Ljubljana related

27 Sep 2021, 04:34 AM

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Speakers from W Balkans meeting in Slovenia

LJUBLJANA/BRDO PRI KRANJU - National Assembly Speaker Igor Zorčič is hosting a two-day meeting with his counterparts from the Western Balkans. After a dinner in Ljubljana today, the meeting at Brdo on Monday will be addressed by Zorčič, President Borut Pahor, Foreign Minister Anže Logar and Monika Gregorčič, chair of the Foreign Policy Committee. The speakers will then discuss the role of parliaments in rebuilding trust in EU enlargement process, and have a discussion on the future of Europe with youth.

Andrej Saje ordained as new bishop of Novo Mesto

MIRNA PEČ - The new bishop of Novo Mesto, Andrej Saje was ordained at a ceremony at the parish church of Mirna Peč before he formally takes over from Andrej Glavan on Tuesday. After the consecration ceremony, performed by Glavan, assisted by Apostolic Nuncio to Slovenia Jean-Marie Speich and Jože Marketz, the bishop of the Gurk-Klagenfurt diocese in Austria, Saje addressed the congregation with an appal for fruitful cooperation and dialogue with everyone to create a society of peace and justice.

Minister Jaklitsch visits Wisconsin and Illinois

MILWAUKEE/LEMONT, US - Minister for Slovenians Abroad Helena Jaklitsch is wrapping up her multi-day tour of the Slovenian communities in the United States by meeting Americans of Slovenian descent in Illinois, after she visited on Friday the federal state of Wisconsin, a home to around 6,500 people of Slovenian descent. During her stop in Milwaukee the minister visited the Golda Meir Library at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, which keeps a Slovenian music collection, and visited Triglav Park.

Podgoršek discusses biodiversity in Budapest

BUDAPEST, Hungary - Agriculture Minister Jože Podgoršek discussed the need to preserve and increase biodiversity as a task of present and future generations as he addressed an international hunting and nature fair in Budapest on Saturday. With his Hungarian counterpart Istvan Nagy he addressed Slovenian Day at the fair today. He also held several bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the event, including with Nagy and his Croatian counterpart Marija Vučkovič.

Coronavirus case count down for sixth day w/w

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia logged 444 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, the sixth consecutive day of week-on-week decline in new cases. Another five Covid-19 patients died. Figures released by the government show 407 Covid-19 patients were treated at hospitals in the morning, including 106 in intensive care. Both figures are up from yesterday, by 25 and two, respectively.

Fiscal revenue down by 2.3% in 2020

LJUBLJANA - After six consecutive years of growth, the total amount of taxes and social contributions collected by the state declined by 2.3% last year to to EUR 17.7 billion. Tax receipts declined by 7.2% to EUR 9.7 billion, while revenue from social contributions rose by 4.4% to EUR 8.1 billion, a report by the Statistics Office shows. Including social contributions, tax revenue accounted for 20.6% of GDP last year, the lowest share yet. The highest was in 2005 at 24%.

Local government debt keeps increasing

LJUBLJANA - The total debt of Slovenia's 212 municipalities and their utilities increased by a further EUR 47.5 million last year to EUR 971.2 million, or 2.1% of GDP. Average total debt per capita thus increased to EUR 473 in 2020 from EUR 449 in 2019, a report compiled by the Finance Ministry shows. The Finance Ministry believes the figures are not cause for concern as the loans are leveraged to contribute to economic growth and jobs.

Two-thirds of Slovenian households loan-free in 2020

LJUBLJANA - Just over a third of Slovenian households (36%) had at least one loan or instalment purchase to repay last year, excluding mortgage on their home, over half of them or their car, a report by the Statistics Office shows. About half reported currently making as much to make ends meet without having to borrow or making any savings. Of the 83% of people who said they had any savings, 56% reckoned they could keep up the same standard of living using only savings for a maximum of two months.

26 Sep 2021, 04:59 AM

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Pahor meets Guterres, Lavrov as he completes UN trip

NEW YORK, US - President Borut Pahor met UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in New York on Friday after he addressed the 76th session of the UN General Assembly. Pahor and Guterres discussed climate change and security challenges, with Pahor reiterating Slovenia's commitment to multilateralism and cooperation with the UN. Pahor invited Guterres to visit Slovenia next year as the country marks the 30th anniversary of UN membership. The meeting with Lavrov discussed Afghanistan, and EU-Russia relations, with Pahor saying there was a lack of trust on both sides, which called for more dialogue. Before addressing the General Assembly, Pahor met German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and European Council President Charles Michel.

Opposition's post-election deal endorsed by all four parties

LJUBLJANA - The top bodies of three centre-left opposition parties which have finalised an agreement on post-election cooperation unanimously endorsed the document at their respective sessions, while the fourth party did so earlier this week. The Alenka Bratušek Party's (SAB) council endorsed the agreement on Tuesday, when it was initialled by all four party leaders. Today, the top bodies of the Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ), the Left and the Social Democrats (SD) followed suit. The content of the agreement has not been revealed yet. It will be presented at a news conference on Tuesday following its signing.

Number of confirmed coronavirus cases tops 1,000 on Friday

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's daily coronavirus count rose to 1,005 on Friday after it dropped below 1,000 on Thursday, which is over 19% below the figure from a week ago. Six patients died, and the number of hospitalisations dropped below 400 this morning, by 22 to 382. The positivity rate was 18.2%, a percentage point up from Thursday, show data released by the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ). The number of active cases is estimated at 13,588. The 7-day average case count fell by 34 from Thursday to 893 and the cumulative 14-day incidence per 100,000 residents by three to 642.

Olaj says police commissioner no longer led by police but vice versa

LJUBLJANA - Police Commissioner Anton Olaj rejected allegations that the police is politicised. The situation is considerably better than one can gather from media reports, he said in an interview with the the newspaper Večer. He has gotten the impression that police commissioners used to be led by the police. "I've changed that, so that the police commissioner now leads the police force." Turning to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), he said the "dispute" with the dismissed director general, Darko Muženič, was still open. Once it is over, Olaj will decide on the future of NBI leadership, but he is was "very happy" with acting head Petra Grah Lazar's work.

Book agency head says preparations in full swing for 2023 Frankfurt fair

LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Book Agency (JAK) signed a EUR 4.5 million contract in August to finance Slovenia's participation in the 2023 Frankfurt Book Fair from cohesion funds, JAK's acting director Dimitrij Rupel told the newspaper Delo. JAK is currently working on a selection of books and writers that will be put forward to German publishers, who will make the final selection for when Slovenia is the guest of honour at the fair. The plan is to present some 100 books translated to German and put some of the authors in the focus. "I think it is logical to expect Slavoj Žižek and Drago Jančar among them, to be accompanied by Slovenian classics such as Vitomil Zupan and Boris Pahor. We'll certainly put in the focus what Germans already partly know and we will of course try to present something new," he said.

Slovenia issuing its own NFTs for Expo showcase

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia will become the world's first country to issue its own non-fungible tokens (NFT) to promote the achievements of its businesses and its tourism destinations. The tokens will be gifted to visitors to Slovenia's pavilion at the Expo show in Dubai, which opens on 1 October. The pioneering project, which is to boost Slovenia's Expo showcase, is the product of cooperation between the Slovenian Ministry of Economic Development and Technology, the public agency for the promotion of entrepreneurship and investment SPIRIT and the Ljubljana Technology Park.

Environmental tax receipts down by almost a fifth in 2020

LJUBLJANA - Environmental taxes paid into the national budget amounted to EUR 1.309 billion in 2020, 18.4% less than in the year before. Energy taxes represented more than four-fifths of the overall tax take, while almost two-thirds of total taxes was paid by households. Tax on transport represented 14.7%, tax on the use of natural resources 2.4% and tax on pollution 1.9% of overall environmental taxes, the Statistics Office said.

