STA, 24 October 2019 - David Tasić, a former journalist of the weekly Mladina, a publisher and one of the four political convicts in the JBTZ trial, a key event in the mosaic of Slovenian independence, has died, the newspaper Delo reported on Thursday.
Tasić was born in Kurševac, Serbia, in 1962. Between 1981 and 1989 he was a journalist and editor for Mladina.
He covered political events in Slovenia and Yugoslavia, and opened up topics that were considered taboo at the time. His feuilleton on Goli Otok, an island in Croatia where Yugoslav authorities deported political prisoners, raised a lot of dust.
On 31 May 1988, Janez Janša, a Mladina journalist at the time, and private Ivan Borštner were arrested for leaking a military document. Four days later, on 4 June 1988, Tasić and the magazine's editor-in-chief Franci Zavrl were also arrested.
The arrests led to the formation of a committee for the protection of Janša's rights, which later evolved into the Human Rights Committee, which organised mass protests against trying civilians in a military court and against the trials being held in the Serbian language, the language used in the Yugoslav People's Army.
At the end of June 1988, the Yugoslav People's Army court sentenced Borštner to four years in prison, Janša and Zavrl to 18 months, and Tasić to five months.
In mid-October 1988, the Military Supreme Court in Belgrade upheld the sentences and raised the punishment for Tasić to ten months, but none of the defendants served out their full sentences.
Apart from energising the fight for human rights, the JBTZ trial - named after the initials of the four defendants - spurred pluralisation and speeded up Slovenia's transition to independence and democracy, which is known as Slovenian Spring.
Tasić left Mladina in 1989 and went on to set up one of the first independent private publishers in Slovenia, Založba Karantanija. Since 1999, he focussed on studying phaleristics and kept a low public profile.
Taking to Twitter, Janša, who now leads the opposition Democrats (SDS), said Tasić "was a hero of the Slovenian Spring in 1988 and 2014, a good and upright man, and a fighter for freedom and light".
Zavrl told the STA that Tasić "was extremely honest and uncorrupted, and did not tolerate injustice. As a journalist he was always polite, yet also critical."
He sees Tasić's role in the JBTZ scandal as extremely important: "He was at the very centre of developments. He had the courage to take this little stone - which the
STA, 10 October - Right-wing parties organised a rally in Ljubljana Thursday afternoon, headlined Save Slovenia. Protestors, who filled the Prešeren Square, called against corruption and expressed their dissatisfaction with Prime Minister Marjan Šarec.
Organised by the non-parliamentary People's Party (SLS) and former Maribor mayor and upper chamber member Franc Kangler, the rally was also backed by the Democrats (SDS), the biggest opposition party, as well as several non-parliamentary parties and civil initiatives.
In his address to what the SLS said were 5,000 protestors, Kangler talked about unequal treatment. Millions of euro of debt have been written off for some people, while others are being punished for helping out a neighbour, he said.
He also accused the government of disrespecting the Constitutional Court and called on Šarec to resign. Slovenia needs a prime minister who shows respect for everybody, not just "first class" citizens. "Enough is enough," he said, adding "it smells like spring" in a reference to the start of Slovenian independence efforts dubbed as the Slovenian spring.
SDS head Janez Janša also addressed the protestors, saying the rally was about making a stop to double standards and the deep state. "This is the beginning of the end of anti-Slovenian comedy... After today, nothing will be as it was."
He called for debt write-offs to "first-class" citizens to be audited, that privileges for some be weeded out of the pension system, a complete block on the border for illegal crossings and lustration of corrupt judges.
He also called for de-centralisation of state institutions, more money for municipalities, abolishment of unnecessary agencies and funds, a drastic reduction in the number of regulations, order in health care, among other things.
Janša also demanded responsibility of those who stole from state-owned banks twice, laundered terrorist money in them and shamed Slovenia around the world.
The SDS head said the protestors will insist on their demands, coming together again next time in even greater numbers and not only in Ljubljana, but across the country.
Other speakers also took the floor; demanding the resignation of Environment Minister Simon Zajc, whose department is viewed as having failed to control bear and wolf populations in Slovenia, and criticising the government's ineffectiveness in shoring up illegal migrations.
