Meet Slovenia's MEPs, 1/4: Irena Joveva (LMŠ) & Franc Bogovič (EPP/SLS + SDS)

By , 27 May 2019, 15:31 PM Politics
Irena Joveva (LMŠ) & Franc Bogovič (EPP/LS + SDS) Irena Joveva (LMŠ) & Franc Bogovič (EPP/LS + SDS) Twitter

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Joveva will promote the interests of young people in EU Parliament

Irena Joveva, 30, is a political newcomer and the youngest of all Slovenian MEPs. Leaving a career in journalism to stand in this year's EU elections, she has been criticised for lack of experience in politics, but defended herself by saying it is time for new faces and new approaches. Joveva, who holds a master's degree in international relations, started her career at the Slovenian Press Agency's home policy desk and received the Slovenian Journalists' Association's award for best young journalist in 2014. She then moved to private broadcaster POP TV to cover home affairs. Although many know her from the TV screen, she admitted the invitation to headline the ticket of the party of Prime Minister Marjan Šarec came as a surprise. She says experience is not the only thing that matters in politics, as those criticising her for the lack of it have many experiences but have failed to bring change for the better. Joveva, of Bulgarian and Macedonian descent, is a basketball fan and cheers for North Macedonia, except when they play against Slovenia.

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STA, 27 May - Irena Joveva, a former journalist who was elected MEP as the frontrunner of the ruling Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ), plans to promote social issues and the youth in the European Parliament. She would like to cooperate with parties and political groups that share LMŠ's views and are foremost pro-European.

Joveva is a political novice and the youngest Slovenian MEP to date. The 30-year-old former journalist called for a new mindset during the campaign.

Being the LMŠ's lead candidate, Joveva told the STA she had been relieved when she heard the election results. "It was very nice to see our percentage and especially the number of our MEP seats," she said.

The second candidate on the LMŠ's list, Klemen Grošelj, was also elected MEP in what was the first EU election for the party.

"I'll need some time to fully grasp what actually happened," she said.

She will not have a lot of time to process things though, as her first meeting with the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE) is scheduled for Tuesday.

She thinks it is too early to talk about her work in committees but she will be active in social affairs and the youth.

Being young herself, she feels she will be in a better position to advocate the interests of young people. But she will also promote the interests of the elderly, and deal with environmental issues, and common foreign and security policy.

She is open for cooperation with everyone and hopes Slovenian MEPs will be more united in this term. She would like new faces in politics to attract more people to the polls in five years.

The LMŠ won 15.58% in what was the first EU election for the party, which was founded just before the 2018 general election.

Franc Bogovič to focus on smart villages

Franc Bogovič, 56, was re-elected as the fourth-placed on the joint list of the opposition SDS and his People's Party (SLS). He was first elected MEP in 2014 on the joint New Slovenia (NSi) and SLS slate with preference votes from last place on the list. At the time, he was the SLS leader and an MP. As MEP, Bogovič, who has a degree in agronomy, has been active in promoting digitalisation in agriculture. Although he led the SLS for just over a year, he is a party stalwart as a founding member of the SLS's predecessor, the Slovenian Farmers' Union, established in 1988. Before being elected Krško mayor in 1998, a post he held for 13 years, he served as local councillor for nearly a decade, but first came to national prominence as a member of parliament in 2008-2011. After the snap election of 2011, he served as agriculture minister on Janez Janša's short-lived government for a year. When he took over the SLS in March 2013 from Radovan Žerjav, he steered it back to its rural roots and pursued a conciliatory policy that helped the party forge close ties with the NSi. He is married and has three children.

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STA, 27 May 2019 - MEP Franc Bogovič (EPP/SLS), who was elected for another term on the joint slate of the Democrats (SDS) and the People's Party (SLS), says he will continue his line of work in Brussels. "It takes a while before you get connected, before people get to know you and trust you," he said, adding that he would stay true to himself.

Bogovič would like to continue his work in the committee on agriculture and rural development, and on regional development. He would also like to join the transport and energy committee.

Apart from participating in the three committees, he plans to promote the project of smart villages, which he thinks sums up his efforts in the European Parliament so far.

According to Bogovič, funding for this project has been secured in the next multi-annual financial framework, and now these funds need to be phased. Slovenia should be a pioneer in this field, he believes.

He is confident that pro-European parties - the European People's Party (EPP), Socialists (S&D), liberals and the greens - will successfully form a coalition that will have a majority in the new parliament, form the new commission and continue with European projects.

"Together we will make sure Europe will be doing well and that those who come to the European parliament only to break the EU will remain marginalised."

Asked whether Brexit could still be prevented, he said this was a question primarily for the British. "There has been so many twists already that Europe does not understand them any more. I think they don't know what they're doing themselves and all this is not good for anyone."

Noting that the UK is one of the largest and most important economies, he expressed hope that it changes its mind about leaving.

All the articles in this series are here (if they're not online yet, come back soon, as this is just part one)

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