Weekly review of events involving Slovenia, 22-28 March

Ljubljana, 29 March - Below is a weekly review of events involving Slovenia from 22-28 March:

FRIDAY, 22 March

BRUSSELS, Belgium - The prime ministers of Slovenia, Spain, Ireland and Malta issued a joint statement expressing their readiness to recognise Palestine when the move could "make a positive contribution and the circumstances are right". Slovenia's Robert Golob said things could start moving forward in a matter of weeks, maybe a month.

BRDO PRI KRANJU - Interior ministers from Brdo Process countries discussed migration in the Western Balkans and the EU through the lens of migrant smuggling. The ministers agreed to strengthen cooperation at the level of ministries and police, Slovenia's Boštjan Poklukar said.

BRUSSELS, Belgium - PM Robert Golob welcomed the measures for relieving the administrative burden on farmers proposed by the European Commission, as he addressed the press after the EU summit in Brussels. He noted the short-term measures for small farms, which account for 80% of all farms in Slovenia.

LJUBLJANA - The opposition Democrats (SDS) filed to parliament a proposal to call a consultative referendum on whether to regulate mandatory testing of state officials for illicit drugs. The motion comes after the SDS submitted bills on mandatory drug testing for officials on two occasions before, both of which were rejected.

TRIESTE, Italy - Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon and Friuli Venezia Giulia President Massimiliano Fedriga signed an agreement on cross-border public transport for the neighbouring towns of Gorizia and Nova Gorica as they co-chaired a session of a Slovenia-Friuli Venezia Giulia committee. A potential joint candidacy of Italy, Austria and Slovenia for the 2034 Winter Olympics was also discussed.

SATURDAY, 23 March

OBREŽJE - Locals around Obrežje, where the government intends to set up an asylum centre branch, staged another protest. Brežice Mayor Ivan Molan estimated around 1,000 protesters showed up, the same as a week ago. Molan named a long list of reasons why the locals do not want an asylum centre in their midst, ranging from lack of adequate infrastructure to the local communities not having been consulted beforehand.

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia condemned a terrorist attack in Moscow that claimed at least 133 lives. "Nothing can justify these kind of attacks. My condolences and thoughts go to the families of the victims and the wounded," PM Robert Golob said on X. The Foreign Ministry said that there was no excuse for the killing of innocent civilians.

SUNDAY, 24 March

BARCELONA, Spain - Slovenian cyclist Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) won the final stage of the Tour of Catalonia in a tight sprint finish ahead of two Frenchmen, Dorian Godon (Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale) and Guillaume Martin (Cofidis). Pogačar is the overall winner of the tour with a 3:41 minute lead ahead of Spain's Mikel Landa.

PLANICA - Peter Prevc, Slovenia's best ski jumper of all times, ended his sporting career after a successful season finale in Planica, where he won one individual event and placed sixth in the other. Prevc is retiring with 36 World Cup wins, a World Cup title, three Ski Flying titles and four Olympic medals.

MONDAY, 25 March

LJUBLJANA - The level of preparedness of the Slovenian Armed Forces remains the same despite some headway, shows the annual report presented to President Nataša Pirc Musar. "The majority of the indicators have not changed substantially, but we have detected improvements in some areas," said Lieutenant General Robert Glavaš, the chief of the general staff.

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia welcomed the adoption of a UN Security Council resolution that calls for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. PM Robert Golob said it was high time to act. Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon called the resolution a message of hope, stressing that Slovenia was one of the architects of the document.

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina - Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon pledged Slovenia would continue to support Bosnia-Herzegovina's efforts to join the EU, as she met her counterpart Elmedin Konaković. She congratulated Konaković on the headway his country had made in the past months, saying Bosnia was an example of the power of transformation driven by the EU enlargement process.

LJUBLJANA - New Slovenia (NSi) decided to field its leader Matej Tonin as its lead candidate in the elections to the European Parliament on 9 June. The opposition party's current MEP Ljudmila Novak will be at the bottom of the ticket. Tonin said the NSi was aiming to win two seats.

LJUBLJANA - The Supreme Court sentenced triple murderer Silvo Drevenšek to life imprisonment after he was sentenced by the Ptuj District Court to 30 years in 2022. Drevenšek stabbed his former partner and her parents on Christmas Day 2020. The justices took into account that he planned the crimes and committed them in the presence of his son, and handed down life imprisonment for the first time since it was introduced as the longest sentence in 2008.

