Books on Slovenia
Update No: 123 - (31/08/07)
Slovenia the solvent
Slovenia is an unusual country. It has always been able to be an asset, rather
than a liability to whatever larger comity or conglomerate of nations it
belonged. It even uniquely more or less made a success of communism; it is doing
much better out of capitalism, as practised by a people who are highly educated
with a sense of communal purpose, both attributes inherited from communism, as
it so happens, yet also from its small size in population in a compact, yet
mountainous, territory, with abundant fertile valleys.
It is a sort of Switzerland on the loose, not as sure of itself as the
centuries-old congeries of cantons, who have no desire for confederation with
others. Unlike the Swiss, the Slovenes were delighted to be admitted to the EU,
which they were in January, 2004. They are, indeed, to hold the EU presidency
come next January for six months.
The presiding genius of Europe
Europe's political game of musical chairs has entered an intriguing new phase.
The next time the music stops, Slovenia - an Alpine country of 2m people - will
be in the hot seat, running the presidency of the EU, a bloc of almost 500m
"It's a little bit like taxiing a 747 with a bicycle," one Western
diplomat observed. But for the former communist country, the first of the EU's
2004 intake of new members to assume the rotating presidency, it is a sign and a
test of Slovenia's growing maturity.
The Croat-Slovene issues to be resolved
Slovenian premier Janez Jansa as a consequence has "an ideal
opportunity" to move forward on the solution of open issues with its vital
neighbour, Croatia. But he does not have a lot of time for that, and the current
initiative of the Slovenian government is linked to the coming Slovenian
chairmanship of the European Union, which wants to keep a neutral stance in the
dispute. So says the commentary of August 18's issue of the Ljubljana newspaper
"Dnevnik", mentioning the dialogue between Slovenia and Croatia, and
Jansa's request of a consensus with Slovenian political parties.
"Jansa has a unique opportunity to move on Slovenian-Croatian relations,
but must hurry in order to preserve their credibility and reputation. The
meeting with political parties at which he received the declarative support as
far as synchronising their approach is concerned, would not mean added problems
in seeking a agree upon arbitration, a court solution to the dispute, or an
agreement about the problem", it says in the commentary by Franco Juri, in
the newspaper "Dnevnik".
"Jansa knows that synergy and a positive mood is required for a neutral
European Union, so that the Slovenian chairmanship of the European Union would
be as successful as possible. Jansa knows that Sanader must at least partially
dismiss the awkward consequences of the doubt that Ropov's allegations about
pre-election incidents in 2004 were founded", said Juri.
He added that the presidents of the Slovenian Social Democrats (SD) Borut Pahur,
and the president of the Croatian SDP (Social Democratic Party) Zoran Milanovic,
made a "great move" by holding a meeting in Mokrice, at which,
according to Juri, in-between the lines, they announced that they will not use
bilateral issues in their pre-election campaigns (SDP and SD next year) to raise
their party ratings, and that they will avoid incidents.
"Jansa's Cabinet will have one year to place the conditions for further
solving the disputes in the dialogue with the Croatian premier Ivo Sanader, who
is probably leaving, and Zoran Milanovic is probably coming. This is a long term
operation which requires mature and realistic behaviour. Good relations with an
important neighbouring country, Croatia, can only be a national project, and not
the domain of any party or coalition", said Juri. He added that this is
probably clear to Jansa as the president of the Cabinet, as well as to the
president of SD, Borut Pahor, who is expecting a win in the parliamentary
elections next year.
"We should hope that the new spirit of the times have been perceived by the
other parties, and of course, that Croatian politics also realises this. The
described chances are not only Jansa's, but Sanader's as well, with the only
difference being that Sanader has only three months", said Juri in his
comment in the Ljubljana newspaper "Dnevnik".