News roundup - Tuesday, 24 January, until 3 pm

Ljubljana, 24 January - Below is a roundup of major events on Tuesday, 24 January, until 3 pm local time:

Changed Financial Administration act re-passed with pledge of constitutional review

LJUBLJANA - A veto on changes to the financial administration act was surprisingly overridden in parliament. The MPs of the junior coalition Left joined the ruling party Freedom Movement with votes in favour. The two parties agreed they themselves would ask for a constitutional review and the staying of a contentious tracking devices provision. The SocDems abstained and the opposition voted against.

Golob denies involvement in alleged Kosovo corruption scandal

LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Robert Golob denied any involvement in an alleged corruption scandal in Kosovo in which his former company, Gen-I, is allegedly implicated, telling parliament that the Democrats (SDS) had fabricated the story to deflect attention from their leader. "It is fascinating to listen to your fabrications, which are completely made up," Golob told SDS lawmaker Žan Mahnič during questions time in parliament.

Golob notes goal of value added wood products

LJUBLJANA - The wood-processing industry in Slovenia has been in a state of crisis for some time now, Prime Minister Robert Golob said in parliament in response to an MP's question. The primary goal should be to manufacture products with higher value added, he noted. He stressed the importance of focusing on the areas where Slovenian wood will be marketed as a strategic asset.

ZZZS deficit, at EUR 133m, narrower than feared

LJUBLJANA - ZZZS, the state-owned health insurer, posted a deficit of EUR 133 million in 2022, significantly lower than forecast. The shortfall will be covered with surplus funds from previous years, the ZZZS management said. Revenue reached EUR 3.94 billion last year, broadly in line with a revised plan adopted in October, and expenditure EUR 4.1 billion, slightly lower than planned but EUR 556 million higher than in 2021, according to director general Tatjana Mlakar.

GEN energy group stays EUR 23 million in black

LJUBLJANA - The GEN energy group reported EUR 4.1 billion in revenue for 2022, up from EUR 3.5 billion the year before. The management said that despite the difficult conditions, Slovenia's largest energy group generated an estimated EUR 23 million in net profit, down from EUR 105.6 million in 2021. Turnover generated by the group, which got a new management at the end of last year, was above plans, although sales volumes were lower due to price increases.

Slovenia part of EPPO cross-border VAT fraud investigation

LUXEMBOURG, Luxembourg - The European Public Prosecutor's Office performed 61 raids in ten EU members, including in Slovenia. Five people have been detained as part of the investigation into cross-border VAT fraud. The suspects are suspected of having gained EUR 32 million in illegal proceeds, the office said in a press release. The European Public Prosecutor's Office opened the investigation in 2021, soon after the office was launched. So far, it performed two field investigations, seizing a total of EUR 5.2 million worth of cordless headphones.

Slovenia eager to play role in chip development

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia is keen on jumping on the chip train after the EU passed legislation stipulating that the bloc should have a 20% global share in chip production by 2030. The country has know-how and experts in this field, according to speakers at Slovenia's first conference dedicated to chips, held in Ljubljana. Slovenia must create new chip firms, added Boštjan Zalar of the Jožef Stefan Institute, which is taking part in an initiative to develop the Slovenian semiconductor industry.

Thousands of users cut off from electricity in Štajerska

MARIBOR/CELJE/SLOVENJ GRADEC/DRAVOGRAD - Heavy snowfall and rainfall resulted in toppled trees on Monday leading to power outages in the eastern Štajerska region. During last night the situation got worse as thousands of users were cut off from electricity. In Koroška, another region severely hit by snowstorms, the situation has improved but trees continue to topple under heavy snow and a number of roads are still closed.

Slovenian gets proof of concept grant for PET scanning

LJUBLJANA - Slovenian researcher Peter Križan, who works at the Jožef Stefan Institute and the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics in Ljubljana, has received a proof of concept grant from the European Research Council (ERC) to confirm the concept of his ERC-funded research into new phenomena in elementary particles and accelerate the transition to innovation.

Anti-war art by Slovenian artist on display in Vienna

VIENNA, Austria - Photo collages with an anti-war note by Slovenian artist Stane Jagodič will open tonight at the Korotan Slovenian Cultural Centre in Vienna. Running until 4 March, his latest exhibition titled Zakaj/ Varum /Why puts on display an array of engaged, modern-day, anti-war collage art in response to topical events, especially the war in Ukraine. On Friday Jagodič's video material will be screened at the Vienna subsidiary of the Photon Gallery.

© STA, 2023