Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Tuesday, 30 August 2022

By , 30 Aug 2022, 07:02 AM News
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This summary is provided by the STA


BSF: Von der Leyen sees democracy as bulwark against rule of power

BLED - European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said it "all depends on the power of democracy" as she discussed in her opening address to the 17th Bled Strategic Forum (BSF) what she called the most relevant question whether "the rule of powers" will replace "the power of rules", the theme of this year's forum, which focuses on the war in Ukraine, sanctions against Russia and efforts to preserve the international order alongside the energy crisis. Von der Leyer reiterated the EU's support for Ukraine, saying that by doing so the EU "upholds European values" and "shows to Russia and the world that breaking internationally shared rules comes with a massive cost". This effort must be coupled with "a new European strategic thinking", starting with neutralising Russia's ability to blackmail with energy and strengthening the EU's own capabilities to act. Von der Leyen is the first Commission president to have addressed the BSF.

BSF: Zelensky warns all Europe under threat from Russia

BLED - Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned that Russia was a threat to the whole of Europe, not just Ukraine, as he delivered an address to the leaders' panel at the BSF. He called in a video address for a full embargo on Russia, which he said threatened everyone from the Baltic countries to Kazakhstan. He said the country should face "all possible sanctions" due to its conduct. He also called for a continuation of aid to Ukraine, which he said was fighting for the very values that Europe cherishes, noting that a stronger Ukraine meant a stronger Europe.

BSF: Fajon says sanctions against Russia necessary

BLED - Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon defended the EU sanctions against Russia in a debate of foreign ministers at the BSF, arguing there was no alternative while acknowledging that things may get tough. She said the EU had shown strong unity when it came to imposing sanctions, but six months after the start of the war there is a debate opening up as people start fearing that the sanctions will start hitting Europe's economies stronger than expected. Recalling bouts of selfishness during the Covid pandemic, she wondered what will happen if for some reason one country remains without gas, which she believes will test unity and solidarity.

BSF: PM Golob optimistic about Europe getting by without Russian energy

BLED - PM Robert Golob expressed optimism about Europe getting by without Russian fossil fuels, even as he acknowledged that this may end up being expensive. "We're on good track to securing gas from non-Russian sources. It doesn't mean it will be cheap or abundant, but it seems Europe can survive even if Russia cuts off [energy supplies] completely," he said during the leaders' panel at the BSF, noting that this was a matter of "great urgency". He also discussed the energy crsis with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on the sidelines of the BSF, with the pair stressing the need for the EU to remain ambitious in diversifying its energy supply and in the green transition.

BSF: Golob and Plenković discuss energy supply at first bilateral meeting

BLED - The BSF provided an opportunity for PM Robert Golob to meet his Croatian counterpart Andrej Plenković for their first bilateral meeting following the change in power in Slovenia. The pair discussed the ongoing coordination of the gas supply solidarity agreement between the two countries, with Golob also thanking Croatia for its assistance in the recent wildfires in Slovenia. Plenković said he had also "openly" told Golob Croatia will never ratify the 2017 border arbitration decision, its well-known stance, while he said "the border issue must be resolved". The meeting was attended by the two countries' foreign ministers.

Golob happy with energy crisis meeting

LJUBLJANA - PM Robert Golob hailed the show of unity over the need for cooperation in the energy crisis after meeting party leaders, industry experts and energy companies. The main challenge are the dysfunctional energy markets, he said, announcing he would also discuss this today with the president of the European Commission, which should intervene in the energy futures markets. Former PM Janez Janša labelled the consultation useful, as it touched on the root of the problem.

Minister: Slovenia absolutely supports Croatia's Schengen entry

OBREŽJE - Interior Minister Tatjana Bobnar stressed as she met her Croatian counterpart Davor Božinović in Obrežje, east, that Slovenia absolutely supports Croatia's entry into the Schengen zone, which could happen on 1 January 2023. "With that we of course expect our Croatian counterparts to conduct full oversight on the external border and meet all other tasks envisaged by the Schengen legal order," she added. Božinović added Croatia's entry was in the interest of both countries.

Bill drawn up in case of energy supply emergency

LJUBLJANA - The Infrastructure Ministry has drawn up a draft bill to allow the government to declare a state of emergency in case of disruption in electricity or gas supplies. The bill provides measures such as consumption cuts, state guarantees to buy gas outside the EU, and even departure from environmental standards in case of a switch of fuel. The draft has been submitted for inter-governmental consultation until 26 September.

