Prime Minister Janša and Deputy Prime Ministers Tonin and Počivalšek call for vaccination and responsible conduct by every individual
At today's press conference held in Ljubljana Prime Minister Janez Janša and Deputy Prime Ministers Zdravko Počivalšek and Matej Tonin discussed the current epidemiological situation and other current topics.
In his introduction, Prime Minister Janša said that every week, including today, the Government considered the epidemiological situation in the country, the threats posed by new virus variants and the situation regarding the vaccination coverage of the population. He stressed that now when we have sufficient vaccine supplies, it is the responsibility of each individual to protect themselves and their loved ones and at the same time to keeping the public life open.
As he pointed out, we have enough instruments to avoid the need to close public life down again, restrict movement and economic activities. He emphasised that it was now necessary to join forces in order to achieve the highest possible vaccination coverage of the population. In this regard, the Ministry of Health will propose amendments to the regulations in the coming days.
Prime Minister Janša welcomed the statement of the parliamentary groups in the National Assembly that signed the statement representing every group in the Slovenian Parliament, calling on everyone to get vaccinated, and unite in pursuit of these efforts. The Prime Minister believes that this is a hugely significant move made at the right time. In light of this statement and the efforts to reach the unity, according to the Prime Minister, the coalition decided that amendments to the Communicable Diseases Act, which is in the parliamentary procedure and waiting to be voted on, is not necessary in such a short period of time. The members of the coalition will thus vote against the amendment, and the Government will take time until autumn to examine some comments and propose a new amendment to the Communicable Diseases Act. However, this will not take into account the deadline set by the Constitutional Court. The Government hurried the amendment to the law forward precisely because of this deadline set by the Court, said Janša, who believes that the old Act is still applicable and provides enough instruments to effectively deal with the epidemic.
At the moment, the key priority is to achieve sufficient vaccination coverage so that we can keep the schools and kindergartens open, unrestricted public life and as much normal activity as possible in the autumn, taking into account the recovered-vaccinated-tested requirements, the Prime Minister pointed out. According to Janša, the coalition decided today to propose postponing the vote on the National Demographic Fund Act, which is in the third reading, as he does not want this decision to be taken in such a politically overheated atmosphere. It is one of the strategic decisions on how to ensure stable pensions in the future.
As regards tomorrow's decision on the proposal to appoint Marko Boris Andrijanič as Minister of Digital Transformation, he explained that this is not about a new ministry, but a new post and a minister who will coordinate existing ministries. The reason for this is the European Commission’s approval of Slovenia’s recovery plan, which provides for substantial funds allocated for the digital transformation of Slovenian economy, public administration, service activities, and every field where digitisation enables faster procedures and shorter waiting times for people; those funds will start coming to Slovenia in the coming months. These are funds that will already be made available this year and it is crucial that these investments in digital transformation be harmonised. Prime Minister Janša considers that the nominated candidate has proven himself at the helm of the Council for Digitalisation and thus believes that this proposal would receive support in the National Assembly tomorrow.
During the press conference, the Prime Minister also revealed that with free vaccinations, the testing is expected no longer to be free of charge from mid-August.
Deputy Prime Minister Matej Tonin said he was convinced that it was time for people to take responsibility for the future. Now that Slovenia has enough vaccines as well as different choices of vaccines, he believes that the time has come when the responsibility for our future should rest with the individual and no longer with the state. For this reason, the NSi is not in favour of imposing further restrictions on public life but endorses strict adherence to the recovered-vaccinated-tested requirements.
Enforcing these conditions throughout Slovenia would be the best and the easiest way to keep life as normal as possible with as few restrictions as possible, which would eventually contribute to a strong economic recovery, the strengthening of the public health system, as well as enabling the Government to focus on all other future tasks, including the vital digitisation of society, Minister Tonin emphasised. He also stressed the important role of the new minister, who would be tasked with coordination so that ideas on paper could finally become reality in Slovenia as well.
Minister Tonin also believes that tomorrow’s vote on the new minister will clarify the stance of the opposition. He is convinced that if the candidate is elected, it will make it clear that the opposition puts the interests of Slovenia before its own political interests.
Taking time to rethink how to produce the new version of the Communicable Diseases Act is certainly a step in the right direction, he added. In his view, this will allow the general public to be included in the discussion so that no one is left out.
On the National Demographic Fund, the Minister also supported the proposal that decision-making be postponed to a later session when the situation has calmed down, allowing a sensible debate on the future management of state assets and care for the pension system.
Deputy Prime Minister Zdravko Počivalšek also welcomed the joint statement from parliamentary groups and was pleased that Mark Boris Andrijanič was joining the Government team, saying he is a young and successful expert with international market experience and a good understanding of how today's global economy works. According to Počivalšek, it is time to pass the baton to the younger generation, who have a broader view and will be able to speed up Slovenia's modernisation. Počivalšek was glad that the amendment to the Coalition Agreement gave additional weight to the country's digital transformation.
Minister Počivalšek expressed his satisfaction over the successful implementation of the SMC party programme under the Coalition Agreement. He said that, despite the difficult circumstances created by the epidemic, the current Government was undoubtedly the most functional and successful of the three governments he had been a part of. Regardless of the image portrayed by the media, he said it was a fact that incredible results had been achieved in the work of state bodies and especially in the economic development policy, despite the epidemic which, had posed a unique challenge.
As the business sector's political partner in this Government, the SMC will continue to strive for the development of all regions, stressed the Minister, adding that they wanted to ensure that conditions were in place for young people to find a good job, start a family and build a career in their hometown, no matter which part of Slovenia they live in. To this end, the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology devotes particular attention to job creation in problematic regions. According to Minister Počivalšek, the adoption of appropriate measures helped to preserve jobs, which also made it possible to overcome the epidemic, and new investments in manufacture were being stimulated across Slovenia. Furthermore, Minister Počivalšek emphasised that more and more high-quality jobs with a high added value were being created in partnership with the business sector. In this light, today's amendment of the Coalition Agreement and the acceleration of Slovenia's digital transformation are particularly important, said Počivalšek.
According to the Minister, the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology will continue to promote the green transition of the Slovenian economy. In addition to assisted investments in green technologies, special attention will be devoted to achieving a zero-waste economy, the development of the wood industry and the use of this strategic raw material in the construction industry.
Finally, Minister Počivalšek emphasised the importance of the decision to withdraw the Communicable Diseases Act, as the current atmosphere does not permit an arguments-based discussion. It is impossible to ensure the measures that are being implemented throughout Europe, said Počivalšek, adding that care for protection against COVID-19 was, first and foremost, the responsibility of every individual. The Minister called on everyone to get vaccinated.