At the rally, signatures were also collected under a petition listing the protestors' demands.
Before the rally, the key organisers were received by upper chamber President Alojz Kovšca, after which a mass for the homeland was given in the Franciscan Church in Prešeren Square, followed by a concert of patriotic songs.
Kako lep je danes Prešernov trg, ovit v slovensko zastavo ??? pic.twitter.com/wL5UzSxJOy— Ana Zagožen (@AnaZagozen) October 10, 2019
STA, 20 July 2019 - Democrats (SDS) head Janez Janša hailed the opposition party's election results in the past year and criticised the current government as he addressed the starting gathering of the SDS's traditional two-week summer camp near Bovec.
The largest get-together for the party's rank-and-file, held at Bovec airport, heard Janša celebrate the SDS's results in the last general, local and European elections.
"It is hard to be unhappy if you post three victories in three elections," he said, while acknowledging that only the local elections truly resulted in the party participating in decision making.
Začel se je tradicionalni že 24. poletni tabor SDS in Gorniškega kluba dr. Henrika Tume. Vabljeni, da v okviru tabora z nami osvojite ponos slovenske države Triglav in kraljico slovenskih gora Škrlatico. #SDSzate Več o programu na: https://t.co/zmnHMkO1vv pic.twitter.com/bw7wXRsXVo— SDS (@strankaSDS) July 20, 2019
The government was formed after the general election by the losers of the election, he argued, suggesting that this was not usual "in normal democracies".
"Slovenia is not at that stage yet," he said, saying the government should be in the hands of the one who earned the most trust in the election.
Janša nonetheless believes that the party has emerged out of these developments stronger, saying it got 2000 new members, including many young people.
Meanwhile, he also touched on the situation in the European political arena. He said that while the cards are being mixed anew there, Slovenia is again showing too little ambition and is not being considered a serious player on the European map.
"This also has negative consequences when it comes to securing projects, seats in European institutions, for the country's reputation and for foreign investment," Janša said.
Moreover, he was critical of the choice of Slovenian's Ambassador to the EU Janez Lenarčič as the Slovenian candidate for EU commissioner.
He said the choice was mostly guided by the wish to put forward somebody who would not endanger anyone at home, irrespective of their prospect for benefiting Slovenia in any way in the EU.
The SDS's camp involves various activities, including several hikes, among them to Mt. Triglav on 27 July.
All our stories on the SDS are here
STA, 30 April 2019 - The Ljubljana Local Court has drastically reduced the fine originally issued to the opposition Democrats (SDS) in connection to the first of two violations of the political parties act, while only issuing a reprimand as opposed to a fine in connection to the second, shows a report by the weekly Demokracija.
The SDS, which has made headlines over two contentious loans it took out in 2017, was indicted by the Court of Audit in March 2018 and found guilty by the local court earlier this year, but reports about the details have been conflicting.
The Local Court, which maintains that the largest parliamentary party broke the law in both cases, has revised upon the SDS's appeal both of its original verdicts reached in fast-track procedure.
While it originally ordered the party to pay EUR 20,000 and its head Janez Janša EUR 2,000 over a EUR 60,000 loan illegally taken out from the publisher Nova Obzorja, it later reduced the fines to EUR 4,200 and EUR 500, respectively.
The SDS told the STA that it is also not happy with the revised verdict and is challenging it at the Higher Court.
The party will on the other hand probably not appeal the revised decision of the Local Court in the segment of the case pertaining to a EUR 450,000 loan taken out with Bosnian citizen Dijana Đuđić.
The court initially issued a EUR 4,200 fine to the party and EUR 450 to Janša, but later decided to only issue a reprimand and have them cover the costs of the court procedure.
Parties can only borrow from banks and savings banks, or a limited amount from individuals. The Đuđić loan vastly exceeded this amount.
The SDS returned the first instalment, EUR 150,000, it had already received from the then 32-year-old Bosnian immediately after the Court of Audit's opinion, which the Local Court listed as a mitigating circumstance. It also noted that the loan agreement had been approved by a notary.