Kayaker Nejc Žnidarčič wins fifth world champion title

BRATISLAVA, Slovakia - Slovenian kayaker Nejc Žnidaršič won the sprint event at the ICF's wildwater canoeing world championships to claim his fifth world champion title. He made history by becoming the first whitewater competitor to win five world champion titles, which he is proud of. "World championships have been on since 1952, but never has anyone become world champion for five times," the 37-year-old said.

25 Sep 2021, 04:59 AM

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Pahor points to Covid-19, climate change and security in UN address

NEW YORK, US - President Borut Pahor addressed the general debate at the 76th UN General Assembly session, saying that "all challenges we face, are global" and that solutions to them could be found only in working together. He thus welcomed the intention of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to hold a wide debate about common future, saying people needed to "engage in meaningful discussion and dialogue ... even with those we do not agree with". Pahor focussed his address on the Covid-19 pandemic, climate change, and peace and security.

EU ministers in charge of consumer protection discuss package holidays

BRDO PRI KRANJU - EU ministers in charge of consumer protection holding an informal session in Brdo pri Kranju agreed that the EU legislation on package holidays needs to be reviewed, as Covid-19 has shown that it is not suitable for extreme situations such as the pandemic, said the host, Slovenia's Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek. It is becoming clear the package travel directive could be improved, said European Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders, who is also in charge of consumer protection. He said the Commission would first thoroughly review the existing legislation and then decide whether a new legislative motion was needed.

Commissioner Jourova urges "swift solution" to STA funding

BRUSSELS, Belgium - European Commission Vice-President Vera Jourova called for a "swift solution to fund the STA that would fully preserve its independence" in a letter addressed to Culture Minister Vasko Simoniti. She says independent media are crucial for democracies and the Commission supports the important role of independent news agencies to guarantee media freedom and media pluralism across the EU. It is therefore important for member states to "refrain from any attempts to put direct or indirect pressure on media", including by withholding the necessary financing.

Reynders awaiting court decision before taking action on EU delegated prosecutors

BRDO PRI KRANJU - European Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders said that before taking action regarding Slovenia's non-appointment of its two EU delegated prosecutors, the European Commission was awaiting a decision of a Slovenian administrative court on the suit filed by the two rejected prosecutors. Tanja Frank Eler and Matej Oštir appealed at a Ljubljana administrative court after the government annulled in May the appointment procedure and started a new one. Reynders said he expected the court's decision in two weeks. "We'll see if the development is positive. The pressure is enormous," he said after a session of EU ministers in charge of consumer protection.

Janša critical of preparedness for Covid-19 before govt took over

LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša appeared before the parliamentary inquiry commission dealing with the government's response to the Covid-19 epidemic. He was critical in his testimony of the preparedness of the public health authorities and noted the systemic problems in elderly care inherited by his government, reiterating criticism of the previous government repeatedly voiced by senior government officials. He also defended rule-by-decree, arguing that the majority of European countries had transferred the powers of taking measures related to Covid-19 from parliaments to government.

Security, migrations top talks between Slovenian, Czech interior ministers

LJUBLJANA - The current migration situation topped the agenda of a two-day visit by Czech Interior Minister Jan Hamaček, as part of which he and Slovenian Interior Minister Aleš Hojs toured the Slovenian Schengen border and met with Slovenian and Czech police officers who conduct joint patrols. The ministers agreed on the need to prevent sudden mass migrations into the EU and pressure on the EU's external borders. "This can only be done with the necessary preparedness, while we also need to be cautious about making statements that could encourage additional illegal migration," Hojs was quoted as saying.

Ministry purchases another 37 Oshkosh four-wheeled vehicles

LJUBLJANA - The Defence Ministry signed on 14 September a EUR 33 million deal with the US government on the purchase of another 37 Oshkosh four-wheeled vehicles to be delivered in 2023 and 2024. The deal envisages the purchase of 37 Oshkosh four-wheeled vehicles, 36 weapon stations M153, documents, special tools, maintenance devices and spare parts, technical support and other equipment. It comes after 38 Oshkosh four-wheeled vehicles were delivered to Slovenia in the spring, while in line with changes to the tactical study of a medium infantry battalion group of the Slovenian Armed Forces, another 62 vehicles could be bought in the future.

Slovenia gets maritime spatial plan as first east Med country

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia has become the first EU country in eastern Mediterranean to have adopted a maritime spatial plan, a document mandated under an EU directive that introduces comprehensive strategic planning for sustainable development of activities on and along the sea. The document, adopted by the government in mid-July, was presented at a virtual conference. It provides guidance on how to preserve a balance between protecting the sea and the need for economic growth, both at sea, which is owned by the state, and the inshore belt, giving guidelines to local communities on how to define the belt in their local spatial plans.

Covid pass mandate slightly relaxed

LJUBLJANA - The Covid pass mandate was relaxed with the requirement waived for those working from home and those filling up their cars as long as they do not enter the interior of petrol stations. This is under a government decree adopted late on Thursday that comes after sharp criticism of the Covid pass mandate for those working from home, in particular the self-employed. The mandate remains in place for the vast majority of services and all other workplace settings.

Coronavirus infection rate keeps receding

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's daily coronavirus count has declined week-on-week for the fourth straight day as 941 new infections were confirmed on Thursday, down almost 18% from the same day a week ago. The cumulative 14-day incidence per 100,000 residents was down by three to 645. Data from the tracker site covid-19.sledilnik.org shows hospitalisations topped 400, including 104 in intensive care. Five patients died.

Minister says recovered-vaccinated rule could be expanded

LJUBLJANA - Health Minister Janez Poklular said the government would expand the recovered-vaccinated rule to all citizens if the epidemiological situation continues to deteriorate. In line with the proposal, the recovered-vaccinated (PC) rule, meaning omission of testing, would be introduced when two-thirds of ICU beds are occupied by Covid-19 patients. This is about 150 beds. Government data shows 104 Covid patients were in intensive care this morning. The announcement comes a week after the government decided to impose the PC rule for civil servants as of October.

Slovenia Business Bridge discusses investment opportunities

LJUBLJANA - The Slovenia Business Bridge conference discussed investment opportunities in Slovenia, where the need for partnership between the public and private was emphasised. Investments in human resources are also a must as they need to keep up with the constant development in technology and science. The investment and development conference, hosted by AmCham Slovenia, focused on day two on Slovenia's position in biomedicine and biotechnology and Slovenia's creativity to achieve primacy in technological trends.

FlyDubai launches flights between Ljubljana and Dubai

BRNIK - Budget carrier FlyDubai launched scheduled flights between Ljubljana and Dubai in what is a culmination of ten-year efforts by the Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport to get a direct link with Dubai. FlyDubai will operate three flights a week to offer the first direct flight connection between Slovenia and the United Arab Emirates. FlyDubai CEO Ghaith Al Ghaith said that because of the Expo Dubai now was a good time to set up new connections. The new route is also seen as important for connectivity with Asia and Oceania.

Youth protesters warning against burning coal, unsustainable traffic

LJUBLJANA/MARIBOR ... - Rallies demanding action on climate change were held in at least five towns around Slovenia, with the organisers, the Youth for Climate Justice, this time highlighting the issues of burning coal and unsustainable traffic. They sent their top three demands to national and local decision-makers: the want the authorities to finally acknowledge the climate crisis and start actively solving it; demand that Slovenia stop burning coal by 2030; and they also called for efficient and accessible sustainable mobility.

Tourism reports solid figures for August

LJUBLJANA - Tourism accommodation facilities in Slovenia recorded more than a million arrivals in August as visitors spent almost three million nights there, which is 2% more than in the bumper year of 2019, the Statistics Office said. While the number of domestic guests declined by 15%, foreign tourists generated almost 584,700 arrivals, twice as many as in the same month a year ago.

