Slovenia will formally take over the six-month presidency of the Council of the EU on Thursday, focussing on tackling the Covid-19 pandemic and recovery, enhancing resilience to future crises, and the EU’s enlargement. The government will host the European Commissioners for a working visit today.
Slovenia starts its second stint at the helm of the Council of the EU since it joined the bloc in 2004 after holding the presidency in the first half of 2008.
The six-month stint will begin with a working visit by the College of Commissioners and Commission President Ursula von der Leyen as is customary when a country starts the rotating presidency.
At the dedicated web page https://slovenian-presidency.consilium.europa.eu/en/, the Programme of the Presidency is published. Under the slogan “Together. Resilient. Europe.”, Slovenia will strive to facilitate the EU’s recovery and reinforce its resilience, reflect on the future of Europe, strengthen the rule of law and European values, and increase security and stability in the European neighbourhood.
In presenting the priorities, Foreign Minister Anže Logar stressed that Slovenia is assuming the presidency at a crucial moment when the EU is adopting important packages concerning the green and digital transformation and the building of the EU’s resilience. “The presidency is an opportunity to strengthen the integration within the EU27 and within EU institutions and to direct development towards an innovative and creative community based on sustainable development.”
In the introduction part of the Programme, it was said that this is the second time Slovenia will hold the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. “Slovenia will round off the work of the current Trio, which also includes Germany and Portugal, and, with its initiatives and activities, will pave the way for the next Trio to take over. Most of the discussions related to the Conference on the Future of Europe will take place during the Slovenian Presidency. Slovenia’s priorities for the second half of 2021, which falls within the New Strategic Agenda 2019-2024, contribute to securing the European Union’s existence and development,” said the document.
Four priorities are:
- The resilience and recovery of the European Union. A strategically autonomous European Union.
Developing and enhancing plans and mechanisms to reinforce the European Union’s resilience in the face of pandemics and large-scale cyberattacks. Recovery of the European Union from the pandemic that is based on a digital, green and fair transition.
2.The Conference on the Future of Europe.
Organising discussions open to everyone who would like to contribute suggestions on how to build a common European future.
- A union of the European way of life, the rule of law and the same criteria for all.
A union of balanced rights and responsibilities, a high level of protection for human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the right to freedom of expression.
- A credible and secure European Union. A Union that is capable of ensuring security and stability in its neighbourhood.
A union of cooperation within the North Atlantic Alliance. A Union that actively seeks to achieve the strategic objective of a Europe that is fully united, free, and at peace internally and with other continents. A Union of protected external borders with clear differentiation between legal and illegal migration.
Von der Leyen is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Janez Janša after meetings between commissioners and ministers by five thematic sections: the European Green Deal, digital transformation, recovery and resilience, foreign relations with the emphasis on the Western Balkans and migration, security, the rule of law and the Conference on the Future of Europe, all priorities of Slovenia’s EU presidency.