Ljubljana related

20 Apr 2019, 09:04 AM

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This summary is provided by the STA

Career diplomat Šuc slated for top diplomatic job in Croatia

LJUBLJANA - The government has appointed career diplomat Vojislav Šuc Slovenia's new ambassador to Croatia, the newspaper Dnevnik reported. Before leaving for Zagreb, Šuc will need to present himself to the parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee and get approval from Croatia, Dnevnik noted, adding that no complications are expected. Earlier this week, Dnevnik reported that Marko Makovec was considered the favourite for the job. He was reportedly eliminated from contention after threatening a journalist who reported about him receiving congratulations for the appointment on Facebook before the process had been concluded.

Social partners endorse guidelines for new social pact

LJUBLJANA - The Economic and Social Council endorsed starting points for debate on the social pact proposal put forward by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS) without taking positions on details yet. The GZS's proposal, presented in early March, seeks a reform of the pay system in the corporate sector for 2019-2025 centred around tying wage growth to productivity gains.

Refugee registration centre case to be taken to Supreme Court

ILIRSKA BISTRICA - The Ilirska Bistrica city council decided on Thursday to appeal to the Supreme Court against the Administrative Court decision banning the municipality from carrying out a referendum on a planned registration centre for migrants. The councillors, belonging to various political parties, believe that by banning the referendum the Administrative Court has infringed on the constitutional rights of the municipality's citizens.

Constitutional Court to treat 2019 budget review as priority

LJUBLJANA - The Constitutional Court has announced it will treat as an absolute priority the request from the centre-right opposition Democrats (SDS) and New Slovenia (NSi) to review the state budget documents passed in parliament last month. The review will apply to three documents: the law on the implementation of the budgets for 2018 and 2019, the supplementary budget for 2019 and the decree on the 2018-2020 framework for public finances. The SDS and NSi believe the 2019 budget is not in line with the Constitution because it does not take into account the fiscal rule.

Šoltes endorsed as DeSUS Euro vote frontrunner

LJUBLJANA - The Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) endorsed MEP Igor Šoltes as its frontrunner for the 26 May EU election. Apart from Šoltes, DeSUS's ticket also includes assistant to the party's outgoing MEP Ivo Vajgl, Damjan Stanonik, and the head of the Slovenian Philanthropy, Tereza Novak. Other are less known names. Contrary to previous speculation, party leader Karl Erjavec will not stand. "I didn't see a challenge there," he said.

Debate calls for definition of precarious work, systemic measures

LJUBLJANA - A debate on precarious work hosted by the Labour Ministry and the National Council agreed that everybody deserves decent pay for their work and has the right to social security. Such forms of work should therefore be defined and measures found at the systemic level to tackle the issue, the debate heard. "Since precarious work brings numerous negative consequences both for the economic and social security of an individual, it is high time to introduce measures at the systemic level," said Labour Minister Ksenija Klampfer.

General govt surplus in 2018 EUR 34m above initial calculations

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia generated a EUR 34m higher general government surplus in 2018 than the initial calculation released by the Statistics Office in March, which put it at EUR 303m. The new figure was calculated following the regular procedure of data explanation to Eurostat, the Statistics Office said. The surplus was equivalent to 0.7% of GDP, while the country's debt amounted to EUR 32.23bn, the equivalent of 70.1% of GDP.

Tourism accounted for 12% of Slovenia's GDP in 2018

LJUBLJANA - Tourism contributed EUR 5.7bn or 12.3% to the Slovenian gross domestic product (GDP) in 2018, according to a report by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC). The sector employed 110,700 people or 12.8% of total employment. The annual contribution of tourism to the Slovenian GDP increased by 6% compared to 2017, the Slovenian Tourist Board said.

Consumer confidence drops for third month in a row

LJUBLJANA - The consumer confidence indicator for Slovenia has deteriorated for the third month in a row in April, dropping by one percentage point at the monthly level and by nine points year-on-year, Statistics Office data show. The consumer confidence indicator in April was down four percentage points compared to January, but was still 12 points higher than the long-term average.

Slovenia gets honorary consulate in Seoul

SEOUL, South Korea- Slovenia has opened a consulate in the South Korean capital of Seoul, which is headed by Honorary Consul Chung Mong Won, chairman of Halla Corporation. The consulate was inaugurated on Thursday by Slovenian Foreign Ministry State Secretary Simona Leskovar, who noted that the initiative for the consulate had been made at the Slovenian House at the PyeongChang Olympics in February 2018.

Good State joins EU election race

LJUBLJANA - The non-parliamentary party the Good State, founded by former MP Bojan Dobovšek, will also vie for seats in the European Parliament in the 26 May election. The party, which is no more than a blip in opinion poll charts, is building its campaign on fight against corruption. The first name on the ticket of the Good State is Robert Golob, who is in charge of Slovenia's political relations with China at the Foreign Ministry.

Lonstroff defends Slovenia boss, says site purchase decision collective

LJUBLJANA/ZURICH, Switzerland - The management of Lonstroff, a Swiss maker of elastomers, has spoken up in defence of its Slovenia director in the aftermath of reports that he is suspected of defrauding his company of EUR 1.7m with the acquisition of land for a manufacturing facility near Logatec. The management board of Lonstroff AG contacted the Office of the State Prosecutor General to confirm that "as buyers they were familiar with the provisions of the Sales Agreement for the purchase of immovable property in Logatec," the company said in a written statement for the STA.

Slovenian airline traffic up by 8% last year

LJUBLJANA - Last year around 1.8 million passengers passed through the three Slovenian international airports in Ljubljana, Maribor and Portorož, 8% more than in 2017, according to the Statistics Office. 12,363 tonnes of cargo were transloaded in the three airports, a figure 6% larger than the previous year. Almost all of the cargo was transported with scheduled flights.

Portorož boat show to feature 150 exhibitors in mid-May

PORTOROŽ - Marina Portorož will host between 16 and 19 May a boat show featuring around 150 exhibitors and 100 vessels, which are expected to attract around 15,000 visitors. The organisers are also promising an attractive accompanying programme. The organisers expect around 150 exhibitors and around 100 vessels, including 60 in the water, and are announcing a number of premieres. In addition to large sail boats and motorboats and yachts, also to be presented will be various nautical equipment.

19 Apr 2019, 02:29 AM

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This summary is provided by the STA

Budget blueprints just within fiscal rule

LJUBLJANA - The Fiscal Council found the budgets planned for 2020-2022 to be on the edge of what is still acceptable under the fiscal rule. While the 2019 budget violates the fiscal rule, the blueprint of 2020-2022 general government sector budgets adopted last week "walk the edge," said council chair Davorin Kračun. The blueprint projects for budget revenue to exceed expenditure by 1% of GDP in 2020. In the two years after that the surplus is to increase even more.

Govt tightens control of bad bank

LJUBLJANA - The government adopted guidelines that will give it more say over the day-to-day dealings of the Bank Assets Management Company (BAMC). These come in response to several controversial decisions adopted by the bad bank and an adverse audit report that highlighted serious shortcomings in governance. The guidelines stipulate that the bad bank will have to consult the government before taking strategic decisions, such as sale of property designated in national documents as strategically important.

