Slovenia's EU Presidency: Aims for a Safe & Sustainable Union, Based on Rule of Law

By , 06 Sep 2019, 11:15 AM Politics
Slovenia's EU Presidency: Aims for a Safe & Sustainable Union, Based on Rule of Law Wikimedia - Aivazovsky, public domain

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STA, 5 September 2019 - The government adopted on Thursday a first draft of Slovenia's priorities during its stint at the helm of the EU in the second half of 2021. The priorities are divided into three groups, focussing on a safe and sustainable EU which is based on the rule of law, State Secretary Igor Mally told the press.

 The priorities take into account Europe's key challenges, said Mally from the prime minister's office, adding the preparations for the presidency were in full swing.

Each of the three groups is further specified, explained Mally, the architect of the Marjan Šarec government's EU policy.

Security and international affairs will give a certain focus on the Western Balkans and on migration.

Efforts regarding the Western Balkans will focus on the region's development and economic progress as well as on its EU integration.

The second group will try to enhance the rule of law and the EU's basic values by modernising judiciary and improving cooperation between the judiciary and internal affairs organisations.

Asked whether the stalled implementation of the border arbitration decision on the part of Croatia would also be part of efforts related to the rule of law, Mally said he hoped "the arbitration matter" would be resolved before Slovenia assumed EU presidency.

The third set of priorities will give much focus to challenges of sustainable development, said Mally, pointing to the challenges of climate change and energy.

In this respect Slovenia will put great emphasis on social convergence, development of green technologies, digitalisation, circular economy and sustainable agriculture.

Mally said that depending on the situation in the EU, the draft priorities would be improved and changed until Slovenia assumes the six-month presidency on 1 July 2021.

Improvements and changes could be made due to Brexit, talks on the EU's next financial period, and due to the priorities to be set by the new European Commission.

In determining Slovenia's priorities, the government had in mind that a certain topic is of priority at EU level, that an area is important from Slovenia's aspect, and that its administration has the required know-how for it, he explained.

Mally said it was Slovenia's aim to get more active in the priority areas in the period leading to the presidency to raise its profile both in Brussels and elsewhere.

He added Slovenia was in intensive talks with Germany and Portugal, the other two countries forming a trio of EU presiding countries.

The fact is that some 80% of the presidency's agenda is inherited from previous presiding countries, so there is only a 20% leverage to stir the work of the Council of the EU and leave a mark, Mally said.

The government will brief parliament on the priorities and take into account its possible recommendations.

Slovenia's presidency is estimated to cost EUR 80 million.

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