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Slovenia News 5 May 2009
Editorial

Prime Minister Borut Pahor announced at a press conference on Thursday that Slovenia would answer to the latest proposal by Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn for the solving of the border dispute between Slovenia and Croatia in the week after 10 May. Work and knowledge will come out of the crisis as moral winners, Labour, the Family and Social Affairs Minister Ivan Svetlik wrote in his Labour Day address. This year's International Labour Day should be a celebration of work and knowledge, of the start of new development, the minister said on Wednesday. President Danilo Tuerk addressed a Labour Day meeting near Kranj on Friday, saying that the government had opted for socially considerate policies, which it now needs to upgrade with bold and effective measures. Prime Minister Borut Pahor started his two-day visit to Sweden and Finland on Monday by meeting his Swedish counterpart Fredrik Reinfeldt. The pair focused on the priorities of the Swedish EU presidency which starts on 1 July and also touched on the Slovenia-Croatia border dispute.
Foreign Affairs
FM: Slovenia Cautious, not Hostile to Rehn's Proposal
Foreign Minister Samuel Zbogar has rejected the view that the EU's latest proposal for the resolution of the Slovenian-Croatian border dispute is directed against Slovenia. He said Slovenia was not rejecting the proposal, but was only "cautious" about it. Croatia has already accepted it. More »
Lahovnik Discusses Cooperation, Energy Agency in Finland
Economy Minister Matej Lahovnik, who is accompanying Prime Minister Pahor on a working visit to Finland, met on Tuesday his Finnish counterpart Mauri Pekkarinen. The pair focused on the crisis and economic cooperation, while Lahovnik also campaigned for Slovenia's plans to host the central European energy regulator agency. More »
POP TV: Rehn's Latest Proposal Unacceptable for Slovenia
The latest proposal to solve the border dispute between Slovenia and Croatia coming from the European Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn is not acceptable for Slovenia, commercial broadcaster POP TV reported on Monday, quoting unofficial sources. More »
PM Debates EU Presidency Priorities with Swedish Counterpart
Prime Minister Borut Pahor started his two-day visit to Sweden and Finland on Monday by meeting his Swedish counterpart Fredrik Reinfeldt. The pair focused on the priorities of the Swedish EU presidency which starts on 1 July and also touched on the Slovenia-Croatia border dispute. More »
Slovenia Will Answer to Rehn's Proposal after 10 May, PM Says
Prime Minister Borut Pahor announced at a press conference on Thursday that Slovenia would answer to the latest proposal by Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn for the solving of the border dispute between Slovenia and Croatia in the week after 10 May. More »
MEP Kacin Unveils History-Based Border Proposal
MEP Jelko Kacin (ALDE/LDS) presented in Ljubljana on Wednesday what he sees as a possible solution to the border dispute between Slovenia and Croatia. Kacin's proposal for the course of the border is based on the 1975 division of the former Free Territory of Trieste between Italy and Yugoslavia. More »
Pahor: Final Decision on Rehn Proposal Next Week
Coming out of a meeting with representatives of parliamentary parties devoted to the latest proposal by Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn for resolving the Slovenian-Croatian border dispute, Prime Minister Borut Pahor said on Tuesday that the session was only of informative nature. More »
International Organisations
Slovenian Diplomat Elected Chair of UN Commission
Slovenian Constitutional Judge Ernest Petric has been elected the new president of the UN International Law Commission. Petric has been a member of the commission since 2007, the Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday. More »
Zbogar Pledges to Promote CoE Values
Foreign Minister Samuel Zbogar wrote in a statement marking the 60th anniversary of the Council of Europe (CoE) on Tuesday that Slovenia would use its upcoming chairmanship of the CoE Committee of Ministers to promote and strengthen the core values of what is the oldest and biggest pan-European international organisation. More »
Zalar Attending Euro-Arab Conference on Education in Justice
Justice Minister Ales Zalar on Monday took part in a two-day Euro-Arab conference on education in justice. The main focus of the conference are practices in the filed of justice training and the strengthening of the independence of the judiciary and its role in society, the Justice Ministry said in a press release. More »
Slovenian Diplomat Among Five Candidates for IAEA Top Job
Slovenian Constitutional Judge Ernest Petric is among five candidates standing for director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), in what will be the second vote on the successor for Mohamed El Baradei, the agency is reported to have confirmed. More »
EU Topics
Slovenia Celebrates Five Years of EU Membership
Slovenia celebrates on Friday the fifth anniversary of its EU accession. The country joined the block along with nine other countries in what was the biggest enlargement so far. During this time, Slovenia has introduced the euro, entered the Schengen zone and chaired the European Council. More »
Potocnik Says EU Enlargement Needs to Continue
Slovenia's European Commissioner Janez Potocnik has told STA that there is no doubt that the EU enlargement process needs to continues, even though the situation has changed since the 2004 enlargement round. Despite new problems, the bloc needs to continue to pursue what is the only guarantee for long-term stability, he added. More »
Economy & Finance
Minister Expects EU Proceedings against Slovenia over Deficit
Finance Minister Franc Krizanic said in Brussels on Monday that he expects the European Commission to launch proceedings against Slovenia over its failure to keep its budget deficit bellow the 3% limit set by the eurozone Stability and Growth Pact. Krizanic noted that the proceedings will probably be launched against all members. More »
Brussels Projects Recession for Slovenia
The European Commission on Monday forecast a 3.4% slump in Slovenia's real GDP for this year. This is a considerable downgrade compared to the Commission's January forecast of 0.6% economic growth for Slovenia for 2009 and the first time Brussels projected recession for the country. More »
Revoz Boss Confident About Future of Europe's Car Industry
The chairman of car maker Revoz, Ales Bratoz, has told daily Vecer that he sees a future for Europe's car industry despite the stiff competition from China. More »
April Inflation Up Slightly, Annual Down to 1.1%
