Politics

27 May 2019, 08:43 AM

STA, 27 May 2019 - The conservative list of the Democrats (SDS) and People's Party (SLS) won Sunday's EU election in Slovenia ahead of two leftist coalition parties, but the conservative bloc lost some ground overall as voters delivered a mixed message that was neither a rejection of politics-as-usual nor an embrace of populism.

The SDS+SLS list won 26.5% of the vote and three MEPs, the coalition Social Democrats (SD) and Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) got two MEPs each with 18.6% and 15.6%, respectively, with the opposition New Slovenia (NSi) getting 11.1% and one seat.

MEPs Milan Zver, Romana Tomc and Franc Bogovič won re-election on the SDS+SLS slate, and Tanja Fajon was re-elected MEP for the SD. The remaining four will be novices.

Somewhat surprisingly, Milan Brglez, a former speaker of parliament, was elected second MEP from the SD slate thanks to preferential votes.

For the LMŠ, front-runner Irena Joveva and second-placed Klemen Grošelj were elected, while Ljudmila Novak will return to Brussels after ten years as the only deputy for the NSi.

The SDS declared resounding victory, with party leader Janez Janša stressing that this was the result of the only tie-up between two parties in this election, one which could also serve as a model for future ballots.

Speaking about the third election victory for the party in a year, Janša stressed that this was the only list to join forces for this election and deservedly won a plurality of the vote.

The LMŠ counts its performance a success as well, having risked it all by rejecting a joint liberal list with the Modern Centre Party (SMC) and Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB).

Prime Minister Marjan Šarec said the party had succeeded with a platform-based campaign instead of dealing with others. "We're also happy that this campaign proved to be successful for the parties which feel Europe, which do not ostracise."

The SD doubled their number of MEPs as Fajon, who will serve her third term, will be joined by Brglez, a political science professor who served as speaker of parliament in 2014-2018.

"I'm very happy that we've managed to double our seats and that we're going back with two MEPs... I hope we'll be able to form a progressive majority in the European Parliament, allowing us to achieve the changes we want," said Fajon.

The Left and DeSUS were major surprises, winning respectively 6.35% and 5.65% even though both were projected to be much closer to winning a seat and DeSUS having had an MEP in the 2014-2019 term.

But while Left leader Luka Mesec acknowledged the outcome was a disappointment, DeSUS leader Karl Erjavec said the result was not bad.

The other parliamentary parties performed dismally as well. The National Party (SNS) and the SAB were virtually tied at 4.01%. The Modern Centre Party (SMC) was far behind with 1.58%, having been overtaken by two green parties and the far-right Homeland League (DOM).

Overall, the election produced a slight shift as the conservative camp went from having five MEPs to four, with the liberal-left bloc picking up a seat thanks to the SD.

Analyst Andraž Zorko said the SDS was actually the loser of the election despite the overall win, as they will have one MEP less, while the SD may be considered the biggest winner, not only picking up an extra seat but nearly trebling the number of votes compared to five years ago.

The vote also allayed fears about a feared populist surge, as the most hard-line parties barely made a dent.

The populist SNS won a slightly smaller share of the vote than in last year's general election, an indication that it has limited appeal, while the hard-right Homeland League (DOM), which campaigned on a radically anti-immigration platform, got less than 2% of the vote.

Turnout, at 28.3%, was almost four points higher than in 2014 but still well below projections and significantly lower than in the EU on average.

Political analyst Marko Lovec blamed this on parties failing to provide good candidates: instead of fielding good candidates, Slovenian parties used the vote as an opportunity to resolve internal issues.

26 May 2019, 23:21 PM

STA, 26 May 2019 - The joint list of the Democrats (SDS) and People's Party (SLS) won Sunday's EU election in Slovenia ahead of two coalition parties, but the overall balance of power in the Slovenian EU Parliament has shifted to the left.

The SDS+SLS list won 26.5% of the vote and three MEPs, the coalition Social Democrats (SD) and Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) got two each with 18.6% and 15.6%, respectively, with the opposition New Slovenia getting 11.1% and one MEP seat.

MEPs Milan Zver, Romana Tomc and Franc Bogovič won re-election on the SDS+SLS slate and Tanja Fajon was re-elected MEP for the SD, but the remaining four will be novices.

