News roundup - Monday, 24 April, until 3pm

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

Slovenian, Austrian presidents hope for quick resolution of border check issue

VIENNA, Austria - President Nataša Pirc Musar and her Austrian counterpart Alexander Van der Bellen expressed the hope after holding talks that the countries would find a solution regarding the border checks before the summer. They also told the press they would strive for the rights of the Slovenian minority in Austria. They also agree that realistic prospects for the EU accession of the Western Balkan countries is more important than ever.

Analysts say honeymoon over for govt

LJUBLJANA - A year after the election the two biggest rivals, the Freedom Movement and the Democrats (SDS), are neck-and-neck at the top of the polls. The declining rating of the ruling party shows the honeymoon is over, analyst Andraž Zorko told the STA, adding that the political arena is seeing unprecedented polarisation. Commentator Tanja Starič says the situation in the opposition is in flux as well with the cooling of the relationship between the SDS and NSi, which were government coalition parters only a year ago.

Rating up for govt in POP TV poll

LJUBLJANA - The latest poll run by the commercial broadcaster POP TV suggests the Robert Golob government has reversed the trend of falling voter approval ratings by announcing it will scrap top-up health insurance. Its rating was up for the first time in four months, as the share of supporters rose by 4 percentage points from March to 45.5% and the proportion of opponents fell by half a point to 41.9%. Golob's Freedom Movement gained 0.9 points to 24.4% and the opposition Democrats (SDS) lost 0.6 points to 22.2%, according to the poll, conducted by Mediana and released on Sunday evening.

Police measures ahead of farmers' rally raise eyebrows

LJUBLJANA - As farmers are preparing for Tuesday's mass protest in Ljubljana against environmental and other restrictions and policies, police visiting potential participants caused some strong reactions at the weekend as an NGO said it had obviously been mistaken in thinking such police practices were the thing of the previous government. Farmer unionist Anton Medved toned down the rhetoric today by saying such police visits were standard procedure rather than a sign of repression.

Police powers safeguards to be stepped up

LJUBLJANA - Following a review of the police's handling of protests in 2020 and 2021, which found certain irregularities and shortcomings, Interior Minister Boštjan Poklukar issued guidelines and instructions on Friday for additional measures to be taken to tighten up procedures reviewing the legality and professionalism of the use of police powers. The guidelines task the police commissioner to take additional measures regarding reviews of legality and professionalism of the use of police powers.

Most complaints to equality ombudsman labour-related

LJUBLJANA - Most of the complaints of discrimination that the Advocate of the Principle of Equality received last year were regarding labour and employment, shows the ombudsman's 2022 annual report. Discrimination was established in 14 cases and 21 regulations were found to be discriminatory. The report, sent to parliament on Friday by Miha Lobnik, the head of the body dealing with discrimination, shows that counselling over alleged discrimination was provided to 440 individuals last year.

Photojournalists present harsh working conditions

LJUBLJANA - The Collective of Photojournalists and Photographers addressed the press in an effort to raise awareness about their importance, their unstable working conditions, the disappearing of some photography genres and of the photo editor profession, and about problems with educating new staff. The collective, set up as part of the Slovenian Association of Journalists, aims to educate and represent photographers and photojournalists with a unified voice, in order to address concerns to the public, employers, clients, users, and authorities.

Slovenia observes first No Food Waste Day

LJUBLJANA - The government recently declared 24 April the Slovenian No Food Waste Day to raise awareness of the fact that Slovenians are throwing away more than 100,000 tonnes of food every year. Official statistics show that in 2013 the amount of food waste reached 118,000 tones and in 2021 it topped 143,000 tones. In 2021, an average Slovenian threw away 68 kilogrammes of food. The government declared 24 April the Slovenian No Food Waste Day last week.

Business sentiment down in April

LJUBLJANA - Business sentiment in Slovenia has been decreasing since January, as the indicator fell to -2.5 percentage points in April, down 1 point on the previous month and 6.9 points in yearly comparison, shows fresh Statistics Office data. Compared to March, the outlook deteriorated in manufacturing by 1.3 percentage points and in the services sector by 0.8 points. The sentiment in retail improved by 0.6 points, consumer confidence grew by 0.4 points and sentiment in construction by 0.1.

Average pay up 10.7% in nominal terms in February

LJUBLJANA - The average gross pay in Slovenia in February stood at EUR 2,132.58, up 10.7% in nominal and 1.3% in real terms in the monthly comparison, while the average take-home pay amounted to EUR 1,391,65, down 0.5% in nominal, and 1.3% in real terms, data from the Statistics office shows. At the annual level, average gross pay increased in both the private and public sectors, by 11.3% and 9.5% respectively.

Sweden's Zero8 wins Gallus choir competition

MARIBOR - Swedish choir Zero8 won the 17th Gallus international choir competition that wrapped up in Maribor on Sunday. Basque's male ensemble Suhar finished second, and the third place went to the Slovenian chamber choir Megaron, which also received the award for best Slovenian ensemble. Eight choirs from Europe, Asia and the Americas took part in the three-day competition. Having won the prize, Zero8 is now one of the finalists for the European accolade that will be presented in Varna, Bulgaria, in September.

Almost 900 drivers caught speeding in Friday's campaign

LJUBLJANA - Police officers caught almost 900 drivers speeding as part of Friday's speed limit enforcement marathon, which took place in 600 locations around Slovenia. The vast majority of offenders, 583, were detected in urban areas. In addition to the speeding cases in urban areas, 123 violations were established on roads outside urban areas, and 191 on motorways and expressways. Some 640 drivers were issued fines or face infraction proceedings, 146 paid the fine on the spot and 112 were only warned.

© STA, 2023