting attendance at public sport and cultural events to increase the permitted number of viewers from 50% to 75% of the number of fixed seats at a venue. The eased attendance cap applies both to indoor and outdoor venues.
        LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Commission for Oversight of Public Finances urged the government to resume STA funding as set down in a coronavirus relief law in three days. Culture Ministry State Secretary Ignacija Fridl Jarc announced that the ministry would like the funding dispute to get resolved and was thus drafting a decree.
        LJUBLJANA - A total of 75,148 were registered as unemployed in Slovenia at the end of May, down 5.2% over April and 16.9% over May last year, in what is the fourth month in a row that unemployment decreased, the Employment Service said.

29 May 2021, 11:35 AM

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

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

FRIDAY, 21 May
        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša warned against an early election that would be held during Slovenia's EU presidency in an interview with public broadcaster TV Slovenija. This would mean dealing with own rather than others' problems, Janša said.
        LJUBLJANA - The Foreign Ministry welcomed the ceasefire negotiated between Israel and Palestinian militants after the latest escalation of tensions in the Middle East as "an encouraging development", but at the same time urged further efforts to reach a lasting political solution and peace.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - European Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders urged Economy Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Zdravko Počivalšek to appoint Slovenia's European delegated prosecutors. Počivalšek said the issue was not as clear cut as it may seem.
        LJUBLJANA - Environment Minister Andrej Vizjak held a virtual meeting with European Commission Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans to present the priorities of Slovenia's EU presidency. He said Slovenia would continue with steps aimed at making the EU a leading global player against climate change.
        PRAGUE, Czech Republic - Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec discussed closer bilateral cooperation in transport and energy as he met Czech PM Andrej Babiš and Transport Minister Karl Havliček in Prague. Opportunities to boost Czech companies' cooperation with the Slovenian port of Koper was discussed
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Vice President of the European Commission for Values and Transparency Vera Jourova repeated her expectation for swift solutions to be found to ensure the sustainable funding and independence of the STA in a letter to international journalist organisations.
        LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian economy as a whole posted somewhat poorer results in 2020 compared to 2019 but managed to stay afloat, suggest data by the AJPES agency for legal records, as net profit shrunk by almost two-fifths and total revenue by almost 6%.

        SKOPJE, North Macedonia - Foreign ministers of Slovenia, Austria and the Czech Republic, Anže Logar, Jakub Kulhanek and Alexander Schallenberg expressed support for North Macedonia's EU path at a working visit to the country.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Finance Minister Andrej Šircelj took part in an informal session of the EU's Economic and Financial Affairs Council focussing on efforts to ensure a balanced post-pandemic recovery. He said that support measures should not be lifted too quickly.
        MARIBOR - Mura, a football club from Murska Sobota, won their first ever title of national champion after defeating Maribor 3:1 in the final round of the premiere league.

SUNDAY, 23 May
        TIRANA, Albania - The foreign ministers of Slovenia, Austria and the Czech Republic, Anže Logar, Alexander Schallenberg and Jakub Kulhanek, stressed the role of EU enlargement to the Western Balkans for the entire EU as they met senior Albanian officials.

