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Slovenia News 2 February 2010
Editorial
Minister of Foreign Affairs Samuel Žbogar participated in the International Conference on Afghanistan organised by the UN, Afghanistan and the UK.  The ministerial conference was attended by representatives of 69 countries – including all EU and NATO Member States – interested in stabilising the situation in Afghanistan.   The National Bureau of Investigation, an independent body tasked with investigating the most serious crimes, was inaugurated Monday as it formally moved to its premises in Ljubljana. "We all expect a lot from it," Prime Minister Borut Pahor said.   The 49th traditional Vitranc Cup will kick off at the ski resort of Kranjska Gora with a giant slalom on Saturday, to be followed by a slalom on Sunday.   Robert Kranjec of Slovenia finished as the runner-up in Sunday's ski flying event in Oberstdorf, but the second place was enough for the overall win in the three-event Ski-Flying World Cup.        
Domestic Policy
National Bureau of Investigation Inaugurated
Ljubljana - The National Bureau of Investigation, an independent body tasked with investigating the most serious crimes, was inaugurated Monday as it formally moved to its premises in Ljubljana. "We all expect a lot from it," Prime Minister Borut Pahor said. Circumstances dictated that the govern... More »
Foreign Affairs
Economic Ties, WB Dominate Pahor's Whirlwind Serbia Visit
Belgrade - Economic ties between Slovenia and Serbia and the situation in the Western Balkans dominated talks as Prime Minister Borut Pahor met Serbian President Boris Tadic during a brief visit to Belgrade on Friday afternoon. Pahor's office said the talks were dedicated to the situation in the ... More »
Minister Žbogar at the International Conference on Afghanistan
London – Minister of Foreign Affairs Samuel Žbogar participated in the International Conference on Afghanistan organised by the UN, Afghanistan and the UK.  The ministerial conference was attended by representatives of 69 countries – including all EU and NATO Member States – interested i... More »
Minister Zbogar Discusses Macedonia-Greece Dispute with Macedonian Counterpart
Ljubljana - Foreign Minister Samuel Zbogar stressed in a meeting with his Macedonian counterpart Antonio Milososki Slovenia's wish that Macedonia and Greece resolved their dispute as soon as possible and that progress would be made as early as during the Spanish EU presidency. The pair focused on Ma... More »
Economy & Finance
PM Says Slovenia Should Make Room for Foreign Investment
Ljubljana - It is time for Slovenia to make room for foreign investments and do everything to attract them, keeping only some of its institutions state-owned, possibly for strategic reasons, Prime Minister Borut Pahor told the press on Friday after meeting Slovenian bankers. "There is the questio... More »
Pahor Announces New EUR 1BN Loan Scheme for Companies
Ljubljana - The government is to adopt, probably in the coming two weeks, a proposal for a new scheme that will enable large companies to obtain state guarantees for loans intended for development projects, Prime Minister Borut Pahor announced after meeting bankers in Ljubljana on Friday. The new... More »
Culture & Media
National Gallery Honours Robba's Fountain
Ljubljana  - The Ljubljana National Gallery, which is now home to Francesco Robba's famous fountain from a Ljubljana city square, will host a display of the Italian Baroque sculptor's works. The exhibition dubbed "Robba's Fountain - the Story of a City Symbol" will open on 8 February, Culture D... More »
Prehistoric pile dwellings around the Alps nominated UNESCO World Heritage Site
Bern – At a press conference held at the Swiss Federal Culture Office, in the presence of representatives from Austria, France, Italy, Germany and Slovenia, represented by the Slovenian Ambassador, Bojan Grobovšek, a joint application by the respective Alpine countries, Switzerland being the main... More »
Slovenia Submits Two Bids for UNESCO Heritage List
Paris - Slovenia submitted in Paris on Tuesday the documents for two group bids for the UNESCO World Heritage list. The country is participating in transnational nominations for the listing of the Idrija mercury mine and prehistoric pile-dwelling sites in Ig near Ljubljana. The first bid, which i... More »
Transport
Brussels Stops Proceedings over Vignettes
Brussels - The European Commission on Thursday formally stopped proceedings against Slovenia over its motorway toll stickers system, European Transport Commissioner Antonio Tajani's press representative Fabio Pirotta said in Brussels on Friday. The Commission stopped the proceedings because analy... More »
Society
Research Centre for Post-Yugoslav Societies Set Up in Maribor
Maribor - The Maribor Faculty of Arts has established the Centre for Research of Post-Yugoslav Societies (CEPYUS) which will deal with comparative analysis of political entities that have emerged in the territory of the former Yugoslavia. The centre is chaired by sociology professor Sergej Flere,... More »
Sport
Kranjec Wins Ski-Flying World Cup
Oberstdorf - Robert Kranjec of Slovenia finished as the runner-up in Sunday's ski flying event in Oberstdorf, but the second place was enough for the overall win in the three-event Ski-Flying World Cup. With jumps of 202.5 and 214 metres (418.1 points), Kranjec was second only to Norway's Anders ... More »
Kranjska Gora Hosts Vitranc Cup and Adelboden Giant Slalom
Kranjska Gora - The 49th traditional Vitranc Cup will kick off at the ski resort of Kranjska Gora with a giant slalom on Saturday, to be followed by a slalom on Sunday. On Friday, the venue will host the World Cup giant slalom race which was scheduled for 9 January in Switzerland's Adelboden, but wa... More »
Slovenian Winter Olympians Presented in Ljubljana
Ljubljana - The Slovenian team for the 2010 Winter Olympics, which get underway on 12 February in Canada's Vancouver was presented on Wednesday evening at Ljubljana Castle. The team currently features 45 athletes, and could be expanded as candidates have until 31 January to fulfil norms for the... More »
Tourism
