Slovenia, the current EU presidency, has failed to implement any of the 15 anti-corruption recommendations it has received in recent years from a pan-European watchdog.
This is 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 published on Tuesday 5 October, but which received little attention.
Greco noted that Slovenia’s anti-corruption workforce had been reduced from 40 to 37 since the previous report in 2018.
Rules on lobbying by former officials and politicians have not been tightened.
The scope of declarations of assets by ministers and state secretaries has not been extended to family members.
And no conflict of interest management plan has been proposed, among other shortcomings.
“No tangible results have been achieved” to protect law enforcement against corruption, unfair promotions or dismissals of police officers and senior officials, Greco said.
And “considerable progress is needed” to strengthen the protection of whistleblowers, he added.
Slovenia has been asked to inform Greco of its progress by April 30, 2022, but is not legally obliged to do so.
The report was released amid recent allegations of bashing by Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša and his government.
On Tuesday, the Slovenian administrative court ruled against Janša’s decision to quash the appointment of two Slovenian representatives to the EU’s highest court in Luxembourg.
Janša personally delayed and ultimately blocked the appointment of two Slovenian prosecutors – Tanja Frank Eler and Matej Oštir – in May.
This resulted in the resignation of Justice Minister Lilijana Kozlovič, who had selected the candidates.
The image of the flagship EU country painted by Greco and the anti-Jana accusations is not pretty.
And the Slovenian leader is also dragging his heels on the appointment of two representatives to the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO), a new body to recover badly spent European funds, as previously reported by EUobserver.
Slovenia is the only Member State which has not yet appointed prosecutors.
This creates a legal blind spot in Europe, resulting in an inability to pursue cases related to Slovenia, said the Chief of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office, Laura Kövesi recently.
Representatives of the cabinet of EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders told EUobserver that he had expressed his concern in person and asked for explanations on several occasions since Slovenia took over the EU presidency in July.
Janša previously acted as the country’s leader from 2004 to 2008. And then again in 2012 and 2013.
He was ousted by a vote of no confidence and was later sentenced to two years in prison for corruption.
But the decision of the country’s High Court expired when the Constitutional Court ordered a new trial on procedural grounds.
“It remains a mystery to me how Janša obstructs justice and gets away with it,” German Green MEP Daniel Freund said of the dragging Slovenian EPPO.