Regional Press Review (9-15 Iunie)
NATO chief warns of “new dangers” from Russia–China rapprochement.
- NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg called on NATO to adapt to an increasingly competitive global security environment, expressing concern about the growing political and military cooperation between Russia and China ahead of the June 14 NATO leaders’ summit. Stoltenberg assured that NATO is ready, in case of emergency, “to protect and defend every ally from any kind of threat from Minsk and Moscow.” (Euractiv June 8)
On first overseas trip, Biden to assure allies and meet Putin.
- President Biden is eager to reassert the U.S. on the world stage, setting the stakes for the first overseas trip of his term in sweeping terms. Building toward his summit with President Putin, Biden aims to reassure European allies that the U.S. can be counted on to thwart Moscow’s aggression both on their eastern front and their internet battlefields, and to demonstrate that the West can economically compete with China as the world recovers from the pandemic. (Associated Press June 9)
Russia blacklists Navalny’s political and activist movements as “extremist”.
- A Russian court has outlawed Alexei Navalny’s political and activist networks as “extremist” amid a wider crackdown in the lead-up to parliamentary elections. The designation bars groups affiliated with Navalny from crowdfunded operations and puts their members and supporters at risk of up to six years in prison. (The Moscow Times June 9)
Russian bill approved expanding “undesirable” organizations law.
- The State Duma has approved a bill that widens the scope of a controversial law on “undesirable” organizations. Under the bill approved on June 9, Russian citizens and organizations located in any country will be barred from taking part in the activities of “undesirable” NGOs, and the label was extended to include “any foreign or international NGOs that provide services or transfer money” to such organizations. (Radio Free Europe June 9)
Lisbon mayor apologizes over exposure of pro-Navalny activists to Moscow.
- Lisbon’s mayor apologized on Thursday for a “bureaucratic error” that led to his city hall sharing with Moscow the contact details of three Russian organizers of a rally in support of Alexei Navalny. Mayor Medina assured that the position of Portugal and the EU was in line with the views expressed by the protesters. The sharing of such data with embassies facing protests over their countries’ policies was city hall’s “normal procedure” until April, when it ceased doing so to protect protesters’ rights. (Polskie Radio June 11)
Russia preparing to give Iran advanced satellite system.
- Russia is set to deliver an advanced satellite system to Iran that will vastly improve its spying capabilities in the upcoming months. U.S. officials fear that it would share the obtained imagery with its proxies in Yemen, Iraq and Lebanon, and also allow Tehran greater monitoring of the Persian Gulf, Israeli bases, and U.S. troops in Iraq. (The Moscow Times June 11)
G7 leaders demand action from Russia on cyberattacks, chemical weapons use.
- As they wrapped up a three-day summit in England, G7 nation leaders urged Russia take action against those conducting cyberattacks and using ransomware from within its borders, conduct a probe into the use of chemical weapons on Russian soil, and stop “its interference in other countries’ democratic systems” and “its systematic crackdown on independent civil society and media.” (Radio Free Europe June 13)
Russia is ready to hand over cybercriminals, but only if U.S. does the same.
- President Putin has stated that Russia would be ready to hand over suspected cybercriminals to the U.S., but only if Washington did the same for Moscow and should the two powers reach an agreement. Putin expects the June 16 Geneva meeting with President Biden to help establish bilateral dialogue and revive personal contacts. (Radio Free Europe June 13)
Iran, Russia negotiators play down chances for quick nuclear deal.
- Representatives from Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia, and Iran met in Vienna in an effort to bring Washington back to the 2015 Iran Nuclear Deal and Tehran back into compliance with its terms, but Iranian and Russian negotiators declared that they need a few more weeks to clean up the existing text, to remove square brackets around secondary topics, and to concentrate on how the deal will be implemented. (Radio Free Europe June 13)
U.S. Embassy protests lack of access to jailed ex-Marine.
- The U.S. Embassy in Moscow has issued a note of protest to the Russian MFA over its lack of access to jailed ex-Marine Trevor Reed, expressing “grave concern” for his health. Reed, who was diagnosed with coronavirus on May 25 and hospitalized after his condition worsened, has been repeatedly denied phone calls to his family and Embassy personnel. (The Moscow Times June 11)
Exclusive Putin interview with NBC News.
