Weekly review of events involving Slovenia, 19-25 May

Ljubljana, 26 May - Below is a weekly review of events involving Slovenia from 19 to 25 May

FRIDAY, 19 May
        ROME, Italy - President Nataša Pirc Musar met with her Italian counterpart Sergio Mattarella. She outlined the Slovenian minority's efforts to call a meeting of a body dealing with Slovenian minority issues at the Italian Interior Ministry.
        LJUBLJANA - Ukrainian Ambassador to Slovenia Andriy Taran decorated Defence Minister Marjan Šarec with the Mark of Esteem and State Secretary Damir Črnčec with the Medal for Supporting the Armed Forces for their contribution to the strengthening of relations between Slovenia and Ukraine and their help and assistance in Ukraine's defence.
        LJUBLJANA - Asylum seekers and NGOs staged a rally to call on the government to prevent the planned deportations of two asylum seekers. The rally was a response to certain NGO's warnings that the Interior Ministry intends to return a large number of asylum seekers to Croatia.
        SLADKI VRH - Prime Minister Robert Golob visited the Šentilj municipality in north-east, which was severely affected by heavy rainfall and landslides. He announced the state would immediately provide aid and funds to the affected areas.
        LJUBLJANA - Heavy rains caused havoc in agriculture in north-east with the Chamber of Agriculture and Forestry saying the situation is catastrophic, especially in the regions of Pomurje and Podravje and in some areas in south and central Slovenia.

        LJUBLJANA - The Finance Committee confirmed the revised 2023 budget and changes to the act implementing the 2023 and 2024 budgets as the last parliamentary working body before the plenary. The revised budget, which reduces the deficit by EUR 376 million to EUR 2.9 billion, is needed mainly due to the restructuring of the government.
        NAPLES, Italy - President Nataša Pirc Musar met representatives of the local authorities and of University of Naples, where courses of the Slovenian language are available, as part of a multi-day visit to Italy and the Vatican.

SUNDAY, 21 May
        TRIESTE/ROME, Italy - Slovenian President Nataša Pirc Musar condemned fascist saluting by a group of people commemorating the late right-wing politician Almerigo Grilz in Trieste. "The salutes we've seen in Trieste are a symbol of a time that has brought hatred, divisions, violence," she tweeted while on a visit to Italy.
        BAKU, Azerbaijan - Yekaterina Vedene, the Russian-born gymnast who has been competing for Slovenia since 2018, won bronze in the clubs event at the European Championships in Rhythmic Gymnastics, the first ever medal in rhythmic gymnastics for Slovenia at a European championship.

MONDAY, 22 May
        VATICAN CITY, Vatican - President Nataša Pirc Musar met with Pope Francis, with the pair expressing support for tolerant dialogue and policies that connect. They also talked about climate change and the war in Ukraine, sharing the view that a lasting and fair peace acceptable to Ukraine must be achieved.
        LJUBLJANA - European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders met Justice Minister Dominika Švarc Pipan with the pair sharing the view that ensuring independence of judges was a key priority in justice reforms. The commissioner thanked Slovenia for its support in the fight against the Russian aggression against Ukraine.
        HANOI/HO CHI MINH, Vietnam - A business forum bringing together some 60 business representatives from Slovenia and Vietnam kicked off a visit by Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon. Vietnam is one of the most dynamic and significant economies in south-east Asia and thus very interesting for Slovenia, Fajon said.
        LJUBLJANA - A week after Slovenia argued in a debate in the UN that it had decided to file a candidacy for non-permanent membership in the UN Security Council on its own, opposition leader Janez Janša tweeted that the move had been made upon "explicit request by American and European allies in the EU and NATO".
        LJUBLJANA - The Ministry of a Solidarity-Based Future unveiled proposed changes to the long-term care act. Stakeholders pointed out that the bill neither includes the relevant executive regulations, nor does it specify the financing.
        LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Robert Golob labelled in parliament the failed investment by Canadian-Austrian automotive group Magna in a paint shop in Hoče a valuable lesson in what not to do and what to avoid. He believes that it is necessary to support investments by established investors who already have their factories, employees, and knowledge in Slovenia.
        LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Robert Golob told parliament that "liberating" the public broadcaster RTV Slovenija is the only promise on which the government is not willing to give up.
        AJDOVŠČINA - A civil protection and disaster relief unit set off from Ajdoviščina to help mitigate the damage caused by severe flooding in the Emilia-Romagna region, north-central Italy. Equipped with two high-capacity pumps, the 32-member team of experts will be in charge of flood control pumping.
        LJUBLJANA - Author, translator and editor Veno Taufer died at age 90, the Slovenian Writers' Association said. An acclaimed Slovenian poet, Taufer used to be the head of PEN Slovenia and chair of PEN International's Writers for Peace committee.
        HANOI, Vietnam - Slovenian Foreign Minster Tanja Fajon met with her counterpart Bui Thanh Nhon and Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh as she wrapped up her three-day visit to Vietnam. The foreign ministers discussed strengthening the relationship between the two countries both in politics and economy, and signed a memorandum of cooperation.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia joined more than 20 countries which have recognized the Holodomor, a famine with which the Soviet authorities starved millions of Ukrainians to death in 1932 and 1933, as genocide. The National Assembly passed the declaration with the support of all deputy groups bar the junior coalition Left party.
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - At the first presidential forum, which focussed on healthcare, experts, politicians and civil society representatives discussed the challenges and solution proposals to help tackle the flaws of the country's health system. They also warned about the challenges of financing healthcare in the future.
        KHARTOUM, Sudan/LJUBLJANA - Eight members of an extended Slovenian family safely arrived in Slovenia from Sudan, where an armed conflict between two military forces has been taking place since mid-April. One family came from the conflict-stricken capital of Khartoum, and the other from Port Sudan on the Red Sea.
        SZENTGOTTHARD, Hungary - Economy Minister Matjaž Han visited the Slovenian minority in Hungary, pledging support for businesses. Within a month the ministry will publish two calls for applications, worth a combined EUR 1.168 million and Slovenia will also provide EUR 300,000 for the renovation of the minority's centre, he said.
        LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Microsoft office topped Finance's list of 100 companies in Slovenia which paid out the highest average monthly gross salary last year with EUR 10,286, while the national average stood at EUR 2,024.
        LJUBLJANA - Banks in Slovenia generated a pre-tax profit of EUR 152.3 million in the first quarter of this year, a 57% increase year-on-year. Net profit amounted to EUR 128 million, a 47% rise, the Bank of Slovenia said.

