EU presidency priorities in focus as Janša visits Poland

Photo: STA

Warsaw – The priorities of Slovenia’s presidency of the Council of the EU were high on the agenda as Prime Minister Janez Janša met his Polish counterpart Mateusz Morawiecki in Warsaw on Thursday. After the meeting, Janša highlighted boosting the bloc’s resilience for health crises and cyber security.

During its presidency, Slovenia will focus on Europe’s preparations for potential threats. “In that sense greater resilience and preparedness for potential new epidemics is one of the top priorities and we will focus on it thoroughly”, Janša said in a joint press conference with Morawiecki, streamed by the government via Facebook.

“A second realistic threat that most Europeans are not aware of is cyber attacks. No country alone within the EU is strong enough to stand up effectively against those potential threats,” said Janša. He said it was something that “justified our joint efforts within the EU and NATO”.

Morawiecki tanked Janša for Slovenia making cyber security one of the priorities of its presidency, referring to threats, challenges and attacks coming from the East. He said cyber security was key for the future of Europe.

Janša also talked about the conference on the future of Europe, which is to start in May and where Slovenia will have an important role during its presidency in the second half of the year.

“Slovenia would like it to be a discussion free from value monopolies, one that will be open, that will give a voice to all views on the future of Europe and no one will be excluded,” Janša said.

He said the EU was as strong as its member states. “Attempts to weaken individual countries do not contribute to enhancing that strength.”

The polish prime minister concurred, saying the basis should be respecting differences between the countries and their independence.

Apart from EU presidency priorities, Janša and his Polish host and counterpart also affirmed the very good and friendly relationship between the two countries and discussed ways to boost economic cooperation.

“Poland is a country that has a dynamic, solid democracy, it had to fight hard, sacrifice a lot for this democracy, and it is sometimes hard listening to those who were born in prosperity lecturing on human rights but not having sacrificed anything for them,” Janša said, underscoring that “Poland is a country that respects the rule of law”.

Morawiecki said Slovenia was at times victim of unjustified verbal attacks, adding that lies and disagreements should not be let to rule in Europe.

Slovenia and Poland share the values that were the reason they joined the EU and NATO, where they committed to defend those values together, Janša said.

The two prime ministers hailed bilateral economic cooperation with Janša noting that bilateral goods trade amounts to almost EUR 2 billion.

He hailed the resumption of scheduled flights between Warsaw and Ljubljana on 1 May, noting Slovenia’s efforts to make sure the tourism season runs smoothly. “We reckon we’ll achieve sufficient immunisation through vaccination in June and the epidemic will be stopped.”

However, Janša added that such immunisation would also have to be reached throughout Europe and then throughout the world.

“We’re part of the joint efforts within the EU to boost vaccine supplies, to start proving in earnest on this key strategic point that Europe is aware of the importance of strategic sovereignty that in this case is associated with vaccines,” said the Slovenian prime minister.

He noted the strategic sovereignty’s dependence on energy, saying Slovenia shared Poland’s concerns about the Russian North Stream 2 pipeline. The Polish PM said this project made Europe less safe and urged solidarity.

Janša, who invited Morawiecki to visit Slovenia, also met Elzbieta Witek, the speaker of the lower chamber of the Polish parliament, and Deputy Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski.

He laid flowers to several monuments, including one dedicated to Former Polish President Lech Kaczynski.