April 9, 2019
Last week ended with news of a strange diplomatic move on the side of Hungarian government, whose diplomatic representative to Slovenia, Edit Szilágyiné Bátorfi, sent a verbal note of protest (an official diplomatic tool of interstate communication) to the Foreign Ministry of Slovenia, demanding it “prevent” further “politically irresponsible” “incidents” on the side of the Slovenian media. The note was prompted by the cover of Mladina magazine depicting Hungarian president Viktor Orbán in a Nazi salute, guarded by three Slovenian SDS party members, all in presumable reference to the SDS’ struggles to prevent Orbán’s Fidezs from being kicked out of the European People’s Party. “We give up Europe, but we don’t give up Orbán”, read the title.
Over the weekend, media outlets in Slovenia that are part-owned by Hungarian interested that were established and run by sympathisers of the Janez Janša and members of his SDS party, issued a series of articles, that praise the formal and informal Hungarian protests and criticise the Slovenian government and Slovene Association of Journalists (SAJ) for having double standards with regard to media freedom. As a proof of the latter, Demokracija reminds readers of its own cover, which was not that long ago a target of criticism by both the SAI and the government for “spreading hate speech”, since, according to Demokracija, “these terms are arbitrarily defined by the left political pole”. Furthermore, Demokracija emphasised that following a “really tasteless depiction of a foreign country’s prime minister”, Mladina then “instead of normal communication, which would become a supposedly serious news media” went on to make jokes on account of the Hungarian ambassador’s protest.
Before news of the official diplomatic note of protest broke, it was only known that the ambassador had sent an awkwardly assertive letter to the magazine, expressing “a protest against the way in which Prime Minister of Hungary was depicted”. Also in this letter the Hungarian ambassador wondered whether Mladina’s goal was to “stoke hatred among nations”, reminded the editor that such “distortions of truth” are “especially severe and unacceptable in times of election campaigns”, and concluded with an appeal to Mladina “to stop the negative campaign against Hungary”, since “you offend millions of people by doing so”.
Mladina then responded with another, “corrected” version of the cover and an “apology” letter by the cover’s author, Tomaž Lavrič. Lavrič, the no. 1 Slovenian comic book artist who received a Medal of Merit for his Exceptional Contribution in the field of Slovenian Illustration, as presented by President Borut Pahor in 2015, along with the Prešeren Foundation Award in 2017, has collaborated regularly with Mladina as its “house caricaturist” since his first Diareja strip in 1988.
Much Honourable Madam Ambassador of the Republic of Hungary,
Accept my sincere and profound apology for a rude and completely untruthful depiction of your president Mr. Orbán on the cover of Mladina, which justifiably instigated your feelings of indignation and sadness.
After reading your concerned letter, I turned inside myself and realised my fault. I know that the anguish caused cannot be erased, but in my defence allow me nevertheless to explain that I myself am also just an innocent victim of objective circumstances. Let me point my finger at the real culprits of this undesirable scandal. These are:
I am urging you, madam, not to give up on us, but to continue to kindly help us with your advice and benevolent criticism, so that we too can achieve an exemplary state of objectivity and speak in one voice, as you have managed to establish in the Hungarian media, and that one day we too can live our lives under the rule of order and peace, national purity and Christian love for all the people behind the wire fence, as commanded by your mild and righteous beloved leader V. Orbán.
With all due respect,
Tomaž Lavrič, house caricaturist
To explain the main problem behind the “outrageous” cover of Mladina, Demokracija also quoted the Hungarian government spokesperson Zoltán Kovács: “It’s an outrage and unacceptable first and foremost to the memory of the victims of that horrible period [World War 2]. Little surprise that the leftist editors at Mladina dislike the policies of the Orbán Government, but comparing the events of today’s Europe with the Nazi era trivialises what really happened in that dark time. (…) According to the author, Hungary’s firm opposition to immigration under the Orbán Government and our determination to protect European culture, which is deeply rooted in Christianity, is akin to the notorious German concept of Lebensraum.”
To understand the line of deduction here one might perhaps begin with the premise outlined by Milan Zver, MEP (depicted kneeling on the cover of Mladina) in his 2017 speech at the Pan-European Memorial for the Victims of Totalitarianism in Brussels: “Slovenia is the only state in the EU that has survived all three totalitarianisms: Fascism, Nazism and Communism. While the first two have practically disappeared, the process of the degradation of Communism has been too slow.” To paraphrase, we should not worry much about Nazism and Fascism, they are history. The Nazism of today is Communism, everything else is freedom fighting.
