Ljubljana related

07 Jul 2021, 13:31 PM

STA, 7 July 2021- The moves recently made by the prime minister both in the domestic political arena and the international stage are raising questions about what the prime minister wants to achieve in the first place, Primorske Novice says in Wednesday's commentary.

"There are questions as to the benefits the people derive from European politicians being instructed about which Slovenian judge is meeting which political party at a picnic. Or from Europe seeing a film ostensibly showing media bias."

Not only are there no palpable benefits to the people, the prime minister himself and by extension the entire government have no benefits beyond gaping jaws in Europe realising that Slovenia is increasingly becoming similar to countries that we used to look down upon, according to the commentator.

"If the prime minister's intention is to achieve better - to eschew the word balanced - media, better judiciary, healthcare, education, better conditions for the people, fine. We support that.

"But if we are now to report only about government achievements, Mt. Triglav climbs and missed sunsets, if the judiciary were to turn a blind eye to weapons deals, questionable land sales and covert insults, and if hospitals were to treat only those who can afford that, the title of the booklet should be changed," the paper says in reference to a booklet sent to Slovenian households entitled We Stood up and Survived, which it says should in this case be changed to We Stood up and Survived. And Backslid.

05 Jul 2021, 12:34 PM

STA, 5 July 2021 - Prime Minister Janez Janša will present Slovenia's EU presidency priorities to the European Parliament at a plenary session on Tuesday in a very different atmosphere than in 2008. Socialists, liberals, the greens, and the left have all announced they will be critical. Janša's political family is reserved.

The presentation of priorities of the country starting the six-month stint at the helm of the Council of the EU in Parliament is customary and is followed by a debate with MEPs.

Janša will address MEPs for the second time as prime minister of a presiding county. In 2008, when he presented Slovenia's first presidency priorities, MEPs were mostly interested in Kosovo, which was about to declare independence.

This year, the situation is much different. The first two days of Slovenia's presidency were marked by two incidents. Frans Timmermans, the European Commission vice-president from the ranks of the Socialists and Democrats (S&D), eschewed a traditional photo-op at the takeover of the presidency due to Janša's comments about links between Slovenian judges and the Social Democrats (SD).

This was followed by a statement by Interior Minister Aleš Hojs at Friday's briefing for Brussels correspondents dedicated to the start of the Slovenian presidency being interpreted as taking aim at Timmermans with a pearls-swine metaphor. Hojs has denied the accusation.

This, along with the failure to appoint European delegated prosecutors and Janša's attitude to media and his support to Hungary in a debate on a controversial law that according to the European Commission discriminates people based on their sexual orientation, will set the mood for Tuesday's debate.

The biggest political group, the right-of-centre European People's Party (EPP), is reserved. Janša will take part in a meeting of the group on Tuesday evening, where he can expect questions about his support for Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban in the debate on the rights of the LGBTIQ community, as the EPP finds the controversial Hungarian law unacceptable.

Orban's Fidesz left the group and the EPP party a few months ago.

The EPP warns that politicising such issues in Hungary, Slovenia and Poland feeds populism in these countries. Unofficially, the group is concerned about the divide between the eastern and western EU countries, which the debate on the rights of the LGBTIQ community laid bare again.

The second and third biggest parliamentary groups, the S&D and the liberal Renew, announced they would be critical, especially due to Slovenia's failure to appoint delegated prosecutors to the European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO), and Janša's attitude to media.

The Slovenian prime minister can also expect criticism from the European Greens, the fifth largest group, who announced protests in Strasbourg for Tuesday morning together with the organisers of Friday's anti-government protests in Slovenia, as well as from the Left (GUE/NGL), the smallest political group.

The Eurosceptic European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) said the Slovenian prime minister must be given a chance.

The far-right Identity and Democracy Group (ID) did not take part in Friday's briefing where groups presented their views ahead of Tuesday's debate.

The agenda of the plenary will include the rights of LGBTIQ persons in Hungary, the Article 7 procedure of the Treaty on the European Union against Poland and Hungary, and rule of law conditionality.

The plenary will also be attended by Slovenian Foreign Minister Anže Logar, who will represent the Council of the EU in relations with the Parliament. He will take part in the debates on the rule of law and the fundamental rights in Hungary and Poland, the rights of the LGBTIQ community in Hungary, global EU sanctions related to human rights violations, the situation in Ethiopia, Antarctica and the 70th anniversary of the Geneva Conventions.

