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    Copyright: The following text is for personal information only. Any professional use or publication in written or electronic form is subject to an agreement with AIM, 17 rue Rebeval, F-75019 Paris, France

    SUN, 13 APR 1997 22:44:50 GMT

    Isolation of Slovenia Increasing

    KUNDERA BACK IN SLOVENIA

    AIM Ljubljana, 5 April, 1997

    The day after 1 April, all "April-fool" jokes were denied, explained, forgiven: that Drnovsek had ceded his post to the coalition partner Marjan Podobnik, chairman of the National Assembly, that in the system of Skocjanska cave speleologists had found a gigantic proteus (newt) six meters long, due to which "competition" from Postojnska cave cracked up and started saying that the proteus in Skocjanska cave was that big because it was radioactive and therefrom dangerous for tourists. All that was, of course, part of the traditional custom of journalists to "squeeze in" a (crude) joke on consumers of their information, and then explain the next day that it was just a joke.

    Slovenia and NATO

    For some, like for instance those in Maribor, where 20 per cent of the inhabitants are unemployed, it rather resembles adventures of the hero of Kundera's novel called "Joke". Therefore, hardly any of the readers, spectators or listeners believed news that Slovenia had offered its policemen to be members of (unarmed) police forces which would in Albania protect transportation and warehouses of humanitarian aid to be a joke. Concerned mothers and a father here and there started phoning the editors saying that this was not the price their sons and they were ready to pay for Slovenia to become a member of the European Union. Fortunately for the ministers and the Government, it seems that the offer will not be accepted, although everyone claimed that it was just an offer for police advisors, and not young men who one meets patrolling the streets. There are still no reactions to the just published news (coming from the seat of the European Union, not from Ljubljana) that a unit of the Slovenian army (as part of the Austrian batallion) will participate in peace forces which will be successors of the NATO forces in B&H.

    A few days ago Ljubljana was visited by the new commander of NATO forces in Europe, general Joulwan, who came to talk about broadening of the NATO, Slovenia becoming part of NATO, and its participation in this peace mission. This certainly does resemble Kundera's "Joke". Journalists are already writing about the number of victims in the peace mission in B&H among French legionaries, best trained soldiers in the world. Everybody is quite objectively accepting the thesis that America is sick and tired of introducing order and democracy in Europe, because the "old lady" among continents has quite clearly shown that she cannot do it on her own, does not know how and most often will not do it, until it is too late, and then calls America for help, which was repeated in 1914 and 1939, then in Bosnia, and now in Albania.

    Pressure by Catholic Church Increasing

    That is exactly why main aims of foreign policy in Slovenia have remained unchanged - reception in the EU and the NATO. Internal political relations have changed due to the balance between two biggest parliamentary parties (also coalition partners in the Government), Drnovsek's Liberal Democracy and Podobnik's National Party. This moved the political centre of Slovenia to the right. The Nationals do not conceal that they enjoy powerful support of the Church. Due to election failure of Peterle's Christian Democrats and Jansa's Social Democrats it had betted on for a long time, the Church simply turned to the Nationals who are backed by the village lobby.

    That is where the "catch" is - Slovenia (similar ro Austrian peasants) probably produces the most expensive food in Europe. That is why Slovenian peasants and their political representatives will most certainly condition Slovenia's joining the European Union by introduction of protective cusroms tax on imported food in order to preserve the acquired monopolistic position. And since two thirds of the Slovenians live in the village, the number of "Euro-sceptics" is growing. The political shift to the right, and this is confirmed by the just published analyses of "Eurocrats" from Brussels, shows that economically Slovenia has lost pace, both in relation to other potential candidates and in relation to its own development in the past few years.

    The stagnation which occurred in the past six months is not irremediable, because it is not great, but in order to catch up, political and ideological controversies must be resolved because they are gaining in intensity and threaten to push European and NATO aspirations of Slovenia to the margins. There is also the demand of the highest state prosecuting agencies, in fact general state prosecutor Drobnic himself, for legal rehabilitation of Bishop Rozman, fascist collaborationist and member of quisling military formations in Slovenia.

    When on fifteen pages of the judgement and interpretation, the court refused to renew the trial to bishop Rozman, because there was no legal evidence which would annul the original sentence, general state prosecutor publicly declared that the interpretation had been written in the vocabulary which worse than the vocabulary used in "communist courts", in other words, to carefully chosen legal formulations he failed to respond with the language of jurisprudence, but with language of ideology. This is how the attempt to rehabilitate members of the White Guards and Homeguards in Slovenia was interrupted, but it is a question whether stopped altogether, that is, an attempt to put an equation mark between fighters against fascism and those who they fought against, and who were unambiguously on the side of those were destroying not only Slovenia and the Slovenes, but also all the people who were just slightly different, wherever they lived.

    Isolation Increasing

    The rightists in Slovenia, along with the increasing support of the Church, do not care for joining broader European political and economic integrations, although they do not utter it aloud, but constantly seek new ways to slow down this process, either through demands for amending the law on denationalization, or by making the Church an equal partner to the state which is impossible according to the Constitution, etc. On the other hand, every form of economic, communication cooperation with the newly established states in the Balkans, the rightists proclaim to be "restoration of communism" and "Yugo-nostalgia". In this way Slovenia is being isolated in two ways - from the states which are already in EU and with which Slovenia has almost 80 per cent of foreign trade exchange, but also from the potential market to the south of it. These attempts were so far unsuccessful, but it is a question whether Drnovsek's government and relation of forces in the parliament have enough power to efficiently resist the new offensive of the rightists. Kundera has returned to Slovenia after all. Zoran Odic AIM