News roundup - Thursday, 12 January, until 3pm

Ljubljana, 12 January - Below is a roundup of major events on Thursday, 12 January, until 3pm local time:

Monthly minimum wage rising to EUR 878 net in 2023

LJUBLJANA - The minimum wage in Slovenia will be by EUR 100 net higher this year than last year, meaning that every minimum wage earner will take home EUR 878 a month, Labour Minister Luka Mesec said after the government session. The nearly 13% increase is the heftiest minimum wage rise in the past decade. Last October, the minimum cost of living was calculated for the first time in five years, at EUR 670, while annual inflation hit 10.3% in December.

Electricity and gas providers to get compensation

LJUBLJANA - The government decided to help out all electricity and natural gas providers with a compensation for having to sell the energy at capped prices. Infrastructure Minister Bojan Kumer said that the measure was worth between 340 and 350 million euro at the annual level. The regulations set the criteria for eligibility, the manner and procedure of payment, while authorising electricity market operator Borzen as the company in charge of paying out the compensation.

Govt adopts bill to boost air connectivity with new subsidies

LJUBLJANA - The government adopted a bill envisaging EUR 5.6 million in state aid to secure better air connectivity, which Infrastructure Ministry State Secretary Alenka Bratušek said experienced substantial decline in the past two years. The aid scheme remains to be approved by the European Commission. The aid scheme remains to be approved by the European Commission.

Govt greenlights strike-averting deal with doctors

LJUBLJANA - The government confirmed the strike-averting agreement reached with the doctors' trade union Fides a day before the strike. The promised new pay tier for the healthcare sector will need to be created within the public sector by next year or doctors' wages will be negotiated on in separate talks. The goal is for the separate pay tier to be set up by 1 April. The first round of talks is scheduled for 25 January, said Petra Bezjak Cirman from the Government Communication Office.

Bratušek to focus on rail infrastructure, issues in aviation

LJUBLJANA - Alenka Bratušek highlighted at her confirmation hearing "safe, green and digital" as the goals that will guide her as infrastructure minister. Bratušek, who was confirmed by the parliamentary committee in a 9:5 vote, singled out investments in railway infrastructure as vital in the pursuit of sustainability. The former prime minister, who has been serving as state secretary at the Infrastructure Ministry that she also led from 2018 to 2020, said the ministry would spend EUR 486 million on railway infrastructure this year, 55% more than last year.

Felda advocates digitalization, overhaul of pre-school, primary education

LJUBLJANA - Darjo Felda, the candidate for education minister, was cleared by the relevant parliamentary committee in a 9:5 vote. He pointed out digitalization and a reform of the curriculum in kindergartens and first three years of primary school as top priorities. Felda, currently a state secretary at the Education Ministry, told the committee that more emphasis should be put on lifelong learning and special measures should be taken to include Roma children in pre-school education.

Report: German company buys Beti's debt

LJUBLJANA - After struggling for years Beti, a leading European manufacturer of dyed polyamide yarns, broke even last year and has managed to sell its debt to a strategic investor. According to unofficial information obtained by the newspaper Dnevnik, the investor is associated with German company Medi&Co. The Germans are reportedly also interested in buying a share in Beti, but its sole owner, Viktor Kozjan, would not comment on this for the paper.

New Covid variant XBB found in Slovenia, no additional measures planned

LJUBLJANA - The National Laboratory for Health, Environment and Food has so far confirmed seven cases of infections with the new Covid variant XBB in Slovenia. After Tuesday's meeting, the Covid task force at the National Institute of Public Health said no additional epidemiological measures were required for now, but the developments in relation to XBB.1.5 would be closely monitored.

International drug smuggling ring dismantled, reports say

LJUBLJANA - Together with their Austrian counterparts, Slovenian investigators have dismantled a drug smuggling ring that had reportedly been active mainly in Slovenia and Austria. Charges have been filed against nearly 50 ring members and the prosecution has requested investigation into 35 suspects, newspapers Dnevnik and Večer reported. The ring included two criminal organisations that were allegedly part of an international ring originating from Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia.

Slovenians are most worried about price hikes

BRUSSELS, Belgium - The rising costs of living worry 88% of Slovenians and 93% of Europeans, a Eurobarometer survey showed. More than half of Slovenians are unhappy with measures to mitigate the crisis. Besides the rising costs of living, climate change and the threat of poverty and social exclusion concern Slovenians the most, worrying around 75% of the population.

New production of Giselle opens at Cankarjev Dom

LJUBLJANA - Giselle, sometimes referred to as the Queen of Romantic Ballet, will premiere at Ljubljana's Cankarjev Dom tonight in a co-production with the national opera and ballet company that has been choreographed by Jose Carlos Martinez, the new director of ballet at the Paris Opera. The Spanish choreographer has added a contemporary touch to the classic, and the production will run until 28 January.

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