Ljubljana – The left-leaning opposition responded with criticism to Prime Minister Janez Janša’s letter to the European Commission that invites a fact-finding mission to Slovenia. The responses range from assessments that he is diverting attention and calls that the situation should be calmed down, to such that he is not fit for the post.
Janša said in the letter to Commission President Ursula von der Leyen that a fact-finding mission should be sent to get acquainted with the state of democracy, rule of law, independence of the judiciary and media plurality in Slovenia.
He said he did not want the “saga of unsubstantiated accusations about the current Slovenian government to continue spreading across Europe … as it mostly serves to cover up the real problems faced by our democracy”.
Social Democrats (SD) leader and MEP Tanja Fajon said she was concerned about these types of letters, and wondered whose position Janša was advocating. She called on him to calm things down for the sake of Slovenia’s international reputation.
Fajon urged Janša to focus his energy on managing the Covid-19 epidemic and seek consensus in order to normalise society, instead of writing letters that made Brussels “watch us with a great deal of concern, as the entire European public is dealing with Slovenia”.
Jerca Korče, an MP of the Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ), said that the letter was intended more for the “internal public, so that Janša shows once again all the frustrations and traumas that he is expressing on the daily basis everywhere he can”.
Korče said that the attention was being diverted from the government not being able to govern the country, adding that the EU had mechanisms of its own to assess when the respect of EU principles needed to be examined and protected.
As for the content of the letter, she said that Janša talked about attacks within the media landscape while blocking the financing of the Slovenian Press Agency (STA) and about the judiciary while blocking the appointment of prosecutors.
Left leader Luka Mesec said that “all parties in Slovenia that consider themselves democratic should condemn the letter and distance themselves from it” and take the position that Janša is not fit to chair the EU Council.
Mesec said that Janša had clearly shown once again that he would like to be the editor of all media outlets in Slovenia and to “determine what is a lie and what is truth”, labelling him an “authoritarian who is trying to seize power in the country”.
As Janša was recently urged by coalition New Slovenia (NSi) leader and Defence Minister Matej Tonin to invite an EU fact-finding mission, Mesec said that they had done this together and that it had turned out once again that the NSi “is not an autonomous party, but only a tag to the SDS”.
The opposition Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB) assessed that Janša is “apparently not fit to be prime minister, as he is not able to solve problems at home and even creates new ones”.
Like in 2013, when he did not know how to save the country from going bankrupt and called the ‘troika’ for help, he is now calling the European Commission to fix freedom of the press and democracy, the party said on Twitter.