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Prime Minister Janez Janša with President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen at the Division of Paediatrics in Ljubljana

Yesterday, Slovenia is taking over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union for the second time. On this occasion, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the College of Commissioners arrived to Ljubljana and met with the Slovenian Government.

Before going to Brdo, where the working meetings took place, she and Janez Janša visited the Division of Paediatrics in Ljubljana, where President von der Leyen was introduced to future planned investments in healthcare, which will also be co-financed from the Recovery and Resilience Facility. The visit to the Division of Paediatrics was also attended by Minister of Health Janez Poklukar and European Commissioner Janez Lenarčič.

On the margins of the visit at the Division of Paediatrics, the Slovenian Prime Minister stated that we all knew what we had been through in this long epidemic year. “No country in the world was prepared for this epidemic. However, there were circumstances that helped us prevail in the battle. One of these is the fact that the European Commission President is a trained doctor and has five years of experience as a minister of defence, which made her the right person to deal with this dangerous situation,” explained the Prime Minister. He continued:  “Thanks to her, we can say that the European response to the epidemic was appropriate, that we have overcome this threat and that we are now better prepared for the next challenge that may come.” He also stressed that resilience and recovery were among the priorities of the Slovenian Presidency and that a significant challenge awaits Slovenia. “We have put healthcare at the forefront of efforts to aid a quick recovery,” added Janez Janša and thanked the European Commission President for the visit and today’s meeting. He also thanked her for having succeeded in securing the construction of new capacities at such a short notice, so that healthcare services for all can be ensured. “It was also owing to you and your assistance that Slovenia was able to avoid sending COVID-19 patients for treatment to other countries,” concluded the Prime Minister.

During today’s visit at the Division of Paediatrics, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, thanked the frontline medical and health staff for being dependable, saving lives, never giving up and for showing solidarity and determination in hard times. “You are role models and I wish to thank you from the bottom of my heart,” said Ursula von der Leyen.

“We have also come today to approve the national recovery and resilience plan. I am pleased to see that this strong focus is not only on the healthcare infrastructure, but also on digitalisation in healthcare,” added the President of the European Commission. “When we seek funds on financial markets, when we invest these European funds in critical and important sectors, we must invest with the well-being of the future generation in mind,” emphasised the President. She continued that investments and reforms introduced at this clinic and in Maribor should bear in mind the welfare of current and future generations.

“Today is a special day indeed. A great deal of hard work was put in the national recovery and resilience plan, thank you for great cooperation,” said Ursula von der Leyen. She added that today the EU again went to financial markets and successfully secured EUR 15 billion. “We enjoy high confidence of financial markets in the EU27, because we are determined to emerge strengthened from this crisis,” explained the Commission President von der Leyen, concluding that she was excited to see the progress of the projects presented today.


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