Brdo pri Kranju – Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen highlighted the EU’s post-covid recovery as a major issue that Slovenia’s EU presidency will deal with as they addressed reporters at the outset of the country’s six-month stint at the helm of the bloc.
Janša said the events over the past 15 months had shown that “the EU has been part of the solution during this time” and that two milestones had been achieved, the agreement on post-covid recovery and the decision to develop, produce and distribute vaccines.
“It is a veritable miracle that the vaccine was made in such a short time. Without European Commission incentives and financing, this would not have been possible, we would not have achieved that,” he said.
“I see in these two moves the reasons why the EU was founded. We are stronger together in addressing these challenges,” according to Janša, who said resilience, recovery and the EU’s strategic autonomy were among the Slovenian presidency’s priorities.
“I’m also glad that the confirmation of national recovery and resilience plans is proceeding well. I thank the Commission for the fast work, and I thank it for tying post-epidemic recovery to reforms and the green and digital transition.”
Von der Leyen said Slovenia was taking over the presidency at an inflection point for the bloc, noting that vaccination was proceeding, the EU was carefully opening up, and crisis management was gradually turning into the management of a long-term recovery.
She said the NextGenerationEU fund would be the engine of the recovery, noting that confirmation of national recovery plans was essential for the money to start flowing, an issue where she counts on the support of the presidency.
“The Slovenian Presidency will be decisive. The tasks will be challenging. It is no less than laying the ground for our future prosperity, by setting NextGenerationEU in motion, and really implementing it now on the ground. And in this endeavour, you can count on my constant support and the College’s cooperation.”