Friday, December 19, 2008
Slovenia on Friday used its veto power as an EU member to prevent the 27-nation bloc from speeding up membership negotiations with Croatia, apparently because of the border dispute.
The dispute, which involves a dispute over sea rights and various smaller tussles over land borders, dates back to 1991, when the two nations seceded from the former Yugoslav federation.
Bruno Le Maire, France's European affairs minister, urged Slovenia not to use the border dispute as an excuse to continue blocking entry talks with its Balkan neighbor."
Source: International Herald Tribune
Friday, December 12, 2008
The 'highly publicized' visit of Al Gore did not receive any international coverage, however, and local media journalists were keen to point out that many of the VIPs and other guests who attended Gore's presentation had arrived in SUVs and other gas guzzlers!
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
The Agency established that the direct impact of the global financial crisis on Slovenia is minor, largely due to the dominance of traditional and relatively simple financial instruments in the country, adequate supervision of banks, low balance of payments deficit, and the fact that the country is in the euro area."
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."
Monday, November 24, 2008
'It is crucial that some important financial institutions, like Nova Ljubljanska Banka (NLB) and Zavarovalnica Triglav, and some other companies remain in majority Slovenian ownership,' Pahor said at a financial conference.
The government and its investment funds own large or majority stakes in the country's largest bank NLB and the largest insurer Zavarovalnica Triglav.
'As it turned out it is very important particularly for small economies to have financial institutions that customers can count on,' Pahor added."
Sunday, November 23, 2008
'We will focus on overcoming the financial and economic crisis so as to beat it with a development policy rather than a passive one,' Pahor told parliament before the vote.
The assembly approved the cabinet by 56 votes to 30.
Pahor's Social Democrats (SD) ousted former conservative prime minister Janez Jansa in a closely contested parliamentary election in September.
Pahor, 45, formed a coalition with two centre-left parties, Zares and the Liberal Democracy (LDS), and the pensioners' party Desus, which had been a junior partner in the Jansa government. The four parties together hold 50 out of 90 seats in parliament.
Pahor told parliament he would enforce social dialogue with trade unions and employers, curb budget spending and raise investment incentives in order to boost the competitiveness of the Slovenian economy.
He also promised tax cuts and pointed out wage growth will have to lag behind productivity growth by at least one percentage point in order to keep the economy competitive."
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
The 16-year-old horse, 085 Favory Canissa XXII, is so precious to the identity of this tiny nation of 2 million that Queen Elizabeth II decided to leave him in the care of the Lipica stud farm in western Slovenia. The meticulously trained horses are known for being able to perform highly stylized prancing, jumps and other moves.
'He's a real stallion: Sometimes, he cannot concentrate on training because he thinks about mares all the time,' said the horse's chief trainer, Igor Maver.
The symbolic gift becomes another addition to a tradition of feathered, furry or four-legged presents. In the past, the royals have been given sloths, tortoises, pygmy hippopotami — among other creatures.
Most end up in zoos and sanctuaries — so it seems fitting the latest addition will remain back at the stud farm for horses so ingrained in the national culture their image is stamped on coins."
Source: Associated Press
She spoke while at a state banquet, held in her honour, at the 16th century Brdo Castle near the capital Ljubljana.
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh are on a two-day state visit to the country at the behest of president Danilo Turk.
It is the first time they have been to Slovenia since its independence from the former Yugoslavia in 1991 and entry into the European Union in 2004.
Speaking to an audience of 80 guest, the monarch congratulated Slovenia, one of Europe's youngest countries, on its transformation since independence.
She said: 'This achievement has been all the more striking when we recall that it is only 17 years since you first emerged as an independent European nation."
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
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."
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
At issue is the fact that all passenger cars and motorcycles wishing to use the Slovenian motorway network must buy a special vignette, which is only available on an annual or half-yearly basis.
This means foreign nationals or foreign residents who only use the country’s motorways occasionally face a 'disproportionate charge' compared to nationals and Slovenian residents, stresses the Commission. Its move follows complaints from EU tourist organisations in Germany and Austria."
63.10 percent of all voters cast their vote in the elections. The official winner is the party SD, run by Borut Pahor, which received 30.45 percent of the votes cast. 29.26 of voters voted for SDS, which is followed by Zares with 9.37 percent, za DeSUS with 7,45 percent, SNS with 5.4 percent, SLS and SMS with 5.21 percent, and LDS with 5.21 percent of the votes cast."
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Mr. Bush and Mr. Turk met at Brdo Castle in Kranj, Slovenia. He is to also hold talks with Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa.
During Tuesday's summit with European leaders, President Bush said he wants to discuss joint action to tackle high energy costs, including the need to cut dependence on fossil fuels. He also plans to ask for European help in Afghanistan and to put more pressure on Iran to give up its nuclear program.
The president is to also visit the Slovenia's world-famous Lipizzaner horse exhibit before heading off to Germany."
Source: VOA News
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
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."
