The Slovenia Times

Opposition concerned Janša changing Slovenia's EU course


Janša had already dismissed yesterday the Financial Times report that Hungary, Poland and Slovenia were resisting the system that would tie EU budget funds to respecting fundamental human rights. He said Slovenia wanted the same standards apply to all member states.

While Hungary and Poland have been opposed throughout to making EU funds conditional on observance of the rule of law, diplomatic sources have said Slovenia joined the pair in the ongoing talks on the EUR 1.8 trillion package for Europe's recovery in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Arriving for the fourth day of negotiations on the EU budget and the recovery fund in Brussels on Monday, Janša said that discussions about the rule of law that ensued at the ongoing EU summit clarified a lot and that there was agreement that the rule of law must not be tied exclusively to EU funds and investments.

To Janša, the rule of law means that institutions treat everybody the same, that courts are unbiased, that elections and terms are not stolen, that there are no political prisoners in the EU and that a single political side cannot hold all the media.

Janša's predecessor in office, Marjan Šarec, came out strongly against the incumbent on Monday, asserting that the government "is leading Slovenia in the direction of Visegrad where the desire is obviously not to respect the rule of law".

Šarec, speaking as the leader of the LMŠ party carrying his name, believes the change of course will harm Slovenia in the long run.

"The rule of law is one of the fundamental principles of the EU and if we cast this away and we end up in a group of those who don't abide by the rule of law or don't see it as necessary for the EU's functioning, we're doomed," said Šarec.

Alenka Bratušek, another former prime minister, speaking for her namesake SAB party, likewise noted that the EU had been built on values such as human rights, freedom, democracy and the rule of law, so the side taken by Janša was wrong.

Bratušek also holds coalition partners responsible, being that the prime minister represents in Brussels not his views but the views of the country.

After the change of course had already been condemned by Social Democrat (SD) leader Tanja Fajon yesterday, her counterpart from the Left, Luka Mesec said the change of Slovenia's course on the European floor was dangerous.

He believes the reason Janša sided with Hungary and Poland is that he fears he will end up without money should Europe insist that only those who respect the rule of law get recovery aid.

"The prime minister who won't commit to the rule of law at the European level is doing that because he's aware he's the one who's undermining the rule of law here. This calls for serious discussion and action," said Mesec, suggesting an impeachment motion.

He said Janša was turning his coalition partners into his debtors, mentioning Modern Centre Party (SMC) leader Zdravko Počivalšek, who Mesec said was counting on Janša to protect him against prosecution over procurement of medical supplies.

Počivalšek commented on the developments in Brussels by saying that Slovenia was not changing its commitment to the shared European values. "It's unfair to distort this fact for the purpose of daily political polling at home," he said.

Health Minister Tomaž Gantar, who comes from the ranks of the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS), told reporters that tying EU funds to the rule of law should not be problematic for Slovenia. "Slovenia is a capable country, it is ruled by law and respects human rights," he said.

While he expressed his belief that Slovenia's position should not jeopardise EU talks, Gantar said Janša's move took him by surprise, while he did not expect discussions on the topic at all. "The talks must be tough," he said.


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