Ljubljana related

10 Jul 2022, 10:12 AM

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State increases three bond issues by EUR 405m

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's treasury has increased the issuance of three bonds with a total value of just under EUR 405.5 million, according to a posting on the website of the Ljubljana Stock Exchange. This is the first long-term borrowing under the new government of Robert Golob, which puts Slovenia's total long-term borrowing this year at EUR 3.27 billion. Part of the funds have been used to refinance the debt, that is for an early purchase of dollar-denominated bonds.

Delo poll: Pirc Musar and Logar favourites in presidential race

LJUBLJANA - Lawyer and ex-Info Commissioner Nataša Pirc Musar and opposition SDS MP and ex-Foreign Minister Anže Logar would make it to the run-off if the presidential election was held now, according to a survey pollster Mediana has carried out for the newspaper Delo. Pirc Musar would receive almost 30% of the vote and Logar just over 24%. Marta Kos, a vice-president of the ruling Freedom Movement, would place third with 16%. The other candidates would receive less than 3% of the vote, although Kočevje Mayor Vladimir Prebilič was not "detected" by the opinion poll as he announced his presidential bid only on the the last day of the poll.

Mufti calls for equality of Muslim community in Slovenia

LJUBLJANA - Mufti Nevzet Porić urged authorities to eliminate discrimination between religious communities so that "the Islamic community will be treated as an equal community in the Republic of Slovenia" as he addressed Muslim believers during an Eid al-Adha service at Ljubljana's mosque this morning. Eid al-Adha, or the Feast of the Sacrifice, is the holier of the two major Muslim holidays and also marks the end of the annual Hajj pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca.

Delo: Was building in US movie inspired by Slovenian architect's work?

LJUBLJANA - A building appearing in a new Marvel series movie is incredibly similar to a memorial complex Slovenian architect Marko Mušič designed in Montenegro in the 1970s, Delo reported. It said the futuristic headquarters in the new Jessice Gao series which is coming to the Disney+ streaming platform in August could have been inspired by Mušič's WWII memorial complex which was inaugurated in Kolašin in 1975. This was brought to Mušič's attention by a fellow architect from Serbia, with Mušič saying he has mixed feelings about what could be a potential copyright infringement.

Horror film festival introducing Walk of Fame

ORMOŽ/LJUTOMER - The 18th Grossman Festival of Fantastic Film and Wine kicked off in Ormož, bringing five feature films competing for the main award, Vicious Cat, and many out-of-competition films. The festival introduces this year the Walk of Fame, honouring with a star in the streets of Ljutomer eleven celebrities who have either visited the town or had their films shown at the festival in the past, including Fritz Lang, Christopher Lee and Menahem Golan.

Bicycle import significantly higher than decade ago

LJUBLJANA - Import of bicycles in 2021 totalled some 82,600 bicycles, up by around 17,000 bicycles or 20% compared to 2011, shows the latest data from the Statistics Office, with electric bikes also gaining in popularity over the last five years. More than 80,000 bicycles were imported to Slovenia every year since 2017, a peak being reached in 2019 when the figure stood at nearly 87,000. The most bicycles were importer from Italy (21%), followed by Austria, the Netherlands and Belgium.

09 Jul 2022, 04:36 AM

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Constitutional Court legalises same-sex marriage, adoptions

LJUBLJANA - The Constitutional Court legalised same-sex marriage and adoptions with immediate effect after finding a law under which only heterosexual partners can marry and same-sex couples cannot adopt children to be in contravention of the constitutional ban on discrimination. The court gave the National Assembly six months to amend the law, but until then its ruling stands as the law and means that marriage is a union between two persons regardless of gender, and same-sex partners living in a civil partnership may adopt a child together under the same conditions as married spouses. The government welcomed the rulings and said legislation implementing the court decision will be adopted in a matter of weeks.

New bill to cut waiting times for health services

LJUBLJANA - The government adopted an emergency bill estimated at over EUR 200 million that is designed to reduce waiting times for health services. The core provision is the removal of the cap on the number of services that the public health insurer pays in a given year. "All health services will be paid ... and all forces directed at the primary level to stabilise it," Health Minister Danijel Bešič Loredan said after the government session. The unlimited funding will be available from 1 September this year to the end of 2023. Doctors' organisations are sceptical the legislation will do much to address chronic problems in healthcare.

Removal of razor wire on border with Croatia starts next week

LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Armed Forces will start removing razor wire from the border with Croatia next week, Interior Minister Tatjana Bobnar announced after the government adopted a resolution to that effect. "The most effective migration policy is to provide lawful and hence safe and regulated migrations," Bobnar said. She expects the army to remove about 200 metres of razor wire a day, which means the project could take 150 days.

Golob to visit Berlin on Tuesday

LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Robert Golob will travel to Berlin on Tuesday for what will be his first bilateral visit abroad since taking office over a month ago. He will meet with Chancellor Olaf Scholz to discuss war in Ukraine, EU enlargement and cooperation between Slovenia and Germany, his office said. The prime ministers will exchange views about topical issues, including the EU's response to the war in Ukraine and food and energy security, EU enlargement onto the Western Balkans and the implementation of decisions of the June EU Summit.

Govt adopts bill to ratify Finland and Sweden's NATO accession

LJUBLJANA - The government adopted a bill to ratify the NATO accession protocols for Finland and Sweden, which were signed on Tuesday in Brussels, according to a press release issued after the government session. The bill will now be discussed by the parliamentary Foreign Policy Committee and then put to vote at the plenary session.

Zelensky calls on Slovenian companies to join recovery plan

LJUBLJANA - Addressing the National Assembly by video call, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky thanked European countries, including Slovenia, for their support for Ukraine in its fight for freedom. He called on Slovenian companies to join recovery plans for postwar future in Ukraine. "I thank the Slovenian nation, thank you for your big and brave heart," he said. The event was attended by Slovenia's top officials, President Borut Pahor, PM Robert Golob and speakers of both houses of parliament.

Over 100 Ukrainians to be accommodated in Postojna

LJUBLJANA - A hundred and twenty Ukrainian citizens who have already been granted temporary protection status in Slovenia or have requested it will be placed in an accommodation centre in the town of Postojna, south-west, the government said. The first to move to Postojna will be the vulnerable Ukrainian citizens who are currently at the asylum centre in Logatec, some 25 km south of Ljubljana. In this way, room will be made at Logatec's centre, which houses more than 280 refugees, for more vulnerable persons who are now at the asylum centre in Ljubljana.

Greater flexibility in mandatory share of biofuels

LJUBLJANA - Slovenian fuel retailers will have greater leeway in determining how much biofuel they add to their fuels under an amended regulation on renewable sources in transport that the government adopted in a bid to keep fuel prices in check. If they do not reach the target share of biofuels in a given year, retailers will be allowed to offset the gap with any surpluses over the minimum quantity in preceding three years or next three years.

Pahor expresses condolences to Japan on Abe's death

LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor expressed condolences over the assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to his family, Japan's emperor and its people, saying in a video post on Twitter he felt "sincere hurt and anguish". He said Abe had been very favourably inclined to Slovenia and to the deepening of comprehensive cooperation between the two countries, for which "we will always be grateful to him".

Former auditing chief becomes newspaper director

NOVO MESTO - Tomaž Vesel, until recently president of the Court of Audit, has been appointed director of Dolenjski List, a regional newspaper indirectly owned by media mogul Martin Odlazek and his family. Vesel succeeded Gregor Repič on 1 July. Dolenjski List, which covers the south-eastern region Dolenjska, is part of Odlazek's media group Media24. The latter also owns the weekly magazine Reporter, other print media, small radio stations, and indirectly has stakes in newspapers Večer and Primorske Novice.

NovaTV24.si director says no ownership change finalised yet

LJUBLJANA - Boris Tomašič, executive director of NovaTV24.si, commented on a report that he had acquired a stake in the media company running the news channel Nova24TV from Hungarian owners by saying no transaction had yet been finalised. He said the company was a target of political pressure by the ruling coalition. They appealed to the viewers to help the company with financial contributions and the response has been excellent, he said. NovaTV24.si is preparing to issue new shares.