Friday, April 11, 2008
Through a joint statement signed by Kosovo’s Prime Minister, Hashim Thaci and Slovenia’s Foreign Minister, Dimitrij Rupel, the two countries announced the start of relations.
“We have decided to establish diplomatic relations at the level of ambassadors,” a Kosovo government release says.
Both countries claim that establishing diplomatic relations is based on international principles and conventions."
Former President Milan Kucan criticised the international community over Kosovo last week, saying it had shown disregard for the principle that unilateral moves should not be allowed to alter state borders.
Rupel responded to this claim by noting that the Badinter arbitration commission ruled in 1991, without the endorsement of the federal government, that parts of Yugoslavia had the right to found their own states.
The minister argued that the ruling also applies to Kosovo and Vojvodina, provinces that in the former Yugoslavia had a status similar to that of the six republics that subsequently became independent states. Kosovo and Vojvodina were also members of the Yugoslav presidency, which Rupel said was a further proof of their equal status within the federation."
Source: Slovenian Press Agency
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Presidency sources in Brussels said the summit would take place in the first half of June, but could not officially confirm Slovenian reports that it would be held on June 9-10.
EU-US summits are usually held once a year, alternatively in Europe or in the United States. The last such meeting took place in Washington, in the spring of 2007."
Thursday, April 3, 2008
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva met with his Slovenian counterpart Danilo Turk on Wednesday, according to the joint statement.
'Both presidents agreed on the need to reform the United Nations system, in particular the Security Council, in order to give it more transparency and legitimacy and to reflect the changes occurred in the international order in the last half century,' said the statement."
Monday, March 17, 2008
Top justice officials from the EU and the United States discussed Thursday in Brdo, Slovenia, the issue of the U.S. Visa Waiver Program, which the EU hopes will allow all EU citizens to travel to America without a visa as soon as possible.
Washington's decision to conduct bilateral negotiations on the issue with individual EU member states, including the elements that are exclusively within the competence of the EU, was a matter of collective concern for the bloc."
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Drnovsek, who battled cancer for years, 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, Drnovsek made a radical shift to a holistic lifestyle and wrote several New Age-influenced books.
Mild-mannered but resolute, Drnovsek served as prime minister from 1992 to 2002, after which he became president. He did not run for a second term in elections late last year and was replaced by Danilo Turk in December.
His office gave no specific cause of his death."
Monday, February 25, 2008
EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana told reporters at an EU event in Slovenia that the violence could harm progress on a preliminary deal on ties with the European Union, the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA).
'Things will have to calm down before we can recuperate the climate that would allow for any contact to move on the SAA,' Solana said after the storming of the U.S. embassy in Belgrade and attacks on the German and British missions on Thursday.
EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn said the European Union respected the democratic right of the Serbian people to voice their opinion on developments in Kosovo, 'but the use of violence for expressing one's opinion is unacceptable', he said."
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
The youths, who numbered about 800 at the height of the violence, smashed the windows of two McDonald's restaurants, and those of the US and Slovenian embassies. Most of them appeared to be hardcore football fans.
The rioting lasted several hours and at least 50 people -- among them 20 policemen -- were injured during the rioting, radio B92 reported, quoting hospital officials."
Thursday, February 7, 2008
'According to the Holy See’s Press Office, "The talks provided an opportunity to examine a number of matters concerning the current international scene, in particular the situation in the Balkans, also in the light of the Slovenian presidency of the European Union (January- July 2008).”
Mention was also made of the good relations that exist between Slovenia and the Holy See, as well as the need to ensure the protection of freedoms sought by the Church in Slovenia.
Pope Benedict considers the main challenge facing the Church in Slovenia to be "Western-style secularism”. Speaking to the Bishops of Slovenia earlier this year, he called this type of materialism “different and perhaps more underhand than Marxist secularism". It results in "the unbridled pursuit of material goods, the drop in nativity and the reduction in religious practice with a notable diminution in vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life".'
In an interview, Rupel remarked that UN secretary general Ban Ki-Moon has declared he backs the EU mission in Kosovo."
Source: FOCUS Information Agency
Friday, February 1, 2008
'If Slovenia prevents our entry into the EU by persistently insisting on its attitudes, it will be a disaster for our future relations,' Mesic said.
Such a scenario would mean that any 'friendship between Slovenia and Croatia is over for good,' he added.
The Croatian leader is to have an informal meeting on Friday with his Slovenian counterpart Danilo Turk, for the first time since Turk was elected in November.
Asked by journalists what he expected from the talks, scheduled to be held in Slovenia, Mesic emphasised they would be informal to give them a greater chance of success.
Croatia accuses its northern neighbour of using its current six-month term in the EU presidency to press Zagreb over unsolved bilateral issues. Slovenia has rejected the charges."
Source: Courrier international
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
The Foreign Ministry announced on its website that political director Mitja Drobnic had resigned and would be replaced by state secretary Matjaz Sinkovec during Slovenia's six-month term as EU president.
Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel 'has accepted the resignation of political director Mitja Drobnic', the ministry said in a statement.
