Božo Repe

Promises and Facts Concerning the Independent Slovenian State

 

The sovereign, democratic, welfare state based on the rule of law
will be founded “on human liberties, work and enterprise, on
social justice and security for all, on ecological responsibility and
on the best democratic traditions of Slovenia and Europe.”

 

From the Statement of Good Intentions by the Assembly of
the Republic of Slovenia, adopted on 21 November 19901

 

 

 

 

Case study 1

The purpose of this paper is not to discuss whether it would have been better to remain in Yugoslavia rather than attain independence. Despite the current crisis and lack of prospects faced by numerous individuals and social groups, gaining independence or, to put it more precisely, timely gaining of independence, was undoubtedly a better option for the Slovenians as a national community. The events that could have taken place in a sort of a disintegrating Yugoslavia can be imagined considering the example of Syria and similar countries; as once stated for TV Slovenija by Helmut Kohl who liked to compare himself with and quote Bismarck: “A statesman... must wait until he hears the steps of God sounding through events, then leap up and grasp the hem of His garment.”

What is more, such discussions seem pointless from the historiographical aspect in general: Historians have no laboratories in which to experiment with individual components in order to find out what processes might have taken place if any of the components were taken away, added or changed. We also know that, after each social overthrow, the current political leadership substantiates itself on it, not wishing to merely create the present and the future, but also the past. The previous situation suddenly becomes absolutely black and totalitarian, while the post-overthrow situation is bright and devoid of any doubt. In this respect, the types of political rhetoric present after joining the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, the formation of socialist Yugoslavia and the attainment of independence do not differ much from one another. Differences could perhaps be observed in terminology, or not even there.

Nevertheless, this should not defer historians, along with other humanists and social scientists, from drawing comparisons between what was promised and what was realised. It is a substantiated fact that people were, unlike the political elites, disappointed time and time again after any overthrow. The period following the emancipation and joining the EU is no exception.

Posing such questions in Slovenia does, however, unavoidably carry ideological connotations.

The issue can be considered from two aspects:

1. Assessments and self-assessments of Slovenia’s role in the dissolution of Yugoslavia

2. Present-day view of the predictions, assumptions and promises made at that time

Temporally, the assessments and self-assessments of Slovenia’s role in the dissolution of Yugoslavia can be broken down to contemporary (current and political) and subsequent (partly political and partly pertaining to social science, humanities, history etc.) assessments and self-assessments. According to the then assessments of a large part of the Yugoslav public, politicians, journalists and other writers (with partial exception of Croatia), Slovenia wanted to secede and this would cause the dissolution of Yugoslavia. The estimates of when this process began were varied. The beginning was usually identified with the approximately simultaneous rise of the national (nationalistic) opposition in Slovenia and the onset of the reformist processes taking place within the League of Communists of Slovenia (ZKS – Zveza komunistov Slovenije) with the rise of Milan Kučan. Some of the assessments stem from the viewpoint that secession was the aim of all Slovenian post-war political leaderships. The opinion on Slovenia’s guilt (with nuances in interpretation) during the disintegration of Yugoslavia was also adopted by the majority of the European politics and diplomacy, and even more so by the United States. This interpretation neglected to consider the internal processes taking place in Yugoslavia, which Slovenia had little or no influence over, as well as foreign-political processes (e.g. the end of the Cold War, decline of socialism, dissolution of the Eastern-European Bloc and the Soviet Union, integration processes in Europe). As the war in Yugoslavia continued and the NATO forces intervened against Milošević (1999), this opinion began changing, with Milošević becoming the main culprit behind the blood-soaked dissolution of Yugoslavia (also on account of Franjo Tuđman and Alija Izetbegović dying before they could be summoned by the International Court of Justice in the Hague).

The way Slovenia went about attaining independence became acceptable in retrospect and the country came to be regarded as a success story even by the diplomats who opposed its emancipation. Upon the 10th anniversary of Slovenia’s independence, for example, some of the main European personalities of that time came to join the festivities, including the foreign ministers of Austria, Germany and Italy, Alois Mock, Hans Dietrich Genscher and Gianni de Michelis. De Michelis, who strongly opposed Slovenia’s independence and maintained that it wouldn’t be acknowledged for decades to come (although he was later bestowed a Slovenian national decoration), said the following at the 10th anniversary of independent statehood: “I am very proud to have been involved in Slovenia’s attainment of independence. Although our opinions on whether the time was right and how the process should be managed were different, this does not mean I was not fully in favour of independence.”2

Despite the changed views in international politics, the opinion on Slovenia’s guilt or at least responsibility with regard to the dissolution of Yugoslavia remains frequent, determining mutual policies between Slovenia and former Yugoslav republics in significant, sometimes even decisive ways. Views on the dissolution of Yugoslavia still cause disagreements. The last such case is the supposed (but actually non-existing) “secret agreement between Milošević and Kučan” which they were rumoured to have reached in January 1991 (in reality, it was a public meeting of the Slovenian and Serbian delegations on 24 January 1991, which the media reported on and which saw the adoption of a joint statement that was interpreted differently by both sides).3

The agreement was said to have been confirmed by the then President of the National Assembly France Bučar and Minister of Foreign Affairs Dimitrij Rupel, PhD, in August 1991 during a visit (that was, in fact, secret) with Dobrica Čosić in Belgrade.4 The theory attributing the responsibility for the dissolution of Yugoslavia and the bloody war to Slovenia was taken up with a severe lack of criticism from the controversial Croatian politician and Tuđman’s adviser Slaven Letica, PhD, by the journalist Blaž Zgaga who advocates the premise that Milošević and Kučan agreed, to the detriment of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, for Slovenia to leave Yugoslavia peacefully, while Slovenia, in turn, acknowledged Serbia’s right for all Serbs to live in one state, i.e. Great Serbia.5 It is a historical fact that has been widely known for a long time and substantiated by various witnesses that Bosnia and Herzegovina was, in fact, divided by Tuđman and Milošević at meetings that took place in Karađorđevo and Tikveš in March and April 1991.

Zgaga branded the meeting – one of the numerous meetings taken by the Slovenian leadership with representatives of other republics and federation with the aim of seeking an agreement on a confederal Yugoslavia – as a “sordid agreement”, “the day that changed Yugoslavia’s fate” etc.6 In addition to Letica, he refers to various memoirs, newspaper articles, interviews, documentaries and similar records, from which he chose the parts that attribute the responsibility for Yugoslavia’s dissolution to Slovenia (or are simply interpreted that way by Zgaga), while failing to cite any primary sources. Zgaga also maintains that Slovenia is isolated from international information flows, on account of which the truth uncovered by foreign analysts regarding the events in Yugoslavia remains carefully concealed; according to him, the Slovenian public is only familiar with the myths of independence and that he himself has “disclosed only the information on the Slovenian role in the dissolution of Yugoslavia which was published with numerous world-renowned publishing houses and media but was kept concealed in Slovenia thus far”.7 (As a matter of fact, the works cited by Zgaga are available at every major Slovenian library or online, while the relevant foreign works have been translated into Slovene). Zgaga’s statements have provoked a number of responses and discussions, first in the Dnevnik newspaper in March and April 2014, and once again in the Delo newspaper in July and August 2014. The lead piece in Delo is an interview by Anuška Delić with Anton Peinkiher, former Head of Intelligence at the Ministry of Defence, dated 21 July 2014. Peinkiher accused Janša (and Bavčar) that he was completely unprepared for the attack by the Yugoslav People’s Army, and that he began, in September 1990, sending high-quality automatic, anti-aircraft and anti-tank weapons owned by the Territorial Defence and the Police to Croatia. This was the result of an August 1990 agreement reached in the Kočevsko region by Janša, the then Secretary of Internal Affairs of the Republic, Igor Bavčar, the then Croatian Minister of Defence, Martin Špegel, and the then Croatian Minister of Internal Affairs, Josip Boljkovac. The weapons were sent by the spring of 1991. Peinkiher estimated these to be major criminal offences as Janša endangered the combat capability of the Territorial Defence, thus putting Slovenia’s safety at risk. (For over two decades now, Janša has been putting the blame for the disarmament of the Territorial Defence on Kučan and the presidency of the Republic of Slovenia, saying that, in May 1990, they failed to prevent the order to store the TD weapons in the Yugoslav People’s Army barracks on time). Peinkiher is also critical of other, subsequent Janša’s actions (e.g. sale of weapons, misuse of the military intelligence service and of the military for political purposes, the “discovery of weapons at the Maribor airport, Depala vas etc.). The interview caused a polemic among the emancipators (i.e. Bavčar, Janša, Lovšin and Peterle vs. Peinkiher), which Zgaga used to reiterate his theories from Dnevnik. His writing also prompted a response from Kučan among others (as was already the case with Dnevnik).

