Last Week in Slovenia: 29 July - 4 August, 2022

By , 06 Aug 2022, 08:37 AM Politics
Last Week in Slovenia: 29 July - 4 August, 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, 29 July
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's annual inflation rate accelerated to 11% in July, up 0.6 percentage points from the month before, driven mostly by high prices of petroleum products, the Statistics Office said. It is the highest annual inflation rate since August 1995.
        LJUBLJANA - The Administrative Court decreed that the planned Mokrice hydropower station on the river Sava cannot get a building permit until it has ruled on legal action brought against the project by the Slovenian Native Fish Society.
        LJUBLJANA - PM Robert Golob and Public Administration Minister Sanja Ajanović Hovnik met with representatives of a dozen NGOs for the second time to discuss current issues. The government is keen to include NGOs in the decision-making process, Golob said after the meeting.
        LJUBLJANA - Justice Minister Dominika Švarc Pipan said in an interview for the STA she would not approach changes in the judiciary haphazardly, but wanted to see well-thought-out solutions under a broad consensus, while noting it was high time politics no longer played a role in judicial appointment procedures.
        LJUBNO OB SAVINJI - Slovenian minority officials pledged to work to secure a permanent seat for the minority in the Italian parliament as the Office for Slovenians Abroad hosted a debate on the issue amid concerns that the Slovenian minority in Italy could end up without its representative in the Italian parliament following the 25 September snap election.
        LJUBLJANA - The government included the country's human rights ombudsman among officials who are provided with security protection by the police after his office suggested so a while ago because Ombudsman Peter Svetina has often been target of threats over the past two years.

        LJUBLJANA - Defence Minister Marjan Šarec announced systemic changes in civil protection and disaster relief after a massive fire in the western Kras region. He told Dnevnik that the army should immediately be activated in case of natural disasters.

SUNDAY, 31 July
        LJUBLJANA - Justice Minister Dominika Švarc Pipan vowed to keep a close eye on the government's work if new restrictive measures will need to be imposed due to a surge in coronavirus cases. Talking to the STA, she also said she advocated the suspension of unconstitutional proceedings launched against individuals under the previous government.
        KRANJSKA GORA - A low-profile memorial event was held at the Russian Chapel below the Vršič mountain pass honouring the memory of Russian POWs who perished while building the pass during the First World War. Because of the war in Ukraine, only members and friends of the Slovenia-Russia Association gathered for this year's event.

