The Slovenia Times

President Pahor to host his German counterpart


The two-day visit will mark the second occasion of a German president visiting Slovenia during Pahor's presidency.

The presidents will discuss a number of issues including the current state and post-election future of the EU, as well as the Western Balkans and the readiness of countries in the region for Euro-Atlantic integrations, said Pahor's office.

Pahor will receive Steinmeier after returning from Tirana, where the Slovenian president is scheduled to host on Wednesday a summit of the Brdo-Brijuni initiative designed to step up the EU and region's efforts to further the enlargement procedures.

The official visit will start on Thursday afternoon. Steinmeier will be received with military honours in Congress Square, where the presidents will then lay a wreath at the memorial commemorating all war victims.

They are also expected to present a joint call to European voters ahead of the elections to the European Parliament, which will take place between 23 and 26 May.

The German president will also meet parliamentary Speaker Dejan Židan on Thursday, while in the evening he and Pahor will first attend a gala dinner and then a concert in Congress Square marking Europe Day. They will also address the audience as keynote speakers.

On Friday, the presidents and their delegations are scheduled to hold official talks on strengthening the competitiveness of Slovenia's economy and the countries' bilateral cooperation in terms of politics, economy, science and culture.

The visit will also serve as an opportunity for the presidents to discuss the EU future with students at the Ljubljana Faculty of Social Sciences.

Pahor and Steinmeier will spend Friday afternoon in the Posočje region (NW), where they will visit the Kobarid museum devoted to the WWI Battles of the Isonzo and the Bovec-based company Mahle Electric Drives Bovec, which is part of the German group Mahle.

The manufacturer celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2017, while Pahor spent a day with the company's employees during his 2012 presidential campaign.

The official visit and accompanying events represent a continuation of high-level relations between Germany and Slovenia and the strengthening of the countries' political dialogue based on a declaration on cooperation signed by Chancellor Angela Merkel and Pahor in his capacity as the prime minister in 2011, said the president's office.

The countries have been collaborating closely through a number of international organisations, particularly the EU and NATO.

Slovenia celebrates the 15th anniversary of its membership in both organisations this year, with the main ceremony being held in Brdo pri Kranju on Wednesday, commemorating the EU accession.

Germany was one of the first West European countries to recognise Slovenia, having played an important role in Slovenia's path towards independence, supporting Slovenia in gaining international recognition and joining international organisations, including the EU.

The visit will be the second visit of a German president since Pahor was first elected president in December 2012. In November 2014, Pahor hosted Steinmeier's predecessor Joachim Gauck, who along with the neighbouring countries' presidents visited Slovenia again in June 2016, when he attended a ceremony honouring Statehood Day and the 25th anniversary of Slovenia's independence.

Pahor has been making visits to Germany as well, including an unofficial visit in 2017, when he met with Gauck, and a working visit in 2018, when he was hosted by Steinmeier.

Germany is Slovenia's most important economic partner and one of the country's leading trade partners, with the majority of Slovenia's exports being destined for the German market - Slovenia's exports to Germany account for some 20% of the Slovenian international trade.

The trade in goods and services between the countries amounted to almost EUR 10 billion last year. Germany is also one of the major investors in Slovenia.


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