Ljubljana related

07 Apr 2019, 03:17 AM

Bookmark this link and find the headlines faster each morning

Visiting Ljubljana? Check out what's on this week, while all our stories on Slovenia, from newest to oldest, are here

 This summary is provided by the STA

Šarec says LMŠ introducing new line of thinking

TRBOVLJE - Prime Minister Marjan Šarec addressed the congress of his LMŠ party in Trbovlje, highlighting the party's growth and sovereignty. He said the Marjan Šarec List had introduced a new line of thinking. "We rely solely on hard work, will, energy and enthusiasm, and the awareness that we do not know it all," he said. Turning to the upcoming EU election, for which the party presented its list of candidates, Šarec said the LMŠ wanted a "Europe of solidarity, which will be efficient and led by competent people with a new line of thinking."

Bertoncelj calls for stimulative business environment in all of EU

BUCHAREST, Romania - EU finance ministers discussed mobility of the labour force within the bloc and the issue of brain drain, with Slovenia's Andrej Bertoncelj stressing the importance of encouraging business and wider social and institutional environments to help citizens realise their potential. According to the Slovenian Finance Ministry, the ministers agreed that the mobility of labour force within the EU remained a fundamental EU freedom but called for measures to prevent brain drain from certain countries.

New far-right party holds founding congress

LJUBLJANA - Some 200 delegates gathered for the founding congress of the new far-right party today. The first project of the Homeland League, using the acronym DOM (home), will be standing in the EU election. Bernard Brščič, a former senior aide to opposition Democrats (SDS) leader Janez Janša who works as an economist for power grid operator Eles, was elected president, while Lucija Šikovec Ušaj, a lawyer who ran on the SDS ticket in the general election but later left the party because she thought it was too soft on migrations, was elected vice president.

SDS take the lead in Parsifal poll, support to govt dropping

LJUBLJANA - A survey by the pollster Parsifal published by Nova24TV on Friday showed the opposition Democrats (SDS) taking the lead from the ruling Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ). The SDS polled at 18.9% and the LMŠ at 16.8%. The support to the government dropped by 15%. The junior coalition Social Democrats (SD) also saw a drop in support to 7.1%, while support to the opposition New Slovenia (NSi) and the Left remained level at 5% and 4.7%, respectively.

Štore Steel revenue up, profit down last year

ŠTORE - Štore Steel, one of the largest steel mills in the country, sold 153,000 tonnes of steel last year, and generated EUR 138.7m in sales revenue, up almost 14% from 2017. Profit was however down by EUR 200,000 to EUR 8.6m. According to CEO Jani Jurkošek, the lower profit is a result of higher labour costs and the corporate tax the company had to pay for 2017. Jurkošek told the STA he was happy with last year's results, noting that the car market had started cooling in September 2018.

All-community campaign calls for anti-discrimination action

LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Philanthropy held its 10th annual Day For Change campaign, encouraging people to stand up against discrimination and become a volunteer at least for a day. Almost 170 events were held by more than 550 organisations and 9,000 volunteers, including hate speech prevention campaigns, awareness-rising events, inter-generational socialising, clean-up campaigns, swap shops, flash mobs, and sports events under the slogan Do Not Go With the Flow - Stand For Change!

10,000 trees planted to rejuvenate Slovenian forests

LJUBLJANA - Around 10,000 trees were planted by more than 670 volunteers at several locations in Slovenia as part of a campaign launched by the state-owned SiDG forestry company last year to help Slovenian forests recover from several disasters they were hit by in recent years. This is the second year that 10,000 new tress were planted as part of the campaign and the organisers hope this will become an annual event. In October 2018, some 400 volunteers took part, so this year's turnout was a pleasant surprise.

06 Apr 2019, 03:00 AM

Bookmark this link and find the headlines faster each morning

Visiting Ljubljana? Check out what's on this week, while all our stories on SLovenia, from newest to oldest, are here


This summary is provided by the STA

President suggests new law to address army readiness issue

LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Armed Forces' state of readiness for peacetime action is satisfactory, but their capacity for wartime action remains unsatisfactory for the fifth straight year. Receiving the army readiness report, President Borut Pahor said the army was undertaking all the tasks under the defence act, but it was having problems providing capabilities for higher-intensity operations. The key issue affecting the readiness assessment both for peacetime and wartime or crisis action is a shortage of staff, equipment and armament. He proposed adopting a systemic law to fund national security.

Cerar says Slovenia takes commitments to NATO very seriously

WASHINGTON, US - Foreign Minister Miro Cerar said after the conclusion of the NATO ministerial in Washington marking the 70th anniversary of the alliance that NATO was certainly an exceptionally strong alliance in which Slovenia was in very good company and was taking its commitments very seriously. Cerar said that "PM Marjan Šarec has promised that we will increase defence spending to 1.1% of GDP and I believe that the government is capable of doing it with an additional effort."

Hungary's call for govt meddling in media freedom met with protest

LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Foreign Ministry confirmed it had received a verbal diplomatic note from the Hungarian embassy protesting a cover in the weekly Mladina portraying Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán performing the Nazi salute. The ministry told the embassy that it did not interfere in the editorial policy of the Slovenian media. The Slovenian Journalist Association (DNS) condemned Hungary's move in the strongest terms, speaking of an "unheard-of expression of a conception of complete control and disciplining of the media by the authorities". A joint session of the Slovenian parliamentary culture and foreign policy committees has been announced in response to the development.

Court of Audit to review Oshkosh defence deal

LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Defence Committee endorsed the contract between the government and the US administration to buy 4x4 Oshkosh light APCs, having found it had been concluded in line with the law. But it also agreed with yesterday's decision by the Public Finance Oversight Commission for the Court of Audit to review the deal. The government is buying 38 4x4 Oshkosh light combat tactical all-terrain vehicles from the US for around EUR 32m, having signed the contract late last year.

Army's force commander dismissed over Poček incident

LJUBLJANA - Defence Minister Karl Erjavec dismissed the army's force commander, Brigadier General Miha Škerbinc, at the proposal of the chief of the general staff, Major-General Alenka Ermenc. Until his replacement is appointed Brigadier Milan Žurman will be in charge, the ministry said. One of the reasons for the dismissal was last week's incident at the Poček training area, when shooting with heavy weapons late at night upset the local community.

Šarec seeks to reassure public over healthcare crisis

LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Marjan Šarec sought to reassure the public over simmering discontent among doctors last night by saying that people would not be left without their GPs. Šarec said that the situation in healthcare was not "as bad and black as being portrayed", but admitted many improvements were needed. Commenting after GPs started to give notices in protest at what they say are excessive number of patients that they are obligated to take, he said improvements cannot come over night and "will not be achieved by means of threats but rather by means of dialogue and well-directed finances".

Bullmann announces fight against extremism ahead of EU election

LJUBLJANA - Udo Bullmann, the leader of the Socialists and Democrats (S&D) in the European Parliament, announced a fight against far-right extremism and populism, which are spreading throughout Europe, as he addressed the press in Ljubljana. He also commented on the recent revelation that the Croatian Intelligence Agency (SOA) was behind the wire tapping of Slovenia's arbitrator and agent in the Slovenian-Croatian border arbitration. He finds it worrying that something like that is happening between two EU member states. He said other European leaders should not look away but urge the respecting of the rule of law.

