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Janez Janša: Measures are being adopted to preserve the vital capacities of the Slovenian economy

On Monday, Prime Minister Janez Janša was a guest on the programme A Talk with the Prime Minister on Nova24TV.

Prime Minister Janez Janša was a guest on the programme A Talk with the Prime Minister on Nova24TV.

Prime Minister Janez Janša was a guest on the programme A Talk with the Prime Minister on Nova24TV. | Author Kabinet predsednika vlade

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By way of introduction, Mr Janša explained that the main purpose of the third anti-corona package was to help companies that had received fewer orders due to the epidemic, the closing of some markets, interrupted supply chains, and uncertainty about the volume of orders. "Since we expect that most of these interruptions will be temporary, we believe it is important for the companies to preserve their capacities, to retain their employees, and, if they do not have sufficient orders to require full working time for all their workers, the third anti-corona package has earmarked significant funds to cover this difference so that, in these uncertain times, the businesses will be able to preserve their vital capacities," stressed Mr Janša, adding that the subsidised working time measure will be in place until the end of the year or "will be extended, if necessary, in certain parts or for certain sectors for several months in 2021, unless the situation improves."

With respect to the tourist vouchers provided by the government in the third anti-corona package, he is of the opinion that this measure actually resolves two issues with one blow, vouchers, on the one hand, support the tourism industry, and on the other they benefit citizens, who are taxpayers. Funds for healthcare are also earmarked in the third package. Prime Minister Janša went on to say that the buildings and equipment of some hospitals and community healthcare centres in Slovenia were outdated and that healthcare professionals have often managed to do miracles even though their equipment was old or, in summer, they worked in rooms with no air-conditioning and, in winter, in poorly heated facilities. "Because of this human factor, our healthcare services are of a relatively high quality," emphasised Mr Janša. Furthermore, this third anti-corona package envisages the financing of the healthcare costs of the epidemic. "The European Commission will present a proposal according to which a significant amount of European funds will be made available in the recovery fund with the Member States’ healthcare systems having priority."  In the third anti-corona package special attention is devoted to the tourism industry because "it is the key objective of this package to preserve this sector and to revive its activities as soon as possible." "As the tourism industry was the hardest hit by the epidemic, some measures, for example in relation to temporary lay offs, are extended, and at the end of June we will be able to assess the first results of these measures and of the opening of borders," said Mr Janša.

Furthermore, he underlined the significance of the law, which will in the first place remove bureaucratic obstacles to important investment projects while relaunching the projects that have been blocked, of which he estimates there are more than 400.

In relation to the high number of deaths in homes for the elderly during the coronavirus epidemic, Mr Janša said that every death was regrettable, however, had the government of Marjan Šarec advised those (doctors, teachers) returning from holidays in infected areas of Italy in February to stay at home for 14 days to see if they were healthy or not, there would have been 50% fewer cases of coronavirus in such homes for the elderly.   "Following the outbreak at the home for the elderly in Ljutomer, the Ministry of Health wanted to transfer the infected residents to the hospital in Ptuj but its plan met with strong resistance from the hospital’s managers from the party of the Social Democrats," he commented, pointing out that  for a number of years the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities has been headed by the representatives of the Social Democrats, and now the representatives of this very party are the fiercest critics of the situation in these homes. "We devote considerable attention to the problems encountered by the homes for the elderly in terms of their lack of human resources and facilities. Long-term care is one of the key issues in our Coalition Agreement with an emphasis on investments in the construction of new residential facilities for the elderly," said Mr Janša.

To the question of the issue of access to the personal files of 55 politicians during the time when Marjan Šarec was the Prime Minister, Prime Minister Janša said that he was informed that a notification, i.e. a warning that informs the supervisor that someone accessed the database of a protected person, was removed. "I believe this was in connection with the personal files of Minister Počivalšek and Minister Erjavec at that time, and then it was ordered to simply remove the notification from the programme, so that there were no warnings about accesses at all. Usually such things are done by those who then blame others for what they have done," commented the Prime Minister.

"When it comes to the left-wing governments, it is obviously thought that everything is allowed," stressed the Prime Minister, who noted that "in our previous term of office we tried in vain to obtain secret rules, which should not be in the Slovenian Constitution at all, while the central media did not report this. And now, without proof and basis, someone says what our government supposedly does, and it’s the first news in the media."

The Prime Minister also commented on Fridays' cycling protests, saying that he had nothing against peaceful protests, whereas "a more serious issue is death threats, but for which excuses are made. I think that the Slovenian Prosecutor’s Office, which judged that threatening someone with death was not a matter of law enforcement, did not pass the test," said Prime Minister Janez Janša, adding that this "is a serious issue and I think it will have consequences."

In the broadcast, Prime Minister Janez Janša also spoke about the situation after he had been appointed Prime Minister, when in fact, he . "There were many issues to be resolved with the ministers of the previous government. Not only was the previous Prime Minister unresponsive, but he also actively prevented the correct decisions that some of his ministers wanted to make. However, we were able to prepare some things and we received information from former ministers, although the former Prime Minister Marjan Šarec had been harassing them," said Prime Minister Janša, adding that "Luckily, some ministers knew how to act, which made it a little easier; however, that was a time that has no comparison either in my life or in the life of this country."

To a question by a spectator why there is so much "Yugonostalgia" in Slovenia, the Prime Minister answered, "The statement that the degree of Yugonostalgia as exists in Slovenia can be found nowhere else in the countries formed on the territory of the former Yugoslavia is not far from the truth. Today, in Serbia, Croatia and Montenegro no one talks about it, only people from the far left-wing in Slovenia talk about it, but the truth is that they have strong loudspeakers. Some media that should be pro-Western and pro-European and for the direction we chose in the plebiscite and referendum and thus with the will of the public supporting us, those media, even though they call themselves national media, are looking back to a state that collapsed due to clientelism, corruption, the Communist Party and the red star, and everything that was crowded into that forced framework."

Regarding the opening of borders, Prime Minister Janša pointed out that a specific cut-off date is 15 June, but that he understands the countries in our neighbourhood that rely on the epidemiological picture in their own countries and are therefore more reluctant in connection with the opening of borders.

"As far as tax policy is concerned, there will be changes. Mr Simič, who heads the Strategic Council for De-Bureaucratisation, promised to focus on the matters related to taxes, but a rapid reduction in taxes cannot be expected in this situation," replied Prime Minister Janez Janša to a question on tax policy. He added that he was close to the idea that everyone could spend part of their income tax for purposes they would choose by themselves. "The first serious proposals for tax changes can be expected by the end of the year," mentioned Prime Minister Janša in this connection.

On the topic of hate in society, Prime Minister Janša said, "There is no hate in me; however, hate usually erupts when some people fear to lose their privileges and it goes to extremes, such as with death threats; although this is performed by a handful of people who incite and instigate and are supported in this by the media, who should condemn such practices," adding that, when it comes to hate against him in concrete terms, he believes that this is not the majority position of the people. "Building hatred is dangerous, so it is important to talk about it," he added, pointing out that if most people resort to ideological hate, they would not have voted for independent Slovenia and would not have passed the latest coronavirus test with so few scratches.