EU Council presidency: Janša's conciliatory inaugural address

Slovenia's Prime Minister Janez Janša has presented the agenda for his country's EU presidency to the EU Parliament. The battle against Covid and cyber attacks are top of the list along with advancing digitalisation and climate protection. Janša's speech was awaited with some trepidation due to his questionable views on democracy and climate change and his closeness to Viktor Orbán, but he avoided making any barbed comments. So is everyone friends again?

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Corriere della Sera (IT) /

The other face of Janez

This was a skillful performance aimed at taking the wind out of his opponents' sails, Corriere della Sera concludes:

“This time there were no tirades or attacks on the media and the judiciary; just an institutional profile and a standard speech. Union, post-Covid recovery, fundamental rights, rule of law, expansion to the Western Balkans. All while preserving 'respect for differences'. Janez Janša, a friend of Viktor Orbán and fan of Donald Trump, left his provocative posturing in Ljubljana to play the national conservative leader and EPP member who believes in Europe and wants to 'build bridges' for the EU Parliament in Strasbourg.”

Večer (SI) /

No one believes he's a bridge builder

The parliamentary majority was clearly not taken in by the prime minister's toned-down performance, Večer is pleased to observe:

“From a distance his address seemed conciliatory. There was nothing to take issue with in what he was saying. But the majority of members of parliament were as merciless in their criticism of Janša as he himself is, for example on social media. Except that he shows no respect whatsoever. The main accusation levelled at Janša by the members of parliament was that he doesn't walk the talk. The MEPs demonstrated an admirable grasp of our political situation.”