Weekly review of events involving Slovenia, 14-20 July

Ljubljana, 21 July - Below is a weekly review of events involving Slovenia from 14 to 20 July.

FRIDAY, 14 July

ZAGREB, Croatia - As part of his first official visit to Croatia, PM Robert Golob announced that the border arbitration decision that set the border with Croatia, to which Slovenia remains firmly committed while Croatia rejects it, will be given some time and taken off the day-to-day political agenda to give cooperation a fresh impetus. Golob and Croatian PM Andrej Plenković also discussed illegal migration, and the countries signed a gas supply solidarity agreement.

LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Armed Forces (SAF) are looking at their biggest investment cycle yet while also transforming their character from one of peacekeeping to deterrence, Lt-Gen Robert Glavaš, chief of the general staff, said in an interview with the STA. He sees the resolution on the long-term development and equipment of SAF until 2040 as "an example of major progress".

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, while pay disparities would be addressed simultaneously. The government sees it as a major breakthrough, while trade unions said a lot of work remained to be done.

LJUBLJANA - 2TDK, the state company managing the Koper-Divača rail project, 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 hub. The works, valued at EUR 203.8 million, must be completed by the end of 2025.

CERKNO - The site WWII museum Franja Partisan Hospital was significantly damaged by the fierce storm that swept through northern Slovenia on 13 July, but Culture Minister Asta Vrečko announced on 18 July a state-led effort to renovate what she termed a symbol of the WWII resistance movement in Slovenia.


BRIANCON, France - Slovenian sport climber Vita Lukan won her first World Cup event as she outperformed the competition in the lead discipline at the last World Cup event before the World Championships, improving on her 6th place from Jakarta last year.

LJUBLJANA - In 2022, 35,900 Slovenian and foreign citizens immigrated to Slovenia, up 50% over 2021, while slightly over 20,900 people emigrated, down 1%. Standing out number-wise among newly arrived residents were Ukrainian citizens, who exceeded the number of those who left by nearly 6,100, Statistics Office data shows.

MONDAY, 17 July

LJUBLJANA - Parliament passed a long overdue bill on long-term care that determines the scope of rights and services to kick in after it enters into force on 1 January 2024. The bill introduces a 1% contribution from gross wages to be paid by employers and employees while pensioners will pay it from net pensions from 1 July 2025, in what was the most contentious issue for the opposition.

LJUBLJANA - The sponsors of a bill to legalise assisted dying filed the legislation to parliament after having collected the necessary signatures. The Freedom Movement, the senior coalition party, intends to hold a public discussion on the matter and take some time to clear up any potential dilemmas before making a decision on it.

BRUSSELS, Belgium - Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon attended a summit of EU and Latin American countries, standing in for PM Robert Golob. She identified AI as one of the fields Slovenia would seek to enhance cooperation in with Latin America.

LJUBLJANA - President Nataša Pirc Musar held an informal reception at the Presidential Palace for 16 newly appointed ambassadors before they leave abroad to assume their new jobs at the end of August or early September in what is one of the largest line-up changes in the history of the Slovenian diplomatic service.

MARIBOR - A landmark 2022 ruling finding Austrian power utility Verbund liable for the damage caused in Slovenia by the swollen river Drava in 2012 has been quashed by the Maribor Higher Court. A local boating association, one of dozens of plaintiffs, was ordered to pay EUR 105,000 in costs after suing for nearly EUR 13,000 in compensation. The attorney representing them attributed the ruling to diverging evidence procedure standards at Slovenian courts, and announced further legal action.

LJUBLJANA - Salus, a wholesaler of medications and medical equipment, completed the acquisition of a 49% stake in the Croatian company Medorion, which holds a marketing authorisation for treatments of rare diseases.

ČRNOMELJ - On the hottest day of the summer in Slovenia temperatures rose as high as 37.2 degrees Celsius near Črnomelj in the south-east, according to the Environment Agency.

TUESDAY, 18 July

LJUBLJANA - The Foreign Ministry urged Russia to reconsider its decision to suspend the international agreement that allowed Ukrainian grain exports through the Black Sea, warning the decision will affect the most vulnerable in Africa.

MANILA, Philippines - Slovenia will open a consulate general in the Philippines, Foreign Ministry secretary general Renata Cvelbar Bek announced during her visit to the country.

LJUBLJANA - The newspapers Delo and Dnevnik reported that a Belgrade arbitral tribunal awarded Slovenia's energy group HSE EUR 67 million in damages in a long-running dispute over Bosnian thermal power station Ugljevik's failure to supply it with electricity in exchange for the Slovenian energy sector's investment in the plant's construction in the 1980s, when Slovenia and Bosnia were part of the former Yugoslavia. The tribunal also ruled, but earlier, that HSE is entitled to buy a third of Ugljevik's annual power output in the coming 12 years at market prices, which is around 4% of Slovenia's annual needs.

LJUBLJANA - Acting Police Commissioner Senad Jušić appointed Damjan Petrič, who served as acting head of the Ljubljana Police Department from March 2022, to the helm of the criminal police administration at the General Police Department, in what is the latest in a series of changes in top police positions.

