Ljubljana related

19 Jun 2022, 08:08 AM

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This summary is provided by the STA:

Sancin says fmr govt prevented her UN appointment

NEW YORK, US - International law expert Vasilka Sancin the STA that her candidacy for a new term on the UN Human Rights Committee failed yesterday because the former government blocked her nomination. Her candidacy was submitted as the last one, in early June, almost two months after the 6 April deadline. Sacin was elected to the committee for the 2019-2022 term in 2018 and has been serving as one of its three vice-chairs since 2021. Her current term runs out at the end of the year.

Minister announces changes to digital inclusion act

LJUBLJANA - The Government Office for Digital Transformation is drawing up changes to the act on digital inclusion, which introduced digital vouchers for students and the elderly. Under the act adopted under the previous government, most money would go for digital equipment, while this government plans to allocate more money for digital literacy courses.

Time for cultured night out as Summer Museum Night turns 20

LJUBLJANA - The 20th Summer Museum Night is taking place tonight, yet again with an expanded list of museums, galleries and other institutions joining the initiative. Between 6pm and midnight, 80 institutions in 62 locations across Slovenia will open their doors wide, providing free special guided tours, exhibitions, workshops, concerts and other events.

Computer Museum opens in Ljubljana

LJUBLJANA - The new Computer Museum, located in Ljubljana's Šiška district, opened its doors with an exhibition highlighting computer software, among other things. The museum will feature one of the largest collections from the world of computers in this part of Europe. The actual museum comes after the Computer Museum has already been active as an NGO since 2004. Its head Gaja Zornada told the press on Thursday the decision had been made because of the rapid changes in society, which was constantly in contact with technology.

Majka wins stage 4 of Tour of Slovenia, Pogačar in the lead overall

KAMNIK/LAŠKO - Slovenian cycling superstar Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) finished the fourth stage of the Tour of Slovenia second on Saturday, leaving the victory to his teammate Polish rider Rafal Majka only meters before the finish line on the Velika Planina mountain. But Pogačar remains in the lead overall, followed by Majka.

Gymnastics: Kysselef, Belak win medals in Koper

KOPER - Slovenian gymnasts Tjaša Kysselef and Teja Belak won two medals in the vault at a World Cup event in Koper on Saturday. Kysselef won silver, scoring 13.200 points, and Belak won bronze with 13.050 points. Zsófia Kovács bagged the gold (13.325 points). Another Slovenian, Lucija Hribar, finished fourth in uneven bars, scoring 13.100 points.

18 Jun 2022, 07:33 AM

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Golob, Pahor advocating Bosnia be granted EU candidate status

BRUSSELS, Belgium/OHRID, North Macedonia - PM Robert Golob said he would propose that Bosnia and Herzegovina be granted EU candidate status at next week's EU summit. He acknowledged that a single member state can prevent this process, but hopes that reason will prevail. He welcomed the EU Commission's backing of Ukraine's bid to join the bloc. President Borut Pahor meanwhile underlined the importance of dialogue about EU enlargement to the Western Balkans at the Prespa Forum Dialogue in Ohrid, North Macedonia, on Thursday. Pahor presented a letter he sent to European Council President Charles Michel, advocating that Bosnia be granted EU candidate status without having to meet conditions first.

Golob to attend summit of European Liberals next week

BRUSSELS, Belgium - PM Robert Golob, the leader of the Freedom Movement, will take part in a summit of leaders belonging to the liberal Renew group in the European Parliament as he also attends an EU summit in Brussels on Thursday and Friday. The Renew meeting will focus on the integration of the liberal political block at EU level, which Golob discussed with Renew leader Stephane Sejourne in Brussels today.

Pahor attending Three Seas Initiative summit in Riga on Monday

LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor will attend a summit of the Three Seas Initiative in Riga on Monday at the invitation of his Latvian counterpart Egils Levits. The meeting of leaders of twelve countries is expected to be addressed via video link by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. This year's summit will focus on the war in Ukraine and how to cooperate with Ukraine. The leaders are expected to adopt a declaration inviting Ukraine to join the initiative as a partner country.

Govt endorses Kopač as candidate for ECC secretary general

LJUBLJANA - The government has endorsed the candidacy of Janez Kopač for the secretary general of the Regional Cooperation Council (ECC), saying that Kopač is a credible candidate with all the required references and experience in the national and international political space, in particular in the Western Balkans. At today's correspondence session, the government also authorised the Foreign Ministry to do what is necessary to announce the candidacy and notify the presiding country of the South-East European Cooperation Process (SEECP).

Slovenia to pay legal costs to Croatia over arbitration lawsuit

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia will pay legal expenses to Croatia over its border arbitration-related lawsuit against Croatia before the EU Court of Justice, which had decided that the lawsuit is inadmissible, the Slovenian Foreign Ministry said. The country nevertheless sees this issue as part of the procedure to implement the 2017 border arbitration award. This is part of the procedure to implement the arbitration award, to which Slovenia has called Croatia on several occasions, the ministry said, noting that Croatia also had to reimburse Slovenia part of the arbitration costs.

Coalition files changes to communicable diseases law

LJUBLJANA - The coalition parties filed to parliament changes to the communicable diseases act that will make the country's efforts to fight infectious diseases in line with the constitution. This is after the top court ruled a year ago Article 39 unconstitutional, giving the National Assembly two months to remedy the situation. The Constitutional Court said at the time that the parts of the act allowing the government to restrict movement and public assembly are unconstitutional.

C-bank vice-governor Vodopivec Jean resigns for personal reasons

LJUBLJANA - Irena Vodopivec Jean, one of the three vice-governors of Banka Slovenije, has asked the parliament to be relieved of her duties. "The National Assembly should relieve me of my duties early, as of 31 July, for personal reasons," she said in the resignation statement. Vodopivec Jean took over as a vice-governor of the central bank and thus a member of its governing board in the autumn of 2015. Last autumn she was appointed for a new term, which would have expired in October 2027.

Tensions over RTV Slovenija strike escalating

LJUBLJANA - In the run-up to another strike at RTV Slovenija, tensions are growing as in-house trade unions accused the management of attempting to obstruct the strike. The management decided to reduce news shows on the prime channel to the minimum on Monday when the strike is announced. "We're in favour of an intact, unabbreviated programme, whereas the director general is in favour of a state of emergency," said journalist Ksenija Horvat. Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon meanwhile urged RTV director general Andrej Grah Whatmough to rethink his proposal to reduce the number of foreign correspondents.

Diaspora minister visits Slovenian minority in Gorizia

GORIZIA, Italy - Minister for Slovenians Abroad Matej Arčon paid an official visit to Gorizia to meet representatives of the umbrella organisations of the Slovenian minority in Italy. They talked about future cooperation and topical issues, including how to secure a minority representative in the Italian parliament. "We will also precisely determine goals in the autumn and chart the path to these goals," Arčon said after the meeting.

Legendary illustrator Marlenka Stupica dies

LJUBLJANA - Legendary illustrator and painter Marlenka Stupica, best known for her illustrations of world classics such as Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Mehurčki, the collection of children's poetry by Oton Župančič (1878-1949), has died aged 94, publisher Mladinska Knjiga said. Stupica illustrated more than a hundred children's books in her almost 70-year career and received many awards for her work in Slovenia and abroad, including the Prešeren Prize for lifetime achievement in 2013.

Prešeren Prize-winning translator Kajetan Gantar dies

LJUBLJANA - Kajetan Gantar, an acclaimed translator of classical literature and philosophy who won the 2022 Prešeren Prize, the highest national accolade for lifetime achievement in culture and arts, died on Thursday at the age of 91. He produced an impressive body of translation work, including translations of Homer, Hesiod, Pindar, Sappho, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Aristotle, Plutarch, Procopius, Plautus, Terence, Horace, Ovid and several books of the Bible.

Ukrainian poet warns of Putin's appetite to conquer

NOVO MESTO - Talking about Russia's aggression against Ukraine, Ukrainian author Eugenia Chuprina warned of Russian President Vladimir Putin's appetite for conquering countries at a literary event held in Novo Mesto on Thursday evening. Chuprina, who sees herself as a punk, underground poet, warned other countries, including Slovenia, against Putin's potential actions in the future. Slovenia too should think about its security and defence against Putin's Russia, she said.

Coronavirus spread gaining pace

LJUBLJANA - The increase in coronavirus infections driven by a new Omicron subvariant is gaining pace in Slovenia with Thursday's case count up by nearly 60% over the figure reported the same day a week ago. Data from the Health Ministry shows 463 new cases of coronavirus were confirmed on Thursday as one patient with Covid-19 died. A total of 35 patients are treated in hospitals for Covid as their main condition, including five in intensive care.

At-risk-of-poverty rate down to 11.7% in 2021

LJUBLJANA - The at-risk-of-poverty rate in Slovenia declined by 0.7 percentage points last year to 11.7%. The threshold of poverty risk was EUR 771 per month. Social transfers including pensions remain an important tool in lowering poverty, according to the Statistics Office. Around 243,000 Slovenians lived on an income below the at-risk-of-poverty threshold, including 85,000 pensioners, 46,000 employed, 40,000 children under the age of 18, 38,000 unemployed and 34,000 other persons.

World No.1 cyclist Pogačar wins stage 3 of Tour of Slovenia

CELJE - Slovenian rider Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) won the third stage of the Tour of Slovenia in what was a fierce attack before the finishing line. The world No.1 cyclist now leads in the race's overall standings. His teammate, Poland's Rafal Majka, was second and Italy's Nicola Conci (Alpecin Fenix) finished third. The win was a repeat of last year's feat when Pogačar won stage two of the Slovenian race by showcasing all the tricks of the trade. Both last year and this year he attacked some 20 kilometres before the finishing line during a steep ascent, the only difference being that today he was chased by Majka.

Writer Florjan Lipuš gets honorary degree from Klagenfurt uni

KLAGENFURT, Austria - Florjan Lipuš, an acclaimed author and member of the Slovenian minority in Austria, will receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Klagenfurt next Friday to join the company of another Slovenian minority author Maja Haderlap, as well as Austrian authors Peter Handke, Josef Winkler and Peter Turrini. In addition to Lipuš, the honorary doctorate will also be awarded to Austrian philosopher, author and literary critic Franz Schuh.

Imago Sloveniae opens summer of concerts in historic settings

LJUBLJANA - The RTV Ljubljana Symphony Orchestra featuring up-and-coming Slovenian conductors and soloists is launching a series of concerts in the capital this summer under the banner of Imago Sloveniae and Summer in Old Ljubljana. The festival, known foremost for classical music, but also jazz and world music concerts in historical town settings, has made it its mission to educate young audiences in particular as interest in classical music has been waning.

Museum of the World's Oldest Vine opens in Maribor

MARIBOR - Maribor, Slovenia's second largest city, prides itself on having what is arguably the world's oldest vine. Today, it also got a museum dedicated to the venerable grapevine and the history of viticulture. The Museum of the World's Oldest Vine is located in a former cold storage room in Lent, the historical part of Maribor, that has been refurbished with the help of EU funds. It is closely linked to the nearby Old Vine House.

E-bike rental system now available in Ljubljana

LJUBLJANA - More than ten years after becoming the first city in Slovenia with a bike sharing system, Ljubljana also got its own e-bike rental system with 75 Nomago Bikes made available at 25 docking stations on Thursday. Ljubljana thus became the 12th municipality with an e-bike rental system operated by Nomago, a travel and transportation company. The bikes have a battery capacity from 60 to 80 km. Renting the bike for 30 minutes costs EUR 1.3, with different subscriptions also available.

17 Jun 2022, 04:36 AM

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Golob supports Ukraine EU candidate status

BRUSSELS, Belgium - Prime Minister Robert Golob expressed Slovenia's unequivocal support for granting Ukraine EU candidate status as he met European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in Brussels on the first day of his first official trip abroad since taking office. He underscored the significance of the EU's unity in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and said Slovenia would provide help to Ukraine "where we can help and where help is wanted". He reaffirmed Slovenia's position in the core EU.

Slovenia to ask for first payment from recovery fund by end of June

BRUSSELS, Belgium - Prime Minister Robert Golob and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen discussed the post-pandemic recovery and the plan to reduce the EU's dependence on Russian fossil fuels. Golob announced that Slovenia would ask for its first reimbursement from the EU's post-pandemic recovery fund by the end of this month. He said the national recovery and resilience plan would be amended later to provide more for digitalisation and green investments.

Pahor writes to Michel over candidate status of Bosnia-Herzegovina

LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor sent a letter to European Council President Charles Michel calling for Bosnia-Herzegovina to be granted the EU candidate country status without any conditions. Pahor believes this would strengthen pro-European forces in the country and the pace of adjustment to European standards. In light of the war in Ukraine, he believes tangible steps need to made for the EU to expand to the Western Balkans as soon as possible.

Defence minister says commitments to NATO unchanged

BRUSSELS, Belgium - Slovenia's commitments to NATO remain unchanged, the country does not plan to reduce its defence spending, and remains committed to establishing a battalion-sized battle group, Defence Minister Marjan Šarec told the press in Brussels after he attended his first, two-day NATO ministerial since he took office on 1 June. "We have no intention of reducing the funds, but we will have to have a serious discussion on how to use them so that they are well used," he said.

PM says regulation of gas, electricity prices also an option

LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Robert Golob announced regulation of gas and electricity prices as possible additional measures to fight price hikes on Wednesday evening, adding that the government also intended to make public basic food basket prices at individual retailers. Speaking for the broadcasters POP TV and TV Slovenija, Golob said several measures were being planned when it came to the high electricity and gas prices.

Gas supply to Slovenia uninterrupted, distributor says

LJUBLJANA - Gas distributor Geoplin assured the public gas supply to Slovenia was uninterrupted. While supply from Russian Gazprom has been reduced slightly, Slovenia is making up for the difference from other sources, the company said in the wake of reports that Slovenia had received in the past days 25% less gas than planned. Geoplin said that while the quantity of gas in the past days was indeed somewhat lower than the agreed contractual daily maximum, they offset this from other sources.

Ahčin to be nominated for Court of Audit head, Cvikl for C-bank vice-governor

LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor announced he would nominate Jana Ahčin for Court of Audit president and Milan M. Cvikl for a new vice-governor at the central bank after the coalition parties picked the pair as their favourite candidates. The coalition has 53 seats in parliament, far more than the 46 needed for the two candidates to get elected in a secret ballot. The two MPs representing the Italian and Hungarian minorities also said they will support whichever candidate Pahor nominates.

New minister critical of digital vouchers

LJUBLJANA - New Digital Transformation Minister Emilija Stojmenova Duh is critical of digital vouchers, a measure that was initiated by the previous government, saying they will not help step up digital literacy and inclusion, instead they will widen the digital and social gaps. From Wednesday EUR 150 vouchers are available to students from last three grades of primary school through to university to purchase computer hardware. In less than two days EUR 826,438 worth of vouchers were redeemed.

Professionals working abroad encouraged to return

BRDO PRI KRANJU - Slovenian scientists and business people living and working abroad came together for their annual meeting. Government representatives addressing the event underlined the importance of sharing in the knowledge gained abroad and expressed worry about brain drain. "Slovenians living around the world are a great treasure in business, science and diplomacy," Slovenian World Congress president Boris Pleskovič said. Like him, the minsters of the economy and education expressed the wish that more of those who leave would choose to return.

Issue raised with persons with intellectual disabilities being unable to vote

LJUBLJANA - The equality ombudsman assessed that the National Assembly election act discriminated against persons with mental and psychosocial disabilities and unjustifiably deprived them of the right to vote. The assessment is based on the provision related to evaluation of the ability to understand the purpose, significance and impact of elections, which the ombudsman said allowed for persons with mental and psychosocial disabilities to be deprived of the right to vote.

Slovenians generous with donations for Ukrainian orphans

POSTOJNA - Ukrainian orphans staying in Slavina near Postojna have aroused sympathy and generosity among Slovenians, with donations coming in from all parts of the country. According to Cvetka Kernel, the director of the Postojna student dorm, which provides accommodation for the Ukrainian staff taking care of the children, many of the donations are unexpected and unimaginable such as the one that came from the Nurses and Midwives Association of Slovenia in the form of a EUR 18,000 check.

RTV Slovenija management surprised at announced strike

LJUBLJANA - The management of public broadcaster RTV Slovenija said it was surprised at yesterday's announcement of a strike by the in-house trade unions, arguing that a number of proposals had been offered to implement the strike demands during the talks in the wake of the 23 May token strike. "The management regrets that the trade union has intensified its strike activities by abandoning the search for solutions," the management said.

Telekom shareholders to get same dividend as last year

LJUBLJANA - Telekom Slovenije shareholders have decided to distribute EUR 29.24 million for dividends, or EUR 4.50 gross a share, to be paid out on 2 August. The management proposed a EUR 3.5 dividend, but the shareholders backed a small shareholder association's counter-proposal. The telecoms incumbent is 62.54% owned by the state, which is managed by the Slovenian Sovereign Holding, which in turn holds another 4.25%.

Tourist Board unveils digital transformation strategy

LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Tourist Board (STO) presented its 2022-2026 digital transformation strategy that aims to empower stakeholders in data-driven decision-making, personalise the guest experience and improve digital skills of tourism staff. Under the strategy the organisation plans to spend at least EUR 5 million on digital transformation of the tourism sector by 2026. Around 90% of Slovenian tourism companies do not have an IT department or a person in charge of the company's digital transformation.

Spanish group to manage three major Ljubljana hotels

LJUBLJANA - Slovenian real estate fund Equinox will transfer management of three hotels in the centre of Ljubljana, among them the iconic Grand Hotel Union, to Spanish group Grupo Hotusa for 20 years with the option of two five-year extensions. The deal will see the Spanish group manage Grand Hotel Union, Hotel Lev and uHotel, with Exqinox entitled to a minimum rent regardless of how well they do, which translates into more than EUR 100 million in 20 years. The variable part of the rent will depend on revenue growth.

Exhibition marks 50 years of first motorway in Slovenia

LJUBLJANA - The Museum of Contemporary History launched an exhibition to mark 50 years since the first motorway was built in Slovenia. The 32-kilometre section between Vrhnika and Postojna on what is now southwest-bound Primorska motorway began on 22 May 1970 and was inaugurated on 29 December 1972. The section was divided into three parts that were built by companies from around the former Yugoslavia.

World's largest sports film event held in Rogaška Slatina

ROGAŠKA SLATINA - Rogaška Slatina is hosting until 19 June the first international festival of sports film of the Federation Internationale Cinema Television Sportifs in Slovenia. Under the banner Culture Through Sport, the festival will bring more than 35 feature films and documentaries, and a number of activities, events and presentations.

Groenewegen wins stage 2 of Tour of Slovenia

ROGAŠKA SLATINA - Dutch cyclist Dylan Groenewegen won the second stage of the Tour of Slovenia. The BikeExchange Jayco rider lived up to his reputation as the best sprinter in this year's race, beating Belgium's Lionel Taminiaux and Germany's Pascal Ackermann in a large group sprint with the help of teammate Luka Mezgec of Slovenia. Polish rider Rafal Majka, who is the main helper of Slovenian superstar Tadej Pogačar on the UAE Team Emirates, held on to the leader's jersey.

16 Jun 2022, 07:12 AM

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C-bank substantially upgrades GDP growth forecast for 2022

LJUBLJANA - Banka Slovenije upgraded its economic growth forecast for Slovenia by 1.8 percentage points from its December outlook to 5.8% for this year as a result of a carry-over from last year, while downgrading the projection for 2023 by 0.9 points to 2.4%. "Economic growth is moderating, but annual growth for this year remains high and is largely due to the carry-over effect, which is the result of favourable developments towards the end of 2021," Robert Zorko, deputy head of the central bank's analysis and research centre, said. Inflation is projected to run at 9% this year before easing to 4.5% and 2.3% over the next two years.

Slovenia among 10 EU countries urging to keep Fit for 55 ambitious

BRUSSELS, Belgium - Ten EU member states, including Slovenia, addressed an open letter to decision makers in the EU warning about making the Fit for 55 package less ambitious, arguing that this could affect the EU's reaching the set climate goals. The letter, posted on Twitter, has been signed by Slovenian Environment Minister Uroš Brežan alongside his counterparts from Austria, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden. It comes after the European Parliament rejected at last week's plenary some key Fit for 55 legislative proposals and sent them back to the relevant committee.

Govt reintroduces two-tier fuel pricing model

LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Robert Golob set out the first government measure to tackle the cost-of-living crisis, announcing a return to a model where fuel retailers' price margins at service stations outside motorways are regulated while prices of fuels sold along motorways will be liberalised. The new regime will kick in for a year on 21 June. "If the market doesn't work a return to retailers' margin regulation makes sense," Golob said. Under the new model fuel prices would be similar to those in Croatia, but below those in Austria or Italy. Other mitigation measures are to follow as well as measures to tackle rising food prices and those to deal with the rising cost of electricity and heating.

PM expresses Slovenia's support to Ukrainian counterpart

LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Robert Golob talked to his Ukrainian counterpart Denys Shmyhal on the phone, expressing Slovenia's firm support for the war-torn country, its sovereignty and peace efforts, the prime minister's office said in a press release. They discussed the situation in Ukraine and the upcoming EU Council session, where Ukraine is to be one of the main topics. Golob moreover expressed support for Ukraine's efforts to acquire EU candidate status and Slovenia's firm support for the Western Balkans. He promised Slovenia would help with demining in Ukraine.

Slovenian, Japanese export banks sign cooperation agreement

LJUBLJANA/TOKYO, Japan - SID Banka, the state-owned export and development bank, signed a cooperation agreement with the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC). The two banks plan to create new business opportunities in digitalisation, clean energy, environment and quality infrastructure in Slovenia and third countries. The goal is to strengthen the relations between SIB Banka and JBIC and thus create new business opportunities for Japanese and Slovenian companies in digitalisation and clean energy, and promote environmental projects that contribute to carbon neutrality, quality infrastructure and connectivity.

Slovenia improves in IMD Competitiveness Ranking 2022

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia has gained two spots in the annual IMD Competitiveness Ranking, placing 38th among a total of 63 countries included. Considering the circumstances, the result is satisfactory, economists taking part in the project have said. They warned, however, that Slovenia failed to reduce its gap toward countries with which it likes to compare itself. The IMD Competitiveness Raking is determined using 163 statistical indicators and 92 indicators based on a survey among managers.

Public health authority appoints Eržen its medical director

LJUBLJANA - The National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ) appointed Ivan Eržen its acting medical director. This comes after weeks of speculations whether Eržen, the previous head of the public health authority, will replace NIJZ current director general Milan Krek. The appointment follows recent changes to NIJZ bylaws that curtailed the powers of the director general. Eržen said he counted on cooperation with Krek, and announced that a response strategy will be prepared in the summer to be put in place if there is a renewed increase in coronavirus infections in the autumn.

Govt moves to replace two SSH supervisors

LJUBLJANA - The government is proposing to the National Assembly to recall two supervisors of the Slovenian Sovereign Holding (SSH) as it argues that Božo Emeršič and Leon Cizelj do not meet the necessary requirements for the job. The goverment said after a session that Emeršič, who is also the board's vice chair, stopped meeting the requirements after he became the CFO of railway builder 2TDK in 2021, and Cizelj had not met the condition of 10 years of experience in business management from the very first day he was appointed SSH supervisor.

Govt appoints new head of JGZ Brdo

LJUBLJANA - After Marjan Hribar resigned as director of the JGZ Brdo State Protocol Services, the government appointed in his stead Franci Jagodic, who will assume the position of acting director on Saturday, the Government Communications Office said. Jagodic, who has been until now JGZ Brdo's deputy director, was appointed by the government for the period until the appointment of a full-fledged director of JGZ Brdo, but no longer than one year.

