Slovenia’s parliament confirmed on Thursday Prime Minister Marjan Šarec’s centre-left coalition as the country’s first minority government, following the inconclusive general election in June. Forty-five deputies in the 90-seat parliament voted in favour of the new cabinet, 34 were against, while 11 abstained or were absent. Šarec, a former provincial mayor, comedian and actor, became prime minister-designate last month after the centre-right Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS) failed to forge a coalition despite winning most votes in June’s election. According to Šarec, the new government would be “a guarantee for a stable economic environment that is kind to investment”. He vowed improving the national health system and cutting red tape would be his government’s priorities. Šarec’s party, List of Marjan Šarec (LMŠ) is in coalition with four other centre-left parties: the Social Democrats, the Party of the Modern Centre, the Party of Alenka Bratušek and the pensioners’ party Desus. They account for 43 of parliament’s 90 seats. The opposition Left party, which has nine seats, has pledged to support the minority government on key policies. Outgoing premier Miro Cerar is the new foreign minister, replacing Karl Erjavec who became defence minister. Economist Andrej Bertoncelj takes the finance portfolio.
Croatian Foreign Minister Marija Pejćinović Burić met yesterday with the US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo at the State Department. This was a first visit by a Croatian foreign minister to the US in several years, Hina reports. Both officials emphasised the two countries have good relations and reaffirmed their mutual commitment to increase NATO defence spending. The two discussed bilateral relations, mostly about ways to improve economic cooperation and a need to begin talks on a double taxation agreement. Lifting of visas for Croatian citizens was also a topic as well as regional issues, including Croatia’s plans to build a Floating Storage and Regasification Unit (FSRU) for Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) imports that will improve energy security and diversify energy supplies throughout Central and Southeast Europe.
The government of Kosovo has approved a bill to allow the Kosovo Security Force (FSK) to transform into the army of Kosovo, IBNA reports. Under the bill, Kosovo Armed Forces will have five thousand soldiers, who will be responsible for the protection of the territory, integrity and sovereignty of the country. The establishment of the army has to be done via constitutional amendments, which can’t be done without the votes of Serb MPs. However, they have announced they will block the process. Kosovo government is coordinating with international partners to find a suitable solution. According to the parliamentary speaker, Kadri Veseli, Kosovo prime minister, Ramush Haradinaj has already held talks on the subject with the United States, amongst others. Veseli added the EU representatives have called on Serb MPs in Kosovo to support the creation of the army. However, Serbia’s Defence Minister, Aleksandar Vulin has said the creation of the army would be a threat to the region. “We call on the international community to respect Resolution 1244 and not allow the establishment of the armed forces which would threaten the stability of Kosovo and the region”, Vulin said.
Zoran Janković, mayor of Slovenia’s capital Ljubljana announced today he will seek his forth term in the upcoming November elections. Janković plans several major projects for the next term, which will, according to him, be “a cherry on the cake”. Among them he announced the construction of sewer system, cycling lanes and road reconstruction. The plan also includes a construction of 1,500 new non-profit apartments, renovation of three primary schools and the construction of a new kindergarten in Trnovo.