The annual inflation rate in Slovenia fell by an additional 0.7 percentage points to 1.1% in April as consumer prices rose by a mere 0.1% on March. The total price growth was pushed up by higher prices of petroleum products, and clothing and footwear, the Statistics Office reported on Thursday. More »
Slovenian Consortium to Build H-Power Plants in Albania
A Slovenian consortium will build several hydro electric power plants on the river of Shala in northern Albania. As part of the EUR 145m project, the Interenergo consortium will also operate the power plants in the next 35 years, the consortium wrote in a press release on Thursday. More »
Govt to Amend Public Finances Act
The government is drafting amendments to the public finances act, which would ban banks that have received state aid from giving, extending or insuring loans used in management buyouts, Finance Minister Franc Krizanic told the press after the cabinet session on Thursday. More »
IMAD Head Says Crisis Will Hit Private Sector Hardest
The crisis will hit those employed in the private sector the most, as around 100,000 can be expected to be unemployed by the end of the year, while there will be no lay-offs in the public sector, head of the Institute of Macroeconomic Analysis and Development (IMAD) Bostjan Vasle told the Saturday supplement of daily Dnevnik. More »
State to Sue Ex NLB Boss over EUR 1M Bonus
State Attorney's Office is drawing up a lawsuit against former chairman of the NLB bank, Marjan Kramar, over EUR 1m bonus he received as he left the post at the end of January, Prime Minister Borut Pahor said at a press conference after a cabinet's meeting on Thursday. More »
Investment Firms Report Crisis-Hit Results
A number of Slovenian investment firms reported their results for 2008 in recent days, showing the full effect of the financial crisis in the second half of the year. Profits at many firms were cut, while one of the biggest companies in the field, Triglav Nalozbe, even reported a loss. More »
Krizanic Announces US$ 500M Contribution to IMF to Fight Crisis
Finance Minister Franc Krizanic announced on Wednesday that Slovenia would most probably contribute up to US$ 500m to the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) crisis response efforts. More »
Agriculture
Govt Adopts GMO Legislation
The government adopted on Thursday a bill regulating the production of genetically modified crops in Slovenia, Agriculture Minister Milan Pogacnik told the press after the government's weekly session. The bill focuses on coexistence of GMOs and traditional crops. The bill we be rushed to the parliament in an emergency procedure. More »
Education | Science & Technology
Education Level in EU Rising, Slovenia Ranks 13th
The number of graduates from higher education in the EU has been increasing through generations, a survey by Eurostat has found. Slovenia ranks 13th in terms of higher education graduates in the youngest group, aged between 25 and 34, which places it well ahead of all four of its neighbouring countries. More »
R&D Institute Gets EUR 1.5m EU Funds for Environmental Project
Technological and Environmental Centre (TOC), the research institute of port operator Luka Koper, will receive EUR 1.5m from the EU Eco-Innovation funding scheme for developing a procedure of conversion of paper mill sludge into absorbent for cleaning water surfaces. More »
Social Affairs
Tuerk Calls for Combination of Social and Development Measures
President Danilo Tuerk addressed a Labour Day meeting near Kranj on Friday, saying that the government had opted for socially considerate policies, which it now needs to upgrade with bold and effective measures. More »
Trade Union Head: Labour Day Tougher Than Capitalism
Addressing the traditional gathering at Ljubljana's Roznik hill held on the eve of Labour Day, trade union leader Dusan Semolic said on Thursday that there is a greater likelihood of seeing the end of capitalism than the end of 1 May, "the holiday dedicated to our work". More »
Minister: Slovenia Has One of Lowest Unemployment Rates in EU
Slovenia is among five EU members with lowest unemployment rates, although the unemployment rate reached 8% in March, Labour Minister Ivan Svetlik told the press after the government session on Thursday. Some 81,600 unemployed were registered at the Employment Service end of March. More »
Slovenian and Croatian Trade Unions Vow to Protect Migrant Workers
A meeting on Thursday of representatives of Slovenia's biggest trade union confederation, ZSSS, and representatives of Croatia's Union of Autonomous Trade Unions produced a joint statement on help to foreign workers in both countries. More »
Trade Union Boss Calls for More Solidarity
The head of the country's biggest union confederation, ZSSS, Dusan Semolic, pointed out at a reception ahead of International Labour Day that due to the crisis workers face difficult times and that values such as solidarity and corporate social responsibility should be put to the forefront. More »
Minister: Work and Knowledge Will Be Winners of Crisis
Work and knowledge will come out of the crisis as moral winners, Labour, the Family and Social Affairs Minister Ivan Svetlik wrote in his Labour Day address. This year's International Labour Day should be a celebration of work and knowledge, of the start of new development, the minister said on Wednesday. More »
Ministry to Allocate EUR 9M for Social Security Projects
The Labour Ministry will co-fund 307 different social security projects in 2009 and employ 280 experts. It will allocate the total of EUR 9,056,063 for the projects, the ministry said in a press release on Wednesday. More »
Culture & Media
Free European Films in Europe Week
Visitors to the Ljubljana Kinodvor cinema will be able to see ten European films for free this week as part of Europe Week. The series will start on Monday evening with Stefan Komandarev's "World is Big and Salvation Lurks Around the Corner". More »
Oldest Slovenian Play Published with Expert Comments
The oldest Slovenian play, the Skofja Loka Passion, dating from the Baroque period, has been issued in a book with comments by several distinguished Slovenian experts. More »
Journalist Association Unhappy with Slovenia's Media Situation
Slovenia's journalists warned about the media situation in the country on World Press Freedom Day. The Association of Journalists (DNS) and the trade union pointed to a crisis of traditional media, while the Association of Journalists and Commentators (ZNP) listed a number of problems Slovenian media is coping with. More »
Dnevnik News Show to be Broadcast for 15,000th Time
Public broadcaster TV Slovenija will televise the 15,000th episode of the Dnevnik evening news at 7 PM on Saturday. The jubilee news show will be hosted by journalists Manica Janezic Ambrozic and Dejan Ladika, the broadcaster said in a press release. More »
