Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Tuesday, 19 July 2022

By , 19 Jul 2022, 06:44 AM News
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This summary is provided by the STA:

Slovenia supports further sanctions on Russia, aid for Ukraine

BRUSSELS, Belgium - Foreign Ministry State Secretary Marko Štucin expressed Slovenia's support for the European Commission's proposal to impose additional sanctions on Russia over the war in Ukraine which are being discussed by the EU Foreign Affairs Council today. Štucin also said Slovenia supported continued aid to Ukraine, including for critical infrastructure and institutions, and all efforts towards post-war reconstruction. The EU foreign ministers agreed that the bloc will allocate an additional EUR 500 million for aid in arms for a total of EUR 2.5 billion, the EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell announced.

Defence minister visiting troops in Latvia, Slovakia

ADAŽI, Latvia/LEST, Slovakia - Defence Minister Marjan Šarec is visiting Slovenian soldiers serving in NATO's enhanced-presence missions in Latvia and Slovakia. He is visiting the Adaži military base in Latvia today and the soldiers serving in Slovakia tomorrow, when he is also scheduled to meet his Slovak counterpart Jaroslav Nad'. Šarec was present at the soldiers' dynamic presentation at the training ground, and met Latvian Defence Ministry State Secretary Janis Garisons on the sidelines of the visit.The Slovenian Armed Forces have been involved in the Enhanced Forward Presence mission in Latvia since its launch in 2017.

Pirc Musar ahead of Logar in presidential poll

LJUBLJANA - Lawyer Nataša Pirc Musar is in the lead three months before the presidential election, with former foreign minister Anže Logar trailing close behind and Freedom Movement candidate Marta Kos in third as the only other serious contender, shows the first presidential poll commissioned by Dnevnik and Večer. Pirc Musar, an independent, polled at 30.1%, just two points ahead of Logar, who is running with the support of his Democratic Party (SDS). Kos is nine points behind Logar, at 19.4%.

Three found guilty in first EPPO case in Slovenia

LUXEMBOURG, Luxembourg - The European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO) announced that the Maribor Local Court ruled in the first EPPO case in Slovenia early this month. Two execs and one legal entity, none of which were named, were found guilty of attempted fraud to the detriment of the EU budget. By submitting false statements in a public call they tried to obtain EUR 31,300 in grants by fraud. However, the Infrastructure Ministry discovered the attempted fraud in time, and did not pay out the grant.

PM Golob visits Constitutional Court

LJUBLJANA - PM Robert Golob visited the Constitutional Court and met its president Matej Accetto, saying in a statement to the press afterwards that this was an introductory meeting which he believes was "useful for both sides". "It was interesting to find out on which points their views are in line with ours, so that we can implement these things as soon as possible in the future," said Golob. He rejected the idea the visit could be seen as an attempt by the government to influence the judiciary.

Government proposes 4% pay increase in public sector

LJUBLJANA - The government offered a 4% increase in public sector pay as of September wages as its representatives met with trade unions. While happy that the government no longer insist solely on one-off payments for the worst-paid public servants, unions would like to see an increase of 12%. Public Administration Minister Sanja Ajanović Hovnik told the press after the meeting that the 4% accounted for half of the 8% inflation forecast for this year by the IMAD macroeconomic think-tank. The minister said the government would not offer any more, with the 4% being "the maximum we can spare". The proposal is estimated at EUR 58 million.

OZS urges govt to include all SMEs in electricity price cap

LJUBLJANA - The Chamber of Craft and Small Business (OZS) called on the government on Monday to amend the measures capping electricity prices for households and small businesses so as to include all small and medium-sized companies (SMEs). The OZS therefore called on the ministers of infrastructure and the economy, Bojan Kumer and Matjaž Han, to include as many businesses as possible, at least for the duration of the crisis, which, Cvar hopes, will not last long. A number of companies are facing another problem related to electricity supply, the press release also said.

Pahor meets Carinthian governor, mayors

GLOBASNITZ, Austria - President Borut Pahor visited the Austrian state of Carinthia, meeting Governor Peter Kaiser and attending a get-together of mayors of communities with Slovenian population. Following their meeting, Pahor and Kaiser said Slovenia and Austria cooperated excellently in a number of fields, also mentioning the potential of future regional cooperation and working together on challenges of the EU. The pair also discussed the Austrian federal government's proposal for a reform on bilingual judiciary, which was coordinated with the Association of Slovenian Carinthian Jurists and minority's umbrella organisations.

Illegal migration up by 75% by summer

LJUBLJANA - Slovenian police handled 6,006 cases of migrants crossing into the country illegally in the first half of the year, an increase of 75% from the same period a year ago. Almost a quarter of the migrants intercepted were from Afghanistan. The number of migrants indicating their intention to apply for international protection status nearly quadrupled to 5,209. The police also handled 6,101 applications for temporary protection, almost all of which were by Ukrainian citizens.

Urbanija appointed TV Slovenija boss despite opposition from employees

LJUBLJANA - Former head of the Government Communication Office (UKOM) Uroš Urbanija was appointed director of TV Slovenija on Monday by the public broadcaster's director general Andrej Grah Whatmough despite loud protests from the in-house trade unions. Grah Whatmough told Radio Slovenija that the protests by journalists do not "have a realistic basis". He said he had appointed Urbanija because the latter had been approved by the programming council and there was really no other option. The director general expressed certainty that Urbanija would do his job well, professionally and independently.

