Slovenia: How to brand everything good as European

One of the most common things you will notice on Slovenian TV, if you happen to understand it, is how often politicians compare everything to some mystical “European� standard . Mostly, Europe is used of course as a benchmark and something we have to uphold as saint. Of course, Western Europe to be precise, not to be confused with Romania or similar savage places where corruption reigns…

So, if you basically say: “I haven’t heard about any European country that would have done this…� you kill your opponent in most of the debates. Or at least this is the general perception.

And what is the last example? You have an excellent one with the Prime Minister Janez Janša, who will be chairing the EU in the first half of 2008. The former President of the Republic Milan Kučan responded to the current affair with the secret service SOVA (this affair is getting nice proportions…something big enough to be the turning point for this government) saying that he thinks how the government is dealing with it, isn’t right i.e. dealing in public with it’s expenses and making public the work of the secret services isn’t a good idea.

Janša replied (besides saying that Kučan was the head of a totalitarian regime and should therefore stay quiet):

�I cannot understand why statements of a former President end up on front pages of the largest daily newspapers. I haven’t heard of any European state where this would be happening…�

I’m sure that Vaclav Havel or Lech Walensa still get some media attention if they comment on daily politics. Powerful former Presidents have things to say.

And statements like this actually make people think Europe is a paradise with no corruption (like Belgium for example), no populism (remember Berlusconi), super clean governments (again, my favourite Jacques) and so on and so on. Get serious people, Europe is above a normal political place.

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3 thoughts on “Slovenia: How to brand everything good as European

  1. You hit the nail on the head with this one. Except that in Czechia we prefer to use the UK as a paradise, not so much Europe.

    Ha, Václav Havel surely occassionally speaks out; he has got a foundation set up for that purpose just like the US ex-Presidents. However, any party which has received his support has ended up in tears – we call his interventions “the kiss of death”:)

  2. Ciao Tomas. Interesting to hear that someone takes the UK as paradise:)

    But in the case of the EU is more a perception that everything there (refering to it as it would be remote) is above our standards – behaviour and performance in particular.

    This works of course with people that have not been abroad for a while. Once you are there, you see things more or less in the same way…

  3. Pingback: Global Voices Online » Slovenia: Idealizing Europe

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