Last Week in Slovenia: 10 - 16 June 2022

By , 18 Jun 2022, 08:00 AM Politics
Last Week in Slovenia: 10 - 16 June 2022

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What follows is a weekly review of events involving Slovenia, as prepared by the STA.

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FRIDAY, 10 June
        NEW YORK, US - The UN General Assembly elected Slovenia to the Economic and Social Council, one of the six principal UN bodies, for the 2023-2025 period. This was the country's first candidacy for the rotating membership of 54 UN member states.
        THESSALONIKI, Greece - President Borut Pahor said Ukraine must not be "left in the lurch" and urged EU enlargement to the Western Balkans as he addressed the annual summit of the South-East European Cooperation Process. He repeated his idea to give Bosnia-Herzegovina EU candidate status before the country carries out needed reforms.
        THESSALONIKI, Greece - FM Tanja Fajon attended a ministerial of the South-East European Cooperation Process, noting the importance of a credible EU enlargement policy for the reform efforts of the Western Balkans. She said that enlargement policy was the EU's most effective geostrategic policy.
        LJUBLJANA - A 101-strong contingent of the Slovenian Armed Forces arrived in Slovakia as part of NATO's international Enhanced Vigilance Activities. The Slovenian soldiers will operate within the framework of the international battle group command with a light infantry company.
        LUXEMBOURG, Luxembourg - The Slovenian Interior Ministry said that for the time being, Slovenia did not intend to participate in the voluntary solidarity mechanism for the transfer of asylum seekers from the countries of their first entry, which has been unofficially joined by 12 EU member states.
        LUXEMBOURG, Luxembourg - EU interior ministers reached agreement on a negotiating basis to reform the Schengen Borders Code to tighten the rules of reintroducing internal border controls. Slovenia's Tatjana Bobnar stressed these checks must be temporary, and introduced only when other alternative measures have been exhausted. Austria has been extending such checks since 2015.
        LJUBLJANA - Parts of a criminal complaint filed against former Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek over purchases of ventilators at the start of the epidemic were revealed on the Tarča current affairs show on TV Slovenija on 9 June. Investigators are said to have found proof of deals for the payment of kickbacks and of notification of suspects about upcoming house searches.
        MURSKA SOBOTA - An international conference heard of the worsening situation of the Roma in Europe as genocide, hate speech and anti-Roma activities spread in some countries and Roma refugees from Ukraine were mistreated. The conference sent out a message to European institutions on what the Roma propose for the situation to improve.

        LJUBELJ - A ceremony marking the 77th anniversary of the liberation of the Ljubelj concentration camp urged efforts to prevent the spread of evil and called for peace in light of the war in Ukraine. The keynote speaker, Anica Mikuš Kos, head of Slovenian Philanthropy, pointed out that the horrors of the past could serve as a cautionary tale.
        LJUBLJANA - The Pride Parade festival culminated in Ljubljana Pride in what was a parade celebrating difference and urging equality. Members of the LGBTIQ+ community called for peace in Ukraine, and several senior officials participated in Pride.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia ranks seventh out of 180 countries in the Environmental Performance Index, which is calculated by Yale University to assess the state of sustainable environmental care. Slovenia is the highest-scoring Eastern European nation in the report.

SUNDAY, 12 June
        AURISINA, Italy - Igor Gabrovec was elected mayor of Duino-Aurisina/Devin-Nabrežina, a municipality north of the city of Trieste bordering Slovenia.
        MARIBOR - The Škofja Loka Passion Play, a Jernej Lorenci-directed production of the early 18th century rhymed-verse parable of human salvation, won the main prize at the 57th Maribor Theatre Festival, along with the award for best music. Sebastijan Horvat took best director for his take on Heiner Müller's Cement in a production by SNG Drama Ljubljana Theatre.
        ANNECY, France - Primož Roglič won the eight-day Criterium du Dauphine road cycling race after letting Jumbo Visma teammate Jonas Vingegaard of Denmark take the final mountain stage. Roglič is the second Slovenian to win this race after Janez Brajkovič attained the feat 12 years ago.
        MUNICH, Germany - The Slovenian women's team won bronze in the Olympic recurve bow discipline at the European Archery Championships in Munich. Ana Umer, Urška Čavič and Nina Corel defeated Denmark in the bronze medal match for what is the best result for Slovenian women recurve bow archers since 2005.

