Prime Minister Janez Janša guest on TV Celje
- Former Prime Minister Janez Janša (2020 - 2022)
Prime Minister Janez Janša was a guest on today’s TV Celje programme, where he talked about topical issues in Slovenia and the world, his government’s two years in office and the upcoming parliamentary election.
"The Russian aggression against Ukraine has led to a war of unprecedented proportions since the Second World War in Europe, and what is happening in Ukraine affects the whole of Europe and beyond. That is why we care about what is happening there and we are dealing with it, we are dealing with Ukraine to ensure our own security. Ukraine is now the place where Europe’s future is being defined," started the Prime Minister, adding that at this moment Ukraine needs four things. "It needs hope, modern weapons to defend itself, money to survive during this time and humanitarian aid. Our mission to Kyiv covered all these four things, especially the first, as we wanted to show that we have not abandoned them," he explained.
In regard to Ukraine joining the European Union, Prime Minister Janša said that the European Union was a space created in response to the European continent’s tragic experience in the aftermath of the First and Second World Wars, when millions of people died as a result of conflicts on the European continent. "The European Union had been initially a peace project, while everything that followed – the single market, prosperity, the common agricultural policy – was added to consolidate a concept of talking to each other instead of fighting. And with every country that joins the concept, this space is enlarged," he commented. "This explains the big mistake made by our colleagues in the West over the past 15 years when they were so sceptical about enlargement. Although the enlargement of the European Union, when it comes to the Western Balkans or even the Eastern neighbourhood, is in fact the only possible strategic response to these challenges and the unresolved issues. Therefore, yes, we support Ukraine's membership of the European Union, as well as the membership of Moldova and Georgia, because this is a way to prevent tragedies, such as the one currently taking place in Ukraine," said Prime Minister Janša.
In his words, the tragedy in Ukraine will continue to unfold until the Ukrainian side is strong enough to stop the Russian advance. "Only then will the Kremlin be willing to negotiate. And not any time sooner," said the Prime Minister.
"The Slovenian solidarity with the Ukrainian people has been exceptional and spontaneous. Thank you to all those who have decided to help in any way; however, I have to point out that this solidarity will be needed also in the future, as the tragedy is far from over, around three million people, mainly women and children, have fled Ukraine," said the Prime Minister. "Slovenia has collected a large amount of humanitarian aid," he added, stressing that the majority of those who have fled to Slovenia and remain in Slovenia are staying with their families, relatives and acquaintances. "Many of those who arrived in Slovenia in the first weeks have moved on, because they have relatives in Italy, Austria, Germany or elsewhere in Europe – Italy in particular is very strong, there is a Ukrainian diaspora in Northern Italy, and, with the men going back, their families or relatives are coming to stay in their apartments. At the moment, the number of those registered in Slovenia does not significantly exceed 15 thousand, of whom many have moved on, so that our dedicated facilities are not full, meaning that we still have spare capacity; moreover, the Government at its last session increased the capacity by allocating additional state buildings."
When asked about his government’s past two years in office, he said that they are best described as "one crisis after another". "We assumed office the day after the epidemic was declared, following considerable delay, and 90% of our energy in the spring of 2020 was spent on the extremely difficult task of stocking empty warehouses and providing basic protective equipment. We adopted emergency measures, and then it was time to act, and we set very ambitious targets, primarily with the help of all the European packages of funds, and last year was basically a year of action, so Slovenia was ranked among the most developed countries in terms of the speed of recovery. Last year we also reduced the debt-to-GDP ratio. Just yesterday, our Minister of Finance received a letter of congratulation from Vice-President of the European Commission Dombrovskis, who is responsible for the macroeconomic stability of the entire European Union, in which he congratulated Slovenia on the exceptionally good macroeconomic indicators in the last year and on the significant reduction in the gross debt-to-GDP ratio," said the Prime Minister.
Regarding the coronavirus, the Prime Minister said that at the moment we were in a new wave, "but now every new wave hits a higher wall of immunity, which is because more people have been vaccinated, more people have recovered from the virus, a larger proportion of the population is immune, so the consequences are not the same as in the first or the second waves, and the measures that are in place and that we have to take can also be less stringent than when no one was immune and no one had been vaccinated at the time." "No one is an island, which is why I am still appealing to people’s solidarity going forward. For now, however, the experts’ assessment is that since we have kept the masks on indoors, hopefully more stringent measures will not be necessary," said the Prime Minister.
As regards the adoption of measures, the Prime Minister said that some measures cannot be taken by the Government alone: "We need a legal basis, which means undergoing at least a month of procedure in the National Assembly, and then there are the National Council, possible vetoes and so on." "In other words, those who say that the measures were taken too late should think about how they had requested various additional explanations and how they then voted against these measures." As regards foodstuffs and petroleum products, the Prime Minister said that supplies were not halted but only occasionally disrupted, and "even if they were halted, we can make do with our sufficient stocks".
With regard to the Government’s work for local communities, the Prime Minister said that a lot of concrete matters had been addressed that concern everyone. "By increasing the lump sum payments to municipalities every year, we have increased the funds that municipalities can invest in basic needs to improve the quality of life, for a normal life. There is not a single municipality in Slovenia that has not done something in the meantime," said the Prime Minister, adding that "a map of all the projects that are either under construction or planned within the development programme, i.e. that have been provided funds from the budget or from European funds, has also been presented today." There are hundreds of such projects, even thousands if you add them all up. This is an investment cycle that Slovenia has never had before," Prime Minister Janša stressed.
As for the campaign ahead, the Prime Minister said that "it is the results that work in our favour." "We are not going to embark on this election campaign with words, but with actions. Anyone who does not believe this should go to the Government website, open the project map, click on their municipality and they will see what I am talking about. And when these projects are completed in the coming years, Slovenia will be at a significantly higher level of development. It will be able to accelerate the pace we started last year, and in 2030 it can be among the 15 most developed countries in the world, which means that our salaries and pensions will be above the European average," pointed out the Prime Minister. He concluded by expressing hope that during the campaign people would think about results rather than words and promises, and that they would check the real data. "Let us compare the developments of the last two years with the developments before, from 2008 onwards, and everything will be clear," added Prime Minister Janša. "Our goal is to build a coalition that is strong and can focus on achieving these goals, so that in 2030 we will rank among the most developed countries in terms of salaries, pensions and quality of life."