Ljubljana related

27 Feb 2021, 08:29 AM

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

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

FRIDAY, 19 February
        VIENNA, Austria - Foreign Minister Anže Logar and his Austrian counterpart Alexander Schallenberg assessed the countries' relations in the past year as positive as Logar paid a working visit to Vienna.
        LJUBLJANA - The coronavirus epidemic has had an impact on the work of the Slovenian law enforcement authorities with a report from the Specialised State Prosecution Service showing there were virtually no new incoming cases during the first wave of the epidemic last spring.
        LJUBLJANA - Franc Dover, the director of the Maribor waste utility Snaga and chief supervisor of state-owned power utility HSE, became a new non-executive director of the Bank Assets Management Company (BAMC).
        KOPER - Port operator Luka Koper reported sales dropping by 8% year-on-year to EUR 210 million as shipping volumes contracted across the board. Net profit declined by 21% to EUR 32 million but it was still a percent higher than planned.
        LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Commission for Oversight of Public Finances debated the selection of Slovakia's Skytoll for an e-tolling system for cars as the opposition alleged irregularities. Motorway company DARS and the Infrastructure Ministry rejected any impropriety.
        LJUBLJANA - The home policy and justice committees debated on Friday hate speech at the request of the coalition, condemning insulting and hateful discourse. Calls for decent and respectful dialogue could be heard both from coalition and opposition MPs.
        KOPER - Sergej Racman, a businessman suspected of masterminding a sex trafficking operation in a case known as Marina, pleaded not guilty to charges of exploitation through prostitution as he appeared at the Koper District Court for a pre-trial hearing.
        LJUBLJANA - Writer and former politician Tone Peršak resigned on Thursday as the president of Slovenian PEN, citing personal reasons, after having served less than four months.

SATURDAY, 20 February
        LJUBLJANA - As he hosted an event marking one of the key anniversaries in Slovenia's independence efforts, President Borut Pahor said that the current political sentiment, in which there was more conflict than cooperation, was not sustainable.
        LJUBLJANA - A total of 114 organ transplants were performed in the UKC Ljubljana hospital last year, with donations and transplant activity running smoothly despite the epidemic. One of the main achievements was lung transplant in a 34-year-old whose lungs failed due to post-Covid-19 complications.
        MARIBOR - A statement about success in life being linked to taking risks by the long-serving head teacher of the Druga Gimnazija Maribor secondary school Ivan Lorenčič won him the Spade of the Year award from the newspaper publisher Večer.

SUNDAY, 21 February
        BRNIK/LJUBLJANA - Some 180 passengers flew to Tenerife from Slovenia's main international airport as the first charter flight and so far the only tourist charter flight from Brnik airport.

MONDAY, 22 February
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - As EU foreign ministers reached a political agreement to introduce sanctions against the persons responsible for the arrest and prison sentencing of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, Slovenia's Anže Logar pointed to the need for the EU to be united in its attitude towards Russia.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - During its EU presidency Slovenia would like to organise an EU-Western Balkans summit and an informal summit on resilience, Foreign Minister Anže Logar told the press.
        GENEVA, Switzerland - Foreign Minister Anže Logar said recovery after pandemic should include actions aimed at achieving greater equality, solidarity and social protection as he addressed in a video call the UN Human Rights Council.
        LJUBLJANA - Dutch MEP Sophie in 't Veld (Renew) invited PM Janez Janša, Culture Minister Vasko Simoniti, Government Communication Office director Uroš Urbanija and public broadcaster RTV Slovenija director general Igor Kadunc to take part in a discussion on the media in Slovenia on 5 March.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia started lowering Covid ward capacities, as weekly average infection and hospitalisation figures had been dropping. The 7-day average number of new cases was at 744 on Sunday.
        NAIROBI, Kenya - Environment Minister Andrej Vizjak highlighted the role and potential of green investment for a low-carbon and circular economy as he addressed in a video call a two-day virtual session of the UN Environment Assembly.
        LJUBLJANA - The Ljubljana Police Department said a 39-year-old man from Ljubljana had been charged with incitement to violent protests in connection to an anti-government rally that turned violent on 5 November. News portal Siol.net identified the suspect as Anis Ličina.
        TRIESTE, Italy - The Trieste-based Primorski Dnevnik reported that a predominantly Slovenian group of landowners in San Dorligo della Valle/Dolina municipality in Italy had reclaimed ownership of large tracts of lands under a landmark judgement recently handed down by an Italian court, a development seen as creating significant economic opportunities.
        KIDRIČEVO - Boxmark, a maker of car upholstery, is branching out into aircraft upholstery having recently sealed a deal to make leather upholstery for Emirates, the flag carrier of the United Arab Emirates.

TUESDAY, 23 February
        LJUBLJANA - Janez Poklukar, a 42-year-old doctor-turned health manager who has been leading Slovenia's largest medical centre through the biggest ever health crisis, was appointed new health minister by the National Assembly in a 50:31 vote.
        LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Janez Janša announced that Slovenia would look for "additional options for vaccine supplies" amidst sluggish supplies from the joint EU purchase.
        LJUBLJANA - The Constitutional Court stayed until its final ruling the provisions of the seventh economic stimulus law under which employers may unilaterally terminate the employment contract when a worker meets retirement criteria.
        WARSAW, Poland - Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec wrapped up a two-day visit to Poland, having held talks with Infrastructure Minister Andrzej Adamczyk and Environment Minister Michal Kurtyka. He said Slovenia sought to strengthen cooperation with Poland in maritime transport, in particular through the Koper port.
        LJUBLJANA - Coronavirus restrictions were in the focus as Foreign Minister Anže Logar spoke to ambassadors of EU countries accredited to Slovenia at a virtual meeting. He stressed the need for close coordination of measures at EU level with the aim of ensuring the smoothest possible flow of people, goods, capital and services despite some necessary restrictions.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Slovenia is working with member states whose nationals must pay higher fees for UK work visas to end this discrimination. Member states which are discriminated against raised this issue at Tuesday's meeting of Europe ministers.
        LJUBLJANA - A new airline named SouthEast Airlines is emerging in Slovenia, web aviation portal Sierra5 reported, adding that the airline would initially provide mainly charter flights using a fleet of Airbus A320s.
        LJUBLJANA - The Constitutional Court annulled a mandatory health insurance rule that restricts the right to artificial insemination procedures to women up to the age of 43.

WEDNESDAY, 24 February
        LJUBLJANA/BRDO PRI KRANJU - PM Janez Janša invited all parliamentary parties to sign an agreement on cooperation shortly before a cooperation-themed meeting of party heads hosted by President Borut Pahor. Most opposition parties declined.
        LJUBLJANA - European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders urged the Slovenian government to swiftly appoint the country's members of the European Public Prosecutor's Office, so that the new institution could start operating in Slovenia on 1 March as planned. The government has meanwhile adopted a bill related to the appointments.
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - The government adopted changes to the penal code redefining rape, thus overtaking NGO the March 8 Institute which has been pushing for a similar redefinition, campaigning under the slogan Only Yes Means Yes.
        LJUBLJANA - The Pensioners' Party's (DeSUS) executive council decided that the party would act as moderate opposition in the future. The party will not sign the prime minister's cooperation agreement and it will also not remain a member of the opposition's Constitutional Arch Coalition (KUL).
        LJUBLJANA - The more virulent variants of coronavirus appear not to be very widespread in Slovenia yet. Two labs which conduct genetic sequencing have so far identified 35 cases of the UK variant and not a single case of the South African or Brazilian variant.
        LUXEMBOURG, Luxembourg - Foreign Minister Anže Logar met his counterpart Jean Asselborn to discuss creating a resilient Europe, a topic that will be one of the priorities of Slovenia's approaching EU Council presidency. He also met with European Investment Bank (EIB) president Werner Hoyer.
        LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Anže Logar extended the terms of six heads of mission - in Berlin, Brussels, Bratislava, The Hague, Tehran and Trieste. The terms of all six diplomats would have expired in the summer.
        LJUBLJANA - The government appointed Simon Starček the new acting director general of the Financial Administration (FURS) to replace Irena Nunčič, who has been the acting director general since September 2020.
        LJUBLJANA - The bank NLB may pay out EUR 92 million in dividends this year and a total of some EUR 300 million in three years, the bank's board said in an online financials presentation. Moreover, Chairman Blaž Brodnjak said that the group had acquired nearly a million new clients in last year's acquisition of Serbian Komercijalna Banka. NLB's market share in Serbia has gone from below 2% to over 12%.
        LJUBLJANA - The Government Communication Office (UKOM) has suspended the financing of the Slovenian Press Agency (STA) again. STA director Bojan Veselinovič said UKOM's excuse that there is no legal basis for the payment as "an outright eerie pretending of ignorance".
        LJUBLJANA - The government has drafted legislative changes under which drivers of motor vehicles powered by natural gas will be exempt from paying excise duties until the end of 2025, in a bid to pursue Slovenia's goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in transport.
        OBERSTDORF, Germany - Slovenian cross-country skier Anamarija Lampič was awarded the small crystal globe as the overall World Cup winner in the women's sprint discipline as the International Ski Federation (FIS) decided to cut the season short.

THURSDAY, 25 February
        LJUBLJANA - Attending a virtual informal session of EU ministers in charge of the internal market and industry on Thursday, Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek discussed with his colleagues the role of national recovery and resilience plans as instruments of implementing the industrial strategy.
        LJUBLJANA - A group of 39 MPs from the opposition parties the Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ), Social Democrats (SD), Left and Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB) requested a parliamentary inquiry into alleged political interference in police work during a period from 13 March 2020, when the Janez Janša government was sworn in, to the launching of the inquiry.
        LJUBLJANA - The government restricted movement in the south-western region of Obalno-Kraška as of Saturday as the epidemiological situation deteriorated there. Travel to and from the region will be allowed only exceptionally, for work- or health-related reasons, gatherings in public places are banned again.
        LJUBLJANA - The council of the Pension and Disability Insurance Institute (ZPIZ) unanimously confirmed the appointment of Marijan Papež as director-general for another four-year term. If the government clears the appointment, this will be Papež's fifth term at the helm of the ZPIZ.
        LJUBLJANA - Former Economy Ministry State Secretary Aleš Cantarutti was appointed Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS) director general. He will start his four-year term on 1 April.
        OBERSTDORF, Germany - Ema Klinec won a ski jumping event at the Nordic World Ski Championships in Oberstdorf, Germany becoming the first Slovenian female ski jumping world champion.

20 Feb 2021, 10:00 AM

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

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

FRIDAY, 12 February
        LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Janez Janša nominated Janez Poklukar, the director of Slovenia's largest hospital UKC Ljubljana, for health minister. He described Poklukar as a good candidate with a "guaranteed comfortable majority to be elected." Poklukar received the go-ahead from the parliamentary Health Committee on 17 February.
        LJUBLJANA - European Crisis Management Commissioner Janez Lenarčič urged Slovenia to make the best use of the funds available as part of the EU mechanism for recovery and resilience. He said it should use the assistance of European Commission's experts services.
        LJUBLJANA - The central bank extended until the end of September a requirement that banks may not pay out dividends. However, if a bank posts profit in the first quarter of 2021, it will be able to pay out up to 15% of profit generated in 2019 and 2020, or 0.2% of common equity tier 1 capital, whichever is lower.
        LJUBLJANA - Two failed bidders challenges the selection of Slovakia's Skytoll for an e-tolling system for cars. The complaints were received by DARS. If they are rejected, the National Review Commission, where public tender disputes are ultimately resolved, will weigh in.
        LJUBLJANA - Data for 2020 show a drop in revenue and expenditure for business entities in Slovenia, according to a report by the AJPES agency for legal records. For legal entities, revenue dropped by 10.6% over the year before to EUR 299.8 billion and data for sole proprietors show a drop of nearly 20% to EUR 8.3 billion.
        LJUBLJANA - The STA staff made a public appeal to lawmakers and party leaders, expressing concern after an amendment was passed by a parliamentary committee under which the agency would be folded into the emerging National Demographic Fund.
        LJUBLJANA - Tour de France winner Tadej Pogačar and the team that won silver at the 2004 European Men's Handball Championships were honoured for their international achievements as the Bloudek Prizes, Slovenia's top sports awards, were handed out in a virtual ceremony.

