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State Secretary Štucin on importance of unified support to Ukraine at EU General Affairs Council

State Secretary Marko Štucin attended an ordinary session of the EU General Affairs Council in Luxembourg. The Council members held a thorough discussion on draft conclusions for the European Council meeting, set to be held on 29 and 30 June 2023. They spoke about the EU’s continued response to the Russian aggression against Ukraine, current economic issues, security and defence, and foreign policy issues.

“The EU must remain firm and unified in supporting Ukraine and ensure that the atrocities committed in Ukraine do not go unpunished,” emphasised State Secretary Marko Štucin. In this context, he presented the adoption of the Ljubljana-Hague Convention, adopted in Ljubljana in May 2023. Regarding the conclusions on EU enlargement, State Secretary Štucin commended the efforts made by Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia to advance on their path towards the EU. He stressed that the same principles and criteria must be applied to all EU aspirant countries in the process of enlargement, and emphasised the need to also keep the focus on the Western Balkans.

State Secretary Štucin also stressed the importance of the internal market, which is crucial for the EU’s long-term competitiveness. “All obstacles that hinder the functioning of the single market must be removed, especially the temporary internal border controls, which are causing economic damage.”

Later in the session, General Affairs Council members reviewed the state of negotiations on the European Parliament’s proposal for a reform of the European electoral law, which requires unanimity in the Council. State Secretary Štucin was in favour of the general objectives of the proposal: “We need to strengthen the European public sphere, including when it comes to elections to the European Parliament, so I propose that the Council continue to discuss this important issue.”

When reviewing the European Semester, the ministers and state secretaries for European affairs approved country specific recommendations regarding economic policies for 2023 and 2024 and submitted them to the European Council for endorsement. They also went over the Council’s 18-month programme and were informed of the Stockholm Symposium on Democracy and the Rule of Law, organised by the Swedish Presidency on 21 and 22 June 2023.

At a working lunch, an informal exchange of views on the EU’s enlargement process was also held with Moldova’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Nicu Popescu.