Ljubljana related

16 Sep 2019, 02:01 AM

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A schedule of all the main events involving Slovenia this week can be found here

This summary is provided by the STA:

Roglič wins La Vuelta, Pogačar third

MADRID, Spain - Cycling sensation Primož Roglič (Team Jumbo-Visma) became the first Slovenian to win a grand tour race, as he climbed the podium of La Vuelt. What is more, another Slovenian, the young Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates), completed the three-week race in place three and claimed the white jersey of the best young cyclist. Spanish cyclist Alejandro Valverde was the only non-Slovenian on the podium.

LMŠ remains most popular party, govt approval rating rising

LJUBLJANA - The prime minister's party continues to top party rankings and the government approval rating continues to rise in the latest Vox Populi poll, commissioned by the newspapers Dnevnik and Večer, and the public broadcaster RTV Slovenija. The Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) polled at 23.3% in September, up from 22.2% last month, and is followed by the opposition Democrats (SDS) at 15.5% (the same as last month). The coalition Social Democrats (SD) ranked third at 9.8% (down from 10.0% last month) and the opposition Left fourth at 6.9% (6.2% last month). The opposition New Slovenia (NSi) follows with a 4.7% support, while the rest of the parties were below the 4% parliamentary threshold.

Slovenia continue winning at European Volleyball Championship

LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian men's national volleyball team scored its second win in a row at the European Championship as it defeated Finland 3:1 (18, 24, -24, 15) on Saturday evening at Ljubljana's Stožice Arena in Group C. Slovenia are second in the group behind the defending champions Russia, who have three wins in as many matches. After the opening 3:0 win against Belarus on Thursday, Slovenia had a tougher opponent in Finland and had to play four sets, with the Finns narrowly winning the third one.

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14 Sep 2019, 01:57 AM

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Slovenia proposes joint police patrols with Austria

LJUBLJANA - Slovenian Interior Minister Boštjan Poklukar proposed that Slovenia and Austria form joint police patrols to police the Slovenian-Austrian border, as he hosted his counterpart Wolfgang Peschorn. Saying it was a good proposal, Peschorn said the Austrian government would examine it to see if it could fully contain the migration pressure. Poklukar reiterated Slovenia's stance that Austria's border checks with Slovenia had a negative impact on local population on both sides of the border, causing economic damage and long lines of vehicles on the shared border.

Governor: Economic situation calls for more than just monetary measures

LJUBLJANA - The economic situation is as complex as to call for measures from a variety of fields not just for monetary measures, Slovenian central bank Governor Boštjan Vasle told the STA after Thursday's session of European Central Bank (ECB) governors. Risks to the global economy are growing, threatening to further curb growth and further reduce inflation, he said, pointing to trade wars, China's cooling and Brexit. Vasle stressed the was ready to further reinforce our instruments and to take new measures, should it prove necessary.

Slovenian MEPs think some commissioners may fail hearings

LJUBLJANA - Slovenian members of the European Parliament appear to share the view that some of the candidates for Ursula von der Leyen's European Commission may stumble in parliamentary hearings. Tanja Fajon mentioned the Hungarian candidate for enlargement commissioner, Laszla Trocsanyi, who was justice minister at the time the EU launched Article 7 proceedings against Hungary. Klemen Grošelj (RE/LMŠ) said French candidate Sylvie Goulard and Romanian commissioner-designate Rovana Plumb were vulnerable because they are subjects of financial investigations, while Franc Bogovič (EPP/SLS) added another candidate under inquiry, Janusz Wojciechowski from Poland.

Govt to expand commercial diplomacy services

CELJE - Foreign Minister Miro Cerar and Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek expressed the government's and diplomatic service's commitment to help Slovenian businesses make it in foreign markets, as they addressed Day of Slovenian Diplomacy at the International Trade Fair in Celje. Commercial diplomacy remains the Foreign Ministry's priority, Cerar assured businesses. Despite financial constraints, the ministry would like to adapt to businesses' needs optimally and innovatively. This is why the ministry plans to expand the range of services it provides, and to open new diplomatic and consular missions with trade advisers, Cerar said.

Anti-corruption watchdog under fire over lack of action

LJUBLJANA - The Commission for the Prevention of Corruption was criticised for alleged inactivity under its boss Boris Štefanec as the parliamentary Justice Committee discussed its 2018 report. It was criticised as being inefficient and for having lost trust among the public as a result, which Štefanec rejected as unfounded. Justice Ministry State Secretary Dominika Švarc Pipan was worried that the number of cases the commission received has dropped from over 1,900 five years ago to 541. She believes this shows a worrying fall in the commission's activity and lower trust in its work.

Decision on Adria Airways's licence expected by end of October

LJUBLJANA - The Civil Aviation Agency is examining the annual report for 2018 by the struggling Adria Airways, which the German-owned airline had to submit as one of the conditions to keep its operating licence. Civil Aviation Agency director Rok Marolt told the STA that the decision on the licence would expectedly be taken by the end of October. He also said that the agency had launched the procedure to extend the operating licence for Adria Airways, representatives of which have been invited for a meeting.

Oversight council urges reducing Koper-Divača track costs

LJUBLJANA - The council for civil oversight of the project to build a second rail track between the Koper port and Divača is unhappy with the way the project is run, asserting that costs should be brought down. "We are talking about 100 to 150 million euro," the council's head, Jadran Bajec, said about the savings that could be made, as he presented the council's second report. Bajec said that technical solutions that could reduce the value of the project - currently estimated at EUR 1.95 billion - had not been taken into consideration in some of the budgeting items.

Astronauts training for space missions in Slovenian caves

LJUBLJANA - Six astronauts from five space agencies are training in Slovenia for space missions as part of the CAVES programme by the European Space Agency (ESA). Training in caves presents the astronauts with environments and situations very similar to spaceflight, to help them transfer the learning from their caving expedition to space. Astronauts are exploring underground systems, delve deep underground to perform scientific experiments as well as chart and document their activities.

Festival of Military History focuses on military aviation

PIVKA - The Park of Military History in Pivka launched its 13th Festival of Military History, this time paying tribute to military aviation, including Slovenian military aviation, which celebrates its centenary in 2019. Running until Sunday, the festival will feature exhibitions, guided tours, tank rides and a battle re-enactment. Parts of a Supermarine Spitfire F.IX MJ116 fighter plane which was shot down on 18 September 1944 above Ljubljana will be exhibited for the first time.

