The prime minister sows unrest in the European Parliament for his attacks on judicial independence and freedom of the press
The attacks on the independence of the judges, the blockade of the European Prosecutor’s Office against Fraud -which will have in its magnifying glass corruption and the inappropriate use of community funds-, and the media censorship that his government has been printing for months, turned into a field of mines the appearance this Tuesday of Janez Jansa in the European Parliament. The prime minister of Slovenia, the country that will preside over the EU for the next six months, faced widespread criticism from MEPs, who charged against Ljubljana’s following of Viktor Orban’s Hungary.
The formal speech in which Jansa presented the key lines of action for this mandate left him bitter. Because it did not catch on in the plenary session of Strasbourg. Neither was he credible when he established himself as a defender of the rule of law nor with the argumentation he used to justify his confrontations with the country’s press. He spoke of “big monopolies” responsible for “totalitarian practices.”
In her speech, Jansa insisted on the priorities already known. Under the slogan ‘Together. Europe. Resilient ‘stressed that Slovenia will enable the EU to recover and strengthen its resilience; it will stimulate reflection on the future of Europe; It will “strengthen the rule of law and European values, and increase security and stability” with its neighbors. In this sense, he referred to the summit scheduled for October that should spur the integration of the Western Balkans – the most flashy event scheduled under his presidency. And he did give top priority to “avoiding” a new wave of the pandemic. “We are optimistic because the European vaccination strategy is working and giving results,” he stressed.
But in the most controversial matters he did not convince. “There is no repression of the media or journalists in Slovenia,” he stressed, linking these criticisms to domestic political disputes that “want to be transferred to the European Parliament.” And regarding the blockade of the European Prosecutor’s Office, he hid behind an internal procedure not yet resolved to justify the delay.
But what was said. He was given a kind of vote of confidence, which seemed more formal than credible. Because he had to hear reproaches from most of the groups. Hints of yours. Manfred Weber, president of the popular Europeans, stressed that the rule of law “is a priority.” The also popular, Dolors Montserrat, asked him to work to preserve “the rule of law, the independence of the judiciary and freedom of the press, which are fundamental principles of the EU.” More direct messages from the socialists. Iratxe García, its president, appealed to her “responsibility” to dispel the doubts that arose over her government and wished Jansa “success, because that success will be for the entire EU.”
And discrediting to lead from the bench of the liberals (“it seems that it does not fulfill what it says”, Malik Azmani accused him) or the Greens. “The Slovenian Presidency has started with attacks on judges and the Prime Minister’s personal contest against one of the possible European delegated prosecutors. This behavior does not fill us with confidence that the Prime Minister will act in the best interest of the EU, ”denounced Philippe Lamberts. He was called to “get out of the dark zone”; to correct movements of authoritarian drift; to abandon the ‘orbanization’.