Weekly review of events involving Slovenia, 10-16 May

Ljubljana, 17 May - Below is a weekly review of events involving Slovenia from 10 to 16 May.

FRIDAY, 10 May

LJUBLJANA - PM Robert Golob and Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon welcomed the UN General Assembly's vote in favour of a resolution that promotes Palestine's full UN membership, labelling it an important step towards lasting peace in the Middle East.

LJUBLJANA - The Foreign Ministry strongly condemned the arson attack on the compound of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in East Jerusalem. In a post on X it also called on Israel to protect UN staff.

LJUBLJANA - The Judicial Council dismissed the government's latest pay increase proposal as inappropriate, saying the draft bill did not meet the criteria set down by the Constitutional Court, did not guarantee pay equality between the three branches of government and that the timeline was not suitable.

LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Commission on Petitions, Human Rights and Equal Opportunities discussed an appeal by four NGOs civil groups to reinstate the National Day of Remembrance for the Victims Communist Violence, introduced in May 2022 and abolished in May 2023. The session was boycotted by the coalition.

PERUGIA, Italy - Slovenia's cycling star Tadej Pogačar (UAE Emirates) won the first time trial of the Giro d'Italia, finishing 17 seconds ahead of Italian Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers) in the 40.6 km race to keep his lead in the general classification.


CAIRO, Egypt - Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon started her Middle East tour by visiting the Rafah border crossing in Egypt, a key Gaza crossing point for humanitarian aid. She called for reopening the crossing, which has been taken over by Israeli forces, to resume aid supply.

LJUBLJANA - The National Electoral Commission endorsed three more lists of candidates for EU election, driving the final number of slates to eleven. The Pirate Party's list of candidates was rejected, since the non-parliamentary party failed to submit enough verified voter signatures.

POLZELA - Slovenian-American Friendship Day was marked by commemorating a US bomber crew that crashed there during World War II. The ceremony was addressed by President Nataša Pirc Musar and US Ambassador Jamie L. Harpootlian, both of whom stressed the strong ties between the two countries.

LJUBLJANA - A total of 37,002 hikers and runners participated in the three-day sports event Walk along the Wire, which commemorates the liberation of Ljubljana in WWII.

SUNDAY, 12 May

CAIRO, Egypt - Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon met her Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry as part of her tour of the Middle East. They expressed concern over a halt in ceasefire negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Islamic movement Hamas and warned against Israel's offensive in Rafah.

MALMÖ, Sweden - Slovenia's Raiven finished 23rd in the final of the Eurovision Song Contest out of 25 contestants, scoring 27 points. She received 15 points from jury votes and 12 from televoting.

WINTERTHUR, Switzerland - Slovenian men's national handball team qualified for the 2025 IHF World Handball Championship as they defeated Switzerland in a return match after a loss at home. This will be Slovenia's 11th world championship.

MONDAY, 13 May

STRASBOURG, France - Marko Bošnjak, a Slovenian judge at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), was elected president of the court, becoming the first ECHR president from any country that has joined the Council of Europe after 1963.

ABU DHABI, UAE - Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon met her Emirati counterpart Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan as part of her tour of the Middle East. The pair called for more humanitarian aid to Gaza. Fajon also advocated for strengthening economic cooperation between the countries and invited the United Arab Emirates to open an embassy in Slovenia.

LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly met for an emergency session to fast-track changes to parliamentary inquiry legislation, but the coalition's plan was thwarted by a motion for a consultative referendum filed by the opposition New Slovenia (NSi), which believes the bill is designed to protect PM Robert Golob.

LJUBLJANA - The Economy Ministry outlined a draft hospitality industry bill that regulates short-term rentals in a bid to address a shortage of housing in the country, limiting them to 30 days a year. Municipalities will have an option of relaxing the rule. Minister Matjaž Han hopes the bill will be passed by the end of the year.

LJUBLJANA - Energy group Petrol plans to set up 65 more charging stations for electric vehicles at 20 locations in Slovenia and 40 at 15 locations in Croatia as part of the Cross-E project, having been selected as one of the companies to boost charging infrastructure on the corridors of the TEN-T pan-European transport network.

BANJA LUKA, Bosnia-Herzegovina - An arbitration panel in London decided Bosnia-Herzegovina's Republika Srpska entity will have to pay Slovenian builder Viadukt EUR 46 million in damages for unilaterally terminating a contract for the construction of hydroelectric power plants on the Vrbas River.


