Ljubljana related

17 Aug 2019, 10:30 AM

The covers and editorials from leading weeklies of the Left and Right for the work-week ending Friday, 16 August

Mladina: Slovenia missed opportunity to thrive on elderly care

STA, 16 August 2019 - The latest editorial in the left-wing magazine Mladina blames politicians for Slovenia missing the chance to make elderly care a business opportunity as a result of which the system is falling apart, while the initiative is being taken by foreign multinationals.

In a piece headlined Old Age is Business, editor-in-chief Grega Repovž recalls how a decade ago Mladina proposed Slovenia take up the business called old age, turning care for a quality life of an ageing population into a whole new industry.

"That we should have started building adjusted housing developments, created a supply and care sector, developed specialised hospital services and healthcare centres. This way we would have created a whole new business and job sector, which unlike tourism lasts throughout the year and not just a few summer months."

Repovž argues that even less qualified workers could find jobs in such a sector, which would create high value added and provide a boost to the architecture and construction business as the country could become a specialist in construction for the elderly, a sizeable, active and financially strong population, especially in places like Germany or Austria.

He says that Slovenia has plenty of lovely spots where residential estates for senior citizens could be built, giving an impetus to the services industry catering for a "very agile population, incredibly inquisitive and brave".

Instead, Slovenia is a country in which 25,000 people are waiting for a room in a pension home, while nurses and carers are leaving for better paid jobs abroad, poor pensioners are leaving for pension homes in Croatia and foreign multinationals are building pension homes in Slovenia.

"This is because our politicians are ignorant, tending their own little garden patch and incapable of a single ambitious act outside their safe zone of the existing (...)

"Slovenia has done nothing in the field for more than 20 years. The last pension home was erected by the state 15 years ago, which piece of information is horrifying, but telling."

Demokracija: Worried about social surveillance

STA, 14 August 2019 - Governments in Western democracies, including Slovenia's government and NGOs, would be happy to legislate the ghastly Chinese system of social surveillance termed Social Credit System, the right-wing magazine Demokracija argues in its latest commentary.

It says totalitarianisms have always wanted to have total control of their citizens' lives, which was technically impossible until the end of the 20th century.

But this has changed with the dawn of artificial intelligence, surveillance cameras and social networks, editor-in-chief Jože Biščak says on Wednesday.

"Although the situation in Europe is not as bad as in China yet, there are signs that citizens are being pigeonholed to bad and good ones."

The Slovenian government rewards, that is pays with taxpayer money, those NGOs which spy on co-citizens and report on them, says the weekly.

It notes the Faculty of Social Sciences is already tasked with reporting on people on social media, and recalls that those taking part in the ZLOvenija portal during the 2015 migration crisis were labelled racists, Nazis and xenophobes.

Biščak also takes issue with the recent broad interpretation of hate speech by Supreme Court judges, saying it is worrying, whereas the left welcomed it as a step in the right direction.

"What is missing is a public government system which will record heretic deviations of free-thinking individuals and undermine the bad ones in everyday life.

"The Chinese reality is not far from Slovenia any more, with a public and government-approved black list of disobedient and too freedom-loving people as state enemies already knocking on the door."

If such surveilance is put in place, "there will be no place to hide, even the panic room will be under surveillance", Biščak says under the headline Panic Room, wondering whether "we will let this happen".

Other articles in this series can be found here

10 Aug 2019, 10:45 AM

The covers and editorials from leading weeklies of the Left and Right for the work-week ending Friday, 09 August

Mladina: Socio-economic divide feeding irrationality in US, Britain

STA, 9 August 2019 - Reflecting on the reasons behind the irrational choices of voters in developed countries like the US and Britain, the latest editorial of the left-leaning weekly paper Mladina highlights the neoliberal dismantling of public healthcare and education. It also expresses serious concern about the future ramifications of aggressive individualism and hate speech.

Drawing on Willaim Davies's book Nervous States: How Feeling Took Over the World, Mladina's editor-in-chief Grega Repovž speaks of a coalition between an impoverished and ill-educated class and an increasing number of elderly people experiencing psychological and physical pain.

The exploitation of this anger and pain by populists with fascist tendencies and the disastrous consequences this leads to shows how important it is for societies to fight poverty and above all preserve a high level of public education and healthcare, Repovž says in the commentary entitled Consequences.

Also belonging on this essential list is the need to ruthlessly fight hate speech. While the US and Great Britain are already paying a high price, politically and socially, for the neoliberal destruction of public education and healthcare, "the long-term consequences of hate speech are not clear yet".

