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EU2021SI Mission: Activist Journalists and Their Daily Search for a New “Scandal”

According to some media outlets, the central topic of Slovenia’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union is the statement made by Minister of the Interior Aleš Hojs, or rather the interpretation of who the minister had in mind when he mentioned swines. “The second day of the presidency and the second scandal is already on the horizon,” wrote the Brussels-based correspondent for the Delo newspaper, Peter Žerjavič, who was also joined by a Politico journalist, which was expected.  We are still waiting for Tanja Fajon’s comment, as she is certainly very worried about the press coverage that sheds a bad light on her homeland during the EU presidency. Mrs. Fajon, could you really not change, at least a little bit, just this once? We could borrow a common phrase from our southern neighbours about pigs dreaming of corn, but we might be misunderstood again.

“The police will prepare a report related to the action taken against the Yellow Jackets. However, in my opinion, it was unnecessary for them to come to Prešeren Square, as they could have celebrated culturally on Republic Square. Do not throw your pearls before swine, the Bible says, and they could have followed this wisdom,” Minister of the Interior, Aleš Hojs, wrote on Twitter, after police removed the Yellow Jackets from the Prešeren monument at the anti-celebration of Slovenia’s Statehood Day. With his tweet, he also angered the Yellow Jackets, as the members said that anyone is free to choose which event they will attend or where they will go, without the police removing them from the scene, following the orders of Jaša Jenull. However, his choice of words angered the protesters and the left even more, who believed that with his tweet, Hojs called them swine. The phrase, of course, should not be interpreted in such a manner, as it actually speaks of giving spiritual or material goods to people who do not know how to appreciate them.

In search of the daily “scandal,” Hojs was asked about the tweet in question on Friday’s briefing, which, according to some, targeted the anti-government protesters. Hojs replied that he did not call any particular individual a swine, and then said that he might indeed call a certain individual a swine, after what he heard on Thursday, but this person was not on Prešeren’s Square last week, but rather, he sits high in the EU bureaucracy. This was, of course, highlighted by a Brussels correspondent, namely, a Politico journalist David M. Herszenhorn, who seems to be in charge of daily slandering of the Slovenian government during our Presidency of the European Council. Among other things, Herszenhorn also wrote on Twitter that secretive remarks were made by Slovenian Minister of the Interior, Aleš Hojs, at Friday’s meeting, but he said that he believes Hojs called the Vice-President of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans, a swine. Hojs has already responded to the accusations on Twitter, explaining to Peter Žerjavič that he did not have Timmermans in mind when answering the question. He also suggested that the journalists should focus on the presidency.

“As a journalist, you really need to work on your sense of context. Especially when you’re translating from a language (and a situation), you do not understand. Minister Aleš Hojs used a commonly used Slovenian proverb that was not directed at any individual in particular,” Mitja Iršič, a public relations adviser at the Ministry of Culture, explained to the Politico journalist on Twitter.

During the presidency, Tanja Fajon and Politico will apparently also take care of Slovenia’s “reputation”
It is interesting that even Marko Balažic and Alem Maksuti told that there should not be any special significance ascribed to these events, as they are merely political provocation. “I believe that there will be many more similar events, especially coming from the so-called social democrats in the European Parliament, who will approach the policy of the current government, and its Prime Minister in particular, as they will,” Maksuti commented on the matter.

Frans Timmermans, who boycotted the group photo-op on Thursday, is the S&D representative in the European Parliament, which may in some ways explain his conduct. “I simply could not be on the same stag as Prime Minister Janez Janša after his unacceptable attack and slander of the two judges and two S&D deputies,” Timmermans told the Süddeutsche Zeitung. It is more than obvious that Timmermans is being influenced by the stories told by Tanja Fajon and Milan Brglez, but at the same time, he cannot even seem to understand the actual situation in our country. According to the president of the SD party, Tanja Fajon, Slovenia is starting its second Presidency of the European Council with the lowest reputation it has ever had. Let’s not forget that Fajon also tried as hard as she could to lower Slovenia’s reputation, and Politico published three articles on Thursday – in the first one, they discussed the four political problems that the Slovenian presidency has to face, in the second one, they called for caution at the beginning of Slovenian presidency, and in the third one, they wrote that the European conservatives do not see Slovenian prime Minister Janez Janša as a problem – and their opponents believe that this is a problem in itself.

Sara Bertoncelj

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