Regular readers of Mladina, the left-leaning review whose editorials we summarise each weekend (along with those of the right-leaning Demokracija, and – on occasion – Reporter) may have noticed the arresting advertisements that appear on page 3, and yet which don’t seem to promote any company or product.
Theme Ecological Disasters. Author: Studio Marketing; Petja Montanez, Matej Kodrič
Theme: Genetic engineering. Author: Studio 360, Agencija Tovarna vizij, Vladan Srdić, Dragan Arrigler
Theme: Greed. Author: AV Studio
Theme: AIDS. Author: Studio Marketing; Janez Čadež, Radovan Arnold, Jerneja Trbuha Kukec
Theme: Greed. Author: SOZD
The page, known as Proglas and edited by Viva Videnovic for almost two decades, has been a feature of the magazine since 1997. It was introduced to provide a platform for Slovenian creatives to use the tools of their trade to engage in social commentary, enabling them to demonstrate their ingenuity and wit to a degree that’s not always possible with regular advertising.
Theme: Extremism. Author: Yin + Young
Theme: EU. Author: New Moment Ljubljana
Theme: Loneliness. Author: Pristop
Theme: Child abuse. Author: Mediamix; Toni Tomašek, Miha Bevc, Aleksandar Jordačevič
Theme: Success. Author: Yin + Young
In exchange for working pro bono, Mladina gives the contributors total freedom to create whatever they want, as long as it addresses that month’s theme. These have included all the pressing or passing social issues of the day, such as AIDS, mental health, over-consumption, social media, feminism, genetic engineering, economic imperialism, ecological catastrophes, fascism, tourism, sexual harassment, the precariat and so on.
"Enjoy drinking water" Theme: Water. Author: Blaž Razpotnik
(How much a space the size of a page of Mladina - 291mm x 215mmwould cost in Ljubljana). Theme: Apartments. Author: Pristop
Theme: Greed. Author: Studio 360, VladanSrdić
"Star Wars" Theme: War. Author: Yin + Young, Domen Husu, Samo Muhič, Marin Bulog, Jure Ljubeljšek
What you see in this story are thus just a few of the more than 1,000 works that have been published over the years. If you’d like to see more of Proglas, and what the Slovenian advertising industry is capable of when allowed to do what it wants, then follow the related page on Facebook, or see the whole archive on Mladina.
Mladina: Who is opposed to changing the system of supplementary health insurance, and why?
STA, 29 March 2019 - The left-wing weekly Mladina looks into the reasons for the opposition to the idea to abolish supplementary health insurance in its latest commentary, noting that it is more than 15 years old, much older than the Left, which usually gets credit for the idea.
"The people who are screaming about excessive public spending are also screaming about the Left (and the coalition) wanting to take EUR 500m away from healthcare by forcing the idea," editor-in-chief Grega Repovž says in Crazy World.
"The idea to abolish supplementary health insurance is much older than the Left. It is more than 15 years old. It has been present since it was revealed that some lobbies are using it to literally cut away a part of public money they collect instead of the state."
According to Repovž, these lobbies are turning this money around on financial markets, take their 10% and then return it to the state. "This would have been abolished everywhere long ago. But not in Slovenia. Let's see why this is. Because the reasons are actually very banal, shallow and evil."
The coalition is not actually proposing abolition of supplementary health insurance, but its merging with compulsory insurance. The catch is that people with lower income would pay less, up to 20 euros a month, and those with higher income would pay more, up to 70 euros.
A majority of the decision-making MPs, officials, directors - the entire upper class, would pay more, and the thing is that they do not want to pay more. They instead let three private insurers to get their EUR 60m every year from the people.
In short, the entire upper class is pretending ignorance and does not want to shoulder its share of costs for healthcare, the share proportionate to their income. This is why they are willing to lie that the coalition (and the Left) wants to take EUR 500m away from the healthcare sector.
"Well, the question is on whose side the new health minister is. He has not been convincing so far, but he belongs to the party of the prime minister, who has committed to implementing this objective in the agreement with the Left."
It is very easy to explain the reasons for abolition of supplementary health insurance to the public, for example with the situation of general practitioners, concludes the commentary.
