Slovenia - Transposition of the EU Directive on Whistleblowing
After several delays, the National Assembly has passed amendments to the Integrity and Prevention of Corruption Act on the 21st of October, with wide support across the aisle. The Commission for the prevention of corruption welcomed changes to the framework whilst highlighting that new competencies should be met with sufficient resources. TI Slovenia have expressed that the majority of the proposed changes were needed, but that some last-minute amendments do not meet best practices and that further changes are needed to the anti-corruption framework, including transposition of the Directive.
TI Slovenia have published a call for a progressive transposition of the Directive on whistleblowing, highlighting how a high profile whistleblower who exposed COVID-19 procurement irregularities clearly shows the inadequacies of the existing whistleblowing framework in Slovenia and the need for stronger provisions.
An international online conference on Whistleblower Protection at Work in the Visegrad Group countries, France and Slovenia held by the University of Lodz took place on the 25 September 2020. Presentations were given by academics, public officials and civil society experts providing comparative analysis of the Directive and current national frameworks in France, Slovenia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia – see full programme here. This was the first planned “WhistlePro” conference aimed at improving whistleblower protections in the region and a second event is scheduled to take place in Prague in June 2021. You can watch a recording of the conference here.
In a public report of the meeting the Ministry of Justice reiterated that the transposition of the directive is one of their priorities and that the draft is being intensively prepared by key members of the government and institutions.
The National Assembly stated that it has postponed the second reading of the Integrity and Prevention of Corruption Act amendments. The amendments that are in discussion since 2015 and address some of the key loopholes of the anti-corruption framework as highlighted by experts, civil society, the CPC and GRECO (see 5th evaluation round) were not processed by the National Assembly’s Justice Committee. While the President of the Justice Committee stated that he wants to ensure more time is available to deputies to discuss amendments to the proposal yet another postponement shows the lack of political will to implement the most necessary anti-corruption reforms. The lack of political will could be detrimental to the timeliness or the quality of the transposition of the EU Whistleblowing Directive.
Minister Kozlovič met with dr. Robert Šumi who started his term as president of the Commission for the prevention of corruption (CPC) on April 1st 2020. The CPC reported that both parties agreed that the CPC has sufficient know-how that it can take a central role in the new whistleblowing protection framework after the transposition, given additional financial and human capacities. The Ministry of Justice reported that the transposition is one of their priorities and that the Minister emphasised that legal protection has to be ensured for all types of whistleblowers. Additional Source: https://www.kpk-rs.si/2020/04/24/obisk-ministrice-za-pravosodje-na-komisiji-za-preprecevanje-korupcije/
After the government of Marjan Šarec stepped down and Slovenia avoided snap elections with the creation of a new coalition. The candidate for the new Minister of Justice, Lilijana Kozlovič at a hearing in front of the National Assembly’s Committee for justice acknowledged the necessity to transpose the EU Whistleblowing Directive and stated that certain activities are already being conducted in that direction. Lilijana Kozlovič was subsequently confirmed as the new minister.
In a response to the Corruption Perception Index 2019 the Ministry of Justice revealed its plans regarding whistleblower protection. In the text the ministry emphasised the importance of whistleblowers for corruption prevention and that it will aim to fully protect them from retaliation. The ministry stated that it plans to form a working group from representatives from several members of government (Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Public Administration and Ministry for Economic Development) and other relevant institutions. The statement said that the draft law should be expected by the end of 2020, while a comprehensive public debate is planned for early 2021.