STA, 12 December 2019 - The government has granted the citizenship request by Angelika Mlinar, an Austrian former MEP who has been nominated to head the government office in charge of cohesion policy, on grounds of national interest.
The government said on Thursday the request had merit in that "there is interest by the Republic of Slovenia in admitting the person in question into citizenship."
The decision is based on provisions of the citizenship act which provide a path to citizenship for individuals that Slovenia deems useful for "scientific, economic, cultural, national and similar reasons".
It is most often used to fast-track citizenship applications of athletes and scientists and by mid-2018 almost 1,500 people had become citizens that way.
Following the clearance from the government, the Ministry of the Interior will now issue a formal citizenship decision.
Mlinar had been nominated by the Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB) to head the Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy, having previously topped the SAB slate for the EU election.
An Austrian citizen but ethnic Slovenian, Mlinar lived in Slovenia for several years. Despite diverging opinions due to vague legislation, the prevailing sentiment is that she needs Slovenian citizenship to become a cabinet member.
Her request in Austria that she be allowed dual citizenship is still pending and Mlinar has said that she would not want to give up her Austrian passport to be allowed to serve as minister.
The government must formally nominate a new minister by 7 January, three months after Iztok Purič stepped down.