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State Secretary Gašper Dovžan attends the General Affairs Council

Members of the General Affairs Council discussed the preparations for the June European Council, EU enlargement, and the stabilisation and association process, and took note of the Conference on the Future of Europe. Under “any other business”, they held a debate on the rule of law in Poland and Hungary under Article 7 of the Treaty on European Union.

State Secretary Gašper Dovžan attended a regular meeting of ministers and state secretaries for European Affairs in Luxembourg to discuss EU enlargement along with the stabilisation and association process. The Portuguese Presidency outlined the current situation and explained the reasons for the stagnation in adopting the negotiation framework for North Macedonia. State Secretary Dovžan welcomed the progress made by the Portuguese Presidency and expressed his regret that the enlargement process has seen no major shifts since the adoption of the revised enlargement methodology in March 2021. In this context, he underlined the strategic importance of the enlargement process for Europe, pointing out that it requires the candidate countries to meet membership criteria and the Union to remain credible and fulfil its commitments.

As part of preparations for the European Council on 24 and 25 June 2021, the ministers focused on COVID-19 coordination, economic recovery, and foreign policy issues. Slovenia supports the use of Digital Green Certificate, which should be introduced at the earliest possible opportunity, along with better responsiveness and readiness to future crises, and the proposal for the European Sport Model, which will promote the European values of sport, such as freedom of association, solidarity, diversity, openness and involvement, all of which represent the European way of life.

Later on, members of the General Affairs Council were briefed on the course of the first plenary meeting of the Conference on the Future of Europe held in Strasbourg, and on the first Europe-wide event in Lisbon.

After failed negotiations on the Institutional Framework Agreement with Switzerland, the officials discussed the future relations between the European Union and Switzerland. State Secretary Dovžan underlined that further steps should be assessed, adding that well-managed and positive relations are needed to make progress.

As for the last item on the agenda, the Ministers and State Secretaries held a hearing of Poland and Hungary under Article 7 of the Treaty on European Union to determine the existence of serious threat to the rule of law in these two Member States.