The Slovenia Times

Lenarčič says Commission worried about situation in Slovenia


Ljubljana - Crisis Management Commissioner Janez Lenarčič says that the European Commission is worried about the situation in Slovenia, although Brussels has never treated Slovenia as a problematic member state since the country joined the EU in 2004.

While some might wish Slovenia follow in the footsteps of Hungary and Poland, the situation here is different than in Hungary, Slovenia's member of the Commission said in an interview the newspaper Dnevnik ran on Saturday.

"In Slovenia, the political arena is much more varied, whereas in Hungary one 'option' has a constitutional majority in parliament," Lenarčič said.

He said that in Slovenia, we still have media plurality, "and I hope it stays that way".

However, the Commission is now worried about the government not funding the STA, and about pressure on the media in general, including verbal attacks on journalists.

"Freedom of the press is a key ingredient of democracy, and democracy is one of the fundamental values of the EU."

He admitted the Commission did not have concrete mechanisms to ensure respect for the fundamental values of democracy in member states, so Brussels was considering a legislative proposal to protect media freedom.

With Slovenia to chair the EU Council soon, Lenarčič said an EU presiding country is expected to act towards strengthening and advocating the basic values of the EU.

He also discussed Slovenia's failure to complete the appointment procedure for two delegated prosecutors to work within the new European Public Prosecutor's Office.

He said European Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders had urged the Slovenian authorities to complete the procedure at least twice.

"The Slovenian constitution is very clear. It says the prosecution is an independent body, which translates into the appointment procedure set down in the law.

"The government is thus expected to merely get acquainted with the appointment proposal from the Prosecution Council. In line with the constitutional principle of independence of the prosecution, 'to get acquainted' does not mean having more say."

Lenarčič hopes Slovenia will eventually complete the procedure. "If not, this will definitely not contribute to its reputation," he told the newspaper.


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