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[Interview] Janša: The Ban On Wood Heating Threatens National Security

In the second episode of the show Intervju (Interview) of the year, television host Aleksander Rant hosted the President of the Slovenian Democratic Party (Slovenska demokratska stranka – SDS), Janez Janša, with whom he discussed current political developments and future prospects.

“Last year was basically what we predicted it would be, a year of broken promises and a year of sobering up. It was rather harsh, especially for that part of our compatriots who always jump at a new face. The half-life of these instant parties is getting shorter and shorter, and the disappointment is growing accordingly,” Janša said in the introduction. He believes that the current government came to power by deception and exploited the pandemic situation at that time to do so. But much damage has been done since then, especially by “undoing good measures.”

“If they had not fixed this law with a mini-tax reform, the employees would have got one more net wage this year, without the economy being burdened. And later on, they figured out that labour is taxed too heavily. I mean, of course it is, but we have already solved this problem to a large extent, and you have done away with it,” Janša said.

Lots of damage, lots of missed opportunities

Janša explained that Slovenia is still “visible” internationally, but now it is because of negative things. He stressed that Slovenia was a winner during the pandemic, and that good foundations were laid on which it could be even better today, but it is not. It is among the last in terms of drawing of publicly available funds. “We are at the very end when it comes to success in the case of inflation, constantly below the European average and also in the area of economic growth, although the basis was extremely good, it is increasingly modest and international institutions are practically lowering the economic forecast for Slovenia from month to month, even for last year it will be lower than these forecasts,” he explained, adding that people will only see the real picture after they have sobered up for long enough to dispel the illusion that running the government is comparable to selling electricity from a nuclear power plant. He believes that this illusion must fall, but on the other hand, so much damage will be done in the meantime that it will be difficult to repair.

In light of this, Rant pointed out the new media legislation and the takeover of the national media outlet, Radio-Television Slovenia (RTVS) and asked how to properly communicate to the people what is happening when “the government is concreting a media monopoly”. Janša argues that, on this basis, the media are not to be believed when they say that the government is failing. “The government is actually failing with what people expected in a way when it talked about a priority healthcare reform, then social reform, then pension reform, then economic reform and all the others mentioned in this timeline. All of them should have been implemented last year,” Janša explained, adding that the people who voted for them actually believed that they would do something. He stressed that during his mandate, they had objectively “managed their term very well,” but that all the good had been portrayed as bad by the media. He believes that 400,000 Slovenian voters were misled, but that “we cannot deny that some of them probably had certain good intentions,” because the current government promised a lot of things, but what followed was “disappointing and sobering.”

The government is succeeding in implementing its ideology

“This coalition is very successful, but unfortunately, in the wrong way. However, we cannot say that they are not implementing what they are actually about,” Janša said, adding that this is an ideology shared by all coalition parties. Janša claims that the coalition is successfully implementing its ideological agenda, starting with the abolition of the Office for Demography, despite the fact that Slovenia has had an extremely low birth rate and that we have one of the oldest populations in the world. “And then you allocate the money to migration, tear down the fence, invite migrants in the country and so on.” Secondly, Janša pointed out the cancellation of all the good anti-bureaucracy packages that were passed during their mandate, and then the floods came, and it turned out that the current government had cancelled everything that would have been useful at the time. All that turned out well, but only for them, because they found a way to employ more of their own people in the public administration. “Because they think that everyone they employ is their new constituent, a supporter of potential cyclists.”

As a third matter, Janša pointed to the abolition of the Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Communist Violence, which he said was “at least some minimal social cohesion with elements of reconciliation, built with the help of President Borut Pahor; a day when it was possible to lay wreaths at the killing sites in Kočevski Rog, and also at Turjak, where some of the members of the Liberation Front were buried,” but that even this had been drastically dismantled. Last but not least, in his opinion, they were also successful in taking over the media space, convincing the majority of the public that a referendum on the amendment was necessary and getting a majority to make it happen.

The masks have fallen

“In the transition from the previous year to the new year, the masks have also fallen off, and now they are not even pretending that they intend to do some of the reforms anymore, or to fix things that need to be fixed urgently,” he continued, recalling the pay disparities in the public sector pay system, for which it took the government three weeks to appoint a negotiating team to negotiate with the medical trade union. “If our government had taken three weeks, that is 21 days, to appoint a negotiating team, then the POP TV cameras would have been standing outside the Prime Minister’s office, as well as the Minister of Health’s office, asking them why they had not done this yet, why they were making a fool of the patients. But now these mainstream media are full of, I will say, ‘the first among the patients’ – Mr Jenull, who is talking some sense into the medical profession, saying that he cannot even tell the difference between Aspirin and Ospen.” Jaša also added that the media is feigning ignorance. Support for the Freedom Movement party (Gibanje Svoboda) is falling because they are not delivering what they promised the people.

