News roundup - Friday, 8 March

Ljubljana, 8 March - Below is a roundup of major events on Friday, 8 March:

Golob in favour of Rutte candidacy for NATO secretary general

LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Robert Golob is in favour of the possible candidacy of Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte as the new NATO secretary general, his office told the STA, while noting that talks on the new secretary general were still ongoing and that the decision needed to be unanimous. Golob also congratulated Sweden on its accession to NATO.

Slovenia's foreign policy neither pro-Palestinian nor pro-Israeli, Fajon says on Intl Women's Day

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's message on International Women's Day is that it wants peace and a political solution to the war in Gaza, FM Tanja Fajon said before the Women in Pursuit of Peace in the Middle East discussion. Slovenia's foreign policy is neither pro-Palestinian nor pro-Israeli but proactive in the search for peace, she stressed. "We condemn all forms of terror and violence, we strive for peace," she stressed, vowing this policy will continue.

Head of PM's office steps down

LJUBLJANA - The head of the office of Prime Minister Robert Golob, Petra Škofic, is stepping down, the office told the STA. She will be replaced by Luka Špoljar, the secretary of the Freedom Movement deputy group in parliament. Škofic has been a close associate of Golob since the Freedom Movement was founded two years ago and was actively involved in the 2022 election campaign. This is the latest in a series of staffing changes in the prime minister's closest circle.

Beti Hohler sworn in as International Criminal Court judge

LJUBLJANA - Six new judges were sworn in at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague for a nine-year term, including 42-year-old Beti Hohler, who became the youngest judge in the history of the ICC and the first Slovenian to take up this post. She was elected by parties to the Rome Statute in the eighth round of voting in New York on 7 December 2023, getting 82 out of the possible 123 votes.

SDS stripping "disloyal" trio of membership in parliamentary bodies

LJUBLJANA - The opposition Democrats (SDS) have decided to strip the three deputies who failed to sign the party's loyalty statement in February of their membership in parliamentary committees. The trio includes former FM and presidential election runner-up Anže Logar, who founded in mid-2023 a platform that many speculate will eventually evolve into a party, Eva Irgl, a co-founder of the Logar-led platform, and Dejan Kaloh, a high-profile MP from Maribor.

Some hospitals struggling, others coping well in face of strike

LJUBLJANA - The effects of the doctors' strike are becoming increasingly pronounced, especially as many doctors decided to stop working overtime beyond 8 hours a week as of March. While some hospitals and community health centres are coping well, others are struggling, and most managers fear the situation will deteriorate if the strike gets prolonged. The share of doctors who decided for this step varies depending on an individual hospital and community health centre, but nearly all have had to make some sort of changes to work scheduling and health care services they provide.

Changes to the Investment Promotion Act endorsed by committee

LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Economy Committee unanimously endorsed changes to the Investment Promotion Act under which an incentive could be awarded also to a foreign company registered at the latest at the time when the incentive is being paid. Members of the committee expect this will boost GDP growth. Under the existing act, incentives for foreign investments cannot be awarded for certain activities, such as energy production and distribution.

Slovenia striving to improve safety at sea, minister says

PORTOROŽ - Slovenia has been striving to improve safety at sea within international organisations, as maritime routes are crucial in the global supply of energy, food, medicines and other key goods, Infrastructure Minister Alenka Bratušek said at an event marking Maritime Day on Thursday. She said investments in the Koper port would continue.

Slovenia and Croatia to head anti-migrant smuggling task force

ZAGREB, Croatia - An operative task force aimed to make the fight against smuggling of migrants on the Balkan route more efficient, which will be launched next week, was presented to the press by Croatian and Slovenian police officials. Zebra will be jointly led by the two countries and based in Croatia, operating under the auspices of Europol. A key part of its activities will be sharing intelligence and information from criminal investigations.

President notes role of feminism and fight for women's rights

LJUBLJANA - Advocating for women's rights and dignity remains important despite the efforts of feminist movements and the progress towards a more just society, said President Nataša Pirc Musar at the reception at the Presidential Palace on International Women's Day. "Let the idea of 8 March accompany us day after day," she said. Movements against feminism and gender equality policies are on the rise, said Pirc Musar, adding that this is also true in Slovenia, where traditional gender roles and expectations are still or once again affecting the division of family responsibilities.

Despite formal equality, women's fight not over, officials say

LJUBLJANA - While women in Slovenia have formally achieved equality, they are still in an unequal position in many walks of life. This requires that the fight for women's rights continues, senior officials said on International Women's Day. The ZZZS, Slovenia's largest association of trade unions, meanwhile urged the authorities to immediately ratify the International Labour Organisation's Violence and Harassment Convention given the persistence of workplace bullying, where the majority of victims are women.

Forum discusses Slovenian-French cooperation in aerospace industry

KRANJSKA GORA - A Slovenian-French business forum discussed possibilities for boosting cooperation between Slovenia and France in advanced technologies, including aerospace industry, and business opportunities related to the upcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris. "Cooperation between Slovenian and French companies in space technologies is all the more important as Slovenia hopes to be accepted as a full member of the European Space Agency this year," Economy Ministry State Secretary Matevž Frangež said at the event.

EU accession anniversary event praises cooperation of courts

BRDO PRI KRANJU - The Supreme Court hosted an event marking the 20th anniversary of Slovenia's EU accession, where the speakers noted the good cooperation between national and European courts when it comes to the protection of European law and shared values. Supreme Court President Miodrag Đorđević said the importance of the cooperation of courts showed in the questions on EU law the national courts submitted to the Court of Justice for preliminary ruling. The event was attended by EU Court of Justice President Koen Lenaerts, who noted the importance of national courts and their independence.

Protest demands mechanisms to lighten reproductive work load

LJUBLJANA - A rally highlighted the often overlooked and unpaid labour provided by women, with participants demanding welfare state mechanisms to alleviate the load. Titled If Our Labour is Worthless, We Protest, the feminist protest was staged as part of the Red Dawns festival to mark International Women's Day. Not only do women do housework and raise children, they also take care of their brothers, partners, parents and great parents. "They say it's love, we say it's unpaid labour," said the working committee on feminism of the Iskra Society, which organised the rally.

Psychiatric clinic head singled out for most sexist statement of 2023

LJUBLJANA - Director of the Ljubljana Psychiatric Clinic Bojan Zalar is the recipient of the Silver Thistle award for the most sexist statement of 2023 after he implied at a press conference in June that most sex abuse allegations were fake. The award was declared at Thursday's closing event of the Red Dawns feminist and queer festival. Zalar pities perpetrators of sexual abuse as victims of the system while condemning victims of violence as perpetrators of systemic violence against men, said the Red Dawns collective and the editorial board of the web portal.

Works by award-winning painter Jeraj on display

LJUBLJANA - The International Centre of Graphic Arts (MGLC) is opening an exhibition of works by Zmago Jeraj (1937-2015), a key figure in the 20th century visual arts in Slovenia. The exhibition will run until 16 June. Paintings, drawings and graphics that Jeraj created in the late 1960s and 1970s will be on display. In 2009 he was awarded the Prešeren Prize for Lifetime Achievement.

© STA, 2024