News roundup - Monday, 27 May

Ljubljana, 27 May - Below is a roundup of major events on Monday, 27 May:

Govt to finalise Palestine recognition on Thursday

ALGIERS, Algeria/BRUSSELS, Belgium - PM Robert Golob announced during a visit to Algeria that the government will be deciding on Thursday on Slovenia's recognition of Palestine, after which the decision would be send to parliament for final approval. His statement comes after FM Tanja Fajon said earlier in the day in Brussels that she will recommend to the government to finalise the procedures for the recognition of Palestine this week and send it to parliament for final approval. The government launched procedures for recognising Palestine on 9 May announcing to send the relevant decision to parliament by 13 June.

Slovenia increases gas supply, opens embassy in Algeria

ALGIERS, Algeria - Slovenia and Algeria signed changes to the gas purchase agreement to increase gas supply during Slovenian PM Robert Golob's official visit to Algiers. The changes to the gas sales and purchase agreement was signed between Slovenia's Geoplin and Algeria's Sonatrach. As a result, gas supply to Slovenia will increase by 200 million m3 per year, and Algerian gas will cover 50% of Slovenia's needs, compared to 30% now. Slovenia also officially opened its embassy in Algiers, while Golob hopes Algeria will open one in Ljubljana in autumn.

Govt to discuss package of fiscal changes this week

LJUBLJANA - The government will be discussing on Thursday a package of fiscal changes aimed at boosting Slovenia's competitive edge, Finance Minister Klemen Boštjančič announced. Forbes Slovenia reported the changes included incentives to attract talent and boost international competitiveness, as well as an increase in VAT on sugary drinks. What is to be only the first package of fiscal changes is to take effect on 1 January 2025. The ministry will present more changes in autumn, said Boštjančič.

Slovenia sending additional aid to Syria

BRUSSELS, Belgium - FM Tanja Fajon attended an international conference titled Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region in Brussels, welcoming the efforts of the UN's Special Envoy for Syria Geir O. Pedersen and announcing a new aid contribution from Slovenia worth EUR 200,000. Since 2013, Slovenia has been responding regularly to the humanitarian situation in Syria and neighbouring countries and has so far donated a total of EUR 2.25 million.

Slovenian diplomatic missions in Brussels get new premises

BRUSSELS, Belgium - FM Tanja Fajon opened the new premises of Slovenia's Embassy in Brussels and of the country's Permanent Representation to the EU, located in in Rue Joseph II 14 , where the staff - a total of 111 employees - moved last month. The Foreign Ministry bought the renovated building, which spans 3,000 m2 across seven floors, for around EUR 22.5 million. Slovenia's Ambassador to Belgium is Barbara Sušnik and Permanent Representative to the EU Iztok Jarc.

Anti-graft watchdog points at circumvention of law in 2023 report

LJUBLJANA - The Corruption Prevention Commission (KPK) described 2023 in its latest annual report as a challenging but successful year. It reiterated concerns about efforts to circumvent the law, and noted that most detected violations of anti-corruption legislation involved integrity issues, conflict of interest and business activity restrictions. The report was sent to the National Assembly and the office of President Nataša Pirc Musar last week.

NSi proposes changing statute-barring rules

LJUBLJANA - The opposition New Slovenia (NSi) filed to parliament a bill to change the Criminal Code on statute-barring rules to prevent high-profile criminal cases from becoming statue-barred just before the end of trial. The party thinks the prescriptive period for the prosecution of criminal offences should no longer run when the trial starts. "In Slovenia it seems that all high-profile cases end up becoming statute-barred and all criminals are innocent in the end," MP Aleksander Reberšek said as he presented the reason for the move.

CoE recommends Croatia set up Slovenian kindergartens

STRASBOURG, France - A Council of Europe (CoE) committee recommended that Croatia act immediately to ensure access to kindergarten education in Slovenian and to create TV and radio programmes in Slovenian, the CoE said as it published a report on Croatia. The Slovenian community in Croatia welcomed the recommendations, while it is unsure whether Croatia would follow them.

