Prime Minister Janez Janša was invited to the Nova24TV show. In the interview, the Prime Minister talked about vaccination, the epidemic and the economic recovery after the epidemic, and the observance of containment measures in Slovenia. He also touched upon the current political situation, the crisis of the opposition and how the unstable political environment affects the fight against the epidemic. The Prime Minister also responded to the threats that the deputies of the coalition parties and the DeSUS party are exposed to.
In the interview, the Prime Minister first talked about how the European Commission had provided enough vaccines for the entire EU population. “However, it is true that currently there is no country in the world that will have enough vaccines tomorrow since they have only been approved recently, and the production capacities are limited.” He reiterated that the vaccine on its way to Slovenia is safe. The vaccine has been approved by the European Medicines Agency and the national regulators of the Member States.
He went on talking about the vaccination. “How fast we will be able to use the vaccine depends on how quickly we get organised and how much we trust science and avoid falling prey to conspiracy theories and charlatans stating that there is no virus.” To be able to handle the logistical burden of the vaccination, the government has appointed a special coordinator for vaccination logistics. Jelko Kacin, the current official spokesperson for COVID-19, was appointed to this position. Given the dynamics of the vaccination and the delivery plans, the Prime Minister believes that we will be able to lift the measures currently restricting our movement and normal life in early June. “However, we expect that additional deliveries can shorten this period by at least a month and some of the measures currently in place will no longer be necessary.” He also mentioned that the government is working to secure additional vaccine deliveries. “When the vaccine is available, it will be applied on a priority basis, without clientelism or jumping the queue.”
Prime Minister Janez Janša also highlighted: “If we are consistent in the implementation of our vaccination strategy and first protect those most vulnerable, then the overall risk of the virus will also be lower. However, it will still exist.” He said the virus needs to be eradicated, or it will reappear. “It is important that we are not the only ones to do so, the neighbouring countries, the whole of the EU, the entire continent and the whole world should do the same, otherwise the virus will reappear.”
Regarding the situation in healthcare, he said that Slovenia must address long delays and our healthcare system needs to be strengthened. “It is a fact that there has been no proportionate investment over the last 15 years. There has been no investment in either healthcare capacities or the improvement of the pay system in healthcare, or the construction of retirement homes.” He also stated that this will change. “European funds will help us launch some investments that have been postponed for a very long time. However, this necessitates some stability and some peace, and not an announcement of a new interpellation every week.” He also noted that Slovenia has the eighth oldest population in the world, with the elderly the most endangered by the coronavirus, and we must therefore vaccinate half a million people.
He went on to speak about the opposition and said that it is playing a dirty game in the epidemic, following the principle: “The worse it gets for the state, the better for the Constitutional Arch Coalition (KUL).” He reiterated that the epidemic has been used as a political weapon. “It never worked out well in our history when political goals were pursued regardless of the cost or victims. The political successors of those who have already done this are applying the same formula today.”
With regard to the accusations that the government is not listening to professionals when adopting containment measures, the Prime Minister said: “We are not listening to the experts that the previous government pushed to the fore, like Mrs. Nina Pirnat saying that it was a somewhat severe flu and that people just had to cough into their sleeves. If we had listened to those experts, our healthcare system would have fallen apart in the spring already.” He said that the government is listening to serious experts from Slovenia, the EU and beyond. He pointed out that he had had a video conference with the Minister of Health from Taiwan a few days before. “This is the country that is most successful in coping with COVID, relying on the experience gained almost 20 years ago in their fight against SARS.” He noted that the European Union had also pooled knowledge regarding the new coronavirus.
With regard to the constructive no-confidence motion, the Prime Minister said that this is a brutal and pathetic outburst of ideological hatred against those who think differently. He noted that the text of the vote of no confidence motion could also be read as containing the following idea: “We, the first-class citizens, believe that we are the only ones entitled to be in power in Slovenia, as we were born to be in this position, and all that is against that is a threat to democracy.”
The Prime Minister continued to talk about the double standards we are facing in Slovenia. He pointed out that he had received several hundred death threats on social media during the last two weeks made by people giving both their first and last names. “Some of these threats are being investigated by the police, but the prosecutor’s office is deliberately blocking any sanctions. If in Austria someone threatens to kill the Chancellor then the perpetrator will be sentenced to two years in prison, and if in our country someone threatens President Borut Pahor, the perpetrator will be sentenced to 11 years in prison. I was threatened by a police officer who was defended by the left concerning the sanctions, and the court then allowed him to go back to work.” The Prime Minister further said that the violence in the U.S. Capitol was condemned by all. But in Slovenia, serious violence is condemned only by the democratic side while the champagne socialists wrap it up in freedom of expression. “If a Prime Minister from the left is threatened, the person making the threat is sentenced to 11 years’ imprisonment, but if a Prime Minister from the right is threatened then it’s all about freedom of expression.” These double standards are one of the main problems of Slovenian democracy. “If institutions and the mainstream media support double standards, they are directly killing democracy, and in Slovenia this is taking place in the middle of the epidemic.” He added that there are also deputies of the KUL parties who disapprove of these double standards, but are silenced and pushed into positions of ideological hatred.
The Prime Minister continued to emphasise that during the current term of office and with this composition of the National Assembly the only options are: “Either a government that is fighting and performing well despite those who are busy throwing spanners in the works, or a government that disintegrates and throws in the towel during an epidemic, led by an extreme radical party, the Left, with supra-coalition status.” He further added that even if the opposition overthrow the government there will be no new government, or it will collapse very soon, and we will then all pay the price due to the epidemic.
To conclude, the Prime Minister said that it is necessary to stand strong in the current situation. “We have enough vaccines, and we know we will defeat the epidemic.” He also pointed out that Slovenia is not as it is portrayed in the mainstream media. “I am aware that we enjoy the support of the people. I feel it every day, as I get numerous messages of support.” He highlighted that the common sense majority is strong enough, and Slovenia is immune to both the coronavirus and the hatred that some spread.