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Did the Berlin Wall really come down on both sides?


It has become fairly obvious that the EU will be able to realise its original goals in the following decades only by expanding its influence on the outside world. Some people define this influence as the ability to co-design globalisation. But it is important never to lose sight of the founding objectives of the EU. The EU exists because Europeans share basic values of personal, political and economic freedom, values that must be defended.

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  1. The State Security Service, directly responsible to the League of Communists and its President, Milan Kučan, arrested Janez Janša and David Tasič in May and June 1988. Respectively a contributor to and the editor of the youth magazine Mladina, Janša and Tasič were both handed over to the military court of the Yugoslav People’s Arms. The Slovenian staff sergeant Ivan Borštner was arrested by the military security service. In the infamous Trial of the Four, the editor of Mladina magazine, Franci Zavrl, was also convicted. The Communist authorities wanted to scare the public, who demanded democratic changes and respect for human rights. The youth magazine Mladina turned into a venue for publishing critical articles on Communism, the privileged position of the Communist and military elite and on sovereignty, supporting political dissidents throughout Yugoslavia and Europe. (After being taken over by former Communist activists, Mladina is nowadays, despite the same name, a weekly paper with a totally different orientation.) For the first time after the 1945 Communist takeover of Slovenia there were mass demonstrations, named the Slovene Spring, which were key to the first Slovenian democratic elections.

  2. Stane Dolanc, in Milan Kučan/Igor Savič (The Emonica Snapshot Collection; Ljubljana: Emonica, 1990). Dolanc began his political career as the founder and manager of the political journalism school in Ljubljana (now known as the Faculty of Social Sciences), which still teaches new generations of journalists without maintaining a sufficiently critical distance from totalitarian Communism.

  3. The belief of many Slovenians that people had better lives in Communist times has of course no basis in empirical data but is largely a result of propaganda. Prior to the Second World War, which the Communists used to carry out the revolution and establish a dictatorship, the average salary in Slovenia was more than 70% of that in neighbouring Austria. In 1989, at the end of the Communist regime in Slovenia, the average salary barely reached 30% of the average salary in Austria.

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Correspondence to Janez Janša.

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Janša, J. Did the Berlin Wall really come down on both sides?. European View 8, 203–210 (2009).

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