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MP Breznik: Jourová’s Mission Was Planned In Advance, And She Came Here With A Specific Political Agenda

“I myself have received many European Commissioners. They all tried, at least in the first part of the meeting, to maintain the appearance of impartiality of the European Commissioner, they met with the opposition, the coalition, the government, they listened to one and the other, and they usually spoke some diplomatic language. This is the first time I have noticed a clear bias in someone,” said MP Franc Breznik on the visit of European Commissioner Věra Jourová to Slovenia.

Last week, the President of the Slovenian Democratic Party (Slovenska demokratska stranka – SDS), Janez Janša, and Member of the European Parliament, Dr Milan Zver, revealed key internal European Commission documents from the visit of European Commission Vice-President Věra Jourová to Slovenia. More than a year has passed since she came to Slovenia, but the public has still not received convincing explanations of what exactly she was doing that day at the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Slovenia, which then ruled positively on the amendment to the Radio-Television Slovenia Act, allowing for a political takeover of the national media outlet. The European Union Ombudsman was also consulted and sided with MEP Zver, requesting the handover of all relevant documents and setting a deadline of 15 days for the European Commission to do just that. However, that did not happen. On Tuesday, the SDS party also demanded that an extraordinary session of the National Assembly be called because of the actions of the European Commissioner.

Breznik realised during Jourová’s visit that she didn’t want to hear the other side of the story

The European Commissioner for Transparency and Values should be a bastion of the European Union’s core values, according to Franc Breznik, MP and SDS party candidate for the upcoming elections to the European Parliament. He pointed out that last year, Jourová met with all three branches of government. “On the first day, she visited the Committee on European Union Affairs, which I chair,” he said, adding that he had warned her about the specific nature of the Slovenian media landscape, the role of the transition left in most daily newspapers, and a whole series of non-transparent examples of media practices that are a consequence of the former system and the failed transition in the media sector.

“I already realised then that her mission had been prepared in advance, and she did not want to hear the other side of the story,” MP Breznik stressed, recalling that he himself had already received several European Commissioners, and all of them had maintained a semblance of impartiality, talking to both sides, both the opposition and the coalition. They usually speak a diplomatic language. “This was the first time that I had noticed a clear bias in someone,” he pointed out about Jourová’s visit.

Jourová spends a month in custody

According to MP Breznik, Jourová started her career in a socialist party. “She was the deputy minister for regional development in the 2006 government,” he said, adding that the minister had asked for her to be dismissed due to incompetence. She then joined Babiš’s party, stood as a candidate for MEP and lost the elections. She was later delegated by the Czech government as European Commissioner for Justice.

“What is even more interesting is her 2006 corruption affair. She was in custody for a month,” Breznik pointed out, adding that one of her former colleagues told her that she was released from detention at the time because the police had been stripped of some powers by a politician and were unable to carry out the evidentiary proceedings in a decent manner. “On the other hand, someone from behind the scenes was paying her the most expensive lawyers.”

According to Breznik, the Commissioner also has integrity powers. “She is someone who has had a perpetual integrity problem in the past, who was never elected to the institutions, but was, of course, delegated when the party she eventually joined delegated her as the European Commissioner. Her integrity is already compromised anyway. She is a person with many scandals in her activities and very non-transparent operations.”

Regarding the request for an extraordinary session of the National Assembly, MP Breznik said that the purpose of the meeting was to point out that Commissioner Jourová and the President of the Constitutional Court had exceeded their powers. “If we know the European Treaties, the principle of supranationality, the principle whereby we delegate certain powers to the European Union, we know that in all the Treaties, the two Treaties of Rome, the Treaties of Paris, Amsterdam, Nice, Maastricht and Lisbon, there is no talk of power for the judiciary to answer to a European Commissioner. This is an encroachment on the internal sovereignty of a country, which has never been transferred to the European Union,” he explained, adding that Slovenia still has sovereignty in its own sphere, both in legislative, judicial and governmental work. While some regulations and directives have to be transposed into our legal order, others are acts of national sovereignty, he said. “We want to draw the government’s attention to this.”

The points relating to her visit to the Constitutional Court have been censored

Breznik recalled that MEP Zver had wanted to obtain European Commission documents in the first phase, mainly from Věra Jourová’s office. He did not get them in the first phase, he only got some of them, and then they refused to hand the rest over to him, so he asked the European Ombudsman, who played her role well and put pressure on the European Commission. “Later, he got more than 100 pages of documents, however, the points relating to her visit to the Constitutional Court were censored, and they keep saying that nothing happened there,” he said, adding that there was a lot of suspicion. “In my opinion,” Breznik said, “the President of the Constitutional Court should act with restraint because of the appearance of impartiality in his decision-making. He has not maintained it, and the European Commissioner has exceeded her powers.”

Breznik said that at the time of the visit, a number of legal experts working in the field of European constitutional law had already pointed out that the European Commissioner had exceeded her powers. Some arguments could have been made if the Commissioner responsible for justice had come to visit the Court. “But to have someone with such a political agenda, someone who we know has political convictions that are completely opposite to those of the former government, someone who has integrity problems, come and be the European Commissioner for Integrity, at the most critical time of the decision-making process, when the law in question was being temporarily halted from implementation, and meet with the President of the Constitutional Court. What should the other side think of that? Is this an appearance of impartiality on the part of the President of the Constitutional Court and the European Commissioner? I don’t think it is,” Breznik noted.

The government needs to wake up

The government, MP Breznik said, must wake up and realise that whatever government is in power in the future, this practice of European Commissioners seeking to overstep their powers within their political group is an unprecedented act. He considers Jourová to be one of the worst European Commissioners. “This is a person who has relatively low legitimacy, has never been elected to any European institution, and has had major corruption scandals in her home country. Such people are damaging to the very functioning of the EU institutions, not least to EU citizens,” he pointed out, noting that we are nearing important European elections, where few people are choosing to even attend. “Such visits by political commissioners, not EU Commissioners, can harm the functioning of the EU and the very trust in these institutions by nation states, in this case, the citizens of the Republic of Slovenia,” he added.

Ž. N.

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