Foreign Minister Logar on Europe Day
A united and connected EU remains Slovenia’s priority foreign policy interest, as clearly defined in all relevant strategic documents and confirmed by referendum. Slovenia will remain committed to consolidating the European project and to EU enlargement, provided the strict conditions of the enlargement process are met.
Seventy years ago, French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman in his famous declaration expressed this profound and far-seeing remark, which once again rings true at the current juncture: “Europe will not be made all at once, or according to a single plan. It will be built through concrete achievements which first create a de facto solidarity.”
EU membership has perhaps never before been as important as today. The COVID-19 crisis has clearly demonstrated the necessity for cooperation, dialogue and coordination between Member States. It has shown how closely we are linked and how much we depend on one another. It is only through a joint European approach that we can tackle global crises; for this reason, the EU will have to draft a common crisis management plan as a matter of priority, so as to be prepared for any future situation.
Just short of two decades ago, a vision of EU membership supplied Slovenia with the decisive push for reforms and an economic and political transformation. This process is still ongoing, and should be harnessed also in those areas in which Slovenia lags behind the most developed Member States. It is precisely EU membership that allows Slovenia to be able to negotiate an ambitious common exit plan with adequate financing, which will assist the recovery of the European economy, Slovenia’s included.
The EU is more than an economic alliance; it is a union of values binding on the Member States. Democracy, the rule of law and human rights, along with the four freedoms underlying the EU must remain the fabric that binds the diverse states and societies into a unified community. Young Europeans must not be neglected: they deserve particular attention, since the future of the European project hinges on them. More than ever before, we must listen to their ideas, their way of thinking, their problems, and try to understand the challenges they are facing. Only by embracing the younger generations can the European Union remain the most successful project of peace and prosperity in the history of the European continent.
The period ahead will be characterised by the preparations for Slovenia’s second presidency of the Council of the EU in the second half of 2021. In an unpredictable international environment, surrounded by challenges that Member States cannot handle alone, a strong and united European Union is the best guarantee for success. During its time at the helm of the EU-27, Slovenia will therefore strive for an active, responsive and united Union, faithful to the common principles and values laid down by its forefathers.