22 Jun 2021, 12:02 PM

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.

Janša: EU Should Do More to Face Threat from China in Wide-Ranging Interview, in English, on Indian TV (Full Video)

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".

21 Jun 2021, 14:15 PM

STA, 20 June 2021 - Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša has told an Indian news channel that the EU has not done enough to limit the growing threat from China. He believes the EU has put its economic interests before its values.

In an interview the Wion news channel posted online on Saturday, Janša welcomed the conclusions on China adopted at the recent G7 summit and the recent NATO summit in Brussels, saying that "the freedom loving countries have started taking China seriously for the first time in all of its dimensions".

As for French President Emmanuel Macron's statement that China is no threat to the EU because the two do not share the border, Janša said "the world is globalised today and China is very present in Europe, it is also strongly present in our neighbourhood, in Africa, and in the Mediterranean".

China is a global power, a bigger challenge than Russia or some other countries, he said, adding that the EU, the US, India and some other countries must cooperate in their approaches to China.

Asked whether as the EU presiding country in the second half of 2021 Slovenia will make an effort for clarity in EU policy on China, Janša said he did not oppose doing business with China, but "I'm against crossing the lines", which are now being determined in the EU.

He also said that in the changing world order, India has an increasingly important role.

19 Jun 2021, 11:30 AM

STA, 19 June 2021 - Janez Janša won another term at the helm of the Democratic Party (SDS) at a party congress in Slovenske Konjice on Saturday. He was endorsed by 650 of the 656 delegates as the only candidate for party head.


In his address after the vote, Janša thanked everyone who had organised the congress in challenging conditions. He pointed to the programme resolution adopted at the congress, which says that the party is already looking 30 years into the future.

While noting that his generation still had a lot to offer, he said a lot was expected from the party's youth wing in the coming years.

He said their time in the SDS, Slovenia and Europe was coming. "We know you are capable of accepting this challenge and that you will be up to the task."

He used the opportunity to point to 11 July and the referendum on the water act, saying that a yes vote would be a vote to protect drinking water. Those who will vote against will put drinking water in jeopardy, he said.

He said that those campaigning against the act were "more or less known names with known backgrounds", who had already bought plots on river banks, by the lakes and on the coast and were bothered by the act.

"Since people do not read acts it is our task to spread this truth among our team and convince them to vote in favour. We are the ones who are building, so we vote in favour," he stressed.

Janša said a challenging election year was ahead, so after a few months the team appointed today to party bodies would have to give their best.

He said that since many candidates were needed for elections, everyone would be given their chance.

SDS deputy group head Danijel Krivec said the committee's support to Janša had been expected. "There has always been some votes against and it was so this year as well, but the support was plebiscitary. We are happy with this result, all resolutions adopted and today's debate," he said after the congress.

The delegates at the 12th congress of the SDS adopted five programme resolutions addressing the problems of the youth and the elderly, and recognising the need for efforts for equal opportunities for both genders.

They also discussed a resolution entitled For Defence of the Constitutional Foundations of the Slovenian State, which warns of the danger of extremists and the Left. The document raised some dust in the past weeks, especially due to an assessment that any more tensions could lead to a civil war.

"We wished to warn that free functioning of anti-establishment movements, parties could create risks or lead to major political conflicts or even a civil war. We do not want that, that was just a warning," said SDS MEP Milan Zver.

He said some media had abused these statements in the past weeks, so some party committees had proposed that the controversial sections be scrapped but the delegates rejected this overwhelmingly.

The 62-year-old Janša, who is serving his third terms as prime minister, has been firmly at the helm of the SDS since 1993. Throughout this time, the party has always been at the top of party rankings.

He is the third SDS president of the party, which was initially called the Social-democratic Alliance of Slovenia and was renamed twice.

Its first president was France Tomšič, who led it between March 1989 and November 1989. He was succeeded by Jože Pučnik in 1989 - 1993.

Janša was elected party head at the congresses in 1993, 1995, 1999, 2001, 2005, 2009, 2013, 2017 and 2021, and never had a rival except in 1993.


14 Jun 2021, 13:27 PM

STA, 13 June 2021 - Igor Kršinar, a journalist for the right-wing political magazine Reporter, has initiated a private prosecution against Prime Minister Janez Janša over two Twitter posts in 2019 that implied he was a drug user.

