The covers and editorials from leading weeklies of the Left and Right for the work-week ending Friday, 23 November
Mladina: Slovenia’s weakness at applying for EU funds
STA, 22 November 2019 - The left-wing weekly Mladina criticises Slovenian ministries for doing a poor job of preparing projects eligible for EU funds. The only exception seems to be the Justice Ministry, which has led to a situation in which Slovenia will be building a massive EUR 68 million prison, but not much-needed retirement homes and not-for-profit flats.
The prison project has been in the works since the term of former Justice Minister Lovro Šturm (2004-2008), Mladina editor-in-chief Gregor Repovž notes, adding that experts have said it resembled a prison serving medieval inquisition.
But surprisingly, the project was continued by Šturm's successor Aleš Zalar, who had said that the situation in Slovenian prisons was so poor that the country was paying compensation to prisoners. And then Justice Minister Goran Klemenčič stated the most important reason: Slovenia could get EU funds for the project.
When the next EU financial perspective is being negotiated countries pitch their plans and Brussels approved for Slovenia EUR 50 million for prisons in Slovenia in this perspective.
So the Justice Ministry made a simple calculation: the EU funds can cover up to 75% of the investment, thus Slovenia will be building a EUR 68 million prison. The project and its price are not based on actual needs but on the amount of EU funds available.
"And the most absurd thing? If this project goes through, Slovenia will once again be good at drawing of EU funds and the Justice Ministry (and the Prison Administration) will be the golden birdie."
Slovenia could also be drawing EU funds for much-needed retirement homes, but not a single retirement home has been built in the country for 15 years. "Simply because the Social Affairs Ministry has not stepped up in the recent years."
"The same could be said for the Infrastructure Ministry, which has failed for the past 20 years to become more active in building public flats, creating a crisis for 20 people who are unable to buy their own flat."
This shows it is very important what sort of a person heads a ministry. "Because the Justice Ministry has had two strong ministers in recent years, we will be building a disproportionately big prison, but not retirement homes and flats."
Demokracija: Deep state should be voted out of office
STA, 21 November 2019 - The right-wing weekly Demokracija calls on "the good people" in Thursday's editorial to go to the polls in the next election to vote out of office "the bad guys" who are in power in Slovenia, which it says is ruled by the deep state.
The magazine gives several examples, including Ljubljana Mayor Zoran Janković's being untouchable for courts because he has "a membership card of the mafia deep state".
To join "this elite of first-class citizens", it takes publicly displaying hatred to opposition Democrat (SDS) leader Janez Janša, editor-in-chief Jože Biščak says.
But it is not enough to hate Janša, he and his SDS must also be excluded from public life, which Prime Minister Marjan Šarec did by not inviting him to a recent session of the National Security Council, says Biščak.
The leader of the largest opposition party was not invited to the session nor was he informed about it, which Biščak says amounts to a coupe d'etat with which the largest opposition party was excluded from parliamentary democracy.
Biščak sees similar "stiffness" at the Constitutional Court, which has recently prevented a hearing in parliament in which prosecutor Niko Pušnik could reveal "the mafia workings of the deep state" by explaining how State Prosecutor General Drago Šketa exerted pressure on him in a case related to former Maribor Mayor Franc Kangler.
"If the Government Palace has turned into a swamp under Šarec, then the Constitutional Court under its president Rajko Knez and the State Prosecution under Šketa and Zvonko Fišer are turning into a sewage system populated by rats. And these will never allow their comrades to be found guilty, giving each other immunity."
Biščak thus urges people to "clean Augeas' stables, to topple the bad boys ... so that a bad and corrupt government voted into office by the good people who do not go to the polls happens never again".
He says in the editorial Mafia Sends Cheques by Mail this is the only way "to give justice a chance and for mafia cheques to be no longer delivered by couriers."
All our posts in this series are here