|SDS International Bulletin on the Events in the Republic of Slovenia (June 2011)
Three rejected referendums
On 5th June Slovenia faced a referendum day on which we’ve decided about three topics of vast range. The Slovenian Democratic Party opposed all of them and we are happy to inform you that all of them were rejected by the electorate.
The referendum on the bill on the change of the valid pension system was the one of utmost importance. Despite countless attempts of SDS and other parties and social partners of being a consistent and constructive partner in the much needed social dialog the government coalition couldn’t even serry its own ranks. The Democratic Party of Pensioners of Slovenia (DeSuS) felt excluded on this question and didn’t give their support to the reform. The result was 42 000 signatures collected by the trade unions and the bill on the change of the valid pension system on referendum. Different public opinion polls showed, that the referendum on the pension reform will be rejected, the final unofficial result is 72, 18 % of the votes against it and 27, 82 % in favour of the bill.
The law on prevention of so-called scub labour is only introducing new bureaucracy and will not achieve its purpose. It plans to intensify the inspection, which is already perceived as inefficient due to its bureaucratic nature. Beside that it also includes an article that prevents and punishes with a very high fine neighbours and friends who help each other. The referendum was unofficially rejected with 75, 54 %, only 24, 46 % of voters supported the referendum question.
The third referendum held on June 5th was the referendum about closing up the archives of the former Communist Secret Police. In August 2010 a Slovenian publicist Igor Omerza asked for the examination of a part of the archives for academic research purposes and was unlawfully denied access. Afterwards also the Parliamentary Security Services Oversight Committee which has the legal authority to access all the secret service documents, whether currently classified or not, was denied access. This is why SDS proposed a referendum, which was unofficially rejected by 71, 01 % of the electorate and supported by 28, 99 %.
With already two rejected referendums in the last six months and lost local elections in autumn 2010 the government coalition is constantly facing incredibly low support among the Slovenians.
Slovenia with a minority government - DeSuS is out
The third biggest coalition party, The Democratic Party of Pensioners of Slovenia (DeSuS) who gained 7,45 % at the last Parliamentary elections in 2008 left the government coalition in the first days of May. They’ve claimed they’ve felt excluded since the very beginning of the process of reconciliation of viewpoints on a key topic for them – the pension reform. DeSuS was perceived as the most unsure coalition member since its formation in November 2008. The Social Democrats, the Liberal Democracy of Slovenia (LDS) and For Real formed a pre-election coalition and invited DeSuS only after the official results, when it became clear, that they’ve came short in parliamentary seats.
Karel Erjavec, DeSuS chairman stated they’ll act as a constructive partner in the upcoming issues.
The government is a minority government now. The remained three coalition parties – the Social Democrats, Liberal Democracy of Slovenia (LDS) and For Real have all together 41 seats out of 90.
Meanwhile, only a day before the referendums on June 4th, Mr. Gregor Golobič president of the coalition For Real Party and Minister of higher education withdraw from the position of minister and returned to the parliament as MP. This is already the eight withdrawn minister in the three-year mandate of Prime Minister Borut Pahor.
Public opinion polls
According to public opinion polls the Slovenian Democratic Party keeps strongly the first place as it was the case of every monthly public research in 2011. This month SDS leads by 16% ahead of the second placed Social Democrats. SDS is riding the wave of vast support with 33 % of the electorate votes. The Prime Minister’s Social Democrats placed second with 22 % of support among the defined voters. The third is surprisingly Slovenian National Party (SNS) which is supported by 12 % of voters. After leaving the coalition The Democratic Party of Pensioners of Slovenia (DeSuS) gains 10 %, the same percentage of votes is in the hands of the Liberal Democracy of Slovenia (LDS). With 6 % of the electorate support two more parties would trespass the national threshold: Slovenian People’s Party (SLS) and New Slovenia (NSi), both SDS former coalition partners in the mandate 2004-2008.
The government faces very low public support, latest public opinion polls show that almost three quarters of the electorate does not support the government.