Slovenia catching up with EU peers in development

LJUBLJANA - The Institute of Economic Analysis and Development released its annual development report which finds that the gap between Slovenia's economic development and the EU average has been narrowing since 2016. Nevertheless, the country will have to speed up its productivity growth, adjust to demographic change, promote the role of the state in development, and protect the environment. Productivity growth since the crisis has remained modest and innovation indices are negative.

Govt adopts proposal to enter sign language into constitution

LJUBLJANA - The government submitted to parliament the proposal to set down the Slovenian sign language as an official language in the constitution, starting the procedure of enabling the Slovenian deaf and hearing-impaired community to fully exercise their basic human rights. Labour Minister Ksenija Klampfer said the deaf and hearing-impaired considered the sign language their native tongue so its status needed to be regulated. There are around 1,000 deaf people and some 100 deaf-blind in Slovenia who use the sign language.

Real estate valuation delayed by nearly a year

LJUBLJANA - The government adopted legislative amendments to delay the next round of real estate appraisal until next year. Instead of this summer, the valuation will be completed by the end of March 2020. Environment and Spatial Planning Minister Simon Zajc said that the changes to the act on mass appraisal of real estate were needed to allow more time to find consensus about valuation models used. The appraisal is basis for the introduction of the real estate tax, which has been delayed for years.

Slovenia unlikely to hit 2020 renewables target

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia is unlikely to hit the target to raise the share of renewables in total gross energy consumption to 25% by 2020, suggest government documents released on Thursday. Getting there would require tripling the pace of increase achieved in 2010-2017. The share of renewables stood at 21.5% in 2017, 3.5 percentage points or two terawatt hours short of the target, the Government Communications Office said.

Producers and sellers now liable for disposal of waste candles

LJUBLJANA - The government adopted a decree mandating that producers and sellers of grave candles will be liable for the disposal of waste candles. Specially designated waste collecting companies have so far been responsible for disposal, but they have faced mounting problems since the system is underfunded, with mountains of waste candles building up as a result. It is estimated that Slovenians buy 16 million grave candles each year, generating hundreds of tonnes of waste that has to be carefully disposed.

Judge pressure allegations not deemed as dramatic as presented

LJUBLJANA - The Ljubljana District Court established that the allegations of pressure, made by judge Zvjezdan Radonjić as he delivered the verdict on Tuesday acquitting Milko Novič for the December 2014 murder of Chemistry Institute director, were not as dramatic as presented to the public. "The motion for exclusion and the writing by the head of the Specialised Prosecution Service cannot represent unlawful pressure, even less can such actions be perceived as a demand for disciplining the judge," the court said.

EU projection: SDS/SLS and SD to win two MEPs each

LJUBLJANA - The last projection released by the European Parliament before May's elections forecasts that the opposition Democrats (SDS), running on a joint ticket with the non-parliamentary People's Party (SLS), will win two seats, as many as the coalition Social Democrats (SD). The other four Slovenian seats are projected to go one each to the ruling Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) and the opposition Left, National Party (SNS) and New Slovenia (NSi). Compared to the previous projection, the LMŠ lost two seats.

EU issues top agenda of Hungarian official's visit

LJUBLJANA - Foreign Ministry State Secretary Dobran Božič received Hungarian Minister of State for EU Relations Judit Varga for talks on EU issues, the Foreign Ministry said. The officials debated issues including "respect for the principles of the rule of law and the future of the Union, in particular in light of the coming European Parliament elections."

Petrol shareholders endorse record dividend payout

LJUBLJANA - The shareholders' meeting of energy company Petrol endorsed the management's proposal to pay out a record EUR 37.6m in dividends at EUR 18 gross per share, two euro more than last year. The remaining EUR 12.2m out of the EUR 49.8m in distributable profit to be retained for other reserves. Czech financial group J&T as the biggest single shareholder (12.78%) raised its demand to be represented on the supervisory board. The state holds a combined 32% in Petrol directly and indirectly.

Housing fund secures loan for 800-unit developments

LJUBLJANA - The national Housing Fund has secured a EUR 50m loan from the Council of Europe Development Bank to build 600-plus affordable rental units in two developments in Ljubljana, and a 200-unit development in Maribor. The flats are scheduled for completion in 2021. The flats will go some way towards addressing a pressing shortage of affordable housing in Slovenia, although demand is significantly higher with estimates suggesting Ljubljana would need 4,000 affordable rental flats now.

Govt sets priorities in fight against crime

LJUBLJANA - The government endorsed a draft resolution on the new national strategy for the prevention of crime in 2019-2023. The resolution addresses different types of crime, including terrorism and hate speech. Terrorism is not considered a direct threat to Slovenia, but the possibility of terrorist activities cannot be excluded, especially targeting foreign representations in the country. Special concern is violent extremism, supported by religion, in the Western Balkans, and in Austria and Italy.

Air quality in Ljubljana improving, cycling on the rise

LJUBLJANA - The air quality in Ljubljana today is significantly better than it was decades ago, Nataša Jazbinšek Seršen of the environment department of the Ljubljana city told the press. The situation has improved so drastically also because increasingly many people cycle rather than drive a car in the city. Contributing the most to air quality, however, was the development of the city's heating system. In 2015, 74% of the population used the system and the goal is to raise this share to 80% by 2024.

Hypersonic vehicle to represent Slovenia at Venice Biennial

LJUBLJANA - A project titled Here We Go Again...System 317 will represent Slovenia at the upcoming 58th International Art Exhibition in Venice. Creator Marko Peljhan revealed that the project would feature a hypersonic propulsion vehicle enabling visitors to reflect on the current global state. The contribution concludes Peljhan's 20-year artistic project Resolution and will enable visitors to pose questions and search for answers regarding the current environmental and political situation in the world.

18 Apr 2019, 09:01 AM

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This summary is provided by the STA

EU Commission files suit against Slovenia over seized ECB files

BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Commission lodged a complaint against Slovenia at the European Court of Justice for its failure to respect the protected status of ECB documents (principle of inviolability of EU archives) and for failure to cooperate sincerely in the context of the seizure of ECB documents as part of a criminal investigation at central bank Banka Slovenije. The case refers to a July 2016 police raid of the offices of Slovenia's central bank, a part of an investigation into the causes of the late-2013 bailout of the Slovenian banking system.

Pahor: Bosnia genuinely wants to be prosperous

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina - Bosnia-Herzegovina genuinely wants its future to be safe and prosperous, and this is closely linked with its EU accession, President Borut Pahor stressed as he addressed the Sarajevo Business Forum on the second day of his visit to the country. The EU should thus take action based on this, because it too would benefit from a more flexible enlargement policy to the Western Balkans. Pahor reiterated the EU enlargement to the Western Balkans was an increasingly geopolitical issue.

Explanations sought after Novič case judge alleges pressure

LJUBLJANA - Marjan Pogačnik, the head of the Ljubljana District Court, urged judge Zvjezdan Radonjić to provide explanations for his allegations yesterday that he faced pressure over the retrial of Milko Novič for the 2014 murder of the Chemistry Institute boss, which ended in acquittal. Pogačnik denied being pressured to discipline the judge, but he confirmed that the head of the Special Prosecution Service complained against Radonjić's conduct. The prosecution also denied the allegations of pressure, while Justice Minister Andreja Katič said she condemned any pressure on judges. The opposition Democratic Party (SDS) indicated it would seek an emergency parliamentary session on the matter.

