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President of the Republic of Slovenia Borut Pahor holds several bilateral talks on the margins of the Bled Strategic Forum (BSF)

Bled, 3. 9. 2019 | press release

President Pahor met Pekka Haavisto, the Finnish Minister for Foreign Affairs. They affirmed the very good and friendly relations as well as exemplary cooperation between the countries in many areas. They also highlighted their good cooperation in the context of the EU and other international relations. In their discussion, President Pahor said that Slovenia supported the priority tasks of the Finnish Presidency of the Council of the EU, and welcomed its efforts to foster the unity of the EU and commitment to common values and rules based on respect for international law and human rights. The statesmen discussed the Western Balkans and committed themselves to active cooperation and the creation of circumstances enabling the progress of the Western Balkans. They agreed that enlargement is strategically and vitally important for the EU, whereas the region needs an active, responsible, and credible EU. The President and the Minister concluded the talks by discussing the challenges related to the planned departure of the United Kingdom from the EU.

President Pahor later met Matthew A. Palmer, Deputy Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of State and newly appointed Special Representative for the Western Balkans. In the talk, President Pahor expressed satisfaction as he had received the credentials of the U.S. Ambassador Lynda Blanchard, marking the return of the U.S. Ambassador to Slovenia after an extended period of time. President Pahor confirmed that he looked forward to close cooperation with the Ambassador. The statesmen assessed that the relationship between both countries has always been based on the common values of democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. The neighbouring region of the Western Balkans received the greatest attention in the talk. The President said that efforts should be invested in maintaining the process of dialogue and negotiations with all countries of the region. He repeated the view that the enlargement of the EU to the Western Balkans was a geopolitical question and that it would be helpful for the EU and the countries of the region to treat the latter as a whole. In his opinion, this did not exclude differences in the time schedule of the European Commission’s separate negotiations with each country; however, this new approach would indicate that progress is encouraged in all countries at the same time. In this way, all countries would understand that the dynamics of enlargement depends on the collective success of these countries in resolving mutual issues and implementing domestic reforms. President Pahor concluded the talks by mentioning the preparation of an extraordinary Brdo–Brijuni Process summit in Slovenia, expected to take place in November, which was warmly welcomed by Deputy Palmer.

President Pahor also hosted Enrico Letta, the former Prime Minister of Italy and the current Dean of the Paris School of International Affairs at Sciences Po. They discussed the challenges that the EU is facing.

Yesterday, President Pahor attended the opening of the Bled Strategic Forum 2019, where he spoke about the future of the European Union with Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid. On the margins of the Bled Strategic Forum, President Pahor yesterday held separate meetings with some high-level forum participants, including María Fernando Espinosa Garcés, the President of the 73rd Session of the UN General Assembly, Michelle Bachelet Jeria, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mevlüt Çavuţođlu, Turkish Foreign Minister, and Josep Borrell Fontelles, Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, the EU and Cooperation. Yesterday, President Pahor also met with the Board of Directors of the World Federation of Consuls – FICAC.

President of the Republic of Slovenia Borut Pahor holds several bilateral talks on the margins of the Bled Strategic Forum (BSF)
Photo: Nik Jevšnik/STA