Not that kind of party!
Slovenia's newest party, the Slovene Youth Party (SMS) was founded this week. The SMS held its founding congress at the Ljubljana club K4, and elected Dominik S Černjak to head the new party. The party is guided by no set ideology and will concern itself only with those issues affecting the youth of Slovenia.
Maribor Mayor Boris Sovič gave a press conference this week to present the city's 2001-2002 budget. A four-year development plan was also presented. In April, the government in Ljubljana failed to pass the budgetary memorandum which forms the basis of the national and local budgets.
Sovič said that he believes this means that budgetary documents may not have been prepared properly and will face difficulties in being approved. The government is to pass the budgetary memorandum only on 20 July. Other issues Sovič discussed included duty-free shops, steps being taken to increase the number of jobs and the proposed Croatian Consulate in Maribor.
In Monday's edition of Večer, Ljubljana mayor Viktorija Potočnik published a response to a commentary published last week in the Maribor-based daily (See Brian J Požun's article "Second to One"). The commentary, written by Ljubljana resident Andrej Muren, sharply criticized the mayor's administration, and singled out her policies (or lack thereof) concerning housing, garbage disposal, traffic and parking, as well as her penchant for international travel.
Potočnik began her point-by-point response by outing Muren as a long-time member of the Ljubljana City Council, a fact that his commentary failed to mention. She ends saying "perhaps some would like to think otherwise, but for now I perform my duties with pleasure and responsibility. And I hope that all of us who are entrusted by the voters to lead Ljubljana do the same."
International cooperation and controversies
The first group of Slovene participants in the NATO operation in Kosovo, KFOR, returned to Slovenia this week. The six members of the Slovene army joined KFOR in January. Slovene military personnel have worked with KFOR in both Kosovo and Macedonia in various capacities.
Major Samo Zanoškar, who spoke at a press conference this week welcoming the Slovene troops home, said that the Slovenes' biggest advantage was their knowledge of the language, culture and situation in the region. Slovene military personnel have cooperated extensively with international operations including UN Peacekeeping operations and NATO military operations.
The Association for the Security of Foreign-Currency reserves of Bosnia and Hercegovina is calling for Slovenia to be suspended from the Council of Europe. This is due to Slovenia's reluctance to settle problems with the Ljubljanska Banka branch in Sarajevo.
The Bosnian daily Oslobodjenje reports that the Slovene government insists that the money, approximately DM 276 million, was transferred to the National Bank of the SFRJ in Belgrade. However, evidence provided by the Association shows that the money was transferred on 1 August 1990 to the National Bank of Slovenia.
The Association's claims are supported by the findings of a working group established by the Ministerial Council of Bosnia and Hercegovina.
The continuing adventures of Italy's Slovene minority
The Italian parliament's deliberation of the Law on the Global Protection of the Slovene Minority in Italy, begun last Tuesday, continued this week. Last week, parliament reviewed the first ten of the 28 articles of the law.
This Tuesday, parliament resumed discussion of the law, returning to the controversial 10th article, concerning bi-lingual signage. The article was passed as written, over the protests of right-wing and far-right MPs. On Tuesday, the 12th to the 15th articles were also passed.
Throughout the discussion on Tuesday, MPs of right-wing parties continuously mentioned the commentary by Slovene Foreign Minister Lojze Peterle published in the Trieste (Trst) daily Il Piccolo.
Peterle wrote that the delays in passing the law threaten bilateral Slovene-Italian relations. Several MPs accused Peterle of interfering in internal affairs.
At the Tuesday afternoon session, Under-Secretary of the Italian Foreign Ministry, Umberto Rainieri, was on hand to discuss Peterle's commentary. He explained that it represents neither pressure nor interference by the government of Slovenia, and that relations between the two countries remain good.
In three hours on Wednesday morning, parliament quickly passed all of the remaining articles except for the 11th and the final, 28th, one. The 11th article concerns bi-lingual education. The 28th article concerns the establishment of a law creating a seat for a representative of the minority in parliament.
Parliament will return to the law next Tuesday with discussions of the two remaining articles and the final debate on the law as a whole. The Slovene daily Delo predicts that the law will "almost certainly" be passed by Friday, when President Kučan is due to arrive in Rome.
The next step in gaining passage for the Law on the Global Protection of the Slovene Minority in Italy will be its presentation into the Senate, scheduled for this fall.
An historic discovery
During renovations to a church in Šmartno na Pohorju, the Maribor Institute for the Protection of Cultural and Natural Heritage has discovered Roman-era frescos. Two thirds of the frescos have been uncovered, and all are scheduled for restoration and analysis. The find has been called the second most important in Slovenia, after paintings discovered in Hrastovlje after the Second World War.
Slovenia's biggest summer music festival, Rock Otoček, is taking place in Novo Mesto this weekend, from 7 to 9 July. Rock Otoček is a showcase for new bands, and of over 100 entries, nine have been selected for the festival.
In addition, the highlight of Friday night will be a performance by the Henry Rollins Band, from the United States. There is a full schedule for Saturday afternoon including debates, a round table, and workshops.
Sunday night, the festival's finale, will feature the major new Slovene band Siddharta. This, the fourth annual Rock Otoček festival, is predicted to draw over 7000 people.
The 35th annual Karlovy Vary International Film Festival will include Porno Film, directed by Damjan Kozolet. The film will be shown on 12, 13 and 15 July as part of the non-competing section "East of the West," featuring recent films from Central and Eastern Europe.
Among the other films in the section will be the Croatian film Crvena Prašina (Red Dust) directed by Zrinek Ogresta and the Yugoslav film Nebeška Udica (Sky Hook) directed by Ljubiša Samardžić.
More regional films will also be shown as part of one of the retrospectives sections - dedicated to the work of Bosnian directors including Emir Kusturica (Time of the Gypsies, Underground). The festival runs from 2 to 15 July in the Czech Republic.
Brian J Požun, 8 July 2000