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Rule of Law Report 2021: Slovenia

I.

The level of perceived judicial independence has been continuously improving.

Appointments of state prosecutors are unjustifiably delayed and failure to timely nominate European Delegated Prosecutors raises concerns.

The Constitutional Court declared the rules governing parliamentary inquiries unconstitutional for lack of safeguards on judicial independence.

The judiciary initiated a discussion on improving the framework for disciplinary proceedings regarding judges.

The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the need to accelerate the necessary improvements to electronic communication tools in the justice system.

Access to court and prosecution documents was the subject of a Supreme Court judgment and a legislative amendment.

The Judicial Council and State Prosecutorial Council are benefitting from a slight increase in resources, but shortages remain.

The efficiency of the court system slightly decreased, and challenges in economic and financial crime court cases, identified in the 2020 Rule of law Report, remain.

II.

The perception among experts and business executives is that the level of corruption in the public sector remains relatively low.

The Integrity and Prevention of Corruption Act was recently strengthened.

By its time of expiration, the national anti-corruption strategy has largely been implemented, but some actions remain pending and no new plan has been adopted so far.

The Commission for the Prevention of Corruption was strengthened, including its independence, although fully-fledged effectiveness remains to be reached.

Challenges remain with regard to the investigation of economic and financial crime and the leadership of the National Bureau of Investigation.

While the number of prosecutions has increased, the adjudication of cases before courts remains low, especially regarding high-level corruption.

In addition to lacking expertise and resources, challenges in the prosecution of corruption arise due to the statute of limitation.

Declaration of assets was extended to additional categories of officials, but their publication remains a challenge.

Provisions on lobbying for public officers and elected persons continue to improve.

Transparency of public data, especially related to public expenditures, remains in place.

In 2020, ethics rules for members of the Parliament were adopted.

Despite the existing legal provisions for the protection of whistleblowers, the effective enforcement remains overdue.

Several actions have been implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic aimed to assess, prevent and deter the risk of corruption, especially in public procurement.

III.

The independence of the Agency for Communication Networks and Services is provided by law, but challenges remain regarding its resources and commitment to strengthen its independence.

Slovenia has specific provisions on transparency of media ownership, but concerns remain regarding the effective identification of the ownership structures.

Instances of political interference in media have been reported.

No progress has been noted regarding the governance over state advertising.

The economic conditions of media have worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Journalists continue to face obstacles to access public information and documents, especially due to lengthy procedures.

Online harassment and lawsuits targeting journalists continue to increase, while physical attacks are rare.

IV.

The Parliament continued functioning during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Communicable Diseases Act, amended four times since the COVID-19 pandemic started, has been the basis for restrictive measures, as no state of emergency has been declared.

Financial independence of certain independent bodies has been ensured by a Constitutional Court judgment.

The Constitutional Court improved its efficiency and played an active role in reviewing COVID-19 pandemic measures.

Human Rights Ombudsperson gained A-status accreditation and has been active in monitoring restrictive measures related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

To discuss the rule of law, the President of the Republic convened a first-ever meeting of the legislative, executive and judicial powers.

The civil society space has been challenged.

Vir: 2021 Rule of Law Report: Country Chapter on the rule of law situation in Slovenia, SWD(2021) 726 final, Bruselj, 20. 7. 2021.

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