TUESDAY, 26 March

BRDO PRI KRANJU - PM Robert Golob received German Chancellor Olaf Scholz for his first visit to Slovenia. The pair discussed the Western Balkans, with Scholz saying that the progress of countries on the path to the EU depends on their meeting the criteria. They also noted the excellent bilateral cooperation in various areas.

LJUBLJANA - European Parliament President Roberta Metsola urged Slovenians to turn out in the June EU elections as she visited Ljubljana as part of her tour of EU countries ahead of the elections. She addressed the National Assembly, met President Nataša Pirc Musar and PM Robert Golob, as well as National Assembly President Urška Klakočar Zupančič.

LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly appointed Katarina Bergant, who has been working at the state prosecution service for 27 years, state prosecutor general for a six-year term. She succeeds Drago Šketa, who stepped down in October 2023 over drink driving. Bergant received the support of 49 coalition MPs, while the MPs of the opposition voted against.

LJUBLJANA - Parliament passed a bill implementing the EU Digital Services Act, a piece of legislation that Digital Transformation Minister Emilija Stojmenova Duh said is key to a safe, predictable and trustworthy online environment. The bill for instance provides for "trusted flaggers" tasked with flagging supposed illegal content on platforms.

LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly rejected New Slovenia's (NSi) request for a consultative referendum on the reform energy bill due to restrictions on the use of biomass. The fellow opposition Democrats (SDS) backed the initiative, the coalition accused the proponents of politicking and manipulation given that the contentious provision had been removed from the bill.

KRŠKO - A Slovenian consortium led by engineering company Riko was picked to build the main facilities of the repository for nuclear waste produced by the Krško nuclear power plant. Riko has partnered with Slovenian builders Kolektor, CGP and Kostak and will build the repository for EUR 93 million.

LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian-German Chamber of Commerce conferred the German Business Award on industrial conglomerate Hidria, a leading Slovenian supplier of the global car industry. The award is conferred in cooperation with the German Embassy and the IEDC Bled School of Management.


LJUBLJANA - The official website of President Nataša Pirc Musar and several other state institutions were temporarily down due to what turned out to be a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack. The attack came after a Russian hacker group announced a cyber war against Slovenia for joining the Czech initiative to purchase ammunition for Ukraine.

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia sees a lot of potential in Montenegro and will continue to support it in development cooperation and on its path to the EU, said Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon as she met her Montenegrin counterpart Filip Ivanović. Montenegro is a country that is capable of very fast progress on its path towards EU membership, said Fajon.

LJUBLJANA - The council of the ruling Freedom Movement endorsed its list of candidates for EU elections but confirmed only seven candidates, including the current MEPs Irena Joveva and Klemen Grošelj. With the exception of a former MP, the other candidates are largely unknown outside party circles.

LJUBLJANA - The state-owned power utility HSE announced it had paid back another EUR 75 million of the EUR 492 million it received in capital injection from the state in 2022. So far it has paid back EUR 417 million with the remaining EUR 75 million to be returned by the end of the year.

THURSDAY, 28 March

BRDO PRI KRANJU - Slovenia marked the 20th anniversary of its membership of NATO with a series of roundtables and a ceremony at which President Nataša Pirc Musar described the decision to join the alliance as "the right one". Pirc Musar is convinced this step helped Slovenians start living better and safer.

LJUBLJANA - Digital Transformation Minister Emilija Stojmenova Duh survived a motion of no confidence submitted by the opposition Democrats (SDS), who accused her of negligence in a EUR 6.5 million purchase of laptops. The vote saw 31 MPs voting in favour of her dismissal, 42 were against.

LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly unanimously voted in favour of government-sponsored changes to tobacco legislation banning flavourings in e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products and abolishing smoking lounges, in a bid to fight the increasing use of new tobacco products among youth.

LJUBLJANA - The government-sponsored reform energy bill passed first reading in parliament after its passage had been delayed by two months due to an opposition request for a referendum over a provision that would severely restrict biomass heaters in new homes. The bill brings a number of solutions promoting green transition and improving the energy supply.

LJUBLJANA - The government adopted a draft resolution on the long-term peaceful use of nuclear energy in Slovenia, which sets down an energy mix of nuclear and renewables, and expresses support for Krško 2, a second nuclear power station the country is considering building.

LJUBLJANA - The government adopted a strategy on migrations, which is a result of broad consultations with stakeholders. The strategy acknowledges the development potential of migrations and enshrines respect for migrants' human rights. It formulates a vision on how to resolve problems in this field, and lays out a set of measures on how to achieve that, said Interior Minister Boštjan Poklukar.

© STA, 2024