- Putin brushed off allegations of hacking and involvement in Navalny’s poisoning in his first interview with U.S. media in three years with NBC news. Among other topics discussed, Putin fended off questions about his government’s human rights record by making counter-allegations against the U.S. and comparing the crackdown against pro-Navalny protests with arresting Capitol rioters. Putin refused to guarantee that Navalny will be released from prison alive, claiming that his continued detention was not his decision and noting the poor state of medical care in Russian jails. (NBC News June 14)
Resignations of top Armenian diplomats accepted.
- Three of Armenia’s four deputy foreign ministers have resigned over apparent disagreements with the government. The Pashinyan Administration has not made any public statements on the resignations, but stated that the post of foreign minister will remain vacant until the elections. (Azatutyun June 8)
Pashinyan vows post-election “vendettas”.
- PM Pashinyan has pledged to “purge” the state bureaucracy and wage “political vendettas” against government officials supporting the opposition if he wins the parliamentary elections, calling them “Trojan horses” and accusing heads of local communities and private entities of forcing subordinates to attend opposition rallies. Pashinyan made the unbacked claims based on photographs of “ordinary Armenians” whose facial expressions “showed” that they participated against their will, before likening Armenia under his rule to “paradise.” (Azatutyun June 8)
New report details gross violations of humanitarian law in Second Nagorno-Karabakh War.
- A report published by The International Partnership for Human Rights/Truth Hounds has detailed extensive violations by Armenian and Azerbaijani forces of international humanitarian law during the Second Nagorno-Karabakh War, including unlawful bombing, extrajudicial killings, and torture. The report found that 32 reported bombings of civilians and infrastructure were in violation of international humanitarian law. It also noted seven extrajudicial executions, at least one enforced disappearance by Azerbaijani forces, the death of one civilian in Azeri captivity “as a result of the conditions of his detention” and what appear to be two extrajudicial executions of wounded Azerbaijani soldiers by Armenian forces. (OC Media June 9)
Pashinyan seeks “steel mandate” to stay in power.
- Nikol Pashinyan called for the upcoming general elections to end the “velvet revolution” that brought him to power in 2018 and mark the beginning of a “steel revolution” involving tougher methods of governance. “What does the steel revolution mean?… It means strengthening institutions of law enforcement, it means a dictatorship of the law, and we will go down that path with your mandate,” Pashinyan explained. (Azatutyun June 11)
Baku, Washington mull strategic partnership, regional challenges.
- FM Bayramov and visiting U.S. Acting Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Reeker met to discuss bilateral strategic partnership and regional challenges on June 9. Reeker expressed U.S. regional interests and offered to assist in the process of clearing the territories of mines as he stressed the importance of Armenia sharing their mine maps. Reeker expressed concern about the latest tensions on the border, calling on the two sides to resolve this issue peacefully and to return to the substantive negotiations under the chairmanship of the OSCE Minsk Group. The diplomat also called on Baku to release all Armenian POWs. (Today.az June 9; Today.az June 9; Radio Free Europe June 10)
Report warns of “fragile” prospects for postwar Nagorno-Karabakh.
- The International Crisis Group found that that displacements, the scramble by military forces to build up new frontline positions, and a looming humanitarian crisis add up to a “fragile situation” in and around Nagorno-Karabakh, seven months after the November 9 cease-fire came into effect. Only half the ethnic Armenians who fled the region last autumn returned due to the destruction of their homes and fears for their safety; Azerbaijani civilians displaced in the early 1990s have also yet to return. Many areas have no running water. Most international aid groups are unable to deliver assistance until Yerevan and Baku resolve the issue at the heart of their conflict. Armenians report being detained for accidentally wandering over the not clearly demarcated line of contact. The technical discussions that were due by March 1 on resuming regional transport routes have deadlocked. (Radio Free Europe June 9; International Crisis Group June 9)
Deal on Karabakh’s status still not urgent for Russia.
- Russian FM Lavrov reiterated on Wednesday that international mediators should not rush to broker an Armenian–Azerbaijani agreement on the status of Nagorno-Karabakh, insisting that return to normality and confidence-building measures in the conflict zone should be the top short-term priority of the OSCE Minsk Group instead. (Azatutyun June 9)
Azerbaijan exchanges 15 Armenian militaries for minefield maps in Agdam.
- Azerbaijan on June 12 released to Armenia 15 prisoners of war captured last year and Yerevan provided Baku with maps of minefields in the conflict zone, under a deal mediated by Georgian PM Garibashvili and saluted by the U.S. and the EU. Secretary of State Blinken stated that the U.S. was “grateful” to the Government of Georgia for its “vital role in facilitating the release,” and Garibashvili expressed pride in the role his country played in close coordination with U.S. Acting Assistant Secretary Reeker. (Euractiv June 15)
EC opens three new infringement proceedings against Bulgaria.