Slovenia Opens Tourism Info Point in London
London - The Slovenian Tourist Board (STO) officially opened an information point in London on Wednesday. The office, which is expected to boost tourist visits from Great Britain, will be hosted by the Slovenian Embassy. Foreign Minister Samuel Zbogar and STO director Dimtrij Piciga assessed the ... More »
Events
Schedule of Events in the week between 1 and 7 February

MONDAY, 1 February

  • LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Borut Pahor, Interior Minister Katarina Kresal and Europol director Rob Wainwright will be on hand for the opening of the premises of the newly established National Bureau of Inve... More »
President Sees Many Opportunities in Davos
Davos - President Danilo Tuerk said in Davos on Thursday that the World Economic Forum was a good basis for a discussion on the reforms of the global financial system, but also an important opportunity for formal and informal meetings. The president, who took part in the forum's discussion on eme... More »
Slovenia Remembers Victims of Holocaust
Ljubljana - The National Assembly resumed its session on Wednesday with a minute of silence to commemorate Holocaust victims, as the world marks the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz Nazi camp. Speaker Pavel Gantar stressed that keeping the memory of Nazi atrocities alive was the key to... More »
Pahor Stresses Duty to Preserve Memory of Holocaust
Maribor - Prime Minister Borut Pahor addressed on Wednesday in the Maribor Synagogue, now a cultural centre, a ceremony marking Holocaust Remembrance Day. He noted that the duty of the generation that escaped the horrors of the Holocaust was to preserve the historical memory related to it and to do ... More »
Actor Javsnik Wins Spade of the Year Award
Maribor - "People have the most to say about people they do not know", is the statement that won actor Matjaz Javsnik the "Spade of the Year" award, given out by daily Vecer for the most succinct remark in the past year. Javsnik was declared the winner of the award for 2009 at a ceremony in Marib... More »
Slovenia News 9 February 2010
Editorial
The government adopted on Thursday the exit strategy, a set of measures until 2013 designed to boost economic growth and help Slovenia emerge from the economic crisis. It is a combination of economic policy measures, structural reforms and institutional reform.   President Danilo Tuerk addressed on Friday the opening of the 10th World Summit on Sustainable Development in New Delhi, saying that the international community faces great challenges that require immediate action. One of the goals should be a legally-binding agreement on dealing with climate change.   Preseren Prizes were conferred on artists for lifetime achievements and achievements over the past few years at the traditional national ceremony on the eve of Culture Day, a bank holiday which pays tribute to Romantic poet France Preseren (1800-1849).   Carnival festivities will get under way on Saturday in the north-eastern town of Ptuj, home to Slovenia's biggest carnival, famous for its distinctive figures - the kurenti. The 50th festival will culminate in an international carnival procession on Sunday, 14 February.
Press release
Slovenia House at the Vancouver Winter Olympic Games
For the Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, the Olympic Committee of Slovenia (OCS) and the Government Communication Office (UKOM) together with the Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia in Ottawa are organising Slovenia House, which will bring together Slovenian sport, culture, economy, tourism... More »
Domestic Policy
Exit Strategy Adopted
Ljubljana - The government adopted on Thursday the exit strategy, a set of measures until 2013 designed to boost economic growth and help Slovenia emerge from the economic crisis. It is a combination of economic policy measures, structural reforms and institutional reform. The blueprint includes ... More »
Roko Zarnic Nominated for Environment Minister
Ljubljana - Prime Minister Borut Pahor nominated on Tuesday Roko Zarnic of the junior coalition Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) for the new minister of the environment and spatial planning. Zarnic is an expert on earthquake-proof construction and a full professor at Ljubljana University. Expressing his... More »
Foreign Affairs
Zbogar Paying Working Visit to Estonia
Tallinn - Foreign Minister Samuel Znogar is expected in Tallinn on Tuesday for what will be his first working visit to Estonia. Zbogar and his Estonian colleague Urmas Paet are expected to try to strengthen cooperation and discuss topical EU issues. According to a press release from the Foreign M... More »
FM Insists Issue of Croatian LB Deposits Matter for Basel Bank
Ljubljana/Munich - The Constitutional Court's decision that will allow Croatian savers of defunct Slovenian LB bank to file suits to reclaim their deposits at Slovenian courts does not change the fact that under the succession agreement the issue needs to be resolved with the help of the Basel Bank ... More »
President Tuerk Arrives in India, Meets PM Singh
New Delhi - President Danilo Tuerk met Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as he arrived in India for a working visit on Thursday. The pair discussed environment-related issues and bilateral relations. Touching on activities following the December UN summit on climate change, the pair stressed t... More »
PM Discusses Cooperation with Milan Mayor, Lombardy President
Milan - Prime Minister Borut Pahor visited Tuesday afternoon Milan, Italy, where he met Letizia Moratti, mayor of Milan, and the President of the Lombardy region Roberto Formigoni. The meetings focused on cooperation between this Italian region and Slovenia, as well as between the capitals, accordin... More »
Defence & NATO
NATO Agrees Spending Measures, Wants Better Oversight
Istanbul - NATO defence ministers reached a consensus on the alliance's priorities late on Thursday. "In terms of resources, we are giving priority to operations, but we are also demanding greater transparency and oversight of spending," Jelusic said after the meeting in Istanbul. Just months ago... More »
