July 26, 2021

“What the news of the European political landscape shows is that populist forces have settled there without managing to dominate it”

Lhe notoriety of Janez Jansa had hardly crossed the Slovenian borders when he took the head of the government in Ljubljana, in March 2020, for the third time. In November, he had his quarter of an hour of fame when he congratulated Donald Trump on Twitter on his re-election as the rest of Europe celebrated his defeat; this feat of arms aroused the beginnings of curiosity for the prime minister of the small former yugoslav republic. Since 1is July, the hour of glory has arrived: Brussels offers a platform for this emulator of Viktor Orban, that of the rotating presidency of the European Union, for six months.

And he uses it. From day one, he hooked up with one of the vice-presidents of the European Commission, the Dutch social democrat Frans Timmermans, who took revenge by shunning the family photo. The president, Ursula von der Leyen, had to publicly remind Janez Jansa that “Trust is the most valuable asset” Europeans among themselves. Tuesday, in the Parliament of Strasbourg, he had great difficulty in convincing the European deputies of his good faith on the rule of law.

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Is Janez Jansa the sign of a consolidation of populist forces or, in other words, of the supporters of the illiberal current in Europe? One might think so, at the end of a sequence which placed them on the front of the stage. Before Mr. Jansa appeared there thanks to the presidency, the Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, and his bill assimilating homosexuality to pedophilia had occupied a good part of the discussions at the dinner of the European Council, on June 24. . The session was hot; the EU, love it or leave it, has even launched the Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, in substance, to the address of his Hungarian colleague.

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Then, on July 2, 16 right-wing populist and far-right parties signed a joint declaration against the political orientation of the EU, which they accuse of being “The instrument of radical forces” and want to lead a “Civilizational transformation” denying “The Judeo-Christian heritage” from Europe. Among the signatories, we find the National Rally of Marine Le Pen, the Law and Justice party in power in Poland, the Fidesz of Mr. Orban, the Spaniards of Vox and the two components of the Italian hard right, La Liga, de Matteo Salvini, and the neofascists Fratelli d’Italia. Not the German AfD, nor the Swedish or Romanian extremists.

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