"We can't even begin to imagine what kind of society lies in store for us once the majority will feature generations which are growing up with a language that is hateful and brutal and which see this brutality as something entirely normal."

Repovž also speaks of an extremely ego-driven new generation growing up on social networks, "which is not a reproach, since this is truly becoming a condition for an individual's social positioning, this is the way friendships and love are made today, this how jobs and life goals are sought".

Reporter: Staffing at state-owned enterprises

STA, 5 August 2019 - The right-wing magazine Reporter writes about staffing at state-owned companies in the latest editorial under the headline Dream Job, arguing that dream jobs in Slovenia are still those at state-run enterprises.

Silvester Šurla writes that no government has been unable to resist the temptation to name its people to top positions in state-owned companies.

"The supervisory board gets replaced, then the management and new positions and jobs are given to the loyal and deserving."

As one case in point Šurla names Telekom Slovenije, which it says involves too many interests to be privatised; the company will obviously remain state-owned until the government is forced by the strained situation in the market, to sell it, as was the case with Gorenje.

He writes that the upcoming shareholders' meeting on 30 August will appoint two new supervisory board members, and the supervisory board will appoint the new CEO.

"Even though an UAE tax resident, the notorious businessman Andrej Vizjak, whom his ex-wife is accusing in the media of not paying alimony for their daughter, is very keen on becoming a new supervisor or even the chief supervisor, the proposal for his appointment has been withdrawn.

"This way the plan fell through to appoint as new Telekom boss Matej Potokar, formerly the CEO of the Slovenian subsidiary of Microsoft."

Šurla goes on to write about Petrol CEO Tomaž Berločnik's dealings and recent replacements at the Bank Assets Management Company, Slovenian Sovereign Holding and the energy group HSE, among others.

"Since the government coalition comprises as many as five parties and each one of them wants its share of the pie, this makes the staffing jigsaw puzzle quite complicated. Apart from politicians', there are also the interests of lobbies, various PR agencies such as Pristop and other influential big shots like Gregor Golobič ... There are more similar opportunists, also on the right. These are people who cannot survive in the market and depend existentially on dealings with state-owned companies."

03 Aug 2019, 11:14 AM

The covers and editorials from leading weeklies of the Left and Right for the work-week ending Friday, 02 August

Mladina: Dnevnik-Večer Merger

STA, 2 August 2019 - The weekly Mladina comments on the merger of the publishers of the daily newspapers Dnevnik in Večer, both welcoming and regretting the move which it sees as means to preserve the printed media in Slovenia, which are facing numerous challenges brought by new trends.

The merger is a reasonable decision by the publishers' owners, which was carried out surprisingly wisely and thoughtfully, and which strengthens the position of both Dnevnik and Večer at least in the medium term, editor-in-chief Grega Repovž says on Friday.

On the other hand, he also regrets the move because it comes as a consequence of the declining readership of the printed media and changed lifestyle in modern societies.

"Although the media compete with each other, it is very important for all of them that as many people as possible continue to read serious media. Decline of any serious media is bad for the rest of them, as it impacts the reading habits of the nation."

Mladina argues that the Slovenian state has done practically nothing for the media in the last 30 years. "They simply did not want to see the importance of (critical) media for the normality of the society."

Politics has treated the national broadcaster mostly badly, and it is almost incredible that something has been left of it at all. But journalists are not blameless either, as they raised their voice only when they were personally threatened, Repovž adds.

Actually, the government of Marjan Šarwec was the first one to make a move, introducing lower taxes for the media and books, and announcing a new system for distributing state subsidies, which have so far been ending up in the hands of harmful media.

It is very hard for serious media to survive on the small market like Slovenia, but this is also true for culture, sport and education. A large part of the surplus generated in these fields is a consequence of personal altruism.

"Problems in all fields are also a consequence of the unwillingness to admit that we are a small country. All fields which are limited by the language are in a very difficult situation. These, of course, include the media," concludes the commentary headlined Dnevnik and Večer.

Reporter: Who benefits from big infrastructure projects?

STA, 29 July 2019 - The right-leaning magazine Reporter writes about delays in public contracting for large infrastructure projects in the latest editorial, asserting that PM Marjan Šarec should take action to prevent a new TEŠ6.

"They want to rob us blind again," writes editor-in-chief Silvester Šurla under the headline Red Alarm, arguing that the attempts to overturn the chosen contractor in the public calls for the construction of the second tube of the Karavanke motorway tunnel and the Koper-Divača rail project show Slovenia has not learned anything from the 1 billion-plus project to build generator 6 at the Šoštanj coal-fired plant.

Šurla says that the only goal of the delays in the public calls is that the right people get the job in the end - that is construction companies controlled by Stojan Petrič, Janez Škrabec and Stanko Polanič.

