News roundup - Tuesday, 12 March, until 3pm

Ljubljana, 12 March - Below is a roundup of major events on Tuesday, 12 March, until 3 pm local time:

Slovenia welcomes recommendation to open EU accession talks with Bosnia

LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon welcomed European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen's announcement that the Commission will recommend the opening of accession negotiations with Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is now up to the leaders of EU countries to give their final green light, Fajon said on X. "As a long-standing supporter of Bosnia's integration into the EU, I'm delighted with the European Commission's recommendation to open accession negotiations with Bosnia. Very well deserved," she posted. Slovenian MEPs too welcomed the move, calling it a great success for Slovenia, which has been striving for this.

Slovenia condemns conflict-related sexual violence

NEW YORK, US - Slovenia is concerned about the findings of a UN report that indicates the likelihood of sexual violence by Hamas during the attack on Israel, and condemns any conflict-related sexual violence, Slovenia's representative in the UN Security Council Samuel Žbogar told the body on Monday. He called for further investigations, including into reports of harsh treatment of Palestinian detainees. He expects Israel to allow access to the competent UN bodies for a full investigation to be carried out.

Slovenian PEN urges suspension of economic and military ties with Israel

LJUBLJANA - Slovenian PEN addressed an appeal against genocide in Gaza in a letter to the prime minister, president, and the president of parliament, while also calling for Slovenia's suspending economic and military ties with Israel. "One day this unthinkable horror that is taking place in Gaza will end. If you do not want to be on the wrong side of justice and universal truth, we urge you, as free-writing, free-thinking individuals, to immediately and without delay end all trade contracts related to Israel, and all economic or military cooperation with Israel."

Doctors, government start discussing mediation option

LJUBLJANA - In week nine of the doctors' strike, the trade union Fides and the government commenced talks on the possibility of involving mediators. A decision on whether they will resort to mediation is expected shortly. The negotiations only lasted half an hour and mediation appears the only thing the two sides have managed to agree on, according to statements by government and Fides officials. But it remains unclear still whether the strike should be suspended while the mediation process unfolds.

Disabled drivers licences impasse and blame game continue

LJUBLJANA - The doctors' strike-caused lack of access to examinations needed for persons with disabilities to get or extend their driving licenses has turned into a finger-pointing match in recent days. The Advocate of the Principle of Equality stepped in for a second time, urging an immediate solution. The Soča University Rehabilitation Institute in Ljubljana, the only clinic testing people with disabilities for driving licences, has refused to resume with the examinations despite a late February government decree listing the service among those that need to be performed, a strike notwithstanding.

Farmers to stage protest next Tuesday

LJUBLJANA - The main organisations representing Slovenian farmers will stage a protest on 19 March after they announced at the end of February a stepping up of pressure on decision-makers due to slow progress in the talks to address their demands. Farmers organised several protest rallies across Slovenia in February to draw attention to the situation in agriculture and put forward a series of demands regarding the protection of agricultural land, the rethinking of payments for areas with natural and other constraints (ANC payments) and the reduction of red tape.

PwC annual survey shows more optimism among execs

LJUBLJANA - Business executives around the globe, including in Slovenia, are much more optimistic about global growth this year after they expressed record pessimism last year, shows the latest survey by consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). Still, trust in a stable future over the coming ten years is even more fragile than in 2023. In Slovenia, 34% of those surveyed expect economic growth this year as opposed to only 13% last year. But in the other side, "45% of executives around the globe and as many as 59% in Slovenia doubt their companies will survive the next ten years if they stay on the same business course," said Sanja Savič, head of legal services at PWC Slovenia.

Owners of real estate destroyed in Kras fire still waiting for compensation

MIREN - People from the Kras region whose property was destroyed in the massive fires that raged in the area in the summer of 2022 and caused almost EUR 27 million in damage have received no compensation from the state yet despite promises. After 19 months and despite massive damage "we still haven't received a cent," Robert Cotič from Miren told the STA. The real estate owners have decided to turn to the Ministry of National Resources and Spatial Planning, which had promised them compensation. According to Cotič, they have so far received nothing despite submitting detailed damage claims.

Former president's think tank officially launched

LJUBLJANA - Friends of Western Balkans, a think tank set up by Slovenia's former President Borut Pahor, has been officially launched after all the formalities have been sorted out. Its aim will be to foster dialogue, reconciliation, peaceful resolution of open issues, economic development, and the EU accession of all countries in the region. The think-tank will produce analyses on the Western Balkans, organise events, and advise governments and other institutions. It has an international 16-member advisory board that includes several former top-level officials.

SunContract launches NFT solar panels marketplace

LJUBLJANA/BUCHAREST, Romania - Slovenian energy trading platform SunContract has launched the world's first non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace for real-world solar panels. The inaugural tokenized solar power plant is located in the Slovenian village of Višnje near Ajdovščina, SunContract said. Each NFT represents a specific panel at the power plant, with the holder enjoying the benefits associated with the physical asset. The initiative is aimed at people committed to the green transition and eager to invest in the future of renewables, as well as to the crypto community seeking exposure to real economy through the renewable energy sector, the company said.

Mistakes in treatment resulted in death of gallstone patient

LJUBLJANA - Doctors at the general hospital in Ptuj and at UKC Maribor, the country's second largest hospital, made several mistakes in a 2022 case involving a patient who died of cardiac arrest after complications following her treatment for inflammation of the bile ducts and removal of gallstones, the newspaper Dnevnik reported. The external reviews at both hospitals have found the 49-year-old patient most likely suffered septic shock which a doctor at UKC Maribor failed to diagnose and led to the heart arrest.

SloGled web portal showcasing burgeoning Slovenian theatre scene in Austria

LJUBLJANA/KLAGENFURT, Austria - A comprehensive bilingual web portal dedicated to the blossoming scene of Slovenian, bi- and multilingual theatre in Austria's Carinthia region is up and running at, courtesy of the Slovenian Cultural Association (SPZ), one of the two main cultural organisations of the Slovenian community in Carinthia. The website provides current information on theatre events and activities among Carinhtian Slovenians as well as an archive, texts, photos, videos, reviews etc.

Skobe also wins best architecture photo award

LONDON, UK - After bagging the top regional award of this year's prestigious Sony World Photography Awards competition, Slovenian architect and photographer Ana Skobe has also won the competition's top award for the best architectural photo, one of the ten individual categories featured. Titled Falling Out of Time, the photo depicts a lighthouse against a clear sky at dusk, its sleek, geometric design contrasting with the coastal landscape and a solitary figure.

© STA, 2024