News roundup - Wednesday, 22 February, until 3pm

Ljubljana, 22 February - Below is a roundup of major events on Wednesday, 22 February, until 3pm local time:

Golob and Bettel call for walls-free Europe

BRDO PRI KRANJU - Prime Minister Robert Golob and his Luxembourgian counterpart Xavier Bettel called on the EU to look for common solutions to migrations as they addressed reporters after their meeting. "The key is how Europe as a whole addresses this issue and the first steps have been taken. This complex problem will definitely be on the agenda of this year's sessions of EU leaders," Golob said. Even though some countries or their leaders advocate such an approach, building walls on borders is not a solution, Bettel added. The pair also discussed the situation in the Western Balkans, bilateral relations and Slovenia's cooperation with Benelux.

Stricter criteria planned for foreign direct investments

LJUBLJANA - The government is planning stricter criteria for subsidising foreign direct investments according to draft amendments to the investment promotion act. The draft will now be the subject of public consultation until 23 March. Under the proposed amendments, conditions for subsidising foreign direct investments may include prohibition of the sale of copyrights owned of the target company to third-country parties or of certain assets acquired through the investment. A ban on the sale of a certain share in the target company would also be possible.

Slovenia still not fully compliant with European Social Charter

BRUSSELS, Belgium - A report by the European Committee of Social Rights, which monitors compliance with the European Social Charter, shows Slovenia has made headway in narrowing the gender pay gap, but there has been no progress in access to efficient legal means regarding pay discrimination and there are still some issues with pay transparency and job comparison.

Business sentiment down again in February

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's business sentiment dropped again slightly in February, with the relevant index down in both monthly and annual comparisons, by 0.2 and 7.7 percentage points, respectively, to -1.1 percentage points, fresh data from the Statistics Office show, with manufacturing taking the biggest hit. The confidence index in manufacturing was down by 0.8 points compared to January, while retail and construction both saw a 0.1 point decrease. The relevant index rose the most in services (+0.5) and among consumers (+0.3).

Mik opening new development and production centre

VOJNIK - Window and door producer Mik Celje will inaugurate a new development and production centre focussing on quality living in the town of Vojnik, east, in September. The EUR 21 million investment will create more than 100 jobs to provide innovative ecosystems for researchers, the company's director Franci Pliberšek told the press. The Peter Novak Development Institute will provide offices for young companies and startups to develop and implement their ideas under the wing of a number of experts.

Slovenia records biggest road fatalities drop in EU in 2022

BRUSSELS, Belgium - Road accidents in the EU claimed around 20,600 lives last year, up by 3% on 2021, while Slovenia recorded the biggest year-on-year drop with road deaths decreasing by 25%, show preliminary data published by the European Commission. Compared to the pre-pandemic 2019, the number of road deaths in 2022 dropped by some 10% or 2,000 people, with Slovenia recording 40 fatalities per one million inhabitants, down 17% compared to 2019 and 6 below the EU average.

Slovenia exported more than 20% more waste in 2022

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia exported significantly more waste last year or more than 20% more than in 2021, with plastic and metal waste, and refuse-derived fuel accounting for the majority of the exported waste, shows a report by the Environment and Spatial Planning Inspectorate.

Karmina Šilec's new opera to premiere in US

SAN FRANCISCO, US - An opera by Slovenian composer Karmina Šilec inspired by sworn virgins from the Balkans will premiere in the US this week. BABA: The Life and Death of Stana will be performed at Z Space in San Francisco from Thursday to Sunday by Kitka, a women's vocal ensemble from California which draws on traditional folk vocal techniques.

Slovenian minority's culture celebrated in Ljubljana

LJUBLJANA - Carinthian Culture Days, the annual festival celebrating the arts, culture and heritage of the Slovenian minority in Austria, are kicking off in Ljubljana today. The festival, running until 18 April, will open with a book presentation and a film screening, both telling the story of a Carinthian Slovenian family during WWII. The book Mother's Voice by Helga Mračnikar recounts the story of Helga's mother and her childhood during the war.

© STA, 2023