Covid figures keep on growing

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia logged 1,323 new Covid cases on Thursday, up 31% on the same day a week ago, in what continues to be a steady upward trend. Two people with Covid died. A total of 44 patients whose main condition is Covid were hospitalised, down by two on the day before, and the number of ICU cases stayed the same, totalling eight patients, the Health Ministry said.

Schools found to be discriminating against disabled students

LJUBLJANA - Only a quarter of secondary schools are fully accessible to students with physical disabilities, Equality Ombudsman Miha Lobnik found in a special report on the matter. Despite the right to education in one's local environment, in some regions only one school is fully accessible, in some regions none. The information on accessibility that is available is insufficient with many schools not responding to enquiries or giving incomplete answers.

Pogačar wins stage 7 of the Tour, Roglič third

COLMAR, France - Slovenia's Tadej Pogačar, the man favoured to win the Tour de France, dominated the first mountain stage to extend his lead in the overall standings. In a close finish to the Super Planche des Belles Filles, Pogačar defeated the Dane Jonas Vingegaard after yesterday's surprise win. Slovenia's Primož Roglič was third, 12 seconds adrift.

08 Jul 2022, 06:04 AM

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Ex-govt communications chief on course to head TV Slovenija

LJUBLJANA - Uroš Urbanija, the former director of the Government Communication Office, was endorsed by the RTV Slovenija programme council for appointment as TV Slovenija director, the TV arm of the Slovenian public broadcaster. RTV Slovenija director general Andrej Grah Whatmough will decide on his appointment after interviewing him next week. In-house unions representing TV Slovenija journalists said Urbanija was "the most unsuitable candidate for any position at the public broadcaster".

Call to arms on Nova24TV under investigation

LJUBLJANA - The Reporter magazine reported that prosecutors and the relevant regulator opened probes after Boris Tomašič, director of the Nova24TV channel, agreed with a viewer calling in his TV show who urged an armed resistance against the new government. The Agency for Telecommunication Networks and Services is investigating potential incitement to intolerance, while the Supreme State Prosecutor's Office would not reveal any details beyond confirming for Reporter investigation was under way.

New migration policy to respect for human rights

LJUBLJANA - A special new advisory body of the Interior Ministry for migration policy held its first meeting with Interior Minister Tatjana Bobnar telling the attendees that the body had been tasked with drafting a new policy, based on solidarity, integration and the respect for human rights. Instead of security policies and crisis management, Slovenia wants to change the paradigm and lay out a comprehensive migration policy focusing on human dignity, the ministry said.

Minister meets businesses over energy prices, gas supply

LJUBLJANA - Infrastructure Minister Bojan Kumer met the leadership of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS) to discuss the high costs of energy and the uncertainty regarding the supply of natural gas. It was agreed that the government should adopt a set of measures to also help businesses. The minister said companies should focus more on solar energy and other alternative sources, announcing another call for applications for the supply of renewable energy in September.

NGOs propose climate-friendly ways to tackle price hikes

LJUBLJANA - Representatives of several NGOs set out a series of short- and long-term measures they believe the government should take to tackle the energy price hikes in the context of social and climate policies. They see the situation as an opportunity to abandon fossil fuels and take measures to reduce energy use overall. They want measures to reduce energy use and accelerate transition to renewables such as solar and wind energy, urging state investment to insulate homes and improve public transportation.

NSi urges govt to adopt emergency law to fight price hikes

LJUBLJANA - New Slovenia (NSi) called on the government to draft an emergency law to fight the looming increases in energy and food prices, fight inflation and help businesses. The opposition party is also critical of the government for purportedly being unaware of the scale of the crisis that is threatening in the autumn. The NSi urged the government to prepare measures to help vulnerable groups as soon as possible, as well as the middle class.

Geoplin to vie for Italian LNG terminal capacities

LJUBLJANA - Gas distributor Geoplin confirmed for the STA that it will be vying for capacities of the liquefied natural gas terminal in Rovigo, near Venice. The news comes over a month after it was reported that the company had not been awarded a contract for spare capacity at the LNG terminal on the Croatian island of Krk. The capacities in Krk have been fully booked until 2027, but the Croatian government has said it will expand the terminal. Geoplin has expressed interest in extra capacities in Krk as well.

Petrol to raise electricity, gas bills in September

LJUBLJANA - Petrol, Slovenia's second largest electricity provider and fourth largest gas provider, will increase prices in September, after this has already been done by the competition. Prices are expected to rise further next year. The average household will see their electricity bill go up by 13% or by about eight euros per month. Gas will set households back EUR 0.08779 per kWh, which is a 43% or EUR 24 per month increase for the average household.

Fiscal Council warns about increased spending

LJUBLJANA - The Fiscal Council finds that the state of public finances is steadily improving due to fast income growth at a time when the economy is quickly recovering and Covid stimulus measures are ending. The rest of public spending is visibly increasing though, mostly due to measures to mitigate rising costs of living. General government deficit in the first quarter reached 3.1% of GDP, which is a significant drop from last year when it stood at 7.9% GDP.

Krka group sales up 6% to EUR 857 million in January-June

NOVO MESTO - Drug maker Krka posted sales of EUR 857.4 million in the first half of the year, an increase of 6% on the year before and a new six-month record, according to preliminary estimates. Net profit was up by a third to EUR 236.2 million as operating profit (EBIT) fell nearly as much to EUR 139.2 million due to an increase in the inventories of raw materials, materials, bulk products, and products required for long-term uninterrupted supply of Krka's pharmaceuticals in the Russian market. Krka shareholders today endorsed the management's proposal to pay out a dividend of EUR 5.63 gross per share, up 12.6% from last year. The shareholders will thus get a total of EUR 175 million.

Kočevje mayor presents bid for president

MEDVODE - Kočevje Mayor Vladimir Prebilič confirmed he will run for president in the autumn election as an independent enjoying support of 45 mayors. He disagrees with the solely ceremonial role of the president and believes the president must help shape political life in the country. He thinks he can apply his experience as a mayor to the national level. Slovenia needs a non-partisan president, he said.

Friday protesters oppose reappointment of state attorney general

LJUBLJANA - Friday protesters expressed indignation over the Justice Ministry's nomination of Jurij Groznik for re-appointment as state attorney general. They hold him responsible for several lawsuits with which the previous government sought for protesters to pay for rally policing costs. The lawsuits were withdrawn by the new government. Groznik says his office is bound by law to file the lawsuits even though it opposes them. Legislative changes are in the pipeline to give the office greater autonomy.

New Covid cases up by 63% on a weekly basis

LJUBLJANA - A total of 1,627 new cases of coronavirus were confirmed in Slovenia on Wednesday in what is a 63% increase on a weekly basis, as hospital numbers rose following more than two weeks of rapid case growth. The number of hospitalised patients nearly doubled on a daily basis, and there were no Covid-19 deaths yesterday. The 14-day number of cases per 100,000 residents was at 606 yesterday, up 42 from the day before, data from the National Institute of Public Health shows.

Hospitals to initially reserve 10% of beds for Covid patients

LJUBLJANA - The newly appointed national task force to coordinate hospital admissions and bed capacities for Covid-19 patients sent instructions to healthcare providers, which say hospitals are obliged to secure up to 10% of beds for such patients. Depending on the magnitude of the epidemic, the percentage of beds reserved for Covid-19 patients can be gradually increased to 20% of the total number of beds. Once the designated beds are full, Covid-19 patients would be transferred to other hospitals.

New car sales down in H1 as EV sales up

LJUBLJANA - Nearly 30,000 cars and vans were registered in Slovenia for the first time in the first half of the year, a decrease of 17.43% from the same period last year, data from the Slovenian Chamber of Commerce shows. According to the newspaper Finance, electric car sales were up by 56% in the period. Plug-in cars now represent 4% of the market.

Art Stays festival kicks off in Ptuj

PTUJ - The 20th contemporary art festival Art Stays got underway in the medieval town of Ptuj, north-east, featuring a plethora of Slovenian and foreign masters, such as Yoko Ono, as well as up-and-coming artists. Under the title Postproduction, the festival aims to provide a retrospective of the past as well as a vision for the future. Running until 18 September, it will also showcase art installations and video-projection projects at various locations in the town.

