Ljubljana related

28 Mar 2019, 05:30 AM

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STA - Below is a roundup of major events on Thursday, 28 March 2019:

Slovenia protests as Croatian police boat crosses deep into Slovenian waters

LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Miro Cerar announced that Slovenia would issue a diplomatic note to Croatia over a grave border violation by a Croatian police boat in the Bay of Piran last Sunday. Cerar said the boat crossing 2.5 km into Slovenian waters and even 1.3 km across the bay's midline was a special kind of provocation that involved a failure to honour international and EU law and the Schengen border. The June 2017 international border arbitration decision, which Croatia refuses to implement, gave 80% of the bay to Slovenia.

SSH supervisors and CEO Glavina agree to part ways

LJUBLJANA - The supervisors of Slovenian Sovereign Holding (SSH) and the state asset custodian's CEO Lidia Glavina agreed on a termination of Glavina's term. She will be replaced temporarily by chief supervisor Igor Kržan. Glavina, who has been rumoured to face dismissal for a while, was appointed the interim CEO in July 2016 after serving as a supervisor since the spring of 2015. She was appointed for a full term in February 2017. Her term was marked by the privatisation of the NLB bank and the restructuring and sale of the automotive parts maker Cimos to the Italian fund Palladio Finanziaria.

New environment, health ministers appointed

LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly confirmed the latest replacements in the Marjan Šarec government, voting 49 to 20 twice to appoint Aleš Šabeder as new health minister and Simon Zajc as new minister of the environment and spatial planning. The opposition National Party (SNS) supported both candidates, New Slovenia (NSi) approved of Zajc but not of Šabeder, while the Left and the Democratic Party (SDS) directed criticism at both. Coalition parties pointed to the mountain of problems that both new ministers are facing.

MHP takeover bid values Pertunina Ptuj at EUR 194m

LJUBLJANA - Ukrainian MHP holding, acting through its Cypriot affiliate Hemiak Investments, has published a takeover bid for the remaining 9.31% shares of the Slovenian poultry group Perutnina Ptuj it does not hold already, offering EUR 17.82 per share, or just over EUR 18m for the outstanding stake. The takeover bid concerns 1,015,658 shares and is valid until 22 May. The offer comes after the Ukrainian company had already paid EUR 176.3m for a 90.69% stake in the Slovenian poultry group it acquired from the Russian-owned steel group SIJ in November 2018.

NSi pushing for separate constitutional review of 2019 budget

LJUBLJANA - After the opposition Democratic Party (SDS) announced last week it would ask the Constitutional Court to review the supplementary budget for 2019 arguing it poses a major risk for Slovenia, New Slovenia (NSi) said today it would file a separate motion. While agreeing with the SDS that the supplementary budget was unconstitutional, the fellow opposition party finds the SDS's motion legally faulty so it decided not to provide signatures of support of its MPs. Instead, the party will prepare a new motion and seek support among parliamentary parties.

Maritime pilots in Koper port threaten with strike in April

KOPER - The employees of the company providing piloting services in the port of Koper have announced a strike for 3 April, which could seriously hamper the operations at Slovenia's sole maritime port. They demand greater safety at work, which would be secured with additional hirings and pilot boats, as well as higher wages.

Visitor numbers to Slovenia down in January

LJUBLJANA - After continuous growth for the past months and years, the Slovenian tourism industry saw a drop in visitor numbers and nights spent in January, the latter due to fewer domestic guests. Fresh data from the Statistics Office show that 265,153 visitors spent a total of 758,425 nights at the country's accommodation facilities in January, a decline of 5.5% and 2.1% year-on-year, respectively.

Top research centre IJS celebrates 70th anniversary

LJUBLJANA - The Jožef Stefan Institute (IJS), Slovenia's leading science and research centre, will mark its 70th anniversary with a high-profile ceremony at Cankarjev Dom in the evening, featuring a talk about flying robots by top robotics expert Vijay Kumar from the University of Pennsylvania. The IJS is the largest research centre in the country which by far transcends the Slovenian borders in terms of science and culturally, says its boss Jadran Lenarčič. With some 990 employees, it covers a range of basic and applied research.

