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Weekly review of events involving Slovenia, 20-26 August

Ljubljana, 27 August - Below is a weekly review of events involving Slovenia from 20 to 26 August:

FRIDAY, 20 August
        LJUBLJANA - FM Anže Logar and his Austrian counterpart Alexander Schallenberg said that Afghans fleeing the Taliban should be helped in Afghanistan's neighbourhood, as they warned against a rerun of the 2015 migration crisis.
        LJUBLJANA - FM Anže Logar assured his Austrian counterpart Alexander Schallenberg Slovenia would be completely transparent about its plans to build a second unit at the Krško nuclear power station. Schallenberg said Austria respected decisions by other countries on what kind of an energy mix they would have.
        LJUBLJANA - Booster shots of coronavirus vaccines became available for persons with transplanted organs, patients awaiting transplantation and those with severely weakened immune systems, under the latest revision of the national vaccination strategy adopted by the government.
        LJUBLJANA - The government changed course on testing policy, deciding employees in healthcare, education, retail and the events industry will continue to have access to free tests after 23 August when free mass testing was discontinued. Transit passengers need to produce Covid certificate after 29 August.
        LJUBLJANA - The director general of public broadcaster RTV Slovenija Andrej Grah Whatmough dismissed Natalija Gorščak, the director of TV programmes, after accusing her of violating bylaws and allowing ratings to plummet. Gorščak said to use legal means to proved that she had worked well and in line with the law.
        LJUBLJANA - An Afghan interpreter who worked for the Slovenian Armed Forces was evacuated from Afghanistan and arrived in Slovenia together with his family. The government has already sorted out their legal status.
        KREDARICA - A confrontation took place between anti-government protesters and PM Janez Janša and Interior Minister Aleš Hojs at the Kredarica mountain hut below Mt Triglav with some harsh words exchanged.
        LJUBLJANA - British Airways relaunched flights between Ljubljana and London's largest airport Heathrow, the operation of Ljubljana airport said. Passengers can fly to Heathrow on Fridays and Sunday, with another two weekly flights to be added at the end of August.

SATURDAY, 21 August
        GORNJA RADGONA - The Agra agriculture fair opened in an in-person format as the first large in-person fair in Slovenia since the epidemic was declared in March 2020, featuring some 1,100 exhibitors from 29 countries. President Borut Pahor warned in his keynote farmers would have to be helped by the state to cope with the impact of climate change.

SUNDAY, 22 August
        LJUBLJANA/BRUSSELS, Belgium - PM Janez Janša said the EU would "not open any 'humanitarian' or migration corridors to Afghanistan". European Parliament President David Sassoli countered his statement by saying it was "not up to the current presidency of the Council to say what the EU will do". The Union and the countries which have taken part in the NATO mission in Afghanistan have a duty to take care of the Afghans at risk following the Taliban seizure of the country, the European Commission later said.
MONDAY, 23 August
        JERUSALEM, Israel - FM Anže Logar pledged regular bilateral dialogue and cooperation as he met his Israeli counterpart Yair Lapid and other senior officials. As part of the visit, a cyber security cooperation memorandum was signed.
        KYIV, Ukraine - President Borut Pahor reaffirmed Slovenia's support for Ukraine's territorial integrity as he attended an international conference on Russia's illegal annexation of the Crimea in 2014.
        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša and Speaker Igor Zorčič marked Europe-wide Day of Remembrance for the victims of all totalitarian and authoritarian regimes, warning against glorification of Nazi and other totalitarian regimes' symbols. Zorčič called for the prosecution of such acts.
        LJUBLJANA - More than 50% of Slovenians aged over 18 have been fully vaccinated and 55% have received the first shot of a coronavirus vaccine, the latest official figures showed.
        CELJE/GOLNIK - The Golnik University Clinic and the Celje General Hospital joined the country's largest hospitals, UKC Ljubljana and UKC Maribor, in opening designated Covid-19 wards.
        LJUBLJANA - Just over a quarter of respondents in the latest public opinion poll conducted by Mediana for commercial broadcaster POP TV said they supported the work of the Janez Janša government, which is the lowest support in this term. The ruling Democrats (SDS) continued to top party rankings, followed by the opposition SocDems.