"Why public calls if everything is said to have been agreed behind the scenes? As long as it is pro forma, a public call because there has to be one? In two construction projects alone, (Karavanke and the Glinščica bridge) local cronies could bleed us of EUR 25 million, the difference to the two other cheapest bids."

Šurla quotes rumours saying that the management of the state-run motorway company DARS could be dismissed if Petrič's Kolektor is not chosen as the contractor in the end.

"The Idrija mogul is exerting huge pressure through his lobbyists, and Infrastructure Minister Alenka Bratušek is said to have succumbed to his charm. A replacement of DARS supervisors has been announced for late August, which could lead to the management's replacement.

"If in exchange for keeping their posts, DARS yields in to pressure in the end and pick Kolektor despite the much higher cost, this would also augur ill for the taxpayer in the case of the second rail track, at a project at least ten times larger in value."

Šurla says that the developments should send alarm bells ringing at least in the office of PM Marjan Šarec. "Unless he pounds the table and keeps pretending he is not in charge like Borut Pahor did in the same office, we will see a new TEŠ 6."

All our posts in this series can be found here, while you can keep up-to-date on Slovenia politics here, and find the daily headlines here

27 Jul 2019, 09:35 AM

The covers and editorials from leading weeklies of the Left and Right for the work-week ending Friday, 26 July 2019

Mladina:  Croatia's reported tourism decline should worry Slovenia

STA, 26 July 2019 - The left-wing weekly Mladina says in its latest commentary that the reports on an alleged decline in the number of tourists in Croatia is not something Slovenia should be happy about, not least for the sake of decency. If this is true, this is actually a reason for concern, as Slovenian tourism is closely connected to tourism in Croatia.

Slovenia bets on tourism and a possible decline in tourist visits in Croatia could reflect on Slovenia, because it generates a lot of its tourism-related revenue with people who only make a stop in Slovenia while on their way to Croatia.

Even those who are in Slovenia for a couple of hours at least buy a motorway toll sticker, editor-in-chief Grega Repovž says in the commentary Damn Croatians.

"In other words: we are at least partly tied to Croatia's success in tourism economy-wise. This is why we actually should wish that Croatian tourism is as successful as possible, because this will make us more successful too."

When Germany announces a decline in economic growth, everybody in Slovenia (justifiably) speak about and analyse the possible consequences on the Slovenian economy. The same response should be expected to the reports from Croatia, as Slovenia is much more connected with the success of its tourism than Slovenians are willing to admit.

Mladina thus notes that it is detrimental for both countries that they have not been able to make alliances after gaining independence. It would be easier for Slovenia and Croatia to better control and direct migration, and to act as allies within the EU.

In the fields of science, art and tourism development, Croatia is a country Slovenia should connect with. For example, the university medical centres in Zagreb and Ljubljana could cooperate fruitfully because both countries are too small to develop many fields of medicine alone.

"Of course, the most tempting thing at this point is to debate what share of the blame individual countries and politics bear for this situation. But this debate, running almost thirty years since the two countries gained independence, has led us nowhere."

Repovž notes that in Europe, both Slovenians and Croatians are perceived as immature, quarrelsome and nitpicky, which is why normalising the relations with Croatia should be a serious objective for Slovenian politics.

Demokracija: Right under siege by a Left bent on destruction

STA, 25 July 2019 - The right-wing magazine Demokracija claims in Thursday's commentary that the right in Slovenia is under siege, as evidenced from a series of charges the magazine and its editor face due to incitement of hatred.

"They are cultural and just, we on the right are the source of all evil. This is evidence of a cult of hatred. The characters and acts that they are fabricating and projecting onto us are created in their heads, not ours. We are rotten persons for them, instigators of hatred and xenophobes because we love our country."

"Of course we're not any of what they make us out to be. All these horrible shows and horrible things planted on us take shape in them, in the twisted psyches of progressive evildoers," the commentator says in Us and Them.

It argues that this hatred is very palpable and felt at every step. "First they brand us with words, then comes violence, which is then leveraged by politicians, their officials and bureaucrats, their hereditary allies, the travelling mafia in the form of Antifa."

"In fact, they are the most intolerant group of people ... they have sent a tsunami of evil upon us and taken the right to be the sole arbiters not just of their thoughts and actions but also our thoughts and conduct. The result is always the same, regardless of circumstance: we are evil, they are not."

The commentator concludes that the right has been tolerant for too long which is why violence against is has become commonplace. "For us violence is a horrible thing, the idea about armed coup against the government unimaginable, but they have revolution and violent coups in their blood. There is us. And there is them."