Slovenia open European Volleyball Championship with win

LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian men's national volleyball team opened the European Championship in Ljubljana's Stožice Arena with an easy 3:0 win against Belarus on Thursday, while the preceding matches in Group C ended with wins by the defending champions Russia over Turkey and Finland's over North Macedonia. In the final match of the day, the home team confirmed it is ready to aim high at the tournament hosted by four countries, defeating Belarus in straight sets.

Ljubljana enters race to become 2025 European culture capital

LJUBLJANA - Ljubljana and 25 surrounding municipalities signed an agreement to cooperate in the bid of the Slovenian capital to be awarded the title of the European Capital of Culture (ECC) in 2025. They are joining Lendava, Nova Gorica, Ptuj, Kranj and Piran as the candidate cities. Nina Peče Grilc, who heads the team preparing the bid, announced an ambitious programme with which Ljubljana and the partner municipalities "will respond to challenges of the future and increase the quality of live in the region."

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13 Sep 2019, 01:15 AM

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A schedule of all the main events involving Slovenia this week can be found here

This summary is provided by the STA:

Slovenia's GDP forecast for 2019 downgraded from 3.4% to 2.8%

LJUBLJANA - The Institute of Macroeconomic Analysis and Development has downgraded Slovenia's GDP growth for 2019 and 2020 by 0.6 points to 2.8% and by 0.1 points to 3%, respectively, compared to its spring forecast. Since the 2019 supplementary budget was based on the spring forecast, Finance Minister Andrej Bertoncelj already announced some austerity measures. "I have called on the ministers to save money and abolish non-essential measures," said Bertoncelj. He will also reduce the amount of the planned expenditure in the 2020 budget by EUR 100 million to EUR 10.35 billion.

NATO's top military officer starts visit to Slovenia

LJUBLJANA - Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, chairman of the NATO Military Committee, started an official visit to Slovenia, commending the country and its armed forces on their 15 years of contribution in support of the alliance's values and mission. He was formally received by the chief of the general staff of the Slovenian Armed Forces (SAF), Major General Alenka Ermenc, after which he delivered a lecture to senior SAF staff. He was also received by President Borut Pahor and Prime Minister Marjan Šarec. On Friday and Saturday, the British air chief marshal will chair a conference of the NATO Military Committee hosted by Slovenia.

NSi shadow cabinet bets on digitalisation

LJUBLJANA - The shadow cabinet formed by the conservative New Slovenia (NSi) released a document termed A Year of Missed Opportunities criticising the government record in its first year in office, and calling for a new national consensus centred around digitalisation. Party and shadow cabinet leader Matej Tonin argues Slovenia needs a new national consensus to make a breakthrough after the country gained independence and joined the EU and NATO. The party will discuss its new agenda as it seeks to move towards the centre of the political spectrum at Saturday's conference #smartSlovenia - Partnership for Breakthrough.

Slovenia remains 67th in economic freedom rankings

LJUBLJANA - Despite slightly improving its economic freedom, Slovenia has remained 67th among 162 countries in the latest Economic Freedom of the World report, compiled by the Canadian libertarian Fraser Institute. "We have taken a few steps forward and a few steps back. The positive change relates to the shrinking of the scope of para(state) mainly through decreasing state ownership in companies," said the head of the Ljubljana-based Visio Institute, Tanja Porčnik. The report again placed Hong Kong at the top of the rankings, at 8.91 points, followed by Singapore, New Zealand, and Switzerland as the best ranked European country.

Speaker Židan receives senior Chinese official

LJUBLJANA - Parliamentary Speaker Dejan Židan received Yang Chuantang, vice chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, for talks that focused on bilateral parliamentary cooperation. The officials highlighted good bilateral relations that have grown stronger in recent years with the increased frequency of visits, the National Assembly said in a press release. Acknowledging that cooperation has been particularly intense in agriculture, Židan and Yang said ties could be deepened in other fields as well, in particular in education and culture.

Prosecution appealing to top court over Kangler inquiry

LJUBLJANA - The Supreme State Prosecution is reported by the newspaper Dnevnik to have asked the Constitutional Court to examine whether the parliamentary inquiry into prosecution of former Maribor Mayor Franc Kangler may be in breach of the constitutional provision of division of power. The prosecution argues it is unacceptable for the legislative branch of power to interfere in the judiciary. The lower chamber of parliament launched the inquiry in July upon request of the upper chamber, a member of which Kangler is now. The National Council would like the matter to be examined since Kangler has been acquitted in most of the many cases brought against him. The Judicial Council also announced its plan to petition the court to examine the matter.

Govt tables draft climate policy bill

LJUBLJANA - The Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning unveiled a draft climate policy bill whose principal aim is to make Slovenia carbon neutral by 2050. The legislation provides a framework for climate policy action, with more specific actions to be defined in the climate strategy and operational documents. Overall, the bill pursues the goals set forth in the Paris Agreement, which Slovenia has ratified and which will enter into effect in 2021. The unveiling of the bill marks the start of a one-month period of public consultation.

Cohesion minister relieved after IT system fixed

LJUBLJANA - Minister of Development and Cohesion Policy Iztok Purič was relieved as he talked to the press nearly a week after the IT system used by Slovenia to distribute EU cohesion funds was deemed adequate following more than a year of serious problems. Purič believes Slovenia will be able to draw all of the funds at its disposal during the 2014-2020 financial perspective. In this budgetary period, EUR 2.52 billion, or more than 80% of available funds, have already been assigned to individual ministries, contracts have been signed for more than EUR 2 billion and more than EUR 800 million have been paid out by the state budget.

Calls for insolvency law changes in aftermath of Janković case

LJUBLJANA - The opposition-controlled parliamentary Commission for the Oversight of Public Finances urged the government to reform insolvency law after the debt restructuring of a company owned by the family of Ljubljana Mayor Zoran Janković caused uproar. The debate was prompted by news that Electa Holding had secured a restructuring deal under which EUR 29 million was written off whereas creditors will only get 5% of their claims repaid, despite suspicion that one of the companies voting for the deal was a fictitious creditor helping the Janković family business. Justice Minister Andreja Katič said insolvency law reform was in the works notwithstanding this particular case because of a Constitutional Court decision.

Katarina Štrukelj full-fledged boss of office for migrants

LJUBLJANA - The government appointed Katarina Štrukelj a full-fledged director of the government Office for the Support and Integration of Migrants. Štrukelj's appointment comes after she has served as acting director since late June, while she has worked for the office since its inception in 2017. She is an expert on migrations, especially international protection, and holds a master's degree in sociology. She was appointed for five years, with the option of a five-year extension.

