Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Thursday, 7 July 2022

By , 07 Jul 2022, 04:14 AM News
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This summary is provided by the STA:

Slovenia, Croatia to start addressing border issue at informal level

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

Upper chamber tables legislation introducing provinces

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

Insurance sector posts nearly 40% growth in profit for 2021

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

Šketa tells MPs there is severe shortage of prosecutors

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

Hungarians offload stake in NovaTV24

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

Court considers potential abuse in deliberating on legitimacy of referendum

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

Anti-graft commission head says integrity still not considered integral

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

Group to coordinate Covid hospital admissions set up

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

Number of Covid cases continues to grow

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

Equality ombudsman finds ten cases of discrimination in 2021

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

Court annuls fine over 2020 mask-free gala featuring minister

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

Ex-PM Cerar will not enter presidential race

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

Minority protests planned abolishment of Slavic studies course

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

Musician Gregor Bezenšek to join the presidential race

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

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