Prime Minister Janša takes questions from deputies in the National Assembly
- Former Prime Minister Janez Janša (2020 - 2022)
At the 30th ordinary session of the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia, Prime Minister Janez Janša took questions from deputies Zmago Jelinčič Plemeniti regarding the acute challenges facing the Republic of Slovenia, Janja Sluga regarding the measures to mitigate the impact of rising prices, and Branko Grims on preparedness for change following the aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine.
In response to a question posed by Zmago Jelinčič Plemeniti regarding the acute challenges facing the Republic of Slovenia, the Prime Minister said that, during the current term of office, the Government had been addressing the Roma situation and that a special government group had been dealing with specific cases, achieving certain successes in that respect and decreasing the number of crimes by around 15% or 18%. "In the municipality of Kočevje, which had the highest crime rate in 2020, the numbers decreased by 30%." He pointed out that the key reason for the significantly higher number of criminal offences among the Roma population in certain parts of Slovenia is that the socialisation process is usually disrupted at the very beginning. "Some families simply do not send their children to primary school, even though it is compulsory, and yet they receive all the social benefits and transfers." Prime Minister Janša said that the initial socialisation must be taken seriously, otherwise Slovenia would always need to deal with such problems. He added that some other parts of Slovenia, such as Prekmurje, had taken a more serious approach in regard to this and thus faced fewer problems.
On immigration, the Prime Minister said that it was mainly economic migration and that workers were coming to Slovenia at the invitation of Slovenian companies. "There is a shortage of labour and companies are doing everything they can to get it." The Prime Minister also said that, in recent years, Slovenia has observed a practice that is contrary to the very clear legal and constitutional framework. "The Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia states that it is the exclusive right of parents to decide on the moral upbringing of their children. There were also cases, which were publicly known, where the Slovenian school system violated this right, and the competent institutions failed to act." In his reply, Prime Minister Janša also said that the Government had paid great attention to Slovenian culture and identity during its current term of office. The budget allocated to culture by the present Government was bigger than ever before. "When it comes to remembering the giants of Slovenian culture and state-building, I would like to mention that this year we are celebrating the Year of Jože Plečnik and we have succeeded in getting Plečnik's heritage in Ljubljana inscribed on the UNESCO list of cultural heritage sites. Last year we honoured the memory of Josip Jurčič, the first Slovenian novelist and newspaperman."
In response to a question posed by Janja Sluga regarding the measures to mitigate the impact of rising prices, Prime Minister Janša pointed out that electricity users received significantly lower bills for last month. "We have put a freeze on network charges and some other charges, which significantly reduced the cost for people." The Prime Minister added that so far he had not met anyone who did not need the solidarity bonus aimed at mitigating the impact of the energy price surge. "We have set the excise duties at the lowest possible level. We have frozen the profit margin for heating oil. In the event of a petroleum-product shortage, we will secure supplies from commodity reserves." In addition, he announced that retail prices would be regulated from tomorrow onwards and said that Slovenia had sufficient stocks of petroleum products. In the event the supply is significantly disrupted, there also exists an applicable Act on price regulation in cases where prices can rise regardless of the economic conditions. The Prime Minister added that today the Government would adopt a regulation setting a maximum price for petroleum products.
In response to a question from Branko Grims on preparedness for change following the Russian aggression against Ukraine, the Prime Minister said that the previous governments had not only neglected the Slovenian security and defence system, but had ruined it with low funding. "We can ensure security by strengthening our own security potential, resilience and defence assistance, and by reducing outside security risks. We are doing both." He added that much had been done in the last two years to remedy this situation, but that it was not possible to put back in place overnight something that has been in ruins for a long time. "If this aggression in Ukraine is not stopped, there will not be two or three million refugees from Ukraine, but rather ten or fifteen million." In his reply to Mr Grims' question, the Prime Minister added that the current situation in Ukraine is not just about war and aggression, but about ethnic cleansing along the Black Sea coast. "The war in Ukraine will end when Ukraine, with the aid it is receiving, becomes strong enough to stop the advance of Russian troops. Only then will serious negotiations begin, and the wave of suffering and refugees might be stopped."