Janez Janša: Slovenian Prime Minister goes offline during European debate
Slovenia’s increasingly strained relationship with Brussels will undoubtedly be highlighted over the next six months as Prime Minister Janez Jansa prepares to be a thorn in the side of Brussels during his EU presidency.
Mr Jansa said on Friday that the Hungarian leader should be allowed to express his ideas on the future of the European Union, warning that the bloc “will continue to shrink” if people are excluded from the debate.
His comments were a further sign of a growing alliance between the nationalist leaders of Slovenia, Hungary and Poland which worries more liberal countries in the EU.
Mr Orban was criticized at an EU summit last week over a Hungarian law banning schools from using material deemed to promote homosexuality, with French President Emmanuel Macron referring to a ” fundamental East-West divide.
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Like Mr. Orban, he also clashed in Brussels on media freedoms.
Mr Jansa said: “I think he has the right to explain how he sees the future of the European Union”.
Indirectly referring to Brexit, he added: “If the debate on the future of the European Union excludes citizens in advance, then I think the European Union will indeed continue to shrink.
Mr Jansa does not appear to be referring to any incidents in which Mr Orban was prevented from expressing his views, but rather the growing mistrust of him in the capitals of Western Europe.
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He said: “So if you are now judging a person on the basis of imaginary European values that everyone perceives differently, and double standards are used, then I think that’s the quickest way to go. collapse. “
To make matters worse, Slovenian Interior Minister Ales Hojs told a press conference on Friday that he might in future call a high-ranking member of the “European bureaucracy” a ‘pig’ .
It is not known who Mr Hojs was referring to, but European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans declined to appear in a group photo with Mr Jansa on Thursday, after the Slovenian Prime Minister questioned the neutrality of Slovenian judges by showing a photo of them in an informal group photo with other center-left lawmakers.
Shortly after the press conference at the Brdo Congress Center, Hojs assured in a tweet that he did not have Timmermans in mind when he made his statements. However, he also didn’t write down who he was thinking of. At the press conference, he said he wanted to keep this a secret for now.
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The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, took advantage of a joint press conference with Mr Jansa to call for “freedom of expression, diversity and equality” and declared that the State of European rights and values must be “always respected”.
On Thursday, Jansa called on the European Union on Thursday to reach an agreement on the enlargement of the bloc of 27 nations.
He warned that if the EU did not expand, others would.
Slovenia’s priorities for its Presidency of the Council of the EU include strengthening Europe’s post-pandemic recovery, as well as its resilience, strategic autonomy and rule of law.
In Western capitals, the increasingly assertive coalition of Eastern leaders is observed with concern.
Some academics believe that an “Eastern European Union” is emerging on the basis of positions that contradict core EU values such as the rule of law, human rights. human rights, media freedom and LGBT rights.
“I think the whole attitude of this alignment is very anti-European. It shows signs of establishing some kind of new Iron Curtain, ”said Marko Milosavljevic, professor of journalism and media policy at the University of Ljubljana.
Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg