NEW SECTION: Diplomatic pages
Sailboats, yachts and berths along the Adriatic coast
The Slovenia Times, Slovenian magazine in English, volume 7, number 130, EUR 4,80
2010 discover the most attractive Slovenian destinations
Less emissions. More driving pleasure.
July 2010 Business Partners
Yes to border arbitration Journalists facing the changes
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Slo times avgust
NBL dispute between Slovenia and Croatia Emonika on the move again Can a new electronic trading system revive the fortunes of LSE? Interview: Tomas Vucurevic, Pristop’s new chief operating officer A look at Slovenia’s Young Executive Society Supplementary budget raises concerns Business etiquettes around the globe
FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT
Slovenian consuls meet for the first time Does Slovenia need foreign capital in its tourist sector? Embassy diaries
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Ljubljana’s top picks The Capital: Urbana tourist card The paradise at Kolpa river Franja hospital revived Beauty & Leisure: Prepare for the beach
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LIFESTYLE : Boats & berths
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Berths along the Adriatic coast Internautica 2010 report People: Mirko Bogić and his Ljubljana Sailing Club DINE WITH STYLE: Barka, seafood restaurant
CULTURE The restart in the reconstructed Opera house The Event Guide Ten classic Slovenian Movies
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Every picture tells a story
The end of Slovenian Fifa World Cup story Jani Brajkovič, cycling champion Cyclist Valjavec faces doping charges
PANORAMA The Restored The Constitutional Court announced that it will not allow a referendum on legislation on the status of the Erased, the citizens of the former Yugoslavia who were deleted from Slovenia’s permanent resident registry in 1992. The rejection of the law would create unlawful consequences. Speaker of the National Assembly Pavel Gantar welcomed the decision, apologising to the citizens of the former Yugoslavia for the erasure. Interior Minister Katarina Kresal said the ruling had confirmed that her ministry tackled the issue the right way. “This ends the never-ending story of unbearable political manipulations and political battles fought on the backs of innocent people.” However, the court’s ruling was met with criticism in the opposition ranks, which claimed that it was “not in the name of the people”. This, along with some previous decisions on referendum initiatives, confirms that the judiciary in Slovenia needs constitutional reform, Vinko Gorenak of the Democrats (SDS) said. The decision was welcomed by a group of NGOs which have been pushing for the resolution. It is vital that the authorities and the public realise that the majority cannot and should not decide on the rights of a minority, Amnesty International Slovenije, the Peace Institute and the Civil Initiative of Erased Activists said in a joint statement.
Solution for the erased is one of the major goals for the Internal Minister Katarina Kresal.
Martyr Gas Diplomacy Fest
Activist group of both Italians and Slovenes protesting in front of the Slovenian parliament against the construction of gas terminals.
Slovenia stepped up activities aimed at avoiding a standoff with Italy on the neighbour’s disputed plans to build liquefied gas terminals in the Gulf of Trieste, near the border with Slovenia. PM Borut Pahor held two meetings with his Italian counterpart Silvio Berlusconi at which the issue was raised, but was tight-lipped about details.
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The Slovenia Times
An estimated 32,000 faithful and 750 priests gathered at the Celje football stadium on 13 June to celebrate the Slovenian Eucharistic Congress, the biggest Catholic event in Slovenia in recent years. The main event was the holy mass celebrated by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the secretary of state of the Holy See, along with all Slovenian bishops and some bishops from abroad. During the mass Lojze Grozde (1923-1943), who was killed by Partisans during WWII, was declared the first Slovenian martyr. Bertone said he was honoured to have been able to declare Grozde a martyr, adding that a close reading of the history of Slovenia’s Church, “in particular the violent persecution” reveals that the Eucharist was the main source of “support, power and comfort” for the people. The Eucharistic Congress, the first in Slovenia in 75 years, was intended to deepen the personal relationship of believers with Jesus in the Holy Eucharist Sacrament, boost missionary activity and intensify charitable activity.
Pahor first met Berlusconi during a visit to Libya then four days later on the margins of an EU summit in Brussels. According to the PM, the talks are aimed at reaching a “reciprocal solution of certain topical bilateral issues for the benefit of both countries”. The National Assembly held an extraordinary session at the request of the opposition, which is critical of the government for not doing enough in upholding Slovenia’s interests regarding Italy’s plans. Slovenia has been fervently opposed to the gas terminals due to environmental concerns. The Environment Ministry confirmed it had filed a request to be a party to the adoption of the spatial plans for the Port of Trieste so it can influence the process regarding the terminal. Meanwhile, Pahor rejected opposition claims he was pursuing “silent diplomacy”, saying he would inform parliament of any concrete agreements with Berlusconi in due time.
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source: STA, Slovenian Press Agency
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UNDER THE PRESS Religion
To Chase Away the Bird
The Constitutional Court ruled that the government paying for social security contributions of priests who work in hospital or prison is in violation of the Constitution. Such intensive support by the state in facilitating religious care in hospitals and prisons exceeds the boundaries of the constitutional division of church and state, the court ruled. The head of the Office for Religious Communities Ales Gulič said his office would have to analyse the court’s decision to see whether it is obligated to put forward law changes. The office is considering broader changes to religious communities aiming to introduce more equality for the smaller religion groups.
United for Road Safety The government decided on establishing a Public Agency for Traffic Safety that will pool together resources from multiple departments currently concerned with road safety. Other tasks it will perform involve analytical and research work on traffic safety, investigation of major traffic accidents and evaluation of the safety of road infrastructure. The agency will gradually be expended to include rail and maritime transport safety.
Too Soft on Human Traffickers The US State Department has urged Slovenia to step up efforts to prosecute human traffickers in its annual Trafficking in Persons Report for 2010, which sees Slovenia remain among top-tier countries in terms of efforts to deal with this form of trafficking. While Slovenia is to a small degree also a source country of trafficked persons, the report says it is mostly a country where victims from Ukraine, Moldova, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, the Dominican Republic, Thailand and Iran end up or pass through on the way to countries such as Italy and Germany, where these persons are frequently forced into labour and prostitution.
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The controversial government jet Dessault Falcon 2000 EX will be sold this year at an estimated price of EUR 13.7m. It is not yet decided whether the jet will be auctioned or sold through a public tender. After it undergoes servicing, the plane will be occasionally used for transport of officials before a buyer is found. The business jet was bought in 2001, but it soon became a hot potato due to public outcry. To stem the damage the government leased it out to an American company in 2004. The lease ended last August and the government has been deciding what to do with the plane since.
This Janša, he doesn’t seem completely balanced to me. The former Croatian president Stipe Mesić in a conversation with the current president Ivo Josipović, on the mental state of Slovenian opposition leader.
If there is God and if he loves Slovenia, then all who have opposed [the arbitration with Coratia], will go to heaven. Milica Šturm, wife of the former Minister of Law, on divine love (Dnevnik).
In the east, farming is at full pace. People who cultivate land can’t afford to shut down their machines, change clothes and go to the polling stations. Political analyst Boštjan M. Turk at Vest.si on various factors for the arbitration referendum outcome.
Cosa Nostra? Police have arrested a 44-year-old Chinese citizen suspected of brutally murdering a Chinese couple. The owners of a popular Chinese restaurant in the centre of Ljubljana, were found in massacred with a hoe in their house on the outskirts of Ljubljana. According to the police report, the suspect had until recently worked at the restaurant but he and his wife were sacked over a pay dispute. The suspect has been charged with aggravated murder and is facing a life in prison.
I’m a prime minster and earn EUR 3002. I can’t live with my salary. PM Borut Pahor teasing the unhappy workers.
As a joke, I can say that in two days only we have received more support than either side of the (non)supporters of the arbitration agreement in two weeks. Drago Gajo, owner of a legendary Jazz Club in Ljubljana, who is facing relocation due to suspicious property deals (MMC RTV Slovenia)
Slovene Curiosity According to the main Slovenian search portal najdi.si, the most searched keywords in the first half of 2010 are “horoscope” and “weather”. “Sex” is number eight, two spots ahead of “job center”. Number ones in the search line by categories are: female names - La Toya (porn star), male - Artur Štern (metabiologist, president candidate, reality show star and a partner to the former), sportist - Petra Majdič (biathlon, Olympic medalist), politicians - Katarina Kresal (Minister of Interior), businessmen - Aleš Žajdela, tourist destiantion Krvavec (ski resort), movies - Avatar, car brands - Opel.
It is impossible to play football in South Africa and even more impossible to cheer for teams. Football stars suffer like hell, hearing the sound of vuvuzelas, which would be banned in every civilized country. Is there a law saying this pointless blast should be heard by all civilized world just because it is the local tribal custom? Dnevnik commentator Zoran Senković on the sadistic nature of the Fifa World Cup.
A state, that is a nation made of sports fans and voters... it is possible for them to compete in a variety of more or less sport-like disciplines. All are expensive and exhausting. Football is one of the most widespread and efficient. Commentator Franček Rudolf on sports and politics (Mladina).
A WORD FROM THE EDITOR
By Maja Dragović
What a month June has been... perhaps not
as exciting in the tabloid sense as the ones that preceded it, with hardly any significant or headline grabbing affairs circling the papers. But definitely one of a change of fortune. The revival of Katarina Kresal is quite astonishing. From standing on the brink of being ousted from her ministerial post, Kresal has landed two significant winning strikes in less than a month. First, she was on the right side of the argument for the ratification of the arbitration treaty with Croatia. Then the constitutional court decided not to allow a referendum on whether to ratify the law on the »erased« – a referendum which Kresal strongly opposed. And she continues to be present in the papers for the right reasons – appearing at a gay rights parade early in July. It means that the message Kresal now sends out as a politician is based on this: a) I am on the side of those who want to have good relations with our neighbours b) I am the voice of those who do not have a voice Consider this shift from her mystifying role in the notorious Dr Baričevic case, and from being accused of cronyism in the lease of a new police building. The reversal has been nothing short of incredible. And the lesson learnt? Backing the right policies is the way to tell your side of the story, not setting up some phoney website that projects a shallow-blonde image. That change is why her star is on the rise again. Let’s just hope it’s for the long term. While Kresal is lending her voice to the underprivileged, other Slovenian politicians have been lending theirs to the promotion of the country as an investment destination. Last month saw the first ever meeting of Slovenian consuls, where attendees were briefed on the country’s new economic diplomacy efforts, and the Prime Minister seemed to be constantly on the move, attending one summit or another. But there is the overwhelming feeling that these efforts pale in comparison to what the Slovenian football team did for the promotion of the country during their stint at the World Cup in South Africa. Just a couple of examples: The Slovenia Times got a call from BBC Radio 2 – Britain’s most listened-to radio station – whose journalists wanted to know more about the small nation which had a good chance of booting the mighty English out of the World Cup. CNN also pondered the fighting spirit of this small nation and their ability to give the Americans a proper lesson in football. For two weeks everybody was talking about Slovenia – the footballers certainly did the nation proud. But just as the month of June was about to be signed off with the huge PR success of the football team, something seemed to be cooking in the ever-murky pot of business deals. Delo has sold its 79.24 percent share in the Večer newspaper, following orders from the Competition Protection Office which felt the stake constituted unlawful market concentration. It is just the beginning of the story. The Slovenian media already smells foul play. The shares were bought by minor IT consultancy 3Lan from Murska Subota, a company which has never worked in media and has only four employees. The firm’s turnover in 2009 was just over EUR 715,000, with a profit of EUR 44,000 – yet the Večer deal is said to be worth around EUR 9m. Not surprisingly, speculation as to who is really buying Večer is growing. For now, the mainstream media is naming two contenders – either Bojan Petan, the owner of DZS, or Matej Raščan, the owner of Delo Revije. But if the Slovenian media digs out some irregularities in this particular deal, will it really matter? Past experience points to a no impact result. Regardless, the affair is at least promising to shake Slovenia out of its July holiday lull. email@example.com
The Yeas Have It The result of Slovenia’s June 6 referendum was as close as expected, but the public’s narrow approval of the arbitration deal with Croatia made the political elites in both countries – and beyond – very happy. By Jaka Bartolj
lovenian television viewers spent the evening watching a constantly narrowing margin of victory for the “yes” camp as results trickled in from across the country. A solid lead from early voting quickly evaporated, but the “yes” votes still ended up outnumbering the “no” votes by a margin of 51.5% to 48.5%.
A Gift to the Government One of the happiest politicians was certainly Prime Minister Borut Pahor, who beamed as he described the result as a victory for Slovenia. After the referendum, he confided that he would have resigned had voters rejected the arbitration agreement.
Shaking the holiday lull
The two blocs after the announcement of referendum results.
A Much-Needed Victory
The “yes” vote also did wonders for Pahor’s political position at home. After a string of failures and scandals, Pahor’s government had been at its nadir, both in terms of political leverage and public opinion. Pahor needed some good news; he became the most vocal advocate of the arbitration deal and invested everything in a “yes” vote. The voters’ rejection of the agreement would have been a catastrophic - and possibly fatal -- blow for the centre-left government. In the end, the “yes” vote gave Pahor’s government a new lease on life. At last, it was some desperately needed good news: a narrow political victory that restored Pahor’s leadership at a time of significant fractures within the coalition. The effects of the victory will almost certainly be very short-lived, but the political boost couldn’t have come at a better time. The EU was also deeply relieved by the “yes” vote. To many EU officials, the border dispute between Slovenia and Croatia was little more than a nuisance that prevented the 27-member union’s much-heralded expansion into southeastern Europe. Having always insisted that the border issue was a bilateral one, the EU was thrilled by the “yes” vote, which all but closes this unpleasant dispute. Like Pahor, the EU had come to view the arbitration agreement as the only way forward. After all, it had publicly displayed its frustration at the two countries’ previous inability to reach an agreement and had long since given up on trying to mediate a solution acceptable to both sides. The relief also extended to the US, which had become involved behind the scenes in mediating the arbitra-
tion deal. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was quick to issue a statement that by “cementing this agreement, the people of Slovenia have helped move the region closer to full European integration.”
The Other Side
The losers included a portion of the Slovenian intelligentsia who had spoken out against the arbitration deal. Motivated by genuine concern, they nevertheless appeared to overplay their hand, particularly with sharp rhetoric sometimes likening a “yes” vote to a selling out of Slovenia’s national interest (and, at least in Tine Hribar’s words, referring to the deal as “collaboration” with the enemy.) While they may have helped to drive up the “no” do a certain extent – something that is difficult to determine based on pre-referendum polling -, in the end, the group of intellectuals may have merely ended up illustrating its limited capability for influencing public opinion. The opposition was united against the arbitration deal, both as a result of genuine concerns and, at least in some cases, a desire to see the government defeat-
ed on such a make-or-break issue. The government’s victory - and its subsequent survival -, resulted in several visible opposition politicians voicing somewhat bitter comments (SDS leader Janez Janša blamed a left-wing media monopoly for the results, which he called a “defeat for Slovenia”), but is unlikely to alter the Slovenian political landscape in the longer term. The opposition does hold at least one trump card, however. Several opposition politicians have indicated that the opposition, if it gets in power, may decide to block Croatia’s EU accession until the verdict of the arbitration.
the time the final verdict comes, the political situation in the country may have changed too much for the outcome to have a major political impact. It will, however, determine whether Slovenia as a whole ends up as a winner or a loser for having narrowly backed the arbitration deal.
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The Final Outcome
Who ends up the ultimate winner won’t be known for a long time to come. The two countries won’t even select their arbiters until after Croatia signs its accession agreement with the EU. Before the two sides present their arguments and the final decision is reached, several years are expected to pass. In the meantime, Slovenia’s political parties will concentrate on new election cycles and new issues. The arbitration agreement will fade from public attention. By
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A Journalistic Lobby with Teeth The Slovenian media landscape needs a thorough change: the goal and the message of the recently established International Media Centre. By Jaka Terpinc
here is no doubt past decades have seen dramatic changes in the media. New technologies and an inevitable commercialisation have taken their toll on the traditional notion of the fourth estate. Central European countries in particular have undergone a process of transition with another set of unfavorable consequences such as a lack of political responsibility. The Media Centre, initiated by the former Delo editor-in-chief Mitja Meršol; Professors Thomas Bauer and Marko Milosavljević; Slovene Association of Journalists president GregaRepovž; Delo board chairman Jurij Giacomelli; and Oliver Vujnović of the South East Europe Media Organisation, aims to reach beyond existing journalistic associations and unite media workers in common goals. The initiators have listed a number
Indeed, he had placed all his bets on a “yes” vote. After originally taking a tough line on Croatia and blocking that country’s EU accession negotiations, Pahor later bet everything on the arbitration deal. Behind-the-scenes negotiations with Croatia led the way to his public embrace of the agreement; Pahor presented it as a breakthrough at a meeting with Croatian Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor last September. The new strategy became not just Pahor’s favoured option – it became the only option. Before the referendum, Pahor even spoke to Kosor and promised that Slovenia would not block Croatia’s EU talks in the future, regardless of the result. For Pahor, there was simply no plan B. A “no” vote at the referendum would have done irreparable harm to his international credibility. He had simply staked too much on a positive outcome.
Rethinking the internet related effects to the news production are among the centre’s most important challenges.
of issues the Centre should deal with, such as questions of copyright, paying for content, transparency in relation to political and economic factors, supervising the standards of journalistic
work and so on. As Giacomelli puts it: it is time regulate the rules of the game on the market and establish a watchdog, as journalistic autonomy is the way to an open society. July 2010
FACTS AND FIGURES
source: STA, Slovenian Press Agency
MPs Aim To Simplify and Speed Up Insolvency and Debt Recovery MPs have passed two important legislative changes aimed at improving procedures for insolvency, bankruptcy and debt recovery. In a 46-22 vote, MPs approved the reform bill for the financial operations, insolvency proceedings and compulsory dissolution act, designed to enable quicker restructuring of insolvent firms. One of the main features of the bill is that it enables creditors to supply fresh capital to a company where the owners fail to do so. The reform bill also establishes a chamber of official receivers, which is to facilitate training and exchange of good practices. In addition, the changes raise the amount to which receivers need to be insured for damage liability, from EUR 150,000 to EUR 500,000. In a bid to streamline insolvency proceedings and disburden local courts in enforcement proceedings, the bill also envisages universal jurisdiction for bankruptcy proceedings at district courts. Further changes in this area were made with amendments to bankruptcy and debt recovery legislation. In a near unanimous vote, MPs
approved amendments which it is hoped will address the problem of default payments and improve the efficiency of debt recovery proceedings. Under the changes, the debtor will have to repay the creditor even before the execution of verdicts is final. The changes also increase the number of sources through which authorities as well as creditors will be able to track the assets of the debtor. The government believes this will help identify which assets could be seized.
