Weekly review of events involving Slovenia, 7 - 13 July

Ljubljana, 14 July - Below is a weekly review of events involving Slovenia from 7 to 13 July.

FRIDAY, 7 July

LJUBLJANA - Health Minister Danijel Bešič Loredan was forced to resign due to what Prime Minister Robert Golob said were conceptual differences regarding the development of the Slovenian healthcare system. Golob, who will step in until a new minister is appointed, said his party remained united in its commitment to protect public healthcare at all cost.

BRUSSELS, Belgium - The annual NATO public opinion survey among member states regarding various aspects of membership in the alliance showed Slovenia persistently ranking among the countries whose people express the most scepticism towards NATO membership and its policies.

LJUBLJANA - After reviewing two studies on the economic aspects of a potential launch of a new national air carrier, the Public Finances Oversight Commission urged the government to examine the idea of creating a strategic partnership with one of the established air carriers.

LJUBLJANA - Discussing the national Recovery and Resilience Plan, the Economic and Social Council agreed for the government to draw up a list of legislative proposals needed to implement the plan by 25 August.

LJUBLJANA - Five Slovenian media freedom organisations said the draft law on strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPP) adopted by the European Council was a step back in the battle against unfounded claims or abusive court proceedings.

LJUBLJANA - Coalition MPs and officials who took part in a session of the Commission for Petitions, Human Rights and Equal Opportunities condemned homophobia and transphobia and violence reported around the 17 June Ljubljana Pride Parade in the strongest terms. No opposition MP attended the session.

ZAGREB, Croatia - Culture Minister Asta Vrečko met her Croatian counterpart Nina Obuljen Koržinek to discuss cooperation in performing arts and film, as well as issues related to succession to the former Yugoslavia. They talked about re-establishing exhibition premises of the former federation in the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum, and the renovation of the Kampor memorial park on the Croatian island of Rab.

LJUBLJANA - The motorway company DARS obtained a building permit for the Novo Mesto section of the long-delayed north-south expressway known as the Third Development Axis. It will be able to draw around EUR 35 million in EU funds for the project.

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.

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 by the Celje District Court.


LJUBLJANA - Minister for a Solidarity-Based Future Simon Maljevac discussed long-term care in an interview with the STA saying that after a wait of over 20 years time was ripe to pass the relevant law and provide "comprehensive care for everybody all the way to their grave".

LJUBLJANA - More than six out of ten (63.8%) in a poll run by Delo believe that the supplementary health insurance, which will become a mandatory fee starting from 2024, should be levied according to the person's income rather in a flat amount for everyone. Nearly half of those questioned (48.7%) believe the legislative change by parliament will not make health services less accessible.

LJUBLJANA - Participants taking part in a march following the Balkan Anarchist Book Fair beat a police officer who tried to prevent one of them from spraying graffiti on a city bus, and damaged two police vehicles. The officer sustained light injuries. PM Robert Golob condemned the attack.

LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Robert Golob condemned the latest case of animal cruelty in Koper in a video posted to his Instagram. He urged the ministries in charge to prepare reports after a dog was killed being tow tied by a man to his motorcycle. The Supreme State Prosecutor's Office later said it imposed oversight proceedings against the prosecutor who failed to recognise the dog had been tortured.

PODČETRTEK - A fire broke out in the storage of a restaurant in the Aqualuna water park complex in the east of the country, causing EUR 300,000 in damage. Some 1,500 visitors of the outdoor pool area had to be evacuated, but nobody was injured and the fire was put out quickly. The water park, which is operated by Terme Olimija, reopened the next day.

SUNDAY, 9 July

MARIBOR - Slovenia's total electricity production reached 12,192 gigawatt hours last year, which is down 15.4% compared to the year before, shows the Energy Agency's report for 2022. Consumption fell by 3.8% to 13,638 GWh. Domestic electricity production met 70% of the country's demand.

KONYA, Turkey - Slovenia made history after they won their first ever U18 Women's European Basketball Championship crown by beating France 63-61. The Slovenian team cruised to the title by winning all seven games.

MONDAY, 10 July

LJUBLJANA - The government endorsed a breakdown of budget expenditure for 2024 and 2025, reducing the 2024 spending cap by EUR 300 million to EUR 15.2 billion. The figure is to increase to EUR 15.9 billion in 2025. The aim is to bring the budget deficit below 3% of GDP in 2024 and then reduce it further.

LJUBLJANA - The government amended the national recovery and resilience plan, scrapping several projects which cannot be completed in time, among them a new infectious diseases clinic in Maribor and several flood safety projects.

