The Slovenia Times

Opposition sceptical about govt's ability to deliver on EU presidency


Ljubljana - Prime Minister Janez Janša's presentation of Slovenia's EU presidency priorities at the National Assembly on Monday elicited criticism from the centre-left opposition parties. Some described it as short on detail, others expressed doubt about whether the government can deliver.

Luka Mesec, president of the Left, said he agreed with Janša's premise that Europe had been battling crises for a decade because it had not been ready.

But instead of offering solutions, Janša only presented "general phrases about the Western Balkans, China, migrant crisis and so forth", he said.

Mesec is concerned that with a presidency agenda like this, Europe will not be better prepared for future crises because there are hardly any priorities or a serious agenda.

Matjaž Nemec, an MP for the Social Democrats (SD), also complained about a lack of substance. "In fact, he only passingly mentioned the programme that Slovenia will advocate during its presidency."

He thought Janša was in a bind on several key issues, having for example dedicated little attention to the EU-Western Balkans summit, a topic he said the government appeared to be very reserved about.

"We really wish that we soon forget these four, five days since we've taken over the presidency and that the government ... show more ambition," Nemec said.

Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) leader Marjan Šarec likewise recalled the kerfuffle surrounding the first few days of Slovenia's stint and once again rejected appeals that the opposition should help.

"These appeals would not have been necessary had the government tackled the Covid situation from the get-go and prepared for the presidency."

He said the government had exclusive responsibility. "We're not at fault here. We cannot keep quiet if the STA is being destroyed, if the rule of law is not respected. We would be acting against the interests of the state if we fell asleep and leaned back."

Andrej Rajh, an MP for the Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB), said Janša's address was conciliatory but noted that the presidency had started "with insults against senior European officials".

"In fact, he is continuing the damaging practice that we have seen domestically of offending journalists, pressuring the judiciary and widespread insults."

According to Rajh, Slovenia is unlikely to be able to assert its strategic interests.


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