Furthermore, Kovács writes that “while everyone has the right to express an opinion, there’s also the matter of discretion and professionalism” and notes that Mladina’s function used to be the one of a “mouthpiece of the youth wing of the Communist Party”. Surely the Hungarian government spokesperson is aware of the fact that the lack of “discretion and professionalism” on the side of Mladina’s editors allowing for “juvenile and cynical” behaviour of its journalists has a long history which includes the imprisonment of three of its journalists (and one YPA sergeant) by the Yugoslav People’s Army in 1988, one of whom being no other than the leader of the SDS and admirer of Viktor Orbán’s policies, Janez Janša. At the time the arrests sent people onto the streets and launched Janez Janša’s career as a hero.
Another article by Nova24TV that followed on Monday, takes a similar path with regard to newspeak on contemporary sources of totalitarian danger. The author finds the Hungarian diplomatic protest “reasonable” since “if you were labelled Nazi by the media in the former Eastern bloc, which also included Hungary and Slovenia, it meant you were already on your way to gulag or being covered by soil. Also in Slovenia. The reaction [to the Hungarian reaction] bares a witness that this tradition is still alive. When a leftist weekly calls you a fascist, you aren’t even allowed to express your disagreement.”
If we may interrupt this narrative with a little correction – while Hungary was part of the Eastern Bloc and one of the Soviet satellites, Slovenia was not really, and certainly not since the Tito-Stalin split of 1948. Nova24TV then continues with a speculation on possible reasons behind the “panic on the left”, caused by the Hungarian diplomatic note of protest: “it is probably a combination of pre-election time, when the left is hoping for new voters with the use of an old policy of attacking external and internal enemies (fascists and such) and fear, because Orbán in fact exposes their modes of handling and controlling the media.”
Following this, Nova24TV published another article in full support of Generation Identity, a far-right movement associated with the recent “lone wolf” terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, titled “The Truth is our Weapon Against the Mainstream Media Lies”.
STA, 22 March 2019 - Janez Janša has announced that his Democratic Party (SDS) will ask the Constitutional Court to review the supplementary budget for the year arguing that it poses a major risk for Slovenia.
Making the announcement via his Twitter profile, Janša said the revised 2019 budget is "evidently unconstitutional" and "structurally the worst since 2009 and 2010".
"It dangerously exposes Slovenia to great risk at a time of an economic downturn. We will demand a constitutional review," Janša tweeted, without disclosing any further details.
Sprejeti rebalans proračuna 2019 je evidentno protiustaven. Strukturno pa najslabši po letih 2009 in 2010. Slovenijo nevarno izpostavlja velikemu tveganju v času ohlajanja gospodarske rasti.— Janez Janša (@JJansaSDS) March 22, 2019
Zahtevali bomo ustavno presojo. #proračun #fiskalnopravilo #ustavnapresoja
The revised budget, passed by the lower chamber in a revote on Wednesday following the upper chamber's veto, projects 6.2% higher revenue than in the original budget, at EUR 10.35bn, and 4.8% higher expenditure, at EUR 10.16bn. The surplus is projected to stand at EUR 193.6m.
The Fiscal Council issued a negative opinion on the budget due to excessive expenditure and a lack of reform measures. The general government expenditure for the year is budgeted EUR 1.13bn above last year's, while the fiscal rule law effectively caps the increase at EUR 870m.
Responding to Janša's tweet, Finance Minister Andrej Bertoncelj repeated his position that the budget was optimal given the circumstances, noting that the budget surplus was quite high at 0.6% of GDP.
He said that there was no need to beat the drum, something that he said was a view voiced by the Fiscal Council's chair Davorin Kračun.
"After the long years in which we generated a deficit of 24 billion euro, we have a budget surplus this year. We are also actively reducing public debt, and we are even the most successful country in the eurozone in doing so," the minister said.
He conceded that Slovenia had a slight structural deficit, which he said the government planned to tackle with structural measures over the next three years.
"If you have a surplus, if you are reducing debt and implementing structural measures and reforms, why would you need to beat the drum," Beroncelj wondered.