SATURDAY, 13 February
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia scrapped checkpoints on its borders with Austria, Croatia and Hungary starting allowing those who have recovered from Covid-19 or have been vaccinated to enter the country without having to quarantine or provide a negative coronavirus test.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia started to re-test all positive rapid antigen tests with the more reliable PCR tests for coronavirus. The decision comes after clusters of positive rapid antigen test results emerged amid weekly swabbing of school and kindergarten staff at several locations across the country only to be later overturned by PCR tests.
        PREDDVOR - Two avalanches were triggered in the area of Mt Storžič (2,132 metres) in the western part of the Kamnik-Savinja Alps mountain range on Saturday, burying four climbers. Three died at the scene and one sustained severe injuries, in the worst mountain accident in years.
SUNDAY, 14 February
        LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Janez Janša congratulated Mario Draghi on becoming the new prime minister of Italy. "I am looking forward to further strengthening our good neighbourly relations and cooperation in many areas, both regionally, in Europe and globally".
        LJUBLJANA - Nevenka Koprivšek, a major player on the Slovenian scene of performing arts, died suddenly at the age of 61. In 1989 she became the first woman artistic director of Glej, an alternative Ljubljana theatre group, and she is credited with opening it up to international audiences. In 1997, she founded Bunker and she was also the director of the Young Lions festival.

MONDAY, 15 February
        LJUBLJANA - The Janez Janša government survived a motion of no confidence as only 40 MP voted in favour in a secret ballot, six too few. The motion was filed by five centre-left opposition parties, which nominated Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) leader Karl Erjavec for prime minister.
        LJUBLJANA - The government unveiled a preliminary proposal for the overhaul of the public sector pay system. The sector is to be split into two groups. The first would include departments and organisations solely dependent on the budget, which would be subjected to centrally-led system. The second group would include those also funded by other sources, which would get more leeway in setting pay.
        LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian army announced it would spend nearly EUR 8.5 million on new equipment, including underwear, boots, uniforms, backpacks and sleeping bags, in the next two years. The objective is to get new, more functional and lighter equipment.

TUESDAY, 16 February
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed legislation that redraws the boundaries of multiple electoral districts in compliance with a 2018 Constitutional Court decision. Another amendment simplifies the election of the MPs for the Hungarian and Italian minorities with the introduction of a first-past-the-post system.
        BRUSSELS - Finance Minister Andrej Šircelj said Slovenia was in constant touch with the European Commission in drafting its recovery plan and would meet the deadline. He said he would like to see as little red tape as possible while declining to announce when the plan will be in Brussels, saying that "this is not a competition."
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenian banks saw their cumulative after-tax profit decline by 15.1% to EUR 450.3 million in 2020. Pre-tax profit fell by a fifth to EUR 472 million, but would have more than halved were it not for the one-off impact of the merger of Abanka and NKBM, a report by the central bank showed.
        LJUBLJANA - Urška Klakočar Zupančič, a Ljubljana Local Court judge who has lost her post after criticising Prime Minister Janez Janša in a closed Facebook group is suing Vinko Gorenak, the state secretary in the prime minister's office, who had found about the post and published it.
        LJUBLJANA - The Administrative Court has thrown out a lawsuit by the State Attorney's Office against the state over a decision by the Interior Ministry to overrule the Maribor Administrative Unit and allow a concert by Marko Perković - Thompson, a Croatian singer accused of glorifying the fascist Ustasha movement.
        LJUBLJANA - Actress Mia Skrbinac, who has publicly accused her drama teacher of sexually harassing her while she was a student, has officially filed a sexual harassment complaint to the University of Ljubljana. The alleged harasser is Matjaž Tribušon, a 58-year-old award-winning film and theatre actor.
        LJUBLJANA - The Constitutional Court annulled provisions in decrees that allowed three municipalities to issue local newsletters in which political parties and lists represented on municipal councils were able to be advertised cost free. The motion for constitutional review was initiated by the Court of Audit.

WEDNESDAY, 17 February
        BRUSSELS, Belgium- Dutch MEP Sophie in 't Veld (D66/Renew) said there was sufficient grounds for the European Parliament's Democracy, Rule of Law and Fundamental Rights Monitoring Group, which she heads, to start monitoring the situation in Slovenia. The decision on such fact finding would have to be taken in the European Parliament.
        LJUBLJANA - Four orthopaedic surgeons and a sales representative were sentenced to jail terms ranging from ten months to three years in what was the largest healthcare corruption trial in Slovenia. The Ljubljana District Court also imposed fines, while three of the doctors will also have their unlawfully gained assets seized.
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - The government conducted its weekly review of coronavirus restrictions and except for some minor changes, the existing rules associated with the orange tier were extended at last until 26 February.
        LJUBLJANA - Collection of 5,000 voter signatures in support of an only-yes-means-yes rape law got under way. The law to redefine rape and sexual violence to use affirmative consent standard is being proposed by the NGO Inštitut 8. Marec, which has 60 days to collect the needed signatures.
        LJUBLJANA - DaiBau, which runs portals in multiple countries where investors can link up with building contractors, has received fresh funding from the German chemical company Henkel. Henkel made the seven-figure investment, whose exact value has not been disclosed, via its subsidiary Adhesive Technologies.
        NEW YORK, US - Slovenian NBA player Luka Dončić and sport climber Janja Garnbret have made US magazine TIME's list of 100 rising stars for 2021, Time 100 Next. The 21-year-olds are featured in the Phenoms category of rising stars in sports.

THURSDAY, 18 February
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Defence Minister Matej Tonin endorsed the proposal for a reform of NATO presented by the alliance's Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. It means member states have not only rights but also obligations, he said, adding that it was a new way of fair burden sharing and marked the beginning of the end of free riding.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - The Slovenian authorities have not withdrawn notification of state aid to the STA even though the European Commission has said its clearance is not necessary. If Slovenia insists it wants a decision, the case will be processed as a matter of priority, a Commission spokeswoman said.
        LJUBLJANA - The latest sequencing of coronavirus samples conducted by the Institute of Microbiology and Immunology at the Ljubljana Faculty of Medicine suggests the highly virulent UK variant is slowly spreading in Slovenia. However, the mutations still appear in a small percentage of samples.
        LJUBLJANA - The government dismissed Boris Novak as one of the four non-executive directors of the Bank Assets Management Company. Novak said the government had the right to appoint or dismiss directors and he respected its decision.
        LJUBLJANA - House searches were conducted around Slovenia as part of an investigation of an EU-funded tourism project that was brought to the attention of police by the Economy Ministry after media reports that contributions by several authors may have been fraudulent. Fourteen persons and one legal entity are suspected of fraud involving EU funds and of abuse of office.
        LJUBLJANA - NLB, Slovenia's largest bank, posted a group net profit of EUR 269 million for 2020, more than a third higher than the year before, largely due to the effects of the acquisition of Serbian bank Komercijalna Banka. Without the one-off effect, net profit would have stood at EUR 141.3 million, exceeding forecasts.
        LJUBLJANA - Two business chambers called on the government to extent the scheme under which they may request a deferral of loan payments. The central bank said this measure had "served its purpose" and was not sustainable in the long term.
        RASNOV, Romania - Nika Križnar, Slovenian's best female ski jumper this winter, won a World Cup event in Rasnov, Romania in what is the second World Cup victory in her career. She is now also in the lead in overall rankings.

13 Feb 2021, 12:40 PM

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

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

FRIDAY, 5 February
        LJUBLJANA - The national advisory committee on immunisation recommended restricting the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine against Covid-19 to people aged 18 to 64, due to a lack of data on the vaccine's efficacy in older people. It nevertheless recommended giving the AstraZeneca vaccine to immobile persons at home regardless of age.
        LJUBLJANA - The government changed the decree on border crossing to make it simpler for daily cross-border commuters and students. They will not be required to submit a negative coronavirus test unless they come from countries whose new caseload is worse than Slovenia's.
        LJUBLJANA - Four opposition parties tabled an ouster motion against Culture Minister Vasko Simoniti quoting a number of arguments, among them ineffective Covid-19 crisis measures in the culture sector.
        LJUBLJANA - The government cleared the plan of enrolment in university programmes for the next academic year after increasing the number of available posts for students of medicine and computer science, and raising the number of posts set aside for non-EU students.
        VALLETTA, Malta - Foreign Minister Anže Logar was on a working visit to Malta meeting Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Evarist Bartolo, President George Vella and Speaker Angelo Farrugia to discuss a number of EU topics ahead of Slovenia's EU presidency in the second half of the year.
        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša and President Borut Pahor highlighted the priorities for 2021 as they addressed diplomats accredited to Slovenia as part of the annual New Year reception. Janša pointed to trust, cooperation and solidarity as the key values and principles of cooperation.
        HOČE - The Environment Agency issued a preliminary environmental approval for an expansion of the factory of the automotive giant Magna near Maribor. The document was sent to the planning authorities.

SATURDAY, 6 February
        NICOSIA, Cyprus - Bilateral ties, EU issues, the Cyprus issue and Slovenia's desire to join the MED7 topped the agenda as Slovenian Foreign Minister Anže Logar held talks with Cypriot counterpart Nikos Christodoulides. Logar said Slovenia wanted to join the MED7 club of Mediterranean EU members.
        LJUBLJANA - A large segment of the retail sector reopened a day after the government gave the go-ahead for the nation-wide reopening of all shops and services businesses under 400 m2 regardless of the goods they are selling or service they are performing.
SUNDAY, 7 February
        LJUBLJANA - Feri Lainšček, a writer, poet, playwright and screenwriter who has immortalised ordinary people from rural eastern flatlands of Slovenia, and Marko Mušič, one of the most distinguished Slovenian architects, were honoured with the Prešeren Prizes for lifetime achievement.
        LJUBLJANA - On Day of Solidarity with Belarus, the Slovenian Foreign Ministry expressed solidarity with, and support for, Belarusian citizens who have been holding peaceful anti-government protests since the presidential elections in August 2020, urging respect for democratic standards and fundamental human rights.
        LJUBLJANA - Nearly a week after actress Mia Skrbinac publicly accused an unnamed actor and drama teacher of sexually harassing her while she was a student, several media named the alleged harasser as Matjaž Tribušon, a 57-year-old award-winning film and theatre actor with the SNG Drama Ljubljana.
        CLERMONT-FERRAND, France - Sisters, a short film by Slovenian director Katarina Rešek - Kukle, won the top prize at the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival, the biggest international film festival dedicated to shorts.
        ULRICEHAMN, Sweden - Slovenian cross-country skiers Eva Urevc and Anamarija Lampič won the women's World Cup team sprint event, in their biggest feat ever.

MONDAY, 8 February
        PRISHTINA, Kosovo - Defence Minister Matej Tonin announced during a visit to Slovenian troops in Kosovo that Slovenia will slightly reduce the number of troops in the mission since a part of them will be moved to Bosnia-Herzegovina, where troop presence will be doubled, and to other EU missions.
        LJUBLJANA - On Culture Day, President Borut Pahor called for a culture of dialogue, in particular from politicians due to their influence in public discourse. Prime Minister Janez Janša said he expected a more constructive attitude from the cultural sphere as the current situation is too grave to respond to it with "street activism and threats".
        LJUBLJANA - Several dozen riot police entered the AKC Metelkova alternative culture centre, ostensibly to check whether clubs were closed, a move that prompted protests by the proprietors of Metelkova clubs and the artists and craftsmen who have studios there.
        LJUBLJANA - Interior Minister Aleš Hojs, accompanied by his mother, was denied entry to Croatia. Neither he nor his mother had a negative coronavirus test and given the choice between mandatory quarantine or turning around, he decided to return. The police later said the minister broke no coronavirus restrictions to movement.

TUESDAY, 9 February
        LJUBLJANA - Pupils in the first three years of primary school throughout the country - that is including in the last three regions - returned to in-class instruction in line with last week's government decree. Both parents and teachers welcomed the move as long overdue. Thousands of secondary school students boycotted online lessons and demanded they return to classrooms as well.
        LJUBLJANA - Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek expressed Slovenia's willingness to work together with China and the other 16 Central and East European countries involved in the 17+1 initiative in tackling the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic, as he addressed a virtual summit of the initiative.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia saw its goods exports fall by 2% to EUR 32.9 billion last year as imports declined by 6% to EUR 32 billion. As a result, the country recorded a surplus of EUR 900 million, the second highest in a decade.
        LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Rules of Procedure Commission voted down the opposition-sponsored legislative changes to the parliamentary rules of procedure that would allow MPs to take part in secret ballots when they cannot be present at the National Assembly in person.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Slovenian MEP Milan Zver (EPP/SDS) was among more than 70 MEPs who signed a letter urging the EU's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell to resign after what the critics see as his "humiliating" visit to Russia.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Commission approved Slovenia's EUR 20 million scheme to help public transportation companies overcome the coronavirus pandemic, during which public transport has been either suspended completely or significantly limited.
        LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Writers' Association announced it would not take part in the celebration of Slovenia's 30th independence anniversary following revelations that PM Janez Janša has banned some government officials from speaking to the press.