Slovenia could benefit from EU funds for military mobility

LJUBLJANA - European Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc has presented plans to enhance military mobility in the EU, noting EUR 6.5bn would be allocated to adapt transport infrastructure to military needs. The participants of today's conference on military mobility agreed this was an opportunity for Slovenia to upgrade its infrastructure. Bulc, Slovenia's member of the Commission, said military mobility was a new topic in the EU as the bloc was gearing towards a fully-fledged Defence Union by 2025.

Gorenje announces sale of Serbian subsidiary Gorenje Tiki

VELENJE - The Velenje-based household appliances maker Gorenje has announced it will publish in the coming weeks a call for bids for its Serbian subsidiary Gorenje Tiki, which produces small water heaters. The Chinese-owned company also intends to sell the Tiki brand along with the subsidiary. The company said the sale, already attempted last year before the takeover by Hisense, was part of the strategy of selling non-core assets and focusing on Gorenje's principal activity. Gorenje Tiki employs 30 people in Slovenia and 520 in Serbia.

Adria still looking for strategic partner after Sukhoi deal fails, boss says

BRNIK - The boss of the Slovenian air carrier Adria Airways, Holger Kowarsch, has told the STA the failed deal with Russia's Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Company (SCAC) to lease Russian planes would also have involved an around EUR 10m capital injection. Adria is thus still looking for a strategic partner. Kowarsch, general manager of the Slovenian company in German ownership which had some liquidity problems recently, said it had been Adria that exited the deal as SCAC did not deliver when the payment deadline was due in end February.

Slovenia to launch its first nanosatellite this summer

MARIBOR - The University of Maribor and the company SAB-LS signed a contract in Maribor on the launch of the first Slovenian nanosatellite into orbit. Trisat is to fly into space on a light European Vega rocket that is to be launched from French Guiana in August. Trisat has been developed at the Maribor Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in cooperation with the Slovenian company Skylabs. Trisat, weighing only 4.4 kilos, is capable of taking multispectral images of Earth in short-wave infrared spectrum with a camera unlike any other in space at the moment.

Slovenian companies expected on Amazon this year

LJUBLJANA - Slovenian companies will soon be able to do business on Amazon Europe, as the US tech company gets technically adjusted to include Slovenia among supported countries in the second half of the year, the Slovenian Economy Ministry said. Last year the ministry worked intensively with Amazon to enable Slovenian firms to do business on Amazon Europe's e-commerce platform as soon as possible.

Suspect dead in apparent bus hijack

LJUBLJANA - A 48-year-old man hijacked a bus in Ljubljana last night, but died after losing consciousness while he was being arrested by the police despite attempts at resuscitating him, the police said. The driver and the passengers have not been injured in the incident. The hijacker had a history of violent criminal acts and had suffered from a psychiatric disorder, according to officials.

Writers for Peace urges EU countries to show solidarity

BLED - The PEN International Writers for Peace Committee held a meeting at the 51st International Writers' Meeting in Bled and called for upholding the principle of solidarity, particularly in light of the European migrant crisis. This year marked the first time the committee's president is not Slovenian. The committee was established at Slovenia's initiative in 1984 and had been headed by Slovenian writers until this year, when calls for a more democratic appointment procedure led to a nationally diverse group of candidates. The members selected Emmanuelle Pierrat, the president of French PEN, to lead the committee.

China to host two Slovenian exhibitions

LJUBLJANA - The National Museum of Slovenia will present two exhibitions on Slovenian heritage and creativity in China this month in an effort to promote cultural cooperation between the two countries. The museum will put on the exhibitions in two Chinese cities; objects portraying Slovenia's past will be exhibited at the Silk Road international alliance of art museums meeting at the National Museum of China in Beijing, while artefacts showcasing Slovenia's creativity and ancient finds will be displayed at the Qujiang Museum of Fine Arts in Xi'an.

International Roma Day celebrated in Maribor

MARIBOR - The International Roma Day was celebrated in Maribor with an event featuring the Roma music, dance, and recitals. Parliament Speaker Dejan Židan addressed visitors, saying that the occasion was an opportunity for the Roma community to raise awareness about their unique culture. He also pointed out that the event was a chance to warn against the ongoing and prevalent discrimination against the Roma, stressing their perseverance and the significance of cultural diversity.

05 Apr 2019, 03:32 AM

Bookmark this link and find the headlines faster each morning

Visiting Ljubljana? Check out what's on this week

This summary is provided by the STA

 Šarec concerned by Croatia wire tapping revelations

LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Marjan Šarec expressed concern over the news that the Croatian Intelligence Agency was behind the wire tapping of Slovenia's arbitrator and agent in the border arbitration, which was the reason for Croatia to withdraw from arbitration. "If this is the modus operandi in the EU we are concerned," Šarec said after the government was briefed on the developments by the head of the Slovenian intelligence agency SOVA. Šarec would not go into detail, but said that what they heard was worrying. The Croatian side denied any involvement.

Cerar: Slovenia supports enhancement of NATO's deterrent stance

WASHINGTON, US - Foreign Minister Miro Cerar is in Washington for a special session of NATO foreign ministers, which included two working meetings and a working lunch. Cerar stressed that Slovenia supported all decisions which enhanced the defensive and deterrent stance of NATO, the Foreign Ministry said. At the same time, Slovenia supports enhanced dialogue between NATO and Russia, which is necessary in the given circumstances, he said, adding that "we must not forget about NATO partners in the region, in particular Georgia and Ukraine."

Govt reviews draft National Reform Programme

LJUBLJANA- The government was acquainted with the draft National Reform Programme for 2019 and 2020. The final version of the document, which refers to planned tweaks to the tax and pension systems, is expected to be endorsed by the cabinet next week before being sent to Brussels by 15 April. The government said the main goal of its economic policies remained stimulating the economy's competitiveness and productivity. This would be done through tax restructuring and pension reform measures raising the retirement age for those not yet completing 40 years of service.

Decree adopted to grant concession for Koper rail expansion

LJUBLJANA - The government issued a decree which will serve as the basis to conclude a concession contract with the state-owned TDK2 company for the construction and management of the EUR 1bn project to build a second rail track connecting the city port of Koper and Divača. The concession will be awarded for 45 years. Most importantly, the decree provides that 2TDK will carry the risks, except in exceptional cases when the state will assume them up to the limit set in the decree.

National Council debate stresses need to keep NATO in good shape

LJUBLJANA - The need to keep NATO in good shape through greater engagement by Europe and Slovenia as US support is no longer self-evident was highlighted as the National Council hosted the latest in a series of panels marking the 70th anniversary of NATO and 15 years of Slovenia's membership. Janez Janša, the leader of the Democrats (SDS) and former PM and defence minister, argued that Slovenia could an hardly contribute to joint security if it was incapable of defending itself, and former Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel said Slovenia's involvement was almost invisible.