Deficit for 2020 narrower than originally assessed

LJUBLJANA - The Statistics Office corrected the assessment of Slovenia's general government deficit for last year, downgrading it by EUR 250 million compared to the previous assessment to EUR 3.618 billion or 7.7% of the gross domestic product (GDP). This is a correction from the assessment from the end of March of EUR 3.87 billion or 8.4% of GDP for the deficit generated in 2020.

Business sentiment declines in September

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's business sentiment deteriorated in September after a period of improvement, with the indicator now at 4.7 percentage points, down 1.8 points from August. However, it is still up by 8.5 percentage points at the annual level, the Statistics Office said. At the monthly level, a decline was recorded in the consumer confidence sub-indicators in manufacturing and retail, while an improvement was seen in construction and services.

Primary school teacher sacked over Covid non-compliance

MARIBOR - - A teacher from a primary school in Maribor opposing the recovered-vaccinated-tested (PCT) rule and campaigning against Covid measures has been fired, media reported. The France Rozman - Stane Primary School urged the teacher to get tested for Covid-19 twice and since she did not comply, she was banned from conducting her work and subsequently fired. Firing staff over non compliance with the PCT rule is possible under a government decision adopted at the end of summer.


24 Sep 2021, 04:26 AM

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Janša calls for bold family policy at Demographic Summit

BUDAPEST, Hungary - Prime Minister Janez Janša attended the Demographic Summit in Budapest, which he labelled as one of the most important events in the debate on the future of Europe, as demographics is one of the most important issues in the EU. He emphasised the importance of the family and said that the EU needed a bolder family policy, the prime minister's office said. "Due to the negative trends, demography is one of the important issues faced by the entire Europe. There is currently no country in the world that does not depend on demographic issues," the Slovenian prime minister said at a panel.

Slovenia elected member of IAEA board of governors

VIENNA, Austria/NEW YORK, US - Slovenia was elected a member of the board of governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for 2021-2023. This is the fourth time it has become a member of the board of governors, which the Foreign Ministry considers an important leverage to promote its interests in the IAEA. Foreign Minister Anže Logar told reporters in New York that membership of the board of governors was proof that "we convinced enough member states that we will actively work in the IAEA, which is particularly important in the light of the return to the Iranian nuclear agreement."

Differences remain over alternative fuels infrastructure in EU

BRDO PRI KRANJU - EU transport ministers discussed infrastructure for alternative fuels with Slovenia's Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec noting there were quite a few differences between the countries on the issue, but the "essential thing is not to lose the primary momentum and to keep the required level of ambition". "Differences related to national specifics will have to be taken into consideration as well as different starting points of member states," said Vrtovec, highlighting financing as the key issue.

Fiscal Council cautions against politically-motivated spending

LJUBLJANA - As the government prepares to send budget documents for the next two years to parliament, the Fiscal Council warned that the continued existence of exceptional circumstances "should not be used to adopt measures that reflect the final stage of the political cycle". "The existence of extraordinary circumstances in 2022 merely allows a flexibility of fiscal policy to directly address the challenges related to the epidemic, while additional stimulus measures ... are not justified," the council said. This comes as Slovenia is due to hold a regular election next year.

Residential property prices in biggest boom in decade

LJUBLJANA - Residential property prices rose by 4.5% in the second quarter of the year on the quarter before in the most substantial hike in ten years, the Statistics Office said. Data released by for second quarter shows prices of existing homes (apartments and family houses) in the country rising by an average 4.7% on the quarter before; apartment prices were up by 5% as family houses came 4.2% costlier. The value of transactions was the highest on record.

Number of new Covid cases slightly down

LJUBLJANA - A total of 1,011 new coronavirus infections were confirmed on Wednesday, down 75 from the day before, as the test positivity rate dropped by two points to 18%, the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ) said. The 14-day incidence per 100,000 residents was down by one to 648. There were four Covid-19 deaths yesterday. The number of hospitalised Covid patients stands at 391, seven more than yesterday, of whom 102 are in intensive care, three more than yesterday. Infectologist Matjaž Jereb said that an estimated 350-400 Covid-19 patients would require standard hospital care and up to 140 intensive care by end September.

Slovenia only dark red country on latest ECDC map

STOCKHOLM, Sweden - The whole of Slovenia is dark red on the latest Covid-19 colour-coded map of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). Slovenia is the only country or region on the map with such an epidemiological situation. On the map, areas change to dark red when the 14-day incidence per 100,000 residents exceeds 500. According to the National Institute of Public Health, the 14-day incidence for the entire Slovenia on Wednesday stood at 648.

Logar meets several colleagues on margins of UN General Assembly

NEW YORK, US - Slovenian Foreign Minister Anže Logar met on Wednesday his counterparts from Armenia, Moldova and Pakistan and US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman on the sidelines of the general debate of the 76th session of the UN General Assembly in New York. Logar also attended a round table debate on the situation in Afghanistan hosted by the International Peace Institute in cooperation with Denmark. Logar said it had been decided to conduct talks with countries where EU's problems stem from and could "affect our political arena," mainly migrations.

Govt adopts legal basis to tap into EU recovery funds

LJUBLJANA - The government endorsed on Wednesday a bill amending the budget implementation act for 2021 and 2022 to create a legal basis for effective use of EU funds for projects included in the recovery and resilience plan. The government adopted the national recovery and resilience plan as a basis to draw EU recovery funds in April. Under the plan, which was endorsed by the European Commission at the beginning of July and by EU member states at the end of July, Slovenia is to get EUR 1.8 billion in grants and EUR 705 million in loans.

Purchase of "flawed" military vehicles to be debated in parliament

LJUBLJANA - The opposition Left requested a session of the parliamentary Defence Committee to discuss the purchase of Oshkosh four-wheeled vehicles, which it says are "flawed goods and should be returned to the US". The army took over 38 Oshkosh light tactical vehicles purchased from the US under a government-to-government EUR 26.7 million deal in June, and news portal Necenzurirano reported some vehicles did not pass a road worthiness test and that all the vehicles were shipped without weapons. Defence Minister Matej Tonin said US defence contractor Oshkosh Defence will be asked to remedy all the shortcomings at its expense.

DeSUS executive committee decides against calling party MPs to resign

LJUBLJANA - The executive committee of the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) has not endorsed a proposal to call DeSUS MPs to resign. The proposal had been made at a meeting three weeks that discussed the relationship with the party's MPs, who often support the minority government even though the party quit the coalition led in December last year.

Industry wants govt to act on energy prices

LJUBLJANA - Concerned about rising energy prices, Slovenian industry has called on the government to take action. "The state will have to get involved," the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS) said. Electricity prices have nearly doubled this year whereas gas prices have tripled, which has severely affected energy-intensive industries such as food and chemicals, the GZS said, warning that the price hikes will sooner or later result in higher bills for households.

Mercator returns to profit in H1

LJUBLJANA - Retail group Mercator posted a net profit of EUR 10.6 million in the first half of the year after reporting a loss of EUR 69 million in the same period a year ago due to property revaluation and writedowns. Sales revenue was down 0.4% to EUR 1.1 billion. Releasing the semi-annual results, Mercator said despite the slight decline in sales revenue, the figure is up 3.9% from the comparable pre-Covid period two years ago. Retail sales revenue was down 1.3% compared to the first half of 2020 to EUR 849.8 million, which is still 7.3% higher compared to the first half of 2019.

Textile company Beti up for sale

LJUBLJANA - Beti, a leading European manufacturer of dyed polyamide yarns, is being put up for sale by the Bank Assets Management Company (BAMC), Slovenia's band bank, along with its debts. In a public invitation for expression of interest published in the newspaper Finance, BAMC says it will sell at least 86.7% of the company and claims against it in a bundle. The owner of the 100% stake in the Metlika-based company is Viktor Kozjan, and the majority creditor is Prodajalec.

