The covers and editorials from leading weeklies of the Left and Right for the work-week ending Friday, 25 October
Mladina: Student work debate shows MPs out of touch with reality
STA, 25 October 2019 - Mladina, the lef-leaning weekly, is critical in its commentary on Friday of MPs and their disparaging comments about students as they were debating a rise in hourly wage for student work. Criticising students, while failing to make it easier for them to afford going to university, shows that MPs have no clue about the social reality of the country.
The weekly praises the coalition for increasing hourly wages for student work to EUR 4.56 nett, albeit by less than initially planned.
However, the discourse during the plenary debate was barely acceptable. If they had been talking about women, it would be chauvinism, if it were foreigners, it would be racism, Mladina editor-on-chief Grega Repovž says under the headline Students? A Pest?
MPs do simply not understand what a child, or two, at university means for an average Slovenian family. It calculates that two children studying in Ljubljana cost about EUR 1,000 a month, which is a lot of money even for a middle-class family.
Students work and they have expenses besides just housing and food. This is 2019 and there is nothing wrong with the notion that student life should not be complete misery.
Many MPs likely had to sacrifice a lot and work hard manual jobs in exchange for poor pay, while they were studying. "But this society has advanced, GDP has grown to EUR 22,000, and the standard of living has increased for students, just like for everybody else."
Most students do not work 170 hours a month, most work between 60 and 70 hours a month and make about EUR 300. Saying they represent unfair competition is obscene.
They are hired because they are more flexible, they can work weekends, when most full-time employees need to get childcare. What is more, students do not get paid extra for working weekends, nights and holidays, like full-time employees.
While a family with average income can barely afford to send two children to university, those leasing apartments to students in Ljubljana will on average make an additional EUR 2,400 in the coming year as a result of growing rents, the weekly says.
Of course, these rents are off the books so that flat owners can avoid paying tax. While MPs were not short on words in their criticism of students, did they take any measures against Airbnb to reign in the growth of rents?
"How many student dorms will be built next year? Hasn't the coalition given up on a property tax? Didn't the coalition just now lower tax on labour, especially for those with highest pay?"
Reporter: SOVA should be rebuilt from scratch
STA, 21 October 2019 – Reporter, the right-leaning weekly, takes the opportunity of the controversial hiring of an acquaintance of PM Marjan Šarec in SOVA (Slovenska obveščevalno-varnostna agencija) to say in its latest commentary that the national intelligence and security agency should be rebuilt from scratch as it has been completely discredited by politicians.
"SOVA should be demolished to the ground and then built anew," Silvester Šurla, the editor-in-chief of the right-leaning weekly says under the headline From a Target to Death.
Politicians who have been in power in the last three decades have completely "plucked and discredited this mysterious bird", he adds in reference to SOVA meaning an owl in Slovenian.
The secret service which should protect the interests of the state has been the grounds for political battles, with SOVA being hit by scandals under every government. Its agents have even been on strike and the agency has become a "caricature of itself, a disgrace for the country."
Each government has been employing their people in the agency following the party affiliation or family lines, with the first public call for applications being published only this year. "A bunch of rotten eggs have ended up in SOVA's nest."
In this "spy brothel", there are few innocent politicians who would be without a sin, and the battle for SOVA, for who will use it and (probably) abuse it for their political goals, is actually a battle for power.
"Politicians who should act from the position of statesmen towards SOVA, they engage in politicking. And then everybody are surprised by intelligence information produced by SOVA having practically no applicable value."
All our posts in this series are here