WEDNESDAY, 10 February
        LJUBLJANA - The five left-leaning opposition parties submitted again a motion for a vote of no confidence in the government of Janez Janša, with Karl Erjavec, the head of the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS), as candidate for prime-minister designate.
        LJUBLJANA - The Constitutional Court announced that the parliamentary inquiry act and rules of procedure on parliamentary inquiry are in violation of the constitution. The National Assembly was instructed to remedy the situation in a year.
        LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Finance Committee adopted a series of amendments to the National Demographic Fund bill, mostly based on remarks from the parliamentary legal service. Among other things, the STA would become a part of the fund.
        LJUBLJANA - A month-long strike by one of the two trade unions representing police officers was suspended for the duration of negotiations after the government agreed to continue paying a bonus for the protection of the Schengen border.
        LJUBLJANA - It was revealed that the Slovenian Writers' Association, the Slovenian PEN centre and the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts nominated Drago Jančar, arguably Slovenia's leading contemporary writer, for this year's Nobel Prize in Literature.
        LJUBLJANA - Industrial output in Slovenia contracted by 6.2% in 2020 after six successive years of growth. Turnover in industry was down by 7.8%, the Statistics Office reported.
        BRNIK - The brand of the bankrupt Slovenian air carrier Adria Airways was sold to a bidder from abroad for just over EUR 33,000 net in the third attempt to sell the brand. The bidder was not disclosed.

THURSDAY, 11 February
        LJUBLJANA - After the 7-day average of new daily coronavirus infections and hospitalisations fell well below 1,000, Slovenia formally moved to orange tier of the government colour-coded coronavirus exit strategy. The government thus approved a sweeping easing, allowing movement throughout the country, gatherings of up to ten people, reopening of all stores and schools for all primary pupils and final year secondary school students from 15 February.
        LJUBLJANA - The government decided to scrap ten designated checkpoints on internal Schengen borders from 13 February, which means it will be possible to enter or exit the country via all border crossings with Austria, Hungary and Italy. In addition, those who have recovered from Covid-19 or have been vaccinated against it with two jabs will be able to enter the country without having to quarantine or provide a negative coronavirus test.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - In its winter economic forecast, the European Commission downgraded Slovenia's GDP forecast for this year from 5.1% to 4.7%, while a rebound of 5.2% is expected in 2022, an upgrade from the 3.8% in its previous outlook.
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor and his Estonian counterpart Kersti Kaljulaid discussed a number of topics in a video call. They said the EU should close ranks to become more effective in relation to its partners, especially Russia and China, while also strengthening transatlantic relations.
        LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Home Affairs Committee endorsed a bill redrawing electoral districts in line with a 2018 Constitutional Court decision with the backing of coalition MPs and those from the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS).
        LJUBLJANA - Božo Predalič, until now the government's secretary general, was appointed a new state secretary at the Interior Ministry effective from 12 February. He succeeds Anton Olaj, who was appointed police commissioner at the end of January.

06 Feb 2021, 14:23 PM

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

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

FRIDAY, 29 January
        LJUBLJANA - The Constitutional Court, deliberating on an act providing recourse to investors who lost their investments during the 2013 banking sector bailout, said it turned to the EU's Court of Justice with multiple questions, including about the payment of compensation by the Slovenian central bank and release of data. The procedures related to the case are thus suspended pending a reply from the EU court.
        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša said no major easing of anti-epidemic restrictions was to be expected in the coming weeks and the government would stick to the easing plan adopted earlier this month, which meant that schools and businesses might have to close again if the situation deteriorated.
        LJUBLJANA - The government failure to okay this year's call for applications to enrol in university courses before the 1 February deadline upset students and the academia. However, PM Janez Janša said the issue was of strategic nature because it concerned youth employability, so the government would give it all due care.
        LJUBLJANA - National motorway company DARS announced that Slovakia's Skytoll had been selected to set up a system for electronic tolling of cars, due to be operational in December. Skytoll offered to set it up for EUR 15.7 million and its bid was the only one meeting the criteria among the three DARS had received.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia recorded slightly over three million arrivals of domestic and foreign tourists in 2020, down by almost 51% on 2019, as a surge in domestic tourism failed to offset the collapse in foreign tourist arrivals. Tourist accommodation facilities saw a 21% rise in domestic arrivals and a 74% drop in arrivals of foreign tourists.
        LJUBLJANA - Preliminary data released by the Finance Ministry showed Slovenia had a budget deficit of EUR 3.5 billion last year, considerably below the figure predicted in the annual budget. Total budget revenue declined by just over 10% to EUR 9.08 billion, whereas expenditure surged by nearly 27% to EUR 12.56 billion.

SATURDAY, 30 January
        LJUBLJANA - Franc Kramar, a long-serving former mayor of Bohinj and MP for the opposition Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB), died aged 60 after a long illness. He was succeeded as MP by party leader Alenka Bratušek, by virtue of her having achieved the second best result for her party in the Kranj electoral district.
        TRBOVLJE - Three swastikas were spray-painted on a building in Trbovlje where Health Ministry State Secretary Alenka Forte, a medical doctor, has her office. The police have launched an investigation, Forte said on Twitter.

SUNDAY, 31 January
        KOPER/LJUBLJANA/KRANJ - Rallies were held across the country as parents protested against school closures after two regions slipped back into black tier last week after the first such protest was held on Saturday in Trbovlje. The government decided schools in the two regions should return to remote teaching and kindergartens close on 1 February after pupils in years one to three were allowed back in nine of Slovenia's 12 regions at the beginning of the week. Protests continued in the following days.
        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša's office announced Janša had nominated Slovenian Madagascar-based missionary Pedro Opeka and his humanitarian organisation Akamasoa for this year's Nobel Peace Prize.
        LJUBLJANA - A public opinion poll commissioned by commercial broadcaster Nova24TV showed the senior coalition Democrats (SDS) firmly in the lead with 23.5%, up 2.6 percentage points over last week, followed by the opposition Social Democrats (SD) with 8.1%.

MONDAY, 1 February
        LJUBLJANA - A new test carried out by the National Laboratory of Health, Environment and Food confirmed that the first confirmed case of the UK strain of coronavirus in Slovenia was brought to the country by a person who came from England in December.
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor sent an invitation to the leaders of all nine parliamentary parties for a joint meeting in a bid to overcome political differences and reach a consensus on focusing on the epidemic, post-pandemic recovery and Slovenia's EU presidency. The invitation was turned down by two opposition parties.
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor had a video talk with his Austrian counterpart Alexander Van der Bellen to discuss topical international issues and agree closer cooperation in fighting climate change. The pair also talked about the Covid-19 pandemic and the Slovenian minority in Austria.
        VIENNA, Austria - A law providing EUR 4 million to the Austrian province of Carinthia in the period until 2024 on account of its Slovenian ethnic minority as promised by the federal government on the centenary of the Carinthian plebiscite last year was published in German and Slovenian, in what is the first such instance in post-WWII Austria.
        LJUBLJANA - Mia Skrbinac became the first Slovenian actress to speak out publicly about sexual harassment as she revealed for TV Slovenija she had been sexually harassed for two years by a well-known actor and acting professor during her time as a student at the Ljubljana Academy of Theatre, Radio, Film and Television. She did not disclose his name.
        LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Home Affairs Committee discussed the conduct by Court of Audit president Tomaž Vesel in the wake of alleged conflict of interest caused by his work at FIFA. The session was boycotted by four opposition parties and ended with two proposals, one of them being for Vesel to resign.
        LJUBLJANA - Maj-Gen Robert Glavaš, the chief of the general staff, and Force Commander Brig-Gen Miha Škerbinc announced the Slovenian army will increase the number of troops, adjust its structure and overhaul military education in 2021, while international missions and cooperation with police remain among the key tasks.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Slovenia has used 83.5% of the Covid-19 vaccine vials it has received so far, which puts it fifth among the 15 European countries for which preliminary data are available in the relevant tracker launched by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.
        BEGUNJE NA GORENJSKEM - Sports goods maker Elan presented its new product, Elan Voyager, highly-efficient versatile foldable carving skis, the first such innovative product in the world.

TUESDAY, 2 February
        LJUBLJANA - The Foreign Ministry said Slovenia was shocked at Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny being sentenced to prison, and urged "his immediate and unconditional release", joining calls from several countries, including the EU.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Commission disbursed the remaining EUR 913 million to Slovenia in the form favourable loans as part of the SURE instrument after the country received EUR 200 million last year to mitigate unemployment risks during the coronavirus pandemic.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Commission approved EUR 5 million in state aid for Fraport Slovenija, which the company operating Slovenia's No.1 airport will use to compensate the damage from the pandemic.
        LJUBLJANA - Karl Erjavec, the leader of the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS), announced he would submit a new motion of no-confidence in the government next week despite being short of the 46 votes required to unseat the Janez Janša government.
        LJUBLJANA - The Defence Ministry sent into public consultation a draft bill overhauling military education and bringing a number of benefits to improve the status of Slovenian soldiers, including by allowing soldiers on international missions to take more rest.
        LJUBLJANA - Agriculture Minister Jože Podgoršek held an online meeting with European Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski discussing topics that will be on the agenda of Slovenia's upcoming EU presidency.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Institute of Public Health data confirmed reports that numerous Covid-19 patients had got infected in health institutions. So far, at least 956 severe hospital-acquired infections have been recorded.
        VIENNA, Austria - Around 26,000 Slovenian daily migrants to Austria will have to present a negative test for coronavirus as Austria introduced stricter entry conditions.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Bureau of Investigation conducted house searches as it investigates a suspected EUR 30 million case of corporate fraud which revolves around the sale of retailer Engrotuš's brands in 2016.
        LJUBLJANA - The Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS) announced its director general Sonja Šmuc was leaving by mutual agreement on 28 February.
        LJUBLJANA - A building in Ljubljana housing Zavod Iskreni, a Christian NGO, was defaced as unknown perpetrators spray-painted two swastikas on its facade and entrance and wrote "Corruption?" on the door, in what is another in a series of similar recent incidents.

WEDNESDAY, 3 February
        LJUBLJANA - Parliament passed the eighth economic stimulus law, worth around EUR 320 million. The key measures are the state shouldering the minimum wage rise, an extension of the furlough scheme, and introduction of fines for vaccine queue-jumping. Matej Lahovnik, the economist heading the taskforce preparing the mitigation measures, suggested it was now time to start thinking about an exit strategy.
        LJUBLJANA - The four-left leaning opposition parties filed a proposal to oust Education Minister Simona Kustec over what they see as "unprofessional and harmful policies" in organising child care and education during the epidemic, which has led to the longest school and kindergarten closure in Europe.
        LJUBLJANA - The government amended the rules for entry into Slovenia to scrap some of the exceptions for entering the country without a quarantine or a negative coronavirus test. The new rules will take effect on 5 February.
        KRANJ - Several classes of pupils in primaries and kindergartens in the Kranj area had to switch back to remote learning after their teachers tested positive for coronavirus in Monday's rapid testing. However, most of the positives turned out to be false, causing frustration and calling the reliability of rapid antigen tests into question.
        LJUBLJANA - The University of Ljubljana confirmed for the STA it had not extended the tenure of associate professor Igor Pribac from the Ljubljana Faculty of Arts after several students made allegations of sexual harassment. Having denied all the allegations, the 63-year-old philosopher is considering taking the matter to court. On the same day, the parliamentary Education Committee unanimously condemned sexual harassment in the academia and urged universities to adopt the necessary regulations to prevent and sanction it. The Justice Ministry was tasked to change the penal code, by also including the "yes means yes" principle.
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor and Archbishop of Ljubljana Stanislav Zore discussed a number of topics over working lunch. The pair agreed it would be appropriate for the country to pay respects to those who lost their lives due to Covid-19. The pair also agreed a papal visit would be welcome to coincide with major national anniversaries this year.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's jobless total hit 91,499 at the end of January, up 4.8% on December and 14.6% year-on-year. The monthly increase is mainly due to the expiry of fixed-term job contracts, the Statistics Office said.
        LJUBLJANA - A group of 38 public figures from social and political spheres called on politicians, media and opinion leaders to de-escalate tensions, bridge the divides and meet the current challenges together.
        LJUBLJANA - Russian flag carrier Aeroflot announced it would restore flights between Ljubljana and Moscow next week, and to operate one flight a week until the end of the winter schedule.
        LJUBLJANA - The Koper investigators filed criminal charges against four people over the June 2019 freight train derailment that led to a massive kerosene spill near Hrastovlje, SW. They are suspected of failure to conduct supervision in public transport and causing damage to the environment.
        LJUBLJANA - The opposition Left announced it had recently nominated whistleblowers Julian Assange, Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning for the Nobel Peace Prize.

THURSDAY, 4 February
        LJUBLJANA - The latest coronavirus coronavirus statistics show that Slovenia has so far recorded around 171,350 cases, of which over 16,900 are estimated to be active. As many as 3,580 people died. There are currently under 1,000 patients in hospital, with 165 reported to be in intensive care.
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - As the epidemiological situation keeps improving slowly, the government decided to suspend the current regional approach to coronavirus restrictions and move the entire country into the red tier, meaning that kindergartens and the first three forms of primary school will be open across the country next week. Museums, galleries and libraries can open from 5 February and ski resorts from 6 February. PM Janez Janša said differences between regions had been significant only weeks ago, but now the incidence of new coronavirus cases had converged.
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - The leaders of all three coalition parties stressed their commitment to continue working together as the government faces a vote of no-confidence in parliament. Asked about the status of Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) MPs following the party's quitting the coalition, PM Janez Janša said the answer was in the vote on the latest stimulus package, which all five DeSUS MPs endorsed. New Slovenia (NSi) leader Matej Tonin said a cabinet reshuffle was possible after the vote of no-confidence.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - In an interview with the Brussels-based Politico, Foreign Minister Anže Logar said Slovenia would be an honest broker dealing with all EU issues when it takes the EU presidency on 1 July. He indicated a preference for a peer-review system over Article 7 procedure against member states.
        LJUBLJANA - The Fiscal Council urged for simple and targetted anti-crisis measures, as it noted that EUR 472 million had already been paid out from the national budget for coronavirus relief measures, more than half of the funds reserved for this purpose in 2021.
        LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Commission for National Communities endorsed amendments to the general election act that would simplify certain procedures for the election of the two MPs representing the Italian and Hungarian minorities. The current system is to be replaced with a first-past-the-post system.
        LJUBLJANA - The Austrian energy group OMV announced it would sell off its 120 petrol stations in Slovenia as part of an ongoing EUR 2 billion divestment programme. In Slovenia, the group operates filling stations under the brands OMV, Eurotruck, Avanti and Diskont.

30 Jan 2021, 13:03 PM

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

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

FRIDAY, 22 January
        ZAGREB, Croatia - The foreign ministers of Slovenia and Croatia, Anže Logar and Gordan Grlić Radman, assessed after talks, which focused on Croatia's exclusive economic zone in the Adriatic Sea and included the border arbitration, that they had managed to raise the Slovenian-Croatian relations to a higher level in the past ten months. Logar also visited the earthquake-hit Petrinja area to express condolences to the victims' families and convey Slovenia's readiness to help.
        LJUBLJANA - Four opposition parties filed a motion to oust Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities Minister Janez Cigler Kralj over his work related to care homes during the epidemic and the ministry's decision to grant funds to an NGO with close links to the minister.
        LJUBLJANA - The travel quarantine exceptions list was expanded to allow citizens of Slovenia and other EU and Schengen countries to enter the country without quarantining if they had left to perform maintenance work on private property in another EU or Schengen country, or to provide care or aid or to visit their child, for no longer than 12 hours.
        LJUBLJANA - Health Ministry official Vesna Kerstin Petrič announced that, although testing for the coronavirus is not compulsory, teachers who did not want to get tested would not be allowed to teach in person in a classroom.
        LJUBLJANA - The Environment and Spatial Planning Ministry welcomed the US's return to the Paris Agreement, praising it as a positive development in global efforts to meet the commitments from the 2015 climate deal. "This will definitely represent a new element in the process aimed at starting the implementation of the Paris Agreement," it added.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenian Ambassador to Italy Tomaž Kunstelj and the foreign and culture ministries expressed their opposition to in any way promote a Slovenian-curated exhibition showcasing the imagery of heroism in the former Yugoslavia and involving the Ljubljana Museum of Modern Art to be put on at the MAXXI museum in Rome, the left-wing magazine Mladina reported.
        LJUBLJANA - FM Anže Logar expressed concern about systematic violation of human rights in Belarus as he addressed a meeting of the UN Security Council on media freedom in the country. "Detaining and punishing journalists and media employees for their work is unacceptable," Logar was quoted as saying by his ministry.
        LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Covid-19 contact tracing app, launched in summer 2020 as a measure to contain the spread of coronavirus, was upgraded to include many new features, including cross-border exchange of tracing keys.
SATURDAY, 23 January
        LJUBLJANA - Dnevnik reported that the Information Commissioner did not establish any irregularities in the police's access to the personal data of 44 politicians, including party and deputy group leaders. The procedure was launched last February after several politicians expressed concern their data might have been accessed by police without authorisation.
        LJUBLJANA - Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities Minister Janez Cigler Kralj said in response to the ousting motion filed by the opposition that it was not based on facts, and that care homes had been understaffed and underfunded long before the coronavirus epidemic.
        LJUBLJANA - Creditreform Rating, an European credit rating agency, affirmed Slovenia's AA- rating with a stable outlook. It said Slovenia had a strong economic environment, a flexible labour market while its private sector's indebtedness is low, which should contribute to the country's post-Covid recovery.

SUNDAY, 24 January
        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša announced that the first case of the highly transmissible UK coronavirus variant had been officially confirmed in Slovenia in a Kosovo national who arrived from Belgium. The National Institute of Public Health said it planned to retroactively check tests from all regions that have come back positive since 11 January. The subsequent screening of 877 samples of positive PCR tests showed 16 had two genetic changes matching the highly virulent UK strain of the virus.
        LJUBLJANA - A public opinion poll commissioned by the commercial broadcaster POP TV showed that almost 60% of the respondents would probably or very probably get vaccinated against Covid-19, which is three times more than last October.
        CAIRO, Egypt - Slovenia were knocked out of the World Men's Handball Championship after a 25:25 tie with the hosts Egypt in the last match of the main round. The next campaign for Slovenia are the qualifiers for the Tokyo Summer Olympics, which Slovenia will play in Germany on 12-14 March.
        ANTERSELVA, Italy - Slovenia's Jakov Fak finished third in the men's Biathlon World Cup mass start to announce good form ahead of the Biathlon World Championships, which will take place in Slovenia's Pokljuka on 9-21 February.
        LJUBNO OB SAVINJI - After Slovenia won the team Ski Jumping World Cup event for women a day earlier, Slovenia's Ema Klinec finished second in the individual event behind Eirin Maria Kvandal of Norway. It was the 12th podium finish for the 22-year-old Slovenian.

MONDAY, 25 January
        LJUBLJANA - The Microbiology Institute reported the confirmation of the highly virulent UK variant of coronavirus in three of the 291 samples taken from positive tests performed in Slovenia between 1 and 14 January, evidence that the variant had been in Slovenia before the first official case was confirmed last weekend.
        LJUBLJANA - Mass testing of thousands of teachers and other personnel in education was carried out in what was the largest such testing operation yet, as kindergartens and the first three grades of primary school reopened on the next day.
        LJUBLJANA - The government adopted a new stimulus bill, with the extension of the furlough scheme until 30 April and minimum wage subsidies from January to June as the key measures. In the second half of the year, employers will be exempt from paying a part of social security contributions.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - The priorities of Slovenia's EU presidency in the second half of 2021 and bilateral cooperation were in the focus as FM Anže Logar held talks with his Belgian counterpart Sophie Wilmes. Logar stressed that Slovenia would place special emphasis on strengthening the EU's capacity to address health and other crises.
        ABU DHABI, UAE - Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek met Emirati Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber as he started an official visit to the United Arab Emirates. The pair agreed that bilateral cooperation could improve and expressed support for such efforts, as Slovenia is interested in strengthening ties in high-tech, green economy, pharmaceutical industry, artificial intelligence, logistic, health services and space technologies.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Agriculture Minister Jože Podgoršek said after an EU ministerial that Slovenia would like to allocate EUR 150 million of the EU recovery funds for agriculture. The main problem is a lack of projects that could draw funds fast enough, which is why the focus will be on investment and "soft" projects", he added.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Slovenia urged the European Commission to help EU pork producers, as Slovenian pork producers have suffered at least a 30% drop in revenue due extremely low prices, additional costs incurred because of African swine fever, and coronavirus-fuelled delays in some abattoirs.
        LJUBLJANA - Interior Minister Aleš Hojs urged enhanced efforts to protect children from online sexual abuse, as he attended a ministerial of the EU Internet Forum. "It is especially worrying that globally, the largest amount of footage of child abuse on the internet is exchanged in the EU," he said.
        KLAGENFURT, Austria - After another spray-painting of the Slovenian names on bilingual city limit signs in Austria's Carinthia, Slovenian minority organisations condemned the incidents once again. The National Council of Carinthian Slovenians (NSKS) said that these systemic and well-organised acts were attempts to erase the Slovenian language in the public.
        LJUBLJANA - The programming council of public broadcaster RTV Slovenija appointed Andrej Grah Whatmough the new director general. Currently the chair of the public broadcaster's supervisory board, he will succeed Igor Kadunc at the end of April.
        LJUBLJANA - The ruling Democratic Party (SDS) increased its lead to just shy of eight points in the latest poll commissioned by the commercial broadcaster POP TV. The SDS polled at 16.9%, down 0.3 percentage points from December, as the opposition SocDems lost 1.2 points to 7.9 to 9% in second.
TUESDAY, 26 January
        LJUBLJANA - After three months of remote learning, kindergartens and primary schools up to year three reopened in nine of Slovenia's twelve regions, with no major disruption was reported. Education Minister Simona Kustec announced that 53,306 children returned to school and 74,630 to kindergartens. Only a fraction of the teachers had tested positive.
        LJUBLJANA - The five deputies of the Pensioners Party (DeSUS) decided they will continue to work as a single parliamentary faction, but they have not yet decided whether to be a part of the opposition or cooperate with the coalition.
        LJUBLJANA - A new political movement called Povežimo Slovenijo (Unite Slovenia) has emerged with an initiative to bring together smaller parties, local initiatives and individuals to form a joint slate for the next general elections. The initiator, Nada Pavšer of the Greens, believes the list could get at least 20% in the next election.
        DUBAI, UAE - Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek symbolically took over on behalf of Slovenia the management of the country's pavilion at the Expo 2020 in Dubai. The minister said "Slovenia will show know-how, innovation and energy" at the the largest such exposition yet that will take place between 1 October 2021 and 31 March 2022.
        LJUBLJANA - The Constitutional Court stayed the implementation of a provision from one of the coronavirus stimulus packages that extends accreditations to higher education institutions until it comes up with its final ruling on the matter.
        ZAGREB, Croatia - Barbara Antolić Vupora, the first ethnic Slovenian to be elected to the Croatian parliament, announced she would run for the head of the Varaždin county in the local election in May on the list of the biggest opposition party, the Social Democrats (SDP).
        LJUBLJANA - The Swiss pharma giant Novartis said it had invested EUR 204 million last year in its R&D and production capacities in Slovenia through its subsidiaries Lek, Sandoz and Novartis Pharma Services, in line with its plan to transform from a generics to an innovative pharmaceutical company.
        LJUBLJANA - The Health Insurance Institute (ZZZS) finished last year with a EUR 87 million deficit, with revenue totalling EUR 3.25 billion or 4.9% more than in 2019, and expenditure amounting to EUR 3.34 billion, up 9.5%. Wage subsidies for sick leave represented the largest share in expenditure (16.4%).

WEDNESDAY, 27 January
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - The government decided to close shops and cultural institutions that reopened a few days ago in Obalno-Kraška and Zasavska, after the two regions no longer meet the criteria for the red tier under the exit strategy. The government also decided that stores selling food around the country will be able to sell socks and underwear again.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia issued a 60-year bond worth EUR 500 million, the second highest bond issue this year and one with longest maturity the country has ever issued. "The 60-year euro-denominated bonds were issued with 0.7% yield to maturity and a coupon rate of 0.6875% to the tune of EUR 0.5 billion," the Finance Ministry said.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia logged a total of 163,235 of coronavirus infections and 3,448 deaths since the start of the pandemic, with an estimated 17,572 active infections and a 7-day average of daily cases at 1,258, show data from the National Institute of Public Health as of 27 January. Covid-19 hospitalisations fell to 1,106 with 171 in intensive care. More than 51,650 people had been vaccinated, over 13,300 of whom had received a second jab already.
        LJUBLJANA - Maja Brkan was endorsed as nominee for a Slovenian judge on the General Court of the European Union in a near unanimous vote at the National Assembly. The associate professor of EU law at the Maastricht University's Faculty of Law will now need to pass an assessment by the court's vetting body to get the post.
        LJUBLJANA - The lower chamber of parliament failed to overturn the veto the upper chamber imposed on changes to the tonnage tax act, with only 17 MPs voting in favour, and 41 against the changes. The legislative motion was aimed at extending by another ten years a special regulation under which shipping companies pay an alternative, lower form of corporate income tax.
        LJUBLJANA - The European Commission appointed Jerneja Jug Jerše as the new head of its Representation in Slovenia. Jug Jerše, who will assume her duties in Ljubljana on 16 April, succeeds Zoran Stančič, who completed his five-year term as head of the European Commission Representation in Slovenia at the end of last year.
        LJUBLJANA - United Media, the media division of United Group, plans to expand to the Slovenian market this year by setting up a news portal under the N1 brand, which is already active in the region. The Luxembourg-based United Media has already opened the Adria News subsidiary in Ljubljana under which the N1 Slovenija web portal will operate.
        LJUBLJANA - Revenue in retail in Slovenia was down last year by 9.7% compared to 2019, the Statistics Office reported. The largest drop, by 23.6%, was recorded by shops specialised in sale of motor fuels.
        ŠOŠTANJ - The city council of Šoštanj voted against coincineration of waste at the TEŠ thermal power plant. While TEŠ parent company boss said before the vote that the project would not go forward if all local communities opposed it, the Environmental Agency is yet to decide whether it will issue an environmental approval.
        LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Bishops' Conference condemned all forms of violence and intolerance against the Church after two attacks in the past week. A can with flammable substance was blasted in the vicinity of a Catholic pastoral centre, while a balloon filled with paint was thrown at a fresco on the exterior of St Nicholas's Cathedral in Ljubljana.
THURSDAY, 28 January
        LJUBLJANA - The government decided that schools and kindergartens in Zasavje and Obalno-Kraška regions will have to close once again next Monday. In the seven red-tiered regions, children will remain at home on Monday, as staff will get tested for coronavirus again, Education Minister Simona Kustec said.
        LJUBLJANA - Interior Ministry State Secretary Anton Olaj was relieved of his duties and appointed the new police commissioner for a five-year term. Olaj served in the police force between 1981 and 2012, when he finished his police career as Novo Mesto Police Department director.
        LJUBLJANA - The Government Communication Office said that the government had ratified the EU Own Resources Decision, the legal basis to allow drawing post-Covid recovery funds. In 2021-2027, Slovenia should be able to draw EUR 5.2 billion.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Taking part in a virtual EU ministerial, Interior Minister Aleš Hojs allowed for the possibility to reach an agreement at the EU level on mandatory redistribution of migrants in crisis situations, but only if a threshold for the number of migrants to be accepted by an individual member state is determined in advance.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia made no headway in the 2020 Corruption Perception Index compiled annually by Transparency International. Like in 2019, it ranked 39th among 180 countries surveyed, and with a score of 60 points, it once again fell short of the EU average of 64 points and the OECD average of 67 points.
        NOVO MESTO - The pharmaceutical group Krka reported unaudited preliminary results for last year which say it generated a record EUR 1.53 billion in revenue, up 3% compared to 2019, and a record net profit, estimated at EUR 286.6 million, up 17% year-on-year.
        LJUBLJANA - Director of the Krško Nuclear Power Station (NEK) Stane Rožman is this year's recipient of the Manager Association award for lifetime achievement in management. Under his watch, NEK became one of the top ten best rated power stations in Europe, the association said. In his address to the virtual annual meeting of the Manager Association, PM Janez Janša appealed for managers to support the government in its bid to fight red tape.

23 Jan 2021, 11:21 AM

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

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

FRIDAY, 15 January
        LJUBLJANA - An informal coalition of centre-left opposition parties filed a motion of no confidence in the Janez Janša government with the backing of 42 of the 90 deputies of the National Assembly, putting forward Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) leader Karl Erjavec as candidate for prime minister. However, Erjavec withdrew the bid on 19 January, after an opposition MP tested positive for coronavirus and several others waited for their test results, and would thus be unable to attend a secret ballot scheduled for 20 January.
        LJUBLJANA - PSS, one of the two trade unions in the Slovenian police force, which started a police strike to demand higher pay on 11 January, filed criminal charges against Interior Minister Aleš Hojs over his publishing of a document with pay data for nearly 9,000 members of the police force and ministry employees.
        LJUBLJANA - Energy company Petrol said it had taken over an outright stake in Croatian petroleum products seller Crodux as a result of which Petrol would acquire 91 service stations in Croatia once the deal was cleared by regulators. The deal was signed on 12 January.
        LJUBLJANA - The Ljubljana Faculty of Medicine came into spotlight as it transpired that Covid-19 vaccination there had been extended to non staff. Allegedly the shots that were left after staff inoculation were administered to doctors' relatives to use all the prepared jabs.
        LJUBLJANA - The Commission for the Prevention of Corruption said it had determined a breach of integrity and provisions banning the accepting of gifts in a case concerning Aleksandra Pivec, the former minister of agriculture, during her two visits to the coastal region in 2019 and 2020 in which she reportedly mixed business with family matters and which ultimately led to her resignation first as Pensioners' Party leader in September and then as agriculture minister in October.
        MARIBOR - Almost all workers on the morning shift at A&E Europe, the American-owned Maribor sewing threads manufacturer, went on strike to demand better pay after talks with the management failed to make progress since a token strike in December.
        LJUBLJANA - The Defence Ministry said Slovenia would like to buy an Alenia C-27J Spartan military transport aircraft made by Leonardo under a government-to-government contract with Italy.

SATURDAY, 16 January
        LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Janez Janša said he believed a hard lockdown that would involve limiting people's movement to within a certain radius around their home may not be necessary due in particular to the introduction of rapid testing. The effects of vaccination are starting to show as well, he added.
        CELJE - Health Ministry State Secretary Marija Magajne announced Slovenia would receive 20-25% less Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine than planned on 18 January due to production adjustments at Pfizer, which delayed the first-dosage vaccination.
        LJUBLJANA - The head of the SOVA intelligence agency, Janez Stušek, tested positive for coronavirus, so nine MPs who attended a session of the Commission for Oversight of Intelligence and Security Services on 15 January had to be tested. They later all tested negative, but the situation contributed to the opposition-sponsored motion of no confidence in the government to be withdrawn.
        LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Janez Janša congratulated Armin Laschet on his election as the leader of Germany's Christian Democratic Union (CDU), tweeting that he was looking forward to future cooperation between his Democrats (SDS) and the CDU.
        LJUBLJANA - Rating agency DBRS Morningstar confirmed Slovenia's credit rating at A (high), noting that the trend on all ratings was stable, in what the Finance Ministry said was another proof that Slovenia remained a trustworthy country despite the difficult situation.

SUNDAY, 17 January
        LJUBLJANA - After a group of parents recently filed a constitutional review proposal of the closure of primary schools and kindergartens, the government said that if the Constitutional Court stayed the implementation of the decree, that would be contrary to all the prevention measures and would mean direct harm to public health.
        LJUBLJANA - The Foreign Ministry called for "immediate release" of Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny. "Unhindered activities of opposition politicians are the foundation of a free democratic world," the ministry said on Twitter.

MONDAY, 18 January
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia expressed support for a vaccine travel certificate as the EU's Europe ministers launched a debate on the issue with Gašper Dovžan, Foreign Ministry state secretary for European affairs, saying this "could strengthen the four European freedoms in accordance with the principles of EU law".
        LJUBLJANA - After questions were raised about rapid antigen tests used for mass screening and their efficacy, Health Ministry State Secretary Marija Magajne told reporters the ministry's inquiry into the matter showed the test kits complied with relevant national guidelines and WHO standards regarding their sensitivity and specificity.
        LJUBLJANA - Speaker Igor Zorčič and his Montenegrin counterpart Aleksa Bečić discussed in a video call Slovenia's support for Montenegro's EU bid, ways of strengthening bilateral cooperation, and the epidemiological situation in their countries, and expressed satisfaction with the excellent bilateral relations.
        BLEIBURG, Austria/LJUBLJANA - Minister for Slovenians Abroad Helena Jaklitsch strongly condemned the incident in which unknown perpetrators spray-painted the Slovenian names of bilingual signposts in Pliberk/Bleiburg and Škocjan v Podjuni/Sankt Kanzian am Klopeiner See in the state of Carinthia, Austria on Saturday night.
        LJUBLJANA - Defence Minister Matej Tonin said the Slovenian Armed Forces had managed to reverse the negative staffing trend in 2020, as 222 members of the permanent force and 73 members of the contractual reserve had been hired.
        LJUBLJANA - The Ljubljana city council endorsed a revised budget for this year to expand the original one by EUR 34.35 million to EUR 439 million. The city is to spend EUR 187.3 million on investments.
TUESDAY, 19 January
        LJUBLJANA - The national lab said a strain of the novel coronavirus very similar to the highly virulent English mutation had been detected in the smear test sample of a person who recently arrived in Slovenia from England.
        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša said he expected 70% of the Slovenian population could be vaccinated against coronavirus by the beginning of summer as he presented fresh figures on planned deliveries of vaccines that indicate Slovenia should get significantly more jabs in the second quarter than previously thought.
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - Labour Minister Janez Cigler Kralj announced after meeting social partners that he would set the minimum wage for 2021 at EUR 1,024 gross. This is 120% of the minimum cost of living and the lowest possible rise under minimum wage legislation. The state is to cover roughly 40% of the rise at the cost of EUR 47 million to the budget under the 8th economic stimulus package now in the making.
        LJUBLJANA - Finance Minister Andrej Šircelj said that the first transfers from the EU's recovery fund should be made during Portugal's EU presidency in the first half of this year, as member states including Slovenia are rushing to ratify the legal basis and draw up national recovery plans.
        LJUBLJANA - Members of an autonomous social and cultural community that have been squatting the defunct Ljubljana bicycle factory Rog for years were forcefully removed from the premises as the Ljubljana authorities started tearing down buildings on the site as part of long running efforts to remake the rundown site into a new creative hub.

WEDNESDAY, 20 January
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - The government decided nine of Slovenia's twelve statistical regions will enter the red tier of coronavirus restrictions on 25 January, which allows for partial school reopening, after new cases and hospital figures dropped below thresholds set in the exit strategy, and the coronavirus curve has been flattening for the last ten days. Additionally, ski lifts, as well as shops selling children's items and museums, galleries and libraries were allowed to reopen in the regions from 23 January.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia recorded 154,306 coronavirus cases and 3,284 Covid-19 deaths by 20 January, with an estimated 19,541 infections still active, according to National Institute of Public Health.
        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša announced he had sent congratulations to the newly sworn-in US President Joseph Biden, being one of the few world leaders who had not congratulated Biden on his election victory before the inauguration.
        LJUBLJANA - The Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) drafted a motion to oust Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities Minister Janez Cigler Kralj over the ministry's decision to grant funds to an NGO with close links to the minister. Other parties were invited to join in.
        LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Anže Logar told the parliamentary Foreign Policy Committee that Slovenia regretted and condemned the recent vandalising of bilingual signposts in the Austrian province of Carinthia. He said Slovenia's ambassador to Austria Ksenija Škrilec had written to the Austrian authorities about the incident.
        LJUBLJANA - The Foreign Police Committee debated the government declaring the Lebanon-based political party Hezbollah a criminal and terrorist organisation as a whole, with most of its members endorsing the decision.
        LJUBLJANA - A total of 42,410 people have so far been vaccinated against Covid-19 in Slovenia, about 2% of the population, Marta Grgič Vitek, the vaccination coordinator at the National Institute of Public Health, said, noting the biggest problem was limited supplies of vaccines.
THURSDAY, 21 January
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor welcomed the US's rejoining the Paris climate agreement and the World Health Organisation under President Joe Biden. "Multilateralism has regained encouragement and value. This is important for Slovenia, the EU and the whole word," Pahor said on Twitter. Meanwhile, climatologist Lučka Kajfež Bogataj assessed the US's return to the climate deal brought hope the agreement would actually start to be implemented.
        LJUBLJANA - The government endorsed the 2021 financial plans of the Pension and Disability Insurance Fund (ZPIZ) and the ZZZS public health insurance fund, valued at EUR 6.2 billion and EUR 3.4 billion, respectively, with balanced revenue and expenditure.
        LJUBLJANA - The government adopted a bill to provide protection to children in criminal procedures either as victims, witnesses or perpetrators. It establishes a safe house where children will be interviewed in a neutral environment.
        LJUBLJANA - Maja Brkan, the candidate for Slovenian judge on the General Court of the EU, was unanimously endorsed by the parliamentary Privileges and Credentials Commission, the final step before the National Assembly vote, where she needs 46 of the 90 votes.
        LJUBLJANA - The shareholders of state-owned telecoms operator Telekom Slovenije appointed four new members of the supervisory board and changed the articles of association.


16 Jan 2021, 11:46 AM

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

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

FRIDAY, 8 January

        BRDO PRI KRANJU - The government modified its strategy for fighting the coronavirus epidemic in favour of a relaxation of restrictions on a regional basis instead of a nation-wide approach. It said decisions will be made weekly according to a five-tier plan that has thresholds of new cases and hospital figures.
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - PM Janez Janša said he expected his government to continue business as usual after 15 January when the centre-left opposition plans to call a vote of no confidence. Janša noted the likelihood of the vote coinciding with the peak of the coronavirus epidemic. Should this be the case, it would mean the epidemic was being used to serve political goals.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's exports in November 2020 were up by 0.9% year-on-year, as imports rose by 11.9%, the Statistics Office said. In the January-November period, exports were down by 2.7% and imports dropped by 6.9%.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenian Sovereign Holding said it had filed a suit for the annulment of the sale of a state stake in a venture capital fund shortly before a EUR 360 million worth takeover of the biotech firm Bia Sepparations in which the fund owned a minority interest in excess of 10%. It said it was acting to protect the interests of the state.
        LJUBLJANA - Researcher Nejc Hodnik of the National Chemistry Institute received a grant from the European Research Centre (ERC) Proof of Concept programme to test the commercial potential of his work in the field of hydrogen fuel cell catalysts. Hodnik acquired an ERC Starting Grant in 2019.
        CELJE - An explosion at the main bus station in Celje at around midday was caused by a gas leakage and injured three people. While they were all taken to the local hospital, none of them sustained serious injuries.

SATURDAY, 9 January
        LJUBLJANA - A number of additional activities deemed essential were permitted to reopen, including surveying services, cleaning services, medical pedicure and construction works with zero contact with clients. Museums and galleries were closed again and sports activities restricted.
        LJUBLJANA - Anti-government protestors who were rallying Friday evenings for months filed complaints against the work of police officers during protests, including criminal charges against ten of them. They said they were a target of intentional discreditation.
        BERLIN, Germany - Saša Šavel Burkat took over as the new head of the Slovenian Berlin Culture Centre. The Culture Ministry described the new culture attache as an exceptional connoisseur of contemporary Slovenian and German production.

SUNDAY, 10 January
        DRAŽGOŠE - President Borut Pahor honoured the 79th anniversary of a defining World War II battle as he laid a wreath at the Dražgoše memorial in the north-west of the country. Addressing the media, he was hopeful the nation would be able to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Slovenia's independence in June united and en masse.

MONDAY, 11 January
        LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Anže Logar presented to the parliamentary Foreign Policy Committee the background of and Slovenia's planned activities regarding plans by Italy and Croatia to proclaim exclusive economic zones in the Adriatic. The strategy was endorsed unanimously by the committee behind closed doors.
        LJUBLJANA - One of the two police trade unions went on strike to demand higher pay in line with a 2018 agreement that ended a previous strike. PSS trade union head Rok Cvetko said the strike would continue until a deal was clinched with the government, which deems the trade union's demands unjustified.
        LJUBLJANA - The Constitutional Court stayed the implementation of a law on EUR 780 million in investments in the Slovenian Armed Forces in 2021-2026 pending its final decision on the law's constitutionality. If it turned out the act is unconstitutional, the consequences of its implementation would be more severe than if it is stayed for a relatively short time until it has reached its decision, it said.
        LJUBLJANA - The Economy Ministry unveiled a programme for development incentives for 2021, worth a total of EUR 660 million, including EUR 248 million in grants. The priorities of the programme include providing liquidity to companies and assistance in green and digital transition for higher added value.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - European Commission spokesperson for competition Arianna Podesta said state aid rules enable EU member states to grant state aid to press agencies as compensation for services of general economic interest, as she commented on the Slovenian government's decision to solicit a state aid opinion from the Commission following legislative changes adopted to secure financing for the STA.
        LJUBLJANA - The number of deaths in Slovenia in 2020 is expected to be the highest since WWII based on data collected so far by the National Institute of Public Health. The number of excess deaths in 2020 compared to 2019 was 3,153, 262 were not related to Covid-19. Compared to the last five years, excess deaths reached 3,821, of which 930 were deaths not related to Covid-19.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Slovenia along with Belgium and the Netherlands became the new host country of the rescEU mechanism, providing storage of medical equipment for fighting cross-border medical threats. The countries involved in the project receive funding from the EU Commission to create strategic supplies of the equipment to be distributed around Europe.

TUESDAY, 12 January
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - PM Janez Janša and NIJZ director Milan Krek presented Slovenia's vaccination plan until the end of June, as vaccination was launched around the country. The country expects to get some 17,000 doses of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine a week until the end of March, or a total of 245,500 doses. People older than 80 will thus be vaccinated first, to be followed by those older than 70 in the last week of January.
        LJUBLJANA - The highly virulent variants of the SARS-Cov-2 virus known as the UK and South African strains have not been detected in Slovenia so far, said Miroslav Petrovec, the head of the Institute of Microbiology. The institute processes roughly half of all PCR tests done in the country.
        LJUBLJANA - Concern was raised after the Interior Ministry released a document with pay data for nearly 9,000 members of the police force and ministry employees, including criminal investigators and members of special forces. While this information is public knowledge according to the law governing freedom of information, the General Police Directorate believes the list's publication "may affect internal security in the police". Prime Minister Janez Janša announced that the "operative part" of the police force would be extracted from the single public sector pay system.
        LJUBLJANA - Labour Minister Janez Cigler Kralj announced that 9,500 elderly in Slovenia's care homes had already received the first of the two Covid-19 vaccine jabs, which means almost all of those who had not yet recovered from the disease, and just over 3,000 or a quarter of the staff.
        LJUBLJANA - The Fiscal Council made a renewed call for transparent and temporary coronavirus relief measures, finding the actual realisation of the measures last year was below government projections but had a significant impact on the worsening state of public finances. Preliminary data put the budget deficit for 2020 at EUR 3.5 billion.
        LJUBLJANA - Karl Erjavec announced that four MPs of his Pensioners's Party (DeSUS), which left the government coalition in December, would contribute their signatures in support of a motion of no-confidence in the Janez Janša government. This would mean the informal Constitutional Arch Coalition (KUL), which brings together five left-leaning parties in a bid to oust the government, has 43 votes secured, three short of the required majority.
        MARIBOR - An underage girl was killed after she was hit by a passenger train with preliminary police inquiries indicating she and her friend had been taking photos on the tracks. While the investigation is ongoing, the police ruled out foul play and suicide.

WEDNESDAY, 13 January
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - The government decided to extend a vast majority of existing coronavirus restrictions until 22 January. It also extended the formal state of the epidemic by 60 days.
        LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Janez Janša called for speeding up vaccination as he attended an informal video conference of EU health ministers on Covid-19 vaccination in his capacity as health minister. He also proposed increasing capacities for vaccine production within the EU.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's total of coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic rose to 145,478 with 23,167 infections still estimated to be active and an average of 1,535 daily cases confirmed over the past 7 days, data from the National Institute of Public Health show. The Covid-19 death toll climbed to 3,093. Hospitalisations rose to 1,266 with 199 patients in intensive care.
        LJUBLJANA - The KSJS association of public sector trade unions, acting through a police union, brought a collective labour dispute to demand all public employees who have worked in their workplace during the coronavirus epidemic get a bonus amounting to 65% of hourly pay for risk working conditions for all the hours put in during the formal duration of the epidemic.
        LJUBLJANA - The EU Court of Justice ordered Slovenia to pay a EUR 750,000 fine for failing to timely transpose into national legislation the 2016 changes to the EU directive on markets in financial instruments or failing to notify the European Commission about this.

THURSDAY, 14 January
        LJUBLJANA - The government set up a task force for trilateral talks with Croatia and Italy on cooperation in the northern part of Adriatic Sea after the three countries' foreign ministers agreed to enhance cooperation in Trieste last December amid plans by Croatia and Italy to declare exclusive economic zones.
        HELSINKI, Finland - Foreign Minister Anže Logar set out the priorities of Slovenia's EU presidency in the second half of the year as he met his Finnish counterpart Pekka Haavisto and Europe Minister Tytti Tuppurainen during a working visit to Helsinki. He was also received by President Sauli Niinisto.
        LJUBLJANA - The government provisionally approved the release of overdue budget payments to the Slovenian Press Agency (STA) as required by the 7th economic stimulus package. The funds were cleared based on a message by EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager which "indicates the possibility of a positive European Commission decision regarding the transfer of state aid for the STA" as the government awaits a final decision, the Government Communication Office said.
        CELJE - President Borut Pahor joined appeals to the public to get vaccinated against Covid-19 when their turn to get a jab comes. He believes immunisation will make it possible to end the health crisis this year.
        LJUBLJANA - Jelko Kacin, the government's Covid-19 spokesman, was named state secretary at the prime minister's office tasked with coordinating the logistics of mass vaccination, effective on 18 January.

09 Jan 2021, 15:41 PM

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

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

FRIDAY, 1 January
        LJUBLJANA - Dušan Jovanović, one of the most prolific and acclaimed contemporary Slovenian theatre directors and playwrights, died aged 81. A prominent public intellectual, he directed over 90 theatre pieces and wrote over two dozen plays as well as essays and poetry in a career that spanned five decades. Jovanović also received numerous awards for his oeuvre including the Prešeren Prize for lifetime achievements and the Golden Order of Merit.

SATURDAY, 2 January
        LJUBLJANA - Rapid coronavirus testing became available for a limited time at five border crossings with Croatia and Ljubljana airport as a new government decree took effect expanding the list of quarantine exemptions.

SUNDAY, 3 January
        KOČEVJE/RIBNICA - The first Kočevje-bound passenger train since 1971 departed from the Ljubljana Rail Terminal as passenger service on the route resumed. Ten trains per day run between Ljubljana and Kočevje on workdays and eleven in the opposite direction. The journey lasts between an hour and ten minutes to an hour and 25 minutes.
        SLOVENSKA BISTRICA - President Borut Pahor laid a wreath at a memorial on the Pohorje Plateau dedicated to a Partisan unit slain by Nazi forces in 1943. He said this was an expression of gratitude to the fighters who sacrificed their lives for liberty.

MONDAY, 4 January
        LJUBLJANA - A new shipment of 16,575 doses of Covid-19 vaccines meant for health staff arrived in Slovenia, while community health centres around the country started providing rapid antigen testing.
        LJUBLJANA - Gyms and swimming pools reopened under strict conditions under a government decree that also allowed younger registered athletes who are members of national teams to train.
        LJUBLJANA - A number of large companies rolled out rapid testing for their employees. Some performed the tests in-house, others referred workers to community health centres.
        LJUBLJANA - Ski resorts demanded that the government abolish obligatory coronavirus tests for skiers. Unless the testing requirement is abolished, the resorts plan to mount a Constitutional Court challenge.

