(Published on March 3rd, 2019)
There comes a time, when a nation needs to think about its place in the world. It can only effectively do so in an open and democratic discussion. Let us start that process as soon as possible. The outlook is very different now than it was in 2004. That was when we entered the EU and NATO and attached our destiny, with the strong backing of the people through a referendum, politically, with other nations of the Western hemisphere.
In the decade and a half that followed, we spent the first few years in a honeymoon period of a reunited Europe, then struggled with the economic crisis of the developed world, and ultimately faced pressure of the massive migration to our rich and old continent. Without pause to take a break, Brexit followed, representing the biggest shock for the EU since its onset. One of its biggest members is leaving the EU, which had so far only been expanding.
The EU did not fall apart because of that and will not fall apart tomorrow either, but it did halt. Suddenly even reversing became possible. Only the fact itself that such a possibility exists ferments insecurity. Unstable surroundings nurtures egoisms and hinders compromises, which are the basis for a well-functioning Union.
Recent crises, the migrant crisis in particular, made the double standards within the EU very visible. Due to its specific weight, with multiple representations within the Brussels administration and the influence of key formal decision makers in the EU, particularly the European Commission, the biggest Member States of the EU can easily turn their own domestic problems into joint ‘EU’ problems. In the same vein, they can ignore the domestic problems of the smaller Member States. They can labell them as nationalistic tendencies or selfish, non-European acts and in extreme cases even mark them as possible violations of European legal standards.
The use of double standards on the axis of big – small Member States has recently also had the double standards based on political divisions added to it. While for countries with non-socialist governments, the European Parliament and the European Commission are imposing warnings and sanction resolutions or measures, and we do not witness the same measures when it comes down to countries with socialist or left liberal governments. In order to conceal the political double standards, their apologists conveniently use ideology.
The last hit is an alleged clash between various “democracies”. The progressive forces supposedly embrace liberal democracy, whereas illiberal voices are considered to be ‘regressive’. When we look at the trick more closely, it becomes apparent that it is only just that – a trick. Democracy is democracy. A decision-making process, where each adult with a working capacity has a single voice.
The adjectives: social, Christian or liberal democracy are value based. They mark different political directions, which are all democratic, because they acknowledge the general voting rights and denounce all the totalitarianisms equally. Until recently, it was true that no democracy is ‘worthier’ than the other. Then another trick appeared, where people started to claim that only liberal democracy counts as real. That the liberals, due to their name, have used the trick is a given. That the trick is being used by the socialists, is only natural since they are used to distorting reality. But to see that some Christian democrats have taken the bait, this borders on masochism.
The usage of double standards is always the fastest way to destroy inter personal relationships, trust and creative atmosphere in each community. The intensity of such occurrences in the European Union has grown drastically within the last couple of years and this should worry us very much.
Slovenians joined the group of European nations. We entered the unique formation that legally provides equality of our culture, language and national identity. A formation that enables us to co-decide within several important areas. In ideal circumstances we would assume that we can do so and that everybody respects the rules. Today, both of those named assumptions are under question.
The positive climate is cooling off and threats are awakening. Slovenians, as a small nation, need to be aware of this, seriously and on time. The threats are coming from both sides. Accelerated ‘integration’ and ‘federalization’ of the Union can only be realized today to the detriment of smaller nations. If our ‘national voice’ is weakened, and the majority decision is strengthened, we will end up with less than 1% of the impact on the majority ‘European’ elections from the at least partially equitable position. At the same time the nationalist movements of the big European countries, which have in the past centuries many times devastated the Continent, also today are not paper tigers. They are present, but hiding behind the big words and phrases, media monopoly and the usage of double standards. Some might see them temporarily as allies in the fight against aggressive socialist assaults with which they wish to turn Europe into a multicultural aggregate. However, history has taught us that extremities of the big fight each other or alternatively, make deals on the account of the small ones.
Do not be surprised if some day in the future you will find out that amongst federalists and nationalists of the big European countries, when it comes down to the final goal, big differences do not exist. Never forget the pact between Hitler and Stalin. Never forget Jalta. Never forget the double standards in dealing with South and North Stream.
The time ahead of us, also ahead of Slovenians, is the time to fight. A fight to protect our comfortable position in the world. A fight for the Europe that we voted for in the 2003 referendum. For a Europe of European civilization and culture, based on the Ten Commandments and Enlightenment. A Europe that respects human rights and basic freedoms, gender equality and the right of a man to safety and dignity. For a Europe that can protect and defend its civilisation. The legal base for such a Europe is written in the Lisbon Treaty.
That is why, Slovenians should be worried today by everything that pulls us away from the Lisbon Treaty.
Janez Janša is a Slovenian politician who was Prime Minister of Slovenia from 2004 to 2008 and again from 2012 to 2013. He has led the Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS) since 1993.