Pahor Calls for Clear Goals in Afghanistan
Ljubljana - Slovenia will not expose its troops to security risks unless the international community makes its tasks and goals in Afghanistan clear, Prime Minister Borut Pahor said after the government session on Thursday. Slovenia will continue to consult with the allies, he said, noting that a ... More »
Economy & Finance
D&B Sees Gradual Economic Recovery for Slovenia
Ljubljana - While expecting the number of unemployed and receivership proceedings in Slovenia to increase further, the rating firm Dun&Bradstreet has also perceived gradual recovery of the Slovenian economy. D&B noted it its latest country credit rating report on Thursday that Slovenia's politica... More »
Tuerk Discusses Economic Situation with ECB Officials
Frankfurt - President Danilo Tuerk met at the headquarters of the European Central bank (ECB) in Frankfurt on Wednesday the bank's president Jean-Claude Trichet and ECB executive board member Lorenzo Bini Smaghi, discussing the economic situation in the eurozone and a reform of financial system regu... More »
Business
Banks to Open Bids for Stake in Mercator
Ljubljana - A group of banks which together own a 36% stake in retailer Mercator after confiscating it from the failed Infond and Istranenz holdings, is to open on Tuesday the non-binding offers for the shares that came in before the deadline determined in the call for bis. The sale is expected to b... More »
Plane Maker Pipistrel Going Strong Despite Crisis
Ajdovscina - The director and owner of ultra-light plane maker Pipistrel, Ivo Boscarol, told STA on Friday that his company approached "the crisis as a challenge, the result being a 60% increase in turnover in 2009 compared to the year before". Boscarol said on a sidelines of the opening of a new... More »
Seven Firms Awarded for Extraordinary Achievements
Ljubljana - Two IT companies, a maker of farm equipment and two energy companies are among the winners of the 2009 awards for top business achievements conferred by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS) on Thursday. The award in the category big companies went to two energy firms, the gas di... More »
Slovenian and Brazilian Investment Agencies Forge Closer Ties
Ljubljana - The Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (APEX) and Slovenia's Agency for Entrepreneurship and Foreign Investment (JAPTI) signed on Wednesday in Ljubljana a memorandum on cooperation. APEX head Alessandro Teixeira labelled the signing a historic moment. JAPTI boss Igor Ples... More »
Renault Confirms Production of New Roadster in Slovenia
Novo mesto - Revoz, the Slovenian assembly plant of French car maker Renault, will produce the Wind, a new two-seater roadster that will be unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show on 2 March, Revoz told STA Wednesday. The Wind, formerly codenamed X33, will be produced in Novo mesto with the help of a E... More »
Environment
Tuerk Calls for Legally-Binding Climate Change Agreement
New Delhi - President Danilo Tuerk addressed on Friday the opening of the 10th World Summit on Sustainable Development in New Delhi, saying that the international community faces great challenges that require immediate action. One of the goals should be a legally-binding agreement on dealing with cl... More »
Official Stresses Role of Local Communities in Alpine Convention
Ljubljana - Secretary General of the Alpine Convention Marco Onida addressed on Thursday a conference held as part of the Slovenian two-year chairmanship of the convention, noting that it was important that the regional and local authorities played an active role within the agreement. He noted th... More »
Minister Highlights Importance of Green Public Procurement
Ljubljana - Development Minister Mitja Gaspari told a conference in Ljubljana on Thursday that green public procurement was a tool for a transition to more environmentally responsible work in the public sector. "The conference is the first step towards dialogue which will benefit the environment, co... More »
FM Addresses Conference on Water
Ljubljana - Foreign Minister Samuel Zbogar addressed on Wednesday an environmental conference on water at the Ljubljana Faculty of Social Sciences. After being given 12 recommendations on a comprehensive approach to water-related issues, the minister stressed that water was becoming increasingly imp... More »
Next Slovenia-Italy-EU Meeting on Gas Terminals Expected Soon
Ljubljana/Koper - State Secretary at the Environment and Spatial Planning Minister Zoran Kus told STA on Tuesday that the next meeting of Slovenia, Italy and the European Commission regarding liquefied gas terminals planned by Italy just off Slovenian shore in the Trieste Gulf is expected to take pl... More »
Environmentalists Highlight Role of Wetlands
Ljubljana/Koper - People's attitude towards wetlands has been changing throughout history; mostly they were treated as an "enemy", but today their role in the ecosystem is increasingly recognised, Darij Krajcic of the national institute for nature conservation said on Tuesday, World Wetlands Day. ... More »
Education | Science & Technology
Govt Expands Meal Subsidies to Primary Schools
Ljubljana - The government adopted on Thursday a bill on school meals, which expands state subsidies for meals to primary schools and abolishes fully-subsidised meals for secondary school students. Under the existing legislation, adopted in April 2008, only meals for secondary school students are... More »
Minister: Higher Education System Unsustainable
Brdo pri Kranju - Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology Gregor Golobic said on Tuesday that the current higher education system was financially unstustainable and lacking transparency and quality. He talked to the press after a national conference on higher education dealing with auto... More »
Minorities
Tuerk Receives Minority Reps, Highlights International Treaties
Ljubljana - President Danilo Tuerk received in Ljubljana on Sunday on the eve of Culture Day representatives of the Slovenian minorities in Austria, Italy, Hungary and Croatia. He stressed in his address the importance of international treaties, "which define the situation of Slovenian national comm... More »
