STA, 29 August 2022 - Slovenian Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon defended EU sanctions against Russia in a debate at the Bled Strategic Forum on Monday, arguing there was no alternative. She acknowledged, though, that things may get tough.
"Sanctions are necessary ... We have to say it clear who started the war and who is the aggressor... There is no alternative if we want to preserve peace and stability, and international order," she said.
Her remarks came during a wide-ranging debate featuring the foreign ministers of Austria, Iceland, Poland, Portugal, Poland and Turkey, and the French minister of state for European affairs.
Fajon said the EU had shown strong unity when it came to imposing sanctions, but six months after the start of the war there is a debate opening up as people start fearing that the sanctions will start hitting Europe's economies stronger than expected.
#BSF2022 | The #EU ?? requires a glue – the shared values of the #RuleOfLaw, human rights and media freedom – to solidify its structure. It is not only prosperity, but also these values that make Europe such an attractive place to live for its citizens. – Minister @tfajon. pic.twitter.com/LIqRnVOEWe— MFA Slovenia (@MZZRS) August 29, 2022
Recalling bouts of selfishness during the Covid pandemic, Fajon wondered what will happen if for some reason one country remains without gas it has been promised. She said this would test unity and solidarity.
"This will be the top test and challenge for all of us. That is why we have to stick together on our basic values," she said.
Fajon noted that the present time was "very dramatic and challenging", putting at stake not just the unity of the European Union but also the international order given how many geopolitical questions are currently open.
Turning to the Western Balkans, she said the region had been neglected as the EU had gone through crisis after crisis in the past ten or twenty years, "lost its strategic focus", and neglected enlargement policy.
Asked whether a change of qualified majority in the EU voting could help that, Fajon said that "we should just deliver on our promises", but noted that this was also a good opportunity for the bloc to "think outside of the box".