News roundup - Monday, 3 July

Ljubljana, 3 July - Below is a roundup of major events on Monday, 3 July:

Doctors' union says pay talks futile, indicates withdrawal

LJUBLJANA - The Fides trade union of doctors and dentists labelled the pay negotiations with the government futile, adding it will no longer take part in talks about "phantom pay tiers" which are nothing but a "smokescreen for the public". Its top body tasked the management to prepare a plan for further activities.

Report: Govt and judges to conclude pay agreement this week

Ljubljana, 3 July - After the country's top court said last week salaries in the judiciary are low to the point of being unconstitutional, TV Slovenija reported that the government will conclude a salary agreement with judges and confirm it this week. The agreement reportedly includes a bonus for incompatibility, which is expected to amount to 10%. Public Administration Minister Sanja Ajanović Hovnik said this includes a hazard bonus, noting a number of attacks on prosecutors and judges recently. The agreement is expected to take effect on 1 January 2024.

Agriculture minister calls for responsible water use at UN conference

LJUBLJANA - Climate change, pollution and increased water consumption require responsible water use, Agriculture Minister Irena Šinko told the Food and Agriculture Organisation conference in Rome. She stressed the importance of innovative technologies for water conservation. We need to recycle rainwater and wastewater efficiently, and speed up the development of methods to use non-conventional water sources. Water should be collected and stored in appropriate reservoirs," the minister was quoted as saying by her ministry.

Court agrees with KPK in breach of integrity case

LJUBLJANA - Sašo Polanec, SID Banka's former supervisor and chairman of the in-house appointments and remuneration commission, breached integrity in a procedure to appoint the management board in 2021, the Administrative Court ruled, confirming a previous finding by the anti-graft watchdog. Polanec, professor at the Ljubljana School of Economics and Business, breached integrity by forwarding the state-owned export and development bank's 2021-2023 development strategy, a confidential document, to Marko Mlakar, director of the recruitment agency Amrop Adria.

DARS not inclined to idea of cheaper night-time motorway toll

LJUBLJANA - Leading up to the summer tourist season, politicians on both sides of the isle seemed to have had the same idea of tweaking motorway toll prices so as to encourage nightly use in a bid to reduce congestions. However, the motorway company DARS said that similar regimes had been in place twice before without the desired effect. It said that lower motorway toll for lorries during night time would have no significant effect on congestions. These account for only 10% of all vehicles on motorways during rush hour, and congestions appear above all due to cars, DARS said.

UK betting group Entain withdraws bid in Sports Lottery sale

LJUBLJANA - The UK betting group Entain, one of the two bidders for a majority stake in Slovenia's Sports Lottery, confirmed for the STA that it had withdrawn its bid. This comes days after the Finance Ministry, which must approve the transaction, said that the two bids had been withdrawn. The news portal Necenzurirano reported that Entain wanted to buy the stake together with some of the wealthiest businesspeople in the Czech Republic, allegedly offering between EUR 50 million and EUR 60 million. Reportedly, the other bidder for Slovenia's only sports betting operator is the Romanian gambling group Superbet, which offered slightly more than Entain.

Petrol prices up on Tuesday

LJUBLJANA - Petrol prices will increase on Tuesday, also due to the government's decision to reintroduce a renewables tax, which was temporarily scrapped last year due to the energy crisis. At pumps outside the motorway network, both petrol and diesel will be 0.2 cents dearer, at EUR 1.444 and EUR 1.481 a litre, respectively. The price of heating oil will also increase by 0.2 cents to EUR 1.06 a litre. New prices will be in place at pumps outside the motorway network until 17 July, the Ministry of Environment, Climate and Energy said.

Ombudsman says Moroccan man faced discrimination in administrative procedure

LJUBLJANA - A Moroccan man married to a Slovenian citizen faced discrimination in procedures at the Ljubljana Administrative Unit, the Equal Opportunities Ombudsman has found. Two employees of the administrative unit acted in a discriminatory manner against the Moroccan solely because of his being a foreigner, the ombudsman said.

Ljubljana ranks high in shared mobility

LJUBLJANA - Ljubljana ranked ninth out of 42 European cities in terms of shared and electric mobility in a study by an NGO network Clean Cities Campaign (CCC). The capital was praised for its accessible electric car sharing system but performed poorly in the category of emission-free buses. The analysis looked at shared bikes and e-scooters, electric car sharing, emission-free buses and charging stations for electric cars in each of the 42 cities.

Almost 70% of Slovenians concerned by climate change

LJUBLJANA - Some 68% of Slovenians are concerned by the effects of climate change, according to a survey conducted by the NGO Legal Centre for Human Rights and Environment Protection (PIC) and market research agency Valicon. The most concerned are those aged 18-24, and the least those aged 35-49. Almost 63% of respondents are aware of climate change issues, with the least aware age group being 25-34-year-olds, shows the survey conducted in March this year among 1,007 Slovenians.

Government jet undergoing major avionics upgrade

LJUBLJANA - The Defence Ministry said it had signed two contracts with Dassault on maintenance and upgrade of avionics of the government jet Dassault Falcon 2000, worth a total of EUR 11.4 million. Falcon has been undergoing avionics upgrade since 19 June, and the whole process will take twelve weeks. The announcement comes after the prime minister's office said at the end of May it had carried out a call to rent business jet services for PM Robert Golob for individual flights in the next two years, but only only when the Falcon is unavailable. This is due to recent malfunctions on the Falcon that had left senior Slovenian officials without a ride.

NGO critical of ministry's handling of pregnant asylum seeker

LJUBLJANA - The asylum support organisation Ambasada Rog accused the Interior Ministry of exposing a pregnant asylum seeker to the stress of refoulement procedure, noting that the woman and her child were in a critical condition after the labour. After Ambasada Rog said last week that the ministry "had been warned multiple times that the increased stress related to deportation to Croatia could have a serious impact on the health of the mother and child". The ministry said it follows from the NGO's statement that it had not been informed about the pregnancy.

Slovenia bags 13 medals at European Games

KRAKOW, Poland - Slovenian athletes won 13 medals at the 3rd European Games that took place in Krakow, Poland, between 21 June and 2 July. The most successful among them was kickboxing competitor Tyra Barada, who won a gold and a silver medal. Slovenia won three gold, eight silver and two bronze medals, ranking 21st according to the total number of medals.

Open air cinema returns to Ljubljana Castle

LJUBLJANA - The courtyard of Ljubljana Castle will transform into an open-air cinema in the second half of July. The annual event will feature several hits and five premieres between 13 July and 5 August. Film Under the Stars will open with the Slovenian and French co-production Granny's Sexual Life (Babičino seksualno žvljenje). The animated short film won the European Film Award and the César for Best Animated Short.

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