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Interview for Radio Fantasy

Celje, 06/20/2007  |  interview

Dr Janez Drnovšek, President of Slovenia, in an interview on the Radio Fantasy radio station with host Vladimira Skalar.

Broadcast: 20 June 2007 at 1.30 PM

Talk show host: Good day to Slovenia’s President Dr Janez Drnovšek and welcome to the Radio Fantasy studio in Celje.

Dr Janez Drnovšek: Good day.

You came to Celje today at the invitation of the Mayor of Celje?

Dr Janez Drnovšek: Yes. I think it is important for me to come to Celje once in a while. After all, I was born in Celje.

Yes, that is true. A pleasant nostalgia. Something that keeps you attached to Celje. However, since we are discussing current topics, could you share with us the agenda of your meeting with the Mayor today?

Dr Janez Drnovšek: Well ...

We are very interested ... the residents of Celje, that is.

Dr Janez Drnovšek: Really?

Yes, of course.

Dr Janez Drnovšek: The mayor brought me up to date on what he has been doing, in the sense of the projects that are going on. I like the fact that both he and the city of Celje devote a lot of attention to environmental protection. So we talked about the treatment plants and the new project of waste collection and incineration, which is very advanced and the first of its kind in Slovenia. I am very pleased about that. Celje used to be quite polluted, but today it is different, and this is of key importance.

Our development progress is, in fact, very rapid. It has been said that Celje is one of the most rapidly developing cities. This can usually also be attributed to a certain person, a certain leader, or mainly because of him or her.

Dr Janez Drnovšek: I think it is quite important what the person on top is like. If I were to use terminology from some of my books, I would say it is about whether such a person has good or bad energy. This can then have substantial impact on everyone else and on other activity, and can cause more good or more bad things to happen. If the person on top is bad, then many bad things can happen. By bad I mean a person who has bad energy, in character.

Can you immediately sense this energy, the person, I mean?

Dr Janez Drnovšek: Yes, yes. Now I can, very accurately and immediately.

Then Radio Fantasy would be quite a good energy, right?

Dr Janez Drnovšek: Yes, obviously, given that I am here again.

Slovenia’s President, Dr Janez Drnovšek, is joining us today in the studio of Radio Fantasy. Some minutes past noon in our afternoon programme, after his successful visit with the Mayor of Celje. Did you also discuss the future? Well, yes, you certainly discussed the plants, but what about the fact that Mayor Bojan Šrot decided to stand as a candidate for the president of the People’s Party (SLS)? Did he mention that to you?

Dr Janez Drnovšek: Yes, of course he mentioned it. And we also exchanged a few words on the topic. After all, I have long been following our political scene, so he was also interested in my opinion. I find this a good solution. This party can be a solid party in Slovenia’s future development. Of course, it always depends on the leadership, as I have mentioned before.

Given that the future of the state and its political and economic links have recently been discussed and written about a lot, as you know, there is a very strong, one could say, economic block being created on one side, including with the Šrot brothers, and a breakthrough into the very top level of politics can also be a successful economic action or privatisation.

Dr Janez Drnovšek: Look, these things can be viewed from two aspects, or they can have two different impacts. A similar question is raised, for example, about the Liberal Democrats (LDS), where now certain economic operators are joining the party, so some say that capital is taking over the party or politics. Such associations between politics and capital are very common in the world, but if capital becomes the one thing that leads in line with its profit-making interests, then this is often not good for citizens, because it can then follow some of its vested interests, which are different. This is very much true in large Western countries. In many places, particularly in the largest country. However, things may also be somewhat different. I have always believed that we certainly need economists. As we need successful companies, we need successful business economists. And if these economists have a relatively high level of conscience, without limiting themselves merely to the logic of profit but also showing interest in the fate of their country, fellow countrymen, city and the environment, it might be the thing we need. It would be the right association.

Well, Mr. President, who will teach them that?

Dr Janez Drnovšek: Well...

... what concerns the common benefit? As you have already mentioned, business economists are rarely able to see beyond their economic interests or profits.