- The European Commission on June 9 opened three infringement procedures against Bulgaria and escalated two existing cases. The EC has sent letters of formal notice to Bulgaria “drawing its attention to the tax treatment of undertaxed subsidiaries,” notifying Bulgaria that it failed to correctly transpose certain elements of the EU rules on combating terrorism, and on the issue of biodiversity, in which the Commission called on 18 Member States to implement provisions of Regulation 1143/2014 on the prevention and management of the introduction and spread of invasive alien species. (The Sofia Globe June 9)
EU Prosecutor tells Bulgarians Independent judiciary is sole guarantor of justice.
- Amid protests against Chief Prosecutor Geshev for refusing to investigate high-level corruption and fostering a climate of impunity, Chief Prosecutor Kövesi chose Bulgaria for her first visit to a Member State since the European Public Prosecutor’s Office started operations on June 1, encouraging Bulgarians to send complaints about large-scale graft linked to misuse of EU funds directly to her office. In 10 days, Kövesi’s office received more than 300 cases and 120 individual complaints from different countries, including Bulgaria. (Radio Free Europe June 11)
Thousands turn out for Sofia Pride 2021.
- Amid a jovial atmosphere and tight security measures, thousands turned out for the 2021 Sofia Pride on June 12. The 2021 Pride was preceded by appeals by organizers to state and government institutions to ensure that it was properly secured, following a string of homophobic attacks. Several ambassadors recorded video messages of support that were posted on Sofia Pride’s Facebook page. Earlier on June 12, ultra-conservative groups held events in Sofia and Veliko Turnovo “in defense of the traditional Bulgarian family.” (The Sofia Globe June 12)
PM: under current conditions, Namakhvani HPP Project will not continue.
- PM Garibashvili declared that the Namakhvani HPP project will not continue under the current conditions. Garibashvili stated that the Government is talking to the investor, hoping to build an hydropower plant with better conditions and in the best interests of the population. An EU-mediated process will start in the coming days, joined by the Rioni Valley Guardians. (Georgia Today June 9)
Shukruti residents strike deal with Georgian Manganese.
- Residents of Shukruti village, who have protested for more than 100 days over mining activities damaging their homes, have finished their hunger strike and protest after reaching an agreement with the company. (civil.ge June 10)
Georgia, French Development Agency (AFD) sign EUR 483 million agreement.
- Georgia and the French Development Agency (AFD) signed on June 10 an agreement for the 2021–2023 Cooperation program, which will provide about EUR 483 million through grants, loans, and technical assistance by 2024. The funds will be oriented towards four key areas: water resources management, irrigation, agriculture; urban development and connectivity; energy; social welfare; and health. (civil.ge June 10)
Strasbourg court resumes “Georgia vs. Russia” occupation case.
- The European Court of Human Rights has resumed consideration of Georgia’s fourth interstate lawsuit, the so-called ongoing “occupation case” filed in 2018. The lawsuit concerns the administrative practice of mass harassment, arrests, assaults, and murders of the Georgian population in the Russian-occupied territories of Georgia and along the occupation line, paying special attention to the murders of Archil Tatunashvili, Giga Otkhozoria and Davit Basharuli. (Georgia Today June 11)
European Commission welcomes final adoption of EU’s new long-term external action budget.
- On 9 June, the European Parliament’s adopted the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) “Global Europe” for the 2021–2027 period, allocating €79.5 billion to foster global recovery over the next seven years. This envelope will be used for international partnerships on sustainable development, climate change, democracy, governance, human rights, peace and security in the neighboring countries and beyond, and includes €60.38 billion for geographic programs (at least €19.32 billion for the Neighborhood); €6.36 billion for thematic programs (Human Rights and Democracy, Civil Society Organizations, Peace, Stability and Peace Conflict Prevention and Global Challenges); and €3.18 billion for rapid response actions. (Georgia Today June 11)
Assistant Secretary Reeker meets PM, Patriarch, Gakharia.
- Acting U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Reeker, who is on a weeklong June 6–13 tour in the South Caucasus, returned to Tbilisi on June 11 to meet with PM Garibashvili, orthodox Patriarch Ilia II, and former PM Gakharia. Reeker discussed regional security issues PM Garibashvili, U.S. cultural preservation efforts in Georgia with Orthodox Patriarch Ilia II, and plans for the For Georgia Party with former PM Gakharia. (civil.ge June 12)
Attacks on Moldovan journalists increased in 2020.
