News roundup - Wednesday, 14 February, until 3pm

Ljubljana, 14 February - Below is a roundup of major events on Wednesday, 14 February, until 3pm local time:

Slovenia's economy expanded by 1.6% in 2023

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's economy expanded by 1.6% last year, driven by gross fixed capital formation and household expenditure, preliminary data released by the Statistics Office shows. This compares to 2.5% GDP growth in 2022. In the fourth quarter of 2023, the country's GDP grew by 2.2% over the same period in 2022. The Institute of Macroeconomic Analysis, the government macroeconomic forecaster, said last year's growth figure is in line with its autumn forecast. The Bank of Slovenia said data for the last quarter point to the strengthening of economic activity.

EUR 672m in incentives available for economy, tourism, sport

LJUBLJANA - A total of EUR 672.4 million in financial incentives will be available to businesses, tourism and sport this year from the Ministry of the Economy, Tourism and Sport's own funds and through collaboration with other institutions. The ministry aims to increase added value, Economy Minister Matjaž Han said. Around half of the sum or EUR 339 million will come from the ministry's own funds and the funds it manages.

Gen Energija in intense preparations for Krško 2

LJUBLJANA - Gen Energija, the state-owned power utility that will invest in the expansion of the Krško nuclear power station, is hard at work getting the necessary permits and studies for the planned second unit. It is also in talks with potential providers of the core technology, company officials said on Wednesday. Director General Dejan Paravan said the focus was currently on siting, which includes a study on the radiological impact of Krško 2 and preparations for an environmental report.

All but three SDS deputies sign loyalty statement

LJUBLJANA - Three of the 27 deputies of the opposition Democrats (SDS) have not signed a statement that the party's executive committee asked them to sign pledging that they will remain members of the party and deputies until the end of this term, among them Anže Logar, who founded a platform that many speculate will eventually evolve into a party. Logar is among the trio along with Eva Irgl, a co-founder of the platform, and Dejan Kaloh, a high-profile MP from Maribor, shows a notice circulated by the party.

Petition urges return of day of remembrance for victims of communism

BRUSSELS, Belgium - A petition by a Slovenian historian that urges the Slovenian authorities to bring back the National Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Communist Violence, which was declared by the right-wing government of Janez Janša in May 2022 and abolished a year later by the Robert Golob government, was debated by the European Parliament's Petitions Committee. The committee will forward the petition to the European Commission and the Slovenian government.

Committee okays commodity reserves bill

LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Economy Committee endorsed a government-sponsored bill that would introduce a division between conventional commodity reserves and security reserves, the possibility to help other countries in the event of crisis, and the possibility of supplying soon-to-be-expired stock items to hospitals free of charge. The proposal enjoys the coalition's support, while the opposition is against it.

A quarter of savings bank for sale

LJUBLJANA - Hranilnica Lon, a small savings bank, is about to undergo ownership changes as a stake of just under 25% currently held by a bankrupt Switzerland-based company backed by Chinese investors is up for sale. The current owner of the stake, Kylin Prime Group, had been unsuccessfully trying to increase its stake beyond 25% for years, but its efforts have been thwarted by regulatory decisions. The central bank has identified several violations at Hranilnica Lon in recent years, having to do with credit risk and corporate governance.

Slovenia saw biggest drop in industrial production in EU last December

LUXEMBOURG, Luxembourg - Slovenia recorded a 10.2% year-on-year drop in industrial production in December and a 7.4% decline on a monthly basis in what are the biggest decreases at EU level, Eurostat reported. Industrial production in both the euro area and the EU as a whole increased in December by 2.6% month-on-month. Both figures went up 1.2% year-on-year.

Equality advocate: Minority languages must be recognised as official on IDs

LJUBLJANA - The equality advocate recommended that Italian and Hungarian be recognised as official languages on Slovenian identity cards, after an appeal from the two MPs representing the Italian and Hungarian minorities. Currently, they are listed as foreign languages, even though they are official languages in areas where the two minorities live.

MPs draw attention to Roma issues

LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Commission for Petitions, Human Rights and Equal Opportunities heard on Tuesday that Roma-related issues are becoming increasingly serious and that the government has not yet drawn up legislative changes to improve the situation. Participants stressed the importance of concerted action in efforts to tackle these issues. The commission decided to call on the government to prepare a detailed report of the task force's work so far and inform the commission of its activities planned for 2024 within three months.

Slovenia's birth rate hits historic low

LJUBLJANA - The number of newborn children in Slovenia dropped to 16,800 last year, which is 5% fewer than the year before and the lowest number since this data started to be recorded in 1922, preliminary data from the national Statistics Office (SURS) shows. The most important reason for the drop in births in recent years is a decline in the number of women of childbearing age, that is between 15 and 49 years old. Their number fell by 18% in between 2000 and 2022, SURS official Martin Bajželj said.

Ciglič's joyful 20th century photos on show at Ljubljana Castle

LJUBLJANA - An exhibition of photographs portraying the joys of everyday life in the 20th century Slovenia will be put on display at a gallery in Ljubljana Castle as the first in a series of events marking the centenary of the birth of Marjan Ciglič (1924-1998), a prominent Slovenian photographer and photojournalist. An exceptional portraitist, Ciglič has received several awards for his work.

© STA, 2024