The history of Slovenia’s attainment of independence is far from being black-and-white and contains many contradictions. After all, the Slovenian political elite gave the following promise in the Statement of Good Intentions which was adopted just before the plebiscite: “Thus the Republic of Slovenia accepts its share of responsibility for the democratisation in the entire territory of what is now Yugoslavia, also before the international community.”8 It cannot be said it did not endeavour to do so through negotiations and in various other ways (also by taking the legalistic approach to the attainment of independence).

The views on Yugoslavia and the future of Slovenia in it were different. Even the plebiscite question left the issue open on whether Slovenia should gain sovereignty and independence within or outside Yugoslavia. After intense party negotiations and discussions in the deputies’ clubs, a consensus was reached at the second session of the Constitutional Commission on 21 November 1990 as regards whether the ballot paper should only contain the question “Are you in favour of a sovereign and independent Slovenia?” or whether the wording should be more specific and include terms such as federation in the then form, a confederation, or an independent Slovenia with no affiliation with other Yugoslav republics. In line with the first option, the question would read: “Should the Republic of Slovenia become an independent state?” The second option would include the following addition in brackets: “Should the Republic of Slovenia separate from the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia?” This second part, which would make the decision unambiguously clear, was ultimately left out.9 What is more, throughout the entire process of attaining independence, differences could be seen between the consensual side of the politics that was favourable to finding a solution within Yugoslavia (or advocating responsible departure) (i.e. Kučan, presidency of the RS, League of Communists of Slovenia – Party of Democratic Renewal (ZKS-SDP), Socialist Youth League of Slovenia – Liberal Democracy of Slovenia (ZSMS-LDS)) and the radical side that supported unilateral separation (part of Demos (Democratic Opposition of Slovenia)). Jože Pučnik, PhD, the then President of Demos, represented the most radical part. His razor-sharp position (arising from understandable personal reasons, i.e. being convicted to a lengthy imprisonment due to his critical writings in Revija 57 and Perspektive) stemmed from anti-communism and anti-Yugoslavism. He was not thoroughly familiar with the situation in Yugoslavia and was not in contact with the politicians of that area; at home, his function was limited to presiding Demos and seemed increasingly anachronistic in relation to those who held the power. The victorious and media-resounding statement he made after the plebiscite was very much in line with the context of such politics: “Yugoslavia is gone, Yugoslavia is gone! Now it is all about Slovenia!”10 This, however, was not the first of his direct negations of the Statement of Good Intentions. Pučnik took a stand against said Statement and advocated a nationally pure Slovenia (which was supposedly to become that way for economic reasons) even before the plebiscite, namely on 17 December 1990 in Ljutomer.

He regarded the plebiscite and the secession as a chance to create a nationally pure country, to “cleanse” Slovenia of newcomers from other Yugoslav republics, which he substantiated through “economic” reasons: “Let’s not fool ourselves, for this is not a national but a social issue... I am personally against automatically adopting the current situation as of the date of the plebiscite. If we wish to ensure a solid social structure in the Republic of Slovenia, we will have to introduce some sort of criteria for granting citizenship. Let’s not enter a seeming democracy that would create problems we could not solve. We must be aware of what can be solved within the scope of Slovenia from the social aspect and what cannot – the national aspect of this issue is of secondary importance.

We are establishing a community here, which must ensure living conditions for itself from the very start; we must be prepared to eliminate the heritage of the Yugoslav federation, perhaps even in an unpleasant way... We will have to calculate – demographically as well – what problems could consequently arise within five to ten years, together with the demands for cultural autonomy. I will personally use all of my influence in the Social Democratic Party to make sure that Slovenia does not encounter problems such as those of Knin. We do not want a Knin of our own in Slovenia and today we are given the chance to settle these matters humanely, socially, legally and democratically. There must be no rotten compromises and no democracy of political rallies that would create problems similar to those faced by the British, the French, the Germans and other countries which had existed in the colonial era. I believe that Slovenia should not burden itself with these additional problems.”11 The rally in Ljutomer was one of the many organised by politicians from both camps and at which they appeared jointly to promote the plebiscite, but Pučnik and his stance were completely in opposition with other speakers, including those from the Demos party. Rajko Pirnat, for example, argued that the non-Slovenians with a permanent place of residence in Slovenia should have the right to choose whether or not they will take the Slovenian citizenship, while those arriving after the plebiscite would have the status of foreigners. Miran Potrč from the Party of Democratic Renewal (SDP – Stranka demokratične prenove) was of a similar opinion, while Dimitrij Rupel believed that the Slovenian state will, above all, endeavour to provide all its citizens, regardless of their nationality, with the human rights at an European level, and that the situation in this area should remain the same or improve after attaining independence.12

Although Pučnik’s aim of selectively granting citizenships failed, it was reflected in the erasure of inhabitants from former republics who did not request to be granted Slovenian citizenship.13

The political interpretations of the right-wing politics as well as some writers associated with this pole attribute success in the attainment of independence precisely to Pučnik’s radicalism. According to the border-line pathological interpretations, especially those by Janez Janša and his circles, the gaining of independence has been carried out in a struggle against pro-Yugoslav “national traitors” headed by Milan Kučan, on the subject of which quite a few pamphlets were published.

The Slovenian internal flow in the process of attaining independence (the nationalism revealed in the process and which, as seen by the example of the erased, was not merely “passive” as is also evident from the fact that the population from the former Yugoslav republics living in Slovenia don’t have a minority status), the subsequent and current polemics and, last but not least, today’s hypocritical attitude of Slovenia in relation to the rights of other nations similar to those that the country itself demanded upon attaining independence, do not change the fundamental historiographic findings. These include the fact that Slovenia tried to reform Yugoslavia and invested a lot of its political energy as well as resources in the process, but was ultimately unsuccessful. The Slovenian politics accepted the concept of dissolution (determined within the Slovenian presidency) instead of secession, which was eventually approved also by the Badinter Commission.14 With the exception of the Croats, the offered confederate model was accepted by no one as evidenced by numerous meetings of republic leaderships and federal bodies, both on party and state level, between January and June 1991. A somewhat reduced form of the “asymmetric federation” concept was of interest also to Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia, but it was already too late. To expect that, by remaining in Yugoslavia, Slovenia could have prevented its disintegration and the blood-soaked wars that followed, would mean a great lack of understanding of the then circumstances which were actually determined by the Serbo-Albanian and Serbo-Croatian relations along with Croatia’s and Serbia’s aspirations to divide Bosnia and Herzegovina. This went hand in hand with the efforts by the Yugoslav People’s Army to preserve the (re-centralized) federation (as understood by the leading generals) at all costs.

