The Slovenia Times

EU Commission detects progress in Slovenia Rule of Law Report

Brussels, Belgium
European Commissioner for Values and Transparency Vera Jourova and European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders present the Rule of Law Report for 2023.
Photo: Thierry Monasse/STA

The European Commission has noted progress in the Slovenian justice system, media freedom and the fight against corruption, but also pointed to challenges in its latest Rule of Law Report. It urged the country to take additional measures, including to protect journalists.

The report, covering the justice system, fight against corruption, media freedom and pluralism, and the system of checks and balances, finds that Slovenia has made some progress with respect to last year's recommendations.

Better safeguards for independence of judges

In judiciary, there has been some progress on ensuring that rules on parliamentary inquiries contain adequate safeguards for independence of judges and state prosecutors, as recommended last year.

The Commission urged Slovenia to continue with the efforts as well as ensure that the reform of judicial appointments contains adequate safeguards for judicial independence. Slovenia should also take measures to increase the remuneration of judges and state prosecutors, the report says.

Media climate improves, challenges at RTV Slovenija remain

"The situation of media freedom and pluralism continues to face challenges, although positive developments are noted with respect to a more favourable climate for media. The government announced an overhaul of the media legislation to address the structural challenges of the regulatory framework and foster transparency, plurality and resilience of the media landscape."

The Commission finds that Slovenia "fully implemented the recommendation on strengthening the rules and mechanisms to enhance the independent governance and editorial independence of public service media taking into account European standards on public service media".

It notes that in 2022, the financial situation of the Slovenian Press Agency (STA) improved. A new law was adopted to reform the governance structure of the public services media and safeguards introduced for their independence. The government took initial steps with regard to the protection of journalists.

Still, over the last year, challenges to the independence of public broadcaster RTV Slovenija persisted, with issues reportedly related to the appointment to the management roles, alleged mobbing and smearing of RTV Slovenija staff, and the adoption by the RTV Slovenija's management of controversial measures on staffing and programming, the report finds.

Considering that under new rules introduced by changes to the RTV Slovenija law the governing and managerial bodies are no longer directly appointed by parliament, the "possibility for any government, through its parliamentary majority, to exert political influence on RTV Slovenija is expected to be significantly reduced".

"Pending the final decision of the Constitutional Court on the merit, the newly adopted rules are therefore expected to enhance the independent governance and editorial independence of public service media."

The report also notes that the government has taken "some initial steps to address challenges related to the safety of journalists" and that some progress has been made on establishing non-legislative safeguards to protect journalists, particularly online.

Progress in combat against corruption

The Commission finds that Slovenia has fully implemented the recommendation on "removing obstacles to the investigation and prosecution of corruption cases, including by ensuring the operational autonomy of the National Bureau of Investigation, increasing the resources of State Prosecution and revising the statute of limitation".

Some progress has also been made to adopt and start implementing the anti-corruption strategy. The country is urged to "adopt the new anti-corruption strategy and action plan with concrete measures and a timeframe for their implementation and step up efforts to ensure a track record of investigations, prosecutions and final judgements in corruption offences, including in high-level cases".

As for checks and balances, the Commission says that Slovenia also fully implemented the recommendation on "ensuring requisite safeguards for budgetary autonomy of the independent bodies".


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