Demokracija: Fidesz helps EPP ahead of EU election
STA, 28 March 2019 - The right-wing weekly Demokracija says in its latest commentary that the European People's Party (EPP) members made the right decision in not expelling the party of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and thereby diminishing EPP leader Manfred Weber's chances of becoming the next president of the European Commission.
Last week, Weber faced the serious threat of a discord in the EPP right ahead of the EU elections, and a possible break-up of the group was not excluded either, as some parties had announced they would leave the EPP if Fidesz was expelled or forcedly suspended.
At first, it seemed that a majority of the EPP members were leaning towards such a proposal from 13 members, as this was supposed to be the key to success of Christian democrats in the May elections, editor-in-chief Jože Biščak says in EPP's Training Day in Brussels.
But after the speech by Janez Janša, the head of the Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS), who seriously warned that such a decision could cause irreparable damage, the scales tipped to the other side and Orban's proposal for a six-month suspension was accepted.
A continuation of the dispute would mostly benefit the political groups on the left, as socialist Frans Timmermans would easily beat Weber, Biščak says, noting that the solution was temporary, as everybody is waiting for the election result.
The compromise between the EPP and Fidesz is the best solution for European conservatives at the moment, as they remain (at least seemingly) unified, and one can say that Orban did a favour to Weber.
As projections suggest, Orban will be a great winner of the EU elections in Hungary, and Weber's chances of becoming the next president of the European Commission would have dropped drastically had Fidesz left the EPP, as it would be followed by more parties. Actually, it would be mission impossible, concludes the commentary.
All our posts in this series can be found here
Mladina: The Left bring important issues to the table in government
STA, 22 March 2019 - Arguing that the minority coalition's agreement with the Left is an overdue measure restoring certain aspects of social welfare, the left-wing Mladina magazine points out in its Friday's editorial that Slovenian politicians being offended by the agreement seem to be out of touch with reality.
The cooperation with the opposition Left enabled the government to confirm the revised budget implementation act for 2019 on Wednesday and left several coalition partners believe that the opposition party was enjoying special treatment.
The editorial comments on the leader of the Social Democrats (SD) Matjaž Han's "unfortunate wisecracks" about the Left's alleged privileged status, saying that he was probably provoked by statements released by the opposition Democrats (SDS) and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, opposing the agreement and meant to create cracks in the government's facade.
"Parties' deputy group leaders should be the wisest MPs, not the most reckless and irascible ones. But just as the Left has Miha Kordiš, the SD has Han - the only difference being that Kordiš is not the leader."
The deputy group head being so easily provoked is the party's problem, but the editorial finds it more disturbing that he actually seems to believe the opposition party could have a higher status in the Slovenian political arena than his coalition one.
Referring to the Parable of the Prodigal Son, Han proclaimed his party to be the overlooked, taken-for-granted, live-at-home daughter, while the Left was the prodigal one. According to the commentary, his allegations seem immature and reflect how out of touch with actual reality many representatives are.
Instead of acting like a "spoiled daughter", Han's party and all the others who were offended by the supposed preferential treatment should rather welcome all the social benefits the agreement advocates.
It focuses on Slovenians who have in fact been overlooked in the past decades, tackling precarious forms of employment, providing affordable housing, introducing a minimum capital gains tax, and re-employing cleaners and doormen who were let go due to the delegation of those tasks to external service providers.
What is even scarier than politicians moaning about the current political hierarchy is the strong suspicion that they might find the above measures "insignificant, marginal, and on top of that expensive" since they do not address issues relevant to them.
Signing the agreement, Han and like-minded representatives should have noted the necessary changes the Left's contribution proposed and welcomed them with open arms, concludes the commentary entitled The Parable of the Prodigal Daughter.
Demokracija: Greta Thunberg's environmental protests are just good marketing
STA, 21 March 2019 - The right-wing weekly compared Greta Thunberg to the myth of Mother Theresa in its editorial on Thursday, stressing that the revival of environmental activism centred around the Swedish teenager serves as just another platform for green activists' marketing.
The paper draws a comparison between Thunberg and Mother Theresa, who was an extremely popular person among conservatives and progressives alike despite her or perhaps precisely because of her conflicting words and actions.
Being against abortion and once allegedly describing AIDS as "God's punishment", Saint Teresa of Calcutta also wore the red bow, the solidarity symbol for people living with this disease, to be "trendy" and referred to homosexuals as "Jesus' friends".
The magazine does not doubt the authenticity of her calling, but it does refer to her work as the Vatican's "greatest marketing victory of the last 100 years", filling their coffers through people's contributions.
"Greta Thunberg is the current Mother Theresa. The Swedish teenager is becoming the icon of global environmental activism," stresses the commentary, pointing out that the myth created around Thunberg serves the interests of those "who live off spreading fears" about global warming.
Without questioning the teenager's good intentions, Demokracija finds her to be a new mascot for climate change activists, who prefer money to the planet's well-being.
Commenting on the 2013 study of the Climate Policy Initiative, which addressed climate risk and estimated global investments in mitigating climate change at USD 359bn, the editorial believes those funds could be used for other purposes instead of appeasing "money-hungry saviours of the Earth".
Environmental activists though maintain that "such resources are far from sufficient" to tackle global warming issues.
On the other hand, the commentary mentions Patrick Moore, the former president of Greenpeace Canada, who has been criticising the climate change movement since leaving Greenpeace over policy differences claiming that global warming is "fake news" as well as "fake science".
Greenpeace denied such allegations, arguing that Moore was on the payroll of climate change denying lobbies, but the editorial portrays him as an example of an individual going against the machinery of green greed.
All our posts in this series can be found here
STA, 1 March 2019 - The latest editorial of the left-leaning weekly Mladina tears apart the Finance Ministry's tax reform proposal as yet another taxation tweak to primarily benefits the rich.
Only two years have passed since the last changes that brought the biggest tax burden reduction and greatest gains for those who already have high wages.
While Prime Minister Marjan Šarec now stands to gain almost EUR 1,000 a year, his predecessor Miro Carar saw his wage rise by EUR 2,000 net at the annual level or to EUR 3,457 net a month, effective on 1 January 2017.
The argument keeps repeating - "we are doing this because of those who are the most productive", editor-in-chief Grega Repovž says, labelling this as despicable deceit by those working for the benefit of their own class.
It is true that high wages are taxed more in Slovenia, but on the other hand property is not subject to any serious taxation and the bulk of the income of the wealthiest stems from property.
Meanwhile, the taxation of the average wages of those in whose name the wealthiest would get even more after this reform is comparable to that in similar countries in Europe and is for instance lower than in Austria, Repovž says in the editorial entitled New Tax Cuts for the Rich.
At the same, the government is shying away from a real estate tax or from heavier taxation of those letting out several apartments, while it has also avoided reforming the compulsory health insurance system that continues to channel large sums of public money to private insurers.
This is an arrogant and offensive tax reform proposal that benefits the wealthy and should be withdrawn, Repovž says, adding PM Šarec dismissed the wrong minister this week.
STA, 28 February 2019 - In its latest commentary, the right-leaning weekly Demokracija is flabbergasted by the fact that a majority of the Slovenian media dedicated almost no attention to the warnings from the Fiscal Council that the general government expenditure planned for 2019 should be EUR 270m lower.
The warning about the need for the country to preserve a structural balance in compliance with the fiscal rule was buried quickly, ending up somewhere "on the dark side of the internet", editor-in-chief Jože Biščak says.
Is the expansive fiscal policy, which could cause a headache in the autumn, really a marginal topic, he wonders. It obviously is, as the media are busy "inflating the popularity of the prime minister," he adds in the commentary entitled It's Good to Be Marjan Šarec.
Šarec is really happy because, as the global economic situation is getting increasingly unpredictable, and forecasts more pessimistic than optimistic, the media do not bother him with questions about what to do if the economic growth happens to be lower than expected.
The fear of the 2008 crisis repeating has made the smart countries (Germany, Norway) start accumulating surpluses and creating reserves, while others are reducing general government debt (Estonia, the Czech Republic).
The only solution for the Slovenian government, if it wants to keep the public sector in the current size and meet the obligations given to the sector "either blindfolded or drunk on power", will be to increase the already high taxes.
The problem is not in taxes themselves, but what you get in return. According to an analysis by the Quality of Government Institute, Slovenia belongs to the countries which spend much, while giving back little to the citizens.