ANCONA, Italy - The foreign ministers of Slovenia, Croatia and Italy signed a declaration on closer cooperation in the management and protection of the North Adriatic. "We also committed to jointly carry out a search and rescue operation at sea in the autumn. This is important to prevent human tragedies at sea and tackle the problem of illegal migration in a humane way," Slovenia's Tanja Fajon said.

STUTTGART/MUNICH, Germany - Economy Ministry State Secretary Matevž Frangež took part in a conference on the Danube region which saw German panellists praise Slovenia as a reliable partner they were keen to strengthen cooperation with. Frangež also met representatives of the government of Baden-Württemberg, Slovenia's top trading partner among the German states, and of the automotive giant Porsche heading for Bavaria to discuss business cooperation opportunities during a multi-day visit.

LJUBLJANA - Culture Minister Asta Vrečko announced that the ministry would ask the Administrative Court to remove the Association for the Promotion of Traditional Values, which is linked to the Identitarian Yellow Jackets movement, from the registry of associations for inciting hatred, including at the June Pride Parade.

LJUBLJANA - A poll run by the newspaper Delo showed the proportion of respondents happy with the government fall to 24% from 28% in June. Both the largest ruling party Freedom Movement and the strongest opposition party, the Democrats (SDS), gained ground to 23.8% and 22.3%, respectively.

LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Culture Committee discussed what the opposition Democrats (SDS) described as omission of late Trieste-based author Boris Pahor from the upcoming Frankfurt Book Fair. Culture Minister Asta Vrečko said the claim was a misunderstanding, while curator Miha Kovač confirmed Pahor (1913-2022) will definitely be represented in Frankfurt.

LJUBLJANA - The National Exam Centre released the results of the national school-leaving exam, matura, showing 91.6% of final-year secondary school students who took it passed, which compares to last-year's success rate of 95%. Eighteen students scored all points. Just over 89% of candidates passed the national school-leaving exam for vocational students, down from 91% last year, show data by .

TUESDAY, 11 July

VILNIUS, Lithuania - Arriving for a NATO summit, Prime Minister Robert Golob said Sweden's accession to NATO showed change in the the alliance's doctrine. "This doctrine ... is about defence and deterrence, the deterrence of threats," he said.

LJUBLJANA - Slovenian officials marked the 28th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide with the Foreign Ministry saying the genocide must never be forgotten and that its denial or relativisation were unacceptable.

LJUBLJANA - Despite repeated calls by the OECD and the EU that Slovenia should increase the retirement age, Labour Ministry guidelines for a pension reform presented to social partners do not directly propose that. Instead, incentives are proposed to convince people to work longer.

LJUBLJANA - The Culture Ministry confirmed it had transferred author Svetlana Makarovič the prize money for the Prešeren Prize, Slovenia's top award for achievements in arts, which she refused to accept 23 years ago in protest of Jesuit artist Marko Rupnik being awarded the prize as well.

LJUBLJANA - Sandi Češko, the founder and owner of Studio Moderna, an omnichannel direct-to-consumers retailer onb the verge of bankruptcy, told the newspaper Finance the company sold its retail business to German discount mattress retailer Matratzen Concord. The company sold its brands in May.

LJUBLJANA - Some 26% of Slovenian employers plan to raise wages in the second half of the year, shows Manpower's survey on trends in salaries and employee benefits, which means wage growth is cooling compared to projections for the first half of 2023 when over 75% of employers opted for a pay raise.

BOLZANO, Italy - Viki Grošelj, the Slovenian mountaineer with the largest number of eight-thousanders under his belt and the first Slovenian to have climbed all the highest peaks of the globe's continents, made the prestigious Rock & Ice Stars list of names engraved at the entrance to Reinhold Messner's Firmian museum in Bolzano.


VILNIUS, Lithuania - Prime Minister Robert Golob, speaking at the conclusion of the two-day NATO summit, said Slovenia could contribute more by way of efforts for peace in Ukraine than by security assurances made by the G7. However, if the parliamentary Foreign Policy Committee supports the proposal, Slovenia will sign on to the G7 security package, he indicated.

VILNIUS, Lithuania - On the sidelines of the NATO summit, Prime Minster Robert Golob discussed the option of Slovenia buying Poland's Rosomak armoured vehicles with Polish President Andrzej Duda after he already discussed potential purchase with the Finnish president the day before. He called on the Polish authorities to ensure that their bidder makes the best or most competitive offer.

BRNIK - A new underground facility and operations room were launched at the military section of Ljubljana airport with Armed Forces Supreme Commander President Nataša Pirc Musar cutting the ribbon. Airspace control centre commander Lieutenant Colonel Aleš Umek said that after 32 years his unit now has a centre comparable to those in Slovenia's allies.

LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian government decided to allocate EUR 1.1 million over 2023-2026 to strengthen the capacity of the special police unit to deal with terrorist threats.

LJUBLJANA - After a delay of over four years, the European Investment Bank gave the final approval for an up to EUR 250 million loan for the Divača-Koper rail project, valued at EUR 1.11 billion.

LJUBLJANA - Slovenian Sovereign Holding (SSH) posted a net profit of EUR 66 million in 2022, nearly 50% up from 2021, while return on equity more than halved to 2.8%, mainly due to the poor results of energy companies in what was one of the most demanding years for the Slovenian energy sector to date.

LJUBLJANA - Breaking with court practice applied since the massive privatisation and restitution of denationalised housing stock in the early 1990s, the Constitutional Court declared as unconstitutional legal provisions committing owners to honour indefinite non-profit rent contracts to the tenants of privatised flats. The court gave the legislator one year to remedy the situation.

LJUBLJANA - The Advocate of the Principle of Equality established that a lesbian who is in the process of IVF in Austria was discriminated against by her gynaecologist in Slovenia. The gynaecologist had acted on her conscientious objection over medical treatment of lesbians undergoing IVF, filed with the Medical Chamber, which she has now withdrawn.

LJUBLJANA - The Ljubljana-based company Aerosol, a leading developer and manufacturer of air quality measurement instruments, is one of the six recipients of this year's WIPO Global Awards for SMEs that use intellectual property rights to make their business ideas a reality and contribute to a better future with innovative approaches and creativity.

LJUBLJANA - The startup ReCatalyst specialising in the development of next-generation catalysts for fuel cells closed an oversubscribed seed financing round, ensuring EUR 1.7 million to strengthen market readiness and accelerate process development for proton exchange membrane fuel cell catalysts.


BRDO PRI KRANJU - President Nataša Pirc Musar hosted her Albanian counterpart Bajram Begaj for a visit, declaring that the place of all Western Balkan countries was in the EU. She praised Albania's progress in its efforts to join the EU and repeated her position that the EU enlargement process should be sped up.

LJUBLJANA - President Nataša Pirc Musar appointed several new ambassadors. Iztok Mirošič, former ambassador to the UK and Italy, will replace Tone Kajzer as the ambassador to the US, and Franci But, former ambassador to Czechia, Serbia and Germany, will become the new ambassador to the Vatican. In Ukraine, Tomaž Mencin, will be succeeded by Mateja Prevolšek, a former ambassador to Egypt and an employee of the Slovenian Permanent Representation to the EU in Brussels.

LJUBLJANA - Zvezdan Martič, who has spent most of his career at public broadcaster RTV Slovenija, was named chairman of the broadcaster's management board for a four-year term. He won 16 votes from the 17-member governing council and will take office on 14 July.

LJUBLJANA - The government backed the European Parliament's proposal to increase its size by 11 seats as a result of which Slovenia would get a ninth seat. However, the government does not think the proposal for an additional 28 seats for a potential transnational constituency should be included in the European Council's decision because it is part of the European electoral law reform, which is yet to be agreed.

LJUBLJANA - After parliament adopted a revised budget for 2023 in May, the government reduced the borrowing cap from just under EUR 5 billion to around EUR 4.2 billion. The estimated end-year general government debt was lowered by a percentage point to 63.3% of GDP.

BOHINJ/MARIBOR/MURSKA SOBOTA/KRŠKO - Fierce storms wreaked havoc across northern Slovenia early in the morning, with strong rain, hail, and wind gusts exceeding 100 km/h. Thousands were left without power and two French citizens were injured in Bohinj, camping in a forest outside a campsite. In the afternoon rain a second wave of storms with caused significant damage in central and southern regions.

LJUBLJANA - The Defence Ministry ordered 5,200 mid-cut military helmets from Croatian manufacturer Šestan-Busch in a deal worth some EUR 2 million. The new BK-ACH-MC helmets are expected to be fully delivered by the end of 2025.

LJUBLJANA - The Global Wealth Report by the Boston Consulting Group showed around 200 individuals in Slovenia have between US$20 million and US$100 million in personal financial assets. A few who have over US$ 100 million and own 30% of total financial wealth in the country.

© STA, 2023