Four MEPs worried by social atmosphere in Slovenia, call on Pahor to act

Ljubljana – Four MEPs from Slovenia, Milan Brglez, Franc Bogovič, Tanja Fajon and Ljudmila Novak, expressed their concern on Wednesday over the psychosocial situation and the general social atmosphere in Slovenia in a letter addressed to President Borut Pahor. They urge him to use his authority to calm down the situation.

“The severity of the situation calls for everyone, including the country’s president as an institution that under the constitution represents all citizens, to do everything they can to calm the passions and create a social atmosphere of dialogue, respectful expressing of disagreement and criticism,” the MEPs wrote.

They think that if the situation deteriorated any further not only individuals’ human rights and social cohesion would be at risk but the situation could hamper the functioning of the state.

The current psychosocial situation and growing intolerance also do not bode well for the upcoming Slovenian EU presidency, the MEPs warn.

“Not only because they undermine the credibility and reputation of our country but because they move us as a society away from the fundamental European values and the European way of life, which is based on the respect of democratic principles and human rights.”

The MEPs feel that the situation has deteriorated further during the Covid-19 pandemic. They regret that intolerance – both verbal and physical – is on the rise in the middle of the epidemic.

The Slovenian society did not anticipate the magnitude of this aspect of the crisis and now there seem to be no right response to the rise in domestic violence and violence in local communities. The epidemic has also affected other areas, the MEPs said.

There is not much discussion on verbal intolerance, “on threats to individuals, their families, smearing of walls, encouraging of intolerance against religious communities, and on all other forms of intolerance”. More importantly, no steps have been taken to prevent this.

It is definitely appropriate to condemn such actions on a declarative level, but this is not enough for the social situation to calm down, the MEPs said.

“We must admit that politicians themselves and their way of acting contributes to many tensions rather than contributing to conciliation. The task of politicians is to look for the best development model for the society and state. In order to be successful at this, they must encourage dialogue and impose restrictions on themselves.

“Everything must not be allowed to politicians. On the contrary, restrictions for politicians must be greater than for other citizens,” the MEPs wrote.