Ljubljana related

13 Jul 2019, 02:03 AM

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This summary is provided by the STA:

Slovenian MEPs from EPP will back von der Leyen, others yet to decide

LJUBLJANA - Ursula von der Leyen, the candidate for European Commission president, enjoys the support of the four Slovenian MEPs of the European People's Party (EPP) ahead of Tuesday's vote in the European Parliament. The remaining four Slovenian MEPs, coming from the ranks of liberals and social democrats, are still undecided. Klemen Grošelj (RE/LMŠ) said the RE had sent von der Leyen a list of its conditions for support, while the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D) is waiting for von der Leyen's detailed views on the rule of law, Schengen zone and border controls within the zone, said Tanja Fajon (S&D/SD).

Parliament backs inquiry into prosecution of national councillor

LJUBLJANA - Acting on a proposal by the upper chamber of parliament, the lower chamber established an inquiry commission which will examine public office holders' potential responsibility for the criminal prosecution of councillor Franc Kangler. Kangler, a member of the upper chamber, had been prosecuted for several crimes when he was mayor of Maribor, but has been acquitted in many of the cases, often on procedural grounds. The move was welcomed by the opposition Democrats (SDS), New Slovenia (NSi) and National Party (SNS), while all other parties find it unacceptable and may not participate in the commission, which could prevent the commission from being appointed in the first place.

Slovenia to fully transpose PNR directive

LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed amendments to the police tasks and powers act and aviation act, in a bid to fully transpose the EU directive on the use of passenger name record (PNR) data. Some PMs raised concerns about possible abuses. Interior Ministry State Secretary Sandi Čurin said the main goal of the amendments is to fully transpose the EU directive on the use of passenger name record data for the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of terrorist offences and serious crime.

Legislation proposed to overhaul rules on MPs

LJUBLJANA - A cross-partisan group of parliamentary factions representing more than two-thirds of MP tabled legislative amendments that would reform the status of MPs, including when they are deemed to be engaged in work incompatible with the office of MP. Under amendments to the act on MPs, deputies would be subject to the provisions of the act on integrity and the prevention of corruption. Instead of specifying when exactly an MP's term terminates in the event they are engaged in an activity that is incompatible with the office, the act on MPs would thus simply defer to the act on integrity and the prevention of corruption.

SDS and NSi want top court to review taxation of workers commuting abroad

LJUBLJANA - The opposition Democrats (SDS) and New Slovenia (NSi) joined the initiative of Slovenian workers who commute to Austria for a constitutional review of what they see as discriminatory income tax legislation. While the union of Slovenian migrant workers asked the top court to review the income tax act in November 2018, Franc Breznik of the SDS told the press that the two parties urged the court to give the matter absolute priority treatment.

Bill curbs realtors' rental fees

LJUBLJANA - A bill to limit commission fees for leasing real estate and other costs which real estate agencies can charge their clients was endorsed by the National Assembly amidst protests by real estate agencies, which have threatened to petition the Constitutional Court. Under the changes to the act on real estate agency tabled by the Left, landlords would fully pay the commission fee charged by a real estate agency for a service commissioned by them. This means tenants would no longer shoulder part of the fee, tackling one of the biggest complaints by individuals - the fact that tenants pay a fee for a service they have not commissioned.

Bill compensating owners of border fence plots passed

LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed legislative amendments that speed up procedures to compensate owners of land along the border with Croatia on which the government has erected, or will erect, a border fence. Existing legislation makes it possible to compensate land owners, but since the border fence was first erected in 2015 it has turned out that such procedures are lengthy and complex. The amendments to the border control act simplify the procedure and institute a single rate of compensation for all land, currently affecting almost 3,000 plots subject to ten-year easement due to the border fence. The annual cost is estimated at roughly EUR 35,000.

Slovenia wants stronger ties with Friuli-Venezia Giulia

TRIESTE, Italy - The need to strengthen economic cooperation with Friuli-Venezia Giulia topped the agenda as Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek paid a visit to the northern Italian region. Počivalšek held talks Sergio Emidio Bini, the regional minister of economy and tourism, as well as Illycaffe officials the representatives of Slovenian economic organisations and companies in the region. The plan is to intensify cooperation in tourism, innovations and digitalisation. Meetings at the expert level will continue in autumn.

Ljubljana slated to become world's fastest-warming city

LJUBLJANA - Ljubljana, a city situated on the meeting point of two climate zones most affected by global warming - northern Mediterranean and the Alpine region, is to become the fastest-warming city in the world, a projection by Swiss institute Crowther Lab shows. In line with the projection, temperatures in the Slovenian capital in the warmest month of the year will go up by 8 degrees Celsius by 2050, while the average annual temperatures are to rise by 3.5 degrees. Central Europe and the Balkans are expected to see the most notable temperature raises, so the climate in the region is expected to resemble that of Texas cities in the US, the study shows.

Judiciary calls for new offices for Ljubljana courts

LJUBLJANA - Supreme Court president Damijan Florjančič urged PM Marjan Šarec in an open letter to find a permanent solution to the lack of space for courts in Ljubljana. He believes a new courthouse is urgently needed for first-instance courts. He said the landlord had terminated the contract for the offices of the Ljubljana District Court's department dealing with while-collar crime. The department will have to leave its offices in Miklošičeva Street by August 2020.

Medical Chamber hails choice of Poklukar for new UKC Ljubljana head

LJUBLJANA - The Medical Chamber welcomed the decision of the governing board of UKC Ljubljana to select Janez Poklukar, a doctor who has been successfully managing the Jesenice hospital, for the new director general of Slovenia's largest hospital. While Poklukar still needs a nod from Health Minister Aleš Šabeder, the Medical Chamber hailed the choice "of a candidate who has proven himself with results... as opposed to somebody who is politically likeable as is all too often the case with appointments of directors at public institutions".

Cargo transported by Slovenian trains last year flat over 2017

LJUBLJANA - Slovenian freight trains transported some 21.3 million tonnes of cargo last year by doing 5.15 billion tonne-kilometres, which is roughly equal to 2017. The majority of the cargo (86%) was transported internationally, including transit, data from the Statistics Office show. Freight trains mostly carried so-called other cargo or unidentifiable cargo in containers as well as mixed cargo; this amounted to 6.62 million tonnes or some 36% of all the cargo transported last year.