Two-week festival of Slovenian theatre gets under way

KRANJ - World Theatre Day traditionally marked the start of the 49th Week of Slovenian Drama today. Hosted by the Prešeren Theatre in Kranj, this year's festival will feature 15 shows in 13 days. The schedule includes seven plays featured in the competition section, four in the accompanying programme and four in the international programme. At the opening ceremony, the Slovenian Association of Drama Artists will present the Marija Vera Award for lifetime achievement to actor Vladimir Jurc and the Polde Bibič lifetime achievement award to costume designer Marija Vidau.

Illustration festival starts in Ljubljana

LJUBLJANA - The 13th Slovenian Biennial of Illustration got under way at Cankarjev Dom in Ljubljana, celebrating Slovenian illustrators' accomplishments of the past two years. Running until 19 May, the festival will present 72 illustrators, the largest number so far, and will focus on new artistic methods and technologies used in illustration. The festival opened with an awards ceremony at which the Slovenian illustrator Kostja Gatnik was honoured for his lifetime achievement with the Hinko Smrekar Award.

27 Mar 2019, 06:00 AM

STA - Below is a roundup of major events on Wednesday, 27 March 2019:

Changes to criminal procedure act passed, police to start using IMSI catchers

LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed changes to the criminal procedure act, which introduce a number of novelties, including the police use of devices that mimic mobile phone towers to intercept mobile traffic. The changes were passed in a 46:33 vote, with the opposition arguing some provisions could be at odds with the Constitution. The changes, also needed for a long overdue transposition of the EU's victim's rights directive, are significantly watered down compared to a version that was rejected in 2017.

Parliament transposes EU trade secret directive

LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly adopted a bill to protect trade secrets which translates into Slovenian law the corresponding EU directive from 2016. The law includes exceptions for the purposes of parliamentary inquiries and to allow for disclosures made by whistle blowers. The EU directive on the protection of undisclosed know-how and business information against their unlawful acquisition, use and disclosure is aimed at aligning diverging national laws on trade secrets. EU member countries were required to transpose it by mid-2018.

Most Slovenian MEPs vote against copyright directive, Slovenian creatives happy

STRASBOURG, France/LJUBLJANA - The majority of Slovenia's MEPs rejected the EU copyright directive in today's plenary vote in Strasbourg, mostly arguing it undermined internet freedom. Only three of Slovenia's eight MEPs backed the directive, including Lojze Peterle (EPP/NSi), who said in September that no freedoms were being undermined with the directive "except the freedom to have at one's disposal the work of others without repaying the authors". Slovenian creatives welcomed the yes vote, while the opponents, most notably the non-parliamentary Pirate Party and the opposition Left said today "is a dark day for the internet."

Šabeder okayed by committee for new health minister

LJUBLJANA - Aleš Šabeder, the nominee for health minister, was confirmed by the Health Committee, with 12 MPs voting in favour and two against. He announced a systematic approach to cut waiting times and red tape, and an overhaul of the health care and health insurance act. One of his first priorities will be to revise waiting lists on the national level and then prepare measures to cut waiting times such as setting up additional programmes and focus on the areas where the number of patients is rising.

SNS leader in trouble over money comments

LJUBLJANA - The police launched a preliminary inquiry targeting National Party (SNS) leader Zmago Jelinčič in the aftermath of claims by a man originally slated to become the party's top candidate for the EU election that Jelinčič demanded a monthly payment if he gets elected. Gregor Preac said he had been offered the top slot on the SNS slate in exchange for giving 500 euro a month to the party and 1,000 euro to Jelinčič personally if he is elected. Jelinčič says he was misunderstood when he jokingly said that he would take all of Preac's money and give him only a thousand.

