The Slovenia Times

Cerar discusses W Balkans with Swedish counterpart


"Slovenia and Sweden shared the same values. Both countries advocate in their foreign policy respect for the rule of law, and promote human rights, multilateralism, and cooperation among countries in tackling global challenges caused by climate change, cyber threats and other security threats," Cerar said.

He also presented to the Swedish foreign minister Slovenia's preparations for the EU's presidency in the second half of 2021. "Slovenia will encourage sustainable development, the rule of law and strive to strengthen the EU's global role as well as its role in providing for the security and well-being of European citizens," he said.

According to Cerar, the rule of law is crucial for small countries, being the foundation of the European Union. During its EU presidency, Slovenia will strive to promote the rule of law in the Western Balkans, which is a strategically important region both for Slovenia and Europe, he said.

Cerar also presented to the Swedish officials Slovenia's view on the progress of the Western Balkan countries in their efforts to join the EU and the region's challenges.

In the talks with Linde, concrete cooperation in the region was discussed, especially a project of mediation workshops in schools in Bosnia-Herzegovina, which Slovenia launched in 2017 through its ITF Enhancing Human Security organisation.

More than 330 students from 24 primary schools in Bosnia-Herzegovina are currently taking part in the project and the Foreign Ministry is working on extending the project to other Western Balkan countries and to have other countries join in as well.

Sweden has been one of significant supporters of ITF projects in the region as well as in Gaza, the ministry said.

The two ministers moreover exchanged views on the EU's relations with China and Russia, and the attitude to the Arctic in the light of climate change.

They also discussed projects and possibilities for cooperation during Sweden's presidency of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and Slovenia's EU presidency, which will coincide.

Cerar was also received today by the speaker of the Swedish parliament, Norlen, with the talks focussing on the EU's policy towards Western Balkans and its relations with China.

He also took part in a round table debate on the Western Balkans at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs, where he spoke about the EU's challenges in the world, its relations with Russia and China, the future of transatlantic relations and the relations with the UK after Brexit.

The outgoing foreign minister also visited the headquarters of the Smart City project in Stockholm, the Slovenian Foreign Ministry said in a press release.

Sweden is the most important trade partner of Slovenia in the Nordic countries. Bilateral trade reached EUR 545 million in 2018. Slovenian companies also cooperate well with Swedish companies in circular economy, the ministry said.


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