"Things are perfectly under control," said Prime Minister Marjan Šarec, commenting from Brussels, arguing that Janša was trying "to create political turmoil again", which he said made no sense.
A constitutional review as proposed by Janša may be initialled by the National Assembly or a third of deputies, the National Council or the government, and depending on the substance matter also by the human rights ombudsman, the information commissioner, the central bank and the Court of Audit.
Other qualified petitioners are the state prosecutor general, the representative body of a local community or a representative association of local communities or a representative trade union.
The petitioners cannot ask for a review of regulations or general acts that they have adopted themselves.
If the SDS was to file the request as a group of one third of deputies, it would need the support of at least one more opposition party, considering the party has 25 seats in the 90-member assembly.
Apart from the SDS, New Slovenia (NSi) also voted against the supplementary budget, while the National Party voted in favour.
In the parliamentary debate on the budget, the SDS noted that the government failed to heed the warnings by the Fiscal Council that expenditure was excessive, and that the document did not foresee reforms.
Commenting on the proposal for a constitutional review, the NSi said that it had already warned of the supplementary budget's unconstitutionality in parliament.
The party tweeted that it would discuss potential measures to deal with the unconstitutional situation with legal experts next week and decide on further steps.
SNS leader Zmago Jelinčič told the STA the party would not supply its signatures in support of a constitutional review of the budget.
"This is Janša's solo campaign, we haven't discussed that," said Jelinčič, adding that it was Janša's attempt to topple the government, which he said was not good.
According to constitutional jurist Lojze Ude, it is not very likely that the Constitutional Court would find the supplementary budget in breach of the constitution.
He does not think the budget is violating the fiscal rule, enshrined in Article 148 of the constitution, which provides that general government revenue and expenditure must be balanced over the medium term.
Jurist Matej Avbelj of the European Faculty of Law disagrees with the view. He told the Odmevi news show on TV Slovenija last night that the supplementary budget contravened the fiscal rule and thus the constitution.
He said that the general government expenditure exceeded the scope defined by the fiscal rule, while it also constituted a violation of Slovenia's commitments under the EU fiscal compact.
Fiscal Council chair Kračun told Odmevi that the supplementary budget did not comply with the article of the fiscal rule law which prescribed the formula for securing a mid-term fiscal balance, but that it was impossible to assume based on one year alone whether the government was in breach of the constitution.
He did say though that the risk of a breach of the constitutional provision was increasing. Ude told the STA today that he agreed with Kračun.
You can keep up with Slovenian politics and find all our related stories here
STA, 20 March 2019 - Twenty-five years to the day, undercover police agent Milan Smolnikar was brutally arrested action-movie style by four Defence Ministry agents, an instance of military interference with the civilian sphere and an event that continues to affect Slovenian politics to this day.
The incident known as the Depala Vas scandal (Afera Depala vas), for the village not far from Ljubljana in which it took place on 20 March 1994, invited differing interpretations and eventually into a fully-fledged conspiracy theory.
It was followed by months of tensions between the defence and interior ministries, deepening political divisions only three years after Slovenia gained independence.
A day after the incident, the Defence Ministry explained Smolnikar, a former Defence Ministry employee, was suspected of divulging a military secret.
An inquiry ordered by then Prime Minister Janez Drnovšek found on 23 March that by arresting Smolnikar the Defence Ministry had overstepped its powers.
Based on this, Drnovšek assessed the Smolnikar case amounted to a military interference with the civilian sphere and asked parliament to dismiss Defence Minister Janez Janša, a prominent independence figure.
Nine days after the incident, Janša was dismissed by parliament and replaced by Jelko Kacin, presently Slovenian ambassador to NATO.
Janša rejected all allegations, stance he has never changed, arguing the government inquiry was but a cover for a long-planned politically-motivated decision to replace him.
He also claimed Smolnikar, who ended up in hospital after the attackers took him to the seat of the military intelligence service, was no ordinary civilian.
Once Janša was dismissed, his party, which has since been renamed the Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS), moved into the opposition.
His dismissal made his supporters take to the streets, while Smolnikar's arrest prompted protests due to military interference in the civilian sphere.
Fuelling divisions in the country in general, the scandal deepened the already bitter antagonism between Janša and then President Milan Kučan.