Dr Janez Drnovšek: I am glad that some of them are emerging from time to time. Who is going to teach them? I don't know. I am making efforts. I am doing whatever is possible in this sense, and I consider it very important. One can, nevertheless, not say: "Everything that stands for capital or entrepreneurship is bad." Because we need it. Therefore, we need good business economists. Economists with a certain degree of consciousness. It is right to arouse this consciousness in them or that they should develop it by themselves. It is then something that may last in the long term and prove beneficial to both companies and citizens.

Is this consciousness not also a result of the same kind of communication that has been established today, as you said to Mr. Kangler on June 8?

Dr Janez Drnovšek: Yes, indeed.

Is this an initiative launched by the politicians?

Dr Janez Drnovšek: True. In this case it appears to me to be of mutual interest under the circumstances. For instance, I will also meet with Ljubljana's Mayor Janković, who is a former entrepreneur, if I may say so. And I think that he, too, probably moved away from his former views or methods of action. I think that his views are now positive in many aspects and that he also acts in this manner. I support this line of action in Slovenia. We need it. And we also need business economists of this kind. In my opinion, some people have now become involved because they consider the actual political situation in Slovenia very bad and that, in the end, it will have negative consequences for all of us if such circumstances continue. Including for the economic sector, for companies. I also believe that, in some way, a different situation needs to be created, maybe also, as I would call it, politics based on different, more stable values, not only on the struggle for power, who will gain power, instruments of power, and who will be able to secure it. In the current situation, the existing politics channel all energies precisely into this objective: how to win and then stay in power. Virtually at any price. Which pushes all other interests of citizens and of the environment into the background.

Does this experience not mean that you should run for president once more? Do you not think that the situation should now stay the right course?

Dr Janez Drnovšek: You think so?

Yes, it is what we are talking about.

Dr Janez Drnovšek: I have been president for a long time.

Yes, but it is precisely that...

Dr Janez Drnovšek: Well...

... a certain balance of one trend and the other, and maybe these emerging new politicians, or, let us say, what you pay some attention to, are indicative of the fact that they may be the right ones, but need the right partner.

Dr Janez Drnovšek: I can still be their partner. I do not think that I have to be the president.

And what about the instruments we talked about?

Dr Janez Drnovšek: In our country, the president does not have many instruments at his disposal. Unlike the Government.

But now you already know that the moral aspect...

Dr Janez Drnovšek: ... well, yes...

... plays an important role...

Dr Janez Drnovšek: ... but I can also act without my function as president. This is not necessary for that purpose. For example, the books I write do not require the function of president at all. I'd rather say it is more an obstacle than a necessity.

Yes, indeed. But this is already a dimension you are going to deal with, discover and upgrade later. However, this is the area that we are now talking about and that is required by the citizens of the Republic of Slovenia after all.

Dr Janez Drnovšek: I think that we need a new spiritual approach to life, values, something solid. As the general situation is bad, there is a void, and the entire area is laden with negative elements. Thus, it may be dealt with only by becoming better human beings and by individuals contributing more positive elements to this environment and politics for their mutual benefit. Not only bad things, as it is the case now.


Maybe your final comments about the letter: we are speaking, of course, about the actual government, developments in Slovenia's political environment which, in one way or another, always tilt to either side, and now and then are swept by some strong winds. The Slovenian environment is indeed very small, particularly the political one. Have you read Andrijana Starina Kosem's letter, which has become public?

Dr Janez Drnovšek: I know something about it. I haven't read it. I know what I've been told.

Do you think that the whole thing has been deliberately set up? That letters are made public in order to destabilize the situation?

Dr Janez Drnovšek: Right now I would not want to make any evaluations in this respect, not even in this actual case. I know that there are many irregularities. I have been calling attention to them and I have also warned that many people are intimidated, so they do not talk about the things that are happening to them because they fear losing their jobs or other things, and in this respect I believe it is right that those who know about these things should speak about them in public and say what is going on. Because the worst thing is to live in an atmosphere where people do not dare to say what they know and what they know is wrong and should be said. I say, I do not know, I mean, I would not deliberate much on this actual case. In general I expect that much more will come into the open.

But for example, the data that are leaking from SOVA probably give us, at least ordinary citizens, a somewhat unpleasant feeling that the people who carry out their tasks and assignments or those who manage the state are fowarding certain information that is in fact important for the state.

