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The presidency of the Council of the EU is a challenge for any country holding the presidency. Representatives of the presidency country assume leadership of the meetings of various Council working bodies and other meetings organised during the presidency. They are expected to make targeted, substantive and constructive contributions to discussions. Knowledge of the European Union, its values, law and procedures, the particulars of topical legislative proposals, and priorities is crucial to successful meetings and the presidency as a whole.

The preparations for and implementation of the presidency are therefore a great investment in terms of improving the knowledge, skills and capacities of the public administration of Slovenia and increasing its capacities for operating in the EU in the long term.

Due to the complexity and intertwining of topics, good preparations are crucial. A core working group for the presidency was established to lead the project, chaired by the Slovenian Prime Minister, Janez Janša. The preparation and implementation of the project is the responsibility of an extended working group for the preparation and implementation of the presidency, chaired by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Anže Logar. Individual tasks related to the programme, staffing, budget, event organisation, and communication and promotion are assigned to four subgroups and the secretariat for the logistics and implementation of the presidency.

The budget of the presidency is EUR 80 million, most of which will be used for additional temporary employment. Up to 350 people are expected to be employed on fixed-term contracts for the purposes of the presidency. It is planned that a total of 120 people are to join the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Slovenia to the European Union in Brussels.

The novel coronavirus pandemic has also had a strong impact on the preparations, especially on the organisation of meetings and other events and promotional activities. Thus, the plans for the organisation of events in Slovenia need to be adapted and backup scenarios developed, allowing the events to take place either in person or via videoconferences, depending on the epidemiological situation. The programme for the promotion of Slovenia and the content of the presidency programme need to be revised.

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