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12 Jul 2019, 02:04 AM

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This summary is provided by the STA:

Slovenia planning to erect another 40 km of border fence

LJUBLJANA - The Public Administration Ministry has laid the groundwork for the erection of another 40 kilometres of border fence. It would not reveal, however, where the fence will be placed. The new fence will be supplied and set up by the Serbian company Legi-SGS for EUR 4.8 million. The fence alone will cost EUR 4.56 million, and the rest will be spent on the pillars, fittings and installation, shows the result of an open call released on Wednesday.

PM may seek budget approval in confidence vote

LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Marjan Šarec may seek a confidence vote on the budget documents for 2020 and 2021 as a way of checking support for his minority government, suggest statements by coalition partners after today's meeting. "This is a minority government ... it is logical that the prime minister checks support with a confidence vote," said Brane Golubović, deputy group leader for the ruling Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ).

Motion filed for upper chamber veto of bill cutting private schools funding

LJUBLJANA - The National Council is to vote next Monday on a proposal to veto Wednesday's legislative changes that cut state funding for private primary schools. The councillors who filed the veto proposal argue the cut runs contrary to the December 2014 decision of the Constitutional Court that ordered full state funding for publicly approved curricula. Explaining the veto motion - which could spell trouble for the cut's proponents in the National Assembly as they do not have absolute majority - the councillors argue that the changes introduce an unacceptable new conceptualisation of different types of publicly approved curricula.

SDS, NSi challenge health services act at top court

LJUBLJANA - The opposition Democrats (SDS) and New Slovenia (NSi) have decided to ask the Constitutional Court to review the health services act, especially the changes passed in 2017. SDS MP Alenka Jeraj said the entire law was problematic because it undermined private initiative and primary healthcare. A part of the changes has already been abolished after the Court found in December 2018 that private practitioners should not be restricted in how they use their profit.

Srebrenica genocide remembered in Slovenia

LJUBLJANA - The 24th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide was commemorated in Slovenia, with senior officials calling for a Europe of peace so that such horrendous atrocities would never happen again. The National Assembly observed a minute's silence, with Speaker Dejan Židan stressing it was our task not to forget this horrible crime. Foreign Minister Miro Cerar said in a release the Srebrenica genocide showed where militant nationalism, hostile populism and the rhetoric based on inciting harted led. The genocide of over 8,300 Muslims by Bosnian Serbs was also remembered by NGOs Averroes and Burrial Is Not Taboo in Ljubljana's City Square.

Palestinian foreign minister optimistic about Slovenia's recognition of Palestine

LJUBLJANA - Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki told the STA he was optimistic about Slovenia recognising Palestinian independence, expecting Slovenia to make this step along with a number of other EU countries. However, he pointed out there was currently little chance of restarting the peace process with Israel. As long as Israel will have a "fascist, extreme right, radical government" and as long as the US administration will continue supporting this government and illegal settlers and disregarding international law and UN resolutions, there are no chances of restarting the process, said Malki, who would like to see a greater involvement of the EU.

Austrian Supernova acquires Qlandia shopping centres in Slovenia

LJUBLJANA - Austrian shopping centre operator Supernova has acquired all the Qlandia shopping centres in Slovenia, the news portal Siol reported. No figures were disclosed, but Siol says that the 19 shopping centres, of varying sizes, were valued at EUR 267 million by Qlandia operator Centrice in 2017. The deal was reached after years of talks with Centrice owner, Lone Star RealEstate Fund from the US, reported Siol, which labelled the transaction as one of the biggest real estate deals in the history of Slovenia.

GZS: Despite lower profit, energy sector did well in 2018

LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian energy sector posted encouraging business results in 2018, with sales rising by 4.2% to a record EUR 13.9 billion and added value by 1.4% to EUR 1.2 billion, shows a report by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS). However, the sector's net profit dropped by 5.7% to EUR 220.8 million over 2017, with TEŠ, the Šoštanj-based coal-fired power station, affecting the figure the most.

Battery maker TAB gives up search for strategic partner

MEŽICA - Battery maker TAB has terminated the search for a strategic partner. The Mežica-based company "decided to continue its current independent path of development," the NLB bank, advisor to the consortium of sellers, said. The news comes just over a year after TAB announced a tie-up with South African battery maker Metair. The prospective partner pulled out in August 2018 quoting unfavourable exchange rate conditions, but the company continued to look for strategic partners.

Jesenice hospital director Poklukar picked for new head of UKC Ljubljana

Ljubljana - The governing board of UKC Ljubljana picked on Thursday Janez Poklukar, presently the director of the Jesenice hospital, for the new general director of Slovenia's largest hospital. Poklukar's four-year term, pending approval by the health minister, is to start on 1 August. If appointed, the forty-year-old internal medicine specialist will succeed Teodor Žepič, who took over as acting director in March after Aleš Šabeder left the post to take over as health minister.

Summer schools increasingly popular among domestic, foreign students

LJUBLJANA - Although there are no courses and exams at Slovenian universities during the summer break, several faculties organise a number of activities, with summer schools for students from around the globe becoming increasingly popular. It is the summer schools organised by the University of Ljubljana's Faculty of Economics and Faculty of Arts that have the longest tradition and attract many students. The Faculty of Economics launched the 20th Ljubljana Summer School this week, termed Take the Best from East and West. Over 400 students from more than 90 higher education establishments from almost 40 countries are attending.

Film Under the Stars kicks off in Ljubljana

LJUBLJANA - Film Under the Stars, the Ljubljana open-air cinema summer event, began this evening at Ljubljana Castle with a screening of the Slovenian film Ne Bom Več Luzerka (My Last Year As a Loser). The midsummer nights cinema will last until 3 August, bringing recent hits as well as six new films to the capital.

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11 Jul 2019, 02:06 AM

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This summary is provided by the STA:

EU Commission slightly improves forecast for Slovenia

BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Commission has slightly improved its economic growth forecast for Slovenia. It projects that Slovenia's economy will expand by 3.2% this year, up from its earlier forecast of 3.1%, while retaining the growth rate for 2020 at 2.8%. Slovenia's growth will thus continue to significantly outpace average growth in the eurozone, where it is projected to stand at 1.2% and 1.4%, and the EU27, which as a whole is forecast to grow at rates of 1.4% and 1.6%, respectively.

Controversial bill changing financing of private primary schools passed

LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed the controversial government-sponsored changes to the law on financing and organisation of education which alter the way in which the state funds private primary schools. The bill was backed in a 42:36 vote despite criticism, also among some coalition parties, that it falls short of implementing a constitutional court decision on 100% state funding of publicly approved curricula at private primary schools. The changes could potentially get vetoed by the upper chamber, in which case they would need 46 votes to get passed again.

