Feb 16, 2009

Mainstreaming Extreme Nationalism in Slovenia

On February 16, 2009, Slovenian extreme nationalist NGO "Zavod 25. Junij" instituted procedure for annulment of parliamentary ratification of the international treaty enabling accession of Croatia to the NATO. According to the Slovenian constitution, a motion for referendum can be instituted by 2500 voters. Slovenian prime minister Borut Pahor cautined Slovenian citizens against such a move. Too little too late.

Slovenian government paved the ground to this move in December 2008 by having blocked Croatian EU membership negotiation talks for territorial claims on Croatian territorial waters in the Adriatic. While EU negotiation talks were blocked by the Slovenian Government, the extreme nationalists were taking notes. And, while the EU is striving to unblock the negotiations by devising a high profile mediation committee that is to propose a solution to the border dispute, Slovenian credibility irreparably melted down.

Today, we have satisfied ourselves that 2500 extreme nationalists can flush away any act of parliament, any treaty ratification or, indeed, any negotiated settlement. In circumstances where Slovenian Government can not live up to its own 2/3 majority ratification, every negotiated settlement with Croatia that falls short of nationalists' expectations is likely to be challenged by a national referendum subject to 2500 votes.

Former prime minister of Slovenia Mr. Janša and the present prime minister Mr. Pahor deliberately drove the NATO accession ratification process into the time constraint and blocked the EU accession talks over the territorial avarice. In effect, they invited the extreme nationalists to follow the suit. In such circumstances, Croatia does not have a credible partner to strike the deal with and will have to live with this knowledge. Croatia's EU and NATO membership will be delayed. That is, however, the less dramatic point.

The bad news is that extreme nationalism in Slovenia is unleashed. Nationalists are now asking the Parliament to enact their platform and endorse their views. Some of the maximalist territorial claims are already mainstreamed by Slovenian government (see the official Slovenian map of Piran). EU and NATO will also have to live with it.

Slovenian SOCIALIST government seems to be mainstreaming NATIONALIST claims. Be afraid, be very afraid!

According to Slovenian Constitution 40.000 votes are needed to call a referendum which can strike down legislation already passed. However, 2500 votes suffice to trigger a 35 day period within which 40.000 votes can be collected. This procedure is now on track. Slovenian parliament ratified the Treaty of Accession of Croatia to the NATO by 2/3 majority earlier this month.

1 comment:

Luka Jerinic said...

This reminds me of the Irish NO vote on Lisbon last June. Ignorant nationalists do it again. Combined with the ignorance of those who haven't read more than a few pages about the EU and still bother to vote on various EU related issues, a deadly potion is made. A French dentist once told me: "I voted no on the European constitution in 2005. cause nobody told me what it's all about."