The Renew Europe Group today rings the alarm bell about the double standards of the EPP family regarding the rule of law and press freedom reforms in Slovenia. EPP President Manfred Weber this week issued a press statement describing the current reform of the Slovenian public broadcaster RTVS as an attempt to end media freedom, when it is in fact intended to make government interference close to impossible. Major press freedom associations support the reforms.
This is the latest in a worrying trend of EPP actions intended to undermine liberal democracy in Slovenia, including attempts to cast doubt on the validity of the Slovenian election last May, to help their illiberal former Prime Minister Jansa. The EPP families support for the Rule of Law has become a mere tool of partisan accusation, as was also seen in past worrying EPP claims about the former Bulgarian PM Borrisov.
Stéphane Séjourné, President of Renew Europe, said:
"Manfred Weber's statement accusing the government of Slovenia to curtail the public media is irresponsible. The Slovenian government is engaged in a reform that is backed by all journalists organisations and aims at restoring its independence. The EPP must urgently stop using the Rule of Law as an excuse to protect its illiberal members."
Irena Joveva MEP (Gibanje Svoboda, Slovenia) added:
"The legislative amendments for RTVS drafted by civil society reduce the influence of all political parties and enhance independent governance. Professional journalists, who are on ongoing strike because of harassment by the RTVS leadership, deserve to have full editorial autonomy. I’m surprised to hear that the EPP once again seems to uncritically share the messages of illiberal populist forces and interfere in national democratic processes a few days before referendum. We demand an explanation."