- The number of attacks on journalists and media representatives in Moldova increased by almost 20% compared to 2019, according to a Justice for Journalists report that identified 68 attacks or threats against media workers and publications in 2020. 49 of the 68 attacks were non-physical, including campaigns to discredit or illegally obstruct journalists and deny access to information, harassment, intimidation, pressure on social networks, defamation and libel cases. Four of the five recorded physical attacks were initiated by the State Guard and Protection Service, the police, or the Russian military stationed in Transnistria. (Balkan Insight June 9)
President Sandu launches committee to investigate grand corruption.
- President Sandu has launched the Anticorruption Independent Consultative Committee, an extra-governmental corruption monitoring body co-chaired by U.S. diplomat James Wasserstrom that includes economists, jurists, and journalists, and is partially funded by the EU and U.S. The Committee will function as an NGO and will investigate major cases in the financial and banking sectors in partnership with law enforcement. (Euronews June 8)
EC issues “encouraging” report on Romania’s reforms under the CVM.
- There is progress across all the remaining recommendations, and many are on the path to being fulfilled, the European Commission concluded in the latest report issued under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) on June 8, noting a positive trend since 2019 and praising a renewed impetus to reform and to reverse the backtracking of the 2017–2019 period. PM Cîţu expressed hopes that the CVM would be successfully completed this year, paving the way for the country’s Schengen membership. (Romania Insider June 8)
Anticorruption directorate DNA points to downsides in CVM report.
- Romania’s anticorruption directorate DNA points out that the CVM report points to unresolved issues that could affect anticorruption: justice laws that need to be amended, the special section SIIJ that needs to be dismantled, Constitutional Court decisions requiring legislative amendments, the shortage of prosecutors, and the crisis of technical resources. Other issues underscored by DNA are the non-compliance of the legislation in force with the decisions of the Constitutional Court and the failure to strengthen DNA’s technical capacities. (Romania Insider June 10)
PM Orbán discusses defense cooperation with Erdoğan.
- PM Orbán met with President Erdoğan in Brussels on Sunday to discuss bilateral military and defense industry cooperation and strengthening economic and trade ties ahead of the NATO Summit. The two countries’ foreign ministers also attended the meeting. (Hungary Today June 14)
Ukraine withdraws its troops from Afghanistan.
- Ukraine has pulled its military contingent out of Afghanistan, following the historic decisions of the U.S. and NATO to end their operations in the country, despite the ongoing war between its government and the Taliban movement. The Ukrainians were part of NATO’s non-combat mission Resolute Support, which provided training and advice for the Afghan Armed Forces since late 2014. (Kyiv Post June 9)
European Court sides with Yanukovych but sanctions remain.
- The General Court of the EU has annulled a 2019 decision that extended asset freezes on former president Yanukovych and his son Oleksandr over their alleged embezzlement of Ukrainian state funds, finding that the rights of the defense and the right to effective judicial protection were not respected in the criminal proceedings. Despite winning in court, their assets remain frozen; future sanctions remain in question. On March 3, the ambassadors of the EU Member States agreed to remove all other high-profile Yanukovych era officials from the EU’s sanction list. (Kyiv Post June 9)
Pentagon announces $150 million in military aid for Ukraine.
- The U.S. Defense Department announced on June 11 a new $150 million military assistance package for Ukraine that would “enhance the lethality, command and control, and situational awareness” of Ukrainian forces. The latest package comes from funds already committed by Congress for the current fiscal year. (Radio Free Europe June 14)
Dirty lobbying puts in spotlight anti-Babiš resolution.
- A lobbying campaign against a European Parliament resolution exposing alleged conflict of interest and misuse of EU funds involving PM Babiš raised eyebrows among MEPs before a key resolution was voted on in plenary on June 9. Agrofert Holding sent direct messages via Twitter to European lawmakers urging them to vote against the resolution, leading MEPs to wonder why they would run such a campaign if they have no connection with Babiš. The Czech Transparency International (TI) has criticized Agrofert for its campaign. After the resolution was adopted, Babiš called the EP “a useless institution that only costs us money.” (Euractiv June 9; Euractiv June 11)
Czech lower house to discuss stricter penalties for violence against women.