Slovenia to hire up to 90 doctors from third countries

LJUBLJANA - Health Minister Aleš Šabeder signed a decree on Wednesday that allows hiring up to 90 doctors from non-EU countries this year in order to deal with an acute shortage of general practitioners in Slovenia. Up to 55 placements are for GPs. Šabeder also told two TV stations last night that the ministry was proposing speciality training for 49 trainee doctors this year. He promised further measures to follow soon to implement the workload standards and norms agreed with doctors.

Committee discusses possibility to shut down bad bank

LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Finance Committee discussed the idea to close down the Bank Assets Management Company (BAMC) this year instead of in 2020 as planned . The Finance Ministry said it was not considering this option, also because BAMC had not yet sold 75% of the liabilities it had taken over. The bad bank's acting CEO Matej Pirc said that speculation about an early wind-down had been affecting the fluctuation of BAMC employees lately.

PM gets new top foreign policy aide

LJUBLJANA - The government appointed career diplomat Tadeja Forštner Perklič as the new state secretary at the Prime Minister's Office in charge of foreign policy. She will take on the job on 8 April, replacing Roman Kirn, who resigned at the end of last month. Media reported Kirn stepped down due to differences with State Secretary Igor Mally, who was one of those who advised Šarec not to address the European Parliament before the EU election.

Slovenia to open consulate in Katowice

LJUBLJANA - The government decided to open a Slovenian consulate in Katowice which will be headed by honorary consul Tomasz Zjawiony, considered a respected entrepreneur with extensive connections in the south of Poland. The consulate, which will cover the Silesian and Lesser Poland voivodeships, will make it easer to actively follow developments in various fields of economic and social life in the region and seek out business opportunities and activities that can deepen cooperation.

No major punishment for soldiers involved in ammunition theft

LJUBLJANA - The three army members suspected of being responsible for the theft of ammunition from a Slovenian army truck in Germany in October 2018 have been all but cleared in the disciplinary procedure opened against them. Two of them have reportedly been cleared of charges of careless handling of the army property. The procedure against the pair's superior officer concluded a while ago, without any major consequences for his job.

BKS Bank subsidiary reports record profit for 2018

LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian subsidiary of the Austrian BKS Bank announced it had generated a record-breaking profit of EUR 6.4m in 2018, a 60% increase compared to 2017, becoming the major brokerage in Slovenia. "Taking over two brokerage businesses boosted the bank's growth," said BKS Bank board member Alexander Novak. BKS has been active in Slovenia since 2004, doing business as a universal bank since 2010. The bank has eight branch offices all the major Slovenian cities.

Milan Kundera to be decorated by Slovenia

LJUBLJANA - Czech-French writer Milan Kundera will receive one of Slovenia's highest state decorations for raising his voice for Slovenia's independence and for outstanding contribution to understanding turbulent times in Europe. He will be given the Golden Order of Merit, which is bestowed on Slovenian or foreign citizens for outstanding merit in civilian, diplomatic or military areas. The initiative to decorate Kundera was given by France-based Slovenian philosopher and photographer Evgan Bavčar.

PEN meeting explores "the other" and reading among the young

BLED - The power of literature to tackle prejudice and the need to inspire young people to read and write so as to equip them with a moral compass were highlighted as the two central panel debates were held at the 51st International Writers' Meeting in Bled. Tone Peršak, a former Slovenian culture minister, wondered what clout literature had in promoting good today, as the number of readers is constantly declining. He feels that even if everything being written now was extremely positive, literature would not even come close to offsetting the intolerance and hate being spread on social networks.

Filmmaker Štiglic honoured with centenary celebrations

LJUBLJANA - A series of events is being launched to pay tribute to the director of the first Slovenian feature film, France Štiglic (1919-1993), who is considered one of the finest Slovenian film directors to date. Štiglic directed 15 feature films, including the first sound feature - On Our Own Land (1948), many short and documentary films, and several TV series. His Valley of Peace (1956), an anti-war classic, earned John Kitzmiller best actor award at the Cannes Film Festival in 1957.

Dončić's rookie stats second only to NBA great Oscar Robertson

DALLAS, US - With his Dallas Mavericks having four games left to play in the regular season of the NBA, Slovenian sensation Luka Dončić has secured averages of at least 20 points, seven rebounds and five assists per game, which makes him only the second rookie to reach those benchmarks in the history of the league along with the great Oscar Robertson. The 20-year-old, who is a leading candidate for the NBA Rookie of the Year award along with Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks, currently averages 21.2 points, 7.7 rebounds and 5.9 assists.

Novo Mesto boasts successful recycling project

NOVO MESTO - Novo Mesto launched a project of recycling drinks cartons three years ago, which has proved that circular economy works in a local community, that it can be efficient and sustainable. By systematically recycling milk and juice cartons, the community has helped preserve 22 areas of forest and prevented 68 tonnes of CO2 emissions. With a combined population of 65,000, the eight municipalities from the Novo Mesto area participating in the project produce 220 tonnes of waste drinks cartons a year.


04 Apr 2019, 02:44 AM

Bookmark this link and find the headlines faster each morning

This summary is provided by the STA

Doctors' trade union announces general work-to-rule strike for 1 June

LJUBLJANA - Slovenian doctors and dentists will start working strictly by the workload standards and norms as set out in the 2008 Blue Book as of 1 June, their trade union announced amid a crisis in primary healthcare. Addressing reporters after a session of the leadership of the FIDES trade union, the union's boss Konrad Kuštrin said that the government and the Health Ministry had enough time to implement suitable solutions by 1 June.

National Review Commission head Borut Smrdel resigns

LJUBLJANA - The head of the National Review Commission Borut Smrdel resigned, citing pressure on the commission and the questioning of its integrity. Resigning after the commission has continuously made headlines in connection to delayed infrastructure projects, Smrdel said he had naively believed that expertise and honesty would suffice for him to do a good job when he was appointed in 2012.

Report: Croatian intelligence behind arbitration wiretapping

LJUBLJANA - The recordings of phone calls between Slovenia's arbitrator and agent in the border arbitration, which were leaked to the public only to have Croatia declare the process irrevocably tainted, were made by the Croatian Intelligence Agency (SOA), news portal 24ur.com reported. The communication between Jernej Sekolec and agent Simona Drenik, who were not allowed to communicate with each other, was reportedly picked up in July 2015 by SOA operative Davor Franić.

Coalition reaches deal on funding of private primary schools

LJUBLJANA - Education Minister Jernej Pikalo said the coalition had come up with an agreement on the state funding of private primary schools, under which the mandatory state-approved curriculum would be fully funded, and the extended curriculum not funded, which would apply for new generations of students. The announcement comes as the five-member minority coalition is trying to implement the Constitutional Court's ruling from 2014 mandating full state funding of private primary schools teaching state-approved curricula. The right-leaning opposition parties rejected the proposal, while some coalition parties are also cautious and call for consultations with experts.

Committee okays talks on no-tariff deal between EU and US

LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Economy Committee okayed the government's approval in principle for the European Commission to start talks with the US on an agreement eliminating tariffs on industrial goods. The debate heard some reservations from the MPs, mostly from the opposition Left. The government's opinion is that the agreement must be signed under the rules of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), and that the issue of the still valid mandate for the negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which have come to a standstill under the Trump administration, should be adequately addressed.

