By: Anita Gužvič (Nova24tv)
The European Commission recently published its second annual report on the rule of law in EU Member States. The mainstream media reported that media freedom and pluralism in Slovenia had deteriorated and that the number of threats to journalists was growing, that the EU was concerned about the situation regarding the STA and the non-appointment of European delegated prosecutors. On RTV Slovenia, the host Rosvita Pesek hosted a lawyer Dr Matej Avbelj from the European Law Faculty of the New University, who clearly said that what the Commission accuses Slovenia of does not refer to systemic problems regarding the rule of law.
“The appointment or non-appointment of some delegated prosecutors is a unique, problematic case, but it does not testify of a systemic violation of the rule of law, it is the same with the funding of the STA, which is minor,” said Dr Matej Avbelj.
“As far as the European Commission’s law report is concerned, it is methodologically weak because it is based on journalistic, left wing reporting. In a way, this is a collage of stories that we in Slovenia share. Stories that each of them, interest-oriented individuals, groups, institutions report to the European Commission when it contacts them,” said Dr Matej Avbelj.
At this point, presenter Rosvita Pesek said that we can agree with this thesis when it comes to the media and asked the question of not naming delegated prosecutors. What would actually happen if Slovenia was brought to court for not naming delegated prosecutors as European Commissioner Didiers Reynders said. Avbelj responded to that, that as far as the Commission is suing a member state for a specific provision EU law or its obligations, this is not unusual, it is part of EU law.
The cases in Slovenia do not in any way testify to a systemic violation of the rule of law
According to Avbelj, the position of Slovenia as the presiding country of the EU Council towards Poland should be quite clear. “Slovenia, especially as the presiding country of the Council, must follow the judicial rule. When it comes to Poland and Hungary, the issues are qualitatively and quantitatively incomparable for Slovenia.”
Avbelj is convinced that the appointment or non-appointment of some delegated prosecutors is a unique, problematic case, but it does not testify of a systemic violation of the rule of law. “We have our own European Public Prosecutor in Luxembourg, who can lead cases until two delegated prosecutors are appointed, and ensure that there is no abuse of European affairs in Slovenia. It is the same with STA funding, which is minor and has to be dismissed by the government.”