- The case of former MP Feri has led the lower house of parliament to convene a meeting to discuss the tightening of sentences for violent behavior towards women. Feri resigned after being accused by several women of sexual violence. So far, no bill has been proposed for creating stricter penalties for violence against women, but a general debate on the matter was held on Wednesday. (Expats.cz June 9)
European Commission takes Czechia and Poland to court for not letting foreigners run in elections.
- The European Commission pressed charges against the Czech Republic and Poland at the Court of Justice of the EU on Wednesday for not allowing foreigners from EU Member States to enter political parties, arguing that both countries are limiting people’s right to run in elections under the same conditions provided to their citizens. (Radio Prague International June 9)
European prosecutor to deal with Czech PM’s conflict of interest case.
- The European Public Prosecutor’s Office has taken over the conflict-of-interest case concerning subsidies and public contracts won by the Babiš-related Agrofert company. Czech investigators are also investigating whether a crime was committed in this case. PM Babiš declared on Saturday that the Czech authorities did not need any help from EU institutions. (Expats.cz June 13)
Czech Republic to give one billion crowns in development aid in 2022.
- The Czech Republic will donate roughly $48 million in bilateral development and humanitarian aid in 2022, $4.8 million less than in 2021. The aid will continue to target the six countries that Czechia considers its development aid priorities: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova, Georgia, Cambodia, Ethiopia, and Zambia. (Expats.cz June 13)
Hungary rejects criticism over foreign policy blockages.
- Hungary and Germany have publicly locked horns over how the EU’s foreign policy should be conducted after a series of Budapest-blocked joint foreign policy statements prompted Germany to complain that the EU was being “held hostage” by countries that don’t share its values. PM Orbán responded by accusing the European left of attacking Hungary in an atrocious tone and called for its “fabricating and flaunting declarations” to end. (Euractiv June 8)
Hungary proposes banning the “promotion” of homosexuality to children.
- The Fidesz party has proposed banning the “promotion” of sexuality to young people under a new law, also outlawing “promoting sex changes” among minors—iincluding in schools, films or books. NGOs immediately denounced the proposal. The new law could see Hungary outlaw any advertisements by large groups or companies which stand in solidarity with the LGBT+ community. (Euronews June 11)
Orbán: Hungary–China cooperation needed in “new economic order”.
- PM Orbán held a press conference on Thursday to address questions around Fudan university, the opposition’s “anti-China rhetoric,” and future cooperation with the PRC. Orbán declared that Hungary’s cooperation with China is a key part in ensuring benefits for the next decade, adding that he does not believe the “anti-China rhetoric” and assuring that Hungary’s relationship with China is neither ideological nor political, but strictly a question of strong economic cooperation. (Hungary Today June 11)
Thousands rally in Hungary against anti-LGBT legislation.
- Thousands of protesters in Budapest condemned a draft bill that would ban discussions on homosexuality or gender change in schools on June 14. The Fidesz Party planned to vote on the controversial legislation on June 15. The proposed amendment states that children cannot be shown any content that encourages gender reassignment or same-sex relationships, including in advertising, and also suggests the creation of a list of groups that would be allowed to conduct sex-education classes in schools. The Commissioner for Human Rights at the Council of Europe urged lawmakers to reject the bill and “to remain vigilant against such initiatives.” (Radio Free Europe June 14)
Orbán ahead of NATO Summit: “Next decade to bring epidemics, mass migration”.
- PM Orbán called on NATO to be prepared to face “challenges posed by epidemics and mass migration in the coming decade” ahead of a NATO summit in Brussels. Orbán voiced support for the organization’s new strategic plan until 2030, explaining that the new strategy was aimed at strengthening “national resistance capabilities” and that that Hungary actively contributed to such efforts “whether it is the fight against the coronavirus or against migration.” Regarding challenges posed by China, Orbán stated that Hungary was against “any kind of cold war.” (Hungary Today June 14)
Poland’s publishes draft plans to close massive Belchatow power plant by 2036.
- Polish authorities are prepared to close Europe’s most polluting power plant by the end of 2036. The Lodz region has launched a public consultation its bid for support from the EU’s Just Transition Fund, which helps coal-dependent regions shift to a climate-neutral economy. Under the draft plan, lignite-burning at Bełchatów would be reduced by 80% by 2030 and stopped outright by 2036. (Euronews June 8)
EU Parliament threatens to sue European Commission over rule of law.
- The EU Parliament on June 10 threatened the European Commission with a lawsuit for failing to use the bloc’s new rule of law powers to hold back recovery cash from Poland and Hungary, calling on the Commission to “fulfil its obligations” within two weeks. “It is out of the question that the European budget and recovery plan finance the repression of freedoms or the re-election of conservative autocrats in Hungary or Poland,” declared French MEP Keller (Renew Europe). (Euractiv June 11)
Polish man charged with spying for Russia at EU Parliament.
- A Polish man suspected of spying on the European Parliament for Russia was arrested on Thursday. Polish officials explained that the man would attempt to approach Polish and foreign politicians as instructed by individuals working for the Russian intelligence services. (Euronews June 11)
Polish Constitutional Court again postpones review of CJEU provisional measures.
- Poland’s Constitutional Court has postponed for the third time its review of whether the country must comply with a demand by the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) to suspend regulations on judicial reform implemented by the ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS) which it found to be contrary to EU law. Ombudsman Bodnar is calling for two judges to be removed from the trial as he considers one to have been unconstitutionally chosen by the ruling party and the other to be openly anti-European and critical of the CJEU, and therefore biased. (Euractiv June 15)
Czechia ready for tough negotiations with Poland over Turow mine.
- The Czech–Polish legal dispute over the Turów coal mine has entered a new phase after Czechia sent a draft bilateral agreement to Polish authorities as the alternative way to solve the dispute. In the draft agreement, Czechia asks Poland to provide all available information about the mining impacts and perform regular checks in the mine, and for €50 million to cover expenditures for constructing new sources of drinking water in affected regions on the Czech side of the border. (Euractiv June 15)
Slovakia’s “me too” moment? OĽaNO MP Herák quits parliament.
- MP Herák resigned after facing sexual abuse accusations from three underage girls who participated in camps he organized with his civic association. This is the first time that a politician has stepped down following an accusation of sexual abuse, despite Slovakia having long since started conversations about allegations of sexual abuse made against politicians and the issue of sexual abuse against minors in children’s camps. (Slovak Spectator June 14)
Slovenia priorities for EU presidency.
- The Slovenian EU presidency will lead dialogue based on the European Commission’s second annual rule of the law report, which will be released at the start of its six-month term. The polemics over tying EU funds to respect for the rule of law will continue and it is not yet clear what will happen with proceedings against Poland and Hungary. The rule of law is discussed across three parallel processes: the country-specific rule of the law reports, general horizontal discussions on the rule of law situation around the EU expected to be held at the October session of the General Affairs Council, and a mechanism that would make EU funding subject to respect for the rule of law, though it will not be used until the European Court of Justice delivers its opinion on the matter. (IBNA June 8)
Draft regulation redefines the STA as a public service, proposes financing changes.
- The public service provided by the STA would be subject to detailed new rules under a draft government regulation that imposes what the service should look like and stipulates that special summaries of its news have to be open to the public, distinct from those the agency markets to subscribers. STA director Bojan Veselinovič described the regulation as “a new maneuver to bypass two laws.”(STA June 9)
Survey finds LGBT students still feel unsafe in schools.
- A survey by Legebitra, an advocacy group for LGBTI rights, has shown that schools are not safe spaces for members of the LGBT community. One in four LGBT students reported having often heard homophobic remarks at school, with school staff not intervening in more than half the cases. Students who have often been targets of attacks and remarks because of their sexual orientation are less likely to continue their education. (STA June 8)
Slovenian oversight institutions want political pressure to end.
- The heads of four independent Slovenian oversight institutions—The Information Commissioner’s Office, Commission for the Prevention of Corruption, Court of Audit and Human Rights Ombudsman—released an unprecedented joint statement expressing “grave concern” about pressure by politics on institutions, which is reflected in “direct and coordinated attacks through the media and social networks.” (Euractiv June 13)
PM says Slovenia must do its homework regarding defense spending.
- Arriving at a NATO summit, PM Janša announced that Slovenia would not be able to reach the NATO target of 2% of GDP in defense spending by 2024, but it that “must do its homework,” as under the current government the spending trend had been reversed. Janša hopes for the target to be reached by 2030. (The Slovenia Times June 15)
STA supervisors appeal to government to restore financing.
- The head of the STA supervisory board called on the government to restore financing of the agency, as it had delivered all the requested documentation. Chief Supervisor Terčelj expressed concern at the Government’s lack of desire to examine the documentation, request additional information as needed and restore regular financing to the public service. (STA June 14)
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