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In Vienna, three presidents emphasise the significance of regional cooperation for economic growth

Ljubljana, 17. 3. 2014 | press release

Today, the President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, has been attending an informal trilateral meeting in Vienna of the presidents of Austria, Slovenia and Croatia, where he is meeting Heinz Fischer and Ivo Josipović. During the working discussions, the presidents addressed the expansion of the European Union to the Western Balkans, and regional cooperation between Central European countries, and highlighted the role of the Brdo Process in strengthening political dialogue between the leaders of the Western Balkans and the European Union. They also spoke about commemorating the 100th anniversary of World War I, and paid special attention to the crisis in Ukraine and its implications for other similar cases.

Initially, the presidents of Austria, Slovenia and Croatia presented the internal policy situation in each individual country of the trilateral. President Pahor said that, after five years of economic crisis, Slovenia’s economy is growing, which is a positive sign. However, reforms must still be carried out. He also said that Slovenia’s priorities remain reform of the health-care system, the consolidation of public finance, and improving the position and employment of young people. Economic recovery, strengthening competitiveness, a functioning labour market and sustainable public finance are also important, said President Pahor, and emphasised that the management of state assets had to be improved also by continuing the privatisation process.

the President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, has been attending an informal trilateral meeting in Vienna of the presidents of Austria, Slovenia and Croatia, where he is meeting Heinz Fischer and Ivo Josipović.
Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA

Regarding the current situation in the European Union, President Pahor warned that the future of the European Union depended on the result of the European elections and the balance of power in the European Parliament. However, he believes that the stabilisation of the financial system in the eurozone, enhancing Europe’s global competitiveness and measures to stimulate job creation will remain priorities for quite a few more years.

The presidents of Austria, Slovenia and Croatia paid a great deal of attention to regional cooperation within the European Union. President Pahor presented an idea and initiative to enhance the Alps–Adriatic commitment through the existing programmes of the European Union. The regional connections within the area of the Alps–Adriatic Working Community would strengthen economic cooperation within the region, which is the most developed core of the European Union.

The presidents established that all three countries have been facing similar challenges, and that they have a common responsibility to maintain peace and stability in the region. In this context, the presidents again expressed their support for expansion and the European prospects of the Western Balkans. President Pahor noted the results of the elections in Serbia and assessed that voters had shown their support for a pro-EU policy and the normalisation of relations with Kosovo. The presidents agreed to meet regularly each year and continue the dialogue on regional cooperation in the trilateral form, and that Slovenia would host the next meeting.

At a press conference, they stressed that they would strive to strengthen peace and stability in the region, and highlighted the importance of dialogue, which enables the countries in the region to resolve bilateral and regional issues.

President Pahor invited the presidents of Austria and Croatia to attend the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I, which will be held this year in Slovenia.

The meeting of the three presidents ends in the afternoon with a visit to cultural institutions in Vienna. They will visit the National Library and a temporary exhibition on World War I hosted by the library’s Director-General, Johanna Rachinger, and the Museum of Fine Arts. At the end of the visit, President Pahor and the President of Croatia, Ivo Josipović, will have a private meeting.