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Prime minister hosted newly elected President of the European Council Charles Michel

The prime minister Marjan Šarec hosted a visit by the Belgian prime minister and newly elected President of the European Council Charles Michel. The visit by this senior European politician is part of his preparations prior to assuming the role of President of the European Council, having previously paid visits to Berlin and Rome. Mr Michel was elected to the post on 2 July and will start work on 1 December.

A walk through Tivoli Park of Prime Minister Marjan Šarec and the Belgian Prime Minister and newly elected President of the European Council Charles Michel.

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A walk through Tivoli Park of Prime Minister Marjan Šarec and the Belgian Prime Minister and newly elected President of the European Council Charles Michel. | Author Tamino Petelinšek, STA

The two prime ministers focused on the current issues that will appear on the European Council agenda for the rest of the year, particularly negotiations on the future multi-annual EU financial framework 2021–2027, Brexit, implementation of the EU’s strategic agenda, migration and the situation in the Western Balkans.

Mr Šarec detailed to his counterpart the main positions and expectations of Slovenia regarding negotiations on the future multi-annual EU financial framework, which are set to be completed under Mr Michel’s tenure as President of the European Council, and committed the government to a speedy agreement. He pointed out that Slovenia wanted to see a balanced financial framework capable of meeting the challenges currently faced by the European Union, but one that would not lead to a further reduction in cohesion policy and rural development funds.

The two men also exchanged views on Brexit, the resolution of issues surrounding mass migration into Europe and other elements of the strategic agenda.

They also discussed the situation in the Western Balkans, with the Slovenian prime minister reiterating the importance of a European perspective of the region and expressing a clear expectation that North Macedonia and Albania would get the green light at next week’s Council meeting to begin accession negotiations, with each country’s candidacy being assessed separately on its own merits. He added that any evaluation of the progress in reforms in the candidate countries should be made separately, and that an adequate response was also required by the EU if the conditions were met by either or both of the countries. The fulfilment of commitments on both sides was essential to further EU enlargement.

The two prime ministers also said a few words about the working methods of the Council, particularly in relation to the possibility of improving the effectiveness of Council operations. They also undertook to work more closely together as Slovenia prepared to take on the Presidency of the EU Council in the second half of 2021, when Mr Michel would be well into his term as Council president.

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