Public figures urging de-escalation and cooperation

Ljubljana – A group of public figures from social and political spheres has called on politicians, media and opinion leaders to de-escalate tensions, bridge the divides and meet the current challenges together. They also warned about what they see as months-long political and media campaign that does not contribute to a more effective response to the pandemic.

“Unfortunately we are one of the few European countries where politics, mainstream media and with them the entire society do not face the pandemic as a united front,” a total of 38 public figures, active in business, science and politics, said.

The appeal for cooperation has been signed among others by entrepreneur Mark Boris Andrijanič, who works at Uber, scientist and CEO and co-founder of Cosylab Mark Pleško, CEO of Datalab Technologies Andrej Mertelj, professors Janez Šušteršič and Žiga Turk, the former finance and education ministers, respectively, during the second Janez Janša government.

The petitioners also include economists Igor Masten and Anže Burger, legal expert Matej Avbelj, cardiologist Marko Noč and former MEP Romana Jordan, who was elected to the European Parliament on the Democrats’ (SDS) slate.

The group said that there was no doubt that in democracy, being critical of the authorities was legitimate and even a must.

Power struggles are normal if they occur within the constitutional framework. But what is even more legitimate, normal and necessary is for all to prioritise cooperation for the benefit of citizens under current extreme circumstances, the appeal reads.

Slovenia faces four major projects – finishing the fight against the pandemic, economic recovery, EU presidency and reforming the election system, they noted, urging political and social responsibility.

The group expects of PM Janez Janša and other coalition representatives to take into account wider social needs and not only the interests of their voters. The government should also step up efforts to encourage the opposition to cooperate, they said.

Meanwhile, the opposition should weigh future cooperation proposals in a more constructive way, they highlighted, adding that politicians in general should abstain from provocations, day-to-day political games and holding old grudges.

The signatories believe that if Slovenia fails to present a united front to tackle the current and future challenges and is not willing to adapt, generations of young people will be lost and brain drain will continue.