The debtor will have to repay the creditor even before the execution of verdicts is final, and this option has so far been restricted to proceedings in commercial disputes. Appeals would no longer be able to delay debt recovery. The amendments also bring changes to the certificate of debt. Following an execution based on certificate of debt – even before it is final – the court will have to block the debtor’s account immediately and order within five days that the debtor repay the debt. In case of objections from the debtor, the district courts will have to call proceedings within three months, which the government believes will drastically shorten the duration of the execution. Appeals by debtors would only be dealt with by the Ljubljana Higher Court. To speed up the proceedings, the appeals will be decided upon by one judge, while a panel of three justices will only be involved in complicated cases. Under the amendments, lawyers, notaries, executors and the state prosecution will be filing all documents digitally. They will have to meet the technical requirements by September 2011.
Gorenje to Wind Down Heater Maker
One-Stop-Shops for Financing
Possible Corruption in Public Contract
New Loan Guarantee for DARS
The government plans to adopt legislation which will set up “one-stopshops” for business finance. The project will bring together government departments, the state-owned SID export and development bank, the Eco Fund and public institutions tasked with promoting entrepreneurship and technological development, Development Minister Mitja Gaspari said last month. One key aspect of the proposal is greater use of credit as opposed to grants, “in particular where businesses can carry certain financing costs”, Gaspari said. Grants would be used only when applicants cannot bear the costs of financing, according to the Minister. In a bid to make it easier to do business, the government is also planning on adopting several measures cutting red tape, in particular by reducing the time it takes for companies to obtain various permits.
The Corruption Prevention Commission suspects corruption in a public contract involving national motorway company DARS and a firm with ties to the Prime Minister’s chief of staff. The watchdog has refused to name the companies involved but said the contracting authority not only failed to exclude an incomplete bid, it actually selected this bidder, which constitutes corruption. News portal www.24ur.com reports that the firm involved is Traffic Design, a company owned by the uncle of the prime minister’s chief of staff. In November 2009 DARS selected the company to install traffic control equipment on the motorway section Pesnica-Slivnica in a deal worth about EUR 8m. The two failed bidders, a Slovenian-Croatian bid and a joint bid by Slovenian firm Javna Razsvetljava and France’s Securite et Signalisation, requested a review and the National Review Commission found Traffic Design’s offer incomplete. According to media reports, instead of selecting one of the two remaining bids DARS decided to annul the contracting procedure, saying it had shortcomings.
The government has approved a EUR 297.8m loan guarantee for state-run motorway company DARS. DARS must acquire a total of EUR 795.5m for new investments. While EUR 497.7m will come from DARS’s sources and old loans, EUR 297.8m will have to be acquired with new loans, the government said. Nearly EUR 263m in loans will be needed for investments envisaged in the 2010 motorway development and renovation plan. The most demanding of them will be the establishment of a free-flow tolling system. Funds will also go into maintenance works and renewal of state-operated roads.
Home-appliance manufacturer Gorenje is to wind down its subsidiary Gorenje Tiki. Production at the subsidiary will be shut down at the end of November and will be moved to Serbia, with a total of 306 workers in Slovenia losing their jobs. The water-heater maker has been in the red since 2009, with sales dropping by 40% between 2008 and 2010. Workers will receive wages regularly and all bonuses and holiday allowance until production is stopped, and will get severance pay once they are laid off. The company is expected to be wound down by March 2011.
The Slovenia Times
Best for the Best
Industrial Revenues Increase
Car Electronics Maker BTC Makes Profit Gets R&D Loan in 2009
Industrial revenues in Slovenia surged 10.4 percent year-on-year in April according to provisional data released by the Statistics Office. This still represented a drop of 3.7 percent on the month before. On a monthly basis revenues rose only in intermediate goods industries (3.1%) but declined in capital goods industries (-4.5%) and consumer goods industries (-0.9%). Orders meanwhile surged 26.1% over the year before and were 0.6% higher than in March.
Car electronics manufacturer Iskra Avtoelektrika has acquired a EUR 12m loan for the next 10 years. The loan, from state-owned export and development bank SID Banka, will cover 50% of a plan to develop mechatronic systems and environmentally-friendly means of transport. The project is valued at EUR 24m, with the rest of the funds provided by the company. Iskra Avtoelektrika chief executive Edvin Sever said that the project would be staffed by 400 workers, including 200 newly-employed. New technologies and new generations of products will help decrease the use of fuel by three billion litres a year and will cut carbon dioxide emissions by around two tonnes, and emissions of nitrogen oxide by 11,000 tonnes a year. The car electronics maker exports 60% of its products to the countries of western Europe, 13% to the US, 12% to Asian markets and 4% to South America, with only one percent of its production sold in Slovenia.
The operator of the biggest shopping and logistics hub in Ljubljana posted a net profit of EUR 6.2m on sales of EUR 51.8m in 2009. Excluding extraordinary events in 2008, BTC’s net profit increased 23 percent year-on-year, the company said. The shareholders decided to earmark EUR 2.15m of the EUR 15.3m in distributable profit for dividends at EUR 9.57 per share. EUR 10m will be allocated to other reserves and EUR 3.18m will remain undistributed.
Memorandum on Lyon-Ukraine Railway Project
Unemployment Rate Flat in April
The shareholders of coatings maker Helios have confirmed a buyback plan for up to 10% of the total share issue. The company’s management has been authorised to buy shares in the company for the next 18 months as part of a measure to use the shares for profit sharing and stabilise the share value. The shareholders also confirmed the management’s proposal under which shareholders will not receive dividends this year. This is the second year running that the company will not pay out dividends.
Kolpa Becomes European Destination of Excellence The River Kolpa has been formally designated a European Destination of Excellence. The title was awarded by the European Commission to tourist attractions along the river in the municipalities of Osilnica, Kostel, Kočevje, Črnomelj, Semič and Metlika. All these destinations have interesting stories and have enriched Slovenian tourism, Slovenia Tourism Office director Dimitrij Piciga said at the award ceremony. The joint product dubbed “Kolpa. Touch the Story.” combines what the area has to offer into recreational, cultural and natural heritage activities. The River Kolpa, which runs along the border with Croatia in southern Slovenia, joins 30 holders of the designation.
Slovenia’s only gas distributor is to earmark half of last year’s distributable profit for dividends. Geoplin will split EUR 10m among its shareholders. The company ended last year with a net profit of EUR 19.5m, down from EUR 30.9m from the year before, on net sales that plunged to EUR 317.1m from EUR 406m in 2008. The company supplied 1.02bn cubic metres of gas last year. It is majority-owned by the state (32.6%) and oil group Petrol (32%).
GDP Shrank Faster than EU Average Slovenia’s GDP per person expressed as a share of the EU average fell by five percentage points last year. The fall, to 86%, shows that the Slovenian economy shrank at a faster rate than that of the EU as a whole. Slovenia achieved 91% of the average GDP per capita measured at purchasing power parity in the EU in 2008, but lost ground as its economy contracted by 7.8% last year. This is the first time that Slovenia has lost ground on the EU in GDP terms since joining the bloc in 2004. At the time when it joined, the country’s GDP was equal to 79% of the then-25 member EU. The drop last year means Slovenia has returned to pre-2006 levels – in 2006 its GDP per capita amounted to 87% of the EU average. GDP per capita in PPS EU-27 = 100 92 90
Unemployment rate is going up 12
The transport ministers of Slovenia, France, Italy and Hungary have signed a memorandum of understanding on a project which aims to link the four countries by rail. According to the Slovenian Transport Ministry, the memorandum sends a clear message that the TEN-T 6 project is of exceptional importance for the four countries and that they will make efforts to secure maximum participation of the European Commission in its funding. This is also a signal to the Commission that the railway axis Lyons-TriesteDivaca/Koper-Divača-LjubljanaBudapest-Ukrainian border should be a priority TEN-T network of the EU, the ministry added.
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Slovenia’s unemployment rate remained unchanged in April over March at 10.6 percent, according to figures from the Statistics Office. There were 99,316 people registered as unemployed in April, while the number people in paid employment rose by 0.3% to 839,250. The number of employees continued to decrease in construction, retail and in the processing industry. However, more people were hired in healthcare, social work, public administration and defence.
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Helios AGM Confirms Buyback Plan
Geoplin to Pay Out Dividends
Photo: Slovenske Železnice
The Parus Foundation has granted three scholarships for postgraduate study in law. The scholarships – which are for the 2010/11 academic year and which have a total value of EUR 100,000 – have been awarded to students who completed undergraduate studies at the Ljubljana University Faculty of Law. Two of the students have opted to undertake their studies at Harvard Law School and the New York University, while the third student is yet to decide between the London School of Economics and the Vienna University of Economics and Business. The Parus Foundation exists to help law students pursue their postgraduate studies at the world’s best universities. It was founded by lawyer Miro Senica, who also serves as the organisation’s president.
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Nova Ljubljanska Banka
A New Dispute Just when it seemed as though relations between Slovenia and Croatia were improving, a new argument has reared its head. This one is over money and, once again, it threatens to delay Croatia’s negotiations to join the European Union. Is it a rift which can be healed? By Aleš Šinkovec amount to approximately EUR 172m.
Money, money, money
E As far as Slovenia is concerned, each republic in the former Yugoslavia was the guarantor of the savings, based on a territorial principle. The Croatian government sees the matter rather differently.
The Slovenia Times
ver since the war which followed the breakup of Yugoslavia, Slovenia and Croatia have maintained an uneasy relationship. A big reason for the awkwardness between these two Balkan neighbours was an ongoing dispute over territory. But with Slovenia’s recent support of an arbitration agreement which will oversee the creation of a formal border between the countries, it had seemed as though relations were thawing. It seemed at last that Croatia would be able to pursue membership of the European Union unhindered. And then the Ljubljanska Banka argument reignited. Slovenia’s former national bank declared bankruptcy following the breakup of Yugoslavia, leaving behind it a multitude of liabilities. With many active subsidiaries in the various republics of Yugoslavia, Slovenia was far from the only country affected by the bank’s demise. For Croatia, the claims in lost savings of the roughly 132,000 clients
As far as Slovenia is concerned, each republic in the former Yugoslavia was the guarantor of the savings, based on a territorial principle. The Croatian government sees the matter rather differently – in part because agreeing that it as a territory should have guaranteed the lost savings would be politically unfavourable. Instead, they argue that Slovenia’s current national bank – Nova Ljubljanska Banka (NLB) – is the legal successor to the failed Ljubljanska Banka. And they are far from happy that NLB has received all of the assets of Ljubljanska Banka but none of the associated debts; debts which amount to around EUR 400m in total. In recent weeks, the matter has turned ugly. The governor of Croatia’s central bank, Željko Rohatinski, has stated that NLB will be refused access to the Croatian market if it does not settle the debts it has accrued. It is a move which is in direct violation of the EU’s principle of free movement of capital and, as such, will undoubtedly impede Croatian membership of the Union. The threat could have plunged relations between Slovenia and Croatia into turmoil once more. But instead Slovenian leaders chose to react to Rohatisnki’s statement in a conciliatory man-
ner. Both Prime Minister Borut Pahor and Minister of Foreign Affairs Samuel Žbogar have said they will not use the dispute as reason to block Croatia’s opening of the final three chapters for its EU membership talks. Instead, they have urged Croatia’s leaders to take their concerns to the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). This was in fact the original mechanism intended to resolve the dispute, but talks failed in 2002 because Croatia maintained it was a bilateral issue.
To a resolution?
It seems that this time Croatia is more willing to engage with the processes of BIS, with the nation’s leaders welcoming the organisation’s involvement. Pahor has said he expects an agreement for the plan to be formulated no later than 9 July, when he is scheduled to meet with his Croatian counterpart in Dubrovnik. If that happens, then the talks about this dispute that were started eight years ago will finally conclude. Croatia should also move closer to be able to close the remaining chapters in its EU membership talks. So while the ultimate outcome of the dispute is far from certain, the signs are that both Slovenia and Croatia are committed to healing this latest rift between them. Perhaps this latest dispute will ultimately prove to be just a slight bump in the road to better relations between the two nations.
Željko Rohatinski, the governor of Croatia’s central bank, has said NLB will not be allowed to work in Croatia until it settles its debts
Emonika Project is on the Move Again After months of negotiations that included more than 60 meetings, partners in the Emonika project – the Hungarian Trigranit Group, the City of Ljubljana and Slovenian Railways – have finally come to yet another agreement about the new look for Ljubljana’s railway and bus stations. Last month, they presented this new conceptual design. By Maja Dragović
he latest obstacle in the lengthy story of Emonika was agreeing where to place the new pillars between the railway tracks. Placing the support pillars where they will not be impeded by the railway track and will not preclude the creation of an underground railway system has been cited as crucial to the timely completion of the project. With this issue now resolved, Emonika plans to submit paperwork for building permits in the autumn. The aim is for the project to be completed by the end of 2012. This optimistic attitude was prevalent at the presentation of the new design.
“With the help of our partners in the municipality of Ljubljana and in Slovenian Railways, we have cleared the obstacles from this beautiful project,” Csaba Toth, Emonika’s director, said at the presentation. “At this very moment I believe that we have started the final chapter of this story.”
The latest design reveals a few other changes, notably the overall downsizing of the project. Both the public (skyscrapers and the shopping centre) and commercial (bus and railway stations) parts will be smaller than originally
Ljubljana Stock Exchange
Electric Dreams June may have seen Slovenia’s weather finally heat up but the same could not be said for its stock market. The Ljubljana Stock Exchange (LSE) continued to see heavy and regular losses throughout the month. The owners blame a lack of liquidity. Could a new electronic trading system help solve this problem and reverse the negative trend?
It looks like Ljubljana is finally to get a new and modern railway and bus system. Does this mean that Slovenia is soon to update its trains as well? This is not currently the priority, says Goran Brankovic, head of Slovenia Railways. But with so much emphasis being placed on the need to improve the railways in Slovenia if it is to compete for business on the world stage, one should not rule out the possibility of priority shifting – the government could yet dig into its purse to acquire new trains to coincide with the new station in Ljubljana.
LJSE Composite June 2010 3700
By Claire Read id-June 2010 in Slovenia could be summed up as a collision between a wave of optimism and a wave of negativity. While the football team’s trip to South Africa was cause for happiness, turning to the financial pages of the newspapers couldn’t help but lead to depression. Day after day there was news of losses on the Ljubljana Stock Exchange. When it closed on 12 June, so too did its fourth negative week in a row. The SBI TOP index of big companies was hit particularly hard. So what is the problem? Why are the losses so consistent and
planned. This will also result in lowering of the cost of the project, which is now not planned to exceed EUR 300m, around a fifth less than costed previously. The new concept also plans for the bus station to be moved to Vilharjeva – originally it was to be located on Liberation Square (Trg Osvobodilne Fronte) – a move which, according to Emonika, will significantly free up the traffic on Massarkovi Street and Trg Osvobodilne Fronte. The bus station will include 36 bus stops, a waiting room and a sales outlet. It will also be directly connected with the new railway station.
the gains so shortlived? According to Heinrich Schaller, head of Wiener Boerse, the issue is clear: it’s a matter of liquidity. Speaking in Vienna at the beginning of June, the Chairman of the Stock Exchange’s majority owner argued that the solution is more international institutional investors.
The fact is that Ljubljana Stock Exchange is not exactly short on institutional investors: such organisations own 48 percent of free circulation shares on the market. But more than 69 percent of
them are domestic. It is this which Schaller believes must change. Attracting foreigners, Schaller argues, will prevent the Exchange’s existing big players from moving to other markets. So if this is the solution, the question quickly becomes clear: how does the Exchange attract the foreign institutional investors? Ljubljanska Borza, the owners of the stock market operator, hope one answer to that question might be electronic securities trading system Xetra. The system, which is already used by more than 250 financial firms and more than 4,800 stock brokers, can be direct-
ly accessed by investors from 18 countries in Europe and the Middle East. It should help expand the selection of market orders, in turn contributing to the internationalisation of the LSE, so making it more competitive.
No magic wand
The current plan is to introduce the system, expected to cost a few hundred thousand Euros, on 17 September. But Schaller says expecting an immediate improvement in the Exchange’s liquidity is foolish: “It is a process that takes months, even years,” he warns. July 2010
Brand New Digitel Pristop Group is South Eastern Europe’s largest marketing and communications services group, generating a turnover of EUR 100m in 2008. It is a position that the group is aiming to enhance and consolidate following the February appointment of Tomas Vucurevic as its chief operating officer. Considered one of Europe’s top experts in the field, having previously worked for giants such as Swatch and Motorola, Vucurevic says the marketing sector has undergone lots of interesting changes in recent years – not least in the Balkans.
