By: Franci Kindlhofer
Last Saturday, upon taking over the presidency of the EC, Slovenia hosted a large delegation from Brussels, which is a traditional practice when a member of the EC takes over the presidency. The hope that with this act we are approaching the end of the media tirade from Europe, fuelled by our desperate left wing opposition and all those who have never liked an independent and successful Slovenia, has justifiably simmered in us. We expected a lot from the President of the European Commission, Mrs von der Leyen, as her political homeland is the German Christian Democratic Party and she herself comes from a previously conservative aristocratic family rather than from the ranks of the proletariat. The disappointment was great. Instead of encouraging words, we had to listen to quotes from the last secretary of the Communist Party of Slovenia. With this, she signalled that Slovenia does not even mean so much to her that she would at least go a little deeper into our history and into what is bothering us today, what are our current problems. Instead of the delegation informing themselves what Slovenia wants to enrich Europe with during its presidency, what it can contribute to the common good, we felt tied to a pillory where passing commissioners can spit on us. For me, as a confident European, such behaviour is unacceptable and offensive. Some time ago, in a personal letter, I reminded President von der Leyen of our real problems, to which I never received an answer. I cannot do anything about it, but she could have read it at least on the plane before she landed at Brnik. She would certainly save herself a slip on the smooth diplomatic floor.
She was accompanied by a great diplomat, the Dutchman Frans Tidemmans, who is actually responsible for climate and environmental protection. They say he speaks seven languages, including Russian. After how he “turned” on a visit to Slovenia, we have to ask ourselves what is the use of his knowledge of so many languages if he does not understand the basic problems of EC members. Compared to his position in Brussels, his political career so far is more modest. For a short time, he was twice President of the Dutch Social Democrats, for some time he was a Government Adviser on Russian Affairs, and for two years he was a Foreign Minister. He is better known for collecting occasional decorations from Lithuania to Bulgaria and even South America.
It is therefore no wonder that in Brdo, when faced with a serious problem of our judiciary, he morally resigned. Otherwise, many Dutch people have not been particularly famous for their upright posture, especially if we have in mind the present collaboration in the Second World War or the behaviour of their army in Srebrenica. It is therefore no wonder that Timmermans is not disturbed by the communist symbols on the caps of our representatives of the legal authorities. In any case, this event came in handy for him to use it to his advantage and for his promotion. Otherwise, no one would have known he was there at all. He behaved like a stubborn child if something was not to his liking and he threw himself on the ground and whooped it up with all four. He thought that he had made a big diplomatic move to the detriment of Slovenia by not taking photos with our Prime Minister Janez Janša. Certainly our Prime Minister is not the least bit offended by this, quite the opposite…
Frans Timmermans is not even aware, despite his knowledge of Russian, that their occupier at the time of the occupation of the Netherlands was a close partner of the Communist Soviet Union, and that for one third of the time during the Second World War. And such politicians would like to give advice to Slovenia, which has become independent, otherwise in the shadow of the collapse of communism, but only with the nation’s own will and great confidence in this Europe, which we considered a defender against communism, but now suddenly for some European politicians we are not communist enough.
On the spot, however, allow me, Madam President von der Leyen, just one question: Is there any photograph in the German archives where you would see some post-war judges with swastikas as a sign of political freedom…?
Franci Kindlhofer is vice-president of the Association of Political Prisoners and Other Victims of Communist Violence.