Weekly review of events involving Slovenia, 17-23 May

Ljubljana, 24 May - Below is a weekly review of events involving Slovenia from 17 to 23 May.

FRIDAY, 17 May

LJUBLJANA - PM Robert Golob told the CNN he had addressed a letter to fellow EU leaders calling on them to join efforts to recognise Palestine. "By being united at European level, I think we can be a much more significant player on the international scene, specially in the Middle East," he said.

LJUBLJANA - PM Robert Golob talked with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky focussing on defence cooperation, foremost the finalisation of a bilateral security agreement based on the G7 Vilnius Declaration, Zelensky said on X. Golob also confirmed his attendance at the Peace Summit in Switzerland next month.

LJUBLJANA - Interior Minister Boštjan Poklukar said there had been no change in Slovenian-Italian relations when it came to the border after Italian Interior Minister Antonio Tajani said Italy would like to temporarily suspend the Schengen Code on the border with Slovenia. The opposition interpreted Tajani's statement as a vote of no confidence in Slovenia.

BRUSSELS, Belgium/LJUBLJANA - Slovenia continues to rely on Russian gas, imported via Austria, the European Commission noted on the second anniversary of the adoption of the plan to reduce dependence on Russian fossil fuels REPowerEU. Responding on 20 May, the country's largest gas supplier Geoplin said it purchases gas under short-term contracts on liquid markets in the EU, where it is considered that the gas was already imported to the EU and is of EU origin.

PORTOROŽ - Participants of a conference on financial systems in Central, Eastern and SE Europe hosted by the Slovenian central bank and the IMF agreed that further steps needed to be taken in Europe towards a banking union and a union of capital markets to support the development of companies and economies.


LJUBLJANA - Government guidelines for a strict separation of public and private healthcare obtained by the STA show dual practice will still be possible, but doctors employed by the public sector will only be allowed to work more at their own health organisations or for other public providers under certain conditions.

LJUBLJANA - The opposition Democrats (SDS) are projected to beat the ruling Freedom Movement by almost ten points at the EU election, while Vesna, a small green party, jumped to third place, according to the latest poll released by the newspaper Dnevnik. The SDS is likely to win three of the nine seats, the Freedom Movement and Vesna two each.

SUNDAY, 19 May

TACEN - After Slovenia won the women's team kayak event the day before, Slovenian canoeists scored a triple win at the European Canoe Slalom Championship as Žiga Lin Hočevar took first place in the individual event, followed by Luka Božič and Benjamin Savšek. Slovenia also won the men's team event and took second place in the women's team event.

MONDAY, 20 May

LJUBLJANA - The Foreign Ministry welcomed the ICC prosecutor's seeking arrest warrants for Israeli and Hamas leaders, saying that war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Israel and Palestine since October 2023 "must be prosecuted independently and impartially regardless of the perpetrators".

BRUSSELS, Belgium - European Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarčič became a target of criticism over the bloc's decision to provide assistance to Iran's rescue effort triggered by a helicopter crash that killed the country's president, and his EUSolidarity hashtag use. The Slovenian defended the move, saying it was not an act of political support.

LJUBLJANA - Europol's Executive Director Catherine De Bolle urged in an interview with the STA international cooperation between law enforcement agencies, bolstered by Europol's support. She warned that criminal groups are trying to gain power by channelling illegally obtained funds into legal businesses and through corruption.

CELJE - Celjske Mesnine, a major Slovenian meat processing company, was sold to Croatian firm Mesna Industrija Braća Pivac for an undisclosed sum. The contract will take effect when all approvals have been obtained, Celjske Mesnine said, pledging to remain a reliable partner of Slovenian cooperatives and family farms.

MENGEŠ - The Australian Wheen Bee Foundation, which carries out a variety of activities for the promotion and support of bees, other pollinators and beekeeping, won the Golden Bee award, a prize awarded by Slovenia for achievements in the promotion, conservation and research of bees and other pollinators. The award was given out World Bee Day for the fourth time.


LJUBLJANA - Energy company Gen Energija estimated the investment cost of Krško 2 with one nuclear reactor at EUR 9,314 per kilowatt, financing costs excluded but expected inflation taken into account. If Krško 2 had a capacity of 1,000 to 1,650 megawatts, it is estimated to cost between EUR 9.3 and 15.4 billion.

LJUBLJANA - The International Criminal Court prosecutor's decision to seek arrest warrants for Israeli and Hamas leaders over suspected war crimes in Israel and Gaza was expected and necessary, former Slovenian President Danilo Türk told the STA.

NEW YORK, US - Samuel Žbogar, Slovenia's representative on the UN Security Council, said the country will join others to set up a global alliance committed to water protection in armed conflicts this week, as he addressed an open debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflicts.

LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon met Director General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization Qu Dongyu to inaugurate a beehive in the Foreign Ministry's garden to mark World Bee Day and symbolically launch the first international beekeeping forum.

LJUBLJANA - In 2023, Slovenia imported 68.3% of gas from Austria and 28.3% from Algeria, through Italy, shows data by the Slovenian Energy Agency. Russian gas still represents a large share of the gas imported from Austria, it said after Slovenia was criticised by the European Commission for importing Russian gas through Austria.

