News roundup - Friday, 14 July

Ljubljana, 14 July - Below is a roundup of major events on Friday, 14 July:

Slovenia and Croatia take border issue off agenda to focus on cooperation

ZAGREB, Croatia - Prime Minister Robert Golob said after meeting his counterpart Andrej Plenković in Zagreb that the time had come when Slovenia and Croatia could achieve more together than separately. The border arbitration award, to which Slovenia remains firmly committed, will be given some time and taken off the day-to-day political agenda, he added. Plenković said that it would be a gesture of goodwill to stop issuing fines to fishermen on both sides of the border, but Golob rejected this.

Slovenia and Croatia sign gas supply solidarity agreement

ZAGREB, Croatia - Slovenia and Croatia signed a gas supply solidarity agreement as part of the first official visit by Slovenia's Prime Minister Robert Golob. The mechanism is a last resort measure after a party to the agreement has already taken all other available measures to ensure supply to consumers classified as protected users. Golob and his counterpart Andrej Plenković also discussed Croatia's potential cooperation in building a second nuclear reactor in Krško, Slovenia.

Golob says Frontex needed in Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina

ZAGREB, Croatia - Prime Minister Robert Golob discussed illegal migrations with his Croatian counterpart Andrej Plenković. He said that Frontex forces were needed in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Serbia, adding that his previous comments to deploy Frontex to the Bosnian-Croatian border "may have been misunderstood". He underlined that the EU must start looking outward and form agreements with origin and transit countries if it wanted to become effective at migrations management.

SAF's character changing from peacekeeping to deterrence

LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Armed Forces (SAF) are looking at their biggest investment cycle yet. A the same time the force's character is transforming from one of peacekeeping to deterrence, Chief of the General Staff, Lt-Gen Robert Glavaš told the STA in an interview. He sees the resolution on the long-term development and equipment of SAF until 2040 as "an example of major progress and development orientation", and hopes the plan will be implemented.

Committee okays long-term care and social care bills

LJUBLJANA - The Labour Committee okayed on Thursday the bill on long-term care and changes to the social care act, also adopting a number of coalition-sponsored amendments accommodating the recommendations of the parliament's legal service. Being fast-tracked through the legislative process, the bills are expected to pass on Monday.

Janša and his wife heard in court over Patria damages claim

KRANJ - Opposition leader Janez Janša and his wife Urška Bačovnik Janša took the stand at a court in Kranj. Janša demands EUR 900,000 from the state for his imprisonment over the Patria defence procurement deal after the 2013 guilty verdict was quashed in 2015 and the case became statute barred before it could go into retrial. He reiterated his view why the Patria corruption case was politically motivated and that he suffered damage because his imprisonment hurt his political career while also affecting his family.

Milestone reached in public sector pay reform talks

LJUBLJANA - Government and trade union representatives came out of a new round of negotiations on the overhaul of the public sector pay system speaking of a potential breakthrough after an agreement was reached on how the salaries would be converted to the planned new pay scale. Pay disparities would be addressed simultaneously. The government sees this as a major breakthrough, trade unions said it was a big step but noted that a lot of work remained to be done.

Govt will help storm-stricken areas, but it may take time, Golob says

KRŠKO/BREŽICE - Prime Minister Robert Golob visited the municipality of Brežice in the east, one of those hit by yesterday's severe storms. He promised that the government will try to do all in its power to provide help as soon as possible. He admitted that "regular procedures" for providing disaster aid were rather lengthy and pledged to try and find a way to help the locals as soon as possible, while admitting that there are no clear answers yet.

Contractor picked for Koper-Divača tunnel systems

LJUBLJANA - 2TDK, the state company managing the Koper-Divača rail project, has picked a consortium led by the Slovenian Railways' construction arm for the construction of rail and tunnel systems on the new track between the port of Koper and the Divača junction. The works, valued at EUR 203.8 million, must be completed by the end of 2025. The consortium initially offered a higher price, but reduced it in negotiations with 2TDK.

NSi challenges belated prize money for poet Makarovič

LJUBLJANA - The Commission for Oversight of Public Finances discussed the Culture Ministry's decision to hand Prešeren Prize money to poet Svetlana Makarovič 23 years after she rejected the prize. The MPs called on the Court of Audit and the anti-graft watchdog to look into the matter after the opposition New Slovenia (NSi) suggested that the prize money was transferred without a proper legal basis and possibly in violation of the law.

Meat from hay-fed animals protected at national level

LJUBLJANA - Meat produced using a traditional farming method combining hay feeding and grazing, called "hay meat", is now protected at the national level by the traditional specialities guaranteed label, the Agriculture Ministry announced. The Hay Meat and Milk Institute will also apply for EU-wide registration of hay meat.

Franja Partisan Hospital damaged by storm

CERKNO - The open-air museum Franja Partisan Hospital was significantly damaged by the fierce storm that swept through northern Slovenia on Thursday. The UNESCO-listed museum, nestled deep in a narrow gorge near Cerkno, saw three of its 14 wooden buildings swept away and another three damaged. The flood wave also destroyed the last part of the access path and electric infrastructure.

Slovenia's oldest tourist festival starts in Laško

LAŠKO - The largest and oldest tourist event in Slovenia, which has been held uninterruptedly since 1964, started in Laško, east. The 58th Beer and Flowers Festival held by the Savinja River will bring an abundance of concerts and other events this weekend while also stepping up its green practices. The highlight of the festival will be the concerts on two festival stages tonight and on Saturday night.

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