Weekly review of events involving Slovenia, 29 September - 5 October

Ljubljana, 6 October - Below is a weekly review of events involving Slovenia from 29 September to 5 October.

FRIDAY, 29 September

VALLETTA, Malta - Unity and solidarity are needed to address migrations because no country can deal with this issue on its own, PM Robert Golob said at the 10th summit of leaders of Mediterranean EU countries (EU Med). Golob said he fully agreed with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni that this is a challenge which must be addressed.

LJUBLJANA - Public Administration Minister Sanja Ajanović Hovnik said she did not intend to step down. "I have done nothing illegal, I am transparent about my work," she told TV Slovenija about accusations related to an expensive trip to New York and a ministry open call for NGOs.

LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Constitutional Commission endorsed a draft constitutional law 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. The Judicial Association said it was opposed to changes regarding the composition of the Judicial Council.

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.

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's annual inflation rate surged to 7.5% in September, 1.3 percentage points higher than the month before. The Statistics Office said inflation continues to be driven by higher prices of food and non-alcoholic drinks.

MARIBOR - The Infrastructure Ministry said it had not found a contractor that would take over management of Maribor Airport. It received one bid, but it did not meet all the tender requirements. The state-owned consulting and management company DRI will continue to manage the airport for the time being.

SATURDAY, 30 September

LJUBLJANA - Primož Roglič confirmed rumours that he is leaving Team Jumbo Visma but he does not plan to reveal his new team until the end of the final race of the season. "I can only confirm that I am leaving my current team. I'll try to reveal all other details after the end of the season, after my final race," he said.

BOLOGNA, Italy - Primož Roglič won the Giro d'Emilia, a one-day classic in Bologna, ahead of his Slovenian compatriot Tadej Pogačar, for what is the 80th win of his career.

SUNDAY, 1 October

NEW YORK, US - Slovenia formally became an observer in the UN Security Council after it was elected a non-permanent member for the 2024-2025 period in June. Slovenian diplomats will be able to attend sessions of the most important UN body as part of preparations for the country's non-permanent membership that will start on 1 January 2024.

TEHARJE - An estimated 5,000 victims of war and post-war summary executions were commemorated at an annual memorial mass in Teharje near Celje. Maribor Archbishop Marjan Turnšek described Teharje as "a place unfortunately named" that should become a place of "mild memory" in what is a long process.

MONDAY, 2 October

KYIV, Ukraine - Slovenian Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon attended a session of EU foreign ministers in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv. She said that the first ever meeting of EU foreign ministers outside the bloc sent a strong political message to Ukraine, adding that Slovenia would work for a just and lasting peace in Ukraine as a member of the UN Security Council in 2024.

LJUBLJANA - State Prosecutor General Drago Šketa stepped down two days after he was pulled over by police and fined for drunk driving. "I believe my actions could harm the reputation of the office of state prosecution and of state prosecutors," Šketa said about the reasons for his resignation, apologizing for his conduct.

KRŠKO - The Slovenian-Croatian commission overseeing the intergovernmental agreement on the Krško Nuclear Plant tasked the relevant authorities in both countries to build repositories for low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste no later than in early 2028. A repository in Slovenia is under construction but will be finished later than originally planned.

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia signed special cooperation agreements with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) in an effort to further the effectiveness of humanitarian and development assistance provided by the country. Both documents were signed on the sidelines of the 11th Slovenian Development Days in Ljubljana.

LJUBLJANA - Marking the International Day of Older Persons, Labour Minister Luka Mesec announced a full indexation of pensions next year. Pensioners can thus expect an 8.2% rise under the regular annual indexation in January.

LJUBNO OB SAVINJI - KLS Ljubno, a major automotive industry supplier, relaunched production almost two months after suffering heavy flood damage. Production is currently at 5% capacity, director Bogomir Strašek said.

TUESDAY, 3 October

LJUBLJANA - Valentina Prevolnik Rupel, a state secretary at the Health Ministry and member of the strategic council for health at the prime minister's office, was put forward as candidate for health minister. She is to replace Danijel Bešič Loredan, who was asked by the prime minister to step down in early July.

LJUBLJANA - Janez Janša, the leader of the Democrats (SDS), announced that his party would file a motion to oust Public Administration Minister Sanja Ajanović Hovnik, who has been embroiled in a scandal following reports of a costly trip to New York and alleged irregularities in the disbursement of public funds to NGOs in which her former business partner was awarded EUR 300,000.

