News roundup - Friday, 24 May

Ljubljana, 24 May - Below is a roundup of major events on Friday, 24 May:

President urges govt to gather up courage to recognise Palestine

LJUBLJANA - President Nataša Pirc Musar said that while Slovenia had launched procedures to recognise Palestine, it should show more resolve and recognise it next week together with Norway, Spain and Ireland. Slovenia has been advocating a two-state solution in the UN Security Council, a solution that cannot be achieved without recognising Palestine, Pirc Musar added.

Most parties support aid for Ukraine, not necessarily military aid

LJUBLJANA - Most Slovenian parties standing in the upcoming election to the European Parliament support continuation of support for Ukraine, but several do not approve of military aid. Most believe the EU should implement a strict and consistent policy of sanctions against Russia.

Tourism to be split in two pillars in new state asset management strategy

LJUBLJANA - The latest draft state asset management strategy envisages changed status of certain companies and their duties, with the real estate investment firm DSU to assume the assets of the former bad bank and Slovenian Sovereign Holding (SSH) and to be in charge of the construction of public flats. In tourism, separation of real estate ownership and tourism activity is planned. The latter is to be organised as part of two major pillars around the Sava group and the company Istrabenz Turizem.

Judicial Council says bill on least-paid judges not enough

LJUBLJANA - After discussing the bill to increase the salaries of the lowest-paid judges which the government adopted on Thursday, the Judicial Council said today the bill did not implement the Constitutional Court's decision regarding judges' pay either in terms of content or the time when it should take effect. Rejecting the bill, the council proposed the court decide as soon as possible on the council's request for a review of the Public Sector Pay Act regulating judges' pay.

EESC discusses importance of social dialogue in EU candidates

LJUBLJANA - A conference of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) on the EU enlargement to the Western Balkans and other countries is taking place in Ljubljana on Friday. EESC head Oliver Röpke said the candidate countries need strong social dialogue structures, which must be a clear criterion for enlargement. Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon noted the importance of EU enlargement, but not only to the Western Balkans. "We're also talking about Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, and last but not least, Turkey."

Ministers pledge post-flood reconstruction via EUR 2.3bn five-year plan

LJUBLJANA - The ministers in charge of reconstruction efforts after the devastating August 2023 floods that caused an estimated EUR 2.9 billion in damage around Slovenia updated the press on plans and progress made. Urgent works on watercourses are coming to a close, while long-term solutions are coming via a 2024-2028 reconstruction programme, envisaging EUR 2.33 billion in investment.

Govt hears calls by small businesses, PM says

LJUBLJANA - The government hears the calls by small businesses for a better business environment and will continue with its efforts for appropriate measures to be implemented, PM Robert Golob said at a forum hosted by the Chamber of Trade Crafts and Small Business (OZS), at which 137 demands to the government were presented, from less red tape to lower taxes.

SDS proposes aid to Slovenian fishermen after ECHR decision

LJUBLJANA - The opposition Democrats (SDS) tabled a bill to help Slovenian fishermen after their applications against fines imposed by Croatia for fishing in what Croatia perceives its waters while they were awarded to Slovenia by an arbitration court, were deemed inadmissible by the ECHR. The idea is to compensate them within 30 days for the enforced fines and fines that are still subject to proceedings. The fines amount to EUR 3.4 million.

Support for cannabis legalisation prevailing among referendum campaigners

LJUBLJANA - Nine of a total of 15 parties and associations taking part in the campaign for the 9 June consultative referendum on cannabis support legalisation of cannabis for both medical purposes and limited personal use, arguing this would increase safety. Three centre-right parties and a Catholic doctors' association are strongly against, citing serious side effects.

Top court allows cannabis vote to be held alongside EU election

LJUBLJANA - The Constitutional Court ruled that the decision to call a consultative referendum on cannabis legalisation alongside the 9 June EU election is not unconstitutional and that this cannot constitute abuse of the institute of consultative referendum, as the opposition argued. Responding, the coalition said the decision had been expected, adding the questions on this topic are suitable for a referendum and formulated in line with the law and the principles of democracy and the rule of law.

Strike-averting deal reached at Pošta Slovenije

LJUBLJANA - The Postal Workers' Trade Union suspended its strike plans, saying that the management of the national postal operator Pošta Slovenije committed to meeting all of its demands by the end of the year. Most of them revolve around working conditions.

German fund Katera offering EUR 25 for Nama share

LJUBLJANA - The German private equity fund Katera P11, the majority owner of real estate operator Nama that owns the eponymous department store in the centre of Ljubljana, published a takeover bid for the remaining 12.42% of Nama shares it does not already own. It is offering EUR 25 per share between 27 May and 24 June.

Multi-purpose Roma centres win EUR 5m in EU funding

LJUBLJANA - The Ministry of Cohesion and Regional Development said it had approved EU funding for a project of building multi-purpose centres for the Roma community. The project Together for Knowledge, worth almost EUR 6 million, will receive more than EUR 5 million from the European Social Fund Plus. The goal is to help Roma children achieve better results in primary school, raising the percentage of them successfully finishing primary school and enrolling in secondary school.

Rogaška Slatina gets 106-metre observation tower

ROGAŠKA SLATINA - A 106-metre observation tower, the tallest in Slovenia, was inaugurated in the town of Rogaška Slatina on Thursday in a bid to boost tourism at the spa destination. The Kristal tower, which cost EUR 5 million, has thus replaced the 89-metre Crystal Palace in Ljubljana's BTC district as the highest building in the country. The goal is to attract 60,000 visitors a year, which would mean roughly EUR 600,000 in annual revenue.

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