Wednesday

21st Feb 2024

Slovenia shamed on corruption by European watchdog

  • “It remains a mystery to me how Janša is obstructing justice and getting away with it,” one MEP said (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)
Listen to article

Slovenia, the current EU presidency, implemented none of the 15 anti-corruption recommendations it received in recent years from a pan-European watchdog.

That was the conclusion of the Group of States against Corruption (Greco), a branch of the Council of Europe, an intergovernmental body in Strasbourg, in a report which came out on Tuesday (5 October), but attracted little attention.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Get the EU news that really matters

Instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

Greco noted that Slovenia's anti-corruption manpower had been reduced from 40 to 37 since the previous report in 2018.

Rules on lobbying by former government staff and politicians have not been strengthened.

The scope of asset declarations for ministers and state secretaries have not been widened to include family members.

And no plan to manage conflicts of interest has been proposed, amid other shortfalls.

"No tangible results have been achieved" to protect law enforcement from corruption, unfair promotions or dismissals of police and top officials, Greco said.

And "considerable progress is needed" to strengthen protection of whistle-blowers blowers, it added.

Slovenia was invited to update Greco on its progress by 30 April 2022.

Greco told EUobserver countries members a legal obligation to implement its recommendations.

Growing pressure

The report was published amid recent accusations of dirty tricks by Slovenian prime minister Janez Janša and his government.

On Tuesday, the Slovenian Administrative Court ruled against Janša's decision to annul the appointment of two Slovenian representatives to the EU's top court in Luxembourg.

Janša personally delayed and finally blocked the appointment of two Slovenian prosecutors - Tanja Frank Eler and Matej Oštir - in May.

This prompted the resignation of justice minister Lilijana Kozlovič, who had selected the candidates.

The picture of the EU flagship country painted by Greco and the anti-Janša accusations is not a pretty one.

And the Slovenian leader is also dragging his heels on appointment of two representatives to the European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO), a new organ for clawing back mis-spent EU funds, as previously reported by EUobserver.

Slovenia is the only member state that has not yet named prosecutors.

This creates a legal blind spot in Europe, resulting in an inability to prosecute cases connected to Slovenia, EPPO chief Laura Kövesi recently said.

Cabinet representatives of EU justice commissioner Didier Reynders told EUobserver he has expressed his concern in person and demanded explanations on multiple occasions since Slovenia took up the EU presidency in July.

Janša previously acted as the country's leader from 2004 and until 2008. And then again in 2012 and 2013.

He was ousted in a vote of no-confidence and was subsequently sentenced to two years in prison on corruption charges.

But the country's High Court ruling expired when the Constitutional Court ordered a retrial for procedural reasons.

"It remains a mystery to me how Janša is obstructing justice and getting away with it," German Green MEP Daniel Freund said on Slovenia's EPPO foot-dragging.

EU chief prosecutor accuses Slovenia of interference

Europe's chief prosecutor Laura Kövesi warned that the EU budget might not be safe because Slovenia continues to delay naming delegated prosecutors to the agency. "We have to work as if our office does not exist in Slovenia," she said.

Slovenia risks court over EU anti-graft office

Slovenian foot-dragging on the appointment of prosecutors to a new EU anti-graft office may trigger a decision by the European Commission to take it to court. Slovenia's prime minister Janez Janša said they would be appointed by autumn.

Slovenian corruption estimated at 7.5% of GDP

Slovenia's anti-corruption commissioner Robert Šumi said the country misses out on €3.5bn a year due to corruption, while the EU chief corruption prosecutor Laura Kövesi visited the country.

Opinion

2024 will be a momentous year for election observers

Our role is not to 'judge' the elections, but observation does provide an additional level of transparency, scrutiny and public accountability, writes Matteo Mecacci, director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR).

Poland awaits EU-funds approval as Reynders visits Warsaw

Restoring the rule of law in Poland to unlock EU funds after the Law and Justice era marks a major challenge for Donald Tusk's new government, as EU justice commissioner Didier Reynders will see during a Warsaw visit on Friday

Latest News

  1. Von der Leyen rejects extremist parties, leaves door open to ECR
  2. Russian oligarchs failed to get off EU blacklist
  3. Podcast: Navalny, Ian Bremmer and "more Europe"
  4. Only Palestinians paying thousands of dollars leave Gaza
  5. Ukraine refugees want to return home — but how?
  6. African leaders unveil continent-wide plan to buy medicines
  7. EU urban-rural divide not bridged by cohesion policy, report finds
  8. Impending Rafah disaster shows up politics of humanitarian aid

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic Food Systems Takeover at COP28
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersHow women and men are affected differently by climate policy
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersArtist Jessie Kleemann at Nordic pavilion during UN climate summit COP28
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP28: Gathering Nordic and global experts to put food and health on the agenda
  5. Friedrich Naumann FoundationPoems of Liberty – Call for Submission “Human Rights in Inhume War”: 250€ honorary fee for selected poems
  6. World BankWorld Bank report: How to create a future where the rewards of technology benefit all levels of society?

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Georgia Ministry of Foreign AffairsThis autumn Europalia arts festival is all about GEORGIA!
  2. UNOPSFostering health system resilience in fragile and conflict-affected countries
  3. European Citizen's InitiativeThe European Commission launches the ‘ImagineEU’ competition for secondary school students in the EU.
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region is stepping up its efforts to reduce food waste
  5. UNOPSUNOPS begins works under EU-funded project to repair schools in Ukraine
  6. Georgia Ministry of Foreign AffairsGeorgia effectively prevents sanctions evasion against Russia – confirm EU, UK, USA

Join EUobserver

EU news that matters

Join us