17th Oct 2021


Slovenia's Janša in MEPs' crosshairs This WEEK

Slovenia's prime minister Janez Janša will be quizzed by MEPs in Strasbourg on Tuesday (6 July), as his country took over the EU's rotating presidency last week - amid concerns over media freedom and judicial independence in Slovenia.

The EU Commission travelled to Ljubljana last week for the traditional opening of the country's six-month long presidency, which already produced some awkward moments, such as Janša attempted to portray himself as the victim of EU politics.

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And the awkwardness doesn't end there.

Slovenia has yet to appoint its delegated prosecutors to the European Public Prosecutors Office (EPPO), which started operating last month, but without its Slovenian prosecutors, since Janša has so far refused to nominate his allocated appointees.

The exchanges between MEPs and Janša, an ally of Hungary's prime minister Viktor Orbán (and who defended the Hungarian leader during a heated discussion at the EU summit last month over LGBTIQ issues), is expected to be lively.

On Wednesday (7 July), MEPs will also debate the breaches of EU law and of the rights of LGBTIQ people in Hungary.

MEPs will once again urge the EU Commission to take action and launch the rule-of-law conditionality mechanism, which allows for the suspension of EU funds in cases of a breach to the rule of law.

MEPs will vote on Wednesday on a resolution on that. They will also express their concern over the lack of progress with regards to the Article 7 sanctions procedure against the Polish and Hungarian governments.

The years-long process has so far not led to any tangible results, only behind-closed-doors questioning of Polish and Hungarian ministers by their peers.

Commission president Ursula von der Leyen will also be in Strasbourg for Tuesday, and Wednesday - when she, European Council president Charles Michel, and MEPs discuss the outcome of the June EU summit.

Von der Leyen will also continue her tour of EU capitals, as the EU executive approves the national plans of member states that allows them to unlock the EU's unprecedented €800bn Covid-19 recovery fund.

On Thursday (8 July), von der Leyen is expected in Cyprus and Croatia.

On Tuesday, MEPs will debate asylum and migration and will approve the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund and the Border Management Fund until 2027.

The expenditures includes funding of actions in third countries, to prevent irregular migration into the Union or to facilitate the reintegration of returnees and readmitted persons.

Public spat with Brussels mars start of Slovenian presidency

A rift between Brussels and Ljubljana marred the start of the Slovenian presidency of the EU Council - with host prime minister Janez Janša publicly rebuking Brussels that "smaller countries in the EU are treated as second-class".

Slovenia takes over EU presidency amid wave of criticism

Slovenia formally assumed the six-month rotating presidency of the European Council on Thursday (1 July) - amid criticism against its right-wing prime minister Janez Janša for allegadly undermining the rule of law and democratic values in the EU.

EU leaders confront Orbán on anti-LGBTIQ law

Hungary's premier Viktor Orbán argued that the law does not discriminate against LGBTIQ people - and that he himself defended the rights of "homosexual guys" when he fought against communism as a student leader.

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