Opportunities for promotion
As part of the preparation for the Presidency, the Government Communication Office also carried out activities to raise awareness among the population of the importance of the Presidency and of Slovenia’s perspective as a member of the European Union in general. We wished to devote special attention to young people; however, the originally planned activities had to be adapted due to the changed circumstances caused by the novel coronavirus. We held two competitions and also provided young people an opportunity to work as liaison officers.
Europe at School competition
The Europe at School competition has been one of the successful activities; in the competition, primary and secondary school students participate by submitting literary, art, photo, video and online contributions. During the school year preceding the Presidency, the competition theme was linked to the priorities of the Slovenian Presidency and to Sustainable Development Goal 12. Primary and secondary school students reflected on what food waste is, how it is produced, how it affects the environment and how to solve the problem. The competition is organised by the Slovenian Association of Friends of Youth.
Cooperation with universities and higher education institutions
In the 2020–2021 academic year, a competition for the best final paper in first and second cycle university studies was organised in collaboration with universities and other higher education institutions. The competition aimed to encourage writing and creating final papers on the topic of the Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the EU. Social and natural sciences students were invited to submit their final papers on various topics, including organisational and promotional aspects of the Presidency, European policies, and the programme priorities of the Slovenian Presidency, while art students could participate with artwork.
Liaison officers were the main link between the visiting delegations and the organisers of the ministerial meetings. As many as 140 young people were given an opportunity to take on a major personal challenge. In a questionnaire completed after the end of the Presidency, they indicated that they had gained valuable work experience, as well as considerable knowledge about the EU, protocol, the organisation of events and the functioning of national institutions. Furthermore, they developed new strengths and competences, such as working under pressure, finding solutions, being flexible, working independently or as part of a team, and communicating in an intercultural environment. They became more organised and self-confident. They acquired professional work ethics and forged a number of new ties that they will be able to maintain in their future career paths. They are extremely grateful for this opportunity and see it as an unforgettable experience, in terms of both professional and personal growth.
Slovenia presents itself with a cultural/promotional programme
The increased exposure to media during the Presidency was a good opportunity to promote Slovenia and its culture and the Slovenian economy. Slovenia presented itself in many European cities and around the world with a cultural and promotional programme. This included an exhibition by costume designer Alan Hranitelj, entitled "The Mad Hatter's Wardrobe", and the exhibition of Slovenian contemporary fine art entitled "We Live in Interesting Times", which was held in Brussels, where the Slovenian Festival also took place in December. The festival showcased Slovenian culture and featured a discussion on the impact of artificial intelligence on society, culminating in the appearance of Primož Rogljič and other Slovenian athletes. Brussels also hosted the Retrospective of Slovenian Film and the concert by mezzo-soprano Bernarda Fink and bass-baritone Marcos Fink entitled "Songs without Borders".
One of the main cultural projects was the concert tour by the a cappella group Perpetuum Jazzile for an audience of over 6,000 people. They performed a wide repertoire of both Slovenian and European songs, conveying a message of a Europe without frontiers. Many events around the world have also marked the launch of the online platform Europe Readr, where European literary works are available to readers in 24 EU languages free of charge. As Slovenia was awarded the title of the European Region of Gastronomy in 2021, Slovenian cuisine played an important role both in the choice of gifts and in the preparation of meals at meetings. The cultural programme also included the international Europa Cantat Festival, which Ljubljana hosted in July 2021.
Opportunity for businesses and organisations
Slovenia decided to form partnerships with a number of Slovenian businesses and sole traders that provided products and services that not only showcased Slovenian expertise, but were also environmentally friendly and related to the Slovenian Presidency’s priorities – from following the principles of a circular economy or providing technologically advanced and innovative services to local crafts, innovative food products and telecommunication solutions.
The main partner of the Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the EU was the company Radeče papir nova, d.o.o., which provided paper supplies and the printing of the gift recipe book, the cover of which was made from Slovenian wood and was equipped with a special NFC chip. The wrapping paper of other promotional package gifts was made from Slovenian tomato stems and was produced by the Pulp and Paper Institute.
During the Presidency, secure communication was ensured by the companies Telekom Slovenije, d.d., Biokoda, d.o.o.– a company focused mainly on building security software solutions, and Cifra komunikacijski sistemi, d. o. o – a company that designs, installs and maintains secure information and communication systems. Mediainteractive provided MiTeam’s digital tool.
At Slovenian Presidency meetings in Brussels, delegates were able to refresh themselves with water and fruit juice from the company Dana. Gluten-free buckwheat beer from the company Dr. Orel was offered at the receptions in Brussels. At meetings in Slovenia, visitors and delegates were offered high-quality drinking water from unique black stoneware glasses featuring the Vače Situla motif, handmade by ceramics designer Polona Zajc.