Minister Logar urged to brief MPs over fisheries deal
LJUBLJANA - The opposition Social Democrats (SD) wants the parliamentary Foreign Policy Committee to meet behind closed doors for Foreign Minister Anže Logar to provide explanations over Slovenia and Croatia allegedly reaching a fisheries deal. Croatian media have recently reported the two countries reached agreement that would allow Slovenian fishermen to fish in Croatian waters down to Umag and Croatia's in Slovenia's waters all the way up to Koper, but the Slovenian Foreign Ministry has neither corroborated nor denied the reports. MP Matjaž Nemec said the question was whether this deal implements the arbitration agreement or resigns from it.
SDS, a Golob-led party tied in exit poll-format Vox Populi
LJUBLJANA - 15.5% would vote for the ruling Democrats (SDS) in April's general election and 15.4% for a new party that would be led by Robert Golob, the former CEO of energy company GEN-I, shows a Vox Populi survey Mediana carried out in the format of an exit poll for newspapers Dnevnik and Večer. However, the standard opinion poll, which is based on a smaller sample and a slightly different question about party support, shows the SDS would win 18.1% of the vote if elections were held this Sunday, while Golob's party would garner 2.4%, below the 4% needed to enter parliament. In both types of the poll, third place went to the opposition Social Democrats (SD).
Quarantine rules updated as of Wednesday
LJUBLJANA - Employees in health, social affairs and education as well as students will be exempted from quarantine under certain conditions as of Wednesday. Entire classes will be quarantined only if more than 30% of the students are infected in the span of 14 days, the government decided at a correspondence session, at which the quarantine rules were revised at the initiative of the public health authorities based on the epidemiological situation in the country.
Almost 5,000 new coronavirus cases in Slovenia on Sunday
LJUBLJANA - A total of 4,967 new coronavirus cases were confirmed in Slovenia on Sunday, double the figure recorded a week ago. The test positivity rate rose to a record 62.9%, according to the National Institute of Public Health. The latest figures bring the number of confirmed cases last week to almost 45,000, which is more than 2% of the country's population. This marks an increase of 74% on the week before. Despite the huge caseload, the situation in hospitals remains stable.
Dikaučič praises EU presidency despite EPPO appointments saga
LJUBLJANA - Justice Minister Marjan Dikaučič highlighted the progress in the digitalisation of the justice system as he presented the achievements of Slovenia's EU presidency, while rating the presidency as a whole as "excellent" despite the delays in nominating Slovenia's European delegated prosecutors. Slovenia was the last EU country to propose its two candidates for delegated prosecutors of the European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO) last year, after months of delays and numerous calls and expressions of concern from Brussels.
Slovenian communities abroad present their challenges to MPs
LJUBLJANA - The challenges faced by Slovenian ethnic communities in neighbouring countries were discussed as the parliamentary Commission for Slovenians Abroad met at the behest of the opposition Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ), which urged the government to draw up a new strategy of relations with Slovenians living outside of Slovenia with an emphasis on bettering the circumstances of young people and their links with Slovenia. Minister for Slovenians Abroad Helena Jaklitsch presented her office's activities and efforts to help boost Slovenian communities abroad, also noting the increase in funding.
Illegal migrations down 31% last year
LJUBLJANA - Slovenian police recorded 10,067 attempts at illegal crossing of the border last year, down 31% on 2020, while asylum applications rose substantially, official police statistics show. The number of migrants from Pakistan, Morocco and Bangladesh, among the top four source countries last year, dropped substantially, but there were slightly more migrants from Afghanistan, which became the biggest source country with 3,208 migrants registered.
Over EUR 31 million spent on Croatia border surveillance
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia spent almost EUR 31.5 million on setting up fences and on other costs related to the increased surveillance of its border with Croatia between November 2015 and the end of 2020, as 85.5 kilometres of razor wire fences were installed along the border, and are now gradually being replaced by panel fences. The government provided the figure in response to a question from Matej T. Vatovec, an MP for the opposition Left who believes the purchase and installation of the razor wire fences was completely non-transparent and riddled with suspicion of corruption and clientelism.
Measures to staff up SAF to resume this year
LJUBLJANA - The Defence Ministry announced it will resume measures aimed at staffing up and rejuvenating the Slovenian Armed Forces (SAF) after the changes introduced last year whipped up interest in the service, both for army jobs and training. Valter Vrečar, the head of the military affairs directorate, told the press the new concept of 13-week basic military and technical training, which is now the single entry point to attract new staff, produced concrete results.
