News roundup - Thursday, 2 February, until 3pm

Ljubljana, 2 February - Below is a roundup of major events on Thursday, 2 February, until 3pm local time:

SDS plans motion of no confidence in govt

LJUBLJANA - The Democratic Party (SDS) indicated it was drawing up a motion of no confidence in the government. It expects all the MPs of fellow opposition party New Slovenia (NSi) to back it if they want the SDS's support in their ouster motion targeting Culture Minster Asta Vrečko. The NSi needs at least two more MP signatures to be able to file a motion against Vrečko over the government's decision to merge a museum dedicated to Slovenia's independence with the Museum of Contemporary History.

Govt withdraws bill on bonus for judges and prosecutors

LJUBLJANA - The government withdrew from parliamentary procedure a bill designed to give judges and prosecutors a monthly bonus of EUR 600 gross from 1 January this year until the public sector pay system has been reformed. The reason for the decision is not yet known. The parliament's legal service raised serious reservations about the bill, including that judges and prosecutors were to get higher pay than top public servants in other branches of government.

MPs visits SOVA to ask about Russian spies case

LJUBLJANA - Representatives of the parliamentary Commission for the Oversight of Intelligence and Security Services made an unannounced visit to the national intelligence and security agency SOVA to find out why information about the arrest of alleged Russian spies made headlines recently. The commission also inquired about the performance of the GEN-I group in the Western Balkans and SOVA's activities and findings in this area. SOVA was tasked to report about the findings to the commission.

Revoz expects 2023 output to be on par with last year's

NOVO MESTO - The Renault-owned assembly plant Revoz expects production in 2023 to be comparable to that in 2022. The Novo Mesto plant reduced output and staff in March of 2022 because of irregular supply of car parts and the general crisis related to the post-Covid transformation of the automotive industry. Revoz put out some 68,000 vehicles in 2022, a figure that the company expects to uphold in 2023 but that is nonetheless far below the 96,000 vehicles assembled in 2021 before the cuts.

Novartis notes record investments in Slovenia

LJUBLJANA - Swiss pharma giant Novartis invested a record EUR 346 million in Slovenia in 2022. The company started the construction of a new aseptic production plant in Ljubljana and will establish a biotech centre in Mengeš. Novartis employed around 5,800 people in the country at the end of 2022, 7% up from 2021. It maintained a leading position in the Slovenian pharma market with a 14% market share. In Slovenia it includes Lek and the Slovenian subsidiaries of Sandoz and Novartis Pharma Services.

Telemach next in line to face class action lawsuit

LJUBLJANA - The association of small shareholders VZMD filed a class action lawsuit against telecommunications company Telemach over what it argues are unjustified unilateral price hikes of subscription plans over the past five years. The VZMD said Telemach's subscribers have suffered an estimated EUR 43.6 million in damages. Similar lawsuits had earlier been filed against providers Telekom Slovenije and A1, with another one to target T-2 in the coming days.

Another Slovenian-founded church in US being sold

NEW YORK, US - The Diocese of Allentown in the US state of Pennsylvania has decided to sell the Slovenian-founded St Joseph's Roman Catholic Church in the nearby city of Bethlehem. The nearly 110-year-old church was closed in 2008, but it reopened for special occasions in 2011 after the parishioners took matters into their own hands. The last mass at the church is to be celebrated on St Joseph's Day on 18 March, although the Slovenian community will strive to keep the church. Also in the process of being sold is the Slovenian Protestant community's church in Bethlehem.

Slovenia remembers Bučar, one of its founding fathers

LJUBLJANA - France Bučar, a key Slovenian independence figure, was praised as an upstanding person as academics and politicians discussed his legacy at a conference at the centenary of his birth. Bučar (1923-2015) was one of the main legal experts who wrote the constitution in 1991 and served as the speaker of the first elected Slovenian parliament in 1990-1992. In 1987 he contributed to the Nova Revija journal in making a case for Slovenia's democratisation and independence.

© STA, 2023