Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Thousands on Facebook want Slovenia's Rupel out

"More than 13 600 people have joined an Internet group urging Slovenia s 'perennial foreign minister ' Dimitrij Rupel to retire from political life.

Rupel who held the post in several governments after independence in 1991 attracted criticism when he swapped parties to allow him to retain the post from 2004 to 2008 a period that covered Slovenia s presidency of the European Union.

Now despite being a member of the defeated centre-right Slovenian Democratic Party his fourth party since 1991 he has been made special foreign policy adviser by the new ruling party the centre-left Social Democrats.

A day after the announcement his critics set up the 'Together Against Dimitrij Rupel' group on the social networking website Facebook."

Source: Reuters

Monday, November 24, 2008

Slovenian lawmakers endorse new government

"Slovenian lawmakers endorsed a new, center-left Cabinet on Friday and the prime minister pledged it would focus on guiding the country through the economic crisis.

The EU-member country of 2 million has yet to feel any strong effects from the global economic downturn, but experts warn Slovenian growth will likely slow and jobs will be lost in 2009.

Leftist Prime Minister Borut Pahor, who won Sept. 21 elections, told lawmakers Friday that his government would focus on 'overcoming the obstacles' of the international slowdown.

In the 90-seat legislature, 56 deputies supported Pahor's Cabinet, which includes seven nonpartisan members and a record five women. Thirty deputies voted against it; others were absent."

Source: International Herald Tribune

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

British monarch pays first state visit to Slovenia

"Queen Elizabeth II of Britain and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, paid their first state visit to Slovenia on Tuesday at the invitation of Slovenian President Danilo Tuerk.

The 82-year-old monarch and the Duke were welcomed at the Joze Pucnik airport in the Slovenian capital Ljubljana by British ambassador Tim Simmons and several Slovenian officials, Slovenian news agency STA reported.

The royal couple then traveled in a motorcade to the nearby Brdo Castle, to be met by President Tuerk and First Lady Barbara Miklic Tuerk with full state honors.

After the talks, the Queen and her host exchanged state honors and gifts. President Tuerk decorated the Queen with the Order for Exceptional Services of the Republic of Slovenia, while he received the Most Honorable Order of the Bath.

The Queen's first visit to Slovenia is being met with great fanfare in Slovenia, as it is seen as an opportunity to further enhance the good relations between the two nations.

Slovenia has amended its protocol in anticipation of the royal visit, making this its first state visit to date. Previously, the highest level of visit was an official one."

Source: Xinhua

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Slovenia: Housing prices continue to rise

"Apartment prices in Slovenia rose by an average of 10% in nominal terms the first half of 2008 compared to the same period last year, according to a report by the Slovenian Surveying and Mapping Authority, which expects prices to go up by another 5% by the end of the year.

A square metre of apartment cost on average of EUR 1,850, but prices range from about EUR 2,800 in Ljubljana and Koper to just over EUR 1,000 in Murska Sobota in the east of the country. The growth in house prices was slower, at about 5%. Prices of commercial property, which plunged last year, seem to have recovered: offices were up 9% on average and bars/restaurants rose 26%."

Source: Fordaq

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Bush to attend EU-US summit in Slovenia

"US President George W. Bush will attend an EU-US summit in Slovenia in June as part of a European tour including stops in Germany, Italy, the Vatican, France and Britain, the White House announced Tuesday.

Bush will begin the June 9-16 trip 'by participating in the annual US-European Union summit in Slovenia,' White House Press Secretary Dana Perino told reporters.

Slovenia, the first former communist state to hold the EU's six-month rotating presidency, said Monday that the summit will focus on political and regional issues, global security as well as bilateral partnership.

Perino said Bush was traveling to Europe in part 'to strengthen the trans-Atlantic partnership and to celebrate the enduring friendship between our nations based on shared democratic values,' Perino said.

'He'll also have a chance to visit with some new friends and some old friends,' she said, noting in particular Silvio Berlusconi, who has begun a third stint as Italy's prime minister.

Bush was also likely to press forward with ongoing cooperation on economic, trade and counter-terrorism issues, and to do more work on a multilateral approach to dealing with Iran, Perino added.

The June summit will be Bush's second visit to Slovenia after a 2001 visit where he officially met with then Russian president Vladimir Putin for the first time."

Source: AFP

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Harrah's, Slovenian group Hit suspend talks

"Harrah's Entertainment of the United States and Slovenia's Hit Group are suspending talks on construction of a 750-million-euro (1.17-billion-dollar) entertainment park in western Slovenia, the Hit Group said in a statement Wednesday.

'The two companies concluded that they could not find a solution that would meet the interests of both,' said Hit Group, which controls the largest casinos in the tiny European Union state.

It added that 'it was not possible to define a managing structure that would fulfill the interests of the Hit Group for a balanced development of Nova Gorica as a tourist destination and granting, at the same time, (Harrah's) expected influence in the new joint company.'"

Source: Servihoo.com

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Ex-Slovenian President Dies at 57

"Former President Janez Drnovsek, who helped lead Slovenia to independence from Yugoslavia and later enthralled many of his countrymen by adopting a New Age lifestyle, died Saturday, his office said. He was 57.

