“Economic reconstruction after the aggression is actually not such a difficult task, memories of atrocities and finding answers to the questions of why something happened are more difficult,” SDS president Janez Janša said at the economic forum in Poland, among other things.
The president of the Slovenian Democratic Party, Janez Janša, attended the 31st Economic Forum in Poland, in Karpacz. The forum, which is traditionally held in Poland at the beginning of September, is the largest conference in Central and Eastern Europe, which annually attracts more than 4,000 political, economic, and social leaders from more than 60 countries in Europe, Asia, and America. The mission of the forum is to create a favourable climate for the development of political and economic cooperation between EU member states and their neighbours.
The president of SDS took part in the debate entitled: Europe in the Face of New Challenges
“I think that Europe changed on February 24th, 2022, with the Russian aggression against Ukraine. The vast majority of the European population did not notice this change, but from this date onwards, Europe has been trying to find answers to this challenge,” said the president of the SDS in the introduction. He estimated that in many areas the first European response was successful, “more than I myself expected it to be.” “When the Russian aggression against Ukraine began, there were only a few of us among the leaders of 27 European countries who were convinced that Ukraine would fight, defend, and survive,” said the president of the SDS, recalling who the Prime Ministers were, who were the first to venture to Kyiv after the beginning of the Russian aggression. He also added that some European colleagues did not share the same belief when the aggression began. “When some of us suggested that we should give Ukraine all possible help, both morally and politically, and ensure its membership in the EU, one of our colleagues, who was not from a small country, asked what we were talking about. He said that we do not even know if Ukraine will even exist in a week, and we cannot talk about something that might not exist in a week. Someone else, also from a larger country, said that a solution for Russia will have to be found, regardless of what happens with Ukraine,” the former Prime Minister recalled the discussions at the European Council. “Today, when we talk about concrete answers to challenges and after the reaction of the European public to Russian aggression – just remember all the rallies in support of Ukraine – European institutions are on the Ukrainian side,” said the SDS president. He also said that when we talk about concrete answers to these challenges, we also see a long road of compromises. “The European answer is a compromise. However, this is not enough. It could have been different,” said the SDS president. At the same time, he also recalled the Slovenian experience at the time of independence and added that even in a situation where Yugoslavia fell apart, the European powers could have done more, which would have meant fewer dead and fewer refugees, “but the European Union is a union of compromises.” At the same time, he also emphasised that if the EU did not have democracy, the influence of the media, support for Ukraine would be lower today. “Of course, today we are far from what we could have done for Ukraine, but much more has been done than we expected at the very beginning,” said the former Prime Minister and also emphasised the important role of Poland.
When asked if we are facing a difficult winter full of dissatisfaction due to the high prices of energy products, and what will follow after that, SDS President Janez Janša said that at the moment the more important question is what will happen in the next few weeks and not what will follow after the winter. “As far as Russian energy producers are concerned, not all European countries are in the same situation,” said Janez Janša, noting that there is currently also a question of what Putin will do after the long-term aggression against Ukraine. “For Europe, it is important above all that it continues to help Ukraine with weapons,” said the president of the SDS.
When asked if he was surprised by the level of corruption that was discovered during the aggression against Ukraine, he replied that this level surprised everyone, “including me.” “It was a surprise when we saw how many former and current European politicians are or were members of the boards of some large Russian energy companies. There were also some people who you would never have expected to sit there,” said the president of the SDS.
Regarding the reconstruction of Ukraine after the aggression, the president of SDS said that it is difficult to make plans for the future when you are fighting, when people are dying on the battlefields and when you are in danger. “Economic reconstruction is not such a difficult task either. Memories of atrocities and searching for answers to the questions of why something happened are more difficult,” said the president of the SDS. He also recalled that on his way to Kyiv in March, when the vast majority of European politicians did not believe that Ukraine would survive, the Secretary General of the OECD called him and told him that they were already preparing plans for the reconstruction of Ukraine after the war. He also spoke about the reconstruction of Croatia and other countries in the Balkans after the war in the 1990s.
The president of SDS is convinced that the future of the European Union is not in the European Federation, but in the European Union of Nations. “If the connection is forced in the direction of a federation, the EU will collapse,” said the former Prime Minister, pointing out that in such a case the Treaty would also have to be changed, which will certainly not be agreed upon. “For some governments, this issue is easy, because they play the politics of compromises and think that if they can only vote on some issues, all the problems will disappear. However, this is not true, new problems will arise,” said the former Prime Minister. He also added that those who did not understand why Brexit happened did not understand Europe.
When asked who should accept responsibility for the situation in which the EU has found itself in relation to Russia, the president of the SDS replied that Europe has been faced with many warnings that have been ignored in recent decades. “Many bad decisions were made by the West, and there was also a lot of naivety. Do I think Russia will change? It will, but only when there is a real transition. However, at the moment I do not see any signs of this, so they still have a long fight ahead of them,” concluded SDS President Janez Janša.