Somewhat surprisingly, Milan Brglez, former speaker of parliament, was elected second MEP from the SD slate thanks to preferential votes.

For the LMŠ, front-runner Irena Joveva and second-placed Klemen Grošelj will serve in parliament, while Ljudmila Novak will return to Brussels as the only deputy for the NSi.

The SDS declared resounding victory, with party leader Janez Janša stressing that this was the result of the only tie-up between two parties in this election, one which could also serve as a model for future ballots.

Nevertheless, the conservative camp has gone from having five to four MEPs, as the SD picked up one more and the LMŠ got two in what was its first EU vote.

This was despite the fact that the Left and Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) narrowly missed the threshold, respectively with 6.35% and 5.65%, even though both were projected to be much closer to winning a seat.

The National Party (SNS) and Alenka Bratušek List (SAB) were virtually tied at 4.01%. The Modern Centre Party (SMC) was far behind with 1.58%, having been overtaken by two green parties and the far-right Homeland League.

The results are almost final, but several hundred mail-in ballot will be added to the tally in the coming days.

26 May 2019, 21:22 PM

STA, 24 May 2019 - The Prime Minister of North Macedonia Zoran Zaev and an economic delegation will start their two-day formal visit to Slovenia on Monday at the invitation of Slovenian Prime Minister Marjan Šarec. The visit is designed to strengthened the countries' economic cooperation.

 

The countries have successful relations, maintained at high-level bilateral as well as multilateral meetings, with Slovenia supporting North Macedonia in its efforts to join NATO and the EU.

Since last year's Prespa agreement, which resolved the name dispute with Greece, the Slovenian government has been pointing out that the EU should set the date at the June summit for the start of accession negotiations with North Macedonia.

The Slovenian government believes that North Macedonia has proven itself and demonstrated its resolve to join the EU by solving the long-lasting dispute as well as implementing numerous reforms.

Slovenia regards the strategy of Euro-Atlantic enlargement in the Western Balkans as a way of ensuring security and stability in the region and Europe.

On Monday afternoon Zaev will deliver a lecture titled The Republic of North Macedonia - Success Story at the Ljubljana International Institute for Middle-East and Balkan Studies (IFIMES).

Šarec and Zaev will then address on Tuesday the participants of the Slovenian-North Macedonian Business Forum hosted by the Slovenian Chamber of Commerce. The event will be attended by representatives of some 14 North Macedonian companies and the North Macedonian Chamber of Commerce.

The Parliamentary Speaker Talat Xhaferi of North Macedonia visited Slovenia in February, when Slovenia ratified a protocol on the accession of North Macedonia to NATO as the second country to do so after Greece. Since then, the protocol has been signed by a number of other countries as well, with North Macedonia expecting to become the 30th NATO member already this year.

25 May 2019, 09:40 AM

Mladina: Voters Should Reject Neo-Fascism on Sunday

STA, 24 May 2019 - Taking a look at the state of things in Europe, the left-wing Mladina says on Friday European nations are in for a tough task at this year's EU elections, urging them to vote for parties which could prevent a rise in neo-fascism.

The weekly says the European political class has made compromises in the manner of British PM Neville Chamberlain and has let happen all that a united Europe should have prevented.

All those who believed with all their heart in the European project as a post-WWII safety mechanism against fascism are angry with this kind of Europe.

Slovenian voters will have some hard choices to make on Sunday, also because parties have come up with many rather unconvincing candidates.

Judging by opinion polls, only three parties among the normal Slovenian political parties - those which reject both populism and neo-fascism - have a realistic chance of getting MEPs: the coalition Social Democrats (SD) and the Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) and the opposition Left.

Translated into political groups in the European Parliament, this means the Socialist and Democrats, ALDE and European United Left, says editor-in-chief Grega Repovž.

In principle, these are the parties, alongside the European Greens, which advocate the foundations of Europe and democracy and represent a bulwark against rising neo-fascism.

The stronger these groups in the European Parliament, the less possibility for Europe to fall into the abyss of fascism, as it did in the early 20th century.

The stronger these groups, the more likely the European People's Party (EPP) will not seek political alliances among the far-right groups.