Tadej Pogačar takes yellow jersey in Tour de France

METZ, France - Slovenia's Tadej Pogačar won the sixth stage of the Tour de France to claim the yellow jersey of the overall leader in what is the 7th stage win at the world's most prestigious road cycling race for the 23-year-old defending champion. The two-time Tour de France winner is four seconds ahead of American Neilson Powless with Dane Jonas Vingegaard of Jumbo-Visma in third, 31 seconds behind. Primož Roglič advanced to 28th after dropping to 44th yesterday's stage. He has a lag of 2:27 minutes.

No goal as Maribor start UEFA Champions League qualifications

MARIBOR - Slovenia's Maribor opened their qualifying series for the UEFA Champions League with a goalless draw against the Belarusian club Shakhtyor Soligorsk on home turf on Wednesday evening. The teams will play a return match next Wednesday. Maribor, crowned Slovenia's champion for the 16th time last season, had the upper hand in the first half of the match with the Belarus team dominating the second one.

Slovenia's Černivec becomes first woman GM in British basketball

LONDON, UK - Slovenian Vanja Černivec has become the first woman general manager in British women's basketball, as she has been appointed to the post in the London Lions women's basketball team, the reigning champions of the Women's British Basketball League. The appointment was confirmed on the website of the club as reported by the sport portals Sportal and kosarka.si.

07 Jul 2022, 04:14 AM

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Slovenia, Croatia to start addressing border issue at informal level

ZAGREB - Slovenian FM Tanja Fajon and her Croatian counterpart Gordan Grlić Radman confirmed their countries' readiness to address open issues through mutual dialogue as they met in the Croatian capital. Fajon said that in this spirit, the border issue will also be addressed, starting at an informal level and with easier matters. Grlić Radman said that Croatia had decided to address all of its open issues in bilateral dialogue, and thanked Slovenia's for its support for Croatia's membership of the Schengen and euro areas, as well as to the OECD. Fajon also met PM Andrej Plenković and President Zoran Milanović. In addition to bilateral relations, the talks with Milanović touched on the situation in South-east Europe, in particular Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Upper chamber tables legislation introducing provinces

LITIJA - The National Assembly will have to consider a package of three bills that would establish 15 provinces in Slovenia after the National Council decided today to formally table legislation that it has spent nearly three years shepherding through various stages of consultations and deliberations. Under the proposal, Slovenia would have 15 provinces as an intermediary stage of government between the 212 municipalities and the national government, with a special status for the capital Ljubljana.

Insurance sector posts nearly 40% growth in profit for 2021

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's insurance companies posted a combined net profit of EUR 210 million in 2021, an increase of 38% on the year before, in what the Insurance Oversight Agency described as a very successful year. By insurance premiums as a share of GDP, which is at 5%, Slovenia last year placed 16th among the countries for which the OECD releases data, which Čibej said placed it in the middle in terms of insurance market development. Gross written premiums in property and life insurance business were up by 1.6% from 2020 to EUR 2.4 billion (EUR 1.9 billion was property insurance and EUR 528 million life insurance).

Šketa tells MPs there is severe shortage of prosecutors

LJUBLJANA - State Prosecutor General Drago Šketa highlighted a severe shortage of prosecutors in Slovenia as the parliamentary Justice Committee discussed the reports of the state prosecutors' work in 2021, including of the Specialised State Prosecutor's Office. "In accordance with the decree on the number of public prosecutors, there should be 268 public prosecutors in Slovenia, while there are 200, or 25% fewer, at the moment," he said. The shortage will become even more severe in the coming years, with Šketa saying "the situation will be extremely critical as the number of cases will be increasing."

Hungarians offload stake in NovaTV24

LJUBLJANA - After an ownership change at a company publishing the right-wing weekly Demokracija, the news portal Necenzurirano reports that three Hungarian owners have sold their stake in NovaTV24.si, the company running TV channel NovaTV24 in a move that has already been cleared by the Ministry of Culture. The report says the trio sold their 45% stake to Boris Tomašič, director of NovaTV24 and a long-term member of the Democrats (SDS), now an opposition party, for an undisclosed sum.

Court considers potential abuse in deliberating on legitimacy of referendum

LJUBLJANA - In the wake of two referendum petitions, one concerned with the government make-up and one with legislation on communicable diseases, legal experts note that the Constitutional Court takes into account the doctrine of abuse of the legislative referendum when deliberating on the legitimacy of a referendum. Indicators of abuse include a petition calling for a referendum to postpone the enactment of a law. Referendums on some issues, including those rectifying unconstitutionality, are banned.

Anti-graft commission head says integrity still not considered integral

LJUBLJANA - The Commission for the Prevention of Corruption presented to the parliamentary Justice Committee its 2021 report, with its president Robert Šumi expressing regret that strengthening integrity was still considered "higher standard" by most public officials. He observed that some issues, like integrity, conflict of interest and incompatibility of functions have not yet been established as standard, with both the society and public office holders failing to give them appropriate attention.

Group to coordinate Covid hospital admissions set up

LJUBLJANA - Health Minister Danijel Bešič Loredan announced that he had appointed a national task force to coordinate hospital beds and hospital admission of Covid patients. The group will produce clear guidance on how to approach patients infected with coronavirus and patients with Covid symptoms. The group is led by doctor Matjaž Jereb, head of the intensive care unit at the Department of Infectious Diseases at UKC Ljubljana. It will give first instructions to medical organisations tomorrow.

Number of Covid cases continues to grow

LJUBLJANA - A total of 1,470 Covid cases were confirmed in 619 PCR and 4,547 rapid antigen tests in Slovenia on Tuesday. No coronavirus patient died, while 32 were hospitalised due to Covid, of which nine were in intensive care units. The seven-day average of cases reached 994, 62 more than on Monday. The 14-day number of cases per 100,000 was at 564, up 38 from the day before, data from the National Institute for Public Health (NIJZ) show.

Equality ombudsman finds ten cases of discrimination in 2021

LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Labour Committee discussed the annual report by Slovenia's equal opportunities ombudsman for 2021, which notes that discrimination occurred in ten reported cases. Advocate of the Principle of Equality Miha Lobnik said he had conducted a total of 119 administrative procedures last year, 65 of which had been concluded. He brought to attention the case of a civil servant who was given a lower annual performance assessment just because she was on maternity leave, and the case of homosexual men being denied the opportunity of donating blood, among others.

Court annuls fine over 2020 mask-free gala featuring minister

LJUBLJANA - The Ljubljana District Court has stopped offence proceedings over mask-wearing rule violations at a charity event organized by the Slovenian Olympic Committee in September 2020 that also featured the then education minister, Simona Kustec. The Health Inspectorate had ordered hundred of euros in fines to be paid, but the court has now ruled the mandatory mask-wearing decree lacked legal grounds, the law firm representing the defendants, told the STA.

Ex-PM Cerar will not enter presidential race

LJUBLJANA - Miro Cerar, a jurist and former prime minister, will not stand for Slovenia's president even though several people from the civil society have encouraged him to run, he wrote on social media. Cerar had received some "serious initiatives from responsible citizens" over the past few months to consider running, but decided against it after giving it thorough reflection. Cerar will stay focused on teaching and research at the Ljubljana Faculty of Law and on his family.

Minority protests planned abolishment of Slavic studies course

KLAGENFURT, Austria - The National Council of Carinthian Slovenians (NSKS) voiced a strong protest against the plan of the University of Klagenfurt to abolish its MA course of Slavic studies. The step has not been agreed in advance with the Slovenian minority in Carinthia, the organisation said. It underlined that the move violated Article 8 of Austrian federal constitution, which prohibits deterioration of the situation of the Slovenian community, and that it was "illogical, going against modern trends and is clearly against the interests of the national community."

Musician Gregor Bezenšek to join the presidential race

LJUBLJANA - Gregor Bezenšek, a musician who founded a charity to help children with rare diseases with his wife after they lost their son to a rare incurable disease, announced his bid for the autumn presidential election. He will run as an independent, vowing to go "sky-high" for people's benefit. He promised to work to overcome divisions and strengthen the Slovenian national identity through music if elected. Like most other candidates he plans to support his bid with voter signatures.

06 Jul 2022, 04:48 AM

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Zelensky to address Slovenian parliament on Friday, Delo reports

LJUBLJANA - Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will address the National Assembly via video link on Friday at 10am, newspaper Delo reported. Zelensky was invited to do so by Speaker Urška Klakočar Zupančič, who was authorised to invite him by the parliamentary foreign policy and EU affairs committees behind closed doors two weeks ago upon the proposal of the opposition Democrats (SDS). PM Robert Golob talked with Zelensky before the June EU summit, at which Ukraine was granted candidate status, whereas his predecessor Janaz Janša of the SDS was among the first politicians to visit Kyiv after the war broke out, in mid March.

