From the 1st of July 2021, Slovenia is holding the rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union. However, the country has also been the subject of discussions about the “rule of law” within the EU, a concept referring to respect for due process, plurality in politics and media and the upholding of civic freedoms such as free speech.
In its last 2021 Rule of Law report the EC mentioned that the situation of media in the country has been deteriorating. Online harassment of and threats against journalists are a growing source of concern, and several lawsuits against journalists with intimidating effects have been reported as well as instances of political interference in media.
Attacks on media have been criticized by international, European and national journalists and editors associations. The European Commission intervened various times to express its concerns.
A delegation of the Civil Liberties Committee travelled to Slovenia between 13 and 15 October to take stock of the latest developments in the country as regards the situation of the rule of law, media freedom and the fight against corruption including the question of Slovenian delegated prosecutors to the European Public Prosecutors Office.
Their agenda included exchanges with: NGOs; the Human Rights Ombudsman; academics; journalists and press freedom organisations;the Supreme State Prosecutor and former president of the Association of Public Prosecutors of Slovenia; the Data Protection Commissioner; officials of the Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Culture; representatives from the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption; members of the National Assembly; the President of the National Council; and the Presidents of the Constitutional Court and the Court of Auditors.
At the end of the mission, Sophie in ‘t Veld, the Chair of the Civil Liberties Committee delegation, said: "“We observed that the public institutions overall work well. At the same time, the delegation experienced a climate of hostility, distrust and deep polarisation in the country, which erodes trust in and between various public bodies."