Since the EPP will undoubtedly remain the strongest group, the elections are not about Europe becoming much better, but about not falling into the abyss again, Mladina says in the editorial headlined Above the Abyss.

Demokracija: A Stronger Border & Higher Pay for Police

STA, 23 May 2019 - Pointing out that police officers risk their lives while ensuring the country's security, the right-wing weekly Demokracija says in its latest editorial that they should be paid more for their efforts, including in strengthening the state and the EU's external Schengen border.

The weekly agrees with the Trade Union of Police Officers (SPS) and its president Kristjan Mlekuš about their take on the problematic situation at the Slovenian-Croatian border, saying that the union's reproval of the government is warranted due to the latter's inaction and lying about actively seeking new staff.

"Police officers are part of one of the most state-forming ministries... They should (like soldiers) be excluded from the public sector's pay system," says Jože Biščak, the editor-in-chief of the right-leaning weekly.

The commentary suggests the funds for their pay rise should be taken out of the amount allocated to NGOs, organisations which, according to the editorial, "would open borders and put citizens in danger" instead of protecting them.

"If they were allowed by the authorities, police officers would much rather be sent to the border and deter illegal migration than act as a fine collector with speed traps at straight road sections," says the editorial under the headline Life North of Kolpa, referring to the border river between Slovenia and Croatia.

Commenting on the state's refusal to strengthen the border security by sending more units and earmarking more funds, the weekly blames "the government's incompetence and incomprehensible empathy towards complete strangers" for the increasing amount of Arabs and Africans entering the country while Italy and Austria are closing its borders.

The EU elections are thus a way of giving one's support to parties which strive for security and preservation of national identities, tradition, culture and family values as well as "the advanced European civilisation", concludes the editorial.

All our posts in this series can be found here

24 May 2019, 17:41 PM

STA, 24 May 2019 - All the latest public opinion polls ahead of Sunday's EU elections see the joint list of the Democrats and People's Party (SDS+SLS) as the front runner, followed by the Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) and Social Democrats (SD).

New Slovenia (NSi), the Left and the Pensioners Party (DeSUS) also appear to be serious contenders for an MEP seat, while the prospects of the Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB) and National Party (SNS) seem to be more remote.

Overview of the latest public opinion polls ahead of the 26 May elections to the European Parliament

                 Ninamedia*  Valicon**   Parsifal***
SDS-SLS                25.0       22.1       16.4
LMŠ                    20.6       18.9       15.5
SD                     15.0       15.8       12.6
NSi                    10.4        7.7        3.3
Left                    8.3        5.9        4.1
DeSUS                   7.3        5.5        7.4
SAB                     4.3        5.0        2.8
SNS                     3.2        6.2        3.3
Greens of Slovenia      2.5        2.8        0.5
SMC                     1.5        4.0        0.2
Let's Connect           0.7        1.2        0.8
Good State              0.5        1.8        0.9
Homeland League         0.4        1.9        0.5
ZSi                     0.3        1.1        0.4
Don't know               /          /        28.9

*Ninamedia: projection based on telephone poll conducted between 20-23 May, 675 respondents
**Valicon: projection based on web panel survey on 21-22 May, 1,012 respondents
***Parsifal: poll conducted 20-22 May, 683 respondents, undecided voters included in final tally

24 May 2019, 17:19 PM

STA, 24 May 2019 - The Ibiza corruption scandal in Austria, the proposed setting up of mixed Slovenian-Italian border patrols and populism were the main topics of the last EU election debate aired by the public broadcaster RTV Slovenija on Thursday evening.

Commenting on the scandal that swept away the Austrian vice-chancellor and leader of the Freedom Party (FPÖ), Carinthian Slovenian Angelika Mlinar of the Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB) said the case illustrated that a state could not be build by populists.

Such parties are demolishing democracy, she said. Tanja Fajon of the Social Democrats (SD) agreed, adding that this was an attempt to destabilise the EU from the outside.

The top candidate of the Left, Violeta Tomić, believes the scandal has "blown the right populists' cover".

