News roundup - Friday, 6 January

Ljubljana, 6 January - Below is a roundup of major events on Friday, 6 January:

Pahor will not be lobbying for Slovenia's Security Council seat

LJUBLJANA - Former President Borut Pahor will not be formally entrusted with lobbying for Slovenia's non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council in 2024-2025. He said in a written statement that this had not been his idea in the first place and that Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon should perhaps explain the whole situation if need be. Pahor's statement comes after the news site N1 reported the Foreign Ministry "has not concluded any agreement nor is planning to" with Pahor, and cited Fajon as saying that there was no need for now to "formalise another role for anyone" in this respect.

Zemljarič funeral with military honours upsets SDS

LJUBLJANA - Janez Zemljarič, one of the most influential Slovenian politicians, was buried with military honours at Žale cemetery, which promoted the opposition Democrats expressing indignation and protest at the government's decision to have the former head of the National Security Service, which was also a secret police, buried with military honours. Among the many top offices, he led this intelligence agency in 1975-1976. The SDS spoke of "a gross attack on the right to human dignity", with similar sentiments echoed by the Association for the Values of Slovenian Independence and the Association of Political Prisoners and Other Victims of Communist Violence.

Patients queueing from midnight to get GP

LJUBLJANA - A long line of patients hoping to be able to sign up for a GP formed for the fourth day running in front of the Bežigrad unit of the Ljubljana Community Health Centre, which opened two doctor's offices for patients without a named GP. Media reported that the queue was nearly a kilometre long as first patients arrived at midnight to make sure to get a place with one of the two GPs as each only takes up to 70 daily. They will be able to take around 2,500 patients. Health Minister Danijel Bešič Loredan will meet the Ljubljana mayor and the health insurance fund ZZZS next week to find a solution so that patients would not have to sign up in person.

Indian, Slovenian foreign affairs officials discuss cooperation

LJUBLJANA - Foreign Ministry State Secretary Samuel Žbogar met Sanjay Verma, the secretary for the West at India's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. As part of political consultation in Ljubljana, the pair went over all key aspects of bilateral cooperation, dedicating special attention to security and political situation in the two countries' respective regions, including the situations in Ukraine, Afghanistan and the wide Indo-Pacific region.

Slovenia becomes ECOSOC member until end of 2025

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia became a member of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) at the start of 2023. The three-year membership is Slovenia's first in the body that coordinates economic, social and environmental aspects of sustainable development. The country announced its candidacy in 2017 and was elected in July 2022, the Foreign Ministry said in a press release.

Information commissioner welcomes decision on IMSI catchers

LJUBLJANA - The Office of the Information Commissioner welcomed the recent Constitutional Court decision to put a final stop to the use of IMSI catchers by police. It said it had checked their use through inspection in 2013 to find that they seriously breach the rules on personal data protection. The Justice Ministry is yet to study the decision, but said that the ruling had no direct impact on the work of the police, as IMSI catchers had not been in use since the court's 2019 injunction.

State budget deficit halved to EUR 1.4bn in 2022

LJUBLJANA - Preliminary data released by the Finance Ministry shows the national budget recording EUR 12.3 billion in revenue in 2022, up 10.5% on 2021. Expenditure decreased by 3.8% to 13.7 billion and the deficit by 55% to slightly under EUR 1.4 billion. Last year's budget revenue reached 98.4% of the revenue planned in the supplementary budget, while expenditure reached 94% of what was planned in the revised budget.

Minister critical of announced patients' strike

LJUBLJANA - Health Minister Danijel Bešič Loredan criticised what will be the first patients' strike in Slovenia, scheduled for Tuesday, just a day before doctors go on strike. The civil initiative Voice of the People presented its demands to the Health Ministry on Wednesday, with one of them being immediate access to a GP for all. The minister considers it impossible to immediately provide access to GPs in the current situation. However, he welcomed proposals by the Union of Patient Organisations as an appropriate way to help change the situation for the better. The proposals to make the health system more accessible will be made public next week.

Janša's lawyer to be replaced as Luka Koper supervisor

KOPER - The manager of the majority state-owned stake in the port operator Luka Koper called a shareholders' meeting for 6 February to decide on the replacement of the supervisory board members who were appointed under the previous government, including Franci Matoz, the lawyer of former PM Janez Janša. The meeting will also take note of the resignation of Tamara Kozlovič, who stepped down as supervisor in May 2022 after she was elected an MP for the Freedom Movement, the party of PM Rober Golob.

