News roundup - Monday, 29 April

Ljubljana, 29 April - Below is a roundup of major events on Monday, 29 April:

Reappraisal suggests ill-fated courts building overpaid by at least EUR 1.7m

LJUBLJANA - Justice Minister Andreja Katič presented a follow-up appraisal of the dilapidated building the Justice Ministry bought under her predecessor Dominika Švarc Pipan in December for EUR 7.7 million, which shows it is worth EUR 6 million. While the police are already investigating the case, which pushed the SocDems into a deep crisis, Katič said she, too, will file a criminal complaint against unknown perpetrators. The ministry will look into whether the sales contract could be terminated.

Anti-graft watchdog refers top court sole proprietor case to parliament

LJUBLJANA - The Commission for the Prevention of Corruption decided to refer the case of Constitutional Court judge Klemen Jaklič's side activity as sole proprietor to the National Assembly, saying the parliament, being the body that appoints top court judges, is the competent authority. The commission however added it was not throwing out the case entirely, since it will continue examining it as it pertained to what it called its competences regarding restrictions on business and assets.

New route to Copenhagen launched at Ljubljana Airport

BRNIK - The launch of a new link to Copenhagen by the carrier Norwegian was marked ceremoniously at Jože Pučnik Ljubljana Airport. The new route, to be operated twice a week, is the third secured as part of a state subsidies scheme to enhance Slovenia's air connectivity. Norwegian will initially fly between the Slovenian and Danish capitals Mondays and Fridays and during the peak summer season Tuesdays and Saturdays.

Poll shows notable increase in support for govt, SDS also gains at top

LJUBLJANA - Support for the Robert Golob government increased by 4.6 percentage points in the past month to 35.3%, a record high in the past six months, shows the latest Mediana poll for commercial broadcaster POP TV. Golob's Freedom Movement also gained in the party rankings, and so did the opposition Democrats (SDS), who are projected to win four of Slovenia's nine MEP seats. The share of undecided voters has dropped from 22.2% in March to 17.3%.

Police officers to help out prison officers

LJUBLJANA - As Slovenia is faced with a shortage of prison officers, police officers will start helping them out so that not so many court hearings are cancelled. A police trade union said it had learnt about this development, but opposes it, arguing that the judicial and executive branches of government are separated for a reason. The General Police Administration responded by saying that police officers will receive "precise instructions" about the new tasks once the matter is worked out among the sides involved.

Pirates turn to Constitutional Court for digital verification system

LJUBLJANA - The non-parliamentary Pirate Party said it turned to the Constitutional Court on Friday in a bid for Slovenia to set up a digital signature verification system that would allow voters who wish to endorse a non-parliamentary party before EU elections to avoid standing in line at administrative units. Non-parliamentary parties in Slovenia need the endorsement of at least four MPs or 1,000 voters, whose signatures have to be verified in person at administrative units.

European judges urge Slovenia to increase judge pay

LJUBLJANA - The European Association of Judges (EAJ) has adopted a resolution on Slovenia to call on the government and National Assembly to immediately implement the 2023 Constitutional Court ruling under which judge pay should increase to ensure alignment with salaries of the most senior officials in the other two branches of power, the Slovenian Association of Judges said.

Four nominees for Judicial Council members sent to parliament

LJUBLJANA - President Nataša Pirc Musar sent to parliament four nominees from whom the National Assembly will appoint three new members of the eleven-strong Judicial Council, expectedly on 23 May. The nominees are university professors Rajko Pirnat and Marko Novak, lawyer Tanja Bohl and notary Valter Vindiš. The terms of six council members expire on 4 July.

Laško Union miscalculated wages for five years

LJUBLJANA - The media outlet Svet24 reported that for five years the beverage maker Pivovarna Laško Union had been miscalculating salaries, with some workers being paid too much and others too little. This month, the company thus paid out EUR 1.4 million in back pay after an external audit found that "some elements of salaries had unintentionally been calculated incorrectly". The company, a member of the Heineken group, said a new system had been put in place to avoid such problems in the future.

Cetis posts EUR 18m in net profit

CELJE - Cetis, a printing group specialised in secure documents, commercial printing and packaging, posted EUR 125.4 million in sales revenue in 2023, up 5.1% from 2022. Its net profit fell by 3.4% to EUR 18.3 million, the company said in its financial report, describing 2023 as a challenging year. Nevertheless, it completed essential projects abroad and started new ones, while planning to begin construction of a new facility this year next to its existing building in Celje.

Man dies in shooting in Slovenska Bistrica area

SLOVENSKA BISTRICA - A 58-year-old man died in a shooting in the Slovenska Bistrica area in the northeast on Sunday evening. Two other men were involved in the incident, believed to have been triggered by a verbal fight between them. The conflict between the 58-year old and a 50-year-old escalated to the point that a firearm was used. The police believe the man who died might have been the shooter, harming the other man and then pointing the firearm at himself. The deceased died at the site of the incident.

Young man detained over child pornography

CELJE - The Celje police searched last week the home of a 23-year-old man who was contacting girls aged 13 to 16 on social media and coercing them into sending him intimate photos and videos. Several photo and video files were seized and the man was remanded in custody. The police said the suspect had been tried for the same offences in the past.

Bells return to Slovenian minority village

TRIESTE, Italy - After two years of silence, the church bells rang again on Sunday in the San Dorligo della Valle/Dolina, a village near the Italian city of Trieste, which is populated by the Slovenian minority. The bells were seized first in January 2022 and then again in May 2022 after complaints about the noise. The locals hosted a ceremony to mark the return of the bells, which were also blessed by the parish priest.

Work by composer Žuraj to be played by Berlin Philharmonic

BERLIN, Germany - The Berlin Philharmonic will play for the first time in mid-May Anemoi, a work by Slovenian Vito Žuraj. Inspired by Greek mythology, the composition is the first piece of music commissioned by the famed orchestra from a Slovenian composer. The premiere will be conducted by Francois-Xavier Roth, a French conductor who founded Les Siecles, an orchestra that performs on instruments appropriate to the period of composition of each piece.

© STA, 2024