News roundup - Friday, 26 May

Ljubljana, 26 May - Below is a roundup of major events on Friday, 26 May:

Constitutional Court allows new RTV Slovenija Act to take effect

LJUBLJANA - The Constitutional Court announced it had voided its earlier decision to stay the changes to the RTV Slovenija Act that aim to depoliticise the public broadcaster. The decision also says that a new council of the broadcaster shall be constituted no more than seven days after the court's decision is published in the Official Gazette. "Given the divergences between the positions of the seven judges who are still deciding on the case ... it will not be possible to arrive at a substantive decision quickly," the Constitutional Court judges said. It added that a majority of judges do not think the changes to the act are unconstitutional.

Ljubljana-Hague Convention on prosecution of key atrocities adopted

LJUBLJANA - After intensive negotiations, the Ljubljana-Hague Convention was adopted, allowing countries to cooperate in the investigation and prosecution of the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. It introduces central cooperation bodies, sets definitions and the status of victims, witnesses, experts and other persons, and regulates international legal assistance and extradition procedures, transfer of convicted persons and dispute settlement procedures. Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon said this was a remarkable achievement in the search for justice.

Proponents of changed RTV Slovenija Act welcome court decision, Janša speaks of dictatorship

LJUBLJANA - The proponents of changes to the RTV Slovenija Act, including Prime Minister Robert Golob, Culture Minister Asta Vrečko, National Assembly President Urška Klakočar Zupančič welcomed the Constitutional Court's decision to revoke its staying of key parts of the changes, arguing that this allowed politics to withdraw from the public broadcaster. They also expressed the hope that the the new governing council under the act will be constituted as soon as possible. Opposition leader Janez Janša meanwhile said on Twitter that the Constitutional Court "no longer exists" and spoke of dictatorship.

Journalist welcome RTV Slovenija Act decision as depoliticisation

LJUBLJANA - Representatives of the striking journalists at RTV Slovenija and an association of journalists welcomed the decision of the Constitutional Court to revoke its earlier decision to stay key parts of the changed law on the public broadcaster, as they spoke of depoliticisation and a new kind of governance that will bring more professionalism. "The lifting of the staying also means ... the exercise of the will of citizens expressed in the referendum last November," they added.

Cerar says Constitutional Court decision indicates internal blockade

LJUBLJANA - Constitutional law expert Miro Cerar assessed for the STA that the Constitutional Court's decision to revoke its earlier decision to stay parts of the amended RTV Slovenija Act was a procedural and not substantive decision, indicating that there is an "internal blockade of the court". The former prime minister (2014-2018) said that "apparently, the court decided that it would be a lesser evil if ... the staying of the changes is lifted, than to persist on it." He labelled as worrying that two judges abstained from voting.

Slovenia freezes EUR 6m in Russian assets

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia has frozen EUR 6.3 million in Russian assets following the Russian attack on Ukraine, the newspaper Dnevnik reported. So far, this has not included real estate and movable property, the Foreign Ministry told the paper, as only financial assets have been frozen, which includes cash, monetary claims, securities and interest. EU member states have frozen over EUR 24 billion in Russian assets in total, and compared to this, Slovenia's share is small. But the European Commission is much more worried about certain other countries, EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders told Dnevnik.

Administrative Court throws out health insurance case

LJUBLJANA - The Administrative Court has thrown out a petition by the insurer Generali challenging a government decision that capped the monthly premium of top-up health insurance. The court ruled that this government decree was not a document that could be challenged in an administrative dispute, the STA has learnt. Generali announced that it would challenge the decision at the Constitutional Court. It is not the only insurer to have lodged such a petition, since Vzajemna, one of the two other insurers providing top-up health insurance, did the same.

Review of 2021-2027 financial framework dominates talks with Hahn

LJUBLJANA - European Commissioner for Budget and Administration Johannes Hahn paid a working visit for talks with Prime Minister Robert Golob and Finance Minister Klemen Boštjančič on the mid-term review and revision of the implementation of the 2021-2027 financial framework, which the European Commission has been working on. Hahn, who is touring EU countries, presented the main reasons for the mid-term review and revision during the talks, said PM's office.

