What follows is a weekly review of events involving Slovenia, as prepared by the STA.
FRIDAY, 30 April
LJUBLJANA - FM Anže Logar received his Japanese counterpart Toshimitsu Motegi, with the pair calling for enhancing cooperation between the countries in business and politics. They also exchanged views on the Western Balkans and the Indo-Pacific region. Motegi met President Borut Pahor and PM Janez Janša as well.
MARIBOR - President Borut Pahor said in an interview with the newspaper Večer that government officials had indeed created the impression that press freedom or the independence of journalists was at risk. Still, he finds assessments that democracy is being undermined under this government too radical.
BRUSSELS, Belgium - European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders urged Slovenia's Justice Minister Lilijana Kozlovič to speed up the appointment of European delegated prosecutors. The European Public Prosecutor's Office is set to be launched on 1 June and the only other participating country running behind is Finland.
NOVA GORICA - Trade unions from the Slovenian-Italian border area staged an annual get-together on the eve of Labour Day, this year drawing attention to the problems faced by the people commuting for work across the border and calling for easing of border-crossing restrictions.
LJUBLJANA - Several hundred protesters hit the streets on their bicycles, stopping by at the headquarters of the STA on their way to express support before lighting a bonfire in the square in front of the parliament building.
LJUBLJANA - State budget revenue in the first quarter of the year amounted to EUR 2.4 billion, up 1% year-on-year, while expenditure rose by 37% to almost EUR 3.68 billion for a deficit of nearly EUR 1.27 billion, up from EUR 304.9 million in the same period last year.
SATURDAY, 1 May
BRUSSELS - The European Commission confirmed receipt of Slovenia's recovery and resilience plan. European Commission President Ursula van der Leyen said the plan was "oriented towards the future: green and digital transition; smart, sustainable and inclusive growth; health and welfare of all".
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia and Hungary agreed to mutually recognise their respective Covid-19 vaccination certificates. A vaccination certificate issued in one country will have the same legal effect as the one issued in the other.
LJUBLJANA - Ljubljana will be connected to Brussels with regular flights during Slovenia's presidency of the EU Council in the second half of the year. The routes will be operated by carriers Brussels Airlines and Wizzair, Slovenia's permanent representation in Brussels said.
SUNDAY, 2 May
LJUBLJANA - The vaccination campaign against Covid-19 reached two important milestones as more than 20% of the population had received one shot and more than 10% had been fully vaccinated.
MONDAY, 3 May
LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Anže Logar expressed Slovenia's full support for the fight for democracy in Belarus as he hosted Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya. He said Slovenia as the presiding EU country in the second half of the year would put democratisation and discussion about Belarus high on the agenda. Tsikhanouskaya also met Prime Minister Janez Janša, President Borut Pahor and Speaker Igor Zorčič.
LJUBLJANA - A month-long fundraising campaign kicked off on World Press Freedom Day in a bid to secure funding for the Slovenian Press Agency (STA), which has not received budget funds for the performance of public service for four months. Called "Za obSTAnek", the campaign aims to raise two million euros for the agency via small SMS donations and from potential larger donors.
LJUBLJANA - The prosecution rejected criminal complaints filed last year against Defence Minister Matej Tonin and Žan Mahnič, the state secretary for national security in the prime minister's office, Nova24TV reported. The complaints had been filed against Tonin in relation to the disclosure of information about the Slovenia-Croatia border arbitration agreement, and against both Tonin and Mahnič over alleged irregularities in the Commission for Oversight of Intelligence and Security Services.
LJUBLJANA - The Competition Protection Agency stopped a major anti-trust procedure against Telekom Slovenije. The proceedings, related to alleged unfair pricing of a special monthly plan for youths between 2008 and 2010, had been stopped after the watchdog "did not manage to obtain evidence on the existence of a predatory exclusionary strategy".
TUESDAY, 4 May
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's positions on issues relevant to EU-Turkey relations and its EU presidency priorities topped the agenda aside from bilateral relations as FM Anže Logar hosted his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu. They dedicated a great part of their meeting to plans to boost bilateral cooperation, in particular direct investment, and to balance bilateral goods trade.
LJUBLJANA - A proposal to reshuffle parliamentary working bodies to accommodate four unaffiliated MPs was rejected for the third time. The vote prompted the Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) to announce they would boycott the parliament's work with the exception of major votes such as the forthcoming impeachment motion.
LJUBLJANA - The SVIZ trade union of teachers launched a campaign to collect signatures among teachers to call on Education Minister Simona Kustec to resign, arguing poor management of the ministry. Kustec said the government had taken a number of measures to accommodate schools' needs.
LJUBLJANA - Several NGOs that bring together conservative and liberal intellectuals sent a letter to European media to alert of what they call a misrepresentation on the state of press freedom in Slovenia, urging them to stop "one-sided propaganda" and to get informed on the situation from all world-view groups ahead of Slovenia's EU presidency.
LJUBLJANA - The Infrastructure Committee endorsed 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.
WEDNESDAY, 5 May
LJUBLJANA - The government adopted amendments to three tax laws in a bid to reduce labour taxation and help businesses and individuals in the post-Covid recovery, including by increasing the general personal income allowance, reducing tax on capital and reducing red tape. While income tax changes alone are expected to reduce annual tax receipts by EUR 276 million, Finance Minister Andrej Šircelj said higher economic growth would offset the shortfall.
PODGORICA, Montenegro -President Borut Pahor said after meeting his Montenegrin counterpart Milo Đukanović that a new momentum needed to be provided for the process of EU enlargement to the Western Balkans, as there was a certain standstill.
LJUBLJANA - Four MEPs from Slovenia, Milan Brglez, Franc Bogovič, Tanja Fajon and Ljudmila Novak, expressed their concern over the psychosocial situation and the general social atmosphere in Slovenia in a letter addressed to President Borut Pahor. They urged him to use his authority to calm down "the passions and create a social atmosphere of dialogue, respectful expressing of disagreement and criticism". Pahor responded by calling for moderation in politics.
LJUBLJANA - The Justice Committee unanimously adopted amendments to the penal code redefining sexual violence. Judges, prosecutors and lawyers opposed the changes, saying there was nothing wrong with the existing legislation. But MPs sided with the organisations which work with victims of sex crimes.
LJUBLJANA - New rules on border crossing involving the recognition of PCR tests done in Serbia and Turkey entered into effect. There were also some changes on the red list of countries from which arrivals must quarantine, with Malta and Portugal removed from the list, and Djibouti added.
DEKANI - Construction of currently the largest infrastructure project in the country was symbolically launched as ground was broken on the 27-km Divača-Koper rail track and the final contract to build one of its two sections, from Divača to Črni Kal, was signed. The project is valued at just below EUR 1 billion and will be built by a consortium led by the Slovenian company Kolektor CPG.
LJUBLJANA - A group of experts commissioned by the central bank to draw up solutions for junior bondholders and shareholders wiped out in the 2013 bank bailout proposed a reimbursement scheme as the most suitable solution, where the state would take on the financial burden. The MDS association of small shareholders welcomed the solution, which would involve an out-of court settlement.
LJUBLJANA - Tibor Šimonka, a senior vice-president of the steel group SIJ, was elected new chairman of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS) for the next two years. Šimonka identified green transition, support for digitalisation, innovation, research and development as his main priorities.
THURSDAY, 6 May
LJUBLJANA - MPs from the coalition parties tabled a motion in a renewed attempt to dismiss Speaker Igor Zorčič after he quit the coalition to join a group of unaffiliated MPs in late March. The motion was signed by 38 coalition MPs, 46 are needed to oust him.
LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Janez Janša announced that all adults under 50 will start to get vaccinated on 10 May. "We will have enough vaccine for everyone by summer," he said.
TIRANA - President Borut Pahor met his Albanian counterpart Ilir Meta as part of a whistle-stop tour of the region in preparation for the 17 May regional summit in Slovenia. In a renewed call for EU enlargement to the Western Balkans he said EU membership would make country borders less important and eliminate the need to change them.
WARSAW, Poland - Interior Minister Aleš Hojs discussed migration issues as he met his Polish counterpart Mariusz Kaminski as part of Slovenia's preparations for the upcoming EU presidency. His ministry said that Slovenia and Poland advocate "elimination of the root causes of migration, and a greater role of the external dimension of migrations, foremost sending migrants back more effectively".
BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Commission noted the Slovenian government's duty under law to secure suitable funding for the STA in response to the agency's questions about the fundraising campaign for the STA, calling for swift solutions to unblock the funding and preserve the agency's independence.
LJUBLJANA - Public Administration Minister Boštjan Koritnik and Ljubljana Mayor Zoran Janković signed an agreement that will see the government allocate EUR 13.7 million for 29 projects in the Ljubljana area that are of importance to the state until 2023.
What follows is a weekly review of events involving Slovenia, as prepared by the STA.
FRIDAY, 23 April
LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly endorsed the government's proposal to raise the public spending ceiling until the end of 2024 in order to mitigate the negative impact of Covid-19. The spending cap for 2021 was raised from EUR 24.9 billion set in November to EUR 25.3 billion for a general government deficit of 8.6% of GDP.
LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly voted 46 to 42 to reject the government's proposal to merge eight major regulators into two mega agencies (for market and consumers and for financial markets) amid criticism the government wanted to subjugate oversight institutions.
LJUBLJANA - The ban on travel between regions was lifted and cultural events for up to 10 people were permitted while public assembly was scaled back from a hundred to ten people.
LJUBLJANA - EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson wrapped up a two-day visit by discussing the priorities of Slovenia's presidency of the EU in a meeting with Foreign Minister Anže Logar, including migration and the Schengen system.
KOPER - President Borut Pahor and his Greek counterpart Katerina Sakellaropoulou unveiled a bench of friendship in a gesture celebrating ties between Slovenia and Greece in memory of Greek statesman Ioannis Kapodistrias (1776-1831), whose family originated from Koper.
CELJE - The newspaper Večer reported that the wife of Prime Minister Janez Janša, Urška Bačovnik Janša, had received a death threat targeting her and the couple's children. The letter was sent to the hospital in Celje where she works as a doctor and has been handed over to police.
BRDO PRI KRANJU - The Strategic Council for Digitalisation met for its maiden session with Prime Minister Janez Janša saying the government expected it to put forward a plan of the country's digitalisation by 15 September.
LJUBLJANA - Mercator, Slovenia's largest grocer, passed into majority ownership of Fortenova after the transfer of shares from the troubled Croatian group Agrokor was completed. Fortenova will now publish a takeover bid for the remaining 11.90% shares. Mercator saw its revenue rise by 1.6% to EUR 2.17 billion in 2020, but posted a net loss of EUR 156.7 million, largely due to revaluation of property and impairments to other assets.
LJUBLJANA - The telco group Telekom Slovenije reported EUR 647.2 million in sales revenue for 2020, down 3% from 2019, and EUR 24.9 million in net profit. Excluding the negative impact of Covid-19, the net profit would have reached EUR 32.8 million.
SATURDAY, 24 April
LJUBLJANA - Hospitality establishments reopened across the country to serve guests at outdoor tables, from 7am to 7pm, while in three regions with the lowest infection rates guests may also be served indoors if they produce a negative coronavirus status.
LJUBLJANA - At the start of the week-long May Day school break, Health Minister Janez Poklukar appealed to the population to hold on and bear with coronavirus precautions a while longer, pointing to the Covid-19 vaccination rollout as a way back into normality.
LJUBLJANA - The government formed a strategic council on social policy as an advisory group to the prime minister, appointing MEP Romana Tomc (SDS/EPP) to head the 15-member council, whose job will be to propose a reform of the social security system.
SUNDAY, 25 April
LJUBLJANA - The news transpired that Ljerka Belak, a prolific theatre, film and TV actress, died at the age of 72, on 22 April. Excelling in comedy, Belak won the Borštnik Ring, the highest accolade for theatre acting, in 2015.
LJUBLJANA - Speaker Igor Zorčič told TV Slovenija the National Assembly should be dissolved unless an agreement is reached to allow four unaffiliated MPs, including him, to participate in parliamentary working bodies.
LIEGE, Belgium - Tadej Pogačar, a rider for UAE Team Emirates, won the Belgian one-day classic Liege-Bastogne-Liege in his sixth win this season and 23rd overall, as fellow Slovenian rider Primož Roglič failed to defend the title.