Slovenian, Albanian presidents discuss EU enlargement

LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor hosted a working lunch for Albania's outgoing President Ilir Meta in Ljubljana, with the pair underlining the importance of EU enlargement onto the Western Balkans and Pahor warning against an idea of a more vague political community which would not see the region integrated in the EU. Talking to the press after their lunch, Pahor said he had the opportunity to speak to several Western Balkan leaders recently, all of whom were very concerned about this idea. Meta said the EU must not go down that path because "it would be a historical mistake".

Kosovo president discusses EU future of Western Balkans

MENGEŠ - Completing her two-day visit to Slovenia, Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani-Sadriu discussed the Euro-Atlantic future of the Western Balkans with Slovenian diplomat Vojko Volk in an event hosted by the Centre for European Perspective and the Bled Strategic Forum (BSF). The pair agreed that if EU does not integrate the region, someone else will. For the first time ever the EU sees its enlargement as a geostrategic concept and not a bureaucratic process, said Osmani-Sadriu, who believes this is seen from Ukraine and Moldova receiving EU candidate status.

Exports in May up 49% year-on-year, imports up 57%

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's exports of goods in May were up by 48.7% year on year to EUR 4.8 billion, as imports to the country increased by 56.7% to EUR 5.3 billion. Like in all preceding months in 2022, a trade deficit was recorded, standing at EUR 600 million, with the exports-to-imports coverage at 89.6%. In the first five months of the year, exports were up 27.4% year-on-year to EUR 20.3 billion, while imports increased by 49.4% to EUR 23 billion, for a trade deficit of EUR 2.7 billion and the exports-to-imports coverage of 88.2%, the Statistics Office reported.

Initiative submitting petition for referendum on new Covid law

LJUBLJANA - The People's Coalition, an ad-hoc group opposing strict coronavirus measures, including vaccination, filed to parliament a petition supported with more than the required 2,500 signatures for a referendum on the changes to the infectious diseases act, which were passed on 29 June. The group criticised what they see as lack of transparency in fast-tracking the bill through parliament, arguing this was to deliberately exclude the public the discussion. The NGO that drafted the changes said a referendum on this law might not be allowed because a referendum is not allowed on legislation remedying unconstitutionality.

SDS referendum signature collection scheduled for autumn

LJUBLJANA - The opposition Democrats (SDS) will be collecting 40,000 signatures for a referendum with which they want to challenge government expansion by three departments between 1 September and 5 October, the parliamentary speaker's office said. This is a second attempt by the SDS to prevent PM Robert Golob from expanding his government to 20 departments after Golob's emerging coalition filed the bill to parliament in May. If the SDS succeeds in the referendum, the National Assembly will not be allowed to pass a law going against the referendum decision for a year from.

Parliamentary committee wants to beef up labour inspectorate

LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Labour Committee called on the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities to hire more labour inspectors by the end of next year as it met upon coalition MPs' request in the wake of reports revealing grave labour and hygiene conditions in fish-processing companies Marinblu and Selea. Dan Juvan, a state secretary at the ministry, said legislative changes were being drafted and had already been sent to the Economic and Social Council; they concern record-keeping and social security. The committee urged that these be filed in parliamentary procedure as soon as possible.

Jobless total continues to drop in June

LJUBLJANA - The number of registered jobless continued to decline in June reaching a new post-1990 low. At the end of the month, 53,860 unemployed persons were registered at the Employment Service, down 3.6% on May and 24.2% fewer year-on-year. At the end of June, there were 1,994 fewer registered unemployed people than in May, and 17,234 fewer compared to June last year. A total of 3,949 people registered as newly-unemployed, up 2% on May and 11.8% year-on-year, and 3,618 people found a job, down 6.5% in May and 36% year-on-year. Most of the newly-registered were unemployed due to the end of a fixed-term job.

Covid cases surge to over two-month high

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia confirmed 1,815 new coronavirus infections on Monday, up 33% week-on-week, in what is a new high since mid-April. Two Covid patients died, shows fresh official data. The number of patients hospitalised with Covid as their primary condition remained broadly flat, with 31 in hospital altogether, down by seven week-on-week, including eight who are in intensive care, same as a week ago. The 14-day case notification rate per 100,000 population topped 520, rising by 165 on the week before.

State budget deficit slashed to EUR 128m at half-year

LJUBLJANA - State budget revenue in the first half of the year totalled EUR 6.4 billion and expenditure EUR 6.5 billion for a deficit of EUR 128 million, preliminary data from the Finance Ministry shows. The figure compares to a deficit of EUR 1.965 billion in the same period last year. Year-on-year, revenue rose by 18% and expenditure fell by 11.6%.

Privatisation of Cinkarna Celje halted

LJUBLJANA - The Bank Assets Management Company (BAMC) decided on Monday to halt the procedure to sell an almost 13% share in chemical company Cinkarna Celje although it received two binding bids. BAMC said on Tuesday that the sale would not be appropriate under the current conditions and circumstances. BAMC will not be selling Cinkarna as all of its assets will be transferred onto the Slovenian Sovereign Holding (SSH) by the end of 2022 and SSH will then draft a joint assets management strategy.

Survey: Quarter of companies see current situation as life-threatening

LJUBLJANA - A survey by the Chamber of Commerce of Slovenia (GZS) sees more than a quarter of the surveyed companies assessing that the raising prices of energy, raw materials and services are threatening their existence. The survey conducted in June among more than 60 companies, 80% of which are industrial companies, sees their biggest challenges in the need to increase prices of products, and in lower operating profit and competitiveness and a drop in market share. "These are strong arguments for the government to act immediately," GZS director general Aleš Cantarutti commented on the survey, presented on Monday.

Slovenian Ski Association head appointed FIS treasurer

ZURICH, Switzerland - Enzo Smrekar, the president of the Slovenian Ski Association, has been appointed the treasurer of the International Ski Federation (FIS) as the first Slovenian to be in charge of the financial affairs of the governing body for international skiing and snowboarding. Smrekar, director of Croatian-owned Slovenian food company Atlantic Droga Kolinska, was appointed at an inaugural meeting of the new FIS council in Zurich on Monday.

Slovenian and Italian firefighters sign cooperation agreement

NOVA GORICA - Slovenian and Italian firefighters signed an agreement on cooperation in the border area as part of the European CROSSIT SAFER project, which is expected to enable more effective action during rapid rescue missions. Aleš Markočič of the Nova Gorica fire brigade said it brought rapid, successful and precise interventions that will be safer for people and nature, as quoted by the national Civil Protection and Disaster Relief Administration on Twitter.

05 Jul 2022, 04:17 AM

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Pahor and Osmani-Sadriu urge EU and NATO future for W Balkans

LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor and his visiting Kosovo counterpart Vjosa Osmani-Sadriu agreed in Ljubljana that relations between the two countries are excellent and expressed the wish to continue this way. Both leaders see a peaceful and secure future for the Western Balkans in the context of European and Euro-Atlantic integration. Addressing the press during Osmani-Sadriu's two-day visit, the pair said Slovenia and Kosovo shared the same views on the Western Balkans.

Ex-foreign minister Anže Logar declares bid for president

LJUBLJANA - Former Foreign Minister Anže Logar announced his intention to run for president in the autumn election. He has the support of his party, the opposition Democrats (SDS). "I will run through the signatures of citizens, and I also have the support of the SDS party," he said. The 46-year-old believes time has come for Slovenia to make a leap by electing its first centre-right president. He joins a growing list of candidates but is only the second after Marta Kos to be backed by a party.

Govt backtracks on pay promise, angering public sector unions

LJUBLJANA - As the government and public sector trade unions kicked off pay talks, the government backtracked on its promise to raise the value of individual pay brackets, offering instead one-off bonuses to cause indignation among trade unions. Public Administration Minister Sanja Ajanović Hovnik said the government had assessed an increase in pay brackets as inappropriate at the moment due to growing prices and inflation. Representatives of both negotiating groups are unhappy with the government's move, and they expect the government negotiators to get a different mandate, or else they will step up union activities.