PM expects govt act changes enacted next week

LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Robert Golob expects the National Assembly to change the government act next week, which he believes will allow him to shape the cabinet according to his wishes before the parliament's summer break. The coalition-drafted changes have been blocked by the opposition Democrats (SDS), which want to call a referendum on the matter. However, their motion is unlikely to be endorsed given the balance of power in the National Assembly.

Speaker pledges support for judicial independence

LJUBLJANA - National Assembly Speaker Urška Klakočar Zupančič pledged her support for the smooth and independent work of the Judicial Council as she met its head Vladimir Horvat. The pair also discussed the need to provide sufficient funds for the Judicial Council so that it can work in a competent, expert and independent manner. As for the procedure to appoint judges, the pair agreed that politics should withdraw from the appointment process.

Slovenia drops two spots to 7th on Global Peace Index

LONDON, UK - Slovenia ranks seventh among 163 countries in the latest Global Peace Index (GPI), having dropped two spots from last year, as the average level of global peacefulness deteriorated by 0.3% this year. The level of peacefulness increased in 90 countries and deteriorated in 71 countries, while staying the same in two countries, shows the 2022 GPI report compiled by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP). Iceland remains the most peaceful country in the world, a status it has held since 2008.

Aided by pandemic, Slovenia met two of three climate goals in 2020

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia met its greenhouse gas emission reduction and energy efficiency targets in 2020 in sectors not covered by the Emissions Trading Scheme, shows the 2022 Climate Mirror report. While stressing the key contribution of measures related to the pandemic, the report notes the country did not meet its renewable energy target, staying 0.9 percentage points bellow the targeted 25% share of renewables in gross final energy consumption.

Steady climb in Covid case count continues

LJUBLJANA - A total of 471 people tested positive for coronavirus in Slovenia on Tuesday, about a third more than the same day a week ago. There were no further deaths as hospitalisations remained stable. A total of 32 patients continue to be treated for Covid-19 as their main condition in hospitals, including five in intensive care. Compared to the same day a week ago, hospitalisations are up by seven. The 14-day incidence rate per 100,000 of the population rose to 189, up by seven from the day before and up by 22 week-on-week. The 7-day case average rose to 311, up by 16 and 57, respectively, fresh data shows.

RTV Slovenija journalists to go on strike on Monday

LJUBLJANA - Journalists at public broadcaster RTV Slovenija will go on strike on Monday after their 23 May strike and subsequent talks with the management brought no progress on their strike demands. The strike will take place between 2pm and 11pm, and a rally will be held at 7pm in Republic Square, across the street from the National Assembly. The journalists will demand urgent action to preserve the public service, including from parliament, the strike committee said as it decided on the strike.

Municipalities report of problems in access to basic services

LJUBLJANA - Slovenian citizens have problems accessing some basic services in virtually all municipalities in the country, the Court of Audit has found. The most problematic seem to be access to the internet, banking services and postal services. The court inquired about this among all of Slovenia's 212 municipalities, with 96.7% of them reporting of problems. The most problems have been reported in areas where municipalities do not have direct influence such as access to ATM services and postal services.

Digital vouchers available as of today

LJUBLJANA - Digital vouchers worth 150 euros are available as of today for students from 7th grade of primary school through to university. The vouchers can be used to purchase computer hardware and were introduced under an act on digital inclusion passed in February. The vouchers, available to students who had permanent residency in Slovenia on 12 March, come in the form of credit and can be used to buy new, refurbished or used computer hardware, such as keyboards, screens, laptops and headphones.

Ukrainians with temporary protection status to get special card

LJUBLJANA - From Thursday, Ukrainians whom Slovenia awards the status of temporary protection will receive a card rather than a written decision to prove their status. The Interior Ministry said that this will simplify the procedure of granting temporary protection status. The cards will be valid until 4 March 2023. They will also serve as an ID card and as a permit for temporary residence in Slovenia. Card issuing will be free of charge, the ministry said.

Book Days open with reading from Pahor's Necropolis

LJUBLJANA - A reading of an excerpt from Necropolis, a 1967 novel about late author Boris Pahor's experience with Nazi concentration camps, will open the 27th Slovenian Book Days in Ljubljana this evening. The Necropolis reading will be followed by a literary evening at which members of the Slovenian Writers' Association, the Association of Slovenian Literary Translations and of Slovenian PEN will read their works. A number of other events will then take place until 19 June, including Fabula Voices, a sound installation in honour of the Fabula Literary Festival that will be heard around the capital city.

Painter Elda Piščanec's work on show at National Gallery

LJUBLJANA - A comprehensive exhibition on Trieste-born painter Elda Piščanec (1897-1967) is being launched at the National Gallery in Ljubljana, showing 99 of her paintings, drawings and prints as well as multimedia featuring her monumental sacral works. Running until 18 September and curated by Sara Müller, the exhibition is the gallery's contribution to help bring women artists and the art between the two world wars into focus. The gallery notes that Piščanec was one of the women artists who had to work hard to carve a space for themselves in the predominantly male world of art.

Slovenian researchers help fight grapevine disease in South Africa

LJUBLJANA - A team of Slovenian women researchers from the National Institute of Biology has developed a test for detecting a specific strain of phytoplasma that causes flavescence dorée, a grapevine disease that causes the most damage in vineyards in South Africa. According to the institute, wine growers from all over the world are affected by flavescence dorée, caused by different strains of phytoplasma transmitted by leafhoppers. "We currently have no real defence against these diseases. We try to reduce the number of transmitters with insecticides to prevent them from infecting more plants," the institute said.

Poland's Rafal Majka wins stage 1 of Tour of Slovenia

POSTOJNA/NOVA GORICA - Polish rider Rafal Majka (UAE Team Emirates) won the first stage of the Tour of Slovenia race. Slovenia's Domen Novak (Bahrain Victorious) finished in second place and Slovenia's cycling star and current No. 1 cyclist in the world, Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates), was third. Majka, who won the 2017 Tour of Slovenia, led the way with the two Slovenians in the second half of the 164.7 km hilly stage from Nova Gorica to Postojna in the west of the country.

Hall at Foreign Ministry named after Boris Pahor

LJUBLJANA - A hall at the Foreign Ministry was named after Boris Pahor in memory of the famous Slovenian writer from Trieste who died aged 108 last month. Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon said it was a great honour to name the hall after Pahor. The ministry hopes the Boris Pahor Hall will be a crossroads of opinions, ideas and policies and a meeting place for friends and partners from Europe and the world. The event was also addressed by Pahor's contemporary and friend Evgen Bavčar, who wishes that Slovenian diplomats would follow Pahor's ideals.

15 Jun 2022, 04:19 AM

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Slovenia's efforts shift to humanitarian, development aid to Ukraine

LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon indicated the country's efforts regarding Ukraine would shift to the provision of development and humanitarian aid, after the previous government focused on sending military aid. "We have projects such as demining with which Slovenia can help Ukraine," she said in the aftermath of two conflicting high-profile public letters questioning Slovenia's positioning on Ukraine. Since the start of the war Slovenia has provided Ukraine humanitarian assistance worth EUR 3.2 million and around EUR 7 million worth of military aid, according to the Foreign Ministry.

New, cross-partisan appeal on Ukraine policy addressed to govt

LJUBLJANA - A new appeal about Slovenia's stance on Ukraine has been sent to PM Robert Golob and FM Tanja Fajon by a number of public figures, including several ex-ministers. The cross-partisan appeal says peace in Ukraine can be achieved only through decisive support for Ukraine's defence, not with a format of talks that led to the Minsk Agreements, as the signatories rejected the idea expressed in a letter last week co-signed by two former presidents that argues for appeasement with Russia. The coalition Freedom Movement and the Left expressed reservations about this and the previous letter.

