Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Tuesday, 12 July 2022

By , 12 Jul 2022, 04:24 AM News
Catch up with the news from Slovenia, wherever you are Catch up with the news from Slovenia, wherever you are Photo: Flickr - Pedro Ribeiro Simões CC by 2.0

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This summary is provided by the STA:

Energy agency launches phase 1 of gas supply emergency plan

LJUBLJANA - The Energy Agency urged Slovenian gas consumers to use natural gas with care as a precautionary measure as it declared an early warning level to notify the public of potential disruption to supply in the future in case of reduced supplies of natural gas from Russia. Commenting on the measure, Infrastructure Minister Bojan Kumer said it was but "an early-warning or awareness-raising phase", while gas supplies continue undisrupted. Last year's total consumption of natural gas in Slovenia rose by 6% to 10,163 GWh in what was the highest total consumption since 2010, the agency's data shows.

Brussels to urge Slovenia to improve press freedom in new report

BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Commission is expected to say there has been no progress with regard to press freedom in Slovenia as it publishes its third annual report on the rule of law in EU countries on Wednesday, according to a draft report obtained by the STA. Since the 2021 Rule of Law Report, the situation of media freedom and pluralism has not improved, says the draft report, pointing to challenges concerning political influence at public broadcaster RTV Slovenija. One of the recommendations is to refer to the rules and mechanisms for strengthening the independent managing and editorial policy of public media.

Slovenia has not yet detected security threats due to Ukraine war

PRAGUE, Czech Republic - Interior Minister Tanja Bobnar attended an informal EU ministerial in Prague, telling her colleagues that the Slovenian police had not yet detected major security threats stemming from the war in Ukraine. However, the police is paying close attention including because of potential human trafficking. She also warned about the great quantity of weapons circulating in Ukraine, saying they were a very big concern as they may be smuggled into the EU, the press release from the Interior Ministry said.

Equality ombudsman calls for changes to asylum legislation

LJUBLJANA - The Advocate of the Principle of Equality has reviewed the international protection act to find potential discrimination in provisions on unaccompanied minors seeking international protection, specifically the requirement that a legal representative of an unaccompanied minor seeking international protection may be dismissed if they do not forward information to authorities about the minor. Urged to draw up legislative changes, the Interior Ministry said it is willing to closely cooperate with oversight institutions, including the equality ombudsman.

Culture Committee okays RTV Slovenija act changes

LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Culture Committee approved the government-sponsored changes to the act on RTV Slovenija which overhaul management and oversight structures at the public broadcaster in a bid to reduce political interference. Culture Minister Asta Vrečko said irreparable damage is being inflicted on the broadcaster. RTV Slovenija director general Andrej Grah Whatmough meanwhile believes fast-tracking the far-reaching changes contravenes the constitution. The same view was expressed by the opposition Democrats (SDS), whose motion to challenge the fast-tracking of the bill was voted down, but the party did not exclude the possibility of a referendum.

RTV poll shows Pirc Musar in the lead in presidential race

LJUBLJANA - Lawyer Nataša Pirc Musar is in the lead in the presidential race, according to a poll conducted by Mediana for public broadcaster RTV Slovenija. She enjoys the support of 23.9% of respondents and is followed by former Foreign Ninister Anže Logar (16.6%) and Freedom Movement vice-president Marta Kos (14.4%). The Mediana poll involved 14 potential candidates, some of whom are unlikely to enter the race.

Ruling party candidate dismisses Kučan's argument against her bid

LJUBLJANA - Marta Kos, a former diplomat who will stand in this year's presidential election as the candidate of the ruling Freedom Movement, dismissed former Slovenian President Milan Kučan's argument that it would be "systemically unacceptable" to have members of the same party in the country's top three offices - those of president, prime minister and speaker. She also believes that Kučan's argument is abuse by some other presidential candidates to disqualify her from the presidential race.

More than half give govt negative marks in Delo poll

LJUBLJANA - More than half of the respondents gave negative marks to both the government and parliament in the latest public opinion poll carried by the daily Delo. The median rating of the government is at 2.35, with Delo noting the previous government scored lower only in November 2021 when almost 60% were unhappy with its work. The ruling Freedom Movement meanwhile continues to lead the party rankings with some 30%, followed by the opposition Democrats (SDS; 19%) and the coalition Social Democrats (SD;7%).

Slovenia marks 27th anniversary of Srebrenica genocide

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia marked the 27th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide perpetrated during the war in Bosnia, with senior officials noting that the massacre must never be forgotten so that it can serve as a cautionary tale. President Borut Pahor highlighted the importance of justice and reconciliation as he visited the Muslim Cultural Centre in Ljubljana at the invitation of Mufti Nevzet Porić, head of the Muslim community in Slovenia, for a ceremony dedicated to the anniversary.

