The Slovenia Times

A Reliable European Partner


The pair agreed on a declaration that envisages stronger ties in political, economic and scientific affairs, with Pahor also announcing "follow-up" steps.

The two countries want to contribute to stronger political and economic unity in Europe, to the stability of the euro and closer ties among EU members.

Merkel, who first visited Slovenia in 2007 when Slovenia adopted the euro, urged "more Europe but also a more reliable Europe, where everybody does their homework".

She said that Slovenia's commitment to reforms that will secure more competitiveness was underlined again today by Pahor, including with a commitment to efforts to meet the goals of the Euro Plus agreement and reforms as the absolute priority.

While Pahor reiterated that, in his view, the idea of the EU can only survive the 21st century in the form of a "United States of Europe", Merkel acknowledged that political ideas like a European government will have to be given tangible content.

She for instance pointed to the debate between Germany and France on the possibility of a single corporate tax rate. "We need to take on the problem at its roots...We can't only talk, we need to also take action," she added, also pointing to possible closer coordination in social policies.

The Western Balkans were also high on the agenda of today's talks, with Merkel saying that she agreed with Pahor that all countries in the region need to be given prospects for a European future. "But also that the inclusion of individual members must not entail the importing of bilateral conflicts into the EU".

She said that Slovenia can play a valuable role here, since it has its own experience with the EU and has moreover demonstrated its competence when resolving the border issue with Croatia, which "was anything but simple".

"This was the very type of issue that remain left" in the region in different forms, Merkel added, congratulating Slovenia for its boldness and arguing that this example gave it the reputation it needs when explaining to "other countries that a European future is also good and right for them".

Quizzed about what seems a rejection by Serbia of her views on the situation in Kosovo, Merkel said that public statements abroad will not contribute to a solution and instead argued that talks with Tadic also underlined Serbia's substantial interest in the EU.

"We know how difficult it is to overcome the conflicts with Kosovo, but there will be no good relations in Europe if these problems are not resolved. Thus, everyone will have to give a little way."

As regards Merkel's enhanced focus on SE Europe in recent times, she said that Germany feels committed to contribute to resolving outstanding issues in Europe, of which the Western Balkans is a part.

"We can hardly act as peace mediators around the world if we don't first get a grip on what are actually quite straightforward problems on our continent," she said, describing the present situation in the region as one of stability that could however prove deceptive.

Pahor, who highlighted the importance of the Slovenia-led Brdo Process, added to this that he had discussed the matter with Tadic and built a personal view "that could have welcome consequences in terms of preserving peace and stability in the region".

"If Kosovo Prime Minster Hashim Thaci agrees, I will visit him shortly," Pahor said, noting he was briefing Germany and the US about the developments.

Meanwhile, Merkel also met President Danilo Tuerk and opposition leader Janez Jansa.

Tuerk's office said the pair underlined the need for a reform of the EU and within its members, in Slovenia especially a reform of the pension system.

Tuerk expressed the wish for closer cooperation with Germany in the area of green technologies.

The Palestinian issue was also broached among international topics, with Tuerk and Merkel being in agreement about the need to find a shared language on the problem within the EU. Tuerk moreover stressed the need for clear EU priorities when it comes to foreign policy.

After Meeting with Janez Janša the pair did not make statements. The SDS said in a press release that the talks focused on the situation in the EU, in Slovenia and the Western Balkans.

Jansa and Merkel concluded their exchange with a short assessment of the political and pre-election situation in both countries, the SDS moreover wrote.

The SDS meanwhile accompanied Merkel's visit with the publication of an "international information about the economic and social-political situation in Slovenia", which acknowledges Slovenia's development in the 20 years of independence but also strongly criticises the incumbent government, urging early elections.

According to the SDS, Slovenia is in economic as well as cultural crisis, which the party labelled as a cultural clash or "Kulturkampf".

"As it may sound exaggerated, Slovenia seems to be experiencing a partial restoration of the Communist traditions," the SDS says about the ruling coalition, accusing it of undermining public debate about post WWII summary executions and criminal activities of the Communist secret police.


More from Nekategorizirano