STA, 16 June 2020 - Germany, Portugal and Slovenia presented the programme of the trio's upcoming EU presidency in a videoconference of EU ministers in charge of European affairs on Tuesday. Foreign Ministry State Secretary Gašper Dovžan pointed to the many coronavirus-related challenges and highlighted the need for a plan B.
"The programme is a compromise reflecting the views of us all. Not all the highlighted aspects are equally important for all the countries. But in principle it is broad enough to allow for certain national specifics as part of the six-month programme," Dovžan told Slovenian Brussels-based reporters.
He noted the programme had to be reviewed in the past three months because of the corona crisis, especially because the goal was to improve the bloc's resilience to any future crises.
The top priority will be the next multi-annual budget, as no plans will be able to be implemented without adequate financial support, he said.
Dovžan noted that logistical and organisational preparations in Slovenia had been interrupted because of the coronavirus but the government endorsed a reviewed plan last week.
He stressed the need for an alternative scenario for the presidency in case of a second wave of the epidemic. Meetings could be cancelled or carried out on-line, which would mean "certain spaces" would not be able to be used, he said.
Asked whether an EU-Western Balkans summit would be held during Slovenia's presidency, Dovžan said it was not in the draft programme. But Portugal also did not plan a summit of the EU and its Eastern Neighbourhood which is being planned now, he added.
Slovenia will have to be flexible and potentially organise any other summits as well, he said, adding it was too early to talk about such plans.
In a joint press statement issued after today's videoconference, Dovžan also called for a sustainable and inclusive growth in combination with a green transition and digital transformation. He also called for plans to help the EU tackle crises such as pandemics, global cyber attacks, and migration pressure, and for an ambitious policy towards the EU's neighbourhoods in the east and south.
The programme of Germany, Portugal and Slovenia will be officially endorsed in a correspondence session in the coming days in line with the new coronavirus rules.
Germany will take over the six-month presidency in July, followed by Portugal in the first half of 2021, and Slovenia in the second half. The trio was also the first trio to hold the presidency in 2007 and 2008. Slovenia was at the helm of the bloc in the first half of 2008 as the first newcomer to hold the presidency.