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Prime Minister Janez Janša at a meeting of the ambassadors of EU Member States, the Western Balkan countries and Turkey

The Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia, Janez Janša, today attended a meeting of the ambassadors of the EU Member States, the Western Balkan countries and Turkey, held at the European Union House in Ljubljana. As the event was organised within the framework of the Croatian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, a brief introduction was delivered by the host, Boris Grigić, Ambassador of the Republic of Croatia to the Republic of Slovenia; Prime Minister Janez Janša was the keynote speaker.

In his speech, the Prime Minister stressed that Slovenia, like many other EU Member States, had in recent months primarily focused on fighting the COVID-19 epidemic, adding that the Government led by him had assumed office a day after the epidemic had been declared in Slovenia.  “The coronavirus epidemic has changed our society, Europe and the international community,” said Mr Janša, who added that Slovenia won its first battle with the epidemic with a relatively low number of deaths. Although the epidemiological situation was optimistic in most of the countries in Europe and the region, we should be mindful of a potential second or even third wave, emphasised Mr Janša. “We all hope that the second wave will not be as problematic as the first, and that medicine or a vaccine, or preferably both, will be available before the next outbreak, otherwise the challenge will be just as big as the first time round,” said Mr Janša, adding that the Government is preparing a new national plan for dealing with the coronavirus epidemic, something that was not available when his Government took over.    The Slovenian Prime Minister explained that “we are trying to convince the European community that the European Union needs a common strategic plan in the event of an epidemic.“  

Prime Minister Janez Janša also touched on the economic consequences of the epidemic, stressing that forecasts of international institutions vary as to the impact of the coronavirus epidemic on the economy; in this respect, he highlighted the European Commission's forecasts, which are realistic. He expressed the expectation that Slovenia's outlook would be in line with the European Commission’s optimistic forecasts of high growth in the coming year.

In his address to the ambassadors, the Prime Minister highlighted that the coronavirus epidemic changed the priorities in the Government's plans as well as the plan’s regarding the EU Council Presidency. He recalled that the European Commission had proposed a new multiannual financial framework, together with a Recovery and Resilience Facility. He believes that efforts should be made to put them both in place quickly, using all instruments available.

"Ensuring resources for the renewal of the health care system's capacities and the financing of the production of medical and personal protective equipment is a high priority for Slovenia. With regard to medical and protective equipment, all of Europe still depends on Asian resources and influence, and should a second or third wave of the epidemic occur, no one would like to find themselves in the situation encountered in March and April, when we lacked equipment," stressed the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister and ambassadors also discussed a number of other issues related to climate change, changes in international politics, cybersecurity, enlargement of the European Union, migration challenges, and other issues of importance to the future of the European Union.