Morning headlines for Slovenia: Tuesday, July 5, 2022
Pahor and Osmani-Sadriu urge EU and NATO on the future of the Western Balkans
LJUBLJANA – President Borut Pahor and his visiting Kosovar counterpart Vjosa Osmani-Sadriu agreed in Ljubljana that relations between the two countries are excellent and expressed the wish to continue on this path. Both leaders see a peaceful and secure future for the Western Balkans within the context of European and Euro-Atlantic integration. Speaking to the press during Osmani-Sadriu’s two-day visit, the duo said Slovenia and Kosovo share the same views on the Western Balkans.
Ex-Foreign Minister Anže Logar declares his candidacy for the presidency
LJUBLJANA – Former Foreign Minister Anže Logar has announced his intention to run in the autumn presidential elections. He has the support of his party, the opposition Democrats (SDS). “I will go through the citizens’ signatures, and I also have the support of the SDS party,” he said. The 46-year-old believes the time has come for Slovenia to take a leap forward by electing its first centre-right president. He joins a growing list of candidates but is only the second after Marta Kos to be backed by a party.
Government backtracks on wage promises, angering public sector unions
LJUBLJANA – As the government and public sector unions entered wage negotiations, the government reneged on its promise to increase the value of individual pay bands, instead offering one-off bonuses to provoke union outrage. Public Administration Minister Sanja Ajanović Hovnik said the government felt that an increase in salary brackets was inappropriate at the moment due to rising prices and inflation. Representatives from both bargaining groups are unhappy with the government’s decision and expect government negotiators to get a different mandate or they will step up union activity.
OECD recommends Slovenia to fight inflation and implement reforms
BRDO PRI KRANJU – In its latest report, the OECD recommends that Slovenia focus on high inflation in the short term, then accelerate reforms that would increase productivity, make growth more sustainable and fight against ageing. The lack of reforms puts additional pressure on pensions, health care and the labor market. Slovenia has rebounded strongly from Covid, but its economic activity is hampered by high inflation, bottlenecks in supply chains and the war in Ukraine, says the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in its Economic Review 2022 for Slovenia.
The government welcomes the recommendations of the OECD
BRDO PRI KRANJU – Several government ministers have welcomed the recommendations of the OECD’s 2022 Economic Review, with Finance Minister Klemen Boštjančič saying the report should be read as a whole, “not just individual parts”, and expressing its support for structural changes, announcing a broad tax reform. Labor Minister Luka Mesec said the measures would focus on disadvantaged people to help them weather rising heating, fuel and food prices. Minister of Digital Transformation Emilija Stojmenova Duh added that her department was already looking for solutions to address the digitalization challenges identified by the OECD.
SD decides to run with its own presidential candidate
LJUBLJANA – The presidency of the Junior Coalition of Social Democrats (SD) has decided that the party will present its own candidate for the next presidential election. The internal application procedure will remain open until July 15. Asked about the sensitivity of left-wing parties each running with their own candidate, Fajon said today’s decision was the only logical move for the SD, “a traditional party and still the strongest on the left”. The party presidency also decided to hold an electoral congress on October 8, with Fajon running again for the leadership of the SD.
Farmers warn wheat purchase plan is rather late
LJUBLJANA – The Chamber of Agriculture and Forestry (KGZS) on Friday welcomed a series of measures taken by the government to help farmers amid rising prices, including financial aid worth more than 22 million euros, the purchase of this year’s entire wheat harvest and price monitoring of 15 food products. However, the chamber warned that the wheat buyback came a bit late as the harvest is already well advanced and the Cooperative Association said it was already buying and selling the harvest.
Governor: the ECB could raise its key rate by 0.5 points in September
BRDO PRI KRANJU – The governor of the central bank of Slovenia, Boštjan Vasle, expects that to fight against high inflation, the European Central Bank (ECB) will increase its key rate by 0.25 basis points in July and an additional 0.5 point in September. “In the opinion of many people, one of the most important measures [to deal with inflation] is the management of interest rates,” Vasle said on the sidelines of the presentation of the OECD economic review for Slovenia, adding that the gradual increases could follow after September.
Slovenian Army receives Kosovo’s highest military decoration
LJUBLJANA – Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani-Sadriu, who is on a two-day official visit to Slovenia, presented the Slovenian Armed Forces with Kosovo’s highest presidential military decoration. The President of Kosovo presented the Slovenian Armed Forces with the Presidential Military Medal, which was accepted by Deputy Chief of Staff Major General Roman Urbanč, the ministry said. On this occasion, Osmani-Sadriu was received at the Ministry of Defense by Minister Marjan Šarec, who declared that Slovenia was very proud of its contribution to Kosovo’s security and regional security.
