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Janez Janša: With Such A Decline, The Chancellor In Germany Would Resign The Next Day

“This year, the government has not visited a single Slovenian region, while our government visited all Slovenian regions at least twice in two years, despite the pandemic,” Janez Janša pointed out one of the key differences between the Golob government and his own time in office. In addition, he also pointed out that if the industry had fallen by 8 percent in, say, Germany, “the German Chancellor would have resigned the next day because the German economy would have demanded it.”

On this week’s episode of the show “Kdo vam laže” (Who is Lying to You), the host Boris Tomašič hosted the President of the largest opposition party – the Slovenian Democratic Party (Slovenska demokratska stranka – SDS), Janez Janša, who commented on the current situation in Slovenia after more than a year of the current government being in office. Janša believes that the government has a great advantage by having such a large number of MPs, but it has not been able to take advantage of it, which is why, in his opinion, this is “a year of lost opportunities”. In the programme, he also revealed what the future holds for the SDS party and what challenges it will face, as well as whether it is planning any changes.

Given the size of the largest coalition party, the Freedom Movement (Gibanje Svoboda), and the size of the government coalition itself, plus the support of the 8-member opposition party New Slovenia (Nova Slovenija – NSi), which “is not very strict in monitoring what the members of the coalition are doing,” this is, according to former Prime Minister Janez Janša, “such a comfortable position to govern from that a lot could be done in one year, but if we look at what has actually been done, then we are looking at a year of missed opportunities.” Janša explained that the current government had set out to undo everything that had been done during his government’s mandate. However, they could not undo everything, he said. “The billions that people have earned or gained in the form of Covid-19 aid is something that they were not able to just suddenly take away, but instead, they are announcing higher taxes.” In the last year, Janša said, not only has there been no progress, but some solutions have even been scraped, and the bills are now coming. “They have postponed the implementation of the Long-Term Care Act, and now they are surprised that there is no money for nursing homes”, Janša pointed out, adding that this is not the only indication of the government’s destructive attitude towards the state.

The government has not visited a single region in a year

According to the former Prime Minister, the government is fuelling an ideological clash with everything it has done, like abolishing the State Office for Demography, the Museum of Slovenian Independence, the National Day of Remembrance for Victims of Communist Violence, all of which is poisoning the atmosphere in Slovenia to a great extent, which is further inflaming the people’s sentiments. On the other hand, the government has not visited a single Slovenian region during its time in office, while Janša’s government visited all Slovenian regions at least twice in two years, despite the pandemic. “Of course, such visits require extra effort from the government, ministers and the entire administration, but even when you announce a visit to a region, officials miraculously take things out of the drawers that were previously stocked,” added Janša, who said that when such announcements are made, “things are miraculously solved that have not been solved for years, and you also get a realistic picture of where the country is. However, in one year, the Golob government has not made a single such visit, and so it is no wonder that they do not know where they are going, that promises are being made, and timelines are being set, but then they are shifted, or they try to retrospectively change the promises – ‘let’s try to reduce the waiting times in healthcare by half,’ and when they actually increase, they then say – ‘just imagine what would have happened if nothing had been done, if nothing had been done.’ But I believe that if nothing had been done, things would have been better,” Janša said.

In 1997, membership in the United Nations Security Council was a big deal, but today, it is not anymore

When Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon recently praised Slovenia for becoming a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, Janša said that Slovenia was a non-permanent member of the UN for the first time in 1997, and at that time, it was considered a great success, because at that time Slovenia was not a member of any other international organisation. Today, it is 2023, and our country is a member of many international organisations, and it has even held the Presidency of the Council of the European Union twice, so in his opinion, this is not as big a success as they want to make it out to be. “If you don’t know who you are and even shoot yourself in the foot, then it is very difficult to help others, and nobody sees you as a relevant partner,” he explained. The TV show host then went on to point out another internationally damaging decision for Slovenia, namely, joining the group of countries opposed to the use of nuclear energy to reduce CO2, a view shared by the former Prime Minister, who explained that Slovenia had previously realised that CO2 was not the only source of pollution. “To just start believing overnight that in Slovenia, which is not the Sahara with sunshine 365 days a year, that we will be able to replace nuclear energy with solar energy, and even the energy from the Thermal Power Plant Šoštanj, is pure illusion,” the former Prime Minister believes.

