Emphasising the importance of the Western Balkans, notably Kosovo, Prime Minister Janez Jansa has outlined the priorities of the European Union, whose rotating presidency his country, Slovenia, took up on 1 January, for the next six months.
Addressing the European Parliament in Strasbourg, he said Kosovo demands a special solution:
“I would like to say that we will be sending this European Union security and defence mission to Kosovo… but in general these missions are not sent to countries that are not internationally recognised.”
Slovenia’s most pressing concern is coordinating the EU’s position on Kosovo.
The breakaway Serb province is expected to defy Belgrade and Serb ally Russia by declaring independence in late March or early April.
“We’re not fighting for stardom. That’s not important for us. We already knew where we stood 20 years ago, when Slovenia was widely under-estimated. We know what we have to do to make it.”
With France gunning its engine to take on the EU presidency from July, the leader of the parliament’s liberals, Graham Watson, put in a word for the underdog:
“This is not the start of the French presidency. It is an historic first for the country which enters our Union in 2004. President in office, your country may be small in size, but we know it is mighty in spirit and we know too Europe’s Davids often make better presidencies than the Goliaths.”