Janša thinks belated response to Covid partially due to parliaments

Ljubljana – Prime Minister Janez Janša said that the response to the Covid-19 pandemic had been belated in particular in countries where governments needed to get parliamentary approval to take measures, as he addressed an international online conference on governments and public sector post-recovery on Monday.

The first wave of the pandemic had shown that the response had been more successful in countries with “more flexible systems”.

In such systems the president or government can take measures on their own, he said, assessing that not much would change in the future in this regard, but that faster digital development could be helpful.

It would be helpful if all data was online in the first phase, so that the response could be much better and faster, Janša said, while warning about the possibility of cyber attacks, which means that the digital system needs to be designed well.

“When we talk about challenges, it is important how prepared you are as a country and how adaptable you are.”

A delegation of the World Health Organisation had visited Slovenia three years before the pandemic. “We thought that if we implement all their proposals, we will be well prepared for the pandemic. But we missed the opportunity, we were not ready,” he added.

Janša noted that there had been no response from the EU at the start of the pandemic, either. “The EU was like in the Middle Ages back then. Border closures, lines of trucks, full chaos …,” he said.

According to the prime minister, it has been established that the system of coordination needed to be upgraded at regional level and broader.

The debate also touched on climate change, with Janša noting that trust in science was at a low level, which was a problem, especially when it comes to addressing climate change.

He believes that climate change should be tackled at global level and that the “answer to the question how to provide clean energy is innovation.”

The debate as part of the conference hosted by the Public Administration Ministry also featured OECD Secretary-General Mathias Cormann and European Institute of Public Administration (EIPA) director general Marco Ongaro.