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Prime Minister Janez Janša: It’s double standards that are destroying Slovenia

Yesterday, Prime Minister Janez Janša was a guest on the programme A Talk with the Prime Minister on Nova24TV, in which he talked about the current topics of last week and answered questions from citizens.

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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This time, Prime Minister Janša and the anchor started their talk with the reconciliation ceremony that took place at the pit under Macesnova gorica in Kočevski Rog on Saturday. As stated by the anchor in the introduction, after 30 years it has been established that the first reconciliation mass in Kočevski Rog was in fact a kind of deception because, allegedly, no Slovenians lay in the pit under Kren.  The Prime Minister replied that the truth is one of the basic preconditions for any reconciliation between individuals or in the society of nations in general. "If we lie about fundamental things, it is very difficult to expect reconciliation to take place.  Nevertheless, it must be said that the vast majority of those who organised the event in Rog 30 years ago and the vast majority of those who came there and who watched it on TV had good intentions. However, it was later revealed that the information from those who knew the truth but did not tell it, or who said other than the truth regarding the location itself and certain events, was false or deficient and that this had caused a lot of mistrust which made this reconciliation process even more difficult," the Prime Minister said.  He regretted that the 30 years since the first reconciliation ceremony were largely a period of missed opportunities.

"The fact that someone refers to a mourning ceremony dedicated to people killed in a cruel way as a party, and that this person happens to be a journalist who creates public opinion or that someone who works for or is close to the national television station actually calls for it to be repeated in a certain way, is actually sad.  I don't know, there is a lot going on in many places, but I doubt that there is a European country where this would happen in such a way without a certain reflection and without a certain response; particularly at the very same time when half of the media scene and more than half of the political scene are expressing their disquiet in connection with the ban on a concert by a Croatian musician where one set of standards applies, while in the former context, totally different standards are used," Prime Minister Janša commented regarding the insulting tweets that had appeared on the margins of the reconciliation ceremony.  According to the Prime Minister, it is the double standards that cause most concern in all such discussions. "On the one hand, obvious double standards are used by the mainstream when threats of killings are accepted calmly as part of a certain normality, as part of daily life, while on the other hand, a rock concert is presented as a great danger to the nation's future. This means that we are far from normal," the Prime Minister stated unequivocally.  He added that a normal majority was able to pay respect to all those who were killed without judgement on either side. "We are able to pay tribute to anyone who has resisted any evil or totalitarianism, and as the President said, to understand the pain of each other and of the relatives, of those who died on one side or the other or those who were killed on one side or the other," said Prime Minister Janez Janša, who went on to say that it is, of course, necessary to be able to accept this as it is part of our history in respect of which a consensus will probably never be reached. "Nevertheless, by recognising this we must be able to look ahead and to also see what is uniting our history and be able to put this to the forefront,” said Janša decisively.

In respect of the banners carried by protesters at Friday's bicycle protests against the Government the Prime Minister said that these banners indicate an organised death threat.  "This threat cannot be relativised by any quotation marks.  And to add to the irony, the posters were probably printed with taxpayers' money in one of the state or para-statal institutions or in an organisation that receives public money, but certainly not for the purpose of encouraging and sowing hatred and intolerance and to threaten death," said Prime Minister Janša, who continued: "These are not banners that people would bring with them. That someone duplicates a death threat and distributes it to people and then they issue threats on command ... Look, this was happening in Germany at the time when National Socialism and Nazism were on the rise, when Kristallnacht was organised by destroying Jewish property and later by killing Jews.  Also then, they said that screaming "Juden Raus!" was not directed against any individual, but in the end these very individuals were burned in the ovens. Even when in June 1945 they were shouting "Death to Fascism", they said that this was not directed against any individual, however, these individuals were then shot and thrown into caves and walled up in the Barbara Pit," pointed out the Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša.

He also commented that we actually face double standards when protesters shout against the Government, demand respect for the constitution and the laws, but at the same time ride their bicycles on a road reserved for cars or for pedestrians, or when they protest against the Government saying that it is adopting legislation that is not environment-friendly while at the same time they are the ones polluting the environment. "These are the double standards that destroy Slovenia. Once we apply the same standards to everything, will we be on the path to make our dreams come true; the dreams we voted for in the plebiscite," said the Prime Minister decisively.

