European Union gets 'Trumpian' new president

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The European Union got a new president Thursday, and some on the continent see him as a Trump-like figure.

Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša, dubbed “the Slovenian Donald” by Der Spiegel and now serving his third term in his home country, took on the broader role through a rotation that occurs every six months. The job requires him to chair meetings of the Council of the EU and set the agenda for issues to address.

Janša's website said top priorities are to “facilitate the EU's recovery and reinforce its resilience, reflect on the future of Europe, strengthen the rule of law and European values, and increase security and stability in the European neighbourhood.”

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The transition of a key position in the EU to a right-wing nationalist comes at a time of tension within the European “union of values,” as the liberal east and “illiberal” west clash over what those values mean.

On June 25, French President Emmanuel Macron spoke of a growing “east-west division,” warning, “It is not a [Hungarian leader] Viktor Orban problem, it is a deeper problem, there is an increase in illiberalism … today [those in the East] are attracted by political models that are contrary to our values.”

Janša’s long political career has seen him transition from a communist dissident in Yugoslavia to a populist leader in the model of Orban. But Janša also takes inspiration from former President Donald Trump in leading his small country of just over two million, mimicking his style in several ways.

Der Spiegel describes him as a Trump duplicate, claiming he “admires strong leaders, and vilifies independent media outlets such as the state news agency STA, which he describes as a 'fake news slingshot.'"

The leader of former first lady Melania Trump’s country even congratulated the former president on what he expected to be a Trump victory on Nov. 4, tweeting, “It’s pretty clear that American people have elected ⁦@realDonaldTrump @Mike_Pence⁩ for #4moreyears. More delays and facts denying from #MSM, bigger the final triumph for #POTUS. Congratulations ⁦@GOP for strong results across the #US.”


Janša has played a key part in the growing right-wing nationalist international movement that is increasingly challenging the EU’s liberal consensus, especially in Eastern Europe. Journalist Marius Dragomir, writing for Balkan Insight, detailed how Orban-allied oligarchs helped Janša’s SDS buy up to create new media outlets in Slovenia to give positive media coverage of right-wing causes, a process repeated in North Macedonia and Poland.

He has also used the social media network Parler, following popular right-wing American and British figures such as Paul Joseph Watson, Jack Posobiec, and Alex Jones’s Infowars, according to Citizen D director Domen Savic.

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The increasing divide in values between east and west is leading some academics to warn of a possible coming “Eastern European Union," according to Reuters. Despite these concerns, and his previous sparring with the EU, Janša assured critics there was no need to worry about a further divide.

“Slovenia and many other countries do not want to be part of any new divisions in Europe," he said. "There were enough of those. We have joined the EU to become united, not divided.”

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Tags: Slovenia, European Union, Europe, eurozone, EU, Presidency, prime minister

Original Author: Brady Knox

Original Location: European Union gets 'Trumpian' new president

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