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Slovenia’s EU presidency

On 1 January 2008 Slovenia assumed the Presidency of the Council of the European Union for six months. Slovenia is the first of the new EU Member States to be entrusted with such responsibility.

The EU Presidency is a very demanding project for national administration in terms of content, organisation and allocation of funds. It requires cooperation of the entire state administration, as well as the Slovenian economy, science and culture sector as well as civil society. Therefore Slovenia launched its Presidency preparations back in January 2005. Since then appropriate organisational arrangements within the Slovenian Government have been made.

In 2006 Slovenia, together with Germany and Portugal and in close cooperation with European institutions, prepared a joint 18-month Programme. It determined to a large extend Slovenian Presidency priorities: the future of Europe; Lisbon Strategy in its economic, social and environmental dimensions; strengthening the area of freedom, security and justice; and increasing the external role of the EU in the areas of security, development and economic relations. Moreover, during its Presidency Slovenia aimed to contribute to intercultural dialogue within the EU as well as to its promotion with Western Balkans and worldwide.

Slovenia actively monitored the ratification procedures for the Reform Treaty and started with the necessary procedures for its implementation. Slovenian Presidency supported further EU enlargement in accordance with the EU Enlargement Strategy while emphasising the condition that the candidate countries consistently comply with the criteria. Also, the European perspective for the Western Balkans must stay high on the EU agenda and Slovenia will endeavour for its concretisation.

Much effort was devoted to the preparation of the Midterm Review of the Lisbon Strategy and the adoption of the Integral Guidelines for Growth and Jobs (2008-2010) at the Spring European Council. The Slovenian Presidency continued the strategic priorities of Lisbon Strategy in the areas of research and innovation, development of competitive business environment, adaptation of labour market and demographic changes. Topics of great importance were also energy issues and climate change.

During Slovenia’s Presidency the implementation and conclusion of the Schengen area enlargement were carried out.

With regard to The European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), the Slovenian Presidency held the view that the EU should focus on further strengthening the ENP, while taking into consideration geographical balance and particularities of partner states.

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