The Slovenia Times

Slovenian, Portuguese PMs pinpoint areas of possible coop


The prime ministers noted that economic relations between the two countries were improving every year and that Slovenia and Portugal had excellent relations in education, culture and tourism.

In 2016, trade between the two countries reached EUR 122m, and in the first nine months of last year it already topped EUR 136m, Cerar said.

The pair sees many opportunities to boost business ties, especially in the automotive, pharmaceutical and environmental industries, and in bioscience and logistics.

"To this end, we agreed to connect our economy ministries and similar institutions, and encourage our businesses to come together to pinpoint the areas where we could cooperate more closely," Cerar said.

He said that Costa had agreed the two countries should enter foreign markets together, which was particularly important for Slovenia, because this would enable it to set up business cooperation on the markets in which Portugal is already present.

Slovenia and Portugal have already started preparing for their presidencies of the EU Council, which Portugal will hold in the first and Slovenia in the second half of 2021, the prime ministers noted. The two countries will closely cooperate in this respect until then, they said.

Cerar and Costa stressed that both countries advocated for a strong and united EU, which would preserve its fundamental values of democracy, solidarity and the rule of law.

Costa said Slovenia and Portugal had similar views on most key EU topics such as security, defence, migration and in particular research and development, artificial intelligence and other new technologies that will be important in the future.

He said the EU should maintain its common market and other benefits, but also create a new vision that would help it overcome future challenges such as climate change, education and economic challenges.

Cerar said he was happy to see that, like Slovenia, Portugal had recovered from the crisis and that both countries' economies were developing in the same direction.

Costa said that Slovenia's strong economic growth was what enabled the two countries's strong cooperation.

Turning to the issue of migration, the pair said that the EU must strive for solidarity and cooperation within the EU and continue helping the countries from which people are migrating, while also protecting its external borders.

Cerar stressed the importance of the EU enlargement to the Western Balkans, which the Portuguese prime minister supported.

Costa said Portugal had had an open policy on migrations because of its history and its tradition of being connected to the world. He said this had enriched the country. However, many migrants do not decide to stay in the country because of economic reasons or because they want to be with their friends and family.

"The migration processes within Europe show that cooperation is important ... If the countries were economically equally developed, the pressure on Germany would not be as strong, and Portugal could thus reduce its demographic deficit," he said.


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