OECD recommends Slovenia to address inflation, implement reforms

BRDO PRI KRANJU - The OECD recommends to Slovenia in its latest report to focus on high inflation in the short term and then accelerate reforms that would increase productivity, make growth more sustainable and address ageing. Absence of reforms is to put additional pressure on pensions, healthcare and the labour market. Slovenia has bounced back strongly post-Covid but its economic activity is hindered by high inflation, bottlenecks in supply chains and the war in Ukraine, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) says in its 2022 Economic Review for Slovenia.

Government welcomes OECD recommendations

BRDO PRI KRANJU - Several government ministers welcomed the recommendations of the OECD 2022 Economic Review, with Finance Minister Klemen Boštjančič saying the report must be read as a whole, "not just individual parts", and expressing support for structural changes, announcing a broad tax reform. Labour Minister Luka Mesec said the measures would focus on the disadvantaged to help them overcome the growing prices of heating, fuel and food. Digital Transformation Minister Emilija Stojmenova Duh added that her department was already looking for solutions to address the challenges in digitalisation identified by the OECD.

SD decides to run with own presidential candidate

LJUBLJANA - The presidency of the junior coalition Social Democrats (SD) decided that the party will put forward its own candidate for the upcoming presidential election. The internal candidacy procedure will remain open until 15 July. When asked about the sensibility of left-leaning parties each running with their own candidate, Fajon said the decision made today was the only logical move for the SD, "a traditional and still the strongest party on the left". The party presidency also decided to hold an electoral congress on 8 October, with Fajon running for SD head again.

Farmers warn wheat purchase plan rather belated

LJUBLJANA - The Chamber of Agriculture and Forestry (KGZS) welcomed a set of measures taken by the government on Friday to help farmers amid growing prices, including the financial aid worth over EUR 22 million, the purchase of this year's entire wheat harvest, and regular monitoring of prices of 15 food products. However, the chamber warned the wheat buyout came a bit late as the harvest is already well underway and the Cooperatives' Association said they were already buying and selling the crop.

Governor: ECB could raise key interest rate by 0.5 points in Sep

BRDO PRI KRANJU - Slovenia's central bank Governor Boštjan Vasle expects that to fight high inflation, the European Central Bank (ECB) will increase its key interest rate by 0.25 base points in July and by another 0.5 points in September. "In many people's view, one of the most important measures [to deal with inflation] is the handling of interest rates," Vasle said on the sidelines of the presentation of the OECD's Economic Review for Slovenia, adding that the gradual increases could follow after September.

Slovenian army gets highest military decoration from Kosovo

LJUBLJANA - Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani-Sadriu, who is on a two-day official visit to Slovenia, presented the Slovenian Armed Forces with the highest presidential military decoration of Kosovo. The president of Kosovo presented the Slovenian Armed Forces with the Presidential Military Medal, which was accepted by the deputy chief of the general staff, Major General Roman Urbanč, the ministry said. On the occasion, Osmani-Sadriu was received at the Defence Ministry by Minister Marjan Šarec, who said that Slovenia was very proud of its contribution to the security of Kosovo and to regional security.

Pahor tells Politika EU ignoring W Balkans will have consequences

BELGRADE, Serbia - President Borut Pahor noted in an interview with the Serbian newspaper Politika that the EU not wanting or being unable to establish greater presence in the Western Balkans will have consequences. He said he will continue to work for the EU accession prospects of the Western Balkans and expressed understanding for Serbia. Pahor assessed that the geopolitical fate of the Western Balkans for the next ten or fifteen years was being decided right now and in the current conditions. "Russia, China, Turkey and the Gulf countries will consolidate themselves in this area. The EU cannot ignore this," he said.

Fuel prices to drop slightly on Tuesday

LJUBLJANA - Prices of regular and diesel sold outside motorways will drop a bit at midnight under the government-administered pricing model. Regular will cost 2.3 cents less at EUR 1.723 a litre and diesel 4 cents less at EUR 1.808 a litre, the Economy Ministry has announced. The new prices will stay in force for a fortnight until Monday, 18 July. Prices of fuel at pumps along motorways are liberalised.

Kangler successfully sues corruption watchdog

LJUBLJANA - While the top court annulled the parliament's 2019 decision to launch an inquiry into the many court proceedings of ex-Maribor Mayor Franc Kangler, the Administrative Court has now nodded to Kangler's lawsuit against the corruption watchdog over its claim his role in upper chamber that ordered the inquiry constituted conflict of interest. Kangler, who also served as an Interior Ministry state secretary in the 2020-22 Janez Janša government, took issue with the corruption watchdog's stance on the manner, arguing he had not spoken or voted at the upper chamber session that led to the inquiry.

Blaž Cvar appointed new president of chamber of small business

LJUBLJANA - Blaž Cvar has been appointed the new president of the Chamber of Craft and Small Business (OZS) for a four-year term, to succeed Branko Meh, who was at the helm of the chamber for eight years. The restaurant owner from Radlje ob Dravi in northern Slovenia said in his programme he would be fair, conduct dialogue and work for the benefit of all members of the chamber. He also presented the new 15-member executive committee of the OZS, while Danijel Lamperger remained the director of the chamber. Cvar was endorsed by 52 out of the 92 members of the OZS assembly, who represent 62 regional chambers 30 and professional sections.

Pharmacy boss gets prison sentence in healthcare corruption case

LJUBLJANA - In what is the latest verdict in the biggest healthcare corruption case in Slovenia yet, the Ljubljana District Court handed down a three year prison sentence to Nataša Faganeli, the head of the pharmacy at the Valdoltra orthopaedic hospital. Faganeli, found guilty of demanding and accepting kickbacks in exchange for supply orders from the companies Emporio Medical and Advanta, will also have to pay a fine of EUR 35,000 and return EUR 89,000 in illegal gains.

Covid cases up by 40% at the weekend week-on-week

LJUBLJANA - The latest Covid-19 statistics show the number of cases steadily rising, as the number of new infections registered over the weekend increased by almost 40% on a weekly basis to 641, while overall hospitalisations have declined. There is a higher number of patients in intensive care, though, and three persons with Covid-19 have died since Friday. The 14-day case notification rate per 100,000 population now stands at 478, up by more than 140 over the same day a week ago.

Logo chosen for European Capital of Culture 2025

NOVA GORICA - The cities of Nova Gorica and Gorizia are joining forces as the European Capital of Culture 2025 under the name GO! 2025. In a logotype contest a team from Bologna designed the winning logotype for the project. Out of 67 submissions, the jury chose the design by Michele Pastore, Giulia Bardelli and Andrea Guccini from the Studio But Maybe as the official logotype. The organizers say the selected logo is both innovative and avant-garde.

Slovenia defeat Sweden in nail-biting finish

STOCKHOLM, Sweden - Slovenia finished the first round of qualifying for the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup second in their group having scraped past Sweden 84:81 after a nail-biting finish in Stockholm on Sunday. NBA stars Luka Dončić and Goran Dragić scored 51 points between them as Dragić bid farewell to the national team to become its top overall scorer in history. In the second round, starting in late August, Slovenia will face off Germany Israel and Estonia in Group J, which also includes Sweden.

Goran Dragić to transfer to Chicago

CHICAGO, US - Slovenian NBA star Goran Dragić will not be joining the Dallas Mavericks as has been rumoured but will instead sign a one-year contract with the Chicago Bulls. After playing for the Brooklyn Nets last season Dragić has now confirmed for the STA his transfer to the Bulls, who finished the regular season in 6th place in the Eastern Conference and were eliminated in the first round of play-offs. According to US media, Dragić will sign a US$2.9 million (EUR 2.8 million) contract.

03 Jul 2022, 03:56 AM

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Najevnik Linden Tree meeting discusses role of good leaders

ČRNA NA KOROŠKEM - The traditional get-together of politicians at the Najevnik Linden Tree was held near Črna na Koroškem in the north of the country. Attended by an estimated 400 people, including many senior officials, the event provided a reflection on what makes a good leader. Addressing the gathering for the last time in his capacity as president, Borut Pahor called on every Slovenian to care for their country.

