Weekly review of events involving Slovenia, 8-14 March

Ljubljana, 15 March - Below is a weekly review of events involving Slovenia from 8 to 14 March:

FRIDAY, 8 March

LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Robert Golob spoke 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 the talks were still ongoing and a unanimous decision was needed. Golob also congratulated Sweden on its accession to NATO.

LJUBLJANA - The head of the office of Prime Minister Robert Golob, Petra Škofic, announced she was stepping down. She will be replaced by Luka Špoljar, the secretary of the Freedom Movement deputy group in parliament.

LJUBLJANA - The opposition Democrats (SDS) 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.

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


LJUBLJANA - Delo published a survey carried out by Mediana in accordance with which the opposition Democrats (SDS) would get four MEPs in the European Parliament election, followed by the ruling Freedom Movement with two. The remaining parliamentary parties, the Social Democrats (SD), New Slovenia (NSi) and the Left, would get one MEP each.

SUNDAY, 10 March

LJUBLJANA/NEW YORK, US - Warner Music, one of the three largest global labels, was reported to have acquired a minority stake in Slovenian independent label Nika, which operates the largest Slovenian online music shop. The deal, whose details have not been revealed, will enable Warner Music to upstream Nika's roster to its international network, the US group says on its website.

OSLO, Norway - Slovenian ski jumper Nika Prevc finished second at the women's World Cup event in Oslo, 2.2 points behind the winner, Eirin Maria Kvandal from Norway. Austria's Eva Pinkelnig took the third place. Ema Klinec finished fourth and Nika Križnar was 12th.

WINTERBERG, Germany - Slovenian snowboarders Žan Košir and Gloria Kotnik finished second at a World Cup parallel slalom event in Winterberg, the last one this season.

MONDAY, 11 March

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, and that they intended to maintain this cooperation. Szalay-Bobrovniczky said that "we live in dangerous times, and thus we also feel a much stronger need to strengthen cooperation."

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 Letta visited Slovenia for a high-level report on the future of the EU's single market. The EU's industry policy must be revived, said Letta.

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. Mesec said that this was one of the more important documents he has worked on at the EU level.

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.

TUESDAY, 12 March

LJUBLJANA - The coalition Freedom Movement and Social Democrats (SD), and the opposition Democrats (SDS) and New Slovenia (NSi) jointly tabled a motion to call a referendum on the expansion of nuclear energy. The referendum is to be held in the second half of November.

LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Robert Golob and 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. Golob said the EU had recognised the progress that Bosnia and Herzegovina had made on its EU accession path. Slovenian MEPs too welcomed the move, calling it a great success for Slovenia, which has been striving for this.

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. He called for further investigations, including into reports of harsh treatment of Palestinian detainees.

LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Health Committee endorsed the government-sponsored bill banning flavourings in electronic cigarettes and heated tobacco along with amendments toughening restrictions further. The government proposed permitting only the taste of tobacco and mint in electronic cigarettes, but MPs struck out mint as well. They also cut by three years the transition period to ban smoking lounges, to the end of 2025.

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.


LJUBLJANA - Staff at most Slovenian administrative units held another one-day strike. They plan to strike every Wednesday until their demands are met, including an increase in pay for all administrative unit employees by seven brackets and elevating their titles to be on a par with those at government ministries.

LJUBLJANA - The government confirmed that the work had started to establish asylum centre units near the Obrežje and Središče ob Dravi border crossings with Croatia. Faced with opposition from locals, the government said asylum seekers would only be accommodated there once the existing facilities in Ljubljana and Logatec are full.

LJUBLJANA - The doctors' trade union Fides announced that examinations needed for persons with disabilities to extend their driving licenses will resume despite the continuing general strike in the sector. The decision ends an impasse with the government on a topic that garnered much public attention.

TRONDHEIM, Norway - Overall Ski Jumping World Cup leader Nika Prevc won the Raw Air event on the medium hill in Trondheim and has an almost unassailable lead just three events before the end of the season. Prevc tallied 260.2 points, a point and a half ahead of the home crowd favourite Eirin Maria Kvandal.

THURSDAY, 14 March

LJUBLJANA - The government adopted a blueprint for a bill on quality in healthcare, which could be sent into public consultation in two weeks' time. The new legislation is to introduce quality indicators comparable between healthcare providers and internationally, and a public quality agency to monitor and oversee quality standards, Health Minister Valentina Prevolnik Rupel said.

LJUBLJANA - Minister for Slovenians Abroad Matej Arčon was named deputy prime minister in charge of communication. His main task will be making sure the media receive all key information after government sessions. Arčon will also respond to current issues related to the government's work.

LJUBLJANA - After Prime Minister Robert Golob initially refused to approve the two candidates for state secretaries put forward by new Justice Minister Andreja Katič, the two managed to agree on the appointment of one, Andreja Kokalj from the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption. Katič said she understood Golob's move as a "particular concern that the ministry gets the best team".

LJUBLJANA - Prosecutors staged a one-day work stoppage after going on strike on 31 January to express their opposition to the government over its failure to implement the Constitutional Court ruling requiring that judges' pay, to which the pay of prosecutors is pegged, should increase. "Prosecutors are angry and frustrated," said Barbara Prevolšek Rajić, head of the strike committee of prosecutors. One-day strikes will continue every Wednesday.

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia extended the issue of the ten-year eurobond by another EUR 500 million to EUR 2 billion. The issue saw a large demand by investors, surging to EUR 3.1 billion. A third of investors come from Germany, Austria and Switzerland, 13% from France, 12% from Scandinavia, 10% from Central and Eastern Europe, including Slovenia, 9% from the Benelux countries and 23% from other countries.

LUXEMBOURG, Luxembourg - The Court of Justice of the EU slapped Slovenia with a EUR 800,000 fine following a European Commission lawsuit of the country's much delayed transposition of the EU directive on electronic communications networks. While the deadline had been December 2020, Slovenian adopted the new electronic communications act only in September 2022.

© STA, 2024