Mild-mannered but resolute, Drnovsek became a political icon in part for working to keep violence at a minimum when Slovenia gained independence in 1991. He later led the country to European Union and NATO membership.

In recent years, as he battled cancer, he made a radical transformation to a holistic lifestyle and wrote several New Age-influenced books. His office said he died overnight at his home but gave no specific cause.

Drnovsek was the Slovenian representative the Yugoslav federation's collective presidency when his region declared its independence. Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic sent tanks to Slovenian borders, triggering a brief war. But Drnovsek used his position to push for negotiations, eventually orchestrating a deal for the peaceful withdrawal of the Yugoslav army and sparing Slovenia from bloodshed that later engulfed Croatia and Bosnia.

Drnovsek was Slovenia's prime minister for a decade before being elected president in 2002. He did not run for a second presidential term in elections late last year and was replaced by Danilo Turk in December."

Source: The Associated Press

Monday, February 11, 2008

Slovenia worried Serbia bomb linked to EU role

"Slovenian Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel expressed concern Saturday over a bomb blast at a Slovenian-run shopping mall in Serbia, saying he feared it was tied to his country's EU leadership.

'Yesterday there was some bomb explosion in Belgrade in front of Slovenian stores,' Rupel said during a speech to an international security conference in Germany on the issue of the crisis between Serbia and breakaway Kosovo.

'I'm a little worried about that because it may be connected to the role Slovenia's playing at the head of the European Union,' he said.

Slovenia currently holds the rotating presidency of the 27-nation EU"

Source: EUbusiness.com

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Sarkozy steals Slovenia’s EU limelight

"Less than 17 years since becoming an independent state, Slovenia launched its presidency of the European Union this week – and received a swift lesson in how to have its spotlight stolen.

For three years the little Alpine nation had prepared for the proud day when it would bask in the spotlight as the first country once under communist rule to have the honour of leading the 27-member EU.

But when Tuesday came, so did Nicolas Sarkozy. As the Slovenes applied themselves to the humdrum task of hosting the European Commission at a conference centre outside Ljubljana, the French president was busy dazzling the world’s media at the Elysée palace.

While the Slovenes gave a succinct summary of the EU’s policy agenda between now and June 30, Mr Sarkozy, leapfrogging over them, sketched his vision for France’s EU presidency from July 1 to December 31.

Slovenia, a country of 2m people with centuries of experience of foreign domination – including a brief spell as part of the Napoleonic empire – says its contacts with France have been constructive at all levels. It is just as well.

Slovenia’s diplomatic service is so small that, over the next six months, France will provide representation in more than 100 countries where the Slovenes have no missions.

In similar fashion, Slovenia last year helped out Portugal, its predecessor as EU president, by representing it in Macedonia and Montenegro. But Slovenia’s reliance on France is on a different scale altogether."

Source: FT.com

Monday, January 7, 2008

Slovenian journalists renew censorship claims

"Slovenian journalists urged the government Friday to create an independent commission to investigate allegations of government censorship and political pressure on the media.

Journalists Blaz Zgaga and Matej Surc said international experts should be included in the commission 'that could evaluate the situation and contribute to improving media freedom in Slovenia.'

Zgaga, a journalist with the daily Vecer, and Surc, a state television reporter, last year initiated a petition signed by 570 journalists accusing the government of censorship. The petition was sent to all EU capitals.

But three months on and just days after Slovenia took over the six-month presidency of the EU, the paid [sic] said that no measures had been taken in response to their complaints.

'Since then, the only Slovenian official to have talked to us is the Human Rights Ombudsman Zdenka Cebasek Travnik,' Zgaga told AFP."

Source: EUbusiness.com

Croatia seizes Italian boat days after fishery zone comes into force

"The Croatian navy seized an Italian fishing vessel that was 'illegally present' on Thursday (January 3rd), two days after declaring a protected fishing zone in its territorial waters.

Police spokeswomen Zeljka Radosevic said the trawler crew was fishing near a remote island in Croatian waters and not inside the new Croatian Ecological and Fisheries Protected Zone (ZERP), which extends to the middle of the Adriatic.

Radosevic said the boat was escorted to a port on the island of Vis for investigation. She added that the three crew members would appear before a judge and would probably be fined. It was not immediately clear what impact this incident would have on Croatia's ongoing dispute with Italy and Slovenia over the fishing zone, which the EU has also warned against.

Croatia held general elections in late November. Because the new government has not been formed, the zone was enacted automatically based on laws previously passed.

Diplomats have been unable to make progress on the issue due to the slow pace of forming the new coalition cabinet."

Source: SETimes.com

Friday, January 4, 2008

Many in Slovenia yearn for old Yugoslavia - Telegraph

"Marco Sporar, a 21-year-old business student who studies in the capital Ljubljana, said he understood why posters of Yugoslavia's founding leader and Second World War hero Marshal Josip Broz Tito are appearing again on the walls of many Slovene homes.

'I have a picture of Tito at home, my mother worships him,' he said. 'It was easier to get a job then, now everything is about money.'

Doubts remain about whether the EU will bring Balkans countries, such as Slovenia and Serbia, together or heal the wounds of past conflicts in the former Yugoslavia.

'The EU is not united like Yugoslavia. Then every country, under Tito, had a voice. In the EU the biggest countries have the biggest say,' said Mr Sporar."

Source: Telegraph