The Slovenia Times

Good relations between Slovenia and Macedonia reaffirmed



The Ministers highlighted the mutual support, especially Slovenia's support of Macedonia in its efforts to join the EU and NATO which are being hindered by the name dispute with Greece.
Erjavec noted that Macedonia was granted EU candidate status back in 2005 and has been working hard for membership since. The country fulfilled the criteria for NATO membership in 2008 but has been unable to join because of the name issue. The Slovenian Minister stressed that Macedonia's membership of NATO was of strategic importance for Slovenia. Only integration can bring stability in the Western Balkans, something Slovenia stressed at the recent NATO Summit in Chicago. The Slovenian Minister also said that Macedonia had transformed from a recipient to "an exporter of peace" in international missions. According to Poposki, the country has the fifth largest force per capita in the NATO-led ISAF mission in Afghanistan. The blockade and the additional criteria set for Macedonia are unprincipled and beyond the rules for membership, said Poposki. He added that NATO should not be based on solidarity, but motivated by greater common goals than solidarity for the obstruction of the common goal of peace, stability and prosperity in the region. He asserted that Macedonia would continue to work toward this common goal and expressed hope that Greece would do the same. The two Ministers highlighted the good relationship between Slovenia and Macedonia, celebrating the twentieth anniversary of diplomatic relations.
According to Erjavec, trade between the countries amounted to EUR 186m in 2011 which they will try to increase this year. Poposki added that a joint economic commission would be re-established and should meet in Skopje in the autumn. Examining other areas of cooperation, Poposki underlined the Brdo Process of regional cooperation and Slovenia's support for Macedonia's efforts in the judiciary chapter of the EU accession process. As part of his one day official visit to Slovenia, Poposki was received by Prime Minister, Janez Janša, with whom he spoke about the economic crisis in Europe, the challenges to the stability of the euro in light of the situation in Greece and about the NATO Summit in Chicago, according to Janša's office. He also met President Danilo Türk and Parliamentary Speaker, Gregor Virant.


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