The Slovenia Times

Open Questions of Foreign Policy


After much attention was devoted to resolving open issues with Croatia, Erjavec also commented on relations with Austria. He labelled these as good, stressing that the past year had brought headway in the issues related to the Slovenian minority in Carinthia. Austria is aware that Carinthia is also home to Slovenians, he said.

With regards to the Austrian State Treaty, Erjavec said that Slovenia was the legal successor to the treaty, which was why he saw no particular reason to obtain the status of party to the treaty. The Austrian side treats Slovenia as a legal successor, although it will never explicitly say that, Erjavec explained.

Turning to Italy, Erjavec pointed to numerous opportunities for economic cooperation. Among the open questions is the funding of the Slovenian minority, of which he warned the Italian side several times, he said. The minister is aware that Italy is, like Slovenia, in an economic crisis, but unlike Italy, Slovenia did not reduce funds for the Italian minority.

Concerning the planned liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals in the Gulf of Trieste, Erjavec pointed out that things were not developing in the best way possible and that if they continued in such a way, Slovenia would be forced to use all legal means at its disposal.

The minister however believes that it is necessary to find a solution through dialogue. Erjavec also announced that the parliamentary Foreign Policy Committee would meet next week to discuss this topic.

Erjavec moreover welcomed the promise of Hungary to finally build the road between Gornji Senik (Felsoszolnok) and Verica, which is of utmost importance for the Slovenian minority in Hungary.

The minister also touched on Slovenia's abstention in the vote on the status of Palestine at the UN General Assembly. As he pointed out, Slovenia abstained because the EU did not reach an agreement on this issue.

He stressed that Slovenia still supported the right of Palestinians to their own country, adding that the abstention did not mean Slovenia has changed its position. Slovenia believes that the solution to the Palestinian issue should be found within the Middle East peace process, Erjavec said.

Erjavec also spoke about economic diplomacy, which is one of the priorities of the Slovenian foreign policy. In the last 20 years, Slovenia's foreign policy mainly focused on political objectives while the economic side was neglected.

"If we want out of this economic crisis, the European market is too small for us," he said. We must therefore look for opportunities in other markets, he said, pointing to Russia and Turkey.

The foreign minister also noted that four embassies had been closed this year due to austerity measures. Personally, he is against an additional reduction of the diplomatic-consular network.


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