News roundup - Wednesday, 31 January, until 3pm

Ljubljana, 31 January - Below is a roundup of major events on Wednesday, 31 January, until 3pm local time:

Justice minister refuses to resign over court building purchase

LJUBLJANA - Justice Minister Dominika Švarc Pipan said that, while she takes responsibility for the purchase of an allegedly overpriced building for court premises in Ljubljana, she will not resign. She accused ministry employees and members of her party, the Social Democrats (SD), of colluding to make unlawful gains. The SD disavowed her and said Prime Minister Robert Golob will propose that she be dismissed. The minister reportedly met yesterday with PM Robert Golob, who said he would wait for her decision. She said she will respect Golob's final decision.

NSi wants referendum on reform energy bill

LJUBLJANA - New Slovenia (NSi) has requested a consultative referendum on the reform energy bill that is currently being discussed by parliament. The opposition party said the legislation would have such an impact on people's lives the voters should be given a say. The move means that the debate on the energy bill, which is currently in first reading, will be suspended until MPs have voted on the NSi referendum motion. This cannot happen earlier than 30 days after it the referendum motion has been tabled.

General government deficit widens to 3.6% of GDP in 2023

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's general government deficit widened to 3.6% of GDP in 2023 from 2.8% in the year before driven by higher outlays for energy subsidies and post-flood reconstruction, show preliminary figures released by the Finance Ministry. Consolidated revenue of all four segments of the general government - national budget, local budgets, public pension insurance and public health insurance - rose by 7.4% to EUR 25 billion. Expenditure meanwhile rose by 9.7% to EUR 27.3 billion, with almost the entire deficit of EUR 2.3 billion being the result of the budget deficit.

Justice Ministry not surprised by Slovenia's CPI drop

LJUBLJANA - Responding to Slovenia dropping a spot on the latest Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), the Justice Ministry noted that the situation in and independence of the judiciary and prosecution service affect the prosecution of corruption, and considering the low pay in these branches, the drop is not unexpected. The ministry also said this was a perception index and not an objective estimate, adding that the CPI showed a global trend of independent justice systems weakening. It said it would continue its efforts to address the issue of pay of judges and prosecutor, who are currently holding protests.

Survey unemployment rate remains at 4.2% in December

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's survey unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.2% at monthly level in December 2023, while going up by 0.7 points year-on-year, shows data released by the Statistics Office. The office estimates some 44,000 people aged 15 to 74 were out of a job in December, 54% of whom were men and 46% women. The unemployment rate stood at 4.2% for both men and women.

Tourism fair opens doors in Ljubljana

LJUBLJANA - The traditional Alpe-Adria tourism fair was launched in Ljubljana, with Economy Minister Matjaž Han praising in his address the efforts of people working in the sector. To boost development, all players need to work together, while the government must provide a favourable business environment and investment funds, said Han. Running until Saturday, the fair features over 350 tourist providers from 13 countries: in addition to Slovenia, there are exhibitors from Austria, Croatia, Italy, Hungary, Germany, France, Sweden, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, Nepal and Thailand.

© STA, 2024