Govt Office Supporting Minority Show in Hungary
Ljubljana - The government Office for Slovenians Abroad on Tuesday voiced concern over the announced cuts in the funding of the only Slovenian-language show in Hungary. Boris Jesih, the state secretary at the office, said he expected the Hungarian authorities to listen to the minority's concerns and... More »
Culture & Media
Culture Minister Honours Preseren and Preseren Prize Laureates
Ljubljana - Culture Minister Majda Sirca received on Monday the recipients of the Preseren Prize and the Preseren Fund Prize recognitions for cultural achievements. She moreover made stops at the grave of France Preseren in Kranj and at his house in Vrba, while the poet was also honoured by a readin... More »
Top Art Prizes Go to Dancer and Painter
Ljubljana - The highest recognition for cultural achievements in Slovenia, the Preseren Prize, was conferred on dancer Mateja Rebolj and painter, illustrator, graphic designer and photographer Kostja Gatnik at a high-profile ceremony in the Cankarjev dom arts centre on Sunday evening. Rebolj has ... More »
Carnival Festivities Kick Off in Ptuj
Ptuj - Carnival festivities will get under way on Saturday in the northeastern town of Ptuj, home to Slovenia's biggest carnival, famous for its distinctive figures - the kurenti. The 50th festival will culminate in an international carnival procession on Sunday, 14 February. The "Kurentovanje 2... More »
Transport
Brazilian Business Delegation Visits Koper Port
Koper - A business delegation from Brazil paid a visit to Luka Koper on Thursday, discussing possible ways to strengthen cooperation with Slovenia's sole commercial port. Luka Koper's strategic position and modern services make the port a serious option for the reception of Brazil's cargo headed ... More »
Society
Defence Minister Addresses Women Summit
Cadiz - Defence Minister Ljubica Jelusic addressed the European Women in Power Summit in Spanish Cadiz on Wednesday, pointing to the perception of women in the developing countries. Women in for example Afghanistan should not be seen only as victims but also as part of the solution, she said. Jel... More »
Local & Regional Topics
Cabinet Adopts Pomurje Aid Programme
Ljubljana - The government adopted on Thursday a programme aimed to boost the competitiveness of Pomurje in the 2010-2015 period, which should allow the implementation of the law on development support for the poorest Slovenian region adopted in October last year. The law earmarked EUR 33m for the r... More »
Sport
Football: Slovenia Draw Italy, Serbia in Euro Qualifiers
Warsaw - The Slovenian national football team will play against the Faroe Islands, Estonia, Northern Ireland, Serbia and Italy in the qualifiers for the 2012 European Football Championships in Poland and Ukraine, determined a draw in Warsaw on Sunday. Slovenia will play in group C, and qualifying... More »
Tourism
Istrabenz Selling Two Hotels
Portoroz - Company Istrabenz Turizem, the tourism division of the insolvent holding Istrabenz, published on Saturday a call for bids for Istrabenz hoteli Portoroz, the company owning the Kempinski Palace hotel in Portoroz, and the company operating Grand Hotel Adriatic on Croatia's Opatija. It ex... More »
Events
Schedule of Events in the week from 8 to 14 February
MONDAY, 8 February
  • LJUBLJANA - Slovenia will observe Culture Day, a bank holiday on which it remembers the death of its Romantic poet France Preseren (1800-1849).
  • LJUBLJANA - Culture Minister Majda Sirca will host a reception for this year's Preseren Prize winners and winners... More »
Slovenia News 16 February 2010
Editorial
The National Assembly endorsed on Friday, 12 February, Roko Zarnic of the coalition Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) as minister of environment and spatial planning. He was sworn in immediately after the vote. The coalition backed Zarnic, while several opposition deputies abstained from voting. The opposition National Party (SNS) was the only to oppose Zarnic's appointment, claiming a person with dual citizenship cannot seat in the Slovenian government. Zarnic is also a Croatian citizen. The new ministers has succeeded DeSUS leader Karl Erjavec, who resigned on 26 January just as parliament was about to vote on his dismissal.   The National Assembly passed on Thursday, 11 February, the bill on minimum wage and on Friday, 12 February, changes to the personal income tax act that will raise the minimum wage from EUR 460 to EUR 562 net. This puts the minimum wage on a par with the minimum living expenses. The minimum wage will rise once a year taking into account inflation, wages, economic growth and employment. Companies whose existence might be jeopardised by the move can agree with the employees to carry out the rise in phases: to EUR 510 net this year, EUR 530 next year, before achieving EUR 562 in 2012. Trade unions welcomed the decisions, saying that this would also boost consumption. Employers meanwhile insist that this will make labour costs too high and result in layoffs.   Opposition People's Party (SLS) and Democrats (SDS) filed a motion to oust Agriculture Minister Milan Pogacnik on Friday, 12 February. Pogacnik was under fire after the ministry returned two previously aggressive dogs to their owner - a well connected GP from Ljubljana - who was mauled and killed by the dogs on 2 February. The SLS and SDS believe that Pogacnik oversaw a biased process that led to the dogs' return to their owner in June 2009 despite a law that required them to be put down. They were taken from the owner in March 2006 after attacking a passer-by in front of their house. The Agriculture Ministry released on Wednesday, 10 February, a report on the course of events of the last four years regarding the dog's return. Pogacnik insisted that processes were unbiased and according to the law, while Prime Minister Borut Pahor said that removing Pogacnik after the incident would have been an easy way out, as the story would have passed too quickly and we would not be able to find out whether anything was wrong.  