LJUBLJANA - Data from the Financial Administration showed gross gaming revenue in Slovenia fell by 42% to EUR 188 million in 2020. Lotteries' revenue dropped by 10% to EUR 61.3 million and the revenue of casinos and gaming parlours was halved to EUR 127 million.
MONDAY, 26 April
LJUBLJANA - In address to a joint meeting of parliamentary committees on foreign policy and EU affairs, Foreign Minister Anže Logar said the "phantom non-paper" on Western Balkans that some media attributed to Slovenia did not exist and discussion on that damaged Slovenia as well as Bosnia-Herzegovina.
LJUBLJANA - Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde visited Slovenia for talks with her counterpart Anže Logar, which focused on cooperation in light of the upcoming Slovenian EU presidency and Sweden's current OSCE chairmanship. The pair also discussed relations with Russia and the situation in Ukraine. Linde also met President Borut Pahor.
LUXEMBOURG, Luxembourg - European Chief Prosecutor Laura Kövesi addressed a letter to Justice Minister Lilijana Kozlovič expressing concern because Slovenia had not yet proposed its two candidates to join the European Public Prosecutor's Office, to become operational on 1 June.
LJUBLJANA - Accommodation facilities across the country were allowed to reopen to accept guests with negative Covid status in up to 30 rooms. The Tourism and Hospitality Chamber urged the government to scale back what it described as "senseless" restrictions.
LJUBLJANA - Slovenian Sovereign Holding reported EUR 26 million in net profit for 2020 after posting a net loss of EUR 16.6 million in 2019. The return on equity, at 4.3%, was 1.6 percentage points below the target.
LJUBLJANA - The STA supervisory board endorsed the annual report for 2020 which shows revenue rose by 1% to EUR 4.28 million despite the aggravated situation due to the Covid epidemic as net profit reached EUR 17,800.
BOHINJ - Two lynxes, a male and a female from Romania, were released into the wild on Jelovica Plateau as part of efforts to reintroduce the species to north-western Slovenia after a successful rejuvenation of the lynx population in south Slovenia. Two days later, three more specimens were released into the Triglav National Park, as part of LIFE Lynx, an EU-funded project.
TUESDAY, 27 April
LJUBLJANA - Some 10,000 people by police estimates gathered for an anti-government protest in defiance of the ban on gatherings. The rally was organised by the same leftist activist groups that had been staging weekly anti-government cycling protests since last spring and was timed to coincide with Resistance Day. Responding on Twitter, PM Janez Janša said the "massive transmission of the virus will lead to hundreds of seriously ill and dead in the coming weeks".
RIBNICA/LJUBLJANA - Slovenia observed Resistance Day, remembering the day 80 years ago when the Liberation Front, an organisation that spearheaded armed resistance against the occupying forces in WWII, was established. The keynote speaker at the main ceremony, Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek, highlighted the role resistance had played throughout the nation's survival. President Borut Pahor urged Slovenians to respect each other, stressing that what brings the nation together outweighed what tears it apart with regard to recent history.
LJUBLJANA - Checkpoints on Slovenia's border with Italy and Austria, introduced to help contain the coronavirus epidemic, were removed, while staying in place on Slovenia's other internal Schengen border, with Hungary.
LJUBLJANA - Amendments to the foreigners act that tighten residence conditions for foreign citizens in Slovenia and introduce the concept of a complex migration emergency took effect. The concept means access to asylum could be restricted.
LJUBLJANA - Under a decision published in the Official Gazette, Slovenia will open an embassy in South Korea and a consulate in Las Palmas, Spain. Slovenia currently has two consulates in South Korea, in Seoul and Daegu.
WEDNESDAY, 28 April
BRDO PRI KRANJU - The government adopted the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, which after being reviewed by the European Commission will serve as the basis to draw EU recovery funds. The plan proposes for Slovenia to use all EUR 1.8 billion in grants, and EUR 666 million out of the EUR 3.6 billion in available loans where 43.45% of the funds are allocated for green goals and 20.05% for digital goals. The Chamber of Commerce and Industry welcomed the plan as a huge step forward from a previous version, while the opposition criticised it for lack in green investments.
LJUBLJANA - The government adopted the Stability Programme, a document it needs to send to Brussels, providing for expansive fiscal policy due to continued fallout from Covid-19.
LJUBLJANA - The police announced that a plan by a secondary school student that would have resulted in the first shooting rampage in the country had been foiled in cooperation with the US law enforcement authorities, who had seized firearms and ammunition bought by the suspect on the dark net.
LJUBLJANA - Health Minister Janez Poklukar announced the stepping up of Slovenia's Covid-19 vaccination rollout, as some 120,000 doses of vaccines were expected in the country in coming days, or almost half a million in May. He expects vaccination could soon become available to everyone.
STRASBOURG, France - The latest annual report by the Council of Europe Platform for the Protection of Journalism and Safety of Journalists raised concern about the Slovenian government's attempts at undermining independent media and stoking harassment of journalists.
LJUBLJANA - The government gave its go-ahead for Brigadier General Miha Škerbinc, the force commander of the Slovenian Armed Forces, to be promoted to the rank of major general. He will be formally promoted by President Borut Pahor as the commander in chief.
BRDO PRI KRANJU - A memorial marking the 30th anniversary of a key meeting of the Democratic Opposition of Slovenia (DEMOS) which saw its members commit to realising the will expressed in the Slovenian independence referendum, was unveiled at a ceremony attended by Prime Minister Janez Janša, and Lojze Peterle and Dimitrij Rupel, the prime minister and foreign minister in the DEMOS government.
LJUBLJANA - The US Embassy donated two devices for disinfection of hospital premises to Slovenia, to be used in the UKC Maribor and UKC Ljubljana hospitals. The devices are a result of Slovenian know-how.
LJUBLJANA - The newspaper Delo reported that Mirko Krašovec, the former treasurer of the Maribor Archdiocese who was acquitted in 2019 of the charge that he had instigated EU funds misuse over a decade ago, claims almost EUR 700,000 in damages from the state for time spent in prison.
THURSDAY, 29 April
PARIS, France - Prime Minister Janez Janša met French President Emmanuel Macron to discuss the countries' successive presidencies of the Council of the EU, which Macron said would be held in exceptional circumstances due to the Covid crisis. Janša said the countries shared views on most issues within the EU. Bilateral relations and regional issues were also on the agenda, especially in the Western Balkans and the EU's neighbourhood.
LJUBLJANA - The European Commission announced it had approved, under EU state aid rules, EUR 2.5 million granted by Slovenia to the Slovenian Press Agency (STA) in compensation to fulfil its public service mission. Vera Jourova, the Commission vice-president for values and transparency, urged for the funding for the STA to be "unlocked as soon as possible". Prime Minister Janez Janša said the decision referred to the funds that had already been paid out, which STA director Bojan Veselinovič described as a lie. The STA has been without state funding for its public service since the beginning of the year.
LJUBLJANA - The Statistics Office reported that Slovenia's survey unemployment rate stood at 4.8% in March, down 0.1 of a percentage point from February and up 0.3 of a point year-on-year.
MARIBOR/NOVA GORICA - Brief balcony performances involving 25 cultural institutions were held in towns across the country to point to the dire situation in the culture sector due to coronavirus restrictions.
What follows is a weekly review of events involving Slovenia, as prepared by the STA.
FRIDAY, 16 April
LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor rejected "naive and dangerous" ideas of redrawing Western Balkan borders as he addressed reporters in response to a non-paper floating the idea, arguing the EU's accelerated enlargement to the region would best silence such ideas. Pahor reiterated his resolute support for the EU's enlargement to the Western Balkans.
LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša rang up Šefik Džaferović, the Bosniak member of the Bosnia-Herzegovina presidency, to explain there is no non-paper containing border changes or efforts to undermine Bosnia's territorial integrity that could be linked with the Slovenian government.
BRUSSELS, Belgium - Slovenia will send its recovery plan to the European Commission by the end of the month or before the deadline, Finance Minister Andrej Šircelj said. The minister believes that Slovenia has prepared a plan that complies with all the requirements.
BRUSSELS, Belgium - PM Janez Janša does not take Slovenia's international reputation seriously enough, European Commission Vice President for Values and Transparency Vera Jourova told news portal Euractiv. Sustainable media financing in Slovenia is endangered, particularly when it comes to the STA, she said, pointing out that she had raised concerns over the developments in recent discussions with Slovenian ministers.
LJUBLJANA - Interior Minister Aleš Hojs discussed the priorities of Slovenia's coming EU presidency with Italian counterpart Luciana Lamorgese. They agreed a joint and comprehensive solution should be reached on EU level to tackle illegal migration. Slovenia's EU presidency will focus on providing a high level of security in the EU and strengthening security in the Western Balkans.
LJUBLJANA - The Agency for Communication Networks and Services (AKOS) concluded a wireless spectrum auction as part of which it also offered frequency bands for 5G mobile networks. It fetched EUR 164.2 million as all four bidders - A1 Slovenija, Telekom Slovenije, Telemach and T-2 - were awarded frequency bands.
LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor endorsed Polish counterpart Andrzej Duda's desire to speak on behalf of all Central European presidents at next week's online climate summit hosted by US President Joe Biden, as the pair had a telephone conversation.
LJUBLJANA - The national vaccination advisory committee recommended Slovenia purchase all Covid-19 vaccines that are still waiting for approval from the European Medicines Agency (EMA), including Russia's Sputnik V. Its head Bojana Beović said the vaccines would be kept in quarantine warehouses and ready for use immediately after approval.
SATURDAY, 17 April
LJUBLJANA - The police said they were leading an investigation to determine whether there are elements of suspected criminal acts prosecutable ex officio based on allegations of irregularities regarding the STA. Investigators visited STA chief supervisor Mladen Terčelj based on a number of reports of these allegations.
LJUBLJANA - The American-Slovenian Educational Foundation (ASEF) honoured Sunita Williams, an astronaut of Slovenian descent, with the lifetime achievement award at its annual gala. The 55-year-old, who has visited Slovenia several times, was the first person to run a marathon in space.
LISBON, Portugal - Slovenian judoka Tina Trstenjak won gold at the European Judo Championships 2021 in the women's 63 kg event. Fellow Slovenian Andreja Leški got a bronze in the same category, whereas Kaja Kajzer won silver in the 57 kg category the day before.
MONDAY, 19 April
LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Janez Janša condemned extremism after members of a radical Islamist group in Bosnia-Herzegovina protested in front of the Slovenian embassy in Sarajevo over an alleged non-paper linked to Slovenia that speaks about the breakup of Bosnia along ethnic lines. FM Anže Logar added that reviving a debate on the alleged non-paper benefited neither Bosnia-Herzegovina nor Slovenia.
LJUBLJANA - A government degree allowing gatherings of up to 100 people indoor or outdoor entered into force. The decree was adopted last week in response to a Constitutional Court decision staying the blanket ban on public assembly. Gatherings must be pre-registered and prevention measures observed.
LJUBLJANA - FM Anže Logar addressed the start of a virtual conference dedicated to Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) hosted by the Foreign Ministry and the Bled Strategic Forum. He said Slovenia would strive to strengthen partnership with the region during its upcoming EU presidency.
TUESDAY, 20 April
LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor received the annual report on the preparedness of the Slovenian Armed Forces (SAF) in which the SAF general staff assessed the force's preparedness in 2020 was good for peace time, but insufficient for war operations. The assessment remains the same as for the year before.
BRUSSELS, Belgium - Slovenia again raised the issue of UK work visa discrimination at a meeting of ministers for EU affairs, expressing the expectation that EU countries would be united on the implementation of agreements with the UK.
MARIBOR - A Maribor Local Court judge announced she would halt misdemeanour proceedings against a student for taking part in a peaceful protest in Maribor in February against school closures. The student's defence counsel Dino Bauk said he expected the same decision to be taken in the case of two other students facing the same charges.
PARIS, France - Slovenia lost four spots to rank 36th among 180 countries in the 2021 World Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters Without Borders. The report warned of the "dangerous path for press freedom" in Slovenia, finding problems for press freedom continued despite pressure from international NGOs for improvements.
LJUBLJANA - Mario Fafangel, the head of the NIJZ centre for communicable diseases, resigned from the government Covid-19 team after he already quit the previous line-up. He said decisions taken were often contrary to epidemiologists' opinions and protocols. Health Minister Janez Poklukar regretted his decision and appointed epidemiologist Irena Grmek Košnik in his place.
