The European Commission on Wednesday declined to comment on Slovenian media reports saying that the Croatian Security-Intelligence Agency (SOA) had wiretapped conversations between Slovenian officials.
EC spokesman Margaritis Schinas told Slovenian reporters that the EC had seen the media reports but did not wish to comment as the matter was a bilateral one and the EC was not familiar with it and had no details about it.
National intelligence services and related questions fall within national jurisdiction and it is up to member-states to control their services, Schinas said, adding that the EC did not have intelligence services or spies and was not concerned with intelligence matters.
Asked about the alleged attempt by the Croatian government to prevent media reporting about the case, Schinas said the EC supported media freedoms and pluralism within the scope of its jurisdiction. The responsibility to protect media freedoms and pluralism in line with European values rests primarily with member-states, he said.
Asked if EC President Jean-Claude Juncker would discuss the matter with the prime ministers of the two countries, Schinas said that he did not believe the matter would be discussed.
Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković confirmed on Thursday morning that he had briefly met with his Slovenian counterpart Marjan Šarec on the margins of an EU summit in Brussels, saying that he would like the two countries to resolve their problems at the negotiating table.
Asked if they discussed Slovenia’s criticism of Croatia over the rule of law, Plenković said that there was nothing new about it. “This is a continuing rhetoric. I would like Croatia and Slovenia to sit down at the table and resolve their problems. We are looking forward to Prime Minister Šarec coming to Dubrovnik today for the China+16 summit when we will talk again.”
Slovenia has accused Croatia and its intelligence service of wiretapping its officials and of an attempt to interfere with Slovenian media to get them not to report about it.