News roundup - Monday, 11 March

Ljubljana, 11 March - Below is a roundup of major events on Monday, 11 March:

Slovenia and Hungary confirm good cooperation in defence

LJUBLJANA - Defence Minister Marjan Šarec, hosting his Hungarian counterpart Kristof Szalay-Bobrovniczky, said that the countries cooperated well in the military, defence, and protection and rescue affairs, and that they intended to maintain this cooperation. He thanked Hungary for aid to Slovenia after last year's floods. He also thanked his Hungarian counterpart for Hungary's contribution in protecting the Slovenian airspace. Szalay-Bobrovniczky said that "we live in dangerous times, and thus we also feel a much stronger need to strengthen cooperation," noting that Hungary would also come to Slovenia's aid in the event of future natural disasters.

Industry important for EU economy, Letta and Han agree

BRDO PRI KRANJU - Economy Minister Matjaž Han and Enrico Letta, the president of the Jacques Delors Institute, underlined the importance of preserving industry in the EU, as the former Italian prime minister visited Slovenia for a high-level report on the future of the EU's single market he has been tasked with compiling. The EU's industry policy must be revived, said Letta, who also believes that red tape must be cut and small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) more included in the market.

STA director resigns after two and a half years on the job

LJUBLJANA - Igor Kadunc tendered his resignation as director of the Slovenian Press Agency (STA) during a session of the supervisory board, citing personal reasons. Kadunc, 73, came to the agency at the end of October 2021 amid a severe financial crisis and has managed to turn the tide. His last day at work should be 13 May. "I had a privilege to lead great co-workers for a good two years and fight for them and thus for the STA. I'm convinced that the workers and the supervisors will manage to find a new director who will not only continue but also upgrade my work," Kadunc said.

Labour minister welcomes approval of EU labour platform directive

BRUSSELS, Belgium - Labour Minister Luka Mesec welcomed the approval by the EU employment and social affairs ministers of a provisional agreement between the EU Council and the European Parliament on the rights of online platform workers. Reached just over a month ago, the agreement aims to improve working conditions and regulate algorithms by labour platforms. Mesec was cited by the Labour Ministry as saying that this was one of the more important documents he has worked at the EU level.

Regulated fuel prices remain unchanged

LJUBLJANA - The government adjusted excise duties on fuels to keep the prices of petrol sold outside the motorway network unchanged for the next two weeks. Regular petrol will still cost EUR 1.491 per litre and a litre of diesel will be EUR 1.523. The price of heating oil will also stay flat at EUR 1.170 a litre. To keep the prices the same, the government lowered the excise duties for unleaded petrol from EUR 0.46051 to EUR 0.45824 per litre. It increased the excise duties for diesel from EUR 0.39267 to EUR 0.42538 per litre. The excise duty for heating oil increased from EUR 0.11577 to 0.15085 per litre.

NSi calls for super-referendum day

LJUBLJANA - The opposition New Slovenia (NSi) called for a super-referendum day after four recent calls for consultative referendums regarding the Krško 2 nuclear plant, assisted dying bill, energy bill and the bill on cultural rights of national communities from the former Yugoslavia.

Salus's revenue up, profit down by fifth to EUR 10.4m last year

LJUBLJANA - The Salus group, a wholesaler of medicaments and medical equipment, generated EUR 599.4 million in net sales revenue last year, 20.9% more year-on-year, while net profit dropped 20.6% to EUR 10.4 million. The management proposes the dividend payout remain the same as in 2023, at EUR 70 gross per share.

Nine bidders selected in call for private mobile networks

LJUBLJANA - Nine providers have been successful in a call for applications and an auction of spectrum in the 2300 Mhz and 3600 Mhz bands designed for private mobile networks. They have paid a total of EUR 1.45 million for the spectrum. The nine bidders are the companies Luka Koper, Cablex-T, Cablex-M, Cinkarna Celje, Cablex Plastik, Telekom Slovenije and T-2, and the municipalities of Ilirska Bistrica and Ajdovščina, the Agency for Telecommunication Networks and Services said.

Hrastnik glassworks going strong again

HRASTNIK - The Steklarna Hrastnik glassworks said that the slump in orders that required it to cut production at the end 2023 has ended. After the glassworks, which is part of the Vaider Group, had to partly furlough 200 workers or about a third of its workforce in December, things have turned around and the company announced a holiday allowance of EUR 2,000 already in April, new bonuses and higher base pay for production workers mostly involved in four-shift work.

Industrial output up by tenth in January

LJUBLJANA - Industrial output in Slovenia was up by 10.7% in January compared to December 2023 and up by 12.2% compared to January 2023. Total turnover in industry was 0.4% higher in monthly comparison and 1.4% higher year-on-year, the Statistics Office said. Industrial output was 16.3% higher in manufacturing and 11% higher in mining and quarrying, while in electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply it was 5.7% lower.

Debate notes need to raise awareness about capital market investments

LJUBLJANA - Participants of a panel debate on capital market investments, organised by asset management firm Generali Investments, noted the need to raise awareness among Slovenians about options beyond the much preferred bank deposits. According to one estimate, Slovenians suffered EUR 10-15 billion in opportunity losses over the last 10 years.

SDS leads Delo poll, government gets worst mark ever

LJUBLJANA - The latest public opinion poll commissioned by Delo sees the opposition Democrats (SDS) in lead with 22.9%, followed by the ruling Freedom Movement at 15%, with both parties losing some support compared to February. While the decline of the Social Democrats (SD) has stopped, the government received its lowest average mark so far. Less than 14% of the respondents perceive it positively, while as many as 55% perceive it negatively, and almost 35% very negatively. The average mark of 2.23 on a one-to-five scale is the lowest ever in the term of the Robert Golob government.

Murderer wastes chance of parole due to domestic violence

MARIBOR - The first person convicted to one of the longest prison sentences in Slovenia has wasted a chance to be released from prison on parole after he physically and psychologically abused his wife last month, whom he married while serving his 30-year prison sentence, several media reported. Bojan Žalik, now 55, was the first person in Slovenia to be handed down the highest prison sentence at the time after 30 years was legislated in 1998.

Docu film festival puts spotlight on human rights

LJUBLJANA - The 26th Documentary Film Festival will bring some 25 feature-length and short films to Ljubljana between 13 and 20 March. The competition programme will feature five documentaries on human rights. The festival will open with Snatched From the Source - Slovenian Children of Lebensborn by Maja Weiss, which tells the story of four Slovenian children who were taken from their parents to be part of the Lebensborn programme during WWII.

Banksy exhibition shop window vandalised

LJUBLJANA - The shop window of a pop-up gallery in Ljubljana showcasing works by street artist Banksy has been vandalised with what the exhibition's curator has described as the crudest type of graffiti. While graffiti artists all over the world destroy and paint over each other's work, this particular act was not a case of a graffiti writer with something to say or a new piece of art to make, the gallery said.

Sežana remembers poet Kosovel with series of events, theatre collaboration

SEŽANA - Srečko Kosovel, one of the most important Slovenian poets, will be remembered on the 120th anniversary of his birth next Monday in his birth place Sežana with Train No. 123 to the Future, a theatre co-production of the Sežana Kosovel Cultural Centre and the Slovenian Permanent Theatre from Italy's Trieste. In the theatre production, Kosovel (1904-1926), a man from the early 20th century, speaks to people from the start of the 21st century, Mateja Kralj, one of the two authors of the text for the production, said.

© STA, 2024