Unions to fight new tax, pension legislation

LJUBLJANA - Two of Slovenia's largest trade unions, ZSSS and Pergam, will oppose government plans to change laws governing income tax, pensions and unemployment benefits. They say the changes do not benefit workers and would only be acceptable if they are significantly altered. ZSSS president Lidija Jerkič expects that negotiators will now get down to work and hammer out compromise proposals. Given the scope of work ahead, she does not expect the bills could be implemented until the summer as the government plans.

MEPs vote to drop daylight saving time, Slovenia OK with it

LJUBLJANA - The European Parliament voted to scrap the twice-a-year custom of changing the clocks by 2021. The Slovenian government is in favour of the decision, but it is not yet clear whether the country would opt for permanent winter time or permanent summer time. The Infrastructure Ministry said it had already asked neighbouring countries, which have the same standard time as Slovenia, about their stances in order to coordinate, but received no reply yet.

Finding answers to population ageing is a must, panel agrees

LJUBLJANA - Participants of a debate on demographic policy in Slovenia hosted by President Borut Pahor agreed that finding answers to the population ageing is a must. Pahor pointed to the responsibility and duty of the stakeholders for creating policies at the national level, while researchers called for relevant studies to be made. According to Janez Malačič of the Ljubljana Faculty of Economics, a too low birth rate may quickly result in the ageing of the population, and immigration could be one of the solutions.

Šarec meets relatives of Basovizza victims

LJUBLJANA - PM Marjan Šarec received relatives of one of the four Slovenian victims of fascism known as the Basovizza victims, who would like Italy to rehabilitate them posthumously before next year's 90 anniversary of their execution. Matjaž and Marko Bidovec, a nephew and a grandnephew of Ferdo Bidovec (1908-1930), presented the activities of the relatives of victims of the fascist regime in Italy, while Šarec said he would do everything he could for Slovenia to keep a clear memory of Basovizza as a reminder of the evil done by fascism.

AmCham debate hears calls for Slovenia to adopt clear vision

LJUBLJANA - A debate hosted AmCham Slovenija heard that Slovenia should adopt a clear vision and strategy to be able to compete in the globalised world, which no longer plays by the rules but has become unpredictable. Economic Mojmir Mrak noted that the significantly changed business environment throughout the world. "China and India are increasingly big players and globalisation has started to show its negative aspects," he said, adding that this was not good for small and open economies such as Slovenia's.

Labour minister says dismissal without cause not an option

LJUBLJANA - Labour Minister Ksenija Klampfer announced the government was not considering relaxing dismissal rules as she attended an employer conference. While the employers have been urging more flexibility in hiring and firing, the minister said she was aware of their proposals to enable termination without cause. "However, some international documents prevent it, so no changes in this direction are in the making, there being no expert basis for it," the minister said.

Nikolić moves from CFO to CEO position at HSE

LJUBLJANA - Stojan Nikolić, the CFO at the state-owned energy group HSE, has been appointed as the new director general of the group. He is being joined by Viktor Vračar, so far supervisory board member and director of the Slovenian subsidiary of ThyssenKrupp Elevator, as managing director. The appointments were made by the HSE supervisory board last night. The new director general will assume his duties on 1 April and the managing director on 1 May.

Irregularities in overtime uncovered at health organisations

LJUBLJANA - As doctors often do more than 100 hours of overtime a month, inspectors have uncovered a number of irregularities in registering and paying their overtime public in hospitals and community health centres, a report of inspectors in the public sector for 2018 has shown. Some employees received a bonus for overtime even if they did not even put in the regular hours for the month, or they got paid more overtime than they did. Some health organisations did not even have a record of overtime.