Left to monitor implementation of measures from govt deal

LJUBLJANA - The opposition Left has published a chart on it website allowing people to monitor progress in the implementation of measures it has agreed with coalition parties in exchange for supporting the Marjan Šarec minority government. The chart will allow citizens to monitor the progress in the implementation of the measures the Left has proposed in precarious employment, housing, taxation of capital, and the supplementary health insurance, Left head Luka Mesec told the press.

Advantages of European Innovation Council presented in Slovenia

LJUBLJANA - The new European Innovation Council (EIC), which the European Commission has designed to promote industrial innovation in Europe, was presented in Ljubljana today. The participants of today's conference in Slovenia, which was selected as the first country to promote the EIC, agreed boosting innovation was key to sustainable growth. "It is disruptive innovations that change business models and put Europe on a par with other superpowers," said Draško Veselinovič, head of the Brussels-based Slovenian Business and Research Association, with which the Commission paired up to organise the conference.

Minister hails Probation Administration a year after inception

LJUBLJANA - Justice Minister Andreja Katič praised the work of the Probation Administration, the probation management and oversight body which was launched a year ago, while warning the staff was buckling under an excessive workload. Katič is relieved that the revised state budget has provided for additional hiring. Katič said the administration had been "doing an excellent job ... raising the quality of work done with convicted individuals, increasing the number of alternative sentences and reducing the number of people locked up in prisons".

Strike of maritime pilots in Koper port averted

KOPER - A strike of workers providing piloting services in the port of Koper that could have seriously hampered operations at Slovenia's sole maritime port has been averted. The agreement, reached by the employees and management of Piloti Koper on Monday evening, provides improved labour and economic conditions both for the pilots and boat masters. While the details of the agreement have not been disclosed, the strike demands included 50% higher wages for maritime pilots and 75% higher wages for boat captains, as well as greater safety at work, which would be secured with additional hirings and more boats.

Local referendum on migrant registration centre declared unlawful

ILIRSKA BISTRICA - The Administrative Court has declared unlawful the decision of the Ilirska Bistrica city council to hold a referendum on a centre for the acceptance and registration of migrants in the south-western town. The locals say they will nevertheless continue with activities against the government's plans to set up such a centre there.

Consulate of Monaco reopens

LJUBLJANA - The Consulate of Monaco in Ljubljana was officially reopened on 20 March after being closed since 2016. Franjo Bobinac, the managing director of the household appliances maker Gorenje, was appointed the honorary consul. Slovenia and Monaco have been strengthening their diplomatic relations since 2007, when they decided to upgrade their consular relations, which were established in 2000, with ambassadors. Monaco's first consul in Slovenia was Marko Kryžanowski, who stepped down in 2016 for personal reasons. Since then, no new consul was appointed.

Part of biggest doctor bribery case to become statute barred

LJUBLJANA - Radio Slovenija reported that at least four of the 15 people indicted in the biggest health corruption case in Slovenia's history will not stand trial because the crimes they are accused of will become statute-barred. The case involves a scheme in which doctors were paid kickbacks by medical equipment suppliers, revealed in a series of house searches conducted in 2013. After the indictment became final last month, pre-trial hearings are due to start in mid-May. The suspects were reportedly charged with accepting bribes, money laundering and falsification and destruction of documents, however at least four of the crimes would become statute barred as early as this month.

Jobless total down 5.8% y/y in March

LJUBLJANA - The positive trend on Slovenia's labour market continued in March, as the jobless total dropped 5.8% year-on-year and 5.2% over February to 76,533. The average number of jobless persons in the first quarter of the year was 80,026, which is 5.8% less than in the same period last year, show figures by the Employment Service.

DOPPS shocked as charges against alleged bird smugglers dropped

LJUBLJANA - The Bird Watching Association (DOPPS) expressed its disappointment with the prosecution dropping the charges of bird smuggling against three Romanian citizens who were caught with more than 1,300 dead birds of protected species in October 2018. The DOPPS, which is campaigning against bird poaching and illegal transporting of birds across the Slovenian territory, the decision is a message to bird smugglers that they can continue with their wrong-doings without any fear of retribution.

Music Days celebrate centenary of Music Academy predecessor

LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Music Days, an annual festival to be held for the 34th year running from 3 to 12 April, will celebrate the centenary of a conservatory from which the Ljubljana Music Academy developed in 1939. The conservatory was established in 1919 as part of the Glasbena Matica musical society, which also encouraged Slovenian composers to write music. Its establishment is considered one of the key events in Slovenia's music history.

03 Apr 2019, 03:08 AM

Bookmark this link and find the headlines faster each morning

This summary is provided by the STA

TEŠ gets green light for importing coal

LJUBLJANA - The Šoštanj coal-fired power plant (TEŠ) has been given the green light to import coal after the Environment Agency decided it did not need an environmental permit to mix the locally extracted lignite with imported coal. TEŠ said imports were only an alternative option and that it was not looking for a supplier. The former environment minister, Jure Leben, said in February that before issuing a permit for TEŠ to import coal, it should be determined whether those in charge of the controversial unit six, TEŠ6, had misled the public about the quality and quantity of coal reserves at the Velenje mine.

Slovenia opposes plan on 10,000-strong border force by 2027

BRUSSELS, Belgium - Slovenia does not support the compromise agreement to set up a 10,000-strong EU-wide border and coastguard by 2027. According to Slovenian diplomatic sources, the agreement does not bring sufficient added value and lacks objective criteria on determining national contributions. Unofficially, Slovenia joined Spain and Italy in opposition to the plan on Monday as EU members' ambassadors endorsed last week's agreement by the negotiators of the EU central institutions to reinforce the European Border and Coast Guard Agency.

Ex-Istrabenz CEO Bavčar gets 30 months for abuse of office

KOPER - The Koper District Court sentenced former Istrabenz general manager Igor Bavčar to two years and six months in prison for abuse of office. Since he is already serving a five-year prison sentence for money laundering related to a deal involving Istrabenz shares, he was given a uniform sentence of seven years and five months. The other defendant, former Maksima Holding director general Miroslav Golubić, got a year and eight months for complicity. Bavčar, a former home affairs minister, had acted to the detriment of Istrabenz to protect a company in which he was the absolute owner.

Teodor Žepič named acting DG of UKC Ljubljana

LJUBLJANA - The council of Slovenia's largest medical centre, UKC Ljubljana, appointed Teodor Žepič as acting director general, to succeed Aleš Šabeder, who became health minister last week. Žepič, 49, has been managing the Paediatric Clinic, a member of UKC Ljubljana, since June 2018, having previously served at managerial positions mainly in the banking sector. Žepič said his priority would be the hospital's restructuring. A full-term director is to be appointed by early July at the latest.

CoE report says Slovenian prisons overcrowded

STRASBOURG, France - Slovenian prisons are slightly overcrowded, shows a report on the state of European prison systems released by the Council of Europe. Slovenia had 100.5 inmates per 100 places available on average in 2018, while the European average was 91.4. The country's incarceration rate, at 61.1/100,000, remains one of the lowest in Europe. Slovenia saw the proportion of foreign prisoners increase to 14% of the prison population last year, which was due to illegal migration. Slovenia was also listed among countries which notably increased the prison budget in 2018.