Even though we are living in a time of individualisation, human beings want to belong to something higher which unites them and shelters them. For 2,000 years this was done mainly by religion and other normative forces such as family, politics, or unions. Now people are looking for other ways to join with people. And they do that through brands more and more. The Slovenia Times
How has marketing and advertising changed in recent years? In the past few years there has been a marketing revolution; a revolution in the way marketing needs to be done to engage with consumers. This was driven by changes in the media landscape as well as some social changes. Marketing has become much more technology-based than it ever was. Everything is 24/7, everything is online all the time and that drives transformational changes in the way we live. In addition, companies have started to look at marketing more as an investment than as a cost. The scope has changed. If something is an investment, every investor wants to know what the return is. How has Pristop adapted to this new environment? We develop marketing solutions for clients which are measurable to the highest extent. We are innovating in that area and developing lots of products to increase measurability and return on invest-
ment of all kinds of communication activities. Creativity has shifted from »let’s have a creative visual idea« towards »let’s have a creative business solution«, which will then lead into the development of a creative lead concept. In the old days when we talked about integrated marketing communication it meant »we can do this on a poster, we can do this on the web, we can make a banner«. Visual concepts were just integrated into other forms of media. While now we would rather say integrated in the sense of finding out who our consumer is, understanding what he wants from us, developing a solution, measuring the results, and changing and adapting the plan as well as the way in which the campaign and communication is developed. If you look at the Itak campaign for Mobitel, that is a very good example that Pristop has done in this sense. It’s totally integrated – all kinds of new elements have been brought to it across all media; last year we set up the concert with The Killers, this year we continue with a concert trilogy (Florence and the Machine, Gossip and a surprise for the autumn), and the numbers are extremely successful for Itak. Those are the concepts for the future. In terms of marketing tools, Slovenia is very much in line with the rest of the western world. You also have offices in Croatia and Serbia where technology still has not evolved as much as in Slovenia. How challenging is it to approach companies in these countries and persuade them that there is such a thing as the 21st century marketing? It’s true that there are variations in the Balkans – there is not one strategy for marketing communications in south-eastern Europe. We are active in nine countries so our highest level of consolidation is South Eastern Europe (SEE) which makes our processes tailor-made for the region. That is the advantage of our group versus the four large corporations that
are dominating the marketing and advertising business globally. We are not so stiff to be telling every country »you have to do it this way«, we just want to be sure about our strategic approach – then the market solutions are created individually. In Croatia, for example, the market is much more around television than it is around new media. Here we have our own company called United Productions, through which we develop various formats for television broadcasting. As producer of some of the most successful television programmes in Croatia we can offer our clients communication as the programme sponsor or through product placement. For example, we are producing a daily cooking show in Croatia presented by Mercator – Ana, the lady on the show, buys all her groceries from Mercator. Serbia is totally different again, jumping over the internet and going directly to mobile. That’s why we bought a company in Serbia called Ginger. It is the leading company in the country in mobile applications, and soon will be in the whole region. Ginger is doing a lot of things around text messages, games, downloads and marketing programmes around mobile. In every country we go to, we look at the set up, we look at consumer behaviour, media consumption, the specific situation, the competitive landscape and then we think about how we can enter into the market. Slovenian brands are quite strong and recognisable in the countries where Pristop operates. Do you think Slovenian companies should think globally or should they stick with the established markets such as the Balkans? What Slovenian companies need to think about is that pushing their own brand might not necessarily be the best course of action. It may be worth buying another brand instead of trying to build their brand globally. Gorenje is doing that to a certain extent.
ECONOMY 13 Building a brand is a very costly exercise. In the consumer business we talk about a minimum of EUR 100m globally to build and maintain a consumer brand, taking into account operating in several continents and dozens of countries. So one needs to differentiate between Slovenian corporations and Slovenian brands. And maybe there are multiple brand strategies for global markets where it is more about acquiring established brands versus trying to build their own globally. Do you find in Slovenia that people are quite loyal to Slovenian products and brands? If so, why do you think that is? In certain products I think yes, to a very high degree, like beer – I think people prefer to drink Laško or Union rather than foreign imports for which there is only a small market within Slovenia. Brands are important because they give people stability in uncertain times. That is the main reason why brands are becoming so important. Originally branding was a seal of quality, but in mature markets after the eighties nobody can afford to deliver low quality. So the brands became the main differentiator of a company’s offering.
Even though we are living in a time of individualisation, human beings want to belong to something higher which unites them and shelters them. For 2,000 years this was done mainly by religion and other normative forces such as family, politics, unions, and so on. Now people are looking for other ways to join with people. And they do that through brands more and more. Consumers connect with other consumers, forming communities in which they share certain values and beliefs. Take the example of Harley Davidson and their annual meeting just across the border in Corinthia. People who would never meet at any other occasion are unified through their product, their brand, for a certain time period and then they separate, living their lives independently. So one result of post-individualism is that people don’t want to take that many responsibilities any more. When I was young I played handball and the training was twice a week and if I didn’t go to training, the coach would tell me I was not playing on Sunday. Now I go to the gym and the only obligation I have is to pay EUR 50 per month. Nobody cares whether I go or not. And that is how the
Pristop has organised a successful Itak campaign for Mobitel that included The Killers concert last year
world is. I am not saying it is good but that’s way beyond branding. Branding is only a reaction to today’s way of living. What are your plans for Digitel Pristop Group? My main job is to extract the best value, knowledge and services we have in our individual companies throughout the region, and
bring solutions to clients which are based on the newest knowledge about changes in marketing and communication and business. And develop out of that individualised, customised pitches for large regional clients like Mercator, Gorenje, or Tikveš and international companies who want to successfully communicate in the SEE region.
An office block with more than 15,000 m2 of office space and 396 parking spaces stands on the Žale roundabout, at the beginning of a new future road linking the old Ljubljana with the new business-shopping centre BTC. The office block, whose designer was awarded an architectural award "Zlati svinčnik", still offers a bit over 1,000 m2 of modernly laid-out and custom-made office space for purchase or rent. Do check our Internet site or give us a call for more information: Sava IP d.o.o. Davčna ulica 1, 1000 Ljubljana, tel.:+386 (0)1 430 41 51 in 300 98 91, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.sava-ip.si
Young Executives Society
Say YES to a New Type of Thinking For the past six years, a select band of young people has met to consider how best to take over the world. But this is no sinister cabal – this group of twenty and thirty somethings is the Young Executives Society. Its aim? To ensure that young Slovenian businesspeople have the best possible opportunities to make a positive impact on both the national and international scene. By Maja Dragović and Claire Read
t was in 2004 that Jan Pinterič and Andrej Nabergoj founded the Young Executive Society, (YES). The group was a response to what the two businessmen, then in their twenties, felt was the lack of opportunity for young entrepreneurs to acquire and share knowledge. “The idea was that younger generations were not connected and there was no platform in which young people could meet to discuss business topics,” explains Pinterič. “So we decided to connect few of them and that’s how YES started – with an initial group of 22 people. We slowly grew and today we have 150 members in Slovenia.”
A programme of education
The organisation’s main initiative has always been the YES junior programme. Each year, 20 talented individuals between the ages of 27 and 32 are selected to be members of the programme, which offers mentors, network and educational courses on a variety of topics. With such a limited number of spaces, one might expect the selection process would be quite complex. On the contrary, Pinterič says it is quite simple. “We get recommendations, and then the candidates send us their CVs and motivational letters,” he explains. “Then the special commission goes through the applications, and decides who has the biggest potential to grow before selecting the participants. “We select professionals from different walks of life – entrepreneurs, managers, architects, doctors, managers, as well as artists.”
A practical approach
The group’s membership may be diverse, but its focus is specific. The aim is always to give these young entrepreneurs “the right knowledge”. That means practical information that they can use to The Slovenia Times
YES is committed to organising networking events that will help its members get the right kind of knowledge
further advance their careers and businesses. “The professionals who run our workshops are always people from a business background. They offer a kind of knowledge that our members can use; expertise on what works,” says Pinterič. As well as inviting high profile and successful businessmen to be tutors to young members, YES tries to provide much-needed practical information on how to grow a company. Pinterič feels this is especially important for Slovenians. “We have great ideas in Slovenia but we don’t have the practical knowledge of how to grow,” he argues. “Most people don’t know what to do after the initial start up of the company; the phases of growth; they don’t know how to break into foreign markets; or know how to deal with finance part of the company. “The other thing is that they are not in the right networks so they don’t actually know where to
find a place to exchange ideas, to get feedback on them, they don’t know how to get funding which is a huge problem for Slovenia because there is no capital for startups.”
A broader perspective
YES helps address all these issues, Pinterič explains. “We want to provide our members with a new type of knowledge together with a broad perspective of the way in which the world moves. It is very connected to our views – YES is not so much into the narrow view which I think Slovenia has adopted.” “YES exists in a different environment that can provide [our young entrepreneurs and managers] with a better and more varied network – also a network which is international.”
YES itself is now very much look i ng to the i nter nat ional
sphere. It moved its headquarters to Brussels in 2007 with ambitions to become a European Association that will connect entrepreneurs and managers from south east Europe. It now has branches in both Serbia and Croatia. Slovenian branch will organise a major conference on information technology, bringing together opinion makers and movers and shakers in the field in September. One of the speakers will be the founder of booking.com, the world’s largest company for online hotel bookings. Also attending is Barrack Obama’s personal adviser. The conference is sure to be another big step in YES’ plans to help its members in their growth. It is also sure not to be the last. For, as the past six years have shown, this is an organisation tireless in its efforts to give young South East Europeans the best business knowledge available.
Concerns Over Cuts On 10 June, Prime Minister Borut Pahor announced his government’s supplementary budget for 2010. It is a plan which envisages a dramatic six percent cut in expenditure. Pahor and his colleague maintain this belt tightening is crucial if Slovenia is to meet European Union requirements and to develop a modern economy. Few disagree but the specific aspects of his proposal are already mired in controversy. By Claire Read
Like most European nations we are adopting radical saving measures aimed to contain the public finance deficit,” explained Finance Minister Franc Križanič when announcing the gover n ment’s supplementa r y budget. He was not joking about the radical part. It is fairly easy to sum up the proposals in the supplementary budget: massive cuts. The figures are brutal. Healthcare will lose EUR 49m. Transport and transport infrastructure will confront a EUR 186m loss. Defence will have to cope with EUR 44m less. According to the government, the cuts are as crucial as they are dramatic. Slovenia’s budget deficit as a portion of gross domestic product (GDP) currently stands at five percent. That’s a problem, not least because members of the European Union are required to have a budget deficit of no more than three percent of GDP. As a result, the European Commission launched excessive deficit proceedings against Slovenia in December 2009. At the same time, it ordered the Balkan nation to get below the three percent figure by 2013.
Little wonder, then, that the EU welcomed the government’s supplementary budget. The Commission feels the measures are efficient, in accordance with recommendations, and in line with plans for Slovenia to achieve 1.25% GDP expenditure savings in 2010. Križanič and Prime Minister Borut Pahor must have been relieved to have at least some support for the plan. For within Slovenia – even within their own party – backing for the austerity measures has been far from forthcoming. For a start, public sector unions are up in arms at the proposal to cut salaries by five percent on average over the next two years. One representative, Janez Posedi, dismissed the plan as “mission impossible” and threatened organised protest. “For us the question is no longer whether or not to go on strike, but where and when to
Slovenia has to find ways to create a modern, sustainable economy if it is to be competitive and avoid the fate that has befallen Greece. Part of that has to be cutting the deficit. The problem for Pahor now is finding a way to make those cuts palatable to the majority of parties.
Borut Pahor faces a tough challenge of convicing his own party members to vote for the new budget
stage [it] and who will take part,” he warned.
Others took issue with a proposed rise in excise which was to accompany the spending cuts. Excise on electricity was to increase from EUR 1 per megawatt hour to EUR 6.05 on 1 August and EUR 12.01 on 1 November. Increases were also planned on gas and, less controversially, tobacco. The government dropped the plans a week later after the Institute for Macroeconomic Analysis and Development (IMAD) warned that such rapid increases would spur inflation. But the change was not before the Chamber of Commerce and Industry had expressed fury, arguing the government was “planning to cover the emerging holes mainly by sending new bills to the economy.”
Giving up on EU money?
The dropping of the excise increase may have given the Chamber cause for cheer, but the proposed cuts are not escaping its
criticisms. It believes postponing investments in roads and the health system will hamper projects and mean major investors stay out: “We’re obviously giving up on [trying to secure] EU money,” a spokesperson said. Ironically, Pahor acknowledges the importance of foreign investors to the Slovenian economy. He sees the supplementary budget as just one part of efforts to improve the country’s financial situation: “It has to be perceived together with structural reforms, measures for increasing competitiveness and for attracting investors,” the Prime Minister argues. No one seems to disagree on that. And so the issue is clear: Slovenia has to find ways to create a modern, sustainable economy if it is to be competitive and avoid the fate that has befallen Greece. Part of that has to be cutting the deficit. The problem for Pahor now is finding a way to make those cuts palatable to the majority of parties. It seems his current suggestion hasn’t achieved that mission.
Slovenian Chamber of Commerce, whose director is Samo Hribar Milič, has heavily criticised the government’s supplementary budget July 2010
A Village with Variations We are often told we live in the age of the global village. The recent ascendance of the internet has, in particular, reinforced the notion that we are all neighbours, united regardless of the geographic distance between us. But as any travelling businessman quickly learns, this is a village with as many differences as email addresses. By Claire Read
n an age of easy air travel, efficient phone calls and instant electronic communication it often seems as though our world is getting ever smaller. Yet our world remains far from having a uniform culture, and nowhere is this clearer than when it comes to doing business. Admittedly, some countries have only slightly different practices. Someone from the United Kingdom who is doing business in Slovenia, for example, is likely to feel quickly at home. In both nations, initial business contact tends to be formal and reserved. Politeness is valued, interrupting frowned upon, and modesty valued. Aside from remembering to shake the hands of women in the room before those of men, a British person in Slovenia is unlikely to have to change the way in which he or she conducts business.
Importance of etiquette
But imagine that the same businessperson was travelling further afield – to Libya, perhaps. Here the reserved and formal nature of UK and Slovenian business would be considered positively rude. In the Northern African nation, greetings are always enthusiastic and warm. Handshakes continue far longer. And a businessman shaking a woman’s hand first would be
Different places, different practices In Germany, the eldest or highest ranking person always enters a meeting room first In Brazil, it is considered bad luck to place handbags on the floor In China, gifts in business are seen as bribes In Saudi Arabia, meetings begin with inquiries about health and family... but it is considered highly inappropriate to ask about a Saudi’s wife The Slovenia Times
inappropriate – men must wait for a woman to extend her hand before shaking it. It’s an example which underscores the importance of cultural awareness in modern business. The world may be smaller than ever, but having a good product is not enough in itself to attract foreign trade. “To be effective in today’s globalised world, it’s critical to know the cultural differences that matter in business,” argues Kate Berardo, founder of Culturosity.com, a company which aims to increase intercultural awareness in companies and individuals. ”Knowing and showing the proper business etiquette for the cultures you are working in sends a symbolic message of goodwill,” she says. “It shows you are willing to bridge your differences, are sensitive to the fact they exist, and have taken the time to learn what they are and how to adjust. It can do a lot to help pave the way for an effective business relationship.”
Differences within continents
It is not just when travelling to a different continent that such adap-
tations are required. Practices can vary from nation to nation, even in an apparently homogenous area such as Europe. It’s a point underlined by the experiences of Helen Burgess. “For twelve years I worked for an international company in the UK, Netherlands and Italy,” she explains. “We always worked in internal teams and those teams could have, let’s say, a Dutch engineer, an Italian, and two English people.” It wasn’t always an easy way of working: “If there was a difficulty in the team it was always considered as someone being difficult rather than the fact [the individual] applied problem solving or communicated in a different way because they were from a different culture.”
La bella figura
Recognising the need for more cross-cultural training, Burgess set up Insight Italy. As the name suggests, the consultancy specialises in helping those who want to relocate to, or do business in, the Southern European nation. She says there are many issues to be aware of before making such a move.
“In Italian business, forming relationships is absolutely critical,” she says. “People will decide not to buy a product even though it’s cheapest and has the features they want if there is no relationship in place. And they won’t buy off people they don’t like.” How to make an Italian like you? It’s all, says Burgess, about “la bella figura”: “People think it means dressing well and it does [in part]. But it’s really about making a good impression – in the business context, that means looking and behaving like the professional you are.”
The relevance of relationships
Italian businesspeople are far from alone in valuing relationships. At the extreme end, business in Saudi Arabia is impossible without a sponsor (wakeel) who works as an intermediary, setting up appointments. In Asian nations such as Japan, China and India, such intermediaries are not crucial but relationships remain important. And there are other issues to consider. “Language can be a big issue when in Japan and China as they generally like to conduct business
ECONOMY 17 in the local language,” says Kenneth Bergenthal who, as President of Asia Pacific Consultants, helps businesspeople looking to trade in Asia. “In Japan, you need to be aware of different etiquette with handing and receiving business cards, where people sit in the room, who to address, being prompt, and so on.” In India, on the other hand, Bergenthal says you may have to resign yourself to a distinct lack of punctuality: “When having meetings expect to start late but don’t take it as being rude,” he advises.
The naming game
It is a similar story in Brazil,
where meetings are often delayed. Similarly characteristic of the South American nation is a tendency to be informal – a habit also seen to the north of the country, in the United States. Here the approach to business is famously casual and friendly, with first names typically used right from the very first meeting with potential business partners. That contrasts massively with somewhere like Russia where it is not uncommon for a businessman to simply say his surname and nothing else as a first greeting, or Germany, where colleagues who have worked together for years often remain on a last name basis.
According to Germany-based Alexia Petersen who, with partner Stephan, works to improve cross-cultural communication, Germans “strive to appear credible by being impersonal, serious and objective. “They are especially careful to make a distinction between their professional obligations and person life. They feel keeping the two worlds separate is desirable for objective and fair decision making.”
Get it in writing
Such a clear distinction might be expected in a country where precision is constantly desired. This desire is also reflected in the
large quantity of written communication involved in business. In other countries, however, such indirect communication is intensely disliked. Take South Africa. Here, face-to-face conversations tend to be preferred to those conducted over the phone or online. With so many variations in business etiquette, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed. But as Berardo, Burgess, Bergenthal and the Petersons prove, support is out there. And Kenneth Bergenthal says there is really just one golden rule to follow: “If you come in respectful, prepared, wear nice business attire and show interest at all times, you have a good start.”
Green, How I Want You Green Last month’s Slovenian Incoming Workshop once again succeeded in raising the profile of Ljubljana and Slovenia as potential tourist destinations. By Vesna Paradiž
he Sloven ia n Incom i ng Workshop (SIW), organised by the Slovenian Tourist Board, is the largest annual opportunity for tourist companies and agencies to present their work to potential partners from abroad. The entire event takes the form of a business workshop with the aim of increasing the number of visitors to Slovenia in the following season, establishing new business contacts, nurturing the already settled ones and, of course, concluding some actual contracts of cooperation. This year’s even was the thirteenth in a row and a total of 289 companies participated – 142 foreign organisations drawn from 32 countries as well as 147 Slovenian companies. An impressive sixty five percent of the foreign participants were attending the event for the first time. This year the event had a special green theme. It focused on green operating procedures and green vacations and very much practiced what it preached – the use of print media was limited, attention to electronic media increased, any paper used had an environmental certificate and promotional materials (name badges, bags, gifts, and so on) were made of recycled materials. Stands were made of
Slovenian hazelnut wood and will be used for other events. Exhibitors were able to print their promotional photos for the decoration of stalls on eco paperboard, which can also be re-used. Furthermore, the workshop’s location was in the centre of Slovenia, which shortened the trip for most of the participants. It was also in the centre of Ljubljana, allowing easy access by foot for participants both domestic and foreign. In short, the event tried to promote the greenness of Slovenian tourism and at the same time encourage others to follow the example.
The government has defined tourism as an important development and business opportunity for Slovenia and a key economic sector that secures jobs and has a positive effect on the balanced development of the region. Tourism generates twelve percent of the country’s gross domestic product and is a vital export activity, representing over forty percent of exports of services in the balance of payments in Slovenia. It is no wonder then that in the supplementary budget this year, the Ministry of Economy has left tourism with all the available development funds,
The thematic setting of tourism workshop
while it had to reduce them by ten percent in all other sectors. As a way of further advancing tourism the Ministry has issued two public tenders for funding from the European Regional Development Fund. The first is for the implementation of activities of regional destination organisations; the other for the promotion of thematic tourism products at the national level, with an emphasis on green and sustainable tourism.
Assault on foreign markets
The Slovenian Tourist Board is supporting the realisation of those policies with innovative marketing and communication activities. One such effort is the recent opening of information offices in London and Tokyo, in addition to those already established in Italy, Germany and the Benelux. The
London office is trying to lure tourists with campaigns connecting tourism with the highly topical sport of football, with a Slovenian pub in London and several events in England, Scotland and Ireland. They are also trying to achieve better air links between the countries, which would no doubt bring more British tourists to Slovenia. The task of the information point in Tokyo is to promote travel to Slovenia and to increase the visits of Japanese guests in the country. Part of those endeavours is the implementation of workshops and presentations of Slovenian tourism to the general public, as well as cooperation with other national tourist organisations. It is hoped that all of these activities and, of course, the Slovenian Incoming Workshop will help draw ever higher numbers of tourists to the country. July 2010
18 FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT
NEWS IN BRIEF
source: STA, Slovenian Press Agency
HIT Completes Major Pushing Ahead with Investment Labour Reform
Slovenia’s top gaming chain has opened an expanded gaming and hotel resort in Montenegro. HIT opened the expanded Maestral resort – located in the seaside town of Budva – last month. With the EUR 7.5m investment, the company hopes to be able to provide top-end services to guests from Italy and distant markets. HIT, which is struggling with losses at home but which saw its Montenegrin subsidiary turn a profit of EUR 2.8m in 2009, said it opted for the investment to bolster its offerings in this Adriatic resort town. It said that a favourable tax environment helped with the decision. The new wing of the Maestral hotel has 24 rooms and nine luxury suites.
Mandatory Profit Sharing Fails to Garner Support A revision to the profit sharing act has failed to garner support in Parliament. The act, which would make distribution of a part of profits to employees mandatory in certain cases, was voted down 39 to 10 last month. The amendment, which has been the subject to discord between the government and employers on one side and trade unions on the other, was put forward by the Social Democrats (SD), the Pensioner’s Party (DeSUS) and the National Party (SNS). The government said that the proposed mandatory profit sharing would create a number of negative effects on foreign investment and the Slovenian economy. The amendment stipulated that if a company decides to distribute over 25% of its profit, at least a quarter of the amount must be shared with the workers. The Slovenia Times
The government will adopt three key labour laws in spite of ongoing disagreements among social partners about the legislation. The decision to adopt amendments to the labour relationships act, the mini jobs bill and the labour market bill has been welcomed by businesses. But trade unions, which failed to come to a consensus on the laws at the latest round of talks hosted by Prime Minister Borut Pahor, have threatened to step up pressure on the government. Nevertheless, Pahor indicated the government would not back down, suggesting that the unions had the upper hand when they achieved an increase in minimum wage earlier this year and that now it was “time to balance the scales” by helping business. The breaking point for the unions was the proposed reduction of severance pay and shortening of notice periods in the employment relationships act, which the government claims will be offset with longer unemployment benefits. Failing to achieve their goals, they withheld their support for the other two acts, which are not as controversial for the unions. The social partners also resumed debate on pension reform, but no final decisions were made.
Major Problem is Fall FM Discussing Cooperation with in Competitiveness Slovenia’s economy is generally Emirates healthy aside from a slump in its competitive edge according to the country’s Prime Minister. Speaking after last month’s summit of EU leaders in Brussels, Borut Pahor said he was not “nervous” about the fall in competitiveness because he had expected such a development: “If you give 44% more for social cohesion in 2009 compared to 2008, a slide in competitiveness will be inevitable,” Pahor said. The prime minister deems it especially vital for Slovenia to open to foreign investment, because it is not capable of financing its development alone, particularly at times of crisis.
Petrol Plans More Investments in SEE Slovenian energy group Petrol is planning further investments in Slovenia and South East Europe, its chairman has announced. Aleksander Svetelšek said the investments would amount to 428m by the end of 2014, adding that the group would invest EUR 75m in Croatia and employ an additional 300 people there.
The potential to enhance economic cooperation between Slovenia and the United Arab Emirates has been discussed by government ministers from each country. Slovenian Foreign Minister Samuel Žbogar met Economy Minister Sultan bin Saeed al-Mansuri at the outset of a visit to the country last month. Žbogar and al Mansuri reviewed the development of bilateral relations and the possibilities of cooperation in trade, services and investment. The pair agreed on the need to complete negotiations to sign an economic cooperation agreement and prepare an accord to avoid double taxation. The countries are also keen to sign an agreement in cooperation in health. Trade with United Arab Emirates in ‘000 Euros 56000 48000 40000 32000 24000 16000 8000
0 2005 Dec
SCT Strikes “Deal of Century” SCT has signed major contracts to build roads in Libya. The construction company will build roads in the country in deals worth EUR 1.154bn. The contracts are for the construction of two roads (Al Abjar to Al Marj and Sabha to Zvelah) with a total distance of 270 kilometres. The projects are likely to run for three to four years, generating monthly revenues of EUR 37m. Ivan Zidar, SCT’s CEO stressed that Prime Minister Borut Pahor and Slovenian diplomats had played an important part in the deals – Pahor visited Libya in November 2009 with the aim of boosting business ties between the countries. Since then, Libyan Prime Minister Baghdadi al-Mahmudi has visited Slovenia.
Tax Real Estate
Slovenian Projects Featured at Milan Real Estate Fair Five investment projects in Slovenia were featured at this year’s EIRE real estate fair in the Italian city of Milan. The Agency for Entrepreneurship and Foreign Investments (JAPTI), was present at the event for the second time and helped promote the Terme Benedikt spa, the Nova Gorica-based EDA center business complex, and the Pohorska livada recreational tourism resort. Also fishing for investors at the fair was the Tobačna City complex in Ljubljana and the tourist and recreation centre Repenšek Gornji Grad. Additional investment opportunities were also presented by the Slovenia Times. at its stand.
U-turn on Excise Duty Increase The Slovenian government has decided to reconsider plans to raise excise on tobacco, gas and electricity. The decision was taken after The Institute for Macroeconomic Analysis and Development (IMAD) warned increasing excise duties too rapidly would spur inflation. The proposal for increasing excise on tobacco, gas and electricity was aimed at bringing in an additional EUR 157.6m a year and EUR 39.5m by the end of 2010. The government further intends to raise fuel excise every two weeks through July. According to Prime Minister Borut Pahor, the government will now have to find a way to fairly distribute cuts in budget expenditure in the wake of the lower budget revenue, but it does not plan to take on new debt.
FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT 19
Council for Consuls Slovenia’s 54 honorary consuls gathered for a four-day visit to Slovenia last month to learn of the new focus of Slovenian foreign policy – economic diplomacy. It was a welcome opportunity for the consuls to get to know each other as well as to meet high-ranked representatives of the Slovenian government including Prime Minister Borut Pahor and foreign minister Samuel Žbogar. By Maja Dragović
or the first time since Slovenia gained independence, its honorary consuls gathered to meet, share ideas and learn more about current trends in the country. Over a hectic four day itinerary, the consuls were introduced to some of nation’s major investment incentives; met various Slovenian businesspeople in one-to-one meetings; and attended presentations from leading government representatives. Economy Ministry State Secretary Darja Radič presented activities and programmes for the internationalisation of the Slovenian economy, while Vladimir Gasparič, the head of the new economic diplomacy directorate, explained how the consuls can have a bigger role in Slovenian economic diplomacy.
A welcome opportunity
It quickly became clear that the opportunity to learn more about Slovenia was one that the consuls very much welcomed – and that they hope it represents a fresh start in terms of communication between them and the nation. “In the past it happened that I didn’t receive much information as honorary consul,” explained Issa H. Murrad, the honorary consul in Jordan. “At the conference I was amazed to hear about success stories from Slovenian companies which I didn’t know about. We didn’t have much direct contact with the Slovenian ministry of foreign affairs but this time they assured us that there will be direct contact for instructions.” Sergey Vasilyev, the honorary consul in St Petersburg in Russia, was similarly critical of the past relationship, saying he has met Slovenia’s Russian representative for the Agency for Entrepreneurship and Foreign Investments (JAPTI) just once. The problem is in part one of location, he argues – JAPTI’s office for Russia is based in Kazan which, he says, “would be like establishing an office for Serbia in Priština (Kosovo).” Little wonder, then, that many attendees argued the meeting was long overdue.
Slovenia’s 54 consuls, who met for the first time last month, have been briefed on the new economic diplomacy policy
“This is the kind of meeting we have been asking for for a number of years now”, explained Mihajlo Mosjov, honorary consul in Bitola in Macedonia. “Other countries such as France, Russia, or England have been having these kinds of meetings for a number of years. It means a lot to us, not least because there are consuls who don’t have a chance to come to Slovenia very often.”
Many said the meeting was an invaluable opportunity to learn directly about Slovenia. Praising Slovenians as innovative, smart and diligent, Adi Rosenfeld, the honorary consul in Israel, said this sort of event allows for all important face-to-face communication. “What I like about this meeting is that you meet people oneon-one, not over the internet,” explained Rosenfeld. “The catalogue says something but the person that talks to you brings something else. If he knows how to tickle your curiosity, it immediately creates added value.” The event may have been a diplomatic one, but it was a very spe-
cific type of diplomacy – focused particularly on the economy. It was a focus which drew the approval of those in attendance. “Economy breaks walls between countries and nations,” said Rosenfield. “I was very happy to hear about this move. Slovenians know the values – their diplomacy is only a tool to create added value of trade, and to exchange know-how.”
With the aim of increasing economic links central to the meeting, a trip to Luka Koper was inevitable. And once more the massive potential the port has was underlined. Drawing on the fact that both Chile and Slovenia are export-based economies, Pedro Corona, Slovenian honorary consul in Chile, pointed out that annually 300 million boxes of fruit are exported from Chile to Europe via the port of Rotterdam which is then also distributed to Slovenia. “I think it is better to establish a line (from Chile) to Koper,” he argued. “This is an opportunity
for both countries – Koper is connected with eastern Europe and can be used as access to those destinations.” Dr Peter Penkoff, honorary consul in Austria, also sees an opportunity for strategic relations centred on Luka Koper. The opportunity lies in connecting the logistics of Luka Koper with a terminal south of Graz that is currently 500,000m2 in size and which already has a railway and airport terminal. “Here we can use economic synergies between the most important port in the south of Europe on the one side – for me this is Luka Koper,” Dr Penkoff explained. “And Koper, in my point of view, needs terminal and the land behind such as the terminal south of Graz. “And on the other side, to the north, we have the railways. This is a very important corridor. We need to intensify cooperation between the Austrian and Slovenian CEOs on this issue.” It is hoped that events such as the consul meeting will prove an invaluable aid to improving just such cooperation. July 2010
20 FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT
Foreign capital – a choice or a necessity? Countries across the globe are pondering how to find ways to attract more foreign capital and Slovenia is no exception. Nor is its tourism sector. Debate is now raging as to how best to tempt foreigners into one of Slovenia’s most lucrative sectors. By Maja Dragović
r. Tanja Mihalič, professor at the Economics Faculty of Ljubljana University says there are two key questions facing Slovenia’s tourism sector. Firstly, does it want to improve the existence of foreign brands on its market; improve access to its market; and introduce some new knowledge? And does it need foreign capital or has it enough of its own? Mihalič says the answers are fairly clear: »All of us in the tourist industry, including our government, are of the opinion that we need to open up to foreign investments and make it easier for foreign investors to enter our market.« The financial crisis has certainly bolstered that argument. Back in 2006, the share of tourism in the national gross domestic product was estimated at 5.5% and it was mainly reliant on domestic capital. In the previous investment cycle that ended in 2006, EUR 50m was invested in the sector and plans for the following investment cycle from 2007 to 2013 were to invest a further EUR 146m. Then the worldwide economic downturn hit. »In the last year there hasn’t been a lot of interest amongst investors,« says Marjan Hribar, Director General at the Directorate for Tourism in the Ministry of the Economy. »Due to the economic crisis there weren’t that many investments in the tourist industry«.
In short: foreign capital is needed. In the past there was a lot of talk of big foreign companies coming to Slovenia. In 2007, for instance, US company Harrah’s Entertainment announced plans to build a joint venture with Slovenian Hit Group. Their mega-entertainment park in Nova Gorica was expected to be the largest of its kind in central Europe. It would have included hotels with over 650 The Slovenia Times
ment is not giving up on attracting such capital. »Some time ago we put together a brochure called Invest in Slovenian Tourism,« says Hribar. »In there we have over 30 projects that we constantly offer to potential foreign investors.« Those projects cover the whole of Slovenia and range from wellness centres and golf courses, to castles.
Show me the money Marjan Hribar is convinced the big chain hotels will soon come to Slovenia
top-class rooms, a 2000-seat congress centre, over 3000 gaming machines and 120 gaming tables. The deal, however, never went through. »We have to recognise that Slovenia, in regards to foreign investment in tourism, was not the most successful,« says Dimitrij Piciga, head of the Slovenian Tourist Organisation. There were some success stories – the Kompas buyout by the Croatian Adriatica.net, and the Austria Trend Hotel in Ljubljana. But they were nowhere near enough.
Where is the future?
So the question now is how to increase the number of success stories. »At the moment, I think that Slovenia is best prepared for possible investments in the so-called cultural heritage management – castles – as a potential on the world market,« argues Piciga. »We have the advantage that there aren’t that many investment possibilities of this kind.« Although the financial crisis has made investors wary of parting with their money, the govern-
But is having outlined projects enough? Everybody knows what elements attract foreign investors – one being the grace period for tax on profit. »For the time being, even though we studied the situation thoroughly, these are not the elements that we are prepared to offer,« says Hribar. »It is not the right time to do so and if we did that, it would be discriminatory to others that are already on the market.« »What we want to offer is a stable economic environment, safety, geographical location and similar advantages.« Slovenia will have to wait and see if that is enough.
Is Slovenia an attractive target for large hotel brands such as Sheraton or Le Meridien? By Carlos Silva Starwood Hotel and Resorts own famous luxury hotel brands including Le Meridien and Sheraton. Its staff remain cautious about the situation in South East Europe. A spokesman said there are still good investment opportunities around, but noted that several hotels in the region are closing down or close to insolvency due to lack of business. Katerina Finn, director for acquisitions and development of Starwood for the Eastern European Region, also believes the outlook is grim. She feels it will be some time before Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro will once again be regarded as a highly attractive tourism real estate investment location. That said, the company is very interested in opportunities in Slovenia – particularly in the capital, Ljubljana, where they believe there is a gap in the market for a high profile hotel brand. Finn says
Slovenia is the most attractive country for the group in the South-Eastern European Region. They are actively looking for new opportunities to expand their brands into new markets and will gladly consider entering Slovenia in the short term if a good opportunity presents itself. But the interest is in brand presence, not in cash investment. “Slovenia does not qualify as a strategic location for us and neither does the rest of the South Eastern European region,” a company spokesman says. “We as an operator generally invest money towards operations which represent our core business, not towards real estate purchases. But, if we were to invest in real estate, we would focus on traditional markets such as Spain or France where we fell more confident. In the Balkan region, we want to be present with our brand, not with our cash.”
DIPLOMATIC SOCIETY 21
EMBASSY DIARIES British Embassy
The Queen of Parties
Bridging the Gap of Understanding
The British Embassy in Ljubljana marked the official birthday of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II with a traditional party. On this occasion the Ambassador Andrew Page hosted a reception at his Residence on 9 June. It was a real British experience, with Pimm’s and lemonade served all round. The party proved to be extremely popular, with the residence’s garden full of people from all walks of life – Igor Lukšič, the sports minister was a guest speaker; other government officials; businesspeople; NGO representatives; as well as TV personalities and musicians such as Zoran Predin, the famous singer and songwriter. The ambassador impressed all present by reading his whole speech in Slovenian. With the event coinciding with the World Cup, there was a special emphasis on football, not least because Slovenia and England were in the same group.
Slovenia’s first festival of Arab culture has officially begun. Ahmed Farouk, Egyptian ambassador to Slovenia, opened “Shams” in Ljubljana on 21 June. The opening night, attended by around 300 people, included belly dancing and readings from the poems of famous Arab writer Halil Dzubran. The evening also featured a documentary about the life of Arabs in Slovenia. The film was put together by the Rozana Association of Slovenian Arabs who are also the organisers of the festival. The opening movie for the event was The Mummy, a film by Shadi Adbu Al Salam, filmed in 1968-69. The purpose of the festival is clear: introduce the right kind of image of the Arab world. “Due to the misunderstanding which is happening nowadays about the image of the Arabs, the importance of such festivals is immense,” says Farouk. “Through these kind of events, we are trying to bridge the gap of understanding.” The festival will take place throughout Slovenia and will last until 2 October.
American Chamber of Commerce
Great Order of Merit
Party in the Park
A Slovenian secretary of state has been awarded one of Germany’s highest honours. Andrej Šter, the head of the consular sector at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia, was presented with the Great Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany last month. The Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany, Mathias von Kummer, explained that the award was to honour Šter’s efforts in the field of German-Slovenian relations.