Environment Inspectorate head dismissed, interim successor appointed

LJUBLJANA - The government dismissed the chief inspector at the Inspectorate for the Environment and Spatial Planning, Dragica Hržica, replacing her with Dragan Matić, a former MP of the coalition Modern Centre Party (SMC), as acting boss. He will assume the office on 16 September to head the Environment and Spatial Planning Ministry's inspection service until Hržica's successor is found, but no longer than 15 March 2020. Hržica's dismissal had been proposed by Minister Simon Zajc, who was not pleased with the work of the inspectorate.

Former NFD head pleads not guilty in abuse of office case

LJUBLJANA - Stanislav Valant, the former CEO of the asset management firm NFD Holding, pleaded not guilty of abuse of office charges, reportedly related to two loans worth EUR 4.3 million taken from the hotel operator Hoteli Bernardin for NFD, at a pre-trial hearing at the Ljubljana District Court. Prosecutor Marjana Grašič, who will present the charges to the public at the next hearing, said Valant was charged with abuse of office in a case from 2010. This is not the first trial for Valant. In July 2018, he and another three defendants were acquitted in a high-profile trial concerning dodgy share purchases of publisher Mladinska Knjiga in 2004.

Cargo-Partner opens new logistics centre at Brnik airport

BRNIK - Austrian logistics company Cargo-Partner inaugurated a new, EUR 28 million logistics centre near the Jože Pučnik Airport Ljubljana. Boasting 25,000 square metres of storage space, the facility is one of the largest logistics centres in the region and will service Cargo-Partner's clients in Central and SE Europe. However, the company believes it will have to expand it in a few years' time. Cargo-Partner owner Stefan Krauter said the company had decided to build in Slovenia due to its geostrategic position between Asia and Central Europe and because of trust in the country's political and social environment. The company says its market share in Slovenia is 21% in air cargo transport and 15% in naval transport.

Ptuj poultry group reports higher 2018 profit and sales

PTUJ - Perutnina Ptuj, the poultry group that was taken over by Ukrainian Holding MHP earlier this year, saw its net profit rise by 43% to EUR 16.1 million last year, as sales increased by 5% to EUR 271 million. Its EBITDA for 2018 was at EUR 29.2 million, and net debt at just over EUR 35 million. Slovenia's largest meat-processing group employed 3,677 people at the end of last year, of whom 1,833 in Slovenia. In his observations in the annual report, CEO Enver Šišič labelled the company's performance as enviable, calling Perutnina a financially sound and successful company.

Sašo Berger new AmCham Slovenia president

LJUBLJANA - Sašo Berger, the CEO of S&T Slovenija, has been appointed AmCham Slovenia president for two years, replacing Nevenka Kržan from KPMG, as the chamber of commerce promoting US companies' interest in Slovenia met for its annual general meeting. Berger is looking forward to entering dialogue with companies, the government and the civil society to improve the business environment in Slovenia, AmCham Slovenia said in a release.

POP TV journalist arrested over migrant smuggling

LJUBLJANA - A sports journalist of the commercial broadcaster POP TV was arrested last Sunday by police on the border with Croatia under suspicion of smuggling illegal migrants to Slovenia. Reporting on the incident today, POP TV condemned and distanced itself from the actions by the journalist, who has already been sacked. The broadcaster regretted the incident, reiterating its determination to continue to report extensively on the "abuse of the distress of refugees and of the victims of smuggling" as smuggling and assistance in smuggling migrants across the border with Croatia was on the rise.

Room at Presidential Palace named after Ivan Oman

LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor named one of the rooms at the Presidential Palace after the recently diseased Ivan Oman, one of the key players of Slovenia's independence. Previously, he has also named halls after Oman's late contemporaries Jože Pučnik and France Bučar, and the late president and prime minister Janez Drnovšek. The Ivan Oman Hall was inaugurated nearly a month after his death in a ceremony attended by Oman's family and political contemporaries.

Skubic wins award for best youth and children's book

MARIBOR - Andrej E. Skubic has won this year's Večernica Prize for the best youth and children's book written in the past year, convincing the jury with his book Grandma Does's Have Phone Any More from his book series Trio Golaznikus. The second book from the four-part series Trio Golaznikus, published by Mladinska Knjiga, was illustrated by Tanja Komadina. Skubic will receive the award, given out by the Maribor-based newspaper Večer, at a ceremony in Murska Sobota on 19 September.

Slovenia confident as co-host of European Volleyball Championship

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia are one of the three host nations of the Men's European Volleyball Championship, which began in Slovenia with a match between Turkey and defending champions Russia. The remaining four countries in group C are Slovenia and Belarus, which will play their opening match tonight, and Finland and North Macedonia. Slovenia hope to win the tournament, which would be an improvement on the country's best result at European championships, the silver in 2015.

Slovenians happiest with personal relations

LJUBLJANA - Slovenians are very happy with their relations with family members, friends and neighbours, while they are also quite happy with their jobs. The financial standing of their household is on the other hand something they are not so thrilled about, the Statistics Office said Personal relations received an average 8.6 mark on a 1-10 scale, followed by jobs (7.5), life in general (7.3), spare time (7.2) and finances (6.3). All five indicators have increased compared to 2013, shows the survey which the statisticians introduced in 2012.

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12 Sep 2019, 01:19 AM

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A schedule of all the main events involving Slovenia this week can be found here

This summary is provided by the STA:

Pahor urged to resign over Turkey, Ukraine EU membership statement

LJUBLJANA - A group of 28 Slovenian scholars urged President Borut Pahor to resign or be impeached by parliament over his recent statement suggesting that Turkey and Ukraine should not count on full-fledged EU membership. At the Bled Strategic Forum last week, Pahor made "an inappropriate, unreasonable and xenophobic statement, a statement that is extremely harmful for Slovenia politically and diplomatically", the group said. Responding to the appeal, Pahor's office said the stance on a special status of Turkey and Ukraine within the EU had been known at home and abroad for several years. But Foreign Minister Miro Cerar said that Slovenia supported Turkey's accession to the EU.

Cerar says Russia visit not to affect relations with US

MOSCOW, Russia - Foreign Minister Miro Cerar does not believe PM Marjan Šarec's official visit to Russia could worsen Slovenia's relations with allies, either the US or the EU. The visit is very important, especially from the economic aspect, Cerar told the STA on the margins of the prime minister's first visit to Moscow. The visit is a follow-up to the story which began at July's session of the Slovenia-Russia commission, which plans joint business projects, said Cerar. "We can see these projects already bringing concrete results," the foreign minister said.

