Slovenes invade Belgrade for New Year’s Eve
According to a report in Večer, some 20,000 Slovenes flooded downtown Belgrade to usher in the new year last week. Despite the fact that there was no love lost between Ljubljana and Belgrade in the 1980s right up to Slovene independence in 1991, today Slovenes are finding a new love for their former capital city.
One Belgrade student, Dušan Spasojević told the paper, "It’s unbelievable, the Slovenes act as if they’re on safari, as if Belgrade were somewhere exotic, wild and unexplored. Because of Schengen you run here, where the only rule is that there are no rules." He added, "Before you were brothers, today you are colonizers." Spasojević’s comments sarcastically referred not only to Slovene tourists but also to Slovene firms. Among others, Mercator has been making aggressive moves lately trying to carve out a niche in the Serbian market [Večer / 06.01.05 / Žurerski "safariji" v Beogradu].
Slovenia takes over lead at OSCE
As of 1 January 2005, Slovene foreign minister Dimitrij Rupel is the chairman of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), based in Vienna. Slovenia assumed the lead role in the organization from Bulgaria, which was at the helm throughout last year. Rupel is expected to present Slovenia's goals for the term on 13 January [SEE Times / 03.01.05 / Slovenia Takes Over Rotating OSCE Chairmanship From Bulgaria].
Judging from recent statements, however, it seems that Slovenia sees its role at the head of the OSCE as being that of an intermediary striving to bridge the divides among the 55 members of the organization. It is also expected that Slovenia will give some degree of impetus to reforming the organization. Rupel will head the Slovene delegation to the OSCE but will maintain his position as foreign minister; day-to-day responsibilities at OSCE headquarters in Vienna will be handled by a carefully-selected team led by Slovene diplomat Boris Frlec and supported by Slovenia’s 12-man permanent mission to the OSCE [SBW / 03.01.05 / Slovenia at the Helm of OSCE in 2005].
Centennial of Slovene Film in 2005
Even though films were first shown in the Slovene lands in 1896, it was nearly a decade before any Slovene set about making a film. That had to wait until 1905, when Karol Grossmann made the short film, Odhod z maše v Ljutomeru (Exiting Mass in Ljutomer).
This year will see celebrations in honor of that achievement, and in honor of the 100th anniversary of Slovene cinema. Festivities will begin on 1 March will the screening of a documentary about Rudi Omota, who made the first Slovene talkie in the early 20th century [SN / 30.12.05 / Slovenia to Mark 100 Years of Its Film Industry].