PositionMember of the parliament - Interview

Borut Pahor is one of the seven MEPs from Slovenia. He is the only one to sit in the Socialist (PES) group. He will head the list of the Slovenian Social Democratic Party during the general elections in October 2008 and could become the future prime minister.

Slovenia is the first of the ten new countries from the 2004 enlargement to preside over the EU Council. Does this give it a particular status?

It is an honour and a privilege to be the very first to preside over the European Council. It will be a tough job since we have no experience. But I have no doubt that Slovenia will do its best to ensure good service. Now, the question is the following: what can we add to this in terms of substance?

I think that two subjects will be at the top of the agenda. First, Kosovo. Will Slovenia, with its experiences and history, be able to help the EU make good decisions on this very, very sensitive issue? I cannot predict what will happen, but I am sure that whatever does, it will have deep consequences not only for Serbia and Kosovo but also for the whole Western Balkans. It is extremely important that Europe has a consensus on the status of Kosovo. We will see if the Slovenian Presidency can exert enough diplomacy to reach an agreement.

The second subject will be the ratification process of the reform treaty. It is not my role to announce whatever it may be, but the Slovenian parliament will probably be among the first to ratify the text in order to promote the process. We would like to see the ratifications finished in late 2008.

I am sure that my country will be able to confront its responsibilities. We have had enough time to prepare and I cannot see any reason why our Presidency shouldn't be a success. Let me be very frank: I do not expect Slovenia to change the history of Europe. We have to limit our ambitions. We are a small country, a new member of the EU, the very first to preside over the Council among the ten new member states, and Slovenia itself is quite a new state. I think what I'd like to see at the end of our Presidency is a smile on the faces of all 27 heads of state and government and hear them say: "You should be proud of what you have accomplished".

Isn't it difficult to come right before the French EU Presidency?

No, on the contrary. In my opinion, it is easier to be before a strong Presidency like France, because this country will be much more involved in our work and will probably help us to better serve the EU.

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