        LJUBLJANA - PM Robert Golob announced a EUR 100 million package of measures aiming to support pensioners, which is to include a guaranteed minimum pension of EUR 700 and a Christmas bonus for pensioners. The government adopted the legislative changed a day later.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Commission warned in its country report for Slovenia that the risk of delays in implementing Slovenia's recovery and resilience plan is increasing. Slovenia has been urged to strengthen its governance structure and ensure that decisions on announced reforms are adopted without delay.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia and Czechia were highlighted in the 2023 Freedom House Nations in Transit report as examples of voters rejecting populist policies. Slovenia is one of the few countries in the NGO's report to see progress in democracy, its score going from 5.71 points to 5.75 points.
        LJUBLJANA - Participants of a Slovenian-Japanese Business Council forum agreed that Slovenia, which intends to focus more on hydrogen technologies in the future as it strives to become a carbon-free society, should join forces with Japan, which is already successful in this field.
        MOJSTRANA - The sports equipment manufacturer Elan, which traditionally produces skiing equipment and re-entered the bicycles market after more than 15 years in 2022, presented its first electric bikes, will launch its electric bikes next year.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed a revised budget for 2023, required after several government departments were reformed and new ones added in January. While the projected budget deficit is being narrowed from EUR 3.3 billion to EUR 2.9 billion, or 4.5% of GDP, it is still considered too high by the opposition.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed an act aimed at paving the way for stepped-up infrastructure for alternative fuels and for a transition to alternative fuels in transport. The act sets out to introduce a dense publicly accessible network of refuelling and supply infrastructure for alternative fuels.
        LJUBLJANA - The government approved the changed investment programme for the Koper-Divača rail project, which puts the end of the project at the end of 2025 and start of operation at 2026. The project is estimated at EUR 1.109 billion, slightly higher than in the previously revised programme.
        JAKARTA, Indonesia - Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon began an official visit to Indonesia. She discussed with counterpart Retna Marsudi ways to strengthen political and economic ties between the two countries, as well as between the EU and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
        ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia - Slovenia opened an embassy in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa. The second residential Slovenian embassy in Africa after Cairo will be provisionally headed by charge d'affaires Vesna Dolinšek.
        LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Robert Golob and the two representatives of the Italian and Hungarian minorities in the National Assembly signed a cooperation agreement. Golob said he did not want to rush this accord but also wanted to show that cooperation is possible without official pledges.
        LJUBLJANA - The government has confirmed a 6.8% increase in motorway toll for all vehicles other than lorries as of 15 June, the first toll increase in ten years. The motorway operator expects EUR 5.3 million in additional revenue this year and EUR 14.6 million next year.
        LJUBLJANA - The government adopted recovery programmes after last year's summer drought land and floods that hit the country last September, earmarking EUR 24.9 million and EUR 14.7 million for the efforts, respectively.
        LJUBLJANA - The Personal Assistance Trade Union staged a strike to warn of deteriorating working conditions of its members. Personal assistants demand higher wages, a collective bargaining agreement and adoption of work standards.

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