MONDAY, 13 June
        MARIBOR - Slovenia's stance on the war in Ukraine will be shaped by the parliamentary Foreign Policy Committee, PM Robert Golob said in response to a letter by nearly 20 academics and politicians urging the government to take a stance encouraging Ukraine and Russia to engage in serious peace talks. Another opposing letter was addressed to the government later by a different group of public figures, calling for decisive support for Ukraine's defence.
        DIVAČA - The first of the seven tunnels on route of the new, 27-km railway linking the port town of Koper with the Divača railway junction was broken through. The hole-through ceremony for the Mlinarji tunnel was attended by Slovenian and Turkish infrastructure ministers as the track is being built by Slovenian company Kolektor CPG in cooperation with two Turkish partners.
        MARIBOR - PM Robert Golob visited Maribor, Slovenia's second largest city, underlining the only right way forward for the country is polycentric development. He believes that the eastern half of the country needs a capital that would equal Ljubljana, and that Maribor has a lot to offer.
        LJUBLJANA - Parliamentary Speaker Urška Klakočar Zupančič called for respecting the credibility and independence of supervisory institutions as she received Court of Audit President Tomaž Vesel. If this respect is undermined, democracy and its immune system are undermined, she warned and announced greater cooperation with the Court of Audit.
        LJUBLJANA - The 9 June session of the European Central Bank and the announcement of the first interest rate rise after eleven years has pushed up the yield on the Slovenian 10-year bond - to 2.92%, a new high after the 2013 and 2014 banking system bailout.
        LUXEMBOURG, Luxembourg - The European Court of Auditors found in a special report that Slovenia failed to inform the European Commission of the introduction of border checks on EU borders due to the Covid pandemic in the summer of 2020 and spring of 2021 and the Commission failed to check compliance with Schengen rules.
        LJUBLJANA - The Freedom Movement gained 4.6 points to 31% in the June poll commissioned by the newspaper Delo to extend its margin ahead of the Democrats (SDS) to 9.5 points, despite the opposition party gaining 3.4 points from May to 21.4% for its best showing since the 2018 election.

TUESDAY, 14 June
        LJUBLJANA - FM Tanja Fajon indicated Slovenia's efforts regarding Ukraine would shift to the provision of development and humanitarian aid, such as demining, after the previous government focused on sending military aid. This came after she said earlier in the week that Slovenia's foreign policy should focus on humanitarian and development aid, and that getting Russia back to the negotiating table remained the common goal.
        KYIV, Ukraine - Slovenia's Ambassador to Ukraine Tomaž Mencin returned to Kyiv, having left the capital city at the outset of Russia's invasion in what Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon described as "an important message to Ukraine".
        LJUBLJANA - The opposition Democrats (SDS) proposed a resolution in support of a resolution by the European Parliament that is dedicated to the fight against impunity for war crimes in Ukraine. MP Branko Grims said the crimes that were committed there showed clear signs of genocide.
        LJUBLJANA - Speaker Urška Klakočar Zupančič pledged to advocate for Constitutional Court rulings to be put into effect as she received the court's president Matej Accetto. The rulings must be respected, she said. Accetto said the court expected mutual cooperation from the legislature aimed at enhancing the rule of law.
        LJUBLJANA - The recently-discovered Heiligenkreutz manuscript from the 12th century has turned out to feature the second-oldest known document in Old Slovenian after the famous Freising Manuscripts. An analysis confirmed that the numerals from one to ten are written in an early Slovenian language, public broadcaster TV Slovenija reported.
        VATICAN CITY, Vatican - The leadership of the Slovenian Bishops' Conference met with Pope Francis during their visit to the Holy See. They discussed sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, noting the importance of zero tolerance to sexual violence, the Bishops' Conference said.