26 Mar 2019, 09:05 AM

STA - Below is a roundup of major events on Monday, 25 March:

Minister nominee Šabeder to strive for accessible, quality healthcare

LJUBLJANA - The nominee for health minister, Aleš Šabeder, stressed in his presentation at the Health Committee in parliament that citizens must be provided with accessible and quality public health services. The current director of the UKC Ljubljana hospital announced a systematic approach to cut waiting times and red tape, and an overhaul of the healthcare and health insurance act. MPs had several questions for him, mostly to do with supplementary insurance and problems in primary healthcare, but due to the abundance of questions the hearing will continue on Tuesday. If appointed, Šabeder will replace Samo Fakin, who resigned at the beginning of March for health reasons.

Zajc pledges to resume work set out by Environment Ministry

LJUBLJANA - Simon Zajc pledged to complete the work set out by his predecessor at the Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning in his hearing on the parliamentary committee in charge of the environment. He listed updates to construction and housing laws, a reform of water law and tackling the waste management as his priorities. Zajc, who is serving as one of the two state secretaries at the ministry and was nominated to replace his boss Jure Leben as minister, told the MPs the ministry would have to keep up the pace and the manner of work set out under Leben's guide. He is expected to be appointed minister on Wednesday after being backed in a 10:5 vote in today's hearing.

PM in acrimonious exchange with MP over Strasbourg address

LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly witnessed an acrimonious exchange between PM Marjan Šarec and opposition New Slovenia (NSi) MP Ljudmila Novak over his decision to pass on the invitation to address the European Parliament. While Novak, a former MEP, said that Šarec had missed an opportunity to set out his vision of the EU's future, the prime minister said he did not believe she had raised the issue in good faith, but rather as part of the campaign for the EU elections in which she stands herself as the NSi frontrunner herself. He said he did not regret his decision after Antonio Tajani's latest comments about Mussolini.

PM says real pension reform still in the making

LJUBLJANA - PM Marjan Šarec told MPs in questions time that the package of legislative changes to the pension system presented by the government recently addressed only the most burning issues, while a real reform was yet to be drawn up at a later stage. "These proposals are aimed at prolonging the years of service on the one hand and improving the social status of all those eligible for pension and disability insurance funds on the other," he said, arguing these would suffice for now.

Home minister says police managing situation on border

LJUBLJANA - Interior Minister Boštjan Poklukar assured MPs in questions time Slovenia was successfully managing migrations on the border with Croatia and protecting the Schengen border despite a renewed jump in illegal migrations. The latest data by police for January and February show a total of 611 illegal crossings of the border were recorded in Slovenia, up 35% compared to the same period last year. But the trend appears to have accelerated in March, with Poklukar saying 746 attempts to cross the border illegally had been recorded between 1 and 21 March. "It is true, attempts to cross the border illegally are increasing, partially due to the fact that the winter has been green ... which made it easier to cross the border."

Govt ratings down as scandals bite

LJUBLJANA - The government's approval rating appears to be eroding fast after the fourth cabinet resignation in six months. Having peaked in January at almost 63% and then dropping to 56% in February, it declined to 52.4% in the latest poll commissioned by POP TV. Over 36% said they disapproved of its performance, up four points over the previous month, while 11% were undecided, showed the poll, conducted by Mediana and released on Sunday evening. The declining approval rating was mirrored in the support for government parties, with the ruling Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) losing four percentage points to 16.6%.

Cerar meets minority reps from Austria

LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Miro Cerar met representatives of the Slovenian minority from Austria as part of preparations for a session of the Slovenia-Carinthia Committee in Slovenia on Friday, which will also be attended by Carinthian Governor Peter Kaiser. The presidents of the umbrella minority organisations outlined the open issues which Cerar is expected to raise, pointing to the need to fully implement a memorandum from 2011 regarding bilingual place names in Carinthia. Cerar said more funding was needed for Slovenians not only in Carinthia but also Styria, chiefly for minority education and for the Slovenian weekly Novice.

