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Slovenian and French foreign ministers at the Consultations of Slovenian Diplomats

On the second day of the Consultations at Brdo, French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian, who is paying an official visit to Slovenia, took part in the event at the invitation of the Slovenian Foreign Minister, Dr Anže Logar. In his opening address, Minister Logar stressed that his French counterpart’s participation in the EU panel confirms the two countries’ shared commitment to a strategic partnership and to the EU core. The French Foreign Minister immediately responded to the invitation to visit Ljubljana and take part in the Consultations of Slovenian Diplomats.

In preparation for the Conference on the Future of Europe, which will take place during Slovenian EU Council Presidency, Minister Logar pointed out the need to strengthen the resilience of the EU and its Member States to global crises and threats, including cybersecurity. Given the current pandemic crisis and new hybrid threats, this is among the priorities of the Slovenian Presidency. In the future, the Union will have to focus on shaping European policies for the medium- and long term to help meet these challenges, emphasised Minister Logar.

Other topics that will mark the discussions on the future of Europe and which Slovenia will address during its tenure of the EU Council Presidency include economic recovery following the pandemic, the tackling of negative demographic trends, and the issue of migration. Slovenia will remain vigilant to green transition and digital transformation issues and will continue its dialogue on common European values, including the rule of law. Strengthening the EU’s common foreign and security policy and supporting the Union’s enlargement, in particular with the Western Balkan countries, feature among the priorities for the Presidency.

According to the Minister, Slovenia remains committed to a strong, closely integrated, and united EU. Only by demonstrating these characteristics will the Union be able to deal effectively with future challenges, thus ensuring peace, stability, and the well-being of its citizens. “We would like to see more solidarity and less division,” concluded Minister Logar.

Minister Le Drian outlined for Slovenian heads of diplomatic missions and consular posts the French vision of the EU today and in the future, also in light of the EU Council Presidency, which France will take over from Slovenia in early 2022. He pointed out that Slovenia has always been a meeting point of European values and cultures, adding that the EU is at a crucial crossroads. Consequently, it is vital to build on a sovereign Europe that respects national identities. It is equally important to coordinate priorities and complement each other in the joint preparations for the Presidency. The French Minister pointed out that: “The Franco-German engine has no exclusive role and our two countries will continue their efforts in this spirit also when the Presidency passes from one to the other. It is crucial to develop a system resilient to migration, hybrid threats, and other challenges facing the Union”. According to Minister Le Drian, it is imperative that the EU consolidate not only its economic role but also its foreign policy and defence role in the international arena. The Minister went on to welcome Slovenia’s role in the Alliance for Multilateralism.

The Consultations of Slovenian Diplomats conclude today with an afternoon panel discussion on the security and economic importance of the transatlantic area, which will be attended by Minister of Defence Matej Tonin and Minister of Economic Development and Technology Zdravko Počivalšek.