Slovenia joins EU countries in recognizing Palestinian statehood

8 days ago
Slovenia joins EU countries in recognizing Palestinian statehood

Slovenia, the newest European Union member to acknowledge an independent Palestinian state, solidified its stance as its parliament greenlit the decision with a majority vote on Tuesday. This move brushed aside a plea for a referendum on the matter from the largest opposition party.

Last week, the government made the significant decision to officially recognize Palestine as an independent and sovereign state, aligning with Spain, Ireland, and Norway in a united effort to exert pressure on Israel towards resolving the conflict in Gaza.

In a statement on X, Prime Minister Robert Golob expressed, “The recognition of Palestine as a sovereign and independent state today brings hope to our Palestinian brothers and sisters in both the West Bank and Gaza.”

The vote was scheduled for Tuesday and a parliamentary group for foreign affairs on Monday endorsed the government decision with majority vote.

The right-wing Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS) of former premier Janez Jansa, however, then submitted a proposal on a consultative referendum on the recognition bid, which would have delayed the vote for at least a month.

The SDS, the largest opposition party, argued it was not the right time to recognise an independent Palestinian state and that the move would only award the “terrorist organisation Hamas”.

After the ruling coalition, which holds a majority in Slovenia’s 90-member parliament, tried to find the way around the referendum demand and proceed with the vote, the SDS withdrew their proposal but submitted it again hours later.

The parliament committee for foreign affairs declared it inadequate and dismissed it at an extraordinary session.

The decision was approved with 52 votes, and nobody against it after the opposition SDS party had left the session.

Of the 27 members of the EU, Sweden, Cyprus, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Romania and Bulgaria have already recognised a Palestinian state. Malta has said it could follow soon.

Israel has been waging a war on Gaza since October of last year, during which more than 36,000 Palestinians have been killed, most of whom are innocent civilians.