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State Secretary Dovžan attends the regular General Affairs Council meeting

State Secretary Gašper Dovžan participated in the regular General Affairs Council meeting in Luxembourg. As part of the annual rule of law dialogue, the General Affairs Council reviewed the situation with regard to the rule of law in five member states and discussed the Conference on the Future of Europe.

State Secretary Dovžan and European Commissioner Reynders in talks

State Secretary Gašper Dovžan and European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders | Author Ministrstvo za zunanje zadeve

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In the framework of the specific part of the annual dialogue, ministers exchanged views on the state of the rule of law in Luxembourg, Hungary, Malta, the Netherlands and Austria. In accordance with the established practice, the dialogue was held on the basis of the country-specific chapters of the rule of law report published by the Commission in 2021. This approach enables open and constructive sharing of experience and good practices in the reform processes leading to deeper mutual understanding and trust, which in turns contributes to the strengthening of the rule of law in the EU.

State Secretary Dovžan welcomes the debate on the rule of law in the EU, pointing out that the European values are currently being defended in Ukraine, the victim of Russian aggression.  He called on the EU member states to provide robust support to the national bodies and the International Criminal Court as they investigate war crimes and atrocities in Ukraine. He assessed the rule of law dialogue as a useful tool deepening mutual understanding and opening opportunities for a transfer of good practices in areas where member states are confronted with similar challenges. Based on the third annual report prepared by the European Commission, a specific dialogue will be held this autumn on the state of the rule of law in Slovenia.

The ministers and state secretaries for European affairs were also briefed on the latest updates on the Conference on the Future of Europe, and exchanged views on the plenary session held on 8 and 9 April, and on the preparations for the upcoming plenary of the Conference scheduled to take place on 29 and 30 April in Strasbourg.  During the discussion, the General Affairs Council underlined the need for the political conclusions to be aligned with the proposals put forth by the citizens of the EU. With regard to the high-level closing event of the Conference on the Future of Europe scheduled for 9 May 2022 in Strasbourg, a proposal was proffered to take into account the current developments in Ukraine when planning the event.

Over a working lunch, the participants of the General Affairs Council meeting discussed the European Commission’s 2022 foresight report. They agreed that the war in Ukraine has a major impact on the priorities and affects the planning of key future policies, and that the EU’s long-term resilience is heavily dependent on the developments in its immediate neighbourhood – both in the east and in the south. State Secretary Dovžan underlined that our most urgent challenges are food and energy security and the supply of strategic materials. He called for the elimination of administrative barriers hindering the process of approving new technologies enabling the use of alternative energy sources, and stressed the importance of education directed at the development and use of technologies of the future, and of creating an enabling environment for the mobilisation of private capital for green transition and digital transformation projects.