The recent World Cup match between Slovenia and the USA was celebrated in style by the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham). Ljubljana-based AmCham organised an afternoon of sporting activities to mark the clash between the two nations’ football teams. The fun included a game of football between well-known Slovenians and US Chamber and Embassy staff. The Slovenian side – which included Ljubljana mayor, Zoran Jankovič; Dejan Turk president of the board at SiMobil; Matej Potokar, director of Microsoft, Rok Vodnik, member of the board at Petrol; Dejan Kontrec, former hockey player; Andrej Šifrer, a musician; Aljoša Rebolj, a photographer; and Blaž Košorok, a director of TE-TOL – ultimately prevailed against their US counterparts. Those who did not fancy football could play tennis or basketball or simply tuck into authentic American hot dogs and burgers. Children were occupied by the bouncy castles and of course all were enthralled by the World Cup match. Ultimately the Slovenian professionals could not repeat the feat of Jankovič and his teammates, managing only a draw with the US squad.
The Art of Ukraine
A Picture of Japan
The Austrian Embassy in Ljubljana played host to a famous composer last month. Thomas Daniel Schlee was on hand to detail the programme for this year’s Carinthischer Sommer Festival, of which he is director. Accompanied by Erwin Kubesch, Austrian Ambassador to Slovenia, the composer announced that this year’s festival will run between 8 July and 28 August and that it will feature some 42 separate concerts.
Visitors to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Celje now have the chance to enjoy modern Japanese art alongside work from local artists. »Painting for Joy: New Japanese Paintings in the 1990s« opened on 18 June and features the work of nine artists from the Asian nation. All the art on display was produced during the 1990s, a time of rapid economic and social transition in Japan. The exhibition, which runs until August 15, is a collaboration between the Celje museum, the Likovni Salon Gallery, the Japan Foundation and the Embassy of Japan in Slovenia.
An exhibition of Ukrainian art has opened in Slovenia. The Ukrainian ambassador, Dr Vadym Prymachenko, opened the show of art by Ludmila Vasilieva, Sergei Paprotsky, and Jurij Zilberberga on 16 June. Guests at the opening of the exhibition, which is taking place in the Primorka Business Centre in Postojna, were also entertained by a performance by the soprano Liudmila Vechova and the pianist Sergej Jasinski.
Ljubljana’s Kongresni Trg is to become the latest area in Slovenia to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Fryderyk Chopin’s birth. A new passage is being constructed in the square which will be decorated with a bust of the famous Polish-born composer. The bust was officially presented to Mayor of Ljubljana Zoran Jankovič by Piotr Kaszuba, the Polish ambassador to Slovenia, during a ceremony held on 24 June in Ljubljana’s Municipality building.
New Chinese Ambassador China has a new ambassador to Slovenia. Sun Rongmin presented his letter of credence to Slovenian President Danilo Türk on 10 June, formalising his appointment. Rongmin previously served as his country’s ambassador to Poland. July 2010
Int. & Slo. Restaurant
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Ljubljana’s top picks
Gregorčičeva 3, Ljubljana Every day: 11 – 24 Tel.: 01 421 92 95, www.foculus.com Probably the most popular pizzeria in Slovenia 66 kinds of pizzas, king size salads
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Trubarjeva 43 & Vošnjakova 5
The Capital Photo: BOBO
In addition to the Urbana value card (yellow, without the name of the holder and transferable) and the Urbana time card (green, issued with the name of the holder and not transferable), the Urbana tourist card will now replace the “Ljubljana Card”. It will be valid for 24, 48 or 72 hours, during which its user will have access to Ljubljana’s most interesting cultural and tourist attractions, i ncludi ng cit y buses, tourist trains and boats, the funicular ride to the Ljubljana castle, entrance to the castle tower and guided tours of the castle, the Virtual Museum and the exhibition on Slovene history (both at the castle), bike rental, entrance to Ljubljana’s galleries and museums, entry to the Zoo and the Arboretum, guided city tours, a digital guide rental and free access to the Internet. The new card is expected to be available in July, when it will be sold in tourist information centres oglas LJ- KARTICA - 113x155 mm 6/24/10 15:12 Page 1 and hotel reception desks. Urbana card made Ljubljana bus rides a
The Arrival of the Urbana Tourist Card The new Urbana tourist card is the easiest way for tourists to explore and discover the city. By Vesna Paradiž
n September 2009, monthly passes, tokens and cash (all possible means of payment on Ljubljana city buses) were replaced by the Urbana card. While the monthly passes were replaced immediately, tokens were still accepted until January of this year and coins until May. Now, all city buses are equipped with an electronic payment system based on the Urbana no-contact smart card. The initial fee for an empty card is two euros, which can be topped up with any sum between EUR 1 and 50. The card can be bought at practically all tobacco shops, kiosks, in tourist information centres and at Urbanomats, which work 24/7 and are mostly at major bus stops throughout Ljubljana. All points where Urbana can be purchased and topped-up are marked with a red round logo. There Are No Cons With the decision to upgrade the system, the method of payment has become quick and convenient. Significantly, it grants you the possibility of changing buses within 90 minutes of the payment
The Urbana Tourist Card
of the first journey, at no additional change. Furthermore, you can use Urbana not only for your rides but also for your friends; just ask the driver, who will choose the number of rides you wish to purchase on the terminal and the correct amount of money will then be withdrawn from your smart card. If, by any chance you do not have a card or it has run empty, you can pay for your ride with a mobile phone. The only downside of this alternative is that it does not allow you to transfer free of charge and that only local people can use their cell phones. Another plus of the card are all the extra options it will bring to its owner. The original plan was to use just one card for public transportation, city-run parking lots, a funicular ride to the Ljubljana castle and even for the library services. In addition, a larger expansion is predicted in the future by using the card for paying for visiting museums and sport events, cultural events and perhaps even turning Urbana into a common ticket for public transport throughout the Republic of Slovenia.
more pleasant experience.
Ljubljana tourist card
• free admission to the main sights • free public transport, boat ride, funicular, tourist train • other attractive free services 24 hours: € 23.00 • 48 hours: € 30.00 • 72 hours: € 35.00 Sales outlets: • Tourist Information Centres and major hotels
Touch the Story When you are looking for tourism in nature, where could be nicer than EDEN? Kolpa is the destination of the year. By Vesna Paradiž
n terms of tourism, June has been a busy month. One of the most notable events happened in the secluded village of Prelesje in the Dolenjska region, where the Kolpa river was granted an award for the European Destination of Excellence (EDEN) for 2010. EDEN is a project promoting sustainable tourism development models across the European Union, designed by the European Commission in accordance with the guidelines of the European tourism policy. The project aims to draw attention to the value, diversity and shared characteristics of European tourist destinations and to promote destinations where economic growth is pursued by providing social, cultural and environmental sustainability. The award is designed to recognise those less popular tourist destinations which develop tourism products that contribute to nature conservation and an increased visit outside the main seasons. EDEN is based on national selections held each year, resulting in the designation of tourist “destinations of
Assisting Kolpa tourist workers: The devil, the Green man and the Strong man.
excellence” in each participating country. This European quest for excellence in tourism is developed around an annual theme. This year’s is “Tourism and Waters”. The goal was to reward seaside, lake and river tourist destinations as well as tourist products based on other natural water resources.
The Heavenly River Kolpa
In 2010, the Slovenian Tourist Board participated in EDEN for the third time. This year’s winner was the Kolpa River with the tourism product »Kolpa. Touch the story.« It was a clear choice because of its well organised and marketed products tied to water,
concern for the environment, the numerous springs, ponds and wells, the preserved water-driven blacksmith’s forge and stories of the old blacksmith. »Kolpa. Touch the story.« is divided into three groups with stories linking natural and cultural heritage and sport and recreation. The product group »Down the Kolpa, up the bank« brings together the sports and recreation attractions of fishing, boating, rafting and swimming on the river as well as cycling and hiking alongside it. The »Kolpa stories« group links up attractions related to cultural monuments and the cultural tradition of Peter Klepec (the Strong Man), Zeleni Jurij (the Green Man), the Bilpa devil and the water fairy Kolpjanka along the river. The final group »Murmuring of nature« is tied to the natural wealth of the aquatic and riparian zones and their biodiversity. The EDEN title will be officially conferred on Kolpa in October 2010, when the destination will be presented for the first time at the European Open Days in Brussels.
Franja Partisan Hospital
A Monument of Humanity Established as a central hospital for the treatment of seriously wounded soldiers during World War II and fatally damaged in the 2007 floods, Franja re-opened its doors in May, 2010. By Vesna Paradiž
n the middle of World War II, the Franja Partisan hospital was built in the barely accessible gorge of Pasica. In the immediate and wider surroundings of the main building were a number of smaller departments, such as the operating hut, barrack for doctors, for X-rays, kitchen and dining room, bathroom and laundry, power station, and a facility for medical waste. Immediately after World War II, the facility was recognized as a historic monument and tourist attraction and it has remained so until today. In 1999, it was declared as a monument of national importance and in 2007 it was The Slovenia Times
granted The European Heritage Label. It has also been listed in the UNESCO’s trial World Heritage List since the year 2000.
Weathering Heavy Weathers
Franja has been put to test many times during the years. It was under military attack twice while operating and has weathered numerous natural disasters in the years since. The flooding in September 2007 proved to be disastrous. Fourteen out of 16 barracks were washed away and the caretaker barely saved himself. Almost all preserved items from the war were ruined and lost forever.
After the devastating storm, reconstruction and restoration works began, an approximately EUR 2.5 million worth project, financed mostly by the Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning, the Ministry of Culture and the Municipality of Cerkno. Some money was also raised in the form of voluntary contributions. The biggest renovation problem was the inventory of the barracks, because only 255 out of more than 800 washed away items were found and restored; other exhibited objects are now accurate replicas of the originals. The remains of the latter can be seen in Cerkljanski muzej (Cerkno museum).
The Franja Partisan Hospital was re-opened for public on May 22, 2010.
BEAUTY & LEISURE 25
On the Beach Summer brings us the long and relaxed vacation we all deserve so much. By Marta Sternad
• Bring several towels in similar colours as your swimsuit. You will need a few different sizes (for lying on the beach, for drying yourself and to support your head). • Comfortable sandals or flipflops, a hat and a pareo are
• Large and brightly coloured jewellery is the perfect accessory on carefree summer days. • Complete your outfit with hair accessories: colourful hair clips in the shape of flowers or butterflies, hair bands, head scarves, etc. • A large bag will come in handy for bringing various indispensable objects to the beach (magazines, books, sun creams, towels, portable radio, small pillow, swimming goggles, fruit and a bottle of water). You can also use a straw bag or, better yet, one made of synthetic materials that seawater can’t damage. • Bring a long T-dress – it’s comfortable and practical and you can wear it to breakfast or add an elegant necklace and wear it to dinner.
• Don’t forget to pack a cardigan for colder days.
Relaxed and Elegant in Stylish Swimsuits This year, swimsuits are either playfully seductive or romantically restrained. There are a number of brands available in stores everywhere that will remind you of cocktail parties by the sea. You can choose from different models in bright colours that will hide what you don’t want to show. Also available are dynamic flower patterns and bikini bottoms with straps to show off your tan, even if you’re wearing a T-shirt rather than a bikini top. The Nancy collection is in black and white, Palmers swimsuits are black and very feminine with animal patterns, flower patterns predominate in the Calvin Klein collection, while Lisca offers a number of different materials and models in black, white, silver, royal blue and a whole range of bright
• Choose a swimsuit that makes you feel comfortable and enhances your figure. Be it a onepiece, bikini or thong; make sure it is a suitable cut in your favourite colours.
indispensable accessories for a summer outfit. The pareo should match your swimsuit, but you can also wear it independently.
colours. One-piece swimsuits and bikinis all have little details, unusual cuts, buckles and ribbons. The same goes for Speedo and Seafolly collections. All you need now for a walk in the sunset is a summer dress, a flower in your hair, pleasant company and lots of love for yourself and others.
Preventive diagnostic examinations
Healthy Today – What About Tomorrow?
ince we usually spend most of our vacation time on the beach, it is important to look good - not in terms of worrying about style and fashion rules, but to feel good. Your summer seaside image should make you feel free, beautiful and absolutely self-confident. If you are spending your vacation on a desert island, you won’t need to take much with you. If not, here are some tips for a stylish appearance in just a few simple steps.
The modern way of living is becoming increasingly demanding. We have increasing obligations and expectations, both at work and at home. In addition to taking the time for regular, balanced meals, physical activity and relaxation, it is recommended that – just as you do with your car – you have regular medical examinations. Metod Prašnikar, MD, Internal Specialist – Cardiologist, from the Terme Šmarješke Toplice health resort says that the purpose of preventive diagnostic examinations is to detect potential deviations from normal health that are not currently causing a medical condition in the individual, who is still considered to be healthy. “But these hidden deviations can lead to changes that can eventually cause cardiovascular complications and seriously endanger your health in the years and decades to come,” Metod Prašnikar says.
The examination comprises an ECG, spirometry (a pulmonary function test), cardiac stress test, laboratory tests (blood tests, sedimentation, blood fat levels and blood sugar levels, as well as a PSA screening test for prostate cancer and
liver tests for men, ultrasound of the neck blood vessels and ultrasound of the heart. Other important tests include an abdominal ultrasound to detect potential kidney, liver, pancreas, bladder, prostate and (for women) uterus or ovary conditions. Just as before the tests, you will have a detailed conversation with the specialist doctor to discuss your test results.
Rule: The Sooner, the Better
“Even if you lead a healthy lifestyle and remain in control of the stressful situations that are a part of everyday life, your health still depends on your genes to a certain extent,” which is why Dr. Prašnikar recommends preventive diagnostic examinations for everyone over 30. Even if you are not in any pain, it is still recommended to have a preventive examination every two years.
Terme Šmarješke Toplice T: +386 (0)7 38 43 400 email@example.com www.terme-smarjeske.si July 2010
26 BEAUTY & LEISURE
A Brief Guide to Marinas on the Adriatic Coast Once upon a time marinas on the Adriatic trailed behind those on the French, Italian and Spanish coasts. It’s a situation which is now changing rapidly with the Adriatic becoming a serious competitor to the established marinas on the Mediterranean. By Maja Kaplan
arina Portorož was the first marina built in Slovenia. Planning began as far back as 1974 with the marina constructed on areas that were once the salt pans of Lucija. “It is a safe port, a good haven in all winds, located in the protected eastern part of the gulf of Piran, where the conditions for safe navigation and recreational sailing are stable throughout the year,” says Fiorenzo Lupieri, adviser to the chief executive of Marina Portorož.
The marina is also easily accessible with three airports in its direct vicinity: Portorož is suitable for smaller planes and is situated 10 minutes away; while the international airports in Trieste and Ljubljana are located no more than an hour’s drive away. Today the marina is huge: there are more than a thousand berths available in the sea, on shore and in two hangars as well as on the Fazan canal. There are more than 700 wet slips for yachts from 8m up to 24m in two basins in the Marina Portorož aquatorium. More than 200 small crafts can be berthed along the Fazan river, and
Montenegro The Slovenia Times
300 yachts can be stored on land. The two vast hangars can host more than 50 yachts for winter storage. The charges for boat storage in water or on land depend on boat length and on the time of year, with the berth year beginning on 1 April. The prices range from EUR 3,691 for a 10-metre yacht to EUR 15,975 for a 24-metre yacht. There is one area in which the facility is lacking, however. As the marina was built at a time when the average length of a yacht was 12 metres, it now lacks berth for the yachts of today – those exceeding 24 metres in length. A project was designed back in 2003 to develop berths for these mega yachts but “as usually happens when talking about waterfront development, there are still some disagreements with the local community about the entity of the project and its complete approval is not yet confirmed,” says Lupieri.
Many ports in Croatia
It is a similar situation in Croatia. There are currently fifty classic marinas on the Croatian coast that in total provide 16,000 berths in water and 5,500 dry berths. The
majority of these were constructed in the last thirty years. They are located either in larger cities or island coves, mostly in the immediate vicinity of the most interesting locations of sailing enthusiasts. As in Slovenia, these marinas also lack berths for mega yachts. The prices of daily and annual berths vary depending on the category of the marina, its location and the time of year. A year berth for a vessel of 11 to 12m length costs from EUR 2,300 to EUR 6,000. A one year berthing for a vessel 15 to 16 metres in length ranges from EUR 4,000 to EUR 8,500.
Mega plans for Montenegro
In Montenegro, there are fewer worries about aging marinas. A development in Tivat – Porto Montenegro – has been capturing the headlines for a few years now. Once completed, the project – hailed as the biggest and most attractive on the Adriatic coast – will have 630 yachting berths in total, including 130 berths for super yachts (boats longer than 24 meters). The super yacht berths will be able to accommodate vessels up to 180 meters in length. The marina currently has 85 berths which were all booked up throughout the winter. The rates range from EUR 3,671 per year for a 12-metre yacht, to EUR 5,613 for 16-metre yacht, and EUR 9,882 for 24-metre yacht.
The plans for Porto Montenegro are ambitious and, not surprisingly, they were affected by the global economic slowdown. But the developers see the positive side. “We saw the economic crisis as an opportunity to position Montenegro as a high-end destination,” explains Maja Vujašković from Porto Montenegro. “[It’s also an opportunity to position] Porto Montenegro specifically as a highend marina destination with a relative cost difference that makes it extremely attractive as a berthing location compared to some of our competitors in the Western Mediterranean.” The fact that a number of marinas already exist on the Adriatic coast with a number of others under construction does not worry the company. “We don’t think of other marinas as competition, because in this business the more marinas that exist in a region, the more attractive that area is for cruising as well as for charters, which means more business for the whole region,” explains Vujašković. “The south of France is very popular as the infrastructure is very good throughout the region so yachts know they can cruise up and down the coast and there are many places to drop in and stay. “This is about increasing the size of the pie, not how large each slice is.”
