Ljubljana related

05 Dec 2020, 14:41 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, 27 November
        LJUBLJANA - In response to a referendum initiative launched by the opposition Left and SocDems against an act envisaging EUR 780 million in additional defence spending in 2021-2026, parliament adopted in a 51:33 vote a decree that declares such a referendum inadmissible. The Left said it would turn to the Constitutional Court.
        LJUBLJANA - The Health Ministry announced that a strategy for vaccination against Covid-19 would be ready within three weeks. Presenting some outlines, it said the plan was to first provide vaccination in care homes, for those over 60 with chronic conditions, and for staff in healthcare and critical infrastructure.
        LJUBLJANA - Taking part in a virtual ministerial of the Regional Forum of the Union for the Mediterranean, Foreign Minister Anže Logar expressed support for further strengthening of relations and cooperation as part of the alliance, and called for greater security, stability and development of the Mediterranean region.
        LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Anže Logar and Icelandic Minister of Foreign Affairs and Development Cooperation Gudlaugur Thor Thordarson discussed a number of topics via a video call, supporting a strong and united EU, and strong transatlantic ties.
        LJUBLJANA - After a break of a few weeks, the Friday anti-government protesters hit the streets of Ljubljana again, this time in cars, as public gatherings are banned. The police issued dozens of fines, including for illegal honking, and one protester filed a criminal complaint against the police force accusing it of unlawfully singling him out from the line of cars in what he said was abuse of police powers.
        VIENNA, Austria - The Austrian Service Abroad conferred this year's Austrian Holocaust Memorial Award on Slovenian Dušan Stefančič for his contribution to preserving the remembrance of the Holocaust. The 93-year-old survived six Nazi concentration camps.
        LJUBLJANA - Delo journalist Jožica Grgič won the lifetime achievement award given out annually by the Slovenian Journalist Association (DNS). The jury said that for Grgič, facts were more sacred than the Pope and that she understood them in a very broad context.
        LJUBLJANA - Reporter Boštjan Videmšek's book about climate change, Plan B, which he made together with photographer Matjaž Krivic, was declared the 2020 Book of the Year at the Slovenian Book Fair. Plan B took the pair around the globe to bring stories of unusual visionaries who are each in their own right fighting against the climate crisis.

MONDAY, 30 November
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's economy contracted by 2.6% year-on-year in real terms in the third quarter but seasonally-adjusted GDP increased by 12.4% from the quarter before, the Statistics Office said. Domestic consumption contracted by 5% annually and gross investment by 19.6%.
        LJUBLJANA - Interior Minister Aleš Hojs reiterated dissatisfaction with Croatia's protection of the border as he took part in a debate on the future of the Schengen zone, hosted by the European Commission. He said Schengen's collapse did not start with the novel coronavirus but due to ineffective control of migration.
        LJUBLJANA - The government declared the Lebanon-based political party Hezbollah as a criminal and terrorist organisation that represents a threat to peace and security. The work of Hezbollah is intertwined with organised crime and terrorist or paramilitary activity at the global level, it said.
        LJUBLJANA - The government took note of the information from the Government Communication Office (UKOM) that it had not been able to implement the contract with the Slovenian Press Agency (STA) for 2020 and to conclude a contract for 2021. As a result the STA has not received the monthly payment for the performance of public service for October.
        LJUBLJANA - The supervisory board of Slovenian Sovereign Holding (SSH) confirmed the annual asset management plan for 2021. The plan includes the acquisition of the Luxembourg-based York fund's 43% stake in Sava company in what is seen as a key step towards the planned state tourism holding.
        LJUBLJANA - The government dismissed Tina Bregant from the post of state secretary at the Health Ministry upon proposal by Minister Tomaž Ganrat over loss of trust. It appointed Marija Magajna to replace her on 1 December.
        LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian men's basketball team qualified for the 2022 Eurobasket with wins against Ukraine and Austria in a mini "bubble" tournament held in Ljubljana's Stožice Arena as part of the qualifying Group F. Slovenia will thus be defending their gold medal from the previous European championship in 2017.
        LJUBLJANA - Journalist and editor Ženja Leiler was appointed the new director of the Slovenian Cinematheque for a full, five-year term, starting on 1 December. She told the STA her priorities are enhancing the role of the institution in the public cultural space and raising the awareness of the importance of film heritage.
        LJUBLJANA - The government appointed Sebastjan Eržen acting director of the Slovenian Book Agency as of 2 December. Eržen, who was first relieved of his duties as a member of the agency's council, will run the agency until a full-fledged director is appointed, but no longer than six months.

TUESDAY, 1 December
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia recorded 2,429 new coronavirus cases, the third highest daily increase since the start of the epidemic, as the test positivity rate hit 33.8%. Health experts said the increase in cases could be attributed to the introduction of rapid tests at health institutions and care homes, which are then double-checked with PCR tests.
        LJUBLJANA - The decision by the Government Communication Office (UKOM) to withhold the financing of STA due to the management's refusal to hand over various documents was met with protest. The management said the agency's future work was threatened, but pledged it would continue its mission. The opposition said the move amounted to an attack on media freedom, a point also raised by domestic and international organisations of journalists.
        LJUBLJANA - Public Administration Minister Boštjan Koritnik presented a redistricting proposal to amend the electoral law to implement a 2018 Constitutional Court ruling. The proposal will be sent to coalition deputy groups, which have not agreed on the matter yet. Koritnik said the proposal was based on the current law and introduced changes only in those parts that had been deemed problematic by the Constitutional Court.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Finance Minister Andrej Šircelj sought to alleviate concerns about the stall in the passage of the EU recovery package due to Poland and Hungary blocking the deal because of rule of law provisions. He believes a solution will be reached, while pointing to contingency plans.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Foreign Minister Anže Logar commented on the latest NATO report by a group of experts or the so-called new wise men as he attended a meeting of allied foreign ministers where the document was presented. Logar said that proactive communication was the best guarantee for mutual solidarity and unity in NATO.
        LJUBLJANA - Justice Minister Lilijana Kozlovič held a video conference with European Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders focusing on plans for Slovenia's presidency of the Council of the EU in the second half of 2021, challenges related to the European Public Prosecutor's Office, digitalisation of the justice system and justice cooperation.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenian Sovereign Holding (SSH) approved the plan by the state-owned rail operator Slovenske Železnice to sign a strategic partnership between its cargo division and the Prague-based EP Holding, which will get a 49% stake in a joint venture in exchange for a capital injection reportedly in the EUR 60-100 million range. SSH said the goal was long-term growth and development of the transport and logistics activity.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Slovenian MEP Romana Tomc (EPP/SDS) is this year's recipient of The Employment, Social Affairs & Regions Award by The Parliament Magazine. Tomc said the accolade was proof that Europe had not forgotten about its citizens in these difficult times and that efforts regarding social affairs, employment and demographic issues were vital.

WEDNESDAY, 2 December
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Foreign Minister Anže Logar said Slovenia always acted in a European spirit and expected the same from European partners as he commented on intentions by Italy and Croatia to declare exclusive economic zones in the Adriatic Sea. He said this was a strategic issue that would be addressed in tolerant dialogue, not in the public square.
        LJUBLJANA - Health Minister Tomaž Gantar attended a video conference with EU counterparts discussing the current state of the coronavirus pandemic and the proposed EU strategy for a coronavirus vaccine. He stressed more cooperation and coordination was need at the EU level.
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor said the STA was doing important work in the interest of the public, which was why its existence should not be jeopardised. He called on the government and the STA management to resolve issues that had resulted in suspended financing of the agency.
        LJUBLJANA - The winners of this year's Zois Prizes for lifetime achievement in science and research are researcher Tamara Lah Turnšek of the National Institute of Biology, who has discovered a protease enzyme, and University of Ljubljana professor emeritus Radovan Stanislav Pejovnik, credited with spearheading pioneering study into lithium batteries 30 years ago.
        LJUBLJANA - The state-run motorway company DARS announced it had received three bids in response to a tender to set up a system for electronic tolling of cars, which is to become operational in December 2021. The lowest bid, valuing the project at EUR 14 million, was submitted by the Slovenian company Iskratel in partnership with Hungarian ARH Informatics.

THURSDAY, 3 December
        LJUBLJANA - The government adopted a five-tier strategy for the relaxation of coronavirus restrictions. The relaxation of measures will hinge on the seven-day rolling average of daily infections and the number of Covid-patients in hospital. Restrictions will be lifted at pre-determined thresholds.
        LJUBLJANA - The government confirmed a Covid-19 vaccination strategy under which vaccination will be free of charge and available to all residents regardless of their health insurance status. Vaccines for around 50,000 residents are expected to be available in the first phase.
        LJUBLJANA - Health Minister Tomaž Gantar announced plans to launch mass testing before the end of the year. His ministry is purchasing half a million rapid antigen tests with another million to follow. The first delivery of the tests is expected by 11 December.
        LJUBLJANA - The Constitutional Court established that the temporary measures banning the gathering of people at educational establishments were extended with invalid government decisions. Its decision will take effect in three days to allow for organisational adjustments for the reopening of schools.
        LJUBLJANA - It was announced that Prime Minister Janez Janša will start an official two-day visit to Israel on 7 December. He is scheduled to hold talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Reuven Rivlin and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi. Foreign Minister Anže Logar will meet US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington, DC on 7 December.
        LJUBLJANA - Feri Lainšček, a writer and poet from Slovenia's north-easternmost region, and Marko Mušič, an architect who has made a name for himself in Slovenia and throughout the former Yugoslavia, are the winners of the Prešeren Prizes for lifetime-achievement for 2021. The country's top accolades for artistic accomplishments will be presented on 7 February.
        LJUBLJANA - The government endorsed state aid worth EUR 5 million to Ljubljana airport operator Fraport Slovenija pending EU approval. The amount corresponds to about a third of the estimated damage the operator expects to suffer due to the pandemic.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia joined the Global Learning and Observation to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) programme, as part of which citizen scientists and students help scientists collect data for better understanding the environment. The agreement was signed by Education Minister Simona Kustec and US Ambassador Lynda Blanchard.
        LJUBLJANA - Primož Roglič won the 2020 Vélo d'Or award by the French cycling magazine Vélo Magazine, given annually to the cyclist considered to have performed the best over the year. The 31-year-old is the first Slovenian ever to win the award since its introduction in 1992.


28 Nov 2020, 13:14 PM

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

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

FRIDAY, 20 November
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia' death toll from Covid-19 passed the 1,000 mark, rising to 1,245 by 25 November after another daily record of 59 on 23 November, as the case count passed 71,000 with more than 20,000 active cases. PM Janez Janša announced government departments had been instructed to prepare a mass testing of the population by 5 December and registration of volunteers for vaccination.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed a bill on EUR 780 million defence investment until 2026, the bulk of which will be spent to buy armoured personnel vehicles and set up a medium infantry battalion group. An aircraft and two helicopters are also to be bought. Six days later the opposition Left and SocDems submitted over 28,000 signatures in support of a referendum challenging the law before seeking to collect 40,000 verified signatures to call the vote, which the Defence Ministry said would not be legally permissible.
        LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Anže Logar spoke with his Brazilian counterpart Ernesto Araujo via video call, reaffirming the good relationship between the two countries and calling for a further strengthening in political dialogue and business links.
        LJUBLJANA - An international study by the Tax Justice Network, Public Services International and Global Alliance for Tax Justice found that Slovenia loses US$213.9 million in tax revenue a year to tax abuse.
        LJUBLJANA - The newspaper Delo reported that plans for the creation of a national state-owned tourism holding hit a snag since epidemic-related expenditure crowded out budget funds needed for a key portion of the plan - the purchase of a 43% stake in tourism company Sava.
        LJUBLJANA - The energy group Petrol saw its revenue drop by 30% year-on-year in the first nine months of the year to EUR 2.29 billion as net profit fell 49% to EUR 40.5 million, a development blamed on coronavirus restrictions.
        LJUBLJANA - Insurance group Sava Re reported a net profit of EUR 47.6 million for the nine months to the end of September, an increase of 26.4% year-on-year, which is mostly due to the acquisition of life insurer Vita. Gross premiums written rose by 12.4% to EUR 527.1 million.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed a bill regulating the processing and protection of personal data in procedures before law enforcement authorities, transposing the relevant EU directive, which should have been implemented in the national law by May 2018.
        LJUBLJANA - A renewed attempt by the opposition to ban the extraction of natural gas through hydraulic fracturing in Slovenia was voted down by the National Assembly. The proposal is related to the British company Ascent Resources' plans for the Petišovci gas field in the north-east.
        LJUBLJANA - Two days after a series of raids, the police revealed they had arrested seven and filed criminal complaints against 12 suspects following an 18-month investigation into a suspected international migrant smuggling ring which is also believed to have involved Slovenian citizens in charge of security at Ljubljana's asylum centre.

SATURDAY, 21 November
        LJUBLJANA - Matej Tonin, the head of New Slovenia (NSi), pledged to continue to aspire for cooperation in politics as he addressed a virtual congress that endorsed him for another term as the only candidate for the presidency of the party. He warned "any coalition bow can snap if pulled too tight", but said attempts by the Constitutional Arch (KUL) to oust the government were "not cool".
        LJUBLJANA - Apples, a Greek-Polish-Slovenian co-production directed by Christos Nikou, was declared the winner of the online iteration of the Ljubljana International Film Festival, as the Best Short Film Award went to Portuguese-French co-production Invisible Hero by Cristele Alves Meira, and the FIPRESCI Award to Visar Morina's Exile, a co-production of Kosovo, Germany and Belgium. The Art Kino Network Award went to Italian-French co-production Martin Eden by Pietro Marcello.
        MIAMI, US - Goran Dragić, one of three Slovenian NBA players, signed a two-year US$37.5 million contract extension with the Miami Heat. "I'm glad that I can announce that I'm staying with my Miami Heat. Let's finish the job we started!" he said on Twitter.

