Sunday

17th Feb 2019

The Slovenian commissioner's letter politics

There is a letter waiting for Alenka Bratusek, the would-be next EU commissioner in charge of energy union. A letter she does not want to pick up from the local post office in Slovenia, close to her home.

It was sent to her by the Slovenian anti-corruption commission. In it are key findings about Bratusek’s self-nomination for the Brussels post. The commission usually sends such reports when its conclusions are critical towards the person under investigation, giving them a chance to respond.

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Alenka Bratusek, former prime minister of Slovenia, is considered to have done a good job in 2013.

When the country was tipped as the next bailout candidate after Cyprus, she became prime minister and avoided the scenario.

Her motto was that she "might be naive, but certainly not self-interested."

But after she put herself down for the EU commission job, many now think the opposite. The latest opinion poll suggests more than 65 percent of Slovenes oppose her becoming a commissioner.

The forming of the new EU Commission coincided with Slovenia’s early election. Bratusek, at the time still PM, nominated herself to be the country’s next EU commissioner, against the will of the incoming leader, and now prime minister, Miro Cerar.

Cerar informed Juncker that Bratusek was not the government’s favourite, but it was already too late.

Then the anti-corruption commission took up the cudgels. It began examining if she acted contrary to the expected integrity of a public official.

The finding of the commission were sent to her on 9 September. A day later, in a TV interview, Bratusek said she had not received it yet, and promised she would pick it up as soon as possible.

But two weeks have since passed and the anti-corruption commission still hasn’t been notified that the letter was picked up.

According to Slovenian law, if an official letter is not picked up, it is considered delivered after 15 working days.

Bratusek has an additional seven working days to respond - more than enough time get past her hearing for the commissioner post in the EU parliament, scheduled for 6 October.

Representatives of the new coalition have already said they won't go against her if she passes the EP hearing.

PM Cerar has complained that “it is inappropriate that she doesn't pick up the letter”.

Inappropriate or not, it seems like Bratusek will win this match.

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