LJUBLJANA - Two months after issuing pension reform guidelines that did not include a higher retirement age, the Labour Ministry appears to have changed tack. The negotiations "will discuss a two-year increase in retirement age," Igor Feketija, the ministry's state secretary, told a conference on pension reform.

TBILISI, Georgia - National Assembly President Urška Klakočar Zupančič paid an official visit to Georgia, where she was received by her Georgian counterpart Shalva Papuashvili. They lauded the good relations between the countries, assessing that there are many opportunities to strengthen bilateral cooperation, especially in business.

LJUBLJANA - The latest analysis by the Environment Directorate showed that some 25,000 m3 of silt deposited during the August floods in the Koroška region is hazardous waste due to elevated concentrations of lead. Talks are being held with battery producer Tab Mežica, the owner of a special landfill site where the silt could be deposited.

WEDNESDAY, 4 October

LJUBLJANA - A cabinet reshuffle was set into motion as Prime Minister Robert Golob asked parliament to dismiss Agriculture Minister Irena Šinko, who refused to step down on her own, and formally notified it of the resignation of Natural Resources Minister Uroš Brežan. Their jobs will be temporarily performed by Defence Minister Marjan Šarec and Infrastructure Minister Alenka Bratušek, respectively.

LJUBLJANA - The government's total estimate of direct damage from the August flooding and its impact on people, businesses and the environment stands at EUR 9.9 billion, two billion above the previous estimate. The floods affected 183 out of the country's 212 municipalities, and the extent of the affected area is estimated at 17,203 sq. kilometres, or 85% of the territory.

BUDAPEST, Hungary - Energy Minister Bojan Kumer and Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto signed a bilateral political memorandum on cooperation in gas supply, which envisages efforts to build a gas pipeline between the two countries. The two-way pipeline will have a capacity of 50,000 m3 of gas per hour, or 0.44 billion m3 per year.

LJUBLJANA - Economy Minister Matjaž Han wrapped up a two-day visit to Vienna where he met with Austrian Vice-Chancellor Werner Kogler and Labour and Economy Minister Martin Kocher to discuss possibilities to strengthen economic cooperation including in logistics in transport.

LJUBLJANA - Public sector trade unions trashed a provision in a pending budgetary bill for 2024 that they say would prevent an adjustment of basic wages next year. Coming as pay system reform negotiations are continuing, the provision is seen by the unions as encroaching on their rights and as an attempt at disciplining them.

LJUBLJANA - President Nataša Pirc Musar terminated cooperation with a member of her youth advisory committee, Sara Štiglic, after she participated in an intervention against an anti-abortion campaign in Ljubljana. While distancing herself from the campaign, the president condemned what she labelled an inappropriate way to engage with those holding different views. Two more members of the advisory committee subsequently resigned in protest at the president's action.

LJUBLJANA - The bill on the digitalisation of healthcare was rejected by the Health Committee in second reading. The draft written by the Health Ministry, which has announced a new proposal that would address several remarks, was denied support by the coalition MPs.

THURSDAY, 5 October

GRANADA, Spain - Prime Minister Robert Golob called for caution in sanctions against Serbia after a recent attack in Kosovo as he arrived at the meeting of the European Political Community. Golob believes that sanctions would not necessarily lead to a long-term solution but Slovenia would join in if the EU had a united position.

BRUSSELS, Belgium - European Environment Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius expressed doubt ahead of a visit to Slovenia about the workability of the government's relegation of binding Natura 2000 protective measures to voluntary in some areas following protests by farmers earlier this year. He, however, indicated the Commission would only sit on the fence for now.

LJUBLJANA - The management board of public broadcaster RTV Slovenija picked the directors of radio, TV and digital content. Ksenija Horvat has been picked for the post of TV director, Mirko Štular for the radio segment, and Kaja Jakopič for digital content. All three picks have been with the public broadcaster in various roles for several decades.

LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary inquiry into financing of political parties decided to report Lendava Mayor Janez Magyar, a former MP, to the Commission for Prevention of Corruption over suspected corruption in four cases, including the construction of a multi-purpose sports hall in Lendava municipality.

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's merchandise exports in August amounted to EUR 3.66 billion, which is 11.4% less than in the same month last year, while imports remained flat at EUR 4.76 billion. The coverage of imports with exports was 77%, with the deficit in foreign trade amounting to EUR 1.1 billion, the Statistics Office reported.

© STA, 2023