News roundup - Wednesday, 19 June

Ljubljana, 19 June - Below is a roundup of major events on Wednesday, 19 June:

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.

Conference stresses Slovenian-German economic cooperation

MUNICH, Germany - Economic cooperation between Slovenia and Germany has strengthened significantly in the last few years. There is still room for growth, mainly in space technology, automotive industry and tourism, heard a Slovenian-German business conference. The European economy is faced with an important task of rebuilding global competitiveness, which is the basis for prosperity, said Prime Minister Robert Golob at the Invest and Connect: Slovenian Business Pitch conference, where Economy Minister Matjaž Han was also in attendance. Golob also met Bavaria's Minister-President Markus Söder.

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.

Slovenia urges implementation of Libya ceasefire agreement

NEW YORK, US - The deputy Slovenian ambassador to the UN Saša Jurečko urged at a session of the UN Security Council on Libya the full implementation of the October 2020 ceasefire agreement and the withdrawal of all foreign fighters, mercenaries, and foreign forces from Libyan territory. The session, at which the Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Political Affairs in Libya Stephanie Koury presented a report on the situation, focused on the upcoming local elections.

Border checks extended by another six months

LJUBLJANA - After Interior Minister Boštjan Poklukar announced Slovenia will extend checks on its borders with Croatia and Hungary for six months after Italy announced the same measure on the Slovenian-Italian border, the government issued the relevant decree. The border controls will now be in place until 21 December. The government's decision is based, among other things, on the tense security situation around the world, in particular in the Middle East, said Poklukar.

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.

Tighter rules for law enforcement to access communication, financial data

LJUBLJANA - Parliament passed changes to the Criminal Procedure Act that make it harder for law enforcement to acquire communication and financial data from electronic devices as part of criminal investigations. This comes after the Constitutional Court ruled last year that the existing provisions disproportionally interfere in privacy rights. Both opposition parties voted against.

Bill on Lipica Stud Farm passed unanimously

LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly unanimously passed a bill on the Lipica Stud Farm, which will no longer be a holding with a separate subsidiary in charge of the horses but will be organised as a single state-owned company known as Kobilarna Lipica. In line with the bill, Holding Kobilarna Lipica will continue its work as the company Kobilarna Lipica and within six months it will be merged with the namesake company that has so far been in charge of public service.

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.

Journalists against layoffs at newspaper Večer

LJUBLJANA - Journalist trade unions and organisations came out strongly against layoffs the management and owners are planning at the newspaper Večer. They say this is yet another in a series of moves the owners have taken at the expense of the staff, which also affects the public interest.

Cinkarna to pay out dividends again

CELJE - The shareholders of the chemical company Cinkarna Celje approved at an AGM a proposal to allocate some EUR 7 million of last year's distributable profit for dividends. Dividends of 90 cents gross per share will be paid on 28 June. Cinkarna Celje's distributable profit reached almost EUR 38.4 million last year. This includes net profits generated before 2023 of just over EUR 32 million and the 2023 net profit of EUR 6.3 million. The latter has been allocated to other reserves from profits that cannot be distributed to shareholders, as proposed by the management.

Lumar posts EUR 29.5m in revenue

MARIBOR - Lumar, a maker of prefabricated energy-efficient homes, recorded EUR 29.45 million in revenue in 2023 and EUR 2.6 million in profit, which is around 30% higher than in 2022. Because of strikes at administrative units, 80% fewer construction permits are being issued, which poses a significant threat for Lumar, owner Marko Lukić told the press. "If this does not change, some companies will stop working in September and we will have to stop somewhere around the new year."

President sees football as inspiration for achieving highest goals

MUNICH, Germany - President Nataša Pirc Musar addressed a reception for the Slovenian community in Munich ahead of Slovenia's Statehood Day, thanking them for preserving the Slovenian identity abroad. In anticipation of a football match between Slovenia and Serbia, she said football showed that unity and team work lead to highest results.

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.

Food delivery provider Ehrana back on the menu

LJUBLJANA - Food delivery provider Ehrana has returned to the Slovenian market, a month after Spain's Glovo, which took over Ehrana in 2021, left the country. Former head of sales for Glovo Matic Šubic bought the Ehrana brand and the service is already available to customers. "In two weeks more than 70 restaurants have joined Ehrana," said Šubic at a press conference on Wednesday. Ehrana's app has also registered more than 2,000 users, he said.

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