Slovenian candidates for European Parliament on their hopes and fears ahead of first European elections

04-06-2004

Slovenians also hold European elections for the first time on June 13th. There are many political parties trying to get a seat in Strasbourg but only a few of them really have a chance. Jelko Kacin is the leading candidate for the European Parliament in the governing party - the Liberal Democrats:

"I believe that there are not many concerns, that there is a lot of hope, because we are members of the EU, but we are going into elections for the very first time. And we didn't experience a lot about the European Union that' s why people are very enthusiastic and they believe that their decision will have an enormous impact on the consequences for the future of the European parliament and the work of the European institutions."

Will voter apathy in Slovenia be a problem?

"Well I'm not afraid due to the fact that there was a referendum and 90% of the people were in favour of our accession to the EU. That's why I believe that now, when it is happening for the very first time, they are going to vote. On the other hand they need some experience how the European Parliament works and what is the influence in the framework of the other European institutions, so this very first term will bring a lot of questions and a lot of answers and after that we will be able to have a realistic assessment what people think and what they do not."

Only seven members will represent Slovenia in the European parliament, a very small part of the total of over 700. Will Slovenia's voice be heard? How does Aurelio Juri, who is on the United List of Social Democrats of Slovenia, which is part of the governing coalition, define his party's vision within the European Parliament?

"We want the whole of Slovenia and Europe, not only the rich minority to benefit from economic progress. We want equal opportunities for everyone, we want to reduce and not increase social disparities among people. Solidarity and social integration are two key features of the social democratic vision of Europe's future. Our task in the European parliament will be to make this vision come true and to add a Slovenian character to it."

04-06-2004

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