The ideological interpretation of the political right was at the public forefront, namely that the erased were opposed to the emancipation of Slovenia and that they counted on members of the Yugoslav People’s Army being among them as it attacked Slovenia etc. Some of the erased appealed to the European Court of Human Rights which, in June 2012, ruled in the matter of Kurić and others vs. Slovenia against the Republic of Slovenia as the latter had violated the rights of the erased under Article 8 (Right to respect for private and family life), Article 13 (Right to an effective remedy) and Article 14 (Prohibition of discrimination) of the European Convention on Human Rights. The Court instructed Slovenia to prepare a special mechanism by which to acknowledge compensation to the erased within a period of one year. Six (of the ten) appellants were acknowledged compensation for non-material damage. The judgement was final and cannot be appealed. Many strived to restore the rights of the erased, namely individual journalists, non-governmental organisations, lawyer Matevž Krivic, the erased themselves who established an Association ten years after being erased, and The Peace Institute which issued a series of expert publications in the Slovenian and English languages on the matter. Please see Kogovšek, Zorn, Pistotnik, Lipovec Ćebron, Bajt, Petković, Zdravković, Brazgotine izbrisa (The Scars of the Erasure).

Attributing responsibility for the disintegration of Yugoslavia to Slovenia thus stems from justifying politicians from former Yugoslav republics (especially Tuđman in Croatia) or diplomats from abroad, who failed to carry out their task (!) either due to the lack of knowledge of the situation at that time or due to specific interests (i.e. personal, media-related etc.).

The theory of Slovenia being the “disintegrator of Yugoslavia” has not resounded significantly in the fields of Slovenian humanities and social sciences, and the same can be said of the foreign scientific reference literature. In Slovenia, the centre of ideological and political polemics regarding the attainment of independence and democratization revolves around another issue, namely the issue of merits and, consequently, of political capital which can still be drawn from this. The actions of certain emancipators, committed either at that time or later, which were brought to light over the years (although they, as for example the arms trade, had no closure in court or even in the political arena on account of powerful connections within the Police, the Office of the Prosecutor and the judicial administration), along with the convictions of some of the leading players involved due to corruption or commercial crime (e.g. Janša, Bavčar) relativized the act of emancipation, while also consolidating the political and ideological struggle between the players as regards interpretation and, among other things, division to various opposing veteran organisations, and boycotting and/or organizing state celebrations. Nevertheless, the attitude of the national media towards the attainment of independence has become ritual, with established evaluations, celebrations and other forms of remembrance. The mutual relationship between the players is determined almost exclusively from the viewpoint of post-emancipation relations and, above all, any current relations. Looking at the entire picture, the attitude towards the attainment of independence revolves in a triangle of political polemics: the mythicized view of emancipation created by a part of (mainly electronic) media and (mostly right-wing) people involved, and the efforts (of the majority) of historiography to present a critical and objective cause-and-effect picture of the events that took place at that time. A noticeable turning point in the general evaluation was brought on by the crisis which sharpened the view of the emancipation itself and even more so of the misguided processes that took place in over 20 years of the independent Slovenia’s history; although to a lesser degree, it also strengthened the critical attitude towards the EU, which part of the non-critical servile politics usually labels as “Euroscepticism” and “Yugo-nostalgia”.

PRESENT-DAY VIEW OF THE PREDICTIONS, ASSUMPTIONS AND
PROMISES MADE AT THAT TIME

The discussions, predictions, assumptions and promises of that time as well as the then party programmes built on the conviction that Slovenia did not belong to the civilisation of the Balkans; instead, it was supposedly (Central) European. It was thought that the Slovenians would do much better in their own country as the money would not flow to Belgrade.

It would have an effective capitalist economy without the interference of politics, and would allocate far less resources for its armed forces in comparison to the amounts allocated for the Yugoslav People’s Army. It would even be neutral or without an army as well as far less indebted and with a higher standard of living. After having established the independent state, Slovenia would supposedly do away with the hysterics involved in the political space and the permanent state of emergency. The multi-party system would allegedly automatically result in democracy. To sum up, Slovenia would be much better off in all respects – in the fields of education, culture, media, and all other social segments. In fact, it would become a kind of “Switzerland of the Balkans”.

Let us compare some of these promises with the actual situation:

Departure from the Balkan civilisation, independence and Europe

“In relation to other systems, we should enforce our own specific (cultural, economic, political) autonomy and independence, but not with a degree of exclusion that would lead to stagnation.”15

“We seek for the Italians, the Hungarians and the Roma to have the same rights as the Slovenians to learn their own language and culture ... The option and the right for people belonging to other nations to take non-obligatory classes at primary schools for additional lessons of the Slovenian language and familiarization with one’s own culture and language.”16

The National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia... “guarantees all people belonging to other nations and nationalities the right to a versatile cultural and linguistic development, while all those with a permanent residence in Slovenia can obtain the Slovenian citizenship if they wish to.”17

“We must be prepared to eliminate the heritage of the Yugoslav federation, perhaps even in an unpleasant way.”18

A dual contradiction is at play here. Politically, Slovenia functions in a way that is very similar to the former Yugoslav republics. The attainment of independence and even the country’s joining the EU brought no significant differences, except formal “adjustments”, i.e. copying the European legislation. Slovenia is ruled by partitocracy, alienation of the political class from the people, clientelism and corruption, all of which bears a much stronger resemblance to the Kingdom of Yugoslavia than a socialist Yugoslav country. On the other hand, departing the “Balkan civilisation circle” resulted in an intellectual and cultural impoverishment as the Balkan environment was not automatically replaced by the European civilisation, either culturally or intellectually.

The audience for artists working in film, theatre and elsewhere has been cut down from twenty million to mere two. The former Yugoslav intellectual and cultural pulse, polemics included, was not replaced by its European counterpart. With the exception of Slavoj Žižek, one is hard pressed to find Slovenian intellectuals on the European newspaper pages, let alone them making the cover pages. With 8 deputies among 766, Slovenian politicians are insignificant in the EU, except when – as in the case of the European People’s Party – providing ideological and political protection to their respective incriminated local leaders and giving insulting lectures to the Slovenian society. (In the current European reality, the Slovenians are taught democracy by the Rumanian female politicians). Slovenian lawyers take no part in the formation of the European constitutional organisation, criminal law or any other law.19 It is possible to prove for the Slovenian politics towards Yugoslavia, at least from the late 1950s on, that it was based on “intellectual nationalism” (which Thomas Piketty regards as the main threat to the EU20 ); it can just as easily be said that the Slovenian politics towards the EU, from the 2004 joining up to today, is characterized by utter servility and searching for sinecures for individual politicians rather than protection of the Slovenian national interests as was once the case in Yugoslavia.

