Prime Minister Janez Janša: Slovenia is a safe tourist destination
At today’s 18th regular session of the National Assembly, Prime Minister Janez Janša answered parliamentary questions raised by Predrag Baković (SD), Nataša Sukič (Levica), Maša Kociper (SAB) and Janja Sluga (SMC).
In his answers to the parliamentary questions, the Prime Minister spoke about the position of the Government regarding the activities of paramilitary groups called "vards". He stressed that the competent authorities had all the necessary powers to take action and that the activities carried out by the "vards", including belittling the police, had no place in a democratic society. He also highlighted that he had nothing against the legislation governing the operation of the "vards" being amended accordingly, but that the constitution and the law must apply equally to all.
The Prime Minister also spoke about attacks on the freedom and independence of the media. He pointed out that, during the first Government that he headed from 2004 to 2008, Slovenia ranked highest on the world press freedom index, which is compiled by Reporters Without Borders. In the previous Government, Slovenia ranked 32nd, which is more than three times worse than in 2005 and 2006, when Slovenia ranked 9th and 10th. At the same time, the Prime Minister pointed out that anyone who advocates censorship or who calls on others to abolish the channels through which an individual communicates in a democratic society is opposed to media freedom. He also made it clear that the Government will not stop advocating for freedom of expression, for the fundamental constitutional right and freedom that we will continue to defend and also exercise, adding that given the ranking of media freedom in the past, we should wait until the end of the current Government’s term of office and only then judge how the international public assesses the freedom of the media in our country.
In his answers, the Prime Minister also said that the Ministry of Infrastructure was preparing all the necessary legal and technical bases for pensioners and persons over the age of 65, war veterans and EU disability card holders to be able to use the interurban public transport for free as of 1 July 2020. Even though, according to the Prime Minister, the coronavirus crisis has slightly slowed down the drafting of all implementing regulations relating to free public transport, the competent ministry will make every effort for this measure to enter into force as soon as possible.
The Prime Minister highlighted that the so-called tourism vouchers were introduced in order to remedy the consequences of the epidemic in tourism and as a special aid to the tourism sector, which accounts for nearly 60,000 jobs in Slovenia. This aid to tourism, said Janša, will have a multiplier effect. Tourism vouchers will help preserve more tourism capacities than the mere subsidisation of temporary lay-offs. By introducing tourism vouchers, the Government strives to keep alive as many tourism capacities as possible that would not survive without this aid. He added that the approach adopted by the Slovenian Government to solving problems in tourism caused by the coronavirus epidemic was welcomed by many European colleagues who congratulated Slovenia on its innovation with this measure. The Prime Minister also recalled that the British media recently published a list ranking tourism demand in Europe where Slovenia took first place, being considered a safe tourist destination where tourism capacities have been preserved. He also agreed with Deputy Janja Sluga that this measure would help the residents of Slovenia get to know the beauty of their homeland better.