Press release
Minister Lukšič Visits Slovenia House
Whistler - The Minister of Education and Sport, Dr Igor Lukšič, visited Vancouver where he watched men's downhill, and met the Governor General of Canada, Michaëlle Jean, his Canadian counterpart Gary Lunn and the President of the International Ski Federation, Gian-Franco ... More »
Slovenia House Now Open
A pleasant get-together and a surprise for the evening marked the opening of the Slovenia House in the heart of Whistler Village. Although the weather in Whistler is far from a winter fairy-tale, the Slovenia House was all about winter... More »
Slovenia House at the Vancouver Winter Olympic Games
For the Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, the Olympic Committee of Slovenia (OCS) and the Government Communication Office (UKOM) together with the Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia in Ottawa are organising Slovenia House, which will bring together Slovenian sport, culture, economy, tourism... More »
Domestic Policy
Ministry Releases Report as Dog Mauling Case Gains Attention
Ljubljana - The Agriculture Ministry released a report Wednesday on the course of events that led to the return of three Bullmastiffs to their owner after they attacked a passer-by three years earlier. The report was requested by PM Borut Pahor after he was urged to dismiss Minister Milan Pogacnik o... More »
Roko Zarnic New Minister of Environment and Spatial Planning
Ljubljana - Roko Zarnic, a 59-year professor of construction materials, was appointed in a 48:2 vote on Friday to become Slovenia's new minister of the environment and spatial planning. Six MPs abstained from voting. Immediately after the vote Zarnic was sworn in, and asked MPs to help him wit... More »
Foreign Affairs
Slovenia to Open Three New Embassies This Year
Ljubljana - As part of a new model of economic diplomacy which envisages a strong network of economic advisers at diplomatic missions abroad, Slovenia will open three new embassies, in Albania, Brazil and the Persian Gulf, and close some in the EU, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Milan Balazic an... More »
PM: Slovenia Lifting Reservations in Two Croatia EU Chapters
Brussels - Prime Minister Borut Pahor said on Thursday that Slovenia would give the green light for the opening of at least two chapters in Croatia's EU accession talks at the accession conference scheduled for 19 February. "We have settled all the necessary issues with Croatia in such a way... More »
Zbogar and Meta Focus on Economic Cooperation
Ljubljana - Foreign Minister Samuel Zbogar hosted his Albanian counterpart Ilir Meta in Ljubljana on Friday for talks that focused on ways to enhance economic cooperation. Zbogar said Slovenia supported Albania's EU aspirations and its efforts for visa liberalisation. He added that Meta's official ... More »
Zbogar and Inzko Focus on Visa Liberalisation for Bosnia
Ljubljana - Foreign Minister Samuel Zbogar met High Representative for Bosnia-Herzegovina Valentin Inzko in Ljubljana on Friday, highlighting EU visa liberalisation in the first half of 2010 and a NATO Membership Action Plan in April as the priority targets for the country. Zbogar said after Inzko'... More »
Pahor Meets US Senators over Western Balkans
Ljubljana - Prime Minister Borut Pahor on Sunday afternoon met US Senators Jeanne Shaheen and George Voinovich. Given that the senators started in Ljubljana their tour of the Western Balkans, the meeting focussed on the situation there, the prime minister's office said. Pahor outlined the situation... More »
Pahor Meets US Senators over Western Balkans
Ljubljana - Prime Minister Borut Pahor on Sunday afternoon met US Senators Jeanne Shaheen and George Voinovich. Given that the senators started in Ljubljana their tour of the Western Balkans, the meeting focussed on the situation there, the prime minister's office said. Pahor outlined the situation... More »
Ashton, Pahor Focus on Upcoming Western Balkans Conference
Brdo pri Kranju - EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton met Monday evening Prime Minister Borut Pahor and Foreign Minister Samuel Zbogar at the Brdo pri Kranju estate to discuss the upcoming conference of Western Balkans leaders due to take place in Slovenia... More »
Defence & NATO
Slovenia Remains Committed to Afghanistan
Ljubljana - Defence Minister Ljubica Jelusic expressed Wednesday Slovenia's continued commitment to the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan, but she said it would withdraw from the ISAF operation if its activities were unable to continue as planned. From the outset Slovenia framed its presence in ... More »
Troops Headed for Kosovo to Assume More Responsibility
Vrhnika - Defence Ministry State Secretary Uros Krek addressed the troops heading for Kosovo on Thursday, saying that while the number of international forces soldiers in Kosovo would shrink, their responsibility would increase. Krek noted that the situation in Kosovo had changed significantly... More »
Pahor and Tuerk Against Idea of Abolishing Army
Ljubljana - The "Abolish the Army!" initiative of the left-leaning weekly Mladina was rejected on Friday by President Danilo Tuerk and Prime Minister Borut Pahor. Tuerk sees Mladina's petition, launched on 29 January and signed so far by more than 5,900 people, as a contribution to an exchange... More »
EU Topics
Slovenia's Strategy in Line with EU's, PM Says
Brussels - Prime Minister Borut Pahor came out of a meeting of EU leaders in Brussels Thursday confident about Slovenia's strategy to overcome the crisis. Slovenia's exit strategy is precisely within the parameters presented by the European Commission, Pahor told reporters. The EU leaders debated... More »
Economy & Finance
Govt Amends Law on IMF Membership
Ljubljana - The government adopted on Thursday amendments to the act on Slovenia's membership in the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which regulates anew the relations between Slovenia's central bank and the government in line with the European law. The changes introduce a special agreement betw... More »
Business
NLB and Banka Celje Withdraw from Mercator Sale
Ljubljana - The state-owned NLB bank and its subsidiary Banka Celje announced they would not sell their 15% stake in Slovenia's leading retailer Mercator. "We are not happy with the elements and conditions of the bids submitted and are suspending the sale until further notice," NLB told STA. NLB's ... More »
Istrabenz Selling Postojnska Jama Operator
Postojna/Koper - Istrabenz Turizem, the tourism division of the troubled conglomerate Istrabenz, published on Saturday call for bids for Turizem Kras, the company operating Postojnska jama cave and Predjamski grad castle. The first phase of the call, in which the company is collecting non-binding... More »
Environment
Environment Minister Attends Danube Meeting