Janša believes Kučan, the leader of the Slovenian Communist Party before Slovenia's independence, was the mastermind behind the scandal and the attempt to get rid of him.
This is also a view held by TV Slovenija journalist and historian Jože Možina, the author of a 2014 documentary on Depala Vas.
Možina sees it as a way of curtailing the growing influence of the democratic forces which had spearheaded independence efforts and which Janša symbolised.
"Now we know the manner in which Janša was to be removed was made by a special agent of the Yugoslav secret military service KOS Radenko Radojčić, whom Slovenian military intelligence agents had brought from Belgrade," he told the STA.
According to Možina, it is unclear whether Kučan was the only one behind the scheme "and to what extent he had been encouraged to remove Janša by plottings and insinuations about a military coup d'etat ... fabricated by agents loyal to the nomenclature".
"With the Depala Vas scandal, 1994 was a milestone in that the structures of the former regime managed to stop the process of losing power in all spheres of society, which started with the first democratic elections in 1990," he said.
Meanwhile, Ali Žerdin, the editor of Delo's Saturday Supplement and commentator, said the scandal "was and still is important to understand key principles of political culture" in Slovenia.
"It became clear in 1994 that part of the Slovenian defence system did not understand that the army should not engage with civilians," he told the STA.
The Depala Vas scandal eventually made it to court. In 2003, Smolnikar's attackers were cleared of the charges of having arrested him in a horrendous manner.
Smolnikar's car had been stopped by three vehicles, and since he had locked himself in it, the attackers smashed the car windows with guns. He was then handcuffed.
Marred by a series of appeals, the Depala Vas case fell under the statute of limitations on 20 March 2004 without justice being served.
This is one reason why the circumstances of the event remain moot, creating space for speculations and feeding into the persistent divide between the left and the right.
All our stories on Janez Janša are here
STA, 17 March 2019 - Opposition Democrats (SDS) president Janez Janša has told the Croatian newspaper Jutarnji list that the Slovenia-Croatia border arbitration decision is legally binding but that it still allows for a bilateral agreement on a section of the border or its entirety. He also argued Hungary's Victor Orban "has a historically correct stance on migration".
Janša, whose SDS won the 2018 general election but was not able to form a government, said that the border dispute between Slovenia and Croatia, two newly created states, is "one of the most specific situations in history".
He argued that "according to all realistic assessments", the international arbitration tribunal's June 2017 decision on the border "is in Croatia's favour and to the detriment of Slovenia".
"Still, Croatia is rejecting it and Slovenia is insisting on it," Janša said.
He said the SDS and "almost half of Slovenian voters" had rejected the arbitration agreement, "because we predicted things would evolve the way they did".
"I believe two wise governments could find a relatively elegant way out of this situation in the future," the former prime minister added.
Janša feels that some manoeuvring space exists that would allow Croatia to get a bilateral agreement and Slovenia a border that would make more sense than the one determined in arbitration.
Commenting on the political situation in Slovenia, he said the minority government was fully dependent on "the extremist Left" and labelled the revised 2019 budget too wasteful.
As for the EU, he urged stabilisation and a greater voice for small member states like Croatia and Slovenia.
Janša expressed support to European People's Party (EPP) Manfred Weber as the EPP's spitzenkandidat, while arguing he preferred the EU development vision of Germany's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) head Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer to that of "socialist and liberal" French President Emmanuel Macron.
Janša is convinced that the label of populism is being abused due to large coalitions at the German and European level that are looking "for some kind of third enemies", while adding nationalism can also present a problem.
Moreover, Janša believes that European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, who he feels should not be interfering in party politics, has started a conflict with Hungarian PM Viktor Orban within the EPP.
He highlighted the strong support for Fidesz in Hungary and argued that Orban "has a historically correct stance on migration".
As for a potential Fidesz exclusion from the EPP, Janša compared the gay rights efforts of EPP members from the north of Europe to Fidesz's policies. While the SDS is opposing LGBT adoption, it is not demanding that parties supporting it should be excluded from the EPP.
The EPP needs both the Christian socialists from Luxembourg and Hungary's Fidesz, since this is the only way for it to be strong and influential, Janša added, saying most serious EPP members expected a compromise solution and a fully preserved EPP.
