Swiss President Maurer: Slovenia is a reliable and important partner to Switzerland

Bern, 19. 9. 2019 | press release

Responding to the invitation of the President of the Swiss Confederation and Head of the Department of Finance, Ueli Maurer, the President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, is on an official visit to Switzerland. The visit is a continuation of high-level political dialogue and confirms the mutual interest in strengthening cooperation and friendly relations between the two countries.

As part of the official visit, President Pahor met today with his host, the President of the Swiss Confederation and Head of the Department of Finance, Ueli Maurer. An official reception with military honours outside the presidential residence of Lohn Manor was followed by plenary talks between the delegations of Slovenia and Switzerland, which were led by the respective presidents.

Swiss President Maurer: Slovenia is a reliable and important partner to Switzerland
Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA

In bilateral talks, President Pahor and President Maurer took stock of the collaboration between the two countries, affirming that relations were excellent and amicable, and that there were no unresolved issues. Mr Pahor expressed his satisfaction with the fact that the two countries were maintaining a regular political dialogue and his strong belief that this would continue in the future.

The President of the Swiss Confederation emphasised that Switzerland saw Slovenia as a reliable and important partner, and wished to strengthen their mutual cooperation. He thanked the Slovenian President for the excellent relations and partnership, stating that the two countries had much in common, including beautiful nature, magnificent mountains and people. President Maurer also made reference to cooperation under the Alpine Convention.

Slovenia's President thanked his host for the kind and warm welcome he received today and yesterday at the Federal Assembly which, said Pahor, was particularly moving. He agreed that Switzerland and Slovenia were connected by their identities, both being small countries, but that we were stronger if we worked together.

Economic relations between the two countries were an important topic of conversation. President Pahor said that Switzerland was a very important economic partner to Slovenia, expressing his satisfaction with the increased trade in goods. In 2018, trade in goods between Slovenia and Switzerland amounted to EUR 1.49 billion, a 48.7% increase from the previous year. As regards economic cooperation, President Pahor also said that Slovenia's experience with Swiss investors was very positive, adding that he believed that the meetings at that day's business conference, which will be taking place on the margins of the official visit, would establish new business ties and contribute to further growth in trade between the two countries. President Maurer agreed that interpersonal relations were very important in business, estimating that cooperation between the two business communities was particularly good due to their similar views.

The two presidents concurred that Switzerland was a close and important partner to the European Union. They stressed the importance of an institutional framework agreement that was of key importance for the partnership and cooperation between the EU and Switzerland. With regard to the EU's future, President Pahor and President Maurer agreed that the EU should be strengthened to ensure its external, internal, economic and social safety.

The two presidents exchanged views on the current events in the international community, particularly in the European Union. They agreed that Brexit was currently a great burden for the European Union and that it was still unknown whether it was possible to reach an agreement on the UK's withdrawal from the EU. According to them, a no-deal Brexit was the worst possible scenario for everyone.

The presidents also called for effective multilateralism, with the United Nations playing a central role. Switzerland is running for a non-permanent seat in the UN Security Council for the 2023–2024 period, and President Pahor ensured Slovenia's support for the Swiss candidacy in the 2022 elections.

Mr Pahor and Mr Maurer devoted particular attention to the development of digitalisation and mentioned the possibility of exchanging professional practices on various digitalisation projects in both countries. They agreed that it was important not to overlook the ethical and legal aspects of using new technologies.

Swiss President Maurer: Slovenia is a reliable and important partner to Switzerland
Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA

On the margins of his official visit, President of the Republic of Slovenia Borut Pahor will attend the opening of the Slovenian-Swiss business conference entitled "Slovenia – the Land of Niche Business Champions" taking place in Zurich this afternoon.

Yesterday afternoon, President Pahor met with the President of the National Council of the Swiss Confederation, Marina Carobbio Guscetti. Earlier that day, President Pahor responded to Ms Guscetti's invitation to attend the National Council's regular session; she held an opening address praising Slovenia, which she had visited a few months before, and honouring the President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, who was sitting in the gallery.

On his official visit, Mr Pahor is accompanied by the Minister of Education, Science and Sport, Jernej Pikalo, Deputy Prime Minister and State Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dobran Božič, and State Secretary at the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology, Eva Štravs Podlogar.