MONDAY, 24 May
        LJUBLJANA - Senior Slovenian officials condemned actions by Belarus after a Ryanair flight was forced to land in Minsk. PM Janez Janša expressed support for sanctions, while President Borut Pahor and Foreign Minister Anže Logar called for an independent investigation.
        JESENICE - Justice Minister Lilijana Kozlovič expressed her support for the idea for Slovenia to first appoint only one candidate for a European delegated prosecutor as a way to break the impasse in the appointment of candidates for two delegated prosecutors from Slovenia.
        ROME, Italy - The mayors of Slovenia's Nova Gorica and Italy's Gorizia, Klemen Miklavič and Rodolfo Ziberna, met Italian President Sergio Mattarella, who confirmed that together with Slovenian President Borut Pahor, he will visit the two border cities in the autumn 2025 when they turn into the European Capital of Culture.
        LJUBLJANA - Trade shows and events were allowed to reopen after more than a year for guests who have either recovered from Covid-19, been vaccinated or tested.
        VELENJE - Representatives of the government and the Chinese-owned group Hisense signed a contract under which the state will provide almost EUR 1 million grant for its TV production plant in Velenje.
        LJUBLJANA/ZAGREB, Croatia - The privately-held electronics group Iskra announced it had signed an acquisition agreement with Croatian electric cable manufacturer Elka for an undisclosed amount.
        KOPER - Splošna Plovba, a Portorož-based shipping company in German ownership, sold its 52.45% stake in media company Primorske Novice to three companies that form part of vast media network controlled by the Odlazek family.
        LJUBLJANA - MPs decided that Slovenians will head to the polls on 11 July to vote on amendments to the water act that have pitted environmentalists, who say the legislation paves the way for the build-up of coastal land, against the government, which says their claims are misguided.
        LJUBLJANA - Marko Ilešič will not get a new term as EU Court judge after the National Assembly voted by 37 in favour and 43 against in a secret ballot.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Prime Minister Janez Janša hailed the European Council's decision to step up sanctions against Belarus, saying the debate had shown the EU standing firmly behind its values.
        LJUBLJANA - FM Anže Logar and his Serbian counterpart Nikola Selaković agreed on a mutual recognition of vaccination certificates as they held talks. Serbian certificates will be recognised in Slovenia as of 30 May.
        VELLATE, Malta - Interior Minister Aleš Hojs met his Maltese counterpart Byron Camilleri to present the priorities of the coming Slovenian EU presidency. Hojs highlighted the role of efforts to strengthen the Schengen area.
        LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Association of Journalists (DNS) called on President Borut Pahor to decorate the Slovenian Press Agency (STA) on its 30th anniversary, as the final week of a crowdfunding campaign got under way.

        LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Janez Janša survived an impeachment vote in parliament as 42 deputies voted in favour and 44 against. A 46-vote majority would have been required to impeach him.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium/LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Janez Janša highlighted the EU's resilience and post-pandemic recovery as key topics of Slovenia's upcoming EU presidency at a virtual meeting with the European Parliament's Conference of Presidents. Slovenia will cooperate closely with the Parliament, he said.
        LJUBLJANA - Yang Jiechi, the director of the Central Foreign Affairs Commission Office of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, held talks with President Borut Pahor and Defence Minister Matej Tonin. Pahor reportedly highlighted the importance of multilateralism and responsibility for global peace and development.
        LJUBLJANA - The government decided Slovenia would remains in tier yellow of coronavirus restrictions despite meeting the conditions for the green tier. The current regime will remain in place at least until 6 June.
        LJUBLJANA - The government decided to extend the furlough scheme by another month, until the end of June, in a bid to reduce the risk that companies facing slow demand or a negative productivity shock start laying off workers.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly adopted an amended housing act whose overarching goal is to increase the number of public rental homes in the country through greater borrowing and a state rental agency.
        WASHINGTON, US - The IMF slightly upgraded Slovenia's GDP growth forecast for this year, to 3.9% from 3.7% and kept the forecast for next year at 4.5%. In 2023 Slovenia's economy is projected to grow at a rate of 3.6%.
        LJUBLJANA - Justice Minister Lilijana Kozlovič stepped down after the government decided to annual the procedure to appoint candidates for Slovenia's two European delegated prosecutors and publish a new call for applications. European Chief Prosecutor Laura Kövesi said the move seriously undermined trust in the effective control systems for EU funds in Slovenia.
        LJUBLJANA - The right to use and development of the Slovenian sign language was enshrined in the Constitution under a new constitutional amendment that also requires a special law on the free use and development of the deaf-blind language.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed an amendment to the Constitutional Court act requiring the court to handle petitions even when applicants lost standing since they lodged the petition.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - The Culture Ministry announced the art exhibition that was planned to be put up at the European Parliament during Slovenia's EU presidency will go ahead, yet under conditions set by Minister Vasko Simoniti.
        LJUBLJANA - The government decided to donate 240 packs of Remdesivir, an antiviral medicine used in the treatment of Covid-19, to India to help it cope with the coronavirus pandemic. The aid is worth EUR 86,800.


