Weekly review of events involving Slovenia, 12-18 January

Ljubljana, 19 January - Below is a weekly review of events involving Slovenia from 12 to 18 January:

FRIDAY, 12 January

LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly appointed Mateja Čalušić as agriculture minister, with MPs agreeing the new minister faced many challenges. Farmers are largely reserved about Čalušić, a 36-year-old member of the ruling Freedom Movement who entered politics in May 2022, for her lack of political and professional experience.

LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon said that Slovenia supports an extension of the UN peacekeeping mission in Cyprus and intends to contribute up to 15 troops, as she hosted her Cypriot counterpart Konstantinos Kombos on official visit.

LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon warned against escalation of the situation in the Middle East a day after the US and UK militaries launched strikes against multiple targets in the Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen.

NEW YOR, US - Slovenia's special representative on the UN Security Council Samuel Žbogar expressed Slovenia's support for the work of a UN mission to verify the peace agreement between the Colombian government and the rebels, signed seven years ago, as the council discussed the situation in the Latin Amaerican country.

LJUBLJANA - The Defence Ministry announced that German manufacturer Diehl Defence will deliver Slovenia one IRIS-T surface-to-air missile system, as the country's decision to pick it as a medium-range air defence system supplier became final. The price tag is nearly EUR 147 million.

SATURDAY, 13 January

LJUBLJANA - President Nataša Pirc Musar said that PM Robert Golob should resign if the anti-graft commission detects integrity breaches in its investigation into whether he exerted pressure on a former interior minister. Reacting, Golob's Freedom Movement accused her of political meddling in an ongoing legal procedure.

MONDAY, 15 January

LJUBLJANA - As several rounds of talks with the government brought no progress, doctors and dentists at public health providers started a strike until an agreement is reached on the trade union Fides's demand that the government honour its promise to create a separate pay pillar for healthcare that will define working conditions, work standards, promotions, and suitable pay.

LJUBLJANA - Highly sensitive data that people provided when calling 112 for medical assistance were withdrawn from the dark web after being put on sake there. The Government Information Security Office is investigating the case, but since no hacking was reported, it is beleived the data was stolen internally, presumably by a staff member.

BERLIN, Germany - President Nataša Pirc Musar and her German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier focused on economic cooperation as they met in Berlin, while also discussing the Middle East. Pirc Musar said that the "situation in Gaza demands an immediate end to the crimes and killing of civilians".

LJUBLJANA - ZSSS, Slovenia's largest association of trade unions, said it expected the statutory minimum wage to increase as of 2024 by 7.5% after it rose by as much as 12% last year.

LJUBLJANA - Ascent Slovenija, a subsidiary of the UK's Ascent Resources, prevented insolvency proceedings for its Slovenian joint venture partner Geoenergo as it continues to defend its investment in gas extraction by means of controversial fracking in Slovenia amid a dispute with the state, UK media reported.

TUESDAY, 16 January

BUZET, Croatia - The Slovenian, Croatian and Italian interior ministers, Boštjan Poklukar, Davor Božinović and Matteo Piantedosi, assessed that their countries successfully cooperate in responding to the migration challenge. The mixed patrols they announced earlier are currently being finalised.

LJUBLJANA - The Commission for the Prevention of Corruption found no ethics breaches in an interview PM Robert Golob had given for Gallup regarding a talent test offered by the company, but it did detect potential corruption risk and issued recommendations to avoid them.

LJUBLJANA - The Public Administration Ministry said it had annulled a EUR 10.6 million open call for NGO funding that was one of the reasons for Minister Sanja Ajanović Hovnik's resignation last year. The first call of its kind was published last spring to support projects about active citizenship and democratic processes.

LJUBLJANA - A group of students at the Ljubljana Faculty of Social Sciences called on their school to take a public stance on the situation in the Gaza Strip, to join initiatives for Slovenia to suspend diplomatic ties with Israel and for Slovenia to support South Africa's genocide case against Israel at the ICJ.

WEDNESDAY, 17 January

DAVOS, Switzerland - Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon stressed at the World Economic Forum the urgency of ending the war in Gaza and protecting its civilians, while calling for the delivery of humanitarian aid to the enclave and for an agreement on a peace plan for a two-state solution.

LJUBLJANA - The opposition Democrats (SDS) announced a motion of no confidence in Justice Minister Dominika Švarc Pipan over her responsibility for the alleged irregularities in the purchase of a building for several courts in Ljubljana. Both ruling coalition partners of Švarc Pipan's SocDems expect explanations.

LJUBLJANA - Government and business representatives agreed at a meeting with PM Robert Golob to establish two working groups to change tax legislation and cut red tape, in what they also expect could revive social dialogue on the Economic and Social Council, which employers left, feeling ignored.

LJUBLJANA - PM Robert Golob and President Nataša Pirc Musar met to exchange views on topical international and political developments, the prime minister's office said. The pair, who have had different views on certain issues in the past, met as part of what they announced would be their regular meetings.

TRIESTE, Italy - Visiting Trieste, an Italian city with a vibrant Slovenian community, Culture Minister Asta Vrečko said minorities were a constitutive part of the Slovenian cultural sphere. There are no borders in culture and arts, she said as she visited the Slovenian Consulate General and the minority's theatre in Trieste.

THURSDAY, 18 January

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia called for dialogue before the European Parliament voted on a resolution which calls for further action against Hungary over its violations of the rule of law. PM Robert Golob's said escalation was a bad scenario for both the EU and Hungary. Five of Slovenia's eight MEPs voted for the resolution. Of the remaining three MEPs - all of them members of the EPP, two voted against and one abstained.

LJUBLJANA - The Association of Prosecutors announced that they will go on strike on 31 January over the government's failure to implement a Constitutional Court ruling on judges' salaries, to which theirs are pegged. Only urgent and priority matters or cases that are soon to become statute-barred will be dealt with.

LJUBLJANA - Justice Minister Dominika Švarc Pipan, who come under fire over an allegedly severely overpaid purchase of a building meant to house several courts, said that, after a first review of the documentation, the State Attorney's Office said the EUR 7.7 million purchase was not uneconomical from the point of view of price.

LJUBLJANA - The opposition Democrats (SDS) filed a proposal to call a consultative referendum on whether to construct a new reactor at the Krško Nuclear Power Plant (NEK) and smaller modular reactors. The largest opposition party believes that Krško 2 should be promptly built.

LJUBLJANA - The government decided to set up temporary facilities for processing migrants at the Obrežje border crossing with Croatia, arguing that the migration situation shows no improvement. The facilities are to be used for a maximum of three years.

© STA, 2024