Pahor tells Politika EU ignoring W Balkans will have consequences
BELGRADE, Serbia – President Borut Pahor noted in an interview with Serbian newspaper Politika that the EU’s unwillingness or inability to establish a greater presence in the Western Balkans will have consequences. He said he would continue to work for the Western Balkans’ EU membership prospects and expressed his understanding for Serbia. Pahor believed that the geopolitical fate of the Western Balkans for the next ten or fifteen years was being decided right now and under current conditions. “Russia, China, Turkey and the Gulf countries will consolidate in this area. The EU cannot ignore it,” he said.
Fuel prices down slightly on Tuesday
LJUBLJANA – Prices for regular and diesel vehicles sold off highways will drop a bit at midnight under the government-administered pricing model. Regular will cost 2.3 cents less at EUR 1.723 per liter and diesel 4 cents less at EUR 1.808 per litre, the Economy Ministry announced. The new prices will remain in effect for a fortnight until Monday, July 18. Fuel prices at the pump along the highways are liberalized.
Kangler successfully sues corruption watchdog
LJUBLJANA – As the high court overruled parliament’s 2019 decision to open an investigation into the numerous legal proceedings of former Maribor mayor Franc Kangler, the administrative court has now nodded to the trial de Kangler against the corruption watchdog for his role in the upper house that ordered the investigation constituted a conflict of interest. Kangler, who also served as state secretary in the Interior Ministry in the 2020-22 Janez Janša government, challenged the corruption watchdog’s stance on the manner, arguing that he had no not spoken or voted in the upper house session that led to the inquiry.
Blaž Cvar appointed new president of the small business chamber
LJUBLJANA – Blaž Cvar has been appointed as the new president of the Chamber of Crafts and Small Businesses (OZS) for a four-year term, succeeding Branko Meh, who served as head of the chamber for eight years. The restaurateur from Radlje ob Dravi in northern Slovenia said in his program that he would be fair, conduct dialogue and work for the benefit of all members of the chamber. He also introduced OZS’s new 15-member executive committee, while Danijel Lamperger remained director of the chamber. Cvar was approved by 52 of the 92 members of the OZS assembly, who represent 62 regional chambers 30 and professional sections.
Pharmacy boss gets jail term in healthcare bribery case
LJUBLJANA – In what is the latest verdict in Slovenia’s biggest healthcare corruption case to date, the Ljubljana District Court has handed down a three-year prison sentence to Nataša Faganeli, head of the pharmacy of the orthopedic hospital of Valdoltra. Faganeli, found guilty of demanding and accepting bribes in exchange for orders for supplies from Emporio Medical and Advanta, will also have to pay a fine of 35,000 euros and return 89,000 euros in illegal earnings.
Covid cases up 40% on weekends week after week
LJUBLJANA – The latest Covid-19 statistics show that the number of cases is rising steadily, with the number of new infections recorded over the weekend rising by almost 40% on a weekly basis to 641, while overall hospitalizations decreased. There are, however, more patients in intensive care and three people with Covid-19 have died since Friday. The rate of case notifications within 14 days per 100,000 population now stands at 478, up more than 140 from the same day a week ago.
Logo chosen for European Capital of Culture 2025
NOVA GORICA – The cities of Nova Gorica and Gorizia join forces as European Capital of Culture 2025 under the name GO! 2025. In a logo competition, a team from Bologna designed the project’s winning logo. Out of 67 submissions, the jury chose the design of Michele Pastore, Giulia Bardelli and Andrea Guccini of Studio But Maybe as the official logotype. The organizers claim that the logo chosen is both innovative and avant-garde.
Slovenia beat Sweden in style
STOCKHOLM, Sweden — Slovenia finished the first round of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 Qualifiers second in their group after beating Sweden 84:81 after a blistering finish in Stockholm on Sunday. NBA stars Luka Dončić and Goran Dragić scored 51 points between them as Dragić bid farewell to the national team to become its all-time leading scorer. In the second round, starting in late August, Slovenia will face Germany, Israel and Estonia in Group J, which also includes Sweden.
Goran Dragić transferred to Chicago
CHICAGO, USA — Slovenian NBA star Goran Dragić will not join the Dallas Mavericks as rumored, but will instead sign a one-year contract with the Chicago Bulls. After playing for the Brooklyn Nets last season, Dragić has now confirmed for the STA his transfer to the Bulls, who finished the regular season in 6th place in the Eastern Conference and were eliminated in the first round of the play-offs. According to American media, Dragić will sign a contract worth 2.9 million dollars (2.8 million euros).