The Slovenia Times

Expert believes STA funding does not require EU Commission assessment


Ljubljana - Lawyer and former Information Commissioner NataĊĦa Pirc Musar believes that the funding of the STA under the most recent coronavirus stimulus package does not have to be assessed by the European Commission because, as claimed by the government. STA's funding does not constitute state aid nor is there an administrative relationship.

Pirc Musar told this to the STA Friday night, after the Government Communications Office (UKOM) said that the legislative provision passed on 29 December had made STA financing a direct and unconditional financial obligation in an amount "unilaterally determined by the STA in its financial plan", raising the question of whether this is in compliance with EU state aid rules.

Pirc Musar commented on this that the government should also ask the European Commission whether funding of public services such as kindergartens, schools and health centres also constituted prohibited state aid.

The STA is performing a public service, the funding of which is laid down in the STA act and now also in the seventh corona crisis stimulus package, said Pirc Musar.

She expressed criticism of the government for failing to respect a legislative provision proposed by a coalition partner.

The provision was proposed by the Modern Centre Party (SMC) as a way to ensure funding for the STA after UKOM suspended payments on November, after demanding a number of documents from the STA, which the STA believes UKOM has no right to access.

On Friday, UKOM said the provisions in the stimulus package changed the contractual relationship between the government and the STA into an administrative relationship, which Pirc Musar labelled as "perverted logic".

Once the operator of public service is selected, the relationship is a contractual one. Only the selection process constitutes an administrative relationship, she said.

The government's own Legislative Service has also found in December that suspension of funds, which may lead to the end of public service, would bring on an unlawful situation.


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