Weekly review of events involving Slovenia, 14-21 March

Ljubljana, 22 March - Below is a weekly review of events involving Slovenia from 14 to 21 March:

FRIDAY, 15 March

LJUBLJANA - The Freedom Movement tabled motions for consultative referendums on changes to election legislation to introduce a preferential vote in the general election, and on the cultivation, processing, trade and use of cannabis for medical purposes. Its said the changes to election legislation would increase the influence of voters

LJUBLJANA - Almost two dozen Left members quit the party arguing in a long letter that it has forgotten about its roots after joining the government coalition in mid-2022. The letter also accuses the party leadership of "collaborating with capital". Left leader Asta Vrečko said the exits were expected and that more would follow.

LJUBLJANA - The infrastructure and finance committees discussed the rising costs of major infrastructure projects at the request of the opposition Democrats (SDS), deciding to call on the state to be diligent in drafting projects and initiate proceedings in the event of suspected corruption or collusion of bidders.

LJUBLJANA - Slovenian and Croatian police completed a three-day "coordinated stricter control" of the border to prevent and detect unlawful crossings of the border. Almost 300 such crossings were detected and seven smugglers apprehended.

SATURDAY, 16 March

OBREŽJE - Some 1,000 locals from the Brežice municipality, east, gathered for a peaceful protest against government plans to erect a unit of the Ljubljana Asylum Centre at Obrežje, an international border crossing. "The protest is a serious announcement and a warning that people here are simply not ready to accept everything the government is imposing on us," Brežice Mayor Ivan Molan said.

SUNDAY, 17 March

VIKERSUND, Norway - Slovenian ski jumper Nika Prevc won the overall World Cup in a week before the final competition of the season in Planica. With only one event before season end, Prevc had a 194-point lead over runner-up Eva Pinkelnig of Austria, having finished in 11th place in her first event ever on a giant hill.

GRANOLLERS, Spain - The Slovenian men's handball team has qualified for the Summer Olympics in Paris by finishing second at a qualifying tournament, Spain, in what will be the fourth appearance for Slovenia in the Olympics after 2000, 2004 and 2016.

ŽALEC - Zmago Jelinčič, the 76-year-old who has led the far-right National Party (SDS) since its founding in 1991, was appointed president for a new four-year term at a congress at which it also confirmed a platform for the coming EU elections that focuses on opposition to migrations.

NOVA GORICA - The bomb squad deactivated three aerial bombs in Nova Gorica, following the evacuation of nearly 3,400 nearby residents. A 100kg explosive device of unknown origin with a faulty fuse had to be detonated on the site, while two Second World War bombs were deactivated without explosion.

MONDAY, 18 March

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia has joined a Czech-led initiative to buy artillery ammunition for Ukraine outside Europe, and the government will allocate EUR 1 million for this purpose, the Defence Ministry said. The government discussed the Czech initiative at a session last week.

LJUBLJANA - The representatives of farmer organisations and government signed an agreement that will serve as a basis for further talks on their demands. Based on the deal, the farmers decided to cancel a massive protest they planned in Ljubljana. Agriculture Minister Mateja Čalušić welcomed the farmers' readiness for cooperation and compromise.

LJUBLJANA - The Democrats (SDS) tabled motions for two consultative referendums, on government plans for additional asylum centres in the country, and the performance of the Robert Golob government in general. Neither proposal is likely to secure sufficient backing in parliament.

BELTINCI - Beltinci Mayor Marko Virag revealed that port operator Luka Koper plans to build an international logistics centre in Beltinci. The investment, which was unanimously endorsed last week by the mayors from the region, is expected to cost more than EUR 500 million, and provide jobs to around 300 people.

TUESDAY, 19 March

LJUBLJANA - The directors of intelligence agency SOVA and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Joško Kadivnik and Darko Muženič, denied having been pressured by the prime minister regarding the timing of the arrest of two suspected Russian spies in 2022. They both told a parliamentary inquiry commission they had never come under pressure and that the date of the arrest had been picked based on tactical and operational information.

LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary inquiry into the construction of the C0 sewerage pipeline around Ljubljana reported a Ljubljana local official to the police for alleged perjury. She told the inquiry she had never followed Mayor Zoran Janković's instructions concerning the project, but there are recordings or her talking to several land owners that prove otherwise, inquiry chair Anja Bah Žibret said.

KOPER - It was reported that police seized 260 kilos of cocaine in the port of Koper a few days ago, after two divers were spotted trying to retrieve the drugs from the ballast tanks of a ship transporting soy from South America. Police confirmed that drugs had been seized and that a Brazilian and Albanian citizen were in custody.

BARCELONA, Spain - Slovenian cyclist Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) took the overall lead in the Tour of Catalonia by winning the second stage from Mataro to Vallter a minute and 22 seconds ahead of his closest contenders Mikel Landa and Aleksandr Vlasov.


BRDO PRI KRANJU - President Nataša Pirc Musar and her Polish counterpart Andrzej Duda stressed the importance of supporting Ukraine as long as necessary. Pirc Musar highlighted the need for military assistance, while Duda suggested increasing defence spending by NATO members to 3% of GDP. Ukraine also topped the agenda of talks withPM Robert Golob and Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon.

LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon announced at a session of the parliamentary Foreign Policy Committee that Slovenia is drafting a bilateral agreement with Ukraine on cooperation in security, similar to the agreements that Ukraine has concluded with several countries.

LJUBLJANA - Tanja Fajon, the president of the Social Democrats (SD), announced she would not be running for another term as the head of the coalition party at the April congress. The foreign minister in the Robert Golob government will head the SD until the new leadership is elected, presumably at the congress.

LJUBLJANA - The Commission for Oversight of Public Finances discussed on the business relationship between the prime minister's company Star Solar and the national electricity exchange Borzen, urging the Financial Administration to check Star Solar's operations in detail and the government to submit a report. The Commission for the Prevention of Corruption was urged to treat the case as a priority. The National Council also decided to open an investigation into Star Solar and Gen-I, a company formerly led by Golob.

THURSDAY, 21 March

LJUBLJANA - The Foreign Ministry notified the Russian Embassy in Ljubljana that one of its diplomats has been declared persona non grata over activities incompatible with his status as a diplomat. The news portal Siol reported that the diplomat in question, who must leave Slovenia by 28 March, is Lieutenant Colonel Sergei Lemeshev, deputy defence attaché. A member of the prime minister's staff said the move was made due to an increase in Russian propaganda activities.

BRUSSELS, Belgium - PM Robert Golob expressed his support for the recognition of a Palestinian state as he spoke to the press on the sidelines of the EU summit. While offering no timeline, he said that Slovenia is likely to recognise Palestine together with a group of other EU member states in order to maximise the international impact.

LJUBLJANA - Opposition Democrats (SDS) leader Janez Janša called for an early election as he addressed a massive rally his party held in Congress Square. He said the country was hit by two catastrophes in recent years, by the floods in August 2023, and by the Robert Golob government in June 2022. Police were present at the rally, and no incidents were reported.

BRUSSELS, Belgium - PM Robert Golob stressed that nuclear energy is the future as he attended the first ever Nuclear Energy Summit. Golob also said that Slovenia plans to decarbonise its power production by 2040, also with the help of nuclear.

LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Privileges and Credentials Commission endorsed Katarina Bergant, the head of the Ljubljana District Prosecutor's Office, as a suitable candidate for the state prosecutor general, and proposed that the National Assembly appoint her for a six-year term.

© STA, 2024