BEAUTY & LEISURE 27
The Dawn of Affordable, Environmentally Friendly Boating This spring Internautica, the largest Slovenian boat show, celebrating its Jubilee15th anniversary with the more than 200 exhibitors and over 150 vessels, established itself as the most significant boat show on the Adriatic east coat. By Damian Gomez
eld at Marina Portorož, Internautica is an excellent opportunity for seafaring men and women, aiming to feed its curiosityand anyone who is curious, to check out the latest trends in the nautical world. Everything regarding life on the seas is gathered in the halls and the wharfs of the marina. Instruments, sport wear, professional tool, bikes and, of course, yachts for all tastes and wallets. Internautica allowed visitors to observe different trends t in a single exhibition space and to gain a full picture of the yachting world today. From luxury motor boats, to performance sail boats and retro-looking speed boats, everything had a place on the wharf to delight the eyes of
the visitor. to celebrate to best boats awards. Internautica is the meeting place for biggest names in an industry in which the presence of the Slovenian Shipyards, which rank among the most interesting on today’s industry, was enormous. In a way, Internautica shows its guests that Slovenia has become a global player this new perspective the Slovenian shipyards proudly play an important role. That is why many Elan and Seaway vessels got most of the awards. Elan premiered its new vessel Impression 444, which was granted the “best sail boat” of the year award, while the Elan 350 that got third prize. Another Slovenian sail boat to get an award was the Shipman 63, he got the second pricetaking second placeB, adding more success to the Shipman series, which are the first to employ carbon epoxy technology and to apply the single-handle concept of small boats to larger vessels. Perpet ual a nd staggeri ng changes characterize our con-
temporary ssociety. The ability to cope with such a pace is the key to success. That’s why Slovene shipyards are enjoying such great momentum. In perspective, yachting has been predominantly a sport and amusement of the elite – a tendency that become more apparent during the last two decades. Societies and economies have restructured after the cold war; super yachts became a status symbol for the new billionaires and Riviera dwellers. This has had an impact on the yacht industry, influencing the way the shipyards thought about and developed theirs vessels. However, there are countertrends in the venian Slovene boating industry. The Greenline 33, was prized with awardawarded “boat of the year” for second consecutive year. This Seaway vessel, s a cost-efficient and environmentally friendly boat, offers the comfort, performance and contemporary design at an affordable price. This is, without doubt, a reflection of a new kind boat in accordance to the necessities of our time. The
new generation of motor boats, using the benefits of new technologies as solar panels and hybrid engines, sun sails the seas in silence. The word of Seaway CEO, Japec Jacopin, accurately describes this momentum, “A period of change is an opportunity for the fast, the brave and the clever- for Slovene nautics.” Undoubtedly, Slovene shipyards were quick to grasp this opportunity, consolidating themselves in the heart of the yacht industry. Prime Minister Borut Pahor on Internautica: The Internautica International Boat Show is the longest running large-scale nautical event in Slovenia. With its long tradition, Internautica has undoubtedly surpassed the borders of the nation and is held in great esteem throughout Europe and, recently also around the world. Internautica, exhibits vessels and sets the latest trends in maritime equipment. July 2010
Mirko Bogić, sailing legend
The Man and Sea No reference to Hemingway’s classic here. It simply doesn’t feel right to attribute the word “old” to a man who in his 94th year still feels young and fit enough to keep doing what he loves and to what he has devoted all his life: sailing. By Jaka Terpinc
B Mirko Bogić has certainly discovered a true, devoted and respectful way of communicating with nature, be it pleasant or ruthless. Perhaps this is a part of his secret of being so lucid and fit at an age which commands immediate respect.
The Slovenia Times
orn in the town of Šibenik, Croatia, Mirko Bogić learnt the principles of sailing as a kid. In 1939 he landed in Ljubljana, allegedly for “romantic” reasons. Ten years later, when the establishment of all kinds of popular societies following the post-war reconstruction of the country was at full swing, his nautical knowledge was discovered by local apparatchiks. He soon recognised the dependence of the communist “organisers” of the society on experts such as himself – and learned how to manipulate them. Since every Yugoslav federal republic needed to have its own sail-
ing club, Bogić was put in charge of establishing the sailing section of the club Cveto Močnik, which had mostly manned canoes along the Ljubljanica River. At that time, when travelling was difficult, Ljubljana was still relatively far away from the seaside. “Sports were the only way to get you to the coast at that time,” he remembers. And since his task was to teach the continental Slovenes the art of sailing, he began to make moves. He arranged for the club to acquire its first sailboat, a nine-metre long Sekira (Axe). The vessels, some of which are still vital today, were brought in from Croatia and
so began the competitive career of Ljubljana sailing club. At its first regatta around central Dalmatian islands – in conditions so severe only a few competitors completed the race –Bogić’s boat was the winner. Race after race, his skills gained recognition. But regardless of such success, the man himself says he is not fond of competitive sailing, preferring instead easy rides on the Adriatic, island to island, town to town. In the same manner he never looked beyond his home sea for adventure: young and restless people dream of sailing around the globe but this way in any case impossible in the post war years. Even so, he has faced many dangerous situations, one of such was when a severe burja wind caught his boat in Kvarner bay. In a nearly hopeless moment, he seated his crew with their backs to the water threatening to rush into the boat and used the tactics called “be an Italian”, meaning to wait until the situation gets desperate and then make a U turn. This is just one of the many stories he likes to tell, always with vivid details. Stories which take time and which are therefore perfect to be enjoyed during long sailing trips, when the fast-paced modern time spins off its axis. Stories which you could easily listen to for hours. Stories which made it quickly clear that any interview with him is doomed by the short time available for it. “Us Dalmatians fear the sea,” Bogić says, expressing his humble respect to the Poseidon. He
LIFESTYLE 29 Jadralni Klub Ljubljana The oldest and the most versatile Slovenian sailing club from the mainland keeps on sailing, educating and building boats.
has certainly discovered a true, devoted and respectful way of communicating with nature, be it pleasant or ruthless. Perhaps this is a part of his secret of being so lucid and fit at an age which commands immediate respect. He finds the modern, excessive sailing tourism a nonsense. But again it is far from some old fashioned attitude, but rather something he believes civilisation will sooner or later understand. What’s the point in sailing sports when the owners of ultra-expensive boats compete with hired young talented sailors, he wonders. Why sail when the sport is less important than the status symbol that is the boat? Why travel the seas
when the main aim is a hedonistic holiday? Every summer for nearly 60 years, most recently in 2008, Bogić sailed hundreds of miles from his residence in Piran to his hometown of Šibenik. Nowadays he prefers to take advantage of favorable conditions to make just a short boat trip. Despite his perfect sense for sailing, he keeps reading about physics. Mirko Bogić still participates in the same club he established more than six decades ago to teach Slovenes how to sail. The club which still manages to keep sailing available for the less wealthy and which inevitably carries on some of his sailing spirituality.
The story of Sailing Club Ljubljana (JKL) is actually the history of Slovenian sailing. It all begun with a state decree, with the Club through enthusiasm and passion becoming a gathering place for curious sailing lovers and their ideas. Their members, from juniors to veterans, carry on a great tradition of sailing, education and even boat building. Though they say it is getting more and more difficult because we live in a time when sailing is associated with snobbism rather than the art of mastering forces of nature. Today, 60 years after the foundation of JKL, there are 75 sailing clubs registered in Slovenia. Most are aimed at exploiting the commercial potential of sailing, while offering only limited training to future sailors. The Slovenian Maritime Administration requires no practical proof for sailing licences but JKL remains the only club offering an extensive sailing courses featuring both theory and real sailing. These days, they train around 20 boat sailors and due to a really thorough and detailed course, nearly all their trainees pass the exam and obtain a license. The Club’s president, Tomaž Virnik Sr proudly tells the story of a couple where a wife came to learn to JKL and the husband to some other club with a quicker programme. Guess who passed and who didn’t? Slovenian TV legend and long time president of JKL Miran Trontelj says the conditions for JKL’s activities ARE far from idyllic. Being from Ljubljana they were given a limited hospitality in Piran and in Ljubljana their activity is not on the city’s priority list either. But with enormous enthusiasm the story continues. JKL is the only club which owns its boats as the common property of its members, making them accessible to anyone with passion for sailing, even if their pockets are shallow. They organise some notable regattas on lakes and at sea. With two courses every year, seminars and handbooks, JKL maintains its standard in education which begins with juniors, who can learn and compete in the optimist class from the age of 6 on.
30 14 Days
Hotel Bernardin Obala 2, Portorož tel: +386 (0)5 695 10 19 firstname.lastname@example.org Open: 11 am – 11pm Food type Mediterranean seafood Price range / Reservation recommended
Toast, capesante and green asparagus *** Marinated octopus *** Lunettes with shrimps and truffles *** Piran bass *** Chocolate soufflé with ice cream
All Aboard for Glorious Food Barka offers a rich Mediterranean menu with fish, shell, lobsters and other sea delights. With an inspiring seaside location inside Portorož’s Bernardin Hotel complex, the restaurant is an excellent choice at any time but is particularly special during the summer months, when light food under a breezy shadow is simultaneously exciting and relaxing.
he Mediterranean kitchen is highly appreciated for the lightness of its foods and its pleasing set of scents. But to experience it at its best, we should head to its native territory; a place where the restaurants serve delicious food accompanied by the scent of sea, pine and the view of boats passing by. Needless to say, it is in these restaurants where the best chefs also reside – those who have not simply learnt their art but who have grown up with it. The Slovenian coast is a hot tourist destination where Mediterranean cooking is logically the dominant. Among such establishments, there are a few really excellent ones, one of is definitely Barka, a neat place occupying one bank of the maritime entrance to the Bernardin marina and Hotel The Slovenia Times
complex. Its terrace is exposed to gentle cooling breezes as well as beautiful view of Piran bay, home to delicious sea creatures which you wouldn’t mind meeting in person – on your plate.
Pleasures from the deep
Barka is essentially a seafood restaurant. While fish-phobic guests can have steak instead, it is an unfavoured and not much advertised option. Instead, savvy diners go with the chef’s recommendations. They are recommendations which vary from season to season, dependent on which fish are most present in the Adriatic fishing zone at the time. But, as the chef likes to point out, some things remain constant – cream is only ever used where strictly needed, and a carefully selected
olive oil is omnipresent, both ensuring the food is as healthy as it is delicious. On our visit, we began with a snack in the form of toast, capesante and green asparagus. Then the portal to the world of heavenly seafood opened with a starter of marinated octopus. Prepared beautifully, it was soft and not at all rubbery. We also opted for a warm starter – lunettes with shrimps and the mysterious aphrodisiac called truffles. A light and fresh Rose Stegovec proved a great companion for both starter dishes. But all this was merely a warm up to the main event: Piran bass, roasted inside a pile of sea salt from the nearby Sečovlje saltpans and paired with potatoes. A delicious Malvazija wine washed down the main meal down.
Top choice JB logo 4/15/08 4:32 PM Page 1 C
JB Restaurant Miklošičeva 17, Ljubljana Tel: + 386 1 430 70 70 email@example.com, www.jb-slo.com Open: Mon – Fri, noon – 10pm Sat, 5pm–11pm
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Fabula Restaurant Borovška cesta 100, Kranjska Gora Tel : +386 4 589 20 88 firstname.lastname@example.org www.hitholidays-kg.si Open: daily from noon to 11 pm
BARVE: PANTONE 194 U PANTONE 401 U PANTONE PROCESS BLACK
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Castle Otočec Restaurant Grajska cesta 2, Otočec Tel.: + 386 7 384 89 00 email@example.com www.terme-krka.si, www.castle-otocec.com Open: Every day until midnight
Pule Estate Drečji vrh 16, Trebelno Tel: +386 7 34 99 700, +386 1 470 27 00 Mobile: +386 51 373 662 firstname.lastname@example.org, www.pule.si Open: Wed-Sat: 12am-10pm, Sun: 11am-8pm; Pule Estate is also available for rental Traditional Slovene cuisine with other culinary delights
Atrium Restaurant Our adventure ended with a chocolate soufflé with ice cream while a sweet Yellow Muscat took charge of our thirst. The restaurant’s wine list comprises an impressive 42 varieties, all domestic and all from top wine producers.
By the end of our visit, we had run out of superlatives. So all we can give is some facts and figures: the restaurant is can serve up to 150 guests, half of those inside the restaurant. It is available to groups too upon prior arrangement.
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Pot za brdom 55, Hotel MONS (main entrance), Ljubljana ring, Brdo exit Tel : +386 1 470 27 00 email@example.com Hotel AND CoNGReSS CeNtRe lJUBlJANA Open: Every day, 12am – 10pm
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Shambala, asian restaurant Križevniška 12, Ljubljana Tel.:+386 31 843 833 firstname.lastname@example.org, www.shambala.si Open: 11am-11pm, Sunday and holidays closed. Fresh and spicy experience | Selected wines | Relaxed atmosphere
In Issue 126 Turizem Kras Jamska cesta 30, Postojna Tel: +386 (0)5 700 0100 email@example.com www.turizem-kras.si Innovative cuisine inspired by regional and medieval heritage. Excellent wine choice.
City Restaurant - BTC CITY Ljubljana
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Poslovna stolpnica, 13th floor, Šmartinska 140, Ljubljana Ljubljana ring, Exit 1 Tel.: +386 (0)1 585 19 97 www.btc-city.com Restaurant open: Mon-Fri, 11am – 4pm Bar open: Mon-Fri, 7.30am – 6pm
Barka Restaurant - St.Bernardin - Portorož
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Obala 2, Portorož Tel: +386 (0)5 695 30 08 firstname.lastname@example.org www.h-bernardin.si Restaurant with selected fish dishes Open: 11am – 11pm
Opera and ballet
Singing and Dancing to a Fresh Start Ljubljana’s opera and ballet company returns with a new season of productions, new directors, and a renovated home. By Vesna Paradiž
fter four long years of renovation in extreme and difficult conditions, the Slovene National Theatre Opera and Ballet is finally to return to its home. It’s a return which means that this national cultural institution will again became the centre of opera and ballet art in the nation’s capital. At the heart of the 2010/2011 season will be the works of Slovenian composers of opera, which will contribute to maintaining the productivity of domestic art. Works include Peter Šavli’s youth opera “Pastir” (The Shepherd) and Jani Golob’s provocative story “Ljubezen Kapital” (Love Capital). Classics are not being neglected either – Puccini’s Manon Lescaut, Dvořák’s Rusalka and Dialogues des Carmélites by Francis Poulenc will all feature. The ballet
The Slovenia Times
repertoire will consist of two ballet nights and Bournonville‘s La Sylphide. The re-opening of the opera house will also allow the foundation of opera and ballet studios. These will allow educational sessions to help gain new singers and
dancers, and to introduce them quickly into the ensemble.
Two new directors
The theatre is starting its new season with two new artistic directors, who have each commited themselves to Slovenian art for at least five years. Irek Mukhamedov, a former director of the ballet ensemble in Greek National Opera and Ballet, says he is honoured to be taking up the post of artistic director of ballet. His stated aim is to stage not only famous ballet performances but also new productions created specifically for this ensemble – a repertoire woven of a blend of classical, romantic, neoclassical and contemporary works, which should be a challenge not only for the dancers, but also for the audience. He is also committed to developing home-grown artists in both dance and choreography. Christophe Capacci, an artistic advisor in Théâtre National de l’Opéra-Comique in Paris, will meanwhile serve as the artistic director of opera. His goal is to build a diverse repertoire of world-class productions, ranging from Baroque opera to the world’s premieres: “To raise the cultural level while we enjoy the pure entertainment and the arts, to host and collaborate with the best musicians and artists from different horizons, should be considered as the constant aim of all who operate in Ljubljana’s Opera and Ballet. This is our path to excellence, the key to our reputation,” he argues.
Pocket Course of Slovene Language Jun 16–Sep 29, 5pm, Slovenian Tourist Information Centre, Ljubljana, no admission The Centre for Slovene as a Second/Foreign Language, operating under the auspices of the Faculty of Arts of the University of Ljubljana, will run a short “survival” language course offering foreigners in Slovenia an opportunity to have one and a half hours of fun learning the basics of the Slovenian language with the help of the book Pocket Slovene - Žepna Slovenščina. The course will include basic information on the Slovenian language and the pronunciation of Slovenian words. Participants will be able to learn a number of useful expressions and frequently used phrases which can make the life of a foreigner in Slovenia a lot easier.
Shared Signs Belgian Style Jun 29–Aug 29, Cankarjev dom, Ljubljana, EUR 4–6
In French-speaking Belgium, the interrelation between painting and literature has, from 1870 through surrealism and the CoBrA movement to the latest quests, always been rich and close-knit. Works featuring texts are therefore quite frequent. To list some Belgian characteristics and idiosyncrasies would be delusory, as all experiences are individualistic. Another national characteristic is that numerous painters write and several writers paint or are involved in graphic arts. Using a brush to paint his ideograms, e.g. Chinese characters, Christian Dotremont even combines both genres.
EVENTS 33 Jazz
Vijay Iyer Trio Jul 2, 11.59pm, Cankarjev dom, Ljubljana, EUR 11–14 American pianist of Indian descent Vijay Iyer has been receiving hearty public approbation and his albums have hit the charts repeatedly. Iyer has developed a distinct style, blending simple lyricism, conceptual ideas and bold sonic inventions, while finding basis in jazz, Indian music idiom, as well as contemporary classical and popular music. Line-up: Vijay Iyer, piano; Stephan Crump, bass; Marcus Gilmore, drums.
