News roundup - Friday, 29 September

Ljubljana, 29 September - Below is a roundup of major events on Friday, 29 September:

Slovenia's annual inflation accelerates to 7.5% in September

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's annual inflation rate surged to 7.5% in September, 1.3 percentage points higher than the month before. Data from the Statistics Office shows inflation continues to be driven by higher prices of food and non-alcoholic drinks, which rose by 9.2% contributing 1.6 points to inflation. Adding 0.9 points, electricity was 26.5% costlier since the measure reducing network fees expired. A 7.8% increase in prices in the recreation and culture group contributed 0.8 points.

EUR 265m in EU recovery funds available to Slovenia to reduce flood risks

BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Commission gave a positive assessment to the changes to Slovenia's national recovery and resilience plan, in line with which the country will have EUR 265 million available to reduce flood risks and risks from other climate-related disasters. EUR 45 million will be available in grants and EUR 220 million in loans. The decision comes after Slovenia asked Brussels for additional loans from the Recovery and Resilience Facility following August floods.

PM Golob urges unity and solidarity in addressing common challenges at EU Med summit

VALLETTA, Malta - Unity and solidarity are needed to address migrations, as no country can deal with this issue on its own, PM Robert Golob said at a joint press conference at the 10th summit of leaders of Mediterranean EU countries (EU Med) in Malta, which focussed on illegal migration and climate change, two challenges that both the Mediterranean and EU face. Golob said he fully agreed with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, namely that this is a challenge that we shall not fail to address, because it is so crucial. Golob also said that more funds should be allocated at EU level to address illegal migrations, calling for an action plan that "we will back with money".

Golob indicates higher taxation of property being considered

PORTOROŽ - Prime Minister Robert Golob indicated higher taxation of property is under consideration, telling a congress of the Manager Association on Thursday that there is inequality when it comes to property taxes. Slovenia is egalitarian when it comes to the taxation of income, which is high compared to other European countries. "Perhaps this is true of income that we are dragging overperformers towards the average, but this is definitely not true of property," he said. Golob said property "is untaxed" and business leaders "often forget about this detail".

Coalition reserved about minister's costly trip, NGO funding

LJUBLJANA - Coalition partners were reserved in their comments of a costly trip to New York of Public Administration Minister Sanja Ajanović Hovnik and the ministry's allegedly controversial granting of funds to an NGO led by the minister's former business partner. Her party, the ruling Freedom Movement, says the minister enjoys the party's full trust. The Left said it expected the inquiries into the two cases to bring results shortly, while the Social Democrats (SD) head Tanja Fajon said that the minister had provided an explanation for her travel costs.

Commission opts against three-year probation period for new judges

LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Constitutional Commission took its stance on a constitutional bill to change the appointment of judges and the Judicial Council, while it decided against introducing a three-year trial period before judges are appointed for life. It proposes for the bill to be put on the agenda in October's plenary. In what is the greatest change planned, judges would no longer be appointed by parliament, but by the president of Slovenia, to depoliticise the procedure.

Debate in parliament hears concerns about qualified majority voting in EU

LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Foreign Policy Committee hosted a public presentation of opinions on changes to qualified majority voting in the EU's foreign and security policy. The event heard reservations about such a move. It is not only a question of the power of voices of small countries, but also of the bloc's unity, participants warned. Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon believes the veto option should be preserved in some cases, but above all she called for a more effective EU, which she believes also means expanding the use of qualified majority voting.

Poklukar discusses migrations with Bosnian minister

LJUBLJANA - Interior Minister Boštjan Poklukar discussed migrations and takeaways of Thursday's meeting of EU interior ministers with Bosnian Security Minister Nenad Nešić as the pair spoke on the phone. Poklukar presented the joint initiative that Slovenia and Croatia addressed to EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson calling on the EU Commission to campaign quickly and actively for a status agreement between Frontex and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Effective management of migrations is a shared task of all countries in the region, said Poklukar.

SOVA and police told to monitor illegal migration

LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Commission for the Oversight of Intelligence and Security Services has instructed the police and the intelligence and security agency SOVA to closely monitor the situation regarding illegal migrations and the asylum centre in the Ljubljana borough of Vič, commission chair Janez Žakelj said after yesterday's commission session. They have to report regularly to the commission.

Companies to receive EUR 25.8m in subsidies for emission costs

LJUBLJANA - The Ministry of Environment, Climate and Energy has allocated EUR 25.76 million to companies for the indirect costs of emissions they had in 2022 due to higher electricity prices resulting from the impact of carbon prices on the cost of electricity production. A total of 16 companies are eligible for the subsidies. The money is paid from the Climate Change Fund to companies from certain manufacturing sectors that are exposed to the risks of transfer of carbon dioxide emission to third countries.

General government debt at 3.7% of GDP in Q2, deficit at 70.5% of GDP

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's general government deficit accelerated slightly to 3.7% of GDP in the second quarter of this year even though revenue rose at a faster pace than expenditure. Total revenue rose for the tenth consecutive quarter, increasing by 8.4% to EUR 6.9 billion. Expenditure rose at a slower rate, 8.1%, to hit EUR 7.5 billion. General government debt rose by a percentage point to 70.5%, the latest statistics show.

Little impact of GDP revision on this year's data

LJUBLJANA - The sharp revision of GDP growth figures for 2022 has not had a major impact on figures for this year, the Statistics Office said. There is no change in the annual comparison, where the seasonally adjusted growth estimates for the first and second quarter remain at 0.8% and 1.5%, respectively. Seasonally adjusted quarter-on-quarter growth has however been revised, from 0.8% to 0.2% for the first quarter, and from 1.3% to 1.1% for the second quarter.

No operator found for Maribor Airport

MARIBOR - The Infrastructure Ministry has not found a contractor that would take over management of Maribor Airport. It received one bid, only one joint offer by flight school SIDrone and locksmith Ključavničarstvo Kunc, which met all the tender requirements. However, he ministry found that SIDrone was unable to provide a positive financial plan so the contract was not concluded. The state-owned consulting and management company DRI will continue to manage the airport until the end of 2024.

Survey unemployment stagnates in August, down y/y

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's survey unemployment rate remained at 3.5% in August, the same as the month before. Year-on-year, it dropped by 0.4 percentage points, data from the Statistics Office shows. The office estimates some 36,000 persons aged 15 to 74 were out of a job in August, 56% of which were men and 44% women.

Minister advocates strong and resilient cohesion policy

MURCIA, Spain - Participating in a two-day informal meeting of EU ministers Minister of Cohesion and Regional Development Aleksander Jevšek called for efforts for a strong, resilient and flexible cohesion policy that he believes should be the EU's main long-term investment policy, his ministry said. He also thanked EU member states for their help and expressions of solidarity in the aftermath of devastating floods that hit Slovenia in early August.

Moby Dick wins best literary translation award

LJUBLJANA - This year's Sovre Prize for the best literary translation was awarded to Jernej Županič for his translation of Moby-Dick; or, The Whale by Herman Melville. Županič created a "coherent, confident and colourful translation with strong authentic presence," the judging panel said. He preserved "the natural epic stroke and managed to complete very complex sentences without compromising the comprehensibility of the message" and showed a great measure of ingenuity in translating many fields lacking Slovenian terminology, such as 19th century seamanship, whaling and indigenous cultures. What is more, he created a convincing sailors' slang, the panel said.

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