An open letter by the Slovenian Council for the Republic to institutions in Europe and the world.
This is a rebuttal of the misleading and grossly untrue letter ‘Slovenians demand radical changes’ which was sent around Europe and the globe by some radical individuals and organisations.
In the Council for the Republic, which brings together critical intellectuals of different political orientation and continues the tradition of the first Slovenian democratic coalition that led Slovenia in her struggle of liberation from communist Yugoslavia (i.e., the Democratic Opposition of Slovenia, Demos, 1989-1992), we have read with amazement and disappointment the above mentioned circular letter wherein the current non-parliamentary opposition misrepresents the economic and political situation in Slovenia. Slovenia’s situation had deteriorated prior to the term of the current government, and was also negatively influenced by the global financial crisis. The current government is rationally confronting this crisis by austerity measures, not all of which are popular but are necessary and harmonious with the expectations of EU.
The sting of the letter was aimed by the mentioned authors at the current Slovenian government, its prime minister Janez Janša, and the reform measures of the Slovenian government in 2012, all implemented with the goal of enforcing democracy and respect for human rights, ensuring the functioning of the market-economy based on private initiative, lowering the budgetary deficit to the level agreed upon in the stability pact, and preserving the state as a healthy economic subject in the European Union and the euro area. Measures executed by the government have found support on all levels of European and even global politics. Let us refer to the opinion of the President of the European Council Mr. Van Rompuy, who met the Slovenian P.M. Janez Janša in Ljubljana on 25 May 2012. The media have summed it up as follows: “But the President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy stated that the Slovenian government is on the right track. In his opinion, healthy public finances are the prerequisite for a successful growth strategy, whereas fiscal consolidation is necessary in order to build the trust and ensure that the young people shall not carry the burden of high debts tomorrow. Furthermore, he said how some of these measures were painful, but will help Slovenia to increase competitiveness and achieve economic growth again” (Planet Siol, a major Slovenian news website).Similarly supportive during his stay in Slovenia from 1-3 September 2012 was the Secretary General of the OECD Mr. Angel Gurria. The media reported: “The purpose of Gurria’s visit to Slovenia is to offer the support of the OECD with the essential execution of structural reforms and measures for the impetus of the economy” (RTV SLO, website of the national radio and television). He met with the prime minister Jansa and the minister of economic affairs and was very pleased with the government measures. This was also a message to the world that Slovenia is on the right track.
At the end of the year, the government also passed austerity budget for the year 2013 – 2014, coordinated with the views of the European union, through a clear policy of consensus (for the government consists of a greater number of parties, each with its own demands, while intense negotiations with the unions and other organizations participating in the process also took place all year). At the same time, the Slovenian Constitutional Court also rebutted as anti-constitutional two referenda that would logically result in deterioration of the international position of Slovenia, as well as the loss of the monetary (and de facto) sovereignty. Republic of Slovenia concluded the hardest year of crisis in a way which only the greatest optimist could have imagined 12 months ago.
The above-mentioned letter and the demonstrations held in some Slovenian cities do not express the spirit of reform efforts which Slovenia needs most at this moment. Council for the Republic certainly does not oppose the demonstrations. All citizens may freely express their opinion, provided their expression of freedom does not interfere with equal freedom and rights of others. But this, unfortunately, was not what took place at the demonstrations. Right, but foremost left extremist groups (see enclosed photo material) abused the gathering of people for a life-threatening escalation of violence. The fiercest violence (30 November 2012 at the Congress Square in Ljubljana) took place precisely where symbols of the Communist regime appeared, red stars on former SFRY and SRS flags. The use of such symbols in such contexts is completely unacceptable since it means a civilization-wise downfall of the society of unforeseeable dimensions. Especially painful was the fact that the demonstrators were screaming for elected representatives of the people to be thrown into mass graves (Barbara pit) or to be sent to the terrible former concentration camp on Goli Island. We are used to the sights of political zealots destroying state symbols of foreign, in their opinion hostile countries, but find it unusual that the leaders of demonstrations with great hostility destroy their own symbols of Slovenian statehood and call for the physical elimination of institutions and individuals. In this connection, let us remember that a number of people were severely injured during these events and that the mayor of Maribor Franc Kangler resigned the moment he realized that, should the demonstrations continue, it could lead to casualties for which he would be co-accountable. In this connection, the statement in the letter about police arresting the youth and thus blackmailing their parents in order that they would no longer attend the protests, is entirely false. It is a despicable lie and a contemptible imputation that is by itself absolutely absurd. The authorities only took action since the health, life and property of Slovenian citizens were threatened. All the precautions were based on the standard familiar to all European democracies in such cases.