Slovenia keeps all Michelin stars as new restaurant joins the pick

LJUBLJANA - Chef Ana Roš of Hiša Franko has kept her two stars in the new edition of the Michelin Guide Slovenia and all five one-starred restaurants kept theirs as Gostišče Grič in Horjul, led by chef Luka Košir, won its first, as the coveted stars, which denote the best dining establishments discovered by Michelin inspectors, were awarded to Slovenian restaurants for the second time. The other one-stared restaurants are Vila Podvin (Uroš Štefelin, Mošnje), Hiša Denk (Gregor Vračko, Zgornja Kungota), Atelje (Jorg Zupan, Ljubljana), Pri Lojzetu (Tomaž Kavčič, Vipava) and Dam (Uroš Fakuč, Nova Gorica).

Civil protection to get EUR 45m in EU funds

GORNJA RADGONA - The Slovenian system of civil protection and disaster relief will receive EUR 25 million for modernisation from the EU recovery and resilience mechanism and another EUR 20 million for the purchase of special equipments to deal with climate change. The funding is expected in the 2021-2027 period. The EUR 20 million will come from cohesion funds that were originally earmarked for other purposes in the 2014-2020 period but have not been spent. Now, they need to be spent by 2023, a panel at the SOBRA defence and security fair was told.

Slovenia donates over 100,000 vaccine doses to Bosnia

LJUBLJANA - The government approved on Wednesday a donation of 100,620 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine against Covid-19 for Bosnia-Herzegovina. The donation was approved at a correspondence session with the Health Ministry announcing the donation is meant as Slovenia's humanitarian aid to Bosnia-Herzegovina in coping with the pandemic.

EU sports officials support European sport model

BLED - EU directors-general near-unanimously endorsed the European model of sport at a two-day session that wrapped up in Bled. Luxembourg was the only country to argue that the American model could be replicated in Europe in some respects, like closed competition systems which do not enable promotion from lower to higher leagues. Overall, the possibility of promotion was highlighted as one of the great strengths of competitions in Europe.

EU healthy lifestyle campaign launched

BLED - The European Commission launched the two-year campaign HealthyLifestyle4All coinciding with Slovenian Sports Day. The initiative, also marking the start of the European Week of Sport, is designed to link sport and active lifestyles with health, food and other policies. Marija Gabriel, European commissioner in charge of sport, and Slovenian Minister for Education, Science and Sport Simona Kustec signed a committent on encouraging life-long physical activity, which is one of Slovenia's priorities during its EU presidency.


23 Sep 2021, 11:30 AM

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 Controversial indecent behaviour amendment voted down

LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly narrowly voted down controversial amendments proposing to introduce fines for indecent behaviour when detected by a police officer. 43 MPs voted in favour and 44 against. Originally, the amendments to the protection of public order act envisaged fines of EUR 500 to EUR 1,000 for insulting senior officials and their families. After strong backlash in the public against the proposal, the definition was expanded on the committee to make indecent behaviour towards anyone punishable by a fine. The centre-left opposition insisted that the proposal sought to silence criticism of those in power. The ruling coalition argued it was to prevent street violence.

EU ministers discuss measures to tackle energy crisis

BRDO PRI KRANJU - EU energy ministers discussed ways to tackle rising power and gas prices. Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson said the Commission could validate "short-term temporary measures" to tackle the effects of the rising prices. She listed tax and excise policies, targeted measures for the energy poor, temporary measures for households and small companies, and direct support for consumers as measures that would be "in accordance with EU regulations". Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec described the Commission's Fit for 55 package as a much needed step forward and said the general consensus was that the package was good, but there was quite a bit of work ahead.

Almost 1,190 new coronavirus infections on Tuesday, ten deaths

LJUBLJANA - A total of 1,186 PCR tests returned positive on Tuesday for a positivity rate of 20%, the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ) said. The number of active cases in the country is estimated at 13,743. The number of patients in hospitals was up further, to 384, including 105 in intensive care, and ten Covid-19 patients died, the government said. The 7-day average of new cases was down by 26 to 1,001 but the 14-day incidence per 100,000 increased by 5 to 649. A total of 7,318 people received a Covid-19 vaccine shot on Tuesday.

Pahor meets Erdogan on sidelines of UN General Assembly

NEW YORK, US - President Borut Pahor, who is in New York for the 76th session of the UN General Assembly, held several bilateral meetings on Tuesday, including with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to discuss cooperation, Afghanistan and migrations. Pahor and Erdogan assessed the Slovenia-Turkey relations as very good, especially since 2011 when the countries signed a strategic partnership, with cooperation especially good in economy. Pahor expects the joint economic commission to meet soon.

Pahor for boosting ties with Vietnam, Cape Verde

NEW YORK, US - President Borut Pahor continued a series of bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the 76th session of the UN General Assembly by meeting his counterpart from Cape Verde Jorge Carlos Fonseca, and from Vietnam Nguyen Xuan Phuc. Being the first such top-level talks, Pahor and Nguyen agreed the meeting could provide a boost to the bilateral relationship and all-round cooperation between the two nations. Interest in deepening political ties was also expressed as Pahor met Fonseca. The pair agreed that time had come for a top state visit.

Slovenia calls for more aid for Yemen at UN event

NEW YORK, US - Foreign Ministry State Secretary Stanislav Raščan called for an increase in aid for Yemen as he took part in a special event on the humanitarian crisis in the country on the sidelines of the 76th session of the UN General Assembly. He expressed concern over the ever larger gap between the humanitarian needs and the available funding. Along with the need to increase the funding for the country the international community would have to make sure that the aid reached the most vulnerable groups.

Assistance provided to evacuated Afghans

LJUBLJANA - Local Afghan staff who were evacuated from Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover of the country are having their lives sorted out in Slovenia with the government making arrangements concerning welfare, housing, healthcare and education. They will receive cash welfare payments, their healthcare will be paid for, and education will be provided. The government Office for Integration of Migrants will provide assistance in integration and the Defence Ministry will provide housing for a year rent-free.

Slovenia, Australia to talk double taxation avoidance deal

CANBERRA, Australia - Slovenia and Australia will start negotiations to conclude an agreement on avoidance of double taxation next year, the Slovenian Embassy in Canberra announced, adding that such an agreement was expected to have a positive influence on the volume of economic cooperation between the countries, especially in investment. Slovenia presented its version of the agreement to Australia in June 2018, and it is thanks to the effort by the embassy, the Slovenian Foreign Ministry and other bodies that the negotiations will now finally start.

Audiovisual services act falls short in revote

LJUBLJANA - An audiovisual services act whose core provision was a 6% levy on content providers to finance a new fund for the production of domestic content fell two votes short in a parliamentary vote after it was vetoed by the upper chamber of parliament. The National Council veto came after sharp criticism by content providers as well as the Association of Slovenian Journalists. Content providers such as TV stations and video-on-demand platforms would be required to earmark 6% of their gross annual revenue to the special fund, which would be under the control of the Culture Ministry.

Rules on pet care tightened up

LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly voted overwhelmingly in favour of a bill that seeks to better protect pets, increase their well-being and enhance the responsibility of their owners. Under the amendments to the animal protection act, it will be prohibited to tether dogs, except in specific situations such as in the case of guard dogs at farms. Electric collars are being outlawed as well. Guard dogs at farms will be allowed to be kept on a lead at least five metres long that will allow the dog to move around at least four metres in each direction. The latter will need to be implemented by 1 January 2024.

Dividends boost profit of Sovereign Holding

LJUBLJANA - Slovenian Sovereign Holding (SSH) saw its half-year net profit increase more than five-fold year-on-year to EUR 26 million, chiefly as a result of much higher dividend entitlements. Return on equity rose to 6.4% from 4% in the first half of last year. SSH reported having generated EUR 47.8 million in operating profit in the first half of the year. Assets and capital increased by EUR 125 million, which is attributed in part to growth in stock market prices.

Businesses regret withdrawal of social security contribution cap

LJUBLJANA - Employer representatives regretted the government's decision to withdraw a cap on social security contributions from an omnibus de-bureaucratisation bill. "We have realised with regret that as a society, we are not able to reach agreement on Slovenia's key development challenges and on further prosperity of its residents," they said. As the government withdrew several proposals from the bill it was not discussed by parliament today as planned, and the whole parliamentary procedure will start anew.

Nuclear physicist Cizelj named to SSH supervisory board

LJUBLJANA - Leon Cizelj, a nuclear physicist working at the Jožef Stefan Institute, was named a member of the supervisory board of Slovenian Sovereign Holding, as the National Assembly voted 46:36 in favour of his appointment. Cizelj succeeds Igor Kržan, who stepped down from the five-member supervisory board in January. Cizelj is best known in the public as the author of projections of the coronavirus epidemic.

TBP sees revenue down 16% in 2020, still finishes with profit

LENART - TBP, the Lenart-based producer of push-pull bowden cables and plastics employing more than 900 people, saw its revenue decrease by 16% to EUR 54 million last year. The company nevertheless posted nearly half a million euro in net profit, a quarter of the figure in 2019. The company attributed the declining numbers to the Covid-19 pandemic, with CEO Danilo Rojko saying in the annual report that a "tumultuous and demanding year is behind us". Investments planned for this year amount to EUR 2.3 million, total revenue is expected at EUR 61 million and net profit above EUR 2 million.

EUR 28m approved for natural disaster relief equipment

LJUBLJANA - The Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy said it had approved European funds for a project to secure equipment for protection, rescue and assistance in the event of floods. The project is worth EUR 28 million, of which EUR 20 million will come from the EU cohesion funds. The Civil Protection and Disaster Relief Administration will get 40 special cargo vehicles, 164 exchangeable containers and 10 high-performance pump units.

Tobacco tax increasing as of November

LJUBLJANA - Slovenian tobacco prices will rise in November and again in April next year under changes to the excise duty regulation that the government adopted today. A pack of cigarettes will be 4.6% more expensive on average once both rounds of tax increases are implemented. The government projects annual receipts to increase by EUR 15.6 million annually as a result of the tax hike.

Average July wage slightly down to around EUR 1,950 gross

LJUBLJANA - The average gross pay in Slovenia in July stood at EUR 1,941, down 0.6% nominally and 0.2% in real terms on June. Totalling EUR 1,250, the average net pay was down 0.5% in nominal terms and 0.9% in real terms, the Statistics Office said. The average gross pay for July dropped by 1.4% in the public sector over June, while increasing by 0.1% in the private sector. Broken down by sectors, it was the highest in financial and insurance companies, at EUR 2,701.

Consumer confidence continues to deteriorate

LJUBLJANA - Consumer confidence in Slovenia deteriorated for the third month in a row in September as the relevant indicator was down by one percentage point compared to August, which the Statistics Office attributes to more pessimistic expectations regarding the economic situation in the country and financial situation in households.

Slovenia win two team bronzes at Canoe Slalom World Championships

BRATISLAVA, Slovakia - Slovenian kayak and canoe teams won two bronze medals at the outset of the Canoe Slalom World Championships, in the men's team slalom and the men's team whitewater event. Peter Kauzer, Martin Srabotnik and Niko Testen won the bronze medal in the men's team slalom behind France and Slovakia. In the whitewater event, Anže Urankar, Simon Oven and Nejc Žnidarčič were bested only by the surprise winners Germany and France

22 Sep 2021, 04:58 AM

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Logar calls for implementation of Afghanistan benchmarks

NEW YORK, US - Foreign Minister Anže Logar urged his EU peers to stick with the agreement they reached at an informal meeting in Slovenia in September regarding Afghanistan, as EU foreign ministers held a meeting on the margins of the UN General Assembly on Monday. He said the framework agreed at September's Gymnich meeting should be implemented and the EU should pursue a single, coordinated approach to the management of migrations and the provision of humanitarian aid.

Slovenian, South Korean presidents exchange decorations

NEW YORK, US - President Borut Pahor and his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in exchanged state decorations as they held talks on the margins of the UN General Assembly meeting on Monday. Moon received the Order of Merit for Distinguished Service, conferred for exceptional work and merits rendered in advancing the sovereignty, prosperity, renown and progress of Slovenia, while Pahor was given the Grand Order of Mugunghwa for outstanding services in the interest of promoting the development and security of the Republic of Korea.

Minister urges Frontex to help member states, third countries

PORTOROŽ - The situation on the EU's external border, in particular on the border with Belarus, was high on the agenda as the management board of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) started a two-day meeting in Slovenia. Interior Minister Aleš Hojs said Frontex had to help EU member states as well as third countries. Fabrice Leggeri, the executive director of Frontex, said the agency was sending out the message that it was protecting European borders and was determined to protect them from hybrid threats whose goal was to destabilise Europe.

Aukus pact may be discussed by EU leaders at Brdo

BRUSSELS, Belgium - The issue of the Aukus pact between Australia, the UK and US was brought up by some EU member states a session of the EU's General Affairs Council, chaired by Gašper Dovžan, a state secretary at the Slovenian Foreign Ministry. Divžan said the issue was expected to be discussed at future meetings, including EU summit. The first opportunity will be as EU leaders meet over dinner to talk about China an trade ahead of the EU-Western Balkans summit at Brdo on 6 October.

Debureaucratisation bill watered down

LJUBLJANA - The government removed the controversial cap on social security contributions from the omnibus debureaucratisation bill due to a lack of support, it follows from documents posted on the government web site. The new proposal of the bill, adopted by the government at a correspondence session on Monday, also no longer includes amendments to several other laws as they would block the legislative procedure. The original bill was to be discussed by parliament on first reading On Wednesday.

MPs divided on fines for indecent behaviour

LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly debated amendments to the public order act that introduce fines for indecent behaviour if detected by police officers on the spot. Most opposition MPs said the purpose was to silence criticism of the authorities, while the coalition argued the goal was to prevent street violence. The proposal originally envisaged a EUR 500-1,000 fine for "fighting, shouting or acting indecently" toward top state officials, but the coalition expanded the offence to indecent behaviour towards anyone.

Four opposition parties finalise agreement on post-election cooperation

LJUBLJANA - Four centre-left opposition parties announced they had finalised an agreement on cooperation after the election. Party leaders initialled the agreement today and will sign it next week pending approval by the top decision-making bodies of each of the parties. The agreement involves the Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ), Social Democrats (SD), Left and Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB). The SAB council unanimously endorsed the pact, with the remaining parties to hold sessions at the weekend.

Two MPs to sue minister over false accusation

LJUBLJANA - Two opposition deputies will take Interior Minister Aleš Hojs to court after he implied they were participating in the organisation of anti-government protests. Hojs made the statement last week and was urged to apologise, but because he did not, Social Democrat (SD) MPs Matjaž Nemec and Marko Koprivec said they would lodge a lawsuit. If they win damages, they plan to donate the money to charity.

Over 1,300 new coronavirus infections, three deaths on Monday

LJUBLJANA - The number of positive coronavirus tests totalled 1,308 in Slovenia on Monday, according to the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ), in what is a slight drop from a week ago. The number of patients in hospitals was up further as ICU cases exceeded 100 for the first time since May. Three new deaths were reported.

