Mojca Kleva belongs to young generation of the candidates for MEP and already has a rich political career. She is involved into politics since she was a student and in her biography is written that she was the first Slovenian female employed by the EP, working for PES group. Today, you can find her under the number 4 on the SD candidate list which is a part of PES group.
Honestly, I know Mojca from the Faculty for Social Studies and I used the opportunity to make a short (which in the end is not that short) interview with her. As you will see, I did not expand some of the questions to a further debate, as we exchange questions and answers through email. However, I think some of her thoughts might be interesting to comment. And as usually, I apologize for grammatical mistakes and possible statements which were lost in translation!
1.) Mojca, you are among younger candidates for MEP and according to this I am wondering why did you decide for a candidacy and after your opinion in which sense can younger generation be better in resolving the problems on the EU level?
Younger generations carry some new and advanced ideas regarding the solutions that cannot be resolved by using the same logic with which they were created. I am convinced that new generations can contribute new approaches in political activism inside of the European politics and establish new priorities on the political agenda. In the last years, Europe focused too much energy on exchange of goods and financial speculations and at the same time did not dedicate enough attention to problems which affect people’s lives. After my opinion, human rights in a really broad sense, present the area in which we should focus in the future.
I decided to candidate for MEP because I enjoy support of a huge group of young people; members of the youth fraction of the Social Democrats (Mladi forum) and also from youngsters who are not associated with political parties, but they believe that changes inside of EU can contribute to better life of all of us.
I would like to work on the field of public health, social matters and education. 1% of the EU budget comes from the member states’ BDP and as this is public money it should be spent on public services inside of EU. I would like to work in the Committee for Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, because I believe that I have enough experience and knowledge for contributing to the progress of the topic. In the last mandate Slovenia did not have any representative in the mentioned committee when a very important decision about parental leave was legislated on the EU level.
I am also very interested about the protection of the environment, especially since EU established some really important and also high goals (as for example reduction of the CO2 emissions). If we want to reach these goals, we will have to have a constant control over them.
I am interested about these topics because they definitely influence the quality of life of each citizen and in this sense, I can actively participate in changing some things for better.
3.) I noticed that Slovenian political parties put several female names on the candidate lists for the EP elections, who are not also the carriers of the candidates’ lists. And as you are also a member of the Slovenian Female Lobby Group, I am wondering about your views about the situation. Do you think that you can win with preferential vote?
Political parties know very well how political geography works and where someone has to be nominated for candidacy. Good candidates for political posts are selected according to the appearance in public and media. In Slovenia, there are still not too many women involved into politics which influences their appearance in public which is, after my opinion, the main reason that we cannot find them among the carriers of the candidate lists. There are some brilliant female candidates on the lists that I would really like to see on the top, but unfortunately they are less recognizable than their male colleagues.
Preferential vote is the only way to change the established order on the candidate lists. By using it, people can express their will and achieve different result, as defined by a particular political party. I am convinced that this is a solution for female candidates too and it is the main reason that I have got involved into the electorate campaign.
4.) Which are the main campaigning tools that you use for addressing the potential voters and how do Social Democrats in general address young voters; especially those who will vote for the first time?
I especially count on the Internet campaign, as most of my supporters belong to younger generations. You can follow my electoral campaign on my homepage: www.mojcakleva.eu, through the official web site of the Social Democrats www.socialnidemokrati.si and also through social networks, such as Facebook, Redbook (established by Social Democrats) and Koornk (similar to Twitter). I am also active in blogosphere where I write about my thoughts and future considerations.
An important part of campaigning presents also direct contact with people. I travel in different places around Slovenia and try to meet as many people as possible. I travel around with a “Great Company” (in Slovenian: Super Družba) which prepares different activities connected to the EU issues, our wishes and expectations. I have a great experience from the field; we especially talk a lot with people that we meet…
5.) I noticed that you are among few candidates that have their own political program. I would like to know to which extent your personal views correspond to the official PES program and do you think that this is still a decisive element for gathering the votes?
