“Since the beginning of the process of amending the Radio-Television Slovenia Act, I have regularly and thoroughly warned various Brussels institutions about the political subjugation of the Slovenian national media outlet. Their reactions are the perfect examples of duplicity,” MEP Romana Tomc was critical, insisting that the reactions are also an indication of how quickly someone can be corrupted and how much conniving is hidden in the so-called fight for the rule of law and media freedom.
In the face of the appearance of unacceptable political pressure on the country’s highest court, three MEPs (Romana Tomc, Milan Zver and Franc Bogovič) have warned the presidents of the European institutions of the situation related to the rule of law in Slovenia worsening. MEP Romana Tomc, who received a reply from the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, last week, concluded that, unfortunately, neither Ursula von der Leyen nor Věra Jourová – the Vice-President of the Commission – will stand up for the rule of law and the depoliticisation of the media in countries where the left is in power.
Let us first think back to the content of Von der Leyen’s reply. In addition to the niceties about the European Commission’s commitment to media freedom, the President’s absurd reply to Tomc’s letter, in which Tomc once again warned her about the unsustainable situation in the Slovenian media, was that “in the State of the Rule of Law Report 2023, published on the 5th of July 2023, it was concluded that Slovenia had fully implemented this recommendation,” even though it is clear to anyone with knowledge that this government has done nothing to combat the real problems of the Slovenian media space – media transparency and media ownership concentration – apart from the political takeover of the national media outlet, Radio-Television Slovenia (RTVS). What is more, Von der Leyen even mentioned that “the Commission has proposed a European Media Freedom Act which, among other things, introduces common safeguards across the European Union to better protect independent and public service media.” She thus boasted of an act that will, at best, ensure that the Slovenian government takes control of the last media space where it does not yet have control – the internet. In doing so, she has shown that she clearly does not understand what is really going on in Slovenia.
“The President of the Commission visited Slovenia after the floods and promised European aid, which is commendable. But it should be pointed out that all countries that have suffered major natural disasters and have applied for financial assistance from the Solidarity Fund have received it, without exception,” Tomc pointed out, adding that the visit could also be seen as pre-election lobbying, as President von der Leyne is said to be keen to secure another term at the helm of the European Commission. “In order to do so, she needs as many representatives of the European Council as possible on her side,” she said.
The reactions of the Brussels institutions are the perfect example of duplicity
As a strong defender of the rule of law and media freedom, MEP Tomc believes that the Commission President could also say something on the subject. However, she said that it was difficult to expect Ursula von der Leyen to dive into the political purges at RTV at the moment, because it would not be politically wise for her to do so. “Since the beginning of the process of amending the Radio-Television Slovenia Act, I have regularly and thoroughly warned various Brussels institutions about the political subjugation of the Slovenian national media outlet. Their reactions are the perfect examples of duplicity. They are also an indication of how quickly someone can be corrupted and how much conniving is hidden in the so-called fight for the rule of law and media freedom,” the MEP was critical of Brussels.
Tomc also finds it really strange that in the European Union, it is only countries with right-wing governments that cause concern. “We have a saying about a crow not wanting to peck out another crow’s eyes, which explains the behaviour of the President of the Commission, Commissioner Jourová and other champions of European values, such as MEP Sophie in´t Veld or Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatović.” The dominance of the left in the European institutions is damaging to democracy and the future of the European Union, she stressed. Next year’s European elections could be a turning point to turn things around, she said.