STA, UKOM directors hold first meeting
Ljubljana, 2 November - Igor Kadunc, the new acting director of the STA, and Uroš Urbanija, the director of the Government Communications Office (UKOM), held their first meeting Tuesday. The talks were designed to discuss ways to resolve the stand-off regarding financing.
The two sides exchanged views on the key dilemmas regarding the public service agreement and steps needed for public financing to resume, the STA management said in a press release.
"There are certain differences in views, but over the next few days we will work hard on finding solutions, for this year and, more importantly, for next year," Kadunc said.
Kadunc acknowledged there were differences in interpretations and said solutions would be sought with the "inclusion of second opinions."
Both sides expressed an interest in a timely solution that would be acceptable for all those involved, with the awareness that this is needed as soon as possible, the STA management said.
The government said on Twitter that Urbanija had given Kadunc a draft public service agreement that they said formed a basis for the immediate advance payment of EUR 845,000.
According to the business plan for the year, which in previous years formed the basis for the public service payments, the STA was expecting to get just over EUR 2 million in public service payments this year.
"It was agreed that the STA would provide remarks about the draft agreement this week and a new coordinating meeting by the directors will be held at the end of the week," the government said.
Kadunc confirmed that the dynamics of talks would intensify, even as he noted that it would "not be such a problem" if the public service agreement for this year was not signed given that the law states the government must secure financing for the year regardless of whether if a formal agreement is signed.
He thinks it is however necessary to soon determine what the relationship will be like next year since the company will have to draw up a business plan for 2022.
According to him, the current financing delays can be overcome if both sides realise that Slovenia needs a press agency service of the kind provided by the STA and given that budget funds have already been set aside.
Kadunc took over as the acting director of the STA this week and is slated to become the full-fledged director at the start of 2022.
The STA has been performing its public service without pay since the start of the year and yesterday a new crowdfunding campaign was launched.
Kadunc stressed that public support was important and might even be decisive if the financing situation is not resolved in a certain time frame and the STA and UKOM are unable to reach an agreement on financing for this year.
As for claims on social media that the STA can apparently still operate without public funding, Kadunc said this was because of the "over EUR 200,000 that the public donated in the spring part of the campaign."
"Having this support is essential for the STA's to continue operating like it was meant to - independently, professionally and efficiently."