“Unfortunately, in addition to the state ceremony, an anti-ceremony has also been announced for Wednesday. If only those who cycle and protest against the government on Fridays could make their own ceremony, and not an anti-ceremony… So if they were to make their own ceremony in their own way, with their own culture, with ways of expressing that are close to them, under the common symbol – the Slovenian flag, you could say: hats off to you! We do not agree with these ideas, but we are all celebrating the thing that we all have in common, together. But instead, they decided to organize an anti-ceremony. Thousands of leaflets have already been distributed on Friday, calling for the people to attend the so-called anti-ceremony, which is supposed to disrupt the national ceremony, which will be going on at the same time. This is inadmissible, reprehensible, and beyond anything we associate with the words normality or civilization,” Prime Minister Janez Janša said on the show A Conversation with the Prime Minister (Pogovor s predsednikom vlade).
For the last time before the hot political autumn, Prime Minister Janez Janša was a guest on the show A Conversation with the Prime Miniter on Nova24TV. In the beginning, he spoke about the epidemiologic situation in Slovenia, as it is well-known that even several dozen individuals can seriously endanger the health of all Slovenian citizens. “Once again, it should be pointed out that all NIJZ instructions still apply. Many measures are still in place. The epidemic has been lifted because the number of new infections was and, for the time being, is within manageable limits. But this can change very quickly, in a matter of days,” Janša warned.
“I cannot say that this was not expected. The second wave was actually inevitable, as certain measures were being lifted. Especially with the opening of the borders,” Janša pointed out. North Macedonia is currently facing the second wave of infections, which is actually worse than the first. Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, and Kosovo are very close to their second wave as well. “Croatia is not there yet, in spite of some outbreaks, which have so far been successfully limited. Of course, Slovenia is also not there yet, but the recent numbers have been higher than the ones from three weeks ago. Most of the recent cases were imported from countries, for which we have already implemented stricter conditions for border crossings.”
Friday’s protests pose a major threat to the spread of the coronavirus
According to Janša, we need to be aware of the fact that the current measures can prevent the transition into the red numbers, as far as the second wave is concerned. However, the second wave can only be prevented if the measures are taken seriously. He pointed out the danger we witness every Friday. “Current regulations allow for gatherings of up to 500 people, and according to the police, several thousand cyclists gathered this past Friday. This means that the number of people who gathered in Ljubljana was five to six times higher than the limit. Because of this, the risk was way higher as well. I have no way of knowing how many of the people who gathered at the protests, where they did not keep the proper distance or wear masks, and screamed a lot, recently returned from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Macedonia, or some other hot spot.” He is convinced that even if there were only ten such individuals among the few thousands that gathered, this could be a real problem for Ljubljana and, therefore, entire Slovenia.
In regards to following the measures, Janša emphasized that we need to use our heads and think about things. “We must be aware of the fact that by respecting the restrictions and measures, we are not only protecting our own health and life, but also the health and lives of others. Younger people sometimes act quite carelessly, despite the danger, saying that nothing bad will happen to them if they get sick. That is not true. Some younger people have also died from COVID-19. It is true that there are relatively few of them, but look, we must also act responsibly in order to protect our fellow citizens, our relatives, grandparents, the residents of nursing homes, and those who are in the hospitals, sick.”
According to Janša, the indifference of a small part of the population is what poses the greatest danger and risk at the moment. “After all these weeks and months, there are three major risks or three situations that pose the greatest risk of spreading the virus: parties, football matches, and rallies,” Janša pointed out.
Janša announced a reform of the healthcare system and construction of care facilities
Janša announced that a large amount of European funds would soon be made available for the reconstruction of the healthcare systems of the EU member states. “For Slovenia, this will be a great opportunity for healthcare reforms, which had had to wait for the last 15 years. We will be able to build hospitals, allocate funds for long-term care, and take care of many other things that still need to be taken care of.” In light of the celebration of the 29th anniversary of our independence, when Slovenians, fought for their own place under the sun, Janša highlighted the belief that the vast majority of Slovenians celebrate Statehood Day with great dignity. “I think that we, Slovenians, have internalized this holiday because, as a nation, our vote for what this holiday represents was practically unanimous. Back then, there were political differences and divisions that still exist in politics today. But when it comes to the people, they were much more united,” he believes.
The anti-ceremony is inadmissible, reprehensible, and beyond anything we associate with the words “normality” and “civilization”
Of course, politics also have a broader impact. “Unfortunately, in addition to the state ceremony, an anti-ceremony has also been announced for Wednesday. If only those who cycle and protest against the government on Fridays could make their own ceremony, and not an anti-ceremony… So if they were to make their own ceremony in their own way, with their own culture, with ways of expressing that are close to them, under the common symbol – the Slovenian flag, you could say: hats off to you! We do not agree with these ideas, but we are all celebrating the thing that we all have in common, together. But instead, they decided to organize an anti-ceremony. Thousands of leaflets have already been distributed on Friday, calling for the people to attend the so-called anti-ceremony, which is supposed to disrupt the national ceremony which will be going on at the same time. This is inadmissible, reprehensible, and beyond anything we associate with the words normality or civilization.” The Prime Minister pointed out that he hopes that the organizers of the anti-ceremony will change their minds before Wednesday.
“If everyone was informed about the actual state of things, as they are, regardless of which media outlet they follow, Slovenia would flourish. The most important things are withheld, fake scandals are created, which poisons the public atmosphere in Slovenia, and prevents energy from being directed towards achieving the dreams related to our independence,” Janša stressed, adding that the Government of the Republic of Slovenia in its current form is not only the government of the City of Ljubljana but the government of the City of Ljubljana, as well as the government of all other municipalities. “This is a coalition of different parties. If there were no differences among us, there would also be no need for more than one party. A lot of coordination and respect for diversity is needed. This requires some extra effort, and so far, the leadership of all coalition parties is investing enough effort.” Janša emphasized that it is not enough for a coalition to just exist.
The common interests of the country should outweigh the benefits of any individual party or coalition
“The easiest way to ensure the existence of a coalition is to do nothing. If you do not do anything, you cannot make any mistakes, either. If we had the support of Pop TV and RTV Slovenia, like Marjan Šarec, we would not have to do anything, and the coalition could surely last until the end of its term. But not doing anything is not part of our plan. We are swimming against the current, as far as the mainstream media is concerned.” Janša praised the president of the DeSUS party, as well as the presidents of the SMC and NSi parties, and described them as responsible politicians. “After a very long time, we are working in a way that puts the common interests of our country before the benefits of an individual party or coalition. This is also what helped us get through the epidemic without too much damage, or with minimal damage, compared to what happened in most European countries.”
Janša also pointed out that the data they have received from Bosnia and Herzegovina in recent days shows that the number of illegal immigrants in their centres was increasing. “The Slovenian police are doing everything they can. The Slovenian Army is our “reserve,” but we cannot grant it the necessary powers, because this requires a two-thirds majority vote or a two-thirds majority in the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia. With the exception of the SNS party, none of the other opposition parties want to vote for this measure, which is allowed by the Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia or provided for by the Defence Act. In fact, the behaviour of the left-wing opposition is causing damage and is very anti-Slovenian. As a result, the border is not closed as it should be.”