Last Week in Slovenia: 12 - 16 May, 2022

By , 14 May 2022, 09:03 AM Politics
Last Week in Slovenia: 12 - 16 May, 2022

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

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        LJUBLJANA - Robert Golob, leader of the election-winning Freedom Party and the most likely PM-designate, suggested the new government could have up to four new ministries, as he met with the prospective coalition partners. He said the new coalition would pay particular attention to climate change, inter-generational solidarity, digitalisation and regional development.
        TIRANA, Albania - National Assembly Speaker Igor Zorčič stressed Slovenia supported the EU's enlargement to the Western Balkans, as he attended a conference of speakers from the Adriatic-Ionian Initiative.
        UDINE, Italy - President Borut Pahor and Minister for Slovenians Abroad Helena Jaklitsch visited the Slovenian ethnic minority in Udine, one of the three provinces in Italy's Friuli Venezia Giulai region where the minority lives.
        LJUBLJANA - 5,738 Ukrainian refugees have until now asked for temporary protection in Slovenia, of whom 2,149 underage children. Police data meanwhile show that 21,980 Ukrainians have entered Slovenia since the Ukraine war on 24 February.
        LJUBLJANA - The government approved a EUR 400,000 programme to co-fund investments in local public infrastructure in 2022-2023 in the municipalities of Pivka and Postojna, which host the main training area of the Slovenian Armed Forces (SAF). The funds are a compensation for the damage SAF activities have on local roads.
        LJUBLJANA - The Bank Assets Management Company (BAMC) increased its stake in Mladinska Knjiga, Slovenia's largest publisher, to 83.47% after acquiring 32.25% of shares in a takeover bid.

        LJUBLJANA - The National Electoral Commission (DVK) released the official results of the 24 April general election, which correspond to the unofficial results: the Freedom Movement won 34.45% of the vote and 41 seats in parliament, the SDS received 23.48% and 27 seats, the NSi 6.86% and 8 seats, the SocDems 6.69% and seven MPs, and the Left got 4.46% and 5 MPs. Turnout was at a very high 70.79%. However, it said that due to a computer bug, six terms were initially assigned to wrong candidates. Since the mistake was detected and corrected, the DVK released the names of the six new MPs. The incident earned it calls for resignation, which the commission rejected.
        LJUBLJANA - The government approved Brigadier General Roman Urbanč's promotion to the rank of major general. Urbanč, deputy chief of the general staff, has worked for the Slovenian Armed Forces (SAF) since 1994. He will now have to be formally promoted by the supreme commander, President Borut Pahor.
        LJUBLJANA - The government decided to discontinue some of the last coronavirus restrictions by lifting the Covid pass mandate health and social care workers and the requirement to wear masks at pharmacies.
        LJUBLJANA - Following a two-year coronavirus-prompted break, the Walk along the Wire, an event commemorating the 9 May 1945 liberation of Ljubljana, attracted almost 26,000 hikers and 2,670 runners between Thursday and Saturday.

        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor signed an order calling the maiden session of the new National Assembly for Friday, 13 May, after receiving a report on the official results of the 24 April general election from the National Electoral Commission (DVK). Pahor and DVK president Peter Golob found that the election process was "fair and transparent".
        VRHNIKA - Author Simona Semenič won the Cankar Prize for best original piece of literature published over the past year for Three Plays for Girls (Tri Igre za Punce), which focuses on women's and gender issues. The EUR 10,000 prize is named after writer Ivan Cankar (1876-1918) and was presented for the third year.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia and Hungary announced a joint bid to host the Ice-Hockey World Championship in 2023 after both teams secured berths in the elite division of ice-hockey at a tournament in Ljubljana. This is after the IIHF decided that Rusia's St. Petersburg will not host the elite group next year.
        OPATJE SELO - Slovenia's 550km section of Via Sancti Martini or St Martin's Way, which runs from Hungary to France, was inaugurated after the 90km section between Logatec and Opatje Selo was recently completed. Together with the famous St James's Way or Camino de Santiago, St Martin's Way is one of the two major European cultural routes running through Slovenia.
        MADRID, Spain - Pia Babnik, Slovenia's best professional golfer, finished third in the Ladies European Tour tournament with a prize fund of EUR 300,000.