Slovenian ambassador back in Kyiv

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's Ambassador to Ukraine Tomaž Mencin returned to the capital Kyiv, having left the city at the outset of Russia's invasion, Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon said, describing the move as "an important message to Ukraine." "I am satisfied that our ambassador returned to the Slovenian embassy in Kyiv today," she told the press after talks with Luxembourg's Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn.

SDS proposes resolution on prosecution of war crimes in Ukraine

LJUBLJANA - The opposition Democrats (SDS) proposed a resolution in support of a resolution by the European Parliament that is dedicated to the fight against impunity for war crimes in Ukraine. MP Branko Grims said the crimes that were committed there showed clear signs of genocide, adding that this "naturally cannot remain without response or consequences". The party has requested an extraordinary session of parliament on the matter.

Constitutional Court promised parliament's help in boosting rule of law

LJUBLJANA - Speaker Urška Klakočar Zupančič pledged to advocate for Constitutional Court rulings to be put into effect as she received the court's president Matej Accetto. The institution, which tells the other branches of government whether they have acted in compliance with the constitution, must be respected and protected, she said. Accetto said the court expected mutual cooperation from the legislature aimed at enhancing the rule of law.

Ethnic Slovenian elected mayor of Duino-Aurisina

AURISINA, Italy - Igor Gabrovec was elected mayor of Duino-Aurisina/Devin-Nabrežina, a municipality north of the city of Trieste bordering Slovenia, in Italian local elections on Sunday. He has become the seventh ethnic Slovenian mayor in Italy, the Trieste-based Slovenian newspaper Primorski Dnevnik reported.

Second-oldest known document in Slovenian found

LJUBLJANA - A recently-found manuscript from the 12th century has turned out to be the second-oldest known document in ancient Slovenian after the famous Freising Manuscripts. An analysis confirmed that the numerals from one to ten are written in an early Slovenian language, public broadcaster TV Slovenija reported. The recently-discovered Heiligenkreutz manuscript is kept at the monastery of the same name in Austria.

Sexual abuse in focus as Catholic dignitaries visit Vatican

VATICAN CITY, Vatican - The leadership of the Slovenian Bishops' Conference met with Pope Francis during their visit to the Holy See. Sexual abuse in the Catholic Church was one of the main points of discussion in their meetings, including the one with the Pope. Apart from zero tolerance to sexual violence, the interlocutors also expressed the belief that victims should be in the focus of efforts, the Bishops' Conference said.

AmCham debate finds private practitioners can upgrade public health system

LJUBLJANA - Private practitioners and concessionaires should not be seen as a threat to the public health system but rather as an upgrade, heard a debate hosted by AmCham Slovenija and featuring representatives of the corporate sector. Quality of services is what they said mattered more to patients than the ownership of health providers.

Patient organisations form union to promote their rights

LJUBLJANA - More than 20 patient associations have joined forces to establish the Union of Patient Associations of Slovenia choosing Štefanija Lukič Zlobec as the chair. "Our aim is to engage in dialogue and work with all stakeholders to improve the situation," said the head of Spominčica, an association helping out with dementia.

Akrapovič posts over EUR 20m in 2021 profit

IVANČNA GORICA - Exhaust systems maker Akrapovič recorded EUR 150 million in revenue and EUR 20.1 million in profit in 2021, surpassing its pre-pandemic business results. Although the war in Ukraine still affects its business, the Ivančna Gorica-based company plans to expand production in Črnomelj, south-east.

Another Slovenian satellite ready for launch

KOUROU, French Guiana - The latest Slovenian satellite to be sent into space, the Trisat-R, has been delivered from Maribor to French Guiana, where it is scheduled to be launched on a VEGA-C rocket on 7 July. Its main purpose are measurements of ionising radiation in the medium Earth orbit to model the magnetospheric environment and better understand space weather.

Three artists receive presidential decorations

LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor bestowed state decorations on lyricist Elza Budau, choreographer and dancer Edward Clug and conductor Ervin Hartman. Budau and Cug received the Silver Order of Merit, and Hartman the Medal of Merit for his contribution to the development of wind orchestra music and music culture in Slovenia.

New documentary on leprosy in Sudan to bring about change

LJUBLJANA - A film about leprosy in Sudan by Slovenian human rights activists Tomo Križnar and Bojana Pivk Križnar premiered in Ljubljana on Monday. In an ensuing debate, the chair of the WHO executive board and a Foreign Ministry official commented on the failure of institutions to tackle the issue, arguing for cooperation between authorities and NGOs.

No excessive lead values found in gypsum-polluted soil

SLOVENJ GRADEC - A chemical analysis of soil treated with waste gypsum showed no excess values of heavy metals, the Agricultural Institute said. While the values of heavy metal in soil remain within the legal boundaries initial chemical analyses of the gypsum showed lead values that were 40 times higher than allowed. The results come three months after it was reported that farmers in Koroška had been misled to believe that the white matter sold to them was lime.

14 Jun 2022, 04:53 AM

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Slovenia's stance on Ukraine war to be discussed in parliament

MARIBOR - Slovenia's stance on the war in Ukraine will be shaped by the parliamentary Foreign Policy Committee, PM Robert Golob said during his Maribor visit in response to a letter by several prominent academics and politicians urging the new government to take a stance encouraging Ukraine and Russia to engage in serious peace talks. His goal is to have Slovenia's position shaped by the time he will be leaving for the EU summit late next week. Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon told public broadcaster RTV Slovenija that getting Russia back to the negotiating table remained the common goal. "Slovenia's foreign policy should focus on humanitarian and development aid," she added.

First of seven Koper-Divača rail track tunnels broken through

DIVAČA - The first of the seven tunnels on route of the new, 27-km railway linking the port town of Koper with the Divača railway junction was broken through. The hole-through ceremony for the Mlinarji tunnel was attended by the Slovenian and Turkish infrastructure ministers as the track is being built by Slovenian company Kolektor CPG in cooperation with two Turkish partners. Slated for completion in 2025 and due to open in 2026, the new track is valued at almost EUR 1 billion, but officials indicated today that its price tag could increase by up to EUR 100 million due to rising prices.

PM Golob indicates polycentric development of Slovenia

MARIBOR - PM Robert Golob visited Maribor, Slovenia's second largest city, underlining the only right way forward for the country is polycentric development. He believes the eastern half of the country needs a capital that would equal Ljubljana, adding that Maribor has a lot to offer. He singled out the Energy Agency, which is based in Maribor, as an example of good practice of a decentralised state. Golob was accompanied on his first working visit to any Slovenian town as prime minister by Digital Transformation Minister Emilija Stojmenova Duh and Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Food Irena Šinko.

Speaker calls for respect of supervisory institutions

LJUBLJANA - Parliamentary Speaker Urška Klakočar Zupančič called for respecting the credibility and independence of supervisory institutions as she received Court of Audit President Tomaž Vesel. If this respect is undermined, democracy and its immune system are undermined, she warned and announced greater cooperation with the Court of Audit. Vesel, who is leaving as the court's president after nine years this week, welcomed the openness to new forms of cooperation.

Coalition says it's ready to realise plans, opposition pledges constructive but firm action

LJUBLJANA - The new centre-left coalition expects the political situation to de-escalate now that the new parliament has started its work, and the level of the debate to be raised. Coalition deputy groups noted for the STA the importance of cooperation in tackling challenges and stress they are well prepared and will work together to implement their plans. The two conservative parties that moved to opposition after the 24 April general election have meanwhile promised not to abuse parliamentary tools at their disposal, but will use them when necessary, also to fight against the coalition's "misconceptions".

Minister continues to trust state secretary Skočir

LJUBLJANA - Environment Ministry State Secretary Matej Skočir, who was mentioned in a media report as a key player at the Economy Ministry in controversial purchases of ventilators at the start of the Covid-19 epidemic, continues to enjoy the trust of Environment Minister Uroš Brežan, the ministry told the STA. This is after Tarča news show revealed on Thursday parts of the criminal complaint filed against former Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek. Skočir said in writing for Tarča that he "did not have a major or decisive role" in the matter.