In the future, people won’t even know that the Freedom Movement party existed

Janša and the host of the show also touched on the reforms that should come into force at the beginning of the year, and the many strikes that are taking place or that have been announced, because everyone has given up on the government’s empty promises, and the Prime Minister even said that they would need two terms to realise what they promised. When asked whether anything will actually happen by 2030, Janša said he believes that most people will not even remember that there was a party called the Freedom Movement then. Janša believes that this is a one-term project and that the next elections will be a test to see whether people will fall for the new face again.

He went on to explain that the power of propaganda is so strong that it can convince 100,000 voters that someone who has neither been a Member of Parliament nor a minister before, and who has not set up a trade or a business on his own, is capable of running by far the most complex system in the country. This in light of the fact that, even before the elections, there was already information available about him, from the allegedly controversial Balkan deals, which were also reported in Kosovo, to the fact that he himself had already announced higher taxes and said that he did not need a higher salary.

The media are covering up government incompetence, and the government is buying itself more time

All this is going on with the help of media propaganda and with the help of people from the European administration, which is why Janša is glad that the Assembly of the Republic (Zbor za republiko) has created a committee to protect freedom of speech, because today’s media space is comparable to what Slovenia had in 1989. “What they stand to gain from this is time,” he pointed out, “as well as constitutional changes and the outright usurpation of the judiciary. The appointment of judges would be completely removed from the eyes of the people, thus depriving the people of their right to debate and decide.” “But they are also trying to adapt the electoral system to the fact that they will always be in power – that is why they want constituencies, and thus to push out rural representation in the National Assembly. If we had a two-round majority electoral system, Slovenia would be much closer to Switzerland than it is today,” he said.

When asked what the New Slovenia party (Nova Slovenija – NSi) will gain from imposing a system that will most likely lead to its expulsion from parliament, Janša said that this proves the strength of the party’s background and that it is tragic that the NSi party was formed out of resistance to the move to write a proportional electoral system into the Constitution, thus burying itself and also helping us to move away from Switzerland instead of closer to it.

The ban on wood heating threatens national security

People are worse off now than they were before, electricity is getting even more expensive, energy products are getting more expensive in the name of the green agenda, wood and gas heating is being banned, most of us are getting pretty depressed, and in the meantime, we are hearing about all sorts of Golob’s affairs. There is talk of a ban on wood burning, which is not only impoverishing the countryside, but also threatens national security, because nowadays, when everything is digital and the possibility of cyber-attacks is ever greater, people could practically be left without electricity all at once and instantly. Solar panels are not reliable, and situations around the world show how important it is to have an emergency energy supply. If Ukraine is attacked, the impact in this cold would be felt by everyone, especially by small children who might not survive. Janša hopes that there is still enough sense in Slovenia to prevent such measures.

Regarding world conflicts, in the case of Ukraine, Janša pointed to a certain degree of hypocrisy on the part of the West, which has been looking for ways to prevent Ukraine from being supplied with the weapons it needs to defend itself against an aggressor. It is the power of left-wing propaganda, which is equally powerful when it comes to the conflict in the Middle East, and the fact that Israel protects civilians while Hamas uses a human shield to protect itself. Janša sees the possibility that Slovenia could also be on the wrong side of history in the Security Council, not least because of the positions we have already seen from the current authorities.

All this shows the government’s lack of competence

According to the host of the show, the ministerial candidates of the new faces have finally been washed out, the last in line being Mateja Čalušič, who lied about her education. “Look, the law of negative selection says that the spiral goes down and it gets worse and worse, and this is what is happening in Slovenia,” said Janša, adding that this is a case of rearranging the puppets and that these decisions are not theirs.

“This is how you get to the čevapčiči with Mr Jankovič and solve the problem of the environmental impact assessment for the C0 canal,” Janša remarked at the end of the programme, adding that all this shows that this government is not competent, but that this will allow it to stay in place for a while longer. Janša believes that this government will last at least until the European elections, after which there may be some changes or even early elections, as he doubts that this government will last until the end of this mandate.

Tanja Brkić

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