The resignation comes after a report in the daily newspaper Dnevnik last week which said that Slovenia had been taking orders from the US.
According to the newspaper, which quoted an internal foreign ministry report, Drobnic had met in December with US Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Fried, who allegedly suggested to the Slovenian side what their priorities should be during the EU presidency.
Fried encouraged Slovenia to be among the first to recognise the independence of the breakaway Serbian province of Kosovo, the newspaper claimed."
But Grah, the Vienna correspondent for Delo, said there are now only two papers -- Dnevnik and Mladina -- that are not subject to state influence. Those news outlets are suffering from a lack of advertising, however. Big companies have pulled their ads from the critical newspapers, costing them a significant portion of their revenues.
In order to answer the critics, the Ministry of Culture funded a study at the University of Ljubljana, on press freedom. The researchers found that the reporting in Slovenian papers was even-handed, but sociologist Matej Makarovic, who conducted the research, found that the government and other political parties had tried to influence it."
Source: Deutsche Welle
The endorsement has already been welcomed by Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa, who told the MPs earlier on Tuesday that all 27 EU countries needed to ratify the treaty in order for it to enter into force.
Jansa said the treaty included the majority of the contents but not the form of its ill-fated precursor, the constitutional treaty, which was rejected at referenda in France and the Netherlands in 2005.
One of the basic points of the new document is increasing the role of deciding by a qualified majority on the back of consensus-based decision making.
The treaty also omits a direct reference to constitutionality, which caused fear among the French and Dutch that the EU was changing into a super state. No article of the treaty also mentions EU symbols, such as its flag or national anthem."
Thursday, January 24, 2008
'There is continuing pressure on journalists,' said Matej Surc, a radio journalist who initiated the petition along with his newspaper colleague Blaz Zgaga.
In addition to direct censorship – the newspaper Vecer has pinned censored articles on an office wall known as the 'bunker' – the government of the centre-right Prime Minister, Janez Jansa, is accused of indirectly influencing the media through exploiting business relationships with companies that have financial holdings in media interests."
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Wallstroem made her statement at Brdo pri Kranju in suburban Ljubljana, where a meeting was being held between the European Commission and the rotating EU presidency Slovenian government.
Wallstroem, who led the visiting delegation in the absence of commission President Jose Manuel Barroso who is ill with the flu, said the goal for 2008 was to have a 'Europe of results.'
In a joint press conference with Wallstroem, Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa said the 'substantive talks' examined the key issues facing the Slovenian presidency, including the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty, the energy-climate talks, implementation of the Lisbon Strategy, the Western Balkans and intercultural dialogue.
'Today excellent cooperation has been established between the Slovenian government and the European Commission,' Jansa said after the first session of meetings.
According to Jansa, Slovenia's presidency will tailor its activities in order to provide for the smooth ratification of the recently-signed EU reform treaty, a key goal of the presidency. He said the goal was to have the document in force by Jan. 1, 2009."
The ruling Bosniak Party of Democratic Action, SDA, said Jansa's comments were unacceptable, ambiguous and required explanation, Bosnian media reported on Wednesday.
Slovenia currently holds the rotating European Union presidency and Prime Minister Jansa was hosting EU officials when he made the controversial remarks on Monday..
'Bosnia and Herzegovina is a more serious problem for the stability of the western Balkans', the Slovenian Premier told delegates at talks just outside the capital Ljubljana.
'For Kosovo it's clear what will happen, it's more a question of how to do it', Jansa said, hinting that the province's ethnic Albanian majority will inevitably gain independence from Serbia.
'For Bosnia the question is: are the Dayton agreements working? First we have to see if the Dayton agreement works.' He added that in the long term, 'it's not possible to have a state that cannot rule itself and needs international governors.'
The SDA claimed Jansa's arguments were reckless."
Monday, January 7, 2008
Slovenia's inflation rate of 5.7 percent -- the highest in the euro zone -- does give rise for concern. In early November, EU Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Policy Joaquín Almunia even felt the need to issue a public warning to Slovenia, a model economy until then. An inflation rate higher than 3 percent, Almunia said, sends 'a bad signal' to the countries next in line for Euro-zone membership."
Source: Business Week
Croatia is involved in maritime border issues with Slovenia and alleges that Italian fishermen have taken Croatian sea fishing stocks, Croatian media reported.
Slovenia, which took over the six-month rotating EU presidency Tuesday from Portugal, said Croatia's unilateral proclamationof the protected fishing zone violated the sovereignty of Slovenia."
‘The agenda on the table is highly diverse. The main focus will be on the Lisbon Strategy, energy and climate change, the Western Balkans, the ratification of the new treaty and intercultural dialogues,’ Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa said in his welcome address on the presidency's website. …” [Xinhua (01/01)/Factiva]
AP notes that “…There are worries that Kosovo independence could trigger new violence in the Balkans and European governments expect Slovenia …to use its past ties to help reach a solution. …Slovenia also is expected to push for other former Yugoslav countries to join the EU.
…” [The Associated Press (01/01)/Factiva]"
Source: World Bank News & Broadcast