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Thursday, July 7, 2022

The brutal recruitment of party dignitaries to independent institutions continues

By: Tanja Brkić / Nova24TV.si

The coalition is expected to decide on the candidates for deputy governor of the Bank of Slovenia and president of the Court of Audit by Thursday. It is expected to support Jana Ahčin for the new President of the Court of Audit, and Milan M. Cvikl for the new deputy governor of the Bank of Slovenia. Until recently, the opposition in Janša’s government shouted and accused Janša of political staffing, but after the composition of the coalition, they carried out a real personnel tsunami, which apparently has not ended yet, as the appointment of prominent SD staff member Milan M. Cvikl to the position of deputy governor of the Bank of Slovenia is clearly aimed at intensifying the politicisation of otherwise independent institutions.

As the opposition in Janša’s government, the then Prime Minister was often accused of political and unprofessional staffing, and before the elections and the formation of the new coalition, Robert Golob announced a new culture of staffing in state administration and state-owned companies. But just days after the government was formed, their predictions of non-political and professional staffing become a dead letter on paper. The coalition would support Jana Ahčin for the new president of the Court of Audit, and Milan M. Cvikl for the new deputy governor of the Bank of Slovenia.

The coalition’s decision on the candidates for deputy governor of the Bank of Slovenia and the president of the Court of Audit will take place until Thursday, while mutual consultations will take place, according to some media reports from the SD party. According to some media reports, the coalition for the position of deputy governor of the Bank of Slovenia is supposed to support Milan M. Cvikl, which is inconsistent with what they promised at the time of the election. Namely, political staffing. The obvious and visible political and rather unprofessional staffing, which was started by Golob’s government only a few days after the oath, is clearly continuing. Last year, the Public Finance Control Commission discussed the harmfulness of political staffing, Franc Trček from SD loudly problematised the setting of party and incompetent staff at lower levels of companies, and Bojana Muršič from SD described it with the words: “Just as long as you are ours, it does not matter what you know.” And what are we witnessing today? Anything other than setting up an independent and competent staff.

The Bank of Slovenia is an independent institution

The Bank of Slovenia is a state institution that disposes of its assets freely and independently, and all members of its governing bodies must be independent in the performance of their duties in accordance with the Bank of Slovenia Act and may not be bound or referred to by decisions, positions, or instructions of state or other bodies. The fact that it is an independent institution that must act objectively is enough to wonder about the coalition’s decision to place Milan M. Cvikl, who is politically defined as an SD cadre, in such a high position in the state an institution that should certainly not be politicised.

Cvikl’s past is anything but fair and ethical

It should be noted that this is an institution that manages finances, assets and in high positions requires competent and above all ethical and honest staff. Properties that are difficult to attribute to Cvikl in view of his past. Namely, the Bank of Slovenia has written in its code of ethics on its website that “in carrying out their tasks for the Bank of Slovenia, employees implement a framework of professional ethics and integrity based on the principles of independence and transparency, and that they must act honestly, professionally, impartially, transparently, responsibly and give priority to the goals pursued by the Bank of Slovenia in the public interest over personal interests”.

It is worth mentioning that Cvikl played a central role as chairman of the commission of inquiry into the alleged Patria affair, which led to Janez Janša’s imprisonment, and Cvikl’s loyalty was rewarded with a well-paid job at the European Court of Auditors in Luxembourg. He has had political ambitions in Slovenian national politics for a long time, he recently lost the desired position of Minister of Economy, and now he is aiming for the position of deputy governor. Here, his independence and the honesty required by the Bank of Slovenia are clearly called into question, but his integrity, values, and credibility were undermined as early as 2010, when he published the book Renewed European Union Law in September 2008 in the Official Gazette, a state-owned publishing house, for which Dr Matthew Acceto found it to be plagiarism, which Cvikl of course denied.

Given that Cvikl is an SD cadre, this is a clear conflict of interest, which the Bank of Slovenia defines in its code as “personal interests that may affect or appear to affect the impartial and objective performance of their professional duties in the Bank of Slovenia, but may represent any actual or potential, financial or non-financial, direct or indirect benefit.” From this we can conclude that Cvikl is unsuitable for a position that requires objective and impartial decisions, because by visibly taking certain positions he cannot meet the condition of objectivity, and at the same time the question arises whether he is ethically appropriate.

The public remembers Cvikl after the scandals

The public remembers Cvikl only after scandals, including family scandals, as he accused his children from the first marriage of crime, and he was allegedly even violent towards them not only once at that time. The fact is that the Bank of Slovenia, indirectly, does not want employees who could act out of their own interests, including financial ones. Therefore, it is necessary to ask again about the suitability of Cvikl for this position, given that in the past he owed 900 thousand euros to banks due to the desire for luxury, and allegedly he also owns the company for final finishing works in construction 52 thousand euros.

“Adherence to these rules is an essential condition for building and maintaining public confidence in the good governance of the Bank of Slovenia in its tasks,” they wrote on their website at the Bank of Slovenia, where they want public trust and reputation. With the appointment of Cvikl to the position of deputy governor, they will most likely not get that, at most they will lose.

Above all, the recruitment of party leaders into politically independent institutions will break all standards, and when the Social Democrats are in opposition, it will be difficult to accuse the new government of doing something controversial.

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