Weekly review of events involving Slovenia, 30 June - 6 July

Ljubljana, 7 July - Below is a weekly review of events involving Slovenia from 30 June to 6 July.

FRIDAY, 30 June

BRUSSELS, Belgium - Arriving for the second day of the EU summit in Brussels, Prime Minister Robert Golob called for dialogue with China to be enhanced, with the EU acting as independently as possible. "We are convinced that China is such an important superpower ... that we must have an active dialogue with it," he said.

SEOUL, South Korea - Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon and Economy Minister Matjaž Han held several high-level meetings and visited the research and development centre of car maker Kia to conclude their visit to Seoul.

LJUBLJANA - The Constitutional Court announced that the salaries paid to judges and prosecutors are manifestly too low in what constitutes a breach of the constitutional principle of judicial independence and division of power. It gave the legislature six months to remedy the unconstitutional state of affairs.

LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed amendments to legislation that places limits on payments to health providers under a scheme designed to cut waiting times. Not all services will be covered this way and private providers will no longer be eligible.

LJUBLJANA - New subsidies for airlines wishing to fly to Slovenia were made available under a second call for applications published by the Infrastructure Ministry which comes after only two airlines applied the first time around. EUR 5.6 million is available per year over three years.

LJUBLJANA - Both bids for a majority stake in the Sports Lottery have been withdrawn, the Finance Ministry announced as it suspended the approval process. The UK betting group Entain, believed to be the sole bidder, confirmed for the STA that it had withdrawn its bid.

CELJE - The Celje District Court acquitted Kristijan Kamenik for the second time of a quadruple murder that happened in Tekačevo in eastern Slovenia in 1997, agreeing with the defence that there is no incriminating evidence. The original conviction rested on a single shoe print, but the evidence was ruled inadmissible this time.


METLIKA - Former presidents of Croatia and Slovenia, Jadranka Kosor and Borut Pahor, met on the border to mark the 10th anniversary of Croatia's EU membership. Pahor said that Croatia had joined the EU thanks to Slovenia, after voters confirmed border arbitration in a referendum in 2010.

MONTREUX, Switzerland - Olympic gold medallist climber Janja Garnbret made sporting history by winning her 40th World Cup event, a feat no other man or woman has achieved before. Garnbret dominated the lead event as the only competitor to reach the top in the semi-final and the final.

MONDAY, 3 July

LJUBLJANA - The Fides trade union of doctors and dentists labelled the pay negotiations with the government futile, adding it would no longer take part in talks about "phantom pay tiers" which are nothing but a "smokescreen for the public". The union has started to plan further steps but stopped short of announcing a strike. The government said the talks were not futile and was still awaiting input from the union.

LJUBLJANA - Motorway company DARS rejected the idea of lower night time toll for lorries as a way to ease congestion, saying a similar system had been in place twice before without the desired effect. It also noted that cars were the main cause of congestion as lorries accounted for only 10% of vehicles during rush hour.


LJUBLJANA - A parliamentary inquiry was established to investigate the C0 sewerage project in Ljubljana, which has seen a fair share of opponents in recent months due to the allegations of irregularities and environmental risks. Ljubljana Mayor Zoran Janković intends to cooperate in the proceedings, as do all parliamentary parties.

LJUBLJANA - Stakeholders on the Economic and Social Council seem to have ironed out the disagreements after employers decided to boycott its sessions due to the absence of the prime minister. The partners, joined for a session by PM Robert Golob, agreed that they will identify reform laws that could be harmonised even when they are already in parliamentary procedure.

LJUBLJANA - It was revealed that the Labour and Social Court in Ljubljana annulled the decision of the programme council of RTV Slovenija to reappoint Andrej Grah Whatmough director general of the public broadcaster in March 2022. The Higher Labour Court had already ruled in March that Grah Whatmough's original appointment in January 2021 was unlawful.

LJUBLJANA - The Agency for Insurance Supervision said the Slovenian insurance sector was stable and well capitalised, but the negative impact of frozen supplementary health insurance premiums and uncertainty over the future of health insurance represented a considerable downside risk.

KOPER - The port of Koper expanded the capacity of its car terminal to 46,500 vehicles by inaugurating an additional storage space for 3,500 vehicles in an investment worth EUR 7.3 million. The storage space was expanded by over 68,000 square metres and the capacity is set to increase further in the coming years.