Well, I hope that the program still counts. Otherwise I lost a lot of time ;)). But honestly, I do not have a lot of opportunities to present my program because the carriers of the candidate lists are mostly invited to the main public events. I concentrated on three main topics which are from my point of view the most important in today’s socio-political situation: environmental problems and opening of new and more qualitative jobs; problems of the current social crisis and its instability; the opportunities that arise from knowledge and innovations. At the same time, these are also the topics that I would like to deal with as MEP. In the mentioned topics, I am sometimes more radical than PES because I believe that this is the only way to find optimal solutions and that political activism is not reduced on feigning ignorance and postponing a responsibility. For example, I oppose to genetically modified organisms, while PES liberalizes their use.
6.) I also see that in your program you address your voters from national and supranational perspective and in comparison with most of the other candidates you speak about Slovenia as a part of the EU habitat. According to you, which are the priorities of the next EP mandate in the perspective of the EU and for a particular member state?
I wish that EU topics would prevail during the campaigning; that’s why I try to put “Slovenian” problems in the European context. According to my program, I claim that elected MEP’s should during the time of financial and economic crisis focus on the following aims:
1st goal: Green Slovenia/Europe with more and better job opportunities
- More investments in education, efficient energy which produces new jobs and clean technologies. We should develop new green jobs and environmentally friendly development of countryside. It is also necessary to support a development of renewable energy.
2nd goal: Inclusive Slovenia/Europe
- Changing of residence policy and ensuring enough unprofitable flats for young people.
- Financial encouragement for initiation of women’s careers.
- Better use of the European funds and better inclusion of socially unprivileged groups.
- Equal division of responsibility between men and women which has to be ensured by law.
3rd goal: Slovenia/Europe of knowledge and Innovations
- Reforming of educational system and investments in innovations.
- Ensuring higher mobility of students with student mobility programs for studying abroad.
- Higher support to life-long learning programs with possibilities for retraining.
- Developing different occupation possibilities in Slovenia which would prevent brain drain of the most qualified.
7.) What is your opinion regarding further EU enlargement process after (if) accepting the Lisbon Treaty? Do you support the idea that the Western Balkans should enter into EU together (in package) or do you support individual approach? Furthermore, what is your vision about the “enlarged Europe”; which countries after your opinion still belong inside of the EU or better, where does EU end?
The Lisbon Treaty is a crucial point for any further enlargement. EU is now at the point when it has to be decided in which direction to go. The Lisbon Treaty is a very important political project which has not been accepted yet. Another political goal is the entrance of Croatia into the EU which has not been accomplished and this result threatens also other enlargements: to the Western Balkans, Turkey and countries which border to Ukraine, Byelorussia and Russia (so called Eastern partnership).
I see EU as a political integration where the quality of life is higher than in the mentioned states and this is the main reason that I support their entrance to EU, but only by respecting the rules which are valid and prescribed for each member state. Recently, after financial bankruptcy, also Island decided to enter into the Union, but I really hope that EU will accept her candidacy under the conditions which are valid also for all the other (above mentioned) states.
8.) Which were the main advantages of the Slovenian entrance to EU and what did EU gain with the Slovenian membership?
This year is the fifth anniversary of the largest EU enlargement when also Slovenia, together with other countries from Eastern bloc, joined and was considered as a role model among the new member states. Slovenia has got a good reputation especially because she has been considered as a responsible partner inside of EU. Thanks to the entrance to the Euro zone we also do not face so many problems as the other countries which joined at the same time and stayed outside the Euro zone. During this financial crisis many of them face bankruptcy. The guilt of these countries is only in following the guidelines from Brussels which were focused on the idea that their economies have to be open for foreign investments which now turned to be a big mistake. Instability on financial markets has brought uncertainty in people’s life and fear for losing their jobs. Huge problem is also the ownership of banks which is, in the respective states, in hands of Western European financial institutions that in the crisis time try to move their capital out.
After my modest opinion, Slovenia contributed first EU presidency by the side of the new member states; Slovenian staff inside of Brussels bureaucracy and (unfortunately) also resolving a border problem with Croatia in which had to interfere also the European Commission.