Tanja Fajon, the Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, recently posted a photo online before leaving for the USA, where the vote on the next non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council will take place in New York. She is pictured with a glass of (presumably) liquor, and apparently, somebody else from the Minister’s cabinet must have also indulged in the same drink, as another glass can be seen on the table next to Fajon. The reason for them drinking at work will be revealed by the results of the upcoming vote.
“One last briefing before travelling to New York this weekend,” Fajon wrote, adding hashtags such as #work, #goodatmosphere, #cabinet, and #enthusiasm. In the picture, Tanja Krapenc, a Foreign Ministry employee, is tagged alongside the Minister.
The upsetting photo, which the Minister herself posted on the social network Instagram, was first commented on by Planet TV editor Mirko Mayer, who wrote: “Double apple juice with ice at the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs? Cheers!”
The comments that followed did not support the Minister’s behaviour, saying that the decision to publish such a photo was probably due to the drink that the Minister had indulged in, while others pointed out that drinking on the job is not allowed in the civil service. It is not clear from the picture whether the Minister and her colleague were drinking liquor or whether the glass actually contained apple juice, as Mayer jokingly remarked.
The prohibition of working under the influence of alcohol and drugs is regulated by the Health and Safety at Work Act. It stipulates that a worker must not work or be at work under the influence of alcohol, drugs or medication that would increase the risk of an accident at work.
The photo clearly shows that the glass on the table is still full, but the one in the hands of the Foreign Minister is empty.
Drinking because of joy or because of sorrow?
Apart from the obvious questions that the publication of such photos raises in the public domain, such as the Minister’s sanity and the legal restrictions on the use of alcohol in the workplace, it also raises the question of what the final outcome of the vote will be. A small hint about it was recently offered by the leader of the opposition, Janez Janša, who wrote that “after intensive talks in recent weeks, we can say that the countries in which our sister parties are in the government and who can decide, will support Slovenia’s candidacy.” The Slovenian Democratic Party (Slovenska demokratska stranka – SDS), of which Janša is the President, is a member of the IDU and the CDI alliances of parties.
However, Janša also added that Slovenia did not seem to have the full backing of Germany, even though the Socialists were leading the government there. “According to some information, for example, among the more than 110 written endorsements, there is still no German endorsement (even the verbal one arrived very late), even though the government there is led by the Socialists. In any case, Slovenia’s election tomorrow should be a foregone conclusion, just as it seemed to be at the time of the candidacy,” wrote the SDS party President.
And what did the Minister have to say about the situation?
As drinking on the job is prohibited by law, we asked the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs whether there was, in fact, an alcoholic drink in the glass of Minister Fajon and what might have led to her decision to promote drinking (if that is what really happened) online.