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State Secretary Raščan with European Commissioner for International Partnerships Urpilainen

Today, State Secretary Stanislav Raščan held a videoconference call with European Commissioner for International Partnerships Jutta Urpilainen. Their talks took place in the context of preparations for Slovenia's EU Council Presidency in the second half of this year and were aimed at presenting the priority tasks in development cooperation and exchanging views on the development consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pair advocated for regular dialogue and common action in the spirit of “Team Europe”, which is a key element of the EU's global response to the pandemic.

Raščan in front of computer

State Secretary Raščan during talks | Author Ministrstvo za zunanje zadeve

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State Secretary Raščan, also one of the development cooperation ministers, outlined for his counterpart the priorities of the Slovenian presidency, which will focus on two main thematic pillars – the green transition and human development, placed in the broader context of the global post-pandemic recovery. The common thread between these areas is a comprehensive approach to water in the EU's external action.

By addressing water-related issues and its key priorities in development cooperation, Slovenia will seek to put under the spotlight various development consequences brought about by the pandemic, ranging from health and food security to education and young people, science and research, as well as the possibilities for strengthening resilience to pandemics and other emergencies. In addition, Slovenia will devote particular attention to ensuring gender equality underpinning sustainable development, which has been severely hampered by the pandemic. The State Secretary invited EU Commissioner Urpilainen to a virtual event on health and water, which is to take place in July.

EU Commissioner Urpilainen expressed her full support for the outlined priorities and the efforts Slovenia has put in as the next country to hold the EU Council Presidency. The counterparts agreed to maintain regular dialogue and cooperate closely in the spirit of “Team Europe”, thus ensuring the EU’s effective, flexible, and notable response to global challenges.