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The Government Communication Office has responded to a letter by Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights regarding the financing of the Slovenian Press Agency

Dear Ms Mijatović, May I begin by thanking you for your concern and the attention you have been devoting to the current situation regarding the Slovenian Press Agency (SPA). Just as you, I also want the current difficulties regarding the financing of the Slovenian Press Agency to be resolved as soon as possible to the benefit of the employees as well as the Agency itself.

In accordance with the Slovenian Press Agency Act, the Government is obliged to ensure appropriate financing of the SPA. This area has been regulated from the very beginning by the Communication Office of the Government of the Republic of Slovenia (GCO) on behalf of the Government. The umbrella contract, signed by current SPA Director Bojan Veselinovič and former GCO Director Kristina Plavšak Kranjc in December 2019, stipulates that the GCO pays approximately EUR 165,000 to the SPA for the provision of the public service, while, in accordance with the contract, the SPA provides the GCO with all the necessary documents, including the documents regarding financial and legal matters, as well as the content.

It is only possible to establish the meaning of "appropriate financing" as stipulated by law on the basis of a comprehensive review of the SPA’s financial operation. In the hope that a new contract will be prepared in due time and also to enable a review of the ongoing expenditure of budget funds, the GCO requested the complete documents in October, however, they have not yet been handed over by Director Veselinovič despite the valid contract.

Slovenia is founded on the rule of law and, in view of Slovenian and European legislation, any derogation from this principle is unacceptable. In light of this fact, it is also worth mentioning the pacta sunt servanda fundamental principle of law where the disputes in this area are in the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts.

Yours sincerely,

Uroš Urbanija

Director