ECB session drives up yield on Slovenian 10-year bond to nearly 3%

LJUBLJANA - Thursday's session of the European Central Bank and the announcement of the first interest rate raising after 11 years has also pushed up the yield on the Slovenian 10-year bond - to 2.92%, a new high after the 2013 and 2014 banking system bailout. The secondary market yield on the Slovenian 10-year bond was hovering between 2% and 2.30% in recent weeks in the face of high inflation in the EU and the prospect of monetary policy restrictions.

Slovenia failed to notify Brussels of pandemic-related border checks

LUXEMBOURG, Luxembourg - The European Court of Auditors has found in a special report that Slovenia did not inform the European Commission of the introduction of border checks on EU borders due to the Covid-19 pandemic in the summer of 2020 and spring of 2021 and the Commission did not check compliance with Schengen rules. The report on the right of free movement in the context of the Covid crisis says that EU countries submitted 150 official notifications of border checks within the EU between March 2020 and June 2021, with 135 of them relating exclusively to the pandemic.

Freedom Movement makes gains in Delo poll

LJUBLJANA - The Freedom Movement gained 4.6 points to 31% in the June poll commissioned by the newspaper Delo to extend its margin ahead of the Democrats (SDS) to 9.5 points, despite the opposition party reaching its high watermark. The SDS gained 3.4 points from May to 21.4% in what is the highest showing for Janez Janša's party since the 2018 election. Delo says that future polls will show whether the polarisation around the biggest two parties has become a trend. The Robert Golob government was meanwhile given a positive score by 28% of those questioned, against 37.3% who disapprove of its job.

No Covid-19 deaths since Friday

LJUBLJANA - A total of 209 cases of coronavirus were confirmed in Slovenia over the weekend, a 30% increase over the weekend before. No patient with Covid-19 has died since Friday, according to the Health Ministry. The ministry does not release fatality or hospital figures at the weekend, but data released today shows 21 patients were hospitalised for Covid-19 as their main condition this morning, including three in intensive care. Data from the National Institute of Public Health shows the 14-day incidence per 100,000 people is at 174, one down from a week ago, as the 7-day average case count rose by 43 to 281.

Prekmurje village with ties to Primorska marks its centenary

LENDAVA - Benica, a village in the north-eastern region of Prekmurje were people from the coastal Primorska region were relocated in the 1920s to consolidate the Hungary-Slovenia border, is marking 100 years of its founding. The locals have also marked 80 years since people from the village were sent to a concentration camp in Hungary during WWII. The anniversary events were hosted on Saturday in Pince Marof by the Primorska and Istrian People in Prekmurje Association and the Pince Marof-Benica Local Community.

Exhibition in Ljubljana marks Srebrenica genocide anniversary

LJUBLJANA - A video exhibition in which the survivors of the 1995 Srebrenica genocide tell their stories is being launched at the Ljubljana Muslim Cultural Centre to kick off a month-long programme commemorating the 27th anniversary of the massacre. The exhibition Srebrenica - Our Story, Oral History is part of the permanent collection of the Srebrenica Memorial Centre. The opening ceremony will feature the author of the exhibition Hasan Hasanović and three young people from Srebrenica.

Slovenia draw with Serbia to wrap first part of Nations League

LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian men's football team drew 2:2 with Serbia wrapping up the June slot of the Group 4 play in League B of the UEFA Nations League in Stožice Stadium on Sunday evening. Slovenia have two points from four matches and are on the bottom of the table ahead of the final two encounters in September. Slovenia will play at home against Norway on 24 September and will be hosted by Sweden on 27 September. The last-placed team in the group will be relegated to the third-tier League C.

13 Jun 2022, 06:34 AM

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Roglič overall winner of Criterium du Dauphine

ANNECY, France - Primož Roglič won the eight-day Criterium du Dauphine road cycling race after letting Jumbo Visma teammate Jonas Vingegaard of Denmark take the final mountain stage between Saint-Alban-Leysse and Plateau de Salaison. The 32-year-old three-time winner of La Vuelta is the second Slovenian to win this race leading up to the Tour de France after Janez Brajkovič attained the feat 12 years ago. It is Roglič's 64th career victory and the fourth this season.

Bronze for Slovenia at European Archery Championships

MUNICH, Germany - The Slovenian women's team won bronze in the Olympic recurve bow discipline at the European Archery Championships in Munich. Ana Umer, Urška Čavič and Nina Corel defeated Denmark 5:3 (201:196) in the bronze medal match for what is the best result for Slovenian women recurve bow archers since the 2005 Mediterranean Games in Almeria. Germany took gold and Turkey silver.

Hoogerland defends Franja Marathon victory

LJUBLJANA - Dutch rider Johnny Hoogerland won the 41st Franja Marathon to defend last year's victory in what is Slovenia's largest amateur cycling event. The 39-year-old former Tour de France polka-dot jersey winner finished the 156-kilometre race in 3 hours, 37 minutes and 28 seconds, beating an Italian breakaway group. The marathon takes riders from Ljubljana on a round trip to Cerkno in the west of the country and back. It is named after a WWII Partisan hospital near Cerkno.

Golnik clinic tracks progress in lung cancer treatment

GOLNIK - The Golnik Clinic of Respiratory and Allergic Diseases is one of Slovenia's main lung cancer treatment facilities, diagnosing about 40% of some 1,500 new cases of the disease that get detected in the country every year. Its register of patients shows encouraging progress in treatment in the past decade. Now 60-70% of the patients who get their lung cancer discovered at an early stage are still alive five years on. The clinic campaigning for a screening programme to further reduce mortality.

Survey shows Slovenian online stores increasingly popular

LJUBLJANA - Online shopping has retained the popularity gained during the Covid-19 pandemic with three out of four of those questioned in a survey commissioned by Mastercard Slovenija saying they shop online at least sometimes. A growing number make their purchases at Slovenian sites. The share of those who more often opt for a Slovenian site rose to 45% from 36% last year, as the proportion of those who prefer to shop at foreign online stores dropped to 18% from 22%, according to the Masterindex survey.

August most popular month to tie the knot

LJUBLJANA - Close to 6,000 couples got married in Slovenia last year and 58 same-sex couples registered formal civil unions. August was the most popular month for a wedding, data from the Statistics Office shows. Compared to the year before, the number of couples who got married increased by 13% to 5,916 whereas the number of those who got a divorce rose by nearly a third (31%) to 2,322. Most couples tied the knot on 21 August; as many as 209, which compares to 16 on an average day.

12 Jun 2022, 09:17 AM

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Commemoration of Ljubelj liberation calls for peace and end to evil

LJUBELJ - A ceremony marking the 77th anniversary of the liberation of the Ljubelj concentration camp urged efforts to prevent the spread of evil and called for peace in light of the war in Ukraine. The keynote speaker, Anica Mikuš Kos, head of the Slovenian Philanthropy humanitarian organisation, pointed out that the horrors of the concentration camps could ignite vigilance and a rapid response to developments that can again lead to mass suffering.

*Ljubljana Pride wraps up rainbow-coloured festival

LJUBLJANA - This year's Pride Parade festival culminated in Ljubljana Pride in what was a parade celebrating difference and urging equality. Members of the LGBTIQ+ community called for peace in Ukraine, and several senior officials participated in Pride and delivered speeches at the end of the parade. Several ministries also flew the rainbow flag to mark the Pride day.

S&P Global and DBRS Morningstar affirm Slovenia's ratings

LJUBLJANA - The Toronto-based credit rating agency DBRS Morningstar has affirmed Slovenia's A rating and the New York-based agency S&P Global Ratings has affirmed the country's AA- rating, both with a stable outlook, the Finance Ministry said. S&P Global expects the Slovenian economy and public finances to remain robust despite geopolitical risks, rising inflation and demographic disparities.

Opposition critical of call to govt to rethink stance on Ukraine war

LJUBLJANA - The former defence minister and head of the opposition New Slovenia (NSi), Matej Tonin, thinks that a recent call to the new government to rethink its position on the war in Ukraine is a threat to national security. The former PM and head of the Democrats (SDS), Janez Janša, believes that this was an expression of support for Russian President Vladimir Putin's aggression in Ukraine.