Writers' chairman blames underfunding for resignation

LJUBLJANA - Aksinja Kermauner formally handed her resignation as the chairman of the Slovenian Writers' Association (DSP) in protest at the state's attitude to the association and severe underfunding. "The state has in fact brought an esteemed organisation such as the DSP to its knees," Kermauner said, adding that the association did not have enough funds to pay the staff and to function normally. She said the DSP would need at least twice as much funding as it received now. It received EUR 212,800 last year.

Int'l PEN meeting to look at "other" and reflect on young readers

BLED - The International Women's Committee, led by Australian PEN's Zoe Rodriguez, met in Bled ahead of the 51st International PEN writers' meeting opening on Wednesday. The central topics of this year's PEN meeting are the representation of the other and awakening interest in literature among young people. Fifty guests from 35 countries are expected until 7 April at what is the largest and longest-running writers' meeting in the world.

Resalta gets EUR 6m injection from EIF

LUXEMBOURG, Luxembourg - The Slovenian provider of energy and sustainable solutions Resalta signed an agreement with the European Investment Fund (EIF) under under which it will get an EUR 6m capital injection. The equity, half of which will be provided by private investors, will help the company make a transition from a start-up to a major international energy provider. The investment will be guaranteed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments), the key part of the Juncker Plan.

Adria Airways not to fly Sukhoi planes

BRNIK - The German-owned Slovenian air carrier Adria Airways announced it would not expand its fleet with Sukhoi Superjet SSJ100 aircraft, after failing to agree the terms of the long-term lease with the Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Company. The two companies signed a letter of intent under which Adria would lease 15 aircraft from the Russian company on 26 November. As a result, Adria would not need a capital injection to finance the arrival of new planes, but a EUR 10m recapitalisation was still planned.

Yugoslav-era phone spying hub opposite Postojna caves opened to public

POSTOJNA - Visitors of the famous Postojnska Jama caves will be able to access yet another well hidden secret, but this time of a very different kind. A museum of eavesdropping opened at Jama Hotel right next to the caves after a "non-existing" phone surveillance nest of the Communist secret police was discovered during renovation. The complex numbers several rooms and can also be accessed from the caves. They were discovered only in 2017, as they were reportedly not drawn in the hotel's original plans.

Visiting Ljubljana? Check out what's on this week

02 Apr 2019, 03:00 AM

Bookmark this link and find the headlines faster each morning

Debate: NATO remains key to security and stability

TRZIN - NATO remains vital to providing stability and security, a debate marking its 70th anniversary and Slovenia's 15-year membership of it heard. NATO is a unique partnership which has despite various threats successfully provided for stability and security for 70 years, Katja Geršak, the executive director of the Centre for European Perspective, which organised the debate, said. Similarly, Jelena Juvan from the Ljubljana Faculty of Social Sciences believes NATO will continue to pay an important role in European security and globally, noting the key to success was cooperation, both within NATO as well as with Russia and China. Defence Ministry State Secretary Klemen Grošelj added Slovenia was committed to its NATO goals, noting a white paper would provide a realistic plan about their implementation.

Pahor, Erjavec endorse army chief after media reports of dismissal

LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor, the supreme commander of the Slovenian Armed Forces, and Defence Minister Karl Erjavec endorsed Maj Gen Alenka Ermenc, the chief of the general staff, after the media speculated over her possible replacement. Pahor said he "could not imagine a third replacement at the head of the army in a year", stressing he did not see any valid reasons for Ermenc to be dismissed or to resign. Erjavec also expressed his support, saying he had not considered replacing her. Media reports had suggested Ermenc was losing the coalition's support due to a rumoured dispute with Erjavec, the government's dissatisfaction and possible health reasons.

Over 20 GPs in Kranj tender their resignation

KRANJ - GPs around Slovenia are stepping up pressure in the face of the increasing workload and red tape, with 23 doctors of the Kranj community health centre tendering their resignations. The move comes after the doctors threatened to quit their job as of 1 April unless the conditions are created enabling them to carry out their work safely and in line with medical standards. Doctors have a 60-day notice period, and if the situation is not resolved, the GPs will have to be let go at the end of May. GPs from the Ptuj Community Health Centre also joined the calls for change in primary healthcare, or else 16 GPs would resign on 1 June.

Maribor mayor's home also vandalised

MARIBOR - Following Thursday's attacks on two restaurants owned by Maribor Mayor Saša Arsenovič, his home was also attacked on Saturday. The reasons for the attacks by unknown perpetrators are still unknown, but are believed to be linked to his work as mayor. "The situation is becoming very serious," Arsenovič told the press, hoping the police would conclude the investigation of the incidents as soon as possible. The vandalism directed against Arsenovič's property was condemned by Maribor local politics last week, and today by the public administration and economy ministers.

Writers' Association head Kermauner resigns as systemic issues escalate

LJUBLJANA - Aksinja Kermauner resigned as of 1 April as the president of the Slovenian Writers' Association (DSP), with her resignation coinciding with that of four DSP assistants. While Kermauner is expected to present her reasons on Tuesday, the first reactions indicate serious organisational and financial issues at the DSP. Kermauner, a youth fiction author, poet and pedagogue, was elected president only last September, succeeding Ivo Svetina, who also resigned. The exact reason for her decision, which became public on Sunday, remains unclear, but the newspaper Delo reported of a clash between DSP associates and some of the DSP members and the management board.

NSi presents ex-Defence Minister Demšar as final EU vote candidate

LJUBLJANA - The opposition New Slovenia (NSi) presented Franci Demšar, a researcher and a former defence minister, as its final candidate for May's EU election. Demšar, to be listed seventh on the slate, served as defence minister between 1999 and 2000. He was also a researcher at the Jožef Stefan Institute, the director of the Slovenian Research Agency and Slovenia's ambassador to Russia. The NSi slate will be topped by its former leader and former MEP Ljudmila Novak, followed by deputy group leader Jožef Horvat, while Lojze Peterle, the party's only MEP, was placed on spot no. 3. The list also features Iva Dimic, Mojca Erjavec, Katja Berk Bevc, as well as former Democrats (SDS) Education Minister Žiga Turk, who was placed eighth.

SSH's net profit up last year

LJUBLJANA - Slovenian Sovereign Holding (SSH) recorded a net profit of EUR 41.8m last year, according to unaudited and unconsolidated data, which is 30.8% more than in 2017. Operating revenue almost doubled to EUR 13.5m, SSH said. The custodian of Slovenian state assets recorded an operating profit of EUR 1.3m last year after posting a loss of EUR 14m in 2017. Its long-term provisions totalled EUR 14.4m in 2017, while last year there were none. Financial revenue reached EUR 46.2m, down from EUR 55.8m in 2017.

Farm ministry gets new directorate for food and fisheries

LJUBLJANA - The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food launched a new directorate for food and fisheries to promote Slovenian food and enhance the vertical integration of the food supply chain. Minister Aleksandra Pivec told the STA the new directorate was needed because safe and quality food was an increasingly important issue for consumers. The directorate is divided into sectors for food; promotion of agricultural products and food; fisheries; and for legal matters.