Health
Tamiflu Free of Charge for Potential Slovenian Patients
Tamiflu from Slovenia's medicine reserves will be made available free of charge for potential swine flu patients, director-general of the Health Care Directorate Janez Remskar told the press on Monday. More »
Govt Sets Up Group for Coordination on Swine Flu Measures
The government established at its Thursday session a task force that will follow and coordinate measures related to swine flu, health care directorate boss Janez Remskar said at a press conference. The commission will be led by Health Minister Borut Miklavcic and will include all state secretaries. More »
Minister: EU Handling Swine Flu Alert Well
Europe responded to the outbreak of swine flu fast and well so there are reasons for optimism that it will handle the danger which started in Mexico well, Health Minister Borut Miklavcic said in Luxembourg on Thursday. More »
Doctors Object to Govt Health Care Saving Plan
The state-sponsored health care saving plan is unfeasible and could be harmful for patients, representatives of Slovenian medical organisations agreed at a press conference on Wednesday. Nevertheless, Health Minister Borut Miklavcic maintains the proposals are not bad for patients. More »
Foreign Ministry Warns against Travelling to Mexico
The Foreign Ministry issued a warning on Wednesday advising Slovenians not to travel to Mexico, unless absolutely necessary, due to the swine flu epidemic. The ministry also warned Slovenians who are currently in Mexico to be cautious and follow the instructions of local Mexican authorities. More »
Govt to Set Up Swine Flu Task Force
The government will establish a group tasked with drawing up an action plan for Slovenia's response to a swine flu pandemic, Prime Minister Borut Pahor said after Wednesday's meeting with the representatives of the Public Health Institute (IVZ). More »
Health Ministry Says Slovenia Ready to Fight Swine Flu
The Slovenian Health Ministry reiterated on Tuesday that Slovenia was prepared to treat any possible cases of swine flu which may occur. It is important that those who have returned from endangered areas, especially Mexico, see a doctor in case of flu symptoms, the ministry added. More »
Transport
Ministry Proposes Weekly and Monthly Toll Stickers
The Transport Ministry has drafted amendments to the public roads act which introduce weekly and monthly motorway toll stickers and abolish half-year vignettes for cars, according to the government's website. More »
Transport Minister Welcomes Intelligent Transport Systems
Transport Minister Patrick Vlacic, who is attending an informal transport ministerial in Litomerice on Wednesday, welcomed the development of intelligent transport systems (ITS) in the EU. More »
Society
President Decorates Three High-Profile Artists
President Danilo Tuerk will bestow the Golden Order for Services on poet Svetlana Makarovic, dancer and choreographer Henrik Neubauer and playwright and director Dusan Jovanovic, the president's office said on Monday. The ceremony will be held on Tuesday at the presidential palace. More »
Slovenians Worked 171 Hours a Month in Q4 of 2007
Workers in Slovenia were on the average paid for a total of 171 hours of work per month in the final quarter of 2007, with the number of hours actually spent working standing at 140 hours, the National Statistics Office has said. More »
Public Opinion
Poll: Majority of Slovenians Not Afraid of Swine Flu
More than a half of the respondents in a poll carried by Monday's issue of daily Delo are not afraid of swine flu. The poll also found that more than three out of four of those questioned do not fear losing their jobs because of the economic crisis. More »
Survey Projects Euro Vote Win for Democrats
A poll conducted by the Nova Gorica Faculty of Applied Social Studies has put the opposition Democrats in the lead for the June elections to the European Parliament, followed by the senior coalition Social Democrats (SD). More »
Events
Schedule of Events for 5-10 May
Schedule of events in the week for 5-10 May: More »
Slovenia News 12 May 2009
Editorial
While Croatia last week accepted Commissioner Olli Rehn's latest proposal on the way to resolve the Slovenian-Croatian border dispute and remove the obstacle in Croatia's EU accession talks, Slovenia announced it would supplement the proposal because it finds it unacceptable as it stands. Prime Minister Borut Pahor said the parties needed more time for reflection and announced that talks would resume on 12 May. Slovenia objects to the idea that the ad hoc arbitration should determine the course of the border based on international law, while the use of maritime areas and territorial access to high seas would be tackled separately based on the principles of international law, good neighbourly relations and equity. The current proposal also does not refer to the ex aequo et bono principle as demanded by Slovenia, but only includes the term "equity" instead. While Croatia claims that the latest is a "take-it-or-leave-it" proposal, Slovenian officials insist that the proposal is not the final one and that it cannot be such until both sides agree to it.    A total of 81 candidates on 12 slates will be vying for seven Slovenian seats in the European Parliament in the 7 June elections. All seven parliamentary parties, four non-parliamentary parties and a non-party list registered for the vote with the National Electoral Commission by the deadline at midnight on 8 June. As of 8 June campaigning is officially under way. It will end on 5 June at midnight with election blackout until the polling day. Candidate lists were registered by the Social Democrats (SD), the Democrats (SDS), Zares, Pensioners' Party (DeSUS), Liberal Democrats (LDS), People's Party (SLS) and the National Party (SNS). Slates were also submitted by the non-parliamentary New Slovenia (NSi), Christian Socialists (KSS) and the Youth Party (SMS). The List of United Greens and the non-party Independent List for Patients' Rights were also expected to register before Friday's deadline.   The government adopted amendments to the public roads act on 7 May to introduce weekly and monthly motorway toll stickers, and abolish half-year vignettes for cars. Transport Minister Patrick Vlacic expressed hope the amendments would induce the EU to unfreeze its funding for the construction of Slovenian motorways. A special government decree will set the prices. The weekly sticker is to cost EUR 15 and the annual EUR 95, up from the current EUR 55. The price of the monthly vignette is yet to be determined, but Vlacic expects it to be between EUR 30 and EUR 35. While half-year vignettes for cars will be scrapped, both annual and half-year stickers will remain available to motorcyclists, who will also be able to buy weekly vignettes.
