Germany and Slovenia – Respect and Cooperation
Ljubljana, 25. 11. 2014 | press release
The President of the Republic of Slovenia, Mr Borut Pahor, is hosting the President of the Federal Republic of Germany, Mr Joachim Gauck, who has arrived in Slovenia on a two-day official visit. Following the official reception with military honours in Congress Square in Ljubljana and a tête-à-tête meeting, the two Presidents respectively bestowed their highest state decorations. President Gauck presented his Slovenian counterpart Borut Pahor with the Grand Cross of the German Order of Merit, while the Slovenian President conferred on his German counterpart the Order for Exceptional Services.
Photo: Tamino Petelinšek/STA
In their discussion, the two Presidents agreed that the excellent cooperation between the two EU Member States is reflected in the similar views that the two countries have on foreign policy and EU issues. They also highlighted cooperation in implementing Euro-Atlantic aspirations of the countries in the neighbouring region, i.e. the Western Balkans. They shared the view that bilateral relations in the political, economic, scientific and cultural spheres were excellent. According to President Pahor, friendly and good relations between the two countries are long rooted in history, while a new impetus and strategic framework were provided by the declaration on enhanced cooperation signed by President Pahor and Chancellor Angela Merkel in 2011.
In his statement to the media following the plenary talks between the delegations, President Pahor expressed his great satisfaction with having had the opportunity to welcome German President Gauck on his two-day official visit to Slovenia: "The visit of such a distinguished guest strengthens the excellent and friendly relations between Slovenia and Germany. Bilateral relations have expanded to all areas, achieving an exemplary level. The two countries have upheld their long-standing mutual respect ever since Slovenia’s independence and the reunification of a divided Germany," he said, before reacquainting President Gauck with Slovenia’s achievements and efforts to return, as an exemplary country, to the first rank of the most developed European states: "The German experience, comprehensive economic and scientific cooperation and sincere friendship will provide a strong encouragement and help for Slovenia," President Pahor added.
Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA
"We have already discussed, and will continue to discuss, the responsibilities of our countries to strengthen the European idea and to ensure greater international peace and security. As a member of the EU and NATO and as a Central European country, Slovenia understands the responsibility for successful accession of the Western Balkans countries towards Euro-Atlantic integrations. The German Federal President is visiting Slovenia at a time when, after facing a multi-year crisis, the country has recorded notable economic growth and witnessed other positive indicators. This is an important milestone for economic cooperation between the two countries. Bilateral trade in goods and services between Slovenia and Germany amounts to almost EUR 10 billion. Germany is by far Slovenia’s most important trading partner and ranks among the top countries in terms of foreign direct investment in our country. Moreover, the share of Slovenia’s investment presence in Germany is also rising, albeit slowly," added President Pahor.
Mr Pahor also expressed his belief that the economic recovery and the increasing of the competitiveness of Slovenian companies will contribute to new opportunities for cooperation, also pointing out that German investors were among the best long-term strategic partners of the Slovenian economy: "The fact that Slovenians have or want to have a very similar corporate culture to Germany is important. In Slovenia, Germany sees opportunities of a strategic nature," the President stressed, adding that in the next two days the two Presidents would focus on all matters of mutual interest and cooperation, in terms of both bilateral and multilateral issues.
" I would particularly like to announce that President Gauck and I will take part in a roundtable debating the need for social consensus for the changes being sought. In this context, I would like to underline that the current favourable economic indicators in Slovenia will only secure sustainable growth if reinforced by structural reforms. And according to both German and Slovenian experience, these are worth pursuing through a constructive dialogue," noted President Pahor at the press conference.
Mr Pahor also welcomed a memorandum of understanding, signed between the University of Ljubljana and the Berlin Technical University.
In the afternoon, the two Presidents took part in the roundtable entitled "Dialogue for Change: The Creation of Social Consensus".
The first day of the German President’s official visit to Slovenia will close with a gala dinner hosted by Slovenian President Borut Pahor.