The Slovenia Times

Slovenian MEP suing European Commission

Vera Jourova, the European Commission vice-president for values and transparency. Photo: Katja Kodba/STA

A member of the European Parliament (MEP) from the ranks of the Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS) has brought a lawsuit against the European Commission at the EU's General Court. He claims one of the Commission's vice-presidents exerted undue pressure on Slovenia's Constitutional Court, a claim denied by the Commission.

Milan Zver brought legal action after the opposition party took issue with a visit to Slovenia by European Commission Vice-President for Values and Transparency Vera Jourova in March 2023 during which she also met Constitutional Court president Matej Accetto.

The visit came ten days after the court stayed the government-sponsored changes to the law governing the country's public broadcaster RTV Slovenija. Three months later, at the end of May 2023, the court allowed the new RTV Slovenija law to take effect, which entailed replacements of leading staff appointed during or soon after the SDS-led government was in power.

While both the top court and Jourova have denied the topic being discussed during the visit, the SDS believes the court changed its position on the RTV Slovenija law because of the commissioner. It claims the documents about the visit, which Zver managed to obtain from the EU, confirm this.

Janez Janša, the SDS leader and Slovenia's former prime minister, said that Zver had managed to get several documents from EU institutions only after a year of efforts although they contained public information. He managed to get them only when European Ombudsman Emily O'Reilly intervened.

In the first package of documents, a large part of the content was redacted, and later more documents were provided but quite a few things are still redacted, including one of the three stated objectives for the meeting with Accetto.

Janša sees this as a key piece of evidence that Jourova influenced the legislative process in Slovenia, and Zver is seeking access at the court to the documents in their full version.

After the accusations were raised, a Commission spokesperson said that Jourova had not discussed RTV Slovenija at the Constitutional Court. The meeting focused on issues related to the Rule of Law Report, in particular judicial independence and the primacy of EU law, and was a part of the commissioner's regular meetings with presidents of constitutional courts.

As for the redacted documents, the spokesperson said the report was a summary of several meetings and the parts that did not relate to the request of the MEP were blackened "because they did not relate to the meeting with the president of the Constitutional Court".

The lawsuit was drawn up with the help of international law expert Miha Pogačnik, who listed the Commission's alleged failure to respond or respond properly to Zver's requests for documents among the violations.

Pogačnik is convinced that this is a major case that will show how the EU can exert influence on a member state in a way that violates not only standards but also written rules.


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