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President Pahor at the opening of the 12th Bled Strategic Forum 2017 (BSF): With dialogue to the enforcement of the arbitration award

Bled, 4. 9. 2017 | press release

The President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, today attended the opening of the 12th Bled Strategic Forum 2017 (BSF), where he gave the keynote speech. Prior to the formal opening of the Forum, the President met with Secretary of the Holy See for Relations with States, Msgr. Paul Richard Gallagher, and the Secretary-General of the OECD, Angel Gurria.

In his speech at the opening, the President of the Republic emphasised that a successful EU was possible only if it respected European and international law, since Europe was a model of the rule of law. The President emphasised that the rule of law at the international level was based on respecting and fulfilling adopted contractual obligations and on respecting the judgments of international and European courts and arbitration. He added that respect for the arbitration court's decision and fulfilment of the agreed obligations is in the interest of the EU. Slovenia and Croatia settled their dispute peacefully, and Slovenia would strive to enforce the decision of the court, but this would only be possible in dialogue with Croatia, he said.

At a breakfast meeting, Msgr. Gallagher and President Pahor confirmed the friendly relations between Slovenia and the Holy See. They talked about cooperation between Slovenia and the Holy See, both in the bilateral as well as in the wider international context. Particular attention was paid to the future of Europe and cooperation on global security challenges. They also spoke about migration and the situation in the neighbouring region of the Western Balkans. The President and Msgr. Gallagher also discussed the enforcement of the arbitration agreement, whereby President Pahor emphasised the importance of the principle of respect for international law, the validity of international treaties and respect for international court decisions.

At midday, President Pahor met with the Secretary-General of the OECD, Angel Gurria. The President thanked Secretary-General Gurria for the OECD's help and support to Slovenia in formulating policies and concrete measures when facing the financial and economic crisis. They assessed that Slovenia had stable economic growth, but some urgent reforms were still needed. At the same time, the Secretary-General highlighted the problem of the ageing population, adding that it was necessary to act in the long-term and in a well-planned way. They agreed that the key to long-term recovery was to increase competitiveness by implementing the necessary structural reforms. The President and the Secretary-General also discussed the economic dimension of migration and the importance of development aid to address the causes of migration. President Pahor agreed with the Secretary-General that the vision the OECD was building was making society stronger, more sustainable and fairer.

Late in the afternoon on the margins of the 12th Bled Strategic Forum, President Pahor met with the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, French Minister for European Affairs, Nathalie Loiseau, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, and the Minister of Defence of the Republic of Macedonia, Radmila Šekerinska.

When meeting with Federica Mogherini, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, President Pahor awarded Ms. Mogherini, as a former Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Italy, a state award, the Golden Order of Merits. President of the Republic awarded this high state award in 2014 for her contribution to deepening Slovene-Italian cooperation at bilateral and multilateral levels.