MARIBOR - The supercomputer Vega was formally launched, putting Slovenia on the global map of computer super powers. It is the first in a series of eight planned high-performance computing (HPC) centres in the EU. The project cost EUR 17.2 million. Vega was set up as part of the HPC RIVR national project and EuroHPC.
LJUBLJANA - Montenegrin Defence Minister Olivera Injac began an official two-day visit to discuss with Slovenian counterpart Matej Tonin defence cooperation, international missions and operations, and Slovenia's EU presidency. The ministers assessed bilateral cooperation as excellent, while agreeing it could be intensified in cyberdefence and crisis management.
LJUBLJANA - Speaker Igor Zorčič addressed a virtual session of the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly, noting that the Eastern Partnership was an important framework for cooperation and that the priorities of Slovenia's EU presidency provided prospects to countries with a European aspiration.
WEDNESDAY, 21 April
BRDO PRI KRANJU - Slovenian FM Anže Logar and Italian and Croatian counterparts, Luigi di Maio and Gordan Grlić Radman, signed a joint statement on trilateral cooperation in the northern Adriatic, in what Logar said was the foundation for strengthening cooperation in areas that are key for all three countries. The trio called for boosted cooperation between the northern Adriatic ports and joint promotion of the Adriatic navigable waterway.
LJUBLJANA - European Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson told the STA she intended to raise the issue of media freedom and pluralism during her two-day visit to Slovenia, noting the country should not underestimate the risk to its international reputation when it comes to this issue. The visit is primarily aimed at discussing the country's EU presidency preparations.
LJUBLJANA - The government amended the medium-term defence programme until 2023 to adjust it to the latest priorities in development of military capabilities. Procedures to buy a tactical transport aircraft and two medium-sized transport helicopters are expected to be completed by then.
LJUBLJANA - The government adopted a resolution on Slovenia's long-term climate strategy until 2050 with ba view to reach zero emissions by 2050 or climate neutrality. The country is to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80-90% by 2050 compared to 2005.
LJUBLJANA - Agriculture Minister Jože Podgoršek participated in a meeting of agriculture ministers of the Visegrad Group, plus Slovenia, Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania. Slovenia thinks that efforts to pursue the Farm to Fork strategy are the right choice, said Podgoršek, highlighting that a transition to sustainable farming should be fair.
LJUBLJANA - Those in Slovenia who have had a confirmed coronavirus infection will receive only one shot of a coronavirus vaccine six months after they had the disease, according to new guidelines issued by the national advisory committee on immunisation. The guidance was issued to vaccination centres recently after seven other European countries decided to do that.
LJUBLJANA - Infrastructure Ministry State Secretary Blaž Košorok provided assurances to MPs that the national recovery and resilience plan will hit the green targets mandating that 37% of funds allocated under the plan be spent on projects that contribute towards the realisation of climate objectives.
LJUBLJANA - Gregor Majdič, a researcher behavioural neuroendocrinology and professor at the Ljubljana Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and the Maribor Faculty of Medicine, was elected new chancellor of the University of Ljubljana, defeating the incumbent Igor Papič, in a run-off.
LJUBLJANA - The Ljubljana District Court sentenced Peter Gaspeti to 30 years in prison for killing three relatives with a knife in the area of Domžale, 15 km north of Ljubljana, last June. The 25-year-old defendant will go to jail for killing his grandfather, grandmother and uncle.
THURSDAY, 22 April
WARSAW, Poland - Prime Minister Janez Janša met his Polish counterpart Mateusz Morawiecki during a visit to Warsaw for talks on bilateral relations, the priorities of Slovenia's presidency of the Council of the EU and the future of Europe. Janša highlighted boosting the bloc's resilience for health crises and cyber security as two key priorities of the presidency.
LJUBLJANA - EU issues and the post-pandemic recovery dominated talks as Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou was received by President Borut Pahor for the first official visit by a head of state since the start of the epidemic.
LJUBLJANA - European Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson and Interior Minister Aleš Hojs discussed the priorities of Slovenia's upcoming EU presidency, highlighting the new Schengen strategy, migration pact and the Western Balkans as some of the key areas of interest.
LJUBLJANA - EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson and Interior Minister Aleš Hojs broached the issue of media freedom in Slovenia and the financing of the Slovenian Press Agency (STA). Hojs announced that after the STA management handed over to the government business documents handed over by the STA would be a basis to sign a new contract and restore financing. Johansson said she hoped "these issues can be resolved ahead of the Slovenian presidency".
LJUBLJANA - The national advisory committee on immunisation recommended the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine against Covid-19 for everyone over the age of 18, in line with the guidance issued by the European Medicines Agency. Slovenia expects to inoculate at least 50% of its population or 63% of its adult population by the end of June, said Milan Krek, the head of the National Institute of Public Health.
LJUBLJANA - The annual general meeting of energy company Petrol decided to pay out a dividend of EUR 22 gross per share, as proposed by the management board, which is on a par with last year. EUR 45.22 million will thus be paid out in dividends out of a total of EUR 45.36 million in last year's distributable profit.
BRUSSELS, Belgium - Potica, a rich traditional cake made of special dough and usually walnut filling, has been protected with the traditional specialities guaranteed label, meaning the cakes sold under the name will need to be certified for their shape and recipe, while not geographically limited to Slovenia.
What follows is a weekly review of events involving Slovenia, as prepared by the STA.
FRIDAY, 9 April
LJUBLJANA - The government overhauled the colour-coded strategy of coronavirus restrictions as the 1-11 April circuit-breaker lockdown was about to end, softening some rules applying to each of the five tiers and abolishing the night curfew as of 12 April. The epidemic was extended by another 30 days from 17 April.
LJUBLJANA - The government extended the partial wage subsidy for furloughed workers into May to reduce the risk of layoffs due to the Covid-19 epidemic. The extension is to cost the state some EUR 31.5 million, with an estimated 45,000 employees to be included.
LJUBLJANA - The government set up a strategic council for digitalisation as an advisory body to the prime minister. The new council is headed by Mark Boris Andrijanič of US ride hailing platform Uber.
LJUBLJANA - The National Institute of Public Health received almost 3,820 reports of side effects after 404,000 Covid-19 vaccinations. In 16 cases, serious side effects were reported after vaccination with the AstraZeneca vaccine, but link to the vaccine was not confirmed.
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia exported EUR 3 billion worth of goods in February, up 2.6% year on year, and imported EUR 2.7 billion, down 2.2%. The export-import ratio reached 109.7% for the third highest monthly surplus in the last decade, the Statistic Office said. The country's industry meanwhile contracted at an annual rate of 1.5%.
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia Sovereign Holding (SSH) published a takeover bid for spa operator Terme Olimia, offering EUR 27.50 per share for the shares the state does not own yet. The move is part of the government's efforts to pool tourism companies under one roof.
ČRNOMELJ - An unknown perpetrator threw a petrol bomb though the window of the house of a local councillor for the opposition LMŠ in Črnomelj, Vesna Fabjan, but nobody was hurt in the fire, which was put out quickly. Senior Slovenian officials strongly condemned the incident.
SATURDAY, 10 April
LJUBLJANA - The outdoor mask mandate was ended. Masks must now be worn only if a sufficient physical social distance cannot be observed.
LJUBLJANA - The Culture Ministry confirmed media reports that comparative literature expert Aleš Vaupotič was appointed the new director of Moderna Galerija, the national museum of modern and contemporary art. His five-year term started on 6 April.
MARIBOR - Around 400 people gathered in Freedom Square to protest against the government's measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19, criticising the announced self-testing for the coronavirus in schools, continued closure of bars and restaurants and face mask wearing.
BILBAO, Spain - Cyclist Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) won the Tour of the Basque Country for the second time in his career, with his younger compatriot Tadej Pogačar finishing third.
MONDAY, 12 April
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia entered the red stage of coronavirus restrictions under an overhauled traffic-light system after an eleven-day lockdown. The night curfew was lifted after nearly six months, most shops and other services reopened, including museums, galleries and libraries, and pupils went back to school.
LJUBLJANA - Some changes to entry in Slovenia without quarantine or a negative PCR test were introduced to include accredited journalists and persons who enter for emergency reasons, while Austria was red-listed. A negative test produced at a border crossing can now also come from the US and UK.
LJUBLJANA - The Covid-19 vaccination task force at the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ) decided the AstraZeneca vaccine will be administered to everyone over 18 without any restrictions, after the European Medicines Agency found no connection with side effects to either age or gender.
SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovin/LJUBLJANA - Slovenian Ambassador to Bosnia-Herzegovina Zorica Bukinac was summoned to the Bosnian Foreign Ministry after Bosnian media reported PM Janez Janša sent to the EU a non-paper on re-writing of borders in the Western Balkans. Janša denied the claim and the Slovenian Foreign Ministry said the only non paper on the Western Balkans Slovenia had joined was Croatia's from the end of last year.
BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Commission was on a virtual visit to Slovenia in preparation for its second Rule of Law Report, due in July, to obtain additional information or clear up any issues after the country submitted its assessment of the situation in late March.
LJUBLJANA - A review of a number of closed National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) cases that was ordered by Interior Minister Aleš Hojs last year found zero mistakes or shortcomings in the audited police work, shows a report obtained by news portal 24ur.com.
LJUBLJANA - In a bid to resolve the financing dispute, STA director Bojan Veselinovič offered the government access to all books of account and documents, even though the STA had never received a formal request to that effect. He said the government should say, in writing, who would access the documents on its behalf and in what way.
TREBNJE - The sub-zero temperatures that hit Slovenia last week could result in EUR 40-50 million in damage caused to fruit and wine growers, Agriculture Minister Jože Podgoršek estimated as he continued visiting the frost-stricken areas. He announced state aid for the affected farmers.
TUESDAY, 13 April
MARIBOR/LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's largest two vaccination centres repirted massive cancellations by those due to get an AstraZeneca vaccine. Half of those invited turned down the jab in Maribor and a third in Ljubljana, the local community health centres said. Bojana Beović, the head of the national immunisation advisory commission, expressed surprise considering the vaccine involves no risk for the age group in principle.
LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Anže Logar noted the significance of enhanced cooperation between the EU and the US in the changed international and security environment, as he took part in an online international conference called the Raisina Dialogue.
BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Commission opened an in-depth investigation to assess the proposed acquisition of Slovenian maker of prefabricated construction elements Trimo by the Irish Kingspan Group over concerns that the transaction may reduce competition and lead to price increases.
LJUBLJANA - The Trade Union of Transport and Communications Workers came out against legislative changes that would provide a legal basis for ride hailing platforms such as Uber. Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec said the goal was to make transport services cheaper and more modern.
WEDNESDAY, 14 April
LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Anže Logar told the parliamentary Foreign Policy Committee that Slovenia's strategy on the Western Balkans had not changed as he responded to a question about an alleged non-paper on the Western Balkans PM Janez Janša was supposed to have sent to Brussels.
ROME, Italy - President Borut Pahor and his Italian counterpart Sergio Mattarella called for completing the process of returning National Home, a Slovenian centre in Trieste, to the Slovenian minority in Italy as soon as possible as they met in Rome.
LJUBLJANA - Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek and European Commissioner for Justice and Consumer Protection Didier Reynders discussed the priorities of Slovenia's upcoming EU presidency in terms of consumer protection. Počivalšek said Slovenia supports an ambitious take on the bloc's consumer policy.
LJUBLJANA - Foreign Ministry State Secretary Stanislav Raščan pledged Slovenia's commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in line with the EU's commitment to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, as he took part in a virtual EU-Brazil event on climate change, biodiversity and sustainable development.
LJUBLJANA - Culture Minister Vasko Simoniti held an online talk with Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatović to discuss media freedom and the freedom of expression. The ministry said Simoniti had assured the commissioner the Slovenian government thinks media freedom is crucial.
BRDO PRI KRANJU - The government decided to allow hospitality establishments in eight of Slovenia's twelve statistical regions to serve guests at outdoor tables from 7am to 7pm starting from 19 April. It added the Sputnik and Johnson&Johnson vaccines to the list of vaccines the vaccination with which exempts a person from having to quarantine or get tested upon entering Slovenia. It also decided to give over 10,000 unemployed who have lost job since the coronavirus epidemic was first declared in March 2020 a one-off solidarity allowance of EUR 150.
