Today, Prime Minister Janez Janša, President of the Republic of Slovenia Borut Pahor, President of the National Assembly Igor Zorčič, and President of the National Council Alojz Kovšca met at the Presidential Palace in Ljubljana. The purpose of the meeting, which have become regular and were introduced by the President of the Republic Borut Pahor in 2014, is to exchange views on those issues of the state that require broad political cooperation and support for a successful solution. At this year’s meeting, the interlocutors were discussing, among other things, about dealing with the covid-19 epidemic, the enforcement of the Constitutional Court’s decision regarding the elections and preparations for the presidency of the EU Council.
After the meeting, Prime Minister Janez Janša said in a statement for the media that as far as the epidemic is concerned, we are facing the last third of the fight against the virus, wherein the predictions of experts advising the European Commission show that we have two months ahead of us, which will be harder than the months behind us. “Despite seeing light at the end of the tunnel in the form of vaccines that have already been approved or are expected to be approved in the coming weeks and months, it is clear that with vaccination it will not be possible to completely stop the virus that we have been dealing with so far,” said Prime Minister Janez Janša. He went on to say that there are weeks and months ahead of use where, in addition to vaccinating and protecting the most vulnerable groups, we will have to combine all the measures that we have known this year. And all this will have to be done without this new risk that is becoming known in recent days, that is, the spread of a mutated version of the coronavirus from an alleged outbreak in the UK. “We have been working intensively on this for the last two days and we are also coordinating within the European Commission, and all the information so far confirms an increased risk. This means that we are facing a threat that is actually escalating, regardless of the good information we have received in recent weeks about the vaccine,” the Prime Minister pointed out.
“This is a time when we need stability much more than instability, and I agree with the President of the Republic that we will defeat the coronavirus and that next year in the pre-Christmas and New Year period we will live without masks in a more relaxed atmosphere, without restricting visits and in a situation when life will be normal again, but until then there are still a few stages,” the Prime Minister is convinced.
“Given the new threat that is now emerging, we expect the situation to clarify today, but it is still clear that the new version of the virus is not only in the UK, but in many other European countries, including our neighbourhood countries,” said the Prime Minister and added that measures were being coordinated at night to completely close the borders. “Before we decide to do this, we will coordinate within the European Commission, because when it comes to such a drastic measure, cooperation is needed on both sides of the border, so that there will not be more problems for the people that will arise anyway,” said the Prime Minister. He emphasised that “already today, we advise against anyone planning non-urgent trips by mid-March not to plan them and rather postpone them for a later time. We also advise everyone who plans to visit Slovenia at this time to postpone this visit. Our happiness will be doubled for everyone, after this precaution is no longer needed.
“As far as vaccination is concerned, the profession has agreed on the priorities, and the quantities that have been announced should remain as they are. Especially with the rapid vaccination of the most at-risk groups, we will have a significant impact on the most tragic consequences of the epidemic. All that we have to give up, contacts, visits, socialising, parties, public life – all of this can be largely compensated later, and what we cannot make up for are the lost lives, so I offer my condolences to all those who have lost their loved ones during the fight against the epidemic so far,” said the Prime Minister, adding that the vaccination strategy will primarily focus on ensuring that the drastic consequences of the epidemic will not accelerate but will be prevented.
“As far as the electoral system is concerned, I believe that there is an elegant solution for fulfilling the decision of the Constitutional Court by adjusting the size of constituencies to these principles. I believe that a sufficient majority will soon be formed in the National Assembly for such a law to be adopted, said Prime Minister Janša.
Regarding Slovenia’s presidency of the Council of the EU, Prime Minister Janez Janša reminded that we were intensively involved in the preparation of the programme at the very beginning of the mandate. “We are part of a trio with Germany and Portugal, wherein Germany is concluding its presidency at the end of the year, and Portugal is starting with new year. We subsequently added two priorities to the joint programme – drawing up an EU strategic plan to tackle the pandemic and drawing up a plan to deal with the threat of cyber-attacks. Since May, when we added this to the trio’s programme, both priorities have not only been adopted but are now being worked on intensively. There is no waiting for preparation for our presidency as it is clear that these are permanent threats. The European Union, as was most evident at the beginning of this year, was not prepared for either,” said Prime Minister Janez Janša.
He added that there is also a huge amount of work within, which is not visible. “Other institutions in Slovenia are carrying out preparations, so that there will be no problems, also because we already have experience,” said the Prime Minister. He also added that the key issue over the presidency is related to the end of the epidemic and the victory that we will be able to declare over the coronavirus in the European Union. “This will happen when 70% of Europeans are successfully vaccinated with an effective vaccine. If this does not happen by the beginning of our presidency, tackling the epidemic will be our first priority,” said the Prime Minister, as only one strategic priority can be at the forefront within the European Union, “because all the steps need to be coordinated, and what is most relevant, most important, what threatens us the most, is the first point with which we deal with the most.” He added that our expectations regarding the presidency are flexible “and we are building up reserves if any new threat arises during this time.”