Rome – President Borut Pahor upheld the key points from the State of the Union address by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen as he attended a meeting in Rome with the heads of state of 15 EU countries as part of the Arraiolos initiative
The topic of the meeting attended by the presidents of Italy, Austria, Bulgaria, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Croatia Ireland, Latvia, Hungary, Malta, Germany, Poland, Portugal and Slovenia was the future of Europe in a post-pandemic world.
Pahor reiterated during the debate entitled EU on the Path to Strategic Autonomy: Duties and Opportunities the key points from von der Leyen’s speech. He said they were a good compromise between different views and a good pointer for the steps that need to be taken, Pahor’s office said.
Von der Leyen told MEPs today that the EU’s readiness to future health treats need to be enhanced along with the bloc’s digital and defence autonomy. She placed a great emphasis on the youth and stressed the importance of media freedom.
Commenting on the topical global issues, Pahor said that given the complexity of the global security environment a stronger focus was needed on the key areas such as health, security and defence.
He also pointed to three key challenges that affect the EU directly: the Covid-19 pandemic, climate change and the situation in Afghanistan.
“These challenges are a threat to our security, but we have a joint answer to all three – the strengthening of the EU’s strategic autonomy and resilience,” the president said.
In the second part of the debate entitled EU’s Contribution to Multilateralism in the Post-pandemic Wold, Pahor stressed that the challenges the bloc faced were global, so solutions were only possible in dialogue and cooperation, not through erecting of fences and closing of doors.
The EU was built on and is committed to multilateralism, and rightly so, and strategic autonomy can help it be more outspoken and efficient in the global arena, he added.
The informal platform bringing together presidents of the EU member states was created in 2003 on initiative of the then Portuguese president, with the idea to meet once a year in one of the participating countries.