State Secretary Raščan at the meeting of EU development ministers
State Secretary Stanislav Raščan participated in an informal videoconference of the EU Foreign Affairs Council attended by development ministers, at which they discussed the cooperation between the European Union and middle-income countries as well as human development.
The EU’s cooperation with middle-income countries is the key priority of the Portuguese Presidency in development cooperation. The changing geopolitical context, the COVID-19 pandemic and the launch of a new cycle of programming of the Union’s financial resources require the European Union to adopt a more strategic direction and enable focusing on specific areas of cooperation with middle-income countries.
State Secretary Raščan expressed support for addressing collaborative partnerships with such countries at the level of development ministers, welcoming the Council’s decisions in this area as most of the countries with which Slovenia cooperates on a bilateral basis belong to this segment (particularly the Western Balkan countries). As part of the “inherited agenda”, Slovenia will work on this topic during the EU Council Presidency, especially in the context of the Council’s strategic orientation in managing a new single instrument for neighbourhood, development and international cooperation (Global Europe).
In the debate on human development, which is the second key priority of the Portuguese Presidency, the ministers focused on global health, access to vaccines, education, and young people. The current COVID-19 crisis has worsened the inequalities and highlighted the importance of reviving investments in human development. Ensuring effective recovery demands strengthened support in healthcare and education as well as the empowerment of women and young people as key drivers of change.
State Secretary Raščan also welcomed the Council’s adoption of decisions on human development, noting that this will be one of the main priorities of the Slovenian Presidency with an emphasis on global health, food security, and gender equality. Since 2020, Slovenia has allocated a total of EUR 1.56 million to help developing countries respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, provided material assistance in the amount of EUR 113,500 to North Macedonia, EUR 106,000 to Montenegro, and EUR 119,000 to Serbia, made a donation of the drug remdesivir to India in the amount of EUR 82,800 and, on 13 June 2021, delivered a donation of protective equipment to Nepal in the total value of EUR 190,000.