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President Pahor at V4 Presidents' Summit: Slovenia appreciates its second invitation to the V4 Summit and welcomes the show of support for the countries of the neighbouring Western Balkans region

Prague, 3. 10. 2019 | press release

President of the Republic of Slovenia Borut Pahor is attending the Summit of the Visegrád Four on the invitation of President of the Czech Republic Miloš Zeman. In addition to the group’s members of Slovakia, Czechia, Poland and Hungary, Slovenia and Serbia also attended the summit as guest countries.

Discussions at the summit focused mainly on the Western Balkans. The aim of the meeting is to convey a clear message that V4 countries and Slovenia support the European Union's open door policy and the integration of Western Balkan countries into European structures. Furthermore, the meeting is aimed at communicating to Serbia the experiences of Visegrád countries and Slovenia regarding the accession process and sharing their experience with the resolution of bilateral disputes that arise from historical circumstances and which are embedded in the relations between V4 countries.

President of the Republic of Slovenia Borut Pahor is attending the Summit of the Visegrád Four on the invitation of President of the Czech Republic Miloš Zeman.
Photo: Uprs

At the summit, President Pahor presented Slovenia's views on the neighbouring region of the Western Balkans.

The Slovenian President initially said that Slovenia supported the strengthening and enhancement of the European Union; while Slovenia is part of Central Europe, which is familiar territory, it also wishes to consolidate its place in the most connected part of the European Union. President Pahor expressed his pride in the fact that the majority of Slovenians believe in the EU, but also expect a lot in return and want to participate in its development. He thanked President Zeman for his invitation, pointing out that it was his second time as a guest at the Visegrád Four meeting.

Speaking on the presidents' panel, Pahor welcomed the group's decision to invite Serbia to join them at the meeting. He said that Slovenia was and would continue to be a sincere supporter of Serbia on its path to the European Union, despite their differences of opinion regarding Kosovo's independence and diplomatic recognition. However, a holistic view of the EU's enlargement to the Western Balkans is needed, as well as original ways of thinking and outside-the-box solutions.

The President of Slovenia said that the main guiding principles should be the peaceful settlement of disputes, respect for international law and partners, and good faith, ensuring that no stakeholder falls victim to those solutions. President Pahor reiterated his belief and concern that, if the EU's enlargement to the Western Balkans were to slow down significantly, conflicts in the region would become more likely. It was thus vital for the new Commission to keep enlargement on its agenda and look at the Western Balkans as a whole – we cannot expect to achieve different results by pursuing the same policy as before, he remarked. Mr Pahor also mentioned the Brdo-Brijuni process, the joint initiative by Slovenia and Croatia for the accession of Western Balkan countries to the EU.

During discussions, President Pahor also stressed the importance of continuing the dynamics of EU enlargement. If candidates meet the criteria, the EU must respond in a credible manner and adopt appropriate decisions on progress, said the President of Slovenia; it is the only way that the EU's requirements and expectations for the region are adopted and implemented with the appropriate responsibility. As regards other unresolved issues, the President of Slovenia emphasised that the EU should be capable of making an adequate assessment of the agreements reached and the compromises made.

President Pahor concluded by saying that progress, adherence to standards and, consequently, the stability of the neighbouring region of the Western Balkans were in everyone's vital interest.

As part of the meeting, the leaders will attend a symbolic commemoration marking the 30th anniversary of democratic changes in Central and Eastern Europe in 1989.

After the official part of the meeting, state leaders will go on a tour of the Lány Estate and attend a working lunch hosted by Czech President Miloš Zeman in the presidents' honour.