SLS gets new head, aims to become strong moderate party again

IG - Marko Balažic was elected the leader of the non-parliamentary People's Party (SLS) at an election congress in what was practically a unanimous vote. He said that the SLS must once again become a strong moderate party and that Slovenia needed a liberal state and conservative politics. Preparations for the autumn local election will be among the party's priorities, he noted. Balažic, best known for being a right-wing political pundit, was the only candidate for the post.

EUI report on media pluralism finds high risk in Slovenia

LJUBLJANA/BRUSSELS, Belgium - Media pluralism in Slovenia is at an overall high risk, says a report on media pluralism in the EU, Turkey, Albania, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia in 2021 that was presented on Thursday by the European University Institute (EUI). The highest level of risk to media pluralism in Slovenia was identified in two of the four parameters - market pluralism and political independence, where the country's risk is at 73% and 71%, respectively.

Cirkovce-Pince transmission line becomes operational

KIDRIČEVO - The construction of the 2x400 kilovolt Cirkovce-Pince transmission line in the east of the country is but completed after almost two years of work and the line is currently in operation as part of acceptance testing and commissioning, national grid operator ELES said in a press release. The line, which is a part of the Slovenia-Hungary-Croatia electricity connection, is the first cross-border link between Slovenia's and Hungary's national grids.

Croatian energy expert sees solution for Croatia, Slovenia in Rijeka oil refinery

ZAGREB, Croatia - Croatian energy expert Davor Štern sees a solution to tackle oil shortages and price hikes in Croatia in the unused Rijeka-based oil refinery, noting that this could also bring benefits to Slovenia. If the refinery was fully operational, this could also meet Slovenia's needs under a potential political agreement. He thinks Slovenia and Croatia are so energy-connected that they could jointly pursue a systemic energy policy.

02 Jul 2022, 04:11 AM

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Farmers to get EUR 22m in aid, state to purchase entire wheat harvest

LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Robert Golob announced that the state would provide more than EUR 22 million in aid to farmers for various purposes. The state will purchase through the Agency for Commodity Reserves this year's entire harvest of wheat in Slovenia to provide a "clear buyer and stable price" to farmers. "Unfortunately, the situation in the world, especially in Ukraine, is getting worse on a daily basis, which is evident not only in prices, but also in the availability of food," Golob noted at a press conference after the government session. It was also announced that the Agriculture Ministry had prepared in cooperation with the Chamber of Commerce a list of 15 products whose prices will be monitored on a regular basis.

Govt adopts bill to overhaul RTV management, oversight model

LJUBLJANA - The government adopted and filed to parliament a bill to reform the model of management and oversight at RTV Slovenija to reduce what is perceived as political meddling with the public broadcaster. The changes to the RTV Slovenija act from 2005 aim to abolish the 29-strong programme council and the 11-strong supervisory board to introduce a 17-member RTV Slovenija council. The dominant role on the new council will be played by civil society and staff; the latter will have five members, four elected directly at the broadcaster and one to be appointed by the works council.

Jana Ahčin becomes first woman president of Court of Audit

LJUBLJANA - Jana Ahčin, a former director of the Financial Administration (FURS), was appointed Court of Audit president in a secret vote in the National Assembly in which she received 60 votes. She will take over for nine years as the court's first woman president, replacing Tomaž Vesel, whose term expired at the end of May. Ahčin, who led FURS for a full five-year term between November 2014 and November 2019, said in hwe vision presented to President Borut Pahor that she would be guided by independence, objectivity and effectiveness in her new job. She has had over 20 years of experience with high-level posts in the public sector.

Milan M. Cvikl appointed C-bank vice-governor

LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly elected in a secret ballot Milan M. Cvikl a vice-governor of the central bank Banka Slovenije. The former Slovenian member of the European Court of Auditors, who has been active in the banking sector since 1983 when he took office at Banka Slovenije's predecessor, National Bank of Slovenia, vowed during a public presentation earlier this week to act independently, diligently and professionally if appointed. The senior member of the Social Democrats (SD) dismissed allegations about some of his past actions being politically motivated, noting that he has predominantly acted as a technocrat.

Slovenia and Germany sign cooperation action plan

BERLIN, Germany - Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon met her German counterpart Annalena Baerbock, with the pair signing a joint action plan on three-year strategic cooperation and announcing further strengthening of cooperation between Slovenia and Germany, also relating to Ukraine. Fajon and Baerbock both expressed satisfaction at becoming the first female foreign minister of their respective countries, and they also expressed confidence in good and constructive cooperation in the future. Baerbock welcomed the fact that Fajon, who took over Slovenia's foreign office a month ago, picked Germany for her first bilateral visit abroad.

Kočevje Mayor Prebilič joining presidential race

KOČEVJE - Vladimir Prebilič, the mayor of Kočevje, confirmed his bid for the president of the republic. The defence expert who served as an adviser to current President Borut Pahor and former President Danilo Türk in the past is running as an independent. Serving his third term as the mayor of the Kočevje municipality in the south of the country, Prebilič told the STA that he did not seek the support of political parties but of voters and had the backing of fellow mayors belonging to the Club of Independent Mayors he helped form at the start of the year.

Govt adopts bill on forms of alternative investment funds

LJUBLJANA - The government adopted a bill on the forms of alternative investment funds that envisages three forms and two types of funds. The long-awaited bill, with which the state wants to strengthen the capital market, is one of the milestones for the payment of the first instalment from the Covid recovery mechanism. The three forms are alternative mutual fund, special limited partnership and investment company, while the two types are special investment fund and real estate investment company. The bill which will be fast-tracked in parliament in order for the state to draw grants the amount of EUR 57 million.

Government drafts bill to better protect whistleblowers

LJUBLJANA - The Justice Ministry announced it had drafted a bill dedicated to protecting whistleblowers, which would now go into public consultation until 10 August. The bill provides protection to whistleblowers reporting irregularities in their place of work. It enables three manners of reporting: internal report, external report to oversight bodies and regulators, and public disclosure of wrongdoing. It also lays down the conditions for protection and the obligation of protecting the whistleblower's identity in all procedures pertaining to the report.

Mateja Kos Zabel appointed acting director of National Museum

LJUBLJANA - Mateja Kos Zabel took office as acting director of the National Museum in Ljubljana after previous director Pavel Car resigned last month over an art forgery scandal. Appointed by the Culture Ministry, Zabel previously worked as a curator at the museum's history and applied arts department, and headed the programme management organizational unit. She will serve as acting director up to a year or until a new fully-fledged director is appointed via an open call.

Competition watchdog director Matvoz stays on after all

LJUBLJANA - Andrej Matvoz stays on at the helm of the Competition Protection Agency as the government dismissed Zlatko Ratej as the acting director today, the day he was to take over from Matvoz, and appointed the latter as the acting director. Ratej, who was named by the previous government on 12 May, tendered his resignation in mid-June. Matvoz, who took over for a five-year term on 1 July 2017 and whose term expired on Thursday, was appointed the acting director until the appointment of the full-fledged director, but no longer than for six months, the Economy Ministry said.

Ex Sberbank subsidiary gets new chairman

LJUBLJANA - N Banka, the former Slovenian subsidiary of Russia's Sberbank that was acquired by the NLB bank after sanctions were introduced against Russia, got a new chairman in Heribert Fernau. Fernau, who has already been part of the management board, is succeeding Jana Benčina Henigman whom the supervisors thanked for her contribution to a fast and successful salvaging of the bank in the tough moments in March and the smooth ongoing integration into the group of the largest bank in Slovenia, N Banka said on Friday. The parting of ways with Benčina Henigman is said to come in mutual agreement. She will continue her career elsewhere.

Talum doing well despite growing energy prices

KIDRIČEVO - Aluminium maker Talum has managed to adapt fast to the demanding changes of the past two years, from the Covid crisis to the growing energy prices, Marko Drobnič, CEO of the Kidričevo-based plant, told the STA in a recent interview. Last year, the group generated nearly EUR 354 million in revenue, up EUR 88 million over 2020, while its net profit reached nearly EUR 0.5 million.

EUR 75 million in tourist vouchers remained unredeemed

LJUBLJANA - Some 86% or a combined total of EUR 468.4 million worth of the 2020 and 2021 tourist vouchers was cashed in, shows data by the Financial Administration (FURS), and EUR 75.27 million was left unredeemed by Thursday, the last day of voucher validity. According to data from FURS, 84.5% or 301.47 million worth of these vouchers were cashed in, with a EUR 55.38 million worth of vouchers remaining unredeemed. Some 86.5% off all citizens fully or partially redeemed their vouchers.

