Helsinki, 14 January – Foreign Minister Anže Logar paid a working visit to Finland on Thursday to meet his Finnish counterpart Pekka Haavisto and Europe Minister Tytti Tuppurainen. He was also received by President Sauli Niinisto. Logar presented the priorities of Slovenia’s EU presidency in the second half of the year.
Slovenia’s six-month stint at the helm of the Council of the EU will focus on measures to mitigate the economic and social consequences of the Covid-19 crisis, and boost resilience of the EU, Logar was quoted as saying by the Foreign Ministry.
In talks with Haavisto, Logar expressed satisfaction with the fact that the economic cooperation between Slovenia and Finland had strengthened. The two ministers agreed transatlantic relations should be boosted and stressed the importance of continuation of political dialogue and cooperation between the EU and US as a strategic partner.
They also exchanged views on the situation in the Western Balkans. Logar called for a trustworthy enlargement policy and presented opportunities for cooperation with Finland in initiatives and projects of ITF – Enhancing Human Security, the ministry said.
Tuppurainen and Logar agreed that the EU’s resilience must be increased along with its strategic autonomy, which must not mean the bloc would start to close up but that relations with the global community would be strengthened based on the rules of free trade.
The pair agreed that a health union must be formed and that the social dimension of cooperation must be taken seriously in view of further respect of European values and the rule of law.
Logar pointed out that in the second half of the year, a period that will still be partly marked by the Covid-19 crisis, Slovenia would pay special attention to measures aimed at mitigating its economic, financial and social consequences, and efforts to boost the EU’s resilience.
The talks with President Niinisto focussed on bilateral relations and top global challenges, with Logar and Niisto reaffirming the excellent political relations between the countries and expressing interest in continuation of the regular political dialogue and cooperation between the two countries as well as within the EU and other international forums.
They also talked about the strengthening of transatlantic cooperation and cooperation with the new US administration, and the EU’s relations with Russia and China.
In Helsinki, Logar visited the European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats, where he met Teija Tiilikainen, the centre’s head, and attended a round table debate on building resilience against hybrid threats, a topic that will also be at the forefront of Slovenia EU presidency.
Logar said he was happy with Slovenia’s excellent cooperation with the centre. He pointed out that Slovenia was determined to fight hybrid threats. He also pointed to hybrid threats in the Western Balkans and called for the EU’s and NATO’s joint efforts to fight these threats.
The European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats was set up in April 2017, and Slovenia has been its member since July 2019. It brings together 28 EU and NATO countries, with the two organisations acting as observers. Through a network of experts, the centre has been strengthening national and international cooperation, know-how and experience in tackling hybrid threats.