All our posts in this series can be found here, while you can keep up-to-date on Slovenia politics here, and find the daily headlines here

20 Jul 2019, 09:14 AM

The covers and editorials from leading weeklies of the Left and Right for the work-week ending Friday, 19 July 2019

Mladina: New social order key to tackling climate change

STA, 19 July 2019 - Reflecting on efforts against climate change, the left-wing weekly Mladina says the current piecemeal measures - raising awareness about plastic, car and air transport, meat etc.- are welcome. However, to truly tackle the situation, it will be necessary to change the social order and dethrone work as the concept central to everybody's identity and survival.

The weekly paper's editor in chief Grega Repovž points to preliminary findings that many forms of work, consisting of the workers driving to work, executing their tasks and returning home, entail higher costs - environmental expressed in material costs - than the workers' wages.

As long as work continues to have its current social status, as long as it is a source of survival, a measure of an individual's success in life, their social status, as long as it stays on the pedestal where it was put by both capitalism and socialism, truly meaningful change that would reduce the burdens placed on the environment is not possible.

While deciding to reduce the temperature in one's flat in the winter by one degree, to adopt a zero waste approach when buying fruits and vegetables, to only use air transport twice a year etc. are all very positive steps, they are not truly radical in the sense needed to really tackle climate change.

"It is necessary to become more radical, to demand a new social order ... One thing is clear: redefining the position of work means a redefinition of society. As soon as an individual's life fulfilment will no longer be tied to work, everything will change.

"The worst thing here is that work mostly does not deliver this much expected fulfilment to the everyday individual, it only offers a future promise (it is in fact all a kind of faith in work), only to lead at one point in life to the resigned acceptance of things as they are: working in exchange for pay ... in a way that determines the rhythm and manner of the life of individuals, of families, of society."

Demokracija: Labelling Identitarians Extremists a Horrific Attack on Freedom

STA, 18 July 2019 – The right-wing weekly Demokracija takes issue in its latest editorial with Slovenian mainstream media reporting widely on the Identitarian movement being classified as right-wing extremist in Germany. It expresses shock at why people problematise charity being made conditional on ethnicity, and issues what amounts to a call to arms against the left.

While ignoring Europol reports on terrorism showing that "(far)leftists are a bigger threat to Europe than (far)rightists", the "mainstream media (MSM)" pushed the news from Germany and served a whole load of nonsense in the process, says Jože Biščak, the editor of the right-wing magazine co-owned by the opposition Democrats (SDS).

He highlights a report by the website of RTV Slovenija that "sees a security threat in the Identitarian movement 'offering food to the homeless that contains pork, whereby it excludes Muslims'".

"Večer meanwhile says the Slovenian Identitarians have been showing increasing support for the National Bloc group, 'which is following the model from abroad to highlight its support to the vulnerable and poor - but only if they have the right national, religious and ethnic background.'"

"Anyone who loves freedom at least a little, was horrified. Attention! The Identitarians use their own money to buy food and help, they do this at their own expense and in their own free time, but because the leftists have no influence over whom the former help and what kind of food they distribute, they designate this group as far-right."

Biščak says the leftists are unable to comprehend that they cannot interfere with the right of "individuals...to help whom they wish" and are thus "sending the state after the Identitarians", "having it in their DNA to want to control other people's property, which is unconstitutional".

While arguing that unconstitutional actions have also become an everyday affair under the Marjan Šarec government, Biščak says the right had been passive for too long, allowing the left to do as it pleased.

He points to those killed in summary executions after WWII and the silencing of their families, to people who remain judges despite having violated human rights in the past, while he also speaks of "the importing of new voters from the Balkans" and of "opening the door widely to illegal migrants as if our fate as a nation is sealed, a collapse inevitable, and a victory of the primitive hordes at our door unavoidable".

"We were as if under a spell and seemed mad, but let us not forget that, once we count the number of people among our ranks, there are still more of us, the good, than them, the bad, in this beautiful part of the old continent.

"We only need to wake up and push back the left, which is destroying all that we found sacred and allowed us to survive as a nation. Let us for once show, for god's sake, that we can do more than just pull in our horns and squeal, that we can also bark loudly and what is more, bite strongly," Biščak says in the commentary entitled A Dog that Barks Also Needs to Bite.

All our posts in this series can be found here, while you can keep up-to-date on Slovenia politics here, and find the daily headlines here

05 Jul 2019, 11:30 AM

The covers and editorials from leading weeklies of the Left and Right for the work-week ending Friday, 05 June 2019

Mladina: Eastern Europe did not deserve any key EU posts

STA, 5 July 2019 - The left-wing weekly Mladina says in its latest commentary that the countries from Eastern Europe have no business lamenting the fact that none of its representatives have been tipped to get one of the top four jobs in the EU, as they do not deserve any respect.

"In the days following the selection of the leading staff of the European Union for the next five years, it could also be heard in Slovenia how bad it is that there are no candidates from Eastern Europe for any of the posts.

"That it would be symbolic and good as a gesture of respect to the new members. Respect? Why? The Eastern European countries have been a great disappointment of Europe, turning out to be fascistic, nationalistic, introvert, narrow-minded and democratically immature fifteen or twenty years after the enlargement."

In the commentary headlined On the Right Side of History, editor-in-chief Grega Repovž wonders whether Poland, Hungary, Slovakia or Croatia deserve any respect, adding that "this Eastern Europe is nothing but a disappointment."

Last year, Slovenia escaped by a hair becoming a part of this part of Eastern Europe owing to the maturity of a majority of political parties and the clearly expressed will of the civil society, he adds.

Referring to Marjan Šarec being appointed prime minister in a minority government, the commentator says that with Janez Janša of the opposition Democrats (SDS) in power, "today we would be a part of the problem and one of the countries which were pushed out from the so-called core Europe this week."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron played out a game which exposed the Eastern European nationalists, including Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, whose mouths are otherwise full of Europe.

"What is being formed is not automatically a Europe which we would like. We will perhaps get some headaches. But nevertheless, we are watching an attempt at stemming the growth of populism. This is good. Slovenia has fortunately found itself on the right side."

This is so because Slovenia has a normal, democratic government, and partly because it has the euro, and because Šarec, like Macron, became a liberal on the European scale at the right moment. "We have no serious influence on the developments, but we are on the right side of history. It could have been completely different."

Demokracija: New media legislation introduces censorship

STA, 4 July 2019 – Left-leaning politicians in Slovenia have no sense of responsibility and show no respect for the rule of law, the right-wing weekly Demokracija says in its latest editorial. They set the boundaries for what is allowed and now, with the new media bill, they will also decide on what constitutes hate speech, says editor-in-chief Jože Biščak.

According to the draft media bill, a state official called the media inspector will decide on what constitutes media-sponsored inciting of hatred and intolerance.

This person will be able to order a media outlet to remove certain content and even slap it with a fine.

"This is not only an inadmissible interference with the autonomous editorial policy but an interference with the freedom of speech from the position of political power," says Biščak.

It is not surprising that the Slovenian Journalists' Association (DNS) welcomed this form of censorship.

First, it welcomed it because it will directly decide on what is appropriate and what is inappropriate content and second, because the DNS has shown many times it could not care less about media freedom.

Most recently it illustrated this by supporting Prime Minister Marjan Šarec's call to state-owned companies not to advertise in certain media outlets.

"It is more than obvious that Slovenia is again or (still) deeply in the Communist totalitarian system that tramples on human rights, of which the freedom of speech is the most important," Biščak says, adding that the deep state does not even bother to hide this anymore.

"The question is whether liberation from these chains is even possible in a peaceful way," concludes the commentary headlined In the Beginning Was the Word.

All our posts in this series can be found here, while you can keep up-to-date on Slovenia politics here, and find the daily headlines here

22 Jun 2019, 09:22 AM

The covers and editorials from leading weeklies of the Left and Right for the work-week ending Friday, 21 June 2019

Mladina: Concerns Over Abanka Privatisation

STA, 21 June 2019 - Commenting on the recent sale of the country's third largest bank Abanka to the NKBM bank, the left-wing weekly Mladina believes that this step will probably lead to adverse consequences, with the government having wasted the last opportunity to secure any kind of financial backbone for the country during the next financial crash.

"Due to this decision, Slovenia will break (again) more easily and quickly upon the arrival of the next (and the next) financial crisis. Not the country, but its economy, because there will be no vascular system any more through which the state could help the economy."

Pointing out that during any financial meltdown, when the capital of foreign banks is retreating at a rapid pace, countries need to provide stability for their economies, the editorial says that the easiest way to do so is through state banks.

"In 2009, EUR 3.5 billion left Slovenia very quickly, more than EUR 2.5 billion in the first few months. Estonia, not having any domestic banks, broke immediately. Croatia as well. But not Slovenia," highlights editor-in-chief Grega Repovž, adding that was the main reason the country's economy started showing signs of improvement already in 2011.

But then things went awry when Borut Pahor, preoccupied with his public image, got scared and stopped the recapitalisation of banks, concludes the commentary under the headline The Traces of Some Ignorance.