When the host asked Janša what the SDS party’s position was on the construction of a second nuclear power plant in Slovenia, Janša replied that this was the only serious, credible source that would guarantee Slovenia’s energy supply. In his view, everything else is “an unrealistic idea and unattainable in some realistic time because we need energy tomorrow and not just in 20 and 30 years, when we might have fusion reactors.” He added that he had been in different configurations of the European Council and that the last such configuration had discussed a lot of different energy topics. “When you are sitting at a table with the prime ministers of other countries and the responsible people from the EU Commission, where there is no media and no experts, when it is clear who has what views, it is clear that this green energy lobby is, in fact, controlling the whole government configurations and a large part of the EU Commission, which is why we have adopted the same decision three times. It was not possible to change the formula for calculating the price of electricity, which was a bigger reason for the high cost of electricity than the war in Ukraine and the related problems,” Janša said, explaining that the European Council adopted a position and the EU Commission committed to changing the formula, but three months passed, after which a new form of the EU Council came in and the formula was still not changed, and this happened three times, and no one was held accountable for it.

The SDS party wanted to help the government, but they were refused

In response to the Golob government’s accusations that “the opposition is trying to make the work of the government more difficult” and that the previous government is to blame for everything, the SDS party President replied that with the referendums, they actually helped the government more than the other way around, because if the implementation of the Long-Term Care Act had been kept in place and not delayed, the government would not be having these problems with the rising costs of nursing homes today. “In three years’ time, nobody would know who proposed the referendum, the law would have been implemented, things would be running smoothly, and the current government would be pulling capital out of it,” said Janša, adding that they have been offered the same help with additional ministries, which the opposition actually advised against because it is easier to work with fewer people. He believes that the ideal number of ministries is 12, but that 20 ministries is more of a “joke” than a serious approach for a nation of two million people, noting that even Germany does not have that many ministries.

Tomašič then went on to say that the Slovenian economy is “cooling very fast” and that a year ago, we were the second fastest growing economy in the world, but today, economic growth has fallen, inflation is still above average, while industrial production has also fallen. From an economic perspective, Janša said that he was surprised by the fall in industry and said that if, say, the German government had recorded an 8 percent fall in industry, despite growth in other European countries, “the German Chancellor would have resigned the next day because the German economy would have demanded it.” Janša argued that, although the media in this country are not making a big deal out of it, this decline will not be able to stay covered up for long, because it will also have consequences. Solving the economic crisis was just one of a series of promises made by the current government, and the congestion on the roads and traffic jams, which the former Prime Minister believes will get worse in the future, have also caused quite a stir in recent days.

There is a difference between pro-government and real NGOs

And while the government is fully committed to civil society, as the latter has supported the government from the start, it is not talking to pensioners and Pavle Rupar, who has organised the last few major protests. Janša described the cycling protesters and others like it as pro-government or government organisations, because they are also funded by the government, while Rupar is not funded by the government. “The real civil society are traditional NGOs, even some modern new ones, but they are not dependent on the government, if you are dependent on the government, if you are running the same politics or the same campaign as the 8th of March Institute (Inštitut 8. marec) for the Left party (Levica) or the Freedom Movement, then that is not an NGO, it is a government organisation, a para-governmental organisation of the left,” he said.

Independent judiciary is a major problem for Slovenia

With all this, and after all the empty promises and bad, even worsening results, Tomašič believes that the media, who don’t even dare to pose specific questions to the Prime Minister or other government representatives, are the ones who have lost the plot. Tomašič is surprised by the fact that the media scene after thirty years is not better, but worse, while Janša claims that most of the media scene has gone back to the time of Yugoslavia, when a journalist was part of the regime, a social and political worker, to which he also attributes the ways of expressing of the pro-government media, such as the “liberation of RTV.” The former Prime Minister also blames the mainstream media for some of the government’s harmful moves, whose work also helped to bring down three useful referendums. “Slovenia has a big problem because the judiciary is using double standards in its work,” Janša warned of the problem with the Slovenian judicial system. The trust of Slovenians in the judiciary is the lowest in the European Union, which is something that the authorities are trying to hide in every possible way, according to Janša, but he also argued that one fact is that “Slovenia does not have an independent judiciary,” a glaring example being the case of the Ljubljana Mayor Zoran Janković, who even brags publicly that he “will not be convicted anyway.” Janša believes that such a thing could not happen in other, more democratically developed countries.

“We are a strong party, but practically the only opposition, and we behave accordingly,” said Janša, who also reminded the viewers that they are the only party that has existed for so long, and their experience and personnel potential have helped them to provide to the government a number of proposals that the government has not taken into account. He said that the SDS party is growing, it is also growing in numbers, but people are still not sufficiently aware of what is going on. “I hope that the coalition will last as long as it takes until the ability to make this comparison is obvious, and a result is in sight that will allow Slovenia to move forward and to correct what has been missed,” said the former Prime Minister, who will soon celebrate his 65th birthday – but nevertheless, the years will not stop him from continuing to carry out his work and his mission.

Tanja Brkić

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