Ljubljana related

12 Feb 2019, 18:22 PM

STA, 12 February 2019 - Slovenian MEPs belonging to the European People's Party (EPP) share the concerns over Sunday's WWII aftermath statements by European Parliament President Antonio Tajani, but all except New Slovenia's (NSi) Lojze Peterle accepted the Italian's apology. Foreign Minister Miro Cerar will meanwhile ask Tajani for additional explanations.

Related: Slovenian Officials Criticise Italian "Revisionism" Over Foibe Massacres

Democrats (SDS) MEPs Patricija Šulin, Romana Tomc in Milan Zver wrote they accepted Tajani's explanation that his statements at the ceremony commemorating ethnic Italians killed by Yugoslav Partisans after WWII should definitely not be understood as nationalistic.

Commenting on Tajani's call "Long live Trieste, long live the Italian Istria, long live the Italian Dalmatia", the trio referenced the response of SDS leader Janez Janša, who said that Istria is Italian to the same extent as the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region is Slovenian.

Focusing on the part of Tajani's statement that undermined Slovenia's and Croatia's territorial integrity, Tomc added for the STA that "such reckless statements introduce unnecessary disquiet, especially since this chapter of history between Italy and Slovenia is closed".

While Tajani said in his apology that he had merely wanted to convey a message of peace, Tomc expects additional explanations and an open conversation also at the level of the EPP.

Related: President Pahor & Speaker Židan Express Concern After Neo-Fascist Rally in Trieste (Video)

At the same time she condemned what she labelled "a very populist reaction" to Tajani's speech.

Franc Bogovič of the Slovenian People's Party (SLS) also said phrases like Italian Istria and Dalmatia were completely unacceptable, with the memory still being alive of the horrors of the Fascist regime in occupied territories in Slovenia and Croatia after WWI.

Bogovič, however, also accepted Tajani's apology, leaving Peterle, Slovenia's first prime minister, as the only one to reject it.

"Neither his speech nor his half-hearted apology can be seen as contributing to peace," Peterle wrote, arguing Tajani did not apologise for his words but for their interpretation.

The NSi joined calls for Tajani's resignation.

Cerar is also disappointed

Meanwhile, also unhappy with Tajani's apology is Slovenian Foreign Minister Miro Cerar, who wrote to Tajani to remind him that European institutions and the European Parliament president had the duty to protect European values and not encourage this type of discourse.

Cerar, who is the head of the ALDE-affiliated Modern Centre Party (SMC), said the apology fell short of what he and Slovenia expect and that "it is fair that this matter be clarified fully".

"While every apology is welcome, it needs to be very clear that it involves the recognition of a mistake and the pledge the mistake will not repeat," Cerar said.

In the letter, Cerar said Tajani's statements had not reflected the spirit of the EU or its founding values.

"On the contrary, your statements are taking us back to times when dangerous rhetoric was used in Europe to encourage hatred towards other nations and create tensions."

"Many of us understood your statements as a threat, which is why we expect a sincere apology. The explanation regarding the alleged misinterpretation of you statements unfortunately does not suffice, since the statements run contrary to the basic principles of European order as laid down in the Helsinki Final Act on security and cooperation in Europe," Cerar wrote.

Cerar expects the leaders of European institutions to clearly say no to revisionism, to incitement of intolerance and hatred among nations.

"The tragic events of our shared history should not be the subject of political reinterpretations," the foreign minister added.

Cerar forwarded to Tajani a copy of a 2000 report by a bilateral commission of historians who examined Slovenian-Italian relations in the 1880-1956 period.

No apology from Salvini

While Tajani issued what has been described as a non-apology, Italy's Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has doubled down on statements he made at the ceremony and later on Twitter.

He said he did not understand the reaction of Slovenian Prime Minister Marjan Šarec, who spoke of "unparalleled revisionism" and wrote that "Fascism was a fact and its goal was to destroy the Slovenian nation".

"I don't believe that a child killed by the hands of a Nazi is any different than a child killed by the hands of a communist," Salvini said on Monday evening for an Italian TV report.

18 Jan 2019, 10:13 AM

STA, 17 January 2019 - Members of the Slovenian community in Italy will be protesting against a neo-fascist rally planned in the border town of Gorizia on Saturday. The Slovene Union Party (SSk) has called on its members and like-minded people to take part in an antifascist rally planned for the same day.

