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State Secretary Štucin at the General Affairs Council in Luxembourg

State Secretary Marko Štucin attended the regular meeting of the General Affairs Council in Luxembourg, which focused on preparations for the June European Council meeting. Council members discussed draft conclusions and outstanding issues related to Ukraine, security and defence, competitiveness, external relations and the new institutional cycle.

State Secretary Marko Štucin expressed Slovenia’s continued support for Ukraine and, with regard to the situation in the Middle East, its concern at the deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Gaza. He added that the only lasting guarantee for peace in the Middle East is the realisation of a two-state solution with two sovereign and equal states.

State Secretary Štucin went on to express his support for the leaders’ discussion on security and defence, with an emphasis on strengthening the EU’s resilience and developing its own industrial capabilities. He expressed Slovenia’s support for the activities of the European Investment Bank supporting of defence activities for dual-use projects, while calling for a comprehensive assessment of possible further changes. He also supported the drafting of the EU’s new strategic agenda reflecting key priorities for the next five years and underlined the importance of cohesion and agricultural policy.

The General Affairs Council also held a policy debate on the proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing harmonised requirements in the internal market on transparency of interest representation carried out on behalf of third countries and gave political guidance for its further examination. State Secretary Štucin expressed his satisfaction with the Council’s discussions so far and with the progress made. He indicated Slovenia’s support for some of the proposals put forward by the Presidency in its discussion paper, in particular the proposed level of harmonisation and the clarification of definitions. Slovenia expressed its preference for the proposal to base national registers on a common architecture and to link them through a portal at EU level, although Slovenia considers that a better solution would be to create a centralised EU register.

The General Affairs Council held a hearing on Hungary under the Article 7 procedure. The procedure is one of the most important safeguard mechanisms for upholding the EU’s fundamental values and strengthening respect for the rule of law through an open exchange of views and best practices. Slovenia supports its continuation and the consistent treatment of such issues in the Council.

Ministers and State Secretaries were also briefed on the Presidency’s progress report on the Future of Europe and on Lithuania’s call for a review of EU action to counter external interference and disinformation.