Message of Welcome by PM Janez Janša - Slovenian EU C PresidencyWelcome to the Slovenian EU Council Presidency
Message of Welcome by Prime Minister Janez Janša
Dear website visitors,
It is my pleasure to welcome you to the website of our Presidency. We have behind us three years of intensive preparations and before us a major challenge – one of the greatest Slovenia has faced since its independence. Slovenia is assuming the Presidency of the Council of the European Union for the first time, and it is the first new Member State to do so. We especially wish to show that after the signature of the Reform Treaty, the enlarged European Union can function effectively. It is my firm belief that we shall be successful in this.
We are taking the European helm exactly half a century after the Treaty of Rome came into force, giving concrete expression to the idea of a united Europe. The year 2008 represents a similar milestone. The European Union is starting it with agreed institutional arrangements, ready to face global challenges. Many of you may be asking yourselves: Is the EU going to provide me with energy? Protect me against climate change? Create conditions enabling me to cope with changes in the labour market? Steer globalisation in a direction that works in my favour? Ensure the successful co-existence of different cultures, beliefs and traditions?
The Slovenian Presidency will make every effort to answer such questions with tangible agreements and achievements. As the last member of the German-Portuguese-Slovenian trio, we will strive to ensure continuity in the tasks and subject areas covered. We will continue to work towards an active and dynamic Europe. The agenda on the table is highly diverse. The main focus will be on the Lisbon Strategy, energy and climate change, the Western Balkans, the ratification of the new treaty and intercultural dialogue.
There is one common thread running through the whole agenda - synergy. It represents what the European Union has been founded on from the very beginning. It denotes the work we undertake in common, work which achieves results that are greater than the sum of each individual contribution. Let us be fully aware of this added value. Let us make better use of it. It is not just the synergy between Member States and institutions. It is also the synergy of all areas of activity, all goals and all strategies. The synergy between citizens, generations and cultures. Between the European Union and other world players, regions and continents.
2008 is the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue. You are warmly invited to take part in events throughout Europe, to acknowledge Europe's cultural wealth, to listen to the message and to reflect on it. If 2007 went down in history as the year of consensus, 2008 should be remembered as the year of new impetus, new energy and synergy – si.nergy for Europe!
Welcome to eu2008.si – the site where you will find all the information, subject areas, events, background details and results of the Slovenian Presidency. We will be delighted to receive responses and suggestions from you!
Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia
Message of Welcome by Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel
Welcome to the website that will prove useful for anyone interested in EU affairs in the first half of 2008. Slovenia is the first among the new Member States to be entrusted with presiding over the EU Council. We consider this an honour as well as a responsibility. We are delighted that the European Union has authorised Slovenia to lead the Council.
Slovenia has already been successful in performing demanding tasks in its short history, from chairing the OSCE to being a UN Security Council member; however, none of these tasks has been as demanding as presiding over the EU Council. We have accordingly prepared well for this role.
Our Presidency priorities are well known and can be found on these web pages. As Prime Minister Janez Janša has written in the introduction, the thrust of our Presidency can be summarised in one word – si.nergy.
The Slovenian Presidency will strive for EU unity and effectiveness. The European Union needs encouragement, energy, dialogue, openness and as many friends and partners as possible. For a period of six months, Slovenia will be in the limelight and in the middle of global developments. This is encouraging.
The European Union has been investing in knowledge, not only because it aspires to economic development but also because this is the basis for an effective development policy ensuring a better life for generations to come. We are also well aware that we will have to break some bad habits if we want healthy life to the next generations.
Above all, it is our responsibility to advocate and disseminate European principles in countries that do not yet meet the conditions for full EU membership. We believe the Western Balkans must be guaranteed European perspective. This will be our contribution to stabilising the part of Europe which has been most affected by events at the end of the 20th century.
These are our objectives at the outset of our EU Council Presidency. We would like you to become our interlocutors – with the help of this website, you can share your views and give us your encouragement. After all, the European Union does not only consist of politicians and officials in offices and conference rooms. Our common future concerns us all – we would be happy to see you contribute to it as well.
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia