Brussels expects swift solutions to STA financing
Brussels, 6 May - The European Commission has noted the Slovenian government's duty under law to secure suitable funding for the Slovenian Press Agency (STA) in response to the agency's questions about the fundraising campaign for the STA, calling for swift solutions to unblock the funding and preserve the agency's independence.
"We are aware of this development," Christian Wigand, the Commission spokesman for rule of law, justice, consumers and equality, said about the crowdfunding campaign for the STA, which was launched on Monday, World Press Freedom Day, by the Association of Slovenian Journalists and "friends of the STA".
"While such initiative is admirable and showing good cooperation within the media sector, public press agencies should not have to resort to these types of solutions for funding," Wigand said in a written response to the STA's questions.
"As we have said before, it is for the Slovenian government to ensure appropriate funding for the agency and we expect swift solutions," he added.
The Commission understands that, under Slovenian national law, it is the duty of the Slovenian government to ensure the independence and appropriate funding for the public service provided by the STA.
Wigand noted that the Commission on 29 April confirmed that Slovenia's funding for the press agency for its 2021 activities is fully in line with EU state aid rules.
"As mentioned in the press release on this Commission's decision, the EUR 2.5 million will compensate the STA for carrying out its activities of informing the Slovenian public about national and international news in 2021."
Wigand confirmed that the Commission had received a letter sent by the STA staff on Tuesday with an appeal for help, saying they would reply to it in due course.