The Slovenia Times

First Class Political Scandal: EPP Interfering Into Slovenian State


Slovenia is in a difficult economic situation and needs broad support in the Slovenian population to tackle the consequences of the financial crisis and to pursue the economic and other necessary reforms to overcome the crisis and conclude the transition, the EPP points out.

The party also notes in its resolution that the European Commission imposed a series of corrective measures for the Slovenian judiciary in May.

Commenting on Janša's conviction of graft and abuse of office, the EPP said it hoped that his appeal would be processed in the statutory three-month period and called on the Council of Europe and the OSCE to follow closely the compatibility of the on-going procedure with the rule of law and international standards.

Stressing that the guarantee of a fair trial and presumption of innocence are fundamental rights, the resolution expresses hope the on-going procedure will not lead to the exclusion of Janša from political competition.

The EPP moreover expressed its full support for its three member parties in Slovenia - Janša's Democrats (SDS), New Slovenia (NSi) and the People's Party (SLS).

The resolution underlines the need for an impartial and independent judiciary in all EU members and calls for a swift adoption of rigid lustration laws in all member states which have not yet done so, as well as their thorough implementation, and for a transparent and public scrutiny of this process.

In July, senior EPP officials Jerzy Buzek and Anca Boagiu visited Slovenia to speak with different political players, including Slovenian President Borut Pahor, and thus test the statements of SDS about the state of democracy in Slovenia.

The EPP's resolution provoked a strong response by Slovenian Justice Minister Senko Pličanič, the senior coalition Positive Slovenia (PS) and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE).

The justice minister warned that political statements on court proceedings that are not yet final can "cause the impression of inappropriate influencing of a fair trial".

All citizens are equal before the law and the same guarantees are valid throughout the EU, he pointed out, adding that court proceedings must be quick but no one should have priority due to their position.

ALDE president Graham Watson said the EPP was "becoming increasingly partisan in protecting its pals" and that for the EPP to suggest that Slovenia is a banana republic simply because their own party there was no longer in office did a disservice to democracy.

PS deputy Janja Klasinc, who heads the National Assembly's Foreign Policy Committee, meanwhile said the EPP was trying to exert pressure on the independent judiciary in Slovenia.

She stressed that the EPP must have received wrong information when urging the processing of Janša's appeal in three months, as Slovenia has no such deadlines.

Moreover, she said the European party was being abused by fearmongering individuals like the SDS in calling for lustration.

The PS thus hopes that the standard extremist practices of the SDS, which are constantly trying to solve internal political issues abroad, will not be taken up on the European level.


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