        LJUBLJANA - Banka Slovenije upgraded its economic growth forecast for Slovenia by 1.8 percentage points from its December outlook to 5.8% for this year as a result of a carry-over from last year, while downgrading the projection for 2023 by 0.9 points to 2.4%. Inflation is projected to run at 9% this year before easing to 4.5% and 2.3% over the next two years.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Ten EU member states, including Slovenia, addressed an open letter to decision makers in the EU warning about making the Fit for 55 package less ambitious, arguing that this could affect the EU's reaching the set climate goals.
        LJUBLJANA - PM Robert Golob set out the first government measure to tackle the cost-of-living crisis, announcing a return to a model where fuel retailers' price margins at service stations outside motorways are regulated while prices of fuels sold along motorways will be liberalised. The new regime will kick in for a year on 21 June. PM later announced regulation of gas and electricity prices as possible additional measures to fight price hikes, as well as measures to tackle high food prices.
        LJUBLJANA - PM Robert Golob talked to his Ukrainian counterpart Denys Shmyhal on the phone, expressing Slovenia's firm support for the war-torn country, its sovereignty and peace efforts. Golob moreover expressed support for Ukraine's efforts to acquire EU candidate status and Slovenia's firm support for the Western Balkans.
        LJUBLJANA/TOKYO, Japan - SID Banka, the state-owned export and development bank, signed a cooperation agreement with the Japan Bank for International Cooperation. The two banks plan to create new business opportunities in digitalisation, clean energy, environment and quality infrastructure in Slovenia and third countries.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia gained two spots in the annual IMD Competitiveness Ranking to place 38th among a total of 63 countries included. Considering the circumstances, the result is satisfactory, economists taking part in the project said. They warned, however, that Slovenia failed to reduce its gap toward countries with which it likes to compare itself.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ) appointed Ivan Eržen its acting medical director. The appointment follows government moves that curtailed the powers of the director general. Eržen, the NIJZ previous head, said he counted on cooperation with its current head, Milan Krek, and announced a response strategy will be prepared for the potential new Covid wave.
        LJUBLJANA - The government proposed for the National Assembly to recall two supervisors of the Slovenian Sovereign Holding (SSH), arguing that Božo Emeršič and Leon Cizelj did not meet the necessary requirements for the job. The government also appointed Franci Jagodic acting director of the JGZ Brdo State Protocol Services, the Government Communications Office said.
        LJUBLJANA - Digital vouchers worth 150 euros became available to students from 7th grade of primary school through to university. The vouchers can be used to purchase computer hardware. New Digital Transformation Minister Emilija Stojmenova Duh said the vouchers, initiated by the previous government, would only widen the digital and social gaps.

        LJUBLJANA - PM Robert Golob met European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen at the outset of his first official trip abroad as PM, expressing Slovenia's unequivocal support for granting Ukraine EU candidate status and announcing that Slovenia would ask for its first reimbursement from the EU's post-pandemic recovery fund by the end of this month.
        LJUBLJANA/OHRID, North Macedonia - President Borut Pahor sent a letter to EU Council President Charles Michel calling for Bosnia-Herzegovina to be granted the EU candidate country status without any conditions. In light of the war in Ukraine, Pahor believes tangible steps need to be made for the EU to expand to the Western Balkans as soon as possible. Pahor presented the letter in detail at the Prespa Forum Dialogue in Ohrid where he underlined the importance of dialogue about EU enlargement to the Western Balkans.
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor announced he will nominate Jana Ahčin for Court of Audit president and Milan M. Cvikl for a new vice-governor at the central bank after the coalition parties picked the pair as their favourite candidates.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - After his first NATO ministerial meeting, Defence Minister Marjan Šarec told reporters Slovenia's commitments to NATO remained unchanged and the country did not plan to reduce defence spending.
        LJUBLJANA - Ukrainians whom Slovenia awards the status of temporary protection from now on receive a card rather than a written decision to prove their status. The cards will be valid until 4 March 2023. They will also serve as an ID card and as a permit for temporary residence in Slovenia.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenian real estate fund Equinox announced a deal under which it will transfer management of three hotels in the centre of Ljubljana, among them the iconic Grand Hotel Union, to Spanish group Grupo Hotusa for 20 years with the option of two five-year extensions. The deal is worth at least EUR 100 million.
        LJUBLJANA - The permanent ban on blood donation based solely on the personal circumstances of gender and sexual orientation will be abolished on 1 July, an expert group for transfusion medicine and infectious diseases decided after the equality ombudsman raised the issue last December.
        LJUBLJANA - The equality ombudsman assessed that the National Assembly election act discriminated against persons with mental and psychosocial disabilities and unjustifiably deprived them of the right to vote. Speaker Urška Klakočar Zupančič said one of the priorities in the new term would be to ensure the right to vote for all individuals, regardless of their disability.


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