LJUBLJANA - A strike of journalists at RTV Slovenija, which mostly revolved around a perceived loss of autonomy under the previous management and financial instability, ended after almost two years. The new management, appointed after a change in power, pledged to meet all strike demands and strengthen dialogue.

LJUBLJANA - The police are investigating a video featuring a group of masked men threatening violence against migrants, which appeared on social media at the weekend. The incident was condemned by senior officials.


LJUBLJANA - PM Robert Golob and FM Tanja Fajon welcomed Spain, Ireland and Norway's announcements to recognise Palestine on 28 May, noting that Slovenia was the first in a group of EU countries to start the recognition procedure. It plans to recognise Palestine by 13 June, while the coalition Left wants it to do it together with Spain, Ireland and Norway.

LJUBLJANA - Interior Minister Boštjan Poklukar announced that Slovenia would extend checks on its borders with Croatia and Hungary by another six months, until 21 December, after Italy decided to do the same on its border with Slovenia. Both countries cited unstable situation in the Middle East as the reason.

LJUBLJANA - Africa is faced with severe consequences of climate change although it contributes little to the global greenhouse gas emissions, Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon said as she addressed the opening of Africa Day, an annual international conference held for the 13th year. She urged a balanced and equality-based Europe-Africa cooperation.

NEW YORK, US - Slovenia and another 14 UN member states and Palestine launched an initiative on shared commitments on the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), hoping that many other states will join in and affirm the commitments.

KOPER - PM Robert Golob and University of Primorska Rector Klavdija Kutnar signed a letter of intent to develop medical studies at the youngest public university in the country. First students of medicine, expectedly 100, are to get enrolled in 2027/28 at the existing Faculty of Health Studies, which will get new premises next to the Izola General Hospital.

TIRANA, Albania - Starting a three-day official visit to Albania, President Nataša Pirc Musar opened the new premises of the Slovenian Embassy in Tirana. She stressed that diplomatic ties between the two countries had developed over the past three decades into a strong partnership based on mutual respect, and shared values and goals. The next day Pirc Musar met with her counterpart Bajram Begaj, Prime Minister Edi Rama and Parliament President Lindita Nikolla, to discuss bilateral cooperation and Albania's EU accession process.

KOPER - On the eve of the Borkum cargo ship's arrival in the port of Koper, a pro-Palestinian rally took place to protest against the decision of the Slovenian Maritime Administration to allow the ship, which pro-Palestinian groups claim carries weapons for Israel, enter the port. Earlier in the week, the coalition Left urged authorities to inspect the ship and the Infrastructure Ministry explained the Maritime Administration could not deny entry if the ship provides all the necessary documents.

LJUBLJANA - Asset manager NLB Skladi completed the acquisition of Generali Investments Skopje, the third largest asset management company in North Macedonia.

MENGEŠ - China's pharmaceutical company Porton opened new research and development laboratories for small molecules in Mengeš, in what it said was a EUR 50 million investment.


LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed a resolution on long-term peaceful use of nuclear energy in Slovenia. All parties bar the coalition Left also passed a proposal for a referendum on the planned new nuclear power station in Krško, to be held in the autumn. Most MPs see a new reactor as the only path to secure power supply.

LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed act on cultural rights of ethnic communities from the former Yugoslavia. The law introduces funding of cultural programmes for members of the communities from the Culture Ministry, while the government council in charge of issues related to these communities will become a permanent consultative body chaired by the culture minister.

LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon said she saw no reason to hesitate to recognise Palestine, noting ahead of the government session she would like to see the government make this decision as soon as possible so that parliament may then vote on the proposal. The government discussed the issue, but did not make any decisions.

LJUBLJANA - The government adopted a bill to increase the salaries of the lowest-paid judges by roughly 12%, to implement a June 2023 Constitutional Court decision saying that judges' pay is too low compared to the other two branches of government. The legislation, which also applies to prosecutors, is to take effect as of 2025, but may be still amended as it is dependent on the general public sector pay agreement, which is in the making.

LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly passed a bill providing legal recourse for junior creditors wiped out in the 2013 bank bailout. The law comes after the Constitutional Court found in the autumn of 2016 that those who lost their assets in the country's bank bailout had no effective legal recourse, but the Association of Small Shareholders (MDS) said it will challenge it at the court again.

LJUBLJANA - Ljubljana police said they had filed a criminal complaint against a 36-year-old man believed to have been behind an alarm-causing news portal comment announcing a school shooting in Slovenia for 10 April, after the 2 April shooting in Finland. Several electronic devices and live ammunition were seized in a house search.

LJUBLJANA - Public broadcaster TV Slovenija reported that part of the weapons carried by the Borkum cargo ship, which arrived at the port of Koper, left for the Czech Republic, while part stayed on board, with the ship leaving around noon to Marghera near Venice.

KOPER - Luka Koper, the operator of Slovenia's sole commercial port, saw its business affected by the crisis in the Middle East and tensions in the Red Sea in the first quarter of the year. Net profit fell by 7% year-on-year to EUR 15.4 million and revenue edged down by 1% to EUR 79.4 million.

© STA, 2024