Petrol and diesel ten cents cheaper from Tuesday

LJUBLJANA - Regular petrol and diesel sold at service stations outside the motorway network will be more than ten cents cheaper from Tuesday. Petrol will cost EUR 1.62 per litre and diesel EUR 1.70, the Economy Ministry announced. Prices outside the motorway network are regulated and change every two weeks depending on the price of oil derivatives on the global market and the euro-dollar exchange rate. Along the motorway prices are fully liberalised.

Ryanair in talks with decision makers over Slovenia flights

LJUBLJANA - The Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair has conducted talks with the Infrastructure and Economy Ministries about setting up flights from and to Ljubljana Airport, the Erar web portal reported. Currently working with over 250 airports, Ryanair is now aiming to add Ljubljana to its portfolio in 2023 as Slovenia is currently the only EU country without flights operated by Ryanair. Slovenia urgently needs a greater airline connectivity, said Matevž Frangež, a state secretary at the Economy Ministry, while representatives of the Infrastructure Ministry added they plan to appoint a new concessionaire to manage Maribor Airport.

HSE group reports EUR 47m in net profit for 2021

LJUBLJANA - HSE, the country's largest electricity producer, generated EUR 47.97 million in net profit in 2021 after a loss of EUR 184.18 million in 2020. Its annual report shows the state-owned group generated a record EUR 2.54 billion in net sales revenue last year, a 38% increase from the year before. The Šoštanj Thermal Power Plant (TEŠ), a key HSE company, received compensation over the infamous TEŠ6 generator project to post a net profit of EUR 7.1 million, after a EUR 280 million loss in 2020.

Telekom Slovenije denies knowingly paying too much for IT firm

LJUBLJANA - Telekom Slovenije denied reports it had knowingly engaged in an allegedly harmful and overpaid acquisition of software developer Actual I.T. in March this year. The state-owned telco said the EUR 30 million deal, which is still subject to suspensive conditions, had undergone a due diligence check and two independent valuations. The news portal Necenzurirano alleged the company ignored warnings about the agreed price being substantially too high. One of the state shareholders, KAD, called for a shareholders' meeting to decide on an overhaul of the supervisory board over the matter.

MP disappointed with abolishing of Demography Office

MARIBOR - Dejan Kaloh, an MP from Maribor, and Franci Donko, an employee of the Maribor-based Demography Office, which the government abolished last week, expressed disappointed over the government's decision. Kaloh said this showed the government's attitude towards Maribor. "It is obvious that left-leaning governments are always making Maribor poorer in some way, which is wrong," said Kaloh said, while Donko rejected Labour Minister Luka Mesec's explanation that the office's purview overlaps with that of the Labour Ministry, speaking about a lack of understanding and as he noted the office's work was cross-departmental.

Fire in Kras under control

RENČE - Firefighters have managed to bring the fire in the north-western Kras under control after it came about half a kilometre close to the village of Lokvica during the night. The firefighters have warned though that the strong bora wind is threatening to fan the flames again. More than 400 firefighters with 120 fire engines were at the site this morning. They also have support from the air after the aircraft from Slovenia, Croatia and Italy the helped battle the fire yesterday had to retire for the night. The fire is estimated to have spread to over 390 hectares of pine and brush wood.

Outdoor noise regulation in breach of constitution

LJUBLJANA - The Constitutional Court found the regulation on limit values for outdoor noise indicators to be in breach of the constitution. It argues that significant changes and exceptions were introduced into the document after the end of public consultation period, which means that the public could not express its view on them. The government has one year after the court's decision is published in the Official Gazette to remedy the situation by involving the public to participate.

Weekend coronavirus tally tops 1,000

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia confirmed 1,073 new cases of coronavirus at the weekend, 14% more than the weekend before. Two patients infected with novel coronavirus have meanwhile died since Friday. There are currently 87 patients at regular wards hospitalised with Covid as their primary condition, almost double the figure from a week ago, and another ten in intensive care, up by two, shows data by the Health Ministry. The seven-day average of daily cases has increased by more than 260 to 1,493 from a week ago and the 14-day case notification rate by more than 215 to 910, according to the National Institute of Public Health.

Hoče confectioner found guilty in retrial over THC-laced cookies

MARIBOR - The Maribor District Court found a confectioner from Hoče near Maribor guilty of lacing cookies with cannabis before selling them to unsuspecting customers in a retrial, after the Supreme Court overturned the guilty ruling in the first trial and ordered a retrial. Niko Štekar was handed a 15-month suspended prison sentence after he failed to convince the judge a second time that he did not know the butter for the cookies provided by a retired health inspector contained THC.

Matevž Luzar wins best director award at Cinedays

SKOPJE, North Macedonia - Matevž Luzar won the Silver Star award for best director for his feature film the Orchestra at the Cinedays film festival held in Skopje, North Macedonia, last week. Co-produced by the public broadcaster RTV Slovenija with the help of funds from the Slovenian Film Centre, the film tells the story of a wind orchestra travelling to a music festival held in a small Austrian town. Each member has their own problems and the five protagonists' stories intertwine during the trip.

Heatwave to sweep across Slovenia

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia is looking at a serious heatwave ahead as temperatures climb to hit up to 39 degrees Celsius by the end of the week, according to the Environment Agency. While the bora wind that has spread a wildfire in Primorska is subsiding, temperatures will continue to soar throughout the week, peaking at 39 on Saturday and Sunday, while next Monday might see temperatures up to 40 degrees. This will be followed by a cold front that meteorologists forecast will reach Slovenia next week.

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