NGO gives remarks to bill restricting short-term rentals

LJUBLJANA - An NGO launched an anti-Airbnb campaign highlighting the negative impacts of short-term renting on the rental market and proposing several corrections to the draft hospitality bill. While welcoming the bill which caps short-term rentals to 30 days a year, Danes Je Nov Dan (Today Is a New Day) proposes short-term rentals be allowed only to persons who have permanent residence in the apartment offered for rent, which would be in line with the original purpose of short-term renting.

Olympic Committee taking action against Hofer's copyright of sports chant

LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Olympic Committee (OKS) will take action against a 2020 decision of the Intellectual Property Office granting copyright to retailer Hofer for a popular sports chant, "Those who don't jump aren't Slovenian", OKS secretary general Tomaž Jontes annouced. "It's unacceptable that a retailer would use a popular chant for commercial purposes, all the while not supporting Slovenian sports. We will fight this with all available means," he said.

Business sentiment slightly deteriorates in May

LJUBLJANA - Business sentiment in Slovenia deteriorated in May on a monthly basis, with the relevant indicator standing at -2.3, down by 0.3 percentage points, while improving on an annual basis by 0.8 points, the Statistics Office said. The monthly drop is a result of a decline in the sentiment indicators for retail (by 0.4 percentage points) and services (by 0.1 percentage points).

Petrol developing charging stations for heavy vehicles

LJUBLJANA - The energy company Petrol has successfully conducted test charging of two electric buses of the Ljubljana public transport provider LPP in what is a major step in the announced development of such infrastructure by Petrol in Slovenia and Croatia. The test charging of two LPP buses was conducted at one of Petrol's points of sale in Ljubljana, where ultra-fast chargers are installed. The buses were charged by chargers with a capacity of 300 kW to 350 kW.

Sava Re shareholders to get EUR 1.75 in gross dividend

LJUBLJANA - The shareholders of the reinsurer Sava Re approved the proposal by the supervisors and management for a dividend of EUR 1.75 gross per share to be paid out this year, which is 9.4% more than last year. The payout is scheduled for 12 June. The company's distributable profit was EUR 57.5 million at the end of 2023, of which Sava Re will spend 27.1 million on the dividend payout. The remaining EUR 30.4 million will remain undistributed, the company said.

Police identify individuals in xenophobic video

LJUBLJANA - The police have identified some of the masked persons threatening violence against migrants in a video that appeared on social media earlier this month. Ljubljana Police Department director Tomislav Omejec told the press the group was known to the police and some of its members that appeared in the video are underage. However, the police have not received a report from the alleged victim.

Biologist Dermastia wins Science Communicator Award

LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Science Foundation awarded the honorary title of Science Communicator of 2023 to biologist Marina Dermastia. She is a professor of botany and cell biology at the Ljubljana University and member of the National Geographic Slovenija editorial board. The title of Science Communicator is the highest award the foundation confers for achievements in science communication since 2013.

SNG Drama Ljubljana excited about 8 premieres in 2024/2025 season, new location

LJUBLJANA - The country's leading theatre, SNG Drama Ljubljana, unveiled its 2024/2025 programme on Friday, starting in September at its substitute L56 location in the capital. The programme features eight premieres, including Brecht's The Threepenny Novel, which will bring the theatre's first ever collaboration with the Ljubljana Opera ensemble.

SNG Maribor to stage Jančar, Verdi and Clug next season

MARIBOR - The new season of SNG Maribor, the leading cultural centre in Slovenia's second largest city, will feature a play based on a novel by one of Slovenia's greatest authors, Drago Jančar, Verdi's opera Othello, and a ballet staged to music based on songs of the French Revolution. Dubbed the Season of Great Titles, the season will bring a diverse programme to help address many key societal and existential issues despite the uncertainties and changes of the time.

Yugoslav war film co-produced by Slovenia wins short film Palme d'Or

CANNES, France - The Man Who Could Not Remain Silent, a film co-produced by Slovenian producer Boštjan Virc, won the Golden Palm award in the short film competition programme at the 77th Cannes Film Festival. Situated in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1993 and based on true events, it depicts the stopping of a passenger train by Serb paramilitaries. As the soldiers start picking on innocent civilians, only one of the 500 passengers dares stand up to them.

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