No progress yet on STA public service agreement
Ljubljana, 13 July - The STA and the Government Communications Office (UKOM) have completed two rounds of talks on a new public service agreement in line with the recently adopted government regulation, but the STA management says progress remains elusive. If the transfer of promised funds remains on hold, STA will have to cease operations.
The statement on Tuesday comes after the second meeting with UKOM, after which the STA management said it could not consent to "additional conditions and extortion concerning the definition of public service" since both are determined by the existing act on the STA, not just the 10 June government regulation.
The management insists that the entire legislative framework governing the STA must be respected, noting that the agency would once again have to seek legal recourse "so that the competent court determines if the recently adopted government regulation on the STA is in conformity with Slovenian law."
According to the management, UKOM director Uroš Urbanija is arbitrarily adding conditions in an apparent attempt to defer the signing of the public service agreement.
The STA is not opposed to signing the agreement and Veselinovič said that if it is signed, it would immediately stop debt recovery procedures if "the promised advance of EUR 845,000 is transferred for the early part of this year".
The agency has taken the UKOM to court over its refusal to fund the agency in line with the law. Proceedings are ongoing.
The agency will constructively cooperate in future talks with UKOM and has handed over additional documentation that had been requested. It has also satisfied the requirement under the regulation that the content which constitutes public service be displayed on its website separately, the management said.
The STA and the UKOM started talks on a new agreement after the government adopted on 10 June a regulation that defines the STA's public service and the conditions for the resumption of public financing.
The management has argued that the regulation does not address the underlying issues relevant to the agency's survival and development, instead it raises new questions, not just about financing but also about corporate governance and UKOM's role.
The agency has been without public funding for 194 days. A campaign for the agency completed in June raised EUR 274,743, while Veselinovič also revealed recently that the management had sold a claim equivalent to one month of public service payment to a claims broker to secure money for wages.