Golob says defence equipment purchases to be based on experience

LJUBLJANA - PM Robert Golob visited the Defence Ministry, talking to force members deployed abroad and saying that their experience with equipment would be the main criteria in future equipment purchase decisions. "Dreaming about weapons that have not been tried ... has been recognised as such on the ground," said Golob, adding that future purchases would take into account as the main criteria the experience of soldiers on the ground. He also underlined the contribution of the military in civilian response efforts.

Ministers meet EU reps to foster semiconductor development in Slovenia

LJUBLJANA - Digital Transformation Minister Emilija Stojmenova Duh and Higher Education Minister Igor Papič met with representatives of the European Commission at the University of Maribor to explore possibilities for advancing the development of semiconductor technologies and microelectronics in Slovenia. Stojmenova Duh described the meeting as the next stage of discussions following the March meeting with industry and research organisations in Slovenia working on semiconductors. The latter presented their activities and challenges, and the government assured them of its willingness to support them, provided they show initiative.

Key players in Kavač Clan case under police protection

LJUBLJANA - The judge presiding the trial against the Slovenian cell of the Kavač Clan has been under police protection since early May, reported the newspaper Večer. Moreover, several investigators from the case have been under police protection for a while, as well as the two main suspects, the Kadivec brothers, who are in custody. The Ljubljana District Court did not explain why the judge was put under police protection, but past instances of police protection for judges suggest he might have received threats.

Salus chairman reportedly extorted by former supplier

LJUBLJANA - The police have filed a criminal complaint against a person suspected of extorting Žiga Hieng, the chairman of the medicication wholesaler Salus, reported news portal Necenzurirano. According to unofficial information, the suspect is the owner and representative of one of the company's former suppliers. In late April, Hieng was allegedly assaulted and extorted in front of his home by a group of unknown persons. The suspect was allegedly present at the assault and was recognised by Hieng.

NGOs starting campaign for stricter co-incineration legislation

LJUBLJANA - Several NGOs have started collecting signatures of support to change the environmental protection act to introduce stricter environmental standards for co-incinerators. Headlined Let Anhovo Breathe, the campaign aims to improve the air quality around the Anhovo cement plant in western Slovenia. Launching their campaign on Friday, the NGOs must collect 5,000 signatures to start the legislative procedure. Salonit responded by expressing support for lowering the effects of business on the environment, while saying that "we wish to follow the EU's shared legislation, allowing competitive operations in the single market".

Food delivery couriers stage second work stoppage

LJUBLJANA - Food delivery couriers working for Wolt and Glovo staged a work stoppage from 11am to 2pm. This is the second such strike after the two companies refused to enter talks on a collective bargaining agreement. If the companies do not respond, they will step up industrial action activities, said the Trade Union of Food Delivery Couriers and Mladi Plus, a youth trade union under whose auspices the couriers' union was established. Wolt said that only a small percentage of couriers had been on strike and that deliveries had not been affected.

Charter flights to 39 destinations available from Ljubljana during summer

BRNIK - The first charter flight this year to Greece launched the main season of organised holiday travel at Ljubljana airport on Friday. Passengers will be able to fly to 39 destinations in 20 countries during this summer, the managing director of the airport's operator Fraport Slovenija, Babett Stapel, announced. The most frequent charter flights this summer will be to Greece, Spain, Egypt, and Turkey. Slovenian travel agencies will also organise trips to Tunisia, Malta, Madeira, the Azores, Cape Verde, Porto, Palermo, Morocco, Lourdes, Split, Tivat, Jordan, Manchester, Cologne, Rotterdam, Riga, and Rovaniemi.

Exhibition on local Jewish history opens at Maribor Synagogue

MARIBOR - Marking the end of Never Forget, an international project, the Maribor Synagogue opened an exhibition documenting the history and tragic fate of Jews in the Prekmurje and Međimurje regions. The exhibition, dubbed The Story of Two Transports, The Međimurje and Prekmurje Jews during the Holocaust, tells the long history of the Jewish communities in the Croatian and Slovenian regions, their contributions to the development of cities and the tragic fate that befell them during the Holocaust.

Opera returns to Maribor city park

MARIBOR - The eighth Maribor Night of the Opera took place in the city park, where the symphony orchestra, the opera choir and soloists from the SNG Maribor theatre performed under the guidance of conductor Simon Krečič. The concert, which was admission free, focused on Neapolitan songs, featuring pieces by Gaetano Donizetti, Radovan Gobec, Antonin Dvorak and Gioacchini Rossini, among others.

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