In one tweet, in October 2019, Janša said about an article that Kršinar wrote. "Pure lie. Kršinar is already using heavy drugs." A month later, Janša shared a tweet by then MP Žan Mahnič, who wondered whether "Kršinar was mixing whiskey and Helex again".

The first tweet referred to an article describing proceedings at the Commission for Oversight of Intelligence and Security Services, which Kršinar subsequently corrected after getting access to the minutes of the meeting.

The second tweet referred to Kršinar's article about a "fake news factory" operated from the headquarters of the Democrats (SDS), Janša's party.

Kršinar says that since 2017 Janša has written disparagingly about Reporter and him personally, but the claim that he is a drug user "exceeds the boundaries of appropriate and permitted communication," the magazine said in an article published on Sunday.

Kršinar says he uses neither drugs nor is he an alcoholic and has never had problems with drug or alcohol abuse.

An arraignment hearing was scheduled for 26 May but was postponed until further notice because Kršinar's lawyer was ill.

Related: Janša Faces Retrial in “Washed-up Prostitutes” Defamation Case

12 Jun 2021, 07:23 AM

STA, 11 June 2021 - Former Slovenian President Milan Kučan believes the government declassifying a 2011 document on possible further paths in the process of constitutional reform of Bosnia-Herzegovina, compiled by him, is a move to divert attention from the allegations that PM Janez Janša was spreading a non-paper on re-drawing of borders in the Western Balkans.

Janša Denies Promoting Break-Up of Bosnia Along Ethnic Lines as Islamist Group Protests in Sarajevo

"I understand the government's decision to remove the confidentiality label from the document as diverting attention from the reproaches to the prime minister about disseminating a non-paper on the changing of borders in South-east Europe," Kučan told the STA on Friday.

This comes after the government said on Thursday it had declassified a document dated 26 January 2011 on "possible further paths for a successful process of the constitutional reform of Bosnia-Herzegovina".

In the announcement, the Government Communication Office (UKOM) noted that the document had been created based on a decision of the government that had been in office at the time.

It was the government of Borut Pahor (2008-2011) that appointed Slovenia's first President Milan Kučan as its special rapporteur on Bosnia-Herzegovina in 2010.

According to Kučan, the document has already been published in a book by historian Božo Repe, and "is no secret".

The document published on the government website today is indeed identical to the document published in the book mentioned by Kučan. And it is not the document that the news portal Necenzurirano released in April claiming that this was the non-paper attributed to Slovenia.

It is, however, not yet clear whether this is the document the government refers to as the STA is still waiting for government approval to access the document.

The government said yesterday that, "considering that the content of the document has for the most part been publicly known for several weeks, the conditions required for this document to retain the classified status no longer exist."

This is probably a reference to the content of the document possibly being similar to that of the alleged non-paper on border changes in the Western Balkans.

Kučan told the STA that he had prepared the report for the Borut Pahor government at the time as the prime minister was to speak about Bosnia-Herzegovina at a session of the European Council.

"In it I speak mostly about the EU needing to show more interest in Bosnia-Herzegovina which is, as I wrote, a non-functioning state, to bring it back on its feet so that it is capable of negotiating conditions for the EU accession," he added.

Kučan stressed that his report could by no means be compared with the controversial non-paper that allegedly speaks about new borders in the Western Balkans. It has been informally labelled as Slovenian as certain media reported that Janša had helped disseminate it, which the prime minister denies.

"There is not a single word in my document about changing borders," the former president said, adding that the government's move was about diverting attention from the non-paper, the discussion about which could not be concluded in such a way.

"I said about the non-paper in an interview with a Bosnian TV station ... that the prime minister of my country denies this and if he says so, then we probably should believe this," Kučan added.

Pahor, who currently serves his second term as the president of the republic, also took issue with the government declassifying the document, saying that it should have stayed confidential.

"This report is not intended for public, but for political decision-makers and I think that it should have remained such," he told the press as he visited the Muslim Cultural Centre in Ljubljana today.

The president noted that it was a document with a title, date and signatory, and that he had asked Kučan to compile it as it had been expected from Slovenia in a debate on Bosnia to have "special knowledge given its experience about the topic."

10 Jun 2021, 12:26 PM

STA, 9 June 2021 - Several international journalist organisations condemned Wednesday Prime Minister Janez Janša's tweet that said Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatović was "part of #fakenews network". This came after her warning about deteriorating media freedom in Slovenia. The organisations agree with her assessment of the situation.

