Germany and Slovenia in accord on global challenges
Slovenian President Nataša Pirc Musar met her German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Berlin on 9 February to confirm the excellent relationship between the two countries and agreement of views on global challenges and topical issues.
Climate change, the Western Balkans and the war in Ukraine topped the agenda with the pair noting concordance of views, both between their countries and the two of them personally.
Addressing a joint press conference, Steinmeier said he was glad to host the first woman president of a country with which Germany has long fostered a deep friendship that should be strengthened and developed further.
Despite its small size, Slovenia has achieved great things "with its wisdom, patience, persuasiveness, and the ability to form alliances and make compromise," he added.
The presidents condemned the war in Ukraine and stressed it was Russia who is the aggressor. Pirc Musar said that when the time comes, Slovenia would help rebuild Ukraine, also by providing demining help.
The pair avoided commenting on potential peace initiatives or further military aid to Ukraine, with Steinmeier underscoring the German Leopard 2 battle tanks needed to be delivered as soon as possible.
He noted last year's successful cooperation between Slovenia and Germany in supplying Ukraine with tanks, and Pirc Musar said Europe should remain unanimous in supporting the war-stricken country.
Discussing the Western Balkans, the German president welcomed Pirc Musar's engagement in the Brdo-Brijuni Process, which her predecessor in office Borut Pahor had initiated.
The pair said it was time to overcome nation-dividing ideologies, and turn focus to climate change, biodiversity and young people.
The Slovenian president noted that in the past 15 years, four million people left the Western Balkans and that these countries "must remain functional".
Pirc Musar confirmed that the next Brdo-Brijuni meeting will take place in North Macedonia. During her recent visit to Zagreb, Croatian President Zoran Milanović let her choose the main topic of the summit.
"We will continue the process and with the German president we shared the view today that the [Brdo-Brijuni Process] is absolutely not in conflict with the Berlin Process," Pirc Musar said about a similar German-led initiative for the region.
The presidents voiced their commitment to action against climate change to preserving biodiversity. Pirc Musar noted the important part that Slovenian companies play in the German automotive industry and their joint efforts toward a sustainable, green future.
Slovenia will be the guest of honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair in October this year.
"Whether it be culture, sports or politics, we are happy to have you by our side," Steinmeier said, while Pirc Musar described books as weapons, adding that "culture and art can, in many aspects, move mountains".
With business diplomacy being an important part of her foreign affairs activities, Pirc Musar also met with representatives of German businesses during what was her second trip abroad as president.
Germany is Slovenia's leading trading partner. Data from the SPIRIT agency puts Slovenia's goods exports to the country at €6.92 billion in 2021 and €6.45 billion in the first ten months of 2022 as imports totalled €6.30 billion and €5.92 billion, respectively.