The antifascists say it is inappropriate for the Gorizia city authorities to receive the fascist rally participants, X Mas and Casa Pound, which is what happened at a similar rally last year.

Related: President Pahor and Speaker Židan express concern after neo-fascist rally in Trieste (video)

 "Gorizia must not accept such a decision and such behaviour because the fascist regime and terror between the two wars and during World War II caused great hardship," the SSk said in a press release on Thursday.

"The wounds caused by the fascist regime to the Gorizia locals can still be seen today and it is high time that they heal at last."

This year, Gorizia Mayor Rodolfo Ziberna decided against receiving the fascist rally participants after this move caused an outcry in 2018.

Klemen Milavčič, the new mayor of the nearby Nova Gorica, underlined in a press release today that "such provocations are dangerous and must not be underestimated".

He called on the neighbours of his town to act prudently, to the benefit of the whole area and with modern European values in mind.

Vice-president of the coalition Social Democrats (SD) Matjaž Nemec responded in a video on Twitter, saying that "it is our task to preserve European values: mutual respect, cooperation and building a new and modern European future".

The people of Gorizia and Nova Gorica have always fought for and built a future together, a future based on shared European values and are an inspiration for the entire Europe and the EU, said Nemec.

22 Nov 2018, 19:00 PM

STA, 22 November 2018 - The Nazi-themed posters in Velenje that upset the public this summer were put up by a minor with no ties to any extremist groups, police investigation has shown. He faces charges for public incitement of hatred and intolerance.

During the investigation, police found out that the suspect had acted alone and that his motive was not related to extremist groups.

According to the Celje police department, the juvenile put up six posters with Nazi content around Velenje in June.

Earlier: Nazi posters appear in Velenje

The posters said "For Family, For Country, For the Race", with the final parole followed by a swastika. At the bottom was a link to Discord, an application specialising voice-over communication for gamers.

The paroles were written in Gothic script and the posters depicted a soldier wearing an iron cross, one of the main symbols of the Third Reich.

The incident triggered a strong reaction from the public as well as top political officials. The then Prime Minister Miro Cerar called for a "decisive NO to all forms of hate speech encouraging intolerance and hatred among people" and President Borut Pahor spoke of a "notorious violation of rules and the law."

The Celje police had the posters examined at the national forensic lab and searched the home of the suspect from Celje. They seized his computer, mobile phones and other electronic devices.

The evidence collected suggested, that he got the Nazi symbols from the internet and made the six controversial posters on his computer.

Related: Football fans, skinheads, neo-Nazis and militias – the far right in Slovenia

04 Nov 2018, 09:28 AM

STA, 3 November 2018 - President Borut Pahor held up peace and the persistent building of democracy as ways of countering fascism as he responded to a far right manifestation in Trieste on Saturday.

"In the previous century, three totalitarianisms left behind a terrible trail of suffering, including fascism, which they plan on reviving at the rally in Trieste today."

"We can counter them by persistently building democracy, which facilitates the freedom of speech and the expression of different beliefs but not the freedom of hatred," he wrote in a message on Twitter.

He warned that peace and democracy may not be taken for granted and are not passed down genetically, they are handed down with actions.

"We have the right to freedom, but that freedom is circumscribed with the freedom of others. Let us therefore act tolerantly and build harmony, within and among nations," he said.

In a separate tweet, Pahor said that he would expound on this issue at a speech marking the centenary of the end of WWI he plans to deliver at Žale Cemetery on Friday.

His statements come in reaction to a rally by the extremist CasaPound group in Trieste, which ostensibly marks the centenary of the end of WWI but is seen as a show of force of a resurgent extreme right.

A counter-rally was staged today by anti-fascist groups.

Other Slovenian officials, including Prime Minister Marjan Šarec and Speaker Dejan Židan, have expressed concern about the far-right rally.

Related: Ethnic Slovenes in Italy Concerned about Neo-Fascist Rally in Trieste, Saturday (Videos)

STA, 3 November 2018 - Parliamentary Speaker Dejan Židan expressed concern ahead of a rally by Italian far right group CasaPound in Trieste, arguing that the rise of neo-fascism risked undermining good cross-border cooperation.

"Fascism needs to be resisted - with tolerance, cooperation and courage. We have to be harbingers of cooperation and reject practices that had caused so much evil in Slovenia and Europe," he said in a video message posted on Twitter.