Ministers call for greater energy connectivity in region

LJUBLJANA - A ministerial of the Initiative on Central and South-Eastern European Energy Connectivity agreed that energy connectivity is key for successful and cost-effective energy transition. The current situation and future of energy systems in the region was also debated with European Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson. The first part of the session in Ljubljana discussed priority electricity infrastructure projects, coupling of markets and inclusion of renewable energy sources in the system.

Court of Audit finds government partially successful in reducing poverty

LJUBLJANA - The Court of Audit has found that the government and the Labour Ministry were partially successful in reducing poverty between 2017 and 2020. While the main targets for the 2017-2020 period were met, the government and the ministry were not successful in reducing poverty risk rates for all deprived and vulnerable groups. The ministry said it was already acting to amend the flaws. Meanwhile, the opposition Left proposed the ministry recalculate the minimum cost of living, which determines the level of social transfers and the minimum wage.

Man who raised controversy with Hitler tweet in prison

LJUBLJANA - The online edition of Večer reported that Urban Purgar, a high-profile member of the far-right Yellow Jackets movement who sparked controversy in Slovenia with a tweet glorifying Hitler, is in prison since Monday, allegedly for committing the crime of violence. Purgar resigned as the head of the Association for the Promotion of Traditional Values earlier this month in the wake of controversy after he posted a tweet reading "Hitler is #hero" on 1 August.

Budget R&D spending up for fifth year in a row

LJUBLJANA - Budget funding for research and development (R&D) stood at EUR 243.5 million in 2020, up 11% over the year before and the fifth consecutive annual increase, show Statistics Office data. Spending increased in relative terms as well, amounting to 0.52% of GDP.

Slovenia submits Sanremo for nomination in Oscars race

LJUBLJANA - Sanremo, a film about life in a nursing home and dementia, by Miroslav Mandić has been selected by a group of experts as the Slovenian entry for a nomination for the best international feature film award at the Oscars 2022, announced the Slovenian Association of Filmmakers.

Diaspora painter Klavdij Palčič dies

TRIESTE, Italy - Klavdij Palčič, a leading ethnic Slovenian artist from Italy, has died aged 81 after a long illness, Primorski Dnevnik reported. He was a politically active member of the minority and headed the Slovenian Cultural and Economic Association for several years. Alongside his teacher Avgust Černigoj (1898-1985) and Lojze Spacal (1907-2000), Palčič is considered one of the finest Slovenian artists from Trieste.

Slovenia generated almost 9% less waste last year y/y

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia generated less waste in 2020 compared to 2019, according to the Statistics Office. Less waste was generated in economic activities, while municipal waste from households and the healthcare sector increased, especially waste that requires special collection and disposal treatment to prevent infection, due to Covid-19.

Potočar wins silver in lead at Climbing Worlds

MOSCOW, Russia - Luka Potočar won silver in the men's lead event at the IFSC Climbing World Championships in Moscow in what is the best career achievement for the 19-year-old and the 19th medal for Slovenia ever at the competition, the first in the lead event for men. As many as 17 of these medals have been won by women climbers, including seven by Olympic gold medallist Janja Garnbret, who is not participating in the World Championships in Russia.

Tomaž Barada to head Slovenian team at 2022 Winter Olympics

LJUBLJANA - The executive committee of the Slovenian Olympic Committee (OKS) named Tomaž Barada, the president of the OKS expert committee for professional sport, the head of the Slovenian team at the Winter Olympics in Beijing, which will take place from 4 to 20 February 2022. The current vice-president of the OKS is a former martial artist in kick boxing and taekwon-do, in which he has won six European champion and three world champion titles.


21 Sep 2021, 04:39 AM

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Renewables in focus as Commissioner Simson visits

BREŽICE - European Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson started a visit to Slovenia by visiting the Brežice hydro power plant, accompanied by Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec. The pair stressed the importance of renewable energy sources with Vrtovec saying the resources offered by nature should be used and invested in. Simson and Vrtovec also exchanged views on efforts for a coal phaseout. Simson pointed to the green deal, adding she was happy to see how individual countries approached it.

Govt working on risk mitigation due to prospect of compensation for wiped-out bank investors

LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Janez Janša believes the erasure of shareholders and subordinated bondholders as part of Slovenia's 2013/14 bank bailout could pose a risk of potentially high compensations. He said the government was working towards mitigating these risks. Janša, answering a question from an MP at the start of a plenary, said there were some other skeletons falling out of the closet. "There are many of these decisions that were made under left governments, which the media do not scrutinise, law enforcement does not act, but sooner or later, bills are issued," he said.

Pahor and Logar attending UN General Assembly

NEW YORK, US - A Slovenian delegation led by President Borut Pahor, who will be accompanied by Foreign Minister Anže Logar, will attend the United Nations General Assembly this week. The high-level general debate starts on Tuesday and Pahor will deliver his address on Friday. Pahor will also participate in the Food Systems Summit and attend the reception for heads of state and government hosted by Secretary General Antonio Gutteres, with whom he is scheduled to have a one-on-one meeting on Friday.

Vaccine uptake accelerates as Covid pass becomes mandatory

LJUBLJANA - The Covid pass mandate introduced last week has led to a surge in vaccination. Almost 84,000 shots were administered last week, the highest weekly figure since early June, show data from the national vaccination registry. At present 46% of Slovenia's population is fully vaccinated and 52% have received at least one jab. Among adults, the rates are 55% and 61%, respectively.

EU, US officials discuss ties in judiciary, home affairs

LJUBLJANA - Security challenges, cooperation in fighting terrorism, exchange of information, violent extremism, hate speech and racism, were in the focus of Monday's meeting of EU and US justice and home affairs officials, which was held in Ljubljana as part of Slovenia's EU presidency. "With close cooperation, we can ensure a high level of security for our citizens," said Slovenia's Deputy Police Commissioner Jože Senica, who co-chaired the meeting.

Slovenia to sell over 20,000 doses of Moderna to Australia

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia will sell to Australia 20,400 doses of the Moderna vaccine it has already ordered but not yet received, after Australia asked EU members at the end of August for help it in its Covid-19 vaccination effort. Selling the vaccine on to Australia will not endanger public health in Slovenia, the government said. Since Australia wants the vaccine to be delivered directly from the producer, Slovenia will sell it some of the doses it has not yet been delivered.

Public divided over mandatory vaccination

LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian public is divided over mandatory vaccination against Covid-19 with a poll commissioned by the newspapers Dnevnik and Večer showing a majority of 48.9% to 46.7% being in favour of a vaccination mandate. Meanwhile, more than half in the Vox Populi poll agreed with the recovered-vaccinated-tested (PTC) rule imposed on staff and customers across activities, against a third (32.5%), who did not find the measure sensible.

291 coronavirus cases, five deaths on Sunday

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia recorded another 291 coronavirus cases on Sunday, nine more than the same day a week ago. The 7-day average of new cases rose by one to 1,039 and the 14-day incidence per 100,000 was up by three to 624. The number of hospitalised patients rose by three to 363 with 97 now in intensive care. Five patients died, official data shows. Labour Minister Janez Cigler Kralj said infections were also rising fast in care homes, but as almost 96% residents were vaccinated serious symptoms were rare.

Valentin Areh endorsed as acting TV Slovenija director

LJUBLJANA - The programming council of RTV Slovenija gave the green light to appoint Valentin Areh acting director of the public broadcaster's TV programme section, TV Slovenija. The council voted 19:2 for Areh's appointment for up to six months or until a full-fledged director is appointed. The 50-year-old worked for private broadcaster POP TV in 1996-2010 and joined TV Slovenija's news programme in 2010, and has reported from several wars, including in the Balkans, Chechnya and Iraq. The move comes after Natalija Gorščak was dismissed from the post on 20 August.