TUESDAY, 24 August
        RAMALLAH, Palestine - FM Anže Logar met his Palestinian counterpart Riyad al-Maliki as he visited Ramallah. Bilateral and EU-Palestine cooperation, the situation in Palestine, current developments in the region, and Slovenia's EU presidency topped the agenda.
        LJUBLJANA - Interior Minister Aleš Hojs held talks with Johanna Mikl-Leitner, the governor of the Austrian state of Lower Austria. Migrations and the Western Balkans topped the agenda along with the work of the Slovenian EU presidency.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia started using monoclonal antibody treatment for some patients with Covid-19, having received a shipment of 1,000 doses of a drug as part of an EU contract, the Health Ministry said.
        SLOVENJ GRADEC - Construction work began near Slovenj Gradec on a vital expressway to link the Koroška region in the north with the national motorway network. The section is valued at EUR 37.4 million and should be completed in 30 months.
WEDNESDAY, 25 August
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia is likely to get a new Covid traffic light system next week with tiers of restrictions defined based on the number of cases in hospitals rather than the number of new positive cases, senior health officials said.
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor hosted a delegation of the US Senate for the Slovenian-American Friendship Day, an annual celebration of bilateral ties. He stressed that the two countries shared the same values.
        LJUBLJANA - FM Anže Logar and his Maltese counterpart Evarist Bartolo said that reforms in the EU's migration policy were necessary, highlighting migration issues should be tackled primarily in countries of origin.
        LJUBLJANA - Interior Minister Aleš Hojs met via videolink Roland Sebastian Schilling, representative of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for Central Europe. The pair discussed the situation in Afghanistan, including potential migration and security threats.
        LJUBLJANA - Schools and kindergartens received instructions on how to act if staff does not adhere to the recovered-vaccinated-tested rule. A refusal to get tested for coronavirus will be sufficient ground for a lay-off, showed an Education Ministry circular obtained by the STA.
        GORNJA RADGONA - Several organisations of farmers staged a protest against solutions contained in the draft national strategic plan for the EU's common agricultural policy, which involves a shift from direct payments to farmers towards the financing of rural development policy.
        LJUBLJANA - Russian airline Aeroflot will apparently not operate flights between Slovenia and the Russian capital in the winter season, the Ex-Yu Aviation web portal reported. Aeroflot currently flies from Ljubljana Airport to Moscow three times a week.

THURSDAY, 26 August
        COPENHAGEN, Denmark - Foreign Minister Anže Logar paid a visit to Denmark to meet his counterpart Jeppe Kofod. The talks focused on strengthening bilateral relations, reviewing the implementation of the priorities of the Slovenian EU presidency, and on topical international issues, including Afghanistan.
        BELGRADE, Serbia - Parliamentary Speaker Igor Zorčič started a two-day official visit to Serbia by meeting his counterpart Ivica Dačić. The two said they were happy with the traditionally friendly relations between the countries that are connected both by a shared history and a joint European future.
        LJUBLJANA - The opposition-controlled Commission for Oversight of Public Finances asked the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption to check the records of Prime Minister Janez Janša's contacts with lobbyists after a media reported that he had played golf on several occasions with a major lobbyist and the owner of an IT firm.
        LJUBLJANA - The tested-vaccinated-recovered requirement, known in Slovenia by the acronym PCT, will be expanded to university students and those participating in indoor sports activities under a decision adopted by the government. Testing for students will be free.
        LJUBLJANA - The latest official figures showed Slovenia reported 509 coronavirus infections for Wednesday as the test positivity rate stood at 17.4%. The 14-day incidence per 100,000 population rose from 187 to 199, meaning Slovenia is on the brink of entering the red phase. Hospitalisations topped 100 for the first time since mid-June.
        LJUBLJANA - Boris Pahor, the acclaimed Slovenian writer from Trieste, celebrated his 108th birthday. On the occasion, 26 colleagues paid tribute to him with a publication featuring interviews and testimonies.

© STA, 2021