Slovenia 7th globally in environmental performance

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia ranks seventh out of 180 countries in the Environmental Performance Index (EPI), which is calculated by Yale University to assess the state of sustainable environmental care. Slovenia is the highest-scoring Eastern European nation in the report. "Under the EU's Natura 2000 initiative, Slovenia has protected over 30% of its territories - more than any other European nation."

Court dismisses case against suspected attacker on judge

LJUBLJANA - Nearly three years after a brutal attack on a Maribor judge in front of her home, the Slovenj Gradec district court dismissed the case against the chief suspect, the judge's former partner, due to a lack of evidence, the newspaper Večer reported. Both the Maribor prosecutor's office and the victim appealed against the decision, but were unsuccessful.

Slalom canoeist Peter Kauzer wins World Cup event in Prague

PRAGUE, the Czech Republic - Slovenian slalom canoeist Peter Kauzer won the first World Cup race this season in whitewater slalom in Prague. After barely qualifying for the final, he then rode the rapids with flying colours to win by almost a second over his rivals. Second place went to Italy's Giovanni De Gennaro, and Martin Dougoud of Switzerland finished third.

11 Jun 2022, 04:31 AM

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Slovenia elected to UN Economic and Social Council

NEW YORK, US - The UN General Assembly elected Slovenia to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), one of the six principal bodies of the United Nations, responsible for coordinating the economic and social policies of the organisation. Slovenia announced its candidacy for the ECOSOC for the 2023-2025 period five years ago, in what was the country's first candidacy for the rotating membership of 54 UN member states. Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon responded to the election on Twitter, declaring it "an important victory for Slovenia" and expression her "congratulations and thanks to the colleagues at the Foreign Ministry for the work they have done".

Pahor endorses Ukraine and W Balkans' EU future at SEECP forum

THESSALONIKI, Greece - President Borut Pahor stressed that "we must not leave Ukraine in the lurch" and urged EU enlargement to the Western Balkans as he addressed the annual summit of the South-East European Cooperation Process (SEECP), which he attended upon the invitation of Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis. He repeated his idea to give Bosnia-Herzegovina EU candidate status as soon as possible and only then expect the country to carry out certain reforms to get it out of the vicious circle. He will discuss this with European Council President Charles Michel next week, saying one should take advantage of the EU summit at the end of June to "accelerate the process of obtaining status for Ukraine, and bring the Western Balkans into this context".

FM Fajon notes importance of credible EU enlargement policy

THESSALONIKI, Greece - Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon attended a ministerial of the South-East European Cooperation Process (SEECP) in Thessaloniki, noting the importance of a credible EU enlargement policy for the reform efforts of the Western Balkans. She said that enlargement policy was the EU's most effective geostrategic policy, which was also important in the context of Russia's aggression against Ukraine and the EU's future relations with Georgia and Moldova. She also had several bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the event.

SAF contingent deployed in Slovakia

LJUBLJANA - A 101-strong contingent of the Slovenian Armed Forces (SAF) has arrived in Slovakia as part of NATO's international Enhanced Vigilance Activities, the SAF said. The first days are dedicated to creating the conditions for the operation and to integrating it into the international battalion battle group as soon as possible. The first phase will be followed by operational deployment. The Slovenian soldiers will operate within the framework of the international battle group command with a light infantry company. The government took a decision for Slovenia to take part in the Enhanced Vigilance Activities mission with up to 200 troops on 23 March.

Slovenia opts out of voluntary solidarity mechanism for now

LUXEMBOURG, Luxembourg - The Slovenian Interior Ministry said that for the time being, Slovenia does not intend to participate in the voluntary solidarity mechanism for the transfer of asylum seekers from the countries of their first entry, which has been unofficially joined by 12 EU member states so far. The statement comes as EU interior ministers reached progress in talks on the solidarity mechanism for the transfer of asylum seekers and strengthening of the EU border protection. French press agency AFP said the political statement discussed by the ministers provides for the establishment of a one-year solidarity mechanism that could be renewed.

Slovenian minister supports tighter rules on internal border checks

LUXEMBOURG, Luxembourg - EU interior ministers reached agreement on a negotiating basis to reform the Schengen Borders Code as part of which the rules when a Schengen member state wants to reintroduce internal border controls would be tightened. Slovenian Interior Minister Tatjana Bobnar stressed these checks must be temporary, and introduced only when other alternative measures have been exhausted. Austria has been controlling its border with Slovenia ever since the 2015 refugee crisis, with Slovenia arguing that there is no need for such checks any longer.

Media reveal deals with Covid ventilators included kickbacks

LJUBLJANA - Parts of the criminal complaint filed against former Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek over purchases of ventilators at the start of the Covid-19 epidemic were revealed on the Tarča current affairs news show on TV Slovenija on Thursday. Investigators are said to have found proof of deals for the payment of kickbacks and of notification of suspects about upcoming house searches. According to Tarča, documents from the police investigation show that there was an agreement between the Economy Ministry, company Geneplanet and communication agency Pristop regarding Geneplanet supplying ventilators to the state.

CoE sees progress in Slovenia's fight against money laundering

STRASBOURG, France - Slovenia has moderately improved its measures to combat money laundering and terrorist financing. However, there are still significant legislative deficiencies as regards the criminalisation of terrorism financing, suggests a report by MONEYVAL, the Council of Europe's (CoE) anti-money laundering body. Slovenia has demonstrated some progress at the level of compliance with the Financial Action Task Force standards, it noted.

Intelligence agency denies overstepping powers

LJUBLJANA - The SOVA intelligence and security agency said it did not breach its powers in recommending to former government officials right after the April election to destroy their work mobile phones and laptops before the transfer of power. Responding to a report on the matter by the investigative outlet Necenzurirano, which broke the story on Thursday, SOVA said this is a legitimate counter-intelligence measure.

Melamin promised full state support in renovation

KOČEVJE - New Economy Minister Matjaž Han promised Melamin the government's full support in reconstruction as he visited the Kočevje-based chemical company nearly a month after it was destroyed by a deadly explosion. As talks are under way to move the most hazardous part of Melamin's production to a different location, the minister said the key was for the company and the local community to agree on the location. Han expects opposition to relocation plans.

EU urged to act to stop anti-Roma sentiment

MURSKA SOBOTA - An international conference in Murska Sobota heard of the worsening situation of the Roma in Europe as genocide, hate speech and anti-Roma activities spread in some countries and Roma refugees from Ukraine were mistreated. The conference sent out a message to European institutions what Roma want and propose for the situation to improve. Jožek Horvat Muc, who heads the Slovenian Roma Association and the European Roma Union, said the EU had many declarations and levers to help threatened groups but more should be done in practice.

Anti-graft watchdog joins European network for public sector transparency

PARIS, France - Slovenia's Commission for the Prevention of Corruption joined the new European network for ethics in the public sector at an international conference hosted in Paris by the French High Authority for Transparency in Public Life. The network brings together akin bodies from another eleven EU countries. Although there are networks bringing together corruption prevention authorities at European level, this is the first one focusing exclusively on integrity in the public sector.

Koper port completes south quayside extension

KOPER - Luka Koper, Slovenia's sole maritime port, has completed a EUR 45.6 million investment by acquiring an operating permit for the last section of the new extension of Quay 1 of the container terminal, a release from the company said. The expansion of the container terminal will continue to the north "in what will be a much bigger investment", Luka Koper chairman Boštjan Napast said.

Industrial output up in April

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's industrial production rose by 2.1% in April year-on-year, mostly on the back of the increase in mining, as manufacturing drove a 0.4% month-on-month growth, the Statistics Office said. Industrial revenue rose by 2.3% month-on-month and by 18.9% at the annual level, with inventories in April 2022 up 1% on March and 23.2% on April 2021.

AmCham declares Top Potentials for 2022

LJUBLJANA - Aljaž Dobnikar, a software development engineer at Plume Design, and Matej Duraković, a talent acquisition partner at IBM Slovenija, were declared Top Potentials of the Year by AmCham Slovenia on Thursday evening. Dobnikar and Duraković were selected among the five superfinalists in the 12th generation of the AmCham Young Professionals programme.