Three medical professionals receive Order of Merit
LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor awarded the Order of Merit to three medical doctors for their outstanding achievements or their institutions' outstanding performance - to Postojna Maternity Hospital director Aleksander Merlo, head of the intensive care unit at UKC Ljubljana Marko Noč, and head of the vascular diseases department at UKC Ljubljana Aleš Blinc.
Velenje, miners oppose coal exit strategy
VELENJE - The Velenje municipality, home to the country's only functioning coal mine, rejected the coal exit year 2033 as "unrealistic" and called for a more ambitious jobs strategy. Similarly, the trade union of coal miners expressed disappointment, describing the decision as "political, unprofessional and ill-conceived", having been adopted without the participation of employees who will be affected by the coal phase-out.
Ljubljana airport records 46.4% more passengers in 2021
BRNIK - Slovenia's Jože Pučnik Airport Ljubljana saw a total of around 422,000 passengers last year, up 46.4% compared to 2020, according to data released by the airport's German operator Fraport, which operates the Slovenian airport through its subsidiary Fraport Slovenija. The Jože Pučnik Airport recorded 75.5% less passengers in 2021 compared to the pre-pandemic year of 2019.
Media company Pro Plus gets new director general
LJUBLJANA - Branko Čakarmiš, programming director at Pro Plus, is taking over as the media company's director general on 1 February, succeeding Pavel Vrabec, who is moving to the post of president of Slovenia's business operations at CME, the group which operates 30 TV programmes in Central and SE Europe. Pro Plus runs the Slovenian TV channels POP TV, Kanal A, Brio and Kino, as well as the video on-demand service Voyo. It also publishes the popular news portal 24.ur.com.
Taxes collected last year up on 2020 and 2019
LJUBLJANA - While much less tax revenue was collected due to the epidemic in 2020, last year again saw an upward trend, as the amount was significantly up on both 2020 and the pre-Covid year 2019. The Financial Administration collected 18% more taxes and other levies than in 2020, and 9.3% more than in 2019. Last year, the tax authorities collected EUR 19.2 billion in revenue, according to preliminary figures.
Minority organisation proposes new standing committee
KLAGENFURT, Austria - The National Council of Carinthian Slovenians (NSKS), one of the main Slovenian minority organisations in Austria, proposes establishing a standing committee of representatives from Austria, Slovenia and the Slovenian minority in Austria, following the Austrian-Italian example. The NSKS presented the proposal as it extended congratulations upon the 30th anniversary of the international recognition of Slovenia's independence.
Sara Kern's feature to compete at Berlinale
LJUBLJANA - Sara Kern's debut feature Moja Vesna (My Vesna) will have its world premiere at the 72nd Berlin International Film Festival, where it will vie for the Crystal Bear in the Generation Kplus competition. The first-ever Slovenian-Australian co-production was written and directed by Kern, 32, a Slovenian-born writer and director based in Melbourne. The film is a quiet and poetic character-driven story of family love and grief that changes the dynamics of a fragmented family.
Slovenia end European Men's Handball Championship campaign
DEBRECEN, Hungary - Slovenia lost 32:33 to Montenegro to end their European Championship campaign in the group stage, placing third in Group A. After winning against North Macedonia (27:25) and losing against world champions Denmark (23:34) in the first two rounds, the team would need to win today's match to advance to the main round. Their performance was rather poor throughout with too many mistakes in key moments. This is the second time Slovenia failed to advance to the main round of the European men's handball championships, the first time in Poland in 2016.
Marco Bonitta new coach of Slovenian women's volleyball team
LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian women's volleyball team has a new coach, Italian expert Marco Bonitta, who has signed a two-year contract with the Slovenian Volleyball Federation. His main task will be to lead the Slovenian team to qualify for the European Championship. "As soon as the opportunity came up to work with such an eminent name in volleyball, we grabbed it with both hands," the federation's president Metod Ropret said at the presentation of the new coach.
Mountains claimed 5 lives at weekend
LJUBLJANA - Slovenian mountains claimed five lives over the past two days in one of the deadliest weekends in years. Discounting those, a total of 179 people have been killed in accidents in the mountains in the past ten years, show data from the Mountain Rescue Association. Last year, the Slovenian mountains took 22 lives, as many as in 2019. The highest death toll, at 23, was recorded in 2016. The largest number of mountain rescue interventions was in 2021, at 626.