Ministry proposes changes to financing of private primaries

LJUBLJANA - The Education Ministry put forward draft amendments to the education financing act, proposing that private primary schools get full state funding to teach publicly approved curricula, however, the conditions under which they will get the concession are to be stiffened. The proposal, submitted for a three-week consultation period, is set to implement the 2014 Constitutional Court ruling mandating full rather than 85% state financing of publicly approved curricula at private primaries.

SNS first to submit EU election list

LJUBLJANA - The opposition National Party (SNS) filed its list of candidates for May's EU election to the National Electoral Commission as the first party to do so. "We filed it first and we expect the same result in the elections," party leader and MP Zmago Jelinčič, who tops the list, told the press on the occasion. One of the latest opinion polls projected the SNS winning one of the eight Slovenian MEP seats, but Jelinčič said the SNS, which has never had a MEP, did not rely on polls. Parties have until 26 April to submit their lists of candidates.

Croatian courts hand down first rulings on Slovenian fishermen

PIRAN - Croatian courts have delivered the first rulings on Slovenian fishermen fishing in the Bay of Piran along the border as set by the border arbitration tribunal in 2017, which Croatia rejects. In case of fisherman Silvan Radin, the court dropped the charges, but his family company was fined almost EUR 14,800 for a total of eleven cases, lawyer Ivica Senjak, who represents Slovenian fishermen in Croatian proceedings, told the STA. The second fisherman, Elvin Sabadin, was slapped with a fine of some EUR 2,150 in eight cases. Senjak said both decisions had already been challenged.

Lithuanian interior minister starts visit

LJUBLJANA - Border security and migration topped the agenda as Lithuanian Interior Minister Eimutis Misiunas was received by his Slovenian counterpart Boštjan Poklukar for an official three-day visit in Ljubljana. The pair found that their countries were aware of the responsibility to protect the external Schengen border, but established that Slovenia faced much bigger pressure of illegal migrations. Poklukar thanked Lithuania for deploying 50 police officers to Slovenia during the migration crisis in 2015 and 2016.

Erik Kerševan new Judicial Council president

LJUBLJANA - Erik Kerševan, a judge at the Supreme Court, was appointed on Tuesday to head the Judicial Council, replacing Barbara Narat, who resigned for personal reasons. The president is elected by council members in a secret ballot with a two-thirds majority for three years with no option of re-appointment. The eleven-strong Judicial Council is the key body for staffing in the judiciary, also deciding on promotions of judges or their incompatibility with other offices. It has full powers in picking candidates for judges, oversees their work and is fully responsibly for disciplinary proceedings.

Abanka's annual profit more than doubles

LJUBLJANA - Abanka, Slovenia's third largest bank, posted a EUR 66.7m net profit last year, up 56% over 2017, the audited annual report showed. Net interest revenue amounted to EUR 60.6m, down from EUR 71.9m in 2017, while net non-interest revenue was up to EUR 64.4m from EUR 46.8m. Its total assets amounted to EUR 3.73bn, up from EUR 3.66bn at the end of 2017. The bank, in 100% state ownership since it was bailed out with taxpayer money in 2013, is slated for privatisation. Unofficial reports suggest three binding bids were submitted last month.

Bad bank executive director Jaklin dismissed

LJUBLJANA - Jože Jaklin was dismissed as an executive director of the Bank Assets Management Company (BAMC) by BAMC non-executive directors on Tuesday, following two resignations of the bad bank's executive directors in the recent months. The only remaining executive director is now Matej Pirc, acting director general. Jaklin leaving the bad bank was an expected move and is considered just another step in the executive management replacement process. The BAMC selection procedure for the new executive management is in its final phase, with the bad bank having received 24 international applications.

Police, ministry at odds over strike agreement implementation

LJUBLJANA - One of Slovenia's two police trade unions appointed a strike committee on Tuesday in the wake of warnings the Interior Ministry was trying to find a way out of a strike agreement reached in December. The SPS, which noted social dialogue hit the lowest point, said on Wednesday a major issue was the payment of bonuses for police officers working on the Schengen border. The ministry claims the EUR 15m available for 2019 also involves the employer contributions, whereas the unions believe the funds should go exclusively for net bonus payments.

Investment in mutual funds increasing among Slovenians

LJUBLJANA - Slovenians prefer to save in bank deposits, however mutual funds have seen an increase in assets and savers. At the end of 2018 Slovenian households had EUR 1.7bn invested in mutual funds, said Karmen Rejc, director of the Slovenian Investment Fund Association. The average European invests 10% or EUR 5,800 of their assets in mutual funds, whereas in Slovenia the figure is lower, namely 6% or EUR 900, she said at a news conference before Friday's World Mutual Fund Day.

Police arrest two for euro counterfeiting

CELJE - Celje police arrested last week two individuals for counterfeiting 500-euro banknotes, which were being cashed in the wider Celje area, central Slovenia. The Celje Police Department said criminal charges will be filed against a 47-year-old woman and a 54-year-old man on suspicion of money counterfeiting. The police also said the counterfeited bills were of high quality, warning cash businesses to be careful when accepting 500-euro banknotes.

Slovenia's Oblak extended by Atletico Madrid until 2023

MADRID, Spain - Jan Oblak, Slovenia's best goalkeeper and national team mainstay, has agreed on a contract extension with his Atletico Madrid until 2023, the Spanish powerhouse announced. The four-year extension put an end to lengthy negotiations between Oblak and the club for which he has played since July 2014. The 26-year-old from Škofja Loka is to receive around EUR 10m a year under the new contract, which makes him one of the highest paid goalkeepers in the world.

17 Apr 2019, 03:00 AM

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This summary is provided by the STA

Novič acquitted of Chemistry Institute boss murder

LJUBLJANA - Milko Novič was acquitted of murdering Chemistry Institute boss Janko Jamnik in December 2014 in a retrial after the Supreme Court quashed the original ruling sentencing him to 25 years in prison in 2017. The verdict was reached by the judging panel of the Ljubljana District Court after the court heard closing arguments and re-examined expert witnesses who could not make a conclusive judgement. Novič, a former employee at the National Institute of Chemistry, was initially convicted of murdering Jamnik and sentenced to 25 years in prison in 2017.

Pahor discusses Brdo-Brijuni summit with Bosnia presidency

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina - President Borut Pahor met the three-member presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina as he started his two-day working visit to Sarajevo. The meeting focused on relations between the two countries, which Pahor labelled excellent at all levels. Speaking to presidency members Šefik Džaferović, Željko Komšić and Milorad Dodik, Pahor also exchanged views on the declaration being drafted for the Brdo-Brijuni Summit.

Slovenia expresses support for France after Notre Dame fire

LJUBLJANA/PARIS, France - Slovenia joined the expressions of solidarity with France after a fire damaged the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, with President Borut Pahor tweeting that "together, we will rebuild it for the future". The Slovenian Bishops' Conference expressed expressed solidarity with the French Catholic Church.

