1 July not only marked the start of Germany’s Presidency of the Council of the EU but also the launch of a special alliance with Portugal and Slovenia. During the Trio Presidency, that is to say during the three countries’ consecutive Council Presidencies, the trio intends to coordinate closely and set joint and sustainable priorities. This is already the second time that these three countries are forming a trio. In 2007 and 2008, they formed the first Trio Presidency in the EU’s history.

A spotlight on COVID‑19

Like the German Presidency of the Council of the EU, the Trio Presidency will initially be focusing on crisis management. The three states want to continue combating the COVID‑19 pandemic and managing its consequences together. The multiannual financial framework – the EU’s budget – and future relations with the UK are also key priorities.

Foreign Minister Maas is to discuss these and other issues with his Slovenian and Portuguese counterparts Anže Logar and Augusto Santos Silva, the latter participating via videolink.

Foreign Minister Maas issued the following statement prior to his departure:

Our cooperation will be pivotal for European crisis management in the next 18 months. This is a responsibility we want to shoulder. Our trio Programme reflects our determination to overcome this crisis together in the spirit of European solidarity. We need to improve the European Union’s resilience, not least its resilience to crises, and strengthen its social and economic base.

Bilateral talks: strengthening cooperation

Relations between Germany and Slovenia are close, in both political and economic terms. Joint projects are pursued in almost all policy areas. The German-Slovene Dialogue has been in place since 2017. The two countries also work closely together within the EU.

This cooperation is to be further strengthened. Foreign Minister Maas will thus also hold bilateral talks in Ljubljana. As well as a meeting with his counterpart Anže Logar, his schedule includes talks with the Slovene President Borut Pahor and Prime Minister Janez Janša.

In this context, too, a focus will be on the joint European agenda and the forthcoming Trio Presidency. The topics of migration, the rule of law and EU enlargement will also be discussed.