Slovenia: How to include the Western Balkans into the mechanisms of the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy

Slovenia: How to include the Western Balkans into the mechanisms of the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy

Slovenian State Secretary Uroš Lampret was the keynote speaker at the webinar titled The Strategic Compass and the Western Balkans: Towards a tailor-made and strategic approach to partnerships?

The Slovenian Ministry of Defence and the EU Institute for Security Studies organized the event, which presented Slovenia’s efforts to include the Western Balkans in the mechanisms of the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy. Both the Strategic Compass and the Western Balkans are the areas on which Slovenia will put intensive focus during its Presidency of the EU Council. “The webinar was one of the first events of the Ministry of Defence organised as part of the Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the EU in general, which further highlights the importance of one of the key priorities for the Republic of Slovenia,” emphasized Slovenia government.

Dr Daniel Fiott, a representative of the EU Institute for Security Studies, moderated the webinar. The EU Institute for Security Studies is the Union’s Agency analysing foreign, security and defence policy issues.

The webinar discussed the Strategic Compass, the steering document of the Common Foreign and Security Policy for the following 10 years. Together with the European External Action Service, Slovenian Presidency will design a document and decisions to be adopted in 2022. During its presidency, Slovenia will strive for concrete results leading towards the formulation of political guidelines in four areas – crisis management, resilience, capability development and partnerships.

As part of the partnerships packet, today’s seminar focused on the Western Balkan countries, which are approaching EU membership and are already taking part in the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy mechanisms. The countries in the region are already making an important contribution to EU missions and operations and rotations in EU battle groups, participating in joint exercises and training events, some have even signed a cooperation agreement with the European Defence Agency (EDA).

The Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the EU is making a strong endeavour to further involve the Western Balkan countries in these mechanisms and to enhance the dialogue at the EU level. At the same time, it is important that cooperation is adapted to the countries’ different needs in order to create strong and effective partnerships that will address the needs of the region. The Strategic Compass combined with other EU tools such as the European Peace Facility (EPF), the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) and the European Defence Fund (EDF) provides an appropriate framework to develop such partnerships.

Webinar speakers also included numerous prominent experts. The Secretary-General of the Bled Strategic Forum, Peter Grk, gave the closing speech.