Slovenia in 2018


HOME POLICY

With general elections coming in spring and local elections in November, this will be a year of campaigning. Few legislative motions are expected to be passed before autumn, though previous National Assemblies have been known to dole out election candy during lame duck sessions.

The Miro Cerar government will also be busy negotiating with public sector unions, several of which have announced strikes for January and February as they seek to secure the benefits of strong GDP growth for their members.

The government's to-do list also includes the health insurance legislation, the latest version of which was unveiled in December. Though a flagship project, the bill is unlikely to be passed before the end of the government's term.

Another major item is the foundation of a demographic fund, which should help finance pensions in the future. The Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) hopes to finalise the legislation in January.

FOREIGN POLICY

Slovenia's foreign policy focus will not shift: 2018 will be largely dedicated to relations with Croatia as Slovenia moves to implement the border arbitration tribunal's award at the end of December. Given that Croatia rejects border arbitration as immaterial, tensions are likely along the border.

Few foreign visits have been announced so far apart from President Borut Pahor's tour of EU and NATO in Brussels in January, but Sebastian Kurz, the new Austrian chancellor is expected in Slovenia soon.

On 1 January Slovenia will assume the one-year presidency of the UN Human Rights Council, while the 13th Bled Strategic Forum will he held in early September.

Several diplomatic appointments are also expected as the terms of ambassadors in Australia, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, Poland, Russia, Serbia and Ukraine end.

BUSINESS & ECONOMY

Favourable macroeconomic trends are expected to continue, forming the backdrop of economic policy, but several major issues will be on the agenda that promise to make 2018 a turbulent year: privatisation of NLB bank is expected to start in earnest and retailer Mercator could get new owners as the insolvency of its parent company Agrokor slowly unravels.

Several major foreign investments initiated last year are expected to be realised, including the Magna paint shop in Maribor, Yaskawa's robotic factory in Kočevje and Sumitomo's plant in Logatec. Several more deals are reportedly in the making.

The fate of the rail expansion between Divača and Koper will probably be decided by courts, which will either stop or kick-start the actual construction works. Another major construction project, the second tube of the Karavanke Tunnel, will probably be launched without such glitches. E-tolling for lorries will finally be activated as well.

More broadly, Slovenia is expected to finally get the energy concept as a core energy policy framework, while the phasing of EU funds is to accelerate after the customary lull at the start of the seven-year budgetary framework.

ARTS & CULTURE

The centenary of the death of Ivan Cankar, one of Slovenia's literary greats, will dominate the art scene next year along with celebrations of the European Year of Cultural Heritage.

Major exhibitions have been announced as the National Gallery celebrates its centenary and the Museum of Modern Art marks 70 years since its inception.

In the meantime, cultural institutions are expected to continue their fight for a bigger slice of the budget pie.

KEY EVENTS AND ANNIVERSARIES

JANUARY

1st – Ten years since Slovenia started its first presidency of the EU.

1st – Entry into force of a package of tax laws that includes amendments to the income tax, corporate income tax and the fiscal validation of receipts act.

1st – Slovenia's permanent representative to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) Vojislav Šuc will start his one-year presidency of the council.

6th-7th – The women's World Cup slalom and giant slalom will be held in Maribor.

8th-9th – President Borut Pahor will make his first trip abroad as he visits the EU and NATO headquarters in Brussels.

9th – An extraordinary session of parliament dedicated to the Democratic Party's (SDS) impeachment against Prime Minister Miro Cerar.

10th – Professional firefighters are expected to start a three-day strike.

12th – The 15th anniversary of the death of politician Jože Pučnik (1932-2003), one of the driving forces of Slovenia's struggle for independence.

20th-21st – Men's and women's cross-country World Cup events will be held in Planica.

20th-21st – Rogla will host a snowboarding World Cup event.

22nd – The start of a session of the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly at which a new human rights commissioner will be elected. Justice Minister Goran Klemenčič is among the candidates.

24th – Members of over a dozen public sector trade unions are expected to go on strike.

25th-26th – The conference Policies for Equal Ageing: A life-course approach, organised by Slovenia in cooperation with the OECD.

