News roundup - Wednesday, 19 June, until 3pm

Ljubljana, 19 June - Below is a roundup of major events on Wednesday, 19 June, until 3pm local time:

Brussels urges Slovenia to boost economic competitiveness

BRUSSELS, Belgium - As part of its spring semester, the European Commission recommended that Slovenia strengthen its economic competitiveness, including by addressing labour shortages and improving conditions for investment. The recommendations also include the country's effort to strengthen its administrative capacity to manage EU funds. Slovenia should moreover address delays in the implementation of the national recovery plan.

Slovenian MEP Tomc elected one of ten vice-chairs of EPP Group

BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European People's Party Group (EPP) elected Slovenian MEP Romana Tomc of the Democrats (SDS) one of the group's ten vice-chairs during the next term of the European Parliament, which will start with the maiden session on 16 July. Tomc told Slovenian correspondents in Brussels she would be a "clear conservative wing" of the EPP Group. Having secured her third consecutive MEP term ten days ago, she was elected with 141 out of 170 valid votes, with five out of a total of eleven candidates receiving more votes than her.

Report: Another Russian spy acted for years in Slovenia

LJUBLJANA - Dnevnik reported that an alleged Russian spy, who was recently expelled from Austria, had worked unnoticed in Slovenia for several years posing as a journalist. The man is said to be named Ivan Popov, and he allegedly came to Slovenia during the snap general election in 2018. Popov allegedly worked in Slovenia as a correspondent for the Russian news agency TASS and gradually got closer to the Slovenian political elite. In 2019, he interviewed the then PM Marjan Šarec before his trip to Moscow, and Šarec said today the interview with the accredited journalist was standard procedure ahead of such visits.

Žbogar says peace conference on Ukraine should be hosted by UN

NEW YORK, US - Slovenia's representative on the UN Security Council Samuel Žbogar congratulated Switzerland on the recent Ukraine peace summit, which he said did not target Russia. Addressing a Security Council debate on Ukraine on Tuesday, he stressed that peace conferences should be hosted by the UN. "We hope that the Russian Federation will show a genuine willingness to end the war and participate in good faith in negotiations based on international norms," he said.

Telco Telemach Slovenija intends to acquire rival T-2

LJUBLJANA - The telecommunications company Telemach Slovenija concluded on Tuesday an agreement with the company Garnol, whose founder is the owner of its rival T-2 to express the intention to acquire at least a 98.06% stake in T-2. After due diligence is carried out, Telemach Slovenija and Garnol are expected to sign a contract on the purchase of a specific stake, which would mean T-2 is likely to avoid the looming receivership. Telemach Slovenija told the STA that, once it acquired a majority stake in T-2, it would ensure that the company fulfils its obligations, including those to SSH.

Report: Prison verdict against former Hypo execs annulled

LJUBLJANA - Necenzurirano reported that the Supreme Court has annulled last year's verdict of the Ljubljana Higher Court upholding the prison sentences for four managers of the former Hypo Alpe Adria Bank Slovenija due to procedural errors in the trial. The case has been returned to the first-instance court. It adds that this means that the four - Božidar Špan, Anton Romih, Andrej Potočnik and Andrej Oblak - will very likely avoid going to prison as, according to certain information, the case will become statute-barred in 2026.

FLIQA declared startup of the year

LJUBLJANA - The best Slovenian startup of 2024 is the company FLIQA, developing two products in open banking and offering access to a number of European banks through its partners. The company has been successfully operating on the market and making strategic partnerships with established companies, said the organisers of the Startup of the Year event, which was held on Tuesday evening with more than 250 business executives in attendance.

NGOs concerned about planned assisted dying bill adoption

LJUBLJANA - Four NGOs are worried about the statements by government officials that a bill on assisted dying will be passed by the end of the year. Caritas Slovenia, the Slovenian Association of Palliative Care, the Slovenian Association Hospice and the Slovenian Association of Paraplegics say that the narrow result - nearly 55% voted for legislating assisted dying in a recent consultative referendum on the 41% turnout, cannot be an argument in favour of passing such a law.

Slovenia men's volleyball team qualifies for Paris Olympics

LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian men's volleyball team secured a berth at the Summer Olympics in Paris by defeating Argentina in its first match of a Nations League tournament in Ljubljana on Tuesday evening as the country's third team to secure a ticket to Paris. This will be the first time ever that the Slovenian men's volleyball team will play in the Olympic tournament.

60th Jurjevanje festival starts in Črnomelj

ČRNOMELJ - Jurjevanje, Slovenia's oldest folklore festival, begins in a small town of Črnomelj in the south-east of Slovenia this afternoon. Concerts, folklore dance performances, exhibitions, presentations, and sports events will be held on several locations until Sunday with around 1,300 performers and 40 accompanying events. The festival will feature performances of folklore groups from Panama, South Korea, Greece and Slovenia.

© STA, 2024