News roundup - Thursday, 28 March

Ljubljana, 28 March - Below is a roundup of major events on Thursday, 28 March:

Digital transformation minister survives vote of no confidence

LJUBLJANA - Digital Transformation Minister Emilija Stojmenova Duh survived a motion of no confidence submitted by the opposition Democrats (SDS), who have 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. The debate in the National Assembly came nearly two months after the SDS submitted the motion in which Stojmenova Duh is accused of acting uneconomically and with negligence in the purchase of 13,000 laptops.

Slovenia marks 20th anniversary of NATO membership

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, noting that "the security umbrella of collective defence gives Slovenia the greatest guarantee of stability and security".

MPs unanimously ban flavourings in vapes

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. The flavourings ban will enter into force after a 12-month transition period. Smoking lounges will be phased out in 2025.

Reform energy bill passes first reading

LJUBLJANA - The government-sponsored reform energy bill, whose passage has 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, passed first reading in parliament. The bill brings a number of solutions promoting green transition and improving the energy supply. The government says it is needed because of the green transition and the need for systemic solutions in energy supply.

Nuclear energy resolution supports Krško 2

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. "This is the first document setting down development guidelines for nuclear energy," said Danijel Levičar, state secretary in charge of nuclear energy in the PM's office.

MPs endorse changes to Investment Promotion Act

LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly unanimously passed government-sponsored changes to the Investment Promotion Act which allow EU-based investors to apply for incentives before having a registered company in Slovenia. The company or subsidiary will have to be registered by the time the incentive is paid and an investment that receives an incentive will have to be completed in three years.

Migrations strategy adopted

LJUBLJANA - The government adopted a strategy on migrations. The 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, according to Interior Minister Boštjan Poklukar.

Russian diplomat declared persona non grata has left

LJUBLJANA - The Russian diplomat who was declared persona non grata last week left Slovenia on Wednesday, Deputy Prime Minister Matej Arčon announced. The diplomat, reportedly deputy defence attaché Lieutenant Colonel Sergei Lemeshev, had been declared persona non grata over activities incompatible with his status as a diplomat. Arčon said the decision had not been made overnight but after careful consideration.

NATO commander for Europe visiting Slovenia

LJUBLJANA - General Christopher Cavoli, NATO's commander for Europe, visited Slovenia to mark the 20th anniversary of the country's NATO membership. Cavoli met with Prime Minister Robert Golob and President Nataša Pirc Musar. Golob and Cavoli discussed burden sharing and commitments to defence investments. They also also talked about the situation in the Western Balkans and in Ukraine.

Shortage of paper could be obstacle to holding referendums on EU elections day

LJUBLJANA - The National Electoral Commission (DVK) is prepared for the 9 June EU elections, with electoral work proceeding as planned, its director Igor Zorčič said. However, if referendums were to be held on the same day, there could be problems securing enough paper for printing all the ballots since the company which supplies the ballots may not be able to procure enough paper. Zorčič expects the authorities to reach a decision on referendums soon.

Minister welcomes Italian Senate decision on minority representation

LJUBLJANA - The decision of an Italian Senate committee to endorse an amendment to the electoral law raises hope that Slovenians will get a representative in the Italian parliament, Minister for Slovenians Abroad Matej Arčon said. The amendment states that in the future electoral legislation must respect Article 26 of the minority protection law, and facilitate the election of Slovenian minority deputies and senators.

Record 22 airlines on summer schedule at Ljubljana airport

BRNIK - A total of 22 airlines will be providing scheduled flights to and from Ljubljana airport in the summer season, the largest number so far. They will operate 25 routes around Europe and beyond, including to new destinations Riga, Copenhagen and Madrid. Airport operator Fraport Slovenija announced on Thursday that there will be more than 150 weekly flights to 25 destinations at the peak of the season, and flights to major European hubs will be more frequent.

Statistics Office corrects industrial output data for January

LJUBLJANA - The Statistics Office (SURS) made significant corrections to the data on industrial production in January due to an error made in the original calculations. Industrial output in Slovenia was up by 7% and not by 10.7% in January compared to December 2023 and was not 12.2% up year-on-year, but 3.4% down. SURS said that wrong deflators were used in the calculations released on 11 March.

Slovenia's pavilion at 60th Venice Biennale located in a park

LJUBLJANA - Conceptual artist Nika Špan, Slovenia's representative at the 60th Venice Biennale, will have her project Garden Secret for You exhibited in a park in what marks the first time that the Slovenian pavilion will be located in a public space. The pavilion will open on 17 April, three days before the biennale's opening, in a park between the Arsenale and Giardini complexes next to the former greenhouse Serra dei Giardini.

Slovenian Cinematheque hosts retrospective of Haneke films

LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Cinematheque is launching an extensive retrospective on Michael Haneke, one of the most successful Austrian and European film directors, who holds up a mirror to modern society. The film screenings will be accompanied by a collection of scientific papers on Haneke by Slovenian authors and an exhibition.

Scabies outbreak reported in Maribor prison

MARIBOR - Scabies has been found in five inmates of the Maribor prison. The infection has been contained and currently only one person is still infected, the director of the prison, Robert Šilc, said. He said all measures were taken to prevent the spread despite the prison being overcrowded. Those infected have received medication and have been put in isolation.

Defendant in EU funds fraud case pleads not guilty

MARIBOR - Žiga Štajnbaher, the head of a youth organisation who has been charged with fraud in Erasmus+ projects, pleaded not guilty at the arraignment hearing at the Maribor District Court. The European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO) in Ljubljana claims he has defrauded the EU budget of nearly EUR 65,000. Štajnbaher's lawyer filed several motions for evidence that could significantly prolong the trial.

© STA, 2024