Slovenia’s Spring Presidency

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Slovenia took over the presidency of the EU on January 1, 2008, more than a decade and a half after independence and less than four years after joining the European Union. The six-month presidency was held for the first time by one of the countries that joined the EU in 2004, for the first time by a Slavic state, and for the first time by a post-communist country. After a number of large and medium-sized countries, the presidency has fallen back to a small country – Slovenia has around 2 million inhabitants.

During the Slovenian Presidency, the European Union faced many problems, such as turbulence in the financial markets, rising energy and food prices, tensions in the Western Balkans (Kosovo’s declaration of independence) and the Irish “no” to the Lisbon Treaty.

Although it was said that the Slovenian presidency would “disappear” between the presidencies of two EU giants – German (first half of 2007) and French (second half of 2008), it left a lot behind. The achievements of this period include the establishment of a timetable for taking steps in the field of cross-border regulation of financial markets, as well as in the field of supervision and cooperation, an agreement on the liberalization of the energy market, an agreement on working time and the functioning of temporary employment agencies, “the directive on the return of immigrants “, progress in accession negotiations with Turkey and Croatia, and drawing attention to the problems of the Western Balkans.

Over the past six months, Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša has appeared in Parliament several times to discuss the course of action with MEPs during the presidency. The President of Slovenia, Danilo Türk, also made a speech to Parliament.

You can read the interviews with the Prime Minister and President of Slovenia on this website. Find out more about the six months of the Slovenian Presidency in our article in the series “Zoom in”.

The Slovenian Presidency inaugurates the Year of Intercultural Dialogue

2008 will be marked by intercultural dialogue in the European Union. On January 7th and 8th, the Year of Intercultural Dialogue inaugurated in Ljubljana. The celebration was organized by Slovenia in cooperation with the European Commission. In the first half of 2008, Slovenia holds the presidency of the European Union. For the first time in this role, we have a country that joined the EU in 2004. The event in Ljubljana also solemnly launched the six-month Slovenian presidency.

The work of the President of the European Parliament, Hans-Gert Pöttering, guides and fosters dialogue between cultures. That is why he tries to meet representatives of minorities as often as possible and hosts in Parliament religious leaders and activists of various groups cultivating local identity. Pöttering took part in the celebrations in the Slovenian capital at the invitation of Prime Minister Janes Janša.

Science Conference

The two-day program included, inter alia, a panel conference devoted to the role of cultural dialogue as a fundamental value of the European Union. The participants discussed the place that this dialogue holds and should have in culture, media, education and economic development. The meeting was organized in cooperation with the Faculty of Humanities of the University of Primorska.

2008 Year of Intercultural Dialogue

Our cultural environment is becoming more and more diverse and therefore richer. Different identity patterns, different beliefs, beliefs and views function in it at the same time. The Year of Intercultural Dialogue is intended to help the citizens and residents of the European Union make the most of the opportunities offered to us by living in such a diverse and dynamic society.

Young people are particularly targeted at the concept of active citizenship of the European Union, which will be promoted by a series of events on the occasion of the Year of Intercultural Dialogue. Citizenship of the European Union means openness to the world and respect for cultural diversity based on the common values ​​of the EU.

Intercultural dialogue makes it possible to understand that the multiplicity of cultures manifested in various manifestations of ethnic, religious and ideological identity enriches the heritage of the member states and allows a free choice of lifestyle.

The entire year 2008 in the European Union will be filled with events, educational projects and information campaigns, thanks to which citizens will be able to better appreciate cultural diversity and the value of dialogue.

Presidency of Slovenia in the European Union

Last year was marked by the presidency of Germany and Portugal, which resulted in the signing of the Reform Treaty in Lisbon. The New Year brought an unprecedented debut for the country from the group of ten countries that joined the EU in 2004. For the first six months of 2008, Slovenia will be the first of ten to set the direction of European policy development. Last year, it was also the first to introduce the euro.

The priorities of the Slovenian presidency included the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty, the fight against climate change and the strengthening of the European Union’s influence in the Western Balkans region.