News roundup - Monday, 20 February, until 3pm

Ljubljana, 20 February - Below is a roundup of major events on Monday, 20 February, until 3pm local time:

Slovenia working on treaty to help prosecute war crimes in Ukraine

BRUSSELS, Belgium - Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon presented to her EU counterparts an initiative to sign an international treaty on cooperation in criminal law that would facilitate cooperation in prosecuting war crimes in Ukraine. In May a diplomatic conference is planned in Ljubljana on what would be the first major international treaty on cooperation in criminal law. Slovenia has drawn up the treaty in cooperation with Belgium, the Netherlands and three non-EU countries, while 77 countries have so far joined the initiative. Fajon said they were working on attracting other countries as well.

Constitutional Court stays key provisions of amended act on RTV Slovenija

LJUBLJANA - The Constitutional Court stayed several key provisions of the amended act on public broadcaster RTV Slovenija which determine the appointment of the newly created governing council and members of the management. The court said its decision means that procedures for the appointment of the new governing council and management can proceed while it continues deliberating, but the appointments will not take effect until it has reached a final decision on the matter. The decision to stay was confirmed in a 5:3 vote.

Govt to set out tax reform in mid-March

LJUBLJANA - The government will set out its proposal of tax reform in mid-March with PM Robert Golob telling MPs on Monday they would like to make the rich pay a fair share of the tax burden. Golob made the announcement in response to a question by opposition MP Jožef Horvat, who expressed concern that the taxpayers would pay for the projects planned by the government with higher taxes. Golob said most of the plans would not require a single euro more because the required funding had been secured in the 2023 and 2024 budgets that had been passed by parliament. "Thus it's rather irresponsible trying to scare citizens as if these were new funds."

Speaker urges full redress of wrongs suffered by the erased

LJUBLJANA - Parliamentary Speaker Urška Klakočar Zupančič urged amending the laws governing the status of the erased to fully redress the wrongs they suffered and replace the term erased with victims, as she opened Monday's plenary ahead of the 31st anniversary of the erasure of over 25,000 permanent residents descending from other parts ex-Yugoslavia. Klakočar Zupančič said not all wrongs have been fully addressed, with some of the erased still lacking access to health and social security rights. This is why at least access to hospital treatment and care home services should be immediately provided.

West-East development gap in Slovenia expanded in 2021

LUXEMBOURG, Luxembourg - While Slovenia recorded strong economic growth in 2021, the development gap between the more prosperous west of the country and the east grew bigger, show data released by Eurostat. When it comes to GDP per capita expressed in purchasing power standards (PPS), Western Slovenia was at 108% of the EU average in 2021, while Eastern Slovenia reached 74%. The latter's figure stayed unchanged compared to the year before, while Western Slovenia added two percentage points.

President Pirc Musar wins national bowling championship

LJUBLJANA - President Nataša Pirc Musar, long an avid bowling player, won the national champion title in the doubles together with Viktorija Krivolucka, the pair having narrowly defeated Maja Debenec and Eva Kfafogel 342:338 in Sunday's final. "My leisure time is my pleasure, bowling in particular. I won the national title in the doubles together with my playing partner today. I'm super happy," the president wrote on Twitter.

Foods price watch project upgraded to online store comparisons

LJUBLJANA - The Agriculture Ministry upgraded its staple foods price watch project launched in September last year with a new web site and tool that expands the comparison possibilities to retailers' online stores and to over 17,000 food items. The portal combines both online and physical inventories. The online inventory will cover all data and food products in the Tuš, Spar, Mercator and Jager online stores, said Ana Le Marechal, the head of the Food and Fisheries Directorate.

Illegal tobacco plant disguised as farm discovered in Žalec

ŽALEC - The Financial Administration discovered an illegal tobacco production facility disguised as a farm in Žalec at the beginning of the month. Preliminary information shows at least 6.6 tonnes of tobacco has been produced there, meaning a million euro in taxes was evaded. Three electric devices for cutting tobacco leaves were confiscated at the site along with a machine for packing the fine-cut tobacco and nearly a ton of tobacco leaves and cut tobacco.

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