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State Secretary Štucin at the General Affairs Council of the European Union

State Secretary Marko Štucin today attended the General Affairs Council meeting in Brussels. In the run-up to the March European Council, the agenda of the meeting between Ministers and State Secretaries for European Affairs included Ukraine, competitiveness, the EU's single market and economy, energy and migration.

On behalf of Slovenia, State Secretary Štucin expressed continued support for Ukraine, especially in the light of the upcoming first anniversary of the Russian aggression against Ukraine. He stressed the importance of stepping up pressure on Russia, including efforts to hold to account those responsible for war crimes in Ukraine. He called for the March European Council to recognise the many measures being taken by Member States in this regard, including the negotiations for the adoption of a new international treaty on mutual legal assistance (MLA) and extradition for the most serious crimes (genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes), which will take place in Slovenia this May. Underlining the importance of the single market for the EU's global competitiveness, he pointed to the necessity for flexibility in the adjustment of state aid, which must not lead to fragmentation of the internal market, and to the specific situation of SMEs, for which Slovenia is proposing special solutions.

The State Secretary further stressed that in order to tackle the energy crisis, long-term solutions are needed that promote a green transition, accelerated investment in climate-neutral generation, and modernisation of the electricity market. In his view, nuclear energy should also be taken into account to achieve the decarbonisation targets. 

The presidency briefed the General Affairs Council on the earthquake and its impact in Turkey. In this context, the Commission highlighted the EU's goals to strengthen disaster resilience.

The State Secretary also attended a working lunch of Ministers for the Future, who are preparing the basis for the third Strategic Foresight Report under the leadership of European Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič. This year, the report will focus on sustainability as a focal point of the EU's open strategic autonomy.

On the margins of the meeting, State Secretary Marko Štucin also briefly met with the Belgian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hadja Lahbib, to discuss cooperation between the Benelux countries and Slovenia, the situation in the Western Balkans and the rule of law in the EU.