This news is from early June 2023, but it certainly may still be widely shared and spread. It’s a wonderful example for most European governments.
Covid fines to be refunded
The measures applied during the Covid pandemic in Slovenia are being strongly questioned. The unconstitutional “laws” have been investigated and fines that were imposed at the time are even being repaid, with the aim of restoring public confidence in the rule of law.
European politics: is Slovenia officially in the lead?
The Slovenian government says it wants to restore confidence in the rule of law. Therefore, all fines that had to be paid during the pandemic for violations of Covid rules will be refunded. The Constitutional Court had previously declared all Corona laws unconstitutional.
The new Slovenian government talks about a step toward restoring confidence in the rule of law. “With this law, the government fulfills one of its most important coalition promises,” Justice Minister Dominika Švarc Pipan emphasized at the press conference after the government meeting.
The Covid fines led to protests against the previous government. Since the end of the Covid emergency, the Slovenian Constitutional Court has invalidated important legislation passed during the pandemic. This legislation – particularly on public meetings – served as a legal basis for the previous government to impose fines for violations of the Covid law. During the pandemic, the fines imposed were one of the reasons for anti-government demonstrations in the country. The new government, which has been in power for a year, promised during the election campaign to put an end to all fine proceedings and refund all fines already paid.
“Confidence in the rule of law has been greatly damaged during the pandemic.”
Justice Minister Pipan described the bill as an essential step toward restoring confidence in the rule of law,
“which was massively damaged during the pandemic by the use of excessive and unconstitutional repression…”.
Between March 2020 and May 2022, more than 62,000 proceedings were initiated and fines totaling 5.7 million euros were imposed. So far, 30% of the fines – €1.7 million – have been paid or voluntarily collected. The rest are still pending.
However, the Constitutional Court has since declared the legislation under which these measures were taken unconstitutional. Ongoing proceedings will be discontinued and fines that were paid will be refunded. According to the new bill, all ongoing proceedings will be halted. Also, all people who have paid fines will be refunded. Data related to violations will also be automatically removed from public records.
The minister said the previous government faced a lot of uncertainty at the beginning of the pandemic and had to act quickly.
“But – and this is essential – such measures must comply with the pillars of constitutional order and the rule of law. A crisis cannot and must not be a pretext for undermining it,”
Justice Minister Dominika Pipan added.
Source of this Generic version:: Le media en 4-4-2 (14/06/2023), artificially translated from French, but somewhat checked.
Source of the French version: Antipresse, translated from German by Slobodan Despot.
The original Austrian article can be found here.
(Appendix to the French version – how would this translate to other countries in Europa?)
It is interesting to note that in Slovenia (2 million inhabitants) the total amount of fines was €5.7 million (or €2.85 per inhabitant), while Canada collected $15 million in fines in 2022 (or $0.39 per inhabitant). In France, the revenue from these fines alone was €68 million in 2020! In April 2021, at least, nearly €300 million went directly to the exchequer.
That’s €4.48 per inhabitant….
Some other references
- Slovenia could soon elevator fines for anti-constitutional COVID-era rules (05/05/2023)
- Amnesty for covid fines coming (Slovenia Times 04/05/2023)
- Govt to refund fines issued for breaking Covid-19 restrictions (STA, 04/05/2023)
- Did the Minister of Justice hint that the government wants to return Slovenia to the state it was in before 1991? (Democracija, 14/02/2023)