Slovenia-Israel Friendship Day celebrated in Metlika

METLIKA - President Borut Pahor highlighted the support Israel extended to Slovenia during the country's independence efforts 30 years ago and pointed to the fragility of peace amid the war in Ukraine, as he addressed an event marking Slovenia-Israel Friendship Day in Metlika. The day was marked upon Pahor's initiative for the second year running, this time also marking 30 years of Slovenia-Israel diplomatic relations. Israeli President Isaac Herzog addressed the event remotely, thanking Pahor for the leadership that has intensified the strong bilateral Israeli-Slovenian relationship.

Matura results slightly worse than last year

LJUBLJANA - A total of 5,194 final-year secondary school students or some 95% passed the national school-leaving exam, known as the matura exam, which is close to last year's 97%. A total of 302 students passed the matura exams with flying colours, the same as last year, while the number of candidates that scored all points, at 18, is up by three compared to last year, show results released by the National Examinations Centre.

Over 900 new Covid cases over the weekend

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia confirmed 941 new cases of coronavirus over the weekend, an increase of more than 40% over the previous weekend. One patient with Covid-19 died. There are currently 45 patients at regular wards hospitalised with Covid as their primary condition and another eight in intensive care. This compares to 23 and nine, respectively, a week ago.

Opponents of Covid restriction changes to collect signatures in autumn

LJUBLJANA - The proponents of two referendum initiatives challenging the changes to the communicable diseases act which govern epidemic restrictions, and which were passed on 29 June, are to start collecting signatures for the votes on 1 September if a referendum on the bill is permitted. This is because the constitution does not allow bills remedying unconstitutional provisions to be put to a referendum vote. The National Assembly legal service has until 19 July to decide whether to permit the referendum or not.

VonPharma plans manufacturing plant in Velenje

VELENJE - VonPharma, a producer of food supplements, plans to open a manufacturing plant in Velenje and signed an agreement with the city to buy 14,580 square metres of land in a commercial zone. The first phase of the project will see a new administration building and a new manufacturing complex built by 2023. The two-stage project, which involves an administrative centre, manufacturing facility and logistics centre, could create 1,000 new jobs, according to CEO Tadej Von Horvath.

Industrial output up in May

LJUBLJANA - The value of industrial production increased in both monthly and annual comparisons in May, by 0.8% and 3%, respectively, show data released by the Statistics Office. The monthly rise was driven by electricity, gas and steam supply and manufacturing, which grew by 5.1% and 0.2%, respectively. A 7.7% drop was recorded in mining and quarrying.

Domestic output met 83% of Slovenia's electricity demand in 2021

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's electricity output dropped by over 8% in 2021 while consumption rose by 3%. The country's output met 83% of its needs, down by almost 10 points from 2020 but on a par with pre-pandemic years, a report from the Energy Agency shows. The output-to-consumption rate fell from 92.6% in 2020 to 82.9% last year. The production units connected to the transmission or distribution system generated a total of 14,423 gigawatt hours (GWh), down by 1,325 GWh or 8.4% from 2020.

Slovenia's 2021 natural gas consumption at over 10,150 GWh highest in decade

MARIBOR - The consumption of natural gas in Slovenia increased by 6% last year over the year before to a record 10,163 GWh since 2010, Energy Agency data shows. The total consumption increased with all gas consumers. While households's consumption - which accounted for about a third of total consumption - rose by 12%, non-household users consumed over 9% more gas than in 2020. The rise is attributed to an increase in the number of users, from 908 to 137,192, and to colder weather.

Businesses can count on EUR 670m in incentives

LJUBLJANA - Businesses in Slovenia can count on EUR 670.6 million in development incentives this year, after the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology has raised the funds for development-oriented projects of Slovenian companies and their support environment by EUR 29.9 million from what was planned at the start of 2022. "I am very pleased that we will be allocating almost EUR 30 million in additional development incentives to the economy, which companies really need in these unpredictable and challenging times," Minister Matjaž Han said in a press release.

Climbing: Garnbret makes it three in a row

CHAMONIX, France - Slovenia's best climber Janja Garnbret won her third World Cup lead event in a row as she dominated the event in Chamonix, France, on Sunday to affirm her role as the favourite for the coming World Championship. Already the most successful climber of all times, she now has 35 World Cup victories, of which 21 in the lead event and 14 in bouldering.

Pogačar hopes to lead the Tour until end

PARIS, France - Slovenia's star cyclist Tadej Pogačar, the winner of the past two Tour de France races, seems well on his way to make it three in a row. Talking to the press today, a free day in the excruciating three-week grand tour that started 10 days ago, he said he liked wearing the yellow jersey and hopes he gets to keep it until the end. He praised his Team Emirates (UAE), saying each member is excellent at what they do. They are hard-working, experienced and highly motivated, he said.

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