Gregor Perič of the Modern Centre Party (SMC) and Irena Joveva of the Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) strongly condemned the corruption scandal. New Slovenia (NSi) frontrunner Ljudmila Novak also called for zero tolerance for corruption and wondered who financed the left.

Romana Tomc of the joint list of the Democrats and People's Party (SDS+SLS) stressed the importance of the consequences of the scandal, that is the resignation of Heinz-Christian Strache.

Zmago Jelinčič of the National Party (SNS) said corruption was a reality. "Some get caught, others don't," he said, adding that Strache had probably gotten caught in a trap set up by intelligence services.

Igor Šoltes of the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) said that when he was in charge of the Slovenian Court of Audit several suspected cases of corruption had been detected. "But the problem is that nothing happens," he said.

All candidates said they had never been involved in corruption and than argued about which political pole controls the media.

The candidates of non-parliamentary discussed similar issues in a debate that followed that featuring parliamentary parties.

Gorazd Pretnar of the Greens said one way to eradicate corruption would be to limit the access of lobbyists to MEPs.

Urša Zgojznik of Let's Connect disagreed, and proposed protecting those who are discovering corruption.

Andrej Šiško of the far-right United Slovenia (ZSi) thinks MEPs should be dismissed for even the slightest slip, while Bernard Brščič of the Homeland League (DOM) would eradicate corruption by not having all the power concentrated in Brussels.

The candidates of the parliamentary parties also commented on the proposal by Foreign Minister Miro Cerar for joint police patrols on the border with Italy. Only the candidates of the LMŠ and SMC backed the idea.

Joveva (LMŠ) said this would be a sign of neighbourly cooperation, while Perič (SMC) said the move was to prevent Italy from following Austria's example and reintroducing checks on its borders with Slovenia.

Other candidates do not support Cerar's proposal. Tomc (SDS) thinks such patrols should be set up along the southern border with Croatia, which was echoed by Jelinčič (SNS).

Fajon (SD) too opposes patrols on the internal Schengen borders and calls for a joint migration policy. Mlinar (SAB) sees no point in the joint patrols on the Slovenian-Italian border.

Šoltes (DeSUS), Tomić (Left) and Novak (NSi) are not impressed either. "Let's protect our external borders, so internal borders could be open," Novak stressed.

The candidates of non-parliamentary parties also talked about populism and the future of the EU with Brščič (DOM) saying that populism was a positive thing. "We need less Brussels and more Europe, and that's exactly what we're offering," he said.

Pretnar (Greens) said the remains of the post-crisis extremism would be represented in the European Parliament but added that they posed no threat as no new crisis was on the horizon.

Zgojznik (Let's Connect) was quick to add that a new crisis was in fact on the horizon, an environmental crisis. She also warned against the so-called green populism.

24 May 2019, 11:39 AM

STA, 24 May 2019 - The decision of the governing board of the Traffic Safety Agency to propose dismissal of director Igor Velov was expected and justified, the newspaper Dnevnik says in Friday's commentary, adding that Velov hiding from the media who wants him to explain how he has damaged his car was inadmissible.

Velov has tarnished the reputation of the Traffic Safety Agency, which is one of the institutions that are the most responsible for traffic in the country, the paper notes in the commentary Traffic Safety Gets a Flat Tire.

He has certainly been the face of the agency, at least until the fateful Tuesday afternoon, when he disappeared from the reach of the public after appearing many times in the media to give advice about how drivers should behave in traffic.

Velov likes to appear in the media to speak about how people should sit at the wheel only when they feel physically and psychologically capable. "His voice haunts us through the radio waves as guilty conscience as we drive."

Velov was not capable of driving on Tuesday, when he damaged his car and had a flat tire in an unexplained "event". He was also caught speeding on 13 April on a heavily congested road in Kranj. "What does the advertisement say? Speeding kills."

The silence of the first man of traffic safety in Slovenia in the Flat Tire case is inadmissible, as he should be an example to other drivers.

"Right now, Velov resembles a priest who sermons about restraining from sexual intercourse before marriage, and after the mass goes to cuddle a little bit with the cook."

21 May 2019, 10:10 AM

STA, 20 May 2019 - A conference dedicated to cooperation with Latin America and the Caribbean kicked off in Ljubljana on Monday with calls for closer ties, not just in trade but also in areas such as science, education and culture.