Zoc Jul 3, 1pm, Cankarjev dom, Ljubljana, no admission
The Slovenia Times Recommends
Ljubljana Festival 2010 Every year, the Ljubljana festival gives us a look into the cultural world of not only Slovenia, but also the rest of Europe and the world. The Ljubljana Festival, with its long history and tradition of presenting premier artistic events, contributes significantly to the cultural life of Ljubljana. Each summer, its wide and varied programme of events includes from 70 to 80 concerts and opera and ballet performances attended by around 80,000 people from home and abroad. This year, the Ljubljana Festival will open with a concert featuring Gustav Mahler’s majestic Symphony No. 2, performed by the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra. The concert will mark the 150th birth anniversary of Gustav Mahler, who lived in worked in Ljubljana in the 1881-1882 season. Other highlights of the festival will include ballet Munich philharmonic orchestra performances by Saint Petersburg’s State Academic concert with the pianist Denis Matsuev and the Ballet Theatre of Boris Eifman, the Béjart Ballet London Symphony Orchestra with the violinist Sergey Lausanne, and the ensembles of the Slovenian Khachatryan as the soloist. The Munich Philharmonic National Opera and Ballet Theatres of Ljubljana and will perform Joseph Haydn’s oratorio The Creation, Maribor. The operatic high spot of the festival will and the Schleswig-Holstein Festival Orchestra George be Richard Strauss’s opera The Woman without a Frideric Handel’s Messiah. The programme of events Shadow, performed by Saint Petersburg’s Mariinsky will be rounded off with Tomaž Pandur’s production of Theatre under the conduction of Valery Gergiev. Hamlet, featuring Blanca Portillo in the title role. Valery Gergiev will also conduct Mariinsky Theatre’s Jul 6 – Aug 26, Križanke summer theatre, Ljubljana Castle, Cankarjev dom, Slovenian Philharmonic Hall, other venues, Ljubljana
Opera A brand new Slovenian quartet has been set up by bassist Žiga Golob and drummer Blaž Celarc, who were joined by guitarists Andraž Mazi and Adi Jakša. Known from several jazz and ethno line-ups (Folkestra, Brina, Mljask, Chris Eckman’s band, etc.), the musicians claim they “play improvised music in an uncomplicated manner”. Line-up: Blaž Celarec, drums, percussion, clarinet; Žiga Golob, bass, ukulele; Adi Jakša, guitar, banjitar; Andraž Mazi, guitar, dobro, pedal steel guitar.
Mahler in Ljubljana Jul 5, 8pm, Križanke Summer Theatre, Ljubljana, EUR 39–79 Mahler is one of the most unique composers in classical music. This time you will be able to hear him in an outdoor setting. This time round we will, amongst other things, be able to hear his Symphonie No. 2 in C-Minor. The performers of the night will be the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra, Slovenian Chamber Choir, Consortium Musicum choir and Slovenian Army Orchestra.
Croatian National Theatre of Zagreb: Carmen Jul 8, 9pm, Križanke Summer Theatre, Ljubljana, EUR 49–59 Bizet’s famous opera Carmen tells a story about a seductive Gypsy woman who unintentionally causes numerous fights between men because love is nothing but an amusement for her. The master of French opera Georges Bizet (18381875) composed Carmen between 1873 and 1874. The opera’s libretto, based on a novella by Prosper Mérimée’s and written by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy in collaboration with the composer, is considered to be one of the greatest masterpieces in operatic literature.
obsession for some people. So it’s no surprise that after many years they have decided to make a musical after it. The songs were written by Maja Pelević, the show was adapted and directed by Kokan Mladenović, it is conducted by Vojkan Borisavljević and choreographed by Mojca Horvat. The musical will be performed in Serbian with Slovenian and English subtitles.
Marathon Runners Classical Running the Final Lap Martin Stadtfeld Jul 12–Jul 13, 9pm, Križanke Summer Theatre, Ljubljana, EUR 49–59
Jul 13, 8pm, Ljubljana Castle, Ljubljana, EUR 19
The musical was adapted after the famous Serbian black comedy. During the years it became a legendary movie and even an
This time round we will be getting a solo piano performance by the German pianist Martin Stadtfeld, who will be presenting a diverse
classical music programme by some of the major classical composers throughout the centuries. The performance will include some outstanding compositions by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Alban Berg, Johann Sebastian Bach, Richard Wagner, Franz Liszt and Richard Wagner.
Anna Karenina Jul 14, 8pm, Cankarjev dom, Ljubljana, EUR 34–59 The Boris Eifman State Ballet Theatre from St Petersburg (Russia) and the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra present the ballet Anna Karenina, made after the novel by Leo Tolstoy. It is a dramatic love story set in the upper classes of the Russian society. The music was composed by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, the choreography was done by Boris Eifman and the July 2010
The Slovenia Times Recommends
Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club® Featuring Omara Portuondo If you are a fan of temperamental Cuban rhythms and melodies, the concert of Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club should be right up your alley.
display the talents of the Korean Philharmonic Orchestra Gyeonggi, one of the finest classical ensembles from Korea. Their conductor is Nanse Gum, while the solo pianist will be Ludmil Angelov. They will be tackling works by two famous classical composers, Frédéric Chopin and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, and by a Chinese contemporary classical composer Tan Dun.
Opera and ballet
The Queen of Spades Jul 22, 9pm, Križanke Summer Theatre, Ljubljana, EUR 49–59
The band Buena Vista Social Club recorded its only studio album in 1997, which was produced by Ry Cooder and was an immediate success. The album, which featured especially chosen Cuban musicians (street performers), was followed by a movie by Wim Wenders and a series of international tours and albums. Buena Vista Social Club became a phenomenon. Now, in 2010, after the amazing success of the previous years, the 13-member Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club – which represents the successors to the legends – is returning to Europe! At the head of the ensemble are four musicians, instantly recognisable from the movie Buena Vista Social Club: trumpet player Guajiro Mirabal, virtuoso
Barbarito Torres, trombone player Jesus “Aguaje” Ramos and guitarist/keyboard player Manuel Galbán. The younger generation of talented Cuban musicians is represented by vocalist Carlos Calunga and virtuoso pianist Rolando Luna. This new and improved edition of Cuban musicians will be joined by female singer Omara Portuondo, member of the original Buena Vista Social Club. Her album ‘Gracias’ from 2008 received a Latin Grammy award. If you want to hear the true spirit of Cuban music and creativity, look no further. The summer heat will be joined by the heat and temperament oozing from these musicians’ instruments on what should be a memorable night.
Jul 6, 9pm, Križanke, Ljubljana, EUR 42 conductor of the orchestra will be David Levi.
Jul 18, 8pm, Cankarjev dom, Ljubljana, EUR 55–79
Jul 21, 8pm, Slovenian Philharmonic, Ljubljana, EUR 24–39
The Russian Hamlet Jul 15, 8pm, Cankarjev dom, Ljubljana, EUR 34–59 This time the Boris Eifman State Ballet Theatre from St Petersburg (Russia) presents the ballet The Russian Hamlet, based on the famous tragedy by William Shakespeare, where the protagonist seeks to avenge his murdered father, who was killed by Hamlet’s uncle (who marries Hamlet’s mother). The music for the ballet is based on the works by Ludwig van Beethoven and Gustav Mahler. The Slovenia Times
During this evening at the Ljubljana Festival the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir will perform The Creation, which is an oratorio written between 1796 and 1798 by Joseph Haydn and considered by many to be his masterpiece. The oratorio depicts and celebrates the creation of the world as described in the biblical Book of Genesis and in Paradise Lost (by John Milton). The conductor for the concert will be Thomas Hengelbrock and the soloists Luba Orgonasova, Christian Elsner and Reinhard Hagen.
Another special classical music night at the Ljubljana Festival will
The Queen of Spades is an opera in 3 acts (7 scenes) by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky to a Russian libretto by the composer’s brother Modest Tchaikovsky, based on a short story of the same name by Alexander Pushkin, a tale about human avarice. This performance will also be accompanied by ballet dancers. The conductor will be Janko Kastelic, the director and choreographer Diego de Brea, the choirmaster Robert Mraček, while the leading roles will be performed by Janez Lotrič (Hermann), Valentin Enčev (Count Tomsky), Marjan Jovanovski (Prince Yeletsky), Marjana Lipovšek (Countess) and Elena Nebera (Lisa). The opera will be performed in Russian with Slovenian and English subtitles.
The 13th International Fine Artists Colony Jul 23–Aug 31, Ljubljana Castle, Ljubljana, no admission The 13th International Fine Artists Colony will again show us some talented and unconventional works. The selector of the exhibition is Tomo Vran and the participants come from various countries: Borut Berič, Denise Kokalj, Sladžana Mitrović, Andreja Modrin-Švab (all from Slovenia), Michael Burke (Ireland), Ivan Nedyalkov Denchev (Bulgaria), Lisa Castellani (Italy), Jean Karl Izzo (Malta).
Classical and popular
Misa Criolla Jul 27, 8pm, Church of St. James, Ljubljana, EUR 19 The Pesaro Philharmonic Chorus & Del Barrio Ensemble from Italy will perform a selection of classical and popular compositions, including El
EVENTS 35 condor pasa / The Condor’s Flight (Daniel Alomia Robles), El choco (Angel Villoldo), Gracias a la vida / Thanks to Life (Violeta Parra), Oblivion (Astor Piazzolla), Caminos en la puna / Paths on the Plateau (Jaime Torres), Vuelvo al sur / I’m Heading Back South (Astor Piazzolla - Pino Solanas), No llores por mi Argentina / Don’t Cry for Me Argentina (Andrew Lloyd Webber), Libertango (Astor Piazzolla), Three movements from Navidad Nuestra / Our Christmas (Ariel Ramirez), Misa Criolla.
Ensemble Residencias Jul 28, 8pm, Križanke Summer Theatre, EUR 19 The summer is ideal for some unconventional classical music from Spain and Latin America. The Ensemble Residencias from Spain will honour us with some South American and Spanish classical music from the 20th to the 21st century. The piano soloist will be Juan Carlos Garvayo and the programme will feature Jesús Torres, Juan Carlos Paz, Roberto Sierra, Louis Aguirre and Miguel Gálvez-Taroncher.
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Coffin Joe at the Grossman Festival The Grossmann Festival of cinema and wine will feature a very special guest, a true legend of horror movies – “Coffin Joe.” The legendary “master of movie horror« Jose Mojica Marins, also known as Coffin Joe, will be the special guest of the “Grossmann festival.” At this festival of cinema and wine in Ljutomer he will receive a lifetime achievement award. Marins is a Brazilian director, writer, actor and producer. He became one of the giants of the horror genre already in 1964, with the first Brazilian horror movie “At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul”, where he himself played the role of Coffin Joe, a godless and sadistic undertaker. Although his movies were for a long time the object of censorship and disapproval in Brazil due to religious pressure and governmental politics, he still became a horror icon, not only in his native country, but throughout the rest of the world as well. Even the renowned metal band Sepultura has used his movies as an inspiration for its songs and the Brazilian president has awarded him for his achievements in culture. In his impressive cinematic opus this master of excess and tireless movie fanatic has offered his unique vision of the genre and created a strange, yet incredibly attrac-
tive world, full of sinister characters. In his native country the name of Coffin Joe is mentioned in the same breath as Dracula or Frankenstein’s monster – which just provides more proof of his extensive influence. This will be the sixth edition of the Grossmann Festival, which will commemorate the godfather of Brazilian horror movies this year. A selection of Marins’ movies will be played for the first time in Slovenia.
July 26–31, The Grossmann Festival, various locations, Ljutomer
36 EVENTS Classical
Outdoor Music Festivities
Reggae Riversplash The Riversplash festival brings us five days of relaxing to reggae beats by a cool river, where you can also »splash around«. The Riversplash festival has become a tradition around these parts and attracts fans of reggae music from all over the world, mostly Europe. The serene setting and the steady beats create a relaxing atmosphere, so you can truly enjoy yourself for the entire duration of the festival. Reggae is nowadays considered as a musical genre originating from the Caribbean. The majority of the first wave of reggae came from the island country of Jamaica, especially with people like Clancy Eccles, Larry Marshall, Bob Marley and Peter Tosh. However, in the years to follow, musicians from all over the world started using reggae characteristics in their music. It seemed to work particularly well in unison with the punk movement, both stylistically and in terms of philosophy. It was popular in pop music as well, with artists like The Police, Madness and even Genesis using the reggae influence in their songs. Reggae was started in both the spirit of rebellion against authority and love. People like Bob Marley defied authority and spoke about love in almost the same breath. This spirit is kept alive even nowadays,
with many bands from all over the world professing their love of this music. The culmination of this love happens every year at the Riversplash festival, which brings together some of the biggest names in the genre. This year, the line-up will feature amongst others: Everton Blender (Jamaica), Africa Unite (Italy), Mr. Vegas (Jamaica), Ginjah (Jamaica), Iqulah (UK), Red Five Point Star (Slovenia) and many other great acts.
Slovenian Philharmonic Chamber String Orchestra Jul 30, 8pm, Atrium of the Ursuline Monastery, Ljubljana, EUR 19 On this occasion we will be witness to a more intimate setting and a more intimate type of classical music, as presented to us by the Slovenian Philharmonic Chamber String Orchestra. The conductor will be Andres Mustonen, the soloists Lana Trotovšek, violin; Pierre Hommage, violin; Gordana Josifova Nedelkovska, oboe; Daniela Pini, mezzo-soprano and Paola Cigna, soprano, while the programme will feature works from Johann Sebastian Bach and Gian Battista Pergolesi.
Focus Jul 30, 9pm, Piazza della Unita, Trieste, no admission
Jul 20–24, Tolmin, EUR 50–80
July 5–10, Tolmin, EUR 40–124
Jul 30 – Aug 1, Avtokamp Katra, Vinica, 18–48 EUR
The Metal Camp festival has become one of the biggest festivals dedicated to metal music in Europe and already somewhat a tradition in Slovenia. Every year we get renowned artists from all over the world and from every subgenre of this musical style. This year is no different. Gracing the stage this year will be the likes of Manowar, Obituary, Soulfly, Hammerfall, Cannibal Corpse, Sonata Arctica, Paradise Lost, Exodus, Epica and many many others.
Schengenfest is a festival with an idyllic setting by the Kolpa river, on the border between Slovenia and Croatia. Fittingly, it brings together musicians from mostly these two countries. So, we will be hearing the legendary Slovene band Laibach and two younger, but very talented groups, Elvis Jackson and Big Foot Mama, while the Croatian line-up will include, among others, funky pop rockers Jinx and legendary punk rockers Hladno pivo.
The summer rock festival in Trieste has served up some treats through the years. Last year, for example, we witnessed dazzling performances by Gong and Van Der Graaf Generator. This year, the festivities will begin with the Dutch progressive rock band Focus, famous for their “yodelling” song Hocus Pocus. They have also released a number of sublime albums, very much influenced by classical music, but played with rock instruments.
Steve Hackett Aug 1, 9pm, Piazza della Unita, Trieste, no admission
Watching Others Jul 29, 9pm, Križanke Summer Theatre, Ljubljana, EUR 34–49 The Slovenian National Theatre Opera and Ballet Maribor will The Slovenia Times
Last year, the virtuoso guitarist, who played in the famous English rock band Genesis from 1970 to 1977, visited us in Slovenj Gradec with the Hungarian jazz band Djabe. This time he is coming to Trieste, to the now traditional summer rock festival. On this evening we will hear a performance by him and his band and he will be in the leading role. We are bound to be putting on a performance masterminded by the unconventional musical Jack of all trades Milko Lazar, who is responsible for the music. His longtime associate Edward Clug did the choreography for the show, while Bojan Gorišek, another of Lazar’s long-time associates, will be
responsible for supplying the music in the form of solo piano parts. The dancers will be Branka Popovici, Catarina de Meneses, Demetrius King, Dénes Darab, Evgenija Koškina, Gaj Žmavc, Ines Petek, Matjaž Marin, Olesja Hartmann, Sytze Jan Luske, Tijuana Križman Hudernik and Tiberiu Marta.
EVENTS 37 hear many of his classics and many of Genesis favourites, including the epic Firth of Fifth in its entirety.
I Virtuosi italiani Aug 2, 8pm, Atrium of the Ursuline Monastery, Ljubljana, EUR 19 The musicians making music together in the I Virtuosi Italiani chamber orchestra include string players from some of the best Italian orchestras. I Virtuosi Italiani are currently under the artistic direction of Alberto Martini. During its career, the I Virtuosi Italiani chamber orchestra has received a number of international accolades, toured successfully all over the world and collaborated with renowned international artists. It has so far released over fifty CDs on some of the world’s most prestigious classical music labels.
Trans Am Aug 4, 9pm, Gala Hala, Ljubljana
Trans Am is a three-piece American post rock band that performs a mix of synth pop and rock music. Their work is based around a minimalistic format, sometimes reminiscent of 1980s video game soundtrack music. They are known for constant touring, cryptic album artwork and continual thematic reinvention. They record for the American independent label Thrill Jockey, which is known for its original and innovative music.
Slovenian Percussion Duo Aug 4, 8pm, Atrium of the Ursuline Monastery, Ljubljana EUR 19 The Slovenian Percussion Duo was founded in spring 2006 by Simon Klavžar and Jože Bogolin in Ljubljana, Slovenia. They were first and second prize winners in the Slovenian percussion competition (TEMSIG) in 2002, 2005 and 2008 and have played with a number of orchestras as soloists (Slovenian
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Movies under the stars The summer is the perfect occasion to sit back and enjoy a good movie under the clear sky on the Ljubljana castle.
Another summer at the Ljubljana castle will pass in the sign of the cinematic art. We will again be faced with a selection of some of the finest movies from the cinematic season. Surely, one of the finest experiences in the summertime must be watching some great performances on the big screen in the atrium of the Ljubljana castle. This year’s programme brings an important novelty: no less than five cinematic delights will be screened as national premieres or avantpremieres. Avantpremiere of Sylvester Stallone’s hard-hitting action/thriller The Expendables starring Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Mickey Rourke, Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger is scheduled for Tuesday, August 10th. The next evening, there comes the premiere of John Hillcoat’s The Road, a post-
apocalyptic tale of the survival of a father and a son as they journey across a barren America that was destroyed by a mysterious cataclysm. Tuesday, August 17th will be a chance to see the avantpremiere of Stephane Aubier’s stop-motion extravaganza A Town Called Panic, based on the Belgian animated cult TV series. The avantpremiere of Rodrigo García’s Mother and Child, a story of three women whose lives have been affected by adoption, follows on Thursday, August 19th. The last of the avantpremieres will be Michael Winterbottom’s The Killer Inside Me on Saturday, August 21st. The film tells the story of a charming small town sheriff’s deputy who is also a sadistic killer. Films will be screened in original language with Slovene subtitles.