LJUBLJANA - The college of deputy group leaders voted not to allow four independent MPs - three defectors from the coalition SMC, including Speaker Igor Zorčič, and one from the opposition DeSUS - to take part in parliamentary bodies. Voting against their participation were all three coalition parties as well as the opposition SNS and DeSUS plus one minority MP. The centre-left coalition fears this is an attack on parliamentary democracy.
LJUBLJANA - After failing to muster support in parliament to dismiss Education Minister Simona Kustec in mid-March, the four centre-left opposition parties mounted a new attempt to have the minister either resign or be replaced, arguing she had let down her brief and the groups she is responsible for.
THURSDAY, 15 April
LJUBLJANA - The Constitutional Court said it had cleared a law securing EUR 780 million in investments in the Slovenian Armed Forces in 2021-2026 as well as parliament's decision not to allow a referendum on the law. It argued the National Assembly and the government had reasonably grounded the urgency of the investments and the decision not to allow the referendum.
LJUBLJANA - The Constitutional Court stayed the implementation of a government decree that temporarily bans public gatherings and events arguing that a new decree should be adopted with due consideration of the right to gatherings being a fundamental human right and an important means of expressing political opinions.
LJUBLJANA - The online portal Necenzurirano published a non-paper proposing changes to borders in the Western Balkans that has been raising controversy in recent days. While its authorship remains unclear, "some information indicates part of the content has been written in Budapest. Nevertheless, it is referred to in Brussels diplomatic circles as a 'Slovenian' non-paper as allegedly the Janša office has been involved in its mailing to various addresses," wrote the portal.
LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly hosted the 17th conference of parliamentary speakers from the Adriatic-Ionian Initiative as part of Slovenia's presidency of the initiative. President Borut Pahor said in his address the group was an important leverage of regional cooperation and European integration of Western Balkan countries.
What follows is a weekly review of events involving Slovenia, as prepared by the STA.
FRIDAY, 2 April
LJUBLJANA - Four centre-left opposition parties tabled a motion asking the National Assembly to impeach Prime Minister Janez Janša before the Constitutional Court. They accused him of violating several articles of the Constitution and laws, pertaining to healthcare, the media, prosecution, and human and constitutional rights.
BRUSSELS, Belgium - Slovenia will get its pro rata share from a package of 10 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine whose delivery has been pushed forward from the first to the second quarter of the year. Under the plan agreed by EU member states, this means approximately 47,000 doses of the vaccine, of which 10,000 doses will reportedly be donated to the Czech Republic under a bilateral agreement.
LJUBLJANA - The Health Ministry picked Sanolabor as the supplier of a million rapid antigen test for mass testing for coronavirus. Sanolabor offered EUR 1.37 per test, with the total cost for the state amounting to EUR 1.137 million.
LJUBLJANA - The Fiscal Council noted that at least one of the two conditions enabling the government to depart from the obligation of medium-term fiscal balance under exceptional circumstances would be met next year, and advised caution.
SATURDAY, 3 April
LJUBLJANA - The head of Slovenia's vaccination advisory group, Bojana Beović, told POP TV that the group had proposed suspending vaccination of younger people with the AstraZeneca vaccine until all dilemmas about serious undesired side effects are clarified.
MARIBOR - Several hundred protesters gathered in the Maribor city centre to protest against anti-coronavirus measures. The rally was organised through social networks. The protesters did not wear face masks and ignored distancing recommendations.
LJUBLJANA - Health Minister Janez Poklukar ordered an emergency oversight over the payment of epidemic bonuses following media reports about excessively high payouts, in particular to doctors.
SUNDAY, 4 April
LJUBLJANA/MARIBOR - PM Janez Janša said in his Easter message the coronavirus pandemic had fully exposed society's vulnerability and weaknesses, but expressed confidence Slovenia would overcome this trial.
MONDAY, 5 April
NAZARJE - Appliances maker BSH Hišni Aparati generated almost EUR 380 million in revenue last year, a rise of almost 10% over 2019. The company did not reveal the profit figure, while telling the STA it was planning to increase revenue to EUR 487 million this year.
TUESDAY, 6 April
LJUBLJANA - As part of the EU presidency trio format, the defence ministers of Slovenia, Portugal and Germany discussed the Strategic Compass process, EU-NATO cooperation, military mobility, and the bloc's support for stabilisation efforts in Mozambique. Minister Matej Tonin stressed the Strategic Compass would be a priority during Slovenia's EU presidency in the second half of the year.
LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Anže Logar held a video conference with Bavarian State Minister for European and International Affairs Melanie Huml in preparation of his visit to the German state on 22 June. The pair discussed ways to enhance cooperation in light of the Covid-19 pandemic and Slovenia's upcoming EU presidency.
LJUBLJANA - The Constitutional Court announced having annulled in an unanimous decision the implementation of a provision from one of the legislative packages for mitigating the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic that extends accreditations to higher education institutions. The provision was stayed in late January.
LJUBLJANA - Two groups of petitioners submitted their respective initiatives for a referendum on the contentious amendments to the water act after they had collected over 9,000 and 33,000 signatures, respectively. The upper chamber of parliament voted against a veto on the amendments.
LJUBLJANA - The Fiscal Council noted that, according to preliminary data, the national budget deficit in the first three months amounted to EUR 1.29 billion, which is almost half of the deficit planned for the entire year.
LJUBLJANA - The registered jobless total was down for the second consecutive month in March, standing at 82,638, or 6.1% less than in February. The number is nevertheless 6.1% higher year-on-year.
WEDNESDAY, 7 April
LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša urged countries to join the EU's efforts to provide anti-coronavirus vaccines to less prosperous countries, as he took part in a virtual conference hosted by the World Forum for Ethics in Business to mark World Health Day, which discussed the changing paradigms during the pandemic.
LJUBLJANA - Bojana Beović, the head of the national advisory committee on immunisation, said Slovenia would not change its Covid-19 vaccination strategy for the time being after the European Medicines Agency announced that unusual blood clots should be listed as a very rare side effect of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia denied asylum-seekers access to asylum in 2020, while forcibly returning migrants to Croatia, Amnesty International said in its latest human rights report. The country was criticised for limiting freedom of assembly during the pandemic, handling Covid infections at care homes inadequately, and failing to resolve Roma issues.
LJUBLJANA - The European Court of Human Rights admitted an application against Slovenia over an alleged violation of the right to a fair hearing. The case concerns Constitutional Court judge Rok Čeferin's failure to exclude himself from a case.
LJUBLJANA - Preliminary inquiries by the Education Ministry into the sentiment towards the announced self-testing of students showed that around 22% of pupils of the final three years of primary school and 18.5% of secondary school students would self-test. Several parents' initiatives oppose the plan.
LJUBLJANA - The Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning published a resolution on Slovenia's long-term climate strategy until 2050 with one of the goals being climate neutrality and resilience to climate change.
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia woke up to an unseasonably cold morning with temperatures dipping into the 20s below zero in the south of the country in what was the coldest April morning on record.
THURSDAY, 8 April
LJUBLJANA - Education Minister Simona Kustec announced pupils would return to schools and children to kindergartens following an 11-day circuit-breaker lockdown 12 April, which is in line with the promise made before the country entered its third coronavirus lockdown. Universities remain shut.
LJUBLJANA - The Constitutional Court stayed a provision of a government decree which restricts travel to countries on Slovenia's red list of high-risk countries due to Covid-19, pending its final decision. It invoked its right to stay legislation to prevent the occurrence of irreparable damage.
LJUBLJANA - The government said it expected that this year's budget expenditure will be EUR 800 million higher than planned in the current budget documents, arguing the situation regarding Covid-19 had deteriorated significantly since the budgeting process was completed.
LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor congratulated Vjosa Osmani on being elected president of Kosovo and wished her successful work as they had a telephone conversation, focussing on the epidemiological situation and cooperation between the countries and in the region.
LJUBLJANA - The government decided to donate Covid-19 protective equipment to several Western Balkan countries following a request for aid through the EU civil protection mechanism. Montenegro will receive EUR 107,350 worth of equipment, North Macedonia EUR 115,000, and Serbia EUR 120,300.
LJUBLJANA - The Fiscal Council said that public investment that is to increase in the coming years could help drive economic growth and development, but that the institutional framework should be improved if investment is to be efficient.
STRASBOURG, France - The latest Council of Europe report on penal statistics in its 52 member states showed Slovenia had 109 prisoners per 100 prison beds in 2020, which made it one of the CoE member states with the most crowded prisons; it placed the 9th most prison-crowded country. The Justice Ministry said it was aware of the situation and that two new prisons were planned.
LJUBLJANA - Five exchange traded funds (ETF) by Bulgarian Expat Capital were listed on the Ljubljana stock market, following years of efforts by the Ljubljana Stock Exchange to attract ETFs there once again.
LJUBLJANA - The government adopted a new decree on packaging and waste packaging under which all producers of packaging, not just those that put more than 15 tonnes of packaging on the market in Slovenia annually, are liable for waste treatment fees.
What follows is a weekly review of events involving Slovenia, as prepared by the STA.
FRIDAY, 26 March
BRUSSELS, Belgium - PM Janez Janša's appearance in front of the European Parliament's democracy monitoring group was overshadowed by a row with chair Sophie in 't Veld. After In 't Veld refused to play a pre-prepared video during the time allotted for his statement, Janša disconnected from the videoconference. He later accused her of censorship and called on her to resign.
LJUBLJANA - A meeting between Slovenian and Romanian foreign ministers, Anže Logar and Bogdan Lucian Aurescu, confirmed good bilateral relations, with the ministers agreeing that there was still much room for improvement. The meeting also focused on Slovenia's upcoming EU presidency, with Logar presenting its priorities
LJUBLJANA - MPs passed the government-sponsored changes to the international protection act to prevent asylum law abuse and grant international protection only to those who really need it. The law envisages faster asylum procedures, sanctions for obstructing them and violations of or failure to comply with relevant rules, including public order rules.
LJUBLJANA - Four MPs, including Speaker Igor Zorčič, formed a new deputy faction in parliament after three of them parted ways with the coalition Modern Centre Party (SMC) and one left the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) deputy group. Janja Sluga was named chair.
LJUBLJANA - Parliament passed changes to the budget implementation act under which funding restrictions would not apply to military investments. Currently, the budget implementation act states that defence investments are exempt from restrictions.
LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly endorsed amendments to the state prosecution act setting the conditions for hiring European delegated prosecutors and the required level of their proficiency in English.
LJUBLJANA - MPs unanimously passed a bill on the protection of children in criminal procedures, setting up the country's first Barnahus for children. According to Justice Minister Lilijana Kozlovič, the house will provide full treatment to children involved in criminal procedures as victims, witnesses or perpetrators.
SATURDAY, 27 March
LJUBLJANA - The opposition Left started collecting signatures for a referendum that would block military investments after the parliament adopted changes bypassing the Constitutional Court decision to stay the legislation allowing for the investments, its second attempt to block the investments with a referendum.
SOCHI, Russia - The Slovenian national football team lost a qualifier for the 2022 2022 FIFA World Cup against Russia 1:2, the first defeat in the qualifying round.
SUNDAY, 28 March
BRDO PRI KRANJU - The government endorsed the proposal of the Covid-19 advisory team to impose an 11-day circuit breaker lockdown starting on 1 April in a bid to help hospitals cope with an expected influx in Covid-19 patients following an increase in Slovenia's coronavirus transmission rates.
TCHAIKOVSKY, Russia - Nika Križnar won the overall Ski Jumping World Cup to secure the first ever Crystal Globe trophy in the discipline in the women's competition for Slovenia.
MONDAY, 29 March
LJUBLJANA - Toughened restrictions on Slovenia's borders entered into effect in advance of an eleven-day lockdown. There are fewer exemptions and the testing requirement was stepped up. Except for a narrow list of exemptions, travel to all red-listed countries is prohibited.
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia supports efforts to implement the Digital Green Certificate system for cross-border travel, Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek told an informal debate at the invitation of the Austrian tourism minister. He said Slovenia supported a joint approach by the EU.
LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly formally established a new inquiry commission, which will investigate potential interference by holders of public office in the work of the police since March 2020, when the current government was sworn in. The request came from four opposition parties.
BIČ - The Slovenian subsidiary of the French car interior components maker Treves announced it will discontinue its Slovenian operations in September, which means 102 people will be left jobless. The news came after its plant was hit by a massive fire in January.
LJUBLJANA - The UNESCO-sponsored International Research Centre On Artificial Intelligence, which was established in Ljubljana in October 2020, was formally launched at a virtual event. The opening ceremony presented the centre's work so far as well as opportunities for cooperation and use of AI tools.