01 Apr 2019, 05:00 AM

Bookmark this link and find the headlines faster each morning

STA - Below is a roundup of the big stories this morning, 01 April,  2019:

Ljubljana to host European network of science centres & museums in 2020

LJUBLJANA - Ljubljana will host in 2020 the annual international conference of ECSITE, the European network of science centres & museums. The five-day meeting will be organised in June by the Kersnikova Institute, whose head, Jurij Krpan, said that the institute encouraged reflection about how European institutions dealing with the promotion of science could act in a different, modernised and proactive manner. ECSITE decided to name the 2020 event Echoes From the Future.

Paper mill Vipap's revenue up 8%

KRŠKO - Vipap Videm Krško, the largest Slovenian paper producer, generated almost 97 million euro in revenue in 2018, up by 8% from 2017. The parent company, which employs 380 workers, said it had posted an operating profit, but did not disclose the figure, only saying it had exceeded plans. Vipap also told the STA it had invested 2.5 million euro in new technology and emissions management last year.

Golden Drum Festival gets international recognition

LJUBLJANA/LISBON - The World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) honoured the Slovenian advertising festival Golden Drum with a president's award. The WFA said that it was one of the largest European creative events and has significantly supported the development of Europe's advertising industries, especially in Central and Eastern Europe.

The week ahead for Slovenia

Via the STA

MONDAY, 1 April

        MENGEŠ - The Centre for European Perspective will host a panel marking the 70th anniversary of NATO and 15th anniversary of Slovenia's NATO membership.
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor will debate the future of the EU with youths.
        PORTOROŽ - A two-day international conference on sustainable energy will open.
        LJUBLJANA - The Council for a Competitive and Stable Business Environment, a government advisory body, will be in session. PM Marjan Šarec will be in attendance.
        LJUBLJANA - The start of the spring edition of Ljubljana Fashion Week; until 4 April.

TUESDAY, 2 April
        WASHINGTON, US - Foreign Minister Miro Cerar will take part in a NATO ministerial; until 5 April.
        LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Health Committee will examine amendments to the health services act.
        LJUBLJANA - The Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS) will host an international conference on digitalisation in small and medium-sized enterprises.
        LJUBLJANA - The University Medical Centre (UKC) Ljubljana will appoint a new general manager after Aleš Šabeder became health minister.
        MARIBOR - A panel debate on the former Slovenian president and prime minister, Janez Drnovšek (1950-2008).
        LJUBLJANA - A conference on autism marking World Autism Awareness Day.

        POSTOJNA - Defence Minister Karl Erjavec will speak about military exercises at a session of the parliamentary Defence Committee.
        KOPER - Ship pilots at the port of Koper are expected to go on strike over pay and work conditions.
        LJUBLJANA - The Employment Service will release registered unemployment figures for March.
        BLED - The start of the international PEN writers' meeting with the address by Culture Minister Zoran Poznič; until 6 April.
        LJUBLJANA - A conference on EU incentives for companies to innovate.
        LJUBLJANA - The Education Ministry will host a debate on the prevention of discrimination.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenian Music Days, a festival of contemporary classical music, will open.

        LJUBLJANA - Weekly government session.
        LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Finance Committee will debate a report on an audit of the Bank Assets Management Company (BAMC).
        LJUBLJANA - The National Council will host a debate on the 70th anniversary of NATO and Slovenia's 15th anniversary of NATO membership.
        LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian branch of Austrian bank BKS will present its business results.
        PORTOROŽ - A two-day conference on public procurement will open.

FRIDAY, 5 April
        BUCHAREST, Romania - Finance Minister Andrej Bertoncelj will attend a session of the Eurogroup.
        LJUBLJANA - Defence Minister Karl Erjavec and Maj Gen Alenka Ermenc, the chief of the general staff, will hand the annual report on the preparedness of the armed forces to President Borut Pahor.
        LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary EU Affairs Committee will debate the government's blueprint for EU presidency in 2021.
        LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Defence Committee will discuss behind closed doors the planned purchase of 38 4x4 Oshkosh combat tactical all-terrain vehicles.
        MARIBOR - Udo Bullmann, the leader of the Socialists and Democrats (S&D) in the European Parliament, will pay a visit upon the invitation of the Social Democrats (SD).
        LJUBLJANA - European Transport Minister Violeta Bulc will pay a visit to take part in a debate on military mobility in the upper chamber of parliament.

        BUCHAREST, Romania - Finance Minister Andrej Bertoncelj will attend an informal meeting of EU finance ministers.
        TRBOVLJE - The ruling Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) will meet to present its candidates of the EU elections.
        MURSKA SOBOTA - The Roma Association will host a ceremony marking International Romani Day, with PM Marjan Šarec delivering the keynote.
        KOČEVJE/POSTOJNA/... - Slovenian State Forests (SiDG) will organise a campaign to reforest five areas in the country.

SUNDAY, 7 April
        VAČE - A ceremony will be held on Slovenian Flag Day.

31 Mar 2019, 04:00 AM

Bookmark this link and find the headlines faster each morning

STA - Below is a roundup of major events on Sunday, 31 March 2019:

MEP Zver heads joint SDS and SLS slate for EU elections

LJUBLJANA - The opposition Democrats (SDS) and the non-parliamentary People's Party (SLS) announced they would file a joint list of candidates for the May elections to the European Parliament, with the current MEP Milan Zver (SDS/EPP) heading it. Placed second and third on the list after Zver, who also headed the SDS's list in the 2014 EU elections, are the current MEPs from the SDS Romana Tomc and Patricija Šulin, respectively. MEP Franc Bogovič, the former president of the SLS who was elected to the European Parliament five years ago from a joint list of the SLS and New Slovenia (NSi), is fourth on the list.

Cerar says US recognition of Golan unilateral move

LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Miro Cerar said the recent recognition by of the Golan Heights as an Israeli territory by the US is a unilateral move that has surprised the international community, including Slovenia. "This was not the first such decision recently. We insist that such issues cannot be addressed with unilateral acts but in the spirit of the UN charter," Cerar said in an interview for the newspaper Dnevnik. He said that "Slovenia supports the EU's common position, which is based on the resolutions of the UN Security Council, and does not recognise Israel's sovereignty over that territory".

PM's security aide says all extremisms present in Slovenia

LJUBLJANA - Damir Črnčec, the state secretary in the prime minister's office for national security, told the Siol web portal that all types of radicalisms or extremisms are present in Slovenia, but noted that Slovenia is a safe country. Črnčec said that "all three types of radicalisms and extremisms are present in Slovenia - the right and left, as well as Islamic fundamentalism." While noting that Slovenia was a safe country, he said that the biggest potential threats were those of the information and cyber type and the issue of illegal migrations, terrorism and a rise of extremism and violent extremism.

