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The President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, with the President of the French Republic, Francois Hollande, at the EU–Africa Summit

Bruxelles, 2. 4. 2014 | speech

Today, the President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, is attending the 4th EU–Africa Summit, the main topic of which is ‘Investing in People, Prosperity and Peace’. The EU–Africa Summit is being held at the headquarters of the European Council in Brussels for the first time.

The heads of EU Member States and African countries are discussing the future of strategic relations between the EU and Africa in order to reinforce political and economic connections, and good relations between the people of both continents at the bilateral and global level, with special attention being paid to security. President Pahor, spoke on the topic of peace and security. While attending the summit, he also met several heads of EU Member States and African countries.

H.E. Borut Pahor, President of the Republic of Slovenia, at the EU-Africa summit held in Brussels
Photo: Thierry Monasse/STA

In the morning, the President of the Republic of Slovenia met the President of the Tunisian Republic, Moncef Marzouki. It was their first meeting. They agreed that bilateral relations were good, but that there were still many opportunities to strengthen relations in political, economic and scientific fields. The President of the Republic of Slovenia proposed that Slovenia and Tunisia prepare and exchange proposals for closer cooperation, and invited the President of Tunisia to pay an official visit to Slovenia. The presidents also exchanged views on the situation in North Africa and the Near East. President Marzouki assessed that the process of changes in the Arab world would continue for decades and could grow into a serious regional conflict if the international community, especially the EU, did not get more involved. He also drew attention to the urgency of appropriately meeting the new security challenges in the Maghreb region.

During the summit, the President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, also met the President of the French Republic, Francois Hollande, with whom he exchanged views on the coming elections to the European Parliament, which are especially important, as they will be the first since the Treaty of Lisbon entered into force. Both presidents support the discussion on the future of Europe and deliberation on further integration. President Pahor confirmed that the Slovenian economy has been slowly recovering, but that additional measures and reforms will be required to ensure stable economic growth and sound public finance. President Hollande expressed his support for Slovenia and emphasised the importance of privatisation of Slovenian companies, in which French companies have been showing great interest. The two presidents paid special attention to the situation in Ukraine and agreed that the solidarity of all EU Member States was of key importance. President Pahor also highlighted the significance of balancing the distribution of burdens between EU Member States. The presidents agreed that potential tensions between the EU and the Russian Federation could also have effects in the Western Balkans. Therefore, the enlargement prospects of the countries in this region should be maintained. During the discussion President Hollande expressed his full support for the Brdo Process initiative.

Speech by the President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor at the EU–Africa Summit

Esteemed dignitaries of Africa and Europe,
Ladies and Gentleman,
Dear friends,

The global peace and security can only be achieved through sustainable development, prosperity, respect for human rights and basic freedoms, through rule of law and principles of justice.

Global security requires global management. The EU and Africa share many values and interests, our partnership has taken on a new dynamic in recent years. Our common aim is to create a better, more prosperous future and I am convinced that we can effectively work together in the field of international peace and security.

The development in technology changed our societies and the economic globalisation has altered the traditional social structures in developed but also in developing countries. The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting even poorer. The boundaries have got a different significance. Therefore also security threats transcend the borders of individual states.

I believe nowadays the unfair distribution of wealth is becoming the biggest threats to global peace. Awareness of social inequalities has been present for some time and is increasing, however due to the changes in global geopolitics they present the greatest risk to world peace.

We cannot imagine the international community functioning effectively and seeking solutions to new security challenges without profound reforms; especially in most eminent multilateral forums (UN, Bretton Woods, EU,…) The new well-balanced models of cooperation in politics, the economy and social affairs require new approaches and political courage of leaders for implementing them. Therefore we also need to improve the decision making process and the capacities for acting in United Nations.

A partnership between the EU and Africa is an excellent opportunity to find common answers to global challenges, in Africa these challenges include especially the question of prevention of conflicts, terrorism, refugees and protection of natural resources. Therefore the Summits as this one are so important because they help establishing strategic partnership between the EU and Africa.