LJUBLJANA- Slovenia renewed its nomination of Lipizzaner horse breeding for the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List, which it filed last year on behalf of eight countries with this tradition.
TUESDAY, 30 March
LJUBLJANA - The coalition failed to unseat Igor Zorčič as National Assembly speaker after he quit the Modern Centre Party (SMC) deputy group. 45 voted in favour of the dismissal, one short of the required majority, as the majority of the opposition abstained.
LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly elected Tina Žumer a vice-governor of the Slovenian central bank and backed the government's proposal to appoint jurist Anka Čadež director of the Securities Market Agency for a six-year term.
LJUBLJANA - Parliament passed changes to the water act. A provision which would have allowed industrial plants that use hazardous materials to be build on protected water area was scrapped from the bill in the wake of criticism by NGOs, but environmentalists warned that the legislation was still problematic.
LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed legislative changes under which cross-border workers will be temporarily eligible for higher unemployment allowances than workers employed in Slovenia since they pay higher unemployment insurance in the countries where they work.
BRUSSELS, Belgium - Slovenia pledged EUR 70,000 in fresh humanitarian aid to Syria over the next two years at a donor conference for Syria. Foreign Minister Anže Logar said the donation would support the activities of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Syria.
MARIBOR - Boris Novak stepped down as director general of postal operator Pošta Slovenije by mutual agreement with the new supervisory board. He is succeeded by Tomaž Kokot, the chair of the supervisory board, who will step in as interim director.
LJUBLJANA - Little Girl, a documentary by Sebastien Lifshitz about an eight-year-old girl trapped in a boy's body, was named the winner of the Amnesty International Slovenija Award at the 23rd Festival of Documentary Film.
WEDNESDAY, 31 March
LJUBLJANA - The government gave the Interior Ministry the go-ahead to sign special agreements with EU countries on joint patrols on the Slovenian-Croatian borders. The move comes after the government's proposal of having the army help the police failed to garner sufficient support in parliament.
WASHINGTON, US - The US Department of State's 2020 Human Rights report on Slovenia singled out attacks on the media and harassment of journalists as one of the key human rights issues. Other significant issues include criminalisation of libel and slander and discrimination against the Roma community.
LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Anže Logar hosted North Macedonia's Deputy PM Nikola Dimitrov, who is in charge of EU affairs, with the official visit revolving around priorities of Slovenia's upcoming EU presidency and North Macedonia's efforts to join the EU.
LJUBLJANA - Interior Minister Aleš Hojs talked to Margaritis Schinas, the European commissioner for promoting the European way of life, as part of Slovenia's preparations for its EU presidency in the second half of 2021. Hojs presented Slovenia's priorities for the presidency, above all efforts to strengthen the Schengen zone.
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia and 12 other countries joined the US-proposed joint statement on the study of Covid-19 origins by the World Health Organization that expresses concern over its delay and calls for more clarity over the pandemic's outbreak, the Foreign Ministry announced.
LJUBLJANA - The supervisory board of the Slovenian Press Agency (STA) called on the government to immediately settle all of its outstanding liabilities to the STA and to comply with its legal obligations to finance the STA public service.
LJUBLJANA - Anton Balažek stepped down as interim head of the opposition Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) at the party council meeting. Brigita Čokl will be in charge until the election congress, which is expected in June.
KRŠKO - The Krško Nuclear Power Station (NEK) shut down for scheduled maintenance as its 31st fuel cycle ended. 1,800 workers from the EU and US will be involved in some 40,000 individual activities.
THURSDAY, 1 April
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia entered its third lockdown in just over a year in a bid to buy time for vaccination and stem the third wave of the pandemic, which is driven by the highly virulent UK variant. The lockdown is planned until 11 April, with the exception of Easter Sunday, when up to two households will be able to socialise.
LJUBLJANA - Genetic sequencing showed the UK variant of the coronavirus is spreading rapidly in Slovenia. Data from the National Laboratory of Health, Environment and Food and the Institute of Microbiology and Immunology show over 40% of all samples were not the UK variant.
LJUBLJANA - Health authorities recommended that Covid-19 vaccination be focused in the next three weeks on older persons. The National Public Health Institute said the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines should be administered to persons aged 65+, and to particularly vulnerable chronic patients regardless of age. The AstraZeneca vaccine is recommended for persons aged 60-64.
LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Anže Logar spoke over telephone with Nasser Bourita, the Moroccan minister of foreign affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccan expatriates. They called for the strengthening of bilateral relations and exchanged views on current regional issues, including migration.
LJUBLJANA - The Securities Market Agency closed an insider trading case against Environment Minister Andrej Vizjak concerning purchases of Petrol stock prior to full liberalisation of fuel prices. Vizjak said the agency's did not find irregularities.
What follows is a weekly review of events involving Slovenia, as prepared by the STA.
FRIDAY, 19 March
LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor, Prime Minister Janez Janša and speakers of both houses of parliament, Igor Zorčič and Alojz Kovšca, got vaccinated with the AstraZeneca Covid-19 jab to boost the public's confidence in the vaccine following a brief suspension of its use in Slovenia.
LJUBLJANA - The motion to oust Labour Minister Janez Cigler Kralj, brought by four centre-left opposition parties, was defeated by 44 votes to 38, following a 17-hour debate that focused on the minister's handling of the Covid-19 outbreak in care homes.
LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Janez Janša met representatives of the Islamic Community to discuss interreligious and intercultural dialogue "as a pillar of trust-based relations among members of different religions and cultures" and the community's activity during the epidemic.
BRUSSELS, Belgium/THE HAGUE, Netherlands - Interior Minister Aleš Hojs listed a comprehensive EU migration policy, stronger Schengen zone, high degree of security in the bloc, and Western Balkans as the top priorities of Slovenia's presidency of the EU after two days of meetings with senior Belgian, Dutch and EU officials in preparations for the presidency.
LJUBLJANA - The government included military projects worth 170 million into the development plan, including modernisation of the military communication and information system, overhaul of the Ljubljana barracks, purchase of a tactical-transport aircraft and upgrade of the Bell helicopter fleet.
LJUBLJANA - Bernardin Akitoby, chief of the IMF mission for Slovenia, said the institution's forecast for Slovenia's economic growth for 2021 was being downgraded from 5.2% to 3.7%, in 2022 the economy is to grow by 4.5% to return to the pre-pandemic growth level.
LJUBLJANA - Energy company Petrol reported a 30% decline in sales revenue and net profit for 2020, at EUR 3 billion and EUR 72.3 million, respectively, a deterioration blamed on the Covid-19 pandemic.
BERLIN, Germany - Slovenian composer Petra Strahovnik, a graduate of the Royal Conservatory of The Hague, won the Art Prize for music from the Academy of Arts in Berlin. In her work, Strahovnik discusses themes from social margins, such as autism, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and ADHD.
SATURDAY, 20 March
LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor spoke over the phone with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to mark ten years since the countries signed a strategic partnership agreement that they said had accelerated economic cooperation and deepened political dialogue. They also discussed EU-Turkey relations with Pahor urging "dialogue and a constructive resolution of issues in the East Mediterranean".
MARIBOR - Five and a half months after resigning as the leader of the Pensioners' Party amidst an ethics scandal, Aleksandra Pivec, a former agriculture minister, founded a new party, Our Land. The inaugural congress heard the party would pursue a policy of "forging ties, dialogue, cooperation and higher level of political culture".
SUNDAY, 21 March
NIZHNY TAGIL, Russia - Nika Križnar won silver in the women's Ski Jumping World Cup event to reclaim the yellow bib of the overall leader.
LENZERHEIDE, Switzerland - Meta Hrovat placed third in the women's giant slalom at the World Cup finale in her second podium of the season to end 9th in the overall giant slalom standings and 25th in the overall standings as Slovenia's best female skier this season.
MONDAY, 22 March
BRUSSELS, Belgium - Slovenia and five other EU member states presented at a session of the EU foreign ministers a non-paper on Bosnia-Herzegovina urging the EU to retain a focus on the country.
LJUBLJANA - Appearing in questions time in parliament, Prime Minister Janez Janša argued it would make little sense for Slovenia to opt to register the Russian Sputnik V vaccine past the European Medicines Agency because the local regulator's procedure would take longer than EMA's. He also noted that the Russian vaccine was in short supply.
LJUBLJANA - Commenting on the stalled appointment of delegated EU prosecutors, Prime Minister Janez Janša told MPs the government was considering changing the appointment procedure because it relegated the government to the role of a "mail carrier".
LJUBLJANA - Hospitality establishments in the Primorsko-Notranjska were allowed to serve customers outdoors after the region joined Posavje and South-East Slovenia in yellow tier of coronavirus restrictions.
LJUBLJANA - World Water Day was headlined by calls by experts and officials against rash solutions that could jeopardise the constitutional right to clean drinking water, in the light of amendments to the waters act that would loosen the rules for water protection areas. An amendment allowing construction of manufacturing facilities which use hazardous materials in water protected areas was later withdrawn, but not the one allowing construction of public infrastructure in coastal areas.
BRUSSELS, Belgium - Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek told an informal session of EU ministers for competitiveness Slovenia was in favour of the concept of strategic autonomy in the EU as an opportunity to reduce the bloc's reliance on third-country suppliers, but it must be balanced against the need for an open economy and compliance with the rules of free trade.
LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor met representatives of the Slovenian minority in Italy to discuss the progress in the restitution of National Hall in Trieste to the minority and the minority's efforts for political representation at the national level.
TUESDAY, 23 March
LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly endorsed a declaration on Slovenia's activities in EU institutions in 2021-2024. The main topics are improving the resilience of the EU to crises, green transition and the rule of law, which match the priorities of Slovenia's upcoming presidency of the Council of the EU. The opposition criticised the document for being too generalised.
LJUBLJANA - Meeting the ambassadors of EU countries, President Borut Pahor said that the EU perspective had been the engine of Slovenia's efforts for democratisation and independence and was thus woven into the country's history. Today, the EU should be more united, efficient and closer to people, he said.
LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly unanimously passed changes to the pension legislation allowing for faster increase in pensions. The pension rate for persons with 40 years of pensionable service will be increased to 63.5% of the long-term average wage for both men and women.
LONDON, UK - Ascent Resources announced it would initiate arbitration proceedings against Slovenia in a dispute over permits for the extraction of gas by means of hydraulic fracturing in Petišovci, after the state had failed to put forward a damages proposal. The company estimates the damage to be in excess of EUR 100 million.
LJUBLJANA - Senior officials marked the 30th anniversary of Premik'91, a major military exercise that displayed a high level of organisation of the Slovenian Territorial Defence ahead of the declaration of independence. President Borut Pahor said the exercise had marked the true transformation of the Territorial Defence into the SAF, which had defended Slovenia's independence.
WEDNESDAY, 24 March
LJUBLJANA - The government shortened the curfew from between 9pm and 6am to between 10pm and 5pm, and imposed a ban on movement into and out of Obalno-Kraška, Goriška and Koroška regions, which have the highest coronavirus infection rates. The government also decided that only negative PCR test result will be accepted to avoid quarantine on entering Slovenia, save for exceptions. Further restrictions are to be imposed following a cross-party meeting hosted by President Borut Pahor. This was after Slovenia entered a third wave of coronavirus with infections rising fast, with the 7-day new case count average rising to 882 and hospitalisations topping 500.
LJUBLJANA - The government amended once again the national vaccination strategy, moving higher up on the list the age group of 60 and older, as well as the national Olympic team bound for Tokyo in the summer. The national coordinator of vaccination logistics, Jelko Kacin, said it was realistic to expect that 70% of Slovenia's population, or all adult residents, would be vaccinated by summer.
LJUBLJANA/BRUSSELS, Belgium - The Foreign Ministry summoned Chinese Ambassador Wang Shunqing in response to sanctions imposed by China in retaliation for the EU's sanctions for its treatment of the Uyghurs in Xinjiang. The ministry described China's measures as unacceptable and expressed concern about human rights violations in Xinjiang and about the legislative changes affecting Hong Kong's autonomy. In Brussels, Foreign Minister Anže Logar said China's actions contradicted the EU's fundamental values, and would not contribute to an EU-China partnership to boost investment cooperation.
BRUSSELS, Belgium - Addressing reporters after a two-day meeting of NATO foreign ministers, Foreign Minister Anže Logar said Slovenia supported NATO's ambitious vision until 2030 as proposed by Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. As for the proposed strengthening of the common-funded budget, Logar said Slovenia shared the view of some other allies that detailed data should be obtained first.
LJUBLJANA - The government extended until the end of June several measures to mitigate impact of Covid-19 on the population and businesses, including the universal basic income and partial reimbursement of a lost income for the self-employed during quarantine or inability to work due to force majeure or child care.
LJUBLJANA - The Institute of Macroeconomic Analysis and Development (IMAD) upgraded its economic growth forecast for the country for this year to 4.6% from 4.3% in winter, to be followed by a 4.4% growth in 2022 and 3.3% in 2023.
LJUBLJANA - The government endorsed an initiative for Slovenia to nominate beekeeping for the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list.
LJUBLJANA - The national football team defeated Croatia 1:0 in a spectator-less opening qualifier for the 2022 World Cup in what was Slovenia's first ever win against the neighbouring country's side. Meanwhile, the under-21 team lost to Spain 0:3 at the outset of the he UEFA European Under-21 Championship co-hosted by Slovenia.
THURSDAY, 25 March
BRUSSELS, Belgium - Prime Minister Janez Janša and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen discussed preparations for Slovenia's upcoming presidency of the Council of the EU, both labelling the discussion as good and constructive.
LJUBLJANA - Seven EU leaders, including Prime Minister Janez Janša, addressed a letter to the European Commission, voicing their concern over what they see as little room for member states' individual policy making, including in nuclear energy development, left by the bloc's efforts to reach climate targets.
LJUBLJANA - The motion of no confidence in Culture Minister Vasko Simoniti, brought by four centre-left opposition parties fell three votes short of the required outright majority to pass. The debate, stretched to two days, focused on his response to the Covid crisis in culture and his attitude to the self-employed in the sector and to public media.
LJUBLJANA - National Assembly Speaker Igor Zorčič and head of the deputy group of the Modern Centre Party (SMC) Janja Sluga gave a miss to a session of the party council in a clear indication of an imminent split. The reason was the appointment of the head of the Greens as an aide to Economy Minister and SMC leader Zdravko Počivalšek, which they see as his forging new alliances.
LJUBLJANA - Former Health Minister Tomaž Gantar quit the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) after the plan to consolidate the party failed. Agriculture Minister Jože Podgoršek is no longer party member for failing to resign as minister after DeSUS quit the coalition.
LJUBLJANA - Head of the Slovenian Hoteliers' Association, Gregor Jamnik, described the situation in the industry as disastrous, warning that the bulk of businesses were not generating any revenue and would depend on state aid for a while longer as the industry would not fully recover in a decade.
NOVO MESTO - The Renault-owned car assembly plant Revoz suspended production of all of its models for two days due to shortages in electronic parts or chips, a global problem due to an increase in the use of electronic devices during the Covid-19 pandemic.
PLANICA - Japan's Ryoyu Kobayashi won the first event of the Ski Jumping World Cup finals in Planica, ahead of Germany's Markus Eisenbichler and Karl Geiger. The best local was Bor Pavlovčič in fifth.
What follows is a weekly review of events involving Slovenia, as prepared by the STA.
FRIDAY, 12 March
BRDO PRI KRANJU - PM Janez Janša pledged the government would respond to the third Covid-19 wave, which he said could realistically be expected, and implement key commitments in the coalition agreement, as he addressed reporters on the eve of his government's first year in office. "If there are no major surprises, we can make up for last year's contraction in GDP this year," he said.
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's exports were down 2.8% year-on-year to EUR 2.9 billion in January and imports plunged 8.5% to EUR 2.5 billion for a surplus in external trade in goods of EUR 0.3 billion and exports-to-imports coverage of 113.7%, the Statistics Office said. Slovenia generated almost two-thirds of January's trade with EU countries.
LJUBLJANA - The government adopted a revised national vaccination strategy at a correspondence session to provide vaccines to all residents with permanent or temporary residence, not just to Slovenian citizens. Soldiers were added to the nine groups to be prioritised for vaccines together with police officers. The strategy was originally adopted on 3 December and first revised on 1 March.
LJUBLJANA - The Culture Ministry, which is responsible for Slovenia's media policy, responded to the 5 March public debate in the European Parliament on media freedom in Slovenia saying the Slovenian participants made "several incorrect claims". The response was sent to all EU institutions, the chair of the Democracy, Rule of Law and Fundamental Rights Monitoring Group Sophie in 't Veld (Renew) and its members.
SATURDAY, 13 March
BRUSSELS, Belgium - A letter by five EU prime ministers, including Slovenia's Janez Janša, addressed to the EU Commission and EU Council was released. The leaders of Austria, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Latvia and Bulgaria called for a summit on Covid-19 vaccines, pointing to what they see as unbalanced distribution. The letter was later also signed by Croatia's prime minister. The Commission issued a statement saying that member states were the ones negotiating the distribution with the starting point being the pro rata system.
SUNDAY, 14 March
LJUBLJANA - Senior state and religious officials attended a memorial service at Žale cemetery for people who died from Covid-19, on the anniversary of the first such death recorded in Slovenia. President Borut Pahor expressed condolences to the victims' families and said the virus had not been defeated yet. A willow tree was also planted in memory of the victims.
LJUBLJANA - Democrats (SDS) leader Janez Janša addressed a letter to his party saying it would work towards implementing the commitments from the coalition agreement and expected the same from the coalition partners. He said the SDS would not allow any eroding of the government's work any more. He added the majority of the opposition was destructive like nowhere else in Europe.
MONDAY, 15 March
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia temporarily halted the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine pending a decision by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). Health Minister Janez Poklukar said the Slovenian expert group for vaccines had not found reasonable grounds to stop using the jab, but proposed suspension as a matter of precaution. On Thursday, following the EMA's statement that the vaccine is safe and effective, vaccination with AstraZeneca was allowed to resume.
BRUSSELS, Belgium - Interior Minister Aleš Hojs warned against discrimination in relation to Covid-19 vaccination certificates. It is too early to talk about crossing borders with apps or certificates until most citizens have had access to a coronavirus vaccine, he said ahead of the EU Commission's unveiling of a proposal for a digital green certificate.
BRUSSELS, Belgium - Slovenia advocated a stricter approach to dealing with third countries when it came to returning migrants from the EU as the bloc's foreign and interior ministers debated the EU's migration policy. The virtual session came after Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson said the ministers should agree on third countries that need to be focused on in efforts to strengthen the return of migrants.
BRUSSELS, Belgium - Interior Minister Aleš Hojs told the press he was not optimistic about support among EU countries for Croatia joining the Schengen zone. He does not expect the Portuguese presidency to put the matter on the agenda again, but added he had no problems with putting in on the agenda during Slovenia's EU presidency.
LJUBLJANA - Stricter rules to enter Slovenia kicked in for several groups, including people commuting daily to work outside Slovenia, in an EU or Schengen country. From Monday, they do not have to quarantine only if they produce a negative coronavirus test result no older than seven days. The measure applies to arrivals from red-listed countries.
LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor sent to parliament a proposal to appoint Tina Žumer a vice-governor of central bank Banka Slovenije. Žumer is a former employee of Banka Slovenije who now works at the European Central Bank.
LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor talked to Moldovan counterpart Maia Sandu via video link, inviting her to visit Slovenia. The pair discussed a number of topics, including the pandemic.
TUESDAY, 16 March
VIENNA, Austria - PM Janez Janša called for a "corrective mechanism" for the distribution of vaccines in the EU after talks with his counterparts from Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic and Latvia. Such a corrective mechanism would mark a return in the distribution of vaccines to the point when it was agreed that the vaccines would be divided on a pro rata basis, measured by population size, he added.
BRUSSELS, Belgium - It was revealed Slovenia had not reached 100% of the vaccines it is entitled to in the first and second quarter of the year on a pro rata basis because it had not put in an order for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in December during a second round of joint EU purchasing. PM Janez Janša said that after he stepped in as health minister in December he ordered Slovenia additional quantities of vaccines where ever possible and regardless of the cost. The opposition Marjan Šarec List (LMP) announced a motion to impeach Janša.
KIEV, Ukraine - FM Anže Logar met his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba to discuss Slovenia's upcoming EU presidency. Turning to relations with Russia, Logar assured Kuleba Slovenia would be a fair intermediary. Kuleba expressed the hope that Ukraine's voice would be heard during Slovenia's presidency. Logar also met Ukrainian PM Denys Shmyhal and parliamentary Speaker Dmytro Razumkov.
LJUBLJANA - The centre-left opposition fell eight votes short of an outright majority needed for their motion to oust Education Minister Simona Kustec to succeed. Kustec, backed by 41 votes to 38, hailed the outcome as a realistic result of the political balance of power. The opposition claimed the minister should have acted more resolutely to return kids to school as soon as possible, Kustec and the coalition dismissed the criticism over remote schooling as politicking.
BRUSSELS, Belgium - Slovenia continued to rank among NATO member states allocating the lowest proportion of its GDP for defence spending (1.1%), trailing the list by investment in defence equipment, a report for 2020 presented by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg showed.
WEDNESDAY, 17 March
LJUBLJANA - The government amended several Covid-19 decrees as part of its weekly review of measures, including allowing rallies of up to ten people across the country. The Obalno-Kraška region was upgraded to tier orange with inter-regional travel restrictions lifted. Primorsko-Notranjska was promoted to tier yellow to join Posavska and SE Slovenia as the regions where hospitality establishments can open to serve customers outdoors.
BRUSSELS, Belgium - Six European prime ministers, including Slovenia's Janez Janša, who previously called for fair access to vaccines, met European Council President Charles Michel via videoconference. Janša's office said they discussed additional vaccine deliveries and mechanisms to reach the target to have 70% of adults across the EU inoculated by summer. EU sources said the leaders expressed their concern over potential gaps in vaccine distribution among EU member states.
BRDO PRI KRANJU - Health experts urged politicians to tackle the Covid-19 epidemic as a united front as President Borut Pahor hosted a meeting featuring senior officials. The meeting, which both Pahor and PM Janez Janša termed as useful, agreed to meet on a regular basis once a month.
LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor talked with his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier by phone. They discussed the Covid-19 response, noting the exceptional importance in the efforts of the EU and its institutions and close cooperation between member states. They called for more efficient and coordinated response to the delays in vaccine supplies.
LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša talked with the head of the Italian Northern League party Matteo Salvini, with the topics including strengthening cooperation between Slovenia and Italy, migration, and fight against Covid-19. As Janša tweeted, the pair also discussed the Conference on the Future of Europe and the current political situation in Europe.
BERN, Switzerland - Measures to contain the pandemic, post-pandemic recovery, and Slovenia's plans for its EU presidency topped the agenda as Speaker Igor Zorčič visited Switzerland for talks with his counterpart Andreas Aebi, the chair of the parliament's EFTA/EU delegation Eric Nussbaumer and Swiss President Guy Parmelin. The Swiss officials were mostly interested in Slovenia's response to the pandemic.
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's plans for parliamentary friendship group with Taiwan were put on hold. This was after the committee's former chair, SocDem MP Matjaž Nemec, said a friendship group would mean Slovenia "treats Taiwan as a state, which it isn't". Foreign Minister Anže Logar said Slovenia's relations with China were good and its stance on Taiwan remained unchanged.
LJUBLJANA - The State Prosecution Council denied the allegation that the candidates it put forward for Slovenia's two European delegated prosecutors were not meeting requirements on foreign language skills. The council said the two candidates met all the requirements. The government has failed to clear the appointments with suggestions the candidates do not meet foreign language requirements.
LJUBLJANA - The consortium led by Slovenian builder Kolektor CPG was selected for the second section of the new railway between Koper and Divača after it had already won the contract for the first section as the only bidder left. The combined cost of the project is estimated at EUR 628.3 million.
SLOVENJ GRADEC - The US multinational Adient announced it would close its Slovenj Gradec affiliate by the end of the year as a result of which 430 people will lose jobs. The company said that internal assessments and discussions with key clients had shown Slovenia was no longer considered a best cost country. Trade unions urged the government to take action.
THURSDAY, 18 March
LJUBLJANA - While acknowledging that the circumstances were extraordinary, the Court of Audit found the government, the ministries of health, economy and defence, and the Commodity Reserves Agency inefficient in the PPE procurement. All five institutions were urged to take remedial measures. PM Janez Janša and Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek assessed the report as exonerating.
LJUBLJANA - The defence ministers of Slovenia and North Macedonia, Matej Tonin and Radmila Šekerinska, called for a strengthening of defence ties as the pair met. They agreed to boost cooperation in NATO missions and set up a joint centre for the maintenance of OshKosh armoured vehicles.
LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor spoke via video link with his Slovak counterpart Zuzana Čaputova to exchange views on the battle against the pandemic and its ramifications. The pair stressed the importance of closer cooperation at the EU level. They also discussed the Western Balkans situation, EU enlargement and efforts to tackle climate change.
LJUBLJANA - The government proposed for the STA supervisory board to dismiss Bojan Veselinovič as STA director, alleging workplace bullying and violations in the fulfilment of the agency's legal obligations. Veselinovič denied the allegations. The STA works council and trade union said there had been no reports of alleged bullying.
LJUBLJANA - The government adopted an omnibus bill that would amend over a dozen laws and repeal dozens more in an effort to simplify bureaucratic procedures. The bill brings official registries of laws and personal data, electronic serving of official documents and new powers for state secretaries, while also introducing a cap on social security contributions at EUR 6,000 gross per month.
LJUBLJANA - The newspaper Delo reported that Slovenia would not accept a settlement with the British company Ascent Resources over the dispute about permits for the extraction of gas by means of hydraulic fracturing in the north-east of Slovenia.
PARIS, France - The OECD said in a report that insufficient prosecution of foreign bribery in Slovenia is still a reason for concern and so are claims about political interference in law enforcement. The OECD is meanwhile happy with the protection of whistleblowers.
LJUBLJANA - The government appointed Andrej Čuš, the leader of the non-parliamentary Greens, a new state secretary at the Economy Ministry. On 20 March, Čuš will succeed Ajda Cuderman, whose new job will be in the prime minister's office.
LJUBLJANA - The government dismissed Mateja Vraničar Erman as Slovenia's high representatives for succession and appointed international law expert Miha Pogačnik to succeed her. Pogačnik has since last April led the government's legal service, while he served as high representatives already in 2005-2009.
LJUBLJANA - The government appointed Joško Knez the acting director general of the Slovenian Environment Agency (ARSO) to take over from Iztok Slatinšek on 1 April.
What follows is a weekly review of events involving Slovenia, as prepared by the STA.
FRIDAY, 5 March
BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Parliament's Democracy, Rule of Law and Fundamental Rights Monitoring Group held a virtual public discussion on media freedom in Slovenia featuring representatives from Slovenia and the European Commission. Group members expressed concern about the situation and their expectations for the Commission to take action. Before the debate, a European Parliament policy department service compiled an in-depth document on the situation in Slovenia.
SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina - President Borut Pahor announced a donation of 4,800 Covid-19 vaccine shots to be delivered to the country next week, as he visited the Presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Its chairman Milorad Dodik said Slovenia had again showed its solidarity with and support for Bosnia-Herzegovina.
LJUBLJANA - Data from the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ) obtained by the media showed that one out of three positive rapid antigen tests have been proved false through the more reliable PCR tests after 13 February.
VATICAN CITY, Vatican - Pope Francis appointed priest of the Maribor Archdiocese Maksimilijan Matjaž as the new Celje bishop. Succeeding Stanislav Lipovšek, who stepped down in 2018 after turning 75, Matjaž has so far been a professor of Biblical studies at the Ljubljana Faculty of Theology.
ROME, Italy - The Italian Agriculture Ministry addressed a letter to the European Commission opposing Slovenia's draft regulation on the quality of vinegar and acetic acid dilute, which also defines balsamic vinegar. The countries have until 3 June to provide any additional explanations.
KOPER - The Italian Union, an association of the Italian ethnic minority in Slovenia, urged the government to reconsider imposing new border restrictions in a bid to prevent the import of new coronavirus variants, warning of the impact the step would have on cross-border cooperation.
LJUBLJANA - Banks and savings banks in Slovenia received until the end of February a total of 28,485 applications under the government's scheme that enables borrowers to request a deferral of loan payments. More than 85% of the applications have been approved, with total exposure amounting to EUR 2.6 billion, the central bank said.
LJUBLJANA - The insurance group Sava said it had generated EUR 674.9 million in operating revenue in 2020, up 15.5% compared to 2019, while net profit increased by 12.3% to EUR 56.4 million, according to the unaudited results.
LJUBLJANA - SKB Banka posted a net profit of EUR 34.85 million last year, down 35.6% compared to 2019, in what is largely a consequence of the Covid-19 epidemic that affected all areas of operation of the banking group.
PORTOROŽ - Spa operator Terme Čatež confirmed that it had sold Marina Portorož but would not disclose the buyer. The media said the buyer came from Japan and the price was below EUR 15 million.
SATURDAY, 6 March
WASHINGTON, US - The US Department of State told the STA it was monitoring threats against journalists and the integrity of public media in Slovenia closely. Freedom of the press is a fundamental principal of democracy, and the US is looking forward to continuing to partner with Slovenia to promote the open exchange of ideas, it said.
LJUBLJANA - Police Commissioner Anton Olaj told the newspaper Delo there were indications some police investigations had been politically motivated. He noted that the success of criminal procedure depended most on prosecution. He agrees with the opposition's demand to set up a parliamentary inquiry into alleged political pressure on the police.
TORUN, Poland - Tina Šutej won silver in the women's pole vault at the European Athletics Indoor Championship, jumping over 4.70 metres to match her best season result. It was the first medal for Slovenia in twelve years at European indoor championships.
ZREČE - Slovenia's veteran snowboarder Žan Košir won the Snowboard World Cup parallel giant slalom event only days after a disappointing performance by the home favourite at the World Championships at the same venue.
SUNDAY, 7 March
LJUBLJANA - The Health Ministry, the Government Communication Office and the National Institute of Public Health said they were preparing a Covid-19 vaccination promotion campaign for specific target groups. A website on the vaccination is being set up and a campaign on social networks will be held under the hashtag "CepimoSe" (Let's get vaccinated).
LJUBLJANA - The latest public opinion poll commissioned by commercial broadcaster Nova24TV showed the senior coalition Democrats (SDS) enjoying 19% support, followed by the opposition Social Democrats (SD) with 12.1%.
MONDAY, 8 March
LJUBLJANA - After cases of the UK, South Africa and Nigeria variants of coronavirus were confirmed in Slovenia, a variant first detected in Brazil was confirmed as well. "The variant has been detected in the Maribor area, for the time being in three persons within a family with a negative epidemiological anamnesis," government's chief Covid-19 adviser Mateja Logar said.
LJUBLJANA - Secondary school students in years 1-3 joined their final-year peers as secondary schools fully reopened under model C, meaning half of the class will be in school for a week while the other half will continue learning from home.
LJUBLJANA - Bars and restaurants in two eastern regions, Posavje and South-east Slovenia, started serving food and drinks outdoor. Guests are served outdoors between 6am and 7pm and they have to leave the establishment by 7:30pm.
LJUBLJANA - Foreign Ministry State Secretary Gašper Dovžan held a conference call with Molly Montgomery, deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs at the US Department of State. The officials discussed preparations for Slovenia's EU presidency in the second half of the year.
LJUBLJANA - Only one contractor has submitted a bid for a second part of the planned Koper-Divača rail section, 2TDK, the state-run company managing the project announced, as a consortium led by Slovenian Kolektor CPG valued the works on the Črni Kal-Koper section at EUR 224.75 million, excluding VAT.
LJUBLJANA - Senior officials called for continued efforts to improve gender equality on International Women's Day, praising women's contribution to the battle against Covid-19. President Borut Pahor noted uncompleted efforts for equality and expressed his "special gratitude for the women's priceless contribution in coping with the Covid-19 epidemic".
LJUBLJANA - A hospitality bill that has recently been sent into public consultation brings stricter rules for leasing flats and houses to tourists on platform such as Airbnb. Service providers will have to get registered, have an ID number, and obtain certain permits.
LJUBLJANA - Tatjana Mlakar was appointed by parliament the new director general of the ZZZS public health insurer for a four-year term. She succeeds Marjan Sušelj, who has led ZZZS as acting head after his term expired on 2 March.
TUESDAY, 9 March
LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša called on STA director Bojan Veselinovič to step down. "It is time for the director as a political tool of the extreme left to step down and take responsibility for his unlawful actions," Janša tweeted. The STA turned to the prime minister's office for explanation about which unlawful actions Janša was referring to, but the office would not comment. The Trade Union of Slovenian Journalists denounced Janša's call as unlawful interference in the STA's autonomy.
LJUBLJANA - Interior Minister Aleš Hojs rejected claims that protests in Slovenia were banned or that he was interfering in police work. He also told the STA in an interview that the gap between the European Commission and Slovenia's views on migration solidarity remained wide, and did not expect Slovenia could ensure much progress on it during its EU presidency.
LJUBLJANA - FM Anže Logar talked with his Algerian counterpart Sabri Boukadoum over the telephone about ways to enhance bilateral cooperation between the two countries. They called for boosting political dialogue and economic cooperation and touched on regional issues, in particular the latest developments in Libya and the Sahel region.
LJUBLJANA - The Government Strategic Council for De-bureaucratisation drew up a bill envisaging a cap on social security contributions, electronic sending of administrative mail and a registry of regulations. The bill would also increase powers of state secretaries. The ZSSS trade unions voiced concern about reduced legal safety and called for social dialogue.
LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Environment Committee adopted amendments to the water act changes under which hazardous substances could be used under certain condition by production facilities located in water protection areas. The opposition warned of harmful effects for water sources.
LJUBLJANA - The government said it was launching a free-of-charge testing campaign near border crossings with Italy. Rapid antigen testing is available for commuters, students being schooled across the border and owners of property across the border.
WEDNESDAY, 10 March
BRUSSELS, Belgium - European Commission Vice President for Values and Transparency Vera Jourova pointed to continuous attempts to undermine the sustainable funding and the independence of the STA at an European Parliament debate on media freedom. Slovenian MEPs of the centre-right EPP Romana Tomc (SDS) and Franc Bogovič (SLS) rejected allegations about the Slovenian government exerting pressure on Slovenian media.
SLOVENJ GRADEC - President Borut Pahor said he wished Slovenia were not the subject of debates in the European Parliament, in particular when it comes to freedom of the media. He said media freedom was "foundational to democratic life".
LJUBLJANA - Karl Erjavec stepped down as president of the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS), saying it was no longer the party he led for 15 years. Until a new full-fledged leader is elected, the party will be headed by Anton Balažek, one of the two vice-presidents. Erjavec recently took a corporate job at telecoms equipment maker Iskratel, where he will advise the CEO on expansion to foreign markets.
BRDO PRI KRANJU - The government extended the majority of coronavirus restrictions by another week as it prolonged the state of the epidemic by another 30 days as part of its weekly review of measures. The one relaxation the government opted for is allowing all construction services to reopen as of 15 March without the need for workers to be tested.
LJUBLJANA - Supervisors of Telekom Slovenije appointed a new management board headed by CEO Cvetko Sršen, who comes to Telekom from postal operator Pošta Slovenije. He will be joined by another long-time Telekom employee Mitja Štular, and Tomaž Jontes, who has been with Telekom since 2002.
LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Justice Committee endorsed amendments to the act on the state prosecution that lay down the selection criteria for Slovenia's two members of the European Public Prosecutor's Office, amidst complaints by the opposition that the required level of knowledge of English was an unnecessary condition.
LJUBLJANA - Kolektor CPG, which submitted the lowest bid for main works on the first section of the Koper-Divača rail track, was picked as the winner over a consortium led by Austria's Strabag. Kolektor CPG offered to build the Divača-Črni Kal section for EUR 403.6 million, almost EUR 60 million less than Strabag.
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's energy group HSE and its subsidiary TEŠ reached a EUR 261 million out-of-court settlement with the US group General Electric as legal successor to French Alstom over the infamous TEŠ6 generator project, the cost of which has ballooned to EUR 1.4 billion amid allegations of corruption.
CELJE - Chemical company Cinkarna Celje saw its net profit drop by 12% last year to EUR 18.95 million as revenue remained broadly flat with the year before at EUR 172.4 million, despite a drop in sale prices of titanium dioxide pigment, its main product.
RIJEKA, Croatia - Chess player Laura Unuk became the first Slovenian woman to win the International Master title awarded by the international chess governing body FIDE, the second highest-ranking title in chess. Unuk won the title by bagging a victory at the chess tournament Mediterranean Flowers.
LJUBLJANA - Vladimir Kukavica said he would step down as the director of the Foundation for Funding Disability and Humanitarian Organisations (FIHO) on 30 April, citing a lack of transparency at FIHO and some council members acting against the foundation's interests. The development comes after an unfavourable report from the anti-graft commission.
THURSDAY, 11 March
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia saw its average daily increase in coronavirus infections over the past seven days drop to 705 after another 860 people tested positive on Wednesday, 10 March. The situation in hospitals improved further with 453 Covid-19 patients hospitalised. However, officials expressed concern in view of the spread of the new, highly-virulent variants as an additional 155 cases of the UK strain had been confirmed in Slovenia in the past week.
LJUBLJANA - Spanish FM Arancha Gonzalez Laya pledged her country's support for Slovenia's presidency of the EU Council in the second half of the year as she met her counterpart Anže Logar as part of an official visit. The pair also talked about resilience of the EU and migrations, which are among the presidency's priorities.
MARIBOR - The newspaper Delo reported that the Maribor Higher Court had dismissed a damages claim by the ruling Democrats (SDS) against the state over the Patria defence corruption trial a second time in a retrial. The court told the paper the judgement had become final on 5 January. The SDS claimed over EUR 886,000 in pecuniary damages.
ORMOŽ - The Italian group Safilo announced it would close its eyewear production plant in Slovenia in June to adjust production capacities to meet changing demand. A total of 557 workers will lose jobs. The development took both trade unions and the municipality of Ormož by surprise and came after Safilo closed two plants in Italy.
LJUBLJANA - The new, 27-km railway line between the port of Koper and the Divača hub will cost EUR 1.126 billion, or 6.8% less than initially estimated, 2TDK, the state-owned company managing the country's largest infrastructure project, announced after it has updated the investment programmed from January 2019, when its price tag was EUR 1.194 billion.
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia Sovereign Holding (SSH), the manager of state assets, published a letter of intent for the takeover of spa operator Terme Olimija, in what is yet another step in the plan to create the State Hospitality Fund.
LJUBLJANA - The government endorsed the appointment of Tomaž Ivešić as the new director of the Study Centre for National Reconciliation, following the resignation of Andreja Valič Zver, who had led the centre since its inception in 2008. Ivešić was appointed for a five-year term starting on 1 April.
LJUBLJANA - The government appointed Damjan Žugelj acting director of the Office for Money Laundering Prevention. He will take over on 15 March from Ivan Kopina, who resigned earlier this month after serving as acting director for nearly a year.
KOPER - The logistics group Intereuropa saw its sales revenue drop by 6% year-on-year to EUR 150.7m in 2020, while net profit was down by 15% to EUR 3.6 million, shows the unaudited annual report.
CANTERBURY, UK - Media reported that a court in the English town of Canterbury had sentenced at the end of February a Slovenian lorry driver caught smuggling drugs last April to 15 years in prison. A 50-year-old man was reportedly arrested in Dover after 81 kilos of cocaine and three kilos of heroin were found in his truck.
What follows is a weekly review of events involving Slovenia, as prepared by the STA.
FRIDAY, 26 February
LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Janez Janša wrote to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen with an invitation for the Commission to appoint a fact-finding mission that would visit Slovenia to get acquainted with the state of democracy, rule of law, independence of the judiciary and media plurality.
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's GDP dropped 5.5% in real terms last year over the year before, the Statistics Office said. Domestic spending saw a considerable drop, while external demand also suffered a blow.
LJUBLJANA - The Covid-19 lockdown had a significant impact on sales in the services sector and retail in 2020, as it was down by a combined 9.6% compared to the year before, Statistics Office data showed. The drop in the services was 11.6% and in retail 6.2%.
SATURDAY, 27 February
KOPER - Tighter coronavirus restrictions kicked in in the coastal Obalno-Kraška region after the epidemiological situation in the south-west worsened. Gatherings were banned and travel between the region and the rest of Slovenia is restricted to work- and health-related reasons.
OBERSTDORF, Germany - Ski jumper Anže Lanišek won the bronze medal on the normal hill at the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Oberstdorf. Gold went to Polish Piotr Zyila, while German Karl Geiger was second.
SUNDAY, 28 February
VELENJE - The Velenje Local Court gave Luka Štitić a two-month suspended sentence with a one year probation period for threatening Prime Minister Janez Janša on social media during last year's anti government protests. The ruling is final.
OBERSTDORF, Germany - Cross-country skiers Anamarija Lampič and Eva Urevc won bronze in the women's team event at the Nordic World Ski Championships in Oberstdorf, Germany. The pair fell short of gold by 3.46 seconds.
MONDAY, 1 March
BRDO PRI KRANJU - Foreign Minister Anže Logar hosted his counterparts from Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia to discuss Slovenia's upcoming EU presidency and the coronavirus pandemic. "The meeting was a great opportunity to present our views and priorities for the presidency so as to harmonise key issues that will be on the EU's agenda," Logar said.
LJUBLJANA - The government adopted a revised vaccination strategy envisaging 61 vaccination centres, including 13 in hospitals. Health Minister Janez Poklukar said on Tuesday priority groups remain the same, with health workers in top tier, followed by people over 80, 75 and 70, and then vulnerable patients with chronic conditions.
LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Janez Janša indicated Slovenia was not planning public spending cuts, having weathered 2020 better than expected due to stimulus measures. "We're not planning any cuts. We're planning a recovery this year," he told the National Assembly.
KLAGENFURT, Austria - The Slovenian ethnic minority won an absolute majority in the municipality of Globasnitz (Globasnica), where Bernard Sadovnik was also reelected mayor in Sunday's local elections in the state of Carinthia. This is the first time the Slovenian minority United List (EL) party has won an absolute majority in any municipality.
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia has decided to increase aid to Yemen by 20%, pledging a total of EUR 120,000 for 2021-2023, Foreign Ministry State Secretary Stanislav Raščan told a high-level conference on Yemen. The increased contribution means Slovenia will have donated over half a million euro for the aid effort in Yemen since 2016.
LJUBLJANA - Two months after the expiration of public and commercial news service contracts between the STA and the government, the STA restricted access to its news items for the government administration. Parliament Speaker Igor Zorčič said the time had come to resolve the matter in court.
LJUBLJANA - All persons who had been in contact with an individual whose coronavirus infection was confirmed to be the South African variant last week have so far tested negative, the National Institute of Public Health said. The infected doctor had high-risk exposure contacts with four persons who have been ordered to self-isolate.
ŽIRI - Alpina, a footwear maker, said it would reduce its headcount by more than a tenth at its main production location in Žiri after a dismal year marked by store closures and the long shutdown of ski slopes. 18 workers will be made redundant and 20 will either retire or await retirement on the dole.
LJUBLJANA/KOPER - The government approved EUR 1.4 million for promotion of the economic activity of the Italian minority in Slovenia in 2021-2024. The goal is to improve the community's economic potential by nurturing the growth of existing and incorporation of new companies.
TUESDAY, 2 March
LJUBLJANA - Four centre-left opposition parties filed a proposal for the National Assembly to call a consultative referendum on the government-sponsored bill on the National Demographic Fund. The Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ), Social Democrats (SD), Left and the Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB) argue the bill would give the government centralised control over ownership and management of EUR 8.6 billion in state assets.
LJUBLJANA - A new Strategic Council for Foreign Policy, led by Foreign Minister Anže Logar, held its maiden session. It decided the current foreign policy strategy, last adopted in 2015, would be "refreshed". Proposals are currently being drawn up at the ministry.
LJUBLJANA - Justice Minister Lilijana Kozlovič was urged to step down as the opposition is unhappy with her handling of the appointment of Slovenia's two members of the European Public Prosecutor's Office. The development comes after Kozlovič of the junior coalition SMC said her ministry had asked for the proposal of two prosecutors to be put on the government's agenda several times, but received no reply.
LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian central bank said the anti-crisis measures had contributed to the economic recovery and to keeping the country's potential afloat, albeit at the expense of public finances. A gradual approach and targeted withdrawal of measures would be needed so that the economy is not exposed again to negative shocks.
LJUBLJANA - Following the identification of the UK and South African variants in Slovenia, the Nigerian strain of coronavirus has also been confirmed in the country, POP TV reported, adding that seven cases had been detected so far.
LJUBLJANA - Health Minister Janez Poklukar appointed a new medical taskforce that advises the ministry on measures to contain Covid-19. It will be headed by Mateja Logar, an infections diseases specialist at the UKC Ljubljana's department of communicable diseases. She succeeds Bojana Beović, who resigned as she took over as new head of the Medical Chamber, but is staying on as a member.
SOLKAN - Slovenian company Instrumentation Technologies, a provider of advanced instrumentation in the field of basic particles accelerators, was reported acquired by ARX Equity Partners, a private equity group headquartered in Prague. The price was not disclosed.
LJUBLJANA - Telecoms incumbent Telekom Slovenije said it was being sued by the telecommunications company T-2 for around EUR 50 million for the damage that the latter allegedly suffered between September 2018 and July 2020. The claim refers to Telekom's wholesale prices.
WEDNESDAY, 3 March
LJUBLJANA - The government decided all secondary school students who have been learning remotely will return to in-person teaching on 8 March. The change comes after schools reopened in mid-February, but only final-year secondary students returned to classrooms to prepare for school-leaving exams.
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia is planning to start mass vaccination of teachers against Covid-19 next week, Jelko Kacin, the coordinator for the logistics of mass vaccination, announced as he visited a vaccination point in Ljubljana. If everything goes according to plan, Slovenia could administer about 240,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccines in March.
BRUSSELS, Belgium - Three of Slovenia's four MEPs from the European People's Party (EPP) did not back changes to the rules of procedure allowing the European People's Party (EPP) to suspend or exclude a member party from its ranks. Ljudmila Novak, the fourth Slovenian EPP MEP, voted for the changes, having been one of its proponents.
LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed legislation enacting Slovenia's EUR 70 million guarantee for the Pan-European Guarantee Fund, a new mechanism of the European Investment Bank designed to help business cope with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed legislation designed to end fictitious registrations of residence. The amendments to the residence registration act will crack down on fictitious registrations at addresses that are not residential, or residential addresses where the size of the living quarters clearly precludes the registration of a large number of people.
LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly voted 48:38 in favour of amendments to the act governing the STA that require the STA English Service to report on the work of NGO. The English Service already reports on NGOs, but the law on the STA does not stipulate this as an explicit requirement.
MARIBOR - A total of 28 house searches were carried out by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in relation to a suspected money laundering scheme worth millions of euros involving shell companies and the withdrawal of large amounts of cash from bank accounts. Several media reported the sting focused on Slovenian tax advisor Rok Snežič.
ŠOŠTANJ - The Šoštanj thermal power plant decided not to introduce co-incineration of non-hazardous waste after the Šoštanj city council voted against it. It will also discontinue a procedure to have its environmental permit changed to allow co-incineration.
THURSDAY, 4 March
LJUBLJANA - It was revealed that media freedom in Slovenia will be one of the items on the European Parliament's agenda as it meets for a plenary next week. The expansion of the agenda was proposed by the S&D, the second largest group in the EP. Although invited, PM Janez Janša and Culture Minister Vasko Simoniti will not take part.
LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Association of State Prosecutors turned to the Council of Europe (CoE) to complain about "inadmissible pressure" that they say Prime Minister Janez Janša and media that he controls are exerting on prosecutors.
LJUBLJANA - The government decided bars and restaurants in two eastern regions, Posavje and South-east Slovenia, will be able to start serving customers outdoor as of 8 March. Initially, this will be a one-week test to see how things turn out.
LJUBLJANA - The government adopted a reform banking bill, which transposes the provisions of a major EU directive and creates the legal basis for the participation of workers in bank supervisory boards.
LJUBLJANA - Two contractors submitted financial offers for the first part of main works on the Divača-Koper rail section. A consortium led by Slovenian builder Kolektor CPG values the works at EUR 403.6 million, while the offer by Austrian builder Strabag and its consortium is EUR 463.5 million.
LJUBLJANA - The Court of Audit said the government, the Public Administration Ministry and the Office for the Protection of Classified Information were ineffective in providing for cybersecurity in 2016-2019. It points to the government's failure to adopt an information security strategy, as well as to understaffing and underfunding.