On 1 July, the Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the EU took office for the next six months, taking over from Portugal and concluding the current Trio mandate of Germany-Portugal-Slovenia.
According to its online Programme, Slovenia will articulate its work in four priorities:
- the resilience, recovery and strategic autonomy of the European Union, to strengthen Europe’s capacity to resist to unforeseeable and unprecedented emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic;
- the Conference on the Future of Europe, to enable a lively discussion with all citizens and stakeholders on how the EU should look like in the future;
- the rule of law, equal criteria and European way of life, to ensure that all Member States observe the rule of law and equal rights for everyone, in full respect of national constitutional systems and traditions;
- a secure and stable European Union, to strengthen the transatlantic ties and continue the enlargement process towards the Western Balkans.
The common thread of the Slovenian priorities is the boost to the digital and sustainable transformation of the European Union, which should be a priority for all EU institutions and be consistently on top of the policy agendas. The twin transition of the European economy has the potential to exploit untapped resources and opportunities to make the European Union a global champion in taking up new solutions to increase the sustainability of the European economy and reach all citizens who do not have digital skills or competences.
The Slovenian Presidency will work on a number of digital files aimed to increase the further development of the Digital Single Market. For instance, Slovenia will conduct negotiations on the Digital Services Act (DSA) and the Digital Markets Act (DMA). The Presidency will aim to bring Member States’ views into closer alignment, as the DSA and DMA proposals introduce ambitious reforms of the digital space and a comprehensive set of new rules for all digital services, including online platforms, and on competition in digital markets.
In the area of taxation, the Presidency will work on setting up negotiations on the proposal for an EU digital levy, which the European Commission should publish on 20 July. In addition, the Slovenian Presidency will further the simplification and integration of customs and other administrative procedures for companies, based on the legislative proposal for a Single Window Environment for Customs.
In the area of data, technology and infrastructure, the Presidency will give priority to proposals relating to artificial intelligence (AI), data and data economy, in order to reach a general approach in the Council or begin negotiations with the European Parliament. Likewise, the Presidency will endeavour to take negotiations on the ePrivacy Regulation closer to an end.
To recap, the Slovenian Presidency has pledged to work on a number of digital files that will play a major role in regulating the European Digital Market and achieving the twin digital and sustainable transitions. The Presidency will hand over the open files to the next Trio mandate, which will start on 1 January 2022 with France, followed by the Czech Republic and then Sweden.