Early diagnosis of Alzheimer's key, but obstacles remain

LJUBLJANA - Early detection of Alzheimer's disease is instrumental for providing treatment in the early stages of the disease, but ahead of World Alzheimer's Day, experts point to obstacles to early detection, including lack of staff and expensive diagnostics. Štefanija Lukič Zlobec, the head of the Alzheimer awareness association Spominčica, estimates there are 33,000-34,000 dementia patients in Slovenia, whereby three quarters of those with early signs of the disease are undiagnosed.

Vox Populi poll: Government rating remains low

LJUBLJANA - The Vox Populi poll run by the newspapers Dnevnik and Večer shows that support for the government is at 28%, one of the lowest ratings so far. Nevertheless, the ruling Democrats (SDS) remain in the lead among parties, at 18.4%, followed by three opposition parties - the Social Democrats (SD) at 13.3%, Left at 9.2% and the Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) at 8.9%. All parties were slightly up over August. Meanwhile, Health Minister Janez Poklukar fell from third to 12th in politicians' popularity raking.

Slovenia ranks 36th in digital quality of life

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia ranks 36th among 110 countries in digital quality of life, according to a survey conducted by IT company Surfshark, after it ranked 23rd among 85 countries last year. Slovenia is above average in internet accessibility (22nd), while it fared worst in terms of the quality of internet connections (52nd). Surfshark noted that while Slovenia had slipped 13 points compared to last year's survey, its total score was still around 10% above the global average.

Tam-Europe revenue down 70% in 2020 due to pandemic

MARIBOR - The Maribor-based bus and commercial vehicle manufacturer TAM-Europe slipped further into the red last year because of the pandemic. Since one of its main activities is production of airport shuttle buses and the aviation industry has been virtually brought to a standstill last year, the company's revenue plummeted by 70% to EUR 4.1 million. According to the annual report of the Chinese-owned company, the loss increased from EUR 2.2 million to almost EUR 3.9 million.

Cukrarna Gallery a new platform for contemporary art

LJUBLJANA - The Cukrarna Gallery, managed by the Museum and Galleries of Ljubljana (MGML), will open its doors to the public on Friday in a completely renovated former sugar factory on the banks of the river Ljubljanica, in what marks the creation of a new platform for contemporary art. The opening exhibition will feature works by Slovenian and foreign artists including Jimmie Durham, winner of the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the Venice Biennale.


20 Sep 2021, 05:04 AM

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 Slovenia win silver at European Volleyball Championship

KATOWICE, Poland - Slovenia have the second consecutive silver at the European Volleyball Championship after losing to Italy 2:3. With silver medals from the 2015 and 2019 tournaments Slovenia were hoping to take it one step further this time, but Italy proved too strong in a game of equals.

545 new coronavirus cases confirmed, hospital figures flat

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia confirmed 545 new cases of coronavirus on Saturday, down slightly on the week before. The 14-day case notification rate per 100,000 population stood at 621 and the seven-day average of new daily cases at 1,038, according to the National Institute of Public Health. Hospital numbers remained broadly flat with 360 patients in hospital, of which 90 in intensive care. Four patients with Covid-19 died.

Gender pay gap in Slovenia at 2.2% in 2020

LJUBLJANA - The pay gap between men and women in Slovenia narrowed slightly in 2020, by 3.6 points annually to 2.2%, preliminary figures released by the Statistics Office show. The gap in the private sector stood at 6.5% and at 10.7% in the public sector. Average monthly net pay in the country increased by 5.4% to EUR 1,252 in 2020 over 2019. Men's average monthly net pay was 0.7% above the average, while women's was 0.8% below the average.

Jasmine Paolini wins Portorož WTA tournament

PORTOROŽ - Italian tennis player Jasmine Paolini won the WTA tournament in Portorož, defeating Alison Riske of the US in straight sets 7:6 (4), 6:2 to clinch her maiden WTA title. Paolini knocked out four seeded players, including Dayana Yastremska, Sorana Cirstea and Yulia Putintseva, on the way to her first final.


19 Sep 2021, 05:00 AM

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Tonin discusses cooperation with Czech counterpart

PRAGUE, Czech Republic - Defence Minister Matej Tonin, who is concluding a two-day visit to the Czech Republic on Saturday, meet his Czech counterpart Lubomir Metnar on the sidelines of NATO Days on Friday to discuss cooperation in international operations and bilateral cooperation in defence, including in mountain warfare.

1,248 new coronavirus infections recorded on Friday, three deaths

LJUBLJANA - A total of 1,248 new coronavirus infections were recorded in Slovenia on Friday, according to the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ). Three Covid-19 patients died and the number of patients in hospitals has increased but the share of adults who have received the first shot of a Covid vaccine topped 60%, the government said.

Minister says Covid pass introduced to restrain epidemic not enforce vaccination

MARIBOR - Health Minister Janez Poklukar said in an interview with the newspaper Večer that the expansion of the Covid pass requirement had been introduced to put the epidemic under control not to force anyone to get vaccinated. He said hospitals would soon need to restrict access to their services due to rising Covid-19 hospitalisations.

Fraport Slovenija to get new head in October

LJUBLJANA - Fraport Slovenija, the company managing the Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport, will get a new head next month, as the term of Zmago Skobir expires at the end of September. He will be succeeded by Babett Stapel, who is currently serving as managing director, Fraport Slovenija told the STA. Skobir will remain a procurator and adviser to the management.

Catholic youth gathering in Stična celebrates 40th anniversary

STIČNA - Youth Stična, a gathering of Catholic youths, is under way today, focussing on the issue of fear and insecurity among the young. Marking the 40th anniversary, the event was addressed by President Borut Pahor and Alojzij Cvikl, the archbishop of Marbor. Pahor urged the youth to strive for dialogue, tolerance and respect.

Best youth and children's book prize goes to Sebastijan Pregelj

MARIBOR - Sebastijan Pregelj is the winner of this year's Večernica prize for the best youth and children's book written in the past year. He won the award given out by the Maribor-based newspaper Večer for his book Vrnitev (Return), the sixth book from a series of stories on life in the late Stone Age in the Ljubljana marshes. Večer reported online. Pregelj will accept the award worth EUR 3,000 at a literary festival in the city of Murska Sobota on 19 September.

ICT sector maintains robust growth

LJUBLJANA - The Slovenia sector of information and communications technologies (ICT) continued to grow in 2020. Both the number of staff working in the sector and its revenue rose, show the latest Statistics Office data. The number of employees and the self-employed working in ICT rose by 2% to almost 30,000. Revenue likewise rose by 2% to EUR 4.55 billion, which compares to a 6% drop in revenue for the corporate sector as a whole.

Floorings maker Juteks reports higher sales, profit

ŽALEC - Juteks, a maker of floorings owned by the Belgian Beaulieu International Group, has not been affected much by the Covid-19 pandemic. Sales revenue rose by 2.3% to EUR 43.3 million in 2020 and net profit was up by more than 30% to EUR 5.8 million. Earnings before income tax, depreciation and amortisation was almost a quarter higher at EUR 9 million, whereas operating profit, at EUR 7.1 million, was up by 31% over the year before, shows the company's annual report.

Levitating turntable maker goes into receivership

LJUBLJANA - Mag-Lev Audio, a Slovenian startup that developed the first levitating turntable in the world and collected EUR 800,000 in Kickstarter and Indie Gogo campaigns, has gone into receivership. After launching production, the company failed to find a market for its product. The Nova Gorica District Court launched receivership proceedings on 10 September, according to the AJPES agency for legal records.

18 Sep 2021, 04:38 AM

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 Slovenia becomes member of EU Med

ATHENS, Greece - Slovenia officially became a member of the club of Mediterranean EU countries henceforth known as EU Med, which grew from seven to nine members with the inclusion of Slovenia and Croatia at a summit in Athens. PM Janez Janša said after the meeting it was a great honour for Slovenia to join the group, which was expanding at a crucial time during Slovenia's presidency of the EU. "This gives Slovenia a new opportunity for coordinating all open issues on the agenda." Slovenia has long lobbied to become a member and its formal application dates back to 2015. Janša's office said prior to the summit that Slovenia's inclusion was the result of its long-standing efforts to increase its presence in the Mediterranean area and forge closer links with Mediterranean countries.