TUESDAY, 5 January
        LJUBLJANA - Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) leader Karl Erjavec, tipped for a prime minister-designate, announced five centre-left opposition parties would file a motion of no-confidence in the Janez Janša government on 15 January. He counts on MPs from the coalition Modern Centre Party (SMC) to provide additional three votes the opposition lacks to succeed.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia logged a record 3,354 coronavirus infections from a combined 22,194 PCR and rapid antigen tests performed on Tuesday, as the positivity rate for PCR tests hit a record high.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia issued a new ten-year bond of EUR 1.75 billion due in 2031 and extended the existing 30-year bond issue due in 2050 by another EUR 250 million, the Finance Ministry said.
        LJUBLJANA - Children with special needs returned to classrooms after nearly three months of remote schooling a daj after after employees were tested for coronavirus.
        LJUBLJANA - Two members of the management board of Slovenian Sovereign Holding (SSH), Boštjan Koler and Boris Medica, and supervisory board member Igor Kržan resigned over irregularities established in the sale of a 49% stake in the venture capital fund Meta Ingenium. They all stepped down in what was a mutual agreement with SSH, the state asset custodian said.
        LJUBLJANA - NLB, Slovenia's largest bank, announced it will introduce fees for combined deposits by individuals which exceed EUR 250,000 in April. The monthly fee will amount to 0.04% and will be first charged in May.

WEDNESDAY, 6 January
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's top officials and MEPs condemned the storming of the US Capitol building. Prime Minister Janez Janša expressed the hope that the US democracy would overcome the crisis, while President Borut Pahor on Thursday described the storming as an "attack on the symbol of US democracy" and called for a peaceful transfer of power. The Foreign Ministry said it was looking forward to cooperating with the new US administration.
        LJUBLJANA - The newspaper Delo disclosed findings from the still confidential draft audit report on PPE procurement during the spring wave of coronavirus, which found that the purchases were inefficient due to failings by both the current and previous governments. Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek said the findings showed the allegations of massive corruption were baseless.
        LJUBLJANA - Matej Tonin, the defence minister and leader of New Slovenia (NSi), said the ruling coalition had "solid" 47 MP votes even after the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) quit the coalition. He is convinced the government will finish the term without major difficulties, adding he would not be surprised if the opposition failed to seek the planned vote of no confidence in the end.
        LJUBLJANA - The council of the opposition Left expressed support to a motion of no-confidence in the Janez Janša government with Karl Erjavec, the leader of the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS), as candidate for prime minister-designate, the party said. Other opposition parties from the Constitutional Arch Coalition (KUL) have already backed Erjavec's candidacy.
        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša spoke in his capacity as interim health minister with Chen Shih-chung, the minister of health and welfare of Taiwan, via videolink to exchange views on the Covid-19 pandemic and share good practices. Janša thanked Chen for Taiwan's donation of protective masks in the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic last April.
        LJUBLJANA - The Covid-19 pandemic pushed up Slovenia's registered unemployment total to 87,283 at the end of December 2020, up 15.9% year-on-year, and 3.7% more than at the end of November last year. The Employment Service noted the growth in unemployment would have been even higher had it not been for the government's job retention schemes.
        LJUBLJANA - The government extended the shutdown of non-essential shops and services by another week until 13 January despite appeals by the Chamber of Craft and Small Business (OZS) and the Chamber of Commerce (TZS) to reopen small businesses and non-essential shops, respectively.

THURSDAY, 7 January
        LJUBLJANA - The government decided that schools and kindergartens will remain closed at least until 18 January, also extending the existing restrictions in place and shutting down ski lifts.
        LJUBLJANA - An expert commission has found the death of a nursing home resident soon after she received the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine is unlikely to be associated with the vaccination. The woman died because of comorbidities, Jelko Kacin, the government's Covid-19 spokesman, summed up the commission's findings.
        LJUBLJANA - Mass antigen rapid testing was suspended in Ljubljana due to unsuitable swabs, the Ljubljana Health Community Centre announced, adding that the step was based on a decision by the Agency for Medicinal Products and Medical Devices, which found the swabs unsuitable because their producer is not known and the swabs have no required markings.
        VELENJE - Gorenje started the launch of TV sets in Velenje this week. More than 350 workers were already working at the Hisense Europe Electronic factory, and their number is to increase to 520 by the end of the month. As of next week, around 800 TV sets are to be produced a day.

19 Dec 2020, 14:27 PM

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

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

FRIDAY, 11 December
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - PM Janez Janša labelled the compromise reached by EU leaders over the recovery package a typical European solution, a win-win situation with no absolute winners or losers. The winner is the EU since an opportunity for actually implementing the package as of 1 January 2021 was unlocked, he said.
        VATICAN CITY, Vatican - A Slovenian delegation was received by Pope Francis, and Foreign Minister Anže Logar held talks with Bishop Paul Richard Gallagher, secretary for relations with states within the Holy See's Secretariat of State, before a 30-metre spruce from Slovenia came aglow with Christmas lights in St Peter's Square. Logar said the tree was Slovenia's thank-you to the Holy See for its support before and after Slovenia declared independence nearly 30 years ago.
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor reiterated his stance that EU prospects for the Western Balkans are the main geopolitical issue bearing on European stability, as he addressed the To Be Secure forum. His wish is for the entire region to join the EU.
        LJUBLJANA - The Government Communication Office (UKOM) responded to a letter by Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatović concerning the funding of the STA. UKOM head Uroš Urbanija repeated the argument that the STA was obligated to provide UKOM with all the requested documents.
        LJUBLJANA - Rating agency Standard & Poor's affirmed Slovenia's AA- rating with a stable outlook. The step acknowledges that Slovenia "remains a stable country in the long run despite the difficult situation due to Covid-19", the Finance Ministry said.
        LJUBLJANA/NOVO MESTO - Ljubljana and Novo Mesto police said they had launched an investigation into posters and graffiti which appeared in both cities and labelled some medical experts exposed during the coronavirus epidemic "murderers of the Slovenian nation".

SATURDAY, 12 December
        SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina - President Borut Pahor called on the leaders of Bosnia-Herzegovina to focus on the country's economic and social challenges together, as he addressed by video link a ceremony in Sarajevo marking the 25th anniversary of the Dayton agreement, which ended the war in the country.
        PLANICA - Germany's Karl Geiger won the individual event of the Planica Ski Flying World Championship with a total of 877.2 points after a nail-biting finish in which the second-placed Halvor Egner Granerud of Norway fell behind by only half a point after four rounds of jumping.

SUNDAY, 13 December
        LJUBLJANA - The government decided to temporarily ease some restrictions starting on 15 December. Under new rules, public transportation restarted nationwide. Hair salons, flower shops, car washes and dry cleaners reopened. In four regions with the best epidemiological situation - Central Slovenia, Goriška, Obalno-Kraška and Gorenjska - footwear, apparel and sports equipment shops as well as car dealerships opened.
        CLEVELAND, US - The Slovenian Consulate General in Cleveland announced that Edward Gobetz, an esteemed Slovenian American philosopher, sociologist and anthropologist, a professor emeritus at Kent State University, had died, aged 94, of Covid-19 complications.
        VAL D'ISERE, France - Martin Čater won the first World Cup downhill of the season in what is the first podium finish for the 27-year-old Slovenian, who entered the race with the start number 41.
        PLANICA - Norway won the team event at the Ski Flying World Championships at Slovenia's Planica, overtaking Germany in the last round as Halvor Egner Granerud performed better than Karl Geiger, who beat the Norwegian on Saturday in the individual event. Slovenia bounced back from the turmoil in their ranks by finishing fourth.
        ROGAŠKA SLATINA - Voters in the municipality of Rogaška Slatina confirmed plans by the local government to erect the tallest observation tower in Slovenia. At a cost of over two million euro, the 106-metre tower is designed to become one of the landmarks in a community best known for spa tourism.

MONDAY, 14 December
        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša told parliament that it had been Italy and Croatia's "good will" to invite Slovenia for talks on their plans to declare their exclusive economic zones in the Adriatic Sea. The two countries have the right to declare the zones and it is solely because of "our reputation".???
        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša told the MPs in parliament Slovenia was in for a "very demanding fight with the last third of the Covid-19 epidemic", after which time would come to eliminate the consequences. He said the EU's recent agreement on the EUR 1.8 trillion recovery package "makes the light at the end of the tunnel brighter".
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Interior Minister Aleš Hojs said after an EU ministerial that the positions of EU member states on solidarity in the new migration pact remained different. Slovenia remains against obligatory relocation, just like nine other members states.
        LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Anže Logar reiterated Slovenia's support for giving cooperation between the EU and Latin American and the Caribbean a fresh impetus as he took part in an informal EU-LAC meeting. He said the Covid-19 pandemic showed the importance of close cooperation.
        LJUBLJANA - The Commission for the Prevention of Corruption closed its investigation into the case of Environment Minister Andrej Vizjak's purchase of Petrol shares ahead of the full liberalisation of fuel prices after concluding that this is not within its purview. It handed the case over to the Securities Market Agency.
        LJUBLJANA - The suspension of STA financing has led to criminal charges filed by both sides. The STA's in-house trade union reported Government Communication Office (UKOM) head Uroš Urbanija to the prosecution over abuse of office. Urbanija filed charges against STA director Bojan Veselinovič, former UKOM head Kristina Plavšak Krajnc and four STA supervisors. Prime Minister Janez Janša told parliament the government was not interfering in the STA.

TUESDAY, 15 December
        LJUBLJANA, - The Commission for the Prevention of Corruption launched multiple probes into purchases of personal protective equipment in spring. Eight persons are under investigation, including Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek and Ivan Gale, the former Commodity Reserves Agency employee who first made allegations of irregularities. Počivalšek said he would fully cooperate in the investigation to clear his name.
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - PM Janez Janša met ambassadors of EU member states accredited to Slovenia, an event organised by the German EU presidency. He answered questions from ambassadors concerning the most recent EU summit, the main challenges for next year and Slovenia's preparations for its EU presidency in the second half of 2021.
        THE HAGUE, Netherlands - Foreign Minister Anže Logar met his counterpart Stefan Blok as part of his working visit to the Netherlands to discuss cooperation, Slovenia's EU presidency and topical issues. Logar also held separate meetings with the heads of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the International Criminal Court.
        POSTOJNA - Ahead of a two-day ministerial of the Central European Defence Cooperation (CEDC) in Postojna, Defence Minister Matej Tonin met his Croatian counterpart Mario Banožić and Austria's Klaudia Tanner. The talks focused on bilateral cooperation in the fields of military and defence and on cooperation within the EU.
        LJUBLJANA - Banka Slovenije, Slovenia's central bank, expects the economy to contract by 7.6% this year before growing at a rate of 3.1% in 2021, a sharp downgrade from its forecast in June, when it projected a 6.5% contraction for this year and growth of 4.9% for 2021. The forecast hinges on the successful rollout of coronavirus vaccines.
        LJUBLJANA - Public and private investors, including the government, signed a memorandum to cooperate in the construction of a EUR 387 million passenger terminal in Slovenia's capital. The project comprises a new railway station, along with appertaining track infrastructure and platforms, a coach station with a multi-storey car park and a commercial hub.
        LJUBLJANA - Bojana Beović, the infectious disease specialist who heads the group advising the government on Covid-19, was elected head of the Medical Chamber. Out of the 5,895 ballots cast by members in a runoff, she won 3,154 against Tanja Petkovič, the head of the chamber's section of care home doctors.

WEDNESDAY, 16 December
        STRASBOURG, France - The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights ruled that it does not have jurisdiction to hear a case brought by Slovenia against Croatia over debt owed to Ljubljanska Banka (LB) by Croatian companies, because LB lacks non-governmental status.
        POSTOJNA - The experiences of individual armies in helping to fight the Covid-19 epidemic and the strengthening of cooperation with Western Balkan countries were in the focus of a two-day meeting of the Central European Defence Cooperation (CEDC). Slovenian Defence Minister Matej Tonin and his Hungarian counterpart Tibor Benko expressed support for the long-term stability of the region.
        LJUBLJANA - Railways operator Slovenske Železnice signed a strategic logistics and cargo partnership with EP Holding. The Czech holding will become the owner of a 49% stake of Slovenske Železnice's cargo division SŽ-Tovorni Promet. The partnership is pending regulatory approval.
        LJUBLJANA - Atlantic Droga Kolinska, Belinka Perkemija, TKK and iSystem Labs were honoured as best foreign investors for their excellent business performance and contribution to the development of the Slovenian economy. The awards are given out annually by the SPIRIT investment promotion agency and the economy ministry.
        LJUBLJANA - Cross-country skier Anamarija Lampič, cyclist Primož Roglič and the men's handball team are this year's crème de la crème of Slovenian sports as selected by the Association of Sports Journalists. Both the athletes and the team received the top sports awards at the 2020 Athlete of the Year ceremony.

