Slovenia awaits second Rule of Law Report

Brussels – The European Commission is scheduled to release its second Rule of Law Report on Tuesday. It is expected Slovenia will hear expressions of concern over a delay in appointing European delegated prosecutors and online harassment of journalists. Alarm over the STA funding situation is also expected to be mentioned.

The second report is expected to build on the first, released in September 2020, and draw comparisons as well as introduce new elements. The Slovenian EU presidency will continue the protocol introduced by the German presidency in coordinating dialogue on the second report.

A general debate on the situation of the rule of law in the entire EU is scheduled for October, whereas in November, the discussion will be dedicated to the situation in five member states whose turn it is according to alphabetical order – Italy, Croatia, Cyprus, Latvia and Lithuania.

The Slovenian presidency says that Slovenia will promote the rule of law culture and strive to provide a better understanding of various systems in EU countries through constructive dialogue.

The first report raised concerns over a shortage of human and financial resources in a number of Slovenian independent bodies such as the anti-graft watchdog and the judicial and prosecution councils.

It also highlighted expressions of concern regarding SLAPP lawsuits and online harassment and threats against journalists in Slovenia, saying that a response by the judiciary to the latter had been lacking.

According to unofficial sources, the second report will raise concerns over Slovenia’s delay in appointing state prosecutors and the country’s prosecutors to the European Public Prosecutor’s Office. It will also likely feature growing concerns about online harassment and threats against journalists.

Unofficial sources say that Slovenian and foreign stakeholders raise alarm in the report over the authorities failing to provide statutory state funding for the STA public service.

Despite certain improvements, it is also expected that the July report will reiterate concerns over a shortage of staff and funding at some independent state bodies.

The annual Rule of Law reports aim to be a preventive measure acknowledging challenges and seeking solutions. They focus on four pillars – judiciary, the national anti-corruption framework, media pluralism and media freedom, and the checks and balances system, taking into account the impact of Covid-19.