Milan Zver: The claims of the Slovenian institute IFIMES are based on lies

The claims of the Slovenian institute IFIMES are based on lies, they are slanderous and completely ideologized. The government in Ljubljana doesn’t have any relations this institute. Must be cleared why some Slovenian state-owned companies use taxpayers' money to fund the institute. Slovenia has failed to deal with the issue of Yugoslav state security in the Tito's time - UDBA. According to experts, the old UDBA destroyed 90% of its archives in the late 1980s. Therefore, no one has been held accountable, as people in this circle still are with a huge influence on it. We suppose that part of the archives of the secret political police remained in Belgrade.

That was said in an interview for BGNES by the Slovenian MEP, Deputy Chairman of the Democratic Party and former Minister Milan Zver about the occasion of the defamation campaign of the so-called IFIMES Institute, which defined "Bulgaria and Germany as countries that mafiaize the EU and are admirers of Nazism."

BGNES Agency published the full text of the conversation with a famous Slovenian politician.

BGNES: Being part of the EPP party, how would you comment the IFIMES allegations against Bulgaria as "still being a fascist country", Borisov and Merkel as being " patrons of Balkan mafia in EU", CDU/CSU as "sister crimes" and "secretly cultivating sympathies" for the nazi ideology?

Milan Zver: These are serious accusations unworthy of an established institute. This is a libellous discourse imbued with a clear ideological belief. The Bulgarian government, the Borisov′s government, is under attack only because it is not left. It is democratically elected and embedded in the work of the European People's Party. In the European Parliament, we greatly appreciate the work of GERB Members. It is clear that they have close links with the CDU, which in practice functions as the EPP’s leading party. I imagine only IFIMES could explain, where here they found parallels with Nazism and the Mafia. A pure construct of lies.

BGNES: How do you assess the activities of IFIMES in Slovenia, its honorary presidents Budimir Loncar and Stipe Mesic (who, both of them have recently distanced themselves from the Institute), and its executives Becirovic and Aljaf?

Milan Zver: It would be difficult for me to assess the activities of Loncar and Mesic, two Yugoslav politicians at IFIMES. Even otherwise, I don’t follow IFIMES activity well enough to be able to evaluate it comprehensively. What I do know, however, is that in their analyses they do not even hide left-wing political provenance. They act from this stance and it is well known who is recipient of these attacks. That is why they do not seem objective to me. The last attack on Bulgaria only convinced me in this assessment.

BGNES: According IFIMES website, it has been financed through donnations or consultancy contracts with Slovenian state owned companies such as: Eles, Holding slovenske elektrane, Elektro energija, Geoplin, GEN group, Posta Slovenije, the port of Koper, Termoelektrana toplarna Ljubljana. How would you comment these financial connections between IFIMES and government owned companies, especially in light with the previously mentioned allegations made by IFIMES publication against other countries? Is the Slovenian Government aware of them and in line with IFIMES claims and publications?

Milan Zver: IFIMES is a private company with which the current Slovenian government, led by Janez Janša, has no connections, no contractual relationship, etc. I have checked this fact. However, I am surprised that such powerful economic systems, as the ones you mentioned, are collaborating with them. The government is a co-owner of these companies, but the question is to what extent it can influence such decisions.

In any case, the current Slovenian government, as far as I can speak on its behalf, does not agree with such views of IFIMES. Quite the opposite. In any case, it would be welcome if the management of the mentioned companies is thoroughly analysed where they transfer the taxpayers' money.

BGNES: How your country managed to disclose the archives of former Yugoslav Communist secret services (UDBA).

Milan Zver: Slovenia has not resolved successfully the issue of archives. According to experts, the old Udba destroyed 90% of the archives at the end of the 1980s. Many things have been refined. Consequently, no one was held responsible, because individuals from this circle still have a huge influence. We assume that several archives of the secret political police remained in Belgrade. That is why me and my colleague MEP Andrej Kovachev demanded years ago that the Belgrade archives are made available to the public.

BGNES: Few years ago, the European Parliament has declared former communist regimes in Eastern Europe as criminal. Is there similar treatment of the communist period in Slovenia? Do you see as normal, still having streets named after Tito or other communist activists?

Milan Zver: Slovenia has not done well with its half-past history. You have rightly noted that there is a huge number of monuments commemorating persons responsible for mass killings or other drastic violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms. In small Slovenia, there are more than 600 discovered mass graves, in which not only Slovenes, but also many members of other nations were killed and thrown into. Right-wing governments are trying to bring justice, while the Left are doing everything to preserve the status quo, and strongly oppose a national reconciliation.

We have found ourselves in a strange situation, where the victims and those who want to redress the injustices, created in the totalitarian system, are asking for reconciliation. We have done too small in the field of education. Even 15 years ago, you could see in Slovenian textbooks that concepts such as Tito, socialism, etc. were positively addressed. We are endeavouring to progress culturally, to replace the so-called “old Mind Software” and replace it with democratic patterns and values that belong to our cultural heritage. But this cannot be achieved quickly, especially not if the retention forces are as financially strong and media-backed, as they are in Slovenia. /BGNES