News roundup - Friday, 7 July

Ljubljana, 7 July - Below is a roundup of major events on Friday, 7 July:

Health Minister Danijel Bešič Loredan steps down

LJUBLJANA - Health Minister Danijel Bešič Loredan resigned due to what Prime Minister Robert Golob said were conceptual differences regarding the development of the Slovenian healthcare system. "The resignation is logical and expected," Golob said, adding that the two did not see eye to eye "on how to make sure public healthcare returns to its old glory." Golob noted that his party remained united in its commitment to protect public healthcare at all cost and strengthen public health institutions. Bešič Loredan insisted he wanted to improve the healthcare system and bring it closer to people. "But if I'm unable to do it at the moment, I'm no longer prepared to perform this job."

MPs in favour of strategic partnership with established airline

LJUBLJANA - After reviewing two studies on the economic aspects of a potential launch of a new national air carrier, the Public Finances Oversight Commission proposed to the government to analyse the scenario of entering a strategic partnership with one of the established air carriers. This is also what Infrastructure Minister Alenka Bratušek and Finance Minister Klemen Boštjančič said would be the most sensible path.

Govt to present reform schedule by end of August

LJUBLJANA - Discussing the national Recovery and Resilience Plan on Friday, the Economic and Social Council agreed that the government will draw up a list of legislative proposals needed to implement the plan by 25 August. The legislative proposals to be prepared under the plan include health reform and reform of the public sector wage system, said the council's chair, trade unionist Jakob Počivavšek.

Financial Administration asked to submit data on annulled tax notices

LJUBLJANA - The opposition-controlled Public Finances Oversight Commission called on the Financial Administration to submit exact data on the number of annulled tax assessment notices for companies. New Slovenia (NSi), which called the session, claims tax inspectors cause damage to businesses through wrong decisions. Rather than inspectors, the party blames explanations and interpretations of the acts approved by the administration for the situation.

Several organisations unhappy with draft EU anti-SLAPP law

LJUBLJANA - Five Slovenian media freedom organisations see the draft law on strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPP) adopted by the European Council as a step back in the battle against unfounded claims or abusive court proceedings. They believe the original proposal has been watered down, most notably with the omission of cross-border consequences. The very narrow definition of what are clearly unfounded cases makes the text weaker, especially the early dismissal mechanism, they said.

Novo Mesto section of north-south expressway greenlighted

LJUBLJANA - The start of works of another section of the long-delayed north-south expressway known as the Third Development Axis is edging closer. National motorway company DARS obtained a building permit for the Novo Mesto section and will be able to draw around EUR 35 million in EU funds for the project. The permit was reissued for what is a 5-km segment of a planned 17.5 km-long southern part of the axis, the national zoning plan for which dates back to 2012.

Datalab to be taken over by group of international investors

LJUBLJANA - Business software maker Datalab Tehnologije announced that a group of international investors led by seasoned Slovenian IT manager Simon Kaluža had published the intention to acquire an outright stake in the company. The purchase of all of Datalab's shares on the Ljubljana Stock Exchange is planned through Luxembourg-based Rucio Investment. Datalab is best known for its enterprise resource planning system Pantheon.

Maribor hospital director agrees to step aside

MARIBOR - The Maribor UKC medical centre will get its former director general back in an acting capacity after the incumbent Anton Crnjac agreed with the hospital's council on Thursday to end his term early. Crnjac was appointed director general in May 2021 under the previous government for a four-year term. He now agreed with the hospital's council to end his term on 30 September. Vojko Flis, who served at the post from 2017 to 2021, will take over for the interim period on 1 October until a new director is appointed.

Pharmacists welcome medicine procurement solution

LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Pharmacy Chamber welcomed the emergency bill ensuring undisrupted supply of pharmaceutical products in the country that the government adopted to tackle problems faced by pharmacies due to stiff public procurement rule. However, the chamber says the issue should be addressed long-term and as soon as possible. The pharmacy has been complaining that the public procurement legislation is incompatible with the law governing pharmacies.

Poor performance of energy firms depresses SSH returns

LJUBLJANA - Slovenian Sovereign Holding (SSH) posted a return on assets of its investment portfolio of 2.9% for 2022, down from 6.1% in the year before. The poor return is largely the consequence of deep losses posted by some state-owned energy firms, it said. Excluding energy firms, the return would have been 7.3%. SSH assets under management totalled EUR 11.1 billion at the end of last year, up from EUR 10.3 billion the year before.

Man involved in severed hand fraud fund guilty of murder

LJUBLJANA - Sebastien Abramov, the man who convinced his girlfriend to cut off her hand for insurance money in 2019, was found guilty of murdering his previous partner in 2015. He was handed a combined sentence of 30 years in prison. The Celje District Court found Abramov guilty of murdering Sara Veber with a semi-automatic rifle. The presiding judge said he had hatched a plan to portray the murder as an accident.

Scottish honey wins beekeeping competition

VIŠNJA GORA - Scottish phacelia honey has won top award at the 12th International Meeting of Young Beekeepers, which wrapped up on Thursday. Mixed flower honey from the Czech Republic placed second and Romanian acacia honey third out of the 60 types of honey that were judged. The competition featured 150 competitors from 30 countries, who faced around 15 beekeeping challenges to demonstrate their beekeeping knowledge and skills.

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