News roundup - Tuesday, 11 July

Ljubljana, 11 July - Below is a roundup of major events on Tuesday, 11 July:

Golob: Sweden's accession to NATO signals change in its doctrine

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, adding that Slovenia's membership in NATO should be seen in this light. "We want to be part of the international community in order to deter anyone from thinking that military force is the way to resolve inter-state relations," he added.

Survey shows Slovenians among most reserved about NATO

BRUSSELS, Belgium - The annual NATO public opinion survey among member states regarding various aspects of membership in the alliance has shown Slovenia persistently ranking among the countries whose people express the most scepticism towards NATO membership and its policies. The survey, published Friday, reveals that compared to other NATO member states, people of Slovenia feel above average scepticism towards various aspects of membership and NATO's policies in the conflict in Ukraine.

PM and Finnish president discuss Slovenia's planned defence purchases

VILNIUS, Lithuania - Prime Minster Robert Golob met Finnish President Sauli Niinistö on the sidelines of the NATO summit to discuss Slovenia's plans to purchase APCs after the country withdrew from a deal with the OCCAR to buy eight-wheeled Boxers. Finland is a possible supplier, but no decision has been made yet, said Golob, stressing that the decision on the purchase has to be made by the government. He pointed out that Slovenia is not talking directly to industry or through intermediaries. All talks are held at intergovernmental level.

Slovenia warns against relativising Srebrenica genocide

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 are unacceptable. President Nataša Pirc Musar expressed "sympathy to the families of the victims, to the survivors and to all those who continue to work for justice and healing of the deep wounds that the tragedy has left in people", and Prime Minister Robert Golob urged a commitment to "preserving peace, preventing violence and condemning genocide denial".

New bill on Slovenia's digital transformation in the making

LJUBLJANA - The Ministry for Digital Transformation is preparing a new umbrella bill on digitalisation, Minister Emilija Stojmenova Duh announced. The bill is to give priority to digital services such as electronic delivery and signing of documents. E-signature is enough even under the current legislation but some still demand meetings in person or documents sent by regular mail, she said. The new law will enable documents to be securely delivered digitally.

No increase in retirement age in pension reform blueprint

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, better conditions for partial retirement, a higher replacement rate for remaining employed after 40 years of contributions, and subsidised social security contributions for older workers. Notably, employer contributions would be increased and employees would pay less.

Prize money transferred to poet Makarovič after two decades

LJUBLJANA - Author Svetlana Makarovič has received 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. After he was urged to return the prize following a sex abuse scandal, she decided to accept the award. The Culture Ministry transferred EUR 8,346 to Makarovič on 16 June, without interest.

Solutions in works to help Alpine destination reduce traffic

KRANJSKA GORA - The Upper Sava Valley has become one of Slovenia's top tourist destinations, which also means that roads through the valley have become much busier. Some of its most popular landmarks face veritable gridlocks during the summer, most notably the Vršič mountain pass and the Vrata Valley. Traffic into Vrata, the scenic valley at the base of the north face of Mount Triglav, will be limited with a traffic control gate. The same measure is to be introduced from both sides of the Vršič pass next year.

German company buys retail arm of Studio Moderna

LJUBLJANA - After selling its brands in May, Studio Moderna, an omnichannel direct-to-consumers retailer on the verge of bankruptcy, has sold its retail business to discount mattress retailer Matratzen Concord from Germany, Studio Moderna founder and owner Sandi Češko told Finance. Matratzen Concord is owned by a Chinese businessman who had been Studio Moderna's supplier. The part that the German company has now bought generates about a quarter of Studio Moderna's revenue. Solutions are still being sought for the rest of the group.

Efforts under way to reduce congestion on motorways

DOMŽALE - The Infrastructure Ministry is making efforts to reduce congestion on Slovenian motorways in the foreseeable future, Minister Alenka Bratušek said as she visited the motorway company DARS's regional control centre. Her ministry is making efforts to improve traffic management at least to the extent to minimise congestion, but she said this could not be done overnight. She partly attributed the congestion to the many construction and maintenance works, including on railways, but "once they are over, the situation will improve".

A quarter of employers plan to raise wages

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. Most are now projecting an increase of up to 5%. In the first half of the year, 65% of employers surveyed said they would raise wages, but the latest data shows 78% actually did so.

Mountaineer Grošelj makes Messner's Rock & Ice Stars list

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, has made the prestigious Rock & Ice Stars list of names engraved at the entrance to Reinhold Messner's Firmian museum in Bolzano. The 71-year-old Slovenian is only the 30 mountaineer to have been honoured in this way since Messner launched what is the largest mountaineering museum in the world in 2006.

Police officer injured at anarchist book fair

LJUBLJANA - Participants taking part in a march following Saturday's 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, according to the Ljubljana Police Department. The officer sustained light injuries, while the damage done to the police vehicles with graffiti sprayed on them was estimated at EUR 6,000. The incident is still under investigation.

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