News roundup - Tuesday, 25 April, until 3pm

Ljubljana, 25 April - Below is a roundup of major events on Tuesday, 25 April, until 3pm local time:

Fajon calls for restoration of Schengen after meeting with Austrian, Croatian FMs

RIJEKA, Croatia - The foreign ministers of Slovenia, Austria and Croatia stressed the importance of cooperation in energy, providing of aid to Ukraine and migration as they met in Rijeka, Croatia. In the face of Austria's border controls with Slovenia, Minister Tanja Fajon called for restoration of the Schengen Area, pointing put that solutions on illegal migration must be adopted at the EU level. The numbers of illegal border crossings do not currently justify Austria's decision to extend border controls, she said, noting that Slovenia was ready to help protect Schengen's external borders.

Farmers stage another mass rally against restrictive policies

LJUBLJANA - Farmers from around the country gathered in Ljubljana for their second rally in a month to protest against environmental and other restrictions they say are making farming nearly impossible. "We've had enough," Anton Medved, head of the Trade Union of Slovenian Farmers, said on behalf of many hundreds of farmers who gathered in front of the parliament building. He was critical of environmental restrictions, tax burdens, unreasonable legislation "written by some extreme environmentalists, far away from farms". While police have not yet provided an update on the number of protesters, they said between 2,000 and 3,000 were expected in the capital. Many have arrived in Ljubljana by tractor, which has caused traffic jams.

Finance Ministry says VAT rise not announced in stability programme

LJUBLJANA - The Finance Ministry rejected reports that this year's stability programme, to be shortly sent to the European Commission, includes plans to raise the value-added tax rate. As some media reported that the draft document also contained calculations of budget revenue in case of a higher VAT rate, the ministry said that it was standard procedure to include the analysis of various factors pertaining to GDP and that this must not be equated with the announcement of its future decisions.

Municipalities need 10,800 public rental flats, survey shows

LJUBLJANA - Slovenian municipalities need just over 15,000 housing units, of which around 10,800 rental flats, shows a survey the national Housing Fund carried out this year. The fund has provided the municipalities with EUR 46.7 million in funds through several programmes for 928 public rental flats, of which 551 will be completed in 2023-2024. The 163 municipalities that provided their answers would need 15,041 housing units, Sanja Burnazović, investment sector head, told the press.

Lenarčič gathers alarming data on air pollution over Indian subcontinent

LJUBLJANA - Slovenian pilot and researcher Matevž Lenarčič has gathered data on air pollution as part of the GreenLight World Flight project over a dozen Middle East countries and the Indian subcontinent, which show the conditions in the atmosphere are rather worrying. Lenarčič conducted measurements on more than 20,000 kilometres in 20 days aboard the Advantic WT10 Research plane, exploring how polluted air masses moving north are warming up the atmosphere and travelling over the Himalayas, where they land on glaciers, creating dark zones, which absorb even more sunlight and thus speed up their melting, the GreenLight World Flight team said.

New ballet festival coming to Ljubljana in June

LJUBLJANA - The cultural centre Cankarjev Dom and the Ljubljana Opera and Ballet House will host in late June the first edition of what they hope will become an annual international ballet festival. This year, Plesne Noči (Dance Nights) will be dedicated to Rudolf Nureyev, who died 30 years ago. Running between 22 and 26 June, the festival will feature dancers from the ballet ensembles in Ljubljana and Maribor, as well as guest dancers from Sofia and Belgrade.

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