22 May 2021, 09:00 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, 14 May
        LJUBLJANA - Defence Minister Matej Tonin announced a new concept of basic training for the Slovenian Armed Forces, designed as a single entry point for those interested in either voluntary or professional service. For the whole 13 weeks of training, recruits will get a pay of roughly EUR 3,200.
        LJUBLJANA - Trade union confederations said they had decided to leave the Economic and Social Council (ESS) because the government had practically abolished social dialogue and thus deprived them of the seats at the negotiating table. Labour Minister Janez Cigler Kralj regretted the decision.
        LJUBLJANA - An Israeli flag was hoisted along the Slovenian and EU flags on the Slovenian government building as an expression of solidarity with Israel, with the government "condemning the terrorist attacks and standing by Israel." President Borut Pahor and parliamentary Speaker Igor Zorčič expressed disagreement, and move was also criticised by the Palestinian ambassador to Slovenia and the Muslim Community of Slovenia.
        LJUBLJANA - Boštjan Vasle, the governor of Slovenia's central bank, said in an interview with the STA he thinks the key challenge of the post-Covid recovery will be to get the timing of the end of extraordinary monetary policy measures right. "We have to be mindful not to withdraw [the measures] too quickly."
        LJUBLJANA - Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek said Slovenia thought it was essential that the EU digital green certificate, which is designed to facilitate cross-border travel, be implemented by 1 July. If that does not happen, member states will be forced to resort to national solutions.
        LJUBLJANA - Economist Mojmir Mrak criticised for Mladina the content and the drawing up of the national recovery and resilience plan. He feels that the measures are not sufficiently oriented towards development and productivity, and that the government showed distrust towards experts and public in the process.
        POLJČE - A memorial plaque was unveiled marking a key meeting in May 1991 that set the guidelines for Slovenia's defence in the independence war that followed in June. PM Janez Janša said at the ceremony that all those at the meeting knew Slovenia declaring independence would result in a clash with the Yugoslav People's Army.
        LJUBLJANA - FM Anže Logar met his Andorran counterpart Maria Ubach Font, with the pair agreeing that the cooperation between Slovenia and Andorra could be enhanced in agriculture and high-tech as the areas with the most potential.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly endorsed amendments to the act on communicable diseases that bring fines of between EUR 400 and EUR 4,000 for those who ignore orders to quarantine. Police may issue quarantine orders on arrival in the country.
        IG - Slovenian Armed Forces Day was marked at a ceremony remembering the day 30 years ago when Slovenian conscripts started serving exclusively in Slovenia, with President Borut Pahor, the commander-in-chief, praising the army as a military pillar of national security. The event was attended by PM Janez Janša, Defence Minister Matej Tonin and Maj-Gen Robert Glavaš, chief of the general staff.
        LJUBLJANA - Crisis Management Commissioner Janez Lenarčič said in an interview with the newspaper Dnevnik that the European Commission was worried about the situation in Slovenia, chiefly about media freedom, noting that Brussels had never before treated Slovenia as a problematic member as it did now.
        LJUBLJANA - Media reported that several small radio stations with special status, as well as the newspapers Delo and Dnevnik, had lost the state's financial support provided under the Culture Ministry's annual co-funding scheme. Especially for the small radio stations this is bound to cause serious financial problems.
        LJUBLJANA - Certain easing of coronavirus restrictions kicked in, with up to 50 persons being allowed to gather for organised public events and rallies. Quarantine can be again short-stopped after five days in case of a negative PCR test.

SUNDAY, 16 May
        SAN FLORIANO DEL COLLIO - Minister for Slovenians Abroad Helena Jaklitsch visited the Slovenian community in Italy's San Floriano del Collio, with locals assuring the government representative that "as proud Slovenians, they are not letting go of the Slovenian language and culture." As part of the visit in the Province of Gorizia, Jaklitsch met Mayor Franca Padovan and representatives of the local cultural associations.
        LUČE - PM Janez Janša was honoured by the Skala mountaineering club for his contribution to the promotion of the club's values and goals. The association said Janša had received the Kocbek Prize for his "visionary and selfless work, as well as his numerous initiatives and exemplary persistence on the way to establishing the club Skala".

