PM labels EU summit negotiations test of perseverance


In yesterday's doorstep statement, Janša said that unfortunately the talks were indeed more negotiations and less coordination between member states.

Nevertheless, he added that some progress had been made and some issues had been cleared up.

"There are still good chances of reaching an agreement, but there is also a worse possibility of taking a longer break after which, I fear, standpoints would not be significantly closer to each other," said the prime minister, highlighting that he supported the continuation of the negotiations until a successful outcome.

Janša met EU Council President Charles Michel today along with leaders of Croatia, Bulgaria, Romania and Malta. Moreover, the prime minister met his Polish counterpart Mateusz Morawiecki on Saturday and Croatian counterpart Andrej Plenković today.

On Sunday, Janša also dismissed the Financial Times claims that Hungary, Poland and Slovenia are resisting the system that would tie the budget funds to respecting fundamental human rights, saying that Slovenia only wanted the "same standards regarding independent judiciary, media, freedom of speech" to be used for all member states.

According to unofficial sources, Slovenia supported Hungary and Poland in opposing the move, which would result in budget cuts for EU countries found breaching the rule of law principles, yesterday when the issue was broached.

In the wake of the unofficial information, certain opposition parties as well as the coalition partners highlighted the role of the rule of law or European values.

The coalition New Slovenia (NSi) said on Twitter that the rule of law was a cornerstone of democracy, freedom and security and that the party would always safeguard and promote the principle.

"Who is afraid of the rule of law? If certain [EU] leaders had a clear conscience, they would not be lecturing the Western EU member states, the founders of the bloc, on the rule of law. There has been enough of Europe being merely an ATM, while fundamental values of post-war Europe are trampled upon and abused," said MEP Ljudmila Novak (EPP/NSi), the NSi former leader.

Health Minister Tomaž Gantar of the coalition Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) also pointed out that "the rule of law and respecting human rights are the democratic standards of every contemporary society".

Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek, the head of the coalition Modern Centre Party (SMC), said that the party was staying committed to EU values. "We all want to strengthen trust in the common EU values, but that is a goal which would be hard to achieve if voices of some member states overpower the rest in Brussels," he twitted.

The opposition Social Democrats (SD) were also critical of the developments, saying that yesterday evening Slovenia left the club of core EU countries, bound together by respect for the rule of law and fundamental EU values, completely.

SD interim leader Tanja Fajon said that Slovenia "positioned itself on the wrong side", a side that was in conflict with EU values, deeming the step "a historic error".

"The EU is once again demonstrating the entire complexities of its differences, its smallness and greatness, selfishness and solidarity," Janša meanwhile wrote in his Saturday's post as a second day of EU leaders' negotiations wrapped up, adding that for some the EU was granted by their fathers, whereas the others won it out.

In the early hours of Sunday he also wrote that he missed the 2004-2008 EU Council "when there was less daily politics and more strategic thinking" and later described the third day of talks as a day of truth when the actual figures would be discussed instead of the side issues.

Moreover, the prime minister has retweeted Budget Commissioner Johannes Hahn's post which warned that the corona crisis was not over and that it was "high time to reach an agreement which allows us to provide the urgently needed support for our citizens and economies".

The first in-person summit of EU leaders after the start of the coronavirus pandemic started on Friday and so far a compromise on the 2021-2027 financial framework and the relief package designed to shore up Europe's economies has not yet been reached.

Journalists have been unable to ask questions because the building is off limits to them as a coronavirus precaution measure.

Today's negotiations, which were supposed to be resumed at noon, have been postponed to make more time for sideline discussions and bilateral meetings. A new proposal by Michel is expected to be presented to broker an agreement.

According to unofficial sources, under the new proposal the EUR 750 billion recovery fund is to provide EUR 400 billion in subsidies and EUR 350 billion in loans. The volume of subsidies would be therefore reduced and the volume of loans increased to cater to the Netherlands, Austria, Denmark and Sweden.

Under the previous proposal, which was opposed by the frugal four and Finland, two thirds of the fund would be available in subsidies and a third in loans.