Letter to SDS members and supporters on the occasion of the first anniversary of the mandate of the Government of the Republic of Slovenia
“We go on resolutely and responsibly
(Letter to SDS members and supporters on the occasion of the first anniversary of the mandate of the Government of the Republic of Slovenia)
This is the year of the most difficult mandate of any government in the history of Slovenia It can only be compared to 1991 and the efforts of the Demos independence government. With one important difference. At that time, it was possible to conclude an agreement with the left-wing opposition, at least occasionally, and achieve political unity (the plebiscite law, constitutional amendments, the Basic Constitutional Charter) in favor of the homeland. At the time of the epidemic, only a small part of the opposition imitated such a constructive attitude. Deputies of the SNS, deputies of nationality and later deputies of the DeSUS party. The majority, the hard core of the increasingly extreme left, gathered in the parties SD, Levica, LMŠ and SAB, on the other hand, ruthlessly exploited the epidemic as a means of fighting for power. They took the position: The worse for Slovenia, the better for the left.
Less than four years ago, a delegation from the World Health Organization visited Slovenia, discovered a number of shortcomings in terms of preparedness for possible epidemics and ordered a series of corrective measures. By March 2020, when the epidemic actually hit us, nothing had been done. Knowing this, they ‘threw a rifle into the corn’ during a looming pandemic.
With the swearing in of the new government on March 13, 2020, we were given empty warehouses of protective and critical medical equipment and a health system that was largely unprepared for the epidemic. We inherited a system of care for the elderly with neglected capacities, in which less was invested than in a few non-governmental organizations from Metelkova in Ljubljana.
Instead of participating in the fight against the epidemic, the destructive left-wing opposition has been threatening distrust since April 2020. They opposed virtually all measures, which were taken as elsewhere in Europe to stop the epidemic. With the help of the mainstream media, they were tearing down the coalition. With the help of intrigues and ruthless propaganda of POP TV and RTV SLO they removed the party that led the most demanding department at the time of the epidemic. The attacks on the government were most concentrated at the end of last year and at the beginning of this year, when the pressure of the epidemic was the worst. After the collapse of the no-confidence vote in the Slovenian parliament, attempts to overthrow the government were transferred to the European Parliament.
Slovenia was one of the most successful countries in stopping the epidemic in the spring wave. Nevertheless, the opposition demanded a change of government after just one month. They organized and encouraged illegal protests in the middle of the epidemic and actively participated in them.
When we introduced the first measures before the looming second wave last fall, the left-wing opposition attacked the government, saying we were scaring people. When we prescribed the mandatory wearing of masks in schools, they called on principals and unions to resist this. When we had to close schools due to the rapid growth of infections, they opposed this and organized protests to open schools. When we partially limited the virus with great efforts and opened schools, they demanded the immediate opening of pubs, which, of course, with a high state of daily infections, would inevitably lead to the rapid closure of schools and kindergartens. The disruptive left-wing opposition did everything possible to keep infections and deaths due to the epidemic as high as possible and to bring them back to power through corpses.
Nowhere else in Europe, nowhere else in the world, has such a large part of the opposition been so destructive during the epidemic as in Slovenia. We offered a hand of cooperation, proposals for cooperation agreements, even a partnership, under which they would get all government bills to estimate in advance. All of this, however, was rejected. The actions of the SD, LMŠ, SAB and the Levica at this time of great distress cannot therefore be described other than hostile to the homeland, the nation and the state. The hostility escalated to public calls for the death of SDS supporters, even in the National Assembly. Hostile acts against Christians are escalating. The prosecution and the judiciary, despite the indisputable legal basis, do not prosecute and punish perpetrators, with rare exceptions.
In recent weeks, impatient individuals have even put up signs in bars and other places banning SDS members from entering public areas. They mimic the National Socialist brown-shirted men of the 1930s, who first proclaimed the same prohibitions against Jews and then sent them to death camps. We are telling the left-wing fascists who are doing this in Slovenia today and those who are enabling them to do so to sober up as soon as possible. No one will deprive SDS members and supporters, as well as anyone else in a democratic Slovenia, of their constitutional rights with impunity. We suppressed similar experiments in 1991 and will do so with equal or even more determination in 2021.