Šarec tight-lipped about commissioner candidates

HOČE - PM Marjan Šarec told reporters that he had taken note of the wish of Ursula von der Leyen, the candidate for European Commission president, for member states to put forward two candidates for commissioner. He said though that he could not say yet whether Slovenia would send one or two candidates to Brussels. The government is to make the decision on this by the end of the month, according to the prime minister.

Slovenia's exports, imports continue to grow

LJUBLJANA, - Slovenia's trade in goods continues to grow, with exports in the January-May period amounting to EUR 14 billion, up 10.3% over the same period last year. Imports reached EUR 14.06 billion, a rise of 12.6%, which puts the country's export-import ratio at 99.6%. Slovenia generated a surplus in foreign exchange of goods in four of the first five months in 2019, all months except in April.

Slovenia's policy on Palestine recognition unchanged

LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Miro Cerar reiterated that Slovenia would recognize Palestine as part of a smaller group of EU countries after a meeting with his Palestinian counterpart Riad Malki, confirming the continuation of existing efforts aimed at recognizing Palestinian independence. "We will continue with activities designed to form as soon as possible a smaller group of EU member states which would along with Slovenia recognize Palestine as an independent country," said Cerar.

Slovenia joins European centre for countering hybrid threats

BLED - Slovenia joined the European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats as NATO centres of excellence held a conference in Bled. Defence Minister Karl Erjavec said common action was needed to tackle hybrid threats. "We know that these threats are not just happening during wars but also in peacetime, and they can severely disrupt our lives," Erjavec said in his address, noting that a cyberattack could theoretically cause more damage than a conventional military strike.

Archbishop Zore praises civil initiative's work, objects to name revealing

LJUBLJANA, 10 July - Archbishop of Ljubljana Stanislav Zore commented on the activities of the recently founded civil initiative fighting sexual abuse in the Catholic Church for the Catholic weekly Družina, saying he welcomed the fact that victims seem to be more ready to open up to them. But he is bothered by the fact that the initiative publicly reveals the names of alleged molesters, who have not been found guilty either in church or civil proceedings.

MPs back oversight of student organisations, restore parental authority in high schools

LJUBLJANA - MPs backed legislative changes that allow the Court of Audit to oversee the operations of student organisations and limit the pay of their officials to double the average gross wage in the country. Parliament moreover restored the "oversight rights" of parents of secondary school students older than 18.

Merkur shopping centres sold to US fund

NAKLO/LJUBLJANA - US investment fund HPS Investment Partners has sold the shopping centres of Merkur, the hardware retailer it purchased in 2017, to another US fund, LCN Capital Partners, news portal Siol.net reported. The 15 of the 23 Merkur shopping centres were reportedly sold for EUR 100 million. The deal between the two New York-based funds, which is one of the largest real estate transactions in Slovenia's history, was officially closed a few weeks ago.

Luka Koper net revenue up 6% in H1

KOPER - The port operator Luka Koper recorded EUR 118 million in net sales revenue in the first half of the year, a 6% rise year-on-year. Transshipment of goods was down by 1% to 11.9 million tonnes. The revenue was up due to better structure of goods and additional manipulations on the market, the company said.

Industrial output continues to rise

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's industrial production dropped by 0.8% in May compared to the previous month, while it continued to grow year-on-year, by 3.1%, show data by the Statistics Office. Output has been growing on a year-on-year basis since December, although the pace has been decelerating. Industrial revenue grew by 0.3% in May compared to the previous month. The minimal growth was due to foreign market turnover, which increased by 0.7%. Meanwhile, turnover in the domestic market declined by 4.4% on a monthly basis.

AmCham Slovenija head calls for more investment-friendly environment

LJUBLJANA, 10 July - AmCham Slovenija president Nevenka Kržan, who is finishing her second term at the helm of the chamber, believes there should be more awareness about the benefits of new investments in Slovenia, although the country has made some progress in that respect lately. The country has opened up to foreign investors to a certain extent during the last four years, says the head of the American business chamber in Slovenia, listing the privatisations of Abanka and NLB as examples.

Iraqi assailant charged with two counts of attempted murder

NOVA GORICA - An Iraqi man who was shot by a police officer he attempted to attack after knifing a taxi driver has been charged with two counts of attempted murder and will remain in custody pending trial, an investigating magistrate in Nova Gorica has decided. The 26-year-old underwent surgery after the police officer shot him in the leg, but he was deemed fit to see the investigative magistrate and was transported to the Koper prison after the hearing late on Tuesday.

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10 Jul 2019, 02:22 AM

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This summary is provided by the STA:

PM sees no need for fence on Slovenian-Italian border

LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Marjan Šarec dismissed ideas by senior Italian officials that a fence should be erected on the Slovenian-Italian border, telling the National Assembly that such proposals had to be interpreted "in the domestic policy context". Šarec made the comment when he was quizzed by opposition MPs about the recent launch of mixed police patrols on the border, their implication being that the beefed up controls are the result of Slovenia's failure to properly protect the Schengen border. He stressed the number of persons Italy returned to Slovenia had dropped by 17% in the first half of 2019 compared to the same period last year.

Slovenia OK with endorsed EU semester recommendations

BRUSSELS, Belgium - Slovenia agrees with the recommendations the European Commission made as part of this year's European Semester assessment of economic policies and structural reforms, which were endorsed by EU finance ministers in Brussels. Slovenia, which was represented at the session by Finance Minister Andrej Bertoncelj, believes the implementation of the recommendations will facilitate a further improvement of its public finances and strengthen the basis for potential economic growth, the Finance Ministry said in a press release.

Slovenian diplomat appointed head of EU delegation in Papua New Guinea

BRUSSELS, Belgium - The EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini appointed 43 heads of EU delegations around the world, awarding the Papua New Guinea post to Slovenia's diplomat Jernej Videtič. Videtič, Slovenia's former ambassador to Montenegro, is currently the head of the delegation in Guyana. He is expected to take up his new post in autumn.