"We share the commitment to active multilateralism, human rights, sustainable development, peaceful resolution of disputes and international law," Foreign Minister Miro Cerar said in his opening address.

He said these shared values needed to form the foundation of a transparent and predictable world order.

Cerar noted that EU foreign ministers last week adopted an action plan for the region that is based on four pillars: prosperity, which focuses on a green and circular economy, democracy, resilience, which is designed to strengthen economic, environmental and social resilience, and multilateralism.

The multi-day conference features officials as well as representatives of NGOs, scientists and researchers from the EU and Latin America and the Caribbean.

The opening day is dedicated to sustainable environmental policies and circular economy, the second major event, focusing on economic cooperation, will be held on Thursday.

Throughout the week, a workshop featuring experts will examine ways to strengthen cooperation in science and research.

More details of the events can be found here

20 May 2019, 15:46 PM

STA, 20 May 2019 - Marine Carobbio Guscetti, the speaker of the lower chamber of the Swiss National Assembly, met her counterpart Dejan Židan during her official visit to Slovenia on Monday with the pair lauding good bilateral cooperation and efficient use of Swiss contribution to cohesion funds in Slovenia.

Židan described Slovenia and Switzerland as two nations in an amicable relationship which cooperated well and ever more. Last year, bilateral trade topped EUR 2 billion, EUR 1.5 billion of which was in goods and EUR 0.5 billion in services, Židan noted, adding that trade was quite balanced.

He also welcomed growing numbers of Swiss visitors to Slovenia. Their number rose by 12% and the number of the nights they spent in Slovenia rose by 16% last year.

Židan said that he and Carobbio Guscetti also talked about Switzerland's contribution to EU cohesion funds, "which has been spent efficiently in several fields" in Slovenia.

On Sunday they visited the Josip Plemelj Primary School in Bled whose heating system had been overhauled under the REAAL (Renewable Energy Across the Alpine Land) project with the help of Swiss funds.

Židan also noted Switzerland's cooperation in the development of the oncology centre at the UKC Maribor hospital. The country has donated the centre two radiation devices and enables training of experts.

Carobbio Guscetti finds it "important to see the results of Swiss contributions in Slovenia". She too noted the good relationship between the two countries, and remarked that Switzerland ranks third in terms of foreign direct investment.

The speakers also discussed political developments, not only in Slovenia and Switzerland, but also in the EU and the Western Balkans.

They also talked about World Bee Day with Carobbio Guscetti commenting that she was happy to be in Slovenia on this day initiated by Slovenia, an initiative that Switzerland supported.

Židan and Carobbio Guscetti also took part in a round-table debate at the Slovenian National Assembly marking World Bee Day.

In the afternoon, the speaker of the Swiss National Council is due to meet President Borut Pahor, Prime Minister Marjan Šarec and Alojz Kovšca, the head of the upper chamber of Slovenia's parliament, and members of the parliamentary committees on foreign policy and EU affairs.

Carobbio Guscetti will also visit Maribor, Slovenia's second city, on Tuesday.

20 May 2019, 13:12 PM

STA, 20 May 2019 - The government has not yet presented the priorities for Slovenia's presidency of the Council of the EU in the second half of 2021, but the parties running for seats in the European Parliament have some ideas, although quite different ones, about the topics that should be prioritised.

The ruling Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) says it is too early to discuss priorities as these have to be set by all three countries from what is termed the presidency trio.

This is why Slovenia has already entered dialogue with Germany and Portugal, which will chair the Council 12 months before Slovenia.

A similar view is held by the opposition Democrats (SDS), which were in power when Slovenia presided over the EU for the first time in 2008.

The SDS says Slovenia, Germany and Portugal will jointly set long-term goals and produce a common programme of topics to be discussed from July 2020 to December 2021.

Nevertheless, security, defence and the protection of citizens, alongside demographic trends and the environment should top the list of the trio's priorities, says the SDS, which has a joint list of candidates with the non-parliamentary People's Party (SLS).

The coalition Modern Centre Party (SMC) would like topics such as a stronger social union, the rule of law, innovations, sustainable development and security challenges to be at the forefront.