Chairman Skobe quits Telekom Slovenije

LJUBLJANA - Telekom Slovenije chairman Rudolf Skobe has decided to end his term almost a year and a half early. Effective today, he was replaced by deputy chairman Tomaž Seljak, who will be in charge until a chairman with full powers is appointed, the company said. Skobe was quoted as saying that running the company required "full trust among all key stakeholders," which he no longer enjoyed. The resignation came after weeks of rumours that Skobe was next in line to be removed as the government gradually takes over the levers of power at major state-owned firms.

Opposition asks Constitutional Court to review 2019 budget

LJUBLJANA - The centre-right opposition Democrats (SDS) and New Slovenia (NSi) announced they had asked the Constitutional Court to review the state budget for 2019, which was passed last month. The parties believe the budget is not in line with the Constitution because it does not take into account the fiscal rule. The review will apply to three documents: the law on the implementation of the budgets for 2018 and 2019, the supplementary budget for 2019 and the decree on the 2018-2020 framework for public finances.

Šarec critical of European Commission in Politico interview

LJUBLJANA - PM Marjan Šarec called for a European Commission that would consistently implement the rule of law and respect small member states as he gave an interview for Politico. Šarec took issue with Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker for implying that small EU members did not have the same status as large countries, and for not taking sides in the Slovenia-Croatia border dispute. His vote for the next Commission chief will go to Margrethe Vestager (ALDE), the competition commissioner, who according to Šarec has a "common sense" vision for the EU.

Istrabenz Turizem shares transferred onto bad bank

LJUBLJANA - The newspaper Delo reported that the Bank Asset Management Company (BAMC) had taken control of the owner of six hotels in Portorož, after it was recently ordered by the government to seize the company's stock. The government tasked BAMC to seize Istrabenz Turizem's stock on 14 February, when the bad bank was in the midst of selling the company. The government is now expected to discuss the investment plan for Istrabenz Turizem.

More jobs in February

LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian job market grew by 0.4% to around 884,700 persons in employment in February over January and by 3.3% over February 2018, the Statistics Office reported. At the monthly level, both the number of those in paid employment and the number of self-employed increased, by 0.4% and 0.1%, respectively. The number of jobs increased in all regions in February over January, but most notably in central Slovenia (+0.4% to some 308,000).

Candidate for ambassador to Croatia raising dust

LJUBLJANA - Marko Makovec, who is tipped as Slovenian's new ambassador to Croatia, has been raising dust with some rather undiplomatic moves, the newspaper Delo reported. Although the appointment procedure is not over yet, Makovec was already thanking people who congratulated him on the appointment on Facebook in the past few days. The media portal Portalplus reported about it, which upset Makovec to the extent that he sent a threatening message to its journalist Dejan Steinbuch. Steinbuch reported this to the Foreign Ministry, which demanded an explanation from Makovec, who said he used an "inappropriate statement" and apologised to the recipient.

TEŠ could burn biomass or waste, HSE CEO says

LJUBLJANA - HSE, the state-owned power utility which owns the Šoštanj coal-fired power station (TEŠ), is looking for a new energy source for TEŠ, according to HSE chairman Stojan Nikolić. "We know that we have to overhaul the plans for the operations of the Premogovnik Velenje mine and TEŠ. It's been clear for a while that TEŠ will not be able to operate until 2054, as originally planned, both for economic and technical reasons," Nikolić told the STA.

Pivec discusses agritourism with Kosovo tourism minister

LJUBLJANA - Agriculture Minister Aleksandra Pivec met the Kosovo minister in charge of tourism, Blendi Klosi, with the pair discussing agritourism and agreed for cooperation in exchange of best practices in agritourism development. Klosi said that the Kosovo government was focusing on improving the country's brand to make it a global player.

Transport sector calls for immediate action

LJUBLJANA - The transport sector called on the state once again to act in order to protect them from price dumping practices of foreign companies operating in the country and to cut waiting times at border crossings. Noting that the sector with more than 8,000 companies employing some 35,000 people generated 7% of the country's GDP, members of the Chamber of Craft and Small Business (OZS) the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS) said the biggest problem was price dumping by foreign-owned companies.

Slovenian, Croatian intervention teams to train for nuclear accidents

LJUBLJANA - Slovenian and Croatian intervention teams will jointly train for nuclear accidents as part of the Ensuring Radiation Safety (ENRAS) project, which has been launched within an EU-sponsored cross-border cooperation programme. ENRAS is the first transfrontier cooperation project designed to ensure safety of intervention units in nuclear or radiological accidents within the Interreg V-A programme. More than 700 staff are planned to be trained from April 2019 to September 2020 as part of the project, which is valued at around half a million euro.

Slovenia among greenest countries in the world

LONDON, UK - Slovenia is one of the most environmentally friendly countries in the world, according to the Good Country Index, compiled by analyst and professor Simon Anholt from the University of East Anglia. It ranks fourth among 153 countries in terms of its positive contribution to the planet and climate, preceded only by Norway, Switzerland and Portugal. Slovenia did particularly well in the implementation of environmental agreements and reducing the use of substances that cause ozone depletion.

16 Apr 2019, 02:29 AM

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This summary is provided by the STA

Šarec wants more unity in Slovenian politics on Croatia

LJUBLJANA - PM Marjan Šarec said that despite the border arbitration wiretapping scandal, "there is no emergency" and Slovenia "is in no bigger dispute with Croatia than before". Speaking to the press on the margins of today's plenary, he accused part of the opposition of "using every opportunity to sling mud at domestic politics by praising others and criticising our reactions". He said Slovenia must promote its interests.

Polls project tight EU race

LJUBLJANA - The joint ticket of the opposition Democratic Party (SDS) and the non-parliamentary People's Party (SLS) is favoured to win the European parliamentary election in a poll commissioned by the newspaper Delo even though the party of PM Marjan Šarec is the preferred choice for general elections. The SDS+SLS is followed by the coalition Social Democrats (SD) and the Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ). The Vox Populi poll, meanwhile, favours the SD and the LMŠ for EU election slightly ahead of the SDS+SLS. The three lists are projected to win two seats each.

Centre-right parties have dominated EU elections in Slovenia

LJUBLJANA - Slovenian voters have gone to the polls to elect MEPs three times so far - in 2004, 2009 and 2014, with most of the support in all three elections going to parties belonging to the European People's Party (EPP). The only Slovenian to win an MEP seat in all three elections is Lojze Peterle of New Slovenia (NSi/EPP). Slovenian members of the European Parliament tend to vote in accordance with their Eurogroup, and have high attendance in votes in plenary meetings of the European Parliament, data from VoteWatch show.

Šarec says too early to talk about EU presidency priorities

LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Marjan Šarec said in parliament that it was too early to talk about Slovenia's priorities for its EU presidency in the second half of 2021, as he was challenged by an opposition MP to present his vision of the future of the EU. Šarec said that many things would happen until the second half of 2021, adding that much depended on the result of May's EU elections, and whether the "key positions in EU institutions will go to people who will respect the rule of law".

Govt to continue talks with doctors but will not give in to extortion, PM says

LJUBLJANA - The government will continue talks with doctors' trade unions to find solutions to pressing issues in healthcare, but it will not give in to extortion, PM Marjan Šarec told the National Assembly during Q&A after an email indicating GPs might be trying to provoke privatisation was published by a unionist on Friday.

