Arianna Podesta, a spokeswoman for competition law at the European Commission (EC), said regarding the suspension of funding to the Slovenian News Agency (STA) by the Slovenian Government Communication Office (UKOM) and Brussels, the EU rules cannot be used as an excuse to stop funding for press agencies. He asked the committee to agree to go ahead.
According to MTI’s report, UKOM informed the government last December
It will not be able to fulfill the contract with the Slovenian News Agency in 2020, and it will not be able to enter into a contract with it by 2021 because the director of the news agency, Boyan Veselinovi ،, did not provide them with the documents that would allow the payment of the state’s contribution.
As a state representative, UKOM enters into an annual contract with the news agency and transfers the amount required to operate it on a monthly basis. That was 2 million euros by 2020, but the agency hasn’t received a single penny from the country since October. STA is expected to generate an additional € 2 million in business revenue this year, citing a statement from Brussels Action Slovenian daily newspaper.
The Slovenian News Agency has repeatedly stated that it has answered UKOM’s questions in accordance with the law, but to this extent it is only responsible to the government. They also stated that they would regularly inform the supervisory committee of their activities and that their annual reports would be discussed in Parliament. They added that UKOM would not change its position, but rather would threaten the news agency’s long-term work and the social status of hundreds of its employees, including eighty journalists and photographers.
UKOM announced Friday that the law changed STA’s legal relationship, in violation of EU competition law, so it has turned to the European Court of Justice for compensation.
However, according to Ariana Podesta, state aid rules generally allow member states to provide support to press agencies in exchange for services of general economic benefit. He also indicated that based on available information
The amount of funding for the Slovenian News Agency is within the limits established by the European Union legislation.
In addition, Slovenia did not indicate that other conditions related to obtaining state aid for services of general economic importance were not met. That is why it appears that the support can be released without notifying the European Commission, the spokesman said.