MONDAY, 17 May
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - President Borut Pahor hosted a summit of the Brdo-Brijuni Process featuring his counterparts from Croatia, Albania, Montenegro, Kosovo, North Macedonia and Serbia and the presiding trio of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Marking the 10th anniversary of the initiative, the summit adopted the Brdo Declaration in which the leaders reaffirm their commitment to EU enlargement, and urge the EU to speed up the process to include the whole region in the bloc.
        LJUBLJANA/BERLIN, Germany - Prime Minister Janez Janša held a videoconference call with German Chancellor Angela Merkel to discuss the coronavirus pandemic and vaccination. The pair also talked about Slovenia's EU presidency priorities, the Conference on the Future of Europe and the Western Balkans.
        LJUBLJANA - In an unprecedented event, the National Assembly failed to endorse the agenda proposed for the May plenary session, including a vote on the motion to impeach PM Janez Janša and on the proposal to dismiss Igor Zorčič as the speaker, with 42 MPs voting in favour and 42 against. In response, the centre-left coalition filed for a session to discuss impeachment, while the coalition requested a session to vote on most other items on the agenda, except for the vote on Zorčič and opposition bills. Both will be held next week.
        LJUBLJANA - Further easing of anti-coronavirus restrictions kicked in, as all secondary school and university students returned to in-person schooling, a limited number of spectators is permitted at sports events and opening hours for hospitality establishments were extended to 5am-10pm.
        LJUBLJANA - The college of deputy groups confirmed a new breakdown of seats in the working bodies of the National Assembly to assign seats in a total of 12 bodies to the four unaffiliated MPs. The centre-left opposition later continued to insist that the new breakdown did not reflect the actual balance of power between the coalition and opposition, noting the opposition was still eight seats short.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Interior Minister Aleš Hojs took part in a session of the Schengen Forum, saying that Slovenia as the presiding country of the Council of the EU in the second half of 2021 would make an effort to strengthen the Schengen Area.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Parliament confirmed that Slovenia had cancelled a Slovenian art show that had been scheduled to be held in Brussels during Slovenia's EU presidency. Culture Minister Vasko Simoniti said the decision was his because he had not been informed of the details in time.
        LJUBLJANA - The latest Vox Populi poll showed that the support for the Janez Janša government hit its lowest point so far as 70.2% said they thought the government was not doing its job well. Meanwhile, the ruling Democrats (SDS) remained in the lead at 18%, followed by the opposition SocDems, at 13%.
        LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Commission for Oversight of Intelligence and Security Services (KNOVS) announced it would file a criminal complaint against former PM Marjan Šarec, his ex-aide Damir Črnčec and former head of the SOVA intelligence agency Rajko Kozmelj on suspicion of abuse of office in hiring Šarec's acquaintance at SOVA.
        LJUBLJANA - The tourism company Sava Turizem said it generated last year EUR 55.2 million in sales revenue, which is 47% less than in the year before. It generated more than a quarter of the revenue from tourism vouchers.
        LJUBLJANA - The average gross pay in March was EUR 2,010, up 3.3% nominally and 3% in real terms compared to February. The average net pay for March was EUR 1,291, which was 3% higher nominally and 2.7% higher in real terms, the Statistics Office said.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - FM Anže Logar called for EU unity and active engagement towards finding a peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as he took part in a session of the EU's Foreign Affairs Council. A political solution based on negotiations is the only way to achieve just and lasting peace based on the two-state principle, he added.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Environment Minister Andrej Vizjak announced that a demanding legislative package to reduce CO2 emissions by at least 55% by 2030 and biodiversity will be at the core of Slovenia's EU presidency priorities in the field of environment in the second half of 2021.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Minister of Education, Science and Sport Simona Kustec presented the priorities of the upcoming Slovenian EU presidency to her EU counterparts, saying Slovenia would strive for the young to be heard, for everyone to obtain quality education and for the European model of sports.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Culture Minister Vasko Simoniti met Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture and Youth Mariya Gabriel to present the relevant priorities of Slovenia's EU presidency. The innovative potential of culture and the competitiveness of European culture will be at the forefront, he said.
        LJUBLJANA - Health Minister Janez Poklukar announced that student self-testing will be launched next Monday, but only for some secondary school students for now. Others, including older primary school pupils, could start taking swabs a week later or as soon as possible.
        LJUBLJANA - The trade union representing professional firefighters announced it was preparing for a strike after its calls for implementing the 2018 strike-averting agreement had been completely ignored by the government. The Defence Ministry said it intended to resume the negotiations as soon as possible.
        LJUBLJANA - The Legal Network for the Protection of Democracy, an NGO offering legal support to individuals and organisations that find themselves in legal proceedings because of their non-violent public activity, filed a criminal complaint against the head of the Government Communication Office (UKOM) over suspension of funding to the Slovenian Press Agency (STA).