Domestic Policy
Parties Fail to Agree Response to Rehn Proposal
No final agreement was reached as parliamentary parties met on Wednesday to discuss the latest proposal from Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn on the way to resolve the Slovenian-Croatian border dispute and remove the obstacle in Croatia's EU accession. Talks are expected to continue next Tuesday. More »
Govt Puts Appointment of Police Boss in Minister's Hands
The government changed on Thursday the provisions regulating the appointment of leading police officials, including the police commissioner, who will no longer need to be chosen via a public call for applications. Their appointment will be the responsibility of the interior minister. More »
Govt Wants to Cut Red Tape by 25%
The government adopted at its session on Thursday a scheme for cutting the red tape which envisages a 25% decrease of administrative barriers by 2012. More »
Police Contacted Person Possessing Information about Huda Jama
Pavel Jamnik, who heads the police investigation into post-WWII summary killings in Slovenia, said on Friday that police officers had spoken to a person who had detailed and authentic information about the recently discovered mass grave at the Huda Jama mine, which is believed to contain victims of post-WWII executions. More »
SDS Leader Outlines Plans for "Second Republic"
The leader of Slovenia's biggest opposition party, Janez Jansa, announced broad constitutional changes his Democrats (SDS) will propose when they win sufficient majority in parliament. He also criticised the government for basing its response to the crisis on wrong assumptions, as he addressed the party congress in Ljubljana on Saturday. More »
Minister Plostajner: Three to Eight Provinces in Slovenia
Slovenia's Local Government and Regional Development Minister Zlata Plostajner has indicated that the government will pursue regionalisation in Slovenia within a framework of several large provinces. More »
Foreign Affairs
President Appoints Ambassadors to US, Russia and Estonia
Slovenian President Danilo Tuerk on Wednesday appointed Roman Kirn, Ada Filip Slivnik and Tone Kajzer Slovenia's new ambassadors to the United States, Russia and Estonia, respectively. More »
PM Pahor Says He Will Insist on Key Remarks to Rehn Proposal
Prime Minister Borut Pahor announced on Thursday that his proposal to parliamentary parties at next week's meeting on the dispute with Croatia will be to adopt only those amendments to the latest EU proposal that are of critical importance for Slovenia. He added that he would acquaint EU leaders of Slovenia's views at a meeting in Prague today. More »
Swedish PM Expects Slovenia to Be Constructive in Border Talks
Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, who will take over as the chair of the European Council in the second half of 2009, expects from Slovenia to be constructive in its efforts to find a solution for the impasse in Croatia's EU accession talks caused by the Slovenian-Croatian border dispute. More »
President Says Slovenia Should Take Time to Answer Rehn
President Danilo Tuerk said on Thursday that Slovenia must take its time for consultations before responding to Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn's latest proposal over the Slovenian-Croatian border dispute. He also advised against pessimism. More »
Cabinet Debates Foreign Affairs Issues
The government debated several foreign affairs issues on Thursday, deciding among other things that Slovenia would sign the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. More »
National Council President Visits Austria
President of the National Council Blaz Kavcic paid a visit to Austria at the invitation of the Federal Council on Thursday. Talks with his Austrian counterpart Herald Reisenberger focused on bilateral relations between Slovenia and Austria, the Slovenian minority in Austria, EU topical issues and the economic turmoil. More »
PM Expects Commission to Accept Slovenia's Amendments
Slovenian Prime Minister Borut Pahor told Slovenian reporters in Prague on Thursday that he expected the European Commission would accept Slovenia's amendments to Commissioner Olli Rehn's latest proposal for the resolution of the Slovenian-Croatian border dispute. More »
President Names New Ambassadors
President Danilo Tuerk has named new Slovenian ambassadors to Austria, Hungary and Switzerland, in a series of appointments new ambassadors. More »
PM Says Decision of Croatian Parliament on Arbitration Internal Matter
Prime Minister Borut Pahor would not comment on Friday on the Croatian parliament's decision to confirm the latest EU proposal for resolving the Slovenian-Croatian border dispute. He said this was Croatia's internal affair, in which Slovenia would not interfere. More »
Minister Wishes to See United Slovenian Minority in Austria
Minister for Slovenians Abroad Bostjan Zeks met representatives of Slovenian minority institutions and organisations in Austria on Friday. He said after the meeting that politicians representing the minority could be more unified in their views if they talked more. More »
MP Proposes Condominium for Disputed Sea Areas
An MP of the coalition Zares party has proposed a condominium or joint sovereignty over the disputed parts of the sea as a way of resolving the Slovenian-Croatian border dispute. More »
Minister Presents Amendments to Minority Act to SLOMAK
Minister for Slovenians Abroad Bostjan Zeks met on Monday the body representing Slovenian minorities in the neighbouring countries, SLOMAK, to present the government-sponsored amendments to the act on relations between Slovenia and Slovenians abroad. More »
Fillon and Pahor Remember Illyrian Provinces, Look Into Future
French Prime Minister Francois Fillon and his host PM Borut Pahor took the opportunity of Fillon's visit to honour on Monday the 200th anniversary of the Illyrian Provinces, a historical region that included between 1809 and 1813 parts of Slovenia and constituted a part of Napoleon's French Empire. More »
US Calls for Solution of Slovenia-Croatia Dispute
The United States is encouraging Slovenia and Croatia to solve the border dispute in order to pave way for Croatia's EU accession, US Secretary of State in Western Balkans issues, Stuart Jones, said in Brussels on Monday. More »
Fillon: France Wants Compromise in Slovenian-Croatian Dispute
French Prime Minister Francois Fillon said following a meeting with counterpart Borut Pahor in Ljubljana on Monday that France wished to see a compromise solution and was not siding with Slovenia nor with Croatia in their border dispute. More »
International Organisations
Slovenia Presents CoE Chairmanship Logo
The Foreign Ministry presented on Wednesday the logo of the Slovenian chairmanship of the Council of Europe (CoE), which the country will take over from Spain on 12 May. The round logo is in colours of the Slovenian flag, while it also includes a simplified Slovenian coat-of-arms and the spiral "e" symbol of the CoE. More »
Switzerland Donates Almost EUR 200,000 to ITF
The Slovenian-run International Trust Fund for Demining and Mine Victims Assistance (ITF) received on Thursday a donation of around EUR 200,000. The 15th Swiss donation will go for the demining activities of the NGO Norwegian People's Aid in Bosnia and Herzegovina. More »