Security and the related issue of illegal migrations was also highlighted as the first priority by the non-parliamentary Homeland League (DOM).

Prosperity should be the next on the list, says DOM, which also notes the EU's cohesion policy has not bridged the development gap between various EU regions.

Meanwhile, consistent respect for the EU and international law, protection of human rights and dignity, the establishment of a fully-fledged European Social Union and a fresh impetus for EU enlargement, remain key topics for Slovenia for the coalition Social Democrats (SD).

Climate change, poverty eradication and sustainable agriculture should also be prioritised, the party says.

Similarly, the coalition Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) believes Slovenia should provide for a fresh impetus to EU enlargement towards the Balkans.

It also believes the country should promote the good practices from home, such as solid environmental protection and enhanced solidarity.

The opposition Left believes EU presidency will be an opportunity to focus on reforms to make the EU more democratic, fight against tax havens, implement climate goals from the Paris Agreement by 2030, and to produce a green New Deal.

Slovenia could also promote some of its successful policies, such as the constitutional protection of drinking water and a minimum wage that is by 20% higher than the minimum costs of living.

The non-parliamentary Good State says Slovenia as the presiding EU country should highlight the respect for EU citizens and for the rule of law.

The Let's Connect list believes the four priorities should be "a green, safe, socially just and clean Europe".

The non-parliamentary Greens of Slovenia say Slovenia should focus on the CAP, environment, competition and technology.

Meanwhile, the coalition Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB) says Slovenia should highlight all EU advantages, but also do its best to enhance its own influence in the EU.

For the opposition New Slovenia (NSi), it would be good for Slovenia to build on the reputation of a leader in healthcare and in fighting cancer it earned during the 2008 EU presidency.

But environmental issues, including the protection of pollinators, as well as the development of agriculture and SMEs should also be in the focus.

The non-parliamentary United Slovenia believes the only priority should be "consistent efforts for overhauling the EU into a union of sovereign and free nations".

This would require a thorough reform of the EU's foundations, but the party believes interests of multinationals and capital should no longer be at the forefront.

The opposition National Party (SNS) doubts Slovenia has enough qualified staff to produce a good programme for EU presidency in the first place.

Still, it believes the country should bring up a number of problems during the presidency which have resulted from poor decisions taken by previous governments.

All our stories on the European Union are here

20 May 2019, 12:46 PM

STA, 16 May 2019 - Members of parliament have urged the government to help Venezuelans of Slovenian origin leave the country by immediately starting repatriation procedures as permitted by law.

The appeal came at a session of the parliamentary Commission for Slovenians Abroad in the midst of mounting media reports that many of the several hundred Venezuelans of Slovenian origin would like help from Slovenia to escape the hardship.

Minister for Slovenians Abroad Peter Jožef Česnik said he had already received several requests from people in Venezuela and urged immediate action to help them.

Since repatriation is a complex procedure, he said an interdepartmental task force should be formed to facilitate the procedure, while the government should provide immediate assistance in cash and medicines.

Interior Ministry data suggest 323 Slovenian citizens live in Venezuela, but the Office for Slovenians Abroad estimates there could be as many as 1,000 together with their families.

Dejan Valentinčič, an official at the Office for Slovenians Abroad, said the authorities needed to be flexible, as some documents, for example police clearance certificates, were very difficult to obtain.

Repatriation requires a government decree under article 72 of the act on relations with Slovenians abroad.

Slovenia plans to hold consular days in Caracas this month to provide advice to those who want to leave Venezuela.

Ambassador to Brazil Alain Brian Bergant will try to help them get the necessary documents if they want to leave the country, and collect information which will assist the government, the Foreign Policy Committee was told yesterday.

Delo reported today (May 16) that at least 17 people have already formally requested repatriation.

The plight of ethnic Slovenians in Venezuela has received significant media coverage in recent days and revived memories of the early 2000s, when many ethnic Slovenians returned from Argentina at the peak of a severe economic crisis there.

Related: How “Brazilian Fever” Led Many Slovenes to South America

Page 7 of 51

New Total Croatia Info Site

total-croatia-montenegro.jpg

Editorial

Photo of the Week

Photo galleries and videos

This websie uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.