News roundup - Monday, 23 January

Ljubljana, 23 January - Below is a roundup of major events on Monday, 23 January:

Illegal migrations more than tripled in 2022

LJUBLJANA - Slovenian police caught 32,042 illegal migrants on the border last year, an increase of 214% on the year before, the latest police statistics show. Afghanistan was the biggest single source country with 6,010 migrants recorded, nearly double the number of a year ago. More than 5,000 came from Burundi, almost 3,900 from India, 2,400 from Pakistan, and 2,100 from Bangladesh. Almost all those who have been apprehended, nearly 31,500 individuals, expressed their intention to request international protection. However, much like in recent years the vast majority leave the country before they submit a formal asylum request; under 7,600 did so last year.

Slovenian, Italian FMs discuss migrations

BRUSSELS, Belgium Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon and her Italian counterpart Antonio Tajani discussed cooperation in managing the Western Balkan migration route, with Fajon underlining that the data on migrations is not so alarming as to require additional measures. Meeting on the sidelines of the foreign affairs ministerial, Fajon and Tajani discussed ways in which Slovenian and Italian police forces could help control the migration flow along the Western Balkan route, especially after Croatia entered the Schengen zone at the start of the year. Data from Slovenia's Interior Ministry is not so alarming as to require additional measures, Fajon told Tajani.

Fajon: EU ministers agree pressure on Montenegro should continue

BRUSSELS, Belgium - EU foreign ministers agreed that it is necessary to continue exerting pressure on Montenegro to fill the vacancies on the Constitutional Court judges and emerge from a deep political and institutional crisis, Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon said. There was "broad agreement that we have to continue this pressure on Montenegro," she said after the session, noting that member states were using their channels to deliver the message to Montenegrin political parties that the sixth attempt to appoint judges, scheduled in February, needed to succeed.

NSi announces motion of no confidence in Culture Minister Vrečko

LJUBLJANA - The New Slovenia (NSi) plans to lodge a motion of no confidence in Culture Minister Asta Vrečko after the government decided to merge a museum dedicated to Slovenia's independence that was formally established by the former government with the existing Museum of Contemporary History. The opposition party told the STA the merger was "a step in the wrong direction." The Museum of Slovenian Independence was established by the Janez Janša government amidst warnings by museology experts that this is a purely political project.

Court dismisses part of Janša's damages claim concerning Patria trial

KRANJ - A court in Kranj has dismissed a portion of a claim worth nearly a million euros that Janez Janša, the leader of the Democrats (SDS), lodged against a former prosecutor and four judges that were involved in the Patria corruption trial. The Kranj District Court judge issued what is called a partial judgement, which happens when one or more of several joint claims are ready for a final decision. Janša is also demanding damages from the state and that part of the claim remains standing for now.

Constitutional Court decides against staying tax law changes

LJUBLJANA - The Constitutional Court decided against staying income tax changes scrapping the gradual increase in income tax breaks planned by the previous government. However, it said it would treat the matter with absolute priority. The court's decision to dismiss the petition to stay the legislative changes, filed by MPs of two opposition parties, the Democrats and the New Slovenia (NSi), means that the changes passed by the incumbent coalition in December have taken effect on 1 January.

POP TV poll: Support for govt continues to drop

LJUBLJANA - The support for the government of Robert Golob continues to drop, shows a poll conducted by Mediana for commercial broadcaster POP TV. But half of respondents continue to support the cabinet and the senior coalition party Freedom Movement remains the most popular party. The support for the government dropped by almost three percentage points to 50.6% in January, which POP TV said was the lowest rate since last year's election. Meanwhile, 35.5% of respondents oppose the cabinet and 13.9% are undecided.

Speaker says society must fight against contemporary forms of anti-Semitism

LJUBLJANA - In her message ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, parliamentary Speaker Urška Klakočar Zupančič said that everyone should fight against contemporary forms of anti-Semitism and hatred. She warned that hate speech, pervasive on social networks and in online debates, was also increasingly spreading in political discourse. "It is our civilization's responsibility to do everything we can, as individuals and as a society, to make sure that something so atrocious never happens again," she said at the outset of the parliament's plenary.

RTV Slovenija strike called off

LJUBLJANA - A 24-hour strike by staff at public broadcaster RTV Slovenija scheduled for Tuesday has been called off after the management proposed the continuation of negotiations and a new agreement that includes withdrawal of formal warnings against three dozen employees. "The strike committee sees this as (merely the first) step in the right direction, which is why we have provisionally suspended the continuation of strike activities scheduled for tomorrow ... If there is no progress by the end of the week ... we will escalate the strike activities," the strike committee said.

Petrol supervisor Zupančič stays on

LJUBLJANA - The shareholders of Petrol voted against Slovenian Sovereign Holding's (SSH) proposal to dismiss Aleksander Zupančič as a member of the supervisory board. A representative of SSH said at the extraordinary shareholder meeting of Petrol that the state asset custodian still insisted on his dismissal, with the cited reason being loss of trust. The share of votes for dismissal (60%) was short of the required majority (75%). The shareholders also discussed the situation at the gas subsidiary Geoplin, and activities related to damages that Petrol seeks from the state over regulated fuel prices.

A1 next telco to face class action lawsuit

LJUBLJANA - After bringing a class action lawsuit against market leader Telekom Slovenije, an association of small shareholders is now also suing the telecommunications services provider A1 over what it argues are unjustified unilateral price hikes of subscription plans. The VZMD claims EUR 52.3 million in damages from A1.

Average wage up 11.3% in November, mostly due to bonuses

LJUBLJANA - Extraordinary payments to employees such as 13th salary and Christmas bonuses expectedly increased the average monthly wage in Slovenia for last November to EUR 1,479.56 net, which is nominally 12.3% more than in October, and 11.3% higher in real terms, the Statistics Office reported on Monday. The average gross wage for November 2022 amounted to EUR 2,244.35, which is 10.9% higher on a monthly basis nominally and 9.9% in real terms.

Croatians flock to Slovenia to shop cheaper

BREŽICE - After Croatia joined the Eurozone on 1 January, Croatians are increasingly shopping in Slovenia, especially in the eastern town of Brežice, finding cheaper deals there. Store owners welcome them with open arms and the locals hope this will boost tourism in the area. Croatian customers have been keeping Brežice store owners busy in the first month of the new year as their numbers increased significantly. Most come to do their shopping on Saturdays, said Brežice Mayor Ivan Molan.

Bled hosting Winter Swimming World Championships

BLED - The lakeside town of Bled is hosting its second Winter Swimming World Championships this week. Some 1,000 participants from 31 countries have registered to brave the chilly lake water. Most competitors come from Finland, the UK, Germany and Denmark, but there are participants from all over the world, including Argentina, Mongolia and Morocco. The oldest among them will turn 88 shortly.

© STA, 2023