Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Saturday, 16 July 2022

By , 16 Jul 2022, 04:39 AM News
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This summary is provided by the STA:

Hungarian president notes need for unity to tackle challenges

LJUBLJANA/LENDAVA - Slovenian and Hungarian presidents Borut Pahor and Katalin Novak praised bilateral relations and noted that the war in Ukraine and its consequences represent a huge challenge for the region and Europe that requires joint and uniform solutions, as they met as part of Novak's official visit. Pahor noted "brilliant continuation of relations between Slovenia and Hungary", which is symbolised by the fact that Novak had chosen Slovenia for her first official visit after taking office. Novak, too, noted the trust and the good relations, also pointing to the care for the rights of the Hungarian and Slovenian ethnic minorities. In the afternoon, the presidents attended the opening of the new Hungarian Community House in Lendava.

Michel replies to Pahor's letter on Bosnia's EU candidate statues

LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor has received European Council President Charles Michel's reply to his 14 June letter in which Pahor advocated giving Bosnia-Herzegovina EU candidate status and only then require of it to meet the accession criteria. Michel says the EU is fully and unwaveringly committed to the European perspective of Western Balkan countries and supports the accelerated process of their EU accession. He also notes the 23 June summit underlined its readiness to grant candidate status and called on all political leaders in Bosnia to stick to their commitments and swiftly implement the necessary reforms.

Brussels welcomes action on media independence

BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Commission welcomed Slovenia's action regarding media independence after the National Assembly passed amendments to the act on public broadcaster RTV Slovenija that strip parliament of its role in appointing members of management and supervisory bodies. "In the past we raised concerns about attempts to undermine the independence of public service media in Slovenia, so it's good that the government wants to take action with the aim to adopt more safeguards to protect this independence," Commission spokesman Christian Wigand said.

Minister vows security to be ensured post-border fence removal

METLIKA - Slovenian soldiers started removing the 51km of razor wire that runs along the southern border with Croatia, starting at a border crossing near Metlika, SE, with Interior Minister Tatjana Bobnar and acting Police Commissioner Boštjan Lindav on hand. Bobnar said the wire fence was a totally disproportionate measure, so the government decided to get rid of it and guarantee security in other ways. Once the razor wire is removed, the panel fence will be also removed in collaboration with local communities once a contractor has been selected in an open call. The razor wire and panel fence had been set up in the wake of the 2015 migration crisis.

Social partners find common ground at first meeting in over a year

LJUBLJANA - The Economic and Social Council (ESS) met for the first time in 14 months to establish that there are no major disagreements and that common ground was found on the essential points of discussion, while commitments were made to revive social dialogue after it was stalled under the previous government. Lidija Jerkič, the head of the ZSSS trade union confederation, said the first session of the country's main industrial relations forum under the new government showed the "meeting was positive and we are pleased with the response of the entire ministerial team present".

PM calls meeting on cost-of-living crisis for Wednesday

LJUBLJANA - PM Robert Golob called a high-level working meeting for Wednesday to discuss the challenges of high energy and food prices in a bid to secure political unity in adopting measures to address the cost-of-living crisis. Invited are the leaders of all parliamentary parties, all deputy group leaders, the finance, infrastructure and economy ministers, the director of the Institute of Macroeconomic Analysis and Development, several economists and several representatives of energy companies. Golob said yesterday that both opposition leaders, Janez Janša and Matej Tonin, had expressed readiness to cooperate.

Urbanija to become boss of TV Slovenija

LJUBLJANA - Uroš Urbanija, who served as the head of the Government Communication Office (UKOM) under the previous government, will be appointed director of TV Slovenija by RTV Slovenija general director Andrej Grah Whatmough on Monday, RTV Slovenija said in a statement. The news comes after Urbanija was interviewed by Grah Whatmough today after having already received approval of the broadcaster's programme council last week. The trade unions reiterated their opposition to Urbanija, saying based on his modus operandi in the past, they expect his appointment to lead to further deterioration of relations within the broadcaster.

Two new members appointed to RTV Slovenija programme council

LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly appointed on Thursday journalists Alenka Sivka and Branimir Piano members of the public broadcaster RTV Slovenija programme council to replace two members who resigned. Piano is a culture writer and critic and Sivka a magazine journalist and editor who unsuccessfully ran on the Freedom Movement's ticket in the general election.

Govt to build "giant solar power plants" for households

LJUBLJANA - The government is gearing up to increase the capacity of production of electricity from solar energy, with PM Golob announcing on Thursday a plan to set up "giant solar power plants" available to households in the next three years. The Infrastructure Ministry confirmed for the STA today it was working intensively on the plan to increase the solar power production capacity. On Thursday, the government tasked the infrastructure minister with drawing up a plan to increase this capacity by 1,000 megawatts by 2025 in suitable locations in cooperation with national grid operator ELES and distribution system operator SODO.

Catholic Church regrets legalisation of gay marriage, adoptions

LJUBLJANA - The Bishops' Conference accepts the Constitutional Court's legalisation of gay marriage and adoptions with regret, saying in a statement that the objective is to reject human nature and build a new social order in which every person will be able to shape themselves as they wish and without regard for their natural characteristics. The bishops said that adoption is not a human right, so it was all the more important to prioritise children's rights and optimal circumstances for their growth and development.

Ex-govt officials paid EUR 230,000 for unspent annual leave

LJUBLJANA - The magazine Mladina reported the Janez Janša government distributed EUR 230,000 among its members as compensation for the annual leave they did not take. This was done on 1 June, just one day before the new government was sworn in. The biggest recipients were Zdravko Počivalšek, Simona Kustec and Andrej Šircelj, the former ministers of economy, education and finance. Former officials are entitled to 80% of their pay for a year after end of service if they do not do any other work as it is.

Covid figures keep rising

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia reported 1,592 new cases of coronavirus for Thursday, an increase of 20% from the same day a week ago, as hospital figures rose following a surge in infections over the past two weeks. Data released by the Health Ministry shows the number of patients hospitalised with Covid-19 as their prime condition rising to 78, up by 12 from the previous day as the number of intensive care cases rose by three to ten. One patient with Covid-19 died yesterday.

First section of large solar plant completed at Zlatoličje

PTUJ - A 2.5 megawatt peak (MWp) solar power plant has been connected to the grid at the complex of Slovenia's largest hydro power station as part of what will eventually be a 30 MWp solar plant that would be able to generate over 37,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of green electricity annually. The solar plant was built on the left bank of the discharge canal of the Zlatoličje-Formin power station near Ptuj in a project valued at just over EUR 2 million. The investor was the hydro plants operator DEM.

Hit by worst drought in 35 years, coast braces for severe water shortages

KOPER - Rižanski Vodovod, the company supplying drinking water to the entire Slovenian coast, said the current drought is the worst in 35 years. After a number of restrictions have been in place for a while, the company introduced additional limitation today, saying water shortages are unavoidable this summer. "When every litre of water is in question, cars can stay dirty and wait for the next rain," Rižanski Vodovod director Martin Pregelj pleaded, warning the situation is deteriorating by the hour. He said there will be water every day yet not 24 hours a day, and warned that tap water will not be potable.

*Lightening injures 18 in Alps

KRANJ - A lightning strike in the area of Mt Triglav in the Julian Alps injured 18 mountaineers, two of them seriously. The pair were flown to hospital in Ljubljana but their lives are not at stake. The rescue effort was hampered by fog, the country's Administration for Civil Protection and Disaster Relief said. The accident happened around 3pm CET in the area of Mt Mali Triglav, a 2,725-metre peak, as the mountaineers were en route from Mt Triglav, the country's tallest mountain, towards Mt Kredarica, 2,515 metres, the Kranj Police Department said.

Composer Nina Šenk wins Austria's Johann Joseph Fux Prize

GRAZ, Austria - Slovenian composer Nina Šenk won this year's Johann Joseph Fux Prize, awarded by the government of the Austrian state of Styria, for her new opera composition called Canvas, based on the libretto by Slovenian writer Simona Semenič. The judging panel praised Šenk for her technical skills and maturity, saying they were strongly impressed by her oeuvre. She is the second Slovenian to win the prize after Tomaž Svete, who won it in 2000 for his chamber opera Kriton.

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