Petrol signs multimillion deal at Slovenian-Russian business meeting

MOSCOW, Russia - The energy company Petrol signed cooperation contracts with Russia's T Plus Grupa and Schneider Electric at a bilateral business meeting held in Moscow on Tuesday as part of Prime Minister Marjan Šarec's visit to the country. Petrol will cooperate with the two Russian companies in energy efficiency, said Petrol CEO Tomaž Berločnik, adding the projects would focus on optimisation of district heating. The project with T Plus Grupa will be carried out in Izhevsk, and the other in Yekaterinburg, where Petrol will set up specialised software.

Committee okays national security strategy resolution

LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Defence Committee green-lighted the national security strategy resolution for a plenary discussion. Passing an amendment of the opposition Democrats (SDS), the committee threw out a provision granting additional powers to the SOVA intelligence service. Defence Minister Karl Erjavec said the resolution addressed very different sources of risks, including cyber and hybrid risks. Meanwhile, the Left criticised the document for failing to address threats such as climate change, poverty and inequality.

SDS urges including digital into Slovenia EU presidency priorities

CELJE - The opposition Democratic Party (SDS) unveiled a draft resolution on Slovenia's digital transformation at the International Trade Fair in Celje, urging the government to include digitalisation among the priorities of Slovenia's EU presidency in 2021. SDS leader Janez Janša said the presidency priorities set out by the government were overly generalised. He regretted that Slovenia missed the opportunity to get the digital age portfolio in the next EU Commission, saying the crisis management portfolio assigned to Janez Lenarčič was one of the hardest because it involves dealing with migration.

Talks start on public sector pay system reform

LJUBLJANA - The government and public sector trade unions launched a fresh round of talks aimed at reforming the public sector pay system toward a more performance-based remuneration system. One of the government's proposals is that employees could get up to 30% higher pay based on performance, while slowing down their promotion to higher pay brackets. The unions would only accept that if extra funds were secured for performance bonuses, rather than come from the money now used for pay bracket promotions.

Slovenia seeks to boost trade with Montenegro

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia and Montenegro explored ways to boost bilateral trade and investment at business forum held as part of a visit by Montenegrin Economy Minister Dragica Sekulić. The meeting, hosted by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS) in cooperation with the Montenegro's Chamber of Commerce, was attended by more than 120 business officials. The biggest potential was identified in energy and tourism. A business meeting held at the Celje fair yesterday heard that Montenegro's appeal for Slovenian investors was mainly that there is a level playing field for foreign and domestic investors.

Terme Maribor deep in the red again

MARIBOR - The Terme Maribor spa, until recently the biggest provider of accommodation in Maribor, posted a loss of EUR 5.2 million at the end of 2018. The Russian-owned company generated EUR 9.2 million in sales revenue, which is down almost two-thirds from 2017, the only year it was in the black since the sale to a Gazprom-owned company. According to CEO Tatjana Karpovitš, the company was affected by poor weather conditions, the cancellation of the annual Golden Fox skiing competition, and fewer international events hosted by Maribor.

Tam Europe ends 2018 with loss

MARIBOR - Tam Europe, a Maribor-seated bus manufacturer in Chinese ownership, finished 2018 with a loss of over EUR 3 million, double that in 2017. Sales revenue reached EUR 9 million, almost EUR 6 million less than the previous year. Since Tam Europe's launch in 2013, this was the toughest year as the company was forced to cut production for a longer period of time due to a lack of working capital and suspend it several times, according to the company's annual report.

Experts on close to nature forestry gather in Slovenia

LJUBLJANA - The world's leading experts on close to nature forestry gathered in Radlje ob Dravi for a four-day conference that marks the anniversary of Pro Silva, the umbrella organisation promoting sustainable forestry practices that was established at the initiative of a Slovenian forestry researcher 30 years ago. The four-day conference features 120 participants from 30 countries discussing forestry's challenges against the backdrop of climate change, technological progress and social transformation.

Eurostat projects a 13% population drop in Slovenia by 2100

LJUBLJANA - The EU's statistics office Eurostat projects that Slovenia's population will drop by 13% TO below 1.8 million in 2100. Slovenia's fertility rate is expected to gradually increase in the future, to stand in 2100 at 1.77, compared to today's rate of 1.61, and life expectancy at birth is expected to increase, standing at 89 for boys and at 93 for girls born in Slovenia in 2100. Nevertheless, almost a third of the population in Slovenia is projected to be aged 65 or older at the end of the century.

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11 Sep 2019, 01:14 AM

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This summary is provided by the STA:

Slovenia's EU commissioner-designate given crisis management portfolio

BRUSSELS, Belgium - Janez Lenarčič, the Slovenian EU commissioner-designate, was assigned the portfolio of crisis management in the next European Commission, as President-elect Ursula von der Leyen announced the distribution of posts. The job assigned to Lenarčič would correspond to the portfolio of humanitarian aid and crisis management in the outgoing commission. Crisis management is a significant but demanding field of the EU's work, involving the saving of lives and helping people in need, Lenarčič, so far Slovenia's ambassador to the EU, said in his first reaction. First political reactions indicate the majority perceive the portfolio as lightweight.

Russia expects Slovenia to help Agrokor restructuring

MOSCOW, Russia - Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev suggested Slovenia should help in the restructuring of Croatian conglomerate Agrokor and its Slovenian subsidiary, the retailer Mercator. "It would be good if we agree how to proceed," Medvedev said at the outset of talks with Slovenian Prime Minister Marjan Šarec. In a brief statement, Medvedev lauded the fact that Šarec had arrived with a business delegation and emphasised that bilateral economic relations were good, with many joint projects under way. However, he said the relations were strained by the Agrokor situation. He said he had talked to Croatian leadership but indicated he was not satisfied with the results, and stressed that the Russian owners of Agrokor, were providing for the stability of Agrokor's operations.

Bill on recourse over bank bail-in passes second reading

LJUBLJANA - A government-sponsored bill designed to provide legal recourse for holders of subordinated bank liabilities who were wiped out in the 2013 bank bailout was endorsed on second reading at the National Assembly, albeit with many amendments and the prospect of additional changes at the plenary. The Finance Committee completed the second reading after a two-month recess, having in June started the session dedicated to the belated bill, which should have been adopted by May 2017 under a Constitutional Court decision that held that subordinated creditors and shareholders did not have sufficient access to recourse under existing legislation.

Slovenia's employment prospects among strongest in the region

LJUBLJANA - The employment prospects in Slovenia in the final quarter of the year remain favourable, according to the latest employment forecast by temping agency Manpower. Seasonally-adjusted net employment forecast stands at 17%, which is one of the most optimistic forecasts in the region. The employment prospect for the final quarter is two percentage points lower in quarterly comparison and remains level year-on-year. The upbeat hiring prospects are a result of the strongest demand for labour in mining and quarrying, and the public sector and social services since the survey started nine years ago. They stand at +20% and +19%, respectively.