SUNDAY, 22 November
        LJUBLJANA - More than 60% of those questioned in a poll commissioned by the commercial broadcaster POP TV supported government coronavirus measures, however nearly 55% said they did not support the government's work. The share was up 1.3 points from October as the percentage of supporters also rose by 3.2 points to 36.3%. The ruling Democrats (SDS) remained in the lead at 16.5% while the junior coalition Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) made biggest gains, adding 2.2 points to 3.9%, as it prepares for a change of leadership.

MONDAY, 23 November
        LJUBLJANA - As mandatory testing of health staff came into force, hospitals across the country reported having started or ramped up rapid antigen testing for Covid-19 to screen staff as a way to prepare for regular weekly testing, to be mandatory from 7 December, also at care homes.
        LJUBLJANA - The leader of the Constitutional Arch Coalition, economist Jože P. Damijan told reporters the newly formed coalition of four centre-left opposition parties was still seven votes short to call a vote of no confidence in the government. He indicated this could happen after the coalition Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) gets a new president on 5 December.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia observed Rudolf Maister Day, a public holiday in memory of the general who established the first Slovenian army in modern history and secured what would became Slovenia's northern border. In his address President Borut Pahor appealed to the nation to nurture what united them rather than what divided them.
        LJUBLJANA - Rapper Zlatko, a prominent anti-masker, harassed Milan Krek, director of the National Institute of Public Health, in the street in an incident that drew widespread condemnation.
        LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Book Fair opened for the first time as an online-only event, featuring 97 publishers and more than 100 online events with Spain as the guest of honour.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia confirmed the first case of avian influenza in a dead swan found in the coastal municipality of Piran. The strain is the highly pathogenic H5N8 which is not dangerous to humans but has been spreading among birds in Europe.
        MOSCOW, Russia - Sports climber Jernej Kruder became the new European bouldering champion, claiming the first ever European title for Slovenian men's climbing and the 24th medal for the country at European championships.
        LJUBLJANA - Police said they had charged a 67-year-old man from Ljubljana with multiple counts of crime for having the corpse of his mother, who would have been 97 now, kept for several years and collecting her pension.

TUESDAY, 24 November
        BERLIN, Germany - Foreign Minister Anže Logar addressed the Berlin Foreign Policy Forum to highlight the priorities of Slovenia's EU presidency in the second half of 2021 and call for solidarity among EU member states, also in order to reach a comprise acceptable to all as he argued that different perceptions of the rule of law should be accepted.
        LJUBLJANA - After four sessions dedicated to the matter, the coalition majority on the Home Affairs Committee concluded the police response to the 5 November protest in Ljubljana which turned into a riot was suitable and efficient, despite the opposition insisting such a conclusion could only be made by experts. Committee chair, Democrat (SDS) Branko Grims filed a criminal complaint against Left MP Miha Kordiš for allegedly divulging classified information about the riot, a charge Kordiš described as "fairy tales" to divert attention from problems faced by the country.
        LJUBLJANA - The four left-leaning opposition parties jointly urged against government plans to involve Hungary in the construction of a new rail track to the port of Koper, arguing this would only delay the project and make it more expensive.
        LJUBLJANA - The Constitutional Court admitted one of three challenges against the Supreme Court's decision in January to quash the 1946 death sentence against collaborationist general Leon Rupnik. The court suspended the renewed criminal proceedings against Rupnik, arguing their potential termination would absolve Rupnik of his guilt.

WEDNESDAY, 25 November
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed the sixth stimulus package designed to mitigate the fallout from coronavirus. Valued at around EUR 1 billion, the legislation most notably extends the furlough scheme and measures to improve liquidity, and introduces help with fixed expenses for companies. The opposition criticised "cuckoos" inserted in the package which it said served vested interests. The government is meanwhile working on a next package where particular attention is to be paid to the sectors hit by lockdown the most and vulnerable groups of population.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Institute of Public Health presented the results of a survey among 10,205 infected between 16 and 22 November which show the most (25%) reporting getting infected at work, followed by almost as many who do not know where they got infected, over 20% who got infected from a household member, and 15% at care homes. Officials also revealed that 580 care home residents died in the second wave and 2,660 were actively infected.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Parliament debated allegations that Hungary had been interfering in media in Slovenia and North Macedonia. Four Slovenian MEPs presented their views on the matter, with S&D and Renew members claiming that Hungarian media with close links to the government influencing Slovenian media was dangerous, and EPP MEPs dismissing the claims.
        LJUBLJANA - Eight airlines - Turkish Airlines, Swiss Air, Air Serbia, Montenegro Airlines, Lufthansa, Air France, Wizzair and LOT - were picked to receive state subsidies to operate flights to Slovenia. The first instalment of the incentive is worth EUR 985,320.
        LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Armed Forces and the police signed a document on cooperation between the army and police in securing the border and preventing illegal migration. A similar plan was adopted in 2015.
        LJUBLJANA - Nine NGOs, movements and civil initiatives formed a group called Za Savo (For the Sava) to fight the planned construction of hydro power plants on the central part of the Slovenian section of the river.

THURSDAY, 26 November
        LJUBLJANA - The government extended by a week all of the main lockdown measures, including the ban on gatherings, in-class schooling, movement between municipalities and the 9pm-6am curfew. Public transport will remain suspended for two more weeks. Shops selling non-essential goods, cultural institutions, and bars and restaurants remain closed as well.
        LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Defence Committee failed to muster the needed two-thirds majority to endorse a government proposal to give soldiers police powers to help secure the border against illegal migration. This is the second attempt of the Janez Janša government to activate Article 37.a of the defence law after the first failed to make it past the committee in April.
        LJUBLJANA - The government decided to sign a memorandum of understanding with all key stakeholders of the Ljubljana Passenger Terminal, a project valued at EUR 350 million that will include Mendota Invest, a company affiliated with Hungarian bank OTP. Construction is slated to start in 2022.
        LJUBLJANA - The retail group Mercator reported a net loss of EUR 69 million for the first nine months as sales revenue rose by 2.1% year-on-year to EUR 1.6 billion, the loss being blamed on property revaluation.

22 Nov 2020, 11:45 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, 13 November
        LJUBLJANA - New restrictions concerning public gatherings and border crossing entered into force as part of efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus. All gatherings were banned, unless people who gather are family or members of the same household. While all events were banned, couples are able to wed with a special permission from the relevant ministry, although without a reception.
        LJUBLJANA - The government debated a draft national Covid-19 vaccination programme, which will form the basis for a vaccination strategy once a vaccine is available. Health Minister Tomaž Gantar indicated Slovenia might get the first doses of the vaccine in December.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Interior Minister Aleš Hojs highlighted as part of an EU ministerial on the proposed migration pact a "very, very problematic grey zone" related to Slovenia's border with Croatia, the external Schengen border but not also the EU's external border. It is not clear if Slovenia will still be able to return migrants to Croatia, he said.
        LJUBLJANA - The government relieved Tone Kajzer of his duties as Foreign Ministry state secretary as he is leaving for Washington to serve as Slovenia's ambassador to the US. He will succeed Stanislav Vidovič, who was appointed Slovenia's new ambassador to Ireland.
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor said the right balance should be found between technological progress and broader social development as he attended a Paris Peace Forum debate on risks posed by unethical use of artificial intelligence and its role in fighting the coronavirus and the climate change.
        LJUBLJANA - The government submitted to the parliamentary Foreign Policy Committee an initiative for a cooperation agreement between Slovenia and Hungary in the construction and management of the new rail track to the port of Koper.
        LJUBLJANA - The council of the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) decided that its election congress will be held between 20 November and 5 December and will see the junior coalition party's new president selected through ballots cast by mail. Karl Erjavec and Srečko Felix Krope are vying for the top post.
        LJUBLJANA - Modern Centre Party (SMC) leader Zdravko Počivalšek met economist Jože P. Damijan only to turn down his offer to form an alternative government to Janez Janša's. The party said after the meeting that it wanted to dispel any doubts and speculation about its potential exit from the current government.
        LJUBLJANA - The government's macroeconomic forecaster IMAD said that sentiment indicators for September and October showed economic recovery is uncertain as the Covid-19 epidemic is worsening. The country's economy is losing momentum, as it saw a drop in business sentiment in October following a several-month improvement.
        LJUBLJANA - Insurer Zavarovalnica Triglav reported consolidated gross written premium of EUR 960.9 million for the first nine months of the year, a 6% year-on-year increase. Net profit declined by 14% to EUR 50.8 million. The combined ratio, an insurance industry benchmark, stood at 91.4%, which the company says is favourable.
        LJUBLJANA - The government endorsed the appointment of Boštjan Zalar as the new head of the Jožef Stefan Institute (IJS), Slovenia's leading science and research institute. Zalar will start his five-year term on 1 December.
        LJUBLJANA - The government dismissed the head of the Slovenian Book Agency, Renata Zamida, who started her five-year term on 1 January 2018. Zamida, who has been on the chopping block since January amidst allegations of imprudent spending, told the STA the move was illegitimate.

SATURDAY, 14 November
        LJUBLJANA - Finance Minister Andrej Šircelj told the parliamentary Finance Committee the government did not plan to raise any taxes in 2021 or introduce new levies, such as real estate tax. Some taxes would even be cut, starting with the tax on vehicles.
        LJUBLJANA - The SOVA intelligence agency denied statements by opposition Left MP Miha Kordiš that the police and political leadership had known what kind of a protest had been in the making for 5 November and could have prevented the escalation of violence. SOVA said this interpretation was false and inaccurate.
        BLED/RADOVLJICA - Legendary Slovenian inventor Peter Florjančič was reported dead at the age of 101. He patented about 400 inventions, of which 43 reached the production phase. Some of his most popular inventions include plastic slide frames, a perfume atomiser and a plastic injection molding machine.

SUNDAY, 15 November
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor told the public broadcaster RTV Slovenija there was still time for the government to congratulate US president-elect Joe Biden, as he commented on PM Janez Janša's tweets on the US election.
        LJUBLJANA - The Democrats' (SDS) deputy group said its leader Danijel Krivec had tested positive for coronavirus, and has been self-isolating since 11 November. Showing no Covid-19 symptoms, he feels well and will remain in quarantine, the ruling party added.

MONDAY, 16 November
        LJUBLJANA - The government decided to extend the Covid-19 epidemic declared as of 18 October for 30 days by another 30 days - until 17 December, as stricter lockdown measures, including the closure of non-essential shops and stoppage of public transport, kicked in. Government spokesman Jelko Kacin said the latest statistics showed the virus was still spreading too fast.
        LJUBLJANA - The State Attorney's Office said Slovenia would not challenge the decision of the EU General Court to dismiss the country's appeal to annul the European Commission delegated regulation of May 2017 that allows Croatian wine producers to use Teran, the name of a red wine protected by Slovenia, on their wine labels.
        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša said during questions' time in parliament he would be happy to congratulate whoever is elected US president, while adding that the election in the US was not yet over, which happened either when a side conceded a defeat or the official results were proclaimed.
        LJUBLJANA - Miro Cerar, a former prime minister and foreign minister, told the magazine Reporter he expected a more balanced US foreign policy and a return to multilateralism under Joseph Biden. He argued PM Janez Janša's tweets on the US election hurt Slovenia. "We probably will not even notice it... They simply ignore you."
        LJUBLJANA - More than half of Slovenians do not intend (26%) or are not likely (31%) to get vaccinated when a Covid-19 vaccine becomes available in Slovenia because of their mistrust of the vaccine, a Valicon survey showed, indicating people were more likely to get a Covid-19 jab if they were at a greater risk of infection.
        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša announced in parliament support for the relaxing of rules on the growing of cannabis for medicinal and industrial purposes, saying the changes being drawn up by the Agriculture Ministry were expected to be confirmed in the spring.
        LJUBLJANA/MARIBOR - The approval rating of the government and the majority of the coalition parties declined in the latest Vox Populi poll, while the opposition remained stagnant as the share of undecided voters ticked up. Slightly under 30% of respondents assessed the government's work in November as successful compared to 41% in October.

TUESDAY, 17 November
        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša indicated that some of the restrictive measures may remain in place until Christmas, but he was hopeful they will not have to be as strict. "It is already certain...immunisation will not make enough of a difference by the end of the year to allow us to relax all measures," he said in an interview for Planet TV.
        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša rejected during a budget debate in parliament reports that a blockade by Poland and Hungary had occurred with respect to the new EU budget and Covid recovery fund. The situation is not what the media are portraying it to be, he added.
        LJUBLJANA - The US Embassy said Slovenia was not currently a part of the US's troop reassignment, after PM Janez Janša had indicated that Slovenia was open to hosting a US rotation unit. "US Forces welcome every opportunity to train in Slovenia...but the country is not part of the current force posture realignment at this time," the embassy said.
        LJUBLJANA - FM Anže Logar said a free-trade agreement between the EU and US should be concluded as soon as possible as he discussed the future of transatlantic relations with his Swedish and Lithuanian counterparts in an online ministerial.
        LJUBLJANA - Nova24TV reported that the Supreme Court had annulled a ruling upholding the dismissal of a damages claim by the now ruling Democratic Party (SDS) against the state over the Patria defence corruption trial, returning the case to the Maribor Higher Court for a retrial.
        LJUBLJANA - In the latest development following the May dismissal of Darko Muženič as the head of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the Labour Court altered its original ruling to assert that Muženič remains the NBI head and that the appointment procedure for his successor must be halted, several media reported.
        LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Catholic Church updated its guidelines for the protection of minors and vulnerable individuals against sexual abuse, explicitly ordering all who work for the Church, clergy and lay volunteers, to report any suspicion of sexual abuse to the authorities.

WEDNESDAY, 18 November
        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša draw widespread criticism from the ranks of coalition and opposition after addressing a letter to EU leaders in which he called for a return to the July EU summit agreement on the next financial budget, which is, he said, now undermined by a recent deal between the EU Council and Parliament tying the rule of law to the EU funds eligibility. He argued that "numerous media and some political groups in the European Parliament are openly threatening to use the instrument wrongly called 'the rule of law' in order to discipline individual EU Member States." The European Commission would not comment on the letter.
        LJUBLJANA - Parliament passed the budgets for 2021 and 2022, which bring expenditure of EUR 13.5 billion and EUR 12.6 billion, respectively, and record investments amid the coronavirus pandemic. The opposition expressed concern over how increasing expenditure would be financed and the debt, raised to fund stimulus measures, repaid even if the deficit is to fall gradually.
        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša received Mathias Cormann, who until recently served as Australia's finance minister and is bidding to be the next secretary general of the OECD. They discussed the organisation's role and mission in the global situation and exchanged experience in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
        PRAGUE, Czechia - FM Anže Logar called for a rethink on how to make the EU better, stronger and more resilient, as he took part in the Prague European Summit. He argued the EU should assume a more decisive role in the global political arena while facing challenges such as changed international economic relations and the changing global security environment.
        LJUBLJANA/HOČE - Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec presented a new vision for the Maribor airport, which has been idle for some time. He told MPs that he had been working with local mayors on plans to turn it into a smart hub by the end of the year.
        LJUBLJANA - The Celje District Court approved an agreement on financial restructuring for the heavily indebted retail group Tuš. Thus the Alfi fund, which owns more than 80% of all claims to the group, is gradually taking over the managing of the Celje-based group, which has 100 stores with more than 3,100 employees.

THURSDAY, 19 November
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia logged more than 2,000 new coronavirus cases for the second day in a row and further 45 patients with Covid-19 died, bringing the death toll to 964. Government spokesman Jelko Kacin said 2,064 of the 6,806 Sars-CoV-2 tests performed a day earlier came back positive, which means as many as 30.33%, up almost four percentage points from the day before. The situation in hospitals improved slightly.
        LJUBLJANA - FM Anže Logar stressed the importance of strengthening transatlantic relations across the board as he attended a session of the EU's Foreign Affairs Council. He said cooperation needed to be strengthened in areas including security, critical infrastructure and addressing hybrid and cyber threats.
        LJUBLJANA - National Assembly Speaker Igor Zorčič argued for an efficient return of migrants not eligible for asylum and for tackling the causes of illegal migration as he addressed a virtual inter-parliamentary conference on migration and asylum in Europe.
        LJUBLJANA - The government endorsed a reform bill on motor vehicles tax as a result of which most car and motorbike buyers will pay less tax. The levy will depend mostly on emissions, while plug-in vehicles will not be taxed. The Finance Ministry expects the tax burden on buyers to be reduced by more than 65% on average
        LJUBLJANA - The group around the drug maker Krka generated EUR 1.16 billion in sales revenue in the first nine months of the year, which is 6% more than in the same period last year. Net profit was up by 22% to EUR 210.14 million.
        LJUBLJANA - The government appointed acting director of the national Statistics Office Tomaž Smrekar for a full five-year term. He succeeds Bojan Nastav, who was appointed by the previous government in August 2019 and dismissed by the current government this May.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Laboratory of Health, Environment and Food said it was planning to check samples from previous seasons to see whether the novel coronavirus may have circulated in Slovenia before the first infection was confirmed on 4 March this year.
        LJUBLJANA - A Statistics Office study showed that the services sector has been heavily affected by the Covid-19 epidemic. In Slovenia, the biggest monthly drop in services income was recorded in April, a 18.4% decrease.
        LJUBLJANA - The spouses Iza and Samo Login remain the wealthiest Slovenia, topping the list of the Manager magazine for the seventh year running. The total assets of the 100 wealthiest Slovenians amount to an estimated EUR 5.8 billion, EUR 147 million more than last year. The threshold for the list fell by 6% to EUR 20.9 million.


15 Nov 2020, 09:00 AM

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

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

FRIDAY, 6 November
        LJUBLJANA - In line with a declining trend that saw some disruptions in the days to follow, Slovenia's daily coronavirus tally dropped by over a hundred to 1,564 according to testing figures for 5 November. While hospitalisations and fatalities continued to increase - record highs of 1,210 and 41 respectively were reported on 12 November - government spokesman Jelko Kacin presented data indicating a turn for the better.
        LJUBLJANA - FM Anže Logar and his counterparts from Austria, Czechia, Slovakia and Hungary met on-line as part of the informal Central 5 (C5) initiative dedicated to measures to curb the Covid-19 pandemic, in particular cross-border movement of people, goods and services. The Slovenian Foreign Ministry said they agreed that undisrupted cross-border business should be secured as soon as possible and that measures should be unified at the EU level.
        LJUBLJANA - The EU's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell confirmed the appointment of Slovenian diplomat Marko Makovec as the deputy managing director for Western Europe, Western Balkans, Turkey and the UK at the European External Action Service. Foreign Minister Anže Logar described the appointment as a great accomplishment for Slovenian diplomacy.
        LJUBLJANA - Senior officials and several organisations condemned the violence that erupted at protests in Ljubljana on 5 November, leaving 15 police officers injured. The police later confirmed that officers had used rubber bullets to disperse protests in what was the first such instance since Slovenia's independence. The opposition and the groups organising the Friday protests distanced themselves from the riots. With a photojournalist also severely injured by rioters, a response also came from the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), which condemned all attacks on the media to add that "Slovenian politicians are greatly contributing to the increasing hostility and hatred towards journalists".
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's SID Banka said it will contribute EUR 23 million to an investment fund that twelve Three Seas Initiative countries between the Baltic Sea, Adriatic Sea and Black Sea have set up to improve infrastructure in transport, energy and digitalisation. For Slovenia, the fund is a novelty in that projects have been so far financed mainly with debt instruments.
        LJUBLJANA - Sava Re, Slovenia's second largest insurance and reinsurance group, called off a general meeting scheduled for 16 November and consequently suspended the payment of dividends due to potential new risks stemming from its international reinsurance business.
        LJUBLJANA - The executive committee of the Slovenian Basketball Association (KSZ) appointed 42-year-old Aleksander Sekulić the new head coach of the men's national basketball team.

SATURDAY, 7 November
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor congratulated Democratic candidate Joe Biden on being elected the new president of the United States and expressed his conviction that "Slovenia and the US will remain friendly countries and firm allies."
        LJUBLJANA - Former Ambassador to US Božo Cerar assessed for the STA that the US presidential election has "finally ended the trans-Atlantic relations as we have known them for the last 50-70 years" and that "Trumpism" is very much alive and would be for a while even if Joe Biden wins. Europe will need to come to terms with this and take its destiny in its own hands, he said.
        LJUBLJANA - The Health Ministry announced that all persons suspected of having contracted Covid-19 will be tested once again, which means a break with a short period of testing that focused on persons older than 60, persons with chronic diseases, with a weakened immune system and healthcare workers. The new policy was enforced on 10 November, taking the number of tests to a near record 7,515.
        LJUBLJANA - Heavy lorries will be banned from overtaking on the Slovenian A1 motorway between Šentilj (NE) and Koper (SW) in the daytime as of new year, Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec announced. Overtaking will be allowed only on A1 sections with three lanes.

SUNDAY, 8 November
        LJUBLJANA - The US is a strategic partner of Slovenia, which will continue to build close friendly ties with Washington in the future, PM Janez Janša said in his latest tweet related to the US presidential election, posted a day after Joe Biden declared victory. Janša had endorsed Donald Trump, called the election in Trump's favour as votes were still being counted and continued to spread election fraud claims. Several foreign media noted that Janša had not yet congratulated Biden.
        LJUBLJANA - Some coalition members joined the criticism of PM Janez Janša's tweets related to the US election. "The prime minister's tweets are not benefiting Slovenia at the moment," Defence Minister Matej Tonin, the NSi leader, said. National Assembly Speaker Igor Zorčič, a member of the SMC party, called them indecent, saying the coalition would need to have a word on that.
        LJUBLJANA - The UKC Ljubljana hospital opened new premises for Covid-19 patients which currently have 56 beds, but the location may be expanded to receive up to 100 patients. The new facility was adapted on a site planned to house a new therapeutic centre in mere ten days, on encouragement by PM Janez Janša.
        MADRID, Spain - Slovenia's star cyclist Primož Roglič won the Vuelta a Espana for the second year in a row.

MONDAY, 9 November
        LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Anže Logar urged joint approach to addressing challenges such as the coronavirus pandemic, migration, climate threats and organised crime as he took part in an online ministerial of the Berlin Process. He said the challenges were common to the EU and the Western Balkans.
        LJUBLJANA - While it would approach 30% again in coronavirus testing in the following days, the positivity rate fell further to 22.49% in Sunday's testing. Government spokesman Jelko Kacin said the most encouraging piece of news was that the R0 number had fallen to 0.95.
        LJUBLJANA - Addressing an event marking the 30th anniversary of a secret meeting at which a decision was made to hold a referendum on Slovenia's independence, President Borut Pahor reiterated the need for politicians to join forces again to fight coronavirus, and PM Janez Janša said those in power must offer cooperation.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek attended an informal EU ministerial that saw the participants welcome the expected change in tone in Transatlantic relations following the US election and discuss negotiations with China about a comprehensive investment agreement. Počivalšek said Slovenia wanted to see ambitious results in terms of market access, fair competition conditions, investment protection and conflict resolution.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's goods exports dropped by 0.3% year-on-year to EUR 2.958 billion in September as imports fell by 12.1% to EUR 2.642 billion. Despite the fall, the September exports figure is the second highest in the past decade. Exports for the first nine months of 2020 declined by 3.8% on the same period and imports feel by 9.1%.
        LJUBLJANA - Finance Minister Andrej Šircelj assessed the government measures to mitigate the coronavirus crisis had helped companies and people more than lowering the value added tax (VAT) would. He is not planning to propose a real estate tax in this term and said no rushed changes to taxes would be made in any case.
        LJUBLJANA - The average mark of the work of the government in the latest poll commissioned by Delo was up for the first time since April with the government getting 2.78, up from 2.63 in October. The share of respondents seeing the government's work as positive or very positive was 27% (23.6% in October). The SDS continues to top the party rankings with 19.6%, up from 18.7%. The opposition SocDems (SD) follow with 11.7% (9.3%).

TUESDAY, 10 November
        LJUBLJANA - The government adopted the sixth legislative package, worth around EUR 1bn, meant to alleviate the impact of the coronacrisis on businesses and residents. The principal measures include an extension of furlough subsidies, simplified access to loan guarantees and help with the funding of fixed costs. The latter is the main novelty.
        LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Anže Logar highlighted Transatlantic cooperation as one of the EU's key endeavours and one of the priorities of Slovenia's presidency of the Council of the EU next year. Addressing an online debate hosted by the STA and the European Representation in Slovenia, Logar said Slovenia had the ambition to hold an EU-US summit attended by the US president during its presidency.
        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša took part in a videoconference of heads of state of the Berlin Process as part of which the leaders of six Western Balkan countries signed declarations on Common Regional Market and Green Agenda. Janša said there had been open issues in the region for decades, some even for centuries. "We welcome steps forward ... But, let's be frank, effective regional cooperation and EU perspective for all depends on how we solve a big picture," he said on Twitter.
        LJUBLJANA - Karl Erjavec, the favourite for the vacant post of president of the junior coalition Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) at the 28 November congress, held separate meetings with PM Janez Janša and Jože P. Damijan, a potential candidate for prime minister supported by a rival coalition set up by four left-leaning opposition parties.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenian banks posted a pre-tax profit of EUR 414 million for the first nine months of 2020, down a fifth year-on-year. The drop would have been 60% were it not for the one-off impact of the merger of Abanka and NKBM, the central bank said in its monthly report, which added "the liquidity and capital position of the banking system remains good".
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's industrial output declined by 3.6% year-on-year in September. In the first nine months of the year output contracted by 7.9%. At the monthly level, output was down by 0.4%, the first monthly decline after four months of growth.
        LJUBLJANA - A team of researchers led by Jure Leskovec, the Slovenian Stanford computer scientist, has created a computer model to predict the spread of Covid-19 based on people's travel habits and movements. They published their article in the journal Nature.

WEDNESDAY, 11 November
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia is once again seeing an increase in coronavirus cases in elderly care homes, Minister of Labour, Social Affairs, Family and Equal Opportunities Janez Cigler Kralj said. There were 1,551 active cases among the total of 19,000 residents, and 718 active cases among nearly 12,300 members of staff. The virus has made its way into about 80% of care homes in Slovenia.
        LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Anže Logar told the Foreign Policy Committee that Slovenia's relations with the US were at the highest level so far as he rejected criticism by the opposition that PM Janez Janša's Twitter posts on the US election had jeopardised the relations.
        LJUBLJANA - A group of MPs from the four left-leaning opposition parties filed a motion to abolish electoral districts and introduce a preference vote after the current system was declared unconstitutional in 2018. In March, the same proposal was three votes short of the needed two-thirds majority, with the coalition Democrats (SDS) and Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) rejecting it. An attempt is under way to redraw the districts, but the opposition feels a preferential vote is the only viable option.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's future development and prosperity will depend of the country's ability to step up its productivity growth and digital transformation, stressed the annul report by the government's economic think-tank IMAD, which suggested the current trends are not encouraging.
        LJUBLJANA - More than 45% of respondents in a poll commissioned by the newspaper Delo believe the second wave of coronavirus had caught Slovenia unprepared and more than half blame the fast spread of infections on people themselves. Only 28% of those questioned believe that the country awaited the second wave prepared.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenian employers appear to be upbeat about employment prospects in the first half of next year with a survey conducted by the Employment Service projecting a 1.3% growth in employment.
        LJUBLJANA - The 31st Ljubljana International Film Festival (LIFFe) got under way, but this time in the virtual realm due to the epidemic, offering 22 feature films and a selection of shorts available as an on-demand service between 11 and 22 November.

THURSDAY, 12 November
        LJUBLJANA - The government announced a tightening of the lockdown. Measures include a complete ban on any kind of gathering, regardless of the number of persons, reduction of exemptions for the quarantine-free crossing of the border, suspension of public transportation, closure of all non-essential stores, and extension of the school closure. Measures will take effect between 13 and 16 November.
        LJUBLJANA - By 12 November, almost 51,000 coronavirus were confirmed in the country, roughly 10,000 of which in the last week. The death toll rose to 686 from 471 since 5 November, while the rolling 14-day average per 100,000 residents fell to 961 from 1,114. Government spokesman Jelko Kacin however reiterated that the situation was stabilising and the trends were favourable with the R0 now at 0.91. A total of 1,210 Covid-19 patients were in hospital, 200 of them in intensive care units.
        LJUBLJANA - The Home Affairs Committee discussed the 5 November protest at which rioters got violent against police and the press and damaged property around Ljubljana's city centre. Senior police representatives told the MPs that it had been clear from the information gathered that the protest would be violent.
        LJUBLJANA - The EU Affairs Committee labelled the European Commission-proposed new pact on migration and asylum a good basis for negotiations on the EU's joint migration policy. The committee also said that Slovenia supports a right balance between solidarity and responsibility, feeling that compulsory relocation and sponsorship of returns are not the only way to show solidarity and that solidarity should be based on the voluntary decision of a member state.
        LJUBLJANA - The Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy said the political agreement the Council and the European Parliament reached on the EU's post-coronavirus recovery package - the EUR 1.8 trillion multi-year budget and the recovery fund - was an important step in the right direction.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's imports from China saw a surge during the Covid-19 pandemic, especially due to imports of protective equipment and medical supplies. The imports of those products rose from EUR 972,000 in the first eight months of 2019 to EUR 92.9 million in the same period this year, showed a report from the Statistics Office.
        LJUBLJANA - NLB group reported EUR 104.6 million in net profit in the first nine months of 2020, 36% less than in the same period last year. The supervisory board reappointed CEO Blaž Brodnjak and the other two management board member for another five years at the helm of the bank.

07 Nov 2020, 10:34 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, 30 October
        LJUBLJANA - The government late on 29 October extended a number of anti-corona measures for a week as projections suggested case and hospitalisation figures would keep growing for some time. The week-long autumn school break was extended for a week for primary school children, and the list of exceptions allowed to operate during the lockdown was expanded with libraries as well as construction, maintenance and installation works where there is minimal contact with customers.
        LJUBLJANA - Matej Tonin, the leader of the junior coalition New Slovenia (NSi) party, turned down the invitation to enter talks in a bid to form an alternative government after meeting economist Jože P. Damijan, a potential candidate for prime minister. Zdravko Počivalšek, the economy minister and leader of the Modern Centre Party (SMC), said talks on a possible government replacement were tasteless and inappropriate given the country was battling an epidemic.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's consumer price index remained in negative territory for the third month in a row in October, standing at -0.1% at the annual level despite a 0.3% rise in consumer prices over September, the Statistics Office said.
        LJUBLJANA - Law professor Jurij Toplak joined an appeal by the Slovenian Journalists' Association for a system under which court decisions would be public by default, after access to decisions was constrained by May's Supreme Court ruling that he described as "one of the most damaging judgements".

SATURDAY, 31 October
        CHARLOTTE, US - Ana Belac won the women's Carolina Classic golf tournament in what is by far the greatest success for Slovenian golf ever. By winning the US$200,000 tournament four shots ahead of the American Allison Emrey, the 23-year-old came very close to making it to the world elite in the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA).

SUNDAY, 1 November
        BRNIK - Due to the worsening coronavirus situation and restrictions, French carrier Air France announced it would suspended a number of flights in Europe, including to Slovenia starting on 7 November. A report by the Ex-Yu Aviation news portal meanwhile said EasyJet postponed the resumption of scheduled flights to Ljubljana airport.

MONDAY, 2 November
        LJUBLJANA - The four centre-left opposition parties accused the government of brutal staffing and of undermining the independence of institutions as the National Assembly held an emergency session on the topic at their behest. While the opposition sees the replacements as guided primarily by party affiliation and servility, the government and coalition parties insisted the replacements had been legal and were normal under all governments.
        LJUBLJANA - Good relations with Slovenia will remain a priority for the US regardless of the outcome of the presidential election, US Ambassador to Slovenia Lynda Blanchard said in a video address, published on the embassy's Twitter on the eve of the election.
        LJUBLJANA - The Day of Slovenian Bankers, an annual event, pointed to the need to direct the recovery measures for the current crisis towards socially responsible and sustainable development and to the crucial role of banks in this endeavour. Stanislava Zadravec Caprirolo, the head the Bank Association, and central bank governor Boštjan Vasle noted a favourable liquidity situation in Slovenia, with Vasle praised fiscal measures, chiefly the moratorium on loan payments.
        LJUBLJANA - The programme council of public broadcaster RTV Slovenija did not adopt a motion proposed by 13 councillors to dismiss director general Igor Kadunc. The 14:9 vote in favour was one vote short of the necessary majority to dismiss him. The motion accused Kadunc, whose term ends in April 2021, of working negligently and causing significant damage to RTV.
        LJUBLJANA - Job prospect projections in Slovenia for 2021 remain relatively encouraging; a survey by the Employment Service suggests demand will exceed labour market supply in many professions, although the opposite is also possible for a long list of jobs.

TUESDAY, 3 November
        LJUBLJANA - In an address to Slovenian citizens, PM Janez Janša said Slovenia was "in for at least a month of a hard battle with the virus and then months of great caution", yet he believes the country can successfully weather the health crisis. As fast antigen tests become more accessible, it will be possible to contain individual outbreaks of the virus more easily, he said. Two polls meanwhile showed Slovenians are more optimistic about the future course of the epidemic and they trust the government more on taking action to stem the spread of the virus.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenian officials condemned Monday's terrorist attack in Vienna and expressed solidarity with Austria. PM Janez Janša called for "zero tolerance against radical Islam" and President Boruto Pahor wrote a condolence letter to his counterpart. The Foreign Ministry said it was "appalled by the terrifying events in #Vienna", calling for unity in the fight against terror. The Islamic community in Slovenia also strongly condemned the attack, while defence experts Vladimir Prebilič and Iztok Prezelj believe the perpetrator did not act alone. Prezelj said the attack confirmed the links of Islamic radicals in Austria with the Western Balkans.
        BUDAPEST, Hungary - Defence Minister Matej Tonin and his Hungarian counterpart Tibor Benko discussed possibilities for closer cooperation in protection and disaster relief in defence and security, including during the ongoing pandemic, as Tonin paid an official visit to Hungary.
        LJUBLJANA - Viktor Vračar, until now the director general of the TEŠ coal-fired power station, became the new director general of the state-owned HSE energy group for four years after the supervisors dismissed Stojan Nikolić. The change at the largest Slovenian producer of electricity comes after October's overhaul of the HSE supervisory board.
        LJUBLJANA - Telekom Slovenije suspended the procedure to sell its Kosovo subsidiary Ipko Telecommunications, which was founded in December 2007. The company is the leading provider of fixed communication services in Kosovo and holds a significant share of the mobile telephony market.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia placed 11th in the EU in the latest Gender Equality Index, the same as in 2019. With a score of 67.9 points out of 100, slightly lower than last year, the country placed just below the EU average.
        ALTO DE'L ANGLIRU, Spain - Defending champion and Slovenian rider Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) won the stage 13 time trial at the 2020 Vuelta de Espana, donning the leader's jersey again ahead of the remaining five stages.
        LJUBLJANA - Japan honoured Slovenian Olympic Committee president Bogdan Gabrovec, a former judoka, with the emperor's Order of the Rising Sun, Golden Rays with Rosette, for promoting judo in Slovenia and exchanges of athletes between Japan and Slovenia.

WEDNESDAY, 4 November
        LJUBLJANA - As the US presidential election drew much attention in Slovenia, PM Janez Janša tweeted it was "pretty clear that American people have elected Donald Trump" for another four-year term and congratulated the Republican Party "for strong results across the US". Twitter posted a warning about his tweet being posted before the election race was decided. The tweet also prompted a series of questions from foreign media at the European Commission's midday briefing.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenian pundits do not expect any mayor changes in US foreign or economic policies regardless of who wins the presidential race. If Democrat Joe Biden wins, Ajša Vodnik, the director general of AmCham Slovenija, expects primarily changes in rhetoric rather than action. She also thinks Biden could strengthen the partnership with the EU. Kruno Abramovič from NLB bank meanwhile believes Donald Trump would take a more pragmatic approach should he win a second term, while he finds Biden a much bigger unknown.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Finance Minister Andrej Šircelj announced that Slovenia will send its draft recovery and resilience plan to Brussels by the end of 2020, whereas the deadline to submit draft national plans to draw from the EU's EUR 750 billion recovery plan is 30 April 2021.
        LJUBLJANA - The ZSSS trade union confederation and the OZS chamber of small business proposed their separate sets of measures for easing the consequences of the epidemic as the government is preparing the sixth stimulus package. While the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS) proposed a delay in the implementation of the 1 January 2021 minimum wage rise by two years and the OZS would like it delayed by at least a year, ZSSS warned againt helping companies at workers' expense.
        LJUBLJANA - The Judicial Council endorsed Marko Ilešič and Maja Brkan as the candidates for Slovenia's two spots at the EU's General Court in Luxembourg. The country's efforts to fill the two spots began in June 2018, but no candidate got further than the vetting committee so far.
        LJUBLJANA - The registered jobless total in Slovenia stood at 83,654 at the end of October, down 0.1% on September but up 15.5% year on year, the Employment Service said, adding that anti-coronavirus restrictions did not increase unemployment last month.
        LJUBLJANA - Canada extradited a Slovenian man wanted on an international arrest warrant, unofficially Sergej Racman, who is wanted on prostitution and sex trafficking charges. The former owner of the cinema chain operator Kolosej is wanted for his alleged role in a prostitution ring that was allegedly operating in the Marina Sauna Club near Nova Gorica.
        LJUBLJANA - Zdenka Badovinac, a curator, art historian and director of Slovenia's Museum of Modern Art, is this year's recipient of the biennial Igor Zabel Prize for culture and theory. Badovinac, at the helm of the museum since 1993, was honoured as one of the most important locally anchored and globally connected figures in cultural production in recent decades.
        PIETRAMURATA, Italy - Slovenia's Tim Gajser won the penultimate race of the MXGP class of the FIM Motocross World Championship season in Pietramurata to secure the title of world champion by finishing second in the first leg. This is the third title for the 24-year-old motocross racer after the 2016 and 2019 seasons.

THURSDAY, 5 November
        LJUBLJANA - The government extended a ban on movement between municipalities and a ban on gatherings of more than six people for another week while allowing some more services and businesses to reopen, including specialised shops selling baby items, technical goods, cars, bicycles and furniture. It also amended the coronavirus status of several countries as a result of which the whole of Croatia, Austria and Hungary plus Serbia and most of Italy will be on Slovenia's quarantine list.
        LJUBLJANA - The government announced that after the extended autumn holidays, primary school pupils will switch to distance learning next week instead of returning to classrooms. Secondary schools launched remote teaching at the beginning of this week.
        LJUBLJANA - The latest coronavirus figures showed a declining trend in new infections as the country limited testing to the most vulnerable groups. Hospital admissions and intensive care cases increased to new highs of 979 and 161, respectively, and the daily death toll peaked at a record 30, putting the total at 471.
        LJUBLJANA - A violent protest originally organised by Anonymous Slovenia saw several hundred protesters clashing with the police, using flares and throwing granite pavement cubes at the riot police. Several people were injured, including police officers and a photojournalist, and ten rioters were apprehended. The organisers of Friday bicycle protests disavowed the protest beforehand. Prime Minister Janez Janša expressed support for the police.
        LJUBLJANA - The Commission for the Prevention of Corruption detected multiple corruption risks concerning the purchases of personal protective equipment in spring as part of a focused review of these purchases. It will launch its own inquiries and inform relevant authorities of suspected wrongdoing that it not within its purview. Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek said that he had followed all the rules and that the report would help improve proceedings in the future.
        LJUBLJANA - The European Commission forecast Slovenia's economy would contract by 7.1% this year, roughly on a par with its previous estimate. A rebound of 5.1% is expected in 2021, a percentage point lower than July's forecast. The economy is expected to return to pre-coronavirus levels in 2022.
        LJUBLJANA - The Competition Protection Agency said it had launched an investigation into potential collusion among energy companies Butan Plin, Ina Slovenija, Istrabenz Plini and Plinarna Maribor, which are suspected of secretly agreeing to only accept the returns of their own liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cylinders.
        LJUBLJANA - Trade unions voiced staunch opposition to the possibility of freezing the 1 January 2021 rise in the minimum wage, as demanded by businesses and supported by the economy minister. ZSSS confederation head Lidija Jerkič said the raise, legislated as part of the 2018 changes to the minimum wage law, was non-negotiable.
        LJUBLJANA - Telekom Slovenije, the majority state-owned telecoms incumbent, saw net sales decline by 4% year on year in the first nine months of 2020, to EUR 440 million. Net profit declined by 7% to EUR 27.4 million. The figures exclude the media arm Planet TV, which was sold to TV2 in Hungary, and the Kosovo subsidiary Ipko.

01 Nov 2020, 03:54 AM

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

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

FRIDAY, 23 October
        LJUBLJANA - A record 7,025 Sars-CoV-2 tests were performed, with a record 1,961 coming back positive, pushing the positivity rate to a record 27.91% in a strong upwards trend that continued throughout the week.
        LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Janez Janša endorsed US President Donald Trump for re-election. Janša wrote Joseph Biden would be one of the weakest presidents in history in a time when a free world desperately needs a strong US. The endorsement sparked a Twitter exchange with Michael Carpenter, Biden's foreign policy advisor.
        LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Anže Logar tested positive for the novel coronavirus in a routine test while not displaying any symptoms, becoming Slovenia's most senior official to test positive so far. Logar's counterparts from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, as well as Belarus opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya went into self-isolation after meeting Logar during his tour of the Baltics.
        LJUBLJANA - Defence Minister Matej Tonin told the press after a two-day virtual NATO ministerial that he expected a bill on a EUR 780 million defence investment by 2026 will be passed at the November session, which would allow the country to meet one of NATO targets.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Commenting on a planned merger of regulatory bodies in Slovenia, the European Commission stressed the importance of the independence of national regulatory authorities from political influence and market interest. It said EU law protects the mandates of the heads of such bodies, with mergers not deemed a sufficient ground for early termination.
        LJUBLJANA - The return on capital owned by the state and controlled by Slovenian Sovereign Holding (SSH) stood at 6.9% in 2019, 0.7 percentage points above the target. The goal was exceeded despite significant changes in the SSH portfolio, said a report for 2019, sent by the SSH to parliament.
        LJUBLJANA - In the wake of the Culture Ministry's decision that a number of NGOs and independent producers need to move out a ministry-owned building, a group of culture workers staged another protest against the government's culture politics. The protest involved tables splashed with red paint and carrying the names of ministry officials, which Minister Vasko Simoniti interpreted as a death threat. Three Slovenian MEPs from the ranks of the European People's Party (EPP) asked European Commissioner for Values and Transparency Vera Jourova to issue a condemnation.
        LJUBLJANA - Jože Spacal, the internationally acclaimed artist who for almost 30 years worked as a set designer for TV shows, died aged 81. A recipient of over 20 awards for his work abroad, Spacal created over 300 sets during his time with TV Ljubljana.

SATURDAY, 24 October
        LJUBLJANA - Most establishments that offer their goods and services to customers in person shut down as new restrictions come into force in Slovenia to slow down the coronavirus outbreak. Establishments that had already been closed were joined by hotels, spas, beauty and hair salons, swimming pools, car washes, casinos, cinemas and other cultural institutions.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia welcomed the announced normalization of relations between Israel and Sudan. In a tweet, the Foreign Ministry labelled it an "important step towards Sudan's democratic transition as well as sustainable peace and stability in the Middle East".

SUNDAY, 25 October
        LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Janez Janša announced a ban on movements between municipalities, coming after a ban on movement among regions and on top of a 9pm-6am curfew, will be imposed for the whole country starting from Tuesday in response to the surge in coronavirus.
        LJUBLJANA - Most non-essential medical services were suspended under a decree issued by the Health Minister Tomaž Gantar to focus health resources on the battle against Covid-19. Services for pregnant women and newborns, vaccination and occupational medicine are exempt from the suspension.
        LJUBLJANA - Addressing the nation on Sovereignty Day, 29 years to the day after the last Yugoslav troops left Slovenian soil, President Borut Pahor urged parliamentary parties to take their cue from their predecessors of the time, and commit to work together to defeat the coronavirus crisis. Similar calls were also made PM Janez Janša and National Assembly Speaker Igor Zorčič.
        LJUBLJANA - It was the first Sunday seeing almost all shops closed in accordance with an amendment to the retail act that the National Assembly passed in late September. The exemptions to the blanket Sunday shopping ban include shops under 200 m2 at service stations, border crossings, ports, airports, train and bus stations, and hospitals.
        LJUBLJANA - Sociologist, translator and publisher Neda Pagon died, aged 79, following a battle with illness. Pagon served as editor at the publisher Studia Humanitatis and is considered one of the top social scientists of the post-war era.

MONDAY, 26 October
        LJUBLJANA - The government's chief Covid-19 adviser Bojana Beović annouced Slovenia would limit SARS-CoV-2 testing to persons who are expected to fall seriously ill with Covid-19, to care home and hospital staff, to those who have many contacts at work and those who live with individuals from vulnerable groups. The daily number of tests should thus be reduced from between 6,000 and 7,000 to between 4,000 and 5,000.
        LJUBLJANA - In line with an updated government classification of coronavirus safe and unsafe countries, Serbia was removed from the green list, while a number of regions, including those neighbouring on Slovenia were red-listed, meaning that quarantine is required unless the passenger produces a recent negative test.
        LJUBLJANA - More than 90% of kindergarten children stayed home or were put in other forms of care as kindergartens in Slovenia officially closed with the exception of urgent daycare. Municipalities are organising urgent daycare in different ways.
        LJUBLJANA - Seasoned diplomat Stanislav Vidovič was recalled prematurely from the post of ambassador to the US to become the country's new ambassador to Ireland. It is not yet clear who will succeed him in Washington, DC.
        LJUBLJANA - Banks in Slovenia were reported approving around EUR 472 million worth of loan payment deferrals under a law that entered into force at the end of March as part of the first government stimulus package. By 16 October, banks had also issued EUR 387.3 million worth of liquidity loans needed because of the crisis.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenian PEN elected writer and former politician Tone Peršak its new president to succeed Ifigenija Simonović, who served since March 2017. Peršak, 73, already served as Slovenian PEN president in the 2000s. He has also served as culture minister and the president of the Slovenian Writers' Association.
        LJUBLJANA - The president of the Slovenian Football Association (NZS) Radenko Mijatović was appointed for another four-year term as the only candidate at an on-line assembly on the NZS.

TUESDAY, 27 October
        LJUBLJANA - A total of 2,605 infections were confirmed in nearly 7,500 Covid-19 tests in Slovenia. Both figures yet again marked the highest daily numbers since the start of the epidemic.
        LJUBLJANA - The ban on movement between municipalities entered into force, while rules on face masks outdoors were somewhat relaxed, as people walking or exercising in open green spaces are not required to wear them if they can keep a distance of at least three metres.
        LJUBLJANA - Parliament rejected by 47 votes to 35 the petition by the opposition Left for a consultative referendum on EUR 780 million defence investment planned for 2021-2026. While most opposition parties spoke of bad timing and of the need for voters to have a say, the coalition stressed the need to invest in the army, security and honour international commitments.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly launched an inquiry to determine possible political responsibility in actions of the government related with the coronavirus epidemic. Proposed by the four left-leaning opposition parties, the inquiry will focus on the incumbent government, while an existing inquiry, initiated by the coalition, is already looking into the actions of the previous government.
        LJUBLJANA - A bill sponsored by the opposition Left to levy a 7% digital services tax on multinational tech companies was defeated in the National Assembly by 43 votes to 38.
        LJUBLJANA - Poet Brane Mozetič won the Jenko Prize, the top national award for best poetry collection from the past two years, for his 2018 collection Dreams in Another Language.
        LJUBLJANA - Timbuktu, Timbuktu, a children's book written by award-winning Peter Svetina and illustrated by Igor Šinkovec, won this year's Kristina Brenkova Award for best Slovenian illustrated book.

WEDNESDAY, 28 October
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's coronavirus total passed 30,000 and the number of active infections exceeded 20,000 after it reported a further 2,488 cases. The positivity rate was 34.55%.
        LJUBLJANA - Twenty-two editors of a number of media outlets, including the STA, issued a statement committing not to yield to pressure, nor change their truthful stance or their obligation to the public. They say that the media, which have in recent months been subject to increased pressure and strong criticism levelled by PM Janez Janša, are aware of their responsibility in the current health crisis, but the latter cannot be a pretence for political interference in media independence.
        LJUBLJANA - The Justice Ministry confirmed that Klemen Podobnik, Slovenia's nominee for one of the country's two spots at the EU's General Court in Luxembourg, was rejected by Committee 255, the Brussels body vetting the candidates. Podobnik said it was hard to say what had gone wrong and that he would not apply again.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Slovenian MEPs welcomed the standards for setting adequate minimum wages the European Commission presented to the European Parliament in Brussels. They share the view that workers must receive decent pay for their work, but most believe that the amount of the wage should remain the domain of individual states.
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor received Human Rights Ombudsman Peter Svetina to discussing how human rights were respected and curbed during the coronavirus pandemic. The pair came to a conclusion that anti-corona measures in Slovenia were generally proportionate to the situation and based on experts' views
        LJUBLJANA - Ljubljana Archbishop Stanislav Zore urged people to observe all precautionary measures as they visit graves on All Saints' Day, adding that believers should visit graves in their municipality only and avoid socialising. In a separate statement, the Slovenian Bishops' Conference spoke of the danger of a growing culture of disregard for human life. It expressed support for everybody fighting for human lives in the coronavirus pandemic and criticism of a part of the political opposition.
        LJUBLJANA - Kerstin Vesna Petrič, the head of the Health Ministry's public health directorate, was elected to the 34-member executive board of the World Health Organisation (WHO) for 2021-2024.

THURSDAY, 29 October
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia joined the expressions of solidarity with France and the condemnation of the attack in Nice, in which one man stabbed at least three people to death. President Borut Pahor expressed on Twitter "profound condolences", while PM Janez Janša tweeted "stay strong, France, Tolérance zéro pour le terrorisme!". The Foreign Ministry also expressed support on Twitter in French to the French people and in defence of European values.
        LJUBLJANA - Three junior coalition parties have been invited to join talks on the formation of an alternative government, after the original four opposition members of the Constitutional Arch Coalition reportedly reached a consensus on core priorities. All three said they were willing to talk in principle.
        LJUBLJANA - The supervisory board of rail operator Slovenske Železnice endorsed a strategic partnership with the Prague-based EP Holding in the cargo and logistics segment. The details of the deal have not been revealed beyond the company saying that a joint venture will be formed in which Slovenske Železnice will have a 51% stake and EP Holding 49%.
        LJUBLJANA - The Health Inspectorate said people were generally abiding by the lockdown rules. The inspectorate conducted 1,420 inspections last week, issuing 141 fines to the tune of EUR 68,400, the bulk, EUR 36,800, for violations of restrictions in public outdoor spaces.
        LJUBLJANA - Stories from the Chestnut Woods, an award-winning debut by director Gregor Božič, was selected as Slovenia's submission for a nomination for best international feature film award at the 93rd Oscars, scheduled for 25 April 2021.
        LJUBLJANA - The government appointed Robert Repnik, a professor of physics, director of the Slovenian Research Agency, the body in charge of disbursing public funding for scientific research. His term is five years.


24 Oct 2020, 13:11 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, 16 October
        ROME/TRIESTE, Italy - National Assembly Speaker Igor Zorčič held talks with the presidents of both chambers of the Italian parliament, the chairs of several parliamentary commissions and a Foreign Ministry state secretary. The focus of the talks was on reform of Italian electoral legislation. This was also the main topic of what was first official visit of Foreign Minister Anže Logar to the Slovenian community in Italy.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - PM Janez Janša said that fake news in the sense of denial of the danger of the new coronavirus, spreading in Europe mainly through social media and in Slovenia also through mainstream media, was what was forcing Europe and individual countries to take harsher measures than would otherwise be needed.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Putting 38% of Slovenian territory under Natura 2000 protection was "a shot in the knee", PM Janez Janša told the press after an EU summit that had climate goals as one of the items on the agenda. He said that the European average for the area, where it is forbidden to produce energy from natural and sustainable sources, is 18%.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) said "appalled by Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša's latest attack against the Slovene public broadcaster STA". This comes after Janša's Twitter post on Thursday calling the STA a "national disgrace". "This demonising of public service media and journalism must stop," said the EFJ.
        LJUBLJANA - Almost 900 new coronavirus were confirmed, a new daily high. The figures come to a positivity rate of roughly 16%.
        LJUBLJANA - The Infrastructure Ministry defended the national energy and climate plans in the face of a review from the European Commission, saying that in some areas Slovenia's goals were even more ambitious than the bloc's commitments. The ministry also said the Commission highlighted some positive aspects of the plans adopted last February.
        LJUBLJANA - The Fiscal Council warned that the budget expenditure planned for the next two years is too high, while also saying that the divergence from the fiscal rule was understandable and could be allowed, considering the coronavirus pandemic.
        LJUBLJANA - Anti-government protesters returned to bicycle protests yesterday. Police said a few hundred gathered and 33 violations of the ban on gatherings in public were recorded.
        TORONTO, Canada/GRAZ, Austria - Magna International, the Canadian-Austrian automotive multinational, announced it would start producing Fisker Ocean, an electric SUV, in 2022. According to unofficial reports by the Austrian Kleine Zeitung, the car would be assembled in Magna's plants in Graz, Austria, and in Hoče, near Maribor.
        LJUBLJANA - The second Slovenia-wide digital radio network, a technology known by its acronym DAB+, was launched. The new multiplex carries the signals of regional and local radio stations, and stations serving the Italian and Hungarian minorities.
        LJUBLJANA/SLOVENJ GRADEC - The Association of Journalists and Commentators expressed concern over "a renewed abuse of the wheels of the judiciary" after Bojan Požar, author and proprietor of the news portal Požareport, received a suspended three-month prison sentence for defamation and insult due to an article in which he alleged that Maribor Mayor Saša Arsenovič and his former aide Matjaž Štandeker had bribed bankers.

SATURDAY, 17 October
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia has condemned a terrorist attack in a Paris suburb in which an assailant beheaded a teacher. "We need to enforce zero tolerance for terrorism and street violence across #EU," Prime Minister Janez Janša said on Twitter.
        LJUBLJANA - The share of coronavirus tests that came back positive exceeded 19% for the first time on Saturday, as 726 cases were confirmed in 3,765 tests.
        LJUBLJANA - The Association of Journalists and Commentators (ZNP) condemned an incident that occurred during a 16 October protest in Ljubljana and involved the rapper Zlatko grabbing the camera from a Nova24 cameraman. It said this was an "attack on journalistic freedom and consequently on freedom of expression." The Slovenian Journalists' Association condemned all forms of violence, both verbal and physical.
        WROCLAW, Poland - Slovenian writer Goran Vojnović was awarded the Angelus Central European Literary Prize, conferred to works by Central European writers translated into the Polish, for his 2013 novel My Yugoslavia. The annual award is conferred by Wroclaw to writers who take up the most important topics for the present day.

SUNDAY, 18 October
        LJUBLJANA - The government officially declared a coronavirus epidemic for the entire country starting on 19 October. meaning that the national protection and rescue plan was activated. The epidemic was declared for an initial period of 30 days. Prime Minister Janez Janša called for responsibility and solidarity in the face of the pandemic in a video address to Slovenian citizens. He said a challenging period of cold weather was ahead, which required effective measures.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia confirmed 537 new coronavirus cases in 2,637 tests. The positivity rate exceeded 20% for the first time. The 14-day cumulative rate of infection per 100,000 people reached 339 compared to 317 the day before.

MONDAY, 19 October
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor delivered a video address to the people underlining that at the time of crisis, community closes its ranks. "We have to be courageous and determined but also tolerant and patient. This is particularly important for politics. It must make an honest effort for mutual respect and cooperation," he said.
        LJUBLJANA - The number of new coronavirus infections reached 794 in 4,326 tests. Two more people died, brining the death toll to 192. About 1% of Slovenia's population is infected with Sars-CoV-2 based on the test positivity rate, the head of the government task force Bojana Beović said.
        LJUBLJANA - Facing criticism from the opposition in parliament about the government's response to the Covid-19 epidemic, Prime Minister Janez Janša assured MPs that Slovenia had prepared well for the second wave. He said the second wave of the epidemic would eventually pass and that only then it would be possible to make comparisons with other countries.
        LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Janez Janša presented the government's plans regarding the distribution of EU and state recovery funds. He said investments were in the healthcare system and infrastructure, which would include two new infectious disease clinics and nursing hospitals in all regions.
        LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Anže Logar hosted his counterpart from North Macedonia Bujar Osmani for talks that focused on preparations for an intergovernmental conference at which North Macedonia expects to start EU membership talks. Logar expressed the belief that the talks would start during Germany's presidency of the EU.
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor stressed at a virtual summit of the Three Seas Initiative that this platform offers a unique opportunity to change this part of Europe into a modern, sustainable and innovative society. He added that the initiative must not be understood as a grouping of certain EU members countering other members. Foreign Minister Anže Logar took part in a ministerial panel devoted to smart money.
        LJUBLJANA - The Nova Gorica Administrative Court was reported to have annulled the dismissal of former director of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Darko Muženič. The court's decision is final, so there is no possibility of an appeal.
        LJUBLJANA - Ljubljana's city councillors adopted a statement condemning any activities or gatherings of paramilitary or nationalist groups in the capital. The opposition Democrats (SDS) and New Slovenia (NSi) protested, unsuccessfully proposing that the item be removed from the City Council's agenda.
        LJUBLJANA - Chief supervisor of telco Telekom Slovenije Aleš Šabeder and supervisors Barbara Cerovšek Zupančič and Bernarda Babič resigned, citing the current situation in the five-strong supervisory board. Šabeder expects the remaining two supervisory board members to follow suit.
        LJUBLJANA - Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek signed a set of amendments to Slovenia's association agreement with the European Space Agency (ESA), which he said constituted an important step towards full-fledged membership. The minister expects cooperation with ESA to deepen further.
TUESDAY, 20 October
        LJUBLJANA - A temporary 9pm-6am curfew entered into force across Slovenia to limit the spread of coronavirus. The ceiling for gatherings was lowered from ten to six people and a blanket ban on movement among statistical regions put in place, albeit with exceptions related to work, emergency situations and services, family assistance and farm work.
        LJUBLJANA - A record 1,503 Sars-CoV-2 infections were confirmed as the test positivity rate exceeded 25%. Covid-19 hospitalisations rose by 20 to 333.
        TALLINN, Estonia - FM Anže Logar met his Estonian counterpart Urmas Reinsalu as he started a three-day tour of the Baltics, with the pair expressing the wish for closer cooperation on the bilateral and EU levels in digital services.
        LJUBLJANA - The centre-left opposition parties called on the government to mend its ways, which they argue are the reason for what they see as a "fatefully low level" of public trust in measures and recommendations aimed to contain the rapid spread of coronavirus in the country.
        UDINE, Italy/BILBAO/Spain - Slovenian cyclist Jan Tratnik (Team Bahrain McLaren) won the 16th stage of the Giro d'Italia between Udine and San Daniele del Friuli to become only the fifth Slovenian ever to win a stage at the prestigious road race around Italy, while his more celebrated compatriot Primož Roglič (Team Jumbo-Visma) won the first stage of the Vuelta a Espana.

WEDNESDAY, 21 October
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's coronavirus tally soared to another daily record as 1,663 infections were confirmed from a record 6,215 tests, a positivity rate of over 25%. Hospitalisations increased to 357, with 62 patients in intensive care.
        LJUBLJANA - Anže Erbežnik ended up two votes short of appointment as Constitutional Court judge in a 44:35 secret ballot at the National Assembly. The result was the same for the nominee for Banka Slovenije vice-governor Arjana Brezigar Masten, who also needed the absolute majority of all votes. The coalition said this was not an indication of disunity in its ranks.
        LJUBLJANA - MPs passed changes to the integrity and prevention of corruption act which the government argues strengthen the preventive and supervisory role of the anti-graft commission. They also aim at clearly delineating the powers in prosecution of corruption between the commission on the one hand and the police and prosecution on the other.
        RIGA, Latvia - Foreign Minister Anže Logar continued his three-day tour of the Baltics by meeting his Latvian counterpart Edgars Rinkevičs for talks that focused on the importance of coordinating measures to battle the Covid-19 pandemic. They called for a joint EU approach in coordinating these measures but noted that this was largely within the purview of national governments.
        VILNIUS, Lithuania - Foreign Minister Anže Logar met Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya as part of his visit to Lithuania. He said that Slovenia advocated dialogue between all political stakeholders, called for peaceful talks, and expressed support for the efforts made as part of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation (OSCE) and Council of Europe.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly unanimously passed amendments to the environmental protection act designed to tackle the long-running problem of packaging waste and to transpose EU directives in the field. Under the amendments, packaging waste treatment companies will need to accept all waste from waste collection utility companies based on a fee paid by the companies that produce such waste.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly endorsed an amendment to the motorway tolling act that creates the legal basis for the e-tolling of cars. The new system is to become operational by the end of next year and drivers will be able to buy "electronic vignettes" via an app, online or at service stations.

THURSDAY, 22 October
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia will put in place new restrictions to limit the spread of coronavirus. Non-essential shops will be closed, as will hotels, kindergartens and student dormitories, Prime Minister Janez Janša announced. The measures, entering into force on Saturday, will initially be in place for a week and will then be re-evaluated.
        LJUBLJANA - The government asked parliament to activate Article 37a the defence act which gives members of the Slovenian Armed forces certain police powers on the border. The proposal, which the government says is primarily needed because of the additional burdened placed on police by the epidemic, needs a two-thirds majority.
        LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Janez Janša spoke via videoconference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. They discussed the Covid-19 situation in Europe, the EU presidency trio's activities and the situation in the Western Balkans. Janša said that Germany had offered emergency medical equipment should Slovenia require it.
        VILNIUS, Lithuania - Foreign Minister Anže Logar wrapped up a three-day tour of the Baltics by meeting Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Antanas Linkevičius. Cooperation between the countries at bilateral, European and multi-lateral levels being on the agenda, in addition to the situation in Belarus.
        LJUBLJANA - Defence Minister Matej Tonin had an informal videoconference with his German and Portuguese counterparts, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer and Joao Gomes Cravinho. The talks focused on European defence policy.
        LJUBLJANA - Singer-songwriter, musician and poet Vlado Kreslin is the recipient of this year's Ježek Award, an accolade celebrating creative and witty radio and television oeuvres and achievements. Kreslin is instilling a spirit of freedom, solidarity, tolerance and joie de vivre in Slovenia's cultural sphere, the judging panel has said.

17 Oct 2020, 14:00 PM

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

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

FRIDAY, 9 October
        LJUBLJANA - The National Security Council fully endorsed a proposal by the police to activate a provision in the defence act which would give soldiers police powers in patrolling the border to contain illegal migration. PM Janez Janša said the situation on the border with Croatia was becoming critical again and urged the opposition to provide the necessary votes for a two-thirds majority needed to activate the provision.
        LJUBLJANA - Out of a record 4,362 coronavirus tests conducted in Slovenia, a total of 380 came back positive, a 8.7% positivity rate. On what was a fourth day in a row that the daily case count exceeded 300, hospitalisations reached a new peak and continued growing throughout the week.
        LJUBLJANA - Police stepped up the IDing of protesters at the 25th anti-government rally over violations of the decree limiting public assembly during the coronavirus epidemic, and several protesters were removed from the site. The protesters labelled the police action "repression and a disgrace".
        LJUBLJANA - The Constitutional Court struck down provisions of a 2013 law that impose a 70% tax on income that individuals have been found to have failed to report. The court also declared that tax reassessment cannot be made for cases prior to 2009.
        MARIBOR - Peter Boštjančič, a Maribor-based actor known for his memorable roles in the theatre and on film, was declared the winner of this year's Borštnik Ring, Slovenia's top accolade for lifetime achievement in theatre acting. Boštjančič, 68, has been a member of the Drama SNG Maribor theatre ensemble for over 20 years, after spending 17 years with the SLG Celje theatre.
        LJUBLJANA - Whistleblower Ivan Gale, who has been accusing government representatives of meddling in the procurement of medical and personal protective equipment when the coronavirus first reached Slovenia in the spring, said on Facebook he had lost his job at the Agency for Commodity Reserves.

SATURDAY, 10 October
        KLAGENFURT, Austria - Austrian and Slovenian presidents attended a ceremony marking the centenary of the Carinthian plebiscite together for the very first time with Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen apologising to Carinthian Slovenians for the injustices and delays in the implementation of their constitutional rights.
        LJUBLJANA - The opposition Social Democrats (SD) elected Tanja Fajon, an MEP and the party's interim head so far, its new leader at an online congress. A total of 276 delegates of the party voted for Fajon, the first woman to be at the helm of the SD, whereas 107 were in favour of her challenger MP Jani Prednik.
        LJUBLJANA - A total of 2,956 tests for the novel coronavirus were performed, resulting in a record 411 new daily infections. The share of new cases in the number of tests reached 13.9%.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's Ambassador to Croatia Vojislav Šuc told the STA in an interview that the coronavirus crisis effected a turn for the better in Slovenia's relations with Croatia. The past months have also shown there is a synergy between the governments, as they have build mutual trust by focusing on what they have in common, he said.

SUNDAY, 11 October
        LJUBLJANA - The government decided to tighten requirements for arrivals as many countries around Europe continue to post record daily increases in coronavirus numbers. As of 12 October, only four countries will remain on its green list, which means no quarantine is required - Australia, New Zealand, Serbia and Uruguay.
        LJUBLJANA - A total of 169 people tested positive for coronavirus from 1,404 tests and two more Covid-19 patients died. Despite the infections being lower than in the previous days, it was the highest increase for a Sunday and the share of positive tests remained high, at 12%.
        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša condemned the defacing of a monument in the courtyard of the government of the Austrian state of Carinthia in Klagenfurt during Saturday's ceremony to mark the 100th anniversary of the Carinthian plebiscite. Janša said on Twitter that the defacing of the monument to Carinthian unity was detrimental to the Slovenian compatriots in Carinthia and Slovenia's reputation in the world. President Borut Pahor expressed sadness over the incident.
        LJUBLJANA - The 23rd Festival of Slovenian Film closed with an award ceremony, with the award for best feature going to Martin Turk's youth film Don't Forget to Breathe. The main festival prize was not conferred.

MONDAY, 12 October
        LJUBLJANA - A total of 397 people tested positive for the new coronavirus after 3,308 tests were performed, with the positivity rate at 12%. Four persons died of Covid-19.
        LJUBLJANA - The central bank decided it will consult a group of legal experts to find a solution ensuring the legal protection of the holders of subordinated bonds who were wiped out during the 2013 bank bailout. It has also asked for a constitutional review of provisions allowing it to be audited by the Court of Audit.
        LJUBLJANA - Petra Grah Lazar was appointed acting head of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the third new leader of the specialised police unit for white-collar crime since May. The appointment was made by acting Police Commissioner Andrej Jurič a week after her predecessor Uroš Lepoša stepped down citing personal reasons. Grah Lazar most recently served as a financial consulting manager at Deloitte Svetovanje.
        LJUBLJANA - The recently established Slovenian-Chinese business council at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS) expressed concern in a public letter over the government's alleged plans to lable Chinese company Huawei a high-risk supplier in the coming weeks.
TUESDAY, 13 October
        LJUBLJANA - The number of new coronavirus infections almost doubled to 707, a new record by far, which comes on 4,902 tests conducted, a new high as well, as the positivity rate hit a record 14.4%.
        LJUBLJANA - A meeting of top representatives of all three branches of power saw Prime Minster Janez Janša defending criticism of the judiciary by arguing that respect first needed to be earned. President Borut Pahor urged respectful, responsible and dignified communication. The meeting was prompted by Supreme Court president Damijan Florjančič, who expressed the wish a suitable response is secured to inappropriate commentaries and attacks on the judiciary.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia issued EUR 1 billion-worth of 30-year bonds. Unofficially, the interest rate was slightly under 0.5%, while the yield also stands at around 0.5%. According to unofficial sources quoted by Bloomberg the interest rate for the issue is 50 basis points above the 30-year mid-swap rate, which stands at -0.005%.
        ŠENTILJ - The Slovenian and Austrian police conducted a joint border control exercise on the Austrian side of the Šentilj border crossing using unmanned aerial vehicles. Slovenian interior minister Aleš Hojs and his Austrian counterpart Karl Nehammer met on the occasion, underlining effective cooperation and discussing the Covid-19 situation.
        BERLIN, Germany - Transparency International placed Slovenia among countries with limited enforcement of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention, which deals with bribery of foreign public officials. The Exporting Corruption 2020 Report says that "Slovenia continues to have an inadequate legal framework on anti-corruption, and questionable political commitment to implementing and improving it".

WEDNESDAY, 14 October
        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša announced additional restrictive measures to contain the spread of coronavirus, including remote learning from the sixth grade of primary school up as of next week, as well as an inter-regional movement ban, limited gatherings and mandatory masks outdoors in seven red-listed regions as of 15 October.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia logged yet another coronavirus record with the daily tally hitting 745, bringing the total case count to well over 10,000. A record 5,287 tests were performed, with 14% of the cases returning positive, just slightly below 14.4% the day before.
        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša, his Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orban and Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman addressed a ceremony in the north-east of the country launching construction of a power line that will link the three countries. The EUR 150 million project has been almost two decades in the making, mainly due to lengthy siting procedures.
        PRAGUE, Czech Republic - Coordination of measures to limit the spread of coronavirus topped the agenda as Foreign Minister Anže Logar held talks with his Czech counterpart Tomaš Petriček. The ministers agreed coordination at EU level should be more efficient and endorsed the common EU approach to the development of a vaccine.
        VIENNA, Austria - Austria extended police control on its borders with Slovenia and Hungary by another six months, until 11 May 2021. Austria's Interior Minister Karl Nehammer listed migration pressure, safety concerns and Covid-19 as reasons for the move.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Commission called on Slovenia to invest and make reforms towards promoting renewable sources of energy and in support of energy efficiency and sustainable transport in its state of the energy union report. It said that Slovenia's plans in renewable energy lacked ambition.
        CHISINAU, Moldova - The Slovenian men's football team beat Moldova 4:0 in the fourth round of play in Group 3 of League C of the UEFA Nations League. This was the third win in a row for Slovenia in the competition.

THURSDAY, 15 October
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed the fifth corona legislative package, a fresh set of measures designed to help the country overcome the crisis caused by the pandemic. The principal measure of the EUR 420 million package is the extension of the furlough subsidy scheme until the end of the year.
        LJUBLJANA - Jože Podgoršek was appointed agriculture minister in a 48:7 vote to succeed Aleksandra Pivec, who stepped down as minister and president of the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS).
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Prime Minister Janez Janša called for a united response of the EU in support of Cyprus and Greece following new provocations by Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean as he arrived for an EU summit. Although the topic is not on the agenda, he said he expected the EU to take a unified approach towards the development in the east of the Mediterranean.
        BRATISLAVA, Slovakia - Foreign Minister Anže Logar and his Slovak counterpart Ivan Korčok called for better coordination of measures to contain the coronavirus pandemic at the EU level. They shared the view that coordination was vital not only to successfully contain the pandemic but also to restart the European economy.
        ROME, Italy - Defence Minister Matej Tonin paid an official visit to Italy. Talks with his counterpart Lorenzo Guerini focused on defence cooperation, including in international missions. Joint efforts in preventing illegal migrations were also on the agenda.
        LJUBLJANA - Five members of the parliamentary Intelligence and Security Service Oversight Commission (KNOVS) paid an unannounced visit to the national intelligence and security agency SOVA in relation to possible influence on SOVA in the case of an suspected Iranian money laundering scheme at NLB bank.
        LJUBLJANA - A parliamentary inquiry into the procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE) before and during the coronavirus epidemic got off to a formal start chaired by Alenka Jeraj of the ruling Democrats (SDS). The inquiry was formally initiated by the National Assembly on 14 July at the request of the coalition, which moved faster than the four centre-left opposition parties, which had announced it first.
        VELENJE - Home appliances maker Hisense Gorenje officially announced it would start producing TV sets at one of its former facilities in Velenje in January next year. The Chinese-owned company announced that the Hisense Europe Electronic TV factory will involve around 400 jobs in the first stage, 330 of which will be for production workers.
        LJUBLJANA - After a surge in illegal migration in the summer months, figures have been declining since as the bad weather set in. Police figures show the number of cases until the end of September is down just over half a percent from the same period a year ago. Police handled 11,855 attempts to cross into the country illegally in the first nine months, which compares to 11,931 in the same period a year ago.
        ŠOŠTANJ - Construction works on the first section of a major north-south expressway in eastern Slovenia dubbed the Third Development Axis started. The first portion is an expressway that is 200 metres long and forms part of the northern section of the Third Development Axis, which stretches from Slovenj Gradec in the north to the motorway exit Šentrupert.

10 Oct 2020, 09:00 AM

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

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

FRIDAY, 2 October
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - PM Janez Janša highlighted after the EU summit the urgency of serious preparations for the autumn and winter season with the novel coronavirus, especially in light of reports that vaccination will likely still not be available early next year, at least not in sufficient amounts.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - The new EU migration pact in the current form is not entirely acceptable to anyone but everyone finds it a good starting point for further negotiations, PM Janez said after the EU summit.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - PM Janša commented on the European Commission's concerns about the lack of resources in Slovenia for key independent bodies like the corruption watchdog and the networks regulator by saying he was much more worried about the lack of funds for healthcare than he was about NGOs and other organisations.
        LJUBLJANA - Unofficial reports suggested that the Slovenian government would classify the Chinese technological giant Huawei as a high-risk supplier shortly. On 6 Oct Huawei expressed disappointment, saying this was unjustified.
        AJDOVŠČINA - Bia Separations, a biotechnology company, was acquired for EUR 360 million by Sartorius, a leading international pharmaceutical and laboratory equipment supplier. The takeover is still subject to regulatory approval but is expected to be wrapped up by the end of this year.
        LJUBLJANA - The government decided that face masks will no longer be required for kindergarten children, primary and secondary school pupils in their class, and for teachers up to the third grade of primary school.
        KRŠKO - The Environment Agency (ARSO) decided that impact assessment and an environmental permit will be needed for the works needed to extend the life of the country's only nuclear reactor beyond 2023. The N-plant operator indicated on 6 Oct that it would not challenge the decision.
        TRBOVLJE - The government and the state-owned power holding HSE signed a concession contract for hydro power plants on the central part of the Slovenian section of the Sava river. Environment Minister Andrej Vizjak said the first three of the planned power plants would built in ten years.
        KOPER - Port operator Luka Koper hosted the ambassadors of Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and Czechia, with CEO Dimitrij Zadel saying the ambition of the port was to become the main maritime window for the economies of Visegrad Group members.
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor hosted representatives of the Slovenian minority in Austria in the run-up to the centenary of the Carinthian plebiscite on 10 Oct. Pahor said the predominant opinion was the past 100 years should be remembered in a way which would make it easier to build a common future.
        LJUBLJANA - The situation in healthcare and what is seen as its ongoing privatisation was in the centre of what was the 24th consecutive Friday anti-government protest rally in Ljubljana. The protesters demanded the resignation of Health Minister Tomaž Gantar and of National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ) director Milan Krek.

SATURDAY, 3 October
        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša called on the public to act responsibly and abide by precautionary measures to avoid further restrictions as the coronavirus outbreak in the country is spreading, also suggesting that Slovenia was but a step away from declaring epidemic again.
        LJUBLJANA - The government allocated just over EUR 2.5 million for the European Commission Emergency Support Instrument for advance payments to manufacturers of promising vaccines against Covid-19.
        LJUBLJANA - Rating agency Moody's upgraded Slovenia's long-term issuer and senior unsecured bond ratings by one notch to A3 from Baa1, changing the outlook to stable. Announcing the news, the Finance Ministry said the upgrade showed Slovenia as one of the most reliable countries for foreign investors.
        LJUBLJANA - Defence Minister Matej Tonin stressed the importance of unity as he addressed a ceremony marking the 30th anniversary of the Tactical Line, a paramilitary unit formed during independence efforts on 17 May 1990 as Yugoslav authorities wanted official Slovenian army units disarmed.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia climbed one more spot in the IMD World Digital Competitiveness Ranking to 31st among 63 countries.
        LJUBLJANA - Participants in a Hike for Life called for protecting human life from conception to natural death.

SUNDAY, 4 October
        TEHARJE - Celje diocese administrator Rok Metličar gave mass remembering an estimated 5,000 victims of war and post-war summary executions connected to the post-World War Two camp in Teharje.
        LJUBLJANA - Nepremicnine.net, the leading real estate website in Slovenia, was reported being taken over by Real Web, a company owning several leading internet real estate platforms in Europe.
        LIEGE, Belgium - Slovenia's cycling star Primož Roglič added victory at the Belgian one-day classic Liege-Bastogne-Liege to his portfolio of prestigious achievements.

MONDAY, 5 October
        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša presented a draft bill on the National Demographic Fund, a new state fund designed to pool all state assets, around EUR 8.6 billion, to shore up the pension system, to the Economic Social Council (ESS) before the government adopted it later in the day.
        LJUBLJANA - Aleksandra Pivec stepped down as agriculture, forestry and food minister just a few hours before the National Assembly was to vote on her dismissal. State secretary Jože Podgoršek was formally nominated for the job on 6 Oct.
        PORTOROŽ - Central banks do not expect the Covid-19-induced crisis to be as deep as initially feared, but if the situation were to deteriorate, they are ready to step in and react, Boštjan Vasle, the governor of Slovenia's central bank, told the 37th Financial Conference.
        LJUBLJANA - Telecoms incumbent Telekom Slovenije made 5G technology available to its users, having set up the country's first commercial 5G network in late July. Built on existing infrastructure, the network does not yet cover the entire country, with the company expecting to provide coverage to 33% of the population by year's end.
        LJUBLJANA - The registered jobless total in Slovenia stood at 83,766 at the end of September, a 5% drop on August but a 20% increase compared to the registered unemployment figure in September 2019.
        LJUBLJANA - Czech MEP Alexandr Vondra apologised to his Slovenian counterparts for a tweet in which he labelled Slovenians "opportunistic pigs". Franc Bogovič (EPP/SLS) accepted the apology but warned that Vondra had not erased the tweet he posted after a defeat of Slavia Prague in a football match featuring Slovenian referee Damir Skomina.
        LJUBLJANA - Ljubljana's tourism sector suffered a significant blow this year, as the coronavirus pandemic suspended air travel. This summer, the capital saw 160,341 overnight stays, 75% less than a year ago.
        RADEČE - The Covid-19 pandemic has prompted the development of an innovative solution at the Radeče paper mill. The company has started producing antibacterial paper which apart from inhibiting the growth of bacteria also reduces the spread of viruses and is thus ideal for people with weak immune systems.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenian cyclist Stanko Verstovšek set a new record in the 24-hour time trial by covering a total of 914.02 kilometres in that span on a route in the north-eastern region of Prekmurje. He beat the previous record-holder, Christoph Strasser of Austria, by more than 15 kilometres.

TUESDAY, 6 October
        LJUBLJANA - The government adopted guidelines for further anti-coronavirus restrictions, introducing a sliding scale of measures to be adopted based on the incidence of cases and the strain the virus puts on healthcare.
        LJUBLJANA - Risks to financial stability have increased sharply as a result of the coronacrisis and the accompanying deep economic slump. Income and credit risk have increased as well, showed the Financial Stability Report by Banka Slovenije.
        LJUBLJANA - Uroš Lepoša, the acting director of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), tendered his resignation after only some two months on the job, citing personal circumstances. News portal 24ur.com, Lepoša stepped down due to political pressure.
        LJUBLJANA - The two-member board of 2TDK featuring Dušan Zorko as director general and Marko Brezigar resigned in agreement with the company's supervisory board, which appointed Pavle Hevka and Iztok Černoša in their place.
        LJUBLJANA - Anže Erbežnik has been formally nominated for the vacant post on the Constitutional Court and Arjana Brezigar Masten for the vice-governor post at the central bank, the office of President Borut Pahor announced.
        LJUBLJANA - Rating agency Moody's upgraded the credit ratings for the NLB and NKBM banks, for both from Baa2 and Baa1, preserving a stable outlook.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Slovenia promotes the launching of the EU recovery and resilience facility as soon as possible and expects no red tape, Finance Minister Andrej Šircelj said after an informal virtual meeting of EU finance ministers.
        LJUBLJANA/MEŽICA - Addressing a symposium entitled Carinthia as Diplomatic Issue 1918-1920, held online ahead of the centenary of the Carinthian plebiscite, Foreign Minister Anže Logar stressed the historic ties between Slovenia and Austria and the importance of dialogue between the countries.
        LJUBLJANA - Every fifth Slovenian was a victim of sexual abuse as a child, shows a recent survey commissioned by the Justice Ministry. Minister Lilijana Kozlovič announced that a bill enabling the country's first Barnahus for child victims of sexual abuse would be likely passed in 2021.
        LJUBLJANA - The 23rd Festival of Slovenian Film (FSF) kicked off. This year, the festival is marked by a drop in film production due to the coronavirus pandemic and a suspension of state funds. Film makers called on the government to release overdue funds and boost and streamline film funding.

WEDNESDAY, 7 October
        LJUBLJANA - Economist Jože P. Damijan, supported by a group of acclaimed scholars and artists, offered to spearhead a centre-left Constitutional Arch Coalition meant to become an alternative to the Janez Janša government that is, they believe, turning Slovenia into "an illiberal democracy". The leaders of the four centre-left opposition parties confirmed talks were under way.
        LJUBLJANA - The Foreign Ministry responded on the enlargement package for the Western Balkan and Turkey, stressing the importance of a credible enlargement policy for peace, stability, security and economic growth of Europe. The package was also welcomed by Slovenian MEPs on 6 Oct.
        SLOVENJ GRADEC - The government formally declared Črna na Koroškem, site of a major coronavirus outbreak at a residential facility for people with mental disabilities, Slovenia's first Covid-19 danger zone.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Slovenia's eight MEPs expressed differing views on the European Parliament's somewhat surprising support for cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 by 60% compared to 1990.
        LENDAVA - The city council of Lendava, a bilingual municipality on the border with Hungary, honoured Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto by making him an honorary resident.
        LJUBLJANA - The international comics festival Tinta kicked off in Ljubljana and three other cities.

THURSDAY, 8 October
        LJUBLJANA - The government imposed new restrictions following a sharp rise in Slovenia's coronavirus curve, which saw a record 387 new cases discovered on Wednesday as the rate of positive tests surpassed 10% for the first time. A total of 1,640 new cases were reported in the past week and the death toll rose by 8 to 160. The measures include a ban on gatherings of more than ten people, except for organised events sanctioned by the National Institute of Public Health. Slovenian epidemiologists said they have readjusted their contact tracing strategy to focus on contacts of infected persons in care homes, education, healthcare and shared households.
        LJUBLJANA/VIENNA, Austria - The Slovenian and Austrian presidents, Borut Pahor and Alexander Van der Bellen, called for the protection of minorities as an element that enriches as they spoke with the STA and APA ahead of the 100th anniversary of the Carinthian plebiscite.
        LJUBLJANA - The government started debating legislative changes merging eight key regulators into two super-agencies. The regulators were reportedly allowed only 24 hours to give their remarks. The proposal has been strongly criticised by the opposition, the regulators and a public sector unions as an attempt to assert political power, while the government said its goal is streamlining.
        LJUBLJANA - Interior Minister Aleš Hojs told his EU counterparts, who discussed the new migration and asylum pact for the first time, that more focus should be given to an effective EU return policy. He said the European Commisison-proposed new migration pact contained compulsory relocation and that "this can be quite a problem in the talks in the coming months."
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor received the credentials of the UK's new ambassador to Slovenia Tiffany Sadler and of her Slovak counterpart Peter Zelenak.
        LONDON, UK - Slovenia placed 14th among 128 countries in the World Energy Council's 2020 Energy Trilemma Index, which ranks countries by their ability to provide sustainable energy. The country lost two spots compared with the year before, but the methodology has changed.
        LJUBLJANA - Fuel retailers have only slightly adjusted prices of diesel and regular petrol at service stations outside motorways the first week after full deregulation.
        LJUBLJANA - Lonely Planet selected Bled among the top 10 destinations which offer unique and memorable experiences. The second edition of the list of recommended destinations puts Bled sixth alongside the world's most famous sights such as Petra, Uluru or Yellowstone.

03 Oct 2020, 13:14 PM

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

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

FRIDAY, 25 September

        SKOPJE, North Macedonia - President Borut Pahor urged for the EU to launch accession talks with North Macedonia without delay, as he met his counterpart Stevo Pendarovski at the outset of a two-day official visit. He reiterated Slovenia's support for North Macedonia's bid to join the EU and said Slovenia was in favour of bringing all countries in the region into the EU.
        LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Anže Logar affirmed Slovenia's commitment to "enhanced and reformed multilateralism" as he delivered a virtual address to the Alliance for Multilateralism on the sidelines of the 75th session of the UN General Assembly. He said multilateralism needed to be based on trust, respect and international law.
        LJUBLJANA - MPs of the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) formally requested that Prime Minister Janez Janša dismiss Agriculture Minister Aleksandra Pivec, the former leader of their party. Jože Podgoršek, state secretary at the ministry, was proposed as her successor. Under agreement reached with other coalition partners on 29 September, Janša asked the National Assembly to dismiss Pivec. The vote will be taken next week.
        LJUBLJANA - Ivan Gale, who came forward with accusations of flawed procurement of medical supplies during the first wave of coronavirus, was reported to be facing losing his job at the Agency for Commodity Reserves. TV Slovenija reported that Gale was summoned by the agency's director Tomi Rumpf for an interview before he is handed a dismissal notice on suspicion that he closed detrimental contracts for PPE supply.
        LJUBLJANA - The recently unveiled deregulation plan was the main target of the 23rd protests against the government. A "Ministry of the Rich" banner was unveiled in front of the Ministry of Finance as Tea Jarc, the head of the trade union Mladi Plus, spoke about a tax reform that would mean lower taxes for the rich and public service cuts for everyone else.
        KOPER - Media reported that the Koper Higher Court had quashed a prison sentence against Igor Bavčar, the former CEO of Istrabenz, in a case related to a 2007 transaction involving shares of logistics company Intereuropa, and ordered a retrial.
        MURSKA SOBOTA - Author, actor and street theatre producer Andrej Rozman - Roza won the Večernica Prize for the best youth and children's book written in the past year. The jury said the collection marked Roza's "return to linguistic nonsense."

SATURDAY, 26 September
        LJUBLJANA - The 20th Ljubljana Pride Parade remained focused on the rights of LGBT+ persons, but the rally highlighted broader social rights that are seen as being at risk. Due to coronavirus restrictions, the event was held in the form of ten smaller rallies that then converged in front of Parliament House.

MONDAY, 28 September
        MADRID, Spain - FM Anže Logar met his Spanish counterpart Arancha Gonzalez Lay with the pair agreeing that the key to true and strong partnership was solidarity, connectivity and unity.
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor discussed with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres via a video call the latest escalation in Nagorno-Karabakh, the situation in the Western Balkans and the Covid-19 pandemic. He pledged full support for the secretary general's efforts for the tensions in Nagorno-Karabakh to calm down.
        POZNAN, Poland - Attending an extended meeting of Visegrad Group agriculture ministers through Minister Aleksandra Pivec, Slovenia did not join a call reflecting the group's stance in favour of equalising common agriculture policy subsidies across the bloc. The meeting featured ministers from the Visegrad Group as well as Slovenia, Estonia, Croatia, Latvia, Bulgaria and Romania.
        LJUBLJANA - The 30th anniversary of constitutional amendments that severed key constitutional ties with Yugoslavia and were crucial on Slovenia's path to independence were marked with a ceremony at the Presidential Palace. President Borut Pahor urged a return to the bipartisan efforts seen in that period.
        LJUBLJANA - A Slovenian-Chinese business council was set up at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry. More than 30 founding members decided for the move to create better conditions for strengthening ties between Slovenia and China, and help companies access the Chinese market.

TUESDAY, 29 September
        LJUBLJANA - The government endorsed the fifth stimulus package designed to help alleviate the consequences of the coronavirus crisis. There were no major changes compared to the previous version of the bill, which entails measures for healthcare, labour, social security, economy, education, justice, criminal sanctions, agriculture and infrastructure.
        LJUBLJANA - Travel restrictions for passengers arriving from countries which are not on its green list were loosened under a government decree. Passengers with a negative test no older than 48 hours and performed by a credible lab either in Slovenia, the EU or the Schengen zone, not longer have to quarantine. Passengers arriving from orange countries within the EU or the Schengen zone will not have to present a negative test to avoid quarantine.
        LJUBLJANA - The government ordered the Public Administration Ministry and the telecommunications market regulator to put in place rules on enhanced security of fifth-generation (5G) telecommunications networks. The regulator and the body in charge of information security will get additional powers to demand from operators that they ensure their networks are secure.
        LJUBLJANA - Addressing an AmCham event, PM Janez Janša said Slovenia had the potential to become one of the 15 most competitive countries in the world, which could be achieved by improving the support system for business, de-bureaucratisation and a more efficient public sector.
        LISBON, Portugal - Foreign minister Anže Logar and his Portuguese counterpart Augusto Santos Silva discussed their countries' upcoming stints at the presidency of the Council of the EU. The ministers agreed that both countries shared views on many European and international issues.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed changes to the defence act allowing some soldiers to stay on duty even after turning 45. Others will be employed by other state bodies without a pay cut.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed legislation that will close stores on Sundays and public holidays with the exception of small shops at places such as service stations, airports, train and bus stations and in hospitals, and small shops where the customers will be served by proprietors themselves with the assistance of students and pensioners.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly endorsed amendments to the state prosecution act under which a prosecutor's decision to dismiss charges for offences carrying more than three years in prison will have to be signed off by the head of the prosecution service. For offences carrying prison sentences of eight or more years, the head of the prosecution will need to consult two other prosecutors.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly confirmed a 2% rise in pensions that will go ahead in December, capping months of debates. The government provided assurances that the move was fiscally feasible.
        LJUBLJANA - Zvonko Černač, the minister for development and European cohesion policy, called for a flexible, simplified and goal-oriented approach to cohesion policy in the EU's next multi-annual financial framework, as he addressed a high-level debate hosted by the German EU presidency. He said national authorities knew best where the money is needed.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed a set of changes to the communicable diseases act which aim to increase vaccination rate by making vaccination mandatory for kindergarten children to at least 95% from 93% at present.

WEDNESDAY, 30 September
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Commission raised several issues in its Rule of Law Report for Slovenia, expressing concern about a lack of resources for key independent bodies like the corruption watchdog and networks regulator, and pressure exerted on journalists through lawsuits and online harassment. The Foreign Ministry said the report was relatively favourable, while the opposition said it was worrying Slovenia was nearing the countries which did not respect the rule of law.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia reached a new record in daily coronavirus cases, as 203 tested positive in a total of 3,391 tests. The share of positive tests was 5.99%, lower than in earlier days but still at a level deemed worryingly high.
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - The government adopted budget proposals for the next two years under which the pandemic-driven deficit is projected to decrease from 9.2% of GDP this year to 5.6% in 2021 and 3.1% in 2022. Finance Minister Andrej Šircelj said the budgets were "development-oriented" with investment funding increasing significantly.
        LJUBLJANA - The government adopted amendments to the foreigners act to tighten provisions on residence permits and reintroduce solutions that would provide for the triggering of a special regime in the event of a massive influx of illegal migrants seeking asylum. The proposal includes similar solutions to those planned under controversial amendments passed in 2017 that were quashed by the Constitutional Court.
        VIENNA, Austria - Foreign Minister Anže Logar and his Austrian counterpart Alexander Schallenberg discussed preparations for the upcoming centenary of the Carinthia plebiscite and the position of the Slovenian ethnic minority in Austria. EU topics, including the new migration pact, were also on the agenda.
        NEW YORK, US - President Borut Pahor said the high rate of decline in biodiversity was a serious threat to life on Earth and undermined human progress, as he addressed the UN Biodiversity Summit via videolink. He reaffirmed Slovenia's commitment to mitigation efforts.
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor wrapped up the first round of consultations with deputy groups as he prepares to nominate a candidate for a Constitutional Court judge. He announced that Anže Erbežnik, a professor at the Nova Gorica-based European Faculty of Law, had the best chances of getting the required support in parliament. Arjana Brezigar Masten is the likely candidate for a vice-governor post at the central bank.
        LJUBLJANA - Public Administration Minister Boštjan Koritnik and representatives of municipalities signed an agreement that raises the lump sum which municipalities receive per resident from the state. The budget transfer, which was raised from EUR 589 to EUR 624 in April under the new government, will be EUR 628 in 2021 and 2022.
        LJUBLJANA - Janez Žlak, currently serving as executive director for energy and environment at the energy company Petrol, was appointed new chairman of Slovenian Sovereign Holding, which manages over EUR 10 billion worth of state equity stakes. Žlak will succeed Gabrijel Škof, who resigned in July.
        LJUBLJANA - Telecommunications company Telekom Slovenije announced that the sale of Planet TV to Hungarian media company TV2 Media had been finalised. The purchase consideration is EUR 5 million, but Telekom also provided a capital injection via a debt to equity conversion before finalising the transaction.
        LJUBLJANA - Germany added the northern Koroška region to its list of Covid-19 high-risk areas after doing the same a week ago for the western region of Primorsko-Notranjska. Switzerland put the entire country on its quarantine list effective on 29 September.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Gallery launched an exhibition of the Prague Castle Picture Gallery masterpieces. The rare European art collection features paintings from Titian, Rubens and Holbein the Younger and is a result of Emperor Rudolf II's zeal for collecting.

THURSDAY, 1 October
        LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Janez Janša was formally indicted of abuse of office over a property sale carried out in 2005. Janša is one of the three persons indicted in a case that case revolves around a plot of land in the Trenta Valley that he sold in 2005 and which was subsequently resold several times, in what the prosecution believes was a chain of related transactions that ended up unlawfully benefiting him.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Prime Minister Janez Janša arrived at the EU summit hopeful that the EU would be able to mount a united show of solidarity with Greece and Cyprus in their dispute with Turkey. As for Belarus, he was hopeful that EU leaders would be capable of supporting the democratic desires of the people of Belarus.
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor pointed to the need to accelerate attaining women's rights as he addressed an online UN summit marking the 25th anniversary of the historic Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. He acknowledged there was still much room for improvement,
        LJUBLJANA - An initiative for Slovenia to notify its legal succession to the Austrian State Treaty was filed to parliament, just days before the centenary of the Carinthian plebiscite, which left a portion of Slovenians in Austria after WWI. The initiative is spearheaded by legal expert Ivan Kristan and sociologist Niko Toš.
        LJUBLJANA - The Ljubljana District Court stopped legal proceedings in the case of Leon Rupnik, a Nazi collaborationist general, Dnevnik reported. The court made the decision based on the criminal procedure act, which says legal procedures stop if the defendant dies.
        LJUBLJANA - Fuel prices in Slovenia became fully deregulated as the decree on administered prices for regular petrol and diesel at service stations outside motorways and expressways expired and was been extended by the government.
        LONDON, UK - The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development forecast a 7.5% contraction of Slovenia's GDP in 2020, a downgrade of two percentage points from May. Partial recovery is expected in 2021 when the economy is projected to grow by 3.5%, which compares to 5% in the May forecast.
        LJUBLJANA - Delo reported that the prosecution dismissed in late August charges over the sale of a plot by the state-owned bad bank to Japanese-owned Swiss company Lonstroff for an elastomer plant in Logatec. The complaints targeted Janez Škrubej, a former executive director of the bad bank, Peter Weber, Lonstroff Slovenia director, and Vlado Petek, director of the real estate firm Svet Re.

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