Počivalšek talks ways to decrease EU’s strategic dependence

Paris/Lens – Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek has paid a working visit to France, meeting French Minister Delegate for Foreign Trade Franck Riester on Monday and participating in an informal debate of the EU economy ministers on Tuesday, discussing ways to reduce the EU’s strategic dependence on third countries.

The Slovenian Economy Ministry said that Tuesday’s meeting of the EU economy ministers in Lens discussed the necessary measures and areas where the EU’s independence on third countries needs to be stepped up in particular.

During his address, Počivalšek highlighted measures in green and digital recovery, and those related to energy-intensive industries, such as the manufacturing of semiconductors, the press release added.

“We need to act quickly and in a coordinated way. The economy and the businesses are ready to reduce strategic dependence through new investments and a circular economy model,” said Počivalšek.

He also noted the need to help businesses by reducing administrative barriers and providing state aid, and called for a coordinated approach to research and innovation in integrated circuits with the aim of doubling the production in the EU.

The minister also said that misuse of technology should be prevented, critical infrastructure properly protected, and integrity of supply chains and fair competition in the internal market ensured, while boosting the EU’s role in standard-setting.

As the ministers discussed measures for reducing the EU’s strategic dependence, Počivalšek said the EU should invest more in new technologies to increase its capacity to recycle raw materials and create an efficient market for secondary materials.

The Slovenian economy minister also met French Minister Delegate for Foreign Trade Franck Riester on Monday to discuss bilateral economic cooperation, investment opportunities and boosting tourism.

Počivalšek also highlighted Slovenia’s automotive industry and Renault’s Slovenian subsidiary Revoz as examples of good practice, expressing continued support for long-term future operation of the company based in Novo Mesto.

France is Slovenia’s sixth most important trade partner, with Slovenian investments in France amounting to around EUR 15 million last year, and investments by French companies in Slovenia amounting to just under EUR 88 million.

Počivalšek sees additional opportunities to deepen cooperation between the two countries in research, new green technologies, electric mobility, energy and space exploration, the ministry added.