News roundup - Thursday, 26 January

Ljubljana, 26 January - Below is a roundup of major events on Thursday, 26 January:

President stresses excellent diplomacy, coordinated foreign policy

BRDO PRI KRANJU - President Nataša Pirc Musar highlighted the role of excellent diplomacy and coordinated foreign policy as she addressed Slovenian diplomats on the last day of their annual meeting. She also spoke about the war in Ukraine, instability in the Balkans, Slovenia's UN Security Council bid, and human rights. In her first address to the diplomats, Pirc Musar said that during her term as president she wants to give the presidency true substance while following the fundamental foreign policy principle of the best possible coordination between decision makers.

Unity key in time of crisis, say Fajon and Albares

BRDO PRI KRANJU - Attending an annual consultation of Slovenian diplomats, Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon and her Spanish counterpart Jose Manuel Albares Bueno agreed that unity is key in a time of crisis, especially in light of the war in Ukraine and Spain's upcoming EU presidency. The foreign ministers shared the view that their countries have excellent relations. Albares also expressed support for Slovenia in its bid to secure a non-permanent seat in the UN Security Council. During his visit, Albares also met President Nataša Pirc Musar, Prime Minister Robert Golob, and parliamentary Speaker Urška Klakočar Zupančič.

National Assembly speaker points to role of parliamentary diplomacy

LJUBLJANA - Parliamentary Speaker Urška Klakočar Zupančič expressed her satisfaction that Slovenia's foreign policy is taking a path that leads to a renewed commitment to democracy, human rights and the rule of law, as she addressed Slovenian diplomats at Brdo pri Kranju. She also stressed the role parliamentary diplomacy, especially the National Assembly, can play in addressing key challenges in the international community.

Slovenia to send police attaché to Rome to improve information exchange

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia will send a police attaché to Rome in February to further improve information exchange with Italy, the Interior Ministry said after a meeting between interim Interior Minister Sanja Ajanović Hovnik and her Italian counterpart Matteo Piantedosi on the sidelines of an informal ministerial in Stockholm. Police cooperation between the two countries is very good, the pair said.

Slovenia calls for more concrete plans on returning of migrants

STOCKHOLM, Sweden - Slovenia welcomes the operational strategy for a more effective return of migrants, which was discussed by EU interior ministers at an informal meeting in Stockholm, the Interior Ministry said. However, its implementation in practice is essential, which is why the strategy should include more proposals for concrete actions, it added.

Slovenia receives final warning over legislation on posted workers

LJUBLJANA - The European Commission has issued a reasoned opinion and two formal notices to Slovenia for non-compliance with EU law. The reasoned opinion, a final step before a possible referral to court, concerns protection of posted workers, while the first notices pertain to prevention of terrorism and to business users of online intermediary services.

Ombudsman requests constitutional review of changed Financial Administration act

LJUBLJANA - Human Rights Ombudsman Peter Svetina has decided to request a constitutional review of changes to the financial administration act that introduce the use of tracking devices to target illegal producers of products subject to excise duty. The coalition had announced the same move earlier today. The changes stipulate that an approval by the head of the tax authority suffices for the use of the tracking devices. "This is an interference with privacy, which is a constitutionally guaranteed human right," Svetina said.

Govt caps district heating gas prices for protected users

LJUBLJANA - The government set the maximum allowed retail price for natural gas for district heating systems used by protected institutions such as social care institutions, kindergartens, primary schools and community health centres. The measure will be effective as of 1 January this year. According to Environment, Climate and Energy Minister Bojan Kumer, the maximum price for protected users has been set at 79 euro per Megawatt hour.

Govt lowers education requirements for the army

LJUBLJANA - The government adopted changes to the act on service in the Slovenian Armed Forces lowering the education requirement for joining the army. In line with the changes, which will be fast-tracked through parliament, primary education will be enough to join the army. The Government Communication Office said the changes were to increase the interest in the army as a career opportunity and transpose an EU directive on working time during stand-by duty.

Nataša Robežnik appointed acting head of new museum

LJUBLJANA - Culture Minister Asta Vrečko has appointed Nataša Robežnik acting director of a new museum that is the product of the merger of two contemporary-era museums. Robežnik, an art historian, will serve as acting head until a full-term director is appointed but no more than a year, the ministry said. She has more than 17 years of experience in museum work and since 2012 she has worked at the National Museum of Contemporary History, where she currently heads the education department.

Labour Ministry asks central bank to relax household crediting rules

LJUBLJANA - The Labour Ministry asked the central bank to relax crediting rules for households after banks warned that the increase in the minimum wage would erode the creditworthiness of large swathes of even middle-income earners. Under existing macroprudential rules, an individual must be left with 76% of gross minimum wage after paying off all of their loans each month. This amount has gone from EUR 817 to EUR 915 after the minimum wage was increased at the start of the month. The central bank said it would strengthen dialogue with relevant institutions to find a solution suitable for all stakeholders.

Krka revenue up 10% to record EUR 1.7bn in 2022, net profit at EUR 361m

NOVO MESTO - Pharma group Krka reported a 10% revenue increase in 2022 to EUR 1.7 billion, the highest figure to date. Sales increased in the majority of Krka's key markets and in all product and service segments. Net profit rose by 17% to EUR 361 million, the unaudited results show. In Eastern Europe, Krka increased sales by 14% to EUR 623.4 million, in Central Europe by 4% to EUR 364.2 million, in Western Europe by 7% to EUR 327.3 million, in SE Europe also by 7% to EUR 224.5 million, and in overseas markets by 23% to EUR 66.1 million.

Govt endorses annual contract with STA for 2023

LJUBLJANA - The government approved a contract on the public service performed by the Slovenian Press Agency (STA) for this year, rising the funds by around 10% or by EUR 243,600 compared to last year. STA staff welcomed the development, including more funds, as "an important step towards providing both financial and editorial autonomy". The EUR 2.27 million contract means the STA will no longer be financed based on the number of articles it publishes but on a monthly basis to the tune of EUR 189,300.

Public broadcaster to generate surplus this year

LJUBLJANA - The supervisory board of the public broadcaster adopted a financial plan for 2023 on Wednesday under which RTV Slovenija is to generate a surplus of 3,000 euros, a plan that staff representatives consider unrealistic. The plan's adoption will make it possible to implement the programme and production plan for this year.

TAB launching production of Li-ion batteries in Prevalje

LJUBLJANA - Tab, a maker of lead-acid batteries and one of Slovenia's largest exporters, is launching the production of lithium-ion batteries with 40 employees in Prevalje in February, CEO Roman Burja told the press, as he presented the company's plans for a digital transformation. According to Burja, lithium-ion batteries are interesting for a wider range of buyers, from small investors in Slovenia to large energy companies.

2022 one of most successful years for Slovenian film

LJUBLJANA - Slovenian cinematography concluded 2022 with the European Film Academy award for Urška Djukić's Granny's Sexual Life, an animated short that has just been nominated for the French Cezar award. This bodes well for 2023, when shooting of eleven features and four shorts is planned to start, Slovenian Film Centre director Nataša Bučar said.

Balkan Warrior trial ends with prison terms already served

LJUBLJANA - The high-profile trial in the Balkan Warrior drug trafficking case ended as the Ljubljana District Court sentenced almost a dozen defendants to prison sentences that they have already served in prison or detention, public broadcaster TV Slovenija reported. Chief defendant Dragan Tošić spent six years and one month in prison. This compromise decision comes after most of the defendants pleaded guilty earlier this month and the court fully agreed with the prosecution's sentencing proposal.

© STA, 2023