Interview with Prime Minister Janez Janša for the Hungarian weekly Mandiner
Below is the interview with Prime Minister Janez Janša for the Hungarian weekly Mandiner. The interview focused on the Slovenian domestic policies, Covid-19 epidemic, Slovenia’s presidency of the EU Council, on cultural Marxism, and on Hungary.
1. The new government was difficult to form. What, in your opinion, is the greatest challenge in maintaining a coalition comprising four political parties?
Forming a government in a proportional voting system with a low threshold for entering the parliament, which we have in Slovenia, is always difficult. Unfortunately, this is the kind of voting system in which the political parties which received the fewest votes usually decide the government.
A coalition comprising many political parties always requires a great deal of trust and respect between its members. The main commitments of our cooperation were of course put on paper in the coalition agreement. There are everyday challenges and actions from opposing parties that wish to exacerbate relations between the coalition partners. Unfortunately, the majority of the media in Slovenia are helping them achieve this. We have managed to successfully overcome numerous thunderstorms to date. The coalition has endured, but many tests still await. SDS, the political party which I lead, is by far the largest political party in Slovenia, and is not afraid of early elections. Quite the opposite. We are always ready for them.
2. Slovenia is known for its prosperity and the stability in its neighbouring countries. However, the political stability changed to a multi-party political environment, which is changing rapidly. Why?
The left political parties in Slovenia blame Hungary for the bias of their media in favour of the ruling FIDESZ party, even though, as far as I know, the opposition in Hungary has much larger domestic and foreign media support compared to our ruling coalition in Slovenia. Over 90% of the Slovenian media, including the national television, which is paid for by every taxpayer, are extremely biased in favour of the left political parties. We currently have political stability in Slovenia. However, for someone who monitors the events in Slovenia from the outside, based on the reports in the media and the opposition who constantly state that there is no political stability, different conclusions could be made.
3. What are the most pressing issues that dominate Slovenian domestic policies?
The current most pressing issue is the fight with the second wave of the coronavirus. All our efforts are directed to stopping the virus. However, if you were to ask the Slovenian opposition, all the measures we have adopted are in violation of human rights, and the rule of law and freedom of the media have been endangered. It is difficult to understand someone shouting that their human rights are violated because they have to wear a face mask to protect themselves and their fellow citizens.
4. What are the main goals of your government in the next few years?
In addition to the measures for the recovery of the economy after the epidemic, the adoption of long-term measures for improving the demographic situation, debureaucratisation, and decentralisation. Also, improving the situation in the justice department, because Slovenia is one of the top violators in Europe, based on the final judgements of the European Court of Human Rights.
5. Covid-19 is the main topic in all European public discussions and in epidemiological and economic decisions. How do you rate the crisis management of Western Europe and the crisis management of Eastern and Central Europe?
Covid-19 is a problem for all European countries, who are facing similar challenges in fighting against the virus. It is true that there was practically no common crisis management in the fight against the pandemic at the outset. The EU did not have the assets to help us with, while it is also true that it has no significant authority in public health. Aid during the spring wave therefore came from the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland, for which we are very grateful to those countries.
The eastern part of the EU was also much more successful in the management of the first wave. Only time will tell how successful we will be in the second, colder, wave. The adopted measures aimed at containing the spread of the epidemic were very similar across the EU, but they just were not discussed equally in the European press. The reaction of the European Commission to the economic consequences of the epidemic was on time and sufficiently strong. Unfortunately, the historic agreement on the 1.8 billion package of the MFF and RRF in July is currently a hostage to a very loose political mechanism and the wrongly named rule of law.
6. The 2015 migration crisis presented a great challenge to the countries in our region, including Slovenia. Our new common enemy today is covid-19. Which is more dangerous?
Covid is currently more dangerous, while mass illegal migrations are definitely more dangerous long-term, should the EU fail to stop them.
7. You like to talk about the EU internal crisis, especially about its tendency towards excessive centralisation. Who can benefit from a forceful centralisation? Does Slovenia also have people who believe that these tendencies are beneficial and who support them? What would such centralisation mean for the eastern and central European countries?
The EU Treaty, or the Lisbon Treaty, governs the core relationships between the member states. The tendency to establish mechanisms which surpass the agreements made in the Treaty, and the proposals to strengthen the majority decision-making on strategic issues, are in contrast with the core interests of the EU’s existence. Slovenia does have politicians who believe that this path would give them something they lost with the independence of Slovenia, or that these things will substitute the former Yugoslavia for them.
8. Slovenia will soon preside the Council. What will be your priority tasks?
One of the tasks is to strengthen the strategic autonomy and resilience of the EU against the dangers of the pandemic and cyber attacks. In spring, we all experienced the reliance on Asian suppliers of personal protective and critical medical equipment. Imagine facing such a situation during a direct cyber attack which would cause a mass electricity failure. No union can help us if it does not have the capacity for taking action and for helping in such situations. The next priority will be the stabilisation of the West Balkan region, providing that the circumstances allow for such productive steps to be taken.
9. You mentioned the spread of a cultural Marxism in Europe. What is cultural Marxism for you and what do you think the effects will be for Europe?
The 19th century communist manifest states that the nation, family, private ownership, private schools, and religion all need to be eliminated in order to form the new world, or communism. Paradoxically, despite the many victims and suffering, communism failed to achieve this goal with violence and dictatorship. The same goals are therefore pursued in a different manner. Via mass media, universities, cultural industry, multinational institutions, mass migration, forced multiculturalism, the actions of some political parties. Much more subtle actions are being taken; however, anyone who is familiar with history and political concepts may see the direction in which everything is going.
We need to fight against this. And this is what we do. By protecting and supporting the family, we appreciate our nation and other nations, we protect the right to private ownership and private initiative, and we protect the freedom of religion. That we know what we are and what we wish to be.
10. It is well known that you are a political ally of the Hungarian government and its prime minister. What is, in your opinion, the philosophy and policy of the Hungarian government?
Such is the predominant will of the Hungarian nation and the Hungarian voters. It is as it is, or should be, in a democracy. A political party which receives an absolute majority, or over two thirds of the votes in free elections, obviously has the right policy for its nation. The Hungarian government under Viktor Orban has been successful both economically as well as in dealing with the current strategic challenges (such as, for example, mass illegal migration) under every objective indicator and international comparison. Look at the indicators and comparisons over a decade ago and compare them with the same timeframe of the other EU member states. Hungary recorded a decade of outstanding development. It is similar to the development we had in Slovenia between 2000 and 2008, which we call the golden age.
11. In what way would you model yourself on them, and what would you suggest to the Hungarian decision-makers from the policy of the Slovenian government?
Hungary has implemented many successful reforms which address the strategic challenges. One of these is, for example, the family policy. Not just Slovenia, practically all of Europe will have to follow it at one point or another, otherwise it will be doomed to extinction, or simple replacement of nations via migrations and the epilogue of the Western Roman Empire. I have no advice to give to the Hungarian decision-makers. As opposed to many westerners, I do not think I know the interests of the Hungarian voters more than they do themselves. This is not only an arrogant, but a wrong way of thinking.