All our posts in this series can be found here
STASTA, 22 February 2019 - The weekly Mladina says in its latest editorial that the growing popularity of Prime Minister Marjan Šarec, his party and the government is a success of an ideology which avoids declaring the state of emergency and portraying leaders as messiahs.
The high popularity "deserves a serious analysis: what we can see is not popularity, not someone being sympathetic, but a success of an ideology of a certain authority, which is fitting very well with the state of society."
In order to understand what is going on, one needs to use political and ideological glasses, not marketing or some other glasses used by the media. "It is about politics and ideology," editor-in-chief Grega Repovž adds in Victory of an Ideology.
He notes that Šarec has, probably not deliberately, abandoned certain concepts which had marked the work of governments for a long time, including in particular portraying the situation as catastrophic while at the same time playing messiahs.
"Up to and including the government of Miro Cerar (2014-2018), all governments were building their image on attempts to normalise allegedly horrific situations which they had inherited, to prevent the worst from happening, to save us, the country and the world, to be our saviours."
This concept is always comfortable and comes in handy, but people actually do not like to live in an abnormal state, as this causes stress and anxiety. What is more, they feel it as a threat, an actual political mobbing of the nation, Repovž writes.
He argues that the Šarec government has not significantly changed the ideological framework of operation, it is still a slightly leftist government, but predominantly neo-liberal. The essential difference is that it does not harass the citizens and create a state of emergency.
"What people feel and how they respond is the ideological framework of that government. Only when one acknowledges this enables the understanding of the political changes we are witnessing. This is why the first catastrophist in the country is losing support," Repovž says in reference to Democrat (SDS) president Janez Janša.
STA, 21 February 2019 - The right-wing magazine Demokracija claims in the latest issue that the only real danger to Europe at the moment is the "multi-cultural axis Berlin-Paris", arguing that the only way for the EU to survive is as a formation of nation states whose sole interest is to create prosperity based on economic cooperation.
Writing under the headline Sixth Reich, editor-in-chief Jože Biščak dismisses the controversy provoked by Antonio Tajani, the president of the European Parliament, in his Foibe Victims Remembrance Day address, asserting that no one in the EU truly cares about what he said.
Instead, Biščak is more concerned about German Chancellor Angela Merkel's stating that "Nation states must today be prepared to give up their sovereignty".
He says that few expressed indignation or protest at her statement and that "no one warned that they will not push their nation into dependence from a new, so far still imaginary sixth reich ... which would give rise to new Europeans, a mix of natives, camel shepherds and Negroids."
Biščak launches an attack on the Brussels bureaucracy, European Council President Donald Tusk and French President Emmanuel Macron, whom he says the nationally minded French consider to be a German vassal.
"Macron is a man who, without asking anyone, put Germany in a position to lead the EU. And the European army. This means that he will hand over to it nuclear arms that only France and the UK among EU countries posses."
Biščak says that the obstacle to these plans is Brexit, arguing that the UK saw through it on time and decided to leave the EU. He says that it will be no disaster for Britain regardless of whether it will be a hard or soft Brexit.
"They can merely encourage to leave the countries which are resisting the senseless EU bureaucracy even now. These are Italy, Hungary and Poland, the targets of the strongest desire for control.
"Only a thorough change of priorities and a rethink about the future can save the EU. It can only be a formation of free nation states whose sole interest is to create prosperity based on economic cooperation."
All our posts in this series can be found here
The covers and editorials from leading weeklies of the Left and Right for the work-week ending Friday, February 15, 2019
STA, 15 February 2019 - The magazine Mladina says the coming EU elections will be a clash, yet not a clash for a united Europe but a clash within Europe, of one nation against the other, as it comments on European Parliament President Antonio Tajani's recent revisionist statements at a foibe commemoration in Italy.
Editor-in-chief Grega Repovž says in Friday's editorial that superpowers America, Russia and China will also get involved because a weak EU is in their interest.
"These elections will be much more ground-breaking than we have hoped," Mladina says under the headline Tajani, Just a True European.
"We can he grateful to Antonio Tajani for his speech at Basovizza, since the majority of people has overlooked the fact that with a few exceptions, most European parties have started resorting to nationalist rhetoric over the past four years."
Nationalist populism has become s staple of political success in the West, even moderate politicians use it for fear of being accused no not being patriotic enough.
"This is of course a way to hell, but also the European political reality," says Repovž, recalling that in fear of losing the race against nationalists, some have gone as far as erecting razor wire on the border during the recent migration crisis.
Just before the elections to the European Parliament, Tajani showed very clearly that the election campaign will be pervaded by nationalist rhetoric. "Nobody will dare avoid it in order not to fall behind."
It adds that Tajani is no radical extremist, but a calculating politician with short-term goals in his mind who also has to adjust to the rhetoric of Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini which dominates Italy.
But his statements also show he apparently cares little about Europe currently being a fragile institution with an uncertain future where it can easily happen that European institutions themselves start using nationalist populism.
"Let us not be fooled by his apology," Repovž says, noting Tajani did not think his words would resound from a small village on the far east of Italy all the way to Brussels.
STA, 14 February 2019 - The right-wing weekly Demokracija disputes the quality of Slovenian arts in response to the Culture Day ceremony address by Vinko Möderndorfer, the chairman of the Prešeren Fund board. It argues Slovenia should introduce a voucher system as proposed by James Heilbrun and Charles M. Gray in The Economics of Art and Culture.
"In his speech, Möderndorfer degraded and insulted Slovenians and Slovenia as few before him in a long while ... The recurring theme was the same: badmouthing the state over its stepmotherly attitude to culture despite an extra 30 million euro for culture in this year's budget.
"But it is not enough. It is never enough. Even if the Culture Ministry's budget increased by 100 or 200 million euro, they would still demand an increase in public spending; most on their own behalf," editor-in-chief Jože Biščak writes.
He agrees that Slovenian culture is in the doldrums. However, he says the reason is not underfunding but rather that "a bunch of people, self-styled artists have learnt that they can get money without trying at least a bit to justify it and satisfy the needs of culture consumers".
"Their works, whatever they are, are mostly an aim in itself, no one ever even thinks of fighting for the reader, viewer or buyer. Also because the taxpayers are forced to pay for something they are not interested in even in their nightmare," Biščak writes, offering Möderndorfer's latest film as a case in point.
He says that the only cure is market economy, but he also offers vouchers as a compromise that would suit those who believe culture should be financed from public funds and those who favour market logic.
He proposes that the roughly EUR 380m or EUR 190 per capita that is allocated for culture from the national and local budgets should be distributed among Slovenia's citizens so that everyone gets a EUR 190 voucher a year to spend it on culture of their own choice. The artists who get the vouchers would then exchange them for money from the budget.
All our posts in this series can be found here
STA, 1 February 2019 - One of Slovenia's foremost media experts has called for far-reaching reform of media legislation and state subsidies for media outlets struggling in the current business climate, arguing that Slovenian journalism needs strong support from the state.
"The media pluralisation fund, which has EUR 2m available and spends EUR 1.3m on radio stations of special importance, is not enough. It was not enough years ago and is even less so now: journalism globally faces existential problems and is struggling to survive," Faculty of Social Sciences professor Marko Milosavljević told the latest edition of Mladina.
He said a range of measures should be employed, from tax subsidies for media outlets to incentives for hiring young reporters, preserving the networks of foreign and local correspondents.
The government should increase funding for the media to at least EUR 20m per year, he said, arguing that this was still low compared to what some other countries are spending to prop up their media.
Professor Marko Milosavljević. Photo: www.fdv.uni-lj.si
"And don't forget, just one of the major Slovenian owners, who also owns many media outlets, received EUR 7m in subsidies for his non-media companies last year.
"If we can spend that amount of money on certain sectors of the economy, we can easily earmark EUR 20m for the entire Slovenian media industry," Milosavljević said.
As for the legislative side of things, Milosavljević is in favour of an in-depth reform of all media-related laws, including the act on AV services and legislation governing the public broadcaster and the STA.
The view puts him at odds with the government's stated plan to implement minor tweaks of the media law, but Milosavljević says the government has enough time for true reform given that it has just started its term.
"What's required is a strategic meeting by the prime minister and key departments that affect media in any way, at which those responsible would clearly determine that they must cooperate and come up with comprehensive solutions."