At the same time, opinion polls show that most Slovenians still consider the erstwhile Serbo-Croatian to be their first foreign language. Every summer, 50 % of Slovenians migrate to Croatia. At least once every month, singers from the Balkan region manage to fill up Slovenian music venues, even the largest ones. Belgrade and the village of Guča see tens of thousands of Slovenian visitors arriving by bus to the annual meeting of trumpet players (trubači).

Throughout the 1990s, Slovenia ran a foreign policy along the lines of “getting away from the Balkans”, making conscious efforts to give the impression that it has disassociated itself from the former Yugoslavia. During Pahor’s administration (7 November 2008 – 10 February 2012), the situation saw some changes, but it was too late, and the intentions never went beyond a few photo ops. The distrust stemming from the time of the country’s breakup, the debts left behind by the bank Ljubljanska banka21, which cut off Slovenian capital from entering the republics of the former Yugoslavia, the country’s conflicting and inconsistent foreign policy gave rise to deep distrustfulness which will take decades to overcome. Other countries, specifically Austria and Germany, made a successful entrance into the former Yugoslav territory in terms of economy, politics and expert knowledge. After its disassociation from the former Yugoslavia, Slovenia never entered into any other similar connections other than the formal membership in the EU and NATO. Drnovšek’s government turned down the co-operation with the Visegrad Group22, at that time being convinced (and rightly so) that Slovenia emerged from socialism at a significantly more advanced stage of development. Due to ideological reasons and the inaptitude of Slovenian politics, the country failed to deliver on its potential, today being on the same level as the former Eastern Bloc. The Slovenian foreign policy servilely followed the USA: the most symbolic act was the Vilnius Declaration23 and it should come as little surprise then that the US Ambassador to the Republic of Slovenia (2010−?) Joseph Mussomeli was involved in attempts at composing Slovenian governments, and interfered directly with Slovenia’s internal politics on several occasions – he correctly interpreted the signals by the Slovenian politics. Today, Slovenia has no allies in international relations, let alone friends. But having no empire, unlike England, one also cannot argue that it has only interests.

Every programme written by Slovenian political parties defined Slovenia’s independence as independence from Yugoslavia. The view of the European Community was remote, romanticized, glorified and uncritical. “Our Europe will be economically successful, politically and culturally pluralistic, its values steeped in freedom, human rights, pluralism and democracy,” read the programme documents of The Socialist Youth League of Slovenia (ZSMS).24

As a consequence of its uncritical faith in Europe, Slovenia caved to the demands of some member states and showed submissiveness in the alignment process. A historical comparison reveals that the transfer of sovereignty from the Slovenian republic to the Yugoslav federation was more clear-cut and well-defined than with the EU, and that, in retrospect, Slovenian politicians had a much greater influence on Yugoslav politics. At best, modern Slovenia’s influence on the EU is comparable to the one in the Austria-Hungary period, and extends merely to language equality and not much else. Imagine any one of the Yugoslav bodies daring to decide by whom and how the water resources in Slovenia should be used.25

Or perhaps trying to determine the size (and indebtedness) of the Slovenian budget or compiling lists of companies Slovenia should sell. On a humorous yet pointed note, just imagine the former Yugoslavian standard attempting to prescribe that cucumbers and bananas should be straight and have a precisely defined size. Not to mention any banking, fiscal or other similar directives!

Such comparisons never fail to produce cries of outrage. The usual response is the claim that Yugoslavia was an undemocratic and totalitarian state, while the EU is democratic. But how much actual influence do the Slovenian people have on the staff and other matters, other than selecting a few Members of European Parliament? How great was their role in the election of Commissioner Janez Potočnik? He was sent off to Brussels by the Liberal Democracy of Slovenia (LDS), a party existing today only in name.26 To whom does the Commissioner report and how much does the public know about his work even though he is (arguably) the most powerful Slovenian politician in Brussels? Well, he reports to the bureaucratic Europe and not Slovenia. Due to his remoteness and air of mystery, Potočnik was one of the most popular Slovenians throughout most of his two mandates according to opinion polls, bringing to mind the imperial cult of Emperor Franz Joseph I. of Austria. The only notable difference between the former Yugoslavia and the present EU is that Slovenia today tails after the big players, having lost its position as the most developed state in Yugoslavia. Much like in Austria-Hungary, it has been relegated to a dependent part of the empire.

A SOCIALLY JUST, ECONOMICALLY SUCCESSFUL COUNTRY
GOVERNED BY THE RULE OF LAW

“We will build a modern social state, governed by the rule of law, which will provide its citizens a free, and spiritually and materially superior life.”27

During Drnovšek’s governments (1991−2002/04), the Slovenian politics relied on a successive approach based on gradualism and pragmatism, steering clear of political and other pitfalls, and pursuing gradual privatisation. Up until 2004, this approach was considered a real success story. But denationalisation, which is an important part of privatisation, was rooted in ideology. The property was returned in kind, including large Church estates and other feudal estates. Compared to other countries where denationalisation took place as an expression of nullifying socialism, this was a distinctly Slovenian occurrence. But by doing so, Slovenia re-introduced feudal elements into the young republic’s legal order. The property-returning process went down the legal rabbit hole and the criteria for granting Yugoslav citizenship to foreign citizens, which was prerequisite for getting back their property, were dubious. The Slovenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs was sent “priority lists” from the Embassies of Austria and America, among a few others.28

The municipal authorities were ill-prepared for the pressures they were put under by teams of well-paid lawyers. A similar thing happened between the Roman Catholic Church and the Slovenian state, which all Slovenian governments informally acknowledged as the national church, acknowledging it even as a discussion partner at state level. Beyond having a say in matters of property, the Church also had a voice in terms of its participation in national media, the school system and other areas. But the Church acted as a reckless capitalist and its failed investments reached from hotel facilities in Croatia to television programmes broadcasting pornography.29 Conflicts arising from privatisation resulted in the privatisation being carried out via authorised investment companies (PIDs), and most citizens profited little or nothing from the process, unless they were well-connected and had the opportunity to buy the stocks of the, admittedly, increasingly smaller number of propulsive companies. The last stage was the so-called tycoon privatisation which left public banks with huge financial gaps of several billions, to a large extent also generated by the RCC. At that time, the Slovenian Democratic Union (Slovenska demokratična zveza – SDZ) was convinced that “a privileged position of foreigners in the management would create a semi-colonial economy.”30 ZSMS, the later liberal party, which united with a portion of SDZ, was convinced that the “task of the country/government is to enable and promote lawful money-making.”31 In reality, all parties cleverly engineered “lawful” money-making for the select few boasting political connections. ZSMS had also planned out an economy concept which would be based on transport, tourism, commerce and banking, instead of industry. Industry in Slovenia is today barely non-existent. There are also hardly any research labs that were once operated in the framework of factories. What it does have is a highly out-of-date railway network, even though the Social-Democratic Party, today SDS, which to this day controls the railway, stated in its programme: “It is necessary to restore the standard and level of technology of our railway traffic system to the one we once had and lost due to poor decisions, leaving us lagging far behind Europe.”32 At the same time, the country has the most overpaid motorways in the EU. A quote from SDS from 1989: “Road management requires sound financial foundations, and its governance must be adjusted to contemporary European patterns, without allowing daily politics to interfere with the work of road management bodies.”33

Today, Slovenia has tens of foreign retail centres, and the only Slovenian retail chain, Mercator, was sold, after gruelling five years, to the Croatian tycoon Ivica Todorić, in moot circumstances and after heavy lobbying, whilst the governments feigned ignorance. In terms of banking, Slovenian banks were subject to at least three recapitalisation episodes. The “backbone of Slovenian economy” sank, dragging the entire state right to the edge of the abyss. “A slow and painful death. For almost a decade, our country has been fighting an open crisis. It is a systemic crisis which will go on for years. The existing leadership structures make no attempts at addressing it. The powers that were and the powers that be cannot, and are in fact unable, to remedy the economic crisis. This is not their actual problem and the systemic crisis is beyond their range of thinking. Of course, it takes more than just fresh faces - it takes a whole new economic programme. Our goal is to put in place a social system with the main attributes being market economy, rule of law, a welfare state and a society which is materially and spiritually rich.”34 This is not a quote from a current assessment of the state of affairs; these words were recorded in the fall of 1988 in the programme document for the 13th congress.