Industrial output rises again

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's industrial production rose again in July after it fell by over 1.5% in June. It increased by 5.1% year on year and by 2.7% over June, the Statistics Office said. The more robust industrial output was a result of strong performance in manufacturing, which grew by 3.5% in July over June. Meanwhile, the sectors of mining and of electricity, gas and steam supply dropped by 10.3% and 4% at the monthly level, respectively. Industrial revenue grew as well, rising by 3% on the previous month and by 2.7% over July 2018.

Slovenia still below OECD average in spending on education

LJUBLJANA - Education at a Glance 2019, a report by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), shows that Slovenia earmarked in 2016 the same share of its gross domestic product (GDP) for education as in the year before, 4.3%, which is below the OECD average. According to the report, which contains data for between 2005 and 2016, Slovenia is near the top when it comes to the share of persons aged between 25 and 34 who are included in education. A majority of Slovenian secondary school graduates enter university, but 12% of them drop out after the first year, which is a higher share than on average in the OECD. An additional 12% of university students drop out at a later stage.

Celje trade fair presenting 1,500 exhibitors

CELJE - The 52nd International Trade Fair (MOS) opened, hosting more than 1,500 exhibitors from over 30 countries and almost all continents until Sunday. The partner country this year is Montenegro. The main fields presented are home construction, camping and caravanning, tourism and food, equipment and material for crafts and industry, business services and consumer goods.

Slovenia still above EU suicide rate despite fewer cases

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia is marking today's World Suicide Prevention Day under the slogan Preventing Suicide Together for the second consecutive year. The country recorded a drop in the number of deaths by suicide in the past few years. However, its suicide rate is still above the EU average. The campaign raises awareness about the importance of early prevention and support. According to data by the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ), Slovenia's suicide rate has decreased by as much as 30%, with the downward trend being present in all age groups.

Artist Tanja Pak presented at the Venice Glass Week Hub

VENICE, Italy - Slovenian designer and artist Tanja Pak is presenting her latest works at the main exhibition of the Venice Glass Week Hub until Sunday. Her installation dubbed Between focuses on the search for intimacy and explores the sensitivity of relationships. Pak was invited to take part in the Glass Week, featuring 107 international exhibitions and more than 100 accompanying events in Venice and the Murano island, by curator Rosa Barovier Mentasti.

Slovenia beat Israel for third Euro qualifier win in a row

LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian national football team scored a third win in a row in the qualifiers for the 2020 Euro by defeating Israel at home on Monday 3:2 to advance to second place in Group G behind the leading Poland. After beating Latvia on the road in June and defeating Poland in Stožice Stadium on Friday 2:0, Slovenia followed it up with a come-from-behind win against Israel to leapfrog Austria in the standings. Slovenia will have a one-month break before the qualifiers continue on 10 October against North Macedonia and against Austria on 13 October.

Maribor Festival wiping out boundaries, overcoming divisions

MARIBOR - The Maribor Festival of classical music, featuring eight concert nights until 19 September, kicked off with a performance by the Austro-Hungarian Haydn Orchestra led by German-French cellist and conductor Nicolas Altstaedt. According to the organisers, the Narodni Dom Maribor arts centre, the festival in Slovenia's second largest city will be about wiping out boundaries, getting out of the box, overcoming divisions and bringing together the virtually incompatible.

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10 Sep 2019, 01:26 AM

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Coalition to wait for latest economic outlook before finalising budget

BRDO PRI KRANJU - Senior coalition officials discussed the budget for 2020 and 2021 as the Marjan Šarec government is gearing up for intense scrutiny from the opposition in parliament due to a looming economic downturn. The government made a preliminary allocation of funds in early July, but Finance Minister Andrej Bertoncelj said after today's meeting the budget bills would be endorsed only after the latest economic outlook was released, meaning after 19 September. The coalition also reaffirmed its commitment to the fiscal rule in drafting the budgets. The ceiling for public spending in 2020 is EUR 10.45 billion.

Slovenian and Latvian speakers call for strong, effective EU

LJUBLJANA - National Assembly Speaker Dejan Židan hosted his Latvian counterpart Inara Murniece for talks in Ljubljana, after which they called for a strong and effective EU where the voice of each member counts. The Latvian speaker also thanked Slovenia for taking part in NATO's Enhanced Forward Presence mission in Latvia, saying that together with other countries, Slovenia contributed to Latvia's security. Murniece, in Slovenia for two days, also met President Borut Pahor and Prime Minister Marjan Šarec.

A year into government, Delo poll shows rating firm

LJUBLJANA - The government had an average rating of 2.96 on a 1-5 scale in September, up from 2.91 in August and 2.16 when it took office a year ago, as almost 30% said it was performing well, some 39% saw it as average and almost 28% said it was not doing its job, according to a poll released by Delo. The improvement in the government rating was also reflected in higher ratings for PM Marjan Šarec's LMŠ party, which gained more than two points to 18.9%, over 5 points ahead of the opposition Democrats (SDS).

Merchandise exports at all-time high in July

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia exported EUR 3.962 billion worth of goods in July, the highest monthly value on record, with the trade surplus hitting a record level of EUR 937 million. Merchandise exports were 46.3% higher than in July 2018 and imports rose by 16.4% to EUR 3.025 billion, the Statistics Office said. Exports to non-EU countries nearly trebled. Between January and July 2019, exports were up 14.6% year-on-year to EUR 20.771 billion and imports rose by 12% to EUR 19.825 billion.

Hazardous waste company Kemis back in business

LJUBLJANA/VRHNIKA - Chemical waste collection company Kemis, which had to stop accepting waste after building inspectors found its new facilities to be illegal in early August, can do business again, at least until the inspectors decide on the matter again. The Environment and Spatial Planing Ministry said it had annulled the August decision, asking the inspection service to decide on the issue again. Kemis suspended its business a day after the decision was announced, but now it could start accepting waste again before the end of the week, according to its director Boštjan Šimenc.

Lek inaugurates EUR 7.5m labs in Ljubljana

LJUBLJANA - Pharmaceutical company Lek inaugurated new development laboratories in Ljubljana in an investment valued at EUR 7.5 million. The labs are to develop sterile solid dosage forms to treat cancer patients, among other drugs. Matjaž Tršek, the director of Lek's development centre, said that work on oncology medications had been somewhat limited, but the new investment would allow them to develop the whole portfolio of these medications. The centre is the leading such in Sandoz, Novartis's generics arm.

