Luxembourg – European Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders has reiterated his call for Slovenia to appoint European delegated prosecutors for the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) as soon as possible. He hopes that he could soon discuss the issue with the new Slovenian justice minister.
“We need two European delegated prosecutors from Slovenia,” Reynders told the press in Luxembourg on Monday on the sidelines of a meeting of EU justice ministers.
Asked by the STA how long the European Commission was willing to wait for explanations from the Slovenian government, he said that the Commission would not want to wait any longer for the appointment.
Reynders said the issue had already been discussed with the Slovenian government, which had been called to come up with a proposal.
As the EPPO was one of the topics of the meeting, the Justice Ministry said although Slovenia had not yet appointed European delegated prosecutors, it stood firmly behind the EPPO project and welcomed the start of its functioning.
Reynders noted that a solution would be reached in the coming weeks with Finland, which is the only other participating country in addition to Slovenia that has not appointed its European delegated prosecutors.
“Therefore, we will have a problem only with the non-appointment of two European delegated prosecutors from Slovenia,” he added.
The European commissioner said that the upcoming Slovenian EU presidency had been urged that Slovenia met its obligation in accordance with the regulation on the EPPO by 1 July.
The Slovenian government has also been called to explain in writing why it was not possible to go through with the appointment and how it would be possible to initiate a new procedure that would be transparent and ensure independence of both prosecutors.
“I hope that it will be possible to talk about this in the coming days with the new Slovenian justice minister,” Reynders said.
The government is looking for a new minister after Lilijana Kozlovič resigned at the end of May as the government annulled the procedure to appoint Slovenia’s two European delegated prosecutors.
Prime Minister Janez Janša has proposed Marjan Dikaučič, an official receiver, as replacement, and his candidacy could be discussed in the National Assembly in the coming days.
The non-appointment of prosecutors has also been criticised by European Chief Prosecutor Laura Codruta Kövesi, who said it would affect the efficiency of the office and trust in oversight of EU funds.
Representing Slovenia at today’s meeting was Justice Ministry State Secretary Zlatko Ratej, who presented the priorities of the Slovenian EU presidency in judiciary, and took over the symbolic key of the presidency – a gavel.
The key topic will be protection of human rights in the light of challenges presented by new technologies and internet use, the Justice Ministry said.
Other priorities include fight against hate speech and hate-related crime, ethical aspects and potential impact of artificial intelligence on human rights, protection of children’s rights, the future e-evidence agreement with the US and digitalisation of judiciary.