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Prime Minister Janez Janša: Discussion with parliamentary party leaders “useful”

  • Former Prime Minister Janez Janša (2020 - 2022)
Prime Minster and leader of the Slovenian Democratic Party Janez Janša attended a meeting today with the leaders of the parliamentary parties, hosted by Slovenian President Borut Pahor. The meeting was attended by leader of the Modern Centre Party (SMC) Zdravko Počivalšek, leader of the New Slovenia Party (NSI) Matej Tonin, leader of the Social Democratic Party (SD) Tanja Fajon, leader of the Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB) Alenka Bratušek, leader of the Slovenian Nationalist Party (SNS) Zmago Jelinčič and leader of the Democratic Party of Pensioners of Slovenia (DeSUS) Karl Erjavec.

According to PM Janez Janša, the just-completed discussion was useful. “I wouldn’t say that it was successful, but it never hurts to have a dialogue,” said the Prime Minister. He said that it had unfortunately taken a long time to arrange even a somewhat limited meeting of the leaders of the parliamentary parties. “This Government and the governing coalition has been in power for nearly a year, and from the very beginning the opposition has tried to gather its forces for a vote of no confidence and an attempt to topple the government, and only after 11 months, after a recount in the National Assembly, have the conditions appeared for dialogue and discussion, which otherwise already existed in Slovenia regardless of who had the coalition majority”, said Janša, noting that the dialogue was absent last year right at the time when it was needed most.

According to the Prime Minister, a lot of questions were raised and various dilemmas were clarified. “The coalition had the somewhat larger ambition that, after our first proposal for a cooperation agreement regarding our responses to key challenges in the future, which we presented at the beginning of our term, i.e. in May of last year, was rejected, a cooperation agreement would be adopted.” He noted that a more limited proposal for cooperation is now on the table, “which places no obligations on the opposition, but allows them to participate in searching for solutions and answers to development questions from the very beginning, i.e., before the coalition forms its position.”

“I wouldn’t say after these responses that the opposition’s willingness to engage in organised cooperation is significantly higher than last year, but we nevertheless want, also on behalf of the coalition, all of the opposition parties, including those that were not present today, to think about their decisions again, as they have nothing to lose by cooperating and they are not bound to any obligations,” said the PM, adding that the agreement imposes numerous binding obligations on the Government, but that the governing coalition, by signing an agreement with all of the parties, would obtain a broader range of views, and not just during discussion in the National Assembly, but during the development of the actual solutions.

“The agreement that the President referred to, and which was achieved in this round, is an agreement that in the near future, when the dilemmas relating to the future of the fight against the epidemic in Europe are resolved, and here we are speaking about the vaccine saga, we will hold a meeting at which in addition to the people who were present today, we will also invite those who were absent, and all of the leaders of the parliamentary groups within the parties and both representatives of the national minorities. The Government will present its plans for the exit strategy at that meeting. At the same time, it will be an opportunity for everyone, including those who are in the opposition and have not had the opportunity to meet with the expert panel that has been advising the Government, to ask the panel questions about both the future and the past, and that at least with regard to the exit strategy we obtain a higher level of consensus than was present during the worst periods of the epidemic, when a part of the radical opposition opposed every measure, regardless of whether it related to shutting down or opening up public life,” concluded Prime Minister Janša.

The Prime Minister then took questions from the press. The first question raised was the issue of potential cooperation with DeSUS, and how sincere the cooperation initiative actually is when the Prime Minister’s Twitter profile includes the statement “The party happens again to lying Erjavec.”

The Prime Minister said that his profile clearly states that “if I retweet somebody, that does not mean that I support what is written. I think I have also retweeted news stories that I did not agree with. When I retweet I am trying to draw attention to an issue, and that is also what this medium is intended for.” The Prime Minister also said that as relates to DeSUS, Mr Erjavec was relatively unclear at today’s meeting. “If I’m not wrong, he said that they are not a part of the governing coalition and they are not even part of the KUL coalition. What this might mean in practice we will try to determine going forward,” said Janša.

The Prime Minister then spoke about vaccinations and the meaning of the statement that the Government is putting additional efforts into obtaining additional vaccines, and whether the Government is planning to purchase the vaccines itself. He also responded to the question of what a large number of unused vaccines means.  “All vaccination providers have 48 hours to upload vaccination data, and therefore the data on the website presented as the number of people vaccinated is always actually lower than the number achieved in practice,” said PM Janša, adding that as far as he knows, “there haven’t been any leftover vaccines obtained by the Government in any week.” “Slovenia organised a much larger mass vaccination after the New Year, since larger amounts of vaccines were announced from the joint European procurement orders. We are capable of using significantly more vaccines in a shorter time, and in real time, than the vaccines we receive, and there is also a lot of demand for them, as we have no problems with people not wanting to get vaccinated. In fact, there is not enough vaccine, since the interest is so high,” said the Prime Minister. “As far as looking for additional ways to obtain vaccines, the statement was intended just as it was said; we are studying all options that will be both realistic and safe,” concluded Prime Minister Janša.