No breakthrough on electoral changes

LJUBLJANA - The latest in a series of meetings on changes to electoral law hosted by President Borut Pahor showed constitutional experts support the idea to abolish electoral districts and introduce an absolute preferential vote, whereas several parties oppose this solution. Most parties are in favour of a relative preferential vote, but constitutional law experts deem this option not as good and warn it would be acceptable only if choosing the preferred candidate was obligatory. The idea to abolish electoral districts and introduce relative preferential vote is one of the two possible solutions after the current system was declared unconstitutional at the end of 2018. The other is to redraw the borders of electoral districts so as to make them constitutional.

Toplak full-fledged head of EP's Slovenia Office

LJUBLJANA - Manja Toplak was appointed full-fledged head of the European Parliament's Office in Slovenia after serving as acting head between March 2018 and 31 August 2019, the Office said in a release. Her priorities will be developing a community which wants to help shape Europe's future and raise awareness about the role of the EU for all, with the youth being in the focus of these efforts. Toplak has worked for EU institutions for more than 17 years. She holds a master's degree in European studies from the University of Applied Sciences in Berlin.

Petition launched against BSW sawmill investment

BRASLOVČE - The Scottish sawmiller BSW Timber, which would like to build the largest sawmill in Slovenia in Gomilsko near Celje, hit another obstacle after delays in the adoption of the needed spatial plans as locals initiated a petition against the project. The opponents of the project called on the municipality to prevent the construction, arguing it would destroy best farmland. Braslovče Mayor Tomaž Žohar said the majority would decide, while he wondered whether people knew what they were signing.

Palestinian issue to be raised ahead of Israel match

LJUBLJANA - An informal group called the Movement for the Rights of Palestinians handed out fliers to football fans ahead of the 2020 Euro qualifier between Slovenia and Israel in a bid to raise awareness about the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories. The movement's representative Barbara Vodopivec told the STA they wanted to acquaint the Slovenian public with the "occupation, apartheid and war crimes perpetrated by the state of Israel on the territory of Palestine for decades".

History of Love Slovenia's candidate for Oscar nominee

LJUBLJANA - History of Love (Zgodovina Ljubezni), a meditative drama by Sonja Prosenc, will be Slovenia's candidate for the nomination for the 2020 Academy Award for Best International Feature Film, as selected by a jury of the Association of Slovenian Filmmakers. The Slovenian/Italian/Norwegian co-production, made in 2018, has been picked for being an "unconventional and recognisable film, characterised by top performances by all team members, harmonised in a unified story".

Vilenica Festival to look for ego in the story

LJUBLJANA - More than 20 authors from 15 countries will gather in Slovenia this week for the 34th Vilenica International Literary Festival, which will focus on the ego in the story under the theme Ego in Fabula. In a prelude to the festival, the Vilenica Prize winner Dragan Velikić, one of the most esteemed Serbian authors, was featured at an event in Ljubljana tonight. Velikić will be joined by the Slovenian author in focus, poet Esad Babačić, for the official opening in Koper on Tuesday.

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09 Sep 2019, 02:09 AM

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Pope visits Slovenian missionary in Madagascar

ANTANANARIVO, Madagascar - Pope Francis visited Akamasoa, a village founded by the Slovenian missionary Pedro Opeka in Madagascar, making it one of the main stops on his south African tour. The Pope was received by Opeka and several other Church dignitaries along with several thousand people in a sports hall that doubles as a place of worship in Akamasoa.

Thousands gather for 150th anniversary of firefighting in Slovenia

METLIKA - Several thousand firefighters and other visitors gathered to celebrate the 150th anniversary of firefighting in Slovenia, marking the day in 1869 when the first volunteer fire brigade was founded in Metlika. Delivering the keynote, Prime Minister Marjan Šarec, himself a volunteer firefighter in his home town of Kamnik, stressed that the umbrella Firefighters' Union was the biggest humanitarian organisation in the country.

Ceremony, mass mark little known post-war labour camp

PODLESJE - A mass and commemoration were held on the site of a short-lived forced-labour camp at which post-war Communist authorities interned women. The camp was erected at Podlesje (then known as Ferdreng), a village in Kočevje area. It was in operation from July 1949 and October the same year and held 800 women and girls, either suspected of having been associated with the anti-Communist Home Guards or deemed politically dangerous.

Vinarium goes from pie in the sky to pillar of tourism

LENDAVA - When it was built four years ago, the Vinarium observation tower was seen by many as a pipe dream. Now, it is a major draw for the region. A 53.5-metre tower with views of four countries, it was meant to attract 30,000-40,000 visitors annually. Since it launched, however, it has attracted around 375,000 people, with a single-day record of 2121 visitors set on 1 May.

Foreign companies create 27% of Slovenia's value added

LJUBLJANA - Foreign companies accounted for 5.6% of all companies in Slovenia in 2017 but created over 27% of value added, roughly on a par with 2016. These companies employed almost 26% of all workers, and allocated 39% of their expenses in Slovenia for R&D, the latest Statistics Office data shows.

Ljubljanske Mlekarne ups net profit by a third

LJUBLJANA - Ljubljanske Mlekarne, Slovenia's largest dairy, increased sales revenue by 0.6% last year to EUR 168.6 million, while net profit was up by 33.3% to EUR 6.7 million, according to the annual report filed with the AJPES agency for public records. While net profit was up by a third, operating profit increased by 15.9% to EUR 7.9 million.

Increased use of wood good for Ledinek Engineering bottom line

HOČE - Ledinek Engineering, a maker of machinery and production lines for the wood processing industry, saw sales increase by 28% in 2018 to EUR 43 million. Net profit was up 175% to EUR 1.47 million, shows the company's annual report. The company, which exports 96% of its production, attributes the spike to the increased use of wood as a building material around the world and the resulting investments.

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07 Sep 2019, 01:28 AM

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Lenarčič meets Von der Leyen, no comments on portfolio yet

BRUSSELS, Belgium - Janez Lenarčič, Slovenia's candidate for the new European Commission, had an official meeting with the Commission's President-elect Ursula von der Leyen, the permanent representation of Slovenia to the EU announced. Lenarčič was informed by Von der Leyen that he had been put on the list of official candidates. "I'm happy that the newly-elected president of the Commission confirmed my candidacy for her list of the future college of commissioners," said Slovenia's current ambassador to the EU.

