Slovenia supports joint statement on coronavirus measures
Slovenia's support in principle was announced on Monday by Justice Minister Lilijana Kozlovič in a telephone conversation with Slovenian correspondents in Brussels after a video-conference of EU ministers in charge of justice.
In the debate, the minister stressed that the measures taken to fight the pandemic needed to be proportionate, meaning that they needed to be implemented exclusively with the purpose of protecting people's health and lives.
They need to be implemented in line with the constitution and for a limited period of time, Kozlovič said, also calling for all measures taken by member states to be monitored, and for the rule of law and the values on which the EU is based to be preserved.
Kozlovič added that she had endorsed the statement adopted on 1 April which had a similar content, and which also stated that international law must be respected and that the freedom of expression and of the press must not be limited.
Slovenia has so far not joined the statement which, according to the website of the Dutch government, has been signed by 18 EU member states. The decision about this is said to be in the domain of the Slovenian Foreign Ministry.
Asked recently whether Slovenia would join the statement, Foreign Minister Anže Logar only said that crisis was time for cooperation and that politics should be left aside.
But in a release issued today, the Foreign Ministry explained for the STA that "Slovenia does not have any problem with the statement because the rule of law is an important value of the EU's".
However, Slovenia would like it to be adopted by all 27 member states, the ministry said. It believes that divisions are not something the block needs at this moment and that it would not be good to give an impression of disunity, which could be abused by the EU's external partners.
The statement does not explicitly mention any particular country, but it is Hungary which has been criticised the most in the public for taking what are believed to be excessively strict measures.
It was recently also endorsed by Hungarian Justice Minister Judit Varga, who said on Twitter that "it felt so empty without us... So we joined the statement. European values are common to us all."
However, the official list of the countries does not feature Hungary, which according to Kozlovič was also not mentioned explicitly at today's video-conference.
The country was only mentioned by the European Commission, when it said that the extraordinary measures in some countries were not as expected, the minister explained.
Kozlovič said that EU justice ministers had also exchanged views to establish that member states were mostly taking very similar measures, which was a consequence of the very good cooperation as part of the European Judicial Network.
The ministers focused on four issues - accessibility of courts, implementation of prison sentences, insolvency proceedings and changes to the penal policy, both towards companies and individuals, she added.