Slovenian, Portuguese German presidents stress importance of European idea

Brdo pri Kranju – Slovenian President Borut Pahor and his German and Portuguese counterparts, Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, highlighted the importance of Europe’s unity and the European idea as they held a meeting in Slovenia on Sunday.

The European idea is “the best thing that has happened on the European continent,” Pahor told the press, adding that it needed to be nurtured.

“Slovenia is a pro-European country that wedded its creation thirty years ago to the ideas of democracy and Europe. This must guide us when we are at the helm of the 27,” he said about the country’s upcoming EU presidency.

As the world emerges from the Covid-19 epidemic and life returns to normal, coronavirus will not be the only topic of debate, other issues of concern for the future of Europeans will be too, he said.

Pahor singled out the Conference on the Future of Europe, green and digital policies, the enlargement process, and the EU’s role on the global stage.

The Portuguese president mentioned digitalisation, youths and the EU’s role in the world as the coming challenges.

Portugal, which is the current presiding country, will hand over these tasks to Slovenia in July, he said, convinced that the Slovenian presidency will be important for Europe and the world.

He stressed that during Germany and Portugal’s presidency, several significant steps had been made towards unity in the EU, including the post-pandemic recovery package, improvements in health, and agreement on the green digital certificate.

Steinmeier singled out the financial package, saying it had been adopted only because certain countries made a step back. If the EU has succeeded in achieving that, it will also successfully tackle future challenges.

He said it was not just funding that was important, the commitment to the European idea was as well. This will allow the EU to emerge from the crisis stronger.

Steinmeier recalled how in the past member states would often have different positions. But there is a framework that allows them to find a common solution.

Germany, Portugal and Slovenia form the currently presiding trio of countries.

De Sousa remains in Slovenia until Tuesday, as he continues with an official visit.