"We welcome a memorandum by Commissioner Mijatović and share her concern over the deterioration of media freedom in Slovenia, which coincides with findings of our recent fact-finding mission in the country," said Article 19, the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF), the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the International Press Institute (IPI), Free Press Unlimited (FPU) and OBC Transeuropa.

Their joint press release says that their findings on the situation will be part of a report produced by the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) mission to Slovenia. The mission was conducted in late May and early June and the report is expected to be published in July.

Mijatović's office is independent and unbiased, which is also reflected in the memorandum, said the organisations, highlighting that the commissioner had not only released the report but also a six-page document displaying views by the Slovenian government.

"The tone and manner in which PM Janša voiced his disagreement with Commissioner Mijatović's memorandum are in our opinion completely inappropriate for a leader of a democratic EU country," the press release says.

Janša wrote in English on Twitter on Sunday: "Unfortunately, @Dunja_Mijatovic is part of #fakenews network. Well paid by our money."

The organisations pointed out that the irony was that exactly this kind of conduct by officials on social media raised the alarm in the memorandum, calling on Janša to refrain from such statements in the future and instead strive to remedy the alarming situation.

Janša has responded to the organisations' press release saying that "the manner in which @Dunja_Mijatovic is spreading lies about Slovenia is totally unacceptable". "And we will not tolerate this without telling the truth."

Mijatović urged the Slovenian authorities in the memorandum, published on Friday, to stop the deterioration of media freedom and freedom of expression in the country.

She raised concern over harassment, including sexist harassment against female journalists, intimidation, criminal lawsuits against reporters and the government's attitude to public media.

As part of preparations for the report, Mijatović held talks with President Borut Pahor and a number of ministers in April but not with Janša. She also talked to journalists of different media, politicians, experts and representatives of the civil society.

02 Jun 2021, 11:15 AM

STA, 1 June 2021 - A retrial started at the Celje District Court on Tuesday in which Prime Minister Janez Janša is accused of defaming two journalists, whom he called "washed up prostitutes". This comes after the court's suspended prison sentence for Janša was annulled on appeal.

Janša said today that he stood by the original defence statement that he had given in the first trial in 2018 over the controversial tweet posted in March 2016.

Janša's Twitter post read: "The FB page of the public house is offering cheap services by washed up prostitutes Evgenija C. and Mojca P.Š. One for 30 euros, the other for 35. #PimpMilan".

In a recording of the statement given at the time and played at the court today, Janša said that the accusations against him were absurd, and that the tweet from March 2016 was seen only by about 100 people.

He said that TV Slovenija reporter Eugenija Carl, in her report on members of the Facebook group Legion of Death, run in March 2016, had told a series of lies about members of his party, the Democrats (SDS).

He argued that this happened under the mentorship of Mojca Šetinc Pašek, who was the editor of the news desk at the public broadcaster at the time.

Carl and Šetinc Pašek are the persons to whom the initials from the tweet refer to.

Janša said in his original statement that that Carl's report was "the final straw", adding that she and Šetinc Pašek had been spreading hatred towards those who thought differently.

He does not believe that the two journalists recognised an allegation of sexual prostitution in his tweet, while reproaching them for years of alleged negative reporting about the SDS.

In the original statement, Janša also assessed that it was him and not the journalists who had suffered a pogrom over the tweet.

Carl and Šetinc Pašek also stuck to their original statements, in which the former said that Janša tweet was a grave insult and not criticism of journalist work.

According to Carl, it was about public humiliation and insulting, and Janša did this on purpose. She rejected his remark that the tweet was seen by only 100 as evasive.

Back in 2018, Šetinc Pašek rejected Janša's assessment that her reports were insulting and demeaning, adding that Janša had hurt her as a woman, and that she understood his tweet as a threat against her journalist work.

She also rejected Janša's remark that she had been politically appointed at the editor post, adding that Janša had been exerting severe pressure on journalists and that she could not believe he was capable of such a repulsive post.

Janša's lawyer Franci Matoz presented today 25 pieces of evidence, and some additional evidence was also presented by the journalist's lawyer, on which the court will now deliberate

The trial is expected to continue on 29 June without Janša's presence.

Carl told the STA that today's hearing had clearly shown that the defendant would try to discredit and disqualify her work and present himself as the victim.

Šetinc Pašek added that such was the case also during the first trial, when Matoz produced evidence that had nothing to do with the insulting tweet.