Dr Janez Drnovšek: Of course they have an unpleasant feeling. I have it as well. And those who started searcing for data in SOVA, if I may say so, to compromise somebone – as I said then that they were evidently also looking for something with which to compromise me – they evidently launched an avalanche. And things got out of control. I do not know what exactly is going on there now. I know that it is bad, however, and that it is bad that the Government let it start at all. Before that, this institution used to work relatively well in spite of everything.

For the benefit of the country.

Dr Janez Drnovšek: That is so.

Well, and we are now at the point where we talked about the leading men and women being in fact those who act for the benefit of the country. And who will teach them not to act rashly or not to fail when faced with such challenges as, for example, the leaking of data from SOVA and playing one off against the other with data which in the final analysis harms the country itself and its reputation?

Dr Janez Drnovšek: People must be like this themselves, you know. Who will teach them? A bad person cannot be taught much. The important thing is what the essence of the person is, what his or her character is like. The right person will not do anything like this, regardless of whether he or she is still employed with such an institution or not. He or she knows that harm will be done if he or she says something. This is simply not done and should not be done. But the people who are at an inferior level of, say, spirituality, morals, devoid of values, evidently do it. Moreover, for different reasons they want to find favour with someone or expect certain benefits from such actions or similar. I don't know. But this is very bad. However, such is the nature of people. People are of all kinds.

So, how could the situation in which we find ourselves be brought under control?

Dr Janez Drnovšek: Well, brought under control. It is questionable whether it could be brought under control at all. Once it happens, it goes on and on, and in the end, until everything is cleaned up, and there is obviously some damage ... However, I expect and hope here that they will clean up what is necessary to be cleaned up… all that is bad in these institutions and in this policy.

Are you not afraid of the consequences? SOVA is about to release information which is actually some fourth consolidated report on eavesdropping during the time you were Prime Minister.

Dr Janez Drnovšek: I know nothing about it. If I were afraid, this would be illegal and against the law, and it was always made clear that this is something nobody should do. This is perfectly clear.

Slovenia's EU presidency in 2008 is drawing closer and all these political games... This is also a very, very bad reference and starting point, isn't it?

Dr Janez Drnovšek: Absolutely. What has been going on in Slovenia for the last few months is extremely bad for its international status and reputation. We have been building this reputation for fifteen years from the very beginning, when Slovenia became a new country that at first no one took seriously or knew about. Then Slovenia became a distinguished and developed nation, which gained a good international political reputation. But now all this is being destroyed and lost, and there certainly is some damage.


Today's guest at Radio Fantasy is Slovenia's President Dr Janez Drnovšek. We have already talked a lot about current affairs ... You have written your third book. It will be available to Slovenia's readers in fourteen days. Tell us what message the third book conveys?

Dr Janez Drnovšek: Yes, it is true. I worked hard and wrote another book.


Dr Janez Drnovšek: The title of the book is Dialogues. The book is written in the form of conversations between someone who is interested in finding out more about the wisdoms of life, truths, who is asking questions and his wiser counterpart is answering back. I believe that such an approach is more interesting and dynamic for the reader. Further, I deal with some of the fundamental questions of human existence, the meaning of human life and destiny. It seems to me that some of the questions and answers sometimes take very interesting and surprising turns, which will perhaps surprise some readers. In any case, this is a book from the field of spirituality and deals with spirituality. Perhaps it goes even deeper than the previous two books. Personally, I like the third book most.

Since you say that the book Dialogues is the closest to you, do you ever find yourself rereading your previous two books Thoughts of Life and Awareness and The Essence of the World?

Dr Janez Drnovšek: Of course I have dealt quite a lot with both of them. I prepared a new, second edition of Thoughts on Life and Awareness, which has already been published, and which has been amended and supplemented... There is much new in this one. It was released approximately one month ago because the first edition had sold out, and now this second edition is available on the market and I have ugraded it quite a bit. Originally, however, I started to prepare it for international publication. The same goes for the The Essence of the World. The latter I supplemented in the same manner and both have been translated into English. The Croatian edition of The Essence of the World is, for example, already this new, updated version. Thoughts will be published in several countries. In Croatia, the book is quite a bestseller and in Bosnia and Herzegovina both books have been published as well. Shortly, they will also be published in Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Macedonia and Italy. A translation into Chinese is being worked on, and soon the book will be published in China as well. An American edition is also being prepared.

