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Prime Minister Cerar attends European Council meeting in Brussels

Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar is attending the regular meeting of the European Council in Brussels. The European leaders dedicated the first day of the meeting to discussions about security and defence, social affairs, education and culture, migrations and current foreign policy issues. Today’s meeting will focus on the future of the European economy and monetary union, and negotiations over the UK’s exit from the EU (Brexit).

At the European summit, the European leaders hailed the establishment of permanent structural cooperation in the area of defence (PESCO), which they marked with a special event. Since the beginning of the debate over security and defence, Slovenia has supported further expansion in this area and the strengthening of the EU’s strategic autonomy, taking account of the complementary qualities of the strategic partners. “We respond to current security conditions around the world”, said Prime Minster Cerar, who added that through joining PESCO Slovenia is confirming its intention to remain a part of the most committed and ambitious core of the EU.


Yesterday’s topics also included social affairs, education and culture, and conclusions were formed on the basis of the discussion held last month in Gothenburg. “Slovenia welcomes the increased awareness of these issues at the highest level of the EU”, noted the Prime Minister, who mentioned in particular the strengthening of the EU’s social dimensions in support of a fair and well-functioning labour market and social protection systems. In his opinion there is a lot of room for strengthening Europe’s common identity in the areas of education and culture, and he specifically mentioned the EU’s joint programmes and instruments in the area of mobility (such as Erasmus).


At a working dinner, the members of the European Council also paid particular attention to migrations. They agreed that important steps have been taken to deal with migration pressures at EU level, but there are certain unresolved issues, which were outlined in the starting points for the discussion by European Council President Donald Tusk. Slovenia comes to this debate with its own proposal for overcoming the impasse in the negotiations over reform of the Dublin Regulation, whereby in designing a crisis mechanism the EU would take account of the existing directive on temporary protection and upgrade it as needed. As he has in the past, the Slovenian Prime Minster once again committed to a fully operational Schengen area.


In their discussion, the European leaders also touched on foreign policy topics, whereby they extended the sanctions on Russia and affirmed the EU’s position to date regarding the peace process in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and in connection with Jerusalem as the Israeli capital maintained a position which is consistent with current international resolutions. 


After the meetings, a bilateral meeting is planned between the Prime Minster and his Croatian counterpart Andrej Plenković. This is one of a series of meetings planned to achieve progress in the implementation of the arbitration ruling. A continuous dialogue between the two countries is also being held at the professional level.