Weekly review of events involving Slovenia, 19-25 April

Ljubljana, 26 April - Below is a weekly review of events involving Slovenia from 19 to 25 April:

FRIDAY, 19 April

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia joined the Artemis Accords, a set of principles for cooperation in the civil exploration and use of the Moon, Mars, comets and asteroids for peaceful purposes. The step paves the way for the country's participation in US space programmes.

SHANGHAI, China - A Slovenian-Chinese business forum was held on the margins of Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon's visit to China, attended by a 71-member Slovenian business delegation and representatives of more than a hundred Chinese companies. Fajon also held talks with Shanghai Mayor Gong Zheng.

LJUBLJANA - As part of his two-day visit to Slovenia, European Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton met with PM Robert Golob. The pair discussed the EU's new industrial policy, measures for strengthening productivity and competitiveness and the opportunities of the EU internal market.

LJUBLJANA - The first conference of the Friends of the Western Balkans, a think-tank created by former President Borut Pahor, brought together former presidents from the region to advocate for the enlargement of the EU to the Western Balkans. "There is no better alternative for the future of the Western Balkans than full EU membership of all the countries in the region," said Pahor.

LJUBLJANA - The Swiss pharma giant Sandoz lay the foundation stone for a new biosimilars development centre in Ljubljana. The USD 90 million investment will create around 200 jobs and is expected to be completed in 2026. The new centre will be Sandoz's main hub for a comprehensive development of biosimilars.

SATURDAY, 20 April

BEIJING, China - FM Tanja Fajon wrapped up her four-day visit to China by participating in a debate organised by the Bled Strategic Forum and the Center for China and Globalization. Fajon stressed the importance of multilateralism and respect for international law, including in action on climate change.

LJUBLJANA - The opposition Democrats (SDS) issued a set of demands on conditions that they say would ensure that the June election to the European Parliament is fair and democratic. These include reopening polling stations that have been closed in recent years, and changes to when ballots cast in early voting are counted.

SUNDAY, 21 April

LUXEMBOURG, Luxembourg - The Israeli Foreign Ministry summoned Slovenian Ambassador to Israel Andreja Purkart Martinez over the country's vote for a draft resolution that recommended Palestine be admitted to full UN membership. FM Tanja Fajon said all criteria for Palestine to become a UN member have been met and its membership is not a threat to Israel's security.

LIEGE, Belgium - Slovenian cyclist Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) won the Liege-Bastogne-Liege race after attacking on the La Redoute hill, 35 km before the finish line. He finished 1:39 minutes ahead of France's Romain Bardet (DSM-firmenich PostNL) and 2:02 ahead of Dutchman Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck).

MONDAY, 22 April

BRDO PRI KRANJU - Together with her counterparts from Slovenia's neighbours, President Nataša Pirc Musar urged open borders within the EU and the bloc's enlargement as she hosted the event to mark the 20th anniversary of Slovenia's EU membership. This was the first time the presidents of Austria, Croatia, Hungary and Italy met in Slovenia since June 2011.

LUXEMBOURG, Luxembourg - Lt Gen Robert Glavaš, the Slovenian Armed Forces chief of the general staff, is among the candidates for the head of the EU Military Committee (EUMC), the highest military body within the EU Council, FM Tanja Fajon confirmed. A decision is expected in mid-May.

LUXEMBOURG, Luxembourg - Defence Minister Marjan Šarec attended a joint meeting of EU foreign and defence ministers, stressing that Slovenia supports any activity to boost the resilience and defence readiness of the EU and Ukraine. He called for the EU strategy in defence industry and the accompanying European Defence Industry Programme to be implemented as soon as possible.

LJUBLJANA - The council of the ruling Freedom Movement endorsed the party's list of candidates for EU election. MEP Irena Joveva is the lead candidate, while gynaecologist Aleksander Merlo, who had earlier been tipped as the top candidate, decided not to stand.

LJUBLJANA - A proposal by the opposition Democrats (SDS) to designate the second Sunday in May as the annual day for voting in all potential referendums was rejected by the Home Affairs Committee. The government as well as the parliament's legal service said that waiting for a single day each year to hold referendums could result in the infringement of voting rights.

