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Interview given to POP TV for broadcast Tv Klub

Ljubljana, 01/28/2007  |  interview

The interview with the President of the Republic of Slovenia for the POP TV broadcast Tv Klub was conducted by journalist Alenka Mirt Iskra.

Published on: 28 January 2007

video iconInterview with the President of the Republic for POP TV (on POP TV server - in Slovenian language)

Alenka Mirt Iskra: Mr. President, your former political party, the LDS, has become the centre of interest again. Analysts have found a number of reasons why the party has sunk so low. What is your opinion; why has this happened to the LDS?

Dr Janez Drnovšek: In a way, political parties always have to regenerate, they have to be looking for answers to those questions that citizens put to themselves. This involves the problems that citizens have. Sometimes, but also very often, political parties forget this and start concentrating on themselves. Unfortunately, this is true of most parties. As a consequence, the true substance is then gone, there is no more impetus and no true persuasiveness or authenticity. This cycle must be broken. I sometimes say that people – in this case politicians – have to overcome their interests, their selfishness and start to see the interests of all the people, to see what these people really need. And they should do this openly and sincerely and not just to serve their electoral campaign or to impress the public. For a certain time, they may even be successful in doing so, but sooner or later people become aware of it. I think that at this moment almost the entire Slovenian world of politics has found itself in a crisis of lack of authenticity and sincerity.

Mirt Iskra: What would you, Mr. President, suggest to them; speaking about all political parties, how should they behave in order to be as stable as possible and maintain their internal coherence to the highest degree? Does anyone else of the liberal democrats come to consult with you? After all, over many years you were a member of them and their leader.

Dr Janez Drnovšek: As a president, I do not want to occupy myself with particular political parties. I also think that it would not be OK if I did so. I keep my distance towards all of them. But I can tell what I think. And this is valid for all political parties, too. It is in my interest that all political parties become as good as they can, that they function as seriously and honestly as possible; that they really work for the people and not focus only or primarily on the idea of how to get into power and how to keep it. And the greater part of their energy is expended precisely with a view of how to maintain power. This means taking an interest in different positions, situations and instruments of power, but also in the media. How to create the kind of public opinion that would ensure re-election. How to maintain and ensure, for instance, their influence on the economy. But people get nothing out of this and sooner or later they feel it. My recommendations apply to all political parties and my wish is that they be accepted to the highest degree.

Mirt Iskra: What do you think will happen to your former party? What, in your opinion, does the future hold for it ?

Dr Janez Drnovšek: I would not like to be a fortune-teller. If they manage to overcome their own selves and find something else, some other meaning, other substance, what people really need, then of course they have a future. In the opposite case, the future will escape them.

Mirt Iskra: You proposed Mr Mitja Gaspari as governor of the Bank of Slovenia. You wrote that you have trust in his work and his experience. He passed the electoral and mandate commission easily but can expect certain obstacles before the deputies in the National Assembly. He was denied support by some of the governing coalition parties owing especially to complications relating to the transmission of financial data to the ECB in Frankfurt. Some think that what is at stake is the defamation of the country, while others talk about a political intrigue against Mr Gaspari. How did you, Mr Drnovšek, follow the story and what is your opinion on it?

Dr Janez Drnovšek: I already stated my opinion and proposed Mr Gaspari as governor of the Bank of Slovenia because I know his professional career and because his contribution to the building of our financial system was enormous. Now, after the adoption of the Euro, it would really be strange to replace the governor who has played a key role in the process and after we have heard so much praise relating to the adoption of the Euro and to our financial system that he helped to create. In this light, some particular analysis which may or may not have been sent to Brussels cannot have any crucial role. I am convinced that according to what I have heard the analysis itself is not at all as some talked about it or as they wanted to portray it, but is entirely coherent and right. Finally, this was also confirmed by Mr Trichet, the President of the European Central Bank.

Mirt Iskra: Does this mean that what you have in mind refers to some allusions that have a political background ?

Dr Janez Drnovšek: I hope that this is not the case. However, I fear someone might think that Mr Gaspari was an overly independent governor of the Bank of Slovenia. For me, it is of course essential that the Bank of Slovenia remains an independent institution. I recently warned of a dangerous tendency where some people in this country think that they can subdue any of its institutions. The central bank of Slovenia is an important institution and its head must be an independent person.

Mirt Iskra: There is one more proposal you made to the National Assembly; you proposed Mr Franc Grad for the post of constitutional judge, although he did not apply for it. Deputies say that you act arbitrarily and that you do not hold consultations with them. For example, the head of the SDS deputy group, Mr Jože Tanko, said, and I quote: “It must not happen anymore that Indian priests are more important to the President than the heads of the parliamentary deputy groups”. How do you comment on this?

Dr Janez Drnovšek: It is the quality of the proposals I give that counts. Similar criticisms were made in the beginning when I proposed the candidate for the post of Ombudsman. In the end, the great majority of deputies approved the proposal because they recognized it as justified and good. The same is true of the proposal for the post of constitutional judge, Mr Franc Grad. I have already said that at present it would be difficult to find a more convincing candidate, i.e. a professional involved directly in the relevant domain who has the function of the Chair of Constitutional Law. I am convinced that this is a very good proposal.

Mirt Iskra: Mr President, exactly one year has passed since we last talked and when I inquired about your health. So, how have things been going, are you OK?

Dr Janez Drnovšek: Thank you. I feel very well. And you?

Mirt Iskra: I feel well too, thank you.

Dr Janez Drnovšek: I am pleased to hear it.