Debate condemns pressures on judiciary, pending Constitutional Court rulings

LJUBLJANA - Representatives of all three branches of power discussing the state of the rule of law in Slovenia agreed that the separation of powers was very important for the implementation of the rule of law. Judges were critical of interferences with the judiciary and non-implementation of Constitutional Court rulings, with Supreme Court president Damijan Florjančič, saying that it was crucial that all those who are "talking about the rule of law on a daily basis know what we are talking about". Justice Minister Andreja Katič said it was the state who must create the conditions for an efficient and fair judicial system.

NLB reports 10% lower half-year profit

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's largest banking group, NLB saw its half-year-net profit fall by 10% year-on-year to EUR 94.3 million despite higher interest and non-interest income. Profit before impairments and provisions was up 13% to EUR 116 million, according to the bank's interim report. Net interest income rose by 5% to EUR 159 million, and net non-interest revenue increased by 8% to EUR 98.3 million. The parent bank generated EUR 122.6 million in profit, which compares to EUR 103.3 million a year ago.

Deal reached to avert pilot strike at Adria Airways

LJUBLJANA - The German-owned Slovenian carrier Adria Airways reached a deal with pilots that averts a series of strikes that were due to begin on Sunday. "Adria Airways will carry out scheduled and charter flights according to the planned flight schedule," the company said. Marko Kastelic, a representative of the pilots' trade union, said the sides agreed a draft of a new collective bargaining agreement, which now needs to be endorsed by the union members. Adria had to cancel a flight from Ljubljana to Vienna and back on Thursday as an enforcement agent sought to seize its plane over a EUR 250 debt.

Minister under pressure over alleged attempt to sack energy CEO

LJUBLJANA - Infrastructure Minister Alenka Bratušek has come under pressure following a media allegation that she personally interfered in a procedure to appoint the CEO of SODO, the state-owned electricity distribution system operator. Denying the charge, the minister vowed to fight tooth and nail against energy lobbies. The minister also defended the government's decision on 14 August to change the SODO articles of association to the effect that the supervisory board needs the government's consent to appoint or dismiss the CEO.

IT problems jeopardising cohesion funds apparently fixed

LJUBLJANA - Major flaws in the Slovenian IT system used for disbursing EU cohesion funds that threatened to lead to a suspension of payments from the EU budget have been fixed, according to the Budget Supervision Office. "The auditing body has found that significant improvements have been achieved in this area and believes that conditions for a temporary suspension of payments to Slovenia ... no longer exist," the Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy said.

Steel group SIJ reports higher profit on lower sales

LJUBLJANA - SIJ, the Ljubljana-based steel group in majority Russian ownership, reported EUR 81.2 million in net profit for the first half of the year, a 4.3-fold increase over the same period a year ago. The sales revenue decreased by 2.1% to EUR 417.2 million. Almost 85% of the sales were generated in foreign markets. The higher bottom line reflects the sale of the food division, the poultry group Perutnina Ptuj, the Ukranian group MHP. The proceeds were used to reduce SIJ's financial debt.

Slovenia dominate 13th stage of the Vuelta

BILBAO, Spain - Slovenia proved a cycling tour superpower as Tadej Pogačar won the 13th stage of the Vuelta ahead of Primož Roglič, who increased the overall lead. In the all-Slovenian finish on the hellishly steep final climb, Pogačar, the 20-year-old UAE Emirates rider, won his second stage victory to advance to the 2nd spot overall and put on the best young rider's white jersey. Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) increased his overall lead ahead of Spain's Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) to two minutes and 25 seconds.

Slovenian Philharmonic's new season gets under way

LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra will open its 2019-2020 season in the Cankarjev Dom today with a concert conducted by Charles Dutoit, a Swiss internationally-acclaimed conductor. Honouring the 120th anniversary of Škerjanc's birth, the new season will feature works of the Slovenian late-Romantic era composer. The Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra will provide 24 programmes of symphonic, choir and vocal-instrumental music in the new season.

Kogoj Days particularly festive this year

KANAL - Kogoj Days, an international festival of Slovenian contemporary classical music, will start today, marking its 40th anniversary with 12 concerts and eight brand-new pieces of music. The festival will pay tribute to four late greats of the Slovenian art scene. The conductor Anton Nanut (1932-2017) and composer Marijan Gabrijelčič (1940-1998), the festival's founders, will be honoured alongside poet Ciril Zlobec (1925-2018) and composer Štefan Mauri (1931-2014).

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06 Sep 2019, 01:58 AM

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Slovenia's EU presidency priorities: Safe, sustainable bloc ruled by law

LJUBLJANA - The government adopted a first draft of Slovenia's priorities during its stint as the presidency of the EU in the second half of 2021. The priorities are divided into three sets, focussing on a safe and sustainable EU which is based on the rule of law. Security and international affairs will give a certain focus on the Western Balkans and migration. Apart from measures to enhance the rule of law and basic EU values Slovenia will focus on dealing with challenges of sustainable development.

Minister reiterates police in control of migration

LJUBLJANA - Interior Minister Boštjan Poklukar is known for saying the Slovenian police are fully in control of migration. "If this was not the case, we would have more illegal migrants in the country, at railway stations, cities and abandoned buildings," he told the STA in an interview. "Slovenia being a safe country is a fact confirmed by international comparisons and many countries envy us on this," Poklukar said. He also praised police cooperation with Croatia and Italy.

EU asylum agency calls for faster procedures

BLED - The executive director of the European Asylum Support Office, Slovenian Nina Gregori, told the STA on the sidelines of the Bled Strategic Forum that asylum procedures should be made more efficient and swifter, and member states' standards for granting the asylum status should be unified. Gregori, who took over as the EASO head in June, said that the EU receives 50,000 requests for international protection per month on average. Last year's total exceeded 600,000.

Govt adopts amendments for effective legal remedy in public contracting

LJUBLJANA - The government adopted legislative amendments to provide effective legal remedy against infringements in public contracting procedures and boost the independence of the National Review Commission. The amendments will make it possible to challenge decisions by the National Review Commission in the Administrative Court. Candidates for commission members will be selected by a vetting commission appointed by the Judicial Council and endorsed by parliament.

Court of Audit rubbishes emergency departments project

LJUBLJANA - The Court of Audit lambasted the Health Ministry for poor planning of ten emergency departments around Slovenia, an EU-subsidised investment valued at around EUR 76 million. The project was not based on fact analysis, disregarded the geographical needs for new casualty departments, and was planned in such a way the departments could not be completed in time or within the budget. The court's report said that only 64% of all funds spent on the new departments (EUR 48.7 million) were by the book.

