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President Pahor and Swiss President Parmelin for a comprehensive deepening of relations between the two countries

Ljubljana, 9. 6. 2021 | press release

At the invitation of the President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, the President of the Swiss Confederation, Guy Parmelin, who is also Minister for Economic Affairs, Education and Research, is paying a two-day official visit to the Republic of Slovenia.

Yesterday afternoon, President Pahor received President Parmelin with military honours, and a wreath was laid at the Monument to All Victims of Wars and War-Related Victims in Congress Square in Ljubljana. The two presidents then visited the school in Vrtojba and inspected the solar photovoltaic power plant installed on the noise barrier of the H4 Highway section which were partially refurbished as model energy-efficient solutions with the help of Swiss cohesion funds. The two presidents concluded the first day of the visit with a gala dinner hosted by President Pahor in honour of President Parmelin.

President Pahor and Swiss President Parmelin for a comprehensive deepening of relations between the two countries
Photo: Anže Malovrh/STA

President Pahor and President Parmelin continued the visit today with a private meeting in the Presidential Palace, followed by plenary talks between the official delegations of the Republic of Slovenia and the Swiss Confederation, headed by their respective presidents.

At the press conference that followed the talks, President Pahor warmly welcomed President Parmelin and emphasised the excellent and friendly relations between Slovenia and Switzerland. He recalled the intense dynamics of contacts at the presidential level and pointed out that the two countries had a lot in common: "Both countries are part of the Alpine world with beautiful natural features and are made for sustainable development. They have an obligation to preserve them for generations to come. Both Switzerland and Slovenia are focusing on a green economy supported by advanced technologies."

President Pahor welcomed Swiss investments in Slovenia and the significant trade exchange. Switzerland is Slovenia’s third largest partner in terms of investment and among the largest in terms of trade. President Pahor expressed the desire to strengthen cooperation in science and research and technology, particularly in the field of artificial intelligence and green technologies. He stressed the need to step up our efforts towards a green and digital transition to more sustainable development.

The Swiss Federation’s cohesion contribution has co-funded many projects in Slovenia, especially in the field of energy renovation of buildings and sustainable energy sources. President Pahor also said that he was pleased that he and the Swiss President were able to take a look at two such cases yesterday.

A substantial part of the talks between President Pahor and President Parmelin was devoted to relations between Switzerland and the European Union. President Pahor said that both countries are at the heart of Europe; though Switzerland is not a member of the European Union, it is an important partner with whom we share culture, history and values.

President Pahor and Swiss President Parmelin for a comprehensive deepening of relations between the two countries
Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA

Regarding the recent conclusion of the talks on the institutional framework between the Swiss Federal Council and the EU, the Slovenian President expressed regret, as an agreement for mutual benefit seemed to have been within reach. He said that we expect the European Commission to examine the situation carefully and as quickly as possible and propose a way forward. "We need to find a way to resolve the current stalemate in relations and find a new impetus for a solution to the EU–Switzerland institutional framework agreement," said President Pahor.

The President also pointed out that Switzerland is an important international player, as it hosts the United Nations and a number of international agencies, as well as being our reliable partner and friend: "Switzerland has a long diplomatic tradition and one high point of this will be the forthcoming meeting of US and Russian presidents Biden and Putin in Geneva. Mr Pahor pointed out that on the day this meeting is held in Geneva, it will be exactly 20 years since the historic first meeting between US President Bush and Russian President Putin at Brdo.

In conclusion, President Pahor emphasised that although the international positions of the Swiss Confederation and the Republic of Slovenia are different, as Switzerland is a country with centuries-long statehood and neutrality, while Slovenia is a young country and a member of the EU and NATO, both are committed to the mission of peaceful conflict resolution and a dialogue with everybody else. He concluded that we are all allies in this.

President Pahor and Swiss President Parmelin for a comprehensive deepening of relations between the two countries
Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA