In the second half of 2021, Slovenia will assume the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Since 2009, the presiding countries have been collaborating in the so-called trios, and in this 18-month period, Slovenia will join Germany, which held the presidency in the second half of 2020, and Portugal, which holds the presidency in the first half of 2021. France will follow Slovenia as the head of the Council.
During a six-month presidency, the European Union considers between five hundred and seven hundred legislative proposals. These directly affect our local legislation, life and business. However, participation in these decisions will not even be the most important effect of the Slovenian presidency.
Potential secret power hides in decisions that will be adopted publicly, yet most will not even notice or understand them.
The European Union was formed as a result of large crises that were the cause and the consequence of World War II. All major leaps in its development have followed crisis situations, and the corona crisis (the crisis due to the social, economic, political and health consequences of the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic) will work in the same way.
The new transformation will be carried out under the brand of health sovereignty.
The organisation of healthcare systems and the provision of healthcare services are still under the authority of EU member states in 2020.
In newspeak, the term health sovereignty does not mean the sovereignty of member states but of the European Union. On the basis of experience gained during the crisis, the EU as a whole must protect itself from being dependant on third-party actors and therefore plans to establish two Health Unions, one internal, the other external.
The Internal Health Union means the transfer of numerous responsibilities from the areas of health systems and service provision to the Union level. The External Health Union means an attempt to strategically reshape the global economic and political map, with unprecedented consequences. A small virus brings about great changes.
The first step towards health sovereignty will be the reindustrialisation of Europe.
This means returning a large share of industrial manufacturing, which in recent years has been exported mainly to Asia, back to Europe. At first, this will be seen in the pharmaceutical industry, as nowadays we do not manufacture a lot of essential medicines in the European Union, as they are not lucrative enough for local manufacturers, due to low prices. The organised reduction of the prices of medicines has pushed the manufacturing into countries with a cheaper labour force. Upon the advent of the corona crisis, some big European countries were left without essential medicines. Critical medical equipment will be manufactured in the necessary quantities in the West. For us, this means primarily in the European Union.
The pharmaceutical and medical equipment industries will be followed by numerous others, such as the automotive and information technology industries. Health sovereignty requires the computerisation of healthcare and the utilisation of information and communication technology to protect personal and public health. This is one of the cores of the controversy over the introduction of a new generation of mobile technology (5G), which will provide greater connectivity between people and things, thereby highlighting the security of connections and related data in question. From large volumes of data, we immediately come to the development of artificial intelligence, which will be the third specially protected industry as a strategic critical area for three technologies: pharmaceutical, information and communication. From here, a snowball of development will begin to roll and grow along the way.
When we protect information and communication technology (at least at the point of critical connections) and artificial intelligence (at least on paper), we protect practically all future industrial manufacturing. The cars of the future will be smart and connectable, co-operated by artificial intelligence, and will need strong and fast connectivity in order to acquire the necessary amounts of data. Cars and traffic in general will therefore become the subject of protection, triggered by the health sovereignty project. And then another industry and another industry and so forth.
How does this affect us in Slovenia and why is it important that we will hold the Presidency of the Council of the EU in 2021?
From large volumes of data, we immediately come to the development of artificial intelligence, which will be the third specially protected industry as a strategic critical area for three technologies: pharmaceutical, information and communication.
Firstly, because Slovenia is the third most industrialised country in the European Union and the consequences of reindustrialisation of the Old Continent can yield very positive things for us. We have a strong pharmaceutical industry with an international scientific and research manufacturer (Novartis/Lek) and a local generic medications producer (Krka). We are an important player on the European automotive parts market and an integral element of the European automotive industry. We host UNESCO's international Artificial Intelligence Centre at the Jožef Stefan Institute and build robots in Kočevje. Geographically, we occupy a space that has been one of the crossroads of Europe since the time of the Roman Empire, and any transformation of traffic and transport routes will directly affect us.
The challenges and opportunities of the Health Union are priceless for Slovenia. This is why it is so important that Slovenia is a member of the European trio, with Germany at the fore, and that it will hold the Presidency of the Council of the European Union just before France. Germany and France are the two legs on which the European Union stands.
The presiding trio, with us included, and the next trio with France in the lead, will transform the European Union and thus the whole world over the next six years. We live in interesting times that we cannot fully comprehend due to our focus on the pandemic. Future winners monitor developments in Europe and various players, interests and arenas. History happens to some. Others shape it. Still others adapt to it. The remaining are run over by it. You can decide which of these options represents your future.
The presiding trio, with us included, and the next trio with France in the lead, will transform the European Union and thus the whole world over the next six years.