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Prime Minister Janez Janša: Slovenia and France have a shared position on many issues related to the European Union

Today, Prime Minister Janez Janša paid a working visit to Paris at the invitation of the President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron. This visit will contribute significantly to the deepening of the dialogue with the French Republic at the highest political level.

Today's talk will touch upon the successive Slovenian and French presidencies of the Council of the EU, handling the COVID-19 epidemic, strengthening political and economic cooperation between the countries, the situation in the Western Balkans and other current foreign policy issues.

Today's talk will touch upon the successive Slovenian and French presidencies of the Council of the EU, handling the COVID-19 epidemic, strengthening political and economic cooperation between the countries, the situation in the Western Balkans and other current foreign policy issues.

Upon their arrival, French President Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Janez Janša delivered a statement to the press. The Slovenian Prime Minister expressed his satisfaction that today's talks will focus on bilateral topics and on topics important for Europe, particularly in the coming year when Slovenia and France will both assume the presidency of the Council of the EU. "Today's visit is a confirmation of good relations between Slovenia and France. We cooperate in many areas, from business and sport to culture, and we share the same positions on a great majority of issues related to the European Union," said Prime Minister Janša. He continued by saying that France is Slovenia's strategic partner, as the two countries signed a strategic cooperation agreement exactly 10 years ago. "At a time when Europe is facing great challenges together, this cooperation is particularly important," said the Prime Minister. According to him, France is one of Slovenia's most important economic partners in terms of trade in goods, which amounted to 3 billion euro before the COVID-19 period, and of trade in services, which amounted to over half a billion euro. "We want more direct investments from France into the Slovenian economy, which is why Slovenia is striving for a more flexible economic legislation and eliminating bureaucratic obstacles," said Prime Minister Janša.

"Our main priority as the presiding state of the Council of the EU will revolve around the word resilience. We want to focus on strengthening the resilience of Europe when it comes to combating epidemics such as the COVID-19 epidemic or facing threats of cyberattacks, or any other strategic threat for that matter," said the Prime Minister and continued by saying that we share a strong commitment to ensuring the strategic autonomy of Europe, "as without strategic autonomy, we have no chance of winning against these threats."

"We are currently focused on successfully ending the epidemic and on the period of recovery that comes afterwards. Member States are submitting their national plans for recovery and resilience, expecting a timely, efficient and flexible consideration by the European Commission, as the strategic agreement, which was reached at last year's European Council, needs to be put into practice as soon as possible," said the Prime Minister.

In addition to the challenges we are already facing, the Slovenian presidency will be faced with foreign policy challenges, including Slovenia's efforts to accelerate the European perspective of the Western Balkans. According to the Prime Minister, there are many obstacles to overcome in this area. He recalled the EU commitment made at the Thessaloniki Summit in 2003, which guaranteed the European perspective to the countries of the Western Balkans when they meet the requirements. "This is the only promising positive solution we see for this region," said the Prime Minister.

He also spoke about the upcoming Conference on the Future of Europe, which was launched during the Portuguese presidency. "The majority of this discussion coincides with the Slovenian presidency of the Council of the EU, while France will successfully conclude the discussion next year. Our aim is to open the discussion for all stakeholders and do as much work as possible, so that France will be able to successfully conclude the discussion at the beginning of next year, and we will find answers to the challenges that currently face the European Union together," said Prime Minister Janez Janša.

Finally, the Prime Minister conveyed his condolences to the family of Stephanie the police officer who was killed last week, and said that, together, we will fight to achieve zero tolerance for terrorism.

In addition, he invited the French President to visit Slovenia on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of its independence.