News roundup - Thursday, 13 July

Ljubljana, 13 July - Below is a roundup of major events on Thursday, 13 July:

Place of W Balkan countries in EU, but more will needed, Pirc Musar says

BRDO PRI KRANJU - The place of all Western Balkan countries is in the EU, President Nataša Pirc Musar said as she hosted her Albanian counterpart Bajram Begaj. 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. However, the countries will have to show stronger political will to follow through. The presidents also touched on the Brdo-Brijuni process. They share the view that countries should focus on what unites them instead of their divisions.

Golob says health reform remains top priority

LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Robert Golob said health reform remained a top priority for the government as he temporarily took over the health portfolio after the National Assembly took note of the resignation of Health Minister Danjiel Bešič Loredan. Golob will surround himself with a new team at the ministry as Azra Herceg is the only state secretary to stay on. She will be joined by Valentina Prevolnik Rupel, a researcher at the Institute of Economic Research, and Marjan Pintar, the head of the Association of Health Institutions.

Slovenia appoints new ambassadors to the US, Vatican and Ukraine

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.

Slovenia and Croatia to formalise emergency health service cooperation

IZOLA - Slovenia and Croatia will sign an agreement on Friday formalising an existing protocol under which people living just across the border in the Croatian region of Istria have access to emergency medical services of the Izola general hospital. The expenses will be covered by the Croatian public health insurance fund. The agreement will be signed by prime minister Andrej Plenoković and Robert Golob during Golob's first official visit to Zagreb.

Slovenia supports increase in EU parliament size

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia supports the increase in the number of seats in the European Parliament by 11 with the government welcoming the increase on Thursday as appropriate reflection of demographic change in the EU. Under the proposal passed by the European Parliament in June, Slovenia will get an additional, ninth seat. The government believes the impact of the bloc's future enlargements should also be taken into account by setting aside a certain number of seats that remain vacant after the UK's withdrawal from the EU as a contingency.

Govt reduces borrowing for 2023

LJUBLJANA - After parliament adopted a revised budget for 2023 in May, the government reduced the borrowing figure needed for the EUR 16.1 billion in expenditure, from just under EUR 5 billion to around EUR 4.2 billion. As a result, general government debt is projected to stand at EUR 40.9 billion at the end of the year, almost 1 percentage point of GDP less than expected as the original budget was adopted at the end of 2022.

Journalist named chairman of public broadcaster RTV Slovenija

LJUBLJANA - Zvezdan Martič, who has spent most of his career at public broadcaster RTV Slovenija, has been named chairman of the broadcaster's management board for a four-year term. One of four candidates, he got 16 votes from the 17-member governing council and will take office tomorrow. Martič co-founded the RTV Slovenija multimedia centre, which he headed for a decade, until 2010. Most recently, he was deputy director of TV programmes in 2019-2021. He has also worked as news journalist, talk show host and author of documentary films.

Financial wealth in Slovenia concentrated at the very top

LJUBLJANA - There are around 200 individuals in Slovenia who have between US$ 20 million and US$ 100 million in personal financial assets, shows a report by the Boston Consulting Group. About 40% of total financial wealth is held by those with less than US$ 250,000, while globally the figure is 32%. On the other hand, there is a high concentration of wealth in the hands of a small number of very rich people in Slovenia, who own more than US$ 100 million in financial assets. They own 30% of the total financial wealth in Slovenia, compared to 13% globally.

Storms caused significant damage in N Slovenia during the night

BOHINJ/SLOVENJ GRADEC/MARIBOR/MURSKA SOBOTA - Fierce storms moved across northern Slovenia during the night, with strong rain, hail, and wind gusts exceeding 100 km/h. Moving from the west to the east at high speed, the storm system left in its wake damaged buildings and electrical infrastructure, flooded basements and roads, and fallen trees. Two French citizens were injured in Bohinj, camping in a forest outside a campsite. An orange alert remains in place for today.

Geneplanet gets EUR 20m financial injection

LJUBLJANA - The Ljubljana-based biotech company Geneplanet has secured a financial injection worth EUR 20 million, provided by a group of international investors led by the Bulgarian private equity fund Black Peak Capital. The investors' list includes the Slovenian construction group Kolektor and one of its shareholders, FMR Holding. Other investors chipping in were the German biotech company Darwin and Designed Impact Ventures, an Austrian business services provider, Geneplanet said.

Businessman Pečečnik becomes majority owner of textile company

LJUBLJANA/GORNJI PETROVCI - After announcing a EUR 600,000 financial investment in the textile company Moda Mi&Lan to pay off its debts in May, entrepreneur Joc Pečečnik's company Elektronček has now become the majority owner with an 80% stake. The remaining 20% is still held by Moda Mi&Lan's former director Milan Mörec. The purchase agreement was signed last week. According to the web portal Necenzurirano, the purchase consideration has not been disclosed.

Ministry to purchase 5,200 military helmets

LJUBLJANA - The Defence Ministry has ordered 5,200 mid-cut military helmets from Croatian manufacturer Šestan-Busch in a deal worth some EUR 2 million. The ministry decided for the move because the lifespan of the current helmets, which have been in use since 2012, has expired. The new BK-ACH-MC helmets are expected to be fully delivered by the end of 2025, the ministry told the STA.

© STA, 2023