Slovenia Sits in CoE Driving Seat on Tuesday
Slovenia will take the helm of the Council of Europe (CoE) on Tuesday, in what is Slovenia's latest project involving the running of an international organisation. Following terms at the head of the OSCE in 2005 and the EU in the first half of 2008, the six-month CoE chairmanship is viewed as yet another international challenge for Slovenia, as well as a new opportunity to reaffirm its global standing. More »
Germany Donates over EUR 700,000 for Mine Clearance
Germany on Monday donated EUR 739,958 to the Slovenian-run International Trust Fund for Demining and Mine Victims Assistance (ITF) for demining activities in Bosnia-Herzegovina and the final phase of mine clearance in Albania and Serbia. More »
Defence & NATO
Outgoing NATO Secretary General in Slovenia on Thursday
Outgoing NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer will be in Slovenia on Thursday as part of his farewell visits to NATO member states. On the occasion, President Danilo Tuerk will receive De Hoop Scheffer with military honours and award him the Order for Exceptional Services. More »
New Chief-of-Staff Plans to Transform Slovenian Army
The new Chief-of-Staff of Slovenian Armed Forces, Maj-Gen Alojz Steiner, has told a defence magazine Obramba that during his term he will focus on the implementation of the goals determined by the strategic review of the defence sector that has been recently carried out. More »
De Hoop Scheffer Praises Slovenian Army
NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer praised the Slovenian army and Slovenian troops operating in NATO, while Slovenia thanked him with a state decoration as he paid his farewell visit to the country on Thursday. More »
Patria Officials Expecting Positive Attitude
Amidst the growing uncertainty surrounding Slovenia's purchase of armoured personnel carriers from Finnish defence contractor Patria, company officials appealed for a "more positive attitude" as Patria's Slovenian partner opened its doors to the public Saturday. Patria Land & Armament Seppo Seppala told reporters in Sostanj (NE) that the hand-over of the first eight-wheeled armoured personnel caries (APCs) to the Slovenian army was complicated, but that he hoped it would be completed soon. More »
Minister Says Army Needs New Faces to Lead Transformation (interview)
Defence Minister Ljubica Jelusic has told STA that the Slovenian army needs new faces in charge to manage the planned transformation of the defence forces. This is also the reason that she had decided to bring in Maj-Gen Alojz Steiner as chief of staff. Jelusic indicated in an interview with STA that a shake-up of the army's command structure was a part of broader efforts to streamline the army and to adapt it to modern challenges. More »
EU Topics
Slovenian MEPs Look Back at European Parliament's Achievements
Speaking on the sidelines of the last plenary session of the current sitting of the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Wednesday, Slovenian MEPs assessed the institution's past work as positive. They emphasised as main achievement the climate-energy package and the roaming regulation cutting charges for cross-border calls. More »
Ex-FM Says EU Must Uphold Slovenian Interests in Border Row
Slovenia's former foreign minister has said that the European Commission must defend Slovenian interest in the Slovenian-Croatian border dispute. Dimitrij Rupel says the Commission's newest proposal for resolving the issue "is not good for Slovenia". More »
Pahor Says Eastern Partnership Comes at Good Time
Coming out of a EU summit at which the bloc launched the Eastern Partnership, Prime Minister Borut Pahor said on Thursday that the project was "a good thing and comes at the right time". He added that certain values would thus reach the part of Europe which would probably not be able to join the bloc in a foreseeable future. More »
Election Campaign for Euro Vote Gets Underway
Campaigning ahead of the 7 June elections to the European Parliament starts in Slovenia on Friday. The official campaign will end on 5 June at midnight with election blackout until polling day. The deadline for filing candidate lists also expires on Friday. More »
Debate Shows Slovenia Determined to Insist on Its Border Terms
Foreign Minister Samuel Zbogar rejected the opposition's claim in a televised debate on Thursday that Commissioner Olli Rehn's proposal for the Slovenian-Croatian border dispute was tailor-made for Croatia. He also suggested that Rehn's proposal may fail if not modified to include Slovenia's terms. More »
81 Candidates for 7 Slovenian Seats in European Parliament
Eighty-one candidates on 12 lists will run for seven Slovenian seats in the European Parliament at the 7 June elections. The 12 slates represent all seven parliamentary parties, four extra-parliamentary parties and a non-party list. More »
Ljubljana Pays Tribute to Europe Day
Up to 200 people gathered in the Slovenian capital on Friday night to celebrate Europe Day and the municipal holiday, which coincide on 9 May. Prime Minister Borut Pahor, European Commissioner Janez Potocnik and Mayor Zoran Jankovic addressed the event, which also marked the 5th anniversary of Slovenia's accession to the EU. More »
Economy & Finance
Govt Moves to Limit Lending for MBOs
The government adopted on Thursday amendments to the public finance act and loan guarantee scheme which ban banks that have received state aid from giving, extending or insuring loans used in management buyouts. More »
D&B: Good Chances for Slovenian Economic Recovery
Despite a pronounced decline in economic activity, rating firm Dun&Bradstreet has assessed that Slovenia has good chances for recovery when demand in the main trade partners picks up. Dun&Bradstreet however downgraded the country's credit rating from DB2b to DB2c in its latest report. More »
Business
Competition Watchdog Decides Against Fines for Retailers
The Competition Protection Office has decided not fine the top three retailers in Slovenia, Mercator, Spar and Engrotus, because of alleged collusion, choosing instead to accept their promise to end the coordination of supply prices. More »
Bavcar Withdraws His Application for Istrabenz CEO
The supervisory board of the the insolvent conglomerate Istrabenz met again on Monday to continue the process of selecting the company's new CEO. The outgoing CEO Igor Bavcar has decided to withdraw his application for the post. More »
Justice
Govt Moves to Boost Fight Against Serious Crime
The cabinet adopted on Thursday a number of changes to the criminal procedure act, which among other things pave the way for a more effective fight against white-collar crime, organised crime and corruption. More »
Patria Investigators Looking to Arrest Two Slovenians
The Helsinki District Court has launched proceedings for the arrest of two Slovenian citizens who are suspects in a corruption scandal involving Finnish defence contractor Patria, commercial broadcaster POP TV reported on Thursday. The proceedings were launched because of the suspects' uncooperativeness. More »
