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Many opportunities to strengthen good cooperation between Slovenia and the Czech Republic

Ljubljana, 3. 4. 2014 | press release

Today, the President of the Republic of Slovenia is hosting an official visit of the President of the Czech Republic, Miloš Zeman, and his spouse. After an official reception with military honours, the Presidents had a private meeting, which was followed by plenary talks between delegations of Slovenia and the Czech Republic led by both presidents. Meanwhile, Ms Tanja Pečar and Ms Ivana Zemanová followedthe ladies’ programme, during which they visited Plečnik House, and the National and University Library.

Today, the President of the Republic of Slovenia is hosting an official visit of the President of the Czech Republic, Miloš Zeman, and his spouse.
Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA

During the discussion, the Slovenian president highlighted the excellent relations between the two friendly countries and nations, and added that the countries had very good trade in goods, which had declined slightly due to the economic crisis. Nevertheless, he expressed his expectation that this was only temporary and that trade between the two countries would improve soon. The President of the Czech Republic, Miloš Zeman, also said bilateral relations were very good, without open questions, and emphasised that all the important agreements which facilitate successful cooperation in various fields were in place. The Czech president, who was accompanied by a large business delegation, was also interested in the planned privatisation in Slovenia. The Slovenian president said that Czech investments in Slovenia were welcome. The discussion partners agreed that the countries might further improve the economic cooperation, in particular by increasing direct investments. President Zeman added that the Czech Republic was interested in the privatisation in Slovenia, which was expected to be the topic of his discussion with the Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia, Alenka Bratušek. He also offered Czech experience of bank privatisation.

The presidents agreed that the countries were linked by history, a Central European identity, and cultural and linguistic proximity, and highlighted bilateral cooperation in the field of culture. This year, we are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Slovenian Lectureship at Charles University, to which an international conference in November will be dedicated. To reinforce the ties, President Zeman invited President Pahor to pay an official visit to the Czech Republic next year. At the same time, an exhibition of Slovenian impressionists could be held in Prague Castle.

They also agreed to formalise cooperation between Central European countries that share a common history, principles and political views within the ‘Visegrad plus’ format, which would signify the formalisation of links between the Visegrad Group countries, and Slovenia and Austria. According to President Pahor, this would reinforce Slovenia's Central European character.

The Slovenian and Czech presidents also spoke about current EU topics, especially the elections to the European Parliament which will be held between 22 and 25 May 2014. They agreed that the number of members from Eurosceptic parties is expected to rise due to the economic crisis, which will affect the balance of power in the European Parliament. The elections will indicate in which direction voters believe Europe should move. Therefore, the discussion partners believe that the European idea should be defended.

The presidents exchanged their views of the situation in the Western Balkans, and other current foreign policy matters in the wider international community.

In the afternoon, the President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, and the President of the Czech Republic, Miloš Zeman, will attend a Slovenian–Czech business conference where they will address members of the business community, and give a lecture on the topic ‘The Future of Europe’ at the Faculty of Social Sciences of the University of Ljubljana.