MEPs discussed the planned activities of the Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the EU with Prime Minister Janez Janša and Commission President von der Leyen.
Prime Minister Janša recalled the various crises that the EU has experienced over the last few years, ranging from financial issues, to migration, Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic, all of which has forced the European Union to be more strategic and focus on foreign policy.
Under the slogan “Together. Resilient. Europe.”, the Slovenian presidency will focus on recovery and resilience, translating ambitious green goals into binding legislation, strategic autonomy, the digital transition, rule of law and the protection of external borders.
Regarding the Conference on the Future of Europe (CoFoE), the Prime Minister stressed that all points of views will be welcomed in the debates. On external relations, special attention will be paid to the Western Balkans.
Commission President Ursula von der Leyen highlighted ongoing work on recovery programmes in member states and the need to progress with vaccination campaigns. She called for support on EU values, adding that financial interests and media freedom must be protected, and diversity preserved.
Most MEPs welcomed the Slovenian presidency’s priorities, particularly the focus on recovery through the digital and green transition, economic growth and job creation as well as giving impetus and content to CoFoE discussions. Several insisted that work on upholding rule of law across the EU must continue, and cited concerns regarding the situation of independent media and judiciary in Slovenia.
Many speakers urged Janša to nominate the Slovenian representative to the European Public Prosecutor Office (EPPO) without further delay. In his reply, the Prime Minister said this process should be completed by autumn and called on the member states who are not part of the initiative to join, to ensure equal controls on EU funds across the EU.
Catch up with the debate by VOD
- Video recording of Mr Janša’s speech
- Video recording of Ursula von der Leyen’s speech
- Press Conference held by Slovenian Prime Minister Janša, EP president Sassoli, Commission president von der Leyen