27th-28th – The women's ski jumping World Cup will be held in Ljubno.

30th – Slovenia will host the European Footsal Championships (until 11 February).

FEBRUARY

2nd-4th – Slovenia will take on Poland in the first round of the Davis Cup.

7th – On the eve of Culture Day, the top national awards for arts and culture, the Prešeren Prizes, will be given out.

12th – Police officers and Interior Ministry employees are expected to start striking.

14th – Teachers are expected to go on strike.

23rd – The tenth anniversary of the death of Janez Drnovšek (1950-2008), former president and prime minister.

24th – The start of the spring competition in Slovenia's premier football league.

28th – The Statistics Office will release preliminary estimates of GDP growth in the final quarter of 2017.

The European Commission will formally confer the European Heritage Label on the Memorial Church of the Holy Spirit at Mt Javorca.

MARCH

3rd-4th – World Cup slalom and giant slalom races for men will be held in Krajnska Gora.

22nd-25th – The Ski Jumping World Cup finals will be held in Planica.

23rd – The 15th anniversary of twin referendums at which Slovenians endorsed accession to the EU and NATO.

27th – The final round of Slovenia's premiere football league.

APRIL

1st – The planned launch of e-tolling for lorries on Slovenian motorways.

12th – The 20th anniversary of the 5.6-magnitude earthquake in Posočje, one of the most devastating earthquakes in Slovenia in the 20th century.

MAY

14th – The 25th anniversary of Slovenia's membership of the Council of Europe.

20th – The first World Bee Day, which the UN declared at Slovenia's initiative.

31st – The 30th anniversary of the military show trials known as the JBTZ affair.

The general election is expected to he held.

JUNE

1st – Overhauled legislation on construction will take effect.

13th-17th – The Tour of Slovenia, the biggest bicycle race in the country.

29th – The first anniversary of the arbitration tribunal's decision on the border between Slovenia and Croatia.

JULY

1st – The 10th anniversary of the introduction of toll stickers for motorways.

3rd – The 10th anniversary of a boating accident on the Sava in which 13 people were killed at the newly built Blanca power station.

21st – The 25th anniversary of the discovery of a 130-tonne cache of arms at Maribor Airport, which triggered the Maribor arms scandal and had profound political implications.

31st – The 5th anniversary of the resignation of Ljubljana Archbishop Anton Stres and Maribor Bishop Marjan Turnšek over their role in the financial collapse of the Maribor Diocese.

AUGUST

6th-11th – The Slovenia Open, a challenger-rank tennis tournament.

31st – The Statistics Office will release GDP data for the second quarter.

SEPTEMBER

1st – The tenth anniversary of a Finnish TV report about corruption in the purchase of armoured personnel carriers that triggered the Patria defence scandal.

6th – The 5th anniversary of the start of supervised liquidation of Probanka and Factor banka, the first victims of the financial crisis.

10th-11th – The Bled Strategic Forum, Slovenia's pre-eminent foreign policy event, will be held.

23rd – The Ironman Triathlon will be held in Portorož, the first time Slovenia hosts the prestigious event.

OCTOBER

28th – The 23rd Ljubljana Marathon.

KOČEVJE – Planned launch of production at Yaskawa's new robot factory.

NOVEMBER

1st – The 100th anniversary of the start of a campaign by General Rudolf Maister, which culminated in Maribor and its surroundings becoming part of the State of Slovenians, Croatians and Serbs.

11th – The 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.

18th – The first round of local elections.

DECEMBER

2nd – The second round of local elections.

3rd-9th – Pokljuka will host several Biathlon World Cup events.

11th – 100 years since the death of Ivan Cankar, one of the giants of Slovenian literature.

12th – The 5th anniversary of the release of the results of an asset quality review that triggered a EUR 3bn capital injection, the renationalisation of the top three banks by assets, and the transfer of EUR 4.5bn in non-performing loans to the bad bank.

16th – The Slovenian Olympic Committee will elect a new president.

18th – The term of Constitutional Court judge Jadranka Sovdat ends.