Telemach to lose portion of wireless spectrum

LJUBLJANA - Telecoms operator Telemach, which holds about a fifth of the country's mobile telephony market, is on track to losing a portion of wireless spectrum that had been awarded free of charge in 2008 to Tušmobil, a company it acquired almost five years ago. The decision of the Agency for Communication Networks and Services (AKOS), costing Telemach less than a tenth of the total spectrum it has at its disposal, will be effective on 30 September, until which time a public call for bids for the spectrum will be issued. Telemach told the STA the move would not affect its users since they have enough spectrum, and announced a challenge at the Administrative Court.

Brewery Laško Union ups revenue, profit

LJUBLJANA - Pivovarna Laško Union, a Slovenian brewery owned by the Dutch company Heineken, posted a net profit of EUR 20.3 million last year, up roughly a third from 2017, on net sales revenues of EUR 153.1 million, a rise of 6.5%. Net sales revenues rose mostly on account of heftier sales in foreign markets, which accounted for 26% of all sales revenue, up 4 percentage points, the Ljubljana-based company said. At the end of 2018, Pivovarna Laško Union had a workforce of 596, roughly on a par with 2017. The group was established in 2016 with the merger of Pivovarna Laško and Pivovarna Union after the two were acquired by Heineken a year earlier.

Slovenia ranks 12th in sustainable development

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia was placed 12th in this year's report on meeting the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development targets among 162 countries. The country is particularly successful at eliminating extreme forms of poverty and providing access to greener energy sources. The report was published at the end of June by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network association, under the auspices of the UN, and Bertelsmann Stiftung foundation.

Sex abuse initiative meets Ljubljana, Maribor archbishops

LJUBLJANA - The civil initiative Dovolj.je (It's Enough), founded by believers to fight sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, has received 38 reports of sexual abuse by 22 priests in the five months since its founding. It presented some of the victims to the archbishops of Ljubljana and Maribor in the past few days. The group also called for the dissolving of a church-appointed task force dealing with sexual abuse cases, arguing it had lost credibility.

US offering bounty for suspected Slovenian steroid king

WASHINGTON, US - The US State Department has offered up to five million dollars each for information helping in the arrest of Slovenian citizen Mihael Karner, his brother Matevž Karner and Matevž's wife Alenka Karner, who have been the target of US law enforcement for years on suspicion of having made millions of dollars selling steroids online. Mihael Karner and his wife were arrested in Austria in 2011 but managed to avoid extradition to the US by challenging an extradition order until they were released on bail, by which time they returned to Slovenia, which does not have an extradition agreement with the US. What is more, until 2008 selling anabolic steroids had not been a crime in Slovenia, which made the country a safe haven for the Karners.

Slovenian Istria to bid for European Culture Capital title

PIRAN - The mayors of all four coastal municipalities have recently signed a letter of intent pledging to jointly bid for the 2025 European Capital of Culture title. Piran, Koper, Portorož and Ankaran will compete for the title under the tag Piran-Pirano 4 Istria 2025, with number 4 referring to the four municipalities and also implying "for" in English. They would like to promote Slovenia's coast as a cross-border destination of cultural tourism of European dimensions, the Piran municipality said. Several Slovenian cities with partners have already announced, at least tentatively, their bids for the 2025 title, including Ljubljana, Nova Gorica and Lendava.

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09 Jul 2019, 02:21 AM

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This summary is provided by the STA:

Slovenia to enhance controls on border with Croatia

ILIRSKA BISTRICA - Prime Minister Marjan Šarec said that security on Slovenia's southern border would be beefed up, including with new equipment such as drones and an expansion of the border fence, after meeting with Ilirska Bistrica officials and civil society representatives to discuss the situation on the border with Croatia. Šarec, visiting the south-western town along with Interior Minister Boštjan Poklukar and Police Commissioner Tatjana Bobnar, said that he understood locals' feelings of unease about the situation.

Pahor and Erdogan discuss illegal migrations

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina - Slovenian President Borut Pahor and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan discussed a rise in illegal migrations on the Balkan route as they held a bilateral meeting in Sarajevo on the sidelines of a SE Europe cooperation event. Pahor told Erdogan about the recent rise in the number of migrants entering Slovenia illegally from Croatia, Pahor's office said in a release. Erdogan in turn outlined Turkey's plans about the four million refugees in Turkey, complaining the EU was not fully meeting its financial commitments related to them. The two presidents are worried that the situation in the Middle East could worsen, and hope that a diplomatic solution will be found to the Iran nuclear deal issue.

Slovenia, Croatia present views on border arbitration in court

LUXEMBOURG, Luxembourg - Slovenia reiterated its stance that by not implementing the 2017 border arbitration award, Croatia is violating EU law, as it presented its view in an oral hearing of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) about the admissibility of Slovenia's lawsuit against Croatia. While Croatia argues arbitration does not fall under the ECJ's jurisdiction, because borders are a matter of international rather than EU law, Slovenia stressed the lawsuit was not about the border, because the border had been set in the 2017 award. The EJC advocate general will present his legal opinion on the case on 6 November, while the Slovenia side expects the decision on admissibility at the start of 2020.

SOVA did its job to provide for security of arbitration task force

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's intelligence agency SOVA had adequately instructed Slovenia's staff about security risks, so it cannot be blamed for the 2015 wire-tapping scandal related to the Slovenia-Croatia border arbitration process. However, its advice had not been fully heeded. Several commission members visited SOVA today to talk to the staff who had coached the task force working on Slovenia's arbitration case, the chair of the parliamentary Intelligence Oversight Commission, Matej Tonin told the press. Tonin added he could "credibly confirm" that Simona Drenik, the agent in the arbitration case who was recorded talking over the land-line phone with Jernej Sekolec, Slovenia's member of the international tribunal, had not worked for Croatia's intelligence service.

Iraqi man shot by officer after stabbing taxi driver

NOVA GORICA - An Iraqi man injured a taxi driver with a knife and attacked a police officer in the Nova Gorica area on Sunday afternoon. News portal 24ur.com says police are investigating whether the incident was a clash between migrant traffickers. Two police officers responding to a distress call found a taxi driver bleeding from his neck and saying he had been attacked by a man sitting in a near-by taxi. As the police officers approached the alleged attacker, he started running towards one of them with a knife. The officer fired a warning shot and shot the man in the leg.

Slovenia ready to sue Italian radio stations, prefers other solutions

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia is getting ready to sue several Italian radio stations for FM frequency interference in the border area, but while the suits will be ready by autumn, it would still prefer to resolve the long dispute in a more constructive way, government officials said. "We don't harbour the illusion that lawsuits will simply resolve this issue. But they will definitely have an impact, including a financial impact," Public Administration Minister Rudi Medved told the press, hopeful that the lawsuits will "prompt Italian politics into action".

