In its efforts to protect Slovenia's interests in the harmonised use of the radio spectrum, the Slovenian Government continues to be a determined, active and constructive partner
The Minister of Public Administration, Rudi Medved, and the Acting Director-General of the Information Society Directorate at the Ministry of Public Administration, Marjan Turk, addressed the issue of the harmonisation of radio spectrum use in the border areas with Italy at today's press conference.
According to Minister Rudi Medved, the problem arises because Italy's use of the broadcasting part of the spectrum is not internationally harmonised, which causes mutual interference in the border areas with other countries.
The long-standing problem of radio interference in the border areas with Italy was resolved in relation to the television part of the spectrum after several years of efforts pursued by the Slovenian Government at bilateral and multilateral levels and by other Italian neighbours at the beginning of 2017. Italy resolved the issue through the implementation of a law governing the prevention of unlawful interference and through a fund (EUR 51 million) that compensated the designated Italian broadcasters for the withdrawal from terrestrial broadcasting.
Mr Medved said that the Slovenian Government paid particular attention to continuing efforts to address the FM radio spectrum (radio programmes), in particular in the context of multilateral and bilateral discussions, and added that the Ministry of Public Administration and the Agency for Communications Networks and Services regularly notified the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and the European Commission (EC) of the interference to the use of radio spectrum. In this respect, new claims for the resolution of the situation were placed with the Italian Government, the ITU and the EC. Furthermore, a third diplomatic note was sent by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and several meetings on the bilateral level were held between the Italian Republic and the Republic of Slovenia.
As pointed out by the Public Administration Minister, "It is time for the highest-level politicians to deal with the matter and find a concrete solution through mutual dialogue and amicable settlement. The Slovenian Government understands people who live in border areas and feel like second-class citizens; therefore, it has taken concrete steps to resolve the issue." This is precisely why the Minister for Public Administration will also raise this issue on his first official visit to Rome scheduled for this autumn.
Slovenia has continued its mediation procedure with the European Commission, but, as a result of the actions brought by Italian radio stations against Slovenian radio stations, the Slovenian Government has decided to use the legal remedies available to protect Slovenia's interests. Currently, six counterclaim lawsuits are being drafted, which will be filed by Slovenia against Italian radio broadcasters shortly.
In order to address this issue, Slovenia has already held multilateral meetings under the auspices of the ITU in recent years: one was held with respect to the interference in the television spectrum in 2011 in Geneva and two others in 2017 and 2018 in Rome with respect to the interference in the FM radio spectrum.
On the basis of an agreement with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Ljubljana will be hosting the fourth multilateral meeting on the harmonised use of the FM spectrum, which is scheduled for the 8th and 9th of July. The meetings are attended by the representatives of the ITU, Italy, France, Switzerland, Croatia, Malta and Slovenia.
The multilateral working meeting, which is of a particularly technical nature, aims to further seek a solution to the issue of the non-harmonised application of the FM radio spectrum and to address the implementation of the measures already agreed upon.
The participants were addressed by Rudi Meved, the Minister of Public Administration.