News roundup - Thursday, 1 February

Ljubljana, 1 February - Below is a roundup of major events on Thursday, 1 February:

No decision as yet about Švarc Pipan

BRUSSELS, Belgium/LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Robert Golob refrained from heeding a call by the Social Democrats to sack Justice Minister Dominika Švarc Pipan. He said he had asked the SD and Švarc Pipan for additional explanations and would make a decision once he has heard both sides. This was despite a warning by SD president Tanja Fajon that the coalition could have serious problems unless Švarc Pipan is dismissed as requested by the party. Fajon however refused to answer when asked on a late-night TV show yesterday whether the SD would leave the coalition.

Slovenia pleased with Ukraine aid deal

BRUSSELS, Belgium - Prime Minister Robert Golob said Slovenia was pleased with the EUR 50 billion Ukraine aid deal that EU leaders reached. "It's important that the budget has been confirmed," he said. Golob welcomed the provision that a debate on the implementation of the aid instrument would be conducted every year, while refusing to comment on what, if anything, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban received in exchange for finally backing the deal.

Coalition wants ministry to look into doctors' work for private providers

LJUBLJANA - Coalition MPs urged the Health Ministry to review whether there was still valid legal ground that allowed doctors employed in public healthcare to work for private providers in their spare time. This comes after reports that doctors on strike referred their patients to private practices they work for, while they have also decided to start revoking their consents to work overtime.

Golob: Slovenia for balance between environmental standards, agricultural reality

BRUSSELS, Belgium - Slovenia is making efforts to balance stricter environmental standards with the reality in agriculture, PM Robert Golob said in response to demands by Slovenian and other EU farmers amid protests as he arrived for the EU summit. He expressed support for Wednesday's proposal by the European Commission under which farmers would be exempt from having to leave some land uncultivated in 2024 while they would still receive financial support as part of the Common Agricultural Policy.

Defence Ministry presents three new strategic documents

LJUBLJANA - The Defence Ministry presented three new strategic documents - a new defence strategy, and two accompanying documents on military and civil defence. It said Slovenia needs a new defence system strategy and an upgrade of its defence strategy in the face of the war in Ukraine, which has reshaped the European security strategy and raised awareness of the importance of NATO. All three documents will be in public debate until 4 March.

Journalist representatives critical of new media bill

LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Journalist Association (DNS) and the Trade Union of Journalists voiced criticism of the new media bill, saying that it did not provide a basis for sufficient media funding. The DNS said the bill failed to create the conditions for people to receive comprehensive information and for media diversity. The union was also critical of the proposed way of media financing.

Subscription of domestic retail bonds starts

LJUBLJANA - Subscription started of a EUR 250 million, three-year bond reserved for domestic retail investors. Individuals can buy the bonds at 249 subscription points across the country. Individuals aged at least 18 with a permanent or temporary residence in Slovenia are eligible. They will need a trading account to be able to invest between a minimum of EUR 1,000 and a maximum of EUR 100,000. The subscription period will end on 16 February at noon.

Bill raising pensions voted down

LJUBLJANA - A bill envisaging a 5-20% pension rise put forward by the Voice of Pensioners, a new party led by former Democrats (SDS) MP Pavel Rupar, was voted down in parliament. The government rejected the bill saying it would raise state costs by EUR 870 million a year, which means the contributions paid by employers and employees would need to be increased significantly.

Long-serving director of marble company wins lifetime achievement award

LJUBLJANA - Branko Franc Selak, long-serving director of marble production company Marmor Hotavlje, was honoured with the lifetime achievement award, as the Manager Association conferred its annual awards on Wednesday. The 2023 Young Manager is CEO of Corwin Slovenija Michal Maco, while the Artemida award for women managers went to Vita Godec, director of Lenis Farmacevtika, and Eva McLellan, director general of the Slovenian subsidiary of Swiss giant Roche.

Renovation starts of Nova Gorica train station, Europe Square

NOVA GORICA - The renovation of the railway station in Nova Gorica and nearby Europe Square, which will be the main venues during Nova Gorica's stint as the European Capital of Culture in 2025, officially started. The works at the station should be completed in a year and the whole project is estimated at EUR 61.65 million.

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