In fact though, the standard of living only improved for a small segment of the elite, but not for the majority of people, and social cohesion began to disintegrate. Slovenia’s indebtedness (amounting to 25 billion 307 million euro or 70% of the GDP)35 is almost the double of the indebtedness of the entire former Yugoslavia put together (according to the World Bank, the total indebtedness of Yugoslavia by the end of 1991 amounted to 16.5 billion dollars, while, by the end of 1990, Slovenia owed 1.798 billion dollars).36 Today’s registered unemployment rate in Slovenia hovers around the 1993 level. “Inflation, stagnation, indebtedness, unemployment and inefficiency are the result of an economic system which drives economic entities to make poor decisions that, instead of driving progress, yield just enough for bare survival.”37 Again, this is not a quote from today’s newspapers but a snippet from the SDZ programme published in January 1989.

DEFENCE AND MILITARY

All political parties were in favour of cutting expenses for defence. Today, Slovenia’s defence expenses are much higher than the country’s share for defence in Yugoslavia where a large part of Slovenia’s industry, from steel works to the manufacture of vehicles and highly sophisticated equipment catered to the defence sector. “In terms of defence, the Democratic Opposition of Slovenia will undertake to make Slovenia a demilitarised zone”38 said the Programme of the Democratic Opposition of Slovenia (Demos) issued in late 1989. “The foundation of our defence policy is homeland defence. This presupposes a nonpartisan and non-ideological military which is professionally independent,” read the Programme of SDZ.39

“In the long run, the Slovenian social democrats will support the proposal that Central European countries be turned into a demilitarised zone. The military’s function is solely to defend the country,” said the programme of the Social-Democratic Union of Slovenia, today SDS,40 its youth wing, the Social-Democratic Youth (Socialdemokratska mladina), stating: “We consider the Army as a public service the sole task of which is to defend the national territory against an outside aggressor … In the long run, we envisage Slovenia as a demilitarised society and advocate the abolishment of the military.”41

Slovenia switched from the conscription system to a fully professional army system. The army’s image was tarnished by the sale of arms and corruption scandals. Under Janez Janša serving as the Minister of Defence, the army, particularly the military intelligence and “para-intelligence” service, was misused for political purposes. After the country’s independence, demilitarisation was never considered as a serious political project. Slovenia’s NATO accession was pushed by Slovenian political elites through well-financed propaganda, media support and connecting NATO accession with the EU accession (there was a simultaneous referendum on two separate matters: accession to the EU and accession to NATO, which was met with dissatisfaction by the EU, emphasising Euro-Atlantic connections and lying that the objective of Slovenian emancipation was also entry into NATO). This campaign was endorsed by all politicians, including, at that time already former, President Milan Kučan, and even the Association of Fighters in the National Liberation Army (Zveza borcev NOV). An ardent advocate, President of the Republic of Slovenia Janez Drnovšek, PhD, said in an interview: “I think people already know this; we have been saying that we want to join the European Union and NATO ever since our emancipation. The purpose of both organisations is known – the EU ensures us economic prosperity and co-existence in Europe, and NATO ensures us long-term defence security. I suppose people understand these two fundamental elements. Most EU members have memberships in the EU and NATO. The accession processes into both organisations were underway simultaneously and I don’t see anything wrong if the referenda take place at the same time – it is a sensible decision.”42 The Slovenian Armed Forces operate in some crisis areas in the service of the USA; in reality, the occupation army is directly involved in armed conflicts (Afghanistan). Internally, the Slovenian Armed Forces are ideologically conflicted, which mainly comes down to the active minister and his world views/political affiliation. At certain times, the Armed Forces sympathize with the Home Guard Movement (domobranci), at other times with the Partisan Movement – and both whenever possible. Is seeks tradition in everything and everyone who ever wore a uniform in Slovenia. In Germany, the army traces its roots in the failed conspiracy against Hitler, whereas in Slovenia, army representative attend celebrations commemorating the collaborative Home Guard from WW2.

ENVIRONMENT

“It is more than clear that there is no decisive comprehensive and long-term environmental protection policy in place in Slovenia. The people responsible for the current situation continue to hold on to their obsolete view which sees nature as an unlimited source of raw material and energy, and a convenient landfill, where the purpose of human life is to take full advantage of this.”43

“The environmental development objectives can only be implemented in a democratic, tolerant, pluralistic, non-nuclear state governed by the rule of law, which respects human and minority’s rights, freedom of political organisation and public operation … We live in an increasingly polluted country, where the large part of the population has to face a decline of its already low material standard of living. Not only do we need a different environmental policy, but a greener economic, social and environmentally suitable social strategy which fits the spatial and environmental features of Slovenian regions and their modest and depleted natural resources.”44

“Nuclear power plants are the ultimate symbol of human belief in its own omnipotence. ZSMS therefore advocates the closing of the Krško Nuclear Power Plant and the Žirovski vrh Uranium Mine.”45 ZSMS, a precursor to LDS, set out to have the nuclear power plant closed by 1995 at the latest, and pass an act to ban coal-fired power stations or those running on fuel oil.46 The Krško Nuclear Power Plant is still in operation, whereas the billion euro investment in Block 6 of the Šoštanj Thermal Power Plant, which was ordered by the authorities in 2006 and has had the support of every government since, proved to be one of the most costly and controversial undertakings in Slovenia since its independence. The decision was made at the time of Janša’s government; the initial cost of 536 million euro eventually rose to a staggering 1.3 billion.47

Let us recall some other matters addressed and promised by parties which were created before the first multi-party elections in the period from 1988 to 1990:

The housing policy:

“The state should help citizens realize their right to housing by means of housing policy measures. This process must not give rise to special privileges for certain categories of residents. Housing for all, especially young families.” (SDZ).48 The money from the Jazbinšek Act which was adopted to regulate the privatisation of socially-owned dwellings was spent for other purposes, and the housing policy effectively became the source of personal enrichment of various political upstarts from the newly created elite.

None of the political leaderships set out to balance the housing fund with rental dwellings and a systemic solution to the housing problem of young people seems more remote than ever.

“Health care is significantly underfunded no matter what applicable indicator for comparison we consider: our society allocates at least two- to three-times less of the national product to this area compared to the developed European countries … Slovenia has no concrete plan for the long-term development of health care nor an expert institution with the authority and power to handle the coordinated development of health care throughout the republic … This state of facts (author’s comment: fragmented health care system) combined with the chronic underfunding created a certain degree of discrimination in terms of one of the fundamental rights: the right to health … We have to put in place the option of private health care providers. However, private providers must be closely connected with the public health care to form a uniform system which is subject to the same set of criteria for professional competence and control.”49

“We propose a pension insurance system in which the solidarity pension fund, which is obligatory, will provide a pension that will suffice to cover one’s basic needs … The calculation shows that, at the current pension allocation scope, at a 5% capitalisation rate of the real interest, the pensions could be higher by 100%. We will push forward to abolish the age limit for retirement and to introduce alternative retirement plans (e.g. gradual retirement, contract work etc.).”50

“SDZ opposes a research policy which results in brain drain.”51 In 2013 alone, Slovenia saw the emigration of 13,384 people, mostly young and highly educated.52

In the same vein, one could critically confront almost all relevant areas of society which are not covered herein, ranging from the administrative organisation of Slovenia (instead of division into regions, it favoured municipalities, leading to the 60 municipalities existing in 1991 being fragmented into 212, after the Constitutional Court founded the Ankaran Municipality in 2011), to promises on a straightforward political language which turned out to be even less understandable then the self-government political gibberish, in which today’s politicians seem to have an even poorer understanding of the terminology they employ than the ones back in the socialist regime.

CONCLUSION

Ironically, both the real or alleged emancipators and the most ardent advocates of a nation state as the “end” of history mostly agree with the criticism of the country’s development over the last twenty years, at least with regard to its economic situation and democracy. However, they do not see the reasons in their own greed, the privatisation of the emancipation, corruption and clientelism which they brought on; instead they turn to Yugo-nostalgia, the dominance of old forces, conspiracies designed to block the so-called political spring option to follow through with the processes.

The political elite that led Slovenia to its independence was no better than the two elites that led it into the embrace of both Yugoslavias. Admittedly, it had more legitimacy thanks to the plebiscite and the elections, but had ultimately misused it. Its mindset was equally biased, self-centred and focused on its own interests. It had no other vision other than creating a nation state, and no other goal than to reign supreme in the country, just like Anton Korošec and his SLS supporters had governed in the Drava Banovina in the years preceding WW2. Despite Demos’s pledge that its attitude to the past will not be built on anti-party revanchism, today this is the central point of the political activities on the right side of the political spectrum, especially of SDS, but also NSI and RCC, and the media associated with them. There is a permanent psychological war underway. The last two decades saw a greater hysterisation of society than the Yugoslav period.

The urge for revanchism did not subside and remains just as intense as it was immediately after WW2, the actions are proportional to the respective events. In the latter case, the action was to “only” administratively erase those who were, and still are, labelled as enemies. Through some politicians, who had influence at that time, these reflexes linger on. After more than twenty years of an independent and autonomous Republic of Slovenia, after a whole generation had been born and grew up in an independent country, those people still seek out lustration in the country with the help of right-wing European friends. The rift in the country is the same or even deeper than in the 1930s and during WW2. Despite their systemic attacks on the prosecution and court, important figures from the emancipation set have been convicted res judicata on account of their corruption and tycoonism. They were convinced (and still are) that the people, their fellow citizens, should be eternally grateful for bestowing upon them an independent country and that their court trials are a way of settling political scores and elections merely a ritual designed to institute them as lifelong rulers based on their alleged merits. When this doesn’t happen, there must be a conspiracy underway.

There is no use in asking the emancipators about the past and the achievements of the past. They have no answers, merely excuses. Slovenia is cemented in its independence relationships and is now witnessing its post-independence generation drifting away – either leaving the country or drifting through life without a future. In conclusion, allow me a quotation from the programme documents of the 13th congress of ZSMS, specifically from the chapter Liberation from the Liberators: “Worshipping of figures and their destruction is foreign to us … The future we seek, we see beyond the empty iconography, and the continuity of history moves beyond the confinement by narrow horizons and alternatives to the past.”53

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 Poročevalec Skupščine Republike Slovenije, special issue, 11 December 1990.

 

 

 

2 http://4d.rtvslo.si/arhiv/20-letnica-
osamosvojitve/107235430. Accessed on 4 October 2014.

 

 

 

3 Repe, Viri o demokratizaciji in osamosvojitvi Slovenije II (Sources on the Democratisation and Attainment of Independence of Slovenia II), doc. No. 64, 261.

4 Repe, Slovensko-srbski pakt (Slovene-Serbian Agreement), Mladina, 18 October 2013.

5 Zgaga, Kdo je pomagal odpreti vrata pekla? (Who Helped
Open the Gates of Hell?) Dnevnik: Objektiv, 22 February
2014. (http://www.dnevnik.si/ objektiv/v-objektivu/kdo-je-
pomagal-odpreti-vrata-pekla#). Refer also to
http://www.cpns.si/aktualno/ kdo-je-pomagal-odpreti-
vrata-pekla-in-pri-tem-se-zasluzil/#more-181.

 

 

 

6 Ibid.

 

 

 

7 Ibid.

 

 

 

8 Poročevalec Skupščine Republike Slovenije, 11 December 1990.

 

 

 

9 Repe, Jutri je nov dan (Tomorrow is a New Day),
pp. 187−197.

 

 

 

10 http://4d.rtvslo.si/arhiv/slovenski-plebiscit/91871917

11 Biščak, Hribar, Malovrh, Pojbič, Štok, Slovenija ne more več čakati (Slovenia Cannot Wait Any Longer), Delo, 17 December 1990, p. 2.

12 Ibid.

13 These are the inhabitants of former Yugoslav republics, who, on 26 February 1992, were erased from the Permanent Population Register of the Republic of Slovenia and transferred to the Register of Aliens by the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Slovenia led by Igor Bavčar and Slavko Debelak, State Secretary. A total of 25,671 people were erased. Although Slovenia guaranteed that the inhabitants from other republics of former Yugoslavia would have all the rights upon the plebiscite decision for independence in December 1990, this guarantee was only partly fulfilled. By being erased from the Permanent Population Register, the people and their children who didn’t request the Slovenian citizenship or were unable to obtain it for various reasons were subjected to terrible personal distress as their documents were destroyed and they were unable to get employment, health insurance, education etc. In February 1999, the Constitutional Court declared the erasure to be against the law. In April 2003, the Court additionally ruled that the erased who had already obtained a permanent residence permit for the Republic of Slovenia should, through special (supplementary) decisions by the Ministry of the Interior, have said permit acknowledged as valid ex tunc, i.e. from the day on which they were erased. This decision was left unrealised for more than 7 years. The Slovenian Ministry of the Interior proposed a few contentious acts which were not adopted; there were also requests for several referendums which were to prevent the execution of the decision but were rejected by the Constitutional Court. In 2004, there was a referendum on the Technical Act which was to regulate the rights of the erased. At a 31.45% turnout, the eligible voters voted against the adoption of the act with 94.68%. The ideological interpretation of the political right was at the public forefront, namely that the erased were opposed to the emancipation of Slovenia and that they counted on members of the Yugoslav People’s Army being among them as it attacked Slovenia etc. Some of the erased appealed to the European Court of Human Rights which, in June 2012, ruled in the matter of Kurić and others vs. Slovenia against the Republic of Slovenia as the latter had violated the rights of the erased under Article 8 (Right to respect for private and family life), Article 13 (Right to an effective remedy) and Article 14 (Prohibition of discrimination) of the European Convention on Human Rights. The Court instructed Slovenia to prepare a special mechanism by which to acknowledge compensation to the erased within a period of one year. Six (of the ten) appellants were acknowledged compensation for non-material damage. The judgement was final and cannot be appealed. Many strived to restore the rights of the erased, namely individual journalists, non-governmental organisations, lawyer Matevž Krivic, the erased themselves who established an Association ten years after being erased, and The Peace Institute which issued a series of expert publications in the Slovenian and English languages on the matter. Please see Kogovšek, Zorn, Pistotnik, Lipovec Ćebron, Bajt, Petković, Zdravković, Brazgotine izbrisa (The Scars of the Erasure).

 

 

 

14 The Commission of the then European Community (named after the French constitutional lawyer Robert Badinter) which ascertained on 7 December 1991 that Slovenia and Croatia did not secede but that, instead, Yugoslavia disintegrated. The Badinter Commission acknowledged Yugoslavian republics their right to statehood (which they already had pursuant to the SFRY Constitution of 1974), provided they meet the conditions set by the Commission.

 

 

 

15 Repe, Viri o demokratizaciji in osamosvojitvi Slovenije II (Sources on the Democratisation and Attainment of Independence of Slovenia II), doc. No. 31, p. 132; programme of the Slovenian Democratic Union (Slovenska demokratična zveza) which presents the views on “long-term aims and directions of our society”.

16 Repe, Viri o demokratizaciji in osamosvojitvi Slovenije II (Sources on the Democratisation and Attainment of Independence of Slovenia II), doc. No. 33, p. 149; programme of the Social-Democratic Youth (Socialdemokratska mladina) of February 1989.

17 Poročevalec Skupščine Republike Slovenije, special issue, 11 December 1990, Statement of Good Intentions.

18 Biščak, Hribar, Malovrh, Pojbič, Štok, Slovenija ne more več čakati (Slovenia Cannot Wait Any Longer), Delo, 17 December 1990, p. 2; statement of Jože Pučnik, PhD, at the Ljutomer rally.

19 Bavcon, Interview. Dnevnik: Objektiv, 23 November 2013,
p. 9−11.

20 Piketty, Interview. Dnevnik: Objektiv, 4 October 2014,
p. 9−11.

21 After Slovenia gained its independence, upon which the Ljubljanska banka bank rebranded itself as Nova Ljubljanska banka – in its former iteration originally operating branches in other Yugoslavian republics as one of only a few banks to do so – the bank refused to pay their savings to its depositors in the remaining newly formed countries, saying that the deposits fall under the succession balance sheet of the former Yugoslavia. The Slovenian politics maintained its position (a notable exception being Milan Kučan, President of the Republic of Slovenia, who was subject to public criticism on several occasions for his view that the bank should pay out the deposits), until on 17 July 2014 the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights made its final ruling in the Ališić matter (law suit filed by three applicants regarding the recovery of “old” foreign-currency savings deposited at Ljubljanska banka – Main Office Sarajevo, and Investbanka, Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina). The Court confirmed that Slovenia and Serbia had been responsible for encroaching on the applicants’ right to property protection and their right to an effective legal remedy. In addition to individual judgements concerning the repayment of the plaintiffs, the Court also ordered Slovenia “to make, within one year, general arrangements in order to allow the applicants, and any others in the same situation, to recover their “old” foreign-currency deposits (http://www.delo.si/arhiv/razsodba-v-prid-varcevalcem-lb. html, retrieved on 29 September 2014). The balance of the principal in Croatia and Serbia amounts to 250 million euro, totalling anywhere from 500 million euro to 1 billion euro plus accrued interest, according to different estimates. But this is just the imminent harm: After it became independent, Slovenia’s steadfast position on this matter significantly narrowed its opportunities for economic investments and banking activities in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

22 The Visegrad Group of Central European countries was formed on 15 February 1991. It consisted of Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. It was established primarily to facilitate the harmonisation of the countries’ views about the departure of the Red Army, and to overcome the former economic divides within Comecon (Council for Mutual Economic Assistance). At the same time, their aim was to enhance their mutual economic integration and their positions with the integration into the EU and NATO. The countries were in favour of Slovenia joining the group which was also advocated by Slovenian President Milan Kučan. Prime Minister Drnovšek objected to this alliance, arguing that it would be easier for Slovenia to pursue integration into the EU on its own.

23 On 5 February 2003, the Slovenian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dimitrij Rupel, PhD, signed, on behalf of Slovenia, the Vilnius Declaration stating that the USA presented the UN Security Council with convincing evidence on the existence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, and on Iraq’s links with international terrorism, claiming that Iraq has made attempts at deceiving UN inspectors who were looking for evidence of such weapons (incidentally, these were never found). At the same time, the Vilnius Declaration expressed the willingness of the signatories (a group of ten countries allied in a collective effort to enter NATO) to participate in an international coalition ready to invade and disarm Iraq. The Declaration was a way for the USA to legitimise the war it had started under false pretences despite international law. Failing to convince the UN, the then US President George Bush pushed for an international anti-terrorist coalition aptly called the coalition of the willing. Signing of this document elicited demonstrations in Slovenia against the involvement in the Gulf War, and led to gathering signatures for a petition against the Vilnius Declaration. Subsequently, President Drnovšek and Prime Minister Rop both distanced themselves from the Declaration, arguing they had seen it only after it was published, even though the timeline of the events and Rupel’s explanations indicate that both men were familiar with the run of events, the contents of the Declaration and the surrounding issues (according to Rupel’s testimony before the parliamentary Committee on Foreign Policy, they both believed, right until the decision on 5 February, that being excluded from the circle of the ten signatories was a worse option than becoming involved). However, the main points from the Vilnius Declaration were published by the signatories as early as 21 November 2002 at the NATO Summit in Prague, and Prime Minister Drnovšek, having attended it, was aware of them (in an interview for the Dnevnik newspaper, 8 March 2003, he claimed to had opposed the Declaration − http://www2.gov.si/up-rs/2002-2007/jd.nsf/dokumentiweb/D4CFDC
D5BA859401C1256F8800802176?OpenDocument).
Signing of the Vilnius Declaration was later interpreted as a “solo act” by the Minister of Foreign Affairs. (Ali H. Žerdin: Išče se zunanji minister (Searching for a Minister of Foreign Affairs), Mladina, 26 February 2003, issue No. 8, http://www.mladina.si/92419/isce-se- zunanji-minister. At the same time, the signature was rationalised by Slovenia’s interest to enter NATO and maintain a good relationship with the USA. But some of the signatories, including Slovenia, were also EU candidates, and were harshly criticised by some of the old EU member states. The French president Chirac spoke openly that the signatories’ chances to enter the EU were dwindling because of this action. Despite sparking internal political debates and the criticism voiced by the old EU members, Slovenia did not withdraw its signature. The Vilnius Declaration is one of the most telltale signs of the political hypocrisy at the root of the independent Slovenia: in international relations, Slovenian politicians make promises, and later distance themselves from them for the purposes of domestic policy, yet their signatures remain intact. A similar story, but of less consequence, occurred in September 2014, when the State Department put Slovenia on a list of countries making up the anti-Islamic State coalition, allegedly without the knowledge of the Slovenian leadership and Foreign Minister Karel Erjavec.
Allegedly, the “misunderstanding” was settled by President of the RS Pahor at a brief photo op with the American President Barack Obama during a UN session. Again, Slovenia did not withdraw from the coalition.

24 Repe, Viri o demokratizaciji in osamosvojitvi Slovenije II (Sources on the Democratisation and Attainment of Independence of Slovenia II), doc. No. 39, p. 76; Programme documents of the13th ZSMS Congress.