Fiscal Council urges more budgetary restraint amid macroeconomic uncertainty

LJUBLJANA - The Fiscal Council, Slovenia's fiscal watchdog, reiterated in the face of the government's latest budget plans that increasing macroeconomic uncertainties require a more cautions fiscal policy approach. The council wrote that the fiscal goals Slovenia had committed to at the European level were attainable given the current figures. However, it added that the primary structural surplus would also decrease this year even if the fiscal targets are met. "This indicates a continuation of a pro-cyclical expansionary fiscal policy, which we feel is not appropriate in the current macroeconomic circumstances," the watchdog said.

Slovenia completes EUR 350 million bond issue

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia secured EUR 350 million with an additional issue of a 10-year benchmark bond originally issued in January to obtain EUR 1.5 billion. The bond, due on 14 March 2029, has an annual coupon interest rate of 1.1875% and was sold at a price of 109.875%. The issue, which was well oversubscribed, was lead managed by Goldman Sachs International Bank, Jefferies and JP Morgan.

DeSUS to hold election congress in January

LJUBLJANA - The coalition Pensioners Party (DeSUS) decided to a hold an election congress on 17 January. Karl Erjavec, the party's head since 2005, said it was too early to say whether he would run for another term. DeSUS has been on a downward trajectory for some time, winning only five seats in the National Assembly in 2018 and recently failing to secure an MEP post. Asked to comment on speculation that Igor Šoltes, the former Court of Audit head who failed to get reelected MEP standing on DeSUS's slate in this year's EU vote, could succeed him, Erjavec said this was up to the congress to decide and would also depend on his decision to potentially stand again.

Sunday storms caused havoc in central, eastern Slovenia

ROGATEC/PTUJ - Heavy rain, winds and hailstorms that hit the central and eastern parts of Slovenia on Sunday afternoon caused havoc in 63 municipalities and damaged hundreds of buildings as well as crops and forests. The hardest hit municipalities were Zagorje ob Savi, Rogatec and Rogaška Slatina. Ptuj also suffered severe damage. The hardest hit municipalities were severely affected in particular by the swollen Medija and Sotla rivers, according to the Civil Protection and Disaster Relief Administration.

Third incarnation of apparel giant Mura goes bust

MURSKA SOBOTA - The last remaining bit of Mura, once a huge apparel company, went into receivership. Arum, which was founded by an executive and has been leasing the premises of Aha Mura, has thus become the third failed attempt at salvaging Mura's legacy. Arum was founded in 2015 by Dušan Gomboc, Aha Mura's technical director who saved the company in the last minute before it would have to cease operations a year after it formally entered bankruptcy. Arum leased the premises, machinery and brand, and hired 347 of the remaining 380 Aha Mura employees.

HIT shareholders to get EUR 1.15m in dividends

NOVA GORICA - HIT, Slovenia's leading gaming company, will pay out EUR 1.15 million in dividends in 2019, with the rest of last year's distributable profit, which stood at EUR 4.42 million, remaining undistributed, the company's shareholders decided at their annual meeting. They also gave discharge of liability for 2018 to board member Marjan Zahar and to the supervisory board.

Merger of Ljubljana and Zagreb basketball clubs completed

LJUBLJANA - The shareholders of Ljubljana's Olimpija and Zagreb's Cedevita confirmed what is the first merger of professional basketball clubs from two countries. While Cedevita Olimpija will be seated in Ljubljana, its first head coach will be Croatian expert Slaven Rimac, who coached the Zagreb team in the past season. On the players' front it has been confirmed that the team will also feature 27-year-old small forward Edo Murić, who was among those who won the European Champions title for Slovenia in 2017.

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08 Jul 2019, 02:08 AM

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Organic farming growing steadily in Slovenia

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's organic farming sector continues to grow slowly but steadily. There were 3,320 agricultural holdings registered as organic farms last year, a 4% increase over 2017, according to the Statistics Office. Farms holding the status of organic producers represented 4.8% of all farms in Slovenia. The country's total organic produce grew by 27% last year compared to 2017, amounting to over 29,000 tonnes, while the amount of produced vegetables (over 1,800 tonnes) increased by 21% compared to 2017.

Storms bring winds and hail

LJUBLJANA - Storms swept across Slovenia on Sunday afternoon, bringing strong winds, torrential rain and hail. The Štajerska and Pomurska regions in the east seem to have been hit the most, with the storm leaving some 12,000 buildings without power. In the medieval town of Ptuj, wind exceeded 100 km/h. In this part of the country, winds only rarely exceed 70km/h.

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07 Jul 2019, 02:34 AM

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Protesters rally against border fence between Slovenia, Italy

NOVA GORICA, ŠKOFIJA - Protesters from the border city of Nova Gorica and its Italian neighbour Gorizia gathered in Nova Gorica's Europe Square on Friday evening to rally against the idea to set up new border fences as Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini paid a visit to Trieste. A rally was also held near the Škofije border crossing with Italy. The rally in Nova Gorica, where some 500 Slovenians and Italians gathered, was held under the slogan No More Borders. Another 100 people gathered in Škofije.

Radovljica hosting annual party of Slovenians living abroad

RADOVLJICA - Hundreds of Slovenians from abroad gathered in Radovljica for the main event of the annual get-together dubbed Welcome Home. A series of events has been organised since Wednesday, culminating today with a picnic in the Manor Park of the medieval town. About half a million people identifying themselves as Slovenians live outside Slovenia's borders, including in Italy (80,000), Austria (50,000), Hungary (5,000), Croatia (10,000), Germany (50,000), France (20,000) and the UK (5,000). The biggest community outside Europe is in the US (300,000), with many people identifying themselves as Slovenians also living in Canada, Argentina and Australia.

Average speed in Slovenian roads declining steadily

LJUBLJANA - The average speed recorded on Slovenian roads lowered in 2017 and 2018 compared to 2014 and 2015. The strictness of speed limits correlates to the number of violations, with the latter being more common at night. Drivers do not usually exceed the limit by more than 10 km/h, shows a study by the Traffic Safety Agency. Recorded speeds on highways and expressways do not vary depending on the day or night, while drivers on other roads are on average faster during the night.

