Four parties demand debate on hate speech

Ljubljana – Deputy groups of the coalition New Slovenia (NSi), Democrats (SDS), Modern Centre Party (SMC), the opposition National Party (SNS) and both minority MPs have requested a session of the parliamentary interior and justice committees regarding what they see as stepping up of ideology-based hostility, ostracising and attacks.

The move was initiated by the NSi, which said it would not point fingers at anyone but called on everyone to “push the reset button, because we have reached a point where Slovenian society has never been before”.

He said MPs should be the first to make sure that words such as Fascists, criminals in power, vermin and such disappear from parliamentary debates.

He also said it was inadmissible that swastikas were being used to express hatred in public, which he said had started at anti-government protests.

SDS MP Alenka Jeraj said the party had been receiving threats for years and had been the target of insults, especially the party head, Janez Janša.

She believes things have gone out of hand because public figures and the law enforcement failed to react when hate speech started on the front page of the weekly Mladina.

The prosecution also carries a part of the blame for not condemning banners demanding “death to Janšism”, she said.

SMC MP Mateja Udovič pointed to social responsibility, noting that values such as tolerance and solidarity must become the foundations of social activities. There should be no room for any form of extremist violent actions in this society, she said.

The signatories would like the two parliamentary committees to call on state bodies to pay special attention to exploration and prevention of extremism, extremist groups and associated violence.

They recommend that the law enforcement treat such cases as a priority and that the government change the legislation on criminal law, public law and order, media and social networks.

NSi president Matej Tonin recently proposed that MPs could punished for inappropriate statements. Horvat said today the parliament could follow the rules of procedure of the European Parliament in this respect.

Novo Mesto/Trebnje – The Competition Protection Agency has cleared the merger of the farmers’ co-operatives Trebnje and Krka to create Slovenia’s largest co-operative, brining together about 1,000 farmers to generate EUR 65 million in annual revenue.

The deal to create the Trebnje-Krka Co-operative was signed in December last year by Anton Prus and Stanko Tomšič, the directors of the respective co-operatives.

The pair said the first synergy effects had already showed through the merger procedure through better stocking of the technical goods stores and better sales. The merged co-op will become operational without overdue liabilities.

Initially, the co-operative will employ almost 250 staff and generate EUR 65 million in annual revenue. It will be present in 15 municipalities of south-eastern Slovenia, with business partners who come throughout the country.

The KZ Trebnje co-operative associates 738 farmers. It generates roughly EUR 40 million in revenue through farming, food processing and technical goods. It employs 166 staff in 40 units and operates 12 grocery stores, 11 technical goods stores, five butcher’s shops, seven hospitality establishments, a canteen, two clothes stores, two diesel pumps and a sawmill.

Bringing together almost 270 farmers, the KZ Krka co-operative is one of the country’s largest providers of integrated-production vegetables, with all its vegetables and fruit sourced locally in Dolenjska and Bela Krajina.