        LJUBLJANA - The government approved the Chinese-owned group Hisense Europe Electronics EUR 1 million in non-refundable funds for its TV production plant at the existing Gorenje operation in Velenje. "The project crucially contributes to regional development through creation of new and preservation of existing jobs," the government said.
        LJUBLJANA - The insurer Zavarovalnica Triglav reported a group net profit increase of 18% in the first quarter to EUR 26.6 million as gross written revenue increased by 7% over the year before to almost EUR 372 million. Gross claims paid amounted to EUR 171.3 million, down by 4% year-on-year, the company said in an earnings release.
        ROTTERDAM, Netherlands - Slovenia's entry to the 2021 Eurovision song contest, a power ballad by Ana Soklič entitled Amen, failed to make it to the competition's final. Soklič was chosen to represent Slovenia this year as she did not get the chance to do that in 2020.
        BERLIN, Germany - German FM Heiko Maas pledged Germany's support to Slovenia during the latter's presidency of the Council of the EU ahead of his meeting with Slovenia's Anže Logar. He highlighted the importance of the EU's enlargement to the Western Balkans and the rule of law, while Logar said Slovenia would propose regular EU summits with Western Balkan countries.
        BELGRADE, Serbia - Migration in the Western Balkans, security and police cooperation topped the agenda as Interior Minister Aleš Hojs met his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vulin. The pair agreed that the key challenges were mainly the inability to return migrants to their countries of origin or transit countries, and abuses of the asylum system.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - After meeting European Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee chair David McAllister and heads of political groups in the European Parliament, FM Anže Logar was critical of some Slovenian MEPs for what he described as "attempts to put Slovenia in a pillory", including in relation to the issues of media freedom or STA funding.
        LJUBLJANA - A civil initiative opposing the latest amendments to the waters act submitted almost 48,500 signatures in support of its initiative to hold a referendum on the law, which was passed at the end of March. The National Assembly must now meet to formally call a referendum in seven days.
        CERKLJE OB KRKI - The first stage of modernisation of the Cerklje ob Krki air base has been completed. Worth EUR 72.5 million, of which NATO contributed EUR 41 million, the project involved the construction of a control tower, apron and a helipad, and installation of an instrument landing system, lighting system and navigation and meteorological equipment.
        LJUBLJANA - Marta Grgič Vitek, the national vaccination coordinator, said that a quarter of residents at the minimum have had one dose of a vaccine against Covid-19 in all Slovenia's regions. In some regions the share is nearing 30%.
        LJUBLJANA - Doctors from a group called zdravstvo.si left a Health Ministry task force in charge of amending public procurement procedures in healthcare because their proposal to eliminate price anomalies in procurement of medical devices has not been welcomed.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenian banks posted a cumulative profit after tax of EUR 95 million for the first quarter, up 61% over the same period last year. Pre-tax profit rose by half to almost EUR 105 million, show central bank data.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's 22-year-old cycling superstar Tadej Pogačar confirmed he will be able to race at the Tour of Slovenia, which will take place from 9 to 13 June, as he prepares to defend his 2020 title in the Tour de France.
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - PM Janez Janša and President Borut Pahor argued for making discussion within the Conference on the Future of Europe as inclusive as possible, as they addressed an opening debate on the topic. The same view was aired by some other participants, who advocated for pluralism in the bloc.
        LJUBLJANA - Following the government's decision to withdraw Slovenia's troops deployed in the NATO-led Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan, the six Slovenian soldiers returned home via Italy, the Slovenian Armed Forces (SAF) said. Their return marks the end of Slovenia's mission in Afghanistan.
        POSTOJNA - Prime Minister Janez Janša and Defence Minister Matej Tonin visited the SAF main training grounds in Poček to take a look at the Slovenian part of the ongoing all-European military exercise Defender Europe 2021. Also reviewing the exercise led by the US forces was NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Tod D. Wolters.
        BRESTANICA - A Eurocopter Tiger helicopter of the Spanish Armed Forces hit an overhead power line during the military exercise Adriatic Strike, the SAF said. The helicopter had to make an emergency landing. Nobody was injured. The cause of the incident has not been established yet, the Defence Ministry said.
        BERLIN, Germany - FM Anže Logar concluded a two-day working visit to Germany by meeting representatives of the German parliament. He presented Slovenia's EU presidency priorities and the European perspective for the Western Balkans to the president of the Bundestag Wolfgang Schäuble, the ministry said.
        LJUBLJANA - Health Minister Janez Poklukar called for coordination of measures to form guidance for travel and crossing the borders within the EU, as he addressed a virtual informal meeting of EU health ministers. He also urged a fair global distribution of vaccines against Covid-19.
        NOVO MESTO - Drug maker Krka, which had a record 2020, saw group revenue decline by 14% in the first quarter of this year to EUR 395.8 million. Net profit rose by 1% to a record EUR 86.4 million. CEO Jože Colarič described the Q1 performance as "successful and according to our expectations".
        LJUBLJANA - Insurance group Sava saw group net profit rise by 128% in the first quarter to EUR 23.5 million, mostly as a result of past takeovers and positive operations in all of its segments. The profit represents over 44% of the target for the year.

