Weekly review of events involving Slovenia, 21-27 June

Ljubljana, 28 June - Below is a weekly review of events involving Slovenia from 21 to 27 June.

FRIDAY, 21 June

LUXEMBOURG, Luxembourg/LJUBLJANA - Finance Minister Klemen Boštjančič faced sharp criticism from his coalition partners after telling Politico that Slovenia could work with a far-right French government if Marine Le Pen's National Rally wins the upcoming general election. Both the Social Democrats and the Left said the rise of the far right is worrisome and should not be downplayed.

VIENNA, Austria - Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon said EU enlargement to the Western Balkans was "a matter of now or never" as she attended the European Forum Wachau. She said both the EU and the Western Balkans must do everything to accelerate the enlargement process.

LJUBLJANA - It was reported that Marko Ilešič, who served as Slovenia's judge at the Court of Justice of the EU since 2004, when Slovenia joined the EU, died aged 76. Ilešič's latest term - he was last re-appointed a year ago - would have ended in October 2027 and his death will necessitate the appointment of a new Slovenian judge.

TRIESTE, Italy - Minister for Slovenians Abroad Matej Arčon met with the newly elected mayors in the Trieste and Gorizia provinces in the Italian region of Friuli Venezia Giulia to discuss the use of the Slovenian language and topics that bring together and connect people on both sides of the border. A lack of teachers was identified as one of the main problems.

SUNDAY, 23 June

LJUBLJANA - Anja Mugerli won the Kresnik Prize for novel of the year for Pričakovanja (Expectations), which deals with inability to have children and infertility treatment. Mugerli is the fifth woman author who has won the accolade, which is conferred by the newspaper publisher Delo and comes with a EUR 7,000 cheque.

MONDAY, 24 June

LUXEMBOURG - Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon told the EU's Foreign Affairs Council that the EU should set up a "regular political dialogue" with Western Balkans countries. While the bloc must get ready for enlargement by 2030, "we expect our partners in the region to support key EU values," she said.

PRISHTINA, Kosovo - Defence Minister Marjan Šarec wrapped up a two-day visit to Slovenian troops in Kosovo, where he also held talks with the commander of the NATO Kosovo Force (KFOR), Özkan Ulutas. Ulutas presented the current security situation, highlighting the excellent cooperation with the Slovenian Armed Forces and the high motivation of troops.

NEW YORK, US - Slovenia expressed its support for the continuation of the UN Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) and the African Union's Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) at a UN Security Council session. "As ATMIS continues its planned drawdown, we need to avoid a security vacuum. Slovenia supports in principle the plans for a new multilateral AU-led mission to replace ATMIS," Ambassador Samuel Žbogar said.

WASHINGTON, US - For the second consecutive year, the US State Department has classified Slovenia among countries that do not fully meet all standards in the fight against human trafficking. Washington warns that temporary employment agencies in Slovenia continue to exploit workers, while criminals traffic women and children for sexual exploitation.

LJUBLJANA - Slovenian basketball star Luka Dončić ended weeks of uncertainty over whether he will join the national team for the Olympic qualifying tournament by showing up for team practice. The Olympic qualifying tournament starts in Greece on 2 July.

TUESDAY, 25 June

COLOGNE, Germany - Slovenia qualified for the knockout stage at Euro 2024 after a goalless draw with England in game three in Group C, a historic first for the team. With three points from three draws, Slovenia finished third in Group C and qualified as one of the best third-placed teams.

LJUBLJANA - After assurances about prompt implementation given by the prime minister and justice minister after the 1 June Constitutional Court order to adjust judges' salaries to inflation recorded in the past decade, the government warned that this will completely disrupt the balance between the three branches of government.


LJUBLJANA - An internal Justice Ministry audit raised questions about the role of the prime minister, the finance minister and the former justice minister in the purchase of a building in Ljubljana meant to house several courts. The trio dispute the findings, and the Justice Ministry said the report would be made public only after the auditor has provided additional explanations.

LJUBLJANA - The government initiated the procedure to name the former president of the Court of Audit Tomaž Vesel Slovenia's candidate for European Commissioner. The government has not yet forwarded its proposal to the National Assembly but should do so in the coming weeks.

VIENNA, Austria - Interior Minister Boštjan Poklukar told a Salzburg Forum ministerial that Slovenia was committed to the recently adopted European Migration and Asylum Pact. He highlighted the importance of rapid response and flexibility in addressing potential legal and other gaps.

LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon and her Indonesian counterpart Retno Marsudi called for an end to the war in Gaza as they met in Ljubljana. Marsudi praised Slovenia's role and attitude when it comes to resolving the conflict in the Middle East, while Fajon announced that Slovenia would open an honorary consulate in Jakarta.

BRUSSELS, Belgium - Slovenian MEP Irena Joveva was elected one of the eight vice-presidents of the liberal political group Renew in the next European Parliament. She pledged to perform her new duties with full dedication to the common good of all EU citizens.


BRUSSELS, Belgium - Slovenia and Ukraine plan to finalise the bilateral security agreement soon and the signing is likely to take place in July, Prime Minister Robert Golob said after holding talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The negotiations are currently revolving around Ukraine's wish that Slovenia provide "more concrete assurances".

BRUSSELS, Belgium - Democrat (SDS) leader Janez Janša said at the European People's Party summit that his party continued to harbour substantial reservations about giving European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen a second term. He said the support of the party's four MEPs would hinge on the composition of the coalition at the EU level.

LJUBLJANA - President Nataša Pirc Musar nominated Jelena Virant Burnik for the post of information commissioner. Virant Burnik has been with the Office of the Information Commissioner since 2009 and has acted as the head of international cooperation and supervision since 2018.

DOBROVNIK - A company with funding from one of the wealthiest Slovenians revealed plans to build the largest greenhouse vegetable production complex in the country in Dobrovnik, northeast Slovenia, in an investment valued at EUR 80 million. Production is set to begin in 2026.

MARIBOR - The European Central Bank and the Bank of Slovenia endorsed the merger of the NKBM bank and SKB Banka into one legal entity. The merger is scheduled for 22 August, and on the next day the merged bank will be renamed OTP Banka.

© STA, 2024