Slovenia: quick update – fronts are open

So, Slovenia has been rushing towards the electoral season, almost no presence of the EU Presidency in the press. In fact, this surprises me a lot, the government in my opinion has not managed to make a positive story out of the Presidency – something that it could have easily done, judging by the uncritical attitude of most of the Slovenians to the EU…

However, there were other issues in the press recently.

First, former long-serving Prime Minister and then President Janez Drnovšek died. A lot has been written about his life and his work, so I will not try to add my lines to it. Shortly, he was the right person in the right place at the right time for Slovenia. He managed to bring Slovenia through very turbulent times of transition, while maintaining a sounds political balance. He hasn’t been really right or left, he was a pragmatic politician/technocrat closer to liberal values than anything else. His death united Slovenians in mourning as has perhaps never happened in the past. Few days, and the unity will be over.

Second, and this is relatively old…The Foreign Minister Rupel has performed at his best over a number of cases. As noted by the Financial Times, he has been a bit to pushy over the Croatian Ecologic and Fisheries Zone recently, while chairing the EU Council of Ministers. For a diplomat, I would myself expect a bit more reservation over an issue that is at least seen as mostly bilateral. True, he has managed to bring Italy and the European Commission on board, but the sea border dispute with Croatia is a long-present element of the Slovenian foreign policy. And now it has been pushed on the EU table. The very same minister has also witnessed a leaking Ministry as I noted before. Notes from a meeting with a senior official from the US have have not revealed that Slovenia would be following a blind pro-US policy over Kosovo while chairing the EU, but rather that the Ministry of Mr Rupel is full of dissatisfied diplomats that are ready to break codes of conduct to damage the Minister. Not a very positive sight. In addition, the internal inquiry that aimed at finding out the source of the leaked document, has been declared illegal (the Ministry reviewed some 110.000 calls of its employees). Time for Mr Rupel to go.

Third, the country has entered e hysteric state of “anti-tycoonism”. The CEO/owners of the three largest (SCT, Vegrad, Primorje) construction companies in Slovenia have been arrested in what has been mostly judged as a Scorsese-style police action. They have been accused of bribing a state official (who has also been arrested) and probably more will come out in the future investigations. The so-called “construction lobby” has been widely perceived as a gang on its own, running the show according to its own laws. And although the accused will defend themselves from liberty, the legal action has earned Janša some political points. What should have been an impartial investigation of the police, is now perceived as a political action. Good for Janša, bad for the rule of law. His party is now even with Pahor’s Social Democrats. And this means the story is far from over (Pengovsky has a nice overview here).

Apart from this, Slovenia has witnessed a period of nice sunny weather. I’ve done some decent mountain biking in shorts myself.

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