JOINT PRESS RELEASE BY THE EESC PRESIDENT CHRISTA SCHWENG AND THE SLOVENIAN MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS ANŽE LOGAR
The European Economic and Social Committee welcomes the priorities of the Slovenian Presidency of the Council and declares that it will cooperate closely with Ljubljana to help turn them into a reality. During the July plenary session, the EESC members had the opportunity to discuss the priorities with the Slovenian Minister for Foreign Affairs Anže Logar.
Slovenia will preside the EU Council under the slogan
Together. Resilient. Europe. and it will focus on the economic recovery based on the green transition and digital transformation, the EU's resilience and on the Conference on the Future of Europe. With regard to foreign policy priorities, the Slovenian Presidency will pay special attention to the Western Balkans and, in particular, to a credible continuation of the EU enlargement process.
We are aware that only by working together can we ensure Europe takes another step forward in these policies. We need and above all want constructive cooperation based on open dialogue from all stakeholders, said Anže Logar, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Slovenia.
The work of the EESC is very much aligned with the presidency's priorities as presented. For the next six months, the Committee will be an active and committed partner for Slovenia in fulfilling these ambitious plans, declared Christa Schweng, president of the European Economic and Social Committee.
Minister Logar explained that Slovenia would continue working on a coordinated and efficient response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as on drawing lessons for the future.
That is why the focus would also be on building the European Health Union, he added.
The EESC president welcomed this declaration.
One of the lessons that we believe should be drawn from the coronavirus crisis is that the health systems of practically all European countries need to be strengthened, primarily by focusing on resilience and prevention, said Ms Schweng.
During discussion, minister Logar pointed out that the key element of the Union’s economic renewal will be a green transition and a digital transformation based on justice and opportunity for all, in accordance with the principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights.
Regarding the Western Balkans, the presidency's efforts will focus on bringing the region closer to EU standards in all areas. This will also be the main goal at the EU-Western Balkans Summit that will take place in October in Slovenia.
We will focus on tackling the socio-economic consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic in the region. We wish to bridge the development gap and to enhance our cooperation in areas such as green and digital transition, minister Logar pointed out. The EESC has a longstanding and excellent relationship with civil society organisations in the region.
We would highly appreciate the opportunity to directly feed our findings from the Western Balkans Civil Society Forum, taking place in September, into your work, president Schweng said.
The EESC members are already working on five exploratory opinions requested by the presidency. The topics address various priorities of the presidency and range from adult learning and digitalisation to fair food supply chains.