The Slovenia Times

Coalition agenda involves more funds for security, balanced foreign policy


The five parties in coalition talks plan to overhaul the systems of national security and adopt a new national security resolution. They intend to update the intelligence system and adopt an umbrella act on intelligence and security services.

Slovenia's information security is to be improved, especially as regards critical infrastructure, and the public is to be better informed of potential attacks on IT systems.

The future coalition wants to draft a comprehensive migration strategy and improve the effectiveness of Schengen border control.

The wire fence lining long sections of the border with Croatia will remain in place for now and will be removed once the situation permits it.

The partners say that the national security system has been underfunded and plan to redefine the status of various professionals, from soldiers to firefighters, rescue service employees and others working in the system of civil protection and disaster relief.

Defence science professor at the Ljubljana Social Sciences Faculty and former defence minister Anton Grizold underlined that much will depend on the team tasked with overhauling the national security system.

This project will require strategic management and close inter-departmental coordination, Grizold believes.

"We'll see who heads the individual ministries and how the prime minister will do. It will depend on the team," said Grizold, who is not too optimistic about this goal.

The funds for national security are to be increased gradually; concrete figures have not been defined but the coalition says that the increase would be sustainable, while at the same time preserving Slovenia's credibility as a NATO member.

However, the future government is to consult NATO about changing the country's capability objectives, including the two planned battalion-sized battle groups, of which Slovenia has managed to set up one so far.

Grizold believes that Slovenia should "open" its defence budget to projects in other fields, including education and science. This way, Slovenia would no longer have problems meeting its NATO obligations.

The coalition plans to lead a coordinated and balanced foreign policy, inspiring respect around the globe and displaying confidence and proactivity.

The partners intend to boost cooperation between the National Assembly, the president, the prime minister and the Foreign Ministry.

Slovenia's foreign policy is to be "balanced" also in relation to key global players, above all the members of the Security Council of the UN.

Slovenia is to play an active part in the drafting of EU policies with the objective to remain a key partner of the EU and be part of the bloc's core.

The coalition is to strive for an upgrade of the monetary union, stronger common foreign and security policies, and the respect of the Schengen system, accompanied with adequate control of the EU's external borders. Slovenia plans to seek ad-hoc alliances with other member states to achieve these goals.

The coalition is to promote a reform of the EU, including changes that would define a set of common minimum social rights in the bloc, and changes that would determine a common tax policy.

Slovenia is to continue to support the efforts of Western Balkan countries to join the EU and NATO.

The most likely future coalition has also pledged to draft a clear plan for the EU presidency coming up in the second half of 2021. However, specific priorities are yet to be defined.

Talking to the STA, international relations professor at the Ljubljana Social Sciences Faculty Boštjan Udovič said that the priorities indicated that Slovenia intended to continue its "good student" act while failing to pursue its interests abroad. Above all, he misses a foreign policy strategy.

The partners are also to promote neighbourly relations with all of Slovenia's neighbouring countries, especially Croatia. However, it is unclear in what way the government will attempt to resolve the border arbitration issue with Croatia.

This shortcoming has been pointed out by Udovič, who expects that Slovenia will stop being a single-issue country as regards Croatia.

Slovenia is to strengthen professional diplomacy, but the country's diplomatic and consular network is to remain unchanged.

The reach of Slovenia's diplomacy is to be extended via the sharing of diplomatic offices with other countries, especially as part of EU representations.

The coalition also aims to boost Slovenia's economic diplomacy, which will have to involve elements of development aid, the future coalition believes.

Udovič expressed disappointment, saying that the incoming coalition evidently did not intend to adapt Slovenia's diplomatic network to the new reality.

He believes that the co-location plan is misguided because the foreign policies of EU members are becoming increasingly nationalistic.

In general, however, he believes that the priorities set by the coalition will allow Slovenia to pursue an ambitious foreign policy.

However, this will only be possible if the Foreign Ministry's budget is increased, as the department has faced considerable cuts in the last decade, said Udovič, pointing out that no pledges of budget increases had been made.


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