EU Commission expects swift solutions to resume STA funding

Brussels – Commenting on the new government regulation on the Slovenian Press Agency (STA), the European Commission has said that it expects swift solutions to unblock the agency’s funding, noting such solutions should completely preserve the STA’s autonomy. It should be checked whether the regulation is in line with existing acts governing the STA, it added.

The Commission’s spokesperson told the STA on Monday that the Commission was aware of the latest developments, including the adoption of the regulation in question and will continue monitoring the situation closely.

The Commission reiterated its concerns about the situation, “in particular as regards the continuous attempts to undermine the sustainable funding and the independence of the national press agency in Slovenia”.

The authorities must ensure the independence and appropriate funding for the public service provided by the STA.

“We expect that swift solutions can be found to unblock the funding – such solutions should fully preserve the independence of the agency,” the Commission said, highlighting that it should be scrutinised at the national level “whether the new regulation is in line with existing legislation on the agency”.

The government adopted on 10 June the regulation that details how the STA should perform its public service and defines the scope of public service and its financing as well as the manner in which an annual agreement on public service should be reached.

The Government Communication Office (UKOM) has been authorised to sign the agreement and verify compliance with the regulation, which was published in the National Gazette on 11 June and enters into force 15 days after this.

STA staff has said in its response to the government’s step that the regulation does not address the underlying issues relevant to the agency’s survival and development, instead it raises new questions about the autonomy of the agency and paves the way for reduced quality of public service.