Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the EU launches its six-month programme!
On 1 July, for the second time since joining the EU in 2004, Slovenia has taken over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Slovenia is part of the 10th Presidency Trio, together with Germany and Portugal.
The slogan shaping the programme of Slovenia’s Presidency is "Together. Resilient. Europe." In light of this, the programme reflects the challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic and focuses on four main areas:
1. The EU's recovery, resilience and strategic autonomy
2. A reflection on the future of Europe, through the Conference on the future of Europe;
3. The European way of life, the rule of law, European values and equal criteria for all;
4. Increasing security and stability in the European neighbourhood.
The Slovenian presidency will actively strive to strengthen the EU’s resilience in health, economic, energy, climate and cyber crises. This is aligned with the overall programme of the Presidency Trio, which focuses on similar topics, including elements such as digitalisation, competitiveness as well as European technological and industrial sovereignty.
When it comes to health, the programme outlines that the Presidency will pay special attention to strengthening the EU’s response to health threats, exit strategies and potential future pandemics following the experiences from COVID-19, with the overall aim of strengthening the European Health Union. As part of this, among others the following aspects will be focused on:
- The added value of cooperation at EU level in the development and implementation of innovative solutions for resilient health systems;
- Collectively investing more effectively in improving the organisation, accessibility, quality and responsiveness of health systems and their sustainable financing;
- The role of the EU in global health and the Beating Cancer Plan;
- Improving the legal framework for serious cross-border health threats, including a legislative proposal to establish a new Health Emergency Response Authority (HERA).
Throughout the different work areas, an overall focus on AI and its ethical aspects can be noticed. The Programme commits to making progress on the Artificial Intelligence Act and the revision of the Machinery Directive. The Presidency will also continue work on the Data Governance Act and start work on the Data Act. Under health, no mention on AI has been included in the programme, considering that the primary focus remains to be directed by crisis preparedness and reaching higher health system resilience. Yet, the Avicenna Alliance welcomes the extent of importance the Presidency attributes to AI applications and based on that is hopeful that AI will likewise receive an increasingly greater role in reaching stronger healthcare systems in the future, once COVID-19 challenges have been addressed.