Zavarovalnica Sava ups net profit 18% last year

MARIBOR - Insurer Zavarovalnica Sava posted a EUR 29.5m net profit last year or 18% more than in 2017, with gross insurance premiums increasing by 8% to EUR 395.1m, and payments of gross damages being up by 16.5% to EUR 275.7m, according to the company's annual report. The property insurance segment contributed EUR 18.4m in net profit last year, while the life insurance segment contributed EUR 11.2m. The Maribor-based insurer, a part of the Sava Re group, had a 16.6% market share in 2018 measured by gross premiums, to remain the second largest insurer on the Slovenian market.

Karateka Ristić wins silver at European championships

GUADALAJARA, Spain - Slovenia's Tjaša Ristić won the silver medal at the European Karate Championships in Spain's Gualadajara in the women's 61kg category, losing in the final to Merve Coban of Turkey 0:4. This is the best achievement for Slovenia in women's karate in history. "I knew that it would be very difficult, as have never beaten the Turk, but I did not surrender in advance. Regardless of the defeat, I'm very happy," the 25-year-old told the STA. The next stops for Ristić will be world series events in Morocco and Turkey in which she will be looking to qualify for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

30 Mar 2019, 03:00 AM

Bookmark this link and find the headlines faster each morning

STA - Below is a roundup of major events on Saturday, 30 March 2019:

Militia leader Šiško sentenced to eight months in prison

LJUBLJANA - Andrej Šiško, the leader of an armed militia called the Štajerska Guard, received an eight-month prison sentence for inciting to violently subvert the constitutional order. The Maribor District Court handed down its verdict after a trial that lasted only five weeks and Šiško was immediately released from custody. The six months he has spent in detention will count towards his sentence. Reacting in his signature fashion, Šiško said the ruling confirmed that Štajerska had been established as an independent land. Foreign Minister Miro Cerar labelled the ruling a win for the rule of law.

Austrian MEP Mlinar SAB's frontrunner in EU elections

LJUBLJANA - Angelika Mlinar, a member of the Slovenian minority in Austria and an Austrian MEP, will top the ticket of the Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB) in the May EU elections, the party's executive council decided. Mlinar told Austrian media today that she knew Slovenia well, having lived here for 13 years. Mlinar and the SAB have been political allies for years. She attended the founding congress of the party five years ago and also took part in its latest congress in February.

Cerar, Kaiser confirm positive trends for Slovenian minority

BRDO PRI KRANJU - Foreign Minister Miro Cerar and Carinthia Governor Peter Kaiser noted positive trends in relations between the Slovenian community and the Austrian region of Carinthia, and strengthening of cooperation in various areas, as they chaired a session of the Slovenia-Carinthia Committee. Representatives of both sides reported on different areas of cooperation and joint projects in business, culture, agriculture and other fields, establishing cooperation is very good, Cerar told the press.

Pahor and Guterres honour efforts of ITF demining fund

NEW YORK, US - President Borut Pahor and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres opened on Thursday a photo exhibition marking 20 years of Slovenian-run demining fund ITF - Enhancing Human Security. The pair discussed topical issues including climate change, agreeing that stronger political will and mobilisation were needed. The Western Balkans was also broached and Pahor, a co-initiator of the Brdo-Brijuni Process, acquainted Guterres with the preparations for the May summit of the regional initiative.

Erjavec attends ministerial on UN peacekeepers

NEW YORK, US - Defence Minister Karl Erjavec took part in a ministerial on UN peacekeeping operations at the UN headquarters in New York on Friday, where he also met UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Thursday. He supported Guterres's initiative Action for Peacekeeping and efforts for peace operations to become an even more credible and effective tool of securing peace. Erjavec also announced the Slovenian defence, foreign and interior ministries planned to set up a training centre for soldiers, police officers and civilians that will take part in peacekeeping operations.

Slovenia's general government surplus at 0.7% of GDP in 2018

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia recorded a general government surplus of EUR 303m last year, or 0.7% of the country's gross domestic product (GDP). Revenue grew by 1.178bn, or 6.3%, year-on-year while expenditure rose at a slower pace, going up by 4.7%, or EUR 881m. Consolidated general government debt in 2018 amounted to EUR 32.23bn, or 70.1% of GDP, which is 3.9 percentage points down compared to 2017.

Slovenia's annual inflation rate ticks up to 1.6% in March

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's annual inflation rate in March was at 1.6% due to costlier services, while a 0.7% inflation was recorded on the monthly level due to higher prices of clothing, footwear and fuel. The prices of services went up by 3.2% on average in a year while goods were 0.9% costlier. The prices of non-durable and semi-durable goods increased by 1.4% and 1.3%, respectively, while durable goods prices went down by 1.4%.

Unior group more than doubles net profit

ZREČE - The group around the tool maker Unior generated EUR 246.5m in net sales revenues last year, up 3.1% compared to 2017, while more than doubling net profit to EUR 12.2m, showed the company's annual report. EBITDA dropped by 7.5% to EUR 30.2m. Unior said that net profit for 2017 was lower due to revaluation of the assets of the ski resort operator RTC Krvavec at the end of that year due to a planned sale and their transfer to short-term assets for sale.

Jožef Stefan Institute getting lab for chemistry in extreme conditions

LJUBLJANA - The Jožef Stefan Institute selected the idea for a chemistry lab allowing experiments in extreme conditions as the winner of the institute's annual competition for young scientists. This means researchers Matic Lozinšek, Blaž Alič, Mirela Dragomir and Kristian Radan will receive EUR 330,000 for the equipment needed in the new lab that will use experimental techniques to enable a synthesis and characterisation of materials at very low temperatures or at very high pressure. The idea is to merge two extreme fields of research - chemistry involving the most reactive chemical element, fluorine, and high pressure research.

SBI TOP index down 0.51%

LJUBLJANA - The SBI TOP index of the Ljubljana Stock Exchange shed 0.51% to 867.66 points. Trading was mixed, but the only two major items with noteworthy trade volumes, pharma company Krka and insurer Zavarovalnica Triglav, finished in the red. The pair accounted for the bulk of the day's EUR 1m in total turnover.

29 Mar 2019, 03:00 AM

Bookmark this link and find the headlines faster each morning

STA - Below is a roundup of major news stories for the morning of Friday, 29 March 2019:

Govt endorses new national security strategy

LJUBLJANA - The government endorsed a new resolution on the national security strategy. According to Defence Ministry State Secretary Klemen Grošelj, the strategy factors in new security threats, such as terrorism and violent extremism. Most notably, national intelligence agency SOVA will get new powers. Besides the existing political oversight in the form of a parliamentary commission, judicial oversight will be enhanced and "a third pillar" added in the form of a panel of intelligence experts.

Govt exempts holiday allowance from taxes

LJUBLJANA - The government adopted legislative changes raising the threshold for exemption of annual holiday allowance from income tax and social security contributions. The threshold is being raised from allowance equivalent to 70% of average pay to that equivalent to 100% of average pay. "Every euro that employers spend on holiday allowance will be transferred to the employees, the state has given up income tax and contributions," Finance Minister Andrej Bertoncelj commented.