Coalition, government on ascent in POP TV poll

LJUBLJANA - The Robert Golob government is entering autumn with the highest approval rating so far and the three coalition parties have made significant gains from last month, according to a poll released by private broadcaster POP TV. More than 58% of respondents support the government, up seven points over last month and the highest approval rating for any government in a POP TV poll since mid-2016. Golob's Freedom Movement gained 3.6 points to 31.4% as the SocDems added nearly five to 23.4% and the Left 0.6 points to 5.3%.

Former MP Hvalica dies

LJUBLJANA - Ivo Hvalica, a prominent former member of parliament for the Democrats (SDS) who later became an outspoken critic of the party and its leader Janez Janša, died on Sunday aged 86. The Kanal-born politician served as MP between 1992 and 2000, initially as stand-in for Janša. He was known for his long and illustrious speeches. He left politics in 2001 due to disagreements with Janša.

Two Italian senators visit Italian community in Slovenia

KOPER - Italian senators Debora Serracchiani and Tatjana Rojc, both members of the Democratic Party (PD), met representatives of the Italian community in Slovenia and then in Croatia. The Italian minority's representatives in Slovenia said they would like Italy to support their efforts for their constitutional rights, with the two Senators agreeing that ethnic minorities should have MP seats guaranteed. Rojc, a member of the Slovenian minority in Italy, and Serracchiani, vice-president of the PD, will stand for re-election at the 25 October election and today's visit was a part of their election campaign.

Diesel pries going up

LJUBLJANA - The price of regular petrol sold outside the motorway network will edge up 0.1 cent to EUR 1.491 per litre on Tuesday, while diesel will be 12.6 cents dearer at EUR 1.767, the Economy Ministry announced. The increase comes after four consecutive drops in regulated prices outside the motorway network, where they change every two weeks depending on the price of oil derivatives on the global market and the euro-dollar exchange rate. The new prices will be in force until 12 September.

Covid count sees decline during weekend

LJUBLJANA - A total of 2,461 new cases of coronavirus were confirmed in Slovenia from Friday to Sunday, down about 200 cases compared to the same period a week ago, the latest data by the Health Ministry show. On Sunday, 75 patients were treated in hospitals for Covid-19 as their main condition, among them eleven in intensive care, which compares to 94 and eight, respectively, a week ago. Twelve Covid-19 patients meanwhile died in the Friday-Sunday period, with the number of deaths since the start of the epidemic in March 2020 at almost 8,130.

Slovenian PEN warns of "harmful actions" of RTV Slovenija management

LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian PEN Centre warned of what it sees as unacceptable and harmful actions of the current management of public broadcaster RTV Slovenija and its Programme Council. The writers believe the two bodies are not working to the benefit of the public but following instructions from the biggest opposition party, the SDS. They thus urged the SDS to withdraw its referendum initiative chellenging the coalition-sponsored legislative changes to the RTV Slovenija act. The centre believes that the legislative changes would allow for depoliticisation of the RTV management in line with democratic values and the freedom of speech.

Water restrictions lifted on the coast

KOPER - After receiving notable quantities of rain in the last ten days, the Slovenian coastal region, where water use restrictions were introduced in early July, will again be able to use water also for non-essential purposes. The supply of water from the Postojna area will end tomorrow. "Everything has improved somewhat ... so we decided to finally start lifting all these measures that were in force in the last days," said Martin Pregelj, the head of the Rižana water utility.

NGO files charges over pollution of Rižana river

KOPER - Environmental NGO Alpe Adria Green filed on Friday a criminal complaint against those responsible for polluting the Rižana, a key water source for the Slovenian coast, as it suspects that murky water had been released into the river from the construction site of the Koper-Divača railway project. The NGO believe the construction material deposited in the Griža quarry to be the source of pollution, and thus filed the criminal complaints against Voc Ekologija, the company running the quarry, and officials at the Environment Ministry.

Slovenia lose to France at Volleyball Worlds

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia suffered the first defeat at the World Volleyball Championship in Ljubljana, having to concede to Olympic champions France in a close game on Sunday night. The home team were ahead 2:1 and led 20:17 in the fourth set but failed to convert three match balls. They will play the next game against Germany on Tuesday, in what may be the final chance to advance to the round of 16.

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