The Slovenia Times

Cerar discussing EU issues with Spanish and Finnish counterpart


The Slovenian and Spanish foreign ministers talked about migrations, control over the EU's external borders, EU enlargement to the Western Balkans and the situation in this south-eastern region, with a special emphasis on wider foreign affairs and security issues, according to the Foreign Ministry.

Cerar and Borrell, who is tipped to be the next EU high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, called for a strong union which would perform on the basis of solidarity between member states and the rule of law, and which would be competitive globally.

The pair also highlighted the significance of the EU outlook for Western Balkan countries and the continuation of reform processes in the region.

Slovenia and Spain have regular and cooperative political dialogue. Their economic cooperation has strengthened since bilateral trade in goods has reached a record of one billion euro over the past couple of years, said the ministry.

Spain's foreign minister, who visited Slovenia for the second time this year, took part in a panel on multilateralism at the BSF conference on Monday.

Cerar also met UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, Secretary General of the Union for the Mediterranean Nasser Kamel and Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto.

Bachelet and Cerar confirmed the excellent cooperation between Slovenia and her office, which was in particular outstanding during last year's Slovenian presidency of the Human Rights Council.

The pair discussed multilateralism challenges and dealing with human rights at international forums as well as across the world, and called for strengthening international mechanisms for improving the global situation in this respect, with a special emphasis on gender equality efforts and vulnerable groups protection.

Moreover, they agreed that there was a close link between the environment and human rights.

Cerar and Kamel, meanwhile, focused on the role of the Union for the Mediterranean in tackling current challenges in the region as a precious platform for open dialogue between 43 countries of the southern and northern parts of the Mediterranean.

The pair discussed projects with which the union helps strengthening the stability of the region by promoting contacts among people, better management as well as environmental and infrastructure issues.

Among such projects they highlighted Slovenia's Euro-Mediterranean University and a ministerial conference on higher education of the Union for the Mediterranean which will be held by Slovenia in 2020.

Cerar and Kamel also signed an agreement on holding the 2nd Creative Forum in Ljubljana between 12 and 15 November, said the Foreign Ministry.

The Slovenian foreign minister and his Finnish counterpart Haavisto, whose country currently presides over the EU, focused on bilateral relations, the Western Balkans, migrations and the Arctic.

The ministers confirmed the two countries' excellent relations and called for the continuation of regular political dialogue and strengthening of their overall cooperation.

They agreed that Slovenia and Finland shared common or similar views, with the countries representing them in the EU as well as in the wider international community.

When discussing the Western Balkans situation, Cerar advocated an agreement on the start of EU accession talks with North Macedonia and Albania in October.

Regarding migrations, he reiterated that Slovenia was supporting EU solutions and striving for the Schengen area to become again an area without control on internal borders and remain such in the future.

Haavisto presented priority tasks of Finland's presidency of the EU, highlighting the country's support for EU policies, which take into consideration the need for protecting the economic potential and stability of the Arctic region, in particular its vulnerable natural environment.


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