News roundup - Thursday, 30 May

Ljubljana, 30 May - Below is a roundup of major events on Thursday, 30 May:

Govt asks parliament to recognise Palestine

LJUBLJANA - The government unanimously endorsed a motion for Slovenia to recognise a state of Palestine and referred it to parliament for final approval, PM Robert Golob said after the government session. The National Assembly will vote on the motion on Tuesday. Its yes vote would conclude the recognition procedure in Slovenia. Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz expressed hope on X that the Slovenian parliament will reject the government's recommendation.

Analyst: Govt should count in Israel's counter-measures

LJUBLJANA - In recognising the state of Palestine, Slovenia should count on Israel's potential counter-measures, be it economic or diplomatic, Bojko Bučar, a professor of international relations at the Faculty of Social Sciences, told the STA on Thursday. He hopes the government has made the necessary analyses and is ready for adverse measures.

Slovenia finds blockade of EU vote in Bosnia unacceptable

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia has not been notified that the Bosnian government has denied consent for Slovenian citizens living in Bosnia-Herzegovina to vote in the EU elections at Slovenian diplomatic missions, the Foreign Ministry said. However, the ministry expects the vote to go ahead, while it also says that it is unacceptable to politicise elections. Nevertheless, Slovenia will continue to support Bosnia on its EU path, provided that the country respects fundamental EU values.

Slovenia urges UN Security Council to continue political process in Syria

NEW YORK, US - Slovenia's deputy permanent representative to the UN, Ondina Blokar Drobič, called for the continuation of the political process in Syria during today's debate in the UN Security Council. She said the process, which is essential for improving the humanitarian and economic situation in the country, must also include women.

First package of draft tax changes enter public consultation

LJUBLJANA - The government drafted changes to tax legislation that includes a favourable tax scheme for attracting highly qualified staff from abroad and higher taxation of sugary and energy drinks, and beer and spirits. The package, which is entering public consultation soon, is expected to be applicable as of 2025. The government proposes a more favourable treatment in the form of reduced income tax for five years at a rate of 7% of the received annual gross wage with bonuses to enable companies to attract highly qualified staff from abroad.

Govt adopts healthcare blueprint to prevent dual practice

LJUBLJANA - The government adopted guidelines to change the Health Services Act to strictly separate public and private healthcare. This means that doctors employed at public health providers could no longer work for private providers in their free time, not even for those who work for the public healthcare system, the concessionaires. They will, however, be able to work more for their own employer and for other public providers under certain conditions.

Bill drafted to address staff shortages in elderly care

LJUBLJANA - The government adopted an emergency bill aimed at improving working conditions and increasing the number of staff and the capacity of providers of social welfare services and long-term care. The government argues that this is a necessary step in addressing the staff shortages of providers of social welfare services and long-term care, which is one of the main obstacles in providing and developing social welfare and long-term care.

Golob reserved about cannabis for personal use

LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Robert Golob said he is personally reserved about growing and possessing cannabis for limited personal use, on which Slovenian voters will be deciding in a referendum on the day of the EU election on 9 June at the initiative of his Freedom Movement. He said it is up to people to decide whether Slovenia is mature enough for this.

SDS raises eyebrows with video shout-outs and billboards

LJUBLJANA - The Democrats' (SDS) move to include personalised video messages in their EU election campaign has been causing a stir, prompting the privacy watchdog to look into the matter. The emails found their way to potential voters who are not members or supporters of the party, since Janša asks the addressees in the video to send the message to at least five friends or acquaintances. The opposition party also attracted attention with billboards taking aim at its rival, the Freedom Movement.

Slovenia to sign ESA membership agreement on 18 June

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia has completed talks on its full membership of the European Space Agency (ESA) and expects to become a new member as of 2025. Prime Minister Robert Golob will sign the accession agreement in Paris on 18 June, which will be followed by ratification in Slovenian parliament, the government said after its weekly session.

Židan says EU should step up its game in foreign trade

LJUBLJANA - Economy Ministry State Secretary Dejan Židan noted at a session of the EU ministers in charge of foreign trade that "talks with third countries show that the EU is losing the positive connotation in global trade". He also said Slovenia supported the European Commission's initiative to strengthen trade with Africa.

