Batting for Hungarian Homophobe, Marshal Twito Imperils Slovenian EU Presidency

Janez Janša saw the 30th anniversary of Slovenian independence as something of a personal milestone. He is the only senior figure of the 1991 independence struggle who is still in public service. Everyone else is either retired, dead or in prison. It was to be a joyous occasion, crowned a few days later by Muddy Hollows taking over EU Council presidency.

Marshal Twito falsely accusing Delo's Brussels correspondent of lying.
Janez Janša falsely accusing Delo’s Brussels correspondent of lying

Instead, the Glorious Leader spent the anniversary week doing some light LGBT-bashing on the EU stage. With this, he was paying fealty to his Lord Protectór and then denied all of it, only to be, well, outed by none other than Luxembourg PM Xavier Bettel. Awkward.

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A Blessing In Disguise

The faces were long and the statements short in Muddy Hollows on Friday, after the top EU court nixed the Slovenian motion to find Croatia is breaking EU legislation by refusing to enact the arbitration award in the border dispute between the two countries.

Top EU court nixes Slovenia over jurisdiction to force Croatia to implement the arbitration award but tells both countries to get their respective acts together
Slovenian flag in front of the EU Court of Justice (source)

As both readers know, an arbitration tribunal ruled on border demarcation between the two countries in mid-2017 in an award that went largely in Slovenia’s favour, but Croatia refused to acknowledge the result claiming that the process had been irreparably tainted.

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Keeping The Eye On The Ball

Pengovsky was about to write up the fifth (and possibly last) installment of the Clearly, No-one Was Thinking series, when Angelika Mlinar was somewhat unexpectedly not green-lighted as minister for EU cohesion funds by the relevant parliamentary committees.

Angelika Mlinar during her committee hearing (source: Matija Sušnik/Nat’l Assembly)

The one thing that stood out as a sore thumb was the fact that it was not her credentials that were debated but rather her national loyalties. In fact, what we witnessed in the committee hearing on Tuesday was a mix of latent nationalism and sexism, with some internal party strife to boot.

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The Hulk, Dead In A Ditch

When Jean-Claude Juncker seemingly insulted Theresa May, by allegedly stating she was nebulous (which he didn’t), she made a beeline for Juncker, confronted him right there and then, and settled the issue.

Xavier Bettel empty-chairing Boris Johnson (source: The Independent)

When Xavier Bettel seemingly insulted Boris Johnson yesterday, by refusing to move a press conference to a more tranquil setting, BoJo made a beeline for the exit, not once looking back.

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Karl Erjavec And The Dunning-Kruger Effect

Pengovsky didn’t write up the fan-hitting-shit-storm that is Ukraine and the Russian muscle-flexing/military intervention mostly because there’s little I can tell you that transcends a Tom Clancy novel. Indeed, the situation went from bad to worse in a matter of days suggesting Moscow executed a well thought-out plan that caught the west more or less with its pants down. Come ti think of it, it sounds very much like a Tom Clancy novel.

SuperKarl to the rescue

But what I can tell you is that Ukraine today is not Bosnia. It is not even Georgia. In fact, it is not even Kosovo although one might reasonably expect Moscow to invoke some perversion of the “Kosovo argument“, i.e. “people should be free to decide in which country they want to live”. Again, the way Russian military occupied key installations in Crimea did bear some similarities to their dash for Priština airport (off-topic: singer James Blunt apparently prevented outbreak of WWIII in Kosovo in 1999). But earlier today Slovenian foreign minister Karl Erjavec stunned the international community Slovenia by suggestion this sorry little excuse for a country could act as an intermediary between Moscow and the EU, supposedly because of our good relations with the Russkies.

Now, that Russians kind of like Slovenia is more or less true. Seeing themselves as Slavic mother-nation, the Russians apparently do have a soft spot for Slovenians, the Western-most Slavic nation. But thinking this goes beyond a tap-on-the-back and yes-we’ll-come-for-vacations is just plain stupid. In fact, this coming from Karl Erjavec, the very same politician who couldn’t be bothered to find a candidate for minister of health for three months is simply preposterous.

The Ukrainian clusterfuck did not come out of the blue. As this piece by The Indepentent shows, there’s a lot of history behind it. And history is also what needs to be taken into account when reading reactions by some other European nations. Poland and Russia, for example, have so much history and bad blood between them that Warsaw must be more than just slightly edgy. A muted Polish response is, therefore, understandable. Finland, too, has historical reasons to feel nervous at the prospect of a belligerent Russia. Latvia, on the other hand, decided to call spade a spade, but mostly for the same reasons. Estonia, for example, experienced Russian wrath fairly recently and their no-nonsese position makes sense, as well.

As for Slovenia, well, our latest contribution to Russo-Slovenian relations was President Borut Pahor waving the flag at the Sochi Olympics and feeling bummed at the prospect of having to ice-skate for ten hours (he promised to do an hour for every goal Slovenian hockey players score in Sochi). He skipped the opening ceremony, though, supposedly on account of the ice-storm that hit Slovenia about that time. Point being that short of an occasional tete-a-tete, the scope of political relations with the Russian Federation is, well, lacking. Unexceptional, at best. In fact, the President has yet to comment on the situation in the Ukraine. So does the office of the Prime Minister. Even the ministry of Foreign Affairs, which admittedly has been keeping a close eye on the situation for some tine now, did not go beyond “everyone should respect territorial integrity of Ukraine” clause.

And yet, here we are, with the foreign minister thinking he can find a solution, if only people were willing to listen. In fact, what we have here is a clear demonstration of the Dunning-Kruger Effect. The less you know, the more you think you’ve got thing under control. And let’s be honest, Erjavec passes as minister of foreign affairs only as long as he reads off the script. Which is what he was doing most of the time since he landed the job under the Janša 2.0 administration.

But now, he suddenly got ideas. And is making an utter fool of himself and of his country, all on account of cheap PR stunts which add to his airtime but take away what little standing this country has left internationally. What the fuck did he expect? That Obama and Merkel will rush to a conference-call with him, to coordinate their next move? And what is this shit about Ljubljana being a go-between between Brussels and Moscow? Did Slovenia leave the EU and pengovsky didn’t get the memo?

I mean, the only thing more stupid than Erjavec’s little PR stunt are attempts by local EPP outposts to paint Vlad Putin as a rabid left-winger and then draw parallels between him and Slovenian left-wing (as sorry as it is). That, too, is nothing more than the inability of the unskilled to recognize their ineptitude.