Slovenian EU presidency to focus on fighting Covid

European Council President Charles Michel chairs the EU summit in Brussels, Belgium, Dec. 10, 2020. (European Union/Handout via Xinhua/ians)

Brussels, July 7 (IANS) The short-term priority for Slovenia’s rotating presidency of the Council of Europe is to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic and focus on a green and digital recovery for the European Union’s (EU) economy, said Prime Minister Janez Jansa.

When presenting Slovenia’s policy priorities holding EU presidency, Jansa on Tuesday warned that despite a Europe-wide vaccination campaign rolling out well, the EU is now facing vaccine hesitancy, adding that this could jeopardize the bloc’s economy, as a fourth wave is looming with the arrival of the Delta variant in Europe, reports Xinhua news agency.

“Every individual has to do his or her task. We have vaccines, so dear Europeans, it’s up to us to use the vaccines and put an end to the pandemic,” he told European lawmakers.

It is a routine that head of the government of the EU rotating president state introduces its policies priorities at European Parliament at the beginning of July.

“You have the Delta variant raging through Europe and too many doses of vaccination remain unused in refrigerators. So we need to increase our efforts to convince people to get the jab. Vaccination means protections and it also means freedom,” reiterated Ursula Von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, as she addressed the European Parliament after Jansa.

The economic recovery of the EU from the pandemic is also in the spotlight for the Slovenian presidency, with a focus on the green and digital transition.

The work has been laid out by the previous German and Portuguese rotating presidencies, with 35 billion euros ($41 billion) raised on capital markets to finance the prefinancing of the national resilience and recovery plans, according to von der Leyen.

Jansa said that the EU has to make sure that in the next six months, life slowly returns to normalcy to the times before the outbreak of the pandemic, even though some measures will have to remain in place for a little more time.

Fourteen plans have already been granted approval by the European Commission.

These national plans lay out a series of reforms and investments that focus on a green and digital transition.

Other areas of focus include strategic autonomy, carbon neutrality, the rule of law, security within and outside of the EU, enlargement, migration, Schengen enlargement, the Conference on the Future of Europe, as well as foreign policy.

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