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Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the EU 2021

Slovenia held the Presidency of the Council of the EU in the second half of 2021, assuming this role for the second time in 13 years. The Slovenian Presidency was based on four priorities under the slogan "Together. Resilient. Europe." Working with the European institutions and the Member States, it has strengthened the EU’s resilience to various crises and helped countries with the post-pandemic recovery and digital transformation. It has also made important progress in improving working conditions, the security of European citizens and the process of enlargement to the Western Balkans.

Priorities implemented in a number of areas

Strengthening the resilience of the EU was a major priority of the Slovenian Presidency. By the end of Presidency, 22 national recovery plans had been approved. Important progress has been made in health and digitalisation, including the adoption of the Member States’ agreement on the Digital Markets and Services Acts and the conclusion of negotiations with the European Parliament on the enhanced role of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the recasting of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) Regulation. We have also reached an important agreement for European citizens on the continuation of mobile roaming.

Considerable progress has been made on minimum wages in the EU and more equal pay between women and men. Ministers approved the definition of the European Sports Model for the first time and declared 2022 the European Year of Youth. During the Slovenian Presidency, the Council of the EU has played an important role in ensuring security in the EU in relation to the situation in Afghanistan and at the Belarus border. Significant progress has been made on the common EU migration and asylum policy, on Croatia joining the Schengen area and on reaffirming the European perspective for the Western Balkans partners. During the Slovenian Presidency, a dialogue with European citizens on the future of Europe was also launched.

The key content-related task of the Presidency Member State is to manage the work of the Council of the EU, particularly by directing the legislative work of the EU and formulating the joint positions of the Council of the EU regarding talks with the European Parliament as the co-legislator and with the European Commission. In trilogues or negotiations between the Council of the EU, the European Commission and the European Parliament, the Slovenian Presidency managed to reach a consensus on 21 legislative acts, which is a notable success. Slovenia faced an additional challenge in the coordination among the Member States, as it represented the EU, together with the Commission, at the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow in November.

Numerous events in Slovenia and other countries

A total of 222 events were held in Slovenia, including 18 informal ministerial meetings. Due to the relatively good epidemiological situation in the summer, Slovenia was able to hold more than half of the events in person, including the most important event of the Slovenian Presidency: the EU–Western Balkans Summit. Special credit for the well-organised events goes to the Secretariat-General of the Government, which cooperated with a number of services, including the Slovenian Armed Forces and the Police, in providing drivers to drive and escort the distinguished guests. We organised approximately 1,400 meetings and 250 side events in Brussels. Slovenia also presented itself in many European cities and around the world with a rich cultural and promotional programme.

Slovenia symbolically hands over the Presidency baton to France

EU Member States hold the Presidency of the Council of the EU according to a pre-established rotating term of six months. Slovenia again made up a trio with Germany, which held the Presidency in the second half of 2020, and Portugal, which held the Presidency in the first half of 2021. France assumed the Presidency of the Council of the EU on 1 January 2022. On this occasion, the President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron, thanked Prime Minister Janez Janša for his cooperation, for important achievements in health, digital dossiers and social affairs, and for his constant availability. The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, also thanked Slovenia for its work and added that "a lot has been done to move our European agenda forward, from coordination on COVID-19 to important initiatives for sustainable and digital transition". Slovenia has also received thanks from the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, and other Commissioners.