DOHA, Qatar - Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon met Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani as part of her Middle East tour. The pair called for efforts to resume Gaza ceasefire talks. Fajon also noted the importance of international efforts to end the Israel-Hamas conflict.

LJUBLJANA - The student protest in support of Palestinians at the Ljubljana Faculty of Social Sciences ended after the University of Ljubljana expressed support for immediate ceasefire and said that no umbrella cooperation agreement existed between the university and Israeli institution. The university is to propose a fund for Palestinian students.

PRAGUE, Czechia - Eleven EU ministers for cohesion, including Slovenia's Aleksander Jevšek, signed a joint statement on the future of cohesion policy after 2027 and the need to strengthen it, as a meeting of the Visegrad Group and seven other EU member states was held in Prague.

LJUBLJANA - Mayors have turned to the Constitutional Court to eliminate pay disparities between themselves and some of the other public office holders. They believe the move could give fresh impetus to the ongoing efforts to reform the public sector pay system.

LJUBLJANA - The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) issued a report which commends Slovenia's authorities for their timely and effective policy response to shocks, including the 2023 floods, but also urging faster fiscal consolidation and structural reforms.

LJUBLJANA - The central bank reported that banks in Slovenia generated EUR 277.2 million in pre-tax profit in the first quarter of the year amid robust revenue growth, which is 82% more than in the same three months last year. Net profit increased by 88% to EUR 241 million.


LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's GDP grew by 2.1% in real terms in the first quarter of 2024 compared to the same period last year. Seasonably adjusted data shows an increase of 1.8% year-on-year, while compared to the previous quarter, GDP remained level, the Statistics Office said.

BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Commission upgraded Slovenia's growth forecast for this year by 0.4 percentage points to 2.3%, but downgraded it by 0.1 points to 2.6% for next year. Inflation is now projected to slow to 2.8% by the end of this year, and to 2.4% in 2025. Slovenia's general government deficit is projected to increase from 2.5% of GDP last year to 2.8% of GDP this year.

YEREVAN, Armenia - The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) kept its projection of Slovenia's GDP growth for 2024 at 2.3% in its latest outlook. Next year, the country's growth is forecast to accelerate to 2.6% as it is expected to benefit from recovery in its key foreign trade partners.

LJUBLJANA - Slovenian top officials condemned an attempted assassination of Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, who was seriously wounded in a shooting, and wished Fico a speedy recovery.

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia - Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon met her Saudi counterpart Faisal bin Farhan and Minister of Economy and Planning Faisal Ibrahim. Discussing the Middle East crisis, calling for a two-state solution leading to the recognition of Palestine. Fajon also expressed Slovenia's wish to strengthen economic ties with Saudi Arabia.

LJUBLJANA - Employees at 34 out of the total of 58 administrative units started an all-out strike after staging one-day strikes for two months, while Wednesday strikes will continue to be held at another 15 administrative units. The stepped up action will be in force until the government meets the demands, including the hiring of more staff.


STRASBOURG, France - The European Court of Human Rights decided that applications brought by Slovenian fishermen against Croatia were inadmissible as the court does not have the jurisdiction to rule on the validity of border arbitration and the fishermen could have foreseen minor offences convictions.

LJUBLJANA - The Administrative Court threw out applications by the border municipalities of Brežice and Središče ob Dravi against the government's decision to set up asylum centre units there. Deputy PM Matej Arčon said that the decision, which the municipalities can appeal, "was expected" and that "we will take all the measures planned".

YEREVAN, Armenia - Finance Minister Klemen Boštjančič was elected chair of the Board of Governors of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) at its annual meeting. Klemenčič will serve for a year in what is the first such position for a Slovenian official.

LJUBLJANA - The government endorsed a post-flood reconstruction programme under which it projects EUR 2.3 billion will be needed in the next five years to tackle the impact of the August 2023 floods, of which EUR 360 million is set aside for this year, said Deputy PM Matej Arčon.

LJUBLJANA - The pharmaceutical group Krka said it generated EUR 486.1 million in sales revenue in the first three months of the year, an increase of 6% over the same period last year, while its net profit increased by 11% to EUR 98.8 million, in what are record-high figures.

© STA, 2024