The Slovenia Times

PM Janša Due in Moscow Monday with a Business Delegation


One of the main topics on the agenda is the South Stream pipeline project, while the business delegation accompanying the PM will look to boost trade and investment. Janša will hold a meeting with Putin on Monday when he is also scheduled to meet business representatives. He will be holding talks with Medvedev on Tuesday.

The visit is aimed at boosting bilateral ties and economic cooperation. The countries are expected to seal the final deal for the investment into the construction of the Slovenian part of the South Stream and sign some other bilateral agreements, according to the PM's office.

The head of the South Stream pipeline project and a vice-chairman of the joint venture responsible for the project in Slovenia, Leonid Chugunov, told reporters in Moscow on Thursday that the pipeline would run from Russia under the Black Sea to Bulgaria via Serbia (where two pipes will branch off for Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia), Hungary and Slovenia to Italy.

Serbia and Hungary have already signed the final investment deal on the construction of the pipeline on their territories, while problems have arisen in Bulgaria, which wants a discount on the price of gas from Gazprom, although the authorities there support the project. In the case of Slovenia the step is to be taken during the prime minister's visit. The country is also expected to shortly adopt the necessary legislation for the implementation of the project.

Chugunov says the construction of the 2446-kilometre South Stream pipeline will be launched in December under the sea and on land. The construction of the 266 km section in Slovenia is meanwhile not expected to start until 2014. The investment in Slovenia is estimated at EUR 1bn.

While in Moscow, the prime minister will be accompanied by a delegation of business officials from industries that have big potential for growth in the Russian market, from energy and energy efficiency, to banking and investment, construction, automotive industry, IT and pharmaceutical industry.

Several major projects are already under way in these fields, but there is still considerable potential to be developed there, according to a press release from the PM's office.

Slovenia and Russia established diplomatic relations 20 years ago, while in recent years these have been upgraded to the level of strategic partnership, both sides find.

Despite the economic and financial turmoil, Russia has been posting steady growth rates and represents one of the most important trade partners for Slovenia. Russia is also one of the strategic markets for Slovenia as defined in the recently adopted trade strategy for 2013.

Last year bilateral trade topped EUR 1.1bn, EUR 747m of which was Slovenia's exports. Between January and May this year, trade amounted to EUR 533m. Slovenia mainly imports energy products from Russia, while the bulk of exports are pharmaceuticals.

A boost in trade is partly owing to intensive political relations in recent years. Most recently Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec visited Moscow in September this year, while Slovenia hosted Russian Prosecutor General Yury Chaika. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimir Titov visited the country in March.


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