Furthermore, the Prime Minister added that crude and uncivilised protests in Slovenia occur when the privileges of those who believe that they are called to be in exclusive authority are jeopardised. "There were protests against this Government even before we formed it, even before we took the oath. Even then, the peaceful protesters, as they refer to themselves, organized a rally in front of the National Assembly threatening death and murder. Also today when not even a hundred days have passed, death threats are heard," the Prime Minister said. At the same time, he reiterated what he said several times before, that peaceful protests where harsh words may be expressed are entirely appropriate, "but death threats are off limits." "At some point, this country will have to decide whether to oppose this with instruments of the rule of law, which is the only answer to this, or to come to terms with falling into some kind of anarchy where the streets will decide," the Prime Minister pointed out. He also highlighted that the violence observed in other countries did not occur overnight. "At first, there were threats, including death threats, and then there was violence, robbery, destruction and even killing," the Prime Minister warned, adding that he did not want what was currently happening in Brussels, London, Paris etc. to happen in Slovenia. "Protesters in London defaced the Winston Churchill statue and wrote on the monument that he was a racist, shouted that he was a Fascist, but if it weren't for Winston Churchill, then probably everyone in Europe today would speak German. In fact, he is the one who stopped the savage march of Fascism or National Socialism or Nazism, and if it were not for him, then the question is whether the United States would have decided to go to war at all.  I doubt those who shouted Fascist even knew who Winston Churchill was. These are people who came to Europe from somewhere else, who do not know our history, do not know our tradition, do not respect our way of life and for them anyone who sees this differently is a Fascist or racist. What is happening in Slovenia is just a step away from that," added Prime Minister Janez Janša.

When asked by a citizen about the decentralization of the state, the Prime Minister replied that the Government has already taken a number of decisions to decentralize the state. "A very concrete measure is to increase lump sum expenditure for municipalities. That is, more money should be given to municipalities so that they can decide where to invest, because it is easier for them to see the actual needs of the people," explained the Prime Minister, adding that the Government is focusing its efforts on spending the money that people contribute to the budget on things that are as relevant for them as possible. Having said that, the Prime Minister reminded viewers of what has been done so far on the establishment of regions and warned that it would probably not be possible to establish regions during this term, because the National Assembly is too fragmented to reach the required two-thirds majority. "In the next term, however, this goal, that is, decentralization, should be achieved through the establishment of regions," asserted the Prime Minister.

When asked by a citizen in relation to pensions, Prime Minister Janez Janša admitted that some people justifiably feel deprived. "People have completed the full or nearly full period of pensionable service and are getting miserable pensions. Partly also because there are too many different privileges or various benefits are paid out of the pension fund that do not belong there. Even if some are eligible, it is our intention to revise these arrangements, to ensure that, where eligible, various expenses that today burden the pension fund are transferred elsewhere. This is our goal, which we want to achieve in part already in this term. However, we are also trying to alleviate the problems of this most vulnerable category of pensioners in the interim. It is precisely they who received a crisis allowance during the epidemic and if the state budget is fairly stable at the end of the year, we will try to pay out another such crisis allowance to those with the lowest pensions at the end of the year or early next year. Provided the financial situation allows it," announced the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister also answered a viewer's question regarding lending to companies and sole traders, expressing the hope that, in a very short time, some dilemmas that arose after the adoption of the act would be resolved and that lending to companies with a state guarantee would run smoothly. He also assessed that the situation in terms of consumer credit has also changed. With regard to housing loans, the Prime Minister explained that the Government would draft a proposal that would allow a larger number of especially young families to get housing loans sooner, because the Housing Fund of the Republic of Slovenia would guarantee these loans. 

The Prime Minister also commented on the payment of the RTV contribution, because a citizen was interested whether this contribution would be abolished. "It is still difficult to say and predict what the solutions will be in this case, but it is obvious that it will not go on in the way it has been going now. The use of double standards, the fact that an institution which is generously funded by taxpayers, is concerned with how to overthrow one government and set up another, well, this is somehow not what people pay EUR 12.75 a month for. There will be proposals, changes and I hope that the National Assembly will be able to accept this," said the Prime Minister. He added that some general dissatisfaction with the contribution can be observed and commented that changes would occur regardless of what government will be in office.

"As far as the C0 sewerage channel is concerned: for the part where the building permit has not yet been granted, I expect that the competent institutions will not do the same as they did in the previous sections, where they issued permits regardless of the actual impact on the environment and drinking water, and that all procedures will be conducted legally. I believe that the competent authorities in this Government will act in such a way that nature will be protected, that people will be protected and that the law will be respected," was the Prime Minister’s reply to a citizen's question about the construction of the C0 sewerage channel.

Speaking at the end of the programme, when there was talk of illegal migration, the Prime Minister said that as long as this government is in office, "it will do everything to keep illegal migration to a minimum. Amendments to the relevant legislation are also being prepared, technical barriers are being set up at the borders, police reinforcements are in place and we hope that at least part of the opposition in the National Assembly will finally realize that it is cheaper to solve this problem by giving the army additional powers rather than by hiring new police officers."