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06 Jul 2019, 03:08 AM

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Slovenian, Italian ministers discuss migrations amidst protests

LJUBLJANA, Slovenia/TRIESTE, Italy - As several protests were held along the Slovenian-Italian border against new border control measures, above all Italy's plan to erect physical barriers with Slovenia, the interior ministers, Boštjan Poklukar and Matteo Salvini, spoke on the phone as Salvini visited Trieste. Media reports also quoted Salvini as saying that Italy, Slovenia and Croatia would launch three-partite mixed border patrols. In response to the latest developments, Slovenian parliamentary parties and MEPs mostly condemned the announcement of physical barriers if Slovenian-Italian border police patrols, introduced on 1 July, do not result in fewer illegal migrants. Meanwhile, the mixed border patrols continued to divide Slovenian politics. Opposition SDS MP Branko Grims said current developments were "a total disaster" and proof "our government is impotent security- and development-wise", while coalition SD leader Dejan Židan said PM Marjan Šarec should call a meeting of EU and Western Balkan leaders to find a common solution to the Balkan migration route.

Illegal migration up 47% in first half of 2019

LJUBLJANA - The police continue to detect a rising trend in the number of illegal crossings of the Slovenian border, with the number standing at 5,345 in the first half of the year,up 47.1% over the same period in 2018. There is an increasing number of illegal migrants from Pakistan, Algeria and Morocco. The biggest number of illegal crossings of the border in the first half of the year was processed by police officers from the Koper, Novo Mesto and Ljubljana police departments. By the end of June, 2,718 illegal migrants expressed the intention to ask for asylum, a drop of 7.5% over the first half of 2018.

Šarec points to EU enlargement as means of boosting W Balkan economies

POZNAN, Poland - Prime Minister Marjan Šarec said there was a link between the EU's political decisions and the Western Balkans' economic development, as he attended the 6th Berlin Process summit on the Western Balkan's EU prospects. He also regretted the recent postponement of a decision to launch EU accession talks with North Macedonia and Albania, but expressed hope that "adequate strategic decisions" would be taken regarding the accession talks in the autumn, to when the EU had recently put off the decision.

NKBM to pay out EUR 5 million in dividends

MARIBOR - Biser Bidco, the sole owner of Slovenia's second largest bank NKBM, decided to pay out EUR 5 million in dividends, leaving EUR 126,66 million in profit undistributed. The EUR 5 million payout is significantly lower than in 2018, when Bidco Biser decided to pay out EUR 45.8 million in dividends. The AGM also granted a discharge of liability to the bank's management and supervisory boards. The Luxembourg-based company is owned by US fund Apollo, which holds 80% of the company, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

Telekom Slovenije starts sales of Kosovo subsidiary

LJUBLJANA - Telekom Slovenije published the notification on the start of the sales procedures of its Kosovo subsidiary Ipko. The move is in line with the national telco's strategy of further consolidation through expansion or disinvestment. Telekom Slovenije became the sole owner of Ipko last year after acquiring 7% of the company still held by minority shareholders. In mid-March 2018, it provided it with a EUR 15m capital increase.

Debate hears new national security strategy too general

LJUBLJANA - A debate on the new resolution on the national security strategy hosted by the parliamentary Defence Committee heard criticism that the document was not specific enough. But Klemen Grošelj, a former Defence Ministry state secretary, responded that these were just guidelines and that concrete measures would follow. According to Defence Minister Karl Erjavec, the new resolution is needed because of the changed security situation on the global scale.

Coastal communities urge new water source after kerosene spill

KOPER - The city councils of all four coastal municipalities urged the government to present them within a month a timeline of activities to find a new, safe water source for Slovenian Istria. Koper, Piran, Izola and Ankaran councillors met after almost 11,000 litres of kerosene spilled as a train derailed in a tunnel on the Koper-bound railway near Hrastovlje, south-west, on 25 June. The spill is a threat to the Rižana water source, the only source of drinking water for Slovenia's coast. The greatest threat is heavy rain, which could make kerosene penetrate further into the soil and underground water. Environment Minister Somin Zajc promised serious efforts would be made to find a new water source, announcing a meeting with Istrian mayors at the water directorate for next week.

Počivalšek discusses neutral economy challenges in Helsinki

HELSINKI, Finland - Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek said that the journey towards climate-neutral economy in the EU is paved with challenges as well as opportunities as he attended an informal session of the Competitiveness Council. He stressed the importance of international economy competitivenesses for climate action. In his address, Počivalšek said that the industry of the future has to be green, creative, smart and cooperative.

Ljubljana Drama SNG building makeover gets under way

LJUBLJANA - After long-time efforts to renovate Ljubljana's Drama SNG theatre building, the first phase of the EUR 43 million project has kicked off. The documentation is expected to be drafted by the end of 2021 at the latest, while construction work is scheduled to start in 2022, theatre director Igor Samobor said on Thursday. The work is set to start in September 2022 and end by 2024 or 2025. Samobor said renovation funds had been secured thanks to Culture Minister Zoran Poznič.

Slovenia joins You're Right consumer protection campaign

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia has joined the You're Right campaign of the European Commission to promote the rights of consumers. Running until March 2020, it will focus in Slovenia on tourist packages, the right to withdraw from a contract in 14 days in on-line shopping, and repair or replacement of products. Presenting the campaign, European Commission Representation head Zoran Stančić said it was particularly aimed at young people, who were especially vulnerable.

Art Stays festival starts in Ptuj

PTUJ - The Art Stays festival started in Ptuj, bringing contemporary art productions by Slovenian and foreign artists to this medieval town in the north-east. According to the festival head Jernej Forbici, the 17th Art Stays, running under the title Future - a Vision of the World, will feature international artists who explore what the future holds. The list of more than 80 foreign and domestic participants include Asian artists such as Gal Weinstein, Jeongmoon Choi, Zulkifle Mahmod, Toru Hamada, Yu Kato, Snow Yunxue Fu and acclaimed photographers such as Edward Burtynsky, Olivo Barbieri and Andrea Botto.

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05 Jul 2019, 02:47 AM

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Govt adopts guidelines on division of 2020, 2021 budget funds

LJUBLJANA - The government divided among its departments budget funds for the next two years. The 2020 budget has previously been capped at EUR 10.450 billion, while the 2021 budget is capped at EUR 10.455 billion. The cabinet set the upper limits for individual departments, which now have a few weeks to draft their financial plans for the two periods. Despite what are to be record high budgets, coalition partners are not happy with the funds allocated to the ministries. "Even if there were additional EUR 100 million available, there would still be dissatisfaction," said Igor Zorčič, deputy group head of the Modern Centre Party (SMC) as he was coming out of a coalition meeting this morning.