Amended Attorneys Act Takes Effect
The Bar Association regained its right to set attorney fees with the consent of the justice minister as the amendments to the attorneys act, which caused a major political uproar, took effect on Saturday. More »
Commissioner Not Declassifying Jansa-Sanader Exchange
Information Commissioner Natasa Pirc Musar said on Monday she had decided against allowing free access to documents related to the 2004 tapping of phone conversations between opposition leader Janez Jansa and Croatian PM Ivo Sanader. She confirmed the documents were classified and moreover safeguarded by communication privacy. More »
Education | Science & Technology
Govt Endorses Changes to Education Act
The government on Thursday endorsed amendments to the organisation and financing of education act in order to give priority to public over private education, especially in public primary and music schools. More »
Social Affairs
Defence Ministry to Let Out 130 Non-Profit Flats to Young Families
In a bid to boost the renting market and provide housing for young families, the Defence Ministry has decided to hand over to the Housing Fund 130 of the 500 vacant military apartments around Slovenia, Defence Minister Ljubica Jelusic told the press on Wednesday. More »
Govt to Let Out 724 Non-Profit State-Owned Flats
The government decided at its Thursday's session to transfer 724 state-owned flats, 175 of which are empty, to the National Housing Fund to boost the renting market with new non-profit flats. More »
PM Pahor Says There is Hope That Crisis May Hit Bottom Soon
Responding to criticism that the government is slow in its reaction to the economic crisis, Prime Minister Borut Pahor admitted on Friday that some of the cabinet's crisis measures might not look convincing at the moment. He added however that there was a glimpse of hope that the crisis might reach its lowest point soon. More »
Trade Unions Say They Will Never Agree to Minimum Wage Cut
Responding to a report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) which also suggests that Slovenia should reduce the minimum wage, Slovenia's biggest trade union confederation, ZSSS, said on Friday that it would never agree to such a step. More »
Culture & Media
Ministry Labels Statement of RTVS Council Fabrication
The Culture Ministry labelled on Wednesday as a political fabrication the public statement in which the majority of members of the programming council of RTV Slovenija voiced concern about what they see as growing political pressure on the public broadcaster coming from the new government. More »
Slovenian Film Wins Critics' Award in LA
A Slovenian film hit, "Petelinji zajtrk" (Rooster's Breakfast), won the critics' award at the 4th South East European Film Festival in Los Angeles, running between 30 April and 4 May at the Goethe Institute and the UCLA Center for European & Eurasian Studies. More »
Slovenian Film Wins Critics' Award in LA
A Slovenian film hit, "Petelinji zajtrk" (Rooster's Breakfast), won the critics' award at the 4th South East European Film Festival in Los Angeles, running between 30 April and 4 May at the Goethe Institute and the UCLA Center for European & Eurasian Studies. More »
Health
All Suspected Swine Flu Cases Test Negative
The Public Health Institute (IVZ) said on Wednesday that all suspected swine flu cases in Slovenia had tested negative. However, the institute called on Slovenians to remain cautious and issued flu prevention guidelines. More »
Transport
Govt Confirms New Proposal for Toll Stickers
The government confirmed on Thursday the bill on motorway stickers introducing weekly and monthly stickers alongside the annual vignettes. Transport Minister Patrick Vlacic hopes the EU will unfreeze its funding for the construction of Slovenian motorways. More »
Society
Ljubljana Marks WWII Anniversary with Traditional Hike
The 53rd annual hike around Ljubljana will be held from Thursday through Saturday to mark the capital's Peace Day on 9 May in remembrance of the liberation of Ljubljana from the occupying forces in WWII. More »
Minister Reopens Debate on Gay Marriage
Interior Minister Katarina Kresal this week reopened the debate on gay marriage in Slovenia by saying that the family law act should be amended to include same-sex unions. This has provoked criticism from conservative circles, who say now is not the time to deal with issues that divide society. More »
Expert: Slovenian Referendum System Very Democratic
Joining a debate on referendum legislation in Slovenia, an expert on constitutional law, Igor Kaucic, told Monday's edition of daily Vecer that Slovenia's system was very democratic, banning referendum only when its consequences could be unconstitutional. Such is the minimal possible intervention into referendum democracy, Kaucic said in an interview with Vecer, adding that the subsequent legislative referendum such as the one in Slovenia was the prevailing form of a popular vote in Europe. More »
Slovenian Women Inventors Awarded in Korea
Slovenian inventor Alenka Rovan has won a gold medal at the 2nd international Women's Invention Exposition in Seoul, South Korea, for a new book design, the innovation centre ASI said on Monday. More »
Events
Ljubljana Remembers WWII Liberation
Thousands of Ljubljanians took part in a 35km hike around Ljubljana on Saturday in memory of the liberation of the capital 64 years ago. The annual hike follows the track of the barbed wire which enclosed the city during World War II. More »
Schedule of Events for 12-17 May
Schedule of events for 12-17 May More »
Slovenia News 19 May 2009
Editorial
Representatives of Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary and Italy met to debate cooperation in energy, focusing on the linking of gas and power transmission networks. Janez Kopac, Acting Director of the Directorate for Energy at the Ministry of the Economy stressed that regional cooperation was of key importance in providing stable supply.   Prime Minister Borut Pahor addressed a ceremony celebrating the first organised resistance to the Axis powers in Slovenia, saying that small nations, such as ours, must never afford to diminish the importance of their own great acts. According to Pahor, in recent decades the TIGR, a Slovenian resistance organisation, which was set up in the Primorska Region before the WWII, has become a part of the Slovenian collective memory, and it deserves it. PM told the ceremony near Ribnica that this was a national pride and bold Slovenian patriotism that was never directed against any other nation.   Presenting the annual financial stability report of Slovenian central bank, Governor of the Bank of Slovenia Marko Kranjec said that Slovenian banks were in a relatively good shape. He added however that there was still a chance of deterioration resulting from a negative feedback loop from the real sector.    
Domestic Policy
PM Borut Pahor Praises WWII TIGR Resistance Fighters
Ribnica - Prime Minister Borut Pahor addressed a ceremony celebrating the first organised resistance to the the Axis powers in Slovenia, saying that "small nations, such as ours, must never afford to diminish the importance of their own great acts".