It is a great compliment to the author if the book has sold out and a reprint is needed, but of course this also means more work for you.

Dr Janez Drnovšek: Well, it wasn't really necessary to work on it, but I came upon a few more ideas and elaborated them further. I believe that I have now expressed them better than I did the first time. Thus I later supplemented the first edition of Thougths. I believe that it has been supplemented with considerable quality. Of course, much work was invested in these books, all the time. And many editions after all. If I think of all these foreign editions, the domestic ones are more than one now ... And it all began just a year ago. Thoughts on Life and Awareness was published for the first time just a year ago.

And of course the reprint and so many countries. People need positive messages.

DrJanez Drnovšek: Yes, very much so. I think that people in general are very much in need of positive energy. They need something good because the world around us is clearly bad. There is so much negative energy in the world, we are surrounded by it day by day, we are constantly exposed to it… Events in our lives, in politics, media, or our relationships, all that is often much more negative than it should be, and therefore we need something positive. Positive energy is urgently needed. In my view, there is an urgent need for positive energy, and it is not only Slovenes but this entire civilisation that are urgently in need of positive energy.

We have… Yes?

Dr Janez Drnovšek: What I try to give people, also in my books, are certain universal, absolute truths that have always existed and which can also be found in the main religions and perhaps in major thinkers of the past. I try to present these truths in such form as to make them accessible to people. They are rather simply formulated so that everyone can understand them. This is not language addressing a so-called spiritual elite, which, to me, is not an elite at all. It does not involve expert jargon that is difficult to understand for people, who would then choose not to read them. The books are meant for people to use in their everyday lives to try to see what changes they can make in order to improve their lives; this seems to be one of the reasons for the success of the books, which so many people have bought and read.

Today's guest at Radio Fantasy is Dr Janez Drnovšek. This is a live talk-show. We've received quite a few questions from our listeners. Of course, we've selected only several of them, as we do not have much time available. Our time is limited. If it weren’t, we could go on talking about topical issues the whole afternoon. Well, a female listener requested that we ask you how you bake bread.

Dr Janez Drnovšek: There's nothing so special about it. I think there are many listeners who are very good at it and I have no intention to, how would I put it, compete in some championship for baking the best bread. My purpose is to make bread the way I like it and for my own use. But it's a good thing, and in my view it does no harm to anyone to make one's own bread from time to time.

Do you always make your bread by yourself, do you have some ritual, let's say, you bake bread on Thursdays for the weekend, or something of that sort?

Dr Janez Drnovšek: Well, I do it when there's a need for it. There's nothing fixed about it... I do it when I need it.

And when do you have the time for writing? What time do you choose? Do you portion out the time for writing, say, to write in the evening, or do you get up early in the morning?

Dr Janez Drnovšek: I don’t do any portioning out. I do it as the need may be, as it evolves by itself. Usually I write in the evening but sometimes, driven by momentum, also in the morning. Briefly, when there's time for it. And at weekends. I've always written a lot during weekends.

Do you know how to take time for yourself? Do you adjust things to yourself? You are now an experienced politician...

Dr Janez Drnovšek: The question is what "for me" means, which time is the time for me. After all, all time is the time for me. Everything I do… I don't write books because I have to, as if someone told me to do so. I simply felt it would be good to write certain things and so I write and by doing so I also work for myself… What I do in politics… well, there were quite some things I felt were somehow, well, outworn. I used to do things because that was the way things were done. But now I do only what I feel is meaningful.

Dr Drnovšek, we thank you for taking the time to come to Radio Fantasy today. We are always pleased to have you here. And thank you for your concrete answers to the questions we have asked and also for this last, more pleasant part, which our listeners like so much. As for the rest, Dialogues is almost out, and we invite our listeners to read this third book, or rather, to expect it, as it is just about to be released.

Dr Janez Drnovšek: That is so, indeed. Thank you. Thank you for the pleasant talk we've had and best regards to all your listeners.