British Prince Edward to pay a visit in mid-May

LJUBLJANA - Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, will pay a visit to Slovenia on 14 and 15 May, the British Embassy announced. He will be hosted by President Borut Pahor, who invited him to Slovenia during his last visit to London in February. Pahor and the British prince will launch together the first Slovenia-UK Friendship Day - to be marked this year on 14 May, the embassy said on Facebook. The day will be launched "in celebration of the history and future of the enduring friendship between the UK and Slovenia".

Cerar, Gosar focus on strengthening the US-Slovenia relations

LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Miro Cerar received US Republican Congressman Paul A. Gosar to discuss bilateral relations between the US and Slovenia. After the meeting they stressed the importance of strengthening the dialogue between the two countries. Cerar pointed out that quality political relations could contribute to better economic cooperation as well. He said that Slovenia had had good relations with the US, which he would endeavour to further improve in the future.

Slovenia abstains in vote on EU copyright directive

LUXEMBOURG, Luxembourg - EU member states gave the final stamp of approval to the directive on copyright in the single digital market, with 19 countries voting yes, six no and three, including Slovenia, abstaining. EU members have two years to transpose the new rules, which were adopted despite the criticism of facilitating censorship on the internet, into national law, whereupon the directive will enter into force.

Luka Koper's damages claim against Xodo returned to first-instance court

KOPER - The newspaper Primorske Novice reported that the Koper Higher Court had annulled the district court's decision to reject a compensation claim by the operator of the Koper port against Costruzioni Generali Xodo, the Italian company it had hired to deepen a part of the port sea bed. Luka Koper had demanded EUR 1.1m, claiming the dredging company accumulated massive delays, forcing it to end the cooperation with Xodo in 2014, but the claim was rejected by the Koper District Court last December.

Japanese Terra Drone acquires stake in Slovenian C-Astral

AJDOVŠČINA - The world's leading drone manufacturer Terra Drone Corporation has acquired a stake in the Slovenian provider of aerospace solutions C-Astral. The latter specialises in the manufacturing and services of fixed-wing small unmanned aircraft systems and considers the partnership a strategic move. According to the news portal UAS Weekly, Terra Drone considered a number of potential partners across the world and was particularly impressed by the Slovenian drone developer due to its advanced technology, mission flexibility and the overall spectrum of solutions.

Average pay in February down over January but up Y/Y

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's average monthly gross pay in February amounted to EUR 1,714.49, a 0.8% decrease on January in nominal terms and a 1.6% decrease in real terms. Compared to February 2018, the gross pay was up by 4.7% in nominal and by 3.5% in real terms, the Statistics Office said. The average net pay stood at EUR 1,108.10, a 0.7% drop in nominal and 1.5% in real terms compared to January. In year-on-year comparison, it was up by 3.9% in nominal and 2.7% in real terms.

New family law comes fully into force

LJUBLJANA - The new family law, which was reformed and adopted two years ago, became fully applicable today. The law aims to regulate partnerships and family relations in a more comprehensive manner, with the main difference being that district courts are now in charge of protecting children's interests. Instead of social work centres, district courts have jurisdiction over deciding to take children away from their parents as well as over making provisions about parental and foster care.

STA round table offers solutions to youth housing issues

LJUBLJANA - The government plans to build additional non-profit housing to make it easier for the young to rent apartments, set up a public rental service and encourage housing cooperatives, heard a round table debate hosted by the STA. "This is a multifaceted problem... Fact is that these issues had not been addressed for years. We have the national housing programme but no law regulating the field," said Anja Fortuna, the president of the Youth Council.

Plečnik Prize goes to ELES's technological centre

LJUBLJANA - This year's Plečnik Prize, the highest accolade for architecture in Slovenia, went to Marko Studen, Boris Matić and Jernej Šipoš for their design of a new technological centre of the national grid operator ELES in Beričevo. The trio, who had won an international call for applications with the design, won the recognition for designing a systemically demanding building, which is also a major European strategic project, according to the jury.

Govt endorses country's bid to co-host EuroBasket 2021

LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Basketball Association's (KZS) bid for Slovenia to host one of the preliminary groups of the EuroBasket 2021 was endorsed by the government. The green light means that 2.5 million euro the KZS would have to pay FIBA Europe in advance in fee and other fixed costs would come from the state. Apart from Slovenia, also vying for the tournament are the Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Germany, Hungary and Italy. Only one bid is said to be for the final part of the tournament, which means Slovenia has a 50% chance to become the host of one of the preliminary groups.

15 Apr 2019, 03:28 AM

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LMŠ remains at top of Vox Populi poll

LJUBLJANA - The senior coalition Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) remained at the top of the party rankings in the most recent Vox Populi poll released by the public broadcaster RTV Slovenia and the newspaper Dnevnik. The LMŠ polled at 26.2%, while the opposition Democrats (SDS) followed it with 14.2%. While the support for the coalition's top party dropped by 1.8 percentage points (pp), the government's approval rating increased by 0.7 pp compared the month before to 61%.

Lipica rejuvenating herd, 150 famous white horses being sold or given away

LIPICA - The Lipica stud farm, a major Slovenian tourist attraction which was revamped organisationally last year, has now also embarked on an overhaul of its herd. In line with a plan okayed in March by the government, the farm is to sell 56 of its world-famous white Lipizzan horses this year and give away another 95. The sale of the horse is a step almost unseen thus far at the world's oldest continuously operating stud farm.

Supreme Court grants Janša appeal in journalist's defamation lawsuit

LJUBLJANA - The Supreme Court has granted an appeal of opposition Democrats (SDS) head Janez Janša after he was ordered to pay damages to journalist Mojca Šetinc Pašek, one of two journalists he labelled prostitutes in a 2016 tweet, according to the website of the weekly Demokracija. The lawsuit has thus been returned to the first instance court.

Hercog wins WTA Ladies Open Lugano

LUGANO, Switzerland - Tennis player Polona Hercog won the WTA 2019 Ladies Open Lugano. The 28-year-old beat Polish Iga Swiatek 6:3, 3:6 and 6:3. The Maribor native will get USD 43,000 and 280 points for the win, skipping from place 89 to around 65 in the WTA ranking. This was Hercog's third title following two WTA tournament wins in Bastad in 2011 and 2012.

Latvian choir wins international Gallus competition

MARIBOR - The Latvian choir Jazepa vitola Latvijas muzikas akademijas Jauktais Koris was named the winner of the 15th Gallus International Choral Competition. The victory is also a ticket to the European Grand Prix for Choral Singing in Hungary next year. The second place of the Gallus competition went to Kup Taldea of Spain, while Akademski pevski zbor Maribor and the Kammerchor der Musikhochschule Mannheim shared the third place.

14 Apr 2019, 03:00 AM

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Slovenia argues for balanced approach in meets with World Bank and IMF

WASHINGTON, US - Finance Minister Andrej Bertoncelj met representatives of the World Bank and the IMF on the sidelines of the two organisation's spring meetings to highlight Slovenia's effort to find the right balance between fiscal stability and prosperity for its people. While senior World Bank and IMF officials stressed the importance of appropriate fiscal policies and structural reforms, Bertoncelj said they were content with Slovenia's progress. So were representatives of credit rating agencies S&P, Fitch, and Moody's, which are "preserving a positive outlook for Slovenia despite the cooling in the international business environment".

