President Pahor on the first official Slovenian visit to Argentina
Buenos Aires, Argentine Republic, 20. 10. 2016 | press release, statement
The President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, began the first official Slovenian visit to Argentina at the highest level, where he was first received by Mauricio Macri, President of the Argentine Republic.
Presidents Pahor and Macri spoke in particular about enhancing political and economic ties and assessed the relations between both countries as very good and diverse. Regarding economic cooperation, President Pahor emphasised that Slovenian companies expressed interest in cooperation and were prepared for new opportunities. The presidents further discussed relations between the European Union and Argentina, and exchanged their views on regional developments and multilateral topics of common interest, such as security, climate change, water and human rights. When speaking about the future of the European Union and changes in the world, they agreed that it was worth making an effort and doing everything possible to ensure a peaceful and safe future for young people.
President Macri expressed satisfaction that President Pahor was the first Slovenian President to visit Argentina. On the topic of Slovenian immigrants to Argentina, President Pahor thanked Argentina for having always openly welcomed our immigrants in severe times and in different periods.
In 2015, the trade in goods between Argentina and Slovenia amounted to EUR 26.2 million, of which Slovenian exports were somewhat less than EUR 21 million and imports over EUR 5 million. In the first half of 2016, the trade in goods was over EUR 21 million, of which exports amounted to over EUR 15 million and imports somewhat less than EUR 6 million.
In the continuation of his visit, President Pahor laid a wreath on the monument of the liberator of Argentina, José San Martin, and received the key to the city of Buenos Aires and a diploma of an honorary citizen.
The President of the Republic also symbolically opened the new premises of the Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia to Argentina, which have been operating since February in a magnificent building designed by Slovenian architects, Benčič Brothers, in the 1930s.
Late in the afternoon, President Pahor met Adalberto Rodriguez Giavarini, President of the Argentine Council for International Relations (CARI). In his lecture held at the request of this influential Argentinian think tank for the diplomatic corps and the most influential Argentinian opinion leaders, President Pahor emphasised that trust must be kept between EU Member States and trust in the functioning of institutions, which was shaken by the migrant crisis and the crisis of the euro area, must be enhanced. The President advocated a solid, integrated and unified European Union and highlighted that the European Union was not the cause of crises, but a solution for them. He added that Member States would not have been able to tackle the global challenges on their own as successfully as they did within the European Union. “We are also deciding on the future of our children, and I hope that we will decide for more and not less Europe at the decisive moment,” concluded the President and then answered questions presented by those in the attendance.
President Pahor is accompanied on his visit by Gorazd Žmavc, Minister for Slovenians Abroad, and academic Boštjan Žekš, former Minister for Slovenians Abroad. The visit is taking place at the time of celebrating the 25th anniversary of Slovenia’s independence.
During the official visit, the Slovenian President will also meet Emilio Monzó, President of the Argentine Chamber of Deputies. The President will visit the Immigrants’ Hotel built between 1906 and 1911 as temporary accommodation for immigrants. The Hotel operated until 1953 and today it houses the National Museum of Immigration and the Tres de Febrero National University Museum (MUNTREF), i.e. Contemporary Arts Centre.
During his visit to Argentina, the President of the Republic of Slovenia will also visit La Bombonera football stadium designed by Slovenian architect Viktor Sulčič.
President Pahor will visit the Slovenian House and the Slovenian Saturday School where he will meet Slovenians living in Argentina; later, he will meet the presidents of Slovenian associations. He will also attend a formal concert by the chamber group Invasion with soloist Bernarda Fink and the formal reception for Slovenians.
According to the estimates, some 30,000 Slovenian immigrants and their descendants live in Argentina, who moved there in three waves; the major wave was between both world wars. Some five thousand Slovenian citizens live in Argentina.