He said he was "concerned to see neo-fascists rallying, concerned about the lack of condemnation of neo-fascism, not least because this is not a phenomenon confined to a single country."

Židan's statement came ahead of a rally in Trieste that it seen as a showcase of resurgent far-right extremism in the country. The rally was condemned yesterday by Prime Minister Marjan Šarec.

Slovenian officials have been urged to reach by the Slovenian minority in Italy, which fears that the sentiment, though ostensibly targeted at unchecked migration, may end up being channelled against members of the minority.

02 Nov 2018, 16:00 PM

STA, 2 November 2018 - A neo-fascist rally scheduled to take place in Trieste, Italy on Saturday has raised concern in Slovenia, with fear being voiced in particular about the impact rising far-right sentiment will have on the Slovenian ethnic community living in the area.

Prime Minister Marjan Šarec described the rally by the far-right CasaPound as "salt on the never healed wounds of the Primorska Slovenians in the homeland and in the diaspora." "Fascism has always been evil incarnate, and it may not be supported!" he wrote on Twitter on Friday.

Tigr Primorske, an association dedicated to preserving the memory of a pre-WWII anti-fascist organisation called TIGR, has issued a call to President Borut Pahor to caution his Italian counterpart Sergio Mattarella about the possible instigation of hatred.

The Slovenian government, meanwhile, should let the Italian authorities and the EU know that the rally in Trieste "insults the emotions and the tradition of the resistance," thereby denying the very concept of post-war Europe, the organisation said in a press release on Friday.

The office of President Pahor said the president had already spoken up about some similar events in Italy, while also telling Mattarella during their last meeting that nationalist statements were being met with concern and opposition in Slovenia.

Mattarella will speak in Trieste on Sunday "and president Pahor expects that he will respond if needed," his office said.

Event celebrates “a crime and tragedy”

In a similar vein, the coalition Modern Centre Party (SMC) designated the scheduled rally as an event that should never happen because it celebrates an ideology that resulted in "crime and tragedy in the previous century."

"The centenary of the end of WWI should serve as an appeal to peace, coexistence and compassion, not as a reason for renewed glorification of chilling and dangerous ideas," the party said.

The appeals come in response to the rally by CasaPound, a far-right neo-fascist movement that has been gaining momentum in north Italy.

The local authorities have not banned the rally despite numerous appeals to do so, but they restricted the path of the march so that it does not come close to some of the landmarks that are significant for the Slovenian ethnic community, including the Narodni Dom and the monument to the Basovizza heroes.

Slovenian community warn of toxic atmosphere

The Slovenian community living in and around Trieste has recently warned that the atmosphere in Italy is so toxic it could not be ignored, with CasaPound by no means the only demonstration thereof.

The Slovenian Cultural and Economic Union (SKGZ), one of the minority's biggest organisations in Italy, said earlier this week it was no longer possible to look the other way.

To counter the CasaPound rally, several anti-fascist organisations have announced a counter-rally in Trieste that is expected to draw several thousand people. Many members of the Slovenian community in Trieste are expected to to attend the counter-protest.

17 Sep 2018, 13:44 PM

STA, 17 September 2018 - Police have launched an investigation after a second group claiming to be a militia published photos of combat training on Facebook just days after the arrest of the leader of a self-proclaimed militia in eastern Slovenia. 

03 Sep 2018, 16:04 PM

STA, 3 September 2018 - A video and photographs emerged on the internet of a group of a few hundred masked men in military outfit, some of them holding assault rifles or axes, lined up in a wooded area. Former presidential candidate Andrej Šiško has confirmed that he is the head of the group, which he calls the Štajerska Guard. 

25 Jun 2018, 10:49 AM

STA, 24 June 2018 - Several Nazi-themed posters had been hung up in public places in Velenje the night before last. The posters were removed from the streets on Saturday and the Celje police are conducting a hate speech investigation. 

03 May 2018, 14:56 PM

STA, 3 May 2018 - A series of events marking Ljubljana's liberation will get under way on Thursday, centred on the path that traces the barbed wire that kept the city under the lockout during the Second World War. 

27 Apr 2018, 09:17 AM

STA, 27 April 2018 - Resistance Day, a public holiday remembering the establishment of the Liberation Front (Osvobodilna fronta, OF) which spearheaded the resistance against Nazi and Fascist occupation in WWII, will be marked in Slovenia on Friday. 

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