Someone please tell prime minister Janez Janša to stop writing letters. Every time he writes one he sets himself up for a fuck-up of epic (epidemic?) proportions. This time is no different. Last weekend, Janša co-authored a sharply-worded letter to European Commission and EU Council presidents. Therein he joined PMs of Austria, Czech Republic, Croatia, Latvia and Bulgaria in complaining about delivery of Covid-19 vaccine doses, basically accusing Brussels of lack of solidarity.
Fast forward a couple of days and PM Janša finds himself bitch-slapped by the European Commission, thrown under the bus by Viktor Órban, and in serious trouble at home for skipping on buying available vaccine doses. As a result the Glorious Leader had to change his story as he went along, walk-back his statements and side-step accusations to the point of reaching his daily 10,000 steps and 500 calories many times over.
The clusterfuck that followed was such that it even dwarfed Marshal Twito’s other letter of the week. There, he assured the faithful that The Party will no longer tolerate dissent among coalition MPs. Small constitutional details, such as Article 82, expressly stating that deputies cannot be bound by instructions presumably don’t matter in the illiberal democracy Janša style.
Be that as it may, the first sign of trouble came literally within hours after the ill-fated letter to Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel was sent. In a written statement, the European Commission responded that they have proposed a strict proportional (pro rata) allotment of vaccines. They also noted dryly that it was member states themselves who opted for a more variable approach.
To put it less gently, and judging by the Twitter timeline, it took the commission just over three hours, and on a Saturday, to tell the Sulking Six to go fuck a beehive.
In and by itself, the episode was embarrassing, to say the least. As far as the Glorious Leader is concerned it continued his streak of misfires on the European stage. Not to mention that Muddy Hollows is about to take over the EU presidency. Seeing its PM trying to pick a fight over and over, and consistently losing before the wrestle even begins, is not a good look.
And it got worse.
Órban throws Janša under the bus
Later that day, Politico.eu, the outlet Marshal Twito bad-mouthed a month ago, ran a story on how some countries, including Slovenia, didn’t buy extra doses of the Moderna vaccine. Back then, Janša denied knowing anything about it. He got away with it as Politico was apparently unable to corroborate the Slovenian part of the story.
But no, the story is confirmed and shows the PM was not on top of things with regard to vaccine procurement, at best. At worst, he was outright lying from the get go.
Worse still, the leak that threw Janša under the bus came from the Hungarian government. Apparently, Viktor Órban was at pains to explain why his administration passed on more Moderna vaccine. Orban’s government used the leaked charts to explain the doses in question would have arrived too late. If that meant dropping a shit-bomb on Marshal Twito, so be it. One would almost think that the Hungarian Lord Protector and Saviour considers loyalty a one-way street.
So the entire Brussels-fucked-us-over narrative Janša, Kurz (AUT), Borisov (BUL), Plenković (CRO), Babiš (CZE) and Karinš (LAT) were trying to build, fell apart like badly assembled Ikea furniture. By the time the Sulking Six held a press conference where they were supposed to make a stand, the entire operation had gone completely tits up.
As far as Muddy Hollows was concerned, the Glorious Leader was forced to completely walk back his Brussels bashing and admitted that a) he no longer likes the vaccine distribution deal he agreed to in 2020, and b) that member states, not Brussels, are the problem, at least as far as (un)equal access to vaccines is concerned.
It was cringe-worthy, to say the least. No wonder Plenković and Karinš had the good sense to skip the Vienna presser.
Half a million doses, gone
However, Janša’s newfound love for proportional vaccine distribution and his anti-Brussels rage may well have had a purpose. Perhaps Marshal Twito was trying to get ahead of the story that broke the day.
Namely, it turned out that his government didn’t jut pass on a few tens of thousands of doses of the Moderna vaccine. It also skipped on half a million of Pfeizer/Biontech stuff, available for order in mid-December that would have been delivered about now.
Half a mil. Let that sink in.
Things got really fucktangular really fast from that point on and once again proved that – contrary to the public image he tries to project – the Glorious Leader doesn’t really do well under pressure.
First, the ministry of health tried to explain its December move, hinting it banked heavily on Astra Zeneca. Then it walked that back by saying that Muddy Hollows has all the vaccines it needs. Soon after, Janša slammed Astra Zeneca for coming up short on vaccine deliveries. And finally he remembered that it was all his predecessor’s fault. The PM’s story was all over the place.
Because, you see, until a couple of weeks ago, Janša served as interim minister of health as well.
Crucially, this skipping of buy-ins was happening in mid-December. Around that time, Karl Erjavec was re-appointed DeSUS chief and promptly quit the Janša coalition. This in turn meant that health minister Tomaž Gantar resigned his post just a day or so after the deadline for optional Pfeizer/Biontech vaccine buy-in expired.
Janša and his minions are exploiting this factoid to the hilt. They maintain that if anyone is to blame Tomaž Gantar is to blame. And since the attempt to blame the EU failed someone does need to be blamed. Even more, Janša went to great lengths to reiterate as interim minister, he ordered every option to secure more doses be taken.
This, of course, has merit. Health was Gantar’s portfolio and it is safe to say that as minister, he under-performed. Again.
Obfuscate, deflect and divert
However, this was the same health minister whom PM Janša quarreled with, either directly or via proxy, for the duration of Gantar’s stay in the administration. Not to mention the fact that a couple of weeks before minister’s resignation, Janša refused his request to replace his second-in-command.
You see, it is generally considered a minister’s prerogative to pick theirown team, including state secretaries. But when Gantar wanted to replace Tina Bergant with someone else, Janša refused to put the new guy’s nomination on the government agenda. Thus the PM protected the state secretary over the minister. Sure enough, when Gantar left and Janša took over as interim minister, he re-hired Bergant immediately.
And finally, merely a day prior to his resignation, Gantar signed a contract for delivery of half a million antigen rapid Covid-19 infection tests. Unsurprisingly, these were supplied by a dodgy firm owned by a bunch crypto-bullshit peddlers with connections to The Party.
Point being, that a) Gantar did know how sign the contracts he was expected to sign, and b) the Glorious Leader was heavily involved in the daily operations of the health ministry. This makes him at least objectively responsible, if not outright culpable for the Pfeizer/Biontech and Moderna fuck-ups.
No wonder he’s working overtime, trying to put a daylight between himself and the story. Which is why presumably he renewed his attacks on the Slovenian Press Agency today.
And failing that, he might even write another letter…