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President Pahor hosts the president of the Hellenic Republic, Katerina Sakellaropoulou, at her first official visit abroad

Ljubljana, 22. 4. 2021 | press release

In response to the invitation of the president of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, the Greek president, Katerina Sakellaropoulou, will officially visit the Republic of Slovenia today and tomorrow. The visit of President Sakellaropoulou is the first official state visit following the declaration of the epidemic in Slovenia and the first visit of the Greek president following her election.

President Pahor hosts the president of the Hellenic Republic, Katerina Sakellaropoulou, at her first official visit abroad
Photo: Anže Malovrh/STA

Following the official visit with military honours at Kongresni trg in Ljubljana and the head-to-head meeting of both presidents, plenary sessions between the two delegations took place. Both presidents exchanged decorations: President Pahor awarded President Sakellaropoulou with the Order of Merit for Distinguished Service for her contribution in developing friendly ties between the Republic of Slovenia and the Hellenic Republic and the strengthening of the broad cooperation and connection between both countries for a safe European future based on common values.

During the press conference that followed, President Pahor underlined the long history and solid foundations of relationships between the two countries. He mentioned Ioannis Kapodistrias, whose generation originates from Koper (Capodistria) and who is known in history as the founder of modern Greece and its first governor. He also participated at the Ljubljana congress, which is marking its 200th year anniversary this year. The president noted that two years ago, when he was in Greece as part of an official visit, he uncovered a commemorative plaque in the city of Napflion in his honour, and added that he and President Sakellaropoulou will uncover the bench of friendship between Slovenia and Greece tomorrow. It will be placed in Koper, in the immediate proximity of the monument dedicated to Ioannis Kapodistrias.

Both presidents paid special attention to the fight against Covid-19 and the post-pandemic economic recovery. This recovery must be used, to the maximum extent possible, for the transition into a sustainable development, said President Pahor. He said that we need to change our relation to nature and use the technological opportunities and digitalisation more proficiently. President Pahor and President Sakellaropoulou see many opportunities for a closer collaboration between the two countries in green transition and digitalisation.

President Pahor hosts the president of the Hellenic Republic, Katerina Sakellaropoulou, at her first official visit abroad
Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA

Talks between both presidents revolved mostly around the European Union. They agreed that much more cooperation and solidarity must be ensured on the European level and that the efficiency of the European institutions must be strengthened. They talked about the conference and on the future of Europe, whereby the president believes that it may not take enough time for any serious movements forward, but enough to adopt certain steps on the basis of which the citizens will rely on the EU more. President Pahor especially underlined the formation of the health union, something he warned about many times before as the Union could provide more efficient aid to its member states in tacking the consequences of the epidemic. In response to the journalistic question, President Pahor said that the EU states should use their development funds for breakthrough smart, green and innovative solutions and therefore reduce the development delays.

President Pahor said that he and President Sakellaropoulou also talked about some pronounced security challenges in the European neighbourhood, the conditions in the Eastern Mediterranean and Western Balkans. They spoke in favour of a quicker expansion process of the EU to the Western Balkans territory, whereby President Sakellaropoulou stressed the importance of respecting the criteria and values of the EU. President Pahor noted that Slovenia condemned the illegal actions of Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean. He said that very important open issues need to be resolved in dialogue and amicably, taking into account the principle of good neighbourly relations and solidarity in the European Union. President Sakellaropoulou informed President Pahor about the conditions in Greece concerning illegal migrations.

Today, on Earth Day, both presidents will meet a group of high school students studying classical Greek at the Diocesan Classical Gymnasium to talk about the green European future. The first day of visit will be concluded with a formal dinner, which President Pahor will host at the Brdo Castle in honour of President Sakellaropoulou.

President Pahor hosts the president of the Hellenic Republic, Katerina Sakellaropoulou, at her first official visit abroad
Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA

The presidents will start their second day of the official visit in Koper, where they will uncover the bench of friendship between the two countries at the monument dedicated to Ioannis Kapodistrias. They will visit the Port of Koper, which has been cooperating with Greek shipowners very well, and Innorenew, the centre of excellence for green technologies, which is constructing the biggest green building in Slovenia in the city of Izola.