TUESDAY, 23 April

LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed in a 53:30 vote a reform energy bill, ending months of heated debates centred on provisions on the burning of natural gas and wood that an opposition party had turned into a major issue in the run-up to the EU election. The legislation sets the framework for national energy policy by providing incentives and limitations as the country transitions away from fossil fuels.

CETINJE/PODGORICA, Montenegro - President Nataša Pirc Musar assured her Montenegrin counterpart Jakov Milatović that Slovenia remains a firm supporter of Montenegro's EU accession efforts. The Western Balkans must not be forgotten amid the current difficult and unstable global situation, she said, finding the region's integration into the EU to be "an important factor of general European stability". They attended the opening of a Slovenian-Montenegrin business forum on 25 April.

LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly endorsed all three candidates for Slovenian judge at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) put forward by President Nataša Pirc Musar - Boštjan Zalar, a senior judge at the Administrative Court, Vasilka Sancin, the international law chair at the Ljubljana Faculty of Law, and Aleš Galič, a professor of civil law at the Ljubljana Faculty of Law.

LJUBLJANA - The Left endorsed the list of candidates for the European elections with MP Nataša Sukič as the lead candidate. The slate also includes Labour Minister Luka Mesec in last place, and state secretaries Dan Juvan and Luka Omladič.

LJUBLJANA - Police conducted 23 house searches at several locations of the national motorway company DARS, and the homes of its former chairman Valentin Hajdinjak and tax adviser Rok Snežič. Six persons are suspected of abuse of office or giving or accepting bribes.


LJUBLJANA - The Foreign Ministry summoned the Serbian chargé d'affaires in Ljubljana for talks over Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić's offensive statements about Slovenia after a UN Security Council session on Kosovo. Vučić described Slovenia as "abhorrent" because of what he claims was its involvement in a "set up" against Serbia. PM Robert Golob said this was "utterly insulting".

LJUBLJANA - The government adopted the basic premises of the long-awaited pension reform. The details about the proposal are not yet known, but the plan is to maintain the existing years of service rule. The draft will now be hashed out by the Economic and Social Council.

LJUBLJANA - The government adopted three new strategic documents - a new defence strategy, and two accompanying documents on military and civil defence. The documents take into account the new security challenges brought about by the Russian attack on Ukraine, it said.

BRDO PRI KRANJU - Ten years since its first session, the joint Slovenia-Carinthia committee held its seventh plenary. Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon and Carinthia Governor Peter Kaiser highlighted the successful strengthening of cooperation in a number of areas.

KOČEVJE - The Japanese robotics company Yaskawa laid the foundation stone for two new facilities next to its existing plant in Kočevje. With the EUR 32 million investment the company is expanding its activity in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

THURSDAY, 25 April

LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly decided that referendums on assisted dying, cannabis legalisation and use, and the introduction of the preferential vote in general elections will be held on 9 June alongside the EU election. The proposal was adopted even though the junior coalition Social Democrats (SD) withheld their support.

LJUBLJANA - The Social Democrats (SD) picked the candidates for the EU election, putting current MEPs Matjaž Nemec and Milan Brglez at the top and bottom of their slate, respectively. The list also features former MEP Mojca Kleva Kekuš in second place, and Cohesion and Regional Development Minister Aleksander Jevšek in third.

LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly approved the government's draft budget framework for the next three years. General government deficit is planned at 2.7% of GDP next year, 2.5% in 2026, and 1.9% in 2027. The opposition argued the document was pointless given the upcoming overhaul of EU fiscal rules.

BUDAPEST, Hungary - Taking part in a meeting of the Central European Defence Cooperation (CEDC) initiative in Budapest, Defence Minister Marjan Šarec announced Slovenia's increased participation in the ALTHEA mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the KFOR mission in Kosovo in the 2024-2025 period.

BRNIK - A new service linking the Slovenian and Latvian capitals was launched as airBaltic's first plane landed at Jože Pučnik Ljubljana Airport. This is the second of four new routes that are being introduced as part of a subsidy scheme designed to boost Slovenia's air connectivity.

ZAGREB, Croatia - Slovenian judoka Kaja Kajzer tied her best career accomplishment by winning silver in the women's 57kg category at the European Judo Championships, losing in the finals to Ukraine's Daria Bilodid, an Olympic medallist and two-time world champion.

© STA, 2024