When the previous government fled the epidemic, the SDS was more prepared for the elections than ever before. We formed the government contrary to the logical interest of the party, as we had before our eyes the need of the state and the homeland. A year ago, the leaders of NSi, SMC and DeSUS also acted as statesmen. We formed a coalition that was able to overcome mutual differences and provide Slovenia with protective and medical equipment in times of great danger, take the necessary measures to control the epidemic and provide effective mitigation of the effects of the epidemic through eight comprehensive anti-corona packages unmatched in any other European country.
The fall in GDP was therefore only 5.5% instead of the projected over 7%, and unemployment did not rise to the projected over 120,000 unemployed, but is currently below 90,000. We have maintained the stability of public finances. Credit ratings have remained stable or even improved upwards despite the epidemic. For the first time in the country’s history, we borrowed money at negative interest rates, which means we will repay less than we received. In the final negotiations, we secured a larger share of funds from the European budget for the next 7 years than Slovenia could have expected before the epidemic under Šarec’s government. However, we will receive enough additional money from the resilience and recovery fund to finally pledge a number of missing infrastructure and health projects and arrange long-term care for the elderly. When the negotiated EU recovery financial package was threatened in December last year, we helped reach a compromise at EU level that freed up funds.
The government, the coalition and the SDS have a little more than a year to go. This period will be marked by three main challenges: ending the epidemic, leading the EU Council at a critical time for Europe, and implementing the key commitments of the coalition agreement.
There will still be many challenges and dangers in the final fight against the epidemic, but we will win. We will do everything to make the coming summer in Slovenia and Europe significantly closer to normal life than it has been in recent months.
In the second half of this year, we will not only chair the Council of the EU, but we will also co-chair the Conference on the Future of Europe. We still imagine the future of Europe as we did a decade and a half ago, when we decided to join the Union in a referendum. We will resolutely oppose the attempts to shape the EU on the model of the former Yugoslavia. We need the EU where it makes sense to solve problems together. The EU institutions should be lean, efficient and without a cloud of diverse privileges, and staff salaries and rewardings should be at the level of the EU average, with growth that follows the growth of the whole Union.
We have been implementing the key commitments in the coalition agreement from the very beginning, despite the epidemic. However, the epidemic absorbed 80% of the government’s energy, leaving a lot of work left for the second half. We will complete the project of the National Demographic Fund and ensure greater stability of the pension system. The Office of Demography will be established, which will horizontally link efforts to improve our demographic picture, which is our biggest strategic problem in the long run. Special attention will be paid to families, young people and their problems. By the autumn, the law on long-term care will be on the parliamentary benches, which will come into force next year. We will overhaul the public sector wage system. We are starting to adopt extensive debureaucratization packages. By removing bureaucratic obstacles, we will save citizens and the economy hundreds of millions of euros and millions of hours of time. All the measures we take take into account the objective of decentralization. Infrastructure and other projects are coming to the hitherto neglected parts of the country, which significantly equalize the basic possibilities of Slovenes for success in life.
The goals are clear, the paths known. We no longer count on the state-building attitude of the left-wing opposition. We are also aware of the complexity of implementing such a large-scale program in the coalition government. We are aware that a coalition and a majority can exist today, but may no longer exist tomorrow. The SDS will work hard to implement coalition commitments, and expects the same from its partners. There can be only one coalition, both in the government and in the National Assembly. The agreed coordination mechanism does not allow any soloings. We make decisions that are included in the coalition agreement and those on which we all agree. However, once the decision has been made, it is not acceptable to demolish it or break it with the help of opposition votes in the National Assembly. The SDS will no longer allow this in the future. Coalition parties in the government and the National Assembly have taken on responsibilities in terms of the number of parliamentary votes that provide the government with a parliamentary majority. Along with the changed support, the share of rights and responsibilities will also change.
Dear SDS members, thank you for your courage and support. It has not been easy this year of double responsibility that has passed. But we succeeded. We worked, worked hard, collaborated and got stronger. Hundreds of new members have joined us this month alone. We have committees in all Slovenian municipalities, and new local committees of our youth are emerging every week, which is also growing rapidly. The SDS will continue to responsibly play its role as the strongest political force in Slovenia, which is crucial for the stability and development of the country. We will fight for the well-being and dignity of the Slovenian people, for Slovenia without exclusion, for a homeland where there is room for everyone.
Stay healthy and brave.
March 13, 2021″