Demokracija: Warnings on Climate Change a Scam

STA, 20 June 2019 - The right-wing weekly Demokracija denies in its commentary on Thursday the existence of climate change, saying that its only purpose is to provide state funds for those making money off warnings of imminent catastrophe.

Demokracija editor-in-chief Jože Biščak says under the headline Fairytale about World's End that the Fridays For Future campaign is nothing but a way for students to avoid school on Fridays.

Warnings about the end of the world have been growing increasingly severe, but the end of the world does not come, Biščak says.

Natural disasters are a mainstay of human history, only reports about them travelled much slower than they do today, therefore it seems that their frequency has increased. "And climate change was not blamed for every fire, like it is now."

"If I exaggerate a bit: a person gets a fever (of course, a consequence of global warming), their coordination deteriorates and they drop a match. And there you go, a fire caused by climate change."

People are easily manipulated. "It's logical. It is much easier to believe dramatic forecasts about the end of the world and humanity than (fairytales) that people will continue to live on Earth for a long time."

All our posts in this series can be found here, while you can keep up-to-date on Slovenia politics here, and find the daily headlines here

15 Jun 2019, 15:31 PM

The covers and editorials from leading weeklies of the Left and Right for the work-week ending Friday, 14 June 2019

Mladina: New EU Core Emerging Post-Brexit, Slovenia Should Optimise Its Position

STA, 14 June 2019 - The left-leaning weekly paper Mladina argues on Friday that the EU will in fact breathe much more easily without Great Britain. New constellations are likely to emerge in the wake of its departure and Slovenia should make sure to be among the core EU countries that take a step forward integration and policy-wise, editor-in-chief Grega Repovž says.

It actually looks like optimism is making a comeback in political analytical centres in the EU's capitals after a long time, Repovž says, arguing Europe will simply become a much more flexible alliance without Great Britain.

He speaks of signs that a two-tier EU is emerging, with the second tier involving Eastern European countries - an exception being Slovenia as a member of the eurozone.

The eurozone is looking like a bypass that can "enable most normal European countries to start pursuing more serious policies which are blocked today in particular by Eastern European nationalist and backward populists".

Slovenia is being referred to as a part of this emerging coalition, as part of what is being called the EU's core, "but the question is whether our government is aware of this", Repovž says in Core of Europe In the Making.

Slovenia should optimise its position and have an influence on the agenda of this coalition, which is why Prime Minister Marjan Šarec, who has no serious diplomats or experienced international analysts among his ranks, needs to move fast and form a strong team around him.

"Why are we warning about this? In order to avoid hearing excuses again in a few years about how it was only possible to implement what was received in e-mails from Brussels and Berlin and to not feel embarrassed about the amateurs we had in power when the future was being designed," Repovž says, invoking the example of the 2013 bank bailout.

Demokracija: Interior Minister Should Resign Over Illegal Migration

STA, 13 June 2019 - The right-wing weekly Demokracija calls on Interior Minister Boštjan Poklukar to resign for being unable to provide for security of locals in border areas, listing several cases of unpleasant encounters between illegal migrants and locals, including a recent incident involving an 11-year-old girl.

Editor-in-chief Jože Biščak says on Thursday Poklukar bragged about the Slovenian police having successfully provided for security at the recent Three Seas Initiative summit.

"When the high-profile guests were adopting the closing Ljubljana Declaration to set up an investment fund ..., a drama was almost simultaneously unfolding on a bridge over the river Reka."

An 11-year-old was crossing it by bike in the area of Ilirska Bistrica in the south-west when she heard voices under the bridge, and stopped.

A group of men then started yelling and throwing stones at her, with one stone hitting her hand. Her parents reported the incident to the police, Biščak recalls.

The majority of police officers were protecting well-mannered Three Seas Initiative guests, "while the southern border remains full of holes like Swiss cheese".

If border control was stricter and better and if legislation was more in favour of Slovenians than foreigners, the illegal migrants would not have come that far into Slovenian territory, they would have been intercepted on the border and swiftly returned where they came from, to Croatia, Bosnia and further to the Arab world.

Biščak says the girl, a recently abducted pensioner, a wine grower whose van was stolen from his courtyard or any other person whose property has been destroyed by illegals would find it hard to agree with Poklukar that the police is in control of the situation.

What happened in Western Europe, is now starting to happen in Slovenia - while it began with small thefts and fights, today those who came to Europe a few years ago are claiming entire areas where they enforce their religion-based rules and where the police does not dare to go any more.

Biščak says such areas, controlled by Muslims and ruled by Sharia law, could well emerge in Slovenia, adding "Islam is not a religion, it is a spiritual, judicial and political system, and is not compatible with any western democracy".

