Prime Minister Janez Janša: There is a realistic hope of reaching a final agreement today or tomorrow
European leaders are continuing their negotiations in Brussels today on the EU recovery package related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Upon arriving at the meeting, the Slovenian Prime Minister expressed satisfaction that progress had been made yesterday and last night and that there was a fairly realistic hope that EU leaders would reach a final agreement today or tomorrow on the multiannual financial framework of the European Union and on a 'Next Generation EU' recovery fund. "There are a few outstanding issues that are being discussed, but I can say that many views have been brought closer together," said the Prime Minister, adding that both issues are important for Slovenia, specifically that there are sufficient funds for allocation throughout the European Union and that the national allocation of these funds is appropriate for Slovenia.
"Both are equally important, because the Slovenian economy is strongly embedded in the common European market, and considering our contribution, we also benefit from the European market to an above-average extent, and everything that is happening here, all the money invested in any EU Member State with which our economy cooperates, is also an investment in our progress and development," stressed the Prime Minister, going on to say that, in this regard, we are striving for "a sufficient extent of funds at the European level in general, a favourable ratio between subsidies and loans, an appropriate allocation, and as favourable answers as possible to the specific dilemmas faced by Slovenia regarding the division into the eastern and western cohesion regions and other issues and dilemmas that we wish to resolve or address, including with the help of European funds."
Prime Minister Janez Janša said that the talks with European leaders in Brussels also touched on other issues, namely how to further ensure that European funds are spent in accordance with the criteria, the obligations of individual Member States and the joint agreements at the EU level. "In this regard, a debate on the rule of law—about what this is all about—is taking place. There is a consensus that the rule of law is one of the foundations on which the entire European Union is built, and that this is by no means tied solely to the use or investment of European funds, that this is a fundamental issue and that the rule of law is one of the reasons why the EU was formed," stressed Prime Minister Janša, adding that, in Slovenia’s specific case, this is one of the reasons why it joined the European Union in the first place. "The rule of law guarantees or should guarantee equal standards for all and thereby also the foundation of the freedom of the individual, and, accordingly, the normal development of the individual and the state," he said.
He further said that the rule of law meant that institutions treat everyone equally. "The rule of law means that courts are impartial. The rule of law means that elections or terms of office are not stolen. The rule of law means that there should and can be no political prisoners in the European Union. The rule of law means that not just one political side holds control of all the media; it is also ultimately the rule of law that EU funds and taxpayers' funds in any Member State are used for the welfare of those who contribute these funds," pointed out Prime Minister Janša. He added that if tens of millions of euros are earmarked for improving care for the elderly, these funds should go to building homes for the elderly, "and not spending 70 million on studies, various partnerships based on friendships or so-called non-governmental organisations, which in fact live off this." "The discussion of the rule of law, which took place on the sidelines of the negotiations on the allocation and amount of funds with regard to both the multiannual financial framework and the recovery fund, was extremely useful," said Prime Minister Janša, adding that much was clarified during the discussion, even some past issues. "From now on, day-to-day policy-making based on this concept will be much more difficult," concluded the Slovenian Prime Minister.