Slovenian PM ignites Twitter row over MEPs probe into rule of law


A Twitter row has broken out between the Dutch government and the prime minister of Slovenia, Janez Jansa, after Jansa endorsed a tweet in which Dutch MEP Sophie in ’t Veld and several other former MEPs and other Dutch politicians were called ‘puppets of George Soros’.

In ’t Veld is heading an official delegation of MEPs which is investigating freedom of the press and the rule of law in Slovenia, which currently holds the rotating presidency of the EU.

Soros, an American Hungarian billionaire donates large sums to progressive EU projects, and is regarded by the far right as a left wing agitator.

Prime minister Mark Rutte called the tweet ‘in bad taste’, particularly since one of the people depicted is Hans van Baalen who died in April. Rutte has since called the Slovenian ambassador to account.

This prompted a reply by Jansa in which he told Rutte to ‘together with @Sophie in ’t Veld, protect your journalists from being killed in the streets’, a reference to the murder of crime journalist Peter R de Vries.

A foreign affairs ministry spokesman said MEPs ‘should be able to do their job and carry out their mandate, including monitoring the rule of law in EU member states.’

Instead of making ‘snide remarks on Twitter’ the Slovenian would do well to engage in a constructive conversation with the MEPs, he said.

European parliament chairman David Sassoli called on Jansa, also via Twitter, to ‘stop provoking the MEPs. This is also affecting the people who elected them,’ he said. Jansa then replied that Slovenia is ‘not a colony’ and that MEPs are involved in ‘political intrigue’ and ‘spurious allegations.’

The EU leaders are due to meet at a summit in Brussels next week.

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