Similarly frightening is the fact that the main actors in the letter are representatives of parties who had been defeated and rejected from the parliament (in the last parliamentary elections on 4 December 2011), who, however, are determined to create an impossible atmosphere in the state in order to regain power with the help of totalitarian violence by staging »spontaneous« protests. In the Slovenian second largest city of Maribor, the protests were thus organized by people who can to a large degree be tied (source: Facebook) to the fallen party Zares. Among the signatories of the letter are historian Jože Pirjevec and president of the Liberal Academy Darko Štrajn, both members of the LDS which also lacked sufficient votes for the parliament on 4 December 2011. Also failing to enter the parliament on the day of last parliamentary elections was the party TRS, representatives of which likewise contributed their signature under the mentioned letter.
Also signed under the letter is the president of the Slovene Writers’ Association Veno Taufer. In 2011-2012, he was identified and disclosed in the archives of the State Security Service (source: Archives of the Republic of Slovenia) to had been a secret agent, code named »Philosopher«. In addition, he was active at the Slovenian section of the London BBC Radio: the UK media amply reported on the therein infiltrated agents of totalitarian Yugoslavia last year. Regardless of many appeals following the disclosure, he did not resign from his function. This presents an unprecedented example. Taufer also opposes the European Parliament Resolution against totalitarianisms on the old continent (2009), as well as the Prague Declaration on European conscience and totalitarianism, supported by Vaclav Havel.
Council for the Republic believes that the path of parliamentary democracy is the only one that can, in cooperation with the states of the European Union and the free world, stabilize Slovenia in the long run and enable its citizens to live at their full potential. Furthermore, the meaning of demonstrations is not to be exaggerated since the number of demonstrators was always much smaller than the number of votes received by any of the elected members of the parliament.
Additionally, the Council for the Republic also believes that the proper course is to return the standard of the citizens to the highest level in history, i.e. the year of 2008 (4th year of the first government led by Janez Janša), when GDP of Slovenia reached 91 percent of that of the EU and there was a general state of welfare in the country. But the fundamental thesis remains: the process of Slovenian transition will have to be finished. This means de-monopolizing the state which is still largely owned by the old lobbies and rejecting the old undemocratic Communist beliefs and practices.The Council for the Republic thus establishes that the letter mentioned, as well as the demonstrations aimed at demolishing Slovenian constitutional order, were caused by aspirations to reinstate the economic, media, and general monopoly that existed under the former League of Communists of Slovenia and Yugoslavia. The reform efforts of the current government, supported by consensus of the EU and the OECD, are the greatest threat to their ambition to grab all power and privileges again, which adequately explains their opposition to current government.
Dr. Lovro Šturm, Ph. D., President of the Council for the Republic and former Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court.
M.Sc. Andrej Aplenc, former director of Slovenian Ironworks
Barbara Brezigar, former public prosecutor, state secretary at the Ministry of the Interior
Dr. France Cukjati, former president of the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia
Prof. dr. Janko Kos, regular member of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts
Dr. Janez Podobnik, former president of the National Assembly and former environment minister
Dr. Borut Ron?evi?, state secretary for the higher education
Prof. dr. Dimitrij Rupel, several-time foreign minister of the Republic of Slovenia, now Slovenian consul in Trieste
Prof. dr. Vasko Simoniti, former minister of culture
Prof. dr. Ivan Štuhec, lecturer at the Maribor Faculty of Theology
Prof. dr. Žiga Turk, minister of education, science, culture and sport, former secretary-general of Reflection Group on the Future of EU
Prof. dr. Boštjan Marko Turk, lecturer of French literature at the Ljubljana Faculty of Arts
Prof. dr. Andrej Umek, former minister of traffic, higher education and technology
Dr. Andreja Vali? Zver, director of the Study Centre for National Reconciliation
Dr. Milan Zver, MEP and former minister of education and sport