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Address by the President of the European Commission

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen delivered her third State of the Union address to the European Parliament today, in which she set out the vision for the Union in the year ahead, before holding a discussion with MEPs the achievements of the last year and the way forward.

The debate, which outlined the basic direction of the European Commission's functioning in the coming year, also has a direct impact on Slovenia’s work in the Union. Today, the Commission issued a Letter of Intent containing key initiatives for 2023, which will be complemented by the upcoming Commission Work Programme for 2023. The initiatives presented will be discussed by member states in the General Affairs Council next week.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs welcomes the vision President von der Leyen shared in her inspiring speech, which responds ambitiously to the current challenges we face. The concrete solutions and initiatives she announced show that the voices of the Union’s citizens are being heard, as many of them are a direct response to their recommendations put forth during the Conference on the Future of Europe. Slovenia agrees with the assessment of President von der Leyen that unity, solidarity and respect for fundamental values are essential for the successful functioning of the Union, and welcomes the messages on key policies and projects, as well as the commitment to continued efforts to strengthen democracy. The rule of law, with judicial independence and fight against corruption as its key elements, remains the cornerstone of the Union.

As was to be expected, the President’s address contained references to the developments in Ukraine. Slovenia applauds the expressed political and economic support to Ukraine, solidarity with partners and friends, and continued decisive steps against the Russian invasion. Another important point for Slovenia is the declared support for the Western Balkan countries, without which the Union is not complete.

The measures announced to tackle energy prices are essential for Slovenia. The Union must step together and discuss how to lower gas and electricity prices, and ensure liquidity in electricity futures markets. Furthermore, Slovenia supports the announced continued implementation of the Green Deal and digital transformation commitments and the Union’s active role in these efforts, capacity building to fight natural disasters, particularly wild fires, and numerous economic and financial measures that will be crucial for the economy, especially for SMEs.