Conductor Zubin Mehta receives presidential decoration

LJUBLJANA - President Borut Borut Pahor conferred the Golden Order of Merit on the world-renowned Indian conductor Zubin Mehta, who was recognised for his contribution to music and the inspiring effort to connect people and nations with this form of art. The ceremony came ahead of a concert by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Mehta, which wrapped up the 67th Ljubljana Festival.

Filmmaker Andrej Zdravič wins Badjura Award

LJUBLJANA - Slovenian independent filmmaker and sound artist Andrej Zdravič will be honoured with the Badjura Award at the opening of the 22nd Slovenian Film Festival in Portorož on 17 September. Despite focussing on different subjects, resorting to different approaches and using different technologies, Zdravič's films are "an integral whole". Zdravič, 67, has made almost 40 films, as well as several video installations, which explore life and nature in relation to human and his or her spirituality.

Slovenia among top EU countries in reducing VAT gap

BRUSSELS, Belgium - Slovenia is among the top EU member states in reducing the share of uncollected value added tax (VAT) revenue, or VAT gap, according to a study for 2017 released by the European Commission. Slovenia reduced its VAT gap by around three percentage points to 3.5%. The most successful country was Malta, which reduced the gap by seven percentage points. The trend of the decreasing VAT gap was observed for the fifth year in a row in 2017, and is estimated to have decreased further in 2018.

Postal operator cleared to acquire logistics company Intereuropa

LJUBLJANA - Pošta Slovenije, the state-owned postal operator, received clearance from the Competition Protection Agency to acquire logistics company Intereuropa. The postal company acquired a 72% stake in Intereuropa from six banks in May and is now expected to publish a takeover bid for the outstanding stock. The value of the deal has not been disclosed, but the business daily Finance has reported the transaction being in EUR 40 million range, or EUR 100 million together with debt.

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05 Sep 2019, 01:25 AM

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Pahor urges Croatia to accept arbitration to facilitate Schengen membership

ŠIBENIK, Croatia - President Borut Pahor has addressed a renewed appeal to Croatia to accept the final ruling of the arbitration tribunal on the Slovenian-Croatian border, indicating that this would affect the Slovenian government's decision on its membership of the Schengen zone. Croatia must foremost meet all technical criteria to join the Schengen zone, but the Slovenian government will "sooner or later have to accept a decision on that after the European Commission has assessed that Croatia is close to meeting all the conditions," he told the press after a meeting with the Croatian and Austrian presidents.

Draft energy and climate plan improved

LJUBLJANA - The Infrastructure Ministry released an improved draft of the National Energy and Climate Plan, a key document setting the course of action for ten years until 2030, which should be sent to Brussels by the end of the year. The new draft sets down various scenarios serving as a basis for an environment impact assessment to which it will be subjected before being sent into public consultation. What is new is the country's goal to increase the share of renewables to "at least" 27% by 2030, as opposed to "a 27% share" in the first draft.

Activists accuse Slovenia of violating asylum law

LJUBLJANA - A group of activists helping asylum seekers accused Slovenian police of systematic infringement of international conventions by pushing illegal migrants back to Croatia and preventing them from filing asylum applications. Asylum Taskforce claims that refugee camps in Bosnia and Herzegovina are full of people who had been pushed back across the border, often in very violent ways. It claims Slovenia and Croatia have established a peculiar system of refoulement circumventing EU law.

Iran official rules out negotiation with US until sanctions are lifted

BLED - Iran does not see a chance of negotiation with the US until the US returns to the Iran nuclear deal and until it lifts sanctions, Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi has told the STA. He believes it is still possible to save the historic 2015 deal, but it will not be easy. The Iranian diplomat, who talked to the STA on the sidelines of the Bled Strategic Forum, said that saving the deal would require real determination on the part of the remaining signatories.

Coalition and Left closer on health insurance issue

LLJUBLJANA - The ruling coalition and the opposition Left, which has been threatening to withdraw support for the minority government, have brought closer together their views on the Left's proposal to abolish top-up health insurance by folding it into mandatory health insurance as of 2021. The opposition party wants to reform voluntary health insurance, which is paid as a flat-rate contribution of slightly EUR 30-plus a month regardless of one's income. Detailed calculations are yet to be made taking into account long-term macroeconomic and demographic projections, Health Minister Aleš Šabeder said after today's meeting. Talks will be resumed next week.

Abanka Group profit down 32% in first half of 2019

LJUBLJANA - Abanka generated EUR 26.3 million in group net profit in the first six months of the year, 32.3% less than in the same period last year. Net interest revenue was down by 0.5% and net non-interest income by 19.5%. Group total assets amounted to EUR 3.76 billion, after standing at EUR 3.73 billion at the end of December. The bank's supervisory board got acquainted with the results on Tuesday.

Slovenia's tourism up in global competitiveness ranking

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia is up five spots in the latest biannual global Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report, standing at 36th place among 140 countries surveyed by the World Economic Forum (WEF). In the 2019 survey, Slovenia scored an average of 4.3 out of seven points based on assessments in 14 elements of competitiveness in four key categories. Slovenia fared the best in environmental sustainability, placing 8th. Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek commented by saying that Slovenia was on the right track in the field of tourism.

Two Slovenian researchers get prestigious ECR grants

LJUBLJANA - Two Slovenian researchers are among the 408 recipients of the latest round of starting grants awarded by the European Research Council (ERC) to early-stage researchers. Nejc Hodnik from the Chemistry Institute has received EUR 1.5 million for a five-year project called 123STABLE, which focuses on the development of very stable nanostructure electrocatalysts. Matjaž Human from the Jožef Stefan Institute will get EUR 1.5 million for a five-year project that will explore whether it is possible to successfully integrate lasers into living cells.

Show on govt art collection from 1930s to open in Ljubljana

LJUBLJANA - Works of art made in the 1930s in Dravska Banovina, a province covering some two-thirds of Slovenian lands in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, will open tonight at the National Gallery. Over 70 paintings, sculptures and drawings by Slovenian realists and impressionists from the decade preceding World Word II will be on show. Art for New Days. Dravska Banovina's Collection is the fourth in a series of exhibitions from the Government's Art Collection, which the gallery has kept since 1986.

Slovenia's jobless total down 5.8% at annual level in August

LJUBLJANA - After ticking up in July, Slovenia's jobless total declined to 71,544 in August, a drop of 0.4% over the month before. Year-on-year, the figure declined by 5.8%, show Employment Service figures. Almost 4,300 registered as newly unemployed in August, a significant drop from July and a tenth less than in August. While roughly 3,000 previously registered as unemployed got jobs, this is about a tenth less than in July or August 2018.

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