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When Success Speaks for Itself: More Than 200 Meetings of Our Prime Minister, Janša, With Foreign Representatives

During the two years of his government, Prime Minister Janez Janša held over 200 meetings with foreign representatives, including over 40 video meetings, over 40 virtual sessions, over 40 in-person sessions and over 80 in-person meetings. In 2020, he most frequently talked with the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Council, Charles Michel, and former German Chancellor, Angela Merkel. “We are bringing Slovenia back to the European and world map. Towards the centre,” Janša explained.

At the very beginning of the epidemic, when Janez Janša took over as Prime Minister in March 2020, he had a telephone conversation with the European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, about the European Union’s planned measures to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. At the end of March of that same year, he attended a video conference of the European Council on the socio-economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, convened by its President Charles Michel. There, the heads of governments, member states, and EU institutions discussed the situation and measures related to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In April, Janša and the President of the Autonomous Region of Friuli Venezia Giulia (FVG), Massimiliano Fedriga, exchanged information on the situation regarding Covid-19 and the measures taken by both countries in the fight against the epidemic in a video call. Janša also had a telephone conversation with the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, and another video conference with the European Council.

In May 2020, a video conference of EU and Western Balkan leaders was held, and it was co-chaired by Michel, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, and Von der Leyen. A week later, Janša also had a telephone conversation with the latter. The conversation was extremely informative and creative, and Janša also spoke with her about the proposal for the future EU budget and the fund for recovery from the coronavirus epidemic.

In June, Janša attended a meeting of ambassadors of EU member states, the Western Balkans and Turkey at the European Union House in Ljubljana. A week later, he met with the ambassadors of the Visegrad quartet. At the meeting, they exchanged views on the key challenges that the member states of the European Union are facing and on the most important regional issues.

In June, he attended a videoconference meeting of the leaders of the EU member states and the six Eastern Partnership countries (Ukraine, Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus and Georgia). Later, an informal videoconference session of the European Council was also held and Janša welcomed the doyen of the diplomatic corps to Slovenia, the apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Jean-Marie Speich, and held a video conference with the former German chancellor Angela Merkel and Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costo.

In July, Janša held another video conference with Michel, met with German Minister of Foreign Affairs, Heiko Maas, and attended an online conference entitled “Europe uncensored.” He also met with Plenković, attended an extraordinary session of the European Council in Brussels, and held a video conference with the Secretary-General of the OECD, Angela Gurrio.

In August, Slovenia was visited by the former US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo. Another videoconference meeting of the European Council was also held. Janša also met with the new German ambassadors to Slovenia and the Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić. On the last day of August, Janša participated in the introductory discussion of European leaders on the topic “Europe after Brexit and the covid-19 pandemic,” as part of the 15th Bled Strategic Forum.

During this time, the Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, Croatian Prime Minister Plenković, Bulgarian Prime Minister Bojko Borisov, former Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, the EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, and the High Representative of the European Union for the Belgrade-Priština and other regional issues in the Western Balkans, Miroslav Lajčak, all talked to our Prime Minister, Janša.

Later, Janša hosted the former Austrian Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz in Ljubljana. He also had a telephone conversation with the President of the European Council, Michel, and the then-Chancellor of the State President of the Council of the European Union, Merkel. He was also visited by the Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nikos Dendias. In September, along with the Minister of Education, Science and Sport, Dr Simona Kustec, and State Secretary responsible for Education and Sports, Marjan Dolinšek, met with the President of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, and the delegation.

In October, Janša attended an extraordinary, as well as the regular meeting of the European Council, and also held a videoconference with Merkel. He also had a working meeting with Albanian Prime Minister Edi Ramo. In November, he received the minister of Finance of Australia, Mathias Cormann, and attended an informal videoconference meeting of the European Council.

Thanks to Janša, we obtained record European funds
In November 2020, It seemed that Hungary and Poland would not want to cooperate, as they wanted to veto the conditionality of European funds with the rule of law. Prime Minister Janez Janša later sent a letter of reconciliation to Brussels, which was severely criticised by our opposition. However, contrary to the Slovenian opposition, Merkel expressed support for the letter of reconciliation. And later, despite the pessimistic expectations, the EU Summit proved that when it comes down to it, the EU member states know how to come together and find solutions even where there may not have been any before the meetings. At the meeting, the leaders agreed on record funding for Europe’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, as well as funding for the next seven years.

In December, Janša paid an official visit to Israel, where he also met with former Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. There was also a European Council meeting and a virtual meeting to mark the 60th anniversary of the signing of the OECD Convention. At the end of 2020, Janša attended a meeting of ambassadors of the EU member states in Brdo pri Kranju.

Sara Rančigaj

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