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Preview of Slovenia’s EU Presidency –

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This Friday is a very special day for Slovenia: The former Yugoslav Republic is celebrating its 30th anniversary of its independence. Next week, on July 1, this small Alpine country with a population of 2 million will take over as the upcoming chairman of the European Council.

One of Ljubljana’s top foreign policy priorities will be to promote the accession of the Western Balkans to the European Union.

In May of this year, Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša called the expansion a “strategic response to many current challenges” and suggested that the inclusion of all Western Balkans in the European Union would help solve everything from immigration to unnamed geopolitical opponents (Russia, China, Turkey) .

Augusto Santos Silva, the Foreign Minister of Portugal, the current EU presidency, said that the initiation of accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania will be a “major achievement” for Slovenia’s upcoming EU presidency.

But more foreign policy challenges are imminent.

→ Read our exclusive interview with Slovenian Foreign Minister Anže Logar on the talking points of the Western Balkans here:

Slovenia FM: EU’s inaction in the western Balkans is “strategic danger”

Slovenia’s Foreign Minister Anže Logar said in an interview with EURACTIV that the EU needs to shift from a wait-and-see attitude to a solution strategy for expansion and the Western Balkans “as soon as possible”. Will soon be the President of the European Council.

During Slovenia’s presidency, several EU summits will be held, focusing on foreign affairs. The following is a brief overview:

For further pre-President reading:

EU in the world

The dilemma of Belarus. Earlier this week, the European Union, the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada increased their pressure on Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. Implement coordinated sanctions After a Ryanair airliner was forced to land to arrest a critic of the regime. But is this enough to put pressure on the Minsk regime?

In an interview with EURACTIV, the exiled democratic opposition leader Svyatlana Zihanusskaya stated that the European Union must exert continuous pressure on the Belarusian authoritarian regime until it responds to the call for dialogue. Exclusive interviewShe also said that, regrettably, between the third round of EU sanctions in December 2020, there have been no new sanctions, nor high-level talks or meetings organized.

Russian strategy. EU leaders disagree After Poland and the Baltic states stated that they would send a wrong message as relations between the East and the West deteriorated, France and Germany proposed to hold a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin as soon as possible.

Bulgarian President Rumen Radev told reporters after the EU summit on Friday that he Have strongly supported France and Germany proposed to hold a summit meeting.

At the same time, Serbia said it would Never impose sanctions Opposes “its friend Russia” despite the unspecified “pressure” it faces.

Transatlantic connection

Blinken’s European tour. A few days after Joe Biden’s first presidential visit abroad, Secretary of State Anthony Brinken go back This week I traveled to Europe to continue building Western unity against a rising China. After Berlin, Paris and Rome are the next stops on the list.

In addition to repairing the rift, his main consideration is China, because Biden will weigh the “difficult balance” with the Europeans, and the successor of German Chancellor Merkel may have a different stance towards Beijing.

When asked if he thinks the EU-China Investment Agreement (CAI) action before the freeze is an unfriendly gesture towards the EU, Blinken Say After the summit last week, “a consensus was reached on the best way to engage with China.”

Defensive angle

Star-studded. Space exploration and development have traditionally been the domain of Americans and Russians. It can be said that the EU’s new interest in space policy has nothing to do with the economic advantages it provides, but with strategic autonomy.

In an interview with EURACTIV, Josef Aschbacher, head of the European Space Agency (ESA), stated that Europe must play a role in leading the sustainability of outer space and can increasingly contribute to the establishment of a space regulatory framework. Contribute Launch of the EU’s new space program.

Zoom in latest

Bulgaria’s veto power. Bulgaria has expressed support for the European ambitions of North Macedonia, but Maintain veto Skopje began to join the negotiations.

Sadly, Continued confrontation provides fuel The former Yugoslav Republic has been peddling an anti-Bulgarian agenda since Tito’s time to further provoke people in neighboring EU member states. Georgi Gotev wrote that these forces are actually anti-EU and anti-Western and are bidding for similar political circles in Serbia.

Balkan route. In the first five months of this year, 47,100 people illegally crossed the border outside the EU Increase by nearly 50% Compared with the same period last year.

Eurasian Digest

Kazakh changes. In the past few years, Kazakhstan has undergone great changes in human rights, but more work needs to be improved. Independent expert Nazgul Yergalieva said in an interview with EURACTIV that he described how the authorities of this Central Asian country are now cooperating with non-governmental organizations. Strengthen human rights protection.

Yerzhan Kazykhan, the special representative of the President of Kazakhstan, stated in an interview with EURACTIV The relationship between the country and the EU and Join the European Union’s Battery Alliance.

What are we still reading

On our radar for the next few days…

The day-to-day business in Europe remains in the reality of the blockade until further notice. As Europe is slowly entering the summer vacation, we will keep you updated on all relevant EU foreign affairs news.

  • U.S. Secretary of State Blincol visits France
    | Friday, June 25, 2021 | Paris, France
  • U.S. Secretary of State Blincoln visits Italy to attend the U.S.-led ministerial meeting of the Anti-Islamic State Alliance
    | Sunday, June 27, 2021 | Rome, Italy
  • AFET/SEDE Committee of the European Parliament
    | Monday, June 28, 2021 | Brussels, Belgium
  • G20 foreign ministers meet with development ministers
    | Tuesday, June 29, 2021 | Materna, Italy
  • The European Commission will launch the European Defense Fund (EDF)
    | Wednesday, June 30, 2021 | Brussels, Belgium
  • Slovenia assumes the presidency of the European Council
    | Thursday, July 1, 2021 | Ljubljana, Slovenia

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