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Prime Minister Janez Janša speaks about current political issues in TV programme Odmevi

On Friday, Prime Minister Janez Janša was a guest on the TV programme Odmevi, in which he talked about various current political issues. The conversation focused on the measures related to the containment of the spread of the coronavirus, since the starting point of the interview was the meeting between the Slovenian Prime Minister and the Croatian Prime Minister at Otočec, which also took place yesterday. The first question posed by the anchor of the TV programme, Rosvita Pesek, was if Croatia will be put on the red list of COVID-19 risky countries with regard to the increase in the number of infected persons in Croatia.

Prime minister Janez Janša

Prime minister Janez Janša | Author Kabinet predsednika vlade

"The number of infected persons is one of the additional reasons for this meeting, but also all others are related to it. The country is moved to the red list when it registers more than 40 new daily infections per 100,000 population for the past fortnight. Croatia has now exceeded the number of 20 infections. As regards the lists and measures following automatically from these lists, the placing of countries on the lists depends on the numbers. Croatia was placed on the yellow list two or three days before the Croatian elections which resulted in the adoption of different measures. By the way, also Slovenia is already on the yellow list with regard to the number of infections and therefore some stricter measures have been adopted in the last few days," said Janez Janša. He continued that at the meeting at Otočec the two delegations compared the so-called imported cases and sources of infections and agreed on a more intensive exchange of information. "The main source of infections is now its circulation in the country, in Slovenia as well as in Croatia, and the same measures need to be taken in both countries. Today we were informed of the limits on public gatherings, stricter controls and a series of other measures which are being prepared for the case the situation continues to escalate. Croatia also presented a map with the location of the infections and the coastal area where most of the Slovenians are staying has by far the best epidemiological situation in the entire country," said Prime Minister Janša. 

With regard to the COVID-19 tracking application the Slovenian Prime Minister said that Croatia also intends to introduce such an application. In this context, he added that the purpose of the Slovenian application will be to track the infections and not to interfere with and restrict some personal liberties, as this app does not operate by the principle of data collection and storage. "It warns against infection and if we have a stronger wave of COVID-19 infections in autumn due to colder weather, flu and other diseases, this application will be the only option to make life as normal as possible and of course prevent public life from coming to a halt again, " emphasised Janez Janša.  

Prime Minister Janez Janša then talked about his working visit to Brussels. He recalled that Europe prepares a multiannual financial framework and recovery fund. "This fund will allow for about five billion euro of investments, which is a big amount for Slovenia. It will let us do many things that have waited so far, which is what makes the next week’s negotiations within the European Council extremely important for the future of Europe as well as Slovenia," he said. Regarding the archives of the Bank of Slovenia and the resulting lawsuit filed by the European Commission against Slovenia, the Prime Minister said that there were a few cases elsewhere in Europe where similar things happened, i.e. where the national police seized documents in national banks. However, a solution was agreed in all these cases before the lawsuit was filed, except in Slovenia, which acted a bit too rigidly. "In practice this means that officials of the European Central Bank should have been present on the location and separated their archives from the national bank archives; of course, Slovenia’s national authorities would have to agree. This has not happened so far and this is what Slovenia has suggested. Yesterday, the President of the European Commission and I agreed that these details will be resolved by the competent person with the competent commissioner in autumn, when the court proceedings continue,” said Prime Minister Janez Janša.

As regards the talks with the NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, the Prime Minister said that the pandemic has changed many things, also in defence planning. "What the act on financing defence needs for the next six years brings is essentially a proposal for funds that will have a dual purpose,” said the Prime Minister, adding that the act would provide funds for transport aircraft, for helicopters needed for rescue operations, for the needs of civil protection or for "real needs in real time."

When asked about the resignation of the Minister of the Interior, Aleš Hojs, Prime Minister Janez Janša said that "the envelope containing the statement of resignation of the current minister, Mr. Hojs, is still closed.  I asked him to wait with this decision, to reconsider it, as we are in a situation where we need a minister of the interior who is operational 24 hours a day. If Mr. Hojs does not change his mind, I will open this envelope – but only when I have a solution for this position, because we cannot afford an idle run,” said Prime Minister Janez Janša. When reminded that the time limits for submitting the resignation statement laid down in the Rules of Procedure have already expired and that this may be a problem, the Prime Minister said that this is not a problem, as the time limits will start running when the envelope is opened, "if it ever is."

The Prime Minister then addressed the topic of the new media legislation. “In my personal opinion, it concerns minor changes and certain things that should have been done long ago. According to all European norms, the infrastructure, for instance, should be equally accessible to all and separated from the provider of services. We are talking about transmitters and communications,” said the Prime Minister. Regarding the funds available to RTV Slovenia, which, according to the anchor, has so far struggled with a rather poor financial situation and conditions that are not rosy for the programme staff, the Prime Minister said that many employees of RTV Slovenia are above average in terms of work but below average in terms of pay. “In some cases, however, the situation is reverse. Nobody will convince me that in a country with a population of two million an institution disposing with over 100 million euros of budget funds does not have any reserves,” concluded Prime Minister Janez Janša.

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