Vol 2, No 11
20 March 2000
C E N T R A L E U R O P E A N N E W S:
News Round-up for Slovenia
News since 10 March 2000
Dun and Bradstreet Agency has released statistics ranking Slovenia and Hungary as the top economies of all the countries in transition. The largely favorable report cited one major potential problem, that of recent demands for wage increases among doctors and educators. Meeting those demands could fuel inflation. Another problem was connected to the current pressure by oil companies to raise the price of oil. The report also cites the recent agreement to transform Slovenia's duty-free shops on the borders with Austria, Italy and Hungary, into "regular" shops, as a breakthrough.
A seminar, organised by the Chamber of Commerce and entitled "Doing business with Bosnia" was held on 9 March. Bosnia is one of Slovenia's most important trading partners. In 1999, exports added up to USD 363 million and imports only to USD 55 million. This represents the highest increase in trade with any of the countries of former Yugoslavia. One major concern raised at the seminar was the urgent necessity to sign an agreement on the protection of investments between the two countries and the significant trade imbalance. These concerns were also voiced at a meeting between the Slovene Minister for Economic Relations and Development, Marjan Šenjur, and the Bosnian Minister for International Trade and Economic Relations, Mirsad Kurtović, held on 7 March in Ljubljana.
Minister of Finance Mitja Gaspari was in the United States this week. In Washington he met with representatives of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the State Department and the Department of the Treasury. The trip also took him to New York, where he met with representatives of numerous financial institutions and representatives of Slovene firms.
This week, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs opened a new consulate in Minneapolis, United States. The consulate will be headed by Kenneth Zapp.
A representative of the Ministry of the Interior, Slavko Debelak, announced this week that a law to alter the Slovenian passport is being prepared in Parliament. The present passport has been in use for almost ten years and has been issued to just under two million citizens. The law is scheduled to be ready by the end of June, and it is hoped that the first of the new passports will be issued by the beginning of next year.
Ljubljana mayor Viktorija Potočnik has designated Igor Jurančič director of the Department of Urbanism and the Environment of the Ljubljana Municipal Assembly. At the same time, a major new project was announced to introduce water tours on the Ljubljanica along an eight-kilometre circular route. However, the necessary funds have not yet been located.
Also this week, the Municipal Assembly announced that the last unnamed streets in the capital will now bear names. Among the newly-named streets are Kocbekova Ulica and Vilharjev Podhod. Additionally, a street will now bear the name of the writer Ivan Pregelj, and Petrovičeva Ulica will now be known as Ulica Hermana Potočnika.
IRWIN, part of the Neue Slowneische Kunst (NSK), will exhibit at the National Gallery in Ljubljana from 16 March to 16 April. The show will be the first major exhibition of the group's work in Slovenia in almost a decade and will consist of Irwin's four latest projects: Interior of the Planet, Transnacionala, Retroavantgarde and Irwin Live. A fifth project, Rekapitulacija, prepared for the upcoming exhibition "Europe's Other Half" at the National Gallery Jeu de Paume in Paris, will be premiered.
The recipients of this year's Zlata Ptica (Golden Bird) awards were announced this week. Honorees this year are graphic designer Matej Medja, whose work represented Slovenia at Expo 1998 in Lisbon; comic-strip author and animated-film maker Dušan Kastelic; composer for film and theatre Drago Ivanuša; director and writer of the film V Leru (Idle Running), Janez Burger and Jan Cvitkovič; and photographer Aleksandra Vajd. An awards ceremony will be held on 20 March. The Zlata Ptica awards have been given annually since 1976 to young artists who make exceptional contributions to Slovene culture.
Brian Požun, 10 March 2000
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