MARIBOR - Slovenia's second largest city will launch in September the first international primary school in this part of the country, joining another primary school in Ljubljana in catering to the needs of internationally mobile families with school children in Slovenia.


LJUBLJANA/BLED - Violent storms that swept through the country for the second day running claimed one life as a 32-year-old foreign citizen, a woman, was killed by a downed tree in Bled, while another foreign citizen, a man, was severely injured. The storms caused extensive damage and power outages as roofs were ripped off and trees uprooted across the country. Several hundred people had to be evacuated, most of them scouts camping outdoors.

LJUBLJANA - The National Security Council got acquainted with the crisis situations on the agenda of the UN Security Council and to be addressed by Slovenia during its non-permanent membership in 2024-2025. It proposed Slovenia focus on climate change, the water crisis, conflict prevention, and the protection of civilians and the most vulnerable.

LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon said Slovenia was not changing its position that the Slovenia-Croatia arbitration decision from 2017 that set the border must be fully implemented. She however also echoed PM Robert Golob's conciliatory statements made during his visit to Croatia, advocating a gradual approach to such issues.

BRUSSELS, Belgium - Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon said the goal was for Bosnia-Herzegovina to start EU accession talks by the end of the year, as she arrived at a session of the EU-Bosnia and Herzegovina Stabilisation and Association Council.

LJUBLJANA - In line with the president's order published in the Official Gazette, seasoned diplomat Andrej Benedejčič was appointed Slovenia's new ambassador to NATO, the post he held between 2011 and 2015.

LJUBLJANA - Simon Kardum, director of the Kino Šiška urban culture centre in Ljubljana, and Andrej Trček, a jurist at the Slovenian broadcaster's legal department, were appointed members of the new management board of RTV Slovenija by the broadcaster's council. The new management team, led by Zvezdan Martič, will take over after its fourth and last member, a workers' director, is appointed.

LJUBLJANA - The Higher Education Ministry and the Higher Education Trade Union signed a partial strike deal on a number of demands while leaving pay disparities to be resolved as part of ongoing talks on the public sector pay system. The deal comes after two recent strikes, which are now frozen until the end of the year.

LJUBLJANA - A delegation of the European Space Agency (ESA) visited Slovenia to review the situation in the space industry and the country's progress before the vote on its full ESA membership is held in December 2024. The delegation commended the country's achievements since it became an associate member in 2016, and praised the draft space strategy, which will bring guidelines and support to strengthen the space sector in Slovenia until 2030, that is to be adopted by 2024.

LJUBLJANA - A body advising the government on the combat against hate speech issued 57 recommendations, calling for measures in politics, education, media, online and in criminal law. The Strategic Council for the Prevention of Hate Speech also called on the government to promptly respond to all cases of hate speech consistently and with unequivocal condemnation. It will meet again in a year to review the situation.


LJUBLJANA - The government appointed Samuel Žbogar, a former foreign minister who now serves as a state secretary at the Foreign Ministry, as head of a special mission for Slovenia's non-permanent membership in the UN Security Council. The special mission will be operational during Slovenia's membership in the UN Security Council and observer status, i.e. from 1 October this year until the end of 2025.

LJUBLJANA - The government included three new projects into the army's 2023-2026 plan of development programmes - the purchases of 106 APCs, a ground-based air defence system, and six multi-purpose helicopters, and expanded one project to buy a second tactical transport aircraft. The purchases should help the army to simultaneously build a medium-sized battalion battlegroup and a reconnaissance battalion.

BRUSSELS, Belgium - A discussion about Turkey's EU membership bid makes sense if the country shows a sincere interest in this, Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon said ahead of a session of the EU's Foreign Affairs Council, as she pointed to the country's strategic importance.

BRUSSELS, Belgium - After Josep Borrell, the EU's foreign policy chief, presented a proposal for a EUR 20 billion fund for military aid to Ukraine in 2024-2027 to the EU foreign ministers in Brussels, Slovenia's Tanja Fajon backed the proposal in principle.

LOGRONO, Spain - Attending an informal meeting of the Justice and Home Affairs Council, Interior Minister Boštjan Poklukar noted the importance of cooperation with third countries in migration. He welcomed the agreement with Tunisia and called on the European Commission to continue such cooperation with countries such as Morocco and Egypt.

LJUBLJANA - The government approved an additional EUR 2.5 million in humanitarian aid to meet the needs in Ukraine and the poorest countries affected by the food crisis as a fallout from the Ukraine war. The contributions will be made the international organisations.

LJUBLJANA - The National Council voted in favour of a veto on the long-term care bill, mostly taking issue with the funding plan, which also includes a contribution to be paid by employers at 1% of gross wages they pay to their employees.

LJUBLJANA - Generics producer Sandoz, part of which is Slovenian pharmaceutical company Lek, announced its plan to build a centre for development of biosimilars in Ljubljana by 2026. The investment is worth US$90 million and will create around 200 new jobs.

LJUBLJANA - The Medical Chamber rejected a recent statement by one of the sponsors of the assisted dying bill who said euthanasia was being performed in Slovenia illegally. The chamber said that it is not performed in healthcare institutions, and condemned attempts to draw media attention with scaremongering and untrue statements.

© STA, 2023