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Second day of official visit to Croatia devoted to economic cooperation

Zagreb, Croatia, 10. 5. 2013 | press release

On the second day of his official visit to the Republic of Croatia, the President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, met with Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milovanović, the two discussing, among other things, the modalities of resolving the dispute over Ljubljanska Banka. Together with the Croatian President, Dr Ivo Josipović, Mr Pahor visited the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Zagreb, where more than 90 Slovenian business representatives met with their Croatian counterparts. In the afternoon, the two statesmen gave a lecture on EU topics to students of the Zagreb Faculty of Law.
On the second day of his official visit to the Republic of Croatia, the President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, met with Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milovanović.
Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA

During his talks with Prime Minister Milovanović, President Pahor emphasised that he expects cooperation between the two countries, traditionally closely linked partners, to improve further following Croatia’s accession to the EU. He also welcomed the recent European Commission Progress Report on Croatia. Mr Pahor and Mr Milovanović agreed that Slovenia and Croatia should strive for progress in resolving issues of common interest and that various forms of bilateral cooperation should be encouraged and strengthened. To this end, the Slovenian President highlighted the importance of regional cooperation, good neighbourly relations and, in this context, also the respect of international agreements.

Croatia is Slovenia’s fourth most important foreign trading partner. Moreover, Croatia ranks first in terms of Slovenia’s investments abroad, a fact additionally underlining the importance of the Croatian market. On the margins of the visit, Mr Pahor and his hosts established that there are several business opportunities to enhance bilateral economic cooperation. In light of this assessment, the Slovenian President also visited the seat of Croatia’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Zagreb and, accompanied by President Josipović, met with the Chamber’s chairman, Nadan Vidošević, and his Slovenian counterpart Samo Hribar Milič. The two Presidents also attended the signing of the letter of intent regarding the establishment of a centre for effective energy solutions and addressed the participants of the Croatian–Slovenian economic forum organised on the margins of the visit and attended by more than 90 representatives of the Slovenian economy.
On the second day of his official visit to the Republic of Croatia, the President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, met with Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milovanović.
Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA

In his address to the business representatives assembled at the Croatian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, President Pahor first recalled his last visit to the Chamber in 2009 and expressed his great satisfaction with the significant change which has taken place in the last four years regarding the circumstances and the context of bilateral cooperation between the two friendly countries, a fact which is having a highly positive effect on the business climate. Some 27% of all Slovenian investments abroad are in Croatia, an important figure that has been reached following the settlement of outstanding bilateral political issues. President Pahor congratulated Croatia on its forthcoming accession to the European Union and also expressed his belief that the interconnection and interdependence of the two economies will be even more pronounced in the common European future. “However, we should focus not only on the possibilities for enhancing bilateral cooperation, but also on opportunities to act jointly on regional and third markets,” said Mr Pahor. In his address to the business representatives, he also mentioned a potential revival of the Brdo process, which, through the continuation of the reconciliation process, could have a positive effect on the business environment in this part of Europe. At the close of his address, the Slovenian President said that “Slovenians and Croatians have become true friends who resolve and will continue to resolve potential issues in the spirit of mutual trust and in good faith; this is fundamental for our common future, because while we can indeed do a lot on our own, together we can achieve even more.”

In his address at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Zagreb, President Pahor also tackled the current developments in Slovenia and in this context expressed his wish that the Slovenian Government would act faster in implementing the decision on a bad bank and in bringing in the envisaged constitutional amendments relating to referenda and a fiscal balance rule. Moreover, he expressed his belief that the decision to increase VAT is a better solution than the introduction of a crisis tax, provided that all the envisaged measures will be implemented as soon as possible and the announced privatisations carried out successfully. He also assured the audience that Slovenia is capable of resolving its problems alone, even if it must pass “through the eye of a needle”.

At the close of Mr Pahor’s official visit, the two presidents gave a lecture entitled “Together to Europe” to students at the Zagreb Faculty of Law. Their lecture particularly focused on the future of the European Union. President Pahor emphasised that Croatia’s accession to the European Union is coming at a time when it can opt for two possible concepts of development. The first is the current EU concept, which has all Member States in the same category, while the second provides for the possibility that in the coming years, the Union will split into a community of countries of first and second category, depending on the capacity of each Member State to resolve its problems. “We have reached the point where it is being decided whether Croatia and Slovenia will fall into the first or the second category,” said President Pahor. President Josipović pointed out that Croatia’s membership of the European Union will make it possible to introduce new quality into relations between the two countries. The topics addressed by the two presidents were subsequently the subject of a lively debate with the students.
On the second day of his official visit to the Republic of Croatia, the President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, met with Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milovanović.
Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA