News roundup - Thursday, 21 March, until 3pm

Ljubljana, 21 March - Below is a roundup of major events on Thursday, 21 March, until 3pm local time:

Slovenia declares Russian diplomat persona non grata

LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Foreign Ministry notified the Russian Embassy in Ljubljana that one of its diplomats has been declared persona non grata under Article 9 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations over activities incompatible with his status as a diplomat. The diplomat must leave Slovenia by 28 March 2024. The news portal Siol reported that the diplomat in question was Lieutenant Colonel Sergei Lemeshev, deputy defence attaché.

NATO Sec-Gen welcomes Slovenia's efforts to increase defence spending

BRUSSELS, Belgium - NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Slovenia has played an important role in stabilising the Western Balkans in its 20 years as a NATO member, as he met with Prime Minister Golob for what was Golob's first bilateral meeting at NATO HQ. Stoltenberg welcomed Slovenia's efforts to increase its defence spending and strengthen its presence in Kosovo.

Slovenia seriously considering both candidates for NATO secretary general

BRUSSELS, Belgium - After Slovenia expressed support to the candidacy of outgoing Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte for the next NATO secretary general, when he was the only candidate, Prime Minister Robert Golob said the candidacy of Romanian President Klaus Iohannis would also be seriously examined. Slovenia is taking Iohannis's candidacy "very seriously", especially due to the regional balance, Golob said.

Media: Župevc to become ambassador to Vienna-based organisation, Šešum headed for Belgrade

LJUBLJANA - The government has nominated Melita Župevc, a state secretary in the PM's office, ambassador to the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the International Atomic Energy Agency, the newspaper Delo reported on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the news portal N1 reported that economic diplomacy head Slobodan Šešum is to become ambassador to Serbia. Župevc's inexperience has raised doubts about her being the right choice for what is one of the most demanding diplomatic posts.

Gen-I says demand for parliamentary inquiry is illegal and unconstitutional

LJUBLJANA - Gen-I, an energy company previously led by Prime Minister Golob, said Wednesday evening that the demand for an inquiry into its operations requested by the National Council was illegal and unconstitutional, and could set a dangerous precedence. The goal of the proponents is to obtain as much data about the company as possible so as to be used to undermine it at will.

New Slovenian trains connecting Ljubljana to Graz and Villach

LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Railways are strengthening connections with Austria in cooperation with the Austrian national railways operator ÖBB. Six new pairs of direct trains linking Ljubljana to Graz and Villach have been introduced. The dozen new connections featuring modern Flirt trains raise the number of rail routes between Slovenia and Austria to 38.

Consumer confidence unchanged over February, up 3 points y/y

LJUBLJANA - The consumer confidence indicator did not change in March compared to February but rose by three points compared to March 2023, shows data by the Statistics Office. It was still six points below the long-term average. At the monthly level consumers were more confident about the financial situation in the household as both the assessment of the current situation and expectations for the future improved by one percentage point.

Ski jumper Anže Lanišek honoured by Poland

PLANICA - Slovenian ski jumper Anže Lanišek was honoured by Poland with the Gold Cross of Merit following his tribute to Polish jumper Dawid Kubacki during last year's World Cup final in Planica. Surrounded by Slovenian and Polish jumpers, Lanišek received the decoration from Polish President Andrzej Duda in Planica, following the qualifying round for Friday's World Cup event. He was honoured for his "outstanding sportsmanship, noble action and promotion of the spirit of fair play in sport, for fostering very good relations between Poles and Slovenians, and between the two countries".

© STA, 2024