Slovenia gets first batch of EU recovery and resilience funds

LJUBLJANA - The European Commission paid out the first, EUR 231 million batch of EU funds to Slovenia as part of the recovery and resilience plan, which is 13% of the total amount Slovenia is to receive. The money will be allocated for sustainable mobility and digital transformation projects. "Good news for Slovenia. The first disbursement of funds under #NextGenerationEU kick-starts the green and digital transition in the country," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen wrote on Twitter. Finance Minister Andrej Šircelj welcomed the news. "This is an important achievement for Slovenia and a big step forward in the implementation of the goals set," he was quoted as saying by the Finance Ministry.

Rolling 7-day coronavirus average tops 1,000

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's daily coronavirus count topped 1,000 for the fourth day running as 1,143 new cases were reported for Thursday, to push the 7-day average to 1,017, up by 20 from the previous day. According to the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ), the 14-day incidence per 100,000 residents has increased to 587, up by 25 from the previous day. Health Minister Janez Poklukar said at the government press briefing that there were now 348 Covid patients in hospitals, including 86 in intensive care, while another six patients died yesterday.

PCT rule being narrowed to PC rule for state administration

LJUBLJANA - The government adopted late on Thursday changes to the Covid pass mandate under which some 31,500 public sector employees will need to be either Covid-19 reconvalescent or vaccinated starting from 1 October. The decision means testing will no longer be accepted for employees of government departments and their bodies, inspection services, police and army, and of administrative units. The PC rule will not apply to the other segments of the some 170,000-strong public sector. The Trade Union of State Bodies plans to challenge the new rule at the Constitutional Court. The government meanwhile added several further exceptions to the recovered-vaccinated-tested (PCT) rule, including for teenagers younger than 15, and for access to charities and other humanitarian aid points.

Three injured in shooting in Ljubljana's BTC shopping area

LJUBLJANA - Three persons were injured in a shooting in a bar at the BTC shopping district in Ljubljana on Friday. Two were injured with fire arms and the third sustained a blow with an object, the Ljubljana Police Department said. All three were taken to hospital, but their lives are said not to be in danger. The unknown perpetrators fled from the scene of the crime and have not yet been traced down. According to private broadcaster POP TV, several shots were heard at the bar, scaring other clients with some thinking a shooting spree was going on. Witnesses also told POP TV pepper spray was used. The motive of the crime remains unclear.

Cabinet members, police officials called to testify before parliamentary inquiry

LJUBLJANA - A parliamentary commission of inquiry which is investigating alleged politicisation of police plans to interview 30 officials, among them top government officials including PM Janez Janša and former and current top police officials, the commission's chair Rudi Medved told the press after the commission's firts session. The inquiry was formally launched in March at the request of the opposition to investigate potential interference by holders of public office in the work of the police since March 2020, when the current government was sworn in.

*Friday protesters file criminal complaint against Janša

LJUBLJANA - Anti-government protestors gathered in Republic Square in Ljubljana this evening, announcing they had filed a criminal complaint over corruption against PM Janez Janša earlier in the day, to coincide with his birthday. Every Janša government has been marked by corruption and nepotism, which has reached new dimensions in the last year and a half, said the Protest People's Assembly, as the organisers term themselves.

Minister attends independence ceremony in Cleveland

CLEVELAND, US - Minister for Slovenians Abroad Helena Jaklitsch attended a ceremony in Cleveland on Thursday marking the 30th anniversary of Slovenia's independence, organised by the Slovenian community in the US and the consulate general in Cleveland. Before addressing the event, she meet business executives, local politicians, a bishop of Slovenian descent, the mayor, and visited Slovenian charity AMLA. The meeting with the business executives focussed on the possibilities and challenges in business cooperation between Slovenia and the US. Jaklitsch will continue her US visit in New York, Indianapolis, Milwaukee and the Chicago area.

Four bids for Constitutional Court judge in new call

LJUBLJANA - Four bids have arrived for President Borut Pahor's renewed call for applications for one vacant post on the Constitutional Court. Pahor will consult the heads of the parliamentary groups and representatives of the national communities on the applications and select a nominee, followed by a vote in the National Assembly. The four applicants are Franci Ježek, Marko Starman, Rok Svetlič and Andraž Teršek, three of whom had already applied in at least one of the previous calls. The four candidates are vying for the seat of Dunja Jadek Pensa, whose term expired on 14 July last year.

Illegal migration down by 43% in first eight months y/y

LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian police processed 5,833 illegal crossings of the border in the first eight months of 2021, 43% fewer than in the same period last year. The most frequently processed illegal migrants were from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh, who accounted for around a half of the total. The police note that the rise in the number of illegal crossings of the border is currently smaller than expected. The number of migrants who express the wish to apply for international protection has decreased, except in the case of Pakistani citizens.

Slovenian Zero Waste House wins New European Bauhaus award

BRUSSELS, Belgium - The Slovenian Zero Waste House project is among the winners of the New European Bauhaus Rising Stars awards, given to concepts that exemplify sustainability, aesthetics and inclusiveness, the European Commission announced. Among the 10 categories is the category of buildings renovated in a spirit of circularity, where the Zero Waste House, a project to transform a 130-year-old residence in Žalec, was declared the winner. "These projects offer great hope for our fight against climate change and for a European Green Deal," said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

MP urges fellow Slovenians to declare themselves in Croatia census

ZAGREB, Croatia - Barbara Antolić Vupora, the Croatian MP of Slovenian descent, appealed to fellow ethnic Slovenians in Croatia to declare themselves Slovenian in the ongoing census to ensure their grandchildren enjoy at least the same standard of minority rights as the minority enjoys today. She warned that Slovenians were slowly disappearing as a minority in Croatia, which could lead to a loss of rights they are guaranteed under Croatian legislation. In the most recent census in Croatia in 2011, 10,517 people declared themselves Slovenian, less than half the figure in 1991, at 22,376. In the 2001 census there were 13,713.

One migrant dead, four injured in car crash

PODLEHNIK/KOPER - One migrant died and four were injured when a car transporting nine illegal migrants from Pakistan crashed while fleeing from the police south of Ptuj, eastern Slovenia. Police tried to pull over the vehicle near the border with Croatia, but the driver kept going until he missed a turn and slid down an embankment, Maribor police said. The driver and a passenger fled the scene but one of them has already been arrested. A criminal investigation is ongoing.

Fifth biannual festival of Slovenians in Italy kicks off

TRIESTE, Italy - Slofest, a festival of Slovenian culture in Italy, is bringing three days of programme presenting activities of the Slovenian community in Italy: culture, art, sports and creativity. Unlike in the past when the main venue of the festival was Piazza della Borsa square, this year the main events will be held in Piazza Sant'Antonio Nuovo square. In the spirit of the multiculturalism of the Friuli Venezia Giulia region, other communities - Serbian, Greek, Jewish and Lutheran - will also present themselves around the city as part of the festival.

Cerknica Lake dry for first time in 18 years

CERKNICA - Cerknica Lake is Slovenia's largest natural lake when full, but this September the intermittent lake is completely dry for the first time in 18 years, and it will take a lot of rain to fill it up again. "Official measurements show we have had about 30% of the normal amount of rain for this time of year by today," Dejvid Tratnik of the Notranjsko Regional Park said yesterday before rain clouds made their way into the country. While there should be at least some of the lake visible at this time of year, the water level has dropped to as low as 22 metres below the ground level.


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