THURSDAY, 17 December
        LJUBLJANA - The Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) left the government coalition with immediate effect and its top decision-making body backed party leader Karl Erjavec as a candidate for prime minister-designate. The move brings the informal Constitutional Arch Coalition (KUL) a step closer to a no-confidence vote in the Janez Janša government, but it remains several votes short of a majority.
        LUXEMBOURG, Luxembourg - Fully upholding the European Commission's position, the European Court of Justice ruled that Slovenia breached the inviolability of ECB archives in a 2016 police search of archives at the country's central bank that was part of an investigation into the 2013 bank bailout. The court's Grand Chamber also found Slovenia in breach of the obligation of sincere cooperation with the EU.
        LJUBLJANA - The government formally extended the state of coronavirus epidemic by 30 days beginning on 18 December. However, more shops, including those selling technical goods, tree and plant nurseries as well as shops with goods for installation, maintenance and repair services will reopen for five days, from 19 to 23 December. In the four regions with the lowest number of cases, additional shops will be allowed to open.
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor, the supreme commander of the Slovenian Armed Forces (SAF), promoted Chief of the General Staff Robert Glavaš to the rank of major general. The promotion is according to Pahor a result of Glavaš's excellent military career and his results at all SAF levels as well as of the experiences he gained in missions abroad and in NATO structures.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed in a 43:36 vote a bill amending the criminal procedure act. Based on the freedom of information act, the changes make it possible for anyone to access prosecution or court records in criminal procedures if there are no reservations for such access.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly endorsed a reform bill on motor vehicles tax as a result of which most car and motorbike buyers will pay less tax, especially buyers of more powerful vehicles. The levy will depend on emissions.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed changes to the tonnage tax act extending by another ten years a special regulation under which shipping companies pay an alternative form of corporate income tax.
        LJUBLJANA - Telekom Slovenije signed a loan agreement with the European Investment Bank (EIB) worth up to EUR 100 million for the expansion of its fibre optic network through 2023. The EIB funds will allow it to finance the continued expansion and upgrade of its network with gigabit speeds, both in urban centres and rural areas.

12 Dec 2020, 13:23 PM

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

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

FRIDAY, 4 December
        WASHINGTON, US - US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo welcomed Slovenia's decision to declare the Hezbollah Shia Islamist movement a terrorist organisation earlier this week. Slovenia is rejecting the false differentiation between its political and military wings, he said.
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor made a renewed appeal for cross-party effort to break out of the crisis, as he addressed a ceremony ahead of the 30th anniversary of a cross-party agreement on the independence referendum.
        LJUBLJANA - STA staff representatives urged the government as the agency's sole owner to provide, in line with the law, the material conditions for their journalistic work and for their autonomy after the Government Communication Office suspended its funding.
        LJUBLJANA - Jelko Kacin, one of the STA founders as the information minister in the early 1990s, stressed the importance of the agency in the face of the suspension of its funding. "Its role and media mission to the benefit of Slovenia are extremely important and irreplaceable," he said in an interview with the newspaper Večer.
        LJUBLJANA - Pergam, a trade union association, asked the Constitutional Court to examine a communicable diseases act provision which make it possible to limit the right of healthcare staff to strike. The court was also asked to check a decree which prevents healthcare staff from taking paid days off during the epidemic.
        ILIRSKA BISTRICA - Interior Minister Aleš Hojs presented two ideas to protect Slovenia's southern border with Croatia against illegal migration after a plan to activate soldiers by giving them police powers was recently rejected in parliament. One option is to change the border surveillance act to allow Financial Administration staff and various inspectors to be deployed on the border, and the other is cooperation with Italy and Hungary in police patrols.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenian Catholic bishops addressed a letter to PM Janez Janša saying they expect the government to lift the ban on religious services amid the Covid-19 epidemic. They also expect the government not to disproportionately limit religious freedom.
        NAZARJE - BSH Hišni Aparati, a Slovenian subsidiary of the Bosch group, was this week declared the winner of the Factory of the Year competition in the category of best large-scale mass producer in Europe. The competition is a collaboration of A.T. Kearney and the German business magazine Produktion, which was launched in 1992.

SATURDAY, 5 December
        LJUBLJANA - Karl Erjavec, 60, returned to politics after winning the leadership contest in the coalition Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) to start his fifth term as DeSUS leader. His return after less than a year-long break raised expectations of some that the party could leave the Janez Janša government.
        LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Culture Committee urged the government to immediately pay the overdue liabilities to the STA and stop smearing the agency. It also urged the STA to provide the Government Communication Office with the requested documents.

SUNDAY, 6 December
        LJUBLJANA - New decrees on measures to stem the Covid-19 epidemic entered into force, with no substantial changes, as restrictions on gatherings, movement and sale of goods remained in force. The decrees had to be re-published in the Official Gazette as the Constitutional Court ruled the extension of distance learning was invalid because it was not published in the Official Gazette.

MONDAY, 7 December
        TEL AVIV, Israel - PM Janez Janša started an official two-day visit to Israel by meeting the representatives of Israel's innovation sector. He labelled the working meeting as an opportunity for a developmental breakthrough for Slovenian know-how and entrepreneurship. He also had dinner with Slovenia's Honorary Consul Eival Gilady and Israel-Slovenia Chamber of Commerce representatives.
        WASHINGTON, US - The foreign ministers of Slovenia and the US, Anže Logar and Mike Pompeo, launched a new, upgraded form of structured bilateral dialogue. Logar stressed the importance of this strategic dialogue and said it would continue with the next US administration.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Institute of Public Health announced the head of its Centre for Communicable Diseases, Mario Fafangel, had quit the Health Ministry task force advising the government on measures to fight Covid-19. Fafangel explained his reasons to Health Minister Tomaž Gantar, but would not share them with the public.
        LJUBLJANA - The Chamber of Craft and Small Business called on the government to open small businesses and the services sector as the closure had not resulted in an improved epidemiological situation. It also warned of a rise in undeclared work.
        LJUBLJANA - The Chamber of Commerce and Industry assessed that the Slovenian economy had suffered between EUR 440 million and EUR 600 million in damage in the second wave of the coronavirus epidemic between the end of September and end of November.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly unanimously passed a bill reducing the financial obligations of municipalities by shifting several major outlays, for example health insurance premiums for the unemployed, onto the state budget. The bill was originally tabled by the previous government in December 2019 but was then expanded.
        LJUBLJANA - Karl Erjavec said he did not intend to become a minister in the Janez Janša government after he was elected the leader of the coalition Pensioners' Party (DeSUS). He informed PM Janez Janša of this while still a candidate for DeSUS leader.
        STRASBOURG, France - Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatović wrote a letter to Prime Minister Janez Janša, urging him to immediately reintroduce funding to the STA and expressing concern that the suspension of public funding could jeopardise the agency's future.

TUESDAY, 8 December
        JERUSALEM, Israel - Prime Minister Janez Janša discussed with his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu the strengthening of bilateral cooperation, particularly in innovation. Netanyahu said Janša's visit was an opportunity for a new beginning in relations. He thanked Janša for declaring the Hezbollah movement a terrorist organisation and for expressing support for Israel in international forums.
        WASHINGTON, US - Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec signed a memorandum of understanding on strategic civilian nuclear cooperation with the US. In the memorandum, the two countries express a desire for deeper bilateral strategic ties, which would improve energy security, increase prosperity and strengthen political and economic ties.
        LJUBLJANA - With the epidemic plateauing for several weeks, Health Minister Tomaž Gantar, backed by chief Covid-19 adviser Bojana Beović, proposed a temporary full lockdown of all non-essential activity in the country only to be countered by Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek, who upheld demands by business associations for a gradual reopening of businesses with stricter measures.
        LJUBLJANA - Four centre-left coalition parties turned to the Constitutional Court after the National Assembly last week declared a referendum on EUR 780 million in planned defence investments inadmissible. The Left, Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ), Social Democrats (SD) and Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB) want the court to abrogate both the parliament's decision on the inadmissibility of the referendum and the defence spending law.
        LJUBLJANA - The repatriation of ethnic-Slovenian residents of Venezuela was suspended in March following the outbreak of coronavirus, but it was re-launched in autumn, when 13 persons arrived in Slovenia, the Government Office for Slovenians Abroad announced. A total of 36 persons have been repatriated so far.
        LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Soldiers' Trade Union urged members to authorise a law firm to bring damages suits against singer Jadranka Juras and director Dejan Babosek over their comments about the Slovenian Armed Force members and the guard of honour, respectively, as well as against the public broadcaster for airing the contentious statements.
        LJUBLJANA - The STA supervisory board called on the government to take necessary steps to resume regular financing of the STA for the public service it performs after concluding, based on a legal opinion commissioned by the STA management, that the Government Communication Office had no legal basis to arbitrarily suspend financing.

WEDNESDAY, 9 December
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - The government decided that the bulk of coronavirus restrictions will remain in force but the government may opt for easing on Saturday following consultations with hospital directors and business officials. The only substantive change is that from Saturday only surgical or washable face masks will have to be warn in indoor and outdoor public spaces. Loose fitting coverings such as scarves or bandannas will no longer suffice.
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - The government added Germany to Slovenia's red list of Covid-19 unsafe countries and regions, as well as the whole of the UK and Estonia starting from Saturday. Meeting for a weekly session, the government also moved Ireland and Iceland from the red to the orange list.
        LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Foreign Policy Committee gave the Infrastructure Ministry the green light to launch negotiations with Hungary on the neighbouring country's participation in the Koper-Divača rail investment.
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor said politicians in Slovenia should end political uncertainly as soon as possible and enhance trust. It should be made clear whether the government still has a majority support in parliament and then all energy should focus on the fight against the epidemic, he said.
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - The government adopted changes to the international protection act to promote fast and effective procedures. The proposed solutions are also aimed at preventing abuses of the system of international protection, the Interior Ministry said.
        LJUBLJANA - The government gave its go-ahead to the Defence Ministry's proposal to promote Brigadier General Robert Glavaš, the chief of the general staff, to the rank of major general. Glavaš meets skills-based conditions for the promotion, while he will fully meet the formal requirements on 17 December when two years will have passed since his last promotion in rank.
        LJUBLJANA - As the coronavirus epidemic takes its toll among nurses and care workers, with many being exhausted, their trade union threatened with a strike. A major issue seems to be the fact that the majority of employers in health care and social care have not yet paid out the bonuses for working in an emergency and for additional workload.
        LJUBLJANA - The Government Office for Legislation issued an opinion on the suspension of the STA financing by the Government Communication Office, saying this could only be the ultimate penalty, as a stoppage of public service would be unlawful. It also said the law secures the STA independence, also from the government.
        LJUBLJANA - On International Anti-Corruption Day, the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption launched an integrity project aimed at strengthening integrity through all levels of the education system and society. Endorsing the project, President Borut Pahor said raising awareness and education about fighting corruption was key to boosting trust in society.
THURSDAY, 10 December
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Prime Minister Janez Janša welcomed the rule of law compromise put to EU leaders as "very good". If it gets the green light, it will provide adequate rule of law protection of all EU financial mechanisms as well as the recovery funds, he said on arrival at the EU summit.
        LJUBLJANA - The Court of Audit has found that Banka Slovenije was only partly successful in its oversight of banks' capital adequacy and the management of loan risks in 2008-2013. It also found it to be unsuccessful in introducing emergency measures during the bank bailout.
        ROME, Italy - The Slovenian and Italian foreign ministers, Anže Logar and Luigi di Maio, met to discuss exclusive economic zones that Italy and Croatia intend to declare in the Adriatic Sea. They agreed that they would hold a trilateral meeting on the topic with Croatian counterpart Goran Grlić Radman as soon as possible.
        LJUBLJANA - Following consultations with parliamentary deputy groups, President Borut Pahor announced he would nominate Maja Brkan for Slovenia's judge on the General Court of the European Union. Extra consultations are however needed on candidates for the EU Court of Justice.
        LJUBLJANA - The Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) remains in the government coalition but will examine the possibility of closer cooperation with the Modern Centre Party's (SMC) deputy group, DeSUS deputy group leader Franc Jurša said. A task force was to be set up with the SMC to study the potential for cooperation between the two deputy groups.
        LJUBLJANA - The defence ministers of Germany, Portugal and Slovenia held an online meeting at the initiative of Germany. Germany's Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, Joao Gomes Cravinho from Portugal and Slovenia's Matej Tonin discussed strategic decisions, cooperation between the EU and NATO, and the importance of transatlantic cooperation.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's exports totalled EUR 3.2 billion in October, up by 2.1% on the same month in 2019. Imports meanwhile fell by 8.5% to EUR 2.9 billion, creating a surplus of EUR 0.2 billion, the Statistics Office said.


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