Omerza’s book about the bomb attack in Velivkovc released
The book consists of two parts. In the first one, Omerza describes the life of a Slovenian emigrant Janez Toplišek in Western Germany. He’s goal was to, by bomb attack, make the communist regime in Yugoslavia collapse. In the second part of the book the author describes the bomb attacks in Austrian Carinthia, with a more detailed view on the bomb attack in Velikovc in 1979 which was caused by two co-operators of the former communist secret police (UDBA). He asserts that the event was a classic international terrorist act, guided form Beograd and executed by the Slovenian state security service.
Omerza claims that the objective responsibility is to be put on the former chief of UDBA Tomaž Ertl who was honoured with high state decoration by the president Dr. Danilo Türk in 2009 and on Janez Zemljarič the Minister of Interior affairs of that time.
It is clearly evident, that Slovenia is sinking down every scale measuring or describing one of the aspects or the economy as a whole and there’s no sign of economic recovery.
The World Competitiveness Yearbook made by the Swiss IMD placed Slovenia on the 51st position, not to forget the twenty place fall in 2010. Among EU members behind Slovenia you can find only Bulgaria and Greece.
Even more worries the fact that The Agency of the Republic of Slovenia for Public Legal Records and Related Services (AJPES) in its raport acquainted the public that the Slovenian companies concluded 2010 with the worse business result in the last five years with 250 millions of net loss. For comparison we should point out, that in 2009 there were 550 millions of net profit and in 3 milliards of net profit in 2007.
Numbers speak for themselves about the poor and inappropriate measures taken by the government. All four packages of measures-to-take that the Slovenian Democratic Party suggested were rejected. It is more than obvious, that the government lost the thread of its discourse, but they don’t seem to care much.
SDS in the European Parliament
Milan Zver: Investing in young people is key for Europe
On the 12 May the European parliament adopted with a large majority the report Youth on the Move - a framework for improving Europe's education and training systems by a Slovenian MEP Milan Zver (EPP).
The report stresses that European university programs will have to better adapt to the needs of the economy and society if we want the EU to get out of this crisis and if we want to lower the unemployment levels of young people below 20% (in some member states even 40%). Zver's report calls for further modernisation of universities and vocational training systems; greater possibility of switching between different levels of general and vocational education and better mutual recognition of qualifications acquired in different EU Member States. It stresses importance of better recognition of non-formally acquired skills and the importance of learning two foreign languages already in early childhood as this knowledge later on gives young people greater possibilities for employment. It also calls for a better inclusion of young people in decision-making processes on their future. Zver stresses, that young people who experienced mobility find it easier to find their first employment and are more involved in the democratic processes; they share a greater sense of European citizenship. That is why in his report he calls on the European Commission, to increase its investments in very successful existing mobility programs, such as lifelong learning (Erasmus, Leonardo da Vinci...), Youth in Action and others in its new financial framework. On the other hand the modernisation of the European higher educational systems depends largely on the Member States and this is why the reporter calls on them to earmark at least 2% of GDP for higher education. Only by increasing investment in education and youth European economy will gain a suitably educated workforce, which will take Europe out of the crisis and lead it towards the path of sustainable growth. "Funds for young people, mobility and education are not an expense but an investment for the Europe’s future," stated Zver.
Romana Jordan Cizelj MEP: Directive on nuclear waste adopted in the ITRE Committee by overwhelming majority
Last week the members of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) in the European Parliament (EP) voted on the report by a Slovenian MEP Romana Jordan Cizelj (SDS/EPP). The Report on the Directive on the management of spent nuclear fuel and nuclear waste has been adopted by an overwhelming majority. The proposed directive is the first common European legislation in the field of the management of nuclear waste and spent fuel. Members supported in the report the safety and protection of workers from radiation, more research in this field, greater international control, cross-border cooperation and information, investment in human resources and competent regulatory authorities, "polluter pays principle". One of the more important supported provisions is the ability to export nuclear waste outside the EU, provided that these countries have the same safety standards as the EU Member States. The MEPs voted against "phasing-out" of nuclear energy. The European Parliament will vote on the final report at the plenary session of 23 June 2011.