15 May 2021, 09:30 AM

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

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

        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Defence Minister Matej Tonin presented to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg Slovenia's defence reforms, plans to raise defence spending, and investments into the Slovenian Armed Forces (SAF) designed to meet the country's commitments towards NATO.
        PORTO, Portugal - PM Janez Janša said as he arrived at the Porto Social Summit that the best social policy was creating new, well-paid jobs. Such a social policy demands an education system that not only gives the young a lot of know-how but foremost teaches them to use this knowledge in an innovative way.
        KLAGENFURT, Austria - Foreign Minister Anže Logar and Governor of Carinthia Peter Kaiser met to discuss a number of topics, including the Covid-19 pandemic and the situation of the Slovenian minority in Austria and the German-speaking community in Slovenia. They also talked about the priorities of the upcoming Slovenian EU presidency.
        LJUBLJANA - The Constitutional Court ruled the legislative amendments that ban most shops from being open on Sundays is not in contravention of the constitution as claimed by several retail companies. In a unanimous decision, it held that the right to free enterprise invoked by the petitioners may be limited if a public interest such as protection of health is proven.
        LJUBLJANA - STA director Bojan Veselinovič announced legal action against PM Janez Janša after he implied on Twitter that Veselinovič had been involved in the "murder" of a former STA editor-in-chief more than a decade ago. What Janša wrote exceeds all boundaries, Veselinovič told the TV Slovenija current affairs show Tarča on Thursday evening.
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor proposed that the National Assembly appoint Marko Ilešič the Slovenian judge at the Court of the EU in Luxembourg for another term. The president's office said Ilešič was a "respected long-serving justice of the Court of the EU".
        MARIBOR - The council of UKC Maribor, the country's second largest hospital, appointed Anton Crnjac the hospital's new director. Crnjac, who has already served as the medical director, was the only candidate for the post. If endorsed by the government, he will succeed Vojsko Flis, whose term ends on 19 June.
        NEW HAVEN, US - Uroš Seljak, a Slovenian physicist, cosmologist and astronomy professor at the University of California, Berkeley is among the recipients of this year's Gruber Prize in Cosmology. Seljak will share the US$500,000 prize with his colleagues Marc Kamionowski of Johns Hopkins University from Baltimore and Matias Zaldarriga of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.
        PORTO, Portugal - Prime Minister Janez Janša called for profound changes in educational systems as a means of preserving the EU's social model as he arrived for an informal meeting of EU leaders. To preserve the European way of life, prosperity and the existing social model, it is essential to significantly change the educational system and systemically introduce lifelong learning, he said.
        LJUBLJANA - The presidents of 21 EU member states addressed a letter to Europeans on the eve of the Conference on the Future of Europe, inviting them to take part in shaping a common European future. The initiative for the appeal came from the Slovenian and Italian presidents, Borut Pahor and Sergio Mattarella.
        LJUBLJANA - A new green party led by Jure Leben, a former environment minister, was established, entering the political arena just over a year before the next scheduled election. The Party of Green Action (Z.DEJ) plans to strike a balance between sustainable economic development and protection of the environment.
        LJUBLJANA - José Manuel Campa, the director of the European Banking Authority (EBA), told Delo that loan moratoriums were no longer a viable blanket measure to help companies, an indication that the Slovenian loan deferral scheme might not be extended as hoped for by business associations.

        PORTO, Portugal - Prime Minister Janez Janša commented on the proposal to waive patent rights on Covid-19 vaccines by pointing to the problem of insufficient production capacities, which he said not even full liberalisation of patent rights would not solve at the moment.
        LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Anže Logar told the commercial broadcaster POP TV that Slovenia would be well prepared to preside the Council of the EU. Asked whether Slovenia being in the spotlight of EU institutions due to the "war with the media" and issues concerning the rule of law was bad for its presidency, Logar said that "this is a matter of individual perception".

MONDAY, 10 May
        NOVO MESTO - Police officers from Estonia, Lithuania and Poland joined their Slovenian colleagues to help patrol the border with Croatia and prevent illegal migrations. The 21 officers will be deployed for at least a month and up to six months and are soon to be joined by additional officers from several European countries.
        ATHENS, Greece - Prime Minister Janez Janša presented the priorities of the Slovenian EU presidency at the Delphi Economic Forum, highlighting resilience to health crises and cyber attacks, and the European way of life. Janša also held talks with his Greek counterpart Kyriakos Mitsotakis and European Commission Vice President Margaritis Schinas.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Foreign Minister Anže Logar emphasised the importance of the EU's continued engagement in the Western Balkans as EU foreign ministers reaffirmed the EU membership prospects of countries in the region. He expressed regret over the standstill of the enlargement process and the negotiating frameworks for North Macedonia and Albania.
        LJUBLJANA - The Police Trade Union (PSS) and Interior Minister Aleš Hojs signed an agreement designed to end a strike that police officers started in January. Under the deal, some police wages will increase, a bonus for working on the Schengen border will be reinstated, and talks on a new collective agreement for the force should start within a year.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia opened mass vaccination against coronavirus to all adults after a nation-wide vaccination booking app was launched last week.
        LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Janez Janša denied on Twitter media reports that he was being sidelined from the inauguration ceremony of the Conference on the Future of Europe after Delo reported the co-chair of the executive committee, Guy de Verhofstadt, did not want him to be invited. Janša said the Council was represented by the PM of the current presiding country, Portugal, while he would co-chair the conference next time.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Following several calls to speed up appointment of Slovenia's two delegated European prosecutors, Justice Minister Lilijana Kozlovič said she had done all in her power, while it was now up to the government to act.
        LISBON, Portugal - Interior Minister Aleš Hojs took part in a ministerial conference on migration organised by Portugal's EU presidency in Lisbon with EU ministers and ministers of several African countries sharing their experience with migration. The talks focused on finding a solution to return migrants from the EU to African countries.
        PORTOROŽ - As Slovenia concluded its third presidency of the Adriatic and Ionian Initiative (AII), the Izola Declaration was adopted at the EUSAIR strategy forum, underlining the European perspective of the Western Balkans.
        LJUBLJANA - Agriculture Minister Jože Podgoršek discussed Slovenia's EU presidency priorities concerning food safety, and animals and plants with European Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides via videoconference. He said Slovenia would devote utmost attention to consumer safety and food traceability.
        LJUBLJANA - In a bid to have a Constitutional Court ruling implemented, coalition MPs tabled a bill to secure 100% state funding of private primary schools' obligatory curriculum and 85% of their optional programmes.

