The Slovenia Times

Slovenian System of Integrity Moderately Stable


Based on an analysis conducted between 1 April and 1 October 2011, the NGO says in the report, presented on Tuesday, that the legislative branch has a stable legal framework for independence, efficiency and responsibility.

Its drawbacks include only partial financial autonomy, a big influence of lobbying on legislation, and disrespect for some decisions of the Constitutional Court.

The executive has sufficient financial, human and technical resources, but "a low level of integrity of the members of the government raises suspicion of abuse of office and corruption".

The NGO also pointed out that the PM was selective in implementing the recommendations of the Court of Audit regarding dismissals of ministers.

The judiciary is financially relatively independent and the integrity of judges is "satisfactory", according to the report. A minus is that judges' wages are not on a par with the deputies', which would be in line with several decisions of the Constitutional Court.

Public sector employees in general have their independence and integrity guaranteed. However, legislation is not properly implemented and politics influences public procurement and staffing decisions.

The law-enforcement has a good legal framework for responsibility and integrity. The NGO has assessed the work of the police and the setting up of the National Bureau of Investigation as positive, while it was negative about the efficiency in the fight against corruption and political staffing.

The National Electoral Commission is conducting election procedures correctly, but the NGO warns that members who belong to political parties could jeopardise its independence.

The integrity of the Human Rights Ombudsman is at a "rather high level", but the incumbent ombudsman is not active enough in dealing with some burning issues in the area of human rights.

The Court of Audit operates with a high level of transparency, independence and responsibility, but is understaffed and somewhat pressured by the legislative branch.

The report assesses as positive the new procedure for the appointment of the management of the Corruption Prevention Commission and its cooperation with other institutions, but is critical of its shortage of staff and funds.

It says that insufficient protection is provided to those who report cases of corruption.

Igor Šoltes, the president of the Court of Audit, and the corruption watchdog boss Goran Klemenčič agreed at the press conference presenting the report the document was a confirmation that corruption existed in Slovenia.

Klemečič pointed out that the country faced a dire crisis of integrity and trust in the institutions. "Slovenia is not the most corrupt country in Europe, what is worrying is that the people believe it to be," Klemenčič said, adding that a debate about what to do to improve the situation should be launched.

Šoltes meanwhile attributed the situation to the complicated legislation on the one hand and the lack of ethics and morality on the other.

Slovenia has a good legal basis for the establishment, management and functioning of political parties. But a downside is that MPs' independence in parliament is often jeopardised, as party leaders control and direct their voting, the report says.

As a response to the report, representatives of all deputy groups reiterated for the STA today that MPs were not instructed on how to vote in the National Assembly.

"Media are a key factor in preventing and disclosing cases of corruption and other irregularities in the use of public funds and the functioning of the state," says the report, adding that media freedom is at risk due to political pressures and ownership ties.

President of the Slovenian Journalists' Association (DNS) Matija Stepišnik and president of the Association of Journalists and Commentators (ZNP) Igor Kršinar agree with the report.

Stepišnik underlined that key issue in terms of freedom of the press was an unsuitable systemic environment - poor legislation and the lack of strategic and responsible owners, who understand that the role of the media in the society is to protect democracy.

"Uncertain ownerships are a fact", said Kršinar pointing to dailies Delo and Večer, whose fate remains uncertain in the face of sales plans of their owner. He also agrees that there is political pressure on the media.

As regards the civil society, Integriteta labels as positive the rise in volunteering, but is critical of the obsolete and faulty legal framework for the functioning of civil and social organisations.

In the private sector, companies are becoming increasingly aware that high levels of integrity and transparency boost competitiveness. Among the downsides, the NGO highlights insufficient prosecution of white collar crime, which is on the rise.


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