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MEPs Criticised Bratušek for Singing Partisan Songs and for Her Anti-European Statements When She Embarrassed Herself in Front of the Whole World

When Alenka Bratušek made a fool of herself in front of the competent European parliamentary committee and embarrassed Slovenia with her (self)nomination for the position of European Commissioner, not even the ALDE group supported her. Bratušek was certain that at least part of the blame for it lay with Jelko Kacin, who she believed was lobbying against her and making deals with Miro Cerar. According to Bratušek, it was Kacin who connected the Liberals with Cerar’s SMC party at the time – even though Bratušek’s SAB party has now changed the story and is saying that in fact, it was the SAB party that helped SMC into the ALDE family. It seems that Bratušek has finally reached, in her opinion, the right moment to get payback for the alleged injustice. But let’s not forget that even the MEPs criticised Bratušek for the singing of partisan songs and for her anti-European statements – should the ALDE group have considered the option of excluding the SAB party at the time?

The SAB party sent a letter to the leadership of the ALDE European Liberal Party, proposing the initiation of proceedings to expel the SMC party from the ALDE group. This step was announced by the SAB party last week, mainly due to tweets by Prime Minister Janez Janša and developments regarding the Slovenian Press Agency and European delegated prosecutors. “Their values, their work, their strong support for the extreme right-wing government that is currently in power in Slovenia, the fact that they did not distance themselves from, or at least respond to, the statements made by Prime Minister Janša, when he was directly slandering ALDE deputies, including the late ALDE President and ALDE prime ministers from around Europe, is something we in the SAB party can no longer silently observe,” said the General Secretary of the SAB party, Jernej Pavlič. Among other things, in a later-deleted tweet, the Prime Minister described certain MEPs as “Soros’s puppets in the European Parliament.” His list included the head of the recent fact-finding mission to Slovenia, Sophie in ‘t Veld, and the late MEP Hans van Baalen. The accusation about Soros’s puppets is certainly truer than Pavlič’s accusation that the SMC supports the “extreme right-wing government” – the current government is not even remotely extremely right-wing.

Once again, a typical characteristic of Slovenia is coming to the fore, which has become even more apparent during the epidemic and the current government’s term, when the left-wing opposition is in an extremely offensive phase. Sullying the reputation of one’s own nation and fellow citizens, preferably abroad – instead of being united, at least on the outside, and trying to resolve disputes at home. We certainly cannot be proud of such behaviour, nor are we enjoying any respect abroad – after all, even Sophie in ‘t Veld pointed out that this separation, which is causing us to not be able to operate as one nation, is one of Slovenia’s biggest problems. While the left-wing opposition is slandering its compatriots in Europe, foreign media, such as Germany’s Die Welt, reported that the most common comment on Janša’s tweets is “Er hat Recht” – meaning, he is right.

But if we stoop to the level of the left-wing opposition, so to the level of the so-called Constitutional Atch Coalition – which is the only way to make them understand what is going on – we should point out certain episodes of the president of the SAB party, Alenka Bratušek, which were much more non-European – if we are looking for reasons for exclusion of parties from the liberal European ALDE. On the 27th of April 2013, Bratušek attended a concert by the Trieste Partisan Choir; interestingly, at the time, even the MMC web portal reported that partisan songs were also being sung by the “red” Slovenian politicians who were seated in the front row. “And in the front row, we saw Slovenian political figures singing, and they were – symbolically – adorned with pieces of red clothing,” MMC wrote and listed the politicians who were sitting in the front row: President of the Republic Borut Pahor, then-Prime Minister Alenka Bratušek and her family, former Presidents Milan Kučan and Danilo Türk with their respective wives, then-President of the Constitutional Court Ernest Petrič, Ljubljana Mayor Zoran Janković, then-President of the Association of the National Liberation Movement of Slovenia Janez Stanovnik, and then-President of the SD party Igor Lukšič with his wife. President Pahor hosted the Trieste Partisan Choir Pinko Tomažič in the Presidential Palace on that same day and awarded it the Golden Order of Merit.

According to the web portal MMC, Prime Minister Bratušek was often shown on the big screen that hung under the ceiling of the hall, as she was often caught on camera, singing along to many of the songs with the singer on stage, the lyrics of which she knew by heart. And allegedly, Kučan sang the International the loudest. It is probably needless to point out that at the concert, the organisers also sold T-shirts with the image of Josip Broz – Tito on them, and the hall in Stožice was adorned with red star flags at every turn. Does the SAB party believe that the worshipping of songs of a totalitarian regime and Tito is pro-European?

MEPs also criticised Bratušek for singing partisan songs and for her anti-European statements
Not to mention the moment when Bratušek embarrassed the country when she nominated herself for the position of European Commissioner and failed miserably at her questioning in the European Parliament. Apparently, at the time, it was only Gregor Virant who strongly opposed Bratušek’s self-nomination, as he also left the parliamentary session early and emphasised: “I will not take part in this farce.” But not only did she nominate herself, her performance or questioning in the European Parliament was also spectacularly terrible. Among other things, her performance was assessed as “surprisingly weak.” A member of the European Socialists described Bratušek’s questioning as the worst one so far: “Her performance was really bad. There was no preparation. I must say, this is a provocation,” he made it clear. “I know that it is not possible to professionally and politically prepare for difficult topics in such a short time, but I still expected more concrete and credible answers,” Lojze Peterle commented on Bratušek’s questioning, who was probably not yet adjusted to the Constitutional Arch Coalition’s modus operandi at the time – empty promises and cliches, without any content and knowledge. At the time, the Croatian MEP from the EPP Group also criticised Bratušek for singing communist songs and for her anti-European statements. Newspaper Dnevnik also reported on this at the time. Thus, Bratušek made a fool of herself in front of the entire competent European parliamentary committee at the time and also embarrassed Slovenia. Even the ALDE party did not support her. And thanks to Bratušek, Slovenia also lost the position of Vice-President of the European Commission.

The SAB party’s resentment towards the SMC party dates back to the past
Later, Violeta Bulc became a commissioner from the Slovenian quota at the proposal of the new government of Miro Cerar. When the newspaper Delo asked Bratušek if she thought Jelko Kacin had turned ALDE against her, her answer was that he was mainly responsible for connecting the liberals and the SMC party. Apparently, the leader of the ALDE group wanted a commissioner from this party, she added. Judging by this statement, the situation was not what Pavlič now claims – that is, that the SAB party was one of the members of the European group that helped the SMC into the ALDE family. Rather, it seems that Kacin connected the SMC party with the liberals, and it is a well-known fact that the SAB party resented him for it. And they obviously also resented the SMC party, which they have been trying to get expelled from the ALDE group ever since, and the “cooperation with the far-right government” only serves as a convenient, albeit completely contrived, excuse.

Sara Bertoncelj

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