By Tanja Brkić (Nova24tv)
“The Left party (Levica) claims that Slovenia does not have a problem with the birth rate; according to them, we do not have demographic deficits. For 40 years now, we have not had enough births to sustain natural population renewal, but apparently, something that is a deficit for the whole country is not a problem for them. This is a matter of literally killing the nation and the country,” said Aleš Primc, President of the For Slovenia: Voice for Children and Families party (Za Slovenijo Glas za družine in otroke). After the news was recently announced that the new government would soon be deciding on the fate of the recently established Government Office for Demography, rumours have been circulating that they will either annex the office to Luka Mesec’s Ministry of Solidarity-Based Future, which sees no point in Slovenia having such an office, or they will abolish it altogether. The Ministry of Labour told the N1 media outlet that “we do not need this office, which was established by the government of Janez Janša to promote a conservative policy of fertility and traditional values of fatherhood and motherhood.”
The government will be deciding on the fate of the Office for Demography in the upcoming days – either the office will be annexed to Luka Mesec’s ministry, or it will be abolished. The Left party continues to deny Slovenia’s demographic problems, even though, according to Aleš Primc, who is the head of the demography department, the analyses of both international and Slovenian institutions prove the opposite – we do, in fact, have a problem. The office has also prepared a letter on the very serious demographic situation in Slovenia, addressed to Prime Minister Robert Golob, but has not yet received a response.
“The Left party says that Slovenia does not have a problem with births; according to them, we have no demographic problems. For 40 years now, we have not had enough births to sustain natural population renewal, but apparently, something that is a deficit for the whole country is not a problem for them. What they are claiming is madness, and if the government adopts this position, this will result in the literal killing of the nation and our country while it is still alive,” Primc said, hoping that the government would not succumb to this professionally unreasonable position of the Left party. He then went on to explain that the demographic problem is something that has been highlighted by both domestic and international institutions, for example, in the assessments of the European Commission, OECD, Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, the Institute of Macroeconomic Analysis and Development, and others, as well as all state documents that include development strategies. Therefore, it is clear that everyone seems to agree that we have serious demographic problems, except for the Left party, which believes that there is no demographic problem in Slovenia.
The office should be assigned to the leadership of someone who is actually aware of the seriousness of the demographic problem
Primc believes that annexing the office to Luka Mesec’s ministry would be just as bad as abolishing it, as it is pointless to assign the office to the leadership of someone who denies that there is a real need for its existence. “The Left is the only party in Slovenia which believes that the demographic problem does not exist, and therefore, the Demographic Office certainly should not fall under its leadership. If not under the leadership of the government as such, the office should at least be under the authority of someone in the government who recognises that Slovenia has demographic problems.”
The Left is taking revenge in this way
Given that the demographic problem in Slovenia is not something new but has actually been the topic of discussion for years now, it is incredibly strange that the Left party denies it. Primc even believes that this is a kind of “revenge of the Left party against Slovenians who voted against the deprivation of the child’s right to a mother and father three times at the referendums.”
“The demographic problem is not only one of many in Slovenia but the number one strategic and development problem. The number of births and the problems arising from this for the economy, healthcare funds and pension funds, the healthcare system and the education sector, is an enormous problem. That is why health and pension reforms are being made, because there are not enough payments into the pension and healthcare funds being made, because there are not enough workers,” Primc said.
Immigration is not the solution
The fact that the Left party advocates immigration may just be what is keeping it from admitting that Slovenia has a demographic problem, as they obviously do not care about who is in Slovenia as long as they work and bring money into their pockets. Primc believes that immigration is only a short-term solution, and the state must have a vision and programmes for effective integration, otherwise, problems can quickly accumulate in society, which sooner or later leads to a security problem. This is already obvious in several European countries. Primc also pointed out that in most cases, Slovenia is only a transit country for many immigrants, as the labour market in Slovenia is not the most attractive for them. “We need to pay more attention to integration that will be based on the responsibility of the immigrants to act in accordance with the legitimate expectations of the host country, which is in the best interest of those of us who live in Slovenia, as well as those who might come to us,” he concluded.