Slovenian Prime Minister, Janez Janša, presented Tuesday morning, July 6, to the European Parliament, the priorities of his presidency of the Council of the EU for the next six months. The ritual exercise for each new presidency has this time turned into a game of ping-pong around the values of the European Union. MEPs taking the lead from the President of the European Commission in the virulence of accusations and warnings concerning media pluralism and the independence of justice in particular. With the notable exception of the nationalist right-wing Identity and Democracy (ID) group which " welcomes the courageous stand against the relocation of migrantss” and curators from the ECR group.
The issue of the European Public Prosecutor's Office
The first attack is signed by the EPP, the group to which the party of the Slovenian belongs. The German Manfred Weber (CSU) immediately addresses the rule of law and the fact that Slovenia is the last Member State not to have appointed a delegated prosecutor at the European Public Prosecutor's Office, in charge of investigating crimes against to the European budget (fraud, corruption). " The most urgent thing is to create this European public prosecutor's office in order to be able to start working. Appoint a representative in this regard without delay! But he relativizes the criticism in passing by pointing out that all states may currently have weaknesses, such as Denmark and its legislation on the right of asylum. " They simply abolished the right of asylum! Imagine if such a decision had been made in Hungary or Slovenia he remarks to his colleagues this time.
The attack is more direct and virulent from the Renew group. " You want to be part of a sinister club that doesn't support media pluralism, judicial independence, and doesn't respect LGBT rights. Corruption and fraud are part of this club. You talk but don't act “says the Dutch Malik Azmani (VVD), vice-president of the group. Summons follow one another: stop harassing journalists and judges, appointing your friends judges and police forces", "appoint the delegates to the European public prosecutor's office ". The French Stéphane Séjourné (LREM) is not more tender, but opens a door: " I distinguish the constructive priorities and the political situation of a country which claims to be more and more openly illiberal. And we are worried. Worried about the hate campaign against journalists, relayed by the government. (...) You have to give evidence. We will support you on the merits, and will be vigilant on European values ».
Nicknamed 'Marshal Twitto'
The tone of the exchanges remained bittersweet throughout the morning between MEPs and the Prime Minister. " Trump was not a model but must be a warning, when one is called to exercise the presidency of the European Union one must not follow this example laughs Martin Schirdewan, co-president of the radical left group (GUE), referring to the devastating tweets of which the Slovenian Prime Minister is customary, hence his nickname 'Marshal Twitto', and to his admiration for the former American president.
Until then stoic and impassive, Janez Janša came out of his reserve at the end of the morning. As if stung by the last banderilla planted by the Dutchwoman Sophia In't Veld (D66). The MEP, head of the rule of law monitoring group within the European Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties (LIBE), came to her chair to hand her a copy of the questionnaire prepared for a hearing (read Carnet 08.07 forthcoming), scheduled for last March, but interrupted by the Slovenian Prime Minister, for so-called technical problems. " We had asked you questions about the situation in Slovenia, but we did not receive any answers so I bring you a hard copy... ". The Prime Minister does not hold out his hand, leaving the A4 sheets to deposit themselves on his tablet. He barely nods.
... and reply
The answer comes a few minutes later. During his last round of responses to comments, questions and remarks from the dozens of deputies who took turns at the microphone this morning. The response is brief. The tone remains austere, without the hint of a smile or gesture. " You talked about freedom of the media but the last journalist who was imprisoned for what he wrote is in front of you! Today, there is no repression against journalists! On the merits of the criticisms, the Prime Minister hardly argues. He assures us of his attachment to European values and the rule of law, " without the rule of law there is no European Union, that's obvious he explained a few minutes later at a press conference. " There are 400 political prisoners who are dying in Belarus and need our support, there are many more important issues than the ones we are wasting time on now ».