Michael Buble on renting a government jet
As PM Borut Pahor is trying to find his way out of the PR-minefield he wandered into by picking Dimitrij the Eternal as his aide (all the while reasuring everyone that everything is under control), The Prez inadvertantly sat on a firecracker of his own. Namely, it emerged that his office spent close to € 90.000 renting a jet for a two day trip to Bosnia-Herzegovina in mid-October. His office issued the statement saying that was the asking price and that there was little that could be done about it, considering the high level of the visit and the fact that the protocol demands that the President visit government of both entities as well as the federal government.
This week The Prez shot over to Checz Republic which is due to take over EU presidency on 1 January and spent additional € 30.000 on jet-rent, while the media compared that to € 15.000 PM Borut Pahor spent on his two day trip to Brussels. As a result, the Office of the President in a somewhat unprecedented move asked the Court of Audit to go over the procedure of rent-a-jet and the Office’s expenses in this matter. Apparently The Prez doesn’t want to be perceived as lavishly spending in the face of the recession.
Honestly, 120 k€ in a week seems a bit too much, but the last president who flew lightweight to Bosnia was Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski who was killed in a plane crash due to pilot error, bad equipment and even worse weather.
In the other hand, how come the PM spent € 15.000 on rent-a-jet when national carrier Adria Airways, operates a busy route from Ljubljana to Brussels, six times a day, seven days a week? If the PM wanted to set an example, he could have traveled business class on the 6.45 from Ljubljana International and still make the EU summit in plenty of time. Tickets start as low as € 700 on a weekday, even lower if you make it a weekend.
But I have the feeling that all this was actually leaked intentionally, with the sole aim of prepairing the public for the return of the attrociously expensive Falcon 2000EX which the Slovenian government under PM Tone Rop bought in 2003 with the deal being more or less negotiated in the fading moments of Janez Drnovšek’s premiership. At the time it was largely perceived as a misuse of public funds by an already over-pampered government.
Five years later, the government spending some 150 k€ in two months for air fares is perhaps betting that the public might look a little more favourably on the government having its own jet airplane instead of wasting more taxpayers’ money. Not that the plane doesn’t need maintaineance, but it could at least have its own callsign. Red Bull One?