The Slovenia Times

Maas pledges support to Slovenia's EU presidency

Politics

Berlin - German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas pledged Germany's support to Slovenia during its presidency to the EU Council ahead of his meeting with Slovenia's An┼że Logar in Berlin on Wednesday. He highlighted the importance of the EU's enlargement to the Western Balkans and the rule of law. Logar thanked him for the support.

Maas told the press before meeting Logar that the interests and values of the EU needed to be better heard around the world, especially regarding the Western Balkans.

"As the EU we may not always be the loudest voice in the Western Balkans, but we are by far the most important political and economic partner for all countries of the region. That is why we must send a clear message to the people there. Your future is in the EU and we want it that way," he stressed.

This is why countries need to have a credible EU perspective, so that pro-European forces in the region get impetus for the necessary reforms.

Enlargement to the Western Balkans is the EU's geostrategic priority, Maas said. Slovenia can count on Germany's support in this respect, he said.

Logar said he was happy that Germany supported Slovenia's presidency and noted that an EU-Western Balkans summit would be hosted during the presidency.

At the summit Slovenia is to propose regular EU summits with Western Balkan countries, and inclusion of citizens and countries in the debate on the future of Europe.

According to the Slovenian Foreign Ministry, Logar stressed during the talks with Maas that the region needed more attention, including from the strategic and geopolitical point of view.

The German minister also stressed the importance of the rule of law. "The rule of law is one of the fundamental values that hold the European Union together," he said. Maas said he was happy that Slovenia would continue to implement the mechanism on the rule of law that had been initiated by Germany.

Logar presented at the meeting with Maas the Slovenian part of the EU presidency trio, comprising Portugal, Slovenia and Germany.

He said Slovenia was in the final stages of adopting the programme of its presidency.

The country will devote special attention to the strengthening of the bloc's resilience to crisis situations and efficient tackling of crises. The focus will be on building a European health union, ensuring that the EU has more autonomy in access to medications and vaccines, and measures in cyber security.

As part of the conference on the future of Europe, Slovenia will in cooperation with the European Parliament and European Commission strive for an inclusive and profound debate on the future of the continent, the ministry said after the meeting.

Logar presented the improving epidemiological situation in Slovenia and the progress in vaccination. The pair also discussed Europe's recovery after the pandemic.

The economic recovery and adjusting of the European economy to new post-pandemic challenges was also on the agenda of Logar's meeting with two members of the executive committee of the Federation of German Industries this morning.

The meeting focussed on ways to strengthen economic cooperation with Germany as Slovenia's most important foreign trade partner, especially in automotive industry and new technologies.

Both Logar and Maas said the relations between Germany and Slovenia were extremely close. Mass said they had "never been closer". The countries share views on important issues in the international community, they agreed.

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