While some countries such as Italy and Hungary have managed to secure their border against illegals, the Slovenian government has proved completely incapable of taking action.

All our posts in this series can be found here, while you can keep up-to-date on Slovenia politics here, and find the daily headlines here

08 Jun 2019, 12:00 PM

The covers and editorials from leading weeklies of the Left and Right for the work-week ending Friday, 07 June 2019

Mladina: Slovenia taking the wrong approach in selection a candidate for EU commissioner

STA, 7 June 2019 - The left-wing weekly Mladina says on Friday that instead of considering how to affect the future of EU politics by selecting a suitable European commissioner candidate, Slovenia is simply discussing who will be its next commissioner and will probably continue underestimating the influence of the post.

The editorial points out that in 2014, the then government made a fool of itself when it nominated Prime Minister Alenka Bratušek to damage her political status and get rid of her by exposing her lack of English language skills and professional knowledge.

The ridicule attempt backfired, with the whole country and not just Bratušek being laughed at by the EU, editor-in-chief Grega Repovž says under the headline “Commissioner”.

Slovenia's political influence was weakened and the second attempt did not amend the situation. The decision to nominate a political newbie Violeta Bulc, who was regarded as the then Prime Minister Cerar's confidant, was similarly absurd.

She tried to navigate the EU waters, but lacked basic Brussels-speak skills of the art of subtext. "During her term, Slovenia recorded a great deal of political losses, from the Commission's attitude toward the arbitration dispute to its never-ending demands for the privatisation of state assets, including the NLB bank, Adria Airways, Fotona.

"All those cases show the actions and decisions of the Commission, which will significantly affect the development and the strength of this country in the long term," says the editorial.

Those incidents have also branded Slovenia as another "nation of some kind of characters", Easterners, which does not grasp the significance of the commissioner post. "A commissioner is a powerful politician, diplomat, who runs a certain sector but also acts in their country's interest at the Commission level in a smart and skilful way."

This unspoken aspect is key to the nomination procedures of the other EU countries. The candidates' professional skills certainly raise their political status, but their international experience and diplomatic skills are even more essential, Mladina points out.

"It's high time Slovenia left the club of countries which don't understand the dimensions of this post. Unfortunately, things are not looking good," concludes the editorial, adding that there is a shortage of suitable candidates.

Reporter: What the EU vote could mean for the Slovenia’s next general election

STA, 3 June 2019 - The right-wing magazine Reporter offers an analysis of the EU election results in the latest editorial, finding that the right bloc is no closer to power than it was a year ago and that the conservatives would have to "cut the Gordian knot" unless they want the left to continue in power.

Under the headline Game of Thrones on the Right editor-in-chief Silvester Šurla finds that the EU vote has not significantly changed the balance of power between the left and right, and that the electorate is sill tipped slightly to the left, although a bit less than in the 2018 general election.

He notes that the Democratic Party (SDS), which won the election convincingly on a joint ticket with the People's Party (SLS), mustered roughly as much of the vote as it did five years ago when it ran on its own.

It was mainly the SLS which benefited from the joint ticket, because Franc Bogovič would not have been re-elected MEP if the party stood on its own, while the joint ticket in a way also benefited the SDS, because otherwise its victory would have been less convincing, writes Šurla.

"The SDS is now trying to convince the public that the joint ticket was an investment in the next general election so that it would be easier, if the SLS returned to parliament, to form a right government.

"However, the speculation that this would be made possible by Marjan Podobnik, risen from the dead after twenty years of political abstinence, is, given his political baggage from the 1990s, a bit far fetched."

Šurla goes on to say that the concept of Spring parties is rather passe in 2019; after the failure of the pro-life GOD party last year, this year it was Bernard Brščič's Homeland League (DOM) which flopped, partly due to SDS leader Janez Janša, which Brščič will not easily forget.

"The state of latent tension" also continues between the SDS and New Slovenia (NSi). For the right losing one MEP term Janša blamed NSi leader Matej Tonin, who rejected the accusation as 'fake news', arguing that a joint NSi/SLS ticked would get two MEPs, as much as the SDS independently, so the right would have ended up with the same tally of seats.

Speculating about the next general election in spring 2022, Šurla is doubtful that the Spring parties formula would work this time, when it did not the last, although he expects Janša to give it one more try with the NSi, SLS and possibly DOM.

Šurla notes that the combination lacks a centrist party like the Virant List which helped Janša form his second government in 2012, or a party that would appeal to the half of the electorate who do not turn out.

"The SDS as it is can obviously not address these voters either. In the finale of each election campaign it is only capable of scrapping as much right voters as possible, but the pool of those is limited," writes Šurla.

Considering the left bloc is ruling out forming a coalition with Janša, he can come to power only if a coalition of akin right parties win a majority in parliament.

"This is not impossible but very hard, considering the structure of the Slovenian electorate, to whom the left adapts better by means of new faces. But the Gordian knot on the right will have to be cut at one point or else they will continue to turn in vicious circles, while the left will rule."

All our posts in this series can be found here, while you can keep up-to-date on Slovenia politics here, and find the daily headlines here

01 Jun 2019, 15:24 PM

The covers and editorials from leading weeklies of the Left and Right for the work-week ending Friday, 31 May 2019

Mladina: The poor election results of the Left

STA, 31 May - Analysing the poor showing of the opposition Left in Sunday's EU election, the weekly Mladina says that rather than by a negative attitude it received from the media, the party was affected by the choice of candidates on its list, in particular Violeta Tomić as the frontrunner.

Although faced with constant opposition from all parties bar the Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) and Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) and a negative attitude of the media, the Left has managed to create a base of voters for itself among intellectuals, urban population and leftists.

Its cooperation with the government also did not harm its public ratings, Mladina editor-in-chief Grega Repovž notes in Friday's editorial.

So the reason for the party's election result must lay in its list of candidates, which was topped by Tomić, who has not been received well by the voters.

"People are put off by her appearance, which intentionally or unintentionally comes across as rough and thus unpleasant to most voters of the Left."

Although the views she advocates are completely in order, she simply does not leave a positive impression, Repovž says. "A large part of voters of the Left will not vote for her or would do so with unease. She is therefore simply not the right top candidate."

If a stronger candidate topped the list, which was solid and no worse than those of other lists running in the election, the Left might have won more votes. But with Tomić in the lead, the whole list lost credibility.

"Unfortunately that was not the only mistake. The party put its president (Luka) Mesec in the last spot - as a kind of public recognition that the party itself does not believe in its list. Voters perceived this as underestimating."

Winning a seat in the European Parliament is important and the Left was left without one entirely by its own blame. The poor election result also made the party weaker in the domestic political arena, Repovž says under the headline The Left.

Demokracija: EU elections mean PM on his way out

STA, 30 May 2019 - Examining the Eurovote results in its commentary on Wednesday, the right-wing weekly Demokracija says that the days of Prime Minister Marjan Šarec are numbered because he would not form alliances with other parties. This cost Igor Šoltes, the grandchild a late senior Communist Party official, his seat in the European Parliament.

Demokracija editor-in-chief Jože Biščak says under that headline Tick-Tock, Tick-Tock, Tick-Tock... that Šarec will never be forgiven by the deep state for costing Edvard Kardelj's grandchild his MEP seat.

The paper says that the people who "made a comedian a prime minister" failed at creating a liberal bloc that would comprise the Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ), the Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB), the Modern Centre Party (SMC) and the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) for the Eurovote.

Despite support from the mainstream media, Šarec's support has dropped. He lost the election and his party only got two seats in European Parliament.

"If Slovenia was a functioning democracy and the land on the sunny side of the Alps had a rule of law, Šarec would offer his resignation, dissolve the coalition and demand an early election."

"In a year and a half, he lost as many as four elections and with the exception of the presidential vote (which is special), he was always defeated by the Democrats (SDS).

"But because Slovenia is ruled by the deep state and the uncles drawing all the strings do not want to give up their transitional advantages, measures had to be taken to repair the damage."

This meant that left-leaning political analysts went on to proclaim the SD and the LMŠ winners of the election, while the SDS, which ran on a joint ticket with the People Party (SLS) was the loser because one of the three seats won by the coalition went to the SLS.

This perverted logic indicates a poor understanding for how the Eurovote works, Biščak says, going on to explain that election coalitions are a logical decision for EU elections, where success threshold is much higher than in the national parliamentary election.

He says that if New Slovenia (NSi) joined the SDS+SLS coalition, they could have won as many as five of Slovenia's seats in European Parliament. But the "whisperers from the background" managed to persuade NSi president Matej Tonin that he should not be in SDS head's Janez Janša's shadow.

Biščak says that the SDS would get the three MEP seats even if it did not cooperate with the SLS, while the latter could not have gotten a single MEP on its own. This alliance will allow the SLS to become a major national player once again.

Šarec's days are numbered because he refuses to listen, Biščak says, explaining how his refusal to connect with other parties cost Šoltes, who has served as MEP in the previous term, his seat in Brussels.

All our posts in this series can be found here

https://www.total-slovenia-news.com/tag/mladina

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