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President Pahor with Greek PM and host Mitsotakis at the "South East Europe Cooperation Process" Summit

Solun, Greece, 10. 6. 2022 | press release

At the invitation of the Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic, the President of the Republic of Slovenia Borut Pahor attends the South East European Cooperation Process (SEECP) Summit in Thessaloniki.

On the margins of the meeting, President Pahor today held a bilateral meeting with the host, Greek Prime Minister Mitsotakis. President Pahor and Prime Minister Mitsotakis reaffirmed their good, friendly and partnership relations. They expressed their satisfaction that these relations have been further strengthened recently.

President Pahor with Greek PM and host Mitsotakis at the "South East Europe Cooperation Process" Summit
Photo: Matjaž Klemenc/UPRS

President Pahor and Prime Minister Mitsotakis opened their talks with a discussion of Russia's military invasion of Ukraine and the dramatically changed security situation in the international environment. They discussed the EU's united response to Russian aggression and the implications of sanctions for the Euro-Atlantic area. They condemned the attack on Ukraine's territorial sovereignty. They also agreed that we should not forget the Western Balkans, where the security situation could also deteriorate rapidly. In this context, the Slovenian President and the Greek Prime Minister also spoke about the credibility of the EU enlargement process. They exchanged views on current developments in the Western Balkans and called for a stronger EU engagement.

On the margins of the SEECP Summit, President Pahor also met with Šefik Djaferović, Chair of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and discussed with him in particular the current political situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The two sides discussed Slovenian President Pahor's idea to grant candidate status to Bosnia and Herzegovina without additional conditions, which he presented at the Sarajevo Business Forum a few weeks ago. President Pahor reiterated that he believed this would change the dynamics and give the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina new hope for the country's European future. He added that he wanted to see a secure and prosperous future for all the countries of the Western Balkans and reiterated that this is how the European Union should assess and act, as it is in their mutual interest that the EU's enlargement policy towards the Western Balkan countries, and in particular towards Bosnia and Herzegovina, is more flexible. They exchanged views on the impact of the war in Ukraine on the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Presidency President Djaferović thanked the Slovenian President once again for his participation and for his opening speech at the recent Sarajevo Business Forum.

President Pahor with Greek PM and host Mitsotakis at the "South East Europe Cooperation Process" Summit
Photo: Matjaž Klemenc/UPRS

The Slovenian President also met with the President of the Republic of Kosovo, Dr Vjosa Osmani, and focused on the current situation in the Western Balkans. President Osmani briefed President Pahor on some of the reforms implemented in Kosovo in the areas of the rule of law and human rights. She also presented Kosovo's candidacy for membership of the Council of Europe and asked for support for its application for membership of the NATO Partnership for Peace.

President Pahor said that he looked forward to the President's official visit to Ljubljana early next month.

On the margins of the SEECP, President Pahor will also meet President Maia Sandu of Moldova and President Milo Đukanović of Montenegro.

The South East European Cooperation Process (SEECP) is a forum for diplomatic and political dialogue among the participating countries of South East Europe, established in 1996 and involving thirteen countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Montenegro, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Moldova, Romania, Serbia, Turkey and Slovenia, which joined the process in 2010.

The Thessaloniki Summit concludes the one-year Greek Presidency of SEECP, with Montenegro as the next Chair.

At the plenary session, the leaders of the initiative's member countries will discuss regional cooperation and the enlargement of the European Union to include the Western Balkan countries. Special attention is also expected to be paid to energy, migration and security in the wake of the Russian aggression against Ukraine.

President Pahor with Greek PM and host Mitsotakis at the "South East Europe Cooperation Process" Summit
Photo: Matjaž Klemenc/UPRS