According to Pahor, in recent... More »
International Organisations
Slovenia Takes Over CoE Chairmanship
Slovenia assumed the six-month chairmanship of the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers from Spain on the sidelines of a session of the CoE's top decision-making body in Madrid on Tuesday, 12 May. More »
Defence & NATO
New Army Chief-of-Staff Visits Slovenian Troops in Kosovo
Pristina - Army Chief-of-Staff, Maj Gen Alojz Steiner, paid a visit to Slovenian soldiers serving in the NATO-led KFOR mission in Kosovo on Saturday. This is the first Steiner's visit to Slovenian troops abroad since he took over as the army chief on 5 May.

The general told STA that the v... More »
Economy & Finance
Governor of Bank of Slovenia: Slovenian Banks in Good Shape, But Vulnerable
Ljubljana - Presenting the annual financial stability report of Banka Slovenije on Tuesday, the central bank's governor Marko Kranjec said that Slovenian banks were in a relatively good shape. He added however that there was still a chance of deterioration resulting from a negative feedback loop fro... More »
Telekom Slovenije Became Full Owner of Macedonian Mobile Operator
Ljubljana - Telekom Slovenije has become the 100% owner of Cosmofon, the second largest Macedonian mobile phone operator, after receiving a go-ahead by the Macedonian telecommunications competition regulator on 30 April, the telco wrote on the website of the Ljubljana Stock Exchange on Thursday. ... More »
Slovenia Debates Energy Cooperation with its Neighbours
Ljubljana - Representatives of Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary and Italy met on Thursday to debate cooperation in energy, focusing on the linking of gas and power transmission networks. Janez Kopac of Slovenia's Economy Ministry said on the occasion that regional cooperation was of key importance in p... More »
Education | Science & Technology
Industrial Engineering Faculty to Open in Novo Mesto in 2010
Novo mesto - The national senate for higher education has approved the establishment of the Faculty for Industrial Engineering (FINI) in the southeastern city of Novo Mesto. The faculty is expected to welcome its first students, who will study automotive industry, in the 2010/11 academic year.
... More »
Social Affairs
Unemployment Rate Rises to 8.4%
Ljubljana - Slovenia's registered unemployment rate rose to 8.4% in March, up 0.2 of a percentage point on the month before, the Statistics Office reported on Monday.

While the total of persons in employment fell by 0.3% or by 2,713 to 866,019 in March, the total of registered jobless inc... More »
NGO to Promote Roma Integration
Novo mesto - The regional NGO centre from Novo mesto presented its two projects for social integration of the Roma. The state and the EU allocated EUR 200,000 for the projects, Branka Bukovec of the centre told the press.

The NGO got 15% of the money from the state, while the rest came fr... More »
Culture & Media
International Triennial Promotes Ceramic Art
Ljubljana - A selection of ceramics by artists from around the globe will be put on display at the National Museum in Ljubljana on Friday evening as the first international Unicum triennial gets underway.

On the occasion, Italian artist Silvia Mornati will receive the main Unicum 09 award... More »
Maribor to Become European Capital of Culture in 2012
Brussels - The EU culture ministers confirmed in Brussels on Tuesday Slovenia's second largest city, Maribor, as the 2012 European Capital of Culture. Maribor, which is the first Slovenian city to be declared the European Capital of Culture, will share the title with Portugal's Guimaraes.

More »
Health
Slovenian Doctor Mercedes Lovrencic Receives Nyswander-Dole Award
New York - Slovenian doctor Mercedes Lovrencic, psychiatry specialist and medical science master, received the Nyswander-Dole Award at a conference of the American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence (AATOD) in New York end of April for her lasting work in heroin addiction treatment. ... More »
Sport
Hammer Throw: Kozmus Wins Meet in Brazil
Rio de Janeiro - Hammer thrower Primoz Kozmus won at a track and field meet in Brazil's Rio de Janeiro on Saturday. The gold medalist from the Beijing Olympics had a best throw of 77.81 m. Kozmus was followed by Tajikistan's Dilshod Nazarov (77.77 m) and Poland's Szymon Zoilkowski (74.32 m). "... More »
Tourism
Hotel Kempinski Palace in Portoroz Listed among Hottest in the World
New York - The US magazine Conde Nast Traveler put the Slovenian seaside hotel Kempinski Palace in Portoroz on its list of the hottest hotels in the world. The venerable Portoroz hotel, which reopened last October after a thorough refurbishing, is the first Slovenian hotel on the prestigious list an... More »
Events
Slovenia Marks Lipizzaner Day
Ljubljana - Slovenia celebrates Lipizzaner Day on 19 May in remembrance of the day Archduke Charles, the ruler of Slovenian territories, bought the estate and the stud farm Lipica, the home of the world-famous Lipizzaner horses, in 1580. The Slovenian Association of Lipizzaner Breeders will mark the... More »
Schedule of Events in the week for 18-24 May
MONDAY, 18 May
  • LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly will start its session with the Q&A time.
  • LJUBLJANA - Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov will pay a working visit to Slovenia.
  • BRUSSELS, Belgium - Foreign Minister Samuel Zbogar and Defence Minister Ljubica Jelusic will ... More »
Quadrille Dancers Break Another Guinness World Record
Ljubljana – More than 6,000 of secondary-school graduates gathered in Ljubljana on Friday at noon to dance to the tune of Strauss' quadrille from the opera "Bat", breaking the Guinness world record in the largest number of people dancing quadrille at one location, one of the organisers, Urska Danc... More »
30-Years Since First Slovenian Expedition Conquested Mt. Everest
Ljubljana - It is 30 years since the first Slovenian expedition successfully conquered the world's highest mountain, Mt Everest. To mark the anniversary, a Slovenian expedition featuring some of the key members of the original group recently returned to the mountain. The first to reach the peak o... More »
Slovenia News 26 May 2009
Editorial
The government backed the signing of Protocol 14-Bis to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, which was adopted in Madrid on 12 May by the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers. The protocol aims at boosting the effectiveness of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.   Education of Roma children is relatively well regulated in Slovenia, compared to other European countries, Education Minister Igor Luksic said at the International conference on education of the Roma at Brdo pri Kranju.   High representatives of the Regional Partnership and Western Balkan countries met at Brdo pri Kranju to discuss development cooperation, confirming their support for concrete steps towards visa liberalisation for the region.   The National Assembly passed a bill regulating the production of genetically modified crops in Slovenia, focusing on coexistence of GMOs and traditional crops.  