Slovenia joining Stockholm Initiative for Nuclear Disarmament

LJUBLJANA - The government decided that Slovenia will join the Stockholm Initiative for Nuclear Disarmament, as the initiative corresponds to the country's current position regarding nuclear disarmament and paves the way to a world without nuclear weapons, the Foreign Ministry said. The ministry said it was an ambitious, though realistic and result-oriented nuclear disarmament plan, and that the initiative actually built on the gradual approach to nuclear disarmament advocated by Slovenia.

Over 900 Covid-19 cases confirmed on Thursday

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia confirmed 909 new cases of Covid-19 on Thursday, up more than 40% on the week before, as the growth seen over the past two weeks continued. The 14-day case notification rate stood at 435, up by 21 on the day before. One Covid patient died yesterday. The number of patients hospitalised with Covid as their primary condition decreased by one at ordinary care units to 28 and by three at intensive care units to eight, Health Ministry data shows.

Irwin art collective's installation featured at MUMOK

LJUBLJANA - Irwin, a Slovenian art collective of international renown, will have one of its major projects put on show at MUMOK in Vienna. Transnational will be featured as part of Collaborations, a group exhibition focussing on the avant-garde from the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s and on conceptual and socially analytical approaches in contemporary art. The exhibition features some of the MUMOK works to explore the role of cooperation in the 21st century when the basic social structures and values are disintegrating, Irwin said in a press release.

Slovenia trounce Croatia in FIBA World Cup qualifier

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia defeated Croatia 97:69 in the fifth round of qualifying for the FIBA World Cup on Thursday, cheered on by a capacity crowd at the Stožice Arena that bid farewell to legend Goran Dragić. The home team set the pace in the first quarter, which it won with a 25-point gap after a 20:0 run driven by NBA stars Dragić and Luka Dončić.

01 Jul 2022, 04:45 AM

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Slovenia to receive nearly EUR 286m less in EU recovery grants

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia will receive EUR 1.49 billion in grants from the EU post-Covid recovery mechanism, which is almost EUR 286 million less than the initial allocation, show recalculations by the European Commission. The lower amount is a result of more favourable economic trends in 2020 and 2021 than originally estimated. Due to a lower grant allocation, the country will now have to make up the gap with loans. Even before the latest developments, the new government coalition said it will strive to make use of the entire spectrum of possible funds through changes to the national recovery plan, and it has until the end of August 2023 to do this. Prime Minister Robert Golob said the previous government was responsible for that because it had signed an agreement which contained provisions to this effect.

Slovenia's annual inflation accelerates to 10.4% in June

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's annual inflation rate accelerated to 10.4% in June, up 2.3 percentage points from May, driven by rising prices of petroleum products, food and electricity, the Statistics Office said. The monthly rate stood at 2.7%, an increase of 0.7 percentage points on the back of higher prices of electricity, vacation packages and food. The annual inflation in June is the highest since 10.7% were recorded in July 1996. The last time annual inflation exceeded 10% was in September 1997. Prime Minister Robert Golob announced new measures to fight the cost of living crisis, some of which could be taken at tomorrow's government session.

Slovenia warns NATO not to ignore Western Balkans

MADRID - Prime Minister Robert Golob warned NATO not to overlook the Western Balkans as it strengthens its presence on its eastern flank as part of a new deterrence and defence posture. It is important "not to overlook our soft underbelly, the Balkans," he said, noting that this is a region where Slovenia is present and for which it is trained. In the framework deterrence and defence, Slovenia is thus willing to "act primarily where it can contribute the most", he told the press after the NATO summit in Madrid.

Slovenia keen on Croatia entering Schengen zone, but dilemmas remain

MADRID, Spain - Slovenia wants Croatia to enter the Schengen zone as soon as possible, but numerous dilemmas must be resolved since the Schengen zone does not currently work, Prime Minister Robert Golob said. "Our position is quite clear. Schengen does not work today, this is its main problem. After all, we feel this ourselves on the border with Austria." "Schengen formally exists but it is not implemented," he said about Austria's ongoing police checks on the border with Slovenia.

C-bank governor says high inflation demands swift response

LJUBLJANA - The current inflation trends demand a resolute response of monetary, income and fiscal policies, central bank Governor Boštjan Vasle said. Inflation has been driven by the lingering consequences of the Covid pandemic and the war in Ukraine, said Vasle, adding that historically speaking such circumstances are rare. In terms of monetary policy, he believes it is sensible to continue the existing path toward normalcy, both via completion of the purchases of securities and gradual increase in interest rates which is already in the works at the EU level.

Parliament launches inquiry into financing of "party propaganda in media"

LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly launched a parliamentary inquiry into suspicions of illegal financing of "party political propaganda in the media with funds of state-owned companies, state institutions or foreign institutions or entities" targeting media owned by or linked with the SDS. The inquiry, requested by the coalition and covering the period from 13 March 2020 to the present, will investigate the suspicion of illegal financing of campaigns of political parties for the 24 April general election.

Slovenia's general government deficit down to 3.1% of GDP in Q1

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia recorded a general government deficit of EUR 405 million or 3.1% of GDP in the first quarter, less than half the deficit from the first quarter of last year, the latest Statistics Office figures show. General government revenue rose by 8.3% to EUR 5.65 billion on the back of an 11.7% increase of tax revenue and social security contributions that rose by 4.7%. Overall expenditure meanwhile amounted to EUR 6.05 billion, down 1.3% year-on-year. Consolidated gross debt stood at EUR 40.22 billion or 75.1% of GDP, up by EUR 1.37 billion over the end of 2021 due to fresh government borrowing.

Fajon and Šarec talk NATO's southern neighbourhood and W Balkans

MADRID, Spain - Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon attended on Wednesday a meeting of foreign ministers of NATO's southern neighbourhood held on the sidelines of the alliance's summit in Madrid. She stressed the importance of cooperation with partners in the region, especially in light of the changed geopolitical situation, her ministry said. Defence Minister Marjan Šarec meanwhile discussed the Western Balkans with his counterparts, stressing the importance of a Euro-Atlantic perspective of the region, reads a tweet by his ministry.

NIJZ director resigns, acting director appointed

LJUBLJANA - Milan Krek, the director of the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ) handed in his resignation citing "unbearable political pressure" by the new government. The decision comes after Health Minister Danijel Bešič Loredan made it clear he did not trust Krek with leading the top institution for pandemic measures after a two-year stint during which Krek has often been the target of criticism due to misguided messaging, fear-mongering and deference to government wishes. The council of the NIJZ appointed Branko Gabrovec, who has been with the NIJZ since 2014, acting director.

Minister, two EU commissioners back EU measures for Ukrainian students

LJUBLJANA - Together with two European commissioners, Margaritis Schinas and Mariya Gabriel, Education Minister Igor Papič expressed support for EU measures dedicated to helping Ukrainians students, the Education Ministry said. The three officials showed their support in a letter noting that joint efforts by the European Commission and EU member states have the same goal of ensuring education for all students, whether in the EU or in Ukraine.

Foreign direct investment in Slovenia up by 10% last year

LJUBLJANA - Foreign direct investment in Slovenia totalled EUR 18.4 billion last year, a EUR 1.7 billion or 10.4% increase year-on-year, the central bank said. Almost a quarter of all foreign direct investment came from Austria, followed by Luxembourg and Switzerland. Last year EUR 1.1 billion in profits was paid out to foreign investors, a more than 50% increase compared to 2020. Meanwhile, Slovenia's direct investment abroad totalled EUR 7.8 billion last year, up 11.8% on 2020. Companies abroad paid out EUR 175 million in profits to Slovenian owners in 2021, almost double the amount in 2020.

Survey unemployment rate inches down to 3.9% in May

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's ILO-compatible survey unemployment rate was at 3.9% in May, down by 0.1 percentage point on April and 0.6 percentage point year-on-year, the Statistics Office said. Their estimate shows there were some 40,000 unemployed people in Slovenia last month. The survey unemployment rate stood at 3.7% for men and 4.2% for women. Slovenia's registered unemployment figures are higher with the jobless total dropping to some 55,850 in May in what was the lowest figure since 1990.

