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Vol 3, No 14
23 April 2001
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News from Slovenia News from Slovenia
All the important news
since 14 April 2001

Brian J Požun


Youths have little trust for government

Young people in Slovenia are similar to those in other countries, with one major exception—they are dangerously apolitical and overwhelmingly distrustful of politics in general, according to the results of a survey released this week.

The survey Mladina 2000 (Youth 2000), prepared by the Centre for Social Psychology of the Faculty of Social Sciences, shows that young people give the highest levels of trust only to friends and family. Of the respondents to the survey, 80 per cent do not trust political parties and 75 per cent do not trust politicians. President Kučan fared better—only 40.5 per cent said that they do not trust him.

The National Human Development Report for 2000-2001, released last month, similarly showed very low levels of trust in politics and politicians. That report accredits the trend to public frustration with the inefficiency and insufficient responsiveness of the government.


Eurosceptics take the lead

Most Slovenes do not support membership in the European Union, according to the results of the March Politbarometer survey of the Center for Public Opinion Research that were released this week.

In the last days of March, the number of people who think that EU accession will be useful for Slovenia fell below 40 per cent. The number of people who would vote for accession to the EU in a referendum fell also, to below 50 per cent.

Statistics published on Friday by the Financial Times show that 65 per cent of Hungarians would vote for EU accession in a referendum, 55 per cent of Poles and 45 per cent of Czechs.

Analysts attribute the drop to two major factors: the mad-cow and foot-and-mouth disease outbreaks in Europe, and the fact that the highly controversial closure of duty-free shops on the borders with Austria, Italy and Hungary is imminent. However, analysts also point out that support for EU accession just before the completion of the final stages fell in most countries, but governments were able to rally support during the referenda through media campaigns.


Situation of Roma improving?

In the first week of April, General Director of the police force Marko Pogorevc met with president of the Union of Roma Jožko Horvat in Murska Sobota. The two discussed the difficulties faced by the Roma community in the Prekmurje region, and it was agreed that a representative of the Union of Roma will be involved in cases against Roma.

Horvat said there are no special problems between Roma and the local police in Prekmurje, but added that the majority of problems faced by Roma in Slovenia are in the Dolenjska region, around Novo Mesto.

However, the situation in Novo Mesto may soon improve, thanks to a ruling passed down this week by the Constitutional Court. The Court decided that the municipal council of Novo Mesto must make a place for a representative of the Roma community, to be filled at the next municipal election.

The Court also ruled that the Law on Local Self-Administration is unconstitutional and that parliament must bring it into line with the constitution within one year, and that the statute of Novo Mesto is not in harmony with the Law on Local Self-Administration and that the municipal council has six months to revise it.

The ruling resolves a three-year dispute that arose when Roma tried to get the statute of Novo Mesto amended to allow a representative of the Roma community on the city's municipal council at the time of the 1998 municipal elections. Currently, a representative of the Roma community sits on only one municipal council in the country, in the city of Murska Sobota.


Coalition shaken

Disputes over the agreement between Slovenia and the Vatican on legal issues, and proposed staffing changes at one of the largest state-held enterprises, Telecom, shook the governing coalition this week.

At the end of last week, parliament passed an outline for the continuation of negotiations on the agreement with the Vatican over the objections of MPs of the United List of Social Democrats (ZLSD). The party opposes special privileges for the Catholic Church and was unsatisfied with the outline, though a compromise was reportedly almost reached before the final vote. The ZLSD has already had several disagreements with its coalition partners just four months after the coalition was formed.

Trouble was also stirred up with the SLS+SKD Slovene People's Party when parliament replaced Marjan Podobnik (formerly a leader of the SLS+SKD) with former head of Adria Airways Peter Grašek as the head of Telekom on Wednesday. The move was prompted by Minister of the Information Society Pavel Gantar, who felt that it was necessary to further liberalize the telecommunications market.

SLS+SKD MPs were outraged, saying that the move violates the coalition agreement. At the close of the session, SLS+SKD leader France But said that he would not lead the party out of the coalition, but that should the party organs decide to leave, he would respect their decision.

Should either the ZLSD or the SLS+SKD leave the coalition, the government would be placed in a dangerous position. When the governing coalition collapsed in April 2000, the country was without a government for almost three full months and the EU membership bid was nearly derailed.


And in other news

  • The rock band Siddharta released the first single, B Mašina, from its forthcoming album on 20 April. The new album, Nord., is set to be released on 9 May. A national tour will begin on 17 May, with a charity concert for UNICEF. The group's first album, ID, was one of the most successful of 1999 and had a strong showing at the 2000 Zlate Peteline music awards.
  • Danis Tanovič's Nikogaršnja Zemlja (No-Man's Land), is set to premier at Cannes. The film is a major international production, with participation by France, Belgium, Slovenia, the UK and Italy. Set in Bosnia in 1993, the film's plot focuses on three soldiers caught in a no-man's land between the Bosnian Muslim and Serb zones.
  • The second meeting of the Preparatory Committee for the Symposium on the Literature in the Prekmurje Dialect met this week in Murska Sobota. The Prekmurje dialect is among the most developed of the more than 20 dialects of Slovene, and has functioned as a "mini" literary language, with its own separate lexicon and corpus of texts. The Symposium is scheduled for December 2002. The next meeting of the Preparatory Committee is scheduled for June.

Brian J Požun, 20 April 2001

Moving on:


Slovenia Business Week


Christopher Orlet
60 Years after the Jedwabne Pogrom

Ljubco Georgievski, Prime Minister of Macedonia

The Carpathians

Suzie Holt
Overview of the Region

Facts and Figures

Jaroslav Štika
What the Flock?

Brian J Požun
Warhol Nation

Andreas Beckmann
Tracking Wolves

Antonín Buček
National Parks

Andreas Beckmann
Public vs Private Forests

Tony Snape
Managing Resources

Andreas Beckmann
The Wolf as a Marker

Suzie Holt
Ecoregion Initiative

Wojtek Kość
Powerless Euroregion

Andreas Beckmann
Big Bad Wolf?

Suzie Holt
Carpathian Conference

Andrew James Horton
Jerzy Hoffman and Ogniem i mieczem

Wojtek Kość
Filip Bajon's Przedwiośnie

James Partridge
Sergei Paradzhanov's Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors

Book Review:
David Graber
Fears and Symbols by Elemér Hankiss

Štěpán Kotrba
Sow and Reap

Brian J Požun
Shedding the Balkan Skin

Martin D Brown
Czech Historical Amnesia

Dejan Anastasijević (ed)
Out of Time

Gusztáv Kosztolányi
Hungarian Oil Scandal

Sam Vaknin
After the Rain

Czech Republic

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