Wednesday, January 09, 2008

EU: Slovenia's presidency marks Year of Intercultural Dialogue

Slovenia used the first day of its Presidency of the European Union to inaugurate the 2008 Year of Intercultural Dialogue. This state of 2 million is the first of the 2004 EU intake to hold the Presidency. Energy and Reform Treaty ratification are among its priorities. The year of intercultural dialogue will see Europe-wide events aimed at encouraging greater respect between cultures. EP President Hans-Gert Pöttering has made this theme central to his mandate.

The role of the media, education and the economy in relations between different EU cultures is the subject of a conference organised by the Slovene government on Monday and Tuesday this week. It was attended by Slovene Prime Minister Janez Janša as well as Mr Pöttering.

Together in diversity

It is the first of many events, debates and exhibitions being organised by national and regional authorities.

The objective of the year of intercultural dialogue (organised by the European Commission) is to promote greater understanding. With 27 countries in the Union and countless regional cultural identities, as well as non-European cultures coming to Europe through immigration - there is a great deal that can be learned by all of us.

Events and information campaigns will stress the benefits of greater cultural interchanges. The year will also see emphasis on education to target young people and encourage them to be active citizens respecting Europe-wide values of cultural diversity. A final theme is to draw attention to the rich cultural heritage that Europe has to offer.

Slovenia's PM to set out priorities in European Parliament

On 16 January Mr Janša will set out Slovenia's key priorities to MEPs in Strasbourg. He is expected to put energy and climate change at the top of the agenda, and will also focus on measures to improve the "EU perspective" for the Western Balkans, the promotion of intercultural dialogue and the ratification of the new Reform Treaty.

Slovenian Ministers will Chair Ministerial meetings in the Council for the first six months of this year.

Source: European Parliament