Gorenje ends 2018 in the red, revenue down 1.7%

VELENJE - Household appliance maker Gorenje, which was taken over by China's Hisense last year, reported EUR 1.184bn in group sales revenue for 2018, a 1.7% drop on 2017. After ending 2017 in the black, Gorenje recorded a EUR 37.3m net loss in 2018, or EUR 111.2m when factoring in one-off and extraordinary events. EBITDA fell by 53.5% to EUR 29.6m and EBIT was EUR 28.2m in the negative after a EUR 12.1m plus had still been recorded in 2017. The company earmarked 2.5% of total revenue or EUR 30m for investment.

Slovenian, Macedonian economy ministers discuss economic ties

LJUBLJANA - Minister of Economic Development and Technology Zdravko Počivalšek and his Macedonian counterpart Kreshnik Bekteshi shared a view that bilateral economic relations were good, but called for further improving them, as they met in Ljubljana. "Trade in goods between the two countries reached EUR 307m in 2018, up 6% on 2017. The growth trend has also been recorded in services," Počivalšek was quoted as saying in his ministry's release. Bekteshi meanwhile noted that NATO's door opening for his country had brought stability and security, which facilitated a record growth in investment, topping EUR 624m.

Business sentiment flat in March, worsens y/y

LJUBLJANA - Business sentiment in Slovenia remained at 9.1 percentage points in March, level with February, but declined by 3.2 points from March 2018, the Statistics Office reported. The monthly trend was affected positively by a 0.4-point boost in the confidence indicators in manufacturing and retail. However, the overall indicator was kept down by a dampening in the services sector (-0.6 pp), among consumers (-0.2 pp) and in construction (-0.1 pp). Confidence in retail increased by one percentage point year-on-year.

Home prices in Slovenia up 18% in 2018

LJUBLJANA - Prices of residential properties in Slovenia rose by 18.2% last year, driven by a 19.8% growth in the prices of second-hand homes, according to a report by the Statistics Office. The number of transactions decreased by 14% to 9,421 from the 2017 peak. The number of transactions in new apartments remained low for the second year running. In the final quarter of 2018, prices of existing family houses increased the most, by as much as 38.6% compared to the same quarter a year ago.

Investment in digital ads expected to rise by 25% this year

LJUBLJANA - Advertisers in Slovenia will increase investment into digital advertising by 25% this year, spending an average of EUR 290,000 on it, suggests a survey carried out by the digital agency Iprom and pollster Valicon. Iprom said that 68% of the 214 surveyed decision-makers on the Slovenian advertising and marketing scene said they would increase the budget for digital advertising this year, while 29% said they would leave it on a par with last year's. The service sector will spend the most on digital advertising, EUR 352,000 on average, followed by the retail (EUR 291,000) and tourism sectors (EUR 233,000).

Petrol prices up significantly, diesel cheaper

LJUBLJANA - Regular petrol sold at service stations outside the Slovenian motorway network will be significantly more expensive on Tuesday and cost more than diesel for the first time since last October, the Economy Ministry said. Regular will cost EUR 1.295 per litre, up 2.9 cents and the highest it has been since November, whereas the price of diesel will go down by 1.1 cents to EUR 1.258.

Slovenia draw against North Macedonia in Euro 2020 qualifier

LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian national football team played North Macedonia on Sunday to record the second draw in as many games in the Euro 2020 qualifiers. Like in Thursday's match against Israel, Slovenia squandered a 1:0 lead for a final score of 1:1 (1:0). Slovenia, who are playing again under one of the most successful Slovenian national team coaches, Matjaž Kek, looked a much better team again than in recent years, but individual mistakes spoiled matters a little. The next qualifiers await Slovenia on 7 and 10 June in Austria and Latvia, respectively.

Exhibition on Hiroshima and Nagasaki opens in Ljubljana

LJUBLJANA - Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Pain and Courage, an exhibition dedicated to the victims of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, opened at the National Museum of Contemporary History. The exhibition of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, put on in cooperation with the Slovenian PEN Centre ahead of the 51st International PEN meeting, is meant to raise awareness about the danger of nuclear armament. It will run until 20 April.

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