Brussels, Ljubljana, 18. 10. 2021 – Last week, the fact-finding mission of European Parliament budgetary control (CONT) and civil liberties (LIBE) Committees visited Slovenia to investigate the state of rule of law, corruption and media freedom in the country. Pirate MEP Mikulas Peksa, representing the CONT Committees, together with his colleagues had to face attacks from PM Janez Janša.
Slovenian PM Janša has tried to control the media landscape in the country and local media, which have been critical to the government. In addition, Janša refused to nominate two prosecutors to the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO), as a retaliation for investigating him years ago. Therefore, the EPPO cannot operate in Slovenia and its work around Europe is significantly weakened.
Members of the European Parliament spent three days in Slovenia and met with local NGOs, journalists, academics, President of the Court of Auditors, Chief Commissioner for the Prevention of Corruption, President of the Constitutional Court, Supreme State Prosecutor, Human Rights Ombudsman, and Data Protection Commissioner. Unfortunately, government representatives refused to meet with the Parliament’s delegation.
Mikuláš Peksa MEP, Chair of the European Pirates and Member of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy in the European Parliament, comments:
The mission was under constant attacks from PM Janša, as he repeatedly insulted members of the mission publicly on social media. Such behaviour, especially from the head of the Member State holding the EU Council Presidency, is not acceptable and should be appropriately investigated.
Main findings from the mission to Slovenia are the following:
- concerned about the tone of the public debate, including harassment and intimidation;
- deplore government targeted cuts in funding to weaken certain institutions;
- believe the Slovenian Press Agency should be funded immediately;
- strongly urge the government to nominate the two selected delegated prosecutors to EPPO;
- ask to no longer delay the nomination of national prosecutors;
- believe there is an urgent need for media law reform.
Member of the mission will now draft an official report with their findings and the recommended next steps to be taken both by Slovene government and the European Commission. Slovenia is part of the EU, therefore, it must adhere to its principles of democracy and rule of law as the country promised when joining the EU. Media freedom is one of the most important aspects of democracy and the European Union should insist on its good functioning in every Member States in order to be able to receive the much needed Resilience and Recovery fund.
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