Warnings about dwindling minority numbers heard in Cividale

CIVIDALE, Italy - Demographics was at the centre of the 59th Emigrant Day, the largest sociopolitical event organised by the Slovenian minority in the Udine area in the Italian region of Friuli Venezia Giulia, Primorski Dnevnik, the minority's newspaper, reported. The event was attended by Minister for Slovenians Abroad Matej Arčon, who stressed in his speech that cooperation was a way forward and pointed to the unique nature of the cross-border area that spans various cultures and nations.

Criminal complaints filed against five people for abuse of office

LJUBLJANA - The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has filed criminal complaints against five people at the Specialised State Prosecutor's Office for alleged abuse of office, suspecting that they obtained more than EUR 600,000 unlawfully and to the detriment of a company from the area of Maribor, the General Police Department said. According to unofficial information of the 24.ur news portal, the suspects include two controversial figures with alleged links to the opposition Democrats (SDS), tax adviser Rok Snežič, and Dijana Đuđić, a Bosnian citizen who was involved in an SDS loan scandal.

Equality ombudsman speaks out as Roma denied service in bar

LJUBLJANA/MURSKA SOBOTA - The Advocate of the Principle of Equality has found that a group of Roma men were discriminated against based on their ethnicity in a bar on the outskirts of Murska Sobota in the northeast, near the Roma village of Pušča. According to a complaint the advocate received about the incident, they were refused service, with the waitress outright telling them she would not serve them because they were Roma. She told them that prior to their visit, a group of Roma had started a fight at the bar.

Slovenian Jesuits ask victims of Rupnik's abuse for forgiveness

LJUBLJANA - Slovenian Jesuits asked victims of the alleged sexual, psychological or spiritual abuse committed by Slovenian priest Marko Rupnik for forgiveness. Above all, they ask current and former nuns of the Loyola community to forgive them in Friday's statement, in which the Jesuits again called for the abuses to be reported. The statement comes after the Slovenian Jesuits said in December they stood by the victims of abuse and strived to create a culture of safety and commitment to the highest standards in their mission.

Lanišek finishes Four Hills Tournament third overall

BISCHOFWIESEN, Germany - Slovenia's ski jumper Anže Lanišek placed second in the last event of the Four Hills Tournament to finish third in the tournament's overall rankings. He is only the fourth Slovenian to have podiumed the Four Hills Tournament, after the competition was won by Primož Peterka and Peter Prevc in the 1996-97 and 2015-16 seasons, respectively, and Peter Žonta placed third in the 2003-04 season. Today's event, and the tournament, was won by Norwegian Halvor Egner Granerud.

Norwegian biathletes sweep World Cup sprint event in Pokljuka

POKLJUKA - Norwegian biathletes took the first three places in today's World Cup 10km sprint event for men in Pokljuka. With one missed shot, Johannes Thingnes Boe placed 48.1 seconds ahead of his brother Tarjei Boe (0) and 55.6 seconds ahead of Sturla Holm Laegreid (1). This was the 99th time that Johannes Thingnes Boe podiumed in his career and his 61st victory. He is currently in the lead in the overall rankings. Jakov Fak was the best Slovenian, placing 12th.

Čeferin only candidate for UEFA president

NYON, Switzerland - Aleksander Čeferin, the Slovenian lawyer who has led the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) since 2016, is now officially the only candidate for the post for the coming four-year term. UEFA confirmed it had not received any other bids. The new president will be elected on 5 April at UEFA's congress in Lisbon.

Many Slovenian ski slopes closed due to warm weather

LJUBLJANA - Unseasonably warm weather has forced many Slovenian ski slopes to close due to lack of snow. Not only is there no snowfall, but the temperatures are also too high to make artificial snow. The ski slopes that are open struggle to create the minimum skiing conditions for their visitors. "The warm winter ... has eaten up the snow that the ski resorts managed to make before the holidays," said Manuela Božič Badalič, head of the Slovenian Ski Lift Association. The country's highest-altitude ski resort, Kanin, is the only resort currently operating normally, while Cerkno, Soriška Planina, Stari Vrh and Gače are closed.

© STA, 2023