Krka's net profit up 37% to EUR 140m in H1, dividends up 10% from last year

NOVO MESTO - The drug maker Krka generated EUR 761.8 million in sales revenue in the first half of the year, which is 12% more than in the same period last year. Net profit rose by 37% to EUR 139.9m, the Novo Mesto-based company said. Estimated operating profit grew by 14% to EUR 154.9 million and estimated gross operating profit rose by 10% to EUR 210.3 million. The shareholders also decided that EUR 101.66 million out of last year's distributable profit of EUR 189.47 million will be allocated for dividends at EUR 3.20 gross per share. This is a 10.3% increase compared to last year's dividend.

Govt adopts changes to law on integrity and corruption prevention

LJUBLJANA - The government adopted at its weekly session changes to the law on integrity and the prevention of corruption which change the appointment of corruption watchdog officials and reorganise the work of the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption. The changes bring new standards governing the appointment of officials on the commission. A new condition that a vetting commission will have to take into account is "personal suitability". Some changes will also be made to the commission selecting the candidates for the three posts, but the final selection remains in the hand of Slovenian president.

Ministry says minimum wage increase in 2020 will cost EUR 200m

LJUBLJANA - The Ministry of Labour has come up with a calculation of the effect of the planned rise in the minimum wage in 2020 on the entire economy, establishing that, coupled with the elimination of bonuses from the minimum wage, it would cost the private sector EUR 197.1 million or 1.77% of the wage bill. The calculation comes as a response from the government to the criticism from employer representatives about it having failed to make proper projections before adopting legislative changes raising the minimum wage.

Govt orders adoption of overdue national zoning plan for Poček

LJUBLJANA - The government decided that a new national zoning plan be adopted for Poček, the main training area of the Slovenian Armed Forces. A new zoning plan is needed after the Constitutional Court, petitioned by the Postojna municipality, which hosts Poček, annulled the old one in December 2017. The court argued the zoning plan had not been adopted by considering all environmental risks, giving the government a year to amend the situation.

NSi requests another debate on Slovenian-Italian police patrols

LJUBLJANA - The deputy group of the opposition New Slovenia (NSi) has requested a session of the parliamentary foreign policy and interior policy committees to discuss the newly introduced mixed police patrols on the Slovenian-Italian border. The party believes the joint patrols were a mistake that could have long-term consequences. The NSi argues that the mixed police patrols on Slovenia's border with Italy undermine Interior Minister Boštjan Poklukar's claims that Slovenia is protecting the border with Croatia well.

Cerar says preserving W Balkan's EU accession prospects a must

POZNAN, Poland - Foreign Minister Miro Cerar attended a conference on the Western Balkans as part of a Berlin Process summit, saying that preserving the region's EU accession prospects was a must, and that young people in the region must be enabled to develop their potential. In the discussion on the Berlin Process and the EU accession prospects of the Western Balkans, Cerar expressed Slovenia's support for the enlargement process and the expectation that the EU will take strategic decisions regarding the accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania this year.

Pahor receives credentials of four new ambassadors

LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor was presented with the credentials of Peruvian Ambassador Eric Anderson Machado, Colombian Ambassador Miguel Camilo Ruiz Blanco, Malaysian Ambassador Cheong Loon Lai and Afghan Ambassador Khojesta Fana Ebrahimkhel today. All of them are concurrent ambassadors based outside Slovenia.

Slovenia gets fmr Yugoslav embassy in Guyana

BELGRADE, Serbia - Nearly three decades after the start of the breakup of the former Yugoslavia, the countries that emerged from it continue to settle their succession issues. As part of the process, Slovenia got the building of the former Yugoslavia's embassy in Georgetown, Guyana, at the most recent succession meeting in Belgrade. The Foreign Ministry said in a press release that the meeting also assigned to Slovenia several artworks that used to adorn the former Yugoslavia's diplomatic and consular properties.

Insurance market stable in 2018, regulator says

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's insurance companies generated a cumulative net profit of EUR 132.7 million in 2018, up 6.5% annually, with re-insurers posting a 17% rise to EUR 46.4 million. The director of the Insurance Supervision Agency, Gorazd Čibej, said the industry had operated in a stable manner last year, meeting all capital adequacy standards. Collected gross premiums reached EUR 2.1 billion, up 5.7% over 2017, rising by 6.3% in property insurance and 3.9% in life insurance. Loss ratio improved by 2.1 percentage points because 2018 was more favourable than 2017 for the industry. For reinsurers, 2017 was the fourth worst year in 40 years, Čibej said.

Rail operator firm wins EUR 21.5m project in Croatia

RIJEKA, Croatia - The rail construction firm SŽ-ŽGP of the national railways operator Slovenske Železnice has been picked for a project of reconstructing the railway network in the Croatian Rijeka port. The subsidiary signed the EUR 21.5 million contract today. Apart from reconstructing the network, the firm will also perform demolition work, modernise a logistics platform as well as reconstruct a link to a passenger train station. The project is expected to be completed in two years' time.

Court of Audit honoured with state decoration

LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor has honoured the Court of Audit with the Order of Merit as the institution watching over the use of public funds celebrates its 25th anniversary. The president's office praised the court for its independent, efficient and responsible supervision of taxpayers' money. Court of Audit president Tomaž Vesel said the decoration was a great honour and encouragement, which also brought responsibility to keep up the good work.

Debate warns about youth exodus from Slovenia

LJUBLJANA - A debate which was part of an annual get-together of Slovenians living abroad, hosted by the parliamentary Commission for Relations with Slovenians Abroad, discussed youth brain drain, with participants being critical of the state and sharing their views on homeland and personal experience. The vice-president of the commission Karla Urh pointed out that economic growth and higher recruitment rate did not curb the emigration. She thus called for determining causes for that and developing mitigation strategies.

Ministries urge sacking medicinal products agency members

LJUBLJANA - The newspaper Dnevnik reported that health and agriculture ministries had recently launched the procedure of dismissing four members of the board of the Agency for Medicinal Products and Devices on the grounds of negligence and lack of expertise. The members deny the accusations, deeming them absurd, and are appealing the dismissals.