MONDAY, 1 August
        NEW YORK, US - Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon addressed the Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons in New York, saying the war in Ukraine had caused the worst deterioration of security in Europe and urging Russia to cease the hostilities and withdraw from Ukraine. She stressed Slovenia will continue supporting Ukraine.
        LJUBLJANA - Finance Minister Klemen Boštjančič announced the government would partly annul as of 2023 the income tax reform introduced by the previous government because it significantly affects budget revenue.
        LJUBLJANA - An internal police audit revealed major irregularities in contracts concluded by the Motorway Police Administration, which was established under the previous government, including a contract with national motorway operator DARS, which was referred to the anti-graft watchdog and other authorities over suspicion of criminal acts.
        LJUBLJANA - The police initiated a dismissal and disciplinary procedure against an employee on suspicion of a work-related crime. According to media reports, the person in question is Tomislav Habulin, a former assistant to previous Police Commissioner Anton Olaj. According to tabloid Slovenske Novice, he is suspected of data tampering.
        LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian police processed in the first seven months just over 8,200 foreigners who illegally entered the country, up 80% compared to the same period last year. However, Tomaž Pavček of the Border Police Division said this was just a tenth more than in the same period in 2019 and 2020.
        LJUBLJANA - Lawyer Nataša Pirc Musar, who is expected to run in the 23 October presidential election, raised dust with a statement for the news portal about "media being paid to attack those who think differently". The former information commissioner specifically mentioned Požareport, Nova24TV, Reporter and Necenzurirano.
        LJUBLJANA - July was the hottest month on record in Ljubljana in terms of the mean monthly temperature, which stood at 24.4 degrees Celsius, the Environment Agency announced. Record temperatures for July were also recorded in many other locations in Slovenia.
TUESDAY, 2 August
        NEW YORK, US - Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon discussed Slovenia's bid for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council in 2024-2025 at the 10th Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, stressing this was not a project of the previous government, but Slovenia's project.
        LJUBLJANA - Health Minister Daniel Bešič Loredan said the share of EU funds Slovenia has so far drawn for health projects is rather low, noting the would focus on phasing as much money as possible within available time window.
        LJUBLJANA - Renovation works on the main building of UKC Ljubljana worth over EUR 70 million are planned to start shortly, but media report the open call to select the contractor for the energy renovation segment was flawed. Although the hospital has dismissed the allegations, the Health Ministry said that if the allegations transpired to be true, the drawing of EU funds would be halted.
        LJUBLJANA - First estimates show the damage the severe drought has caused to crops will be extensive. Maize and grass have been hit the worst so far, with output expected to be cut by 50%, according to data the Chamber of Agriculture and Forestry.
        LJUBLJANA - The price of regular petrol and diesel sold at service stations outside the motorway network in Slovenia dropped by 8.6 cents and 2.3 cents, respectively. A litre of petrol costs EUR 1.534 and diesel EUR 1.676. The new prices will be in place for a day more than usually, for 15 days, because of a bank holiday.
        BRNO, Czechia/ŠENČUR - Solitea, a Czech group offering ICT solutions, acquired another Slovenian company, Vasco, after buying SAOP in 2016. Solitea did not disclose the price of the deal, which is still subject to regulatory approval, but business newspaper Finance said it was in the EUR 30 million range.
        SOLKAN - After a week-long shutdown due to low water levels of the Soča river, the first since 2003, the Solkan Hydropower Plant was brought back online following rainfall in the Bovec area, upstream from the power plant.
        LJUBLJANA - Bojan Babič, the director of the Ljubljana administrative unit, confirmed for Delo that he had been notified by Public Administration Minister Sanja Ajanović Hovnik that he would be dismissed at the end of August. The unit has been a target of much criticism since the outbreak of the Covid-19 epidemic.
        MARIBOR - The newspaper Večer reported that Maribor Prosecutor's Office had filed charges against five former border police officers who were arrested in February 2020 over suspicion that they had stamped the passports of third-country nationals to allow them to unlawfully prolong their stay in the Schengen zone beyond the permitted 90-day period.
        LJUBLJANA - Ludvik Poljanec, who has successfully represented Slovenian citizens before the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) as layman, announced he would run in the 23 October presidential election. He plans to collect 5,000 votr signatures in support of his bid.
        LJUBLJANA - The number of registered jobless people was up slightly in July over the month before, by 0.9% to 54,341, while this represents a drop of 23.1% compared to the same period last year, the Employment Service reported.
        KOSTANJEVICA NA KRASU - A campaign started in the part of the Kras region south of Nova Gorica to remove the wood biomass that has been left behind the devastating fire that raged in the area in the second half of July. Around 5,000 cubic metres of wood biomass that could serve as ignition and fuel for new fires needs to be removed by 20 August.

THURSDAY, 4 August
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's exports went up by 32.1% and imports by 47% in the first six months compared to the same period last year, while an external trade deficit of EUR 2.2 billion was recorded. In June, Slovenia exported a record EUR 5.3 billion of goods (up 57.2% year on year) and imported a record of EUR 4.8 billion (up 40%).
        LJUBLJANA - The gaming company Elektronček Group, owned by entrepreneur Joc Pečečnik, announced the acquisition of the company Costella, whose most valuable asset is a water extraction concession valid until 2035. According to unofficial information of the business newspaper Finance, Elektronček is to pay less than EUR 5 million for the company.
        LJUBLJANA - Public Administration Minister Sanja Ajanović Hovnik said that her dismissing Bojan Babič as the director of the Ljubljana administrative unit was not a politically motivated decision as she announced a broader restructuring of administrative units. Babič agreed with the assessment and will not appeal, a deputy head has already been appointed.


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