        LJUBLJANA - The government eased several coronavirus restrictions, including raising the cap on gatherings to 50, and relaxing restrictions on hospitality, tourism, sports, culture and education, effective from 17 May. It also extended the state of Covid-19 epidemic by another 30 days.
        LJUBLJANA - The Foreign Ministry responded to the escalation of the conflict between Israel and Palestinians by calling on all sides to prevent further civilian casualties. Rocket attacks on #Israel as well as any form of violence are unacceptable and must end immediately, it said.
        BUDAPEST, Hungary - Interior Minister Aleš Hojs met his Hungarian counterpart Sandor Pinter, with the working visit dedicated to presenting the priorities in interior affairs during Slovenia's presidency of the EU Council in the second half of the year.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia expects to be invited to a summit of MED7, a group of seven Mediterranean EU countries, this autumn, Foreign Minister Anže Logar said as he answered an MP question about the country's plans to join MED7.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Slovenia's upcoming presidency and the delay in the appointment of Slovenia's European delegated prosecutors (EPDs) topped the agenda as Justice Minister Lilijana Kozlovič met European Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders on Wednesday. Reynders called Slovenia again to appoint the two prosecutors
        LJUBLJANA - The Institute of Microbiology and Immunology at the Ljubljana Faculty of Medicine said it had confirmed the Indian variant of coronavirus in a sample taken on 20 April from a person who tested positive after returning from India.
        BERN, Switzerland - The European Alliance of News Agencies (EANA) addressed an open letter to Prime Minister Janez Janša calling on him to resolve the dispute with the Slovenian Press Agency (STA).
        LJUBLJANA - The Commission for the Prevention of Corruption established that Tomaž Vesel's work for FIFA's Audit and Compliance Committee is not incompatible with his office of Court of Audit president under Slovenia's integrity legislation, and ended the procedure against him.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Commission upgraded Slovenia's GDP growth forecast for this year by 0.2 of a percentage point to 4.9%, while downgrading it to 5.1% for 2022, by 0.1 of a point from its previous, winter outlook.
        LJUBLJANA - Telekom Slovenije announced it had suspended the sale a 100% stake in its subsidiary TS Media, whose portfolio includes the news portal Siol.net. According to United Group, one of the bidders, the decision shows it is not possible to carry out an independent and fair tender in Slovenia.
        LJUBLJANA - Spanish start-up Glovo announced it would acquire one of the largest food delivery providers in Slovenia, Ehrana. The acquisition is expected to be formally completed in the next few months and the two companies are already planning their transition strategy.

        PRISHTINA, Kosovo - President Borut Pahor met his Kosovo counterpart Vjosa Osmani in the run up to the the Brdo-Brijuni Process summit in Slovenia. He said that as a "big advocate of the dialogue between Prishtina and Belgrade", he expects the new authorities in Kosovo to be willing to provide the dialogue with a new momentum.
        BRATISLAVA, Slovakia - The foreign ministers of the Central 5, including Slovenia's Anže Logar, discussed possible relaxation of Covid-19 border restrictions during the summer season. They agreed that coordinating and informing each other about measures was necessary so that movement of people and business is not excessively restricted.
        LJUBLJANA - Trade unions decided to leave the Economic and Social Council (ESS), the country's main industrial relations forum. The main reason is the "government's systematic violation of rules on the functioning of the ESS".
        LJUBLJANA - A total of 57 persons of Slovenian descent have so far been repatriated from Venezuela. Many have already found jobs and settled down, the parliamentary Commission for Slovenians Abroad was told.
        LJUBLJANA - The specialised prosecution office has asked a court to formally open an investigation against former German owners and management of Adria Airways for financial misdeeds that allegedly led to the Slovenian flag carrier ending up in receivership in October 2019, news portal Necenzurirano reported.

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