Šarec's top foreign policy aide resigns

LJUBLJANA - State Secretary Roman Kirn, the foreign policy adviser to Prime Minister Marjan Šarec, resigned, unofficially due to differences with other top aides. Šarec's office said the resignation was not a result of their differences but rather Kirn's personal decision. News portal Siol reported that Kirn, a seasoned diplomat, stepped down due to differences with State Secretary Igor Mally. Siol said Mally was one of those who advised Šarec not to address the European Parliament.

Pahor urges climate action in New York

NEW YORK, UN - President Borut Pahor addressed a UN high-level meeting on climate protection in New York, urging the participants to take action to tackle climate change. "The leaders and other participants in the climate summit, we must take responsibly and work together to send out a strong message for immediate climate action with the goal of zero carbon emissions by 2050," Pahor said. Together with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, Pahor was also due to open a photo exhibition marking 20th years of Slovenian-run demining organisation ITF.

SDS and SLS to field joint list for EU elections

LJUBLJANA - TV Slovenija reported that the opposition Democrats (SDS) and the non-parliamentary People's Party (SLS) had agreed to field a joint list of candidates for the May elections to the European Parliament. The list is to be presented on Saturday, but TV Slovenija said it would feature the three SDS MEPs, SLS MEP Franc Bogovič and possibly former Maribor Mayor Franc Kangler. Meanwhile, POP TV reported that Austrian MEP Angelika Mlinar would run on the ticket of the Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB).

Telekom Slovenije profit up almost four-fold in 2018

LJUBLJANA - Telekom Slovenije posted a group net profit of EUR 33.3m for 2018, an increase of 269% over the year before, even as revenue stagnated at EUR 715m. The company said it had increased revenue from fixed-line and IT services by 8%, with revenue from the sale of energy and insurance services also rising. These helped offset declining revenue from mobile users and users of fixed-line telephony. Chairman Rudolf Skobe said the company would now focus on creating value with digitalisation.

Report: Telekom suffered millions in damage in Balkan deals

LJUBLJANA - Delo reported that a forensic audit at Telekom Slovenije had shown the telecoms incumbent suffered millions of euros in damage in several deals in the Western Balkans. The forensic audit of the state-owned company for 2007-2015, performed by Deloitte, also raised suspicion of tax avoidance and money laundering. The report, commissioned by the current management of Telekom Slovenije and pointing to two suspicious transactions, has already been handed over to the police.

Slovenia to set up UNESCO AI centre

LJUBLJANA - The government confirmed plans to set up a UNESCO-sponsored international research centre for artificial intelligence pending confirmation from the UN agency, expected in November. The centre will aim to develop systemic and strategic ways of AI implementation for different organisations and the public. UNESCO welcomed the government's initiative in September 2018. The centre is to be hosted by
the Jožef Stefan Institute.

Researcher Jernej Ule wins ERC grant

LJUBLJANA - Slovenian London-based researcher Jernej Ule has won a EUR 2.4m advanced grant from the European Research Council (ERC) for a project hosted by the National Institute of Chemistry that will study interactions between molecules in the brain and how they affect development of neurodegenerative diseases such as ALS. Chemistry Institute director Gregor Anderluh said the project would serve as a basis for development of new strategies to cure disease by means of RNA molecules.

DARS continues to increase revenue, profit

LJUBLJANA - National motorway operator DARS saw its revenue increase by 5% last year to EUR 465.5m, while net profit rose by almost 8% to EUR 154.4m. The bulk of the revenue was generated by motorway toll, with DARS collecting a total of EUR 451.5m in toll. Write-offs represented the largest share of expenditure, EUR 175m.

Petrol buys another Croatian gas distributor

LJUBLJANA - In what is its second gas distribution acquisition in Croatia in recent months, energy company Petrol bought the gas and electricity segment of Croatia's Crodux. The value of the deal, which still requires a nod from the Croatian competition watchdog, has not been disclosed. Petrol, which focuses on petroleum products but has been diversifying its portfolio, is thus getting involved in the ongoing consolidation of the gas market in Croatia, which has 35 licensed gas distributors.

Retailer Spar with record sales last year

LJUBLJANA - Retailer Spar Slovenija increased its sales last year by 3.6% to a record EUR 804m, director general Igor Mervič said. Net profit was not disclosed, with Mervič only saying that due to extensive investments, it was lower than in 2017, when it stood at EUR 13m. Mervič attributed the record sales to improvements in logistics and "great independence, which allows us to operate like a local company."

State secretary for small business appointed

LJUBLJANA - The government appointed Franc Vesel state secretary for small businesses at the prime ministers' office in line with demands by the national chamber of small business. Vesel, an entrepreneur from Ribnica and a member of the economy committee at the Chamber of Craft and Small Business (OZS), is formally at the prime minister's office but will be able to work at the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology.

Another resignation at BAMC

LJUBLJANA - The Bank Assets Management Company (BAMC) said that Andrej Prebil resigned as one of the three executive directors. His duties will temporarily be taken over by acting CEO Matej Pirc on 1 April. BAMC said that new full-term executive directors would expectedly be appointed by the end of April. Media suggested the latest resignation is related to allegations of mismanagement and follows the resignation of CEO Imre Balogh in December 2018 in the wake of an overhaul at the board of directors.

First Slovenian non-resident ambassador accredited to Panama

PANAMA CITY, Panama - Slovenian Ambassador to the United States Stanislav Vidovič presented his credentials to Panama's President Juan Carlos Varela to become the first Slovenian non-resident ambassador to Panama. President Varela welcomed Slovenia's decision to name an ambassador to Panama, stressing this could help strengthen the versatile relations between the countries and boost trade.

Establishments owned by Maribor mayor repeatedly vandalised

LJUBLJANA - Unknown perpetrators broke a glass window on a restaurant owned by Maribor Mayor Saša Arsenovič in the small hours of Thursday in what is already the third such attack on establishments owned by Arsenovič. The mayor says that the incidents are politically motivated and that he will not be discouraged or intimidated. "I'm not afraid and I won't let myself be intimidated, especially because I know I work fairly. We will realise all the goals regardless of these lowly acts," he said.

Hungarian minority MP under fire for wearing several hats

LJUBLJANA - Hungarian minority MP Ferenc Horvath has come under fire for a perceived conflict of interest. He is the chair of the council of the Hungarian minority's umbrella organisation and the director of Minta, a company set up by the organisation which provides business consultancy services. Horvath has been reported to the parliamentary Credentials and Privileges Commission for being involved in for-profit business, but the commission has refused to hear the case citing unclear regulations.

Victims of crime to benefit from new counselling services

LJUBLJANA - The government adopted a set of changes to the social security law introducing support services for victims of crime and their families, who will now be eligible for counselling. Details will be set down in the planned changes to the rules on standards governing social security services. Justice Ministry figures show there were 42,430 victims of crime in 2016, of whom almost 16,400 women, almost 1,650 children and over 5,000 senior citizens.

Fuel prices remain under government control

LJUBLJANA - The government extended a decree on administered fuel prices by another six months, until 30 September, an indication that the Economy Ministry failed in its push for full liberalisation of the fuel market. The prices of premium petrol and heating oil were fully liberalised in April 2016, and in November that year prices of all fuels sold along motorways were deregulated.

Photo galleries and videos

This websie uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.