Govt term marked by crises, key reforms still pending

LJUBLJANA - Saturday marks two years since the Robert Golob cabinet took office. The government has seen success in tackling the energy and cost-of-living crises, and post-flood reconstruction, but its track record is moot when it comes to structural reforms. Halfway through its term, these remain largely on the drawing board. Political analyst Luka Lisjak Gabrijelčič finds the government still has the political capital to carry out reforms, and can complete its term easily - if that is what suits it.

PM proud of govt work halfway into term

LJUBLJANA - Halfway into the government term, Prime Minister Robert Golob said that the coalition was proud of its work. The government continues to draft structural reforms. It adopted the starting points for tax and healthcare reforms today, Golob said, expressing belief that the results will bring the cabinet another term.

Opposition deems govt ineffective, policies misguided

LJUBLJANA - Opposition leaders provided a scathing assessment of the government's two years in office, arguing that the cabinet is ineffective, the public administration bloated, reform efforts stalled or shelved, and energy policy misguided. What pains the Democrats (SDS) the most is the lack of efforts to tackle migrations. Meanwhile, the New Slovenia (NSi) described the past two years as "watching a slow-learning process," which has produced the same ineffectiveness as previous governments led by political newcomers.

Power utility HSE pays back last instalment of state aid

LJUBLJANA - The state-owned power utility HSE announced it had paid back the final EUR 75 million it received in a EUR 492 million capital injection from the state in 2022. Despite initial doubts, HSE paid back the money in a year and a half. HSE was able to return the state aid while supplying electricity at regulated rates because of successful operations of the HSE group in 2023 and the first half of 2024, said HSE director general Tomaž Štokelj.

Govt allocates EUR 1.4m for post-flood efforts of businesses

LJUBLJANA - The government adopted a programme of post-flood efforts in business worth EUR 1.37 million. The programme refers to the floods that hit Slovenia in late October and early November last year and caused EUR 77.5 million in damage. In line with the programme, eligible for aid will be companies, sole traders, entrepreneurs, institutes and cooperatives whose machines, equipment, stock and revenue were affected by the floods that hit the Dolenjska, Gorenjska, northern Primorska, western Štajerska regions as well as the Ljubljana area and the coast.

Slovenian researchers develop new vaccine delivery method

LJUBLJANA - Slovenian researchers along with German counterparts have developed and tested a new method to deliver vaccines using mucoadhesive film that sticks to the cheek mucous membrane. This method could offer greater protection against respiratory infections compared to traditional methods, but further testing is needed. They published their findings in the Journal of Controlled Release a week ago.

Slovenia drops three spots in tourism competitiveness ranking

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia is down three spots in the latest biannual global Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report to place 42nd among the 119 countries surveyed by the World Economic Forum (WEF). The country tops the list in branding of tourist destination, which is one of the 102 indicators. Slovenia ranks the highest in the tourism policy category and the conditions for development, where it places 8th.

Prison sentences for four defendants in high-profile prostitution case

KOPER - The Koper District Court found guilty four persons accused of organising prostitution in the Marina Sauna Club near Nova Gorica, including the chief defendant, businessman Sergej Racman, who was given four years and a half in prison. The ruling is not yet final. The defence had meanwhile proposed acquittals, claiming that an economic benefit from the prostitution of others is not a criminal act if the persons involved are not prevented to make autonomous decisions about their sexual life.

Slovenians worried about environmental issues, Eurobarometer shows

BRUSSELS, Belgium - More than three quarters of Slovenians believe that environmental issues have a direct effect on their daily lives and health, while over 89% share the view that environmental legislation at the EU level is needed to protect the environment in Slovenia, a recent Eurobarometer poll shows. The figures are very similar to those for the entire EU.

Slovenia pitted against Cuba, Iceland and Cape Verde at handball worlds

ZAGREB, Croatia - Slovenia were drawn in Group G for next year's World Men's Handball Championship and will play Cuba, Iceland and Cape Verde. The group will play the first round of competition in Zagreb, Croatia. Slovenian coach Uroš Zorman said after Wednesday's draw that he had "mixed emotions. "We'll see what these games bring... At the championship you have to take it step by step, game by game," he added.

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