Monday, November 26, 2007

Slovene inflation spike a warning to euro hopefuls

"An inflation spike following Slovenia's adoption of the euro has exposed weaknesses in the economy and fiscal policy and is a warning to eurozone aspirants to ensure deep reforms are in place before accession.

Although it is the richest of East Europe's ex-communist states, Slovenia, which joined the single currency in January this year, has a history of struggling with inflation, both when it was part of communist Yugoslavia and since independence in 1991.

In October the headline rate jumped to 5.1 percent, nearly double the average eurozone rate and up from 1.6 percent in the same month of last year. While consumer prices have been rising across the continent, analysts said the larger jump in Slovenia shows how the economy is struggling to cope with the competitive pressures that accompanied joining the euro zone."

Source: Reuters

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Slovenian customs to strike over border changes

"Slovenian custom agents on the border with Croatia will strike at midnight Sunday in a dispute over working conditions once the country joins the open-border Schengen trade area, reports said.

The open-ended action, which will see agents take longer over their work so as to slow down the passage of vehicles across the border, comes four weeks before Slovenia joins the European Union's Schengen visa regime on December 21.

Slovenia's border with Croatia will become the border of the Schengen area, and the customs agents union is demanding talks with the government on the subsequent reorganisation of their work, higher salaries and more benefits."


Thursday, November 22, 2007

Slovenia promises support for Turkey's EU membership bid

"Visiting Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa on Wednesday pledged his country's support for Turkey's bid for the European Union (EU) membership.

Jansa made the statement at a joint press conference following his talks with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the Turkish capital.

Slovenia, which is to take the rotating EU presidency in 2008, extends full support to enlargement of EU, and the EU reform agreement to be signed in December is very important within that scope, Jansa said.

Jansa stated that the recent Progress Report of EU on Turkey was objective, and they believe Turkey will rapidly fulfill adjustment efforts.

Jansa also recalled that Turkey and Slovenia are allies in NATO, while thanking Turkey for its support to Slovenia's NATO and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) memberships."

Source: Xinhua

Slovenian government crisis averted

"Slovenia's centre-right government under Prime Minister Janez Jansa won a parliamentary vote of confidence by 51 votes to 33 on Monday.

Jansa proposed the vote of confidence because he saw Slovenia's unity under threat in the run-up to the country's EU presidency, which begins on 1 January 2008. "

Source: Courrier international

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Slovenian workers stage mass protest for higher salaries

" Police said that about 15,000 protesters arrived in the capital by bus from all over the country, while organizers estimated that the turnout was 70,000 people.

The protesters wearing red bibs converged on one of Ljubljana's main squares, where heads of all six trade union associations urged the employers, who have so far refused to budge on wage demands, to heed the calls for change.

Addressing the crowd, union leaders repeated the threat of a general strike if no progress was made in the talks with employers on wage increases.

'We hope that the employers will come to their senses. If there is no progress in negotiations, we will be forced to stage a general strike,' said Dusan Semolic of the ZSSS, the largest trade union in Slovenia, 'this rally is the last warning for the employers.'

The protesters were joined by representatives of students and pensioners. They walked down Ljubljana carrying banners which condemned employers' policy and salaries which lag behind inflation and living costs."

Source: Xinhua

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Slovenia's PM: Cabinet might resign after opposition candidate elected president

"Slovenia's Prime Minister Janez Jansa said Tuesday that his Cabinet might resign following the overwhelming victory of the opposition-backed candidate in a weekend presidential vote.

'We will analyze the situation further, but all possibilities are open, including the resignation of the government,' Jansa told reporters after a meeting of his center-right Cabinet.

Longtime diplomat Danilo Tuerk, who was supported by several leftist opposition parties, was elected president in Sunday's elections with 68 percent of the vote — more than twice as much as Lojze Peterle, who was backed by Jansa's governing coalition.

Jansa insisted that Tuerk's campaign 'was directed entirely at settling accounts with the government.'

'It is particularly worrying that a lot of energy was invested in blackening the government abroad,' Jansa said, claiming his opponents portrayed Slovenia 'as Belarus' or some other authoritarian country.

'That makes the government's work more difficult, even its routine duties, and especially its preparations for taking over the European Union presidency,' he said.

Slovenia, which joined the EU and NATO in 2004, will assume the EU's rotating, six-month presidency Jan. 1."

Source: International Herald Tribune

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Tuerk leads in Slovenia elections

"Leftist former diplomat Danilo Tuerk is set to become Slovenia's new president, as preliminary results suggest he has a huge lead over his centre-right rival.

Former prime minister Lojze Peterle conceded after exit polls showed Mr Tuerk getting almost 70% of the vote. Mr Peterle - who helped lead Slovenia to independence from Yugoslavia - was well behind despite topping a first-round vote last month. Mr Tuerk, 55, was backed by the main left-wing opposition parties.

Mr Peterle had the support of the governing centre-right coalition. But the 59-year-old did not secure enough support to win outright in October, and has since fallen behind in the polls. Mr Peterle conceded almost immediately. 'I expected a better result,' he said."

Source: BBC NEWS

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Slovenian PM vows to expand cooperation with China

"Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa has said the cooperation between his country and China has been developing well and further expanding all-round bilateral cooperation is in the interests of both sides.

Jansa, who is scheduled to visit China from Nov. 8 to 11, told Xinhua in a recent written response that his visit is 'an excellent opportunity not only to positively assess the past cooperation but also to set goals for further strengthening of bilateral ties.'

He said a delegation of 50 successful companies and institutions from Slovenia will accompany his tour to Beijing in a bid to enhance economic ties."

Source: Xinhuanet

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Slovenia puts climate change, energy at top of its EU presidency

"Slovenia will put climate change, energy and economic reforms at the top of the European Union's agenda when it takes over the union's presidency in January, the country's prime minister said Tuesday.

In addition, after meeting with European Commission President Manuel Barroso, Prime Minister Janez Jansa said he would push EU governments to quickly ratify the reform treaty European leaders will sign next month. The treaty includes changes in decision-making rules designed to make the union function more effectively.

'We will follow closely the ratification process of the reform treaty and encourage our colleagues to speed up as much as possible the ratification process,' Jansa said at a press conference with Barroso. The new treaty, if approved by all 27 member nations, would take effect in 2009."

Source: International Herald Tribune

Monday, November 5, 2007

Opposition candidate ahead in Slovenia presidential race

"The centre-left opposition candidate in Slovenia's presidential election, Danilo Turk, is expected to gain a clear victory in next weekend's second-round vote, opinion polls showed, AFP reports.

Turk won 24.47 percent support in the first-round vote on October 21, behind the ruling centre-right coalition's candidate, former prime minister Lojze Peterle, with 28.73 percent.

But nationwide polls carried out this weekend by private POP TV and state television showed Turk, a relative newcomer in Slovenian politics, could win between 68 percent and 68.9 percent in the run-off on November 11. "

Source: FOCUS