Slovenia has made clear it does not mind that France is getting a head start on major European Union dossiers.
The first of the 2004 wave of new member states to hold the rotating EU presidency looks at the next six months as a great chance to “consolidate its reputation”.
Prime Minister Janez Jansa will present Ljubljana’s EU agenda at the European Parliament in Strasbourg this Wednesday.
French MEP Alain Lamassoure, in the same centre-right political party as the president of the republic, says he anticipates a prudent approach, to make sure that all 27 EU states ratify the bloc’s new Lisbon reform Treaty:
“During this time it would be better to avoid tabling any daring proposals, anything slightly provocative, which would risk sparking campaigns hostile to Europe in one country or another in the bloc. Therefore the steering through the ratification period will doubtless be one of the large yet thankless tasks, and yet fundamental for the Slovenian presidency.”
Coordinating a common EU position on the status of the breakaway Serbian province of Kosovo will be the top foreign policy priority for Slovenia.
Analyst Michael Emerson feels the Slovenes are as well-placed as anyone to handle this:
“They never had a serious war… with Serbia, unlike Croatia. I would say that the Slovenian position in terms of the possibilities of political and diplomatic discourse with Belgrade is relatively straightforward.”
Jansa’s team so far has modestly said it is working well with the French.
President Nicolas Sarkozy has bold ambitions for the second half of the year.
European diplomats and politicians, however, have said they will be putting substance before showmanship.