Only this way can pressing issues such as the prevalence of hate speech and intolerance, poor media literacy and digitisation be addressed. "It is essential that they start looking for and proposing solutions, technologies and markets are changing radically," he said.
STA, 25 January 2019 - The left-leaning weekly Mladina says in its latest commentary that the European Parliament election will be the first serious test for Prime Minister Marjan Šarec as the Democrat (SDS) leader Janez Janša has come out from his hiding and started throwing "bombs", which include his attempt to portray Šarec and his government as an elite.
But in the commentary That Crazy Dance, editor-in-chief Grega Repovž notes that contrary to popular belief, Janša is not a great tactician at all.
"No. Janez Janša has no clue about political tactics - otherwise he would not be the most alienated politician, with whom no-one wants to cooperate. Everybody avoids him."
A detailed look at Janša's latest post on Facebook reveals that he has launched a pre-election attack on his main political opponent Šarec, who is leading all popularity lists, the commentary says, noting that the election campaign has already started.
The strategy is to present Šarec and the government as an elite. "Janša knows that he does not need to go after Šarec individually, he only needs to present the entire government as an elite."
When it comes to the impeachment motion filed against Šarec over the failure to implement the Constitutional Court decision on financing of private primary schools, Mladina says that the matter should be given a closer look.
"What private education we are talking about? Church education. What is therefore Janša's goal? It is to take away from Šarec the aura of a man who can sing Partisan songs and read at a liturgy."
This is a great advantage for Šarec, as he is reconciliation personified, which people like. Janša, on the other hand, wants to show that Šarec is not that, that he is actually a member of the elite, a first-class new man of the old forces.
"This is stupid, of course, but it has never been about truth and facts when it comes to Janša."
STA, 24 January 2019 - The right-leaning weekly Demokracija says in its latest commentary that judging by his behaviour and statements, Prime Minister Marjan Šarec has started to believe that he is Janez Drnovšek reincarnated, but he is actually a socialist who is pretending to be a saviour with imagined supernatural powers.
Portraying him as a Janez Drnovšek or even more favourably are mostly the media inclined to the left, editor-in-chief Jože Biščak says under the headline Back to the Future.
"In a nutshell - Šarec is a superman, who will solve all problems of Slovenians with the help from the extremist Left. Just look what wonders the latest raise of the minimum wage does," he says in reference to the steep rise in Šarec's popularity.
"Because of the project which is being praised to the skies and which has raised the minimum wage by an unbelievable 29 euros, people to whom it is intended will pay a higher income tax and will get lower child benefits. You really have to have supernatural powers to achieve that."
But Biščak notes that when socialists wanted to determine prices and what people need and what not, shortages usually followed, which was "miraculously never felt by the elite of the saviours", but by common people.
"Every measure taken by any socialist government turned out to be detrimental. Socialism has never worked and has left only devastation and tens of millions of victims behind. You don't need supernatural powers for that, you need to be wicked and evil."
In socialism, the only way to convince people is to limit their freedom and make them poor, and this is what the Šarec government is doing. The socialist logic is that people always need socialist saviours with imagined supernatural powers, concludes the commentary.
All our posts in this series can be found here
STA, 18 January 2019 - The left-wing weekly Mladina says in its editorial on Friday that political groups in the European Parliament should make it clear before the May elections whether they will form an alliance with the European People's Party (EPP), considering that the group includes Hungarian right-wing radical Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
Ahead of the elections, it is often heard that Europe is in serious danger of far-right populist parties getting so much power that they would influence the formation of the European Commission, Mladina editor-in-chief Grega Repovž says.
He is critical that these warnings are voiced by the very same people who already tolerate the likes of Orban and Slovenian Democrat (SDS) leader Janez Janša in their ranks. They are calling for a coalition against populist parties, many of which are already members of the EPP.
Is it even possible to take seriously conservative parties that criticise “orbanisation: and fascism on a declarative level but tolerate the problematic parties, Repovž wonders.
"The argument used by conservative politicians dedicated to democratic and Christian values is simple: it allows them to somewhat control these parties... This is a terrifying and unconvincing argument that leads to the legitimisation of radical positions."
But the problem has wider implications. "Let us assume that populist right-wing parties outside the EPP reach more than 30% in the European Parliament in May. For the first time in history, all big political groups in the parliament will have to join forces and form a grand coalition."
But so far none of the large groups has demanded of the EPP to clean out its ranks. "Of course, this is hard. But this does not make it any less necessary," the paper says under the headline With Orban against other Orbans?
STA, 17 January 2019 – The right-wing weekly Demokracija expresses doubt in Thursday's commentary about the Cathedral of Freedom, a think-tank whose stated goal is to promote the establishment of a liberal party. The paper says the true intentions as well as its potential are questionable.
One of the initiators criticised the "rhetoric of patriotism and independence euphoria" on the right. This targeted primarily the Democrats (SDS), the implication being that it should be food for thought for the party's leader, the paper, co-owned by the SDS, says in Cathedral of Freedom and Seven Myths.
"I'm probably not the only one to interpret this as (yet another) appeal to Janez Janša to gradually withdraw so a generational change may take place," the paper's editor-in-chief Jože Biščak says.
"Something similar happened before last year's general election, when the noble right presented itself as an alternative to the allegedly radical and contaminated parties and individuals on the right... We know what happened at the election."
The commentator says that the proponents appear to realise that in order to change things they will have to form a liberal political party, but this looks like wishful thinking considering the fate of such initiatives in the past and the initiators' stated intention not to do the legwork required to actually establish a proper party.
The paper also expects the initiators to take a clear stance on several key issues, including how they understand freedom of speech, the coalition's attacks on opposition media, media legislation and multiculturalism.
"But more than anything, they will have to state what freedom means to them. Is it the absence of incarceration or of any kind of coercion? Is it the right to act, speak and think any way you want, without others, including those in power, imposing restrictions? The public will demand clear answers. Absent such answers this will be yet another dud."
All our posts in this series can be found here
Mladina: Low Salaries in Slovenia are Because of Company Policies, Not Taxes
STA, 11 January 2019 - The weekly Mladina says that wealthy entrepreneurs are preparing the battle field ahead of a tax reform planned by the government. They are narrating a story of an engineer who is paid poorly due to high taxes and decides to leave the country to work abroad where taxes are lower. This, as it turns out, is nothing but a myth, Mladina says.
Under the headline “Abused Engineers”, the latest editorial of the left-leaning magazine says that engineers do make less in Slovenia than they would, for example, in Austria.
But this is not because of higher taxes but because company owners, Mladina specifically points to the owner of a successful exhaust maker Igor Akrapovič, do not give them higher pay.
Moreover, engineers are actually paid far less than what the entrepreneurs claim, the paper says, suggesting the bosses are actually talking about themselves.
In fact, income taxes for what engineers actually make in Slovenia are lower than in Austria. Only if they were paid as much as company owners claim they are, would the income tax be higher, a Mladina journalist has found.
He also busted the myth that engineers are leaving the country, providing numbers that only 70 engineers left Slovenia between 2012 and 2017. Most of them went to Croatia, which suggests that they were Croatian citizens studying in Slovenia who returned home after graduation.
"Will we allow yet another coup of demagogy? Will they abuse our empathy again?" the weekly wonders.
Reporter: President Pahor is an inclusive statesman
Note: this editorial is actually from last week
STA, 31 December - The right-leaning weekly Reporter commends President Borut Pahor in its latest commentary for his effort to be a voice of reason and a statesman who wants to build bridges rather than ostracise.
As he addressed an open day at the Presidential Palace to mark Independence and Unity Day, the president said he wanted more mutual respect in the coming year, editor-in-chief Silvester Šurla notes in More Respect in 2019!
He adds that Pahor had asked at the national holiday more than 500 visitors to carry on his call for mutual respect, understanding and respect of differences.
The president's words are welcome and they again confirm that Pahor is or at least tries to be the president of all Slovenians more than any of other presidents before him.
"He is making an effort to be a voice of reason, a statesman who does not exclude, but connects."
According to Šurla, in the increasingly politically polarised world, full of ostracising and hatred, such a stance by the president is not always welcomed, unfortunately.
Pahor is being attacked more from the left than from the right, which is very telling. What the leftist ideological extremists have been bothered by most during Pahor's reign is his normal relationship with the political right, concludes the commentary.
All our posts in this series can be found here