Bode Miller partners with Elan in production of own ski brand

BEGUNJE NA GORENJSKEM - Former US skiing star Bode Miller has paid a visit to Slovenia as part of a partnership with sports goods maker Elan in the production of Miller's own ski brand. Miller was in Slovenia with his wife Morgan Beck, who published a series of Instagram photos, including a one of Miller in what appears to be an Elan production hall. Elan meanwhile confirmed a collaboration with Miller, saying that Peak Ski Company's skis would mostly be manufactured by Elan.

Slovenia pull off a point in Norway

OSLO, Norway - Slovenia pulled off a goalless draw with Norway in Oslo on Thursday evening to come away with their first point in this year's UEFA Nations League after previously losing to Sweden at home and Serbia away in group 4 of league B. Despite failing to score, the Slovenian side displayed much more fighting spirit than they did in Belgrade last Sunday.

10 Jun 2022, 04:32 AM

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National Museum director resigns to protect museum's reputation

LJUBLJANA - Pavel Car resigned as the director of the National Museum in Ljubljana a day after he postponed the opening of an exhibition of works by artists such as Picasso or Miro that raised serious forgery concerns. Car said the strong reaction of the general public and experts had made him realise he had made some mistakes, including entrusting the organisation of the exhibition to a wrong person. The Culture Ministry announced it will launch the selection of a new director based on professional criteria.

Peter Grum becomes tax authority chief

LJUBLJANA - The new government appointed Peter Grum acting director general of the Financial Administration. He succeeds Ivan Simič, who stepped down right after the Robert Golob government was sworn in. "Peter was my pick, I am very satisfied he made this decision," Finance Minister Klemen Boštjančič said. Grum, who serves as deputy director of the tax authority in 2014-2020, said his goal was to have a professional, effective and apolitical Financial Administration.

Top court judge Pavčnik relieved of his duties

LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly voted to relieve Constitutional Court judge Marijan Pavčnik of his duties after he asked the court that his nine-year term end early. Pavčnik will thus end his term on 31 December this year. Once President Borut Pahor is formally notified by the National Assembly that Pavčnik was relieved of his duties, he will issue a new call for applications.
Judge Pavčnik took office in March 2017 and would serve out his single nine-year term in 2026.

Govt to analyse legal bases for fines over Covid rule violations

LJUBLJANA - The government tasked the ministries of justice and home affairs to draw up an analysis of the legal bases used in procedures against individuals for breaking Covid-19 containment measures to see whether fines might have been unfair or unlawful. It also annulled all decisions taken by the previous government in December 2021 for legal actions to claim compensation for the costs of policing of anti-government rallies, Interior Minister Tatjana Bobnar announced.

Stalemate over breakdown of committee chairs broken

LJUBLJANA - All but two parliamentary working bodies now have chairs and vice-chairs as the Democrats (SDS) put forward their candidates for some of these posts to break the stalemate that had been going on since late May when the party opposed the endorsed breakdown of these positions. The National Assembly unanimously today endorsed the chairs and vice-chairs of nearly all working bodies that had been left without chairmanship due to the disagreement between the SDS and other parliamentary parties.

Substitute MPs, third deputy speaker appointed

LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly unanimously confirmed the terms of five substitute MPs to fill in for cabinet members and appointed in a 57:7 vote Democrat (SDS) Danijel Krivc a third deputy speaker. The opposition stressed Krivec's political experience and his knowing of the parliamentary rules of procedure. Krivec is serving his sixth term as MP. Before becoming MP, he was the mayor of Bovec. The other two deputy speakers are SD MP Meira Hot and Left MP Nataša Sukič.

Govt report on 2020-2022 appointments expected in 60 days

LJUBLJANA - The Public Administration Ministry will produce a final report on a review of appointments and promotions under two previous governments within 60 days, and once the government takes note of the findings, it will share them with the public. Dragan Barbutovski, director of the Government Communications Office (UKOM), said that the intention "is in no way to dismiss people, to make any blanket changes to the staffing moves made between January 2020 and the end of May 2022, or to single out any civil servant". The sole purpose is to determine whether there have been inappropriate or even unlawful practices, he added.

Finance minister says coalition agreement will not be rushed

LJUBLJANA - Finance Minister Klemen Boštjančič said the coalition agreement has outlined the direction in which the government is heading, but specific measures will have to be adapted to the state of public finances, as he responded to a recent criticism the Fiscal Council voiced about policies planned by the new government. The government advisory body said that the coalition agreement contained a series of largely general measures which go beyond a four-year term. Boštjančič told the press that he appreciated the Fiscal Council and that he was well aware of the warnings it had made.

Slovenia to remove fence from southern border by year's end

LJUBLJANA - After the new government made a promise to remove the fence from the border with Croatia, the Interior Ministry told the STA this is one of the priorities, with the removal expected by the end of the year. The ministry says it will start working on an operative plan to remove the fence this week and should complete it by the end of June. A public call will need to be published to select a contractor to remove the fence.

Days of Judiciary start with firm stance for branch's independence

ROGAŠKA SLATINA - Opening the Days of Slovenian Judiciary, parliamentary Speaker Urška Klakočar Zupančič promised her former colleagues she would strive to ensure the independence of the judiciary is strictly respected, that judicial decisions are upheld, and that resources are provided to ensure courts operate smoothly. Supreme Court President Damijan Florjančič said the speaker's presence inspired hope better times lay ahead when it comes to understanding and respecting the role of the judiciary

Mandatory LNG storage proposed under new bill

LJUBLJANA - The Infrastructure Ministry unveiled the draft of a bill that would require gas suppliers to secure storage in other EU countries equalling at least 15% of average annual gas volumes they sell, which is in line with a recently agreed EU regulation. The gas suppliers would have to meet the target by 1 November via direct agreement with gas storage operators or indirect agreements with other players on the gas market, according to the proposed amendments to the gas supply act. Stakeholders have until 23 June to submit comments.

Internal inquiry launched at NBI

LJUBLJANA - Acting Police Commissioner Boštjan Lindav ordered an internal inquiry at the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI). The inquiry was initiated to clarify claims of alleged irregularities in certain investigations related to the procurement of epidemic-related protective equipment and other investigations. Several media reports in recent months have alleged that the NBI is taking an unusually long time with some major investigations.

Vasilka Sancin's candidacy for Human Rights Committee filed

NEW YORK, US - Slovenia formally filed the candidacy of international law expert Vasilka Sancin for a new term on the UN Human Rights Committee after the new government has de-blocked her re-election bid. 17 candidates are now in the running for nine vacancies. Sancin's prospects of election are considered to be low since her candidacy was filed last, after the 6 April deadline.

SDS proposes mandatory drug testing for office holders

LJUBLJANA - The opposition Democrats (SDS) tabled a bill that would require MPs, ministers, state secretaries as well as the prime minister and the president of the republic to undergo mandatory annual drug testing. "It is in the public interest to know whether Slovenian politicians take prohibited drugs," the party says.

Activists warn of attacks against LGBTIQ+ community before Pride Parade

LJUBLJANA - The association organising the annual Pride Parade Festival in Ljubljana warned of a spike in hatred and threats directed against LGBTIQ+ community in the run-up to Saturday's parade, which they partly blame on the previous government. The Pride Parade Association expressed shock after posters raising awareness about hate speech against LGBTIQ+ persons and promoting the community's inclusion had been vandalised. It also drew attention to the "distasteful" columns by Blaž Podobnik in the newspaper Delo. "We will march the more bravely and proudly this Saturday," the association said.

Large fountain stolen from Maribor city park

MARIBOR - A large bronze fountain disappeared from the Maribor city park overnight in an area where construction works are going. The Maribor police department, which suspects someone loaded the fountain onto a truck, is investigating a grand theft. The 1980 fountain Fitoliti (Phytoliths) is the work of Maribor-based sculptor Vojko Štuhec and is the only fountain in Maribor's central park.

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