Originally, the Celje District Court sentenced Janša to three-month suspended prison sentence on one-year probation. He was also ordered to pay for the costs of the entire procedure related to the defamatory tweet.

In June 2019, the Celje Higher Court quashed the ruling as it found that an unauthorised person had appointed a substitute lay magistrate following a recusal request, and ordered a retrial by a completely different panel.

29 May 2021, 06:03 AM

STA, 28 May 2021 - Thousands of protesters took to the streets of Ljubljana on Friday protesting against the government's actions and calling for an early election. The rally included various groups and movements and was supported by trade unions and part of the opposition. PM Janez Janša said spreading Covid-19 with unregistered mass rallies was a crime.

A mass of protesters first filled Prešeren Square and then marched in the streets of the capital. The initial plan was to arrive in Republic Square in front of the parliament, but the police rerouted the unregistered rally, so the protesters gathered at an intersection of Celovška, Tivolska, Bleiweisova and Gosposvetska streets, where speeches were delivered and musical performances staged.

Representatives of the country's main trade union associations, the Friday bicycle protest movement, NGOs and people from the academic and cultural circles addressed the rally to criticise what they see as problematic measures and laws by the government, highlight a lack of social dialogue and stress the need for an early election.

Lidija Jerkič, the head of the ZSSS confederation, and Branimir Štrukelj, the head of the KSJS association of public sector trade unions, said they had to participate in the protests because social dialogue had been extinguished by the government. Štrukelj also said the KSJS rejected repression against the media, expressing solidarity with the Slovenian Press Agency (STA).

Oto Luthar, the head of the ZRC SAZU research centre, warned that freedom, democracy, the legal system as well as solidarity were at risk. Tea Jarc, the head of the Mladi Plus youth trade union, noted that the resistance was not emerging only in Ljubljana but across Slovenia. She thinks Janša is afraid of the Slovenian people because he is aware of low public support for his government and the fact that he no longer has the majority in parliament.

The protest has been dubbed Pan-Slovenian Uprising for Early Election by the bicycle protesters, who said ahead of the rally that Slovenia's reputation was tarnished every day. The movement believes that a great majority of Slovenians is unhappy with the government's work and the state of democracy in the country.

Some of the opposition parties have announced their support for the protest with the Marjan Šarec Party (LMŠ) and the Left announcing they would join in. The Left has also protested over a police panel that has been erected around Republic Square.

The SocDems said it was best to be silent today and listen to the people. The party also supported the protests, urging for peaceful demonstrations. The Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB) said it supported peaceful protests, noting that today's rally should remain the protest of civil society.

Coalition New Slovenia (NSi) MP Iva Dimic was meanwhile critical of the parties' involvement in the protest, saying that the political parties' arena for expressing opinions was parliament and not the streets. She added that peaceful protests were part of the democracy.

The police presence was boosted during the rally and movement in the vicinity of government and parliament buildings restricted. The area was placed under video surveillance. The Health Inspectorate joined the police in enforcing coronavirus restrictions and measures.

Ahead of the rally, the protest movement called for peaceful demonstrations and urged the police to allow the protesters to exercise their rights to peaceful assembly and protest without using excessive force.

Amnesty International Slovenia and the Legal Network for the Protection of Democracy monitored the protests to detect any potential violations of these rights. Human Rights Ombudsman Peter Svetina visited the Ljubljana police operational-communications centre to review the police work at the protests. His office added that if need be, he would also visit the detention centre.

Accusing police of using excessive force against peaceful demonstrators at the protest a week ago, the protest movement had filed a criminal complaint with the prosecution and called on Svetina to look into alleged violations, which the police had denied.

The Commission for Oversight of Intelligence and Security Services (KNOVS) visited the SOVA intelligence agency and General Police Administration today to make sure that the police and SOVA are acting in line with their competences when it comes to protests, said the commission's chair Matjaž Nemec of the opposition SocDems.

Janša meanwhile said on Twitter that spreading Covid-19 with mass unregistered gatherings was a crime as there were more than 300 infections confirmed a day and the protest was held in a region with the third worst Covid status in the country.

He added that freedom of expression and the right to assembly were constitutional rights, however they could be restricted by law under the constitution. He also took a jab at the centre-left opposition, saying they could have waited for a month longer to protest at the end of the epidemic, but instead they were jeopardising a return to normal.

Page 5 of 21

This websie uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.