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Slovenia Business Week no. 18/2005: PM Jansa: Slovenia Has Proved to Be Up to EU Membership Tasks

According to the PM, Slovenia has not experienced EU entry as a drastic change, but as a normal follow-up to its positive direction, as a return to an environment to which the Slovenians have belonged for ever historically, culturally and geographically

Prime Minister Janez Jansa believes Slovenia has proved in the first year of EU membership to be able to cope with tasks emerging from full membership. This is how he assessed Slovenia's first year in the EU at a special news conference in Ljubljana.

While before 1 May 2004 we were concerned over our ability to cope with full-membership tasks, Slovenia has turned out to be well up to the new situation, and has taken part in EU institutions and policy-making as an efficient member, Jansa stressed on Friday, 29 April.

According to the PM, Slovenia has not experienced EU entry as a drastic change, but as a normal follow-up to its positive direction, as a return to an environment to which the Slovenians have belonged for ever historically, culturally and geographically.

Jansa reiterated the government's oft repeated positions on the 2007-2013 budget and the Lisbon Strategy, and noted how the division of Slovenia into statistical regions will be crucial for the phasing of cohesion funds if budget talks do not wrap up in the first half of this year.

According to Jansa, Slovenia contributes to the EU budget but is nevertheless a net recipient of EU funds. It got less money than planned, which Jansa said was due to the fact that pre-accession aid has been insufficiently phased and that cohesion and structural funds have not been phased at all yet.

While other newcomers are having trouble with spending EU money too, one reason is specific to Slovenia: complicated procedures and the inappropriate relationship of those who participated in the approval procedure, the prime minister said. The government has already taken measures to simplify the procedures.

Jansa furthermore emphasised that one year into membership, Slovenia remains an advocate of the Union's open-door policy: it backs enlargement onto the Western Balkans and believes membership talks should start with Croatia and Turkey.

Enlargement is part of a positive European processes which brings into the Euro-Atlantic area greater stability and peace, as well as the prospects of progress, the prime minister said.

Source: Slovene Press Agency STA

Author: STA