Vienna - Slovenia's new Environment Minister Roko Zarnic attended on Tuesday a meeting of the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube which signed in Vienna the Danube Declaration with measures to improve the river's ecosystem, the Environment Ministry said in a press release.... More »
Social Affairs
Concern Voiced about Impact of Crisis on Poverty
Ljubljana - Poverty rates are very likely to increase because of the crisis, Minister of Labour, the Family and Social Affairs Ivan Svetlik warned as he launched the European Year against Poverty and Social Exclusion in Slovenia on Friday. He said that Slovenia's poverty rate was not high, but that ... More »
Zbogar Attending Hearing Before UN Human Rights Council
Geneva - Foreign Minister Samuel Zbogar will speak in Geneva on Tuesday about the state of human rights in Slovenia at the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) hearing before the UN Human Rights Council. This will be the first review for Slovenia, which sent a national report to Geneva in November. Th... More »
Minorities
Berlusconi Promises Pahor to Address Minority Funding
Brussels - Prime Minister Borut Pahor said on Thursday that he and Italian counterpart Silvio Berlusconi had agreed on the sidelines of the informal EU summit in Brussels that the problems in the funding of the Slovenian minority in Italy would "be resolved as soon as possible through Berlusconi's i... More »
Slovenia Warns UN about Minority Situation in Italy
Geneva - Slovenia has drawn attention to the situation of its minority in Italy at the Universal Periodic Review of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva as Italy had its human rights records examined last week, the Foreign Ministry wrote in a press release on Saturday. Slovenia underlined the... More »
Culture & Media
Up-and-Coming Photographer Wins Photo of the Year Prize
Ljubljana - A series of eight portraits entitled "Obrazi samopodobe" (Faces of Self Image) by Alja Alic won the Photo of the Year Prize conferred by the magazine Emzin on Wednesday. The best press photos were shot by Manja Zore depicting intimate scenes of illness entitled "Revma" (Rheumatism). A... More »
Thousands Gather in Ptuj for Carnival Procession
Ptuj - Carnival festivities culminated on Sunday in Ptuj (NE) with an international procession featuring a record 3,000 people in masks which has attracted as many as 60,000 visitors to the oldest town in Slovenia. The 50th festival dubbed "Kurentovanje" after its distinctive figure - the kurent - ... More »
Slovenian Heritage Collected in Digital Encyclopedia
Ljubljana - A beta version of the digital encyclopedia of Slovenian cultural and natural heritage was launched on Tuesday in Ljubljana. The encyclopedia seeks to include all types of heritage, as the knowledge on them is intertwined, Mateja Smid Hribar, who participated in the project, told the... More »
Top Art Prizes Go to Dancer and Painter
Ljubljana - The highest recognition for cultural achievements in Slovenia, the Preseren Prize, was conferred on dancer Mateja Rebolj and painter, illustrator, graphic designer and photographer Kostja Gatnik at a high-profile ceremony in the Cankarjev dom arts centre on Sunday evening. Rebolj has ... More »
Carnival Festivities Kick Off in Ptuj
Ptuj - Carnival festivities will get under way on Saturday in the northeastern town of Ptuj, home to Slovenia's biggest carnival, famous for its distinctive figures - the kurenti. The 50th festival will culminate in an international carnival procession on Sunday, 14 February. The "Kurentovanje 2... More »
Health
Ministry Decides to Leave Oversight in Hands of Doctors
Ljubljana - Health Minister Borut Miklavcic presented on Friday the latest draft health services bill, a key reform document, which he is to send to various ministries for coordination. The latest version confirms that Medical Chamber membership will no longer be compulsory, while retaining the... More »
Flu Vaccine Contract Disclosed
Ljubljana - Slovenia bears the bulk of liability for possible side effects of the swine flu vaccine, reveal details of a contract with pharma company Glaxo Smith Kline (GSK) that the company disclosed following a demand by the Information Commissioner. GSK is only liable for own intentional viola... More »
UKC Confirms Its Doctors Moonlight in Private Practice
Ljubljana - Following reports in daily Delo that private medical centre Barsos operates illegally as only two of 40 doctors have permits from their hospitals for moonlighting at Barsos, the UKC Ljubljana said on Monday that only one of its employees had been given a permit to work outside the h... More »
Energy
Energy Council to Continue Debate on New Coal-Fired Generator
Ljubljana - The Strategic Energy Council debated on Monday a new coal-fired generator at the TES power station, deciding to continue the discussion on whether to go through with the project or not. Its decision should be known by the autumn, Prime Minister Borut Pahor said. The council got acq... More »
Society
Life Time Ballet Award Goes To Dancer Vlasto Dedovic
Maribor - The main Slovenian ballet award named after a famous ballet couple Pia in Pino Mlakar, was conferred on Wednesday upon dancer Vlasto Dedovic for his life time choreographic achievements. The Slovenian Ballet Dancers' Association also awarded three other dancers with the Lydia Wisiak award ... More »
Pensions to Go Up
Ljubljana - The institute managing Slovenia's pension purse decided Tuesday to increase Slovenia's pensions by 1.1%. Along with the general rise, a small share of pensioners, including those who retired after 1 January 2009, will be entitled to a higher, 1.7% increase. The decision was taken by t... More »
Sport
Slovenian Olympic House Opening
Vancouver - The Slovenian House, a place promoting Slovenian sports, culture, economy and tourism during the Winter Olympic Games, will open in Vancouver on Thursday. The main event will be the Slovenian Evening, held on the eve of St Valentine's Day under the motto "I feel Slovenia - I feel lo... More »
Slovenia House at Vancouver Olympics Officially Launched
Whistler - The Slovenia House, a place promoting Slovenian sports, culture, business and tourism during the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, officially opened in Whistler on Saturday. The opening was attended by many representatives of national Olympic committees as well as business executives a... More »
Swimmer Isakovic and kayaker Kauzer win this year's Bloudek Prizes
Brdo pri Kranju - Swimmer Sara Isakovic, kayaker Peter Kauzer, football coach Branko Oblak and sports educator Evgen Titan are the winners of this year's Bloudek Prizes, the highest national awards for achievements in sport. "The selection of the winners was difficult, as Slovenian athletes ... More »
Events
Schedule of Events for 15-21 February
MONDAY, 15 February
        LJUBLJANA - EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton will pay a visit to Slovenia.
      ... More »
Opening of the exhibition "Ecology of Techno Mind"
Brussels – The exhibition "Ecology of Techno Mind" opened today in the building of the European Parliament, comprising works of 21 artists from the Chair of Video and New Media at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Ljubljana.  The presented artists dedicate themselves to contemporary inve... More »
Slovenia News 23 February 2010
Editorial
Cross-country skier Petra Majdic won bronze in the women's classical sprint at the Vancouver Olympics on Wednesday, making a heroic comeback after breaking her ribs in a nasty crash in the warm-up. Running in severe pain and collapsing after crossing the finish line, the 30-year-old Majdic won her first Olympic medal and the first for Slovenia at the Vancouver games. "For me this bronze is gold scattered with diamonds," an elated Majdic said after the race.   Congratulations to Petra Majdic, who won the first medal for Slovenia at the Vancouver Olympics, came from all parts of the country. Prime Minister Borut Pahor, Minister of Foreign Affairs Samuel Zbogar, Minister of Defence Ljubica Jelusic and Minister of Education and Sport Igor Luksic congratulated her for an exceptional achievement - winning Olympic Bronze Medal in the classic sprint at Vancouver Winter Olympic Games in extreme cicrumstances.   President of Slovenia, Dr Danilo Türk has decorated Petra Majdič with the Golden Order for Services for her performance and an extraordinary sport achievement at the Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver for her “extreme heroism, courage and extraordinary success at the Olympic Games”.   Alpine Skier Tina Maze took second place in the Olympic women's Super-G in Whistler on Saturday to win Slovenia's second medal in Vancouver. Prime Minister Borut Pahor congratulated her on an excellent performance and the gaining of silver medal in the Olympic women's Super-G. The Prime Minister said that Maze had shown with her perseverance and skill that she is a "world-class athlete".   With the Olympics in full swing, the Slovenia House in the heart of Whistler Village is hosting its share of visitors. It has been visited on several occasions by the Olympic Ambassador and Senator from British Columbia, Nancy Green Raine, and the Minister of State for Sport, Gary Lunn. Mr Lunn wished all the best to the Slovenian team. “Slovenes are good in winter sports and I am convinced that by the end of the Games we will all proudly stand in the medals plaza and listen to the Slovenian anthem,” he said at the opening.
Press release
Ministers Lukšič and Lunn at a Working Breakfast in Slovenia House
Whistler - Slovenian Minister of Education and Sport Igor Lukšič met with his Canadian counterpart Gary Lunn at a working breakfast in Slovenia house. The meeting was held in a friendly atmosphere and few words were also devoted to the results of competitions.  Gary Lunn pres... More »
Visit to Slovenian expatriates
Vancouver - The Slovenian Olympic delegation, Minister Dr Igor Lukšič, the Ambassador to Canada, Tomaž Kunstelj, and the Director of the Government Communication Office, Veronika Stabej, visited the Slovenian Society in Bur... More »
Slovenia House Honours Cross-Country Skier Petra Majdič
Although she could not attend the party organised in the Slovenia House to celebrate her bronze medal, Petra Majdič was without doubt the star of the evening. The President of the Slovenian Olympic Committee, Janez Kocijančič, stressed the significance and scale of Majdič’s achievemen... More »
Silver Tina Maze in the Slovenia House
Whistler, February 21 - The words “Bravo Tina!” resounded at a reception in the Slovenia House, as our silver Super G heroine returned from the medal award ceremony. Tina was greeted by her fans – who came all the way from Slovenia – other athletes, the President of the Slovenian Olympic ... More »
Slovenia House at the Vancouver Olympics
Whistler, 22 February 2010 -  With the Olympics in full swing, the Slovenia House in the heart of Whistler Village is hosting its share of visitors. The decision to open the House at these Olympics was the right one, not least for promotional reasons. The excellent location, atmosphe... More »
Domestic Policy
Roko Zarnic Taking Over as new Environment Minister
Ljubljana, 17 February (STA) - Roko Zarnic will officially take over from Karl Erjavec as the environment and spatial planning minister on Wednesday. Sworn in last Friday, Zarnic said he would not rush things, but first look at the existing problems and confront the proponents of different views at ... More »
Foreign Affairs
President: Croatia Is Opening New Chapter
Zagreb/Ljubljana - The beginning of the term of Croatian President Ivo Josipovic marks the beginning of a new chapter for Croatia, which is important also for Slovenia, Slovenian President Danilo Tuerk said after the inauguration ceremony in Zagreb on Thursday. The first meeting between the two pres... More »
Slovenia unblocks Croatian chapters on fisheries and environment
Ljubljana, 18 February (STA) - Prime Minister Borut Pahor confirmed on Thursday that Slovenia agreed with Croatia's opening at the EU accession conference in Brussels on Friday two new policy chapters: on fisheries and the environment. According to Pahor, Slovenia has received appropriate guarantees... More »
International Organisations
Slovenia Supports Declaration on Reform of Human Rights Court
Bern - Slovenia supported a declaration adopted at a two-day conference on the long-term reform of the European Court of Human Rights on Friday in Switzerland which comprises an action plan for concrete measures aimed at reducing its excessive caseload, according to Justice Minister Ales Zalar. Zala... More »
Minister Zbogar Highlights Commitment to Human Rights
Geneva - Foreign Minister Samuel Zbogar pointed out at Tuesday's Universal Periodic Review (UPR) hearing before the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva that Slovenia was committed to the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms because it has experienced violations throughout its history. ... More »
ITF Finishes Demining Project in Macedonia
Skopje/Ljubljana - The Slovenian-run International Trust Fund for Demining and Mine Victims Assistance (ITF) removed a total of 3,300 mines weighing 7.2 tonnes from Lake Ohrid as part of a demining project in Macedonia. Macedonia became a mine-free country in 2006 as the first country in the SE Euro... More »
EU Topics
Foreign Minister and Enlargement Commissioner Discuss Western Balkans Summit
Brussels - Foreign Minister Samuel Zbogar held a meeting with Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele in Brussels on Monday at the sidelines of a meeting of EU foreign ministers. The pair discussed visa liberalisation, enlargement and the Western Balkans conference, which is to be held in Slovenia in ... More »
Slovenia MEPs Urge Solution to Greece-Macedonia Name Dispute
Skopje - Slovenian MEPs Lojze Peterle (NSi/EPP) and Zoran Thaler (SD/S&D) paid a visit to Macedonia on Thursday as part of a Peterle-led delegation of the European Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee. Meeting Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, both called for a solution to the country name ... More »
Minister Krizanic: New EU Development Strategy Noble But Not Ready Yet
Brussels - Finance Minister Franc Krizanic said in Brussels on Tuesday about the new EU 2020 economic strategy that "the aim is definitely noble, however further planning still lies ahead". Krizanic also commented on European Commission views concerning Slovenia's implementation of the Stability and... More »
Foreign Minister Hints at Reservations About Croatia's Foreign Policy Chapter
 Brussels - Foreign Minister Samuel Zbogar said at the sidelines of a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels on Monday that Slovenia still had reservations about the foreign, security and defence policy chapter which is part of Croatia's EU accession negotiations, but refused to be more sp... More »
Business
Business Sentiment Down Slightly in February
Ljubljana - Business sentiment in Slovenia deteriorated slightly in February, as the seasonally-adjusted indicator was one percentage point higher compared to January, and 15 percentage points down on February 2009, the Statistics Office said on Monday. The main reason was a lower services confidenc... More »
Agriculture
Slovenia Supports Measures for Agriculture Market Stabilisation
Brussels - Slovenia called in Brussels on Monday for preserving of the existing measures for market stabilisation and examining new measures for managing the risks of high prices and lack of food, Minister Milan Pogacnik said after the meeting of EU agriculture ministers. The minister said that for ... More »
Environment
Minister Zarnic Opposes Competitiveness at the Expense of Environment
Ljubljana - Roko Zarnic, the new minister of the environment and spatial planning, has told STA that he is against boosting competitiveness of companies at the expense of the environment. "Not having a proper attitude towards the environment, and this boosting your competitiveness, is not a good pra... More »
Government Launches Proceedings to Sue Italy over Gas Terminals
Ljubljana - The government has launched proceedings for asking the European Commission to start a litigation against Italy regarding the planned construction of gas terminals in the Gulf of Trieste, Environment and Spatial Planning Minister Roko Zarnic told the reporters on Thursday. The cabinet ord... More »
Minorities
Minister Expresses Support for Slovenians in Montenegro
Podgorica - Minister for Slovenians Abroad Bostjan Zeks attended in Podgorica on Monday evening the opening ceremony of the first association of Slovenians in Montenegro. He told STA on Tuesday that his three-day visit to the country was an expression of Slovenia's support for this move. Accordi... More »
Trubar Plaque Unveiled in Italy's Gorizia
Gorizia - Hundreds of people gathered in Italy's Gorizia on Saturday for the unveiling of a plaque to Protestant priest Primoz Trubar, the 16th century father of Slovenian language. The event, sponsored by the Gorizia Municipal Administration, was also attended by Minister for Slovenians Abroad Bost... More »
Culture & Media
Ljubljana Takes on UNESCO World Book Capital Role in April
Ljubljana - The Slovenian capital of Ljubljana will turn into the World Book Capital City on 23 April for a year, in what will be a major cultural event in Slovenia until 22 April 2011, featuring around 200 events. The project dedicated to the promotion of books and reading will be launched with ... More »
Culture Minister Majda Sirca Opens Festival Dedicated to Armenia
Ljubljana - Culture Minister Majda Sirca opened the exhibition "Armenian Tradition between the Secular and the Sacred" on Wednesday evening at the Cankarjev dom arts centre in Ljubljana. The exhibition is the main event of Cankarjev dom's 8th festival of foreign cultures, this year dedicated to the ... More »
Tadej Pogacar to Receive Jakopic Award for Fine Arts
Ljubljana - The winner of the 2009 Jakopic Award, the highest national award for achievements in fine arts, is Tadej Pogacar, one of the leading Slovenian contemporary artists. The award, named after impressionist painter Rihard Jakopic (1869-1943), and bestowed yearly by the Association of Fine Art... More »
Sport
Petra Majdic Wins Olympic Bronze Medal
Vancouver – Cross-country skier Petra Majdic won bronze in the women's classical sprint at the Vancouver Olympics Wednesday, making a heroic comeback after breaking her ribs in a nasty crash in the warm-up. Gold went to Marit Bjoergen of Norway, who finished the 1.4-kilometre distance in 3 minu... More »
Tomaz Humars's Birthday Marked by Reprint of His Book
Ljubljana - Publisher Zalozba Sanje reissued on Thursday a book by late climber Tomaz Humar, who would have turned 41 today had he survived an ascent to the Langtang Lirung peak (7,227 m) in Nepal last November. The upgraded monograph by Humar entitled "Ni nemogocih poti" (No Impossible Ways) con... More »
Petra Majdic Decorated with the Golden Order for Services
Ljubljana - President of Slovenia, Dr Danilo Türk, has today decorated cross-country skier Petra Majdič with the Golden Order for Services for her performance and an extraordinary sport achievement at the Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver. “Petra Majdič proved extreme heroism, courage and extra... More »
Events
Schedule of events in the week for 23-28 February
TUESDAY, 23 February
  • LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary commission looking into disputable management buyouts will continue with interviews by questioning former Finance Minister Andrej Bajuk.
  • LJUBLJANA - The management board of the Chamber of Craft and Small Businesses will debat... More »
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