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Presidents Pahor and Napolitano emphasized the importance of common values

Rome, Italy, 6. 5. 2014 | press release, speech

The President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, is on an official state visit today in Italy, where he is being hosted by the President of the Italian Republic, Giorgio Napolitano. The President of the Republic is accompanied on his state visit by Minister of Education, Science and Sport, Jernej Pikalo, and State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Igor Senčar.

President Pahor began his visit with a meeting with the President of the Confederation of Italian Industries (Confindustria), Giulio Squinzi, and representatives of the Slovenian and Italian economic sectors. The two spoke about the possibilities for increasing the trade of goods and services between the two countries, as representatives from the Slovenian companies Petrol, Riko, Gen-i, Luka Koper, Duol, Sagem, Gonzaga, Spirit Slovenia, and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia, while Italian business sector was represented by Assicurazioni Generali, S.I.A.D., Safilo, Sol, and Terna Plus. President Pahor emphasized that Italy is Slovenia's most important trade partner, adding that cooperation is also good in terms of investments, assuring those in attendance that Slovenia has a high level of respect for Italian companies, and that strategic partners are welcome. In his discussion with business people, the President of the Republic also expressed his belief that Slovenia would soon rise out of the political crisis, and added that the privatization process would continue without interruption.

Presidents Pahor and Napolitano emphasized the importance of common values
Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA

After laying a wreath before the tomb of the unknown soldier at the Piazza Venezia and an official reception with military honours, Pahor continued discussions in the Presidential Palace, where the Slovenian and Italian President indulged in a long discussion one on one. Plenary talks followed between the delegations of the Italian Republic and the Republic of Slovenia under the leadership of both Presidents.

Pahor's official state visit to the Italian Republic represents the highest level of bilateral relations between the two countries, and confirms the extraordinary importance the Italian President places on Slovenia and its President. The visit coincides with the 10th anniversary of Slovenia's ascendency to the European Union, wherefore Presidents Pahor and Napolitano devoted most of their discussion to the idea of Europe and its future. They determined that many steps had been taken to overcome the burdens of the past, which wove especially tight ties between the two countries, and today's official state visit represents an opportunity for confirming foundations for a common European future.

They also emphasized how their diasporas in each other's respective countries could contribute to further development of relations. As expected, the Presidents also spent a lot of time discussing upcoming elections in the European Parliament, which will present an opportunity for applying direct democracy in appointing new leadership for the European Union and which can also start a path to a "Better Europe", that is a strong and efficient European Union, the foundations of whose democracy will rest on jobs, the equitable distribution of income, and equal social rights for all. The Presidents also exchanged views on the global economic crisis agreeing that both countries would continue with reforms. Commitments were made by both Presidents for the enforcement of the so-called Adriatic reconciliation, which in the future will see the inclusion of all Western Balkan countries in the European Union. They also touched on the priority of Italian presidency of the Council of the European Union, which will take effect in the second half of the year. They shared their points of view regarding current matters of foreign policy in the broader international community, such as the situation in Ukraine.

President Giorgio Napolitano welcomed President Borut Pahor in a press release, emphasizing common efforts for integrating relations between Italy and Slovenia. He confirmed his agreement with the Slovenian President regarding questions about the future and expansion of the European Union. It is important that amicable relations between the two countries are solidified, as well as that diasporas in the respective countries are well cared for. At a press conference, President Napolitano added that he had bestowed upon the President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, the highest national honour of Knight Grand Cross.

The President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, is on an official state visit today in Italy, where he is being hosted by the President of the Italian Republic, Giorgio Napolitano.
Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA

President Pahor issued a press release stating that Slovenia and Italy are joined by commitment to the idea of Europe which is founded on reconciliation, and that he is thrilled to share the same values and commitments with President Napolitano for increasing the depth of mutual, comprehensive cooperation between the two countries, as well as a similar perspective on the future of the European Union. He made reassurances that Slovenia would approach upcoming elections in a mature, democratic, and successful manner, and that he would use his authority to help guide Slovenia through the current state of political uncertainness along the path of economic growth. He stressed that concerns about Slovenia changing its path in terms of opening up and privatizing are completely unfounded.

During his visit, President of the Republic, Borut Pahor, was also received by the Mayor of Rome, Ignazio Marino. The President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, stopped by a joint meeting of the Committees on Foreign Policy of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate of the Italian Republic, led by Senator Casini and Deputy Cicchitto.

In his remarks, the President stressed that Slovenia and Italy are partners in the European Union, NATO, and OECD, and that they have achieved a high level of mutual relations. The Slovenian minority in Italy and the Italian community in Slovenia are an important link between the two countries, Pahor remarked, and highlighted his agreement with President Napolitano that they will maintain their commitments to both diasporas, despite the economic difficulties facing both countries. Deputy Cicchitto stressed the significance of cooperation between both national communities, and in terms of trans-border collaboration in the European context he singled out EZTS Gorizia – Nova Gorica.

President Pahor emphasized the importance of the Italian presidency of the Council of the EU, which will be in a time of great challenges, but also mentioned the reassuring fact that Italy is an experienced and established country in international relations. He voiced concern over the situation in Ukraine, and warned that the instability could spread into the countries of the Western Balkan. President Pahor expressed his support for continued integration of the EU, emphasizing that the right balance between economic austerity and stimulus for companies is the best path for assuring healthy economic growth. The President's remarks were followed by a lively debate by Members of the Committee, in which it was agreed that both countries share many common interests and numerous as yet untapped economic potential for bilateral relations. Senator Casini warned about the negative effects of the EU's excessively rigid economic austerity policy.

Late this afternoon, President Pahor will unveil a plaque for Ciril Kotnik, a Slovenian-born diplomat, whose actions served to help save many Jews in Rome during World War II. This afternoon he will also meet with the President of the Chamber of Deputies of the Italian Republic, Laura Boldrini.

This evening, President Pahor will attend a gala dinner, organized in his honour by President of the Italian Republic, Giorgio Napolitano.

President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor's toast at the gala dinner: 2014-05-06 Zdravica predsednika Italijanska republika.pdf