Slovenia welcomes start of EU accession talks with N Macedonia, Albania
LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor, Prime Minister Robert Golob hailed the start of EU accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia, which Pahor described as "one of the few pieces of good news recently that boosts confidence in the European perspective of the Western Balkans". Golob described the step as "a historic and long awaited step on both countries' path into our EU family", while praising the Albanian and Macedonian prime ministers for their patience and leadership. The government pledged Slovenia will remain a staunch supporter of the EU's enlargement to the entire Western Balkans' region.
Golob writes to Von der Leyen, Michel on Bosnia's candidate status
LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Robert Golob has called on the presidents of the European Commission and Council for Bosnia-Herzegovina to be granted EU candidate country status based on the fulfilment of realistic conditions. He said the EU must consider its share of responsibility for the situation in the country and the new geopolitical reality in Europe.
Šarec visits troops in Slovakia
LEŠT, Slovakia - After visiting Slovenian troops serving in NATO's Enhanced Presence mission in Latvia, Defence Minister Marjan Šarec also visited Slovenian Armed Forces (SAF) members at the Lešt base in Slovakia, where he was joined by his counterpart Jaroslav Nad. While Nad commended the SAF on its fast response in creating the mission and on the troops' outstanding work, Šarec promised Slovenian troops on missions at home and abroad would be secured a proper level of equipment.
Naval fleet to get its own berths at Koper port
KOPER - The government decided to build docks for the Slovenian Armed Forces (SAF) fleet in Koper port. The project is estimated at EUR 7.22 million including VAT and will be funded by the Defence Ministry, the government Communications Office said in a press release. The docks will be temporary, to be used for the next ten or 15 years, as new berths for the fleet are planned on Quay 3, the construction of which is not planned before 2030. The SAF vessels are currently docked at the port's moorings.
State buying 40,000 tonnes of wheat
LJUBLJANA - Following the government's announcement that the state will buy the country's entire wheat output, the Agency for Commodity Reserves published a call to purchase 40,000 tonnes of wheat produced in 2022 for human consumption in an estimated value of EUR 12.4 million, VAT excluded. The call, published on the public procurement portal and the Official Journal of the EU, is for two lost of up to 14,000 tonnes of wheat and up to 26,000 tonnes of wheat. The bids submitted will be opened on 16 August.
Slovenia to improve protection of Bosnian, Serbian workers
LJUBLJANA - The Labour Ministry announced it had launched talks with Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia to change parts of bilateral labour agreements so as to provide better protection of Bosnian and Serbian workers in the country. Above all the sides are looking at provisions under which workers may not change their employer during the first year of working in Slovenia. This has proven to be harmful, exposing workers to abuse which often goes unreported.
Daily coronavirus case count highest since 4 April
LJUBLJANA - A total of 2,764 new cases of coronavirus were recorded in Slovenia on Monday in what is a 17% increase over the same day a week ago, and the highest daily tally since 4 April. Hospitalisations continued to increase on a weekly basis with 84 patients treated for Covid-19 as their main condition in hospitals on Monday, 27 more than a week ago, as the number of ICU cases was up by one to nine, data from the Health Ministry shows. One Covid-19 patient died.
Covid-19 re-boost being made available to all adults
LJUBLJANA - The national advisory committee on immunization recommended a second booster shot of a Covid-19 vaccine in particular to vulnerable patients, care home residents and those aged over 80, while recommending it to everyone over 60. A re-booster or fourth Covid shot is also being allowed to everyone over the age of 18. Re-boosters will be made available to all the eligible groups after vaccination providers get updated instructions, which is to happen in the coming days.
Slovenia notes lack of alternatives for reduced pesticide use
BRUSSELS, Belgium - The EU agriculture ministers, including Slovenia's Irena Šinko, discussed sustainable use of pesticides at a meeting in Brussels on Monday, with Šinko saying that while Slovenia agreed that the use of pesticides should be reduced to the minimum, the unavailability of alternative methods had not been adequately taken into account. She said 30% of the total area of permanent plantations and more than 40% of arable land in Slovenia was located in sensitive areas which would be subject to a pesticides ban, which would mean abandonment of agriculture in these areas.
Govt to debate water restrictions in coastal region
KOPER - Environment Minister Uroš Brežan met the mayors of coastal communities in Koper to discuss severe water shortages in the region. They agreed to put forward measures to save drinking water to prevent rationing. The measures will be discussed by the government on Thursday. Koper Mayor Aleš Bržan said suspending water supply to households, which is being considered by the water utility supplying the region, was not the best measure and it might be better to close water to some legal entities instead.
Criticism as Slavic studies MA course scrapped in Klagenfurt
KLAGENFURT, Austria - Members of the Slovenian minority in the Austrian state of Carinthia have expressed strong criticism of the decision of the Klagenfurt University to abolish the MA course of Slavic studies, arguing it would cause major damage. Concern has also been expressed by President Borut Pahor and the Government Office for Slovenians Abroad. The decision, prompted by a lack of interest among students, is seen as a significant blow to the minority on a symbolic level.
Members of Slovenian minority honoured in Klagenfurt
KLAGENFURT, Austria - The Austrian state of Carinthia, home to a sizeable Slovenian minority, honoured several of the minority's members as honours were bestowed on distinguished Carinthians in Klagenfurt on Monday. Grand Badges of Honour of Carinthia were bestowed on Angelika Hödl, who helped lead the bilingualism-focused Radio Agora, professor Katja Sturm-Schnabl and Roza Wernig, like Sturm-Schnabl a WWII deportee, who established the Rosental Rož camp site, and music teacher Hans Ogris.
Jesuit missionary to Tokyo and poet Vladimir Kos dies
TOKYO, Japan - Vladimir Kos, poet and Jesuit missionary to Tokyo, has died. The 98-year-old was the author of a collection of poems titled Dober Večer, Tokio (Good evening, Tokyo), the first book in Slovenian to be published in Japan. He also received the 2014 Prešeren Fund Prize. He was born in Murska Sobota (NE), but studied in Rome, Italy. After joining the Jesuit order, he became part of the Japan mission in 1956.
Spain's Gonvarri buys nearly 40% in Hidria
IDRIJA - The newspaper Finance reported that the biggest sole owner of car parts maker Hidria sold its stake to Spanish automotive supplier Gonvarri. The stake of roughly 40% in Hidria had been held by the family of former Hidria CEO Edvard Svetlik through their company ES&G. The value of the transaction is unclear but the magazine Manager valued the interest held by Svetlik and his spouse at EUR 33.6 million last year. The majority stake of some 52% is held by a consortium of Hidria managers.
Higher court annuls bribery case ruling
LJUBLJANA - The Ljubljana Higher Court has annulled a ruling by the Ljubljana District Court sentencing orthopaedic surgeon Gregor Kavčič of the Novo Mesto hospital to three years in prison for allegedly accepting bribes from a medical supplier. A retrial was ordered, but the case will become statue barred at the beginning of August.