Slovenia commemorates US bomber crash during WWII

POLZELA - President Borut Pahor and US congressman Paul A. Gosar honoured eight crew members of a downed US bomber, who lost their lives in a crash near Polzela (NE) during WWII, as speakers at a ceremony that also celebrated Slovenian-American Friendship and Alliance Day. Pahor marked the 75th anniversary of the downing by laying a wreath at the memorial commemorating the crew. He highlighted the long tradition of friendship between Slovenia and the US, adding it also allowed for occasional differences in views. Gosar, a Republican of Slovenian descent who is visiting at the invitation of the president, argued that Slovenian generosity and courage had also given hope and light to the downed US soldiers.

Pahor says Slovenia must react to transgressions, but must not burn bridges

POLZELA - Commenting on tensions over separate incidents involving Hungary, Croatia and Italy, President Borut Pahor said it is in order for Slovenia to react when neighbours act in unacceptable ways. However at the same time, Slovenia needs to carefully build bridges of cooperation and open new doors as opposed to shutting them. Speaking to the press on the sidelines of a memorial ceremony in Polzela, Pahor said that this was his message and that he hoped it would be accepted in good faith and not end up looking naive.

Committee hears measures tackling GPs crisis coming, agrees doctors overworked

LJUBLJANA - While a marathon session held on Friday by the parliamentary Health Committee brought no conclusive solutions to the GPs crisis, participants mostly agreed that doctors are overworked. Health Minister Aleš Šabeder assured MPs that measures were in the pipeline and expressed his belief the resignations of dozens of GPs will not materialise. Meanwhile, the debate got overshadowed by allegations a push was under way by GPs to also allow private concession arrangements for them. The head of Praktikum union of GPs Igor Muževič rejected the privatisation accusations in the strongest terms, saying the doctors merely wanted the ceiling for the number of patients they treat to be respected.

SNS EU slate to be topped by party head Jelinčič

OTOČEC - The Slovenian National Party (SNS) confirmed at its congress that the party's slate in the May EU election will be topped by its president Zmago Jeličnič. Jelinčič, who has been the face of the far-right party ever since he founded it in 1991, highlighted the SNS's successful comeback to parliament last year after a seven-year absence and repeated his criticism of Slovenia's and Europe's approach to the migration issue. He said the SNS wanted a Europe that will give its due to individual nation states, a Europe where all countries will have equal voting power and where each state will also be able to ignore certain EU demands.

Aluminium producer Talum with much lower profit in 2018

KIDRIČEVO - Despite a hard situation on the global market, the Slovenian aluminium producer Talum managed to up revenue by 6% to EUR 365m in 2018, yet profit plummeted by around 70% to EUR 640,000, unaudited figures show. The Kidričevo-based group is a leading Slovenian producer of aluminium, but it has also increased its production of aluminium end products.

13 Apr 2019, 12:38 PM

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Šarec highlights Luka Koper as link between Europe and China

DUBROVNIK, Croatia - PM Marjan Šarec highlighted the port of Koper as the closest link between Central and East Europe, and China as he addressed the eighth summit of China and 16 Central and East European countries in Croatia's Dubrovnik. Šarec minister stressed that China was Slovenia's biggest trade partner in Asia and that thanks to the 16+1 initiative trade between Slovenia and China rose by 15% since 2013. An agreement was scheduled to be signed in Dubrovnik between the Slovenian Engineering Academy and the Nanjing Jiangning High-tech Industrial Park for the setting up of an international science and research, and transformation centre, as well as an interbank agreement meant to support SMEs. Also, automotive supplier TPV said it is to open a production plant in China in two years.

Shipping company Splošna Plovba in dire straits

PORTOROŽ - Splošna Plovba, the sole Slovenian-based shipping company, is selling off its assets, Dnevnik reported, inferring that its German owner Döehle ICL appears to be withdrawing from Slovenia. The paper wrote that the company's financial results are cause for concern, citing data showing that the company's sales revenue collapsed from EUR 214m in 2008 to EUR 30m in 2017 when the company posted a EUR 3.7m loss. In its annual report the company blamed the loss on lower fares and partly on the tax liabilities resulting from its subsidiary Genshipping failing to reinvest the proceeds from the ships sold in 2012.

NLB to pay EUR 143m in dividends or EUR 7.13 per share

LJUBLJANA - The supervisory and management boards of the recently privatised NLB bank, in which the state currently holds a 35% stake, have proposed that EUR 142.6m in distributable profit go for dividends at EUR 7.13 gross per share. The proposal will be put to vote at the annual general meeting (AGM) scheduled for 10 June. The EUR 142.6m out of the total distributable profit of EUR 194.5m for last year is almost half of last year's dividend payout of EUR 270.6m, when the bank was still fully owned by the state. The remaining EUR 51.9m will remain undistributed.

Slovenia acting to assist young people in Western Balkans

BERLIN, Germany - Foreign Ministry State Secretary Simona Leskovar represented Slovenia at the meeting of the foreign ministers of the Berlin Process , presenting Slovenia's activities related to the future of the young people in the Western Balkan countries. The state secretary noted that the region was facing high unemployment rates for young people and insufficient opportunities in education, as well as low mobility, which needs to be addressed.

Army's force commander protests dismissal

LJUBLJANA - Brigadier General Miha Škerbinc has filed a protest against his dismissal as the army's force commander over late night shooting at the Poček training area. The soldiers' trade union, which represents Škerbinc, claims he acted lawfully and demands an apology from Defence Minister Karl Ejravec, who in turn said his instruction not to conduct training using heavy weapons after 11 PM had been ignored. Erjavec dismissed Škerbinc last Friday at the proposal of the chief of the general staff, Major-General Alenka Ermenc. Škerbinc rejected speculation he had been involved in the spreading of rumours about Ermenc's health problems.

Despite financial distress, parties open bank accounts for EU elections

LJUBLJANA - All parliamentary parties and seven non-parliamentary ones have opened their special bank account to finance the election campaign for May's EU elections. However, they are not expected to mount lavish campaigning since their finances are not exactly in good shape as many finished 2018 in the red following two elections and a referendum last year, public broadcaster Radio Slovenia reported on Friday. The only coalition party which did not end 2018 with a loss was Prime Minister Marjan Šarec's LMŠ, which posted a surplus of around 10,000 euro.

The EDP's manifesto adopted, Erjavec elected vice-president

LJUBLJANA - The council of the European Democratic Party (EDP) adopted its manifesto for EU elections during a session in Ljubljana. Karl Erjavec, the head of the Slovenian Pensioners' Party (DeSUS), which is a member of the EDP, was elected the EDP's vice-president. The manifesto, entitled The Social Challenges of the EU, will serve as the May elections programmes' basis for the party's candidates. Erjavec told the press that the manifesto called for an integrated Europe, new jobs, particularly for the young, economic growth, as well as security and foreign policies.

Slovenia selects Expo 2020 pavilion concept

LJUBLJANA - The Economy Ministry has chosen the thematic concept of Slovenia's pavilion at the global show Expo 2020 in Dubai. The 1,550 m2 pavilion, expected to cost some EUR 5m, will be showcasing Slovenian nature, economy and culture. The selected concept of a three-storied structure was created by the architecture firm Magnet Design and will present Slovenia as a green oasis in Europe as well as in the desert during the exhibition.

