The Constitutional Court decided on the request of the Bank of Slovenia to review the constitutionality of the second sentence of the second indent of the second paragraph of Article 52a of the Bank of Slovenia Act and Article 2 of the Act Amending the Bank of Slovenia Act. It held that the mentioned articles are not inconsistent with the Constitution.

The primary aim of the request of the Bank of Slovenia was to challenge the constitutionality of the power of the Court of Audit to review the regularity and performance of the supervisory practices carried out by the Bank of Slovenia up until 4 November 2014 that resulted in the use of funds from the budget of the Republic of Slovenia.

The Bank of Slovenia claimed that the challenged provisions are inconsistent with Article 2 of the Constitution because they are not clear and their content is not sufficiently precisely defined. The Constitutional Court did not agree with this claim and demonstrated that the mentioned provisions can be interpreted. The review of the regularity of the supervisory practices of the Bank of Slovenia thus inter alia encompasses the consistency of the supervisory practices with regulations. The Court of Audit may also review all segments of the applicant’s functioning within the statutorily determined audit period, except those that are explicitly excluded. In the opinion of the Constitutional Court, such cannot be deemed to enable arbitrariness on the part of the Court of Audit.

The Bank of Slovenia also failed to demonstrate that its allegations are substantiated by the guarantees of the independence of central banks under EU law. The Constitutional Court namely established that the challenged regulation allows the Court of Audit to carry out audits only with respect to the tasks and competences of the Bank of Slovenia that fall outside the scope of EU legal structures and to which the guarantees of independence determined by primary and secondary EU law do not apply.

In this Decision, the Constitutional Court adopted important positions regarding the interpretation of the principle of the independence of the central bank as determined by the first paragraph of Article 152 of the Constitution. Such does not extend to its entire functioning but only to the performance of the vital functions that define the Bank of Slovenia as a central bank. The autonomy of the central bank primarily entails its independence in the exercise of monetary policy. The Constitution does not ensure the Bank of Slovenia independence in the performance of bank supervision. The legislature could confer the competence to supervise bank operations on another entity.