        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Thirteen EU countries, including Slovenia, presented up a non-paper on the outcome of and follow-up to the Conference on the Future of Europe, warning against rash changes to EU treaties. President Borut Pahor meanwhile joined calls by French President Emmanuel Macron and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen for such changes.
        KYIV, Ukraine - PM Janez Janša addressed Ukrainians in an video aired on Ukrainian national TV, saying that the West remained oblivious to the fact that Russia never de-Communised and that Ukraine was the real heir of the victories of WWII. Janša said only one evil, Nazism, had been defeated in WWII in 1945, whereas Communism was not.
        LJUBLJANA - Freedom Movement leader Robert Golob, the presumptive PM-designate, announced the new government would impose energy price regulation when it took office, targetting not just fuel but other energy sources as well. He said a combination of an agreement with retailers, regulation of margins and duties, and subsidies was needed.
        LJUBLJANA - Zoran Janković announced his plan to stand for his fifth straight term as mayor of Slovenia's capital in the autumn local elections. He has served as Ljubljana mayor since 2006, winning every election since with an outright majority.
        LJUBLJANA - The RTV Slovenija Programming Council endorsed a new statute of the public broadcaster under which TV news programme will be split into two separate production units. Staff see the changes as an attempt to create separate pro-government and anti-government news programmes, so the journalist trade union urged their withdrawal.

        LJUBLJANA - The government introduced a three-month cap on prices of motor fuels after lifting a 45-day cap on 1 May. It set the maximum retail prices at EUR 1.560 a litre for regular petrol and EUR 1.668 a litre for diesel from 11 May. Fuel retailers whose business will be affected will be eligible for compensation.
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor's decrees recalling Slovenia's ambassadors to Italy, Egypt, the UAE, Denmark and Slovakia and appointing new ambassadors to Copenhagen, Cairo, Abu Dhabi, Bratislava, Brussels and Seoul became effective as they were published in the Official Gazette. Around 15 new ambassadors are expected to assume their posts by the end of August, including several who in the opinion of the incoming coalition are too connected politically with the current government, so the new government could replace them.
        RIJEKA, Croatia - President Borut Pahor addressed a ceremony marking the 30th anniversary of the umbrella organisation of Slovenians in Croatia, noting the importance of the friendly ties between the two countries and calling for the fastest possible entry of Croatia in the eurozone and Schengen Area.
        LJUBLJANA - The government adopted the 2022 annual plan of investments in the Slovenian Armed Forces, under which the Defence Ministry will have EUR 120.55 million at its disposal to develop two key capabilities for national and collective defence as part of NATO - a battalion battle group and a special operations unit.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Slovenia pledged to provide EUR 150,000 in humanitarian aid for the civilian population of Syria by 2024 at the donor conference organised by the EU, which raised EUR 6.4 billion.
        LJUBLJANA - As Freedom Movement leader Robert Golob, the presumptive PM-designate, announced his wish to create a strong liberal bloc, the Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) and Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB) said they were in favour of such consolidation. Golob is seeking to merge his party with the LMŠ and SAB and offered the leaders of both parties, Alenka Bratušek and Marjan Šarec, ministerial posts.
        LJUBLJANA - The government issued a regulation on waste incineration as a public service under which concessions - expectedly four - are to be issued for 30 years. It also adopted a seven-year strategy for tourism that envisages a moderate increase in accommodation capacity and quantitative indicators, and focuses on higher quality, while suspending plans to consolidate state assets in tourism under a new holding.
        KNIN, Croatia - Slovenian energy company Petrol launched its second wind farm in Croatia. The EUR 37 million facility Ljubač with nine turbines, located near Knin in south Croatia, had been on a trial run since last summer, and generates around 96 gigawatt-hours of electricity a year.
        TRBOVLJE - Dewesoft, a Trbovlje-based maker of data acquisition systems, and HBK, a German company specialising in product physics, launched a joint venture called Blueberry to work on backbone standardization for the new generation of data acquisition systems.
        TURIN, Italy - Last Pizza Slice (LPS) did not make it past the semi-final of the Eurovision song contest, the second year in a row that the Slovenian entrant remained without the final.

