At Brdo pri Kranju today, Slovenian Prime Minister Marjan Šarec addressed the Slovenian ambassadors and high-level representatives of the Slovenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in attendance at the 23rd annual Slovenian Diplomatic Conference. He exchanged views with the attendees on Slovenia’s position in the international community and European and foreign policy challenges.
In his address, the prime minister initially noted that “various events around the world and in our immediate neighbourhood that create doubts about the universally accepted principles of international relations, international law and European values, convince [me] in the belief that we must urgently oppose such conduct through proactive European and foreign policy, through proactive diplomacy,” and stated that Slovenian diplomacy is principled, consistent and has clear priorities, which he considers to be of key importance for its effectiveness.
He sees the greatness of the diplomatic corps in their professionalism and their responsibility towards their country and its national interests, and expressed the hope that “the government would continue to work on the priority tasks that they have set,” and that even though Slovenia has a minority government, it is functional and results-oriented.
He continued by posing a challenge to economic diplomacy to continue to open doors on foreign markets for numerous successful and enterprising Slovenian companies, and to actively promote the establishment of Slovenia as a destination for foreign direct investment.
“Our foreign policy orientations are clear and set out in strategic documents. Sovereignty, democracy, security, human rights, the rule of law and solidarity are the values that form the basic framework for our operations. Naturally, it is critical that we address international challenges in cooperation with other countries,” said the prime minister, who also noted that this year we are marking the 15th anniversary of Slovenia’s membership in the EU and NATO. He added that “Slovenia remains an advocate of a strong and effective European Union and a solid transatlantic alliance.”
He also mentioned the future of Europe, where he hopes for the “development of a safe, stable and successful European Union that works to the benefit of its citizens”, which he says is also a clear guiding principle for Slovenia’s presidency of the EU Council in the second half of 2021.
The prime minister has high expectations for the future composition of European institutions, “since the future development of the European Union will depend to a great extent on their functioning.” After the European parliamentary elections he hopes for “a majority made up of integrative European powers that will be oriented towards the future.”
In his address he mentioned the nearby region of the Western Balkans, as the stability of that region is strategically important for Slovenia. “We continue to work to preserve the European prospects of all of the countries in the region, and at the same time we are encouraging those countries to carry out appropriate reform processes, particularly in the area of the rule of law.”
Before concluding his address he listed a few general guidelines that Slovenia will have to pursue in the future. The most important of these are: the building of good relations with our neighbours in all areas, the strengthening of bilateral relations with countries with which we have shared interests, pursuing a balanced foreign policy, playing an active role in international organisations and taking an active approach to maintaining peace and security, where it will be important to continue to invest in our own defence and security system.
At the end of his address he thanked everyone in attendance for their work, and hoped that they have “a good discussion at the conference and that they continue their excellent work on Slovenia’s behalf.”
The main focus of this year’s two-day conference, which began on Tuesday, is the discussion of the current issues in the international community, the future of the European Union and preparations for Slovenia’s presidency of the EU Council. The preparations for the 2019 Bled Strategic Forum and the activities of the Slovenian diplomatic corps in the coming year will also be presented at the conference.
Source: Slovenian Government /Helen Svilan
Photos: Slovenian Government/STA