The EU ministers in charge of European affairs adopted in Brussels on Tuesday decisions on strengthening preparedness, response capacity, and resilience of the EU to future crises. As the current presiding country, Slovenia sees the decisions as a significant step in the member states re-establishing a more resilient EU.
The session was chaired by Gašper Dovžan, the state secretary at the Slovenian Foreign Ministry in charge of European affairs, who noted that resilience to future crises was one of the priorities of Slovenia’s presidency of the EU Council.
“We started working on consolidating the EU’s preparedness for crises on the first day of the presidency. The decisions taken by the member states today are an important step in continuing on our path of re-establishing a more resilient Europe.”
It is noted in the decisions that the EU had dealt with many crises throughout its history and gradually created policies and introduced institutional changes to strengthen its capacity to deal with future crises.
They point out that crises are becoming more and more complex, with an increasingly detrimental impact on the EU, adding that the lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic had shed light on how important it is for the EU to work together in a crisis.
Despite some shortcomings, the EU has handled the crisis well, in particular owing to coordination and solidarity, the member states said.
For instance, the pandemic highlighted the need to work together to strengthen the resilience of the internal market to disruptions in key supply chains and sectors such as pharmaceuticals, medical devices and semiconductor chips.
One of the fundamental digital goals of the EU, for example, is to increase European semi-conductor production from the current 10% to at least 20% of the global output.
Given the indispensable role of the internal market of the EU, the member states emphasise in their decisions that crisis measures must be temporary, proportionate and fully coordinated to return to normality as soon as possible.
The decisions also define the content that needs to be further developed to ensure a more resilient EU, emphasising preparedness, better anticipation, and continuity in crisis management.
In the future, the EU must be prepared to deal with different crises, including hybrid crises, which will require improved cross-sectoral and cross-border governance, better strategic and crisis communication and fight against disinformation.
The decisions are a response to the June call by the EU leaders for efforts to strengthen joint preparedness, response capacity and resilience to future crises and to protect the functioning of the internal market.