Pahor says new government could have long-term prospects

Ljubljana – In an interview with the public broadcaster, President Borut Pahor has talked about the international circumstances, noting that the government is in for deliberation about how to remain an ally in helping Ukraine, while wisely “regulating sanctions so that we can help ourselves”. He also spoke about the long-term prospects of the new cabinet.

In the interview aired by TV Slovenija on Friday evening, Pahor discussed the recent change of government, saying about the plan to increase the number of ministries that, if the government works well, people will not hold this against it.

“But if the government performs below people’s expectations, any redundant state secretary, any oversized ministry or additional ministry will be a burden for the government,” the president said.

He wished the government of Robert Golob success, while he would like to see it refrain from replacing staff “too broadly and give the impression that it is loyalty, and not achievements of those who were or will be replaced is what in fact counts.”

Pahor assessed that the government with a solid political majority made it possible to “look a little bit further into the future”, saying that Prime Minister Golob has the required ability and intelligence.

At the same time, he noted the risks posed by the changed international circumstances.

Pahor said that while a new consensus for sustainable development and green and digital transition had seemed a given last year, the war in Ukraine, inflation, the risk recession, and energy and food crises had changed this overnight.

The EU will get in trouble because of all this, so “now, together with other nations, countries, we must take care of [the EU] in order to make it stronger internally and externally”. “This is essential for our development,” the president said.

Pahor did not expect that Russian President Vladimir Putin will opt for military aggression on Ukraine. “I was very disappointed by his decision and I consider it very immoral,” he said, adding that such policy should be sanctioned.

As Ukraine has been granted the EU candidate country status at the recent EU summit, he spoke of his efforts for the same to happen to Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Otherwise one could say that there must be a war in order for Europe to make a move. “This is an especially delicate issue in the Western Balkans, where there was a war, and people don’t want a new war, they want to live in peace.”

If there is no progress, Bosnia-Herzegovina will only become more entangled in internal conflicts, Pahor said, adding that the EU’s authority in the Western Balkans had been “greatly diminished”.

As for the Slovenian-Croatian border arbitration decision, the president is convinced that it will be implemented sooner or later, while he is against making this a condition for Croatia’s accession to the Schengen Area and the OECD.

“The more Croatia is a European country at the core, the easier it will be in the end to arrive to a solution concerning the border,” Pahor said.

As he is leaving the office this year after two consecutive five year-terms, he discussed the criticism about him not speaking out enough. He said that the president of the republic was not a “second government, or parliament or an MP.”

“[The president] is there to do certain things that no other institution can – to connect the political space, to hear people,” he said, adding that “this cannot be achieved if the president is a mere quarreller.”