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Two Years Of The Golob Government – Two Years Of A Free Fall And The Disintegration Of Key State Systems

The Golob government is two years into its term of office. Halfway through his reign, Prime Minister Robert Golob says that, as a coalition, they are proud of their achievements. According to the Slovenian Press Agency (STA), he assured everyone that they are continuing to prepare structural reforms, and he believes that the results will bring them another mandate. “Slovenia has reached a state of free fall during this time,” said Dr Boštjan M. Turk, a columnist, analyst, professor and Vice-Dean of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts, referring to the government.

The current government, which reconstructed itself at the very start of its mandate by increasing the number of ministries, even though we are a country of only 2 million people, promised upon taking office to normalise the country and relations as such, to change policy and to introduce a raft of reforms. Instead, we have received, among other things, measures that are detrimental to citizens and the economy (lower wages for all), longer waiting times, a ‘depoliticised’ national media outlet Radio-Television Slovenia (RTVS) that is in a real crisis, a dysfunctional long-term care system, more new jobs in the public administration, which bring additional costs, and no housing construction, to name just a few. Although the Prime Minister claims that Slovenia is the champion in Europe in terms of economic growth and low unemployment, official figures show a very different picture.

The opposition Slovenian Democratic Party (Slovenska demokratska stranka – SDS) has been especially critical of the work of the government. “When we checked at half-time the commitments that the government coalition had made to itself in the coalition agreement, we found that it had implemented only about 14 percent of its promises,” SDS President Janez Janša recently pointed out, recalling that the government had missed the deadlines for its own reforms. In light of the increase in the number of bureaucrats, which brings additional costs, Janša also pointed out that in the meantime, the number of police and army personnel has been reduced; he criticised the construction of migrant centres against the will of the citizens, denounced the poor performance, especially in the field of healthcare (the long-lasting rebuilding of the University Clinical Centre Ljubljana – UKC, which is still ongoing), and expressed his criticism of the attention that our government is paying to Palestine. In his speech, Janša said that in the meantime, the number of employees of the police and the army has been reduced. “You have tried to convince the public that recognising Palestine will solve all the problems, while at home, there are many problems that nobody is dealing with,” he was critical.

Key state systems are collapsing

We decided to ask Dr Boštjan M. Turk, a publicist, analyst, professor and Vice-Dean of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts, how he assesses the work of the government and what he thinks we have lost and gained during its term. “Slovenia has reached a state of free fall during this time. The situation really is not funny anymore,” he said, pointing out that the country’s key systems have collapsed with what happened with the media outlet Nova24TV and Boris Tomašič. “This is definitely the end of the rule of law, or the open appearance of the so-called mafia state, which operates by connections, and which excludes those who are the critical axis of society – journalism,” he noted, adding that this is definitely something that is not happening anywhere else in Europe. “It is happening in Russia, North Korea, but not in Europe.”

The entrepreneurial system, he says, is also collapsing. “This tax reform means an encroachment and, once again, additional taxation on the most prolific stratum of Slovenian society. Agriculture, the most vulnerable segment, is collapsing and is being hit hardest by the falling purchase price of crops and livestock, rising state costs (taxes), falling subsidies, and rising prices of inputs such as fertilisers,” Turk criticised, noting that it is simply not possible to live without the farmer. “The only good thing this government has done in two years is to put the Ukrainian flag back up in front of the seat of government today. Yesterday, the Palestinian flag was flying there.”

He says that it is incredible that, with the exception of a few media outlets (Nova24TV, Požareport, Faktor, Radio Ognjišče and Družina), we have no alternative journalism. “We have virtually no public, the public RTV Slovenia is now completely in the hands of a single political option, which cannot even make it work within its ranks. The situation could not be worse. As I wrote in my book, The Prisoners of Freedom (Jetniki Svobode), Robert Golob is a representative of a new class that probably takes care of itself first,” he explained, adding that if anything goes wrong in the healthcare sector, they will, of course, have their own healthcare services. He recalled that former Presidents Milan Kučan and Danilo Türk had also undergone surgery in Switzerland, not at home. “They took care of themselves”.

In his words, the European campaign has shown Golob’s fundamental lack of information on foreign policy matters. He did not know when the last elections were held in the Palestinian camp, or how Slovenia’s candidacy for a non-permanent seat on the Security Council came about. “These are unbelievable things. This means that he is a specialist in talking without knowing the facts and making stuff up as he goes,” Turk stressed, adding that he himself believes that no one in Slovenia takes these statements seriously anymore. “At least those who have a bit of common sense and a bit of a clue about what is going on.”

Since independence, Slovenian society has never been at such a low point

This tax reform is something very dangerous in Turk’s opinion. It puts additional pressure on entrepreneurs, who have now become the most undesirable class in the country, so that those who work in the private sector are practically criminalised in their own right. He also pointed out that the cardiology clinic Medicor, one of the best cardiovascular surgery centres in the region (proven to be better than Klagenfurt in terms of deaths per operation), was recently criticised by the media as if having a private clinic were some kind of crime. “This is really unbelievable. Since independence, Slovenian society has never been at such a low point. If this unfortunate Slovenian nation does not understand that it absolutely has to act, then I don’t know what will happen,” he stressed, adding that the authorities had already taken care of themselves.

They only know how to destroy. The two-year balance sheet is all destruction, especially in terms of destruction of what works well. “We will replace everything, we will do everything, we will liberate everything. It’s in their genes,” Turk concluded.

There has also been no shortage of criticism of the government on social media: “Two more years of this government will kill me!”; “Two years of economic, infrastructural stagnation are behind us. And now, in the long term, the solitary recognition of Hamas is damaging Slovenia’s international reputation, which was built up 30 years before this left-wing activist government.”; “It would be useful to stop name-calling and start doing. You have been addressing things for two years now.”; “What can we say on the second anniversary of this government? Two years of destruction of the state and dismantling of its subsystems, two years of personnel purges called depoliticisation, two years of measures against the economy, two years of unbridled state borrowing, two years of new taxes on businesses and citizens, two years of promises of a happy ending, two years of making non-governmental organisations rich, and two years (well, maybe a little less) of Tina Gaber. Can it even get any worse? Yes, it can. And good luck in the next two years.”

Ž. N.

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