        LJUBLJANA - The three partners of the incoming coalition finalised the coalition agreement and determined most of the candidates for cabinet posts in an expanded government that will apart from prime minister have 19 ministers and another without portfolio. SocDem leader Tanja Fajon is the candidate for foreign minister and Left leader Luka Mesec will be in charge of a new ministry of solidarity-based future. Both will serve as deputy PMs alongside Danijel Bešič Loredan, a surgeon slated for the health portfolio.
        LJUBLJANA - Defence Minister Matej Tonin signed a memorandum with the Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR) that paves the way for the purchase of 45 APCs, just hours after he was authorised to do so and two days before the government is relegated to caretaker role. The incoming government opposes the purchase.
        SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina - President Borut Pahor addressed the Sarajevo Business Forum focussing on the role of political stability for economic and social development of Bosnia-Herzegovina. He warned the process of enlargement to the Western Balkans was too slow and appealed for Bosnia to be granted candidate status as soon as possible.
        LJUBLJANA - ECB president Christine Lagarde said the ECB could conduct the first interest rate hike within weeks after it ends purchases under the asset purchase programme early in the third quarter, as she took part in a conference marking the 30th anniversary of Slovenia's central bank.
        LJUBLJANA - The government appointed cardiologist Mitja Lainščak director of the Public Research Agency (ARRS) for a five-year term, thus ending a saga over the director's appointment and the appointment and dismissal of the founder's members on the agency's management board.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's largest banking group, NLB, posted EUR 231.5 million in net profit in the first quarter of 2022, more than triple the figure recorded in the same period last year, on the back of the acquisition of the Slovenian subsidiary of Russia's Sberbank in March. The profit of the core company NLB dropped to nearly EUR 33 million.
        LJUBLJANA - Film, theatre and television actor Ivo Ban, 72, was announced as the recipient of this year's Bert Award for lifetime achievement in film and television conferred by the Slovenian Directors' Guild.
        VALLETTA, Malta - Maltese customs officers seized a record 1.5 tonnes of cocaine hidden in a container carrying bananas from Colombia to Slovenia, the Maltese newspaper Malta Today reported. The contraband is estimated to be worth EUR 300 million.

        KOČEVJE - An explosion and a fire at the Melamin chemical factory in southern Slovenia left six people injured, five are missing presumed dead. The fire was likely caused by human error involving the mishandling of a hazardous chemical.
        LJUBLJANA - The Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR) has already signed a contract with Artec, the German supplier of Boxer carriers, on behalf of Slovenia, a day after the government sealed the agreement with OCCAR.
        LJUBLJANA - At its last regular session before being relegated to caretaker role, the government declared 17 May the National Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Communist Violence. It said that the perpetrators of violence and evil acts should be measured by the same criteria.
        LJUBLJANA - A Defence Ministry audit ascertained reasons to suspect criminal offences in the maintenance of Slovenian Armed Forces (SAF) vehicles and procurement of spare parts. The Defence Ministry confirmed the Necnzurirano report and said damage was estimated at EUR 1.2 million.
        LJUBLJANA/BEIJING, China - Slovenian president Borut Pahor and Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping exchanged congratulatory messages on the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Pahor said Slovenia was in favour of "constructive European-Chinese relations".
        LJUBLJANA - Telekom Slovenije, the state-owned telecommunications provider, generated EUR 151.2 million in net sales revenue in the first quarter of the year, down 4% from the same period a year ago, the main reason for which is the company quitting electricity retail business on 1 January. The group's net profit rose 23% to EUR 12 million.
        LJUBLJANA - Media reported the bad bank is gearing up to sell tourism companies Istrabenz Turizem and Thermana, including by what unofficial information says are changes to the articles of association regarding the status of the two companies' supervisors, which could facilitate Istrabenz Turizem hotels to be sold to Hungarian buyers.
        LJUBLJANA - The government appointed Zlatko Ratej acting director of the Competition Protection Agency. He will take over for a six-month stint on 1 July, when the term of the incumbent director, Andrej Matvoz, ends

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