All our stories on Slovenian politics can be found here
STA, 9 March 2019 - Addressing a ceremony marking 30 years since the formation of the Democrats' (SDS) precursor, Janez Janša said the SDS had stayed true to itself, its values and Slovenia even in the most challenging times. "The SDS stands for democracy and is against any totalitarianism," the party head stressed in Ljubljana on Saturday.
Janša said the party was therefore always ready to cooperate with anyone who shared this view for the benefit of Slovenia. "A party that votes against the European Parliament's resolution on European conscience and totalitarianism is not a democratic party," he added.
In the light of the EU elections, Janša stressed the importance of the EU and its future. "Perhaps never in the years since independence in 1991 have we celebrated our birthday in a time when the future ahead was so open and unpredictable. So many different possibilities lie before us. Not all of them are good," he said.
According to Janša, there is a time for every community, every nation when they need to reconsider their place in the world and such a time has come for Europe.
"The EU is strong because it gives priority to rules and the rule of law and not the rule of the stronger," Janša said, adding that the biggest threat to the rule of law were double standards.
One of such example is when EU institutions very quickly detect "actual or imaginary violations in some member states, especially in those where conservative or Christian democratic parties are on power," he said.
Janša believes it is time to opt for "a Europe that Slovenians voted for in the 2003 referendum, a Europe of European civilisation and culture that protects human rights and fundamental freedoms."
The SDS head believes that the key challenge of the new European Parliament after the economic and migration crises and Brexit will be political stabilisation, which will entail upgrading the EU's defence system and monetary policy.
Touching on the EPP's threats that Hungary's Fidesz may be expelled from the group, Janša expressed hope that "this argument in our family will be resolved as soon as possible with a smart compromise, without using force."
He believes the EPP should focus on ways to ensure prosperity for all in Europe, protect the borders and provide for the security of Europeans.
The SDS celebrates today the anniversary of the founding of the Slovenian Democratic Union (SDZ) and the Social Democratic Union of Slovenia (SDZS), which are considered its precursors.
The two parties emerged from the so-called spring movements, calling for democratisation and Slovenia's independence.
Janša said that when the two parties merged the "biggest and the most successful party in Slovenia's history" had been formed, which had so far won eight elections.
For three decades, the party has been "the main pillar of Slovenia's independence, an indivisible part of the fight for democratic transformation and Slovenia's inclusion in the European civilisation's flows," Janša said.
The event at the Cankarjev Dom centre was also addressed by the European People's Party (EPP) Spitzenkandidat for the EU vote, Manfred Weber, who warned against the danger of nationalism in Europe.
Europe is much more than just laws and must provide concrete answers to concrete challenges, including migrations, he said. He also stressed the importance of a shared culture that is based on Christian values.
STA, 8 March 2019 - The Ljubljana Local Court has slapped the opposition Democrats (SDS) with a fine of EUR 20,000 for violating the political parties act in the hiring of two loans, the commercial broadcaster POP TV reported on Friday. SDS head Janez Janša was slapped with a EUR 2,000 fine. The party has reportedly already announced an appeal.
The SDS was indicted by the Court of Audit in March 2018 over two contentious loans it took out in 2017.
The party came under fire in January 2018 for closing a deal on a EUR 450,000 loan from a Bosnian national at the end of 2017, and borrowing EUR 60,000 from the publisher Nova Obzorja in August 2017.
This runs contrary to the provision that parties can only borrow from banks, savings banks and a limited amount of money from individuals.
Under the loan agreement with Bosnian Diana Đuđić, the 32-year-old was obligated to pay out the loan in three instalments of EUR 150,000.
The law puts the ceiling for party loans from individuals at ten times the value of the average gross monthly pay or around EUR 15,800 per year.
Less than two weeks after the scandal broke out, media reported of the loan the SDS took from Nova Obzorja, in which the party holds a 44.2% stake. The stake was also put up as collateral in the loan secured with Đuđić but was later put up for sale.
Nova Obzorja issues the weekly Demokracija and tabloid Škandal24.
The SDS returned the first instalment it received from Đuđić with interest in January 2018 but this did not stop the procedure against the party.
All our stories on politics in Slovenia can be found here