Golob advocates increasing defence budget

Ljubljana – Robert Golob called for changes to Slovenia’s energy, defence and foreign policies in view of the current geopolitical situation as he addressed the public on Tuesday along with a former defence minister to announce the election convention of his Freedom Movement for 19 March. He favours increasing defence budget and removing fence from the border.

The Freedom Movement, which leads the field in several public opinion polls, will present at the convention all its candidates for the 24 April election and its full programme.

“We don’t want to tire the public with 200-page documents ahead of time,” said Golob, who decided to enter politics after he was dismissed as CEO of GEN-I, an energy trader indirectly part owned by the state.

He said 60 experts from various walks of life were working on the programme, some of whom will appear on the party’s ticket in the election and most were ready to “join the executive branch of power later”.

Some of the candidates do not wish to come out in the public yet. “Because of the situation we are in today some must hide and not show themselves in public or else they would suffer sanctions. It’s sad, but that’s how out democracy is today.”

The Freedom Movement does not plan to forge alliances with any party ahead of the election because this would mean they did not have influence on the selection of candidates and would not know whose interests the MPs would stand for. The party is “very thorough in vetting the candidates”.

Golob said the party condemned Russian aggression on Ukraine in the strongest terms and he expected Slovenia to act decisively to help Ukraine.

He believes Slovenia should let refugees cross its territory into other countries as he does not think Slovenia will be their destination country. He urged removing the fence from the Croatian border as it proved ineffective.

As other urgent measures, he listed helping Slovenian citizens and companies affected by the sanctions against Russia, of which he approves.

With global energy prices set to stay high over the next two years, Golob called for a rethink on the energy policy, which he said should be based on renewable sources and new generation nuclear technologies.

He also urged a rethink on Slovenia’s defence policy. He advocates increasing the defence budget but says Slovenia should follow the path of smart specialisation and invest in “those market niches where it can be a factor and can contribute to global peace”. He believes the country can contribute most in the civil protection and rescue segment.

Slovenia also needs to reconsider its foreign policy as “no serious country leads its foreign policy via an individual’s Twitter account, least so by inciting further clashes”.

He condemned the government’s tweet comparing refugees from various environments, which was subsequently deleted, as “disgrace”.

The press conference was also attended by Anton Grizold, who served as defence minister between November 2000 and December 2002. He is involved in writing the programme in the field.