UKC Ljubljana ordered to rehire main defendant in line-skipping trial

LJUBLJANA - UKC Ljubljana hospital has been ordered by the Ljubljana Labour and Social Court to rehire Uroš Smiljić, who is standing trial for allegedly taking kickbacks from patients wanting to skip waiting lines for exams and procedures at the country's biggest hospital. The court said that the reasons for dismissal stated by the hospital were fabricated. The hospital said that the stocktaker was being fired because his post was being abolished, with the court now establishing that the need for services he provided did not cease to exist after he was fired.

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04 Jul 2019, 02:27 AM

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Slovenia interested in office of enlargement commissioner

NOVO MESTO/LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Marjan Šarec said that the European Commission's office for enlargement was one of the departments Slovenia is interest in. "We have underlined many times that we know the Western Balkans and have something to contribute. This is one of the departments that interests us." He said that Slovenia expected the Commission to become more active as regards enlargement to the Western Balkans. He also expressed satisfaction with the EU top jobs deal brokered by EU leaders the previous day.

MEPs unhappy small countries overlooked in post distribution

STRASBOURG, France - Slovenian MEPs assess the election of Italy's David Sassoli for the president of the European Parliament mostly in the light of the political agreement on the distribution of senior EU posts, in which they see small countries remaining neglected. Slovenian MEPs from the EPP said, as they commented on the developments, that political compromises were a must as the expect German Ursula von der Leyen of the EPP to be appointed the European Commission president. Slovenian MEPs from the S&D and the RE do not perceive the appointment in this light, with Tanja Fajon (SD/S&D) being convinced that many things could happen in the next 14 days.

Analyst says EU appointments revealed tactics of big countries, MEPs with mixed reactions

LJUBLJANA - Political analyst Marko Lovec told the STA that the appointments to top EU posts revealed the tactics of big member states, most notably France and Germany. He thinks new member states wasted their chance of getting an important post by preventing the appointment of Frans Timmermans for European Commission president. Meanwhile, Slovenian MEP of the European People's Party (EPP) expressed satisfaction with the deal, while Tanja Fajon (S&D/SD) was critical.

MPs regret Spitzenkandidat system was abandoned

LJUBLJANA - Slovenian MPs expressed their regret over the abandonment of the Spitzenkandidaten or lead candidate system as they responded to the EU top job bids process. The main loser of the compromise is the Spitzenkandidaten system - its abandonment caused a lot of concern in the EU parliament as well as the Slovenian one. The Slovenian MPs also touched upon Slovenia's nomination procedure for EU commissioner, stressing the importance of unity.

Slovenia replies to EU's suit over central bank investigation

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia has rejected all allegations levelled against it by the European Commission in a lawsuit lodged after the Slovenian police seized some documents of the Slovenian central bank which Brussels claims fall under the principle of immunity of European Central Bank (ECB) documents. The reply to the lawsuit, filed in April, was sent to the European Court of Justice on Tuesday, within the deadline, the Justice Ministry said. Slovenia is accused of having violated the ECB archives and of failing to cooperate with EU authorities in seizing documents during a search at Banka Slovenije in July 2016 as part of investigation into Slovenia's 2013 bank bailout.

Unemployment in June down nearly 6% y/y

LJUBLJANA - The number of unemployed people in Slovenia was down to 70,750 in June, which was 5.7% lower than a year before and 1.8% less than in May, the national Employment Agency said. In the first six months of the year, 35,150 people registered anew with the Employment Agency, which was 4% less than in the first half of 2018. In June, 4,130 people registered anew, which was 8.5% less than the month before and 12.1% less than in June 2018. More than 2,200 of them registered after the expiration of their fix-term labour contracts, 620 were made redundant and 370 were first-time job seekers.

Opposition MPs critical of prosecution of bank crime, corruption in healthcare

LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Justice Committee wrapped up the discussion on the 2018 report on the work of the Specialised State Prosecution Office, with mostly opposition MPs saying that prosecution of banking crime and corruption in healthcare should be bolstered. An office representative said that not everything was as bleak as advertised. Dealing with the most complex cases, the office filed more indictments last year than in 2017. When it comes to individuals, they were sentenced with a final judgement in 61% of the cases, while when it comes to legal entities, judgements of conviction were made in 20% of the cases.

Gorenjska Banka to pay out dividends of EUR 33.75 per share

KRANJ - The Serbian AIK Banka, a new sole owner of Gorenjska Banka since April, decided at Wednesday's annual general meeting that EUR 12 million, or almost two-thirds of last year's distributable profit of Gorenjska Banka of EUR 18.9 million, will be earmarked for dividends at EUR 33.75 per share. The rest - EUR 6.9 million - will remain unallocated, with EUR 4.3 million being at the bank's disposal for unlimited and immediate use to cover risks or losses the moment they occur. The Kranj-based bank generated EUR 20.68 million in profit before taxes last year, thus doubling the 2017 gross profit.

Parliamentary committee discusses mixed police patrols

LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Foreign Policy Committee discussed the newly introduced mixed police patrols on the Slovenian-Italian border, with the opposition MPs saying the move was "killing the Schengen spirit" and foremost benefiting Italy. Foreign Minister Miro Cerar defended the move, saying it came "at the right time". Foreign Minister Miro Cerar said he proposed this in mid-May in order to prevent Italy from taking any unilateral measures that would damage Slovenia's interests.

Production of Renault Clio V launched at Revoz

NOVO MESTO - The production of the fifth generation Renault Clio was officially launched at Revoz, the Novo Mesto-based assembly plant of the French car maker. The project to establish the assembly line for the latest Clio is worth EUR 90 million, with the Slovenian government chipping in a EUR 6 million incentive. The ceremony was attended by Prime Minister Marjan Šarec and Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek.

Left proposes student pay raise

LJUBLJANA - The Left presented draft changes to the fiscal balance act raising the minimum student hourly rate. The party proposes to raise the net rate from EUR 4.13 to EUR 4.99, which would be in some ways roughly equal to the minimum wage, said the Left's MP Miha Kordiš. The proposal includes measures, which had been already endorsed in the party's agreement with the government, such as travel expenses reimbursement, paid meal breaks and raising the minimum hourly rate.

Ljubljana monuments to WWII resistance vandalised

LJUBLJANA - Several monuments to WWII resistance members in Ljubljana's city centre were vandalised during the night. Police are investigating the incident, in which at least three monuments were sprayed with orange graffiti carrying political messages. President Borut Pahor and Culture Ministry condemned the act and called for tolerance.

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