The European Commission gave the green light to Slovenia’s plan for resilience and recovery, announced the Slovenian EU Presidency.
This was message brought by the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen and the College of European Commissioners to meeting with the Slovenian Government, which on Thursday took over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union for the second time.
At the press conference at the end of the working visit on Thursday evening, Prime Minister Janez Janša thanked the European Commission and President von der Leyen for their quick and efficient work during the epidemic. He emphasised how crucial it was for the EU to link the issue of post-epidemic recovery to the issue of the green and digital transition, as through this correct strategic approach the European Commission will ensure that the epidemic response keeps Europe globally competitive.
“Resilience, recovery and the strategic autonomy of the EU are part of our priorities for the next six months,” said the Prime Minister and thanked Portugal and Germany for the work done under the joint programme over the past year. He also mentioned the Conference on the Future of Europe as one of the common challenges and stated that Slovenia would strive for an open and inclusive debate, not only between European institutions and national governments but also between regions, local communities, non-governmental organisations and citizens.
“Slovenia is taking the helm of Europe’s leadership at a turning point for our Union,” said Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, “as we shift from crisis management to long-term recovery efforts.” According to her, the vaccination campaign is progressing quickly and the EU is cautiously reopening. “The NextGenerationEU programme is the engine of recovery,” said the Commission President, adding that she was counting on the support of the Slovenian Presidency in confirming as many Recovery and Resilience Facilities as possible before the summer recess, so that member states can access funds as soon as possible. “It is no less than laying the ground for our future prosperity, by setting NextGenerationEU in motion and really implementing it now on the ground. And in this endeavour, you can count on my constant support and the College’s cooperation,” Von der Leyen added.
In the context of the EU’s recovery, she also mentioned the role of a presidency on the current rule of law files – the next Rule of Law Report is expected to be published by the end of July this year. She stressed the importance of trust in the period of recovery – trust in sound institutions, in an independent and efficient judicial system, as well as in free, independent and properly funded media.
“Trust that freedom of expression, diversity and equality are always respected and that the rule of law and European values are always upheld,” said the President of the European Commission and added that political dialogue requires respect for all democratic political parties and that the Slovenian Presidency will be decisive.
The EC President added at the press conference that the EU is committed to making progress on its enlargement process, including formally opening accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia, and she welcomed the EU-Western Balkans Summit during the Slovenian Presidency.