25 In late 2011, the neoliberal-inclined European Commission drafted a Proposal for a Directive on the award of Concession Contracts under which EU member states could also award concessions regarding water supply. The Slovenian politics endorsed the draft. The idea was to improve the transparency and fairness in concession awarding procedures which, in turn, would create new economic opportunities and promote private and public investments. It was an attempt of silent privatisation of water sources (water as a mere commodity), but repudiated by the Commission in February 2013, saying that it pursues no water policy designed to push member states to privatise water provision services, and that its position to the public or private ownership of water sources is neutral. European Commissioner for the Environment Janez Potočnik and the Commissioner for Internal Market and Services Michel Barnier issued a statement on this matter on 22 February. However, a repudiation issued by the European Commission and the competent commissioners failed to do the trick. Starting in Germany, a citizens’ initiative soon spread to other EU member countries, including Slovenia, and grew into a petition against water privatisation (please refer to http://www.right2water.eu/). The campaign gathered 1.5 million signatures of EU residents (in Slovenia 20,000 versus the required 6000). As a result, the European Commission withdrew the section concerning the water supply from the controversial Directive on the award of Concessions. The Slovenian politicians followed suit and changed their position. The citizens’ initiative was based on a regulation introduced with the Treaty of Lisbon which was adopted by the European Parliament and the Council in 2011, specifying that the Commission must respond and take action if the citizens’ initiative is signed by over 1 million people from at least 7 EU member states.

 

 

 

26 A bizarre affair in 2014 was the search for the successor to Janez Potočnik, Commissioner in the European Commission. While still serving as the Prime Minister of Slovenia and handling current affairs, Alenka Bratušek proposed herself as candidate, even before the new coalition by Miro Cerar came to be, putting forward as an alibi two other candidates (the Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec, coalition member, and MEP Tanja Fajon). This was approved by the government, whilst Cerar, the new Prime Minister to be, left the matter to be decided by the new European Commissioner Jean-Claude Juncker in the name of national interest.

 

 

 

27 Repe, Viri o demokratizaciji in osamosvojitvi Slovenije II (Sources on the Democratisation and Attainment of Independence of Slovenia II), doc. No. 29, p. 131; Programme of Slovenian Peasant Union (Slovenska kmečka zveza) before the First Multi-Party Elections.

 

 

 

28 Ferenc, Repe, Slovensko-avstrijski odnosi po mednarodnem priznanju (Slovene-Austrian Relations After International Recognition), p. 611.

 

 

 

29 Further reading: Prinčič, Križ in kapital (The Cross and the Capital).

 

 

 

30 Repe, Viri o demokratizaciji in osamosvojitvi Slovenije II (Sources on the Democratisation and Attainment of Independence of Slovenia II), doc. No. 31, p. 136.

31 Repe, Viri o demokratizaciji in osamosvojitvi Slovenije II (Sources on the Democratisation and Attainment of Independence of Slovenia II), doc. No. 39, p. 168.

 

 

 

32 Repe, Viri o demokratizaciji in osamosvojitvi Slovenije II (Sources on the Democratisation and Attainment of Independence of Slovenia II), doc. No. 32, p. 148.

33 Ibid.

 

 

 

34 Repe, Viri o demokratizaciji in osamosvojitvi Slovenije II (Sources on the Democratisation and Attainment of Independence of Slovenia II), doc. No. 39, p. 170.

35 http://www.stat.si/indikatorji.asp?ID=28

36 Borak, Ekonomski vidiki (Economic Aspects), p. 158, table 87, p. 266.

37 Repe, Viri o demokratizaciji in osamosvojitvi Slovenije II (Sources on the Democratisation and Attainment of Independence of Slovenia II), doc. No. 31, p. 136.

 

 

 

38 Repe, Viri o demokratizaciji in osamosvojitvi Slovenije I (Sources on the Democratisation and Attainment of Independence of Slovenia I, doc. No. 45, p. 216. What is published is the archival copy of the original programme which was, with minor editorial corrections, published in Demokracija newspaper on 19 December 1989.

39 Repe, Viri o demokratizaciji in osamosvojitvi Slovenije II (Sources on the Democratisation and Attainment of Independence of Slovenia II), doc. No. 31, p. 141.

40 Repe, Viri o demokratizaciji in osamosvojitvi Slovenije II (Sources on the Democratisation and Attainment of Independence of Slovenia II), doc. No. 32, p. 148.

41 Repe, Viri o demokratizaciji in osamosvojitvi Slovenije II (Sources on the Democratisation and Attainment of Independence of Slovenia II), doc. No. 33, p. 149.

 

 

 

42 Jaz razumem Američane (I understand the Americans) - Interview with the President of the Republic Janez Drnovšek, PhD, Dnevnik, 8 March 2003

 

 

 

43 Repe, Viri o demokratizaciji in osamosvojitvi Slovenije II (Sources on the Democratisation and Attainment of Independence of Slovenia II), doc. No. 31, p. 137, programme of the Slovenian Democratic Union (Slovenska demokratična zveza).

 

 

 

44 Repe, Viri o demokratizaciji in osamosvojitvi Slovenije II (Sources on the Democratisation and Attainment of Independence of Slovenia II), doc. No. 35, p. 152, programme of the Greens of Slovenia (Zeleni Slovenije).

45 Repe, Viri o demokratizaciji in osamosvojitvi Slovenije II (Sources on the Democratisation and Attainment of Independence of Slovenia II), doc. No. 39, p. 189; Programme documents of the 13th ZSMS Congress.

46 Ibid.

47 Cirman, Šesti blok Termoelektrarne Šoštanj: Energokemični kombinat − pol stoletja kasneje (Block 6 of the Šoštanj Thermal Power Plant: Energy and Chemical Combine – Half a Century Later).
http://www.dnevnik.si/objektiv/vec-vsebin/1042335627.

 

 

 

48 Repe, Viri o demokratizaciji in osamosvojitvi Slovenije II (Sources on the Democratisation and Attainment of Independence of Slovenia II), doc. No. 31, p. 138, programme of the Slovenian Democratic Union (SDZ).

 

 

 

49 Repe, Viri o demokratizaciji in osamosvojitvi Slovenije II (Sources on the Democratisation and Attainment of Independence of Slovenia II), doc. No. 31, p. 138, programme of the Slovenian Democratic Union (SDZ).

50 Repe, Viri o demokratizaciji in osamosvojitvi Slovenije II (Sources on the Democratisation and Attainment of Independence of Slovenia II), doc. No. 32, p. 142, programme of the Social Democratic Union of Slovenia (SDZS), i.e. present-day Slovenian Democratic Union (SDZ).

51 Repe, Viri o demokratizaciji in osamosvojitvi Slovenije II (Sources on the Democratisation and Attainment of Independence of Slovenia II), doc. No. 3, p. 140, programme of the Slovenian Democratic Union (SDZ).

52 Further reading:
http://www.stat.si/novica_prikazi.aspx?id=6395

 

 

 

53 Repe, Viri o demokratizaciji in osamosvojitvi Slovenije II (Sources on the Democratisation and Attainment of Independence of Slovenia II), doc. No. 39, p. 169; Programme documents of the 13th ZSMS Congress.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

l a t e s t   . . .

. . .   l a t e s t

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With the assistance of the Federal Ministry of
Foreign Affairs of the FR of Germany

 

 

 

 

 

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