STRASBOURG, France - Little Trouble Girls, a feature debut by Urška Djukić, and children's feature film Block 5 by Klemen Dvornik received Eurimages financial support. The Council of Europe's cultural support fund will chip in EUR 400,000 in total, the Slovenian Film Centre (SFC) said.


BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Commission noted progress in the quality of the Slovenian justice system as well as media freedom but also pointed to challenges in its latest Rule of Law Report. It urged the country to take additional measures, including to protect journalists. The government welcomed the report and noted the progress detected, pledging to act on the Commission's recommendations.

LJUBLJANA - The Commission for the Prevention of Corruption reviewed procurement processes of over two dozen healthcare institutions involving the ten biggest medical suppliers in the country, finding a number of corruption risks. Recommendations include steps for a centralised procurement system. The analysis also found risks of personal integrity violations.

LJUBLJANA - The Information Commissioner warned that a bill on healthcare digitalisation, which is currently in parliamentary procedure, is not in line with the constitution due to inadequate provisions on the protection of personal data. The Health Ministry said the remarks would be considered, but noted that only the Constitutional Court can make such rulings.

MENGEŠ - Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis kicked off a project to build a EUR 111 million centre for technical development of biotherapeutics. The centre is to become operational in 2026 and create 100 jobs. Prime Minister Robert Golob stressed the importance of investing in know-how.

MARIBOR - The Maribor District Court found two former managers of the defunct Church-owned holding Zvon Ena guilty of abuse of office in complicity for moving around shares of two troubled Argentinian companies the holding had bought. They each got a suspended sentence of a year and a half with a four year trial period.

LJUBLJANA - The Employment Service announced that 46,178 people were registered as unemployed at the end of June, which is 2.1% less than at the end of May and 14.3% less year-on-year. This is the new lowest jobless total in Slovenia since 1990.

MARIBOR - Maribor announced that the leading scorer of the Slovenian football league last year Žan Vipotnik was leaving the club to continue his career in Bordeaux. The six-time French champions unofficially paid around EUR 3 million for the 21-year-old striker.


LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed a bill that transforms supplementary health insurance, a flat-rate monthly payment that is voluntary but needed for most health services, into a mandatory contribution attached to regular health insurance premiums. The reformed system is scheduled to take effect on 1 January 2024.

LJUBLJANA - The government reached a pay agreement with the judges, a move that means judges will be the first professional group to be moved onto a new salary scale planned under the public sector pay reform. The judges will also get a compensation for exclusivity amounting to 10% of basic salary.

LJUBLJANA - Parliament passed a law designed to expedite the deployment of renewable electricity generation facilities by identifying potential priority areas for solar and wind farms, for example large roofs, abandoned waste repositories and existing infrastructure.

LJUBLJANA - The government announced that Slovenia would sign a NATO memorandum on the joint procurement of land-based air defence systems. It will do so as a member of the German-led European Sky Defence Initiative, which comprises 17 countries, with Austria and Switzerland expected to join shortly.

LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly adopted changes to the Political Parties Act, including a revised system of political party funding that awards a greater share of budget funds to larger parties at the expense of smaller parties that have not made the threshold to enter parliament.

LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed amendments to the Agriculture Act that create a legal basis for collecting data on the price, quantity and origin of food in the supply chain. The changes were proposed to ensure food security in the aftermath of the Covid pandemic and the invasion of Ukraine.

NOVO MESTO - Drug maker Krka reported an estimated net profit of EUR 170 million for the first half of 2023 at the group level, a 28% year-on-year decrease that the company attributed to high foreign exchange gains in 2022. Revenue grew by 7% to EUR 920 million and operating profit (EBIT) by 9% to a six-month company record of EUR 236 million.

PAU, France - Slovenian rider Tadej Pogačar bounced back from a bad day at the Tour de France to claim a solo victory in stage 6 and climb to second spot overall after truncing defending champion Jonas Vingegaard in the final three kilometres of the stage.

LJUBLJANA - Mathematical physicist Tomaž Prosen, a professor at the Ljubljana Faculty of Mathematics and Physics has won his second European Research Council (ERC) advanced grant for research in mathematical statistical physics. Prosen said his work was basic research in the field of mathematical statistical physics.

ŠMARJEŠKE TOPLICE - A policewoman was injured in a shooting accident after a drunk driver who lost his licence returned to the police checkpoint with a rifle and opened fire. He was later found badly injured in his home, probably from self-inflicted harm.

© STA, 2023