Artist and illustrator Milan Erič honoured with Jakopič Prize

LJUBLJANA - Artist, illustrator and animator Milan Erič received the Rihard Jakopič Prize, the top annual national award for lifetime achievement in fine arts and visual art, at a ceremony at the Museum of Modern Art in Ljubljana. According to the jury, Erič tackles serious every-day issues in a critical and often humorous manner in his work, which attests superb painting and drawing skills. He has been a central figure at the intersection of various types of visual arts in Slovenia for decades, a prominent representative of the Slovenian new image art, highlighting individual's experience and imagination.

Painter Aleksij Kobal to exhibit in Nova Gorica

NOVA GORICA - The Nova Gorica City Art Gallery put on display works by contemporary Slovenian painter Aleksij Kobal, with art historian Andrej Medved presenting the painter and his diverse oeuvre at the opening. The exhibition, entitled Podtaknjenci (Plant Cuttings), is Kobal's first solo exhibition at the gallery in more than ten years. It will run until 10 May. Kobal is considered one of the most prominent Slovenian contemporary painters, famous for his atmospheric landscapes and urban motifs inspired by the Renaissance.

20 Apr 2019, 02:38 AM

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Career diplomat Šuc slated for top diplomatic job in Croatia

LJUBLJANA - The government has appointed career diplomat Vojislav Šuc Slovenia's new ambassador to Croatia, the newspaper Dnevnik reported. Before leaving for Zagreb, Šuc will need to present himself to the parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee and get approval from Croatia, Dnevnik noted, adding that no complications are expected. Earlier this week, Dnevnik reported that Marko Makovec was considered the favourite for the job. He was reportedly eliminated from contention after threatening a journalist who reported about him receiving congratulations for the appointment on Facebook before the process had been concluded.

Social partners endorse guidelines for new social pact

LJUBLJANA - The Economic and Social Council endorsed starting points for debate on the social pact proposal put forward by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS) without taking positions on details yet. The GZS's proposal, presented in early March, seeks a reform of the pay system in the corporate sector for 2019-2025 centred around tying wage growth to productivity gains.

Refugee registration centre case to be taken to Supreme Court

ILIRSKA BISTRICA - The Ilirska Bistrica city council decided on Thursday to appeal to the Supreme Court against the Administrative Court decision banning the municipality from carrying out a referendum on a planned registration centre for migrants. The councillors, belonging to various political parties, believe that by banning the referendum the Administrative Court has infringed on the constitutional rights of the municipality's citizens.

Constitutional Court to treat 2019 budget review as priority

LJUBLJANA - The Constitutional Court has announced it will treat as an absolute priority the request from the centre-right opposition Democrats (SDS) and New Slovenia (NSi) to review the state budget documents passed in parliament last month. The review will apply to three documents: the law on the implementation of the budgets for 2018 and 2019, the supplementary budget for 2019 and the decree on the 2018-2020 framework for public finances. The SDS and NSi believe the 2019 budget is not in line with the Constitution because it does not take into account the fiscal rule.

Šoltes endorsed as DeSUS Euro vote frontrunner

LJUBLJANA - The Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) endorsed MEP Igor Šoltes as its frontrunner for the 26 May EU election. Apart from Šoltes, DeSUS's ticket also includes assistant to the party's outgoing MEP Ivo Vajgl, Damjan Stanonik, and the head of the Slovenian Philanthropy, Tereza Novak. Other are less known names. Contrary to previous speculation, party leader Karl Erjavec will not stand. "I didn't see a challenge there," he said.

Debate calls for definition of precarious work, systemic measures

LJUBLJANA - A debate on precarious work hosted by the Labour Ministry and the National Council agreed that everybody deserves decent pay for their work and has the right to social security. Such forms of work should therefore be defined and measures found at the systemic level to tackle the issue, the debate heard. "Since precarious work brings numerous negative consequences both for the economic and social security of an individual, it is high time to introduce measures at the systemic level," said Labour Minister Ksenija Klampfer.

General govt surplus in 2018 EUR 34m above initial calculations

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia generated a EUR 34m higher general government surplus in 2018 than the initial calculation released by the Statistics Office in March, which put it at EUR 303m. The new figure was calculated following the regular procedure of data explanation to Eurostat, the Statistics Office said. The surplus was equivalent to 0.7% of GDP, while the country's debt amounted to EUR 32.23bn, the equivalent of 70.1% of GDP.

Tourism accounted for 12% of Slovenia's GDP in 2018

LJUBLJANA - Tourism contributed EUR 5.7bn or 12.3% to the Slovenian gross domestic product (GDP) in 2018, according to a report by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC). The sector employed 110,700 people or 12.8% of total employment. The annual contribution of tourism to the Slovenian GDP increased by 6% compared to 2017, the Slovenian Tourist Board said.

Consumer confidence drops for third month in a row

LJUBLJANA - The consumer confidence indicator for Slovenia has deteriorated for the third month in a row in April, dropping by one percentage point at the monthly level and by nine points year-on-year, Statistics Office data show. The consumer confidence indicator in April was down four percentage points compared to January, but was still 12 points higher than the long-term average.

Slovenia gets honorary consulate in Seoul

SEOUL, South Korea- Slovenia has opened a consulate in the South Korean capital of Seoul, which is headed by Honorary Consul Chung Mong Won, chairman of Halla Corporation. The consulate was inaugurated on Thursday by Slovenian Foreign Ministry State Secretary Simona Leskovar, who noted that the initiative for the consulate had been made at the Slovenian House at the PyeongChang Olympics in February 2018.

Good State joins EU election race

LJUBLJANA - The non-parliamentary party the Good State, founded by former MP Bojan Dobovšek, will also vie for seats in the European Parliament in the 26 May election. The party, which is no more than a blip in opinion poll charts, is building its campaign on fight against corruption. The first name on the ticket of the Good State is Robert Golob, who is in charge of Slovenia's political relations with China at the Foreign Ministry.

Lonstroff defends Slovenia boss, says site purchase decision collective

LJUBLJANA/ZURICH, Switzerland - The management of Lonstroff, a Swiss maker of elastomers, has spoken up in defence of its Slovenia director in the aftermath of reports that he is suspected of defrauding his company of EUR 1.7m with the acquisition of land for a manufacturing facility near Logatec. The management board of Lonstroff AG contacted the Office of the State Prosecutor General to confirm that "as buyers they were familiar with the provisions of the Sales Agreement for the purchase of immovable property in Logatec," the company said in a written statement for the STA.

Slovenian airline traffic up by 8% last year

LJUBLJANA - Last year around 1.8 million passengers passed through the three Slovenian international airports in Ljubljana, Maribor and Portorož, 8% more than in 2017, according to the Statistics Office. 12,363 tonnes of cargo were transloaded in the three airports, a figure 6% larger than the previous year. Almost all of the cargo was transported with scheduled flights.

Portorož boat show to feature 150 exhibitors in mid-May

PORTOROŽ - Marina Portorož will host between 16 and 19 May a boat show featuring around 150 exhibitors and 100 vessels, which are expected to attract around 15,000 visitors. The organisers are also promising an attractive accompanying programme. The organisers expect around 150 exhibitors and around 100 vessels, including 60 in the water, and are announcing a number of premieres. In addition to large sail boats and motorboats and yachts, also to be presented will be various nautical equipment.

