News roundup - Tuesday, 16 April

Ljubljana, 16 April - Below is a roundup of major events on Tuesday, 16 April:

Golob and Sanchez without clear timeline for Palestine recognition

LJUBLJANA - Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez was received by his Slovenian counterpart Robert Golob in Ljubljana on Tuesday with international recognition of Palestine being the main topic of the meeting. While they did not talk about a timeline for the recognition, they noted the difficult situation in Gaza. Golob and Sanchez also praised the bilateral relations, and announced that a joint meeting of the countries' governments could take place in September or October in Spain to deepen relations and strengthen economic cooperation.

IMF lowers GDP growth expectations for Slovenia to 2%

WASHINGTON, US - The International Monetary Fund's (IMF) latest forecast for Slovenia projects 2% GDP growth for this year, a 0.2 percentage point downward correction compared to the autumn forecast. The IMF expects growth to pick up to 2.5% in 2025. Average inflation for this year is now projected at 2.7%, down from 4.2% in the autumn, and at 2% for 2025. The projection for Slovenia's current account balance, put at 3.8% of GDP in the October 2023 forecast for 2024, has been lowered to 2.7%. A further decrease to 2.1% is expected in 2025.

Fajon wraps up Japan visit discussing green hydrogen

TOKYO, Japan - Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon completed her two-day official visit to Japan by meeting State Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Kazuchika Iwata and representatives Keidanren, Japan's largest business organisation, and the CEOs of the Hitachi corporation and the SMBC bank. Opportunities to boost economic and scientific cooperation with a focus on green hydrogen topped the agenda.

President notes importance of Kosovo's stability to Slovenia

PRISHTINA, Kosovo - The long-term stability and security of Kosovo and the Western Balkans in general are of major strategic importance to Slovenia, President Nataša Pirc Musar said as she visited Slovenian troops active in the KFOR mission as part of her two-day visit to Kosovo. Thanking them for their efforts, the commander-in-chief of the SAF reiterated that Slovenia remains committed to KFOR. The NATO-led mission is one of the key elements of security and stabilisation efforts in Kosovo and the broader region, she added.

Slovenians advised against travelling to Israel

LJUBLJANA - The Foreign Ministry advises Slovenian citizens against travel to Israel because of the security situation in the region. The highest level of caution now applies for the country and Slovenian citizens there are recommended to be cautious and follow the instructions of local authorities.

EU posting two Slovenian diplomats to its missions in Asia

BRUSSELS, Belgium - The EU's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell nominated Slovenia's Veronika Bošković Pohar as charge d'affaires in Afghanistan until an ambassador in appointed, and Aleška Simkić as the new EU ambassador to Kazakhstan. Bošković Pohar, currently serving at Slovenia's Permanent Representation at the EU in Brussels, is the country's representative on the political and security committee (PSC). Simkić is currently serving as the head of cabinet to Crisis Management Commissioner Janez Lenarčič, before which she was deputy head of the EU delegation in Russia.

Committee okays proposal for preferential vote referendum

LJUBLJANA - The proposal for a consultative referendum on preferential vote in parliamentary election, proposed by the ruling Freedom Movement in March, received a nod from the relevant parliamentary committee. The Freedom Movement filed the proposal because they want the voters to have a decisive influence on the choice of representative in the National Assembly, said the party's MP Lucija Tacer. The opposition Democrats (SDS) MPs opposed the proposal.

Protocol of action in case of threats to schools to be improved

LJUBLJANA - Interior Minister Boštjan Poklukar announced after meeting Education Minister Darjo Felda that the ministries will boost cooperation regarding safety in schools and improve the protocol for action in the event of threats. The meeting came after a recent anonymous threat of a shooting in a Slovenian school, which had been announced for 10 April but did not happen, caused some confusion and panic due to improper communication by the police.

Number of employed in February highest so far

LJUBLJANA - The number of persons in employment in Slovenia reached the highest level on record in February, rising by 0.3% in monthly comparison and by 1.4% year-on-year to 941,644, the Statistics Office said. The biggest rise in monthly comparison was recorded in construction, where mostly foreign citizens were employed.

Inquiry chair dismisses NSi's request to quiz PM within month

LJUBLJANA - The New Slovenia's (NSi) request for Prime Minister Robert Golob to appear before a parliamentary inquiry into suspected political meddling in police work within 30 days is "irrelevant", because it is not supported by the required number of MPs, inquiry chair Aleš Rezar told the STA. Golob's appearance could take place before mid-July, he added.

Report: Ruše mayor charged of abuse of office in apartment purchase

LJUBLJANA - Media reported that Urška Repolusk, the mayor of the municipality of Ruše, east of Maribor, and her sister have been charged by the police over the purchase of a municipality-owned apartment. The apartment was purchased at a public auction in 2020 by the mayor's sister, who lives in Germany, and later it became co-owned by the mayor. Back in February, Repolusk said that the sale of the apartment was lawful and that she herself "did nothing wrong".

Slovenian company launches AI legal service tool

LJUBLJANA - The legal services company Tax-Fin-Lex presented its artificial intelligence tool TFL AI, which answers legal questions and allows users to analyse and summarise court decisions. The tool works exclusively with the data of the company's portal, said Tax-Fin-Lex director Zlata Tavčar, noting that this includes more than a million documents on legislation, case law and academic articles. This way the tool also ensures security and credibility, she added.

More than 15 tonnes of cigarettes seized in Koper port

KOPER - Slovenian customs officers seized over 15,000 tonnes of undeclared cigarettes in the port of Koper in early April, the Slovenian Financial Administration (FURS) announced. The cigarettes were discovered in a container that arrived in Koper from Turkey and was destined for the Czech Republic. The shipment was said to contain various types of blinds for windows for a well-known Czech company. Had the cigarettes made it to the European market, the EU budget would have been deprived of nearly EUR 2 million in excise duties.

Slovenians help uncover biggest black hole in Milky Way

LJUBLJANA - Slovenian astrophysicists Andreja Gomboc and Tomaž Zwitter have been part of a team that discovered the most massive stellar black hole yet found in the Milky Way. Unlike similar discoveries in distant galaxies, this one allows more in-depth research into the origin of such massive black holes.

© STA, 2024