Domestic Policy
Slovenia Introduces New Passports
Ljubljana - The National Assembly passed on Thursday amendments to the travel documents act and the foreigners act introducing second-generation biometric passports and biometric residence permits for foreigners. The amendments transpose the EU directive which states that EU members must introduc... More »
Foreign Affairs
Foreign Ministry Sets up Economic Diplomacy Council
Ljubljana - The Foreign Ministry established on Tuesday a Strategic Council for Economic Diplomacy to boost ties with foreign businesses. Foreign Minister Samuel Zbogar pointed out that economic diplomacy was "one of the first priorities of diplomacy". According to the minister, the project of fo... More »
Regional Partnership and Western Balkans Discuss Cooperation
Brdo pri Kranju - High representatives of the Regional Partnership and Western Balkan countries met at Brdo pri Kranju on Wednesday to discuss development cooperation, confirming their support for concrete steps towards visa liberalisation for the region. Foreign Minister Samuel Zbogar told the p... More »
Foreign Minister Zbogar at working visit in Vatican
Vatican City - Foreign Minister Samuel Zbogar paid a working visit to the Vatican on Friday to focus with the Holy See's Secretary for Relations with States Dominique Mamberti on bilateral cooperation as well as international issues. According to a press release by the Foreign Ministry, Zbogar an... More »
International Organisations
Govt Back Signing of Two CoE Documents
Ljubljana - The government backed on Thursday the signing of Protocol 14-Bis to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, which was adopted in Madrid on 12 May by the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers. The protocol aims at boosting the effectiveness of the Eu... More »
Defence & NATO
Minister Pledges Slovenia's Commitment to Peace in Balkans
Brussels - Defence Minister Ljubica Jelusic met Supreme Allied Commander Europe Gen John Craddock in Belgium's Mons on Tuesday, pledging Slovenia's readiness for taking care of security and peace in the Balkans. Slovenia is striving for a commanding post in one of NATO's missions in the Balkans -... More »
EU Topics
Slovenia Wants EU to Protect Coastal Fishing
Brussels - Slovenia wants the EU to protect coastal fishing in order to protect its small fishing fleet, Agriculture Minister Milan Pogacnik told the press at the side of a meeting of the EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council in Brussels on Monday. The overhauled common fisheries policy of the EU ... More »
Economy & Finance
Govt Postpones Overhaul of Financial Control System
Ljubljana - The government decided on Thursday to put the overhaul of Slovenia's financial control system on hold for a year to enable the authorities to fully focus on the crisis, Finance Minister Franc Krizanic told the press after the cabinet session. Thus Slovenia is expected to complete the ove... More »
Business Sentiment Turns Upwards in May
Ljubljana - The seasonally-adjusted business sentiment indicator in Slovenia grew by three percentage points in May compared to the month before after a long record-breaking fall since the start of the crisis. The indicator stood 33 percentage points down year-on-year and 28 points below the long-te... More »
Business
Industrial Conglomerate Hidria Expanding to China
Idrija - Industrial conglomerate Hidria will launch its production in the technological park of the Chinese city of Changshu in November. The initial investment will stand at EUR 3m and is expected to employ 100 to 150 people by 2012, the company said on Monday. In the city located 100 kilometres... More »
Agriculture
Experts to Track Bear Movement with GPS Devices
Ljubljana - Brown bear population in Slovenia has grown significantly in recent years and individual animals often roam around populated areas, so the authorities have decided to equip some 20 bears with GPS identification collars to track their movement. In a bid to learn more about their moveme... More »
MPs Pass Law on Coexistence of GMOs and Traditional Crops
Ljubljana - The National Assembly passed a bill regulating the production of genetically modified crops in Slovenia, focusing on coexistence of GMOs and traditional crops. The bill was rushed through parliament in emergency procedure and was endorsed by members of all deputy factions in a 45:8 vote.... More »
Environment
First Electric Car Charging Station Opens in Slovenia
Logarska dolina - The first public battery-charging station for electric cars opened in the Alpine Logarska Valley on Sunday on the occasion of the Solar Mobility Day. The station was set up by power distributor Elektro Celje on the initiative of the company Logarska dolina, which is responsible ... More »
Education | Science & Technology
Minister: Roma Education Relatively Well Regulated in Slovenia
Brdo pri Kranju - Education of Roma children is relatively well regulated in Slovenia, compared to other European countries, Education Minister Igor Luksic told the press after the first day of an international conference on education of the Roma, which is taking place at Brdo pri Kranju on Monday a... More »
Culture & Media
Serbian Designer Bags Magdalena 2009 Award
Maribor - Serbian designer Ajna Zatric received this year's Magdalena Award at the 11th international festival of creative communication in Maribor for her project "Urban calendar for the city of Sarajevo". The project also won her the Golden Bra in the experimental category. "The moment we saw t... More »
Energy
Development Minister Talks Energy with Japanese Company
Ljubljana - Development Minister Mitja Gaspari met on Monday representatives of Japanese company Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to talk about potential cooperation - especially in the fields of nuclear energy, biofuels and solar and wind energies. "We started talks on several very important potentia... More »
Sport
Elan Skis Win Innovation Award
Begunje na Gorenjskem - Sports equipment and apparel maker Elan has been awarded the Plus X Award innovation award for its Speedwave ski series, the company wrote in a press release on Friday. The series is the first to incorporate WaveFlex, a technology providing high torsional stiffness and imp... More »
Events
Slovenia to Host First Event as CoE Chair
Strasbourg - Slovenia will hold the first of 54 events organised as part of its chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe (CoE) at the headquarters of the pan-European organisation in Strasbourg on Wednesday. The Government Communication Office will open today an exhibit... More »
Schedule of Events in the week for 25 - 31 May
MONDAY, 25 May
  • LJUBLJANA - The government is to discuss a proposal for revising the supplementary budget for 2009.
  • LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly will hold a session expected to launch a parliamentary inquiry into the financing of controversial management buyouts and deb... More »
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