There is cause for concern about the tone of public debate in Slovenia. This is the conclusion of the European Parliament Monitoring Mission after a three-day visit to the country of Prime Minister Janez Jansa. “The hate speech and the sharp tone used are cause for concern. Because of this polarization, it is as if the population is divided into two camps,” says delegation leader Sophie in ‘t Veld’ of the Dutch party D66.
Members of Parliament’s Civil Liberties and Justice Committee spoke to a full range of representatives of Slovenian society over the course of three days. “We wanted to get the biggest picture possible,” he said at ‘t Veld this afternoon during a press conference in the capital, Ljubljana. Prime Minister Jansa, who often puts herself in the spotlight through incendiary messages on social media, was unable to speak to the European delegation.
Slovenian public institutions still functioned well, but the tone of the public debate surprised the delegation, admitted in ‘t Veld. There is nothing to worry about. The pressure on institutions and the media is mounting, to the point where you can end up in a climate where nothing is working properly, where the distrust is so great that institutions no longer work for the benefit of citizens.”
As if intended to further her point of view, the Dutch woman was asked twice at her press conference why “the delegation spoke only with left-wing journalists and NGOs”. In ‘t Veld had to reiterate right away that its interlocutors had covered the full spectrum and that “there are no two Slovenes”.
Who was also part of the delegation is Assita Kanko (N-VA). Obviously, dirty political games are being played in Slovenia. I was very shocked by the profanity being used by senior politicians as well,” she admitted in a press release. “I am also angry with Prime Minister Janez Jansa, who supposedly did not have time to meet us, but fired a silly storm on Twitter during our visit. Not worthy of a prime minister.”
Jansa has publicly criticized the Netherlands, home of en feld, as “the last time a journalist was murdered in the EU,” referring to crime reporter Peter R. de Vries who was shot dead in July and subsequently died. He also posted a photo on Twitter in which he accused thirteen (former) MEPs of being puppets of Hungarian-American businessman and philanthropist George Soros. Among the politicians he accused are in ‘t Veld, as well as Guy Verhofstadt (Open Vld) and Mark Demesmaeker (N-VA), who has not been a Member of Parliament since 2019. Jansa has since deleted the tweet. Since Soros is of Jewish descent, many observers consider Jansa’s message to be anti-Semitic.
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