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Statement by Janez Janša, Prime Minister of Slovenia, Following the Meeting with the Conference of Presidents of the European Parliament

Let me wish a warm welcome to everyone, and in particular to Mr Hans-Gert Pöttering, the President of the European Parliament. Mr Pöttering has chaired the discussions we have just had with the Conference of Presidents of the European Parliament, which is formed by the President of the European Parliament and the chairmen of the political groups, which are the groupings of members that make up the European Parliament.

The Slovenian Presidency greatly values its cooperation with the European Parliament. We are aware of the significance of the European Parliament, particularly in light of the new role conferred on it by the Lisbon Treaty signed a few days ago. The Treaty has further strengthened the role of the European Parliament as the only directly-elected institution of the European Union. The Members of the European Parliament have vast experience and knowledge, as was more than evident during the talks just concluded with the Slovenian Government. They have presented a number of proposals well worth considering. A range of subjects that are to be the Slovenian Presidency’s priorities have been discussed and highlighted from various perspectives. Attention has been focused on the areas which will require greater coordination between the European institutions. These include the energy and climate change package and the situation in the Western Balkans, with particular emphasis on the question of the future status of Kosovo. There was more or less general agreement about where the main emphases should be.

Most of the priorities set out by the Slovenian Presidency stem from logical requirements and challenges that the European Union is currently facing or will face next year. Many of these tasks are shared by several presidencies. Slovenia is well aware that good cooperation with the European Parliament means better results for the Presidency. The European Parliament is involved in many major decisions under the legislative co-decision process. During its present term of office in particular, the European Parliament has already shown that it is equal to the task and will have no difficulty in taking on the enhanced role given to it by the new Lisbon Treaty.

I shall be presenting the programme of the Slovenian Presidency at the plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg on 16 January. In the first half of the year, I will report to Parliament on the conclusions of the two European Councils, held in March and June, and at the end of the six-month period, together with the report on the conclusions of the June European Council, I shall also report on the results of the entire Slovenian Presidency.

Slovenia will respond to the initiatives of the European Parliament as and when they are introduced, it will participate in plenary sessions and in the meetings of working bodies and will pursue the policy of close cooperation with all European institutions, with the European Parliament at the forefront.

The President of the European Parliament, Mr Hans-Gert Pöttering, will be our guest at the very beginning of the Slovenian Presidency, on 8 January. Ljubljana will then be hosting the opening ceremony of the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue and Mr Pöttering will be one of the esteemed guests. The European Parliament has been and will continue to be intensely involved in the implementation of this priority task. During the Slovenian Presidency, a number of events will take place in the European Parliament to improve intercultural dialogue within the European Union, as well as between the cultures of the EU and those in its immediate and wider neighbourhood.

The talks which have just concluded have revealed the resolute political will on both sides for close cooperation between the Council of the European Union and the European Council on the one hand, and the European Parliament on the other. Slovenia is looking forward to this cooperation in the next six months and believes that our joint efforts will suffice to meet the many challenges ahead.


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Date: 28.12.2007