July 29–Aug 21, 9.30pm, Ljubljana castle, Ljubljana
Philharmonic Orchestra, Ljubljana Opera, Academy Symphonic Orchestra of Ljubljana). They are involved in many chamber and orchestral projects in Slovenia as well as performing new pieces for percussion solo and duo by Slovenian composers. Programme for the evening: Johann Sebastian Bach, Ana Ignatowicz Glinska, Keiko Abe, Wayne Siegel
Hommage a Chopin Aug 5, 8pm, Križanke Summer Theatre, Ljubljana, EUR 19 Frédéric François Chopin, in Polish Fryderyk Franciszek Chopin, was
a Polish composer and virtuoso pianist of French-Polish parentage. He was one of the great masters of Romantic music. The Georgian pianist Elisso Bolkvadze will play some of the most remarkable compositions by Chopin. The programme will consist of the following works: Polonaise fantaisie, Scherzo No. 4 Andante spianato et Grande polonaise brillante, Ballade No. 4, Sonata No. 3 in B-Minor
Big Band DOM Aug 6, 8pm, Križanke Summer Theatre, Ljubljana, EUR 19
Although the Ljubljana festival consists of mostly classical music concerts, they make sure that every year we are also offered a lot of diversity. This concert will feature the talents of the Big Band Dobrepoljski orkester mladih (the Dobrepolje youth orchestra Big Band), which should present some exciting jazz numbers. The conductor for the show will be Braco J. Doblekar.
Entries into the yearly activities will be possible from August 25 to September 4, 2010. The World Book Capital will revive the gorges of the Ljubljanica river in a special way; with the works of the children from Pionirski dom. www.pionirski-dom.si
Pionirski dom – centre for youth culture, Vilharjeva cesta 11, 1000 Ljubljana Tel.: +386 1 23 48 200, fax: +386 1 23 48 220, email@example.com
Ten of the best
Classic Slovenian Movies Slovenia may not be the biggest country in the world, but it does have quite a big cinematic history. Here we present ten of the best Slovene movies from the period before independence. In the next issue we will shift to the more modern era and name the films considered to be the best post-independence films.
Kekec is a classic movie of Slovene cinema, set in Upper Carniola. The eponymous protagonist encounters many amusing and difficult situations. He is a playful and well-meaning cow herder, who likes to sing and play games. He gets on bad side of local hermit Bedanec, with whom Kekec has many humorous and even dangerous encounters. Naturally, Kekec always comes out on top.
Vesna is a 1953 Slovene romantic comedy directed by František Čap and is amongst the most watched Slovene films of all time. Three guys decide to get hold of maths finals test papers from their professor by courting his daughter. The professor’s daughter, which they name Vesna (her real name is Janja), turns up for a date with one of the guys and they fall in love. When she finds out the original reason for his interest in her she does not want to see him again – but there might just be a happy ending.
Dolina miru (Peace Valley) (1956)
Following the American bombing of a Slovene city during World War II a boy Marko and a German girl Lotti are orphaned. The little The Slovenia Times
Lotti starts telling Marko about a valley which her grandmother told her about – a ‘peace valley’. They decide to search for it and flee the orphanage. They are captured by German soldiers, but rescued by a black paratrooper named Jim (John Kizmiller who won the Cannes Golden Palm for Best Actor), who decides to get the children to their ‘peace valley’.
Ples v dežju (Dancing in the Rain) (1961)
This 1961 film, directed by Boštjan Hladnik, is considered one of the finest Slovene movies ever made. It is a love drama based on the novel Črni dnevi in beli dan by Dominik Smole and centres on Maruša, an actress and Peter, a painter. He lives in a dark tiny rented room and she lives in a small flat. They both spend most of their time in a pub where they meet. Their relationship is full of uncertainties and contrasts. Pe-
All the inhabitants are Slovenian, except for a few members of the fascist government. The village is ashamed of three brothers who have joined the fascists, but the villagers keep them under control and mock them. The protagonist is Štefuc, a widower on the search for a new wife.
Maškerada (Masquerade) (1971)
Maškerada is another brilliantly provocative movie by Boštjan Hladnik (director of Ples v dežju). Censored for many years, so many scenes were cut from Maškerada at the premiere that Hladnik refused to turn up and instead moved to Italy. The story might not seem as shocking nowadays, but in those days homoerotic scenes in particular were frowned upon in Yugoslavia.
To so gadi (Here Come the Scoundrels) (1977)
For more than twenty years, To so gadi held the record for the biggest cinematic hit in Slovenia. It’s about a widowed bus driver who has five wild sons (many people call them scoundrels because of their mischievous behaviour) and a housekeeper. The sons often make the housekeeper Rozi mad with their antics, but she still loves them. After they go too far one day she leaves their home, but sends her niece Meri in her place. The boys soon fall head over heels for Meri, but she chooses another man (a friend of the boys’ father).
for Guitar. This drama is an uncompromising display of the WWII Partisan struggle. It’s lifelike, honest and untroubled with the ideology of the time in which it was made. It must certainly rank among the most sincere Slovene Partisan movies ever made.
Rdeči Boogie / Kaj ti je deklica (Red Boogie / What’s Wrong with You, Girl?) (1982)
In the post-war years, jazz was considered as an American imperialistic invention in Yugoslavia. It wasn’t officially outlawed, bit it was unwanted. Many young musicians were interested in jazz at the time, so the government decided to take them on a tour and re-educate them. But this proved to be a more difficult task than expected...
Moj ata socialistični kulak (My Father the Socialist Kulak) (1987)
Nasvidenje v naslednji vojni (See You in the Next War) (1980) ter dreams of perfect beauty and Maruša yearns for lost youth. The bright window to the future shown throughout the film seems to be moving further and further away.
Tistega lepega dne (That Beautiful Day) (1962)
The story is set in a village in the Slovene Littoral, which was a part of Italy between both wars.
This movie was based on the novel of Vitomil Zupan, Minuet
This movie is a political farce about the mistakes of political systems and the problems of agrarian collectivisation. It was a difficult time for ideology because you could get in trouble if you even said the wrong thing. This movie, based on the famous play by Tone Partljič, presents this in a humorous way through exaggeration. Although matters are sometimes over simplified, it gets the point across very well.
SPORTS 39 Photo: BOBO
Slovenia lost to England 1:0 at the World Cup.
Matjaž Kek, team coach: »Half of the world was trembling with fear before Slovenia. I am tremendously happy and proud to be in the company of these guys. Sport can be cruel: sometimes it give and sometimes it takes away. I only hope that the guys will be rewarded some time in the future. And most of all, we must keep the positive atmosphere within the team and build on it in the future.« Robert Koren, team captain: »Psychologically this is the most difficult moment for us. We were close, but we didn’t reach the goal of advancing to the round of 16. However, I believe that after sleeping on it we will be very proud of our achievement. Life goes on and we have to look forward. We have to build on our relationship. The players and Slovenia as a whole should be proud.«
A Bitter Moment hat really made it worst, was that it failed to qualify for the second round of competition after the US scored a sole goal against Algeria in the last minute of second Group C match, shattering Slovenia’s hopes of achieving the biggest success in national football history. Slovenian players were clearly disappointed at the outcome. “If we had more experience we could have won this game. We’re disappointed, but we’re proud of our four points and
proud of being a real team,” Robert Koren said. But coach Matjaž Kek did not share the players’ disappointment, on the contrary he said he was “proud and glad to be in the company of these boys, to have done what we have done.” Despite the bitter aftertaste, the South Africa campaign will go down in history as Slovenia’s most successful bid yet at a major international tournament. Detailed feature about the Fifa World Cup in the next issue of the Slovenia Times.
• In the Wake of the Defeat: Good Job, Guys! (Delo) • The Kiss of Luck Goes to the USA (Dnevnik) • Let Everything Go to Hell (Slovenske novice)
Milivoje Novakovič, striker: »In this moment, we have to think positively. We were unjustly eliminated after what we had done. However, all credit to the guys for everything. We are a little sad now but new games and new challenges will arrive and we will be better prepared for them.« Brane Oblak, outspoken former national team coach: »The World Cup has revealed our strikers’ lack of quality. We have a good goalkeeper while other players are only average. The substitutes didn’t contribute anything and each team needs an impulse from the bench. The public in Slovenia was ecstatic and demanded ever more; too much, I think.« Srečko Katanec, team coach in the early 2000s: »The guys left a positive impression. The group was very evenly matched but none of the team had extra quality. I don’t agree that we were unlucky. The euphoria aside, we were lucky to win against Algeria and some referees’ decisions also played into our hands.« Zlatko Zahovič, national team top scorer in the early 2000s: »We were close to heaven but unfortunately, things didn’t work out. Results-wise, we were great and can be happy, but there is a bitter aftertaste. I can say that we exceeded the expectations. To be realistic, the performance in the first half against the USA was fantastic while the rest was pretty mediocre. The team is still young but things will be more difficult in the future because they will be expected to do well.«
Cycling: Jani Brajkovič
His Time Has Come When Lance Armstrong won his first Tour de France bicycle race in 1999, Jani Brajkovič was a high school student, not even thinking about cycling. Ten years later, he is one of the most respected assistants to the legendary US cyclist and ready to step into his shoes. By Simon Demšar
This is the year when I will have to show my potential,« said cyclist Jani Brajkovič in an interview for The Slovenia Times prior to this season. He has been true to his word. He went on to make the top 10 in all the races he took part in, except Paris-Nice... where he was 11th. The icing on the cake was winning the Critérium du Dauphiné, regarded as the fourth biggest race in the world after the tours of France, Italy and Spain. Particularly sweet was beating Alberto Contador, last year’s Tour de France winner and widely regarded as the best cyclist in the world. Brajkovič beat him in the time trial and followed him closely in the most gruelling mountain stages. Despite the biggest success of his career, Brajkovič had to wait until the last moment to discover whether he would join forces with Lance Armstrong for this year’s Tour de France, starting on 3 July in Rotterdam. »The Americans are probably afraid that Jani would leave Lance behind instead of helping him,« joked Milan Eržen, the young Slovenian’s manager. But when the news eventually came it was good: Brajkovič will be part of the star RadioShack team that will try to help Lance Armstrong to his eighth Tour de France win, along with stars
Brajkovič in numbers 2004 Junior world champion, time trial 2006 5th overall in the Tour de Suisse 2007 Winner of the Tour of Georgia 2008 3rd overall in the Deutschland Tour 2009 18th overall in the Giro d’Italia 2009 6th in the world championship, time trial 2010 Winner of the Critérium du Dauphiné The Slovenia Times
such as Levi Leipheimer, Andreas Klöden and Chris Horner.
Good as Gold
The race will be Brajkovič’s first Tour de France but he has been in the cycling spotlight for some time. Now 26, he first made headlines when he became the junior world time trial champion in 2004. After that, the only way was up, but not without a few stumbles. As world champion, Brajkovič was quickly spotted by Belgian sports director Johan Bruyneel, a former cyclist who has coached Lance Armstrong to all of his seven Tour de France victories. Such was the Belgian’s desire to lure Brajkovič to the then Discovery Channel team that the young native of Novo Mesto joined the US squad at the beginning of 2005 – while still a member of Krka Adria Mobil. Bruyneel’s confidence in the youngster was quickly rewarded with a string of impressive results in the following year, including fifth place overall in the Tour de Suisse. Later in 2006, he wore the leader’s jersey for two stages during the Vuelta a España (Tour of Spain). By April 2007 he had won his first professional stage race in the form of the Tour of Georgia – the first non-American to be crowned its champion.
Just when it seemed as though things couldn’t go any better, storm clouds started to gather. Discovery Channel announced that it was pulling the plug on its cycling programme and the team was dissolved. Brajkovič remained loyal to the squad even in turbulent times. »In August 2007 we were told that no replacement sponsor had been found and that we were free to go. A few days later, Bruyneel called me and asked me to wait, saying that he was considering an offer from some investors [which later turned out to be the Astana team]. If this failed, he promised to find another team for me,« Brajkovič recalls.
He ultimately spent two years with Bruyneel at Astana. But it was not a completely happy period. In 2008, the team was barred from competing in the Tour de France due to previous problems with doping. The following year Brajkovič was ready to take part but was left out in the cold due to political and sponsorship issues. »I was in top form but I could only go on holiday with it. This has been one of the biggest disappointments of my career so far,« he commented. At the start of the year he joined the new RadioShack team, formed around Lance Armstrong and containing mostly former Discovery Channel and Astana personnel – including Bruyneel.
Nibali Takes the Tour of Slovenia Vincenzo Nibali of Italy’s Liquigas team won the Tour of Slovenia bicycle race, having secured the crucial lead during the climb to Krvavec. Nibali, who placed third in this year’s Giro d’Italia, finished 47 seconds ahead of compatriot Giovanni Visconti and 51 seconds ahead of Chris Anker Soerensen of Denmark. The best Slovenian in the overall standings was Gašper Švab in 8th place (+1:58), which makes it the poorest ever showing for domestic cyclists in the race. This is the second victory in a row for a foreign cyclist in the Tour of Slovenia and the second for Italy following the 1996 win of Lorenzo Di Silvestro. Russians have also won Slovenia’s biggest cycling race twice, while cyclists from Germany, Zimbabwe, Poland, and Denmark have won one race each. Slovenians have taken nine of the 17 races so far.
SPORTS 41 Addicted to Cycling
Brajkovič began his career relatively late, when a high school classmate invited him to a ride. Since then, he has been addicted to cycling: »After one day without a bike, I already feel nervous and I become very difficult to get along with«, concedes Brajkovič. »Cycling is on my mind for most of the time.« So too, though, are his wife and baby: »You can do your best as an athlete only when your personal life is in order and you can concentrate solely on training.« He says that although cycling has become a very precise, very technical sport, his legs are still the best judge of his form: »The amount of training [professional cyclists take part in] is pretty much the same but its quality and approach can vary greatly. There are many analyses and tests involved but in the end, it is still your feeling that tells you what is good and what is not, « he argues. I achieved my best results when I was listening to my body, when I worked individually with my coach, without regard to what others were doing. My body has never misled me. If you want to make a good overall result, your team has to appoint you as team leader first. The rest is down to your fitness and mental preparation.« Brajkovič is of course aware that for as long as Armstrong is around as a cyclist, he will be limited to a supporting role. But his respect for Armstrong is such that he doesn’t seem to mind too much. He still remembers his first encounters with his current team and with the American cycling legend: »I was invited to join the Discovery Channel team in California. Before that I had travelled by plane only once. Everything was new to me and the team was much bigger than anything I had been used to. Regarding Armstrong, he is a very down to earth guy. Once you speak to him you realise why he has achieved all those results; he would rather die than fail to do what he has decided to do. And you can never forget the look in his eyes. He could kill with it.« Brajkovič doesn’t say it openly but, in spite of his respect for Armstrong, he must be looking forward to the time when the American goes back into retirement. Bruyneel’s philosophy in terms of nationality also plays into Brajkovič’s hands. »One thing I like about him is that he makes no differences among cyclists based on their nationalities.«
End of The Road for Valjavec? Only days before he was scheduled to take part in the Giro d’Italia, Slovenia’s most successful cyclist of the decade was told that disciplinary proceedings had been launched against him »due to unusually high blood readings on his biological passport.«
adej Valjavec is convinced that his career is over but the 33-year-old said he would at least try to clear his name. »I am speechless. There is one thing that I am absolutely sure of – my career is over. All I can try to do now is at least clear my name,« he said. He explained that he had been sick a lot in 2009, which resulted in extremely low haematocrit levels. »I had a doctor’s note, but the doctor in our team failed to send the note to the UCI [Union Cycliste Internationale – cycling’s governing body], which launched proceedings against me.« Valjavec added that he found it hard to believe that the system was not working, saying the testing procedures had been full of mistakes which he could have made use of had he wanted to conceal anything. »I am not dumb, which is why I really cannot believe that this is happening.« Reactions from Slovenia’s leading road cycling figures were all in favour of Valjavec, with the coach of the Slovenian national team stressing that Valjavec had not tested positive in a doping test. »Considering the facts he presented to me, I believe that the UCI launched proceedings prematurely. In the past, we were not allowed to race for 14 days in such a situation and then all was OK,« he said, expressing his conviction that Valjavec will be able to explain why his haematocrit levels fluctuated so much from last year to this one. Marko Polanc, the rider’s former coach, said that he knew Valjavec
Young Guns It seems that two other Slovenian cyclists are set to join Brajkovič in the international cycling elite. Grega Bole of the Lampre team won the first stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné. And earlier this year, Simon Špilak finished the Tour de Romandie in second place. He was later awarded victory when first place finisher Alejandro Valverde was suspended amidst allegations of drug use.
»well, very well« and was convinced that he »would not have put everything on the line«. He believes Veljavec will make a comeback if the proceedings do not drag on too long. The secretary of the Slovenian Cycling Federation also believes that Valjavec will be able to prove his innocence. »The information available to me suggests that the matter is not that complicated and that things could move forward fast,« said Milan Knez.
With the exception of participation in the community race Maraton Franja – where he finished eighth – Valjavec hasn’t made a public appearance since the news of his troubles broke. Valjavec’s biggest international successes were in the Giro d’Italia, where he placed ninth overall in 2004 and again in 2009. He finished tenth in the Tour de France in 2008 and wore the leader’s jersey in the Tour de Suisse last year.
Bronze at the Whitewater Slovenian kayak team featuring Nejc Žnidaričič, Jernej Korenjak and Lovro Leban won bronze in team sprint race at the Wildwater World Championships in Spain’s Sort on Saturday after Slovenia bagged a gold and two bronze medals at the championships this week. he top three teams were neck and neck. The silver Italian team was only 4 hundredths of a second faster that the Slovenians and the winning Czech team beat Slovenia by 26 hundredths of a second. July 2010
Croatian Singer modeling as a Mokrice castle lady wearing creations by Estare Culto.
Slovenian football fans in Port Elisabeth before the match with England... (by Kevin Hughes)
Christening Ceremony of the fastest sailboat Esimit Europa 2 with Igor Simčič and Alexey Miller among the crew. (Photo: Marco Kandut)
The moment of truth after the match to England and the decisive last-minute USA victory to Alegria. Fans at Gospodarsko razstavišle, the largest public viewing in Ljubljana (photo BOBO). The Julian Alps train, connecting Ljubljana and Nova Gorica via Bled.
EVERY PICTURE TELLS A STORY
Richard Davison, winner of FEI Freestyle with music in Lipica.
Nostalgia festival in Ljubljana.
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