12 Apr 2019, 02:29 AM

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Brexit extension compromise beneficial to both sides, Šarec says

BRUSSELS, Belgium - Prime Minister Marjan Šarec said after the EU summit that the extension of Brexit until 31 October agreed by the EU leaders was in the interest of the bloc as well as the UK. This will allow the EU to discuss other, more important topics than Brexit, he said. Šarec added that the EU could not focus exclusively on Brexit, as it had already paralysed the work of the EU to an extent because it prevents discussions about more important issues.

Šarec talks economic cooperation with Chinese counterpart

DUBROVNIK, Croatia - Prime Minister Marjan Šarec met his Chinese counterpart Li Kequiang on the sidelines of the summit of the 16 Central and East European countries and China. According to a press release from the Government Communication Office, Šarec and Li "noted the traditionally good relations between the two countries, which are being deepened still in many areas". The main part of the summit of the 16+1 initiative will be held on Friday.

MPs tell govt to advocate minority representation with Italian officials

LJUBLJANA - The Foreign Affairs Committee and the Commission for Slovenians Abroad agreed Slovenia should start advocating in talks with high-ranking Italian officials that Italy find a solution that would guarantee representation of the Slovenian minority in parliament in Rome. The government was also advised to recommend to Italy to set up a separate electoral district for the Slovenian community. Several MPs said Slovenia treated minorities in its territory in an exemplary way and that reciprocity was expected from Italy.

Erjavec denies blame for arbitration scandal

LJUBLJANA - Defence Minister Karl Erjavec, who served as foreign minister in the previous cabinet, denied any blame by the ministry for the 2015 border arbitration phone tapping scandal. He welcomed the decision to investigate the Slovenian border arbitration agent, he however feels the Slovenian arbiter should also be interviewed. This was after the parliamentary Intelligence Oversight Commission decided on Wednesday to reopen an investigation against Simona Drenik, the Slovenian agent whom Croatian intelligence intercepted discussing arbitration details with arbiter Jernej Sekolec.

UK-Slovenian chamber of commerce panel welcomes Brexit extension

LJUBLJANA - A panel on Brexit hosted by the British-Slovenian Chamber of Commerce agreed that the Article 50 extension means more time for the best possible solution, meaning one based on a deal. British Ambassador Sophie Honey believes the extension until 31 October does not mean a prolongation of uncertainty but more time for the best possible approach. UK Trade Commissioner for Europe Andrew Mitchell said a no-deal Brexit would have substantial consequences for the economy, while the extension provides an opportunity to reach a deal and enable the firm economic ties to be preserved in the future.

Slovenian bishops adopt zero-tolerance policy on sexual abuse

LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Bishops' Conference adopted a directive instituting a zero-tolerance policy in matters of sexual abuse. Members of the clergy will now be required to immediately report any suspicions, evidence or information of sexual abuse to public authorities and to collaborate with them in the subsequent investigation. Following this directive, adopted at a meeting of the permanent council of the Slovenian Bishops' Conference, clergy members are also required to collaborate with public authorities in all the stages of a potential investigation.

Survey unemployment in 2018 lowest in a decade

LJUBLJANA - The Statistics Office reported that the survey unemployment rate decreased for the fifth consecutive year in 2018. It hit a ten-year low of 5.1%, which was 1.4 percentage points lower than in 2017. The rate remains the highest, at 9%, among those between 15 and 29 years of age. However, this group has also been seeing a steady decrease in unemployment, with the most recent figure being 10.1 percentage points lower than its highest value in 2013. Slovenia's active population increased by 0.7% year-on-year to 1.034 million.

Small shareholders unhappy with bill on wiped-out subordinated bonds

LJUBLJANA - Two associations of small shareholders are not happy with the bill the government adopted on Tuesday to provide recourse for holders of subordinated bank liabilities who were wiped out in a EUR 5.5bn bank bailout in 2013. The VZMD does not support the government bill, but the one adopted only a day after the government by the upper chamber of parliament. The MDS, on the other hand, urged the government to combine both bills into a new one to provide for the best of solutions.

Slovenia step closer to UNESCO AI centre

LJUBLJANA - UNESCO endorsed Slovenia's plan to set up a UNESCO-sponsored international research centre for artificial intelligence (AI) in the capital Ljubljana. The proposal was endorsed by UNESCO's executive committee in Paris after it was backed by the Slovenian government last month. The centre would advise governments, organisations, legal entities and the general public on systemic and strategic solutions in implementing AI. The final go-ahead needs to come from the UNESCO conference in November.

Slovenia to provide EUR 50,000 in aid for Venezuela

LJUBLJANA - The government said Slovenia would provide EUR 50,000 in humanitarian aid for Venezuela, as the humanitarian situation in the country has worsened. The funds from the Foreign Ministry's budget will be sent via the European Commission's Directorate for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management. The government explained that Venezuela was in a deep political, social, economic and humanitarian crisis. The falling oil prices and poor management without any sustainable investments have brought hyperinflation and food shortages, it added.

Krka proposing 10% higher dividends than last year

NOVO MESTO - The supervisory board of pharmaceutical company Krka and its management board proposed a EUR 3.20 gross per share dividend on Wednesday, with Krka noting that the figure represents a 10.3% increase over last year's dividend. The supervisors and the management will propose at the AGM scheduled for 4 July that shareholders earmark for dividends EUR 101.84m out of a total of EUR 189.47m in distributable profit. Just under EUR 43.82m is to go for other reserves from profit and an almost equal amount is to be transferred to next year.

President decorates members of Slovenian minorities abroad

LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor honoured several members of the Slovenian communities in Italy and Hungary, giving out four state decorations. Former Italian MP Tamara Blažina received the order of merit, while Alojz Debelis, a farmer in Italy, the Hungary-based Mukič family and Austria-based historian Janez Stergar received medals of merit. The highest decoration went to Blažina, who was honoured for her work to further the Slovenian community in Italy during her two terms in Italian parliament, the president's office said in a press release.

Survey: Slovenia 15th in EU in terms of employed new graduates

LJUBLJANA - A survey on the share of employed new graduates in Europe has shown that a number of EU countries have made progress in terms of new graduates' employability. Slovenia has place 15th among them and its share of employed new graduates reached more than 80%. Slovenia gained seven places compared to last year's study and was among the EU countries which have moved closer to the goal of the 82% share of employed new graduates until 2020.

Slovenians to be able to officially have several names and surnames

LJUBLJANA - The government proposed changes to the personal name act that allow citizens to officially have more than two first and two second names. Also being made possible is the use of initials or name abbreviations as part of the name listed in official affairs. The restricted number of names proved problematic in practice above all in cases of dual citizens who had to give up some of their names for their entry in the Slovenian civil registry.

Unknown Kosovel published in monumental book

LJUBLJANA - Poems, texts, fragments and notes by Slovenian avant-garde poet Srečko Kosovel (1904-1926) that had never been published before were released in a two-volume book featuring almost 2,000 pages. Vsem Naj Bom Neznan (Let Me Be Unknown to All) was compiled and edited by Slovenian poet and art historian Miklavž Komelj, and published by publisher Goga. Kosovel is often labelled a leading constructivist in Europe due to his progressive and ground-breaking work.

 

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