Mirt Iskra: Have you kept your way of life, which some years ago brought you well-being and peace? Do you still live by the principles that you somehow adopted at the time?

Dr Janez Drnovšek: I still live according to very sound principles, simply and modestly. I do not aggravate myself with things I do not need to, or with unnecessary burdens. And this is proving to be the right way. After all, I wrote about this in my books. I myself live by precisely the same principles as those from my books.

Mirt Iskra: Does it depend on your good health whether you would consider running again in the autumn elections or are the reasons somewhere else, and if so, where?

Dr Janez Drnovšek: It does not depend on this at all. If it did I would have immediately said that there were no reasons not to run for the presidency because my health is excellent. It could not be better.

Mirt Iskra: So, what does your consideration of a possible candidacy depend upon?

Dr Janez Drnovšek: First of all, I do not dwell on issues until I need to. Indeed, this is also one of those unnecessary burdens that we put on ourselves in our lives; we think a lot about what we will do, about future scenarios, whether we will become this or that, and then we become occupied by such thoughts. But I say that instead of living here and now, we live in our thoughts somewhere in the future and do not live fully now and here at all. Now, I am not doing this. Since they keep asking me the same question, and as this was also the case during my previous term of office, and I already know how this looks, I already said half a year ago that I did not intend to stand as candidate for president, hoping that I would be spared such questions. But unfortunately, they have begun to re-appear.

Mirt Iskra: But you know, Mister President, autumn is close, particularly regarding the global...

Dr Janez Drnovšek: Autumn is not that close, it is only January.

Mirt Iskra: But you can see what kind of January we have, extreme weather conditions...

Dr Janez Drnovšek: Now this is more interesting. I am much more concerned about this than the presidential candidacy, yes, climate change. Yes, indeed.

Mirt Iskra: What if we actually skip spring and summer owing to the climatic conditions and suddenly end up in autumn? This would probably indeed make you think about it.

Dr Janez Drnovšek: But there will the same number of months in-between. However, during this period we might also recognize that my warnings regarding the gravity of climate change are well substantiated and that action will be required. Certainly not only in Slovenia, but also elsewhere in the world, because Slovenia cannot do much about it alone. That is why my view and my actions regarding the issue of climate change are directed towards the world as a whole, as well as towards the issue of a more just arrangement of the world.

Mirt Iskra: So, we might say that at the moment these are topics in which you take the greatest interest. You occupy yourself with them a lot.

Dr Janez Drnovšek: Currently and always, this I can certainly affirm.

Mirt Iskra: Some people believe that your assessments of these catastrophic dimensions of climate change are exaggerated. How would you answer them here and now?

Dr Janez Drnovšek: Should we wait until it becomes evident that we have totally destroyed the climate and that there is nothing we can do about it, and admit afterwards, yes, this is true? Is it not better to act preventively? Climate change is accelerating, and I think anybody can see this with their own eyes. When we consider January with temperatures of plus 15 degrees almost the entire month long, instead of minus 15 degrees, whichwould have been normal, something is evidently quite wrong with the climate. And when we consider that we had August, which was almost colder than January, and that there are hurricanes in Europe, which we never had before. Or to be brief, a three-year long drought in Australia, or big rains and floods elsewhere, or melting icebergs in Antarctica. The Earth's equilibrium is collapsing. When one thing collapses, others start to collapse in a kind of a chain-reaction. The balance of nature is being destroyed because people are excessively polluting the climate, air, water and soil. This I actually find the key issue. What could be more important? We used to think that it would be our future generations who would get hit by these problems. But now it seems as though this will already be the case with our own generation, literally with our children. We are nearing the point where it will be impossible to restore the climate afterwards. This will not necessarily mean the end of the world, but the result will be a long agony, when things will get worse and worse, and when the weather extremes will get increasingly severe, and there will be more and more natural disasters, and the climate will become irreparable owing to our devastating conduct. I would point out that nobody in the world takes these issues seriously enough, at least not those who should. We could say that there is no "world leadership" in these matters and that the greatest nation in the world is interested in everything else but this. It cannot overcome the logic of profit-making because business is destroying the environment precisely because of profit. This is the key issue. The level of awareness in the EU is higher, but still not high enough. Unfortunately, the EU is not yet unified and firm enough, and consequently not influential enough in the world. Therefore, there is a lot to be done in this field. Those who wonder about why I am dealing with such issues and warn of them surprise me.

Mirt Iskra: Will you also devote the remainder of your term of office to actions? One thing, for example, is that you are making people aware of global changes. But will you take any concrete action, and will you do anything in this direction?

Dr Janez Drnovšek: I think that it is crucial to raise public awareness both in Slovenia and in the world. I am concerned with this, and this is why I write books dealing with these issues. My appearances, as well as my interviews and warnings are orientated towards them both in our country and abroad. I think that this is crucial because an individual person cannot do much about it through their own specific action. I myself have tried to help solve some environmental problems. However, these are individual cases and they are countless if we take a look anywhere around the world. This can only be resolved if we attain a critical mass of people in the world that will be sufficiently aware of what is going on in the world, and aware that there is indeed a need for action. It is of key importance that we raise public awareness and that we attain the critical mass worldwide. Only then will political circles hopefully start acting seriously in this direction and start taking proper measures. Even if they are painful and the profits of some people are consequently lower, we must not forget that it is nevertheless the very existence of humankind that is at stake.

Mirt Iskra: Mister President, thank you very much for this conversation.

Dr Janez Drnovšek: Thank you, too.