Janša Ranges from Independence to COVID, EU & More in RTV Interview

By , 22 Jun 2021, 12:02 PM Politics
Janša Ranges from Independence to COVID, EU & More in RTV Interview Screenshot

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STA, 21 June 2021 - Prime Minister Janez Janša described arguments about political unity over Slovenia's independence 30 years ago as a "bad myth" in an interview with the public broadcaster on Monday, but acknowledged the people's unity as the key factor to the step.

In the interview ahead of the 30th anniversary of independence, Janša said those were "much more fateful, unrepeatable times" compared with today, but there was no difference when it came to the quality of political dialogue.

"Daily political battle may be fierce, but when national interests and key issues are at stake as independence was then or the combat against the epidemic is now, it would be in order to stand more united," said Janša, who served as defence minister 30 years ago.

Listing Slovenia's key achievements over the past 30 years, he noted Slovenia's being recognised as the world's 5th safest country, as well as becoming part of the EU, NATO, Schengen etc. "We're living in an exceptionally favourable environment historically," he said.

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Asked about the national recovery and resilience plan, Janša said the funds from the recovery fund would provide a big stimulus but Slovenia would need to create the bulk itself.

It is important "what and where we invest in", he said, holding out high hopes for the Digitalisation Council. If its plan of measures is realised, "Slovenia will be digital and much ahead of some other countries," said the prime minister.

The measure of success of Slovenia's presidency of the Council of the EU would be to "move what can be moved", noting absence of consensus over enlargement to the Western Balkans.

"If the EU does not expand, someone else will," he repeated, pointing to the influence of Russia and China in the region.

"The EU must decide whether to pursue the strategic goal it has set for itself or else this will be an unfinished project where there will be an elite club of countries and a periphery where various factors will be in conflict. I'm not for such a scenario."

Janša appealed to people again to get vaccinated against Covid-19, saying the proportion of the population's immunisation through vaccination in Slovenia and elsewhere would have to be raised to have a semblance of normality and in-class school in the autumn.

He does not think vaccination communication was a problem. "The problem is, though, that the epidemic was exploited to try to bring down the government, which was the main reason that some measures were not accepted in a united fashion."

Asked about obstacles in the appointment of Slovenia's European delegated prosecutors, Janša said it was a topic that only got publicity in Slovenia.

Asked about unlawful suspension of financing of the Slovenian Press Agency (STA), Janša challenged his TV Slovenija host: "Do you have a court judgement saying the government is violating laws?".

He said the government "secured funds in line with a law that was passed against our will. For the funds to be paid out, a contract will have to be signed and invoices sent."

He said STA director Bojan Veselinovič was a political appointee, accusing him of not wanting to sign a contract with the Government Communication Office and making a political scandal out of it, something that he said "all of you are helping him with".

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