Nearly 1,000 Covid cases confirmed on Wednesday

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia confirmed 996 new cases of Covid-19 on Wednesday, up by almost 30% on the week before, as hospital numbers rose slightly following more than two weeks of rapid case growth. The 14-day case notification rate stood at 414, up by 25 over yesterday.

Photo exhibition by Uli Weber opens at Ljubljana Castle

LJUBLJANA - An exhibition by world-renowned photographer Uli Weber will open at Ljubljana Castle this evening showcasing photographies of horses, celebrities and cars under the title Moments. His work has been featured in some of the most prominent museums worldwide and he is best known for his celebrity portraits. The exhibition will be on display until 4 September.

30 Jun 2022, 06:23 AM

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This summary is provided by the STA:

MPs pass amendments to communicable diseases act

LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed changes to the communicable diseases act in a 49 to 20 vote. While coalition parties backed the bill because it rectifies the segments of the law that were found to be unconstitutional, the opposition Democrats (SDS) voted against, and New Slovenia (NSi) decided not to oppose it by abstaining. The bill, which was drafted by the NGO Legal Network for the Protection of Democracy and was tabled by coalition MPs, imposes parliamentary oversight of Covid measures after the previous government's unconstitutional rule-by-decree.

SDS initiates referendum on act on the composition of government

LJUBLJANA - The opposition SDS initiated a referendum on the act governing the composition of government in a bid to thwart the new government's plans to expand the number of ministries. The party submitted 2,500 voter signatures at the National Assembly, which, once the signatures are counted, triggers a 35-day period during which the party must collect the 40,000 signatures needed to call a referendum. Since this window would fall on summer holidays, the signatures will be collected after 1 September.

SDS motions for referendum on RTVS fee and for changes to STA act voted down

LJUBLJANA - MPs rejected the Democrats' (SDS) motion for a referendum on the opposition party's own legislative proposal to scrap the compulsory subscription fee for public broadcaster RTV Slovenija. Also voted down was the SDS's proposal to have the government as opposed to parliament appoint the state's supervisors at the Slovenian Press Agency (STA). A number of other opposition-filed legislation proposals were rejected in parliament today, including an SDS motion addressing rules on the awarding of public licences to pharmacies deemed unconstitutional in some aspects by the Constitutional Court.

PM says Slovenia should meet NATO commitment of 2% of GDP sooner

MADRID, Spain - The government is expected to prepare a roadmap on the implementation of NATO commitments on defence spending within six months, said PM Robert Golob in a doorstep statement on the second day of the NATO summit in Madrid. Slovenia is currently expected to reach the 2% of its GDP mark in 2030, but this will need to be stepped up due to the global developments, he noted. A review of a deal involving the purchase of 45 Boxer APCs that was signed under the previous government will not have a significant impact on the implementation of the commitments, according to Golob.

Committee endorses Sweden's and Finland's bids to join NATO

LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Foreign Policy Committee endorsed motions for Slovenia to sign the NATO accession protocols of Sweden and Finland. Both countries decided to apply for NATO membership due to Russia's attack on Ukraine, and every country has the right to decide autonomously which alliance to join, committee members noted. The debate featured many condemnations of Russia's aggression against Ukraine, as well as some critical views of the Alliance and mainly the US. The coalition Left is against the motions, but PM Robert Golob said this was not a big deal.

New army force commander to take office on 1 August

LJUBLJANA - Major General Robert Glavaš, the chief of the general staff of the Slovenian Armed Forces (SAF), has relieved Major General Miha Škerbinc of his duties as the force commander, according to a report by the news portal 24ur.com which has been confirmed by the SAF. He will be succeeded by Glavaš's deputy, General Major Roman Urbanč, on 1 August, in what the SAF said was a "regular" replacement.

NBI gets new head in Boštjan Mlačnik

LJUBLJANA - Boštjan Mlačnik, who has so far served as the head of investigations, is taking over from Petra Grah Lazar as director of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the police said. Igor Lamberger has been replaced as the head of service of the director general of the police by Uroš Lepoša, Grah's predecessor. Acting Police Commissioner Boštjan Lindav also appointed Stanislav Vrečar, so far the deputy police commissioner, to a senior position in the police force.

Brežan says latest Fit for 55 measures address climate challenges

BRUSSELS, Belgium - EU environment ministers on Tuesday endorsed a plan to end sales of vehicles with internal combustion engines as of 2035 and agreed on a general approach to all other legislative acts as part of the Fit for 55 package. Slovenia's Uroš Brežan said that the proposed measures adequately addressed climate challenges and the green transition, read a press release by his ministry. "In the negotiations, we succeeded in making Slovenia a beneficiary of funds from the Modernisation Fund," Brežan said.

Govt approves EUR 1.83m in subsidies to ten airlines

LJUBLJANA - The Ministry of Economic Development and Technology decided to distribute almost EUR 1.83 million to ten airlines in a public tender for subsidies to improve Slovenia's air connectivity with the world. The selected airlines will perform more than 700 flights between Ljubljana and other countries as part of the deal. The funding will support the existing air links provided by eight airlines and establish two new routes - Ljubljana-Dubai and Ljubljana-London.

Minority in Hungary urged to get organised ahead of census

FELSŐSZÖLNÖK/SZENTGOTTHARD, Hungary - Minister for Slovenians Abroad Matej Arčon has urged the Slovenian minority in Hungary to get organised ahead of the census in Hungary so as to maximise the number of those who pick Slovenian as their ethnicity. "The first challenge that awaits us is the census in Hungary, which is essential for the preservation of the national community," he said during an introductory visit to the community.

NGOs will not be evicted from Metelkova compound

LJUBLJANA - After her predecessor launched proceedings for the eviction of several NGOs renting out the Culture Ministry's premises in Ljubljana's Metelkova Street, Asta Vrečko, the new culture minister, announced that the procedures would be terminated. The ministry has also cancelled plans to give the premises to the Museum of Natural Sciences and announced that talks on a renovation of the building would start in the summer.

Melamin slowly getting back on track

KOČEVJE - After the deadly accident in May, the Kočevje-based Melamin chemical company is slowly restarting production. The biomass-fuelled boiler room and one manufacturing unit are in working order again, while the wood and the paper industry units are expected to restart by mid-July, director Srečko Štefanič said. 140 out of the 220 employees are back at work, others are furloughed or on annual leave or temporarily working for Melamin subcontractors.

Gorenje served by dedicated trains from Trieste

VELENJE - Slovenian home appliances maker Gorenje will be supplied by a new dedicated train from the Port of Trieste, which will deliver raw materials and components to Velenje twice a week. The first delivery with the Hisense train was made on Tuesday, the company said. In the future, the new train line will also ship end products from Velenje to Trieste and from there all over the world. The Trieste port has been chosen by the logistics firm Cosco, while Slovenia's Koper remains the main port for Gorenje, the company said.

Covid case count more than doubles week-on-week

LJUBLJANA - The number of new coronavirus cases confirmed in Slovenia on Tuesday is more than double of the figure from a week ago, as 1,056 cases were detected. The number of patients hospitalised with Covid as their primary condition was slightly down on a daily basis, and there were no Covid deaths yesterday. The 14-day case notification rate per 100,000 population rose by 28 on a daily basis to 389, and the 7-day case average is at 697, which is 55 more than on the day before, reported the national health authorities.

Plečnik in the eyes of Geoffrey James on display in Vienna

VIENNA, Austria - An exhibition of photographs by the acclaimed Canadian photographer Geoffrey James that marks the 150th anniversary of birth of the great Slovenian architect Jože Plečnik will open this evening at Architekturzentrum Wien in Vienna. It focuses on the social and emotional aspects of the transformation of Ljubljana done by Plečnik. It features photographs taken at different times of the day and seasons to explore the complexity of Plečnik's urban spaces.

Slovenian wins diatonic accordion European championship

LJUBLJANA - Slovenian Danaja Grebenc won the 18th Diatonic Accordion European Championship in the Italian town of Attimis in the Friuli Venezia Giulia region on Sunday with the jury giving her a score of 100/100 points, her mentor Klemen Rošer announced. She was recognised for the most innovative arrangement of an original composition, won first place in her age group, and received a trophy as the absolute European diatonic accordion champion for 2022.

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