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Foreign Affairs Council on protection of human rights, Southern Neighbourhood and Union’s relations with Turkey

  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Foreign Minister Anže Logar today attended a regular meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council. In an informal video conference with United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, the ministers addressed issues related to the protection and promotion of human rights and focused on the Southern Neighbourhood and EU-Turkey relations.

During the opening session, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell outlined the Union’s relations with the Russian Federation as well as the situation in Georgia, Venezuela, the Western Balkans, Myanmar and Ethiopia. 

The ministers and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet exchanged views on the 46th session of the UN Human Rights Council and the strategic impact of the US decision to re-engage with the Council.

The Minister expressed his concern about the deterioration in the human rights situation in numerous countries, highlighting the importance of promoting and protecting human rights all over the world as our common goal. The Minister also believes that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on human rights around the world causes serious concern and that this situation provides an opportunity to take measures to appropriately protect the environment. He also stressed the importance of the UN Human Rights Council’s swift and effective response to human rights challenges with the support and cooperation of all Member States. However, mutual effort with like-minded partners, such as the United States of America, is considered particularly relevant.

After taking stock of the achievements of the 25 years of the Barcelona Process and the situation in the region following the Arab Spring a decade later, the ministers discussed the possibility of improving their future cooperation with the Southern Neighbourhood countries. Minister Logar expressed support for enhanced cooperation with these countries, the stability of which is important for the stability and security of the entire Union and, consequently, Slovenia. He also expressed support for the Joint Communication by the European External Action Service and the European Commission, which proposes an ambitious and innovative Agenda for the Mediterranean, called for enhancing the political and professional dialogue, and urged the increased presence of European interlocutors in the region. The Minister believes that by improving its programmes, the Portorož-based EMUNI University could become a model of a European higher education institution focusing on the Southern Neighbourhood.

The ministers’ discussion on Turkey was held in light of the preparations for the European Council meeting on 25–26 March and in the context of recent developments in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Union’s relations with Turkey. Minister Logar welcomed the change in the attitude of strategically important Turkey, which has recently been showing interest in improving relations with the EU. Slovenia supports the efforts to resolve all outstanding issues between the EU and Turkey through constructive dialogue, whereby the Union should specify the conditions and framework that would permit dialogue and cooperation with Turkey to continue. In turn, Turkey's efforts to improve its relations with the EU should be based on concrete action. Last but not least, Minister Logar regrets the Turkish decision to withdraw from the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention).