How is Slovenia prepared for its EU Council Presidency?

In the second half of 2021, Slovenia will preside over the EU Council for the second time. This means that Slovenia will face tasks such as coordinating the EU Council, providing EU legislative guidance, and forming common positions of EU Council for discussions with the European Parliament and the European Commission. For this purpose, Slovenian, German and Portugese presidencies issued the 2021 Programme of the Council. Slovenia has evidently been preparing for its EU Council presidency, but what effect, if any, will this have on copyright regulation in the field of education?

In light of Slovenia’s EU Council presidency, prof. dr. Simona Kustec, Slovenian Minister for Education, Science and Sport already held several meetings in January 2021.

On 19 January, prof. dr. Kustec met with European Commissioner for innovation, research, culture, education and youth, Mariya Gabriel. They identified digital transformation, artificial intelligence, and a new vision for education as EU Council’s priorities and main goals in 2021.

A day later, on 20 January, Slovenian Minister met with Cristian – Silviu Bușoi, the president of the European Parliament’s Committee for industry, research and energy (ITRE). They discussed the field of science and research, the EU research reform, EU partnerships and international cooperation.

On 22 January, she participated in an informal meeting of ministers for education, organised under the auspices of Portugese presidency. Discussion revolved mainly around the contribution of education to this year’s Social Summit to be held in May in Porto, and around strengthening of the educational system.

Finally, prof. dr. Kustec met the president of Committee for culture and education Sabina Verhayen on 25 January, presented the importance of synergy between education and science, and pointed to the broader discussion about online and remote learning, which Slovenia is planning together with European Commission during the upcoming presidency.

It certainly seems that on paper, Slovenia is aware of the importance of an appropriate education regulation, especially in the times of pandemic, when educational institutions are forced to rely on remote teaching. It is, therefore, all the more surprising to see the lack of activity in the field